Snow, ice paralyze South; Nor'easter aims at New England; deadly floods in Australia

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:49 PM GMT on January 11, 2011

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Much of the nation's South remains paralyzed today by a major winter storm that left up to a foot of snow and dangerous ice accumulations in its wake. Six states have declared states of emergency, and travel is extremely hazardous in the affected region, including Atlanta, where at least five closures of major interstates occurred this morning due to severe icing. The storm began Sunday in northeast Texas and tracked eastward, bringing snow amounts as high as 7 - 8 inches to northeastern Texas and southern Arkansas, 9 - 11 inches to northern Mississippi, northern Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina, and southern Tennessee. As of 3am CST, the heaviest snow as reported in the NOAA Storm Summary occurred at Cashiers, North Carolina, 12.5 inches. The worst freezing rain was reported in central Georgia at Wrightsville, which received 1.5" of ice. Aiken, South Carolina received 1" of ice, and numerous locations in South Carolina, Central Georgia, and Central Alabama received over 1/2" of ice. Freezing rain amounts of 1/4" were also reported in northern Louisiana, central Mississippi, and western Arkansas. Dangerous travel conditions will persist across the affected region the rest of today, as temperatures will struggle to reach 40°.


Figure 1. Snow and ice at North Carolina's Charlotte airport caused travel delays yesterday, and thousands of flights were canceled Sunday and Monday across the Southeast U.S. due to the severe winter storm that hit the region. Image credit: wunderphotographer robb04047.

Major Nor'easter expected for New York City and Boston
Today's snow storm has pushed off the coast of North Carolina, and is expected to "bomb" into a classic Nor'easter off the coast of New England tonight through Wednesday. Up to a foot of snow is possible for New York City, Boston, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. The heaviest snow--up to 16 inches--will likely fall across central Massachusetts, eastern Connecticut, western Rhode Island, and Long Island. Today's Nor'easter will not be as intense as the December 26 blizzard, however. The winds from today's storm are expected to remain less than 35 mph, resulting in only minor coastal flooding and an absence of blizzard conditions (frequent wind gusts over 35 mph or sustained winds over 35 mph, plus visibility less than 1/4 mile for at least three consecutive hours.)

Deadly flash flood hits Australia
Flood-weary Queensland, Australia suffered a new flooding disaster yesterday when freak rains of six inches fell in just 30 minutes near Toowoomba. The resulting flash flood killed nine people and left 59 missing. The flood waters poured into the Brisbane River, causing it to overflow, and significant flooding of low-lying areas in Brisbane, Australia's third largest city with some 2 million people, is expected on Thursday. As I discussed last week, Australia had its wettest spring (September - November) since records began 111 years ago, with some sections of coastal Queensland receiving over 4 feet (1200 mm) of rain. Rainfall in Queensland and all of eastern Australia in December was the greatest on record, and the year 2010 was the rainiest year on record for Queensland. The ocean waters surrounding Australia were the warmest on record during 2010, and these exceptionally warm waters allowed much higher amounts of water vapor to evaporate into the atmosphere, helping fuel the heavy rains. The record warm ocean temperatures were due to a combination of global warming and the moderate to strong La Niña event that has been in place since July. Queensland typically has its rainiest years when La Niña events occur, due to the much warmer than average ocean temperatures that occur along the coast. Beginning in December, the Queensland floods have killed at least 19, and done $5 billion in damage. Queensland has an area the size of Germany and France combined.


Figure 2. Remarkable 5-minute YouTube video showing the sad fate of a row of parked cars when a nearby small stream experiences a flash flood, sweeping away dozens of the cars. A note to the wise: Two minutes into the video, we see a man enter the flash flood to save his car. He is successful, but his actions were extremely risky--most flash flood deaths occur when cars with people inside get swept away. I would not have attempted to save my car in that situation.

Jeff Masters

Snow on Poinsett Highway in Greenville (DevLady)
Snow on Poinsett Highway in Greenville
Sunny, warm South Carolina? Not! (kemnken)
Sunny, warm South Carolina?
Sunny, warm South Carolina? Not!
Icicles for Treats (dixiedaughter)
Icicles for Treats

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Although...

