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 breald:
About the whole GW debate, I guess it is easier for some to say "it is a natural process" so they don't have to do anything about it. They don't have to reflect on it. It is always easier to wash your hands of it than to really think about it.

In the mean time, 20 years have gone by and islands that once housed millions of people are underwater. But its a natural cycle. (rolling my eyes)
After reflecting...

And once upon a time, not that long ago, people inhabited the Mississippi River delta. The one that used to extend east of New Orleans. To the present-day Chandeleur Islands. Once was a larger area of land than the present delta, now almost completely open water.

And the transition was entirely natural. The horror.

And once upon a time, in the Bahamas, the water level was 90 feet below present day. People lived there. Patterns on the ocean floor suggest ruins of man-made structures. But nature took away where those people lived. Either that or a Sabre-toothed Jaguar SUV did. You decide.
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
Quoting Jedkins01:

...we should be thankful are brains aren't all wired towards reason.

Some folks' brains clearly aren't; I'll agree with you there. You can find a lot of them hanging around over at WattsUpWithThat.com... ;-)
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13805
Quoting ILwthrfan:


Okay, even if your right, and the current warming trend is purely part of the natural cycle. The global temperature is still rising? Overpopulation versus our ability to supply fresh water is becoming an ever steeper climb especially in poverty strictened nations. Also if the freqency of extreme events is increasing along with the increase in global temperature. Think how these storms can economically cripple a nation, Katrina, N'easter after N'easter. These are having devastating effects on us. How about the dramatic increase in cancer rates of people living near industrial zones? These emmissions are harmful for us and all living things. Why not look for a greener way? Whats stopping us other than us being lazy and corrupt?


Almost everything you said above can be easily explainable.

The overpopulation issue isn't for this really I was just making a point about body temperatures.

the extreme events might not actually be rising. How great do you think their instruments were back in the day on detected Earthquakes, Hurricanes, Tornados and other extreme events? They couldn't of grasped all of them. We still might not today but we are a lot closer today than any time in the past.

Same thing for cancer. Can you go back in time and say this person has cancer? Technology is saving us.

What your post really says is it is time that we just stop using everything and go back into the stone ages.
Member Since: September 15, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 563
Quoting HaloReachFan:


How many parts per million is C02 at now?

Roughly 100ppm more than it was just 150 years ago. All those other interglacial cycles over the eons saw CO2 rise and fall by roughly that same 100ppm--but those rises and falls were spread out over 5,000 to 20,000 years.

There's no arguing point in the contrarian quiver that's been more definitively disproven than the one that says the current CO2 rise is natural.

(BTW: the sum total of all CO2 vented by active volcanoes amounts to about 1/150th of anthropogenic emissions. Just so you know.)
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13805
Quoting breald:


What if it isn't a cycle? But, for the sake of argument, lets say it is a cycle. Why not do SOMETHING to better our environment anyway? What is the problem with wind farms, or alternate energy that will not be as harsh on our environment regardless?


YES! Exactly. How about the use of Tidal force? Solar energy ect. There are things out there that have zero negative feed back.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Have you dug out yet in New England. I see my old stomping grounds in New Hampshire got pounded pretty good
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Quoting jwh250:
Summit, Greenland forecast low is -92 for tonight which would beat the all-time record coldest temperature in the northern hemisphere of -90 set in Verkhoyansk, Russia in 5/2/1892, 7/2/1892 and Oimaykon, Russia  6/2/1933.


