WeatherNation Blog

Extreme Winds

From the National Weather Service in Wyoming

Extremely high winds impacted the west last week.  Winds gusts were strong enough to blow down this McDononald’s sign in Wyoming and tip of these semi trucks.  Here are some of the most impressive wind reports:

Dec. 29th Max Wind Gusts
LocationWind Gusts (MPH)Time
Mount Coffin (10870 FT)1340930 AM
Chief Joseph Highway (8297 FT)861150 AM
10 North of Buffalo on I-90781000 AM
Jackson Hole Summit (10318 FT)760830 AM
Clark740306 AM
5 East of Wamsutter on I-80630116 PM
Buffalo Airport611001 AM
Beaver Rim60756 AM
Rock Springs Airport591122 AM
Dubois Airport581055 AM
Meeteetse561241 PM
Hiland551011 AM
Riverton Airport541248 PM
Casper Airport531040 AM
South Pass (8202 FT)501001 AM
Greybull Airport491109 AM
Lander Airport460146 PM
Green River451152 AM
Cody Airport430355 AM

1109 AM

High Winds will continue to impact the central plains today as area of low pressure intensifies as it moves from the Dakatas through Iowa and Minnesota.

Brown: Wind Advisories

Gold: High Wind Warning

Pink: Winter Storm Warning (5 -8 inches of snow)

Purple: Winter Weather Advisory (2 -4 inches of snow)

Strong winds out of the north after this low pass to the east will drop temperatures across the Midwest:

The south will remain rain-free heading into this new year but temperatures will also be dropping in the South Central region after this front passes.  It will definitely FEEL like January early this week!

New Year’s Eve Forecast Around the World

From: The Drake Post

Las Vegas, Nevada


Las Vegas is expected to be one of the most popular New Year’s 2011 destinations in the world. The famous Strip area is closed off to traffic and visitors are free to celebrate outdoors with low prices on drinks and food. Many resort hotels close their casino doors at midnight for several hours, so it is important to decide beforehand whether the desired celebration will be inside or outdoors.

Midnight Forecast: Mid 40s and Clear!  Looking Gorgeous!

Berlin, Germany


This city is well-known for the largest open-air New Year’s Eve celebration in the world. Germany’s most famous structure, Brandenburg Gate, is the site of all the festivities. Ethnic foods, merchandise and some of the world’s finest beer are sold. Laser light shows, fireworks and live music performances are the feature events of this exciting event. The best part of this event is that there is no admission charge.

Midnight Forecast:  Mid 30s with just a slight chance of showers.

Bangkok, Thailand

For inexpensive travel costs and a show that more than meets any money spent, the brightly-lit city of Bangkok is the place to be for New Year’s Eve. The main show is outside of the Central World Mall. Towering over the square is a 69-foot greeting ball tower; at the stroke of midnight, a large ball drops, similar to New York’s Times Square tradition. During the day preceding this celebration, food, drinks and souvenirs can be found for exceptionally low prices.

Midnight Forecast: Warm! 80 with clear skies!

Prague, Czech Republic


Wenceslas Square and Old Market are the two squares with the most festivities in Prague, the Czech Republic’s most sophisticated city. Vendors sell crafts, hot drinks and local cuisine all day on December 31st. As nightfall arrives, the squares prepare for fireworks and all-night celebrations in the bars and pubs. Another location for a great view of the lights and fireworks can be found in a charter boat on the Vlatava River. Dinner cruises are offered on some cruise boats.

Midnight Forecast:  Low 30s with a slight chance of rain.

Moscow, Russia


There is no need to feel disappointed about missing Christmas festivities in order to travel; the Russian New Year celebration combines both holidays perfectly. The Russians incorporate feasts, decorated trees and gifts into the New Year traditions, continuing their festivities through January 10. Celebrated by parties with thousands in Moscow’s Kremlin, the New Year is rung in with fireworks over the St. Basil’s Cathedral, which is shown on nearly every television news station worldwide.

Midnight Forecast:  Light snow with temps dropping to around 30.

New York, New York


New York City’s famous Times Square is the site of the country’s first most famous New Year’s Eve celebration. As the clock counts down the last ten seconds of the year, the ball drops and hundreds of thousands of spectators erupt into cheers and kisses. Preceding this momentous event are plenty of opportunities to enjoy enormous discounts or opportunities to enjoy great food and an exciting big-city atmosphere in trendy Manhattan.

Midnight Forecast:  Very mild!  Mid 40s.  Rain clears out in the morning.  Skies clear out.

Krakow, Poland


One of the most commonly overlooked celebrations is found here; a unique and fun taste of culture, festivities and Polish music can be experienced. Every December 31st, thousands of natives and visitors flood the Market Square to see several free rock concerts and parties hosted by the most famous Polish rock stars. The weather is cold, so a blanket and drinks accompany most attendees to this celebration.

Midnight Forecast: Mix of rain snow late.  That should be clearing out just before midnight.  Low 30s.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates


The world’s newest business hub is expected to be a great place for a unique New Year’s 2011 celebration – and warmer temperatures. Celebrations will be held at all the major hotels, including the world’s only 7-start hotel, the Burj Al Arab. Enjoy the magnificent skyline of architecture, including the world’s tallest building, from the ocean on a cruise ship. Rikk’s Cruise’s is offering a luxurious cruise with a taste of the Middle East, complete with a buffet dinner, live singing, henna painting and sheesha smoking.

Midnight Forecast:  Perfectly clear skies.  Upper 60s.