Quoting MichaelSTL:
Maybe I should just put Levi on ignore because he is obviously one of those eggheaded denialists who think that science fiction trumps real science.

By the way, imagine if gravity, which is a theory like global warming, ceased to exist at this moment - we'd all fly off into space at up to 1,000 mph (the rotational speed of the Earth at the equator*)!

*Of course, Levi thinks that the Earth is flat and the moon landing was the biggest hoax ever, behind global warming. And the Sun orbits the Earth.

Oh, and Dr, Masters ought to moderate comments - he doesn't have to put up with the cr@p that goes on. Including people threatening him (probably including death threats).


I gave you more credit than this since your return, STL. We can disagree, but civility is a requisite.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting reedzone:


Maybe Levi's a Christian and just pointing out that man does not control our Climate.


Which is a slippery slope, indeed. God also says to be good stewards of the Earth.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Their is a song called dissapointed by Eletric.I don't think our current storm riding alond the east coast would mind me singing it for him.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 16971
253. DDR
Sorry for Australia
Everyone knows what they are going through,no one knows how bad we had it here on this tiny island called Trinidad.
An abundance of showers to my east,could be a repeat of last week's floods tomorrow.Dam this La nina
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
"Glad to see y'all are passionate about the truth--just keep it respectful." - Dr. Jeff Masters (comment #203)

Anyway, a suggestion: ¿ǝǝɹbɐ noʎ ʇ,upןnoʍ ˙sɹǝqɯǝɯ uɐıןɐɹʇsnɐ ɹno ɟo ʇıɟǝuǝq ǝɥʇ ɹoɟ sıɥʇ op ןןɐ pןnoɥs ǝʍ 'ɹǝpun uʍop ɹǝɥʇɐǝʍ ssnɔsıp oʇ buıob ǝɹ,ǝʍ ɟI
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13528
250. PalmBeachWeather
10:52 PM GMT on January 11, 2011
Quoting NRAamy:
is this pick on Michael day? come on, you guys need to lighten up.....I haven't seen anyone post anything cringe worthy on here in quite some time....

all together now.... OHM..........
>
Let's just use the "nose" as an example.If it needs to be picked.We will do it
Member Since: October 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 5863
248. NRAamy
10:46 PM GMT on January 11, 2011
is this pick on Michael day? come on, you guys need to lighten up.....I haven't seen anyone post anything cringe worthy on here in quite some time....

all together now.... OHM..........
Member Since: January 24, 2007 Posts: 317 Comments: 31946
244. PalmBeachWeather
10:37 PM GMT on January 11, 2011
I messed up the quote, but I hope you all get the point
Member Since: October 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 5863
243. PalmBeachWeather
10:36 PM GMT on January 11, 2011
Quoting MichaelSTL:
Maybe I should just put Levi on ignore because he is obviously one of those eggheaded denialists who think that science fiction trumps real science.

By the way, imagine if gravity, which is a theory like global warming, ceased to exist at this moment - we'd all fly off into space at up to 1,000 mph (the rotational speed of the Earth at the equator*)!

*Of course, Levi thinks that the Earth is flat and the moon landing was the biggest hoax ever, behind global warming. And the Sun orbits the Earth.

Oh, and Dr, Masters ought to moderate comments - he doesn't have to put up with the cr@p that goes on. Including people threatening him (probably including death threats).


Wondering why I have just lowered MichaelSTL onto my least favorite people list....What the hell was that all about



Member Since: October 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 5863
242. lickitysplit
10:34 PM GMT on January 11, 2011
Quoting Inyo:
Climate change is important but we shouldn't forget the other huge reason we are seeing more and more floods like this - degradation and horrible management of watersheds. See here for more info


Very true.
Member Since: May 17, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 631
240. barbamz
10:31 PM GMT on January 11, 2011
People, pay attention to what's going to happen in Brisbane/Australia the next hours and days. Extreme flooding, 40.000 houses and appartements will be damaged. Here is a good animation of what the situation will be in case of extreme flooding above 7 m
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKvYHUkuuLc&feature=related
And here is a report containing a good map of the whole region.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-12158608
Member Since: October 25, 2008 Posts: 54 Comments: 5931
239. DontAnnoyMe
10:28 PM GMT on January 11, 2011
Quoting LoveStormsatNight:
I don't think it was the NWS wanting to make a point. I think it's just an error with their automated forecast writeups and graphics.


