2011: Summer of Pain

Streak of heat in Dallas continues... courtesy: NOAA (NWS Dallas-Ft. Worth)

Following up my post from last week when we saw extreme heat in the Northeast, this summer has been pretty awful in terms of heat. Not atypical given a strongly positive Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) and sharply negative Pacific Decadal Oscillation and strong pool of warm water further in the North Pacific, but as we are beginning to approach to some insane records, I figured it would be interesting to look at this summer from a historical perspective, and I decided to use the NCDC’s record temps tool to sort all of the all-time record highs recorded or matched this summer. In other words, stations that have seen or tied their warmest temperature ever. And as we prepare to see the drought stricken Southern Plains and North Texas absolutely bake this week, this list should grow further.

Some notes:

– Stations had to have a period of record of at least 30 years to qualify. Some of the 30-50 year records aren’t that impressive, but there were a substantial number of all-time records set at stations with periods of record of 60-110 years.

– I didn’t discriminate between official ASOS observing sites and Co-ops, so some of the Co-op records shouldn’t be taken with full confidence, but any site with 60-80+ years of data that sets an all-time record is pretty significant.

– Northway, AK broke the old record of 91 degrees twice…once with a 94 on 7/10 and then shattered that with a 97 on 7/11.

– Tallahassee and Marianna, FL both tied or broke their all-time records multiple times in June.

– Multiple locations on the Plains and Texas did as well. It was interesting to see how many station tied their all-time records one day, then busted through them shortly thereafter.

-Ypsilanti, MI set their record July 2nd and then broke it by two on 7/21. That one is an oddball and stands out, and I wonder if that has to do with new construction in that area?

– It’s not a coincidence that several of these all-time records being broken were originally set in the 70s, 50s, or 30s, as those also saw somewhat similar global weather patterns to what we see in 2011. No coincidence either that we’ve had insane, Dust Bowl type drought, incredibly horrible tornadoes, and active hurricane seasons as well.

– It is also impressive how many 1980, 1988, 1995, 1998, and 2010 records you see on these lists as well.

– Check S of O out on Facebook!

Here’s the list…apologies for some of the formatting. Haven’t found a simple way to put Excel into WordPress.

