Record snows hit New England; Brazilian floods kill 350; Brisbane underwater

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:16 PM GMT on January 13, 2011

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The Northeast U.S. is digging out today from the winter's third major snowstorm, and the nation's South continues to deal with travel disruptions caused by the nasty coasting of ice, snow and sleet the storm left behind early this week. Yesterday's Nor'easter has exited into Canada, and the storm is over for the U.S. It was a pretty average Nor'easter as far as intensity goes--the storm's central pressure bottomed out at 982 mb, and just the Massachusetts coast was subject to high winds that merited blizzard warnings. The storm did generate one hurricane-force wind gust--Provincetown airport on the tip of Cape Cod had sustained winds at 43 mph, gusting to 79 mph, at 6:35am EST yesterday, and a personal weather station at Humarock Beach in Scituate, southeast of Boston, recorded a wind gust of 64 mph at 5:51am EST yesterday.


Figure 1. A bit of work today needed before one can step out of the door in Southborough, Massachusetts! Image credit: wunderphotographer Megmdp.

But what was remarkable about the January Nor'easter of 2011 were its snow amounts. This rather ordinary-strength Nor'easter managed to assemble the perfect mix of conditions needed to transport moisture to a region of the storm highly favorable for heavy snow formation. Many heavy snow bands with snowfall rates up to 3 inches per hour formed over New England, with some of these bands intense enough to generate lightning and thunder. Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont all came within an inch of setting all-time state 24-hour snowfall records yesterday. North Haven, Connecticut received 29.5", falling just short of the 30.2" 24-hour snowfall record for the state, set at Fairfield in February 2006. Savoy, Massachusetts received 34.5", falling just short of that state's all-time 24-hour snowfall record, the 36" recorded at Milton in February 1997. Wilmington, Vermont got 36" in yesterday's storm, just missing the state record of 37", set at Peru in March 1984. The capital of Connecticut, Hartford, had its greatest snowstorm in history yesterday, with 24". The old record was 23.5", set in a February 1899 storm.

Some selected storm total snowfall amounts, taken from the latest NOAA storm summary:

New York City, NY 9.1"
Albany, NY 13.2"
Worcester, MA 21.1"
Boston, MA 14.6"
Augusta, ME 14.5"
Portland, ME 9.2"
Concord, NH 22"
Somerset, PA 15"
Philadelphia, PA 5.2"
Providence, RI 9.5"
Brattleboro, VT 19"
Elkin, WV 10"
Danbury, CT 17.9"
Wilmington, DE 4.3"

According to our weather historian, Christopher C. Burt, in his latest blog post titled, "Snowstorms in the South: A Historical Perspective", the 8.9" that fell on Huntsville, Alabama from this week's storm was that city's third heaviest snow on record. The post has a nice summary of the remarkable heavy snow storms that have hit the South in the past.


Figure 2. Flooding at São José do Vale do Rio Preto in Brazil photographed on Thursday, January 13, 2011.

Brazilian floods, landslides kill at least 350
The globe's parade of massive flooding disasters in recent months continued yesterday in Brazil, where heavy rains of up to 10 inches in 24 hours inundated the region about 60 miles north of Rio de Janeiro. At least 350 are dead and 50 people missing, and the death toll is expected to go much higher once rescuers reach remote villages that have been cut off from communications. Brazil suffers hundreds of deaths each year due to flooding and mudslides, but the past 12 months have been particularly devastating. Flooding and landslides near Rio in April last year killed 246 people and did about $13 billion in damage, and at least 85 people perished last January during a similar event.


Figure 3. A woman trapped on the roof of her car awaits rescue during the Toowoomba flash flood on Monday. Image credit: Wikipedia.

New floods ravage Australia's 3rd largest city
Flood waters swept today into Brisbane, Australia's 3rd largest city, inundating 14,400 homes and businesses, partially submerging another 17,200, and cutting power to 118,000, as the Brisbane River peaked at its highest level since 1974. Queensland Premier Anna Bligh, who has called the recent floods in Queensland the greatest natural disaster in their history, said, "What I'm seeing looks more like a war zone in some places. All I could see was their rooftops...underneath every single one of those rooftops is a horror story. We are facing a reconstruction effort of post-war proportions." Much of Brisbane's infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, including 55,000 miles of roads. The Port of Brisbane, one of Australia's busiest, has been closed because of debris, and the city's largest sports stadium is under several feet of water.

