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 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.
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Quoting Vincent4989:


The reason why you hate the present Wunderground is because you are too familiar with the old one.


You know, in all these years, I've never seen Pottery use the word "hate". Don't think it's in his vocab.
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Quoting pottery:
.... also, I find that the "blog index" page is pretty useless, now that it does not highlight the blogs that I have recently visited.
I like to check a couple of Members blogs when I come on, but I have to go looking for them, instead of them jumping out at me.
Small thing, but I found it good in the past, poor in the present.


The reason why you hate the present Wunderground is because you are too familiar with the old one.
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For West Palm Beach

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So.... are we really going to see some more frontal action by Tuesday and Wednesday?
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Stu Ostro's annual "Weather images of the year" Link
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Quoting Grothar:


Got to give credit where credit is due. He did get it right in 2007 when he said it was going to rain in Minneapolis....and it did.
I have to say Bastardi was off a bit with his prediction of 6 or 7 landfalling tropical cyclones in the U.S. last season..I still believe he is a good meteorologist..To me, trying to predict the number of hurricanes that will make landfall is like trying to predict when and where an earthquake will strike...Its difficult to do.
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Quoting pottery:
I see that the WunderPoll results are showing that 54% have voted that the new format is "great" or "good".
46% are not too happy.
Not good numbers, for a project that took 2 years to do, IMO.
I hope that they can get it right before June 1.
Howdy Pott...Still gettin da rain?..
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Here in West Palm, a temp. drop from 82 earlier in the afternoon to a current 69. Nice Super Bowl watching weather!
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572. DEKRE
Quoting Xandra:

Thanks Grothar! ;)



Canadas record smashing mildness


Presently we are in Quebec at +2 °C with normals
Max:
-7°C
Min:
-15°C
Member Since: April 27, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 306
Quoting Xandra:

Thanks Grothar! ;)

quote from your link,"The Canadian winter will be as harsh as last year's was gentle," Bastardi said”

and according to Bob Henson,

“What really jumps out, though, is a blob of green, yellow, orange, and red covering a major swath of northern and eastern Canada. The largest anomalies here exceed 21°C (37.8°F) above average, which are very large values to be sustained for an entire month”

Canadas record smashing mildness Link


Got to give credit where credit is due. He did get it right in 2007 when he said it was going to rain in Minneapolis....and it did.
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Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128668
Quoting Grothar:


You can add this one to your list.

Link

Thanks Grothar! ;)

quote from your link,"The Canadian winter will be as harsh as last year's was gentle," Bastardi said”

and according to Bob Henson,

“What really jumps out, though, is a blob of green, yellow, orange, and red covering a major swath of northern and eastern Canada. The largest anomalies here exceed 21°C (37.8°F) above average, which are very large values to be sustained for an entire month”

Canadas record smashing mildness Link
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Quoting pottery:
.... also, I find that the "blog index" page is pretty useless, now that it does not highlight the blogs that I have recently visited.
I like to check a couple of Members blogs when I come on, but I have to go looking for them, instead of them jumping out at me.
Small thing, but I found it good in the past, poor in the present.


Hey Pot,

Why don't you just add those to your favorite blogs?
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Jerry Jones has his eye on da radar.

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128668
A record low temperature of 28 degrees was set at Galveston
yesterday. This ties the old record of 28 degrees set in 1917 and
1912. The minimum temperature in Galveston has fallen below 30
degrees four out of the first five days of the month. The normal low
temperature is 50 degrees.


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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


CAN YA SEE THIS


LOL

Action: Quote | Ignore User
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 94 Comments: 22581





Fleetingly. :P
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Area forecast discussion
National Weather Service New Orleans la
1150 am CST sun Feb 6 2011




Update...
infrared satellite imagery
revealed low clouds over south central coastal waters. In
addition...increased cloud cover this afternoon into this evening.
Surface map showed a 1020mb high over North Florida with a light
south flow over Louisiana and Mississippi. Dewpoints have already
increased into the 40s by 11 am this morning. Surface low was
noted over north central Louisiana. Equivalent potential
temperature profiles showed a slight decrease with height across
the coastal waters and south of Lake Pontchartrain late tonight.
As a result...this slight instability with moisture and an approaching
short wave has prompted our office and Storm Prediction Center to insert isolated
thunder for late tonight for this area. Otherwise...morning
package is on track.