Date Site New Record Prev Record Date Set Yrs. Data
6/1 Tallahassee, FL 103 103 7/30/2010 68
6/1 Marianna, FL 105 105 7/31/2010 65
6/4 Enterprise, AL 104 104 7/21/2000 45
6/4 Winter Haven, FL 104 104 7/24/1952 71
6/13 Marianna, FL 105 105 6/1/2011 65
6/13 Jal, NM 114 112 6/29/1957 75
6/14 Tallahassee, FL 103 103 6/1/2011 68
6/14 Ashburn, GA 102 102 8/10/2007 55
6/15 Marianna, FL 105 105 6/13/2011 65
6/15 Valdosta, GA 106 106 8/2/1998 44
6/15 Tallahassee, FL 105 103 6/14/2011 68
6/15 Purdum, NE 116 114 7/24/1940 109
6/17 Laredo, TX 113 113 6/15/1998 56
6/19 Putnam, TX 110 110 8/8/2003 48
6/23 Raton, NM 102 100 7/25/2009 32
6/24 Raton, NM 102 102 6/23/2011 32
6/24 Amarillo, TX 109 108 6/28/1998 68
6/24 Borger, TX 109 108 6/27/1998 63
6/24 Dalhart, TX 108 107 6/24/1990 64
6/25 Portales, NM 109 109 6/28/1968 103
6/25 Wellington, TX 114 113 6/25/1994 52
6/26 Dodge City, KS 110 110 6/29/1998 68
6/26 Gage, OK 113 113 7/10/2009 73
6/26 Wellington, TX 117 114 6/25/2011 52
6/26 Childress, TX 117 117 6/27/1994 69
6/26 Amarillo, TX 111 109 6/24/2011 68
6/26 Borger, TX 111 109 6/24/2011 63
6/26 Morton, TX 111 110 6/28/1994 49
6/26 Plainview, TX 111 111 6/28/1994 104
6/26 Tulia, TX 110 110 6/28/1994 63
6/26 Dalhart, TX 110 108 6/24/2011 64
6/26 Canyon, TX 109 109 6/24/2011 58
6/27 Ft. Huachuca, AZ 106 106 7/28/1995 74
6/27 Ashland, KS 114 114 8/13/1936 112
6/27 Richfield, KS 111 111 6/30/1933 67
6/27 Goodwell, OK 112 111 6/30/1998 93
6/27 Fort Supply, OK 110 110 7/11/2009 72
6/27 Paducah, TX 118 118 6/28/1994 55
6/27 Turkey, TX 116 115 6/27/1994 47
6/27 Shamrock, TX 115 113 6/25/1980 50
6/27 Lipscomb, TX 114 114 7/19/1978 48
6/27 Panhandle, TX 112 111 6/3/2008 49
6/27 Plainview, TX 112 111 6/26/2011 104
6/27 Silverton, TX 111 109 6/28/1994 50
6/27 Canyon, TX 109 109 6/26/2011 58
6/29 Wilcox, AZ 110 110 6/28/1994 108
6/30 Garden City, KS 109 108 7/15/2003 55
7/2 Ypsilanti, MI 101 100 7/15/1977 49
7/9 Medicine Lodge, KS 114 113 8/22/1984 32
7/9 Oklahoma City, OK 110 110 7/6/1996 71
7/10 Northway, AK 94 91 6/15/1969 70
7/10 Hutchinson, KS 112 111 7/17/1980 50
7/10 Blanchard, OK 112 112 8/5/1964 60
7/10 Fort Supply, OK 110 110 6/27/2011 72
7/11 Northway, AK 97 94 7/10/2011 70
7/12 Shamrock, TX 117 115 6/27/2011 50
7/13 Magnolia, AR 109 109 9/1/2000 61
7/14 Magnolia, AR 112 109 7/13/2011 61
7/14 Wilmington, NC Co-op 104 104 8/2/1999 61
7/21 Ypsilanti, MI 103 101 7/2/2011 49
7/21 Waterford, MI 98 98 8/9/2001 34
7/21 Elmira, NY 104 102 7/17/1988 42
7/21 Altoona, PA 101 100 7/16/1988 56
7/21 Dubois, PA 98 98 7/16/1988 46
7/21 Fort Atkinson, WI 103 102 8/2/1988 71
7/22 Homer, AK 84 81 7/10/1993 80
7/22 Hartford, CT 103 102 7/6/2010 52
7/22 Windsor Locks, CT 103 102 7/6/2010 68
7/22 Bridgeport, CT 103 103 7/22/1957 68
7/22 New Haven, CT 101 100 7/6/2010 58
7/22 Tipton, IN 98 98 7/21/1999 35
7/22 Boston, MA 103 103 7/22/1926 92
7/22 New Bedford, MA 102 100 7/6/1999 38
7/22 Walpole, MA 102 102 8/2/1975 39
7/22 Norwood, MA 101 101 7/6/2010 34
7/22 Hingham, MA 101 100 8/14/2002 51
7/22 BWI Airport, MD 106 105 7/6/2010 67
7/22 Salisbury, MD 102 102 7/6/2010 64
7/22 Newark, NJ 108 105 8/9/2001 77
7/22 Trenton, NJ 106 104 7/6/2010 36
7/22 Teterboro, NJ 104 104 7/10/2007 41
7/22 Bath, NY 102 101 7/16/1988 51
7/22 Geneva, NY 99 97 8/10/2001 43
7/22 Shippensburg, PA 105 104 7/16/1988 80
7/22 NE Philadelphia, PA 105 104 7/6/2010 42
7/22 Altoona, PA 103 101 7/21/2011 56
7/22 Williamsport, PA 103 103 7/15/1995 64
7/22 Lancaster, PA 103 101 7/6/2010 38
7/22 Stevenson Dam, PA 102 101 7/17/1988 43
7/22 Dubois, PA 101 98 7/21/2011 46
7/22 Tionesta, PA 100 99 7/16/1995 73
7/22 Bradford, PA 97 97 7/16/1988 55
7/22 Dulles Airport, VA 105 104 7/16/1988 50
7/23 Norfolk, CT 94 93 8/6/1955 74
7/23 Birch Hill Dam, MA 99 99 7/8/2010 63
7/23 Norton, MA 99 98 8/27/1948 37
7/23 Natl. Arboretum, DC 105 104 8/1/1999 64
7/23 Salisbury, MD 103 102 7/22/2011 64
7/23 West Buxton, ME 98 98 7/20/1991 57
7/23 Williamston, NC 101 101 7/8/2010 57
7/23 New Brunswick, NJ 105 105 7/7/2010 44
7/23 Bath, NY 103 102 7/22/2011 51
7/23 Stevenson Dam, PA 106 102 7/22/2011 43
7/23 Renovo, PA 105 104 7/4/1966 53
7/23 Lock Haven, PA 105 104 7/15/1988 36
7/23 Ford City, PA 104 101 7/30/1988 69
7/23 Blue Marsh Lake, PA 103 102 7/6/1999 34
7/23 Lancaster, PA Co-op 103 102 7/16/1988 36
7/23 Slippery Rock, PA 102 102 7/16/1988 63
7/23 Tionesta, PA 102 100 7/22/2011 73
7/23 Bradford, PA Co-op 99 98 7/7/1986 70
7/23 Kane, PA 98 98 6/30/1944 73
7/23 Sterling, VA 104 104 8/21/1983 35
7/23 Buckeye, WV 97 96 7/6/1999 51
7/24 Twin Lakes Resvr, CO 88 88 7/18/2003 44
7/25 Downsville Dam, NY 95 95 7/6/1987 32
7/25 Beltzville Dam, PA 101 101 7/11/1988 41
7/27 Salina, KS 113 113 7/14/1954 60
7/27 Hutchinson, KS 113 112 7/10/2011 50
7/28 Hutchinson, KS Co-op 113 111 8/6/1964 50
7/28 Sterling, KS 112 112 6/27/1980 63
7/28 Marion Resvr, KS 110 109 7/20/2006 46
7/30 Natl. Arboretum, DC 106 105 7/23/2011 64
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July 22, 2011 Northeast Heat Records