The search for bodies continues in Toowoomba, about 60 miles west of Brisbane, where freak rains of 6 inches in just 30 minutes triggered a flash flood that killed 12 and left 61 missing on Monday. The flood waters from the Toowoomba disaster poured into the Brisbane River, contributing to its rampage through Brisbane yesterday. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) reported that only scattered light rains less than 1/3" fell in the Brisbane area over the past 24 hours, and no further significant rains are forecast in the Brisbane area until Tuesday next week, so the worst of the flooding is now over for Queensland. According to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, the December - January floods in Queenland are the most significant flooding event in Australia since at least 1974. In 2010, 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. 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. The BOM notes, "Previous strong La Niña events, such as those of 1974 and 1955, have also been associated with widespread and severe flooding in eastern Australia. Sea surface temperatures off the Queensland coast in recent months have also been at or near record levels." The BOM's annual summary also reported, "Sea surface temperatures in the Australian region during 2010 were the warmest value on record for the Australian region. Individual high monthly sea surface temperature records were also set during 2010 in March, April, June, September, October, November and December. Along with favourable hemispheric circulation associated with the 2010 La Niña, very warm sea surface temperatures contributed to the record rainfall and very high humidity across eastern Australia during winter and spring." Beginning in December, the Queensland floods have killed at least 22, and damage estimates are now as high as $20 billion. Queensland has an area the size of Germany and France combined.

2010 tied for warmest year in Earth's history
Earth's warmest year in history occurred in 2010, NASA reported yesterday. The globe's temperature beat the previous record set in 2005 by just .01°C, so we should consider 2010 and 2005 tied for the warmest year on record. Reliable global temperature records go back to 1880. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) also announced yesterday that 2010 was tied with 2005 as the warmest year on record, with temperatures during 2010 1.12°F (0.62°C) above the 20th century average. I'll have a full blog post on the subject Friday morning.

Jeff Masters

storm car burried (slimfast)
on a lowell mass street 1/12/11 taken off hampshire street lowell mass our streets are buried in snow we have 24-36" of snow we had unsafe intersecting roads every where un safe driving also large buildings with flat roofs are unsafe many colapsed buildings
storm car burried
Brilliance..2 (suzi46)
a brilliant mid-Winter's day..blue skies and sunshine on the clear ice of the brooks creating wonderful images..
Brilliance..2
How Many Cars? (stoneygirl)
Can you tell how many cars are under all that? We had a whopping 2 plus FEET of snow today and the snow drifts were upwards of 3 and 4 feet. Gotta love winter.
How Many Cars?

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Every year in Siberia it gets that cold


Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Sheesh.

The site is viewed by younger Members Globally and they see that from members, and I draw my own conclusion.

Yup,time to disregard some.


Shrimps,,,ummmm.

Yup, 5pm CDT

Old Bay and more salt please


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129902
You make some of the most illogical and irrational posts on this blog.


Phew.... I thought that was me.....
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Quoting TomTaylor:


You make some of the most illogical and irrational posts on this blog.


Straight to the point sonny boy
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Hi all....

Are we still flogging the AGW horse? I thought we had a couple of interesting tropical cyclones in the Southern Hemisphere last night... how are they doing?

If we aren't going to talk about anything else but AGW, I may as well get a jump start on some work for tomorrow... lol
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I love these maps.... anybody can make up whatever they want. You actually gonna believe a bunch of stupid dots on a global map?
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Quoting MichaelSTL:


How deniers react to localized cold:



LOL

PS: Here is December 2010:



Though according to the same GISS data, the global average temperature dropped from +0.96C in November to +0.49C in December, a quite significant drop , and the largest month-to-month drop I can find since 1980 (not gonna look over the whole list right now).
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Spock was good at 3 Dimensional Chess if I recall.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129902
Quoting RitaEvac:
If there is no ice at the North pole......WE ALL ARE GONNA DIE!!!!!1


What was the point of that post?
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4358
Cyclone Vania is having major issues due to upwelled cold water behind her, caused by her nearly stalled movement over the last several days in the same area. Notice the lack of convection to the north (behind her direction of travel) due to the cold water, resulting in only half of a disorganized core.

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If there is no ice at the North pole......WE ALL ARE GONNA DIE!!!!!1
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It's kinda comical, poles are melting, arctic is warming, rising sea levels, polar bears gonna dissapear, but in the lower 48 people cant even leave the freaking house because of snow piled up 2 feet up the door and a skating rink in Georgia called freaking ice
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Quoting JFLORIDA:


Think about it.

If unreasonable and exclusionary tactics are allowed at the beginning of a discussion - the discussion is incidental. It will not be correct. Or the level of correctness in the result will be arbitrary.

If reasonable discussion is exclusively employed a result will be reached.

If it is reasonable civility will occur regardless. Simply because incivility aka argumentum ad hominem is an unreasonable argument methodology unless it is occurring within a pre framed context virtually non existent in scientific argument.

Its more of a set theory kind of thing.


If you're carrying on a reasonable discussion then you are already being civil. Period. Nothing about incivility in a discussion is ever reasonable.
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This snow pack will help cool the planet, and everybody will sing Koom bye yaaaa.
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That's it......I'M BURNING EVERYBODY AT THE STAKE! get in line damn it.
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Some people just argue to argue that is what this is. Nobody in here will ever change their mind on AGW. Some believe it some don't. One side bashes other's arguments the other side apparently just sits and laughs when posting.

