WeatherNation Blog

Heating Up Across Much of the USA (rain slowly tapers east)

Don’t look for your dreams to come true; look to become true to your dreams.” – Michael Beckwith

Tuesday Severe Threat. A weak clipper-like intrusion of Canadian air may spark a few strong to severe storms from Madison to Milwaukee, Rockford and Chicago later today. Map courtesy of SPC.

Research at Texas Tech University and elsewhere has shown that only masonry or reinforced concrete walls can protect against lethal flying debris that might be encountered during a tornado with wind speeds up to 130 mph.” from a Houston Chronicle story below.

The best guess now is that a worst-case rise of 2 feet is no longer in the cards. The likely increase in sea level by 2100 now stands at 3 feet, with worst-case scenarios going as high as 6 feet. Three feet would threaten many coastal cities around the world with frequent, powerful floods, as the mildest of storms could send water coursing through streets and into buildings. Six feet could make large parts of major cities — Miami, New Orleans, Shanghai, Bangkok and many more — essentially uninhabitable.” – from a Climate Central article; details below.

Least Polluted Cities In The U.S. Ranked In State Of The Air 2012. Duluth came in at #19. Way to represent! Here’s a story from Huffington Post: “Are you and your neighbors breathing healthy air? American Lung Association has released their State Of The Air 2012 report, detailing cities with the least and most air pollution in America. Each city is ranked by ozone pollution, short-term particle pollution, and year-long particle pollution. Below are the report’s “Top 25 Least Polluted Cities By Year-Round Particle Pollution.” Although many problem regions still exist, the report shows that all but three of the most ozone-polluted cities improved air quality, and over 50% of the worst smog-makers were having their best year thus far.”

Photo credit above: Flickr image courtesy of kla4067

Fun Weather Fact: The windiest place in the world is Port Martin, Antarctica, which has an average wind speed over a year of 64 km/h (40 mph). It experiences gale force 8 winds (39-46 mph) for over a hundred days a year! Credit: Facebook and the Marquette, Michigan office of The National Weather Service.

Must-See Tornado Video. This is definitely worth a couple minutes of your time: “Last week a waterspout came ashore in Grand Isle, Louisiana causing damage.  CAPT. KEITH “HERK” BERGERON captured this amazing video.  It gets extremely intense about 4:35 in. You actually see a house get blown apart.  Thankfully, Capt. Bergeron wasn’t injured getting this footage.  Click here to watch the video. 

5 Deadliest Hurricanes Wreaked Havoc. Here’s a great hurricane history lesson “Hurricane season starts June 1 of every year and ends on Nov 30 of every year, with an average of 5.9 hurricanes forming in the Atlantic Ocean each year.Hurricanes that cause extreme destruction are rare, but when they do occur, they can cause significant property damage and/or thousands of fatalities. Below are the five deadliest known Atlantic hurricanes.”

Great Hurricane of 1780

The deadliest Atlantic hurricane on record is the Great Hurricane of 1780. The storm passed through the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean between Oct. 10 and Oct. 16, 1780, killing more than 25,000 people. The hurricane struck Barbados with wind gusts that possibly exceeded 200 mph before it moved past Martinique, Saint Lucia, and Sint Eustatius; thousands of deaths were reported on each island.”

Photo Of The Day: “CBs”. Popular in the aviation community, the expression “CB” is slang for cumulonimbus, or thunderheads. Thanks to Edward Sklar for passing this one along – more at Facebook.

Chinese Space Station Transits The Sun. Here’s an excerpt from a story “Solar photographers have grown accustomed to winged spaceships flying in front of the sun. For years, silhouettes of space shuttles and the International Space Station have flitted across the solar disk, producing photo-opsofrarebeauty. Now China’s space station, the Tiangong-1 (“Heavenly Palace 1″), is joining the show. On May 11th, perhaps for the first time, Thierry Legault of Paris, France, caught the newcomer transiting the sun.”