And just think, without the 8 tenths of a degree of warming we've seen in the past century, it might be only -92.8 degrees...
Member Since: May 18, 2007 Posts: 289 Comments: 1639
Quoting Chicklit:
Oh yay, it's in the 50s again!
KI4FIA - Daytona Beach (Ponce Inlet), FL, Daytona Beach, Florida (PWS)
Updated: 3 sec ago
55.5 F
By the way, perhaps now is a good time to interject this little lesson:
Everything You Know Is Wrong 1: Us and Them
November 1, 2007
Summary
Good reasoning doesn%u2019t come naturally. In fact, humans are instinctively terrible reasoners%u2014most of the time, the way our brains work isn%u2019t rational at all. Even with exceptional training in analytical thinking, we still have to overcome instincts to think simplistically and non-analytically. In this lesson, students explore some of the irrational ways in which humans think, and learn to recognize and overcome the habits of mind that can get in the way of good reasoning. Here we focus on the ways that people define themselves and others%u2014how we develop our personal and group identities, how we treat people whose identities are similar or different, and how this affects our perceptions and our ability to reason.

For the full tutorial, please click on Link


Maybe its cause we are designed to not be dead computer systems. Not everything in life can be explained through reason. Reason has its place in life, however we should be thankful are brains aren't all wired towards reason.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting cat5hurricane:

To rush to judgement and convieniently conclude "because it was global warming" is a frivalous correlation. I have news for you...floods been occurring for a long time on this planet.


What if it isn't a cycle? But, for the sake of argument, lets say it is a cycle. Why not do SOMETHING to better our environment anyway? What is the problem with wind farms, or alternate energy that will not be as harsh on our environment regardless?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting HaloReachFan:


That graph uses a timeline from 1961-1990 as a base for the graph. Seems unfair to use what 29 years as a guideline. Also when did official records start being kept on temperature? 1875ish? The seems even fairer to place blame on humans although maybe its the temperature of humans causing the rise more humans=hotter temperature that is fact. But until something drastic comes out there is no need for us to change our daily routine (go back to the stone ages) to stop something that we are not causing.


Okay, even if your right, and the current warming trend is purely part of the natural cycle. The global temperature is still rising? Overpopulation versus our ability to supply fresh water is becoming an ever steeper climb especially in poverty strictened nations. Also if the freqency of extreme events is increasing along with the increase in global temperature. Think how these storms can economically cripple a nation, Katrina, N'easter after N'easter. These are having devastating effects on us. How about the dramatic increase in cancer rates of people living near industrial zones? These emmissions are harmful for us and all living things. Why not look for a greener way? Whats stopping us other than us being lazy and corrupt?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Oh yay, it's in the 50s again!
KI4FIA - Daytona Beach (Ponce Inlet), FL, Daytona Beach, Florida (PWS)
Updated: 3 sec ago
55.5 °F
By the way, perhaps now is a good time to interject this little lesson:
Everything You Know Is Wrong 1: Us and Them
November 1, 2007
Summary
Good reasoning doesn’t come naturally. In fact, humans are instinctively terrible reasoners—most of the time, the way our brains work isn’t rational at all. Even with exceptional training in analytical thinking, we still have to overcome instincts to think simplistically and non-analytically. In this lesson, students explore some of the irrational ways in which humans think, and learn to recognize and overcome the habits of mind that can get in the way of good reasoning. Here we focus on the ways that people define themselves and others—how we develop our personal and group identities, how we treat people whose identities are similar or different, and how this affects our perceptions and our ability to reason.

For the full tutorial, please click on Link
Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11424
Quoting hcubed:
Quoting JFLORIDA:

"...Unskilled people lack the skill to rate their own level of competence..."

And we see this fact in the climate science community, also. There are many "skilled" people that may have an understanding in one field (physics), that have little to no understanding in other fields (statistics).

Which leads to an unfortunate result that some skilled people rate themselves higher than thse who actually have a degree in the field they're using to make their claim.

To say that one scientist, because of his fields, his papers, or his background has a higher understanding of EVERYTHING in all other fields is also part of this "Dunning-Kruger effect".

There are many with a degree in one field who believe they're discovered fundamental TRUTHS in the science that have somehow been overlooked or ignored by those in other fields.

This is drummed into us, over and over, particularly in this blog.

