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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Quoting Grothar:


Hey, I was born in NYC.
Soooooo are you rude?
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 17147
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
While watching the Black Eyed Peas I will be eating Meatloaf while dancing the Mash Potato.


How do you like the game so far? hehe hehe!
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Quoting EYEStoSEA:


LOL...I've always heard NYC was...


Hey, I was born in NYC.
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While watching the Black Eyed Peas I will be eating Meatloaf while dancing the Mash Potato.
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
so you believe everything you see on the internet also


Umm not unless it supports the humour I am trying to make :)


21-3 GB
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
Quoting Orcasystems:


Hey now... that's not nice... its on the internet about Toronto.. it has to be true.
so you believe everything you see on the internet also
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
its easy

big fish means big target


Hey now... that's not nice... its on the internet about Toronto.. it has to be true.


Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
its easy

big fish means big target
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Oh Lordy, the wrath of the KOTG.....lol
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Quoting Orcasystems:


One Of The World’s Rudest Cities Toronto Canada. Do you agree?


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I'm not falling for Hypuweather's lame tatics anymore.It's like their teasing us here in the mid atlantic.They keep saying "Oh the mid-atlantic may get this",or "Places like Washington/Baltimore will have a significant storm".Nope not falling for it.I'm calling it now.This storm will be a bust just like every storm in our area has this year.(Except for two weeks ago on wensday when that storm hit".Bottom line?.Their was no real snow in D.C this year.And I wanted our local weather man to eat crow.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 17147
Quoting Orcasystems:
There is a football game on...
I am going to root for the guys in green..so far they appear to be the only ones who know what they are doing... not to mention their fans have cheese hats??

P.S. Why do they have cheese on their heads??


The Dairy State

A more fitting nickname for Wisconsin, "The Dairy State" is in direct reference to the large production of dairy products, particularly cheese and butter, in the state.



Another reflection of Wisconsin's dairy production and a phrase that appears on Wisconsin state license plates.
The Cheese State

Wisconsin has also been referred to as "The Cheese State" because of its large cheese production.

p.s. My wife is from there, Milwaukee. :)
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Magnitude 4.0 - BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO
2011 February 06 23:56:00 UTC
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It would appear this game is all but over... I wonder what else is on?
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
617. DEKRE
609. Orcasystems 7:02 PM EST on February 06, 2011
Quick guess... Toronto.


Most Polite Cities in the World
1 New York
2 Zurich
3 Toronto
4 Berlin
5 São Paulo
6 Zagreb
7 Auckland
8 Warsaw
9 Mexico City
10 Stockholm
Link
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Quoting EYEStoSEA:


LOL...I've always heard NYC was...


One Of The World’s Rudest Cities Toronto Canada. Do you agree?
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
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Quoting Orcasystems:


Quick guess... Toronto.


Canadian cities not rated. BTW, Toronto and Montreal are the cleanest cities I've ever seen. I suppose Vancouver is too.

The Top 20 Rudest Cities in America
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I'm getting ill.
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I'm having major connection problems...I'll blame it on the SB...
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Quoting EYEStoSEA:


Top 5 huh...lol..who was #1 ?
Los Angelas was number 1#.With New York city following in behind.Hey but what can I say.D.C is a indeed a rude city when it all comes down to It.Not saying that you won't meet some pretty decent/nice people.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 17147
Quoting Orcasystems:


Quick guess... Toronto.


LOL...I've always heard NYC was...
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Quoting EYEStoSEA:


Top 5 huh...lol..who was #1 ?


Quick guess... Toronto.
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
Quoting washingtonian115:
My city was rated number 5 at being one of the most rudest cities.Way to go D.C(Sarcastic).Am I rude?.No I don't think I'am.If theirs anything the city to the north of us (Baltimore) should've been rated in our place....


Top 5 huh...lol..who was #1 ?
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My city was rated number 5 at being one of the most rudest cities.Way to go D.C(Sarcastic).Am I rude?.No I don't think I'am.If theirs anything the city to the north of us (Baltimore) should've been rated in our place....
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 17147
Quoting Ylee:
Quoting Orcasystems:
"Oh trust me... Pottery has a massive vocabulary,...."

