Oct 1, 2016

Hurricane Matthew

Hurricane Matthew has become a category 5 storm with 160 mph wind and a minimum central pressure of 941 mb. The wind speed doubled in 24 hours. At 11 PM EDT on September 29th, it was only an 80 mph storm. None of the models had indicated such a rapid strengthening.

Matthew is the first category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic in over 9 years. The last category 5 was Hurricane Felix in September of 2007. Felix made landfall in Nicaragua. The US hasn't been hit by a major hurricane since Wilma in 2005.

Matthew is located south of Haiti and moving westward. It will soon begin curving to the north as it moves toward an upper trough. Matthew will likely pass near Jamaica, and cross Cuba and move into the Bahamas. It's too early to tell if Matthew poses a threat to the US East Coast. It may depend in part on the behavior of a larger trough currently over the West Coast.

Jun 28, 2016

Big Tornado Season Next Year?

The number of tornadoes in the US has been below normal for the last 5 years:
El Nino is gone. Over the last two months, sea surface temperatures have been below normal in the central equatorial Pacific. Trade winds have been above normal across most of the Pacific for the last week. It is likely that La Nina will emerge sometime later this year.

4 out of the last 5 years with tornado counts being more than 1 standard deviation above normal have been during or immediately following a transition from El Nino to La Nina (1998, 1999, 2008, 2011):

Three of these years (1999, 2008, 2011) had well above the normal number of strong tornadoes.

Jan 25, 2016

East Coast Blizzard

A major 983 mb East Coast storm (aka snowzilla) produced up to 42" of snow Friday and Saturday (Jan 23 and 24). Winter storm warnings (pink) were issued from Arkansas to South Carolina to Massachusetts. Blizzard warnings were issued from Washington DC to Long Island:

Here is a time lapse of the blizzard from Purcellville, VA:

Some snowfall totals:

Bowling Green, KY: 11"
Glengary, WV 1 ese: 42"
Dulles Airport, VA: 28.3"
BWI airport, MD: 29.2"
Rehouse, MD: 38"
Dover, DE 5.1 wsw: 18.2"
Philadelphia, PA: 22.4"
Atlantic City, NJ: 13.4"
Newark Airport, NJ: 28.1"
JFK Airport, NY: 30.5"
Nantucket, MA: 11.5"

The 29.2" for Baltimore is their largest on record. Winds gusted to 75 mph at Dewey Beach, DE and Langley AFB, VA. This storm caused 250,000 power outages, and over 12,000 flights were canceled.

Major coastal flooding occurred in New Jersey:

Dec 29, 2015

Central US Winter Storm

Over the past several days (Dec 26 - Dec 28) a major winter storm hit the central US. Winter storm warnings stretched almost from the Canadian Border to the Mexican border:
Blizzard warnings were issued for west Texas, where up to two feet of snow fell (Queen). At Lubbock, 11" of snow fell, a state of emergency was declared, and a roof collapsed at a mall. Sleet accumulated to 3.4" at Rockford, IL and 4.8" at Springville, IA. 1" of freezing rain fell at Anthony Kansas and Kewanee, IL, but some areas had problems with just 0.25" of ice because of the strong winds: in the Peoria area 70,000 customers lost power, and a gas line was ruptured.

In Missouri, flooding closed parts of I-70 and I-44. 12.25" of rain fell at Union, MO, causing record flooding. At Springfield, MO the 6.03" that fell on December 26th was the second highest 24 hour total on record. The storm total there was exactly 10.00". At least 13 flood related fatalities occurred across Missouri.

On December 26th, tornadoes killed 11 in Texas. 8 of the fatalities were from an EF-4 that hit Garland, TX:

Oct 23, 2015

Hurricane Patricia Landfall


At 5 PM CDT, the eyewall of Patricia is over San Patricio. Current intensity is 900 mb, wind 165 knots (190 mph). Peak intensity was at 1 PM: pressure 879 mb, wind 175 knots (200 mph).

Update: NHC has indicated that at the time of landfall minimum pressure was 920 mb, and wind was 165 mph.

Hurricane Patricia

Hurricane Patricia has intensified at an incredible rate over the last 24 hours. At 4 AM CDT yesterday (Oct 22), Patricia was a 75 knot hurricane; by 4 AM today, based on data from the Hurricane Hunters, it was at 175 knots. This makes Patricia the strongest hurricane on record for the NHC's area of responsibility, which includes the East Pacific and Atlantic. The minimum central pressure was estimated at 880 mb, another record for the East Pacific/Atlantic. The previous record was Hurricane Wilma at 882 mb. The record lowest pressure globally was Typhoon Tip in the West Pacific.

Hurricane Patricia should make landfall near Puerto Vallarta tonight. In addition to catastrophic storm surge and wind damage, flash flooding and mudslides will be a major problem, because Patricia will be moving directly into mountainous terrain.