US Record High Temperature Map (http://www.coolwx.com)

Based on official NWS Climate Sites in most cases, daily climate reports and NOWData tabs on the NWS websites. Should be considered unofficial until NWS issues record reports on them. Feel free to post any corrections/additions.

Best of the best

Newark, NJ 108 (All-time record)

Hartford, CT (Bradley) 103 (All-time record)

Washington, DC (Dulles) 105 (All-time record)

Salisbury, MD 102 (Unofficially ties all-time record)

Trenton, NJ 106 (Ties all-time record)

Bridgeport, CT 103 (Ties all-time record)

Best of the Rest

Portland, ME 100 (Daily record, #4 all-time)

Concord, NH 100 (Daily record)

Boston, MA 103 (Daily record, #2 all-time)

Providence, RI 101 (Daily record, #4 all-time)

Islip, NY (Long Isl) 100 (Daily record, #4 all-time)

New York City (Central Park) 104 (Daily record, #4 all-time)

New York City (JFK Airport) 103 (Daily record, #2 all-time)

New York City (LaGuardia Airport) 103 (Daily record (#3 all-time)

Scranton, PA 98 (Daily record)

Williamsport, PA 103 (Daily record, #4 all-time)

Atlantic City, NJ (Pomona) 105 (Daily record, #2 all-time)

Allentown, PA 104 (Daily record, #2 all-time)

Philadelphia, PA 103 (Daily record, #4 all-time)

Wilmington, DE 102 (Daily record #7 all-time)

Harrisburg, PA 103 (Daily record, #7 all-time)

Baltimore, MD (BWI Airport) 106 (Daily record, #2 all-time)

Baltimore, MD (Inner Harbor) 108 (Not an official record, but impressive)

Washington, DC (Reagan National) 102 (Not a record)

Wallops Island, VA 100 (Daily record, #3 all-time)

Norfolk, VA 102 (Daily record, #9 all-time)

 

A few notes about the heat. I think you can thank overnight low temps for this…temps started off incredibly warm this morning, with many areas not getting below 80 degrees. That helped lead to a very rapid warm up during the climatological hottest time of the year. This was essentially a perfect storm of heat…an anomalously strong mid-summer ridge building into areas during the peak temperatures of the year. Timing is everything, and this was timed out rather well (or probably not if you are sick of the heat already). Was it because of global warming? The answer I want to give is “no,” but the answer that is correct is that we simply do not know. Singular events are impossible to link to a warming planet because of greenhouse gases. Singular events should NOT be used as proof one way or another regarding global warming. It takes years of trends to prove the argument one way or another, and one day we’ll figure that out. For now, just accept that it’s summer and it’s hot, and try and keep cool the best you can.

