WeatherNation Blog

Strong Storms Hopping Across the Country

Happy Easter! Hope you’re having a wonderful holiday with your family. Unfortunately, folks in Texas woke up to hail stones, not Easter eggs in their yards. Check out this photo from El Paso on Saturday!

El Paso Hail

 

Hail will likely be the primary threat tonight and tomorrow across central Texas as more strong storms develop. We’ll keep you posted on WeatherNation as conditions change.

A more impressive storm threat sets up midweek for the Central Plains. Already, models are hinting at the potential for robust thunderstorm activity from Nebraska to Texas as a powerful trough moves out of the mountains.

severe threat wednesday

Surface winds will likely be coming straight off the Gulf of Mexico, enhancing moisture throughout the region and helping to increase the instability in the atmosphere. Mid-level winds will be out of the southwest, and the shear between the two is likely to facilitate rotating supercell thunderstorms.

dewpoints wednesday

instability

We’ll have a close eye on this through the next few days here at WeatherNation. Have a happy Easter! -Meteorologist Miranda Hilgers

Miranda

 

Lukewarm Easter Sunday for much of USA

* image credit here.


84 Hour Future Radar. NAM model data from NOAA shows showers and T-storms pushing across southeastern Minnesota Easter Sunday, possibly brushing the Twin Cities before approaching Chicago and Detroit Monday. Heavy rain responsible for 3-5″ rains and flash flooding over the Southeast will finally pinwheel out to sea, while heavy showers push into the Pacific Northwest. Loop: HAMweather.


 

 
New Hurricane Forecast Maps Can Warn You Of Impending Floods. It’s not the winds that wreak the most havoc and threaten life and property the most; it’s the storm surge. This year NOAA NHC will be sharing storm surge forecasts on a metro by metro basis, as explained by io9.com: “More than half of all hurricane-related deaths are caused by storm surges, yet few consider it a factor when trying to decide whether or not to evacuate their homes. But starting this hurricane season, national forecasters will warn people using color-coded storm surge maps. No doubt, storm surges are a serious issue. Along vulnerable coasts, they pose the greatest threat to life and property from a hurricane. Large death tolls have been known to result from the rise of oceans when major hurricanes reach land. Back in 2005, for example, Hurricane Katrina caused at least 1,500 deaths, many of which occurred directly or indirectly as a result of storm surge…”
 


 

Unexpected Teleconnections In Noctilucent Clouds. Here’s a snippet of an interesting article and video from NASA: “Earth’s poles are separated by four oceans, six continents and more than 12,000 nautical miles. Turns out, that’s not so far apart. New data from NASA’s AIM spacecraft have revealed “teleconnections” in Earth’s atmosphere that stretch all the way from the North Pole to the South Pole and back again, linking weather and climate more closely than simple geography would suggest. For example, says Cora Randall, AIM science team member and Chair of the Dept. of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at the University of Colorado, “we have found that the winter air temperature in Indianapolis, Indiana, is well correlated with the frequency of noctilucent clouds over Antarctica…”

Credit above: “A new ScienceCast video explores unexpected “teleconnections” in Earth’s atmosphere that link weather and climate across vast distances.”


 

Will The Next El Nino Break A Global Temperature Record? Not all El Ninos are created equal. The really big warm phases of ENSO, the ones that lead to global temperature records, tend to be EP or Eastern Pacific El Ninos. The CP (Central Pacific) warmings tend not to have as great an influence on global temperature. Climate scientist Simon Donner explains at Maribo; here’s an excerpt: “…This has important implications for the “pause” in surface warming. Over the past 10-15 years, the easterly winds have been abnormally strong, with few gaps sufficient to generate Kelvin waves. This is related to decade-scale variability in the Pacific Ocean conditions, called the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) or Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO). It may then come as no surprise that all the El Nino events since 1998, including the 2009/10 event that made the cherries blossom early in Vancouver, have all been of the CP variety.  The same happens to be true for other “slowdowns” in the rate of global surface temperature change since the Industrial Revolution. This suggests the decade-scale variability in the Pacific affects El Nino development, and in turn, the ups and downs in the rate of human-caused global surface warming…”


 

Average Data Of The First Tornado Warning? Iowa Environmental Mesonet put together an interesting graphic, showing the average first Tor Warning, office by office. As early as January 24 in Jackson, Mississippi, March 11 in Oklahoma City, May 2 in Denver, May 9 in Washington D.C. and May 12 in the Twin Cities. Can we please have a few quiet weeks between the snow and the tornadoes?


