Ice storm cripples Houston; Yasi the 2nd costliest Australian storm on record

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:13 PM GMT on February 04, 2011

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A significant ice storm is in progress across southeast Texas, much of Louisiana, northern Mississippi, and southern Arkansas this morning, as the latest onslaught from the memorable winter of 2010 - 2011 continues. Houston, Texas recorded 1/10" - 1/4" inch of ice so far from the storm, resulting in a crippling of that city's transportation system. Numerous crashes have closed many area roads, and flights at local airports have been largely halted. Snowfalls of 1 - 3 inches will occur today along the northern edge of the ice storm region, in a swath from northeast Texas to western Kentucky. The storm will move into New England on Saturday, but will not bring heavy snow. The next chance for heavy snow occurs next Wednesday and Thursday, when the GFS model is predicting the formation of a winter storm capable of dropping a foot of snow in the Appalachians and inland areas of New England. However, it is too early to put much faith in this forecast.


Figure 1. Trees snapped off along the Chicago lakefront by winds from the Blizzard of 2011. Image credit: viewer uploaded photo from WGN.

Revisiting the Chicago blizzard
This week's blizzard in Chicago dropped 20.2" of snow on the city, Chicago's third-greatest snowstorm on record. But the tremendous winds that accompanied the blizzard--gusting to 61 mph at O'Hare Airport, and 70 mph at the Lakefront--made the storm Chicago's worst-ever blizzard as far as impacts on travel. Another remarkable feature of the storm were the intense thunderstorms that developed. According to an excellent write-up on the storm posted by the Chicago National Weather Service office, the Blizzard of 2011 had 63 lightning strikes, and several reports of hail. The most extraordinary hourly observation I've ever seen in a U.S. winter storm came at 9:51pm on February 1 at Chicago's Midway Field: A heavy thunderstorm with lightning, heavy snow, small hail or ice pellets, freezing fog, blowing snow, visibility 300 feet, a wind gust of 56 mph, and a temperature of 21°F. Welcome to the Midwest! Thanks go to meteorologist Steve Gregory for pointing this observation out to me.


Figure 2. Snow amounts from the February 1 - 3 blizzard of 2011 peaked at over 2 feet along the shore of Lake Michigan between Chicago and Milwaukee. Strong northeasterly winds pulled moist air off of the Lake in this region, allowing the "lake effect" to enhance the blizzard's snows in this region. Image credit: Chicago National Weather Service office.

Tropical Cyclone Yasi the second most damaging storm in Australia's history
Tropical Cyclone Yasi has dissipated, but the damage totals from the storm make it Australia's second most expensive tropical cyclone of all-time, according to Tropical Storm Risk, Inc. The storm's $3.5 billion price tag is second only to Cyclone Tracy, which hit Darwin on Christmas Day 1974, doing $3.6 billion in damage (2011 dollars.) Yasi roared inland over Queensland, Australia at 12:30am local time on Thursday as a strengthening Category 4 storm with 155 mph winds and a 930 mb central pressure. The cyclone missed the most populous cities on the coast, Cairns and Townsville, but damaged up to 90% of the buildings in the small towns near where the eye passed--Tully, Mission Beach, and Cardwell. A storm surge of 5.4 meters (17.7 feet) was observed at Cardwell, and there was substantial surge damage at the coast. Fortunately, the storm surge hit near low tide, resulting in a storm tide--the height of the water above land--of about 4.5 meters, more than 2 meters below what would have occurred had Yasi hit at high tide. Yasi moved quickly enough across Queensland after landfall so that major flooding was limited to just three locations near the coast. Yasi's central pressure of 930 mb at landfall made the storm the most intense recorded in Queensland since at least 1918, and possibly since 1899. In 1918, there were two cyclones (at Mackay and Innisfail) with measured pressures in the upper 920s/low 930s, but it is quite plausible that the minimum central pressures were lower than that. The 1899 (Mahina/Bathurst Bay) cyclone had a measured pressure (ship near shore) of 914 mb.


Figure 3. The tide gauge at Carwell, Australia during passage of Tropical Cyclone Yasi recorded a 5.4 meter (17.7') storm surge (red line). Since the surge came near low tide, the storm tide--the height of the surge above mean water--was only 4.5 meters (blue line). The storm tide would have been more than 2 meters higher had Yasi hit at high tide, and the damage from coastal flooding would have been huge. The green line shows the expected water levels at Cardwell due to the tide. Image credit: Queensland government.


Figure 4. Tropical Cyclone Yasi at 04:15 UTC February 3, 2011, as seen by NASA's Aqua satellite.

