WeatherNation Blog

The Historic Outbreak of April 27th One Year Later.

Today marks the one year anniversary of the most violent, tornado outbreaks in U.S. history.  208 tornadoes touched down, the most on record in a single day. 316 people died, the 5th most in a single day.

The National Weather Service in Birmingham Alabama looks back at the 2011 Tornado Outbreak. “To tell this story, one has to recognize that there were two distinct waves of widespread severe weather for Central Alabama. The first moved through during the early morning hours across northern portions of Central Alabama in the form of a Quasi-Linear Covective System (QLCS).  This  intense line of thunderstorms produced not only widespread damaging straight line winds in the areas of Moody, Pell City and Riverside, but numerous strong tornadoes.”


The Tuscaloosa News has created an interactive map where you can see panoramic views right after the tornado hit and 1 year later.   Here is what it looks like, but you’ll have to click and visit their website to click around and see the various images.



A study reported in the AP and shared by the Huffington post shows most Twister victims knew the storm was coming.

Here’s a blurb. ATLANTA (AP) — Most of the victims of last year’s epic tornado outbreak in the U.S. state of Alabama had at least one thing in common: They knew the storm was coming.  A year after the onslaught of dozens of twisters killed at least 250 people in Alabama and more elsewhere in the South, federal researchers are completing a study of who died and where they were when it happened. Among the conclusions so far: Nearly half of the people who died had been advised to take shelter. Indeed, most of them did. But many of the tornadoes were so fierce that few structures were able to withstand them.  Click the link to continue reading.

Storms bubble up on outer edge of heat

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

Happy Birthday to the Hubble Telescope!

Thanks to weather producer, Alex Buck, for writing this up:

The Hubble Space Telescope was put into orbit 22 years ago today by the space shuttle Discovery. It has captured some of the most breathtaking images seen by mankind. The project was formalized in 1972 and cost 300 million dollars. The telescope has had 4 service missions, the last one being in 2009. It is slated to remain operational until 2014. The telescope sits at 375 miles above the Earth, and named for Edwin Hubble, an american astronomer and discoverer of galaxies other than the Milky Way.

There are many accomplishments for the Hubble. Besides the amazing photos, Hubble has discovered evidence for Einstein’s Dark Energy. As supernovae explode in the Hubble’s view, the most distant of these 9 billion light years away, it picked up the rate that the explosion occurred and along with ground based telescopes calculated the rate at which the universe is expanding. Dark energy accounts for almost 70% of all energy in our universe, yet clues to its presence have only recently been found.

The successor to the Hubble is the James Webb Space Telescope, the first Next Generation Space Telescope with a reflector 25 square meters, compared to the Hubble’s 4.5 meter square reflector. It is set to be launched in 2018.

Notable Hubble pictures

More pictures can be found here:

Record Western Highs

The bubble of record warmth is sliding east, more record highs are expected today and possibly again tomorrow. Look at all of the record highs that have been set/tied over the last 2 days.

Desert Beauty

Thanks to Rich Koivisto for the neat cactus picture out of Arizona

North Dakota Storms

Thanks to the Bismarck, ND National Weather Service for the picture. This beauty was responsible for a 44mph wind gust.

Severe Threat Today

The Storm Prediction Center has issued a SLIGHT RISK of severe weather across parts of the Ohio Valley. Hail and high winds looks to be the primary threat, but an isolated tornado can’t be ruled out.

Late Day Thunder

Storms will develop later today (5pm to 8pm) and slide into Kentucky

5 Day Precipitation

This is the 5 day precipitation forecast, note how most of the heavy stuff stays across the northern half of the nation. We could use more across the southern half where drought conditions are still a little worse.

Drought Concerns

Thanks for checking in and have a great rest of your week

Don’t forget to check me out on Twitter @TNelsonWNTV

Heat Slips East, Snow Wanes in the Northeast

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

Happy Tuesday from the WNTV studios!

Sunrise From Cheyenne, WY

I captured this from our webcam time lapse earlier today. It’ll be another warm day as temps soar into the lower 80s. The record for Cheyenne, WY today is 79 in 1962.

Northeast Snowfall

The interactive snowfall analysis map shows quite a bit of snow still on the ground.

Snowfall Reports

Snow Video from PA

See full video HERE

Recent Northern Lights Event by Alex Buck

Thanks to WNTV Weather Producer Alex Buck for writing this up today about the recent northern lights event.

Photo Courtesy NWS Marquette, MI

This is Alex Buck, Producer for WNTV. The aurora photos that everyone has been sending in to us look beautiful! I can’t wait to get them on air! The aurora looks beautiful, but have you ever stopped and wondered why 1) what causes them, and 2) why do they seem to be happening more now?