 

California Suffers Astonishingly Fast Snowpack Melt As Drought Intensifies. It’s going to be a long, hot, potentially fiery summer and autumn for California and much of the Southwest. Andrew Freedman has more details in a story at Mashable; here’s a clip: “…Officials already knew that the snowpack was unusually thin and would provide below average amounts of water when it melted, considering that the state had its third-driest winter on record, following its driest calendar year in 2013. However, they did not anticipate it would melt so quickly. The California state snow survey on April 1 found that the snowpack contained just 32% of the average water content at that time of year, when snowpack typically reaches its annual peak. This placed 2014 as among the lowest water-content years on record since such data began in 1930...”

Photo credit above: “The dry bed of the Stevens Creek Reservoir is seen on Thursday, March 13, 2014, in Cupertino, Calif.” Image: Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press.


 

Why I’m Active in “SAVE”. Bloomberg just ran a series of graphical explanations about leading causes of death in the USA, broken down by age category. The number one violent cause of death is suicide, and the trends are sobering. I’ve lost a few friends and family members to suicide over the years. I’m active in SAVE (suicide awareness, voices of education), based in Bloomington with a national outreach. They’re doing amazing work and helping to get the word out about removing the stigma about depression, reaching out to schools, nursing homes and corporations, helping people to better understand the symptoms of depression and get families the help they need. If your family has been touched by depression or suicide I hope you’ll consider getting involved.


 

Why Wal-Mart Buying into Sustainability Matters. Here’s a clip from a story at U.S. News that caught my eye: “…The legitimizing effect of big business entering sustainability markets has the power to transform the economy in a good way, even if the companies involved are not good corporate citizens in other respects. Their entry says to legislators “this stuff works” and that builds political will to enact more enlightened policies. It says to competitors “there’s money here” and that brings more investment capital to help sustainable business grow. It says to the media “this is real,” and so the media write serious stories about sustainability going mainstream rather than just human interest stories about mavericks bucking the trend…”


 

Heady With Beauty, in Cherry Tree Season Japan Celebrates Environmental Values That Western Greens Have Lost. Rebecca Gibbs at Aeon Magazine has an interesting article; here’s a snippet: “…Political environmentalism has learnt to take a functional view of nature, turning a blind eye to cultural values such as beauty and to aesthetic practices such as hanami. In striving to establish an impartial, globally consistent means of gauging nature’s value, local forms of environmental imagination have been relegated to the work of poets. Nature is viewed as systemic and quantifiable, neither mysterious nor resplendent. In an overburdened world, this is how we have come to debate the comparative significance of habitats and organisms: as ecosystem services…”

Photo credit above: “Picnic beside the cherry blossom in a Shinjuku park.” Photo by Jérémie Souteyrat.


 

 


 

_____________________________________________________________

My Photo

Welcome to the WeatherNation blog. Every day I sift through hundreds of stories, maps, graphics and meteorological web sites, trying to capture some of the most interesting weather nuggets, the stories behind the forecast. I’ll link to stories and share some of the web sites I use. I’m still passionate about the weather, have been ever since Tropical Storm Agnes flooded my home in Lancaster, PA in 1972. I’ve started 5 weather-related companies. “EarthWatch” created the world’s first 3-D weather graphics for TV stations – Steven Spielberg used our software in “Jurassic Park” and “Twister”. My last company, “Digital Cyclone”, personalized weather for cell phones. “My-Cast” was launched in 2001 and is still going strong on iPhone, Android and Blackberry. I sold DCI to Garmin in 2007 so I could focus on my latest venture: WeatherNation. I also write a daily weather column for The Star Tribune startribune.com/weather And if you’re on Twitter, you’ll find me @pdouglasweather.

Easter Sunday!

michelle tan easter eggs rockefellar plazaMy friend, Michelle, in New York City took this picture from the The Fabergé Big Egg Hunt Exhibit at Rockeller Plaza yesterday.  Those are some wonderfully designed eggs, and oh look, I see Waldo!

Easter egg hunts are under way across portions of the country today, especially where they can do the activities outdoors where the sun is shinning and the temps are enjoyable.

elmhurst, il egg hunt

In Elmhusrt, IL, you can see the eggs dotting the landscape of this suburb of Chicago under blue skies.

 

indianapolis, in egg huntOut in Indianapolis, IN, there is a similar picture going on off blue skies, familes out hunting for eggs on lush, green grass.  I see a few people wearing short sleeves and even shorts, where temps today are in the 60s.

astoria, ny egg hunt

And in my old stomping grounds of Queens, NY, Astoria is having its 3rd Annual Easter Egg Hunt.  Temps were in the 50s earlier when this picture was taken, and light coats were needed for some I see.

