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

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

Share this Blog
5
+

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

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 81 - 31

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17Blog Index

QUOTE: Famous last words? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Friday, the 4th of February, 2011

Sydney is in the middle of a record heatwave at the moment, with five consecutive days so far where the temperature exceeded 30 degress C in the city. It's substantially hotter out West where I live, ranging from 37 to 42. The hot days are bad enough, but the hot nights are the worst part. Last night it was 28 degrees when I woke to leave for work at 6am. The forecast is for a cool change to come through next week, but in the meantime the city is slowly filling with zombies as more and more Sydney-siders endure hot, sweaty, sleepless nights.

Mind you, our homes have not been flooded by heavy rains, nor smashed by cyclonic winds, nor gutted by raging bushfires, so all things considered we really have nothing to complain about. That's not going to stop us complaining though.

-- David C. Simon
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting SouthDadeFish:
Those maps are nearly a month apart.


1/1/10 - 1/31/11 = I year, 1 month.
Member Since: September 21, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3690
rut-roh,..
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 420 Comments: 127543
Quoting Neapolitan:

Not just quiet, but warm. Toasty even; today was our fourth consecutive one with temps at or above 80, and we've got two more to go (Monday is only to make it into the mid 70s). We may drop into the 40s several more times, but I'm hoping that's it for the 30s (though it's been as cool as the upper 20s around this date).

Checking out the SST maps, it's pretty amazing how much cooler the western Atlantic is this year compared to last. This year:
Appropriate tropical weather-related image.

Last year:
Appropriate tropical weather-related image.

Those maps are nearly a month apart.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting islander101010:
notice how quiet florida has been

Not just quiet, but warm. Toasty even; today was our fourth consecutive one with temps at or above 80, and we've got two more to go (Monday is only to make it into the mid 70s). We may drop into the 40s several more times, but I'm hoping that's it for the 30s (though it's been as cool as the upper 20s around this date).

Checking out the SST maps, it's pretty amazing how much cooler the western Atlantic is this year compared to last. Last year:
Appropriate tropical weather-related image.

This year:
Appropriate tropical weather-related image.

Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13456
Ice Falls Off Super Bowl Stadium; 6 Hurt, 1 Critically

by NPR Staff and Wires


February 4, 2011

Six people were injured, at least one of them critically, by falling ice at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on Friday.

All six were taken to hospitals, The Dallas Morning News reported, and two of them were in stable condition. None had been identified Friday afternoon.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 420 Comments: 127543
notice how quiet florida has been
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I must admit, I've have been entertaining myself by reading the comment section of the "Notice Anything New Blog". I respect all opinions, we all have one..lol. What amazes me is the number of people who have registered to do so. Of course, I have also been on the sight since Katrina and never registered until this past Semptember when the blog went nuts. People can get stirred up...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Grothar:
Got to watch the very end of this video.

Link

Too close for comfort. Did you notice his windshield was cracked by the flying debris. Sharp driver.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
39*F in Macon with rain, but we are below the snow line. :)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Got to watch the very end of this video.

Link
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 69 Comments: 25339
Quoting Skyepony:


I'm shocked as you. That wasn't even all..there was landslips killin people in the Philippines & some thing like 5% of the livestock in the upper mountain of Peru froze like last year. Crazy weather ain't done with us yet..


I believe you are correct. I know because of immediate media coverage we hear about these more often; it just seems there is more than the regular share of abnormal weather.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 69 Comments: 25339
Is the next cold push colder then the last one...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
67. Skyepony (Mod)
Quoting Grothar:



Hey Skye, don't you ever have any good news!!! You're like "Disaster Center". Seriously, very interesting articles.


I'm shocked as you. That wasn't even all..there was landslips killin people in the Philippines & some thing like 5% of the livestock in the upper mountain of Peru froze like last year. Crazy weather ain't done with us yet..
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
93P in the Pacific.


Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 69 Comments: 25339
Quoting Skyepony:
Australia, no where near Yasi...

