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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maybe it was the Birkenstocks....wearing those 24/7 would tend to make anyone think the world was ending....
Member Since: January 24, 2007 Posts: 317 Comments: 31946
Quoting JFLORIDA:
The Dunning-Kruger effect and the climate debate

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.






And skilled people NEVER make mistakes or invalid conclusions.
See: Narcissism.
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Quoting cat5hurricane:

You know, last year my lawn was pretty dry. In fact, the lawns in my neighborhood were looking pretty burnt out all summer. We all just asumed it was a dry summer, but maybe we should go back and re-evaulate. Global drying maybe? Stay tuned and I'll let you know.


Global drying and global swelling are all caused by global warming, didn't you hear?

Science has proved it beyond a doubt.

a2+b2=c2

man+earth=global warming

It's SCIENCE, just like SCIENCE said global cooling back in the 70s.
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The Earth = 4,540,000,000 +/- years old

Accurate record keeping = 100 +/- years old



Thank you!!!!!!!!

:)
Member Since: January 24, 2007 Posts: 317 Comments: 31946
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: July 14, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 9686
Quoting Neapolitan:

"Climate and weather are very different things, and the level of predictability is comparably different.

"Climate is defined as weather averaged over a period of time -- generally around 30 years. This averaging smooths out the random and unpredictable behaviour of weather. Think of it as the difference between trying to predict the height of the fifth wave from now versus predicting the height of tomorrow's high tide. The former is a challenge -- to which your salty, wet sneakers will bear witness -- but the latter is routine and reliable.

"This is not to say it's easy to predict climate changes. But seizing on meteorologists' failures to cast doubt on a climate model's 100-year projection is an argument of ignorance."

(NOTE: the above was copied and pasted from a GW site; I didn't wish to spend waste more than 20 seconds or so refuting that particular claim for the 101st time.) ;-)


I am only saying that, because the whole point hes trying to make is exactly what I said, science is in itself, never sound. Science is always something we are learning more about, and is always in change. Yes you are right forecasting the weather and climate science may be different, but what is similar is are limited and always changing perspective and understanding of how it works.

I am just very thankful that me being a an extreme enthusiast of weather science, am living in modern times. It would have sucked to be a meteorologist 100 years ago, lol.
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SQUAWK!!!!!

( just for you, Neap.... )
Member Since: January 24, 2007 Posts: 317 Comments: 31946
GW?, were not changing, for nobody, and that's the way we like it...

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Quoting oracle28:


It is a natural process, Earth has been through MANY "climate changes" in the past, without any assistance from man.


If global warming was a nice peaceful ride to Jurassic Park, I wouldn't be concerned either. It's not; it's trillions in costs, billions of deaths, and the end of life as we know it when it happens suddenly.
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Ignoring the issue of GW being real or not, what do we have to loose by being careful with our resources and changing to renewable sources even if we let the same old crooks run the show, but now with more sustainable tools?


I don't understand why theres the whole stubborn sentimental angry old man attitude, so that they can jump in their gas guzzlers if they want to, because thats the way they like it. Make me wonder what happened to my great great grandpa when the tracker replaced the horse, did he stick to his guns, or was he wise enough?
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Quoting Jedkins01:



Glad to see you get the big picture...

"Climate and weather are very different things, and the level of predictability is comparably different.

"Climate is defined as weather averaged over a period of time -- generally around 30 years. This averaging smooths out the random and unpredictable behaviour of weather. Think of it as the difference between trying to predict the height of the fifth wave from now versus predicting the height of tomorrow's high tide. The former is a challenge -- to which your salty, wet sneakers will bear witness -- but the latter is routine and reliable.

"This is not to say it's easy to predict climate changes. But seizing on meteorologists' failures to cast doubt on a climate model's 100-year projection is an argument of ignorance."

(NOTE: the above was copied and pasted from a GW site; I didn't wish to spend waste more than 20 seconds or so refuting that particular claim for the 101st time.) ;-)
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13798
Quoting oracle28:
Global Warming is no more than a long-range forecast.

We can't predict the low temperature tonight, but we can ABSOLUTELY know that 20 years will be 1 degree C warmer?

Right, and it's going to snow on March 2, 2011 at my house.



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Twisting motion still north of Panama in the same damn spot as yesterday, just what the hell does it think it's doing.
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 9686
Quoting Neapolitan:

As I've said many times here and elsewhere: if the planet starts cooling and if the majority of climate scientists announce they were wrong and if my own copious research shows that the AGW theory was fatally flawed, yes, I will eat tons of crow, and publicly announce how wrong I was. But based on current science, the chance of that happening is roughly zero, so I'm not too worried...

Take care...



Sir I don't believe the Earth is cooling, neither is there any science to support it, my point is our understanding of why the Earth is warming, and how it will really effect things is truly limited as is always the case with science.