But thats what was going on earlier today in the country and so we turn to Easter Sunday itself to see how things will be.

NATIONAL FORECASTThe southeast will be seeing more sunshine as the day progresses, with that coastal storm pulling away that brought about heavy rains to states such as Georgia, Alabama and storms to Florida.  But in the Northeast, there will be wall-to-wall sunshine!  The Midwest has a front slipping by that will squeeze rain and isolates thunderstorms from the Great Lakes to the Central Plains.  Up in the Northwest, folks can expect scattered clouds and fair conditions and down in the Southwest, there is going to be pleasant conditions for most locations, with a chance for storms in eastern New Mexico, that’ll carry over into the Southern Plains.

SUNDAY SEVERE

The Southern Plains has a threat for severe thunderstorms on Sunday, mainly across western Texas, from Abilene to the Rio Grande River to the south.  Large Hail and damaging winds are likely to come from those storms that do form, and the time frame will be in the late afternoon to evening hours.

SOUTH FORECAST

Here we can see the storms starting to bubble up across western Texas.  Cities such as Lubbock could be dealing with storms as folks are sitting down to enjoy an Easter dinner.  Warm Gulf Moisture is being driven up towards that area where a trough will start to form along the New Mexico/Texas border and is going to slide eastward into Monday.

INSTABILITY

The instability in the atmosphere on Sunday will not be a huge amount, but enough to be a cause of concern, and that’s why the Storm Prediction Center issued the SLIGHT risk for Sunday.  The instability above is more intense as you go from yellow to orange to red.

NATIONAL HIGHS

Here is your forecasted highs and sky conditions for Easter Sunday.  The threat of storms from Denver to San Antonio is for the afternoon hours and at about a chance of 20-40%.

EASTER FORECAST

And to put a little Easter twist onto the forecast, here are some pleasantly themed cities across the country.  Rabbit Town, KY looks very inviting to me, with temps into the low 80s under mostly sunny skies!

Have a wonderful rest of your holiday weekend and a great week ahead!

Meteorologist Addison Green ~ Twitter: @agreenWNTV

Well-Timed Easter Weekend Warm Front for Much of USA

Easter Sunday National Outlook. With the exception of cool weather over much of New England, most of America experiences a mild Easter Sunday, even northern cities from Minneapolis to Chicago and Detroit. Good timing on this latest warm front.


 

7-Day Rainfall Forecast. GFS guidance shows 1-3″ amounts pushing into the Pacific Northwest, some 3-5″ rains capable of flash flooding into the weekend over Georgia, South Carolina and the Florida Panhandle. An upper level disturbance pushing across the Upper Midwest may drop some 1-2″+ amounts on southeastern Minnesota and central Wisconsin late Saturday into Monday morning. Source: NOAA and HAMweather.


 

 

 


 

Doubly Taxing. As if April 15 isn’t tough enough. Dr.Mark Seeley has some trivia about April 15′s weather that made me do a triple-take. Here’s an excerpt of the latest edition of WeatherTalk: “…Tax filing day in 2014 will likely be remembered as the coldest April 15th in state history (or at least a rival to 1875, 1935, and 1962 as among the coldest). Scores of Minnesota weather observers reported new record lows for April 15th, and the National Weather Service Cooperative weather observer at Camp Norris (Lake of the Woods County) reported a new all-time statewide low temperature for the date with a reading of -4 degrees F…”


Let’s shift gears and acknowledge that the pattern is (finally) shifting into spring…

Will The Next El Nino Break A Global Temperature Record? Not al El Ninos are created equal. The really big warm phases of ENSO, the ones that lead to global temperature records, tend to be EP or Eastern Pacific El Ninos. The CP (Central Pacific) warmings tend not to have as great an influence on global temperature. Climate scientist Simon Donner explains at Maribo; here’s an excerpt: “…This has important implications for the “pause” in surface warming. Over the past 10-15 years, the easterly winds have been abnormally strong, with few gaps sufficient to generate Kelvin waves. This is related to decade-scale variability in the Pacific Ocean conditions, called the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) or Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO). It may then come as no surprise that all the El Nino events since 1998, including the 2009/10 event that made the cherries blossom early in Vancouver, have all been of the CP variety.  The same happens to be true for other “slowdowns” in the rate of global surface temperature change since the Industrial Revolution. This suggests the decade-scale variability in the Pacific affects El Nino development, and in turn, the ups and downs in the rate of human-caused global surface warming…”


 

Average Data Of The First Tornado Warning? Iowa Environmental Mesonet put together an interesting graphic, showing the average first Tor Warning, office by office. As early as January 24 in Jackson, Mississippi, March 11 in Oklahoma City, May 2 in Denver, May 9 in Washington D.C. and May 12 in the Twin Cities. Can we please have a few quiet weeks between the snow and the tornadoes?