But there will never be an agreement on this situation even when the world temperature is way way way below average and nobody can leave their homes because of the ice age going on. People just argue to argue.
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Quoting JFLORIDA:
Wheres that article atmo?
I posted a touch of logic yesterday. You couldn't handle it.

You don't remember yesterday? That's your problem.

But to go on complaining that no one is posting just what you couldn't handle 24 hours ago is a little sad.
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The Global Surface Temperature is Rising




Global average temperature is one of the most-cited indicators of global climate change, and shows an increase of approximately 1.4°F since the early 20th Century. The global surface temperature is based on air temperature data over land and sea-surface temperatures observed from ships, buoys and satellites. There is a clear long-term global warming trend, while each individual year does not always show a temperature increase relative to the previous year, and some years show greater changes than others. These year-to-year fluctuations in temperature are due to natural processes, such as the effects of El Ninos, La Ninas, and the eruption of large volcanoes. Notably, the 20 warmest years have all occurred since 1981, and the 10 warmest have all occurred in the past 12 years.




Global annual average temperature measured over land and oceans. Red bars indicate temperatures above and blue bars indicate temperatures below the 1901-2000 average temperature. The black line shows atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration in parts per million.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129902
The-Dunning-Kruger-effect-and-the-climate-debate


I knew it! GW is science fiction! I mean, seriously, even ManBearPig has more credibility than Freddy when it comes to GW!
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Quoting smartinwx:


I'm not deducing anything. I'm posting a graph.

YOU are inferring something.


Oh good, so you don't deny that CO2 has an effect on our temperature (causes it to increase), and that humans are adding to CO2 in our atmosphere? And that because of that, it is only simple logic that humans are adding to the current warming trend.

Glad I could convert you to the common sense side of things.

was it that hard? not at all, now run along and tell your friends.
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4358
Polaroids for Gaia.

U betcha.


Tinted with Bi-focals
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129902
Quoting smartinwx:


You mean the thermostat is broken?


Yea when need to get a repair man on that pronto! Just put a few sun blockers out in space that would cool the planet down. Wait with that logic and this supposed C02 emmisions rising then the whole theory the planet warms with more C02 would be thrown out the window.
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Quoting JFLORIDA:


I would worry FAR more about the lack of reason. Millions have been marched to their deaths in the most civil proceedings imaginable throughout history.

Civility flows from reason. Not the other way around.


I disagree. That relationship goes the other way. If one can be civil in scientific discussion, then he is able to have good, reasonable exchange of ideas. He opens himself up to different points of view and to understanding of things he may never have considered.

Also, never have I seen someone be first reasonable, and then become civil.

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Quoting JFLORIDA:


Apparently you can't read what has been written on the subject. Right - that isn't the issue.

Human population even around 100,000 years ago cant be compared to the population today.

The cycle argument is kinda ridiculous also considering the evolution of the modern atmosphere.



Who said it earlier all you people do is bash the other side's arguments and as of right now I'm in a total agreement with that as with your comment back.

Anything is ridiculous when it doesn't help your argument.
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Quoting HaloReachFan:
Apparently to the believers in AGW the Earth can't go through cycles it has to maintain an average temperature constantly.


You mean the thermostat is broken?
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Quoting TomTaylor:

You're missing my point:

CO2 does cause warming. I am aware that the earth's orbit around the sun is not the same every year and it does go in cycles. But that doesn't change the fact that CO2 has an effect on our planet's temperature. And your graph does nothing to disprove that. It only shows that there are other factors at play besides CO2 to affect our temperature on earth. You were trying to deduce that CO2 has nothing to do with temperatures. Which is absurd.


I'm not deducing anything. I'm posting a graph.

YOU are inferring something.
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tyvm...

LOL
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129902
Quoting Patrap:
Civility is a learned trait.


As is Humor and Wisdom.


Pass da tabasco,..

please.


(Passes it) LOL
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Civility is a learned trait.


As is Humor and Wisdom.


Pass da tabasco,..

please.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129902
I find the lack of civility in this blog disturbing.
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One of the best titles for a scientific paper has to be the Ig Nobel prize winning "Unskilled and unaware of it: How difficulties in recognizing one's own incompetence lead to inflated self-assessments". The paper compares people's skill levels to their own assessment of their abilities. In hindsight, the result seems self-evident. Unskilled people lack the skill to rate their own level of competence. This leads to the unfortunate result that unskilled people rate themselves higher than more competent people. The phenomenon is known as the Dunning-Kruger effect, named after the paper's authors, and is often seen in the climate debate. There are many with a cursory understanding who believe they're discovered fundamental flaws in climate science that have somehow been overlooked or ignored by climate scientists. Some take this a step further and believe they're being deceived." http://www.skepticalscience.com/The-Dunning-Kruger-effect-and-the-climate-debate.html
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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.

JeffMasters's Recent Photos

Lake Effort Snow Shower Over Windsor, Ontario
Sunset on Dunham Lake
Pictured Rocks Sunset
Sunset on Lake Huron