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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Quoting MichaelSTL:


Right, so a century of warming is going to be erased (by the way, satellite temperatures also went negative in 2008, but they were still positive at the surface - plus UAH now uses 1981-2010, which is a lot warmer than the 1951-1980 period that GISS uses, so their anomalies are much lower):



Yes, they said the EXACT same thing in 2008!

Twelve-month long drop in world temperatures wipes out a century of warming

Some reality:

Keep those PJs on: a La Niña cannot erase decades of warming

PS: see here for the "frog" reference


Flattering.

Obviously cooling from one La Nina won't just continue down a slope forever. La Ninas naturally flip back to El Ninos every time. What will be interesting is to see if we bottom out as low or lower than 2008, which bottomed out as low as the previous La Nina in 1999-2001.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
227. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Fiji Meteorological Services
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #16
TROPICAL CYCLONE VANIA (03F)
6:00 AM FST January 14 2011
=====================================

At 18:00 PM UTC, Tropical Cyclone Vania, Category Two(978 hPa) located at 21.1S 167.7E has 10 minute sustained winds of 50 knots and is reported as moving south southwest at 4 knots. Position FAIR based on multispectral infrared/enhanced infrared radar imagery with animation and peripheral surface observations.

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

Gale Force Winds
=================
210 NM from the center in the sector from north through east to southwest

within 150 NM elsewhere

Additional Information
=======================

Overall organization decreased slightly in the past 24 hours. Outflow good to east and south but restricted elsewhere. Cyclone lies under a 250 HPA diffluent region with moderate shear. CIMSS indicates increasing shear along forecast track. Sea surface temperature is around 29C. System currently steered by a weak northerly deep layer mean regime.

Dvorak assessment based on 0.90 wrap yielding DT=3.5, MET=3.5, PT=3.5. Final Dvorak T number based on DT.

Dvorak Intensity: T3.5/3.5/S0.0/24HRS.

Most global models eventually move the cyclone south.

Forecast and Intensity:
========================
12 HRS: 22.0S 167.6E - 50 knots (CAT 2)
24 HRS: 23.5S 168.0E - 50 knots (CAT 2)
48 HRS: 27.7S 167.9E - 35 knots (CAT 1)

The next tropical cyclone advisory from Fiji Meteorological Services will be issued at around 2:00 AM UTC..
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225. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Earthquake Information (Earthquake Information)
Issued at 01:37 JST 14 Jan 2011

Occurred at (JST) Latitude
(degree) Longitude
(degree) Depth Magnitude Region Name
01:17 JST 14 Jan 2011 20.7S 168.7E 7.3 Southern Pacific Ocean

--
5 hours ago near Vanuatu and New Caledonia.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
MichaelSTL, how is Levi a "frog?" I don't understand the need for these names. He simply stated that there is a chance for most of the year to be below average, which is a very justifiable statement, since in December 2010, the tropics ran below the average and the rest of the globe still has to catch up.
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Quoting Cochise111:
If the earth is positively warming, how does one account for the emails purloined from Hadley where the emailers are lamenting their inability to account for the lack of global warming?
http://motls.blogspot.com/2011/01/kevin-trenberths-weird-opinions-about.html

Oh, it looks like you're about 18 months behind the times; the whole manufactured "Climategate" thing has been proven to be nothing more than a desperate witch-hunt by the contrarian community. You should catch up.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13462
Asteroid, about quarter mile wide just slammed near Rio De Janero!!!






Sarcasm Flag: ON
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Quoting McBill:


So the temperature is the tropics is -356 what? Is that -365 degrees Celsius? I'm not seeing any units here. The plots you showed were of temperature anomalies but no reference was specified.



.001C
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Quoting JFLORIDA:
This is wasting my time - ill discus global trends in CLIMATE after they are verified.

Thats still something that cant be sourced now as complete. I asked for several sources on stated conclusions.

Do you think anyone with a degree of intellect would come to this site to read parroted political conspiracy?

Do you guys think everyone lurking is just not speaking up because they are not as smart as you?

No. Im wasting my time in here now. Ill wait till (like the deniers like to parrot but dont seem to grasp ) I have a significant trend and more than one source of data.
.Lol.............. I like your posts...This one sounds like the proverbial disgruntled employee....:)...I do understand where you are coming from.
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Quoting JFLORIDA:


The data you sourced isnt even labeled. Thats defeats the whole concept of sourcing. You understand that dont you?



Take it up with NASA. Email them asking for labels on every page. The format is the same as in the README file, as they intended. Ask them.
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Quoting JFLORIDA:
yea that look very suspicious levi. You didnt make that graph I think.


Lol. Ok.