Because of the nature of science, in that old theories are laways being proven wrong, and knew knowledge always being discovered, its ridiculous to be so darn sure and passionate over a scientific theory that will change.

As I say again, one thing we can both agree on, is its time to leave the old ways of trashing our planet behind, and improve our ways of handling the earth, we do have the technology to do so.

The hard part is somehow getting big business to comply, that is the dirty and nasty part, lol
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Quoting JFLORIDA:


Um incorrect -

Climate IS the total summation of weather events over a defined period.


If you can sum it, you can divide it.

So divide it down for me, what will the high temperature in Chicago be on January 14, 2031?
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Quoting JFLORIDA:


Um incorrect -

Climate IS the total summation of weather events over a defined period.

Wrong try again
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 9686
Quoting Neapolitan:

As I've said many times here and elsewhere: if the planet starts cooling and if the majority of climate scientists announce they were wrong and if my own copious research shows that the AGW theory was fatally flawed, yes, I will eat tons of crow, and publicly announce how wrong I was. But based on current science, the chance of that happening is roughly zero, so I'm not too worried...

Take care...


Where I heard that before.

Hmmm

Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Your belief that your position is absolute has lead you to your admitted arrogance.


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Quoting breald:



So what!! If you ask the people who are affected by GW they will tell you its not. Lands that have been inhabited for thousands of years are now struggling with massive floods or ice melting beneath their feet.

Why not think that maybe there is something more going on? What's it going to hurt? I don't get all the push back.


Lands have had floods and ice and warmth at varying times during the past 4-5 billion years, this phenomenon is indeed new to HUMANS, but not new to earth.

I heard Everest is still rising, it must be due to man made global swelling.
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Quoting aquak9:


you know I fussed for at least an hour yesterday, begging someone to take a better educated look at the seismos.

Their's a video a couple of pages back that have the earthquake registerd as a 7.0.
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Quoting breald:



So what!! If you ask the people who are affected by GW they will tell you its not. Lands that have been inhabited for thousands of years are now struggling with massive floods or ice melting beneath their feet.

Why not think that maybe there is something more going on? What's it going to hurt? I don't get all the push back.



Its called random weather events.

To tie these events to AGW is nonsense.


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Quoting Jedkins01:


Once again, you go back to the way you see it, what if you find out some day all these global Warming theories (more scientifically hypothesis) are wrong? What then? Will you ever learn about what real science is? Real science asks the scientists to always question. To say Global Warming is as scientifically sound as say, the laws of physics or our knowledge of the atom is just ridiculous. Science is always in change, there were many things that are part of everyday science that we used to consider complete science fiction, while other things that were supposedly sound science have now been proven wrong.

If you want to engage in real science, I suggest you keep a humble heart and an open mind.

Believe in Global Warming all you want, but please, if your argument for standing by

As I've said many times here and elsewhere: if the planet starts cooling and if the majority of climate scientists announce they were wrong and if my own copious research shows that the AGW theory was fatally flawed, yes, I will eat tons of crow, and publicly announce how wrong I was. But based on current science, the chance of that happening is roughly zero, so I'm not too worried...

Take care...
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13798
Quoting oracle28:


It is a natural process, Earth has been through MANY "climate changes" in the past, without any assistance from man.



So what!! If you ask the people who are affected by GW they will tell you its not. Lands that have been inhabited for thousands of years are now struggling with massive floods or ice melting beneath their feet.

Why not think that maybe there is something more going on? What's it going to hurt? I don't get all the push back.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting oracle28:
Global Warming is no more than a long-range forecast.

We can't predict the low temperature tonight, but we can ABSOLUTELY know that 20 years will be 1 degree C warmer?

Right, and it's going to snow on March 2, 2011 at my house.

"Climate and weather are very different things, and the level of predictability is comparably different.

"Climate is defined as weather averaged over a period of time -- generally around 30 years. This averaging smooths out the random and unpredictable behaviour of weather. Think of it as the difference between trying to predict the height of the fifth wave from now versus predicting the height of tomorrow's high tide. The former is a challenge -- to which your salty, wet sneakers will bear witness -- but the latter is routine and reliable.

"This is not to say it's easy to predict climate changes. But seizing on meteorologists' failures to cast doubt on a climate model's 100-year projection is an argument of ignorance."

(NOTE: the above was copied and pasted from a GW site; I didn't wish to spend more than 20 seconds or so refuting that particular claim for the 100th time.)
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13798
Trying to find out where
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 9686
Heard there was another bird kill on the news somewhere
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 9686
Quoting Jedkins01:



Have you ever heard of metaphors? Comparing communism with debating is a good, one, I guess you didn't get it too well though lol.

Either way, once again, at some point you gotta know when to call it quits.

What if I started bombarding you non-stop with my Christian beliefs? You know to me, eternity is a little more important than life issues like Global Warming. Of course, you would call it "shoving down the throat" or whatever term you prefer to use because you do not believe in such things.