Could be, we'll see. I sent an inquiry to the site webmaster. There was no mention of the word 'tropical' in the 3 most recent AFDs.
Member Since: September 21, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3690
237. Neapolitan
10:21 PM GMT on January 11, 2011
Upon reading the article to which Dr. Masters linked, I was reminded again of this little "exchange" which I'd run across a couple of weeks ago:

A brief history of knowledge about Antarctic temperatures

Early 20th Century:

Scott: It’s cold here.
The media: Scott is a hero!
Scott: It’s really really cold here.
The media: Scott is a hero!
Amundsen: It’s not that cold.
The media: Scott is a hero. Oh, and Amundsen.
Public: Shackleton is a hero, but please shut up, there’s a war on.

Mid 20th Century:

Geophizzicists: Let’s find out just how cold it is.
Media: Scott is a hero!
Public: yawn…

Late 20th Century:

Scientists: It’s colder in some place than others.
Media: Antarctica is cooling.
Scientists: It’s cooling at the South Pole, but warming very fast on the Peninsula.
Media: Antarctica is cooling, but warming faster than anywhere else on earth.
Public: Huh…?

2000
Thompson and Solomon: Most of Antarctica is cooling in summer, but it is warming on the Peninsula. We think it has to do with the ozone hole.
Media: Because of ozone, Antarctica is warming faster than anywhere else on earth and we are all going to die.
Public: Huh…?

Early 21st Century:

2006
Scientists: The troposphere over Antarctica is warming significantly in winter.
Media: Even though that paper was published in Science, our readers don’t know what the troposphere is. Neither do we. Next?

2007
Scientists: The troposphere over Antarctica is warming significantly in winter and spring, especially over West Antarctica.
Media: That paper wasn’t published in Nature, so we’re not very interested.

2009
Scientists: Antarctica is cooling in fall — not summer — in some places, but warming, especially in winter and spring, especially in West Antarctica.
Media: Antarctica stops cooling! Conservative or liberal, we are ALL going to die.
Steve McIntyre: The “team” made up the data again. I don’t know what Antarctica is doing, but I think it is probably cooling.
Media: Antarctica starts cooling again, global warming is a fraud.

2010
Ryan O’Donnell: Our paper in the Journal of Climate shows a somewhat better way to look at the same data. Antarctica is warming a bit more in summer, and a bit less in winter in the Ross Sea region. In fall it is cooling a bit more too, and so the overall trends are smaller. Still, West Antarctica is definitely warming significantly, as Steig et al. found. That’s interesting.
Eric Steig: Nice paper Ryan. Thanks for sending along a pre-print.
Steve McIntyre: Hey, we got published in the Journal of Climate! Another paper showing that the “team” made up the data again! (Sotto voce): Ryan says it is warming a bit more in summer, and a bit less in winter in the Ross Sea region. In fall it is cooling a bit more. Otherwise we get the same results, though the magnitude of the trends is smaller. But West Antarctica is still warming significantly. But I really don’t care. The peer review process is broken, which is why.. umm…our paper was published in the leading climate journal.
Liberal Media: That paper wasn’t published in Nature, so we’re not very interested.
Conservative Media: Antarctica is cooling. Global warming is a fraud.
Public: zzzZZZzzz

-----------------------------

Awesome. Simply awesome.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13528
236. calusakat
10:17 PM GMT on January 11, 2011
Quoting LoveStormsatNight:
I don't think it was the NWS wanting to make a point. I think it's just an error with their automated forecast writeups and graphics.


Yeah thats the ticket. Yessireee bob.

Wink, wink, nudge, nudge, say no more, say no more.

Re-read the last sentence in post # 234


Member Since: October 10, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 716
234. calusakat
10:14 PM GMT on January 11, 2011
Quoting DontAnnoyMe:


My take is that they wanted to make a point by using "tropical storm conditions" because it's not quite bad enough to be called "blizzard conditions". Note also that a high wind warning was issued.


