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 aquak9:
(bangs head on keyboard, sticks straws in ears)

Oh, don't do that; save those straws for the Long Island Iced Tea... ;-)
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13508
And why in the hell is it the north pole and never the south pole....maybe because there's too much ice down there so we don't want to talk about that.
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9628
Quoting RitaEvac:
Average folks don't go to the Arctic nor does our politicians, so scientists make up charts and graphs and numbers and say whatever they want, because it's their word against the rest of us who don't, nor will ever go there.%uFFFD So we have to believe them right? If they can persuade us, the governments will throw money to research and whatever else.%uFFFD

This equates to Job Security....and they'll be invested in green energy and tell us to go green and they'll invent how it works and everything else, and then they will try to run the show.%uFFFD It's a big club folks...and we aint in it.

The same can be said of many things, no? I've never gone to the moon, yet I believe what science tells me is there. I've never been to the bottom of the ocean, yet I believe science where that goes. Heck, I've never been inside an internal combustion engine either, so I have to take the word of scientists about what's going on there. And I've never looked inside my chest cavity, but I think I'd believe what a thoracic surgeon told me about it.

At any rate, the big money is in Big Energy. Think how much more "job security" a good half of those AGW-believing climate scientists would have if they would only stop lying about global warming and go to work for ExxonMobil. Dumb money-grubbing scientists...

:-\
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13508
Quoting MichaelSTL:


I wonder what you will say when this happens (according to the second ice volume graph I posted above, September ice volume reaches zero in 2014):



Of course, you will declare that it is all made up - even if you were forcibly made to see it in person (probably would claim that you were drugged and put into a virtual reality machine - hey, they did the same thing with Apollo!).


rightttt... ice free in 3 years that makes sense... oh wait... no it doesnt
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Ice will exist in 2014 pal.
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9628
Hell if Enron could do it, why couldn't scientists in the arctic!!
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9628
(bangs head on keyboard, sticks straws in ears)
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Quoting RitaEvac:
Average folks don't go to the Arctic nor does our politicians, so scientists make up charts and graphs and numbers and say whatever they want, because it's their word against the rest of us who don't, nor will ever go there.  So we have to believe them right? If they can persuade us, the governments will throw money to research and whatever else. 

This equates to Job Security....and they'll be invested in green energy and tell us to go green and they'll invent how it works and everything else, and then they will try to run the show.  It's a big club folks...and we aint in it.


I can use Photoshop pretty easily so I'm sure these scientist's could use it too.
Member Since: September 15, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 563
Quoting sirmaelstrom:
№ 32

Quoting Neapolitan:"
Again, historical means have nothing to do with record highs or lows; such records are absolutes. (That is, absolutes from when records were first kept.) You state you realize they are absolutes--but then you go on to again talk about them being deviations from average. But, again, averages and means and anomalies have nothing to do with these records in this context."


Again...I don't know how better to explain it. You seriously don't think that simply having current global temperatures being above the historical average makes it more likely that record highs will be set as opposed to record lows, regardless of the current trend?

Maybe someone else can explain it better. I'm willing to agree to disagree at this point, but rest assured that I will bring it up again the next time the record high/low graphic and/or data is posted.

Okay, one final try. ;-)

You asked, "You seriously don't think that simply having current global temperatures being above the historical average makes it more likely that record highs will be set as opposed to record lows, regardless of the current trend?"

The opposite, actually; if we were discussing anomalies, record highs outnumbering record lows would drive up the historical average, making it less likely that we'd see anomalous highs. But we're not talking about averages. We're discussing records, where the only reference point is the previous record.

Look at it this way: when an Olympic runner sets a record for, say, the 100m, that's a record regardless of how much he beat the average 100m time by--and his beating that average is certainly not going to make it more likely he or another runner will set another record. ;-)
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13508
Average folks don't go to the Arctic nor does our politicians, so scientists make up charts and graphs and numbers and say whatever they want, because it's their word against the rest of us who don't, nor will ever go there.  So we have to believe them right? If they can persuade us, the governments will throw money to research and whatever else. 

This equates to Job Security....and they'll be invested in green energy and tell us to go green and they'll invent how it works and everything else, and then they will try to run the show.  It's a big club folks...and we aint in it.
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9628
Quoting smartinwx:


Not if you're a GW advocate.

...or if you know what the term "on record" means.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13508
Quoting RitaEvac:
Scientists making things up in the arctic, if they say it's melting so much it will fund them to have careers their entire life time.  Called job security.


Yep.
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Quoting HaloReachFan:
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.


Shouldn't this say since records started being kept in 1875?


