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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Quoting hurricane23:


Previous month forcast there from back in feb. Pretty save bet that at the very least we'll have neutral conditions during the heart of this hurricane season. If other factors cooperate we should have an interesting season.


We have all the hurricane-enhancing factors of La Nina, El Nino, El Nino Modoki, ENSO-neutral, warm South Pacific, early and strong WHWP, warm SE Northeast Pacific temperatures, warm MDR, reduced shear, increased Caribbean precipitation, strong Loop Current, Gulf Stream Anomalies, weak North Atlantic Gyre, slightly reduced SAL, low pressure anomalies in the Caribbean and MDR, warm Cape Verde area, weak Canary Current, cross-Atlantic jets, weak Azores High, vast and northerly Bermuda High, strong low-level convergence, warm South Atlantic, strong ICTZ, ocean current fluctuations, warm global temperatures, flat early-season SST lines, warm-cold anomaly division, unstable air, weak quasi-stationary highs and lows, weak steering currents, diverted Gulf Stream, and warmer anomalies than 2005...likely all in place, all conspiring to produce an active and perhaps record-breaking season!
Member Since: August 30, 2008 Posts: 8 Comments: 2835
He levi and storm! If the ECM is correct this season should be above average to say the least. Hopeing for a trof parked of the eastcoast.
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One should stress the points of interest but creating a atmosphere of Hype dosent do any good.

We in the Hurricane Prone areas of the US, should have a Evac plan,a Supply of goods and water for every family member for a week at least.


Preparation is the Key.


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128661
Quoting StormW:
Keeps getting worse.

NINO 3 SST ANOMALY PLUME







Oh sorry Storm I hadn't refreshed and seen your post of the graphics before I submitted mine.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26654
The new EUROSIP seasonal forecasts are out for March, and they look even scarier than last month's for this upcoming hurricane season in the Atlantic. Here are the EUROSIP forecasts for the period June-July-August, for 2m Temperature (top), Mean Sea-level Pressure (middle) and Precipitation (bottom):







You literally cannot ask for a better setup than that for an active season with major landfall danger to the United States and Caribbean. The same principles hold true here as they did last month when I released my hurricane season outlook: Heat building in the deep tropics, the negative NAO and dying El Nino forcing convergence and upward motion over the southwest Atlantic, and the model forecasts all agreeing on the kind of setup that can really focus hurricane activity in a dangerous area this summer.

You'll notice on the model that the Atlantic has the most extreme parameters of any other ocean worldwide. The only basin that comes close is the Indian Ocean, which should also be active this year. This El Nino is leaving a lot of heat and moisture in the atmosphere on its way out, and that means somebody is going to have an active season to use up that excess energy. So far, the current conditions and trends are pointing towards the Atlantic as being the focal point for strong activity this year. I can't stress enough how much people should take this seriously and get ready early this year, to make sure you're well-prepared. Every year should be taken as a serious threat, but I hope that our warnings about this season prompt some people not to slack in their preparations.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26654
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
after today another warm week ahead till weekend then we may get the last blast of winter 3 days then a big warm up follows into end of the month


Talk about an upside-down winter: mostly sunny and warm until the end of winter, then when spring starts we have a week of snow and cold rain.
Member Since: August 30, 2008 Posts: 8 Comments: 2835
480. JRRP
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 5974
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:


Previous month forcast there from back in feb. Pretty save bet that at the very least we'll have neutral conditions during the heart of this hurricane season. If other factors cooperate we should have an interesting season.
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Current lat x lon diameter of Tomas: 9 x 15



Current lat x lon diameter of Ului: 10 x 7



Both are very large storms.
Member Since: August 30, 2008 Posts: 8 Comments: 2835
Quoting AstroHurricane001:
We had some heavy rain last night from the same low pressure center that affected New Jersey. All the remaining snow on the ground melted.
after today another warm week ahead till weekend then we may get the last blast of winter 3 days then a big warm up follows into end of the month
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54372
Cyclone Tomas is expected to make a direct hit on Northern and Eastern Fiji as a cat. 3, with peak winds around 205 km/h.



This will likely make the storm the strongest to hit Fiji since Cyclone Sina of 1990. The track of that storm is below:



Tomas is expected to track into two warm anomaly areas in the Midlatitude South Pacific, circulating the warmer water farther southeast. From there, the storm could continue to bring the warm water into Pine Island Bay, speeding up subglacial melting in the area.