Doesn't tropical suggest a certain temperature range?

Does that mean all rain before, during or after, a snow storm is tropical?



Member Since: October 10, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 716
233. DontAnnoyMe
10:13 PM GMT on January 11, 2011
Quoting calusakat:


It does seem to suggest a mindset though, among those reporting the weather.




My take is that they wanted to make a point by using "tropical storm conditions" because it's not quite bad enough to be called "blizzard conditions". Note also that a high wind warning was issued.
Member Since: September 21, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3690
232. calusakat
10:10 PM GMT on January 11, 2011
Quoting LoveStormsatNight:
NASA Calls '2012' Most Flawed Sci-Fi Film Ever



Hmmmm. Science Fiction....Fiction means it isn't true, right?

Since when did NASA become a movie critic?

They need to stay with space exploration and out of pretending to be movie critics.


Member Since: October 10, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 716
231. calusakat
10:06 PM GMT on January 11, 2011
Quoting LoveStormsatNight:
No, it's interpreting data using mathematical rules. It's like saying data is 'altered' by using data points to create a graph. Or a regression line.


Wow!!!

Can I have one of those dictionary's you are using?

Change the truth any time you like and expect people believe you, hook line and sinker.



Member Since: October 10, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 716
229. Skyepony (Mod)
10:03 PM GMT on January 11, 2011
Can ya'll get in the chat room? Can't get it to connect to the server or something.


Quoting LoveStormsatNight:
NASA Calls '2012' Most Flawed Sci-Fi Film Ever


About time someone handed out this award..
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 162 Comments: 37829
227. calusakat
9:55 PM GMT on January 11, 2011
Quoting Neapolitan:

No; it's called "scientific honesty". You will run across a lot of it on sites run by climate scientists. On sites run by Spencer and Watts, not so much... ;-)


Oh, so it is altered data.

That is what I thought.

Funny isn't it...how altered data can be described as scientific honesty.

That makes those types of graphs little more than 'beta demonstrations', useless until the data is real and unaltered.



Member Since: October 10, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 716
225. Neapolitan
9:54 PM GMT on January 11, 2011
Quoting calusakat:


Did you notice the disclaimer at the top?

"using elimination of outliers and homogeneity adjustment"

Isn't that the same as altered?

No; it's called "scientific honesty". You will run across a lot of it on sites run by climate scientists. On sites run by Spencer and Watts, not so much... ;-)
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13528
224. calusakat
9:51 PM GMT on January 11, 2011
Quoting ScottLincoln:


Baseless, regurgitated, and often-repeated nonsense. As simple as that.


I agree 100%

AGW is all of that -Baseless, regurgitated, and often-repeated nonsense.

The good news is that people are slowly but surely catching on to the AGW fraud.

At long last.


Member Since: October 10, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 716
223. calusakat
9:49 PM GMT on January 11, 2011
Quoting LoveStormsatNight:
If a tropical storm hitting Nantucket on Wednesday in the middle of January isn't proof of global warming, I don't know what is.

Just kidding, of course.


It does seem to suggest a mindset though, among those reporting the weather.


Member Since: October 10, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 716
222. calusakat
9:47 PM GMT on January 11, 2011
Quoting Levi32:


Certainly. You can either get it at the GISS here or you can also get it here



Did you notice the disclaimer at the top?

"using elimination of outliers and homogeneity adjustment"

Isn't that the same as altered?




Member Since: October 10, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 716
220. Inyo
9:35 PM GMT on January 11, 2011
Climate change is important but we shouldn't forget the other huge reason we are seeing more and more floods like this - degradation and horrible management of watersheds. See here for more info
Member Since: September 3, 2002 Posts: 42 Comments: 873
218. Neapolitan
9:33 PM GMT on January 11, 2011
Quoting Ossqss:
http://www.drroyspencer.com/2010/12/dessler-and-spencer-debate-cloud-feedback/

Interesting. You should read a few of the outstanding papers linked to in the article to which Dr. Masters linked in his comment a short while ago (and which had this to say: "Roy Spencer of the University of Alabama, Huntsville, whose blog is his main public face these days, along with the occasional news conference organized by foes of restrictions on greenhouse gases.") This one in particular: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/12/feedback-on-cloud-feedback/. I think you'll find it interesting.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13528
217. ChillinInTheKeys
9:31 PM GMT on January 11, 2011
Quoting Neapolitan:

Works for me--so long as you don't mind if I drink mine with a chaser. Preferably something stronger than Irish coffee... ;-)


You obviously aren't adding quite as much Jameson as I Nea.
Member Since: August 18, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 681
216. Patrap
9:24 PM GMT on January 11, 2011
Life will tend to do that...