Dozens of people have had to be rescued as a super-cell thunderstorm lashes Victoria, causing widespread flash flooding. The State Emergency Service (SES) has rescued 49 people from raging floodwaters and more than 1,600 people have called for help. Crews helped a woman and her two young children when their car became trapped in a flash flood at Mildura. Firefighters have rescued a girl who was clinging to a tree branch after being swept away at Ashwood, in Melbourne's east. And At Mulgrave, the fire brigade was called to assist a disabled man in a wheelchair who got stuck in water up to his hips. Deb Mitchell from the Commercial Hotel in Werribee, in Melbourne's outer-west, says the pub is flooded. "The drains overflowed, they just couldn't cope with the amount of water and all the water flooded right in through our sports bar area, flooded all the carpet and also in our kitchen the bistro had not long opened but we had to close because it was raining in our bistro," she said. SES spokesman Lachlan Quick says the situation is set to worsen. "Certainly across Mildura and other parts of north-western victoria we've had significant flash flooding due to these thunderstorms," he said. "We expect that situation to worsen before it improves. There will be significant rainfall occurring from midnight tonight and that will got through till midnight tomorrow night. more here...



Hey Skye, don't you ever have any good news!!! You're like "Disaster Center". Seriously, very interesting articles.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 69 Comments: 25339
64. Skyepony (Mod)
Australia, no where near Yasi...

Dozens of people have had to be rescued as a super-cell thunderstorm lashes Victoria, causing widespread flash flooding. The State Emergency Service (SES) has rescued 49 people from raging floodwaters and more than 1,600 people have called for help. Crews helped a woman and her two young children when their car became trapped in a flash flood at Mildura. Firefighters have rescued a girl who was clinging to a tree branch after being swept away at Ashwood, in Melbourne's east. And At Mulgrave, the fire brigade was called to assist a disabled man in a wheelchair who got stuck in water up to his hips. Deb Mitchell from the Commercial Hotel in Werribee, in Melbourne's outer-west, says the pub is flooded. "The drains overflowed, they just couldn't cope with the amount of water and all the water flooded right in through our sports bar area, flooded all the carpet and also in our kitchen the bistro had not long opened but we had to close because it was raining in our bistro," she said. SES spokesman Lachlan Quick says the situation is set to worsen. "Certainly across Mildura and other parts of north-western victoria we've had significant flash flooding due to these thunderstorms," he said. "We expect that situation to worsen before it improves. There will be significant rainfall occurring from midnight tonight and that will got through till midnight tomorrow night. more here...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
63. Skyepony (Mod)
Five people were killed and thousands were displaced after a tornado hit a town in Southern Philippines, officials said today. The tornado, which hit Jolo town in Sulu province Thursday night, triggered flash flood and submerged at least six villages eight-feet deep underwater, Jolo Mayor Hussin Amin said. Three bodies of victims were recovered Thursday night while two others were recovered today. The Philippine Marines and U.S. servicemen are already assisting the rescue and evacuation of the residents who were forced to evacuate to higher grounds. Amin said rains triggered by lower pressure area have battered Sulu province for almost a week.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
62. Skyepony (Mod)
A rescue operation has been launched to evacuate workers from a floating oil production ship in the North Sea which is partly adrift in storms. Three rescue helicopters from Shetland and RAF Lossiemouth have been scrambled to lift off non-essential crew from the Gryphon Alpha after it broke some of its moorings in the gales battering northern Scotland. Aberdeen coastguard said there was no immediate pollution risk. Rolling seas were making the vessel pitch more wildly and heavily after it lost the moorings. The vessel, which has 114 crew, is a floating oil storage and offloading facility for North Sea rigs which are connected by underwater oil pipes. The vessel, the oldest floating production ship in the North Sea, is about 110 miles east south east of Sumburgh on Shetland. A surveillance aircraft from RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire has been co-ordinating the evacuation. A coastguard spokesman said: "The issue was to do with the winds last night: they became parted from some of their mooring bouys. They're currently under control from their thrusters. "They're just a bit concerned that if the situation deteriorates, as they have lost some of their anchors, they would rather have the non-essential personnel off." Gales across Scotland overnight peaked with hurricane force gusts of more than 100mph across Shetland and Orkney. The area around the Gryphon Alpha is still enduring gales, but the winds have lessened to about 41mph, gusting to 58mph.