Barcelona, Spain


Home of the “eating 12 grapes” New Year tradition, Barcelona does not experience a dull moment on December 31st. The entire city celebrates with live music, dancing and large feasts during the day. Parties, dances and formal balls are given by public and private hosts. Throughout the city, fireworks are ignited as the clock reaches midnight. Barcelona is expected to be the city with the most festive city-wide New Year’s 2011 party.

Midnight Forecast:  Couldn’t be better! Mid 70s under partly cloudy skies!

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


During this time in the middle of winter, traveling to warmer climates is an enticing option and Rio de Janeiro provides that – and more. This lively city greets more than 2 million guests to their New Year’s Eve party on Copacabana Beach. Fireworks, dancing, food and the friendly local people make this holiday an event to remember forever. Traditional clothes are dressy and white. One local tradition includes buying red roses to throw into the ocean as an offering to the goddess of the water.

Midnight Forecast: Low 70s with Rain.

Sydney, Australia


Sydney, one of the first largest party hubs in the world to ring in the new year,. The most popular gathering and celebration is near the Sydney Harbor, where fireworks and fantastic light shows are the highlight of the night. Celebrations last all day; after the fireworks and light show, illuminated boats sail through the harbor, adding more sparkle to the night.

Midnight Forecast: Mid 60s with no rain!

Christmas Eve & Christmas Day Storms

While this year most travelers are seeing either no inclement weather or just marginal delays due to small amounts of snowfall (with west Texas not included in that good travel forecast, along with areas near Burlington, Vermont), there have been some fairly major ones over the past decade or so to impact travelers.

We take you back to 2004, when the Northeast was socked with upwards of eighteen inches of snowfall in some parts!  Imagine trying to travel around the region with that type of snowfall on the ground.  With Texas seeing some snowfall, this is a fitting storm to discuss… look at these snowfall totals from that storm in 2004:

  • Brownsville, Texas: 1.5 inches
  • Corpus Christi, Texas: 5.2 inches
  • Houston, Texas: 1.0 inches
  • Lake Charles, Louisiana: 1.2 inches
  • McAllen, Texas: 4.0 inches
  • New Orleans, Louisiana: 0.7 inches
  • Sandia, Texas: 12 inches
  • Victoria, Texas: 13.0 inches

There are photos out there showing snowfall taking place in Houston, Texas, as they picked up an inch of snowfall!

Unfortunately for residents of west Texas, this cycle seems to be somewhat repeating itself – although with a different setup for the snowfall outside.  This time it is coming from the west, where in 2004 the culprit for that storm system was actually a storm coming off of the Gulf of Mexico.

Drive safely in Texas, and elsewhere, where you are seeing bad weather – and enjoy the relatively clear roads elsewhere around the nation!


Raining Fish And Frogs

Well… it’s Christmas Eve, and while all might be quiet for some of us… we are still all wanting to learn about various weather topics.  Recently I was asked about the topic of when it rains things like fish, frogs, or even birds in the sky during storms – or even alluding to recent events like massive bird die-offs.  Occasionally birds will just, seemingly, fall from the sky.  Well, today we will talk a little bit more about why some of this takes place.

There are two main causes for the different animals or creatures falling from the sky, and we’ll start with fish and frogs.  Quite often, you’ll get a waterspout that will form on shallow coastal waters.  This waterspout, or even a land-based tornado, will need a VERY strong updraft to help fuel the upward air movement within the large rotating column of air.  That air then gets shoved in the direction of the jetstream as the tube expands and whatever is inside of it gets pushed along until the air current can no longer support the weight of the items within.  Most often those items include dust, sometimes paper (during tornadoes), and can occasionally contain animals.  Reports of frogs or fish landing on cars and houses have been seen around the world for centuries – and this is why.  A waterspout will travel over a heavily fish- or frog-populated water source, and suck in various creatures.  Say a frog weighs 2 ounces and a fish weighs 6 ounces.  As these get pushed into the jetstream, the first thing to not be supported by the wind will be the heavier object, so nearest the updraft you’ll get the fish falling out of the sky.  A bit further away from the updraft, you’ll find the lighter fish.  Hence the separation.  If the fish and frogs weighed the same they would fall out together.

Meanwhile, birds are a much different situation.  Last New Year’s Eve people in Arkansas witnessed a massive bird die-off.  Around that same time period several hundred birds died in Sweden.  Is this a sign of something major changing?  No, actually, it is a sign of confusion.  That is what the typical cause is of these – with birds sometimes roosting with hundreds of thousands of birds in a small area – a small thing such as New Year’s Eve fireworks can set a whole roost in motion, causing mass-confusion and collisions of birds with other birds and objects.

Stay safe this holiday weekend and avoid mass-confusion!

No Weather Related Sleigh Delays

Santa won’t have to worry about much weather this year across the US as he delivers gifts, in fact he may even need to add wheels to his sleigh since snow is sparse this year compared to last year!

Snow Cover Last Year…

Snow Cover This Year…


Current Snow Cover Statistics:

December 23, 2011

  Area Covered By Snow:29.7%
  Area Covered Last Month:17.9%
Snow Depth
  Average:1.9 in
  Minimum:0.0 in
  Maximum:951.8 in
  Std. Dev.:5.2 in


Snow Cover Statistics from Last Year:

December 23, 2010

  Area Covered By Snow:44.8%
  Area Covered Last Month:34.4%
Snow Depth
  Average:5.3 in
  Minimum:0.0 in
  Maximum:899.7 in
  Std. Dev.:10.9 in


More snow on the way for New Mexico today and the trouble spots for the holiday weekend will include Texas and the Northwest.  The rest of the nation will enjoy a dry and mild Christmas. Santa will have no trouble reaching the boys and girls around the nation.  No weather related delays for his sleigh!




December 2011
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