 

Spewing Sewage Into The Ocean Is Bad: Toxic Algae and Man-Size Jellyfish Edition. Remind me not to take a dip in the South China Sea anytime soon after reading this post from Quartz. Here’s a clip: “…In July 2013, the biggest algal bloom ever recorded in China covered 28,900 square kilometers (11,158 square miles) of the Yellow Sea—meaning more than three New York City metro areas of ocean was carpeted in green muck—requiring Qingdao city officials to bulldoze 7,335 tonnes (8,085 tons) of beached scum. A similar incident almost shut down the sailing competition of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. The army dispatched 15,000 soldiers to remove 1 million tons of algae, costing more than $100 million…”

Photo credit above: “The Red Army battling green algae.” AP Photo/Ng Han Guan.


 

 

Pollution From Asia Makes Pacific Storms Stronger. It’s all about the aerosols, man-made pollutants seeding clouds and ultimately storms hundreds, even thousands of miles downwind. Is Chinese pollution impacting our weather? Here’s a clip from National Geographic: “…Whether the weather [in North America] will change in a good direction or bad is hard to say at this time,” says Renyi Zhang, a professor of atmospheric sciences at Texas A&M University in College Station. Zhang is a co-author, along with several scientists from the U.S. and China, of a study released in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Monday. The scientists say pollution from Asia is likely leading to stronger cyclones in the midlatitudes of the Pacific, more precipitation, and a faster movement of heat from the tropics toward the North Pole. As a result of these changes, “it’s almost certain that weather in the U.S. is changing,” says Zhang…”

 


 

California Suffers Astonishingly Fast Snowpack Melt As Drought Intensifies. It’s going to be a long, hot, potentially fiery summer and autumn for California and much of the Southwest. Andrew Freedman has more details in a story at Mashable; here’s a clip: “…Officials already knew that the snowpack was unusually thin and would provide below average amounts of water when it melted, considering that the state had its third-driest winter on record, following its driest calendar year in 2013. However, they did not anticipate it would melt so quickly. The California state snow survey on April 1 found that the snowpack contained just 32% of the average water content at that time of year, when snowpack typically reaches its annual peak. This placed 2014 as among the lowest water-content years on record since such data began in 1930...”

Photo credit above: “The dry bed of the Stevens Creek Reservoir is seen on Thursday, March 13, 2014, in Cupertino, Calif.” Image: Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press.


 

California’s Wildfire Threat Is So Severe That The Season Started Early. Following a deepening drought and unusual heat during the winter months, 2014 promises to be a very rough year on the wildfire front. Here’s an excerpt from Huffington Post: “Don’t let the recent rains and green hillsides fool you — the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection says the fresh growth is only covering up months of dry, dead grass, putting California at risk for one of its most severe fire seasons ever. Warnings issued to homeowners in the state’s most wildfire-prone areas urged them to prepare earlier than ever for the summer fire season in light of California’s historic drought, ABC News 10 reported…”


 

California Drought To Push Produce Prices Higher. AZCentral has the story; here’s an excerpt: “Drought conditions in California’s agricultural fields are going to push prices higher for fruits and vegetables, according to a Arizona State University study. The biggest price hikes are likely for lettuce, up 34 percent, and avocados, up 28 percent, according to Professor Timothy Richards of W. P. Carey School of Business at ASU. “You’re probably going to see the biggest produce price increases on avocados, berries, broccoli, grapes, lettuce, melons, peppers, tomatoes and packaged salads,” Richards said…”

* latest U.S. Drought Monitor for California is here.


 

The Drought Hitting 40% of the Entire Country, in 5 Maps. The Washington Post has the story – here’s an excerpt: “…Every inch of five states — California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and Nebraska — are experiencing some level of drought. Much of the northern Texas Panhandle is under extreme or exceptional drought warning, as is most of California and parts of northern Nevada. A weekly snapshot of drought conditions shows 21 percent of the country is experiencing severe drought or worse; all told, 40.9 percent of the country is under some kind of drought watch or warning….”

* latest U.S. Drought Monitor is here.


 

Silver Lining. Those piles of April slush lingering in your yard have some benefits: they’ve delayed allergy season, and moisture is trending above average. NOAA may remove the drought designation for parts of central and southwestern Minnesota in the coming weeks if these (wetter than normal) trends continue.