"At the moment, there's no cause for concern in terms of pollution. At the moment, it's still focusing on search and rescue. We're bearing the pollution issues in mind," the coastguard spokesman added. One of the helicopters has come from the coastguard station at Sumburgh, on the southern tip of Shetland, and a second is an oil industry Super Puma operated by Bond from the same airport. The third helicopter has come from Lossiemouth. Both RAF Lossiemouth and Shetland coastguard station are under threat of closure or a significant reduction in role from the spending cuts. The Nimrod air surveillance planes traditionally used in these operations were scrapped last month. There are new fears about the risk of an oil industry disaster in the North Sea and north-east Atlantic after the Times reported that an oil exploration company wanting to drill a deep well west of Shetland admitted that 180 million gallons of oil could spill if it was breached. The US firm Hess has made the disclosure in its application for a drilling licence to the Department of Energy and Climate Change. It said that in a worst case scenario, the oil could reach as far south as Norfolk and destroy seabird colonies across northern Scotland.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
61. Skyepony (Mod)
At least five people have been killed as a result of flash floods that have inundated parts of Iran's southeastern province of Kerman. %u201CFloods in different parts of the province have so far left five killed in the towns of Sirjan, Roudbar and Kahnouj,%u201D reported Kavous Mahmoudi, the head of Kerman Red Crescent Society as saying on Thursday. Mahmoudi said that the recent rains and consequent flooding are threatening to overwhelm a number of villages in the region. %u201CAid is underway to help the flood-hit people in the south of the province where some of the residents have already been provided with temporary shelters and some assistance,%u201D the official went on to say. He added that thousands of households have been affected by the recent inundations in the southeastern province. Reports also indicate that the latest flooding has left trails of destruction and taken a heavy toll on cattle. Floods in Kerman come after thirteen years of drought which has severely damaged the province's agricultural index over the past years.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Hmmm. The Global Age... I like it...

It definitely fits.. Global news media, commodities are global. All of our economies are globally linked.

Hope that term sticks, I like it better than the entitlement generation. (even though I am a gen-x).

Flood, what generation were you again? What was before the stone age again?

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting CybrTeddy:


I was being sarcastic. ;)

I can name a year - 1968.



Ok that's good!

I was just making sure, because there are many these days who say comments along those lines, accept they aren't being sarcastic!
Member Since: August 21, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 7272
Quoting Floodman:


Damn it, Jed, stop it! If I keep agreeing with your posts I'll end up having to like you or something



lol why don't you like me?
Member Since: August 21, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 7272
Quoting lickitysplit:
Clearly AGW is bunk with all this snow. I mean, we KNOW that warmer air DOESNT hold more water.



You are being sarcastic right?
Member Since: August 21, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 7272
TWC just said 7 people were injured, one critically as ice fell from the roof of the stadium in Arlington, TX.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Barefootontherocks:

Maybe they'll postpone the Super Bowl.
:)


No way. While somebody on oxygen died in Houston directly because of the rolling blackouts, and hospitals in the Dallas area were impacted, the Super Bowl go without power?

Link

Link

"[...] The North Texas Super Bowl XLV Host Committee had a big request to make. 'It is vitally important we don’t have blackouts,”' said committee vice president Tony Fay."

This is sick.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Looks like the next storm in the Southern Pacific is forming..
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Clearly AGW is bunk with all this snow. I mean, we KNOW that warmer air DOESNT hold more water.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
:)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 420 Comments: 127543
From Jan 14th Sri Lanka


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 420 Comments: 127543
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


Yeah, to the lower-40s. That's not going to melt all this Snow and Ice we have.


40s melts alot more than you think...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Skyepony:
Sri Lanka needs a break..




Officials in Sri Lanka said tens of thousands have been displaced by floods this week. Five people were feared to have drowned in Trincomalee. Rain totaling 11.78 inches fell in a 48-hour period in Trincomalee Wednesday through Friday.


They've been getting hammered the last couple of weeks
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
46. Skyepony (Mod)
Sri Lanka needs a break..