Scale Of The Universe. I’m feeling even smaller and more insignificant than usual. Nope, my wife didn’t call – I checked out this amazing web site that provides a sense of scale, from the micro to the macro, unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. Thanks and kudos to Michael and Cary Huang for sharing this at

Redefining Cute. How cool is this, courtesy of Denali National Park and Preserve: “Traffic is picking up on the park road this week. Yield to Denali’s newcomers as they learn their way around.”



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. Twitter name: @pdouglasweather

Hot and Mostly Quiet Week Ahead

Monday, May 14th, 2012

Thanks to the Guadalupe Mountains National Park for sharing this picture on their Facebook page, see more HERE

“Our recent rain and warm temperatures has triggered many cactus blooms in some areas of the park. Come by and experience spring in the Guadalupe Mountains.”

See more about the Guadalupe Mountains National Park HERE


The National Weather Service has issued EXCESSIVE HEAT WATCHES/WARNINGS until Tuesday for locations highlighted below. Temperatures could soar to 110°!

Forecast Highs Today

Extended Heat

Why So Warm?

A large ridge of high pressure in the west is allowing record to near record heat to bubble as far north as Portland, OR. The forecast today calls for 88° and the record for today’s date is 86° set in 1973

Ridge Kills Severe Threat

The dominant ridge of high pressure out west is killing (for the most part) any severe weather chance across the Plains states. Isolated strong to severe storms may pop up across southwest Texas today.

Sunday afternoon a tornado touched down in the mountain village of Magdalena, New Mexico.   Check out this incredible photo from Mark Ronchetti,  Chief Meteorologist KRQE News 13 & KASA Fox 2 Albuquerque shared by the National Weather Service Southern Region HQ on Facebook.

Minor damage was reported after a tornado hit near Pensacola, Florida Saturday night.

You can read more from meteorologist Stephen Bowers at WTOK.

Hot Temps Out West & Minimal Severe Weather Nationwide

Larger Than Life
Thanks to Beautiful Planet for sharing this picture on their facebook page. Quiet an amazing shot!
Rocky Mountain National Park
Thanks to the Rocky Mountain National Park for sharing this on their Facebook page, see more HERE:
“SNOW in MAY? A mountain bluebird, male, ponders the precipitation. (photo by VIP Hahn) 5/11
Mother’s Day Sunshine
WOW! What a weekend!! Can’t believe we actually managed to sneak a keeper weekend after having nearly a months worth of crummy ones. This was the satellite over the Upper Midwest Sunday afternoon.
Heating Up
Temperatures in the western half of the nation will be heating up through the week, some of which will be spilling out into the Plains through the week. Get ready for a slow and steady climb in those heat and humidity values. I predict that some close to home will probably start using the A/C very soon. Below are several forecast snapshots of temperatures a few thousand feet off the ground throughout the week. Note how the bubble of warmth gets warmer and expands through mid May.
Monday 850mb Temps
Wednesday 850mb Temps
Friday 850mb Temps
Excessive Heat in the Desert Southwest
Temperatures in the Desert Southwest are expected to warm into the triple digits through the early week. The National Weather Service is warning residents of the upcoming heat.
May Stays Hot Out West
The extended GFS Forecast is suggesting that the end of the month could be even hotter over a larger number of locations out west. Some of that heat will likely spill out into the Plains… stay tuned!
Temps Next Tuesday
Severe Threat Monday
A few strong to severe storms may bubble up across Texas, but no widespread or organized areas of severe storms are expected across the nation anytime soon.
4 to 8 Day Severe Outlook
Thanks to the large ridge of high pressure (large bubble of heat) out west, the severe threat over the next several days is expected to be very minimal through the week.
5 Day Precipitation Outlook
The Hydrological Prediction Center precipitation forecat shows heavier rain across the Eastern Seaboard early this week with another smaller blob of moisture across Texas. Other than that, things are looking pretty dry this week… you might have to start watering soon!