One more day of excessive heat tomorrow, though I believe thunderstorms will be more scattered about, so that will help the situation some. After a cooling trend early next week, we look to see impressive, significantly hot temperatures return late next week and weekend. Though likely not quite as bad as today, there’s a lot of potential then as well to be record breaking type heat, but more on the low scale…not the all-time stuff. I sincerely believe we will see at least 1-2 more blasts of substantial heat (stronger than the usual stuff) through August before this summer starts to loosen its grip. So stay ready to keep cool!

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A Year of “Extreme” (Duration) Disasters

This year has been interesting in a number of ways from a meteorological standpoint. It’s been tragic from a human standpoint…and it’s been extreme. And I’m not talking about what you may think. The disasters of 2011 have been, for the most part, either extremely quick to occur…or painfully slow. Tornadoes? Almost instantaneous. But drought and river flooding? Slow enough to the point where a lot of meteorologists call them “boring.”

Hydrograph/Forecast of river levels on the Missouri at Williston: http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/hydrograph.php?wfo=bis&gage=wltn8&view=1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1%22

We’ve had the flood on the Mississippi already. But in progress at present is another extreme flood, this time on the Missouri River. To the left is the hydrograph and forecast from the Missouri at Williston, ND…already at a record level and only forecasted to rise further. This winter has been a perfect storm for this sort of setup. With one of the strongest La Ninas in recent memory in the Equatorial Pacific Ocean, snowpack was high in the Upper Midwest (not unusual). The melt of that, combined with a period of extreme rains from March and April’s severe weather helped push the Mississippi to record levels. La Ninas also traditionally hammer the Northwest US with heavy snowfall. This year was a late bloomer, but when it hit, it didn’t stop from late February through mid to late May. That melt in the Northern Rockies is helping to fuel this record flooding scenario. The meteorological factors coming together this past winter/spring have really not happened since the 70s and possibly not to this level since the 30s or 20s…so it’s not a huge surprise that years from those decades are the years a lot of these records were set.

Speaking of the 30s…similar factors seen in the Dust Bowl era seem to be helping to fuel the epic drought in the Southern US this year.

US Drought Monitor's Map of Texas from Today

The map to the right shows the drought in Texas. The D4 (exceptional drought) area from the US Drought Monitor is currently in place across an uncanny 57.83% of Texas. These are tremendously high numbers that will likely only continue to get worse unless a tropical system impacts the entire state (because I don’t think daily isolated thunderstorm activity is going to really help this). D4 areas are also present across Louisiana, Oklahoma, Georgia, Florida, and New Mexico. With that La Nina, while northern parts of the country bask in precip and snow, the South usually ends up dry. Western Arizona into Southern California were a notable exception this year, but from Eastern Arizona (where the tremendous wildfires are currently burning) through West Texas, the La Nina helped to serve up dry misery.

These events are certainly troubling and certainly tough to swallow, especially if you live in those areas. But they are really far from unusual. They have happened in the past and will likely happen again in the future. The law of averages in weather:

Normal = ((Negative Extremes + Positive Extremes) / Number of Events)

There is no such thing as “normal” weather. While droughts and floods may be slow moving and “boring” though, they are costly, miserable disasters.

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That “Chance” of Snow is the Midwest’s Snowmageddon

Snow Totals Map for Southeast Minnesota and Western Wisconsin - courtesy of NWS Minneapolis/St. Paul

Well, after all the talk about the chance of snow for this weekend in the interior Northeast, it turned out to be mostly just model error…but kudos to the European model which did a fairly decent job in calling that this would mainly be a Lakes/Midwest beast. Something is just inherently wrong with the GFS that it can’t handle certain things well…especially interesting considering the ensemble track was south and east even of the model. Let’s discuss what’s up.

First the blizzard. Just massive. Most of you know about the Metrodome roof collapsing under the snow (not unprecedented, but they aren’t going to have that place ready for a game tomorrow). More details on the storm’s impact in Minnesota here.

Storm total at MSP is 17.1″, making it the fifth largest storm on record for the Twin Cities.

Storm totals were as high as 23″ in Polk County, WI, 21.5″ in New Market and Shakopee, MN, 21″ at Oakdale, MN, and 20″ at Red Wing and Maplewood, MN.