To say that only a select group of scientists, degreed in a select range of fields, who have written papers that have been reviewed and published in journals acceptable only to them, who will not let others more competent in other fields review their data, and make the charts based on data that only they can have, are the only ones we should listen to is absurd.


Hey don't DARE question the Monarchs and Lords of Global Warming! lol
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I see I can just click the link.

Has C02 ever been higher than it is today?
Member Since: September 15, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 563
810 I can't read anything because it went off the screen part and is hidden.
Member Since: September 15, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 563
The Dunning-Kruger effect IS an ad hominem argument
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Quoting JFLORIDA:

"...Unskilled people lack the skill to rate their own level of competence..."

And we see this fact in the climate science community, also. There are many "skilled" people that may have an understanding in one field (physics), that have little to no understanding in other fields (statistics).

Which leads to an unfortunate result that some skilled people rate themselves higher than thse who actually have a degree in the field they're using to make their claim.

To say that one scientist, because of his fields, his papers, or his background has a higher understanding of EVERYTHING in all other fields is also part of this "Dunning-Kruger effect".

There are many with a degree in one field who believe they're discovered fundamental TRUTHS in the science that have somehow been overlooked or ignored by those in other fields.

This is drummed into us, over and over, particularly in this blog.

To say that only a select group of scientists, degreed in a select range of fields, who have written papers that have been reviewed and published in journals acceptable only to them, who will not let others more competent in other fields review their data, and make the charts based on data that only they can have, are the only ones we should listen to is absurd.
Member Since: May 18, 2007 Posts: 289 Comments: 1639
Quoting ILwthrfan:


You also are only stating 1 of the many greenhouse gases that effect the atmosphere.

The bigger problem is this here, we can all argue here about whether or not we are effecting climate change directly or indirectly, but the FACT remains, our climate is changing in a way in which we as a species are going to have to adapt to.



That graph uses a timeline from 1961-1990 as a base for the graph. Seems unfair to use what 29 years as a guideline. Also when did official records start being kept on temperature? 1875ish? The seems even fairer to place blame on humans although maybe its the temperature of humans causing the rise more humans=hotter temperature that is fact. But until something drastic comes out there is no need for us to change our daily routine (go back to the stone ages) to stop something that we are not causing.
Member Since: September 15, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 563
Quoting ILwthrfan:


You also are only stating 1 of the many greenhouse gases that effect the atmosphere.

The bigger problem is this here, we can all argue here about whether or not we are effecting climate change directly or indirectly, but the FACT remains, our climate is changing in a way in which we as a species are going to have to adapt to.

Good thing, too. If we had just continued on the obvious trend of colder and colder in that plot...
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
Quoting JFLORIDA:


Now finally you bring that up. So its an accumulating excess. How would it not matter. If only a fixed amount can be absorbed any amount over that would eventually cause problems.

Why do you think the oceans are acidifying?

There is an excess. That excess traps heat.


How many parts per million is C02 at now?
Member Since: September 15, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 563
I'm adapting just fine.
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 9686
804. DEKRE
Quoting RitaEvac:
How were they figuring global cooling back in the 70s anyway?


No scientist did.
The "Global Warming" debate actually started in the 70's. I myself was one of the first to point out the CO2 problematic; this was in 72 or 73, I don't really remember, too long ago
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Quoting HaloReachFan:
What do you think of this JFLORIDA?

Of the 186 billion tons of carbon from CO2 that enter earth's atmosphere each year from all sources, only 6 billion tons are from human activity. Approximately 90 billion tons come from biologic activity in earth's oceans and another 90 billion tons from such sources as volcanoes and decaying land plants.


You also are only stating 1 of the many greenhouse gases that effect the atmosphere.

The bigger problem is this here, we can all argue here about whether or not we are effecting climate change directly or indirectly, but the FACT remains, our climate is changing in a way in which we as a species are going to have to adapt to.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting JFLORIDA:


Im, tired of your unreasonable posts I would post the Ad hominem DEFINITION again but obviously you cant even grasp the most basic definition or the meaning of the term itself.