 

Encouraging Moisture Trends Midwest, Great Lakes & Ohio Valley. Here is the 90-day departure from normal precipitation composite, courtesy of NOAA. The Plains continue to dry out, along with portions of the Mid South and Southeast, much drier than average, overall, for California.


 

Despite all the public education, a staggering 84 percent of people surveyed still believe wind, not water,is the greatest threat to their safety, and base their evacuation decisions on wind speed or a storm’s category, the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes said this week.
The national Harris Interactive Survey, commissioned by the nonprofit group FLASH, revealed “frightening perceptions,” FLASH said Tuesday in a release.
The survey clashes with the reality that hurricane evacuation zones are based on the threat of water, not wind, and nearly all evacuation orders reflect the threat of inland flooding and storm surge.
- See more at: http://blogs.palmbeachpost.com/eyeonthestorm/2014/04/15/hurricane-survey-waters-the-threat-but-most-fear-wind/#sthash.6UHHm3wb.dpu

 

The 2,000-Year History of GPS Tracking. Here’s an excerpt of a fascinating story (and book review) from Mother Jones: “Boston Globe technology writer Hiawatha Bray recalls the moment that inspired him to write his new book, You Are Here: From the Compass to GPS, the History and Future of How We Find Ourselves. “I got a phone around 2003 or so,” he says. ”And when you turned the phone on—it was a Verizon dumb phone, it wasn’t anything fancy—it said, ‘GPS’. And I said, ‘GPS? There’s GPS in my phone?’” He asked around and discovered that yes, there was GPS in his phone, due to a 1994 FCC ruling. At the time, cellphone usage was increasing rapidly, but 911 and other emergency responders could only accurately track the location of land line callers...”

Image credit above: “Egyptian geographer Claudius Ptolemy and Hiawatha Bray’s “You Are Here. .


 

Easter’s Coming. Beware Bunny Ears? Oh the shame. The Washington Business Journal has a nugget in this article that made me think back to the days of Easter Egg baskets – did I steal from my kids? Uh oh. Here’s an excerpt: “…The Washington-based trade group says Americans will spend $2.26 billion on candy this Easter, up 4 percent from last year. The increase is largely because Easter is three weeks later than it was last year. The association says 87 percent of parents will buy or create Easter baskets for their kids and 81 percent of them will steal candy back from their kids’ Easter stash…”

* “5 Hotels for Chocoholics“. CNN investigates.


 

_____________________________________________________________

My Photo

Welcome to the WeatherNation blog. Every day I sift through hundreds of stories, maps, graphics and meteorological web sites, trying to capture some of the most interesting weather nuggets, the stories behind the forecast. I’ll link to stories and share some of the web sites I use. I’m still passionate about the weather, have been ever since Tropical Storm Agnes flooded my home in Lancaster, PA in 1972. I’ve started 5 weather-related companies. “EarthWatch” created the world’s first 3-D weather graphics for TV stations – Steven Spielberg used our software in “Jurassic Park” and “Twister”. My last company, “Digital Cyclone”, personalized weather for cell phones. “My-Cast” was launched in 2001 and is still going strong on iPhone, Android and Blackberry. I sold DCI to Garmin in 2007 so I could focus on my latest venture: WeatherNation. I also write a daily weather column for The Star Tribune startribune.com/weather And if you’re on Twitter, you’ll find me @pdouglasweather.

An Easter Sunday Forecast and Extended Spring Outlook

Spring Outlook

Each spring we are reminded to be prepared to anything.  A whopping 20″ of snow fell in North Branch, MN on Wednesday and now this weekend that same location will enjoy temperatures near 70.  A substantial warm up will be impacting much of the central and eastern US throughout the next several days.

Spring-meadow

The 8-14 day temperature outlook shows a better chance of above average temperatures for much of the Central US while areas around the Great Lakes will likely still stay below average.

814temp.new

The 8-14 day precipitation outlook shows a better chance of soggier conditions throughout most of the country with the exception of the Front Range and Florida.

814prcp.new

A preliminary look into the months of May, June, and July shows the warmth spreading across the south and both coasts while the north central US stays cool.

off01_temp

Into the next 3 months, the only soggy spots will most likely include the 4 corners region.

off01_prcp

Easter Sunday Forecast

Mild weather returns to the Midwest.  Showers and some thunderstorms are possible in the central plains.  And after a rainy start to the weekend, the southeast will also begin to dry out as the storm system that is bringing all of that wet weather to that region exits off the coast.

Capture

Capture

Happy Friday!

Gretchen Mishek

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