An upside-down winter: coldest in 25 years in U.S., warmest on record in Canada

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:26 PM GMT on March 12, 2010

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The U.S. just experienced its coldest winter in 25 years, according to the National Climatic Data Center. The winter period December - February was the 18th coldest winter in the contiguous U.S. over the past 115 years, and the coldest since 1984 - 1985. It was also a wet winter, ranking 19th wettest. The states experiencing the coldest winters, relative to average, were Texas and Louisiana, which had their 5th coldest winters on record. Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Florida, and South Carolina also had a top-ten coldest winter. The only state much above average was Maine, which had its 3rd warmest winter. As I discussed earlier this week, this winter's cold weather over the U.S. is largely due to the Arctic Oscillation/North Atlantic Oscillation, which assumed its most extreme negative configuration since record keeping began in 1950. El Niño helped keep things cool from Texas to the Southeastern U.S., as well.


Figure 1. Winter temperatures for the winter of 2009 - 2010. Image credit: National Climatic Data Center.

A cold February in the U.S.
February temperatures were 2.2°F below average across the contiguous U.S., making it the 29th coldest February in the 115-year record. For the second month in a row, Florida was the coldest state, relative to average. Florida had its 4th coldest February on record. Seven other states had February temperatures between 5th and 8th coldest on record: Louisiana, Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Georgia, and South Carolina. Maine had its 3rd warmest February, New Hampshire its 5th, and Washington its 6th. Precipitation across the U.S. was near average in February.

Warmest and driest winter on record in Canada
Canada had its warmest winter on record, 4.0°C (7.2°F) above average, according to Environment Canada. The previous record was 3.9°C above average, set in 2005-2006. Canada also experienced its driest winter on record this year, with precipitation 22.0% below normal. The previous driest winter was 1977-1978 (20.1% below normal). Canadian weather records go back 63 years, to 1948. David Phillips, a senior climatologist with Environment Canada, warned of potential "horrific" water shortages, insect infestations, and wildfires this summer due to the warm, dry winter. Phillips blamed the warm winter weather on El Niño and the severe loss of arctic sea ice last fall. The winter season in Canada has warmed, on average, by 2.5°C (4.5°F) over the past 63 years.


Figure 2. Departure of temperature from average in Canada for the winter of 2009 - 2010. Image credit: Environment Canada.

Brazilian tropical/subtropical storm named "Anita"
The South Atlantic tropical/subtropical storm we've been tracking this week has moved over colder waters and has now transitioned to a regular extratropical storm. Earlier this week, the storm became just the 7th tropical or subtropical cyclone on record in the South Atlantic. According to a statement put out by MetSul Meteorologia, a Brazilian weather company, this storm is now named "Tropical Storm Anita:"

The regional weather centers and the private weather enterprises of both Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina, southernmost Brazilian states, in a joint decision, named Anita the rare tropical storm of March 9th and 10th in the coastal areas of the region. The name was chosen considering a historic figure of Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina, both states affected by the tropical cyclone. Anita Garibaldi (1821-1849) was a heroine of the Farroupilha Revolution (1835-1845), one of the most important events in the Brazilian history that took place in the Southern part of the country. Anita was used in the past to designate tropical cyclones in other basins: North Atlantic, the Pacific and the Indian Ocean.

Next week, we need to keep an eye on northeastern Australia, where Tropical Cyclone 20 may pay a visit. The storm is under light shear and warm waters, and is forecast to increase to Category 4 strength by Monday. Also of concern is Tropical Cyclone 19, which is expected to hit Fiji as a Category 2 storm early next week.

First tornado death of the year for the U.S
A tornado that hit Cleburne, Arkansas on Wednesday caused three serious injuries and the tornado season's first fatality, a 79-year old man sheltering in his single story wood-frame home. Yesterday, a suspected tornado ripped through Haines City, Florida destroying four condos and damaging fifteen others. One person was injured. Two other tornadoes caused minor damage in central Florida. The severe weather outbreak continues today, as NOAA's Storm Prediction Center is forecasting a "slight" chance of severe weather over portions of Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio. After today, the severe weather action should diminish for at least five days over the U.S. The major U.S. weather story this weekend will be flooding in the Mid-Atlantic, where heavy rains of up to four inches are expected. Soils are already saturated and the heavy snows from this winter's major snowstorms will also melt, likely creating moderate flooding problems over much of the Mid-Atlantic.