Officials in Sri Lanka said tens of thousands have been displaced by floods this week. Five people were feared to have drowned in Trincomalee. Rain totaling 11.78 inches fell in a 48-hour period in Trincomalee Wednesday through Friday.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Barefootontherocks:


Thanks. I understand that. Might not be a bad idea to put off the game till it thaws. Trouble is, more cold and potential precip coming this way, so where do you draw the line?


No, the NFL would never postpone the game at this point, unless we really had some serious national tragedy of the nature like 9/11/01.

No, the show must go on. But,no question this week has been an absolute nightmare for the Dallas Super Bowl Host Committee with the frigid, snowy weather all week there.

It may be quite awhile again before Dallas gets to host another Super Bowl because of the risks of wintry weather in February like this. Heck, the NFL has not even returned back to Atlanta for the Super Bowl since that January 2000 ice storm hit during Super Bowl weekend there. They will eventually get in the rotation of cities to host another Super Bowl down the road at some point simply because of Jerry Jones' fancy $1.3 billion state of the art stadium is by far the best the NFL will probably ever see.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Skyepony:
8" or so of snow is expected in some of North TX before Superbowl. Airport has many flight cancellations and delays. Only way I could see this being a mess by weather is if the cold lingered. It should warm up on Saturday.


Yeah, to the lower-40s. That's not going to melt all this Snow and Ice we have.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
43. Skyepony (Mod)
8" or so of snow is expected in some of North TX before Superbowl. Airport has many flight cancellations and delays. Only way I could see this being a mess by weather is if the cold lingered. It should warm up on Saturday.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
AMY!!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Barefootontherocks:


Nope. Been blogging here longer than you have. My first handle, StormDrain, Oct. 2005. Some people just don't get my humor. Maybe I missed yours.
:)


What an interesting lack of perspective...you said "maybe they'll postpone the Superbowl" and I, actiing as if you were being serious, asked if you were new (as though you had never heard of a Superbowl before). I remember StormDrain, by the way, so you can lower those hackles too
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
CyBrTeddy,21

Plus an actual overthrow in Tunisia, 100year flooding event in Brazil and very severe flooding in South Africa and Sri Lanka.

What's next, Mets for the World Series?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
39. Skyepony (Mod)
Britain has been battered by gales which left a man dead and caused damage and disruption to roads and buildings.

Winds of more than 100mph were recorded in Scotland, while Wales, Northern Ireland and northern England also experienced strong winds.

Forecasters said the weather pattern is set to continue overnight with a band of rain moving southwards on Saturday, along with slightly lighter winds.

A 51-year-old motorist was killed on a rural road when his car was struck by a tree uprooted by high winds in Staffordshire

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Floodman:


LOL...you're new, right?


Nope. Been blogging here longer than you have. My first handle, StormDrain, Oct. 2005. Some people just don't get my humor. Maybe I missed yours.
:)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


It's bad, see post #31.


Thanks. I understand that. Might not be a bad idea to put off the game till it thaws. Trouble is, more cold and potential precip coming this way, so where do you draw the line?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Barefootontherocks:
Dallasnews.com...
Several inches of snow blanket Dallas Ft. Worth

Maybe they'll postpone the Super Bowl.
:)


LOL...you're new, right?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Barefootontherocks:
Dallasnews.com...
Several inches of snow blanket Dallas Ft. Worth

Maybe they'll postpone the Super Bowl.
:)


It's bad, see post #31.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Jedkins01:


That's really not an apocalypse... Look into world history, we have had a lot worse times before, its just that now that we are in the Global age, people are panicking as if disaster and evil are worse than they were in the past because their minds are being flooded with too much media, more than ever in human history.



Damn it, Jed, stop it! If I keep agreeing with your posts I'll end up having to like you or something
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Dallasnews.com...
Several inches of snow blanket Dallas Ft. Worth

Maybe they'll postpone the Super Bowl.
:)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Houston didn't get it as bad as what we here in North Texas have experienced all week. Right now, we have several inches of Snow on the ground. Underneath that Snow is still a layer of solid ice at least 1.5" thick.


Figure 1. Snow falling on an already wintry covered area here at my house in Fort Worth, Texas.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 81 - 31

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17Blog Index

Top of Page

About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

Local Weather

Overcast
67 °F
Overcast