Jeff Masters

Yasi Damage Tully Nth Qld (AliHirst62)
Butler St Tully Nth Qld
Yasi Damage Tully Nth Qld
Chicago Blizzard 2011 (ChicagoMike)
Digging out....over 20 inches of snow and drifts in the 3 to 5 foot range.
Chicago Blizzard 2011
()
Snow Drifts in Central Missouri (tucktan)
Looking outside our front door in Columbia, MO.
Snow Drifts in Central Missouri
RoofShovel (luvne32)
Ice dams are forming, not good for water infiltrating walls
RoofShovel

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I don't know about youse guys, but that warmer Jan than Dec forecast actually worked out for us in the Bahamas. JAN turned out to be average or slightly above temp wise.
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22073
Solar Update
02/05/2011 by Kevin VE3EN at 22:05
Comment on Message Board

Geomagnetic Storm - A short lived Geomagnetic Storm took place on Friday evening and was caused by the arrival of a high speed solar wind stream. This elevated solar wind above 600 km/s and a southward Bz helped bring the K-Index level to near 6 at its peak. Aurora contacts were made on 6 meters.

Sunspots 1152 in the south and 1153 in the north remain quiet. There is only a small chance for minor flare activity.

Sunspots 1152 (S) and 1153 (N) (Saturday)






Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 128236
Quoting johnbone:


Talk about unwarranted hate!
Not hate, but maybe a tad paranoid, school of hard knocks and all that, my apologies.

Defense is the default mode on the internet until you know who you are talking to, especially on this site. But no excuses, sorry if I misread your intent!
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Quoting Levi32:


While it took a lot longer to flip the pattern, there is no way we're going to have this strong of a La Nina without the ridge showing up in the SE US in the latter part of the winter. It's coming. You guys have enough snow now.


we have had a lot more snow than last year thats for sure
Member Since: September 8, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 2209
.." the Sun is the same in a relative way but yer older, and shorter of breath and one day closer to Death"...

Pink Floyd



www.solarcycle24.com

Try this Channel.




Or dis un too,

The Viz isnt always the tale of the tape,on SC 24




Solar Cycle 24 "First" List

Here is a list of Solar Cycle 24 "firsts" in order to track the progression and timeline of SC24.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 128236
The TSI graph through January 29th still looks lame:



We're 25 months into SC #24. It should not look like this.
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Quoting washingtonian115:
Now while you all are arguing over AGW,I saw on T.V some where that scientist are trying to find a way to make shear,so that they can weaken/destroy hurricanes.And now some officials belive that Yasi's destruction could be higher than previously thought.


I'm pretty sure that's never going to be possible. Even if it were, that would literally be directly messing with the Earth's biosphere. Tropical cyclones may be deadly, but they are very necessary to the functionality of the planet.
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Now while you all are arguing over AGW,I saw on T.V some where that scientist are trying to find a way to make shear,so that they can weaken/destroy hurricanes.And now some officials belive that Yasi's destruction could be higher than previously thought.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 16964
Quoting JRRP:

ooo now is wrong eh ???


No, using sourceless news articles is always a bad idea. Skypony's link, for example, referenced the science which is good since you can follow the links and check it out yourself. When Levi posts charts and data, he sources what he used and if he doesn't you can ask and he'll point it out. In the past he has used the peer-reviewed data sets posted by GISS for example and included the references to the exact data he used.

Posting links to biased psuedo-science/conspiracy sites that have no peer-reviewed research to back up their claims however, is trash. It's no better than posting the Weekly World News as proof for aliens, or the tobacco industry report from decades ago as proof that smoking doesn't cause health problems.
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Wow, really?

I've been "disliked" so many times today that my messages are hidden when I log out?

What on Earth did I say that is worthy of me being flagged?
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Quoting bappit:

Since your WUBA posts make it clear that you don't think that AGW is occurring, what do you care about increased snow? If AGW is not occurring, which is your position, then the question of whether it is causing increased snow should not matter because in your view it does not exist.


I care because it's the weather. Enough said.

It's also worth mentioning because AGW theorists keep changing their minds about the snow, so I bring it up in that light as well.
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Quoting bappit:

Since your WUBA posts make it clear that you don't think that AGW is occurring, what do you care about increased snow? If AGW is not occurring, which is your position, then the question of whether it is causing increased snow should not matter because in your view it does not exist.


Why do his personal views have anything to do with his criticism of the media and others of blaming AGW on an increase in snow, while at the same time predicting that AGW will result in less snow fall.

Whether or not Levi supports the AGW theory has no bearing on him pointing out oblivious hypocrisy.
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Quoting Neapolitan:

Only insofar as some politicians--and one party--have inserted themselves into the science behind AGWT.


My conservative solar panels produced a record 33 KWh today.

What is your carbon footprint and what are you doing to reduce it?

What was the topic of McCain-Lieberman? And what was the 2008 Republican party platform under McCain?

