Summer in March continues for Midwest; Dexter, MI tornado an EF-3

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:54 PM GMT on March 17, 2012

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For the third consecutive day, Chicago, Illinois hit their warmest temperature on record so early in the year, going back to 1872. The mercury hit 82°F, giving the city its third consecutive day of 80°+ temperatures, smashing the old record by a month. Previously, the earliest Chicago had ever seen three consecutive 80 degree days was back on April 14 - 16, 1976. This morning's Public Information Statement from the National Weather Service in Chicago had this to say:

Chicago and Rockford have both broken high temperature records 3 days in a row and will likely break record highs for 5 days in a row. There is even the potential they could tie or break record highs for 6 or 7 days in a row depending on how warm temperatures get on Monday and Tuesday. It is extraordinarily rare for climate locations with 100+ year long periods of records to break records day after day after day. At the current pace... it is likely that Chicago and Rockford will not only break... but shatter their current record warmest Marches.


Figure 1. "This is the kind of sunset that you can expect to see in July, not in March. 77degrees when I took this," said the caption on this wunderphoto taken yesterday in Windom, Minnesota by wunderphotographer sally.

Minneapolis, Minnesota hit 79°F yesterday, the warmest it's ever been this early in the year, going back to 1872, and 39°F above average. This smashes the old record by a remarkable 6°F. Previous record: 73°F, set just two days previously, and also on March 7, 2000.

Bismark, North Dakota hit 81°F yesterday, which was a remarkable 41°F above normal. Not only does this tie Bismarck's warmest all-time monthly March temp on record (three other 81°F readings later in the month, with March 22,1910 being next earliest), it beats the next warmest early season record by a full 6°! The previous record was 75°F on March 12, 2007. Temperatures also soared into the 70's well into Canada's prairies on Friday, setting all-time warm temperature records for so early in the year across much of southern Canada.

International Falls, Minnesota hit 71°F yesterday, which was 36°F above normal, and their earliest 70°F reading by two weeks. Previously, the earliest 70°F reading came on March 30, 1967. Back on March 17, 1897, the temperature in International Falls hit -33°F!

Dexter, Michigan tornado rated an EF-3
NWS survey teams have confirmed that an EF-3 tornado with winds of 135 - 140 mph hit Dexter, Michigan on Thursday. It was the earliest EF-3 or stronger tornado in Michigan history, going back to 1950. The tornado skipped along a 7.2-mile path and had a width of up to 800 yards. It damaged or destroyed 128 buildings, but fortunately did not cause any deaths or injuries. The previous earliest appearance of an F-3 tornado in Michigan was on March 20, 1976. At least two other tornadoes touched down in Michigan Thursday, making it the second largest tornado outbreak in state history so early in the year. The record outbreak for so early in the year was the eight tornadoes that touched down on March 12, 1976.


Figure 2. Radar reflectivity image of the March 15, 2012 Dexter, Michigan tornado.

I'll be back Monday with a new post.

Jeff Masters

Lightning 2 (barbtrek)
Another shot from yesterdays storm in Michigan
Lightning 2
Setting Sol (minnesotamom)
Setting Sol
()

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Quoting MAweatherboy1:

Wasn't 2004 a weak el nino year?

Modiki el nino...this type of el nino occurs when there is more warming in the central pacific. Modiki is the japanese word for "similar, but different"
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 11 Comments: 8314
Quoting MAweatherboy1:
Land can really do a number on tropical systems.

Lua:


Ya think?
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Good Evening. TC Lua in Austrailia finally winding down nicely over land after landfall earlier as a Cat 4.

Link
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Quoting Patrap:
Henryville High School Releases Terrifying Tornado Footage From School Security Cameras (VIDEO)
Quoting JNCali:
My mouth fell open.. incredible video (after the ad) showing the intensity of tornado.. here's another viewLink

Learned something about this from a couple speakers at the National Severe Weather Workshop Mar 1-2. One tornado vid shown depicted a school hallway turned wind tunnel - debris flying, lockers torn off walls. Halls are sometimes designated shelter areas. Many of them have windows on one end, a factor that helps create these wind tunnels during a tornado. You can see the effect somewhat in the vid Patrap posted. The suggestion was made that emergency management and (really!) the citizenry would be wise to get involved when their communities are building a new school or remodeling an old one and tell planners to keep the windows away from the ends of hallways. One school I've seen in Oklahoma built a shelter under the gymnasium.

You hope you don't need a tornado shelter, but oh, the peace of mind a tornado shelter brings.

(edited for clarity)
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Land can really do a number on tropical systems.