Blizzard Warnings remain in effect today from eastern Iowa to the NW suburbs of Chicago and Milwaukee and N Michigan. Winter Storm Warnings are posted for Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, parts of Ohio, and the Appalachians from PA to Tennessee. And Winter Weather Advisories are posted all the way into far N Alabama and Georgia! On top of that, freeze and wind chill warnings/advisories are posted for the Deep South all the way into southern Florida, where nighttime lows early this week are going to rival what we saw back in January. Another round of lake effect snow is going to hammer Central and Western New York again this week (though to me the trajectory looks a little more northerly than what occurred last week, which would mean less snow for places like Syracuse). But we’ll see.

Overall, winter is in force in the Eastern US. At the same time, we’re going to break record highs today across SoCal, with widespread mid 80s expected. Amplification…what goes up must come down…strong, deep trough in the East = strong ridge in the West usually. And we are in an extremely amplified pattern…and the anomalous nature of this amplified pattern is going to remain in place for the foreseeable future. That means more fun to come.

So what do I think is to come?

We have a couple systems to watch. With extreme blocking in place, the storm track is going to look a lot like last winter. One weak wave looks to pass through the southern US Wednesday night-Thursday night. It’s a flat wave though, so I question if other than some nuisance freezing rain or sleet if it will pack much punch. It will serve though to reinforce the cold over the East for next weekend.

CPC Graphic Showing Ensemble Forecast of Arctic Blocking

A more important storm is evident on the European model for the end of the weekend or early next week. This shows a more amplified storm, which if taken literally, shows a substantial snow chance from the Carolinas to DC and possibly into New England. The GFS isn’t showing much other than a cold pattern right now and keeps everything offshore (not uncommon for this model to miss a feature like this though). I am getting somewhat on board for at least the threat of a snow/winter weather event in the Mid Atlantic and possibly the Northeast next weekend or early Christmas week.

The pattern is active later this week with a 140+ kt jet stream pointed right into California. This isn’t too unlike what we saw a lot of last winter in the active El Nino pattern. Whether this is too far north or not, I guess we’ll see, but with a load of blocking in Arctic/Greenland and a load of moisture/energy slamming into the West Coast…that to me suggests someone in the East is in for it at some point. It still could track out to sea…it still could track inland…it may be the model misleading us. But it’s evident that the weather pattern is much more intriguing than it has been. We’ll watch this week and see!

Couple things to round this out…

First, if you missed it at all, here’s the incredible video of the Metrodome’s roof collapse in Minneapolis:

Lastly, if you like Google Earth, and if you like hurricanes, here’s a cool post with links to great visualizations of the hurricanes from this past season.

Well, after all the talk about the chance of snow for this weekend in the interior Northeast, it turned out to be mostly just model error…but kudos to the European model which did a fairly decent job in calling that this would mainly be a Lakes/Midwest beast. Something is just inherently wrong with the GFS that it can’t handle certain things well…especially interesting considering the ensemble track was south and east even of the model. Let’s discuss what’s up.

First the blizzard. Just massive. Most of you know about the Metrodome roof collapsing under the snow (not unprecedented, but they aren’t going to have that place ready for a game tomorrow). More details on the storm’s impact in Minnesota here: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101212/ap_on_re_us/us_winter_storm_midwest;_ylt=AiVEC47U_j2JGmW7yTsO2MKs0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTNuNGpramwyBGFzc2V0A2FwLzIwMTAxMjEyL3VzX3dpbnRlcl9zdG9ybV9taWR3ZXN0BGNjb2RlA21vc3Rwb3B1bGFyBGNwb3MDMQRwb3MDMgRwdANob21lX2Nva2UEc2VjA3luX3RvcF9zdG9yeQRzbGsDbWlubm1ldHJvZG9t

Storm total at MSP is 17.1″, making it the fifth largest storm on record for the Twin Cities. http://minnesota.publicradio.org/collections/special/columns/updraft/archive/2010/12/storm_update_snowfall_rates_no.shtml

Storm totals were as high as 23″ in Polk County, WI, 21.5″ in New Market and Shakopee, MN, 21″ at Oakdale, MN, and 20″ at Red Wing and Maplewood, MN. http://www.crh.noaa.gov/news/display_cmsstory.php?wfo=mpx&storyid=60336&source=0

Blizzard Warnings remain in effect today from eastern Iowa to the NW suburbs of Chicago and Milwaukee and N Michigan. Winter Storm Warnings are posted for Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, parts of Ohio, and the Appalachians from PA to Tennessee. And Winter Weather Advisories are posted all the way into far N Alabama and Georgia! On top of that, freeze and wind chill warnings/advisories are posted for the Deep South all the way into southern Florida, where nighttime lows early this week are going to rival what we saw back in January. Another round of lake effect snow is going to hammer Central and Western New York again this week (though to me the trajectory looks a little more northerly than what occurred last week, which would mean less snow for places like Syracuse). But we’ll see.