Member Since: August 30, 2008 Posts: 8 Comments: 2835
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54372
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54372
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54372
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54372
We had some heavy rain last night from the same low pressure center that affected New Jersey. All the remaining snow on the ground melted.
Member Since: August 30, 2008 Posts: 8 Comments: 2835








getagameplan.org

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128661
Ului is definitely having issues right now. There is something very wrong with her core, looking at the latest microwave imagery, which shows the southeast eye-wall completely breaking down, and I would bet that the eye is now open since it clouded over on satellite imagery.

The cause for Ului's problems is what I discussed last night, severely restricted outflow to the east and northeast of the center by an upper low, which you can see in the satellite winds below. It's so bad that you can even see some of the high clouds moving towards Ului's center on the Water Vapor loop. What this pattern is doing is allowing the upper low to pump mid-level dry air into the cyclone, which is evident in the microwave image below as a massive dry slot in the southeast quadrant of the system. Wind shear is not the problem here. The Fiji Meteorological Center wants something to blame, but it's not wind shear. The upper anticyclone over Ului did not just vanish in 12 hours. Tomas has as much or more "shear" over it than Ului does, and Tomas looks better than Ului right now. The problem is the upper low punching dry air into Ului's core and wreaking havoc with her outflow on the east and northeast side. This is what is making her look asymmetric, which makes it tempting to blame it on shear, but it's not the shear that is making her look this way.



Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26654


AOI

AOI

AOI

AOI

Humor in Comments
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467. JRRP
-
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 5974
466. JRRP
Quoting Stormchaser2007:
We should see some of the first African waves in Mid to Late April.


Just like we did last year.

i agree
or the first week of may
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 5974
This TAO graphic shows that El Nino is still hanging tough.

Link
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14326
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I'm hoping for October though
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We should see some of the first African waves in Mid to Late April.


Just like we did last year.
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15921
461. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Fiji Meteorological Services
Tropical Disturbance Advisory #16
SEVERE TROPICAL CYCLONE TOMAS (14F)
0:00 AM FST March 15 2010
======================================

For Wallis and Futuna
======================
A GALE WARNING IS IN FORCE FOR FUTUNA.

A STRONG WIND WARNING REMAINS IN FORCE FOR WALLIS.

For Fiji and Rotuma
====================
A HURRICANE WARNING IS NOW IN FORCE FOR CIKOBIA ISLAND.

A STORM WARNING IS NOW IN FORCE FOR EASTERN HALF OF VANUA LEVU, AND NEARBY SMALLER ISLANDS

A GALE WARNING IS NOW IN FORCE FOR THE REST OF VANUA LEVU, TAVEUNI, AND NEARBY SMALLER ISLANDS.

A TROPICAL CYCLONE ALERT IS IN FORCE FOR THE REST OF FIJI.


At 12:00 PM UTC, Severe Tropical Cyclone Tomas (950 hPa) located at 14.3S 179.7W has 10 minute sustained winds of 80 knots. Position FAIR based on hourly GMS/GOES enhanced infrared radar imagery with animation. The cyclone is reported as moving south-southwest at 5 knots.

Hurricane Force Winds
=====================
30 NM from the center

Storm Force Winds
=================
60 NM from the center

Gale Force Winds
================
150 NM from the center

Cyclone continues to intensify. Primary bands wrapping tightly around banding eye. Cyclone lies over weakly sheared and diffluent environment. Sea surface temperature is 30C. System steered south southwest by north northeast deep layer mean flow.

Dvorak analysis based on 1.4 wrap on LOG10 spiral yielding DT 5.0

Dvorak Intensity: T5.0/5.0/D1.5/24HRS

Global models agree on southwest track and intensification.

Forecast and Intensity
========================
12 HRS: 15.4S 180.0E - 90 knots (CAT 4)
24 HRS: 16.4S 179.7E - 100 knots (CAT 4)
48 HRS: 19.3S 179.5E - 85 knots (CAT 3)

The Next Tropical Disturbance Advisory On TC TOMAS Will Be Issued At Around 20:30 PM UTC...
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 51 Comments: 45608
460. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Fiji Meteorological Services
Tropical Disturbance Advisory #12
SEVERE TROPICAL CYCLONE ULUI (13F)
0:00 AM FST March 15 2010
======================================

At 12:00 PM UTC, Severe Tropical Cyclone Ului (930 hPa) located at 12.7S 161.1E has 10 minute sustained winds of 115 knots. Position FAIR based on hourly GMS enhanced infrared radar/visible imagery with animation. The cyclone is reported as moving west at 7 knots.