Lua:
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 84 Comments: 7926
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Haha, what if we end up with 22 named storms? =P

Very unlikely, but what if?
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 11 Comments: 8314
I couldn't go today to the exhibition of the C-130 Hurricane Hunter plane in San Juan,but the information is that over 30,000 people lined up to see the plane.Read the translation to english from a local newspaper site.

Link
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Good evening guys
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 11 Comments: 8314
--I know I made mention of this earlier, but it's just amazing:

...RECORD HIGH TEMPERATURE SET AT INTERNATIONAL FALLS MN...

A RECORD HIGH TEMPERATURE OF 77 DEGREES WAS SET AT INTERNATIONAL
FALLS MN TODAY. THIS BREAKS THE OLD RECORD OF 55 SET IN 1968. THIS
ALSO BREAKS THE MARCH MONTHLY RECORD WHICH WAS 73 DEGREES SET IN
1963.

As I said earlier, International Falls beat its average high by 43 degrees, the previous record high for the date by 22 degrees, and the all-time March high by four degrees.

--Chicago reached 81 today, the fourth day in a row there over 80. Prior to 2012, there had only been 10 days in March with the temperature in Chicago in the 80s (back to 1872). The earliest three consecutive 80-degree days has happened previously was April 14-16.

There are hundreds of other stories like these: many all-time monthly highs; daily records being smashed by 10, 15, or even 20 degrees; and so on, and so forth...
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13597
Quoting Levi32:


Hey good to see you.

Yes the pattern is typical of an El Nino season. Development threats should be closer to home but will have less time over water to strengthen in general. The question is how active our part of the basin will be. Some El Nino seasons are complete busts, while others have a decent amount of activity. This season doesn't look like a total shutdown, but it should be a good deal less active than the last couple of years.

Wasn't 2004 a weak el nino year?
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 84 Comments: 7926



great study song
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Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:
Hey Levi,good to see you back!

My question to you is if this 2012 season will be dominated by homegrown systems due to the fact that the MDR has below normal sst's due to the positive NAO?


Hey good to see you.

Yes the pattern is typical of an El Nino season. Development threats should be closer to home but will have less time over water to strengthen in general. The question is how active our part of the basin will be. Some El Nino seasons are complete busts, while others have a decent amount of activity. This season doesn't look like a total shutdown, but it should be a good deal less active than the last couple of years.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26682
I figured there was a rainbow in it so it is somewhat weather related.

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Quoting nymore:
thank you for the WEATHER report. Go ask the people in Deadhorse AK how they feel about the abnormal warmth they are experiencing.


You're an interesting guy nymore. You say you're an experienced concrete contractor and get your feathers a bit ruffled when someone says something about your field that doesn't come up to your standards.

But at the same time you dismiss the most experienced people who have spent their careers learning about the climate.

I don't quite understand how someone can value knowledge and experience in one field and dismiss it in another....
Member Since: February 22, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1344
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54827
Quoting Levi32:


You don't plot nonlinear ordinary differential equations in Calc III lol.


Well not technically yes, but it reminds me of some graphs in Calc 3 that I have done :)

I haven't taken differential equations yet, I occasionally work with them in Calculus though. I will likely take it next semester.
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The Henryville Tornado was rated a EF-4
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Quoting Patrap:
Henryville High School Releases Terrifying Tornado Footage From School Security Cameras (VIDEO)
My mouth fell open.. incredible video (after the ad) showing the intensity of tornado.. here's another viewLink
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Barefootontherocks:

Severe weather potential begins Sunday aftn/eve off the dryline, long dryline from Neb to SW TX, and as you say, pending arrival of trough. Trough preceded maybe by some elevated, low severe threat storms off a subtropical short wave.
Click image for complete day 2 outlook


This afternoon's Day 2 is the first time SPC used the TOR-word related to this system.
R/T the dryline storms...
TORNADOES AND HAIL...SOME
VERY LARGE...WILL BE ATTENDANT TO THE INITIAL...MORE DISCRETE...
STORMS. THESE THREATS COMBINED WITH A CONTINUED SEVERE WEATHER
THREAT AS ACTIVITY EVOLVES AFTER DARK INTO A MORE LINEAR MODE
MAINTAINS A RELATIVELY NARROW CORRIDOR OF A HIGHER-END SLIGHT RISK.
in the not too distant future we will have a new level of severe to go with the three current levels

slight risk
mod risk
high risk
extreme risk
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54827
Hey Levi,good to see you back!

My question to you is if this 2012 season will be dominated by homegrown systems due to the fact that the MDR has below normal sst's due to the positive NAO?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
wow.. looks like pollen is very subjective!
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pollen.com map for today
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In Ga it is over 3000, extremely high is 500.