No to mention logical fallacies. Which basically mean you are wrong. But you probably don't even realize that.

Bye - switching the filter back to good.


WHINE. That's all you do. Really am I the only one that sees it? Actually I'm not as I can already tell you are flustered today thanks to some good people.
Member Since: September 15, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 563
Quoting jwh250:
Summit, Greenland forecast is -92 for tonight which would beat the all-time record coldest temperature in the northern hemisphere set in Verkhoyansk, Russia in 5/2/1892, 7/2/1892 and Oimaykon, Russia  6/2/1933.


The Earth is warming but they might beat the all time record for coldest temp in the northern hemisphere that's incredible. Imagine if it was cooling down.
Member Since: September 15, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 563
when did this turn in too a GW blog i think we have a blog for this
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Quoting HaloReachFan:


Do I care if I disappear does it upset me? Am I starting to cry right now oh well maybe a fake cry. My life doesn't revolve around this site as yours does so good I hope I'm hidden that way when people scream "other countries can see this and little kids" well actually they can't see me thanks to Florida.

Just post different information tired of you posting the same thing over and over you didn't even find it you took it from somebody else.



hey man, nice name!
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What do you think of this JFLORIDA?

Of the 186 billion tons of carbon from CO2 that enter earth's atmosphere each year from all sources, only 6 billion tons are from human activity. Approximately 90 billion tons come from biologic activity in earth's oceans and another 90 billion tons from such sources as volcanoes and decaying land plants.
Member Since: September 15, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 563
http://www.sierraclub.org/coal/
Instead of trying to convince the deniers that it is warming and that the earth isn't flat lets fight against coal. The worst part of the problem.
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 27 Comments: 267
Quoting JFLORIDA:


As opposed to quoting unreasonable and fake arguments and attempts at humor just below?- Obviously you haven't read it yet.

If you ignore me all my posts will go away.

BTW when I click show good or best - yours disappear.


Do I care if I disappear does it upset me? Am I starting to cry right now oh well maybe a fake cry. My life doesn't revolve around this site as yours does so good I hope I'm hidden that way when people scream "other countries can see this and little kids" well actually they can't see me thanks to Florida.

Just post different information tired of you posting the same thing over and over you didn't even find it you took it from somebody else.
Member Since: September 15, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 563
They were a FABRICATION by the popular press - probably because it was cold out at the time.

so then today....They were a FABRICATION by the popular press - probably because it was WARM out at the time
Member Since: January 24, 2007 Posts: 317 Comments: 31946

Quoting JFLORIDA:


There was no scientific consensus in the 1970s that the Earth was headed into an
imminent ice age. Indeed, the possibility of anthropogenic warming dominated
the peer-reviewed literature even then.

Tell me when you decide to make factual and reasonable comments please so I don't skip over everything you say.

So they were just stupid and wrong?
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 9686
Post #779
+1000 !!!
Wouldn't it be wonderful if current weather discussions could return to the blog???
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Quoting RitaEvac:
GW?, were not changing, for nobody, and that's the way we like it...

Repeat:

GW?, were not changing, for nobody, and that's the way we like it...

All together now:

GW?, were not changing, for nobody, and that's the way we like it...


GW?, were not changing, for nobody, and that's the way we like it...

Repeat:

GW?, were not changing, for nobody, and that's the way we like it...

All together now:

GW?, were not changing, for nobody, and that's the way we like it...
Member Since: September 15, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 563
Post 772 has been posted at least 3 or 4 times on this blog I'm marking it as spam.
Member Since: September 15, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 563
post 779.....

best post today!

:)
Member Since: January 24, 2007 Posts: 317 Comments: 31946
How were they figuring global cooling back in the 70s anyway?
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 9686
Yawn!
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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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