Hurricane Force Winds
====================
40 NM from the center

Storm Force Winds
===================
60 NM from the center

Gale Force Winds
================
120 NM from the center in eastern semi-cirlce
150 NM from the center elsewhere

Overall organization remains good. Dry air entrainment and shear taking their toll. Shear around 15 knots. Upper outflow good in all sectors. Sea surface temperature is around 30C. Cyclone continues to be steered west by an east to southeast deep mean layer.

Dvorak analysis based on OW EYE and B surround, yielding DT 6.0

Dvorak Intensity: T6.0/6.5/D1.0/24HRS

Global models agree on a westerly track

Forecast and Intensity
========================
12 HRS: 12.8S 159.0E - 110 knots (CAT 5)
24 HRS: 13.0S 157.7E - 110 knots (CAT 5)
48 HRS: 13.8S 156.1E - 90 knots (CAT 4)

FINAL FROM FIJI METEOROLOGICAL SERVICES..

The Next Advisory On TC ULUI Will Be Issued By Tropical Cyclone Warning Center Brisbane At Around 19:00 PM UTC...
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 51 Comments: 45608
Quoting wunderkidcayman:
SO GUYS WHEN WILL WE HAVE OUR FIRST TROPICAL WAVE
If I were a gamblin' man I would say late May early June
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SO GUYS WHEN WILL WE HAVE OUR FIRST TROPICAL WAVE
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Good morning Skye and aren't you just a load of uplifting information this morniing....lol
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456. Skyepony (Mod)
Quoting doabarrelroll:


Taht is Bueaftiul


DOABAR :0)


That was like a little Sunday morning Satellite treat :)
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455. Skyepony (Mod)
The dynamic ENSO models are based off more than climo, they have current info ingested in them...they like to trip right off into a pretty extreme La Niña..

(anything below -0.5 is la nina)

Looking at the actual conditions shows I think more uncertainty in the forecast than the models let on to.. A force of extremes seems to be building.. Orange is a hot anomily, blue a cold anomily, the top is the surface of the Pacific along the equator, bottom the deep of the ocean, the right side is east end & left the west end. A new hotspot is rebuilding that has yet to surface while the cold is building in from the west.

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452. Skyepony (Mod)
Out there in the North Atlantic..
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Quoting msgambler:
Ahhh, I see. I have some friends that took a bus ove there this morning


Yes I will be with about 3000 from Mobile that come for the parade....

Taco :0)
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Quoting msgambler:
Morning Wunderkid, Stormchaser, taco, and all


MORNING
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Ahhh, I see. I have some friends that took a bus ove there this morning
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Quoting msgambler:
Morning Wunderkid, Stormchaser, taco, and all


Morning
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15921
Quoting msgambler:
Thought you lived in Metairie, LA........ We live near Dauphin Island


No I'm here for the St Paddy's Day Parade.... LOL
This is a 3hr Parade and over 100 floats

as for me I Live in West Mobile....
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Quoting taco2me61:

Hey Aussie,
I would make Love to her if it would help.....
It sure looks like thats what she needs anyway....

LOL

Msgambler What part of southern AL do you Live?
I live in Mobile myself.... :0)

Taco :0)
Thought you lived in Metairie, LA........ We live near Dauphin Island
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CFS model goes to Neutral ENSO by late May/early June timeframe.

Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14326
Quoting msgambler:
Why you always blamin' me? I'd give her a backrub if I knew it would help. I live on the Alabama Coast and I don't have a good feeling about this season

Hey Aussie,
I would make Love to her if it would help.....
It sure looks like thats what she needs anyway....

LOL

Msgambler What part of southern AL do you Live?
I live in Mobile myself.... :0)

Taco :0)
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440. Skyepony (Mod)
As I expected the NE got smacked..

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) - Utility crews pushed through fallen trees and windblown debris to reach downed power lines Sunday, working to restore electricity to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses as strong winds and heavy rain that wreaked havoc in parts of the Northeast pushed on into New England.

The storm, which battered parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Connecticut on Saturday with gusts of up to 70 mph, struck about two weeks after heavy snow and hurricane-force winds left more than a million customers in the Northeast in the dark. More than a half-million customers in the region lost electricity at the peak of Saturday's storm, and more than 485,000 were waiting for power to be restored Sunday morning.
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Quoting taco2me61:
Good morning Msgambler

We are having some kind of Beautiful
Weather here in Metairie LA, how about were you are?

Taco :0)
It's a liitle chilly here, like there I'm sure, but a beautiful day so far.
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Quoting AussieStorm:

Morning,
Yeah, what did you do to Miss Mother Nature????

Here ya go, Has mother nature ever been this mad with all these different events all at the same time? Interesting
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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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