Politics, I will admit, in the last 2 years is becoming more-and-more the domain of extremists who simply call each other names.
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Quoting DEKRE:


...Wood Sorrel...

Edible? Yes, it is, high in vitamins, but it contains oxalic acid, so children shouldn't eat it, adults moderately only


If you know the nutritional and anti-nutritional difference between raw soybeans, tofu, and what the Chinese call "stinky tofu", then the following information should not be shocking. The same holds true in a general sense with other pre-industrial, pre-historical methods of foods processing (e.g Cassava) Otherwise, if unfamiliar, file under "Science that Cargill and Monsanto don't want you to know (Keyword-oxalate oxidase,BTW, just one possible approach):
"Biodegradation of Oxalic Acid from Spinach Using Cereal Radicles"
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362. tillou

Yer welcome.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 128236
Quoting Levi32:


AGW is being blamed for increased snow.

Since your WUBA posts make it clear that you don't think that AGW is occurring, what do you care about increased snow? If AGW is not occurring, which is your position, then the question of whether it is causing increased snow should not matter because in your view it does not exist.
Member Since: May 18, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 6020
At least six people were injured at the Super Bowl site when large chunks of ice fell 200 feet off the roof of Cowboys Stadium on Friday.
According to the Associated Press, one man was struck in the head and another was hit in the shoulder, said Arlington Fire Department spokesman Pete Arevalo. They were in stable condition Friday afternoon. The other four injuries were considered minor. All were contractors working on the stadium.
Local news helicopters captured amazing video of the ice falling from the site of Sunday's Super Bowl. It's unclear whether the shot below is the slide that caused the injuries or whether it was taken after (our guess is the latter). Either way, it gives a good sense of the power of the falling ice:
Authorities said the ice falling off the roof was an unexpected consequence of the winter weather that has paralyzed Dallas this week. They had never before dealt with such a problem.
Food service worker Doug McCracken said he and a friend pulled up to the area just in time to see what looked like snow flurries blowing off the building. Wonder turned to shock when he realized someone had been hit.

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 128236
Thermohaline

Thanks for sharing Patrap!!!!!
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361. DEKRE
Quoting weatherboy1992:


What makes oxalic acid toxic to children and not adults? Not trying to be snarky. Just seems odd that a chemical would be toxic for one group and not the other.


It is only slightly toxic, adults just tolerate more of it.
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Quoting BahaHurican:
Now, no quoting either? KOTG, one guess....lol

Still with IE on this laptop....


Top menu: choose Tools, click Compatibility View, refresh.
Member Since: September 21, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3690
Quoting bappit:


How to win any argument:

3. Ignore your opponent’s proposition, which was intended to refer to some particular thing. Rather, understand it in some quite different sense, and then refute it. Attack something different than what was asserted.

While it is nice to ponder the effects of the AO, it is a different topic than the effect of dumping enormous amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere in a short period of time.


Wrong. The AGW forecasts of arctic sea ice are directly related to the AO, as they cite the AO as one of the primary causes of ice melt due to AGW changing the dynamics of the polar vortex.
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The solar disk is all but blank:

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Quoting Levi32:


Take a gander at #241.


How to win any argument:

3. Ignore your opponent’s proposition, which was intended to refer to some particular thing. Rather, understand it in some quite different sense, and then refute it. Attack something different than what was asserted.

While it is nice to ponder the effects of the AO, it is a different topic than the effect of dumping enormous amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere in a short period of time.
Member Since: May 18, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 6020
Quoting weatherlover94:


you cant really believe that yet...They said January would be much warmer than Dec and the worst of the winter weather in the east would be over after Christmas and they were wrong and i think they will be wrong this time...I think the winter will continue hard and strong all the way through at least the end of the month


While it took a lot longer to flip the pattern, there is no way we're going to have this strong of a La Nina without the ridge showing up in the SE US in the latter part of the winter. It's coming. You guys have enough snow now.
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The latest Dec-Jan bimonthly period MEI ranks the 2nd lowest on record. MEI Rankings
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Dr. Wolter from NOAA says that the odds of a 2-year La Nina are well above 50%:

"While La Niña conditions are guaranteed well into 2011, it remains to be seen whether it can rally once more to cross the -2 sigma barrier, and/or whether it will indeed last into 2012, as discussed six months ago on this page. I believe the odds for a two-year event remain well above 50%, made even more likely by the continued unabated strength in various ENSO indices."

Link
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Quoting IKE:
Warmer weather in the 8-14 day outlook for the eastern USA.....




you cant really believe that yet...They said January would be much warmer than Dec and the worst of the winter weather in the east would be over after Christmas and they were wrong and i think they will be wrong this time...I think the winter will continue hard and strong all the way through at least the end of the month
Member Since: September 8, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 2209
Now, no quoting either? KOTG, one guess....lol

Still with IE on this laptop....
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22073
Quoting weatherboy1992:


What makes oxalic acid toxic to children and not adults? Not trying to be snarky. Just seems odd that a chemical would be toxic for one group and not the other.