Overall, winter is in force in the Eastern US. At the same time, we’re going to break record highs today across SoCal, with widespread mid 80s expected. Amplification…what goes up must come down…strong, deep trough in the East = strong ridge in the West usually. And we are in an extremely amplified pattern.

What’s to come?

We have a couple systems to watch. With extreme blocking in place, the storm track is going to be pushed further south. The classic, “it’s too cold to snow” pattern for much of the north. One weak wave looks to pass through the southern US Wednesday night-Thursday night. It’s a flat wave though, so I question if other than some nuisance freezing rain or sleet if there will be any real wintry precipitation anywhere with it. It will serve though to reinforce the cold over the East for next weekend.

A more important storm is evident on the European model for the middle of week two (Christmas week). This shows a more amplified storm, which if taken literally, shows a substantial snow chance from the Carolinas to DC. The GFS isn’t showing much other than a cold pattern right now. I am getting somewhat on board for at least the threat of a snow event in the Mid Atlantic next week sometime. The pattern is active later this week with a 140+ kt jet stream pointed right into California. This isn’t too unlike what we saw a lot of last winter in the active El Nino pattern. Whether this is too far north or not, I guess we’ll see, but with a load of blocking in Arctic/Greenland and a load of moisture/energy slamming into the West Coast…that to me suggests someone in the East is in for it at some point. We’ll seeWell, after all the talk about the chance of snow for this weekend in the interior Northeast, it turned out to be mostly just model error…but kudos to the European model which did a fairly decent job in calling that this would mainly be a Lakes/Midwest beast. Something is just inherently wrong with the GFS that it can’t handle certain things well…especially interesting considering the ensemble track was south and east even of the model. Let’s discuss what’s up.

First the blizzard. Just massive. Most of you know about the Metrodome roof collapsing under the snow (not unprecedented, but they aren’t going to have that place ready for a game tomorrow). More details on the storm’s impact in Minnesota here: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101212/ap_on_re_us/us_winter_storm_midwest;_ylt=AiVEC47U_j2JGmW7yTsO2MKs0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTNuNGpramwyBGFzc2V0A2FwLzIwMTAxMjEyL3VzX3dpbnRlcl9zdG9ybV9taWR3ZXN0BGNjb2RlA21vc3Rwb3B1bGFyBGNwb3MDMQRwb3MDMgRwdANob21lX2Nva2UEc2VjA3luX3RvcF9zdG9yeQRzbGsDbWlubm1ldHJvZG9t

Storm total at MSP is 17.1″, making it the fifth largest storm on record for the Twin Cities. http://minnesota.publicradio.org/collections/special/columns/updraft/archive/2010/12/storm_update_snowfall_rates_no.shtml

Storm totals were as high as 23″ in Polk County, WI, 21.5″ in New Market and Shakopee, MN, 21″ at Oakdale, MN, and 20″ at Red Wing and Maplewood, MN. http://www.crh.noaa.gov/news/display_cmsstory.php?wfo=mpx&storyid=60336&source=0

Blizzard Warnings remain in effect today from eastern Iowa to the NW suburbs of Chicago and Milwaukee and N Michigan. Winter Storm Warnings are posted for Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, parts of Ohio, and the Appalachians from PA to Tennessee. And Winter Weather Advisories are posted all the way into far N Alabama and Georgia! On top of that, freeze and wind chill warnings/advisories are posted for the Deep South all the way into southern Florida, where nighttime lows early this week are going to rival what we saw back in January. Another round of lake effect snow is going to hammer Central and Western New York again this week (though to me the trajectory looks a little more northerly than what occurred last week, which would mean less snow for places like Syracuse). But we’ll see.