Links to follow:
Interactive tornado map
Severe weather page


Figure 3. Severe weather forecast for today from the NOAA Storm Prediction Center.

Jeff Masters

Tornado, Saline County, AR (waltdsgirl)
Tornado, Saline County, AR
deluge of rain... (happytobealive)
We drove west on I-10 today and this is what we encountered near Live Oak, Florida. We pulled to the side of the road for a time because the rain was more than the wipers could clear for safe driving.
deluge of rain...
wind damage (Openmike)
Wind tore the awning from a business on U.S. 19 between Crystal River and Homassaa Springs, Fl., Thursday afternoon. Severe stroms hammered the area, causing wind damage and flooding. A tornado was reported, by a trained spotter, about ten miles South of this location. Check the series for more storm and flood pictures.
wind damage

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On radar, there appears to be a TVS developing on the squall line crossing into NW Broward County. You can clearly see it where the line has kinked and appears to have a hook shape.
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Severe Thunderstorm Warning
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING
FLC011-021-051-086-099-121900-
/O.NEW.KMFL.SV.W.0010.100312T1817Z-100312T1900Z/

BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MIAMI FL
117 PM EST FRI MAR 12 2010

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN MIAMI HAS ISSUED A

* SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR...
WESTERN BROWARD COUNTY IN SOUTHEAST FLORIDA...
NORTHWESTERN MIAMI-DADE COUNTY IN SOUTHEAST FLORIDA...
SOUTHWESTERN PALM BEACH COUNTY IN SOUTHEAST FLORIDA...
SOUTHEASTERN HENDRY COUNTY IN SOUTHERN FLORIDA...
EAST CENTRAL COLLIER COUNTY IN SOUTHWEST FLORIDA...

* UNTIL 200 PM EST

* AT 111 PM EST...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A
LINE OF SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS CAPABLE OF PRODUCING PENNY SIZE
HAIL...AND DAMAGING WINDS IN EXCESS OF 60 MPH. THESE STORMS WERE
LOCATED ALONG A LINE EXTENDING FROM 3 MILES WEST OF ROTENBERGER
WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREA TO 6 MILES WEST OF MILE MARKER 60 ON
ALLIGATOR ALLEY...AND MOVING EAST AT 40 MPH.

* THE LINE OF STORMS WILL AFFECT...
ROTENBERGER WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREA...
HOLEY LAND WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREA...
COLLIER/BROWARD LINE AND ALLIGATOR ALLEY...
EAST TOLL GATE ON ALLIGATOR ALLEY...
INTERSECTION OF US 27 AND ALLIGATOR ALLEY...
AND SURROUNDING COMMUNITIES.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

FREQUENT LIGHTNING IS OCCURRING WITH THIS THUNDERSTORM. IF
OUTDOORS...STAY AWAY FROM ISOLATED HIGH OBJECTS SUCH AS TREES AND
AVOID WATER. MOVE INDOORS OR INSIDE A VEHICLE IF POSSIBLE. AVOID
USING THE TELEPHONE UNLESS IT IS AN EMERGENCY. TRY TO UNPLUG
UNNECESSARY ELECTRICAL APPLIANCES BEFORE THE THUNDERSTORM APPROACHES.

REPORT SEVERE WEATHER OR DAMAGE TO THE NEAREST LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY
OR YOUR COUNTY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT. THEY WILL RELAY YOUR REPORT TO
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FORECAST OFFICE IN MIAMI.

&&

LAT...LON 2641 8022 2586 8056 2607 8127 2658 8079
TIME...MOT...LOC 1815Z 289DEG 33KT 2639 8084 2613 8109

$$

BAXTER
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Here at FIU it finally started to rain, but now its' stopped. Radar shows alot more on the way.
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My Weather Station here in Miami (Zip Code: 33145) Showing that the pressure is 29.63 (Falling Rapidly)

Looks like one very intense thunderstorm approaching... Plus, Miami-Dade is currently under a severe thunderstorm warning.
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Here is another 1 looking north towards lake worth
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I ran up to lantana beach and took this picture about 5 minutes ago. Looking south towards boynton beach.