Be patient,,calamity will find you one day.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 424 Comments: 128269
215. washingtonian115
9:23 PM GMT on January 11, 2011
Another dissapointent....
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 16971
214. Patrap
9:22 PM GMT on January 11, 2011
I see GORT fixed the Slidell,radar

Cool...
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 424 Comments: 128269
213. ScottLincoln
9:20 PM GMT on January 11, 2011
Quoting Xyrus2000:
Thanks for posting the data you referenced.

Pulling in that exact file you mentioned into excel and plotting the graphs doesn't seem to reproduce the graph you posted. It shows a clear uptrend from 1979 to present, not a flat line.


I did the same thing, and got a similar result. He may have pointed to the wrong file, as his graphs show a higher temporal resolution than the link text file does. I'd like to see what paper he got the graph from, or what files/steps he used to create the data as well. If NASA's own publicly-available GISS dataset showed a different trend than their produced graphics, then it certainly would raise questions.
Member Since: September 28, 2002 Posts: 5 Comments: 3192
212. Some1Has2BtheRookie
9:17 PM GMT on January 11, 2011
Quoting JeffMasters:
Regarding Antarctic temperatures, the latest revision of the historical data is interesting:

http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/12/30/on-warming-antarctica-clouds-and-peer-r eview/

Glad to see y'all are passionate about the truth--just keep it respectful, we are all doing the best we can!

Jeff Masters


Great to see you, Dr. Masters. Thank you for all your updates.
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 4737
211. Levi32
9:06 PM GMT on January 11, 2011
Quoting Xyrus2000:


I'm not sure what data sets you're using Levi, but the ones available here from GISS don't seem to indicate that at all. Southern hemisphere surface temps are showing a definitive upward trend.

Do you have a reference to the specific data set you're using? There's a lot of data files on the GISS site and their FTP servers.


Refer to post #186. The Southern hemisphere as a whole is a very different data set than just 64S southward to the pole.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26647
210. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
9:03 PM GMT on January 11, 2011
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 50 Comments: 45301
209. Xyrus2000
9:02 PM GMT on January 11, 2011
Thanks for posting the data you referenced.

Pulling in that exact file you mentioned into excel and plotting the graphs doesn't seem to reproduce the graph you posted. It shows a clear uptrend from 1979 to present, not a flat line. The northern hemisphere has a stronger upward trend than the southern as expected.

In addition, plotting the whole set from 1880 to present shows significant upward trends in the northern and southern hemispheres, with the northern hemisphere once again leading the way.(In fact, my graphs are the same as theirs, which shows significant upward trends.)

The other site you linked to has numerous output products available, some available and some not. Most of the time, they link back to the source sites. Some sites had graphs and others did not. Regardless, the ones that did have graphs show the same thing: upward trends in both the northern and southern hemispheres, with the southern hemisphere lagging.

The flat graph you posted is in contradiction with what's on GISS's site. In addition, this is easily verified by downloading the data from the GISS site and pulling it in to Excel or OpenOffice.

Was there any other steps involved in producing the graph you posted earlier? Perhaps some sort of adjustment algorithm taking into account other data? Following the instructions on GISS's site and the data file you mentioned does not seem to produce that graph.
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208. reedzone
9:00 PM GMT on January 11, 2011
Interesting new update from Henry, may not be a big storm for NYC, still for Long Island though...

"I think the latest WRF has picked up on the stronger Ohio Valley Storm. Implications, the coastal gets shoved east and develops late in the game for NJ and NYC. Still a big storm for New England."
Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7387

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About

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