Mother’s Day Weather

A wide variety of weather conditions around the nation for this Mother’s Day.  Several cities held the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure this past weekend.  Participants in the upper Midwest were treated to a beautiful day.  Thousands of runners and walkers gathered in Minneapolis, MN.  With temperatures climbing to the low 70s this afternoon, it was comfortable without being too hot.

Some photos from morning:

Minneapolis, MN

Picture by: @Hand2DaHairline

Minneapolis, MN

Picture by: @shannolan

Plenty of pink in Pittsburg, PA as well this morning.  The weather here wasn’t quite as cooperative as it was in Minneapolis with a few more clouds and cooler conditions.  The rain did hold off though until the later morning hours.

Pittsburg, PA

Picture by: @loveyoubeee

Elsewhere around the country, persistent and prolonged periods of rain continue to impact the Ohio Valley and the Southeast.  Mother’s Day festivities will be moving indoors in these areas!  Some stronger storms reported off the pan handle of Florida this morning.  Several waterspouts were seen off the coast from this system.

The rest of the region won’t have to deal with severe storms, but most places won’t escape the rain today.

There was a report of a brief touchdown of a tornado in Escambia County, Florida this morning.  No reports of any injuries or serious damage.

Turbulent skies over Florida as well.

St. Petersburg, FL

Picture by: Greg Harper

On the opposite side of the nation, temperatures continue to rise. It was a hot day yesterday and today will be even warmer and into early next week.

Phoenix will be one of the hot spots with high temperatures climbing over 100 degrees.

The National Weather Service has issued a Excessive Heat Watch for the area for Tuesday afternoon.  That will be the warmest day of the week ahead with a projected high of 104°.

Real Time Image- South Mountain

View of the city this morning from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.

Just in case you might be disappointed about weather in your area (too hot or too rainy), here is something to lift your spirits.  All the way up in Barrow, AK it is cold (as usual) and it has been cold for quite some time (as usual).  The air temperature in Barrow has remained below freezing since last fall (Oct. 9 to be specific).  And there is still over a foot of snow on the ground!

The view over Barrow this morning:

Barrow Webcam

This camera is pointing north and, according to the website, there is a period during the summer when the coast is ice-free.  It sure doesn’t seem like that will be anytime soon!  Temperature at the time this image was captured on the webcam was 24°.

Now a little bit rain doesn’t sound so bad!

Happy Mother’s Day!

A Rare Sunny Day!

The sun came out in full force today across the western US.  A notoriously cloudy place is Forks, WA. (Recently most famous for the setting of the Twilight series of books and movies). It is, in fact, one of the cloudiest places in the entire country.  The author of this series chose the setting of Forks because of its cloudy reputation.  For the folks not familiar with Forks, it is located in the northwest corner of Olympic National Park:

But no clouds in sight today:

Now for the numbers from the State Climatology office in Washington.  The folks in Forks endure more rain each year than any other city in the state.

Wettest (annual): Forks (119.7″)
Wettest (month): Baring (average November precipitation: 18.94″).

Not only does that region get more than their share of rain, it also very cloudy compared to elsewhere around the nation.  Each month only features a few completely clear days, on average:

Avg. Cloud Cover
Days Clear
Days Partly Cloudy
Days Cloudy

On the opposite side of the spectrum, the sunniest place in the country is (you probably guessed it) in the Southwest.  No surprise here.  Sunshine abounds in this region today as well. Yuma, AZ is the sunniest city in the country with the average of sunny days out of the year at 90%.  The Grand Canyon will be heating up today as highs approach the low 80s.  Hikers will need to stay hydrated!

% of Sunny Days

Data from the NCDC.

Today will be no exception to this pattern as the southwest will be feeling the heat.  The National Weather Service has already issued Excessive Heat Warning for Yuma and surrounding areas.

Even outside of the warned area, temperatures will soar into the 90s.

Moms – find a shady spot and enjoy this Mother’s Day weekend!

Continue to check back here from more weather updates.