Oxalic acid is only toxic when eaten in large amounts. Eaten in normal amounts, it can interfere with calcium absorption, which if significant enough, can cause stunted growth in children. It is also one of the leading causes of kidney stones in adults (calcium oxalate).
Member Since: September 21, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3690
Quoting JFLORIDA:
All issues and things involving community decisions are inherently political.

Politics isnt �brought into them.�

It is brought up as a broad, usually negative associated simplified argument for associative purposes. Usually intended to act as a popular appeal; a mechanism for avoidance of a topic.



By "political," I meant "invoking partisan politics."


I agree, all public issues are naturally political.
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336. IKE 10:29 PM GMT on February 05, 2011
Warmer weather in the 8-14 day outlook for the eastern USA.....


That truly is GOOD NEWS. Now, if we can just make it thru this week!
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Quoting BahaHurican:
Say, anybody else having a problem with seeing the right hand side of messages with the new format?
What browser are you using?
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Say, anybody else having a problem with seeing the right hand side of messages with the new format?
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22073
Quoting weatherboy1992:


What makes oxalic acid toxic to children and not adults? Not trying to be snarky. Just seems odd that a chemical would be toxic for one group and not the other.
There are many substances that are toxic to children and not adults. Some anti-biotics for instance.
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Quoting guygee:

Why stop at the Canadian border? Typical cherry-picking, like an updated "How to lie with Geo-Spatial Statistics". Ever read the original? Let's see the same data for the Northern Hemisphere all the way up to 90 degree North. Oops!


Huh???

I was just noting how much warmer it was in Florida that day than the rest of the CONUS.....not making a GW statement.

Talk about unwarranted hate!
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Also from watching that clip, I can only imagine how much worse things might have been if Townsville had been hit directly.... how much bigger would the delay in aid have been?

Thanks for the links, Aussie.
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22073
Quoting AussieStorm:
After Yasi
Wow... what a HUGE difference between these folks and some of the whining from pple in our neck of the woods!!! "I guess you put up with it in times like these..." amazing, as u know it must be miserably hot right now... [or is it just that OZ journalists accentuate the positive???? ;o)]

Glad to see as much survived as did, though I'm sure stuff right at the shoreline where that high storm surge was is pretty devastated....
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22073
Quoting IKE:
Warmer weather in the 8-14 day outlook for the eastern USA.....




That is finally a perfect La Nina pattern right there.
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Quoting bappit:

How to win any argument:

3. Ignore your opponent's proposition, which was intended to refer to some particular thing. Rather, understand it in some quite different sense, and then refute it. Attack something different than what was asserted.

AGW is global warming. It is not Snowmageddon even if people relate warming to increased water vapor to increased precipitation to increased wintry precipitation to increased snow. Hmmmm, that's a long chain to reach increased snow from AGW. The issue is AGW, not increased snow.


AGW is being blamed for increased snow.
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Quoting Patrap:
How extreme weather could create a global food crisis


Is there a level of CO2 in the atmosphere that could cause GLOBAL die-offs of certain plants or sea borne algae/fish? It seems to me that making arguments based on what happened in Russia or Greenland or Australia in a given year is not getting very far. Right wingers and FOX news can always say that these are anomalies, and meteorologists can't disprove this.

By putting the focus on global simultaneous effects of climate change, we can make a better case for reducing fossil fuel now to prevent what might happen in 2040, 2050, or 2060...
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337. DEKRE
Quoting Skyepony:


Wood sorrel grows good in the lawn here, fixes nitrogen & is edible.


I'm afraid you err. Wood Sorrel doesn't fix nitrogen - clover does, but Sorrel isn't even related to it.

Edible? Yes, it is, high in vitamins, but it contains oxalic acid, so children shouldn't eat it, adults moderately only
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336. IKE
Warmer weather in the 8-14 day outlook for the eastern USA.....


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What is everyone's thought on a new snow storm for the Mid Atlantic next week?
Member Since: September 8, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 2209
uploaded a new photo for the blog
Member Since: September 8, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 2209
Quoting Skyepony:


Hey neighbor..

I\ If you want some local seed~ WUmail me. People used to grow edible lawns til they were convinced by big ag that was all weeds, that they needed round-up & to go buy some less nutritious iceberg lettuce.
Sounds good, will do! I am getting pretty deep into multi-culture multi-level low-maintence small scale agriculture, but I sure could use some advice for these latitudes
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.."It is the Summer of my Smile,,Flee from me, keeper's of the Gloom"..
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 128236

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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.