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From my weather station:

Marco Island, Florida (PWS)
Updated: 35 sec ago
Rain
62.9 °F
Rain
Humidity: 96%
Dew Point: 62 °F
Wind: 11.0 mph from the NE
Pressure: 29.71 in (Rising)
Visibility: 3.0 miles
UV: 4 out of 16
Clouds:
Few 900 ft
Overcast 1400 ft
(Above Ground Level)
Elevation: 10 ft



Had a high gust of 22MPH a little after 1pm. So far .43 inches of rain coming down at just under 1inch per hour rate.
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Good Afternoon everyone.

Apart from bracing for the strong thunderstorms that are heading towards me in Miami, it's that time of year that I give my predictions for the tropical season (2010).

Named Storms: 14

Hurricanes: 7

Major Hurricanes: 3

*Please give me your feedback on what YOU think will unfold.
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i think you need a temper of 100 or so for a vary warm rain
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114785
Looks like that boundary layer is retreating ahead of the line, as indicated. It will be interesting to see if the northern flank re-energizes once across the lake.
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You can clearly see the squall line intensifying and further organizing on radar as it approaches SE Florida. With the outflow boundary in place and a very unstable airmass, this could be a really dangerous afternoon for SE Florida, especially Southern Broward and Northern Miami-Dade.

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I don't want to post this and throw a match into the AGW debate here...

But, this was a very interesting article here in the St. Pete Times about the TV forecasters in the Tampa Bay area...

Outlook Cloudy on Climate
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MESOSCALE DISCUSSION 0194
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
1154 AM CST FRI MAR 12 2010

AREAS AFFECTED...S FL

CONCERNING...SEVERE POTENTIAL...WATCH POSSIBLE

VALID 121754Z - 122000Z

SCATTERED STORMS WILL PERSIST THROUGH THE AFTERNOON. ISOLATED
DAMAGING WINDS GUSTS MAY OCCUR WITH THE STRONGEST STORMS.

SURFACE ANALYSIS SHOWS AN OUTFLOW BOUNDARY STALLING ACROSS NRN
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY. N OF THIS BOUNDARY...A RELATIVELY STABLE SURFACE
AIR MASS EXISTS WITH TEMPERATURES IN THE 60S F. THE 17Z MFL SOUNDING
S OF THE BOUNDARY INDICATES SUBSTANTIAL INSTABILITY WITH MUCAPE IN
EXCESS OF 2500 J/KG. ALSO IN PLACE ARE VERY STRONG DEEP LAYER WIND
FIELDS WITH THE UPPER JET CORE APPROACHING. RADAR TRENDS AS OF 1745Z
SHOW SOME ORGANIZATION WITH STORMS OVER THE ERN GULF AND NOW
APPROACHING CNTRL S FL. THE BEST CHANCE OF SEVERE WIND GUSTS WILL BE
ALONG AND S OF THE OUTFLOW BOUNDARY WHERE STEEPER LOW LEVEL LAPSE
RATES EXIST. IN ADDITION TO DAMAGING WIND GUSTS...AN ISOLATED
TORNADO COULD OCCUR AS WELL ESPECIALLY IF THE OUTFLOW BOUNDARY
CONTINUES TO SLOW AND MIX OUT...RESULTING IN A LARGER AREA OF
ENHANCED LOW LEVEL SHEAR COINCIDENT WITH THE MOST UNSTABLE AIR MASS.

..JEWELL.. 03/12/2010


ATTN...WFO...MFL...KEY...

LAT...LON 26728126 26917987 25777998 25248022 25118115 25358253
26058174 26728126
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Quoting StormChaser81:


Whats the difference rain is rain. That's to much to ask for.=)lol

Good luck with that.

Start doing the WARM rain dance, its where you dance on a bed of hot coals.

I wish I could I'm At school now and I am to tired
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Quoting wunderkidcayman:


rain that not from clod fronts or don't come with cold wind


Whats the difference rain is rain. That's to much to ask for.=)lol

Good luck with that.

Start doing the WARM rain dance, its where you dance on a bed of hot coals.
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Quoting StormChaser81:


WARM RAIN?????????