These are both great questions. The answer to the first question is when the Sun releases a Coronal Mass Ejection, or CME, it floats through space for a while, and eventually impacts Earth if the ejection is pointed on our side of the Sun. The ejections are made of charged particles called “solar wind”. More on that later.

When the charged particles interact with Earth’s magnetosphere, they hit oxygen and nitrogen atoms. The wind causes an exchange of electrons between particles in the ejection and atoms in our atmosphere. When oxygen atoms exchange electrons, a photon of light is usually given off as either brown-red or green light. When nitrogen atoms exchange an electron, light can be given off as either red if the atom is returning to a grounded state, or the much rarer blue if the atom is being given an electron.

Now why do they seem to be happening more now? It seems like every few weeks we hear about or see aurora photos. The Sun is reaching what is called a solar maximum. The Sun has a cycle that repeats every 11-12 years, and this just happens to be near the height of it. Another reason we are more aware of it is due to the potential effect it has on our technology. A very strong solar storm, which occurs once every decade or so, has the ability to knock out satellite and some ground based communication. With so much of our lives impacted and controlled by technology, it makes sense that we would have an awareness to something that would potentially cause it harm. To combat this, NOAA has an agency set up to detect and warn the public about such solar storms, called the Space Weather Prediction Center. That’s what we’re covering in the WNTV War Room.

High Temps Yesterday

Record heat continues in the west with temperatures soaring into the triple digits in the Desert Southwest. 80s and 90s were found as far north as the Canadian border. The forecast over the next couple of days shows the bubble of heat slipping east through midweek.

Forecast Highs Today

Forecast Highs Wednesday

Severe Weather Potential

A cluster of storms looks to develop across parts of the middle Mississippi Valley and the Ohio Valley on Wednesday. There could be a few strong to severe storms with hail and high wind being the primary threat.

Thanks for checking in on this Tuesday have a great rest of the week.

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @TNelsonWNTV

National Extremes

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Happy Monday. I snapped this picture from the WNTV studios earlier today!

Crazy Weather Extremes!

Crazy weather extremes setting across the nation on this Monday. Record heat setting up in the Southwest with triple digit heat in some of the desert locations.

More Record Heat Near Death Valley

I didn’t realize that the reporting station from Death Valley, CA is from Furnace Creek, CA… how fitting!

One More Day of Record Heat in the Desert Southwest

It appears that we’ll have one more day of record heat (triple digits) in the Desert Southwest before a trough of low pressure moves in with much cooler temps and scattered rain showers.

Average First 100° Day @ Phoenix

Nearly every spring, the question of “when will the first 100 °F day be?” is asked. The tables below give the average earlist and average latest, and earliest and latest of all time for not just the first 100 °F day but 85 through 110 for Phoenix and Yuma. Note: in instances of ties, the most recent date is listed.

See more from the National Weather Service out of Phoenix, AZ HERE:

Forecast Highs Today

Departure From Normal Temps

The interesting map below shows the high temps from normal today… A flip-flop from what we had in March. Well above average temps continue today in the west and much below average temps continue in the east.

Cold Enough For Snow

A late season storm is causing quite a stir. Reports of over a foot are now coming in across the higher elevations of PA. Winter Storm Warnings continue through early Tuesday.

New York Snow

The heavy machinery is out in Stafford, NY – Thanks to the Buffalo, NY National Weather Service for the photo below.

Snowy Scene on the PA Turnpike

Thanks to Justin Berk for this video from the PA Turnpike, see his full video HERE:

More Snowy Scenes

See those HERE:

Dangerous Dust Devil?

This looks a little frightening doesn’t it? Smaller dust devils aren’t all that dangerous, but large ones could certainly whip up the winds and toss a few things around, but not to the extent of what an large tornado could.

See more HERE

Thanks for checking in and have a great rest of your week!

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @TNelsonWNTV

Earth Day

Cities are around the country have special activities planned today for Earth Day.  Here are just a few of those cities:


Today’s festivities include music, presentations about gardening, composite, conserving energy, and children’s activities.

New York

Those partaking in these events may be dealing with the wet weather today!  Plan on bringing an umbrella!

Santa Barbara

Attendees are encouraged to bike with several exhibits relating to bikes at the event.  Plan on plenty of sunshine.


Kids can build their own bird feeder and learn more about the state parks!  Bundle up.  Its going to be chilly today.  High temperatures are running well below average for this time of the year.


Guest speakers include former First Lady Laura Bush.  She is the Honorary Chair of the National Parks Foundations.  A comfortable day is expected in Dallas today no rain and highs only in the upper 70s.
April 2012
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