Overall, winter is in force in the Eastern US. At the same time, we’re going to break record highs today across SoCal, with widespread mid 80s expected. Amplification…what goes up must come down…strong, deep trough in the East = strong ridge in the West usually. And we are in an extremely amplified pattern.

What’s to come?

We have a couple systems to watch. With extreme blocking in place, the storm track is going to be pushed further south. The classic, “it’s too cold to snow” pattern for much of the north. One weak wave looks to pass through the southern US Wednesday night-Thursday night. It’s a flat wave though, so I question if other than some nuisance freezing rain or sleet if there will be any real wintry precipitation anywhere with it. It will serve though to reinforce the cold over the East for next weekend.

A more important storm is evident on the European model for the middle of week two (Christmas week). This shows a more amplified storm, which if taken literally, shows a substantial snow chance from the Carolinas to DC. The GFS isn’t showing much other than a cold pattern right now. I am getting somewhat on board for at least the threat of a snow event in the Mid Atlantic next week sometime. The pattern is active later this week with a 140+ kt jet stream pointed right into California. This isn’t too unlike what we saw a lot of last winter in the active El Nino pattern. Whether this is too far north or not, I guess we’ll see, but with a load of blocking in Arctic/Greenland and a load of moisture/energy slamming into the West Coast…that to me suggests someone in the East is in for it at some point. We’ll see

Wrapping Up the Midwest Bomb

What a storm it was for sure. It looks like the lowest pressure was around 28.20″, or 954.96mb, recorded at Orr and Bigfork, MN. This blows away the previous mainland US record set in Cleveland, OH in 1978 of 28.28″ or about 958 mb. In terms of the damage, yesterday alone had 287 wind reports and 24 tornado reports. The previous day had about 150 wind reports (a lot though from another system in the Carolinas) and one tornado report. So, all in all, it looks like we probably ended up with close to 400 wind reports and 25 tornadoes from this storm in the Midwest, which is remarkable. Lots of links on this one:

SPC Mesoanalysis for 10/26/10 at 5 PM Central Time, near the peak of the storm.

A full recap on the pressure record is here.

A few tornadoes were confirmed in Ohio.

About eight tornadoes were confirmed in Central Indiana.

A couple of stronger tornadoes were confirmed around Chicago. Some good imagery and information here.

Here’s some video from WSBT in Indiana of a tornado destroying a pole barn.

The highest confirmed wind gust I can find is about 77 mph in Greenfield, IN. In addition to all the wind and storminess, there’s also the snow aspect of this storm! As with most fall storms, this one dragged down some cold air, enough to change any liquid to snow in the Dakotas and Minnesota. Thus far, Harvey, ND is the champ with 8″ of snow. Duluth, MN isn’t far behind though with 7.4″. Blizzard, High Wind, and Winter Storm Warnings continue today for much of the Upper Midwest.

The strong winds also helped to change the lake level of Lake Michigan, with westerly and northwesterly winds shifting water from the Illinois/Wisconsin side to the Michigan side. This is actually not terribly uncommon, but still pretty cool. I recall several instances of this happening on Lake Erie when I worked in Upstate NY.

More info on the storm in Minnesota here.

And some really cool loops and imagery on the pressure falls from the NWS in LaCrosse, WI here.

But is it really the record?

As is always the case with almost any record, there will be claims, disputes, etc. that, “Well, it’s not REALLY the record.” And of course, this time around, we have that as well. Folks in the Northwest are amused by the shock and hype of this storm in the Midwest…because storms such as this routinely impact them every winter. They’ve got a good point, as some of the pressures measured in past winter storms there (specifically one in 1995 measured at 958 mb, not even near the center of the storm) have indeed been routinely close to some of the “record” readings.

A slightly sarcastic tone in this entry from Dr. Cliff Mass, who publishes a great Northwest weather blog.

A great, great history of wind storms in the Northwest is here.

That all being said however, the truth is that in terms of actual measurements on land in the lower 48, away from the East coast, this storm is currently king.  But I’m sure one day, with better monitoring now in place in the Northwest, we’ll shatter this record as well.

But let’s not forget, this storm actually started in the Northwest too!