Previous discussion... /issued 420 am CST sun Feb 6 2011/


Short term...
a relatively mild Sunday in store as cold air mass over the region
moderates under full sun today. A rapid transition to cloudy skies
and steady rainfall developing overnight from the coast northward
in response to clipper system dropping out of northern branch flow
to sharpen a trough over the lower Mississippi Valley. This will
cause deep dynamic cooling as reflected in very sharp thermal
trough swinging across the area Monday morning. GFS shows a 41
cycle vorticity maximum moving along the la coast into 18z Monday
which is a product of some stratospheric intrusion of 4 to 6 pvu
of equivalent potential vorticity dropping to the 500 mb level.
This is a good indicator for frequent strong gusts with the
passage of this feature due to downward momentum transport under
an increasingly drier column. The European model (ecmwf) and NAM show a similar
structure but not quite as strong with the vorticity maximum...around 33
cycles...which still supports near gale force gusts for a short
duration Monday. The GFS is also hinting at some snow flurry
potential mainly over southwest Mississippi on the back side of
the vorticity feature. The model soundings do not really indicate
much support for snow...clearly not from any top-down
processes...but dynamic forcing and turbulent mixing in the snow
seeding layer may cause an unorthodox shot at some flurries under
very shallow cumuli for a brief while late Monday morning or early
afternoon. Iffy confidence for this scenario and no anticipated
impacts for this occurrence...will forego any mention at this time
and handle with nowcasts in the event some flurries do form and
fall. The greater impact should be the gustiness on Monday.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128668
Quoting Grothar:


You have trouble seeing them, too, eh? Thought it was just me. Don't they realize old people need bold letters to see.

CAN YA SEE THIS


LOL
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Quoting DontAnnoyMe:


Good afternoon.

I use the 3 A's at the end of each blog header (font size) and the browser's View/zoom menu to get it to look how I want it to.


No comment. LOL
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Quoting Xandra:

Bastardi's forecasts for 4 years and USA! Link


You can add this one to your list.

Link
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Quoting Grothar:


You have trouble seeing them, too, eh? Thought it was just me. Don't they realize old people need bold letters to see.


Good afternoon.

I use the 3 A's at the end of each blog header (font size) and the browser's View/zoom menu to get it to look how I want it to.
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I'm keeping both sights up too, visuals that on one are not on the other....backwards from yesterday, Lawdy, Lawdy....and we've got some more wintry stuff coming back into the deep south late tonight....so they say...;O
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Quoting islander101010:
bastardi is in the news again he's showing his age too many failed forecast

Bastardi's forecasts for 4 years and USA! Link
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Quoting pottery:

Yeah, I agree.
I am stuck on the old one for now.
I cannot deal with the soft lettering on the new, for one thing..


You have trouble seeing them, too, eh? Thought it was just me. Don't they realize old people need bold letters to see.
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Submit a ticket on that,,,

The feedback is important for the Geniuses.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128668
.... also, I find that the "blog index" page is pretty useless, now that it does not highlight the blogs that I have recently visited.
I like to check a couple of Members blogs when I come on, but I have to go looking for them, instead of them jumping out at me.
Small thing, but I found it good in the past, poor in the present.
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Everything works fine in the New Look format in FF latest version.


I keep a classic tab open for nostalgia though
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128668
Quoting BahaHurican:
pot, it's still too "buggy" to me. Lots of little annoying things. I like the look, and definitely enjoy the faster download, but what's the use of that if in the end I can't read what I want to read? See what I need to see? I haven't tried to post any pics as yet....

Here's the latest Fiji surface analysis:


Yeah, I agree.
I am stuck on the old one for now.
I cannot deal with the soft lettering on the new, for one thing..
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
pot, it's still too "buggy" to me. Lots of little annoying things. I like the look, and definitely enjoy the faster download, but what's the use of that if in the end I can't read what I want to read? See what I need to see? I haven't tried to post any pics as yet....

Here's the latest Fiji surface analysis:

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Quoting pottery:
I see that the WunderPoll results are showing that 54% have voted that the new format is "great" or "good".
46% are not too happy.
Not good numbers, for a project that took 2 years to do, IMO.
I hope that they can get it right before June 1.


If it took them 2 years to create this mess, just think if they had had 3 years.
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I see that the WunderPoll results are showing that 54% have voted that the new format is "great" or "good".
46% are not too happy.
Not good numbers, for a project that took 2 years to do, IMO.
I hope that they can get it right before June 1.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting pottery:

A Court action that only lasts a few moments???
I thought it was a special small case for those special small garments in a man's life...
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LOL @ pot

I believe Kman would have enjoyed dat un too.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128668
Quoting Patrap:
Loyalty is a admirable trait.


Whats a briefcase?



A Court action that only lasts a few moments???
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Quoting sailingallover:
SST TCHP the topic of the day...
The Trades are finally building with a strong atlantic H forecast the next week. They have been weak most of the winter as the troughs from the storms over CONUS have eroded the ABH as fast as it develops. Right now most of the MDR is covered with 25-30+knt wind. We are getting low level showers from the heat and moisture the Atlantic is shedding every few hours here in the islands.
So how much heat gets released and how much warmer water gets blow west, right now it is all piled up in the Cape Verdes area, in the next 2 months is really going to affect the season later.

The GFS has the ABH strong for the next http://www.nco.ncep.noaa.gov/pmb/nwprod/analysis/carib/gfs/06/images/gfs_ten_162l.gif

The Columbian Low and ITCZ is forecast to be strong which will help tighten the gradient and make for stronger winds=more heat loss.

So how this plays out is yet to be seen..