Not if you're a GW advocate.
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Quoting Jax82:
The Earth = 4,540,000,000 +/- years old

Accurate record keeping = 100 +/- years old



IF even 100, I'd bet half of the world's reporting stations didn't exist in 1969.
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We in the Panhandle of Florida might have had our last chance for snow this last time around. All indications that the end of Jan into Feb is going to usher in a typical La Nina pattern into a mild winter....bollocks....sigh:(
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LOL!! Amy...
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Scientists making things up in the arctic, if they say it's melting so much it will fund them to have careers their entire life time.  Called job security.
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9628
Every winter storm, of course, brings the same stale jokes about Al Gore and ManBearBig

wrong..... Al Gore is stale.... not the jokes....

Member Since: January 24, 2007 Posts: 317 Comments: 31946

Quoting JFLORIDA:


Really? I would never expect the weather to behave exactly like inside my house's thermostat.

lol
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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.


Shouldn't this say since records started being kept in 1875?
Member Since: September 15, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 563
Quoting CybrTeddy:
Does any else find it unusual that 3 out of the 5 top active hurricane seasons have happened in the last 15 years? (1995, 2005 and 2010)
Latest available research says that AGW would lead to fewer storms...
But, given what you point out, that's contrary to reality of late.
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The Earth = 4,540,000,000 +/- years old

Accurate record keeping = 100 +/- years old

Member Since: September 2, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 1261
Quoting JFLORIDA:
As a matter of fact we did the whole "end of global warming" and "global cooling" thing last year too. Thats all absurd. 2010 was a warming disaster.

Yes, we did, and yes, it was. I mentioned yesterday that I spent some time doing a pretty deep web search of contrarian trends, and one thing that really sticks out is the number of "predictions" every winter that the planet has stopped warming and might even be in the preliminary phases of cooling. Every winter storm, of course, brings the same stale jokes about Al Gore and ManBearBig and how climate scientists should be forced to come and shovel six inches of "climate change" out of someone's driveway. (Har-dee-har-har!) But the fact is, every year contrarians post new proclamations vowing that the preceding year was the last warm one, and that cooling would henceforth be underway, and that talk of GW will therefore vanish. The sad thing is, also as I stated yesterday, this type of wishful thinking will likely go on forever. No matter how warm the planet gets, there will always be people more willing to put their faith in what a small handful of discredited and biased quacks predict than in what actual climate scientists say. Oh, well; we can't force them. We can just keep trying to educate by any means necessary...
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13508
I dont understand all the arguments about global warming,all the data, the graphs. I understand this fact. It gets cold in the winter and hot in the summer at my house,when it stays warm all year long,then we have something to worry about!
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Quoting aquak9:
keeper, what's up with the seismos? are they like 30 minutes behind?


or alfabob or StL or anyone who's familiar with the seismos
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Quoting alfabob:


Hopefully, I'm sure hurricane season will make up for it though. 2010 was full of troughs and upper level lows which were most likely related to the melting Arctic ice. Without these, there would have been a drastically different outcome. Even now the ice is beginning to decrease and the freeze season should usually last until mid-April (averaged from 1979 - 2009 volume data).



Its already melting? Where did you get that information? The melt season will break records if thats the case.
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 27 Comments: 267
keeper, what's up with the seismos? are they like 30 minutes behind?
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Let the globe warm up, it sustains life better, and makes for colder winters with more snow....


Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9628
Quoting alfabob:
Arctic air mass spinning the wrong way, maybe it will straighten out this block that won't go away.



Anybody know why its been doing that recently? Odd. The melt season will be brutal most likely.
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 27 Comments: 267
KI4FIA - Daytona Beach (Ponce Inlet), FL, Daytona Beach, Florida (PWS)
Updated: 2 sec ago
47.0 °F
Mostly Cloudy
Windchill: 47 °F
Humidity: 67%
Dew Point: 37 °F
Wind: 9.0 mphfrom the NW
Wind Gust: 11.0 mph
Pressure: 30.38 in (Steady)
Visibility: 10.0 miles
UV: 3 out of 16
Pollen: 6.20 out of 12
Pollen Forecast new!
Clouds: Mostly Cloudy 1500 ft
(Above Ground Level)
Elevation: 12 ft

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Does any else find it unusual that 3 out of the 5 top active hurricane seasons have happened in the last 15 years? (1995, 2005 and 2010)

Also -- mostly to STL, will the active period that began in 1995 ever end? Is there evidence to support this? Also, what about the WPAC, CPAC and EPAC, the last year was very inactive for them. Is it possible that only the Atlantic will experience the increased amount of activity?
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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.