Midwest Monster

250 mb Wind Anomalies in Recent Strong La Nina Autumns

It’s not uncommon during La Nina autumns to see massive storms spin up in the Midwest, Lakes, and Plains, thanks in part to a raging strong jet stream coming out of the Pacific Ocean. If you click the map to the left, you can see a composite of the anomaly of 250 mb wind speeds (basically how much stronger or weaker than normal the jet stream winds are) in some recent stronger La Nina autumns, similar to this one. So it’s pretty obvious that this is somewhat normal. What isn’t normal is how much of a beast this storm is.

Yesterday we talked about this storm “bombing” out, which it appears to have done by definition (at least a 24 mb drop in 24 hours). It is now to the point where both state records for lowest barometric pressure have been set in Minnesota and Wisconsin. The previous record in Minnesota was set during a similar fall storm in November of 1998. According to the National Weather Service in Duluth, Aitkin, MN dropped to a barometric pressure of 962.3 mb or 28.42″Hg. The previous state record was 962.6 mb at Albert Lea, MN during that November 10, 1998 storm. In Wisconsin, Superior hit 28.38″Hg or 961.06mb. The previous record there was 963.43 mb in Green Bay in April of 1982.

As of this writing, both Orr and Bigfork, Minnesota are sitting at 28.24″Hg or 956.32mb. If this is verified (and it will likely go even lower in some other parts of Northeast Minnesota), this would break the all-time United States low pressure record for a non-tropical cyclone. The old record of 28.28″Hg was set in Cleveland, OH during the Blizzard of 1978 (and naturally, the Wikipedia article is already up to date with this information!).

Edit to add: 28.22″ as of 3:30 Central time, or 955.6 mb…both at Orr and Bigfork.

National Radar Composite from Late Tuesday, image from NCAR.

So this is truly an historic storm…and one that is not just setting records, it’s causing mayhem! Blizzard Warnings for the Dakotas, literally dozens of tornado warnings in the Midwest and Southeast, numerous tornado watches (5 currently from Mississippi to Southwest NY), widespread wind damage, and quite a change in the weather overall. We had a somewhat rare “High Risk” for severe weather issued this morning by the Storm Prediction Center. So far, there have only been 11 reports of tornadoes, however there have been over 150 reports of strong winds or wind damage thus far, and that number is only going to continue going up.

I’ll try and recap some of the damage reports and more tomorrow.

Hitting the Links

Paul Douglas blogs about the storm in Minnesota for the StarTribune.

The CIMMS Satellite Blog, as always, does a bang up job (and will likely add more in the coming days) with some imagery from this storm.

Sadly (from a weather junky’s standpoint), the Weather Channel appears to be headed down the road of the rest of cable TV…just when it seemed they were getting back on track. Unfortunately, this is what drives ratings, so they will continue to follow the blueprint until it fails.

Wintry Weather and Warming (And the ISS!)

 

Early Season Snow in Killington, VT

 

Winter Arrives!

First off, just a mention about the storm underway in the Northeast. Check out Killington, VT on webcam! Pretty awesome, huh? Thus far, both Killington and Lake Placid are reporting 4″ of the white stuff above 2,000 feet. So far so good to say the least. Certainly not bad for October. I’ll try and wrap this one up once the storm ends.

Heat Records

I wanted to touch on something rather interesting. Mfuwe, Zambia recorded that nation’s hottest temperature of all-time yesterday, reaching a sizzling 108.3°F. According to Jeff Masters at the Weather Underground, this makes Zambia the 18th country (joining Russia, Finland, Iraq, Colombia, Kuwait, and others) to set a new all-time hottest temperature in 2010. Most of you that know me, know I am quite conservative when it comes to climate change, and my prevailing opinion is that too much is being claimed as fact and certainty and our data records are just not extensive enough to draw any true conclusions without some element of error being likely. I advocate caution rather than panic and hype. That being said, this is a fairly impressive statistic, and it’s one that even has someone like me taking notice. You can certainly pass this off as being a situation where with more observations being taken, a more connected planet, etc., it simply increases the odds that more records will be set. One could also argue that the carryover effect of the El Nino from earlier this year would also help increase those odds further. The bottom line is that I’m not going to draw any conclusions from this (because I do truly think the El Nino and increased amounts of observations are the primary driver), but it’s certainly interesting.

Space Station Over Mid-Atlantic

Those of you in the DC/Baltimore areas, you’ll be able to check out the International Space Station very early on Saturday! It should pass overhead just before 7 AM, if you feel so inclined. Read more here.

That’s all for now!