Winds have increased here, easterly at 22 mph with higher gusts.
Swell warnings to 3-4 meters in open waters for the next few days as well.
Temp 88F currently
Humidity 58% currently
It sure feels like a DrySeason day. Some WV out in the Atl along the ITCZ, but not much.
Real nice weather, actually.
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Afternoon all. I see Zaka is with us. I'm not surprised, given the speedy organization I noticed overnight [our time].

I'm using a different computer today, and it's different day, different computer, same problems with the new setup.... so I'll be in and out while getting that resolved.

Anybody seen a forecast track map for Zaka?
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6 Feb, 2011, 07.50PM IST,PTI
14 killed and over a million affected in Sri Lanka floods



COLOMBO: At least 14 people were killed and over one million affected by fresh floods across Sri Lanka , inundating homes, roads and agricultural land for the second time within a month.

A total of 1053,499 have been affected due to floods in several parts of the country, the Disaster Management Centre said today.

A similar number of persons were affected and 300,000 left homeless in the flooding early last month which also claimed at least 43 lives, prompting the United Nations to make a global appeal to raise USD 51 million as an emergency fund for flood victims.

The latest flooding has affected almost the same areas devastated by the earlier flooding, displacing 237,000 people.

The displaced people have been accommodated at 653 temporarily camps set up in high lands in the flood affected areas.

Schools in eastern province and part of the northern province have been closed till Wednesday next week, officials said.

Around 40 naval units and at least 7 military helicopters have been deployed to assist flood victims in northern and eastern province, areas where badly affected by the floods this time.

Officials have asked the public to refrain from visiting UNESCO heritage city of Anuradhapura as roads are damaged and made inaccessible by floods.



Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128668
Quoting Patrap:
91B continues to cause Havoc as well.

Where does "Havoc" fall on the Saffir-Simpson scale?
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Quoting PensacolaDoug:





None of you wannabe
bashers/haters can carry his briefcase...

It's not "bashing" or "hating" to hold a forecaster's feet to the fire, especially one who couldn't do much worse by flipping a coin. Heck, the NWS is constantly being "bashed" by lots of people--most vociferously by Bastardi himself.

The main point to keep in mind is this: if Bastardi can't be trusted to make a good weather forecast--something he's trained to do--why would anyone trust him to make long-term predictions about climate--something for which he is most definitely not trained?

;-)
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Quoting CybrTeddy:


Actually, Karl did much more damage that Igor and Tomas combined. 5.6 billion in damages.

Well, I was going by the numbers in the TCR, which listed damage at $206 million. I see the $5.6 billion figure on Wikipedia, but I'm not sure where it came from; I imagine that came from over-inflated preliminary numbers. (I know a rule of thumb for figuring actula damage is to double insurance damage estimates, but even that would still only take it to $412 million, less than 7% of the higher number. Hmmm...)

Having said that, I still believe Karl will be one of the three names retired this year, with Tomas and Igor being the other two.
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Loyalty is a admirable trait.


Whats a briefcase?


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128668
Quoting islander101010:
more heavy rain sri lanka cant get a break.. probally posted before but bastardi is in the news again he's showing his age too many failed forecast http://www.accuweather.com/blogs/news/story/45220/bastardi-three-of-next-five-wi-1.asp





None of you wannabe
bashers/haters can carry his briefcase...
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00z ECMWF depicts Zaka moving towards the west-southwest over the next day or so, before turning towards the south-southwest into a weakness in the mid-level ridge located to the south. The system will likely become extratropical and be swept off to the southeast before posing a threat to New Zealand.

In other news, the 00z ECMWF also depicts the development of yet another rather large and powerful tropical cyclone in the Australia region. Luckily, this one is forecast to develop over the southwestern Indian Ocean, near northwestern Western Australia, and move off towards the west or west-southwest before dissipating due to very dry air and relatively hostile upper level conditions over the open waters of the Indian ocean.

00z ECMWF at 120 hours:

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This "Heritage Moment" brought to you by the Folks who could care less.

Delivering you the latest conservative policy perspectives on today's news.


Now back to the Show.

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128668
Quoting Neapolitan:

I did a pretty lengthy comment on Karl's TCR when it came out on Wednesday (and on Nicole's, which was released on Monday). That's all but two: Tomas and Igor--the two storms with both the most complex paths and the greatest damage. Just a week or two more, I'm sure...

Beautiful here in Naples; yet another 80-degree day is in the works (and one more tomorrow). I took the boat down the waterway and out into the Gulf yesterday afternoon; it was overcast, but the sun broke from beneath the shelf about five minutes before it set, setting the entire sky ablaze. That, some good friends, a nice breeze blowing the palm trees around, and a couple of dolphins feasting next to us in the inlet all made for a nice sunset. There are times I don't like it here--but yesterday wasn't one of them. ;-)


Actually, Karl did much more damage that Igor and Tomas combined. 5.6 billion in damages.
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more heavy rain sri lanka cant get a break.. probally posted before but bastardi is in the news again he's showing his age too many failed forecast http://www.accuweather.com/blogs/news/story/45220/bastardi-three-of-next-five-wi-1.asp
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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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