I have lurked on these blogs for so long the word "whatnot" has creeped into everyday use! :)


The term that peeves me is... "what ever"... my daughter said it "once", and she is 30.
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
Seattle has How many Vince Lombardi Trophy's ?

LOL


Lombardi Gras was worth the 43 years to get there.




Easily.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128865
Quoting Ylee:
Quoting Orcasystems:
"Oh trust me... Pottery has a massive vocabulary,...."

I have lurked on these blogs for so long the word "whatnot" has creeped into everyday use! :)


Lol...I know what you mean. Don't think Orca understood what I was trying to insinuate...certainly know Pottery's vocab is vast. Took me about 5 years to start blogging and quit lurking all the time.
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There is a football game on...
I am going to root for the guys in green..so far they appear to be the only ones who know what they are doing... not to mention their fans have cheese hats??

P.S. Why do they have cheese on their heads??
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
602. Ylee
Quoting Orcasystems:
"Oh trust me... Pottery has a massive vocabulary,...."

I have lurked on these blogs for so long the word "whatnot" has creeped into everyday use! :)
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The Runners,joggers,bicyclist,and walkers were all out in the force today.They really took advatage of the nice weathers.By the way I cught some beautiful pictures of the capital behind the trees when the sun was setting.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 17147
Quoting Grothar:


No mention the Giants. They broke my heart this season. Too many missed opportunities.


You're right...ENJOY the game :)
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Quoting EYEStoSEA:


I"m looking foward to the commercials, I guess...we are Saints, Colts, and Giants fans. Certainly will be watching, though.....wouldn't be right to miss SuperBowl.!


No mention the Giants. They broke my heart this season. Too many missed opportunities.
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Quoting weatherlover94:


Im Voting for Steelers :)


Making a face!!!!!
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Quoting Grothar:



They just finished making the sandwiches and got the chicken wings from Publix. We're all ready here. How about you all.


I"m looking foward to the commercials, I guess...we are Saints, Colts, and Giants fans. Certainly will be watching, though.....wouldn't be right to miss SuperBowl.!
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Quoting Grothar:
Only got a few minutes, then got to go.



Im Voting for Steelers :)
Member Since: September 8, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 2209
Only got a few minutes, then got to go.

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Quoting BahaHurican:
Not to mention all the Black history month specials...

Is it my imagination, or does Zaka seem to be developing an eye feature?



Not yet.

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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


He's on countdown as to when Endora will cast her next spell on Durwood.


Thought it was Darwin.
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Quoting EYEStoSEA:


Hello Grothar , are u on countdown to the Super Bowl?


He's on countdown as to when Endora will cast her next spell on Durwood.
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Quoting EYEStoSEA:


Hello Grothar , are u on countdown to the Super Bowl?



They just finished making the sandwiches and got the chicken wings from Publix. We're all ready here. How about you all.
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Not to mention all the Black history month specials...

Is it my imagination, or does Zaka seem to be developing an eye feature?
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Good evening Folks i was reading on the posts of today that Joe Bastardi was saying again about that big flip in temperatures after this week...Who all thinks that will hold true?
Member Since: September 8, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 2209
Quoting Grothar:


There's a Bewitched Marathon on. Where have you been.


Hello Grothar , are u on countdown to the Super Bowl?
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Quoting BahaHurican:
So.... are we really going to see some more frontal action by Tuesday and Wednesday?


Some people are luckier than others.
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
Slow tonight. Must be something good on T.V.


There's a Bewitched Marathon on. Where have you been.
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Slow tonight. Must be something good on T.V.
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i.e. if he did want to express that emotion, he'd be using loathe, abhor, etc....

I get it....

hate is a baby word....

LOL

How's life, Orca?
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Quoting Patrap:
Jerry Jones has his eye on da radar.

Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


That stuff in Texas has been moving like an inchworm all day.
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Quoting EYEStoSEA:


You know, in all these years, I've never seen Pottery use the word "hate". Don't think it's in his vocab.


Oh trust me... Pottery has a massive vocabulary, I spend a good deal of time in google looking up words when he posts in my blog, he knows more words then that chick who makes up her own.
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511

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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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