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Weather News & Webmaster's Journal

Record flooding and first tornado outbreak of the season

Wed May 5 2010 @ 18:25 EDT

On Saturday April 24th, a long-track EF-4 rated tornado with estimated maximum winds of 170 MPH tracked through Louisiana and Mississippi. At one point during the tornado's lifetime, it was approx. 1.75 miles wide — slightly wider than the Greensburg EF-5 tornado of May 4, 2007. The damage path was 149 miles, stretching from Tallulah, Louisiana to near Sturgis, Mississippi.

The National Weather Service office in Jackson, Mississippi has more information, photos, and maps from the tornado.

Speaking of Greensburg, yesterday was the third anniversary of the EF-5 rated Greensburg tornado, which leveled 95 percent of the city and killed eleven people. The town has since begun to rebuild as a "green" town, and the non-profit organization Greensburg GreenTown is working with local residents and businesses to incorporate sustainable practices into the rebuilding process.

On the weekend of May 1st, a record-breaking flooding event over Tennessee and Kentucky dropped over 15 inches of rain, with the highest rainfall almost directly over the Nashville Metro Area. A river gauge at Centerville, Southwest of Nashville, reached 47.5 feet, which blew away its previous record of 37.6 feet.

Jesse Ferrell over at AccuWeather has maps and photos of the event.

Update: View photos of Nashville landmarks underwater

Winter season continues to break records; climate information

Wed Mar 3 2010 @ 00:03 EST

The 2009-2010 winter season continues to break records. Take, for example, the DC metro area: In Maryland, 262.5 inches of snow have been recorded at one garage managed by the Maryland State Highway Administration. "In Oakland, National Weather Service observer Sherry Helbig reports a seasonal total of 210 inches, more than double the winter average of 95 inches."

AccuWeather reports on Florida's coldest winter in 30 years. Much of the unusual winter weather we've seen in the Midwest and the East Coast has been caused by upstream weather patterns associated with El Niño and the negative phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). A negative NAO typically brings cold, snowy weather to the Eastern United States and can actually cause parts of Greenland to be warmer than locations in the United States!

In climate news, Professor Phil Jones of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU), responds to important climate questions after being widely criticized over the content of e-mails between colleagues that were stolen by a computer hacker. The BBC article is the definitive source for this interview — there have been many articles that mis-quote Phil Jones. While Jones may have made mistakes with regard to his research, I feel that it is only proper to read his original statements and the interview itself.

The National Weather Service has proposed a National Climate Service for the United States, which will help supply the public with climate information, similar to how the Weather Service provides information on current conditions, weekly forecasts, and severe weather. NOAA would like to have the Service running by the end of 2010, in celebration of its 140th Anniversary.

The Weather Service has already started a new website, climate.gov to provide publicly-accessible climate information, even before the new Service is officially created.

Historic winter continues with President's Day snowstorm

Tue Feb 16 2010 @ 00:55 EST

US Satellite image from 2010-02-15 at 17:45 UTC
Continental US satellite image from Monday afternoon

A winter storm is ongoing in the Midwest, bringing even more snow from Illinois to the East Coast. Last week, the Ohio Valley and the East Coast were battered by snow.

In Baltimore, 72.3 inches of snow has been measured this winter, shattering the previous record of 62.5 inches set in 1995-96.

This week, another storm system that moved out of the Plains is bringing even more snow to the region. Snow from this storm system is expected to add another 8 inches of snow for Central Ohio with lesser amounts to the South. The system will move off to the East overnight Tuesday, bringing moderate snow to Pennsylvania. A winter storm watch has been issued for most of Massachusetts and Southern Maine.

Cities in Ohio are on par to break record February snowfall amounts. With almost half of the month to go, Cincinnati has broken its February record of 21.4" with 21.8" as of 5 PM Monday. This is currently the third most snowy February in Dayton and Columbus. View updated snowfall amounts.

Earlier on Tuesday, a 50+ car pile-up occured on Interstate 71 just North of Columbus, Ohio.

The causes of this historical winter season are most likely El Niño along with other less-widely-known weather patterns (oscillations). Brian Neudorff from WROC-TV in Rochester, NY gives an explanation of these oscillations.

Christmas winter storm batters the Plains and Northeast

Fri Dec 25 2009 @ 03:38 EST

2:15 PM Friday update: Winter storm warnings continue to be in effect, with Blizzard and white-out conditions, throughout much of the Northern Plains. Very cold air is filtering in behind the powerful low pressure system currently over Iowa. Temperatures have dropped quickly as far east as St. Louis and the cold air will push into the Midwest and the Ohio Valley later today.

3:30 AM Friday update: A major winter storm that developed over the Southern Plains has caused blizzard conditions in the Northern Plains and Midwest, and will bring freezing rain and ice to the Northeast on Friday.

The state of Oklahoma has declared a statewide emergency and ordered all highways closed due to the extreme weather conditions. The airport in Oklahoma City reported 13 inches of snow, and was closed for travel late Thursday night.

6 to 10 inches of snow are expected in Eastern Kansas and Eastern Nebraska. The storm system will push North into the Dakotas, Minnesota, and Wisconsin through Christmas day. View a web briefing from the Omaha, Nebraska Weather Forecast Office.

Behind the storm system and associated cold front, gusty winds will occur. Wind advisories and high wind warnings are in effect throughout the Southeast. 6 to 10 inches of snow are expected in Northeast

Tornadoes were also reported in Texas on Thursday.

FEMA has further information on Winter Weather precautions.

Tracking Tropical Storm Ida

Tue Nov 10 2009 @ 00:04 EST

Tropical Storm Ida satellite image
As of Monday November 9th at 11:14 PM EST, Tropical Storm Ida was located just south of Mobile, Alabama. However, the storm has been broken apart by strong wind shear, pushing most of the convection and rain bands onshore already. These are impacting locations along the Gulf Coast, from Louisiana eastward to the Northern Florida coast.

Rainfall totals in the Gulf states may reach 6-8 inches. If you live in the Gulf states, be on the lookout for rising rivers and flash flooding. Although Ida has weakened since yesterday when it was a hurricane, it is still capable of extreme rainfall and minor wind damage.

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