It's better than cold rain ;~)
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Quoting StormChaser81:


WARM RAIN?????????


rain that not from clod fronts or don't come with cold wind
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Looking at that radar image all of palm beach and broward are going to experience some really bad weather.

flooding will be likely in the metro areas of palm beach county after up to 8 inches in spots reported from last night storms.
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Quoting wunderkidcayman:
hey guys we need rain bad and warm rain


WARM RAIN?????????
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53308
hey guys we need rain bad and warm rain
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Looks like a couple vortises about to cross I-75 west of Lauderdale...
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53308
Yup.......Looks line the squall line is organizing a bit from Palm Beach and Broward County down to Miam-Dade County...Lake O and Belle Glade area should be getting some severe storm warnings up very soon....Al least the system is moving relatively quickly to the East.
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You can see a strong out flow boundary to the West of Miami.

Storms are just popping up in front of the bow echo heading East showing the air is very unstable.

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Quoting Jeff9641:


New development is beginning to occur in the Tampa area.


Got that right... I beat the dark clouds coming in from the west over the Gulf...
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I have got to figure out how to embed a flash graphic...

Here's a link to the current weather conditions at the Pinellas County Courthouse.

For those playing along at home:

27 degrees, 57 minutes, 41 seconds North
82 degrees, 48 minutes, 03 seconds West
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More vortex signatures...

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The dry slot that is coming to an end over Pinellas County had great timing... the rain ended just as I went out for a lunchtime walk and is set to start again.

Wind at the top of the Clearwater Memorial Causeway was from the south - kind of light. The humidity, however, is pretty thick. My guess we might get some rumbles out there...
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Quoting Grothar:


Looks like you were right last night. Looks nasty here in East Broward and we are still watching that line coming across.


When the squall line approaches, it will interact with the boundary across Broward County and actually intensify. The 8AM EST Miami sounding showed very favorable conditions to not only support, but sustain strong to severe thunderstorms. It appears the worst weather will be in our area starting around 2PM and lasting through to the evening hours. Based upon radar, it appears that there will be damaging wind gusts, torrential downpours, and even an isolated tornado. Just keep an eye to the sky and stay alert for any warnings.
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Look at all the twirlies down there.

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Quoting CyclonicVoyage:
Nice little squall line setting up. As indicated by the NWS, this has the potential to pack an increasing blow as the line travels inland.


Yeah and wait till it meets that high Cape just south of the boundary layer. Bam!
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Quoting cchsweatherman:


Been watching that all morning long. Definitely going to be a nasty afternoon here in my neck of the woods. That storm cluster really has organized and appears to have a few bow echoes embedded within it.


Looks like you were right last night. Looks nasty here in East Broward and we are still watching that line coming across.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 69 Comments: 25542
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Nice little squall line setting up. As indicated by the NWS, this has the potential to pack an increasing blow as the line travels inland.


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Tornado signature showed up for a sec just west of Pembrook Pines...

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URGENT - IMMEDIATE BROADCAST REQUESTED
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH NUMBER 32
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
1205 PM EST FRI MAR 12 2010

THE NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER HAS ISSUED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH FOR PORTIONS OF

EXTREME SOUTHEAST INDIANA
CENTRAL AND EASTERN KENTUCKY
EXTREME WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA
EASTERN TENNESSEE
EXTREME WESTERN VIRGINIA

EFFECTIVE THIS FRIDAY AFTERNOON AND EVENING FROM 1205 PM UNTIL
700 PM EST.

HAIL TO 1.5 INCHES IN DIAMETER...THUNDERSTORM WIND GUSTS TO 70
MPH...AND DANGEROUS LIGHTNING ARE POSSIBLE IN THESE AREAS.

THE SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH AREA IS APPROXIMATELY ALONG AND 50
STATUTE MILES EAST AND WEST OF A LINE FROM 30 MILES NORTH OF
LEXINGTON KENTUCKY TO 50 MILES EAST OF CHATTANOOGA TENNESSEE.
FOR A COMPLETE DEPICTION OF THE WATCH SEE THE ASSOCIATED WATCH
OUTLINE UPDATE (WOUS64 KWNS WOU2).

REMEMBER...A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH MEANS CONDITIONS ARE
FAVORABLE FOR SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS IN AND CLOSE TO THE WATCH
AREA. PERSONS IN THESE AREAS SHOULD BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR
THREATENING WEATHER CONDITIONS AND LISTEN FOR LATER STATEMENTS
AND POSSIBLE WARNINGS. SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS CAN AND OCCASIONALLY
DO PRODUCE TORNADOES.