I think the scale is messed up because when pine pollen comes out and it doesnt rain for a week, it can approach 20,000(okay it did once, but it does get near 10,000 every once in a while.).
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9737

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Quoting caneswatch:


HAHA!


maybe you can explain it to me....please?
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9737
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:



TWC


that figures. TWC suk IMO
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That cell south of Asheboro NC doesnt look too friendly...
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Quoting caneswatch:


HAHA!

I don't get it.

But I'm not a Floridian..
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32508
Quoting chicagoloop:
hydrus, that last one (link in post #205) is making me cringe! The heat is bad enough, now high humidity too? What month is it? Did I fall asleep and we're in August now?
It does have the summer appearance to it.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21734
Quoting CybrTeddy:


Q: What do you call a bunch of tractors parked in front of a McDonald's on Friday night in Hillsborough County, Florida?

A: Prom.


HAHA!
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Quoting Jedkins01:



Looks like graphs of functions we plot in Calculus 3 :)

LOL


You don't plot nonlinear ordinary differential equations in Calc III lol.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26682
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:



TWC

I think they've made it to where we can't post images from sites like TWC/AccuWeather. Try uploading it somewhere then posting it here.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32508
Quoting hydrus:
The dry line shows up just a little here...he he...Link
Surface analysis showing location of dry line.
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Quoting hydrus:
The Strange Attractor. The Lorenz Attractor. I remember this one from way back.



Looks like graphs of functions we plot in Calculus 3 :)

LOL
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
hydrus, that last one (link in post #205) is making me cringe! The heat is bad enough, now high humidity too? What month is it? Did I fall asleep and we're in August now?
Member Since: February 1, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 14
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Where did you get it from?



TWC
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9737
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Yeah.

Looks like extreme Eastern Texas will be under the gun Tuesday.



Mississippi and Tennessee on Wednesday.



Alabama, Georgia, and east Tennessee on Thursday.



and on and on...



Arkansas also likely will get heavy rainfall. And storms.

This thing has been progged to cut off and hang out for a while over OK. How and where storms pop, if they do, will have a bearing on Monday and Tues. Been a pretty strong cap here for 3-4 days. Of course, this system's powerful enough to blow it off. Also, GFS and ECMWF have had their differences but both seem to cut it off now and take NE.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Haha, what if we end up with 22 named storms? =P
And 10 hit land..;0
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21734
The dry line shows up just a little here...he he...Link
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21734
Quoting RitaEvac:


Depends how fast this thing moves, Monday or Tuesday, or both days

Severe weather potential begins Sunday aftn/eve off the dryline, long dryline from Neb to SW TX, and as you say, pending arrival of trough. Trough preceded maybe by some elevated, low severe threat storms off a subtropical short wave.
Click image for complete day 2 outlook


This afternoon's Day 2 is the first time SPC used the TOR-word related to this system.
R/T the dryline storms...
TORNADOES AND HAIL...SOME
VERY LARGE...WILL BE ATTENDANT TO THE INITIAL...MORE DISCRETE...
STORMS. THESE THREATS COMBINED WITH A CONTINUED SEVERE WEATHER
THREAT AS ACTIVITY EVOLVES AFTER DARK INTO A MORE LINEAR MODE
MAINTAINS A RELATIVELY NARROW CORRIDOR OF A HIGHER-END SLIGHT RISK.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:
never mind i was trying to post the pollen count map but it just dissappears when i post it.

Anybody know why?

Where did you get it from?
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32508
Quoting StormGoddess:


Correction I found the actual picture: It is Skogafoss in Iceland. The picture is by Anna Andres.
Link

Liquid Ice!
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201. TropicalAnalystwx13
10:10 PM GMT on March 17, 2012
Quoting Levi32:


It's never too early to talk about the tropics :)

The trend is still towards El Nino by all signs, though our skill at predicting when the trend will end is still low. Last year the models thought an El Nino was coming and it didn't show, but this year a few more things are aligned in its favor. I think a weak El Nino season is most likely at this point, but then again March is the month during which ENSO predictions have the greatest errors, so you never know. Either way, the Atlantic hurricane season will be much less active than 2010 and 2011.

Haha, what if we end up with 22 named storms? =P
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32508
200. Levi32
10:09 PM GMT on March 17, 2012
Quoting caribbeantracker01:
well it is also a bit unusual to see levi so early in the season talking about the tropics lol but levi how do you see the season shaping up i have noticed that signs of el nino occurring now quickly changed in about 2 weeks into march so is this another neutral season in your opinion?