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Quoting JFLORIDA:
yea that look very suspicious levi. You didnt make that graph I think.


But you didn't even attempt to verify it.
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Quoting McBill:


Levi - How do we get from this:

"2010 365 12052 LT 84 48 120 -365"

to the plots that you showed. It would be nice if you linked to something that at least had the columns labelled.



Left: Global. 2nd from Left: Northern Hemisphere. 2nd from Right: Southern Hemisphere. Right: Tropics.

That is their format
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Quoting MichaelSTL:
Warmer than 2008, the last La Nina (and certainly at the minimum for now):



Also warmer than 2008 (both from here):



Despite this:

Strongest La Nina ever: expert

A LEADING weather expert has labelled the conditions experienced across Queensland as possibly the strongest ever La Niña pattern since records began in the late 1800s.



But the troposphere still has a ways to fall to catch up, especially if this La Nina persists through the summer, unlike the 2008 La Nina. We'll see.
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Quoting Levi32:


Considering most of 2011 may end up running below normal globally, it will be interesting to see if he continues to draw attention to it monthly.
My thoughts exactly.
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Quoting SouthDadeFish:
MichaelSTL, I assumed that meant just the 2010 annual summary. Perhaps he will mention it then though.


Considering most of 2011 may end up running below normal globally, it will be interesting to see if he continues to draw attention to it monthly.
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MichaelSTL, I assumed that meant just the 2010 annual summary. Perhaps he will mention it then though.
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Quoting Levi32:


Well he didn't put out a post on November temperatures until December 24th.
Oh ok thanks. I find it impressive how much ENSO conditions can affect global temps. It makes sense and all, just very impressed to see such a shift recently.
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Quoting JFLORIDA:


Any generated climate trend graph from a single source that isnt verified i question. You have been wrong before. (as probably everyone is at sometime) I dont know the specifics of that data.

Still its not really what you are implying it is.


Again, I say to you to plug it into a spreadsheet yourself if you have doubts. There is no other way for me to confirm my graph unless you're willing to do the work and confirm it yourself.

And, an unverified source certainly is not what NASA is.
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Quoting SouthDadeFish:
?????? He put the actual data into a program that made the graph itself. He didn't just draw random lines and say its the real graph. All he is doing is encouraging you to verify it yourself if you don't believe him.

And anyways, why didn't Dr. Masters mention a discussion of December 2010 temperatures, or did he already do that? He usually gives a monthly summary once the data is out.


Well he didn't put out a post on November temperatures until December 24th.
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If the earth is positively warming, how does one account for the emails purloined from Hadley where the emailers are lamenting their inability to account for the lack of global warming?
http://motls.blogspot.com/2011/01/kevin-trenberths-weird-opinions-about.html
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Quoting JFLORIDA:


from an individual unconfirmed source? Dont you think you should say that.
?????? He put the actual data into a program that made the graph itself. He didn't just draw random lines and say its the real graph. All he is doing is encouraging you to verify it yourself if you don't believe him.

And anyways, why didn't Dr. Masters mention a discussion of December 2010 temperatures, or did he already do that? He usually gives a monthly summary once the data is out.
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Quoting JFLORIDA:


from an individual unconfirmed source? Dont you think you should say that.


So you are questioning the data from NASA's server. That makes sense.
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I didn't name names.... it was a general statement.... could be applied to anyone.... no apology necessary....
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Quoting NRAamy:
Groth.... I'm eagerly awaiting the storm with my rubbey ducky life preserver..... know any vikings in my area that could rescue me?


Know a number of Vikings there. All willing to help you. We were pretty good with ships once.
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Quoting LoveStormsatNight:
Not true Amy---despicable. You owe me an apology.
apology for what
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..I saw that on the Intergalactic FOX channel..

LOL
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Quoting LoveStormsatNight:
What evidence do you have for this 'scam' you speak of? Slandering the scientific community is not cool.



There are books out there I could list them or find a list of them and link them in here for you or I could just not do that and we wouldn't have to listen to the bashfest it would bring.

I didn't slander the scientific community. Just the ones in the pockets of the government about AGW. Just as RitaEvac said it's called job security. In the tough times we are in today with green jobs actually diminishing the amount of jobs out there one might be more inclined to keep their job by "bending" the truth. Don't tell me nobody in high power or a scientist has never lied before.
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Quoting JFLORIDA:


No that was the data feed. Post the confirmed graphical data for the picture you used.


What is that supposed to mean. I created the graph from the data. If you want to confirm it, plug it into a spreadsheet yourself.
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Groth.... I'm eagerly awaiting the storm with my rubbey ducky life preserver..... know any vikings in my area that could rescue me?
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..The Mayans are taking names and notes.
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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.