DISCUSSION...ONGOING BANDS OF STORMS ACROSS NE AL/NW GA AND CENTRAL
KY WILL PERSIST INTO THE AFTERNOON WHILE SPREADING NNEWD IN ADVANCE
OF AN EJECTING MID LEVEL TROUGH AND ASSOCIATED SURFACE COLD FRONT.
A FEW CLOUD BREAKS...BOUNDARY LAYER DEWPOINTS IN THE LOW-MID
50S...AND COLD TEMPERATURES ALOFT WILL SUPPORT A THREAT FOR HAIL
WITH THE STRONGEST UPDRAFTS. ADDITIONALLY...THE LINEAR
CONFIGURATION OF THE EXISTING STORMS AND STRENGTHENING LOW-MIDLEVEL
FLOW DURING THE AFTERNOON WILL ALSO SUPPORT A THREAT FOR DAMAGING
WINDS.

AVIATION...A FEW SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS WITH HAIL SURFACE AND ALOFT
TO 1.5 INCHES. EXTREME TURBULENCE AND SURFACE WIND GUSTS TO 60
KNOTS. A FEW CUMULONIMBI WITH MAXIMUM TOPS TO 400. MEAN STORM
MOTION VECTOR 22035.
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53308
Quoting StormW:
Any folks in and close to the Tampa Bay area that wish to attend the West Central Florida AMS Chapter Annual Banquet, may find information by accessing our website
WCFLAMS


Woohooo! I am looking forward to the next meeting :-) The last one was great!
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43. IKE
The cold front just passed my area. Had a quick two-tenths of an inch of rain. Sunshine now.
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Quoting CyclonicVoyage:
...S FL THIS AFTERNOON/EVENING...
A LARGE CLUSTER OF THUNDERSTORMS AND AN ASSOCIATED OUTFLOW BOUNDARY
CONTINUE TO SAG SWD INTO S FL...WITH WIDESPREAD RAINFALL REINFORCING
THE COLD POOL. MODERATE INSTABILITY IS PRESENT S OF THE
BOUNDARY...WITH SUFFICIENT DEEP-LAYER VERTICAL SHEAR FOR EMBEDDED
BOWING SEGMENTS AND SUPERCELLS. THE PRIMARY CONCERN ACROSS THIS
AREA WILL BE THE TENDENCY FOR THE STRONGER CONVECTION TO BE UNDERCUT
BY THE SWD MOVING OUTFLOW. HOWEVER...BOUNDARY MOTION HAS BEEN
SLOW...AND THE THREAT FOR DAMAGING WINDS/HAIL AND AN ISOLATED
TORNADO OR TWO SHOULD INCREASE THIS AFTERNOON AS A STRONGER CLUSTER
OF STORMS JUST OFF THE W/SW FL COAST MOVES INLAND ALONG THE
BOUNDARY.
..THOMPSON/JEWELL.. 03/12/2010

CLICK TO GET WUUS01 PTSDY1 PRODUCT



Been watching that all morning long. Definitely going to be a nasty afternoon here in my neck of the woods. That storm cluster really has organized and appears to have a few bow echoes embedded within it.
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...S FL THIS AFTERNOON/EVENING...
A LARGE CLUSTER OF THUNDERSTORMS AND AN ASSOCIATED OUTFLOW BOUNDARY
CONTINUE TO SAG SWD INTO S FL...WITH WIDESPREAD RAINFALL REINFORCING
THE COLD POOL. MODERATE INSTABILITY IS PRESENT S OF THE
BOUNDARY...WITH SUFFICIENT DEEP-LAYER VERTICAL SHEAR FOR EMBEDDED
BOWING SEGMENTS AND SUPERCELLS. THE PRIMARY CONCERN ACROSS THIS
AREA WILL BE THE TENDENCY FOR THE STRONGER CONVECTION TO BE UNDERCUT
BY THE SWD MOVING OUTFLOW. HOWEVER...BOUNDARY MOTION HAS BEEN
SLOW...AND THE THREAT FOR DAMAGING WINDS/HAIL AND AN ISOLATED
TORNADO OR TWO SHOULD INCREASE THIS AFTERNOON AS A STRONGER CLUSTER
OF STORMS JUST OFF THE W/SW FL COAST MOVES INLAND ALONG THE
BOUNDARY.
..THOMPSON/JEWELL.. 03/12/2010

CLICK TO GET WUUS01 PTSDY1 PRODUCT

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another rattler
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53308

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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