It's never too early to talk about the tropics :)

The trend is still towards El Nino by all signs, though our skill at predicting when the trend will end is still low. Last year the models thought an El Nino was coming and it didn't show, but this year a few more things are aligned in its favor. I think a weak El Nino season is most likely at this point, but then again March is the month during which ENSO predictions have the greatest errors, so you never know. Either way, the Atlantic hurricane season will be much less active than 2010 and 2011.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26682
199. hydrus
10:08 PM GMT on March 17, 2012
This link is nothing short of awesome. Check out this model run of the next system..Link...Here,s another..Link This is great too...Link
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21734
198. chicagoloop
10:03 PM GMT on March 17, 2012
I also want to add that it was so warm here in Chicago this past winter that I ran the AC (chilled water pipe system) in my condo unit nearly every single day. High rise condos tend to run warm, prior years I would rarely need to turn on the heat but I wouldn't use the AC. This past winter was very different.
Member Since: February 1, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 14
197. chicagoloop
10:00 PM GMT on March 17, 2012
I'm in Chicago and I absolutely hate this early summer-like weather! I'm also deeply concerned about it, I'm an old-schooler who grew up during the great cold years of the 1960's, and I wonder what happened to the cold temperatures and snow. Adding to my mix of emotions, frustration because the local weather forecasters/reporters are constantly injecting positive spin, "It's going to be another beautiful day today". When it's 30 degrees above the average temperature for more than a week? I'm wondering just how hot it has to be before they realize that maybe it's not so great. And I also wonder why they don't move to a warmer place if they so hate hot weather that they'd like Chicago to be 70 degrees year 'round. I'm already seeing swarms of insects and my allergic friends are already sneezing and itching. I fear that this summer will be as brutal as - or worse than - last summer.
Member Since: February 1, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 14
196. hydrus
9:57 PM GMT on March 17, 2012
Quoting StormGoddess:


Actually it could be Skogafoss in Iceland.
Link
Absolutely...It shouldnt be called Iceland, it should be called Hillygreenland..
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21734
195. nrtiwlnvragn
9:57 PM GMT on March 17, 2012




HAZARDS

HEAVY RAIN FOR PORTIONS OF THE CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN HIGH PLAINS, AND THE MISSISSIPPI VALLEY, MARCH 19-21.
HEAVY RAIN FOR PARTS OF ALABAMA AND TENNESSEE, MARCH 22.
SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS FOR PARTS OF THE CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN PLAINS, AND THE LOWER AND MIDDLE MISSISSIPPI VALLEYS, MARCH 19.
HIGH WINDS FOR PARTS OF THE PLAINS, SOUTHWEST, AND LOWER AND MIDDLE MISSISSIPPI VALLEYS, MARCH 19.
MUCH BELOW NORMAL TEMPERATURES FOR PARTS OF THE SOUTHWEST AND CENTRAL GREAT BASIN, MARCH 19.
HEAVY RAIN FOR PARTS OF THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST, MARCH 20-21.
HEAVY SNOW FOR EASTERN PARTS OF THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST, MARCH 20-21.
HIGH WINDS FOR WESTERN PORTIONS OF THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST, MARCH 20-21.
SIGNIFICANT WAVE HEIGHTS FOR THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST COAST AND OFFSHORE AREAS, MARCH 21-22.
FLOODING OCCURRING OR IMMINENT IN PARTS OF LOUISIANA AND ARKANSAS, MARCH 19-20.
FLOODING OCCURRING OR IMMINENT FOR PARTS OF THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST AND IDAHO, MARCH 19-20.
MUCH BELOW NORMAL TEMPERATURES FOR PARTS OF THE SOUTHERN HALF OF ALASKA AND THE ALASKAN PANHANDLE, MARCH 19-23.
SEVERE DROUGHT FOR PARTS OF THE SOUTHEAST, CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN GREAT PLAINS, UPPER MISSISSIPPI VALLEY, SOUTHWEST, NORTHERN AND CENTRAL CALIFORNIA, NEVADA, UTAH, EASTERN SOUTH DAKOTA, AND HAWAII.


Link
Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 11262
194. TropicalAnalystwx13
9:55 PM GMT on March 17, 2012
Quoting RitaEvac:


Depends how fast this thing moves, Monday or Tuesday, or both days

Yeah.

Looks like extreme Eastern Texas will be under the gun Tuesday.



Mississippi and Tennessee on Wednesday.



Alabama, Georgia, and east Tennessee on Thursday.



and on and on...

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32508

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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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