Of course you would also say, its off topic, but so is Global Warming. I know, you would say actually Global Warming is much closer to being on topic than talking about Christianity.

Well think about this, instead of using scrutinization, try getting the big picture. My point is, how would you like as if I likewise aggressively went after you with my Christian beliefs, non stop, because I find you to be a lost person not knowing the truth.

But why do I not do so? Because it is a weather blog, and all it would do is cause endless trouble.

So my question is, will you be a good citizen, and not keep shoving down others throats what you believe to be true, or will you be a choose to be a close minded individual, something you are supposedly against?


Actually communism/socialism is a good analogy when discussing AGW.

Go back and look at how communism/socialism is usually installed in a society and how it is applied to the general population and then look back on the comments of several bloggers here and the similarities become quite scary.

Taking from the rich because they can afford it.

Taking from the common man so that he will be forced to follow your decree.

Filling the pockets of the aristocracy with the spoils of communism/socialism.

Pockets like those who will become billionaires from being middle men in Cap&Trade taxation.

Lowering the standard of living for the common man because of the increase in taxation and because, heck that is what has to be.

Less money means less to spend on things like gasoline and other stuff.

We the Lords of AGW have spoken.


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Quoting Neapolitan:

I'm sorry you interpret what I'm doing as "shoving down the throat"; I see it more as defending science and scientists from the growing onslaught of anti-intellectualism.

To use your Christianity analogy: no, I wouldn't find it appropriate here on a weather blog if you were to start proselytizing for your religion. However, if you were to be participating in a religious forum, I would certainly expect you to honestly and openly defend your faith if others entered that forum and started telling you things you knew to be false, misleading, or just wrong.

But that's really a weak analogy; Hebrews 11:1 says "...faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen," which is a perfectly adequate description for a religious person, but it comes nowhere close to describing the scientific process. IOW, it's faith to believe in something you can't see or even detect, but it's something other than faith to believe what you're seeing with your own eyes. And what I see with my own eyes is a growing mountain of evidence that we humans are messing with the atmosphere and heating up the planet.

In closing: I know at what point to call it quits--and we are nowhere that point. ;-)


Once again, you go back to the way you see it, what if you find out some day all these global Warming theories (more scientifically hypothesis) are wrong? What then? Will you ever learn about what real science is? Real science asks the scientists to always question. To say Global Warming is as scientifically sound as say, the laws of physics or our knowledge of the atom is just ridiculous. Science is always in change, there were many things that are part of everyday science that we used to consider complete science fiction, while other things that were supposedly sound science have now been proven wrong.

If you want to engage in real science, I suggest you keep a humble heart and an open mind.

Believe in Global Warming all you want, but please, if your argument for standing by Global Warming is that it is sound science, then you have on business debating over what sound science is.

I can all but guarantee that the current theories of climate change will change quite significantly as we head into the future.

When it comes to science, our present knowledge is always blinded, maybe that's why us scientific people love science fiction movies and novels as inaccurate as they may be.

Its because in science, there's always limited knowledge and understanding of the present, and there's always more to dream of when looking into the future. The fact that we don't know whats going on very much is part of what makes science more enjoyable

No matter what is really true about what's going on in the atmosphere, we do know enough about it to say its time to change the way we use our resources and use energy. I do agree that we do need to do whatever it takes to lose dependency on fossil fuels, and learn to move on and progress into better energy technology though.
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Quoting smartinwx:


Will I get a white Christmas this year?


If you do, it will be due to Global Warming!!
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Quoting washingtonian115:
To funny.Anyway I only have a little time on here myself since I'm at work.I'm surprised the media isn't mentioning anything about that 7.0 earthqauke that struck those islands.


you know I fussed for at least an hour yesterday, begging someone to take a better educated look at the seismos.

Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 177 Comments: 26633
Quoting oracle28:
Global Warming is no more than a long-range forecast.

We can't predict the low temperature tonight, but we can ABSOLUTELY know that 20 years will be 1 degree C warmer?

Right, and it's going to snow on March 2, 2011 at my house.


Will I get a white Christmas this year?
Member Since: September 22, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 88
Global warming? Climate change?? Here in frozen NWFL we are calling it COLD.
Ice on the bayou, temps in the lower 20's-- I'm ready for some warming....

I know there are places snowed in-- but we are not accustomed to these miserable temps.

Yeah- I'm whining. Give back my flip flops!
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Quoting IKE:
***peaks in...see's GW jabs being thrown. Exits...***
To funny.Anyway I only have a little time on here myself since I'm at work.I'm surprised the media isn't mentioning anything about that 7.0 earthqauke that struck those islands.
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(reviewing post 723)

Its not like the climate could cause real issues or anything to worry about. right?

Link

What have we got to loose by being good stewards of this "temporary" planet?

Does a Christian religion require just "acts" or works as well, like in the poor man and Lazarus or the story of the good Samaritan... what does religion require, hating the outsider or including the excluded?

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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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