Torrential rains in Oklahoma; Summer in March continues for Midwest

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:07 PM GMT on March 20, 2012

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A significant flood event is underway in Eastern Oklahoma, where widespread rainfall amounts of 3 to 5 inches have fallen since yesterday. Up to four more inches of rain is likely today, and the National Weather Service in Tulsa is warning of the potential for "widespread and potentially catastrophic areal flooding and river flooding" should some of the higher rainfall amounts being forecast materialize. Numerous main-stem rivers across eastern Oklahoma and northwest Arkansas are now approaching flood stage, and will likely experience moderate to major flooding into Wednesday. Rainfall has also been heavy over Eastern Texas, with widespread amounts of 2 - 4 inches. These heavy rains are causing some street flooding, but in general, will be a benefit, as moderate to severe drought conditions still cover most of the region.


Figure 1. Radar-estimated rainfall for Eastern Oklahoma since March 19, 2012, as estimated by the Tulsa, Oklahoma radar.

The storm system responsible is a massive, slow-moving trough of low pressure over the Western U.S. that is colliding with the warmest and moistest air mass ever recorded in March in the Central and Eastern U.S. According to the NWS in Minneapolis, Minnesota, moisture flowing northwards into Minnesota along the cold front early this week had the highest levels of moisture ever recorded so early in the year. At the boundary between the Western U.S. trough of low pressure and Central U.S. ridge of high pressure, a cold front is lifting huge quantities of moisture-laden air aloft, forcing torrential rains to fall. The cold front is also expected to trigger a Slight Risk of severe weather over East Texas, Western Louisiana, and Southern Arkansas today, says NOAA's Storm Prediction Center. Severe thunderstorm watches are already posted for much of East Texas, as seen on our Severe Weather Map. Three tornadoes were reported yesterday in Texas, and eleven touched down the previous day in Oklahoma, Nebraska, and South Dakota. The tornado that hit North Platte, Nebraska two days ago was rated a strong EF-3, and injured four people.


Figure 2. Predicted rainfall amounts for the 2-day period Tuesday morning through Thursday morning show an area of 3+ inches (orange colors) is expected over Eastern Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Southwest Missouri. Image credit: NOAA HPC.

Summer in March continues for the Midwest
The ongoing March heat wave in the Midwest will continue to set all-time heat records through Thursday, gradually shifting its peak intensity eastwards during the week. A few highlights from yesterday's records:

Pellston, Michigan in the Northern Lower Peninsula is called "Michigan's Icebox", since it frequently records the coldest temperatures in the state, and in the entire nation. But the past three days, Pellston has topped out at 80° - 82°F, the first 80°F March days in their history. Yesterday's 82° reading broke the previous record for the date (56° in 1976) by an amazing 26°, and was 44°F above average. Nearby Traverse City hit 83°F yesterday, the third consecutive day the city has experienced its hottest March temperature on record.

International Falls, Minnesota hit 78°F yesterday, 42° above average, and the 2nd hottest March temperature on record in the Nation's Icebox. The record of 79°F was set the previous day. Remarkably, the low temperature for International Falls bottomed out at 60°F yesterday, tying the previous record high for the date. I've never seen a station with a century-long data record have its low temperature for the date match the previous record high for the date. Yesterday was the seventh consecutive day that International Falls broke or tied a daily record. That is spectacularly hard to do for a station with a century-long weather record. The longest string of consecutive records being broken I'm aware of is nine days in a row, set June 2 - 10, 1911 in Tulsa, Oklahoma (with weather records going back to 1905.) International Falls has a good chance of surpassing nine consecutive records this week.

Record heat in Canada
Record-breaking heat has also penetrated into the Prairie provinces of Canada over the past week. Winnipeg, Manitoba has broken its record high for the past five days in a row, and hit 24°C (75.2°F) yesterday, its hottest March temperature on record. Forecast high temperatures for Wednesday and Thursday across Ontario are near 26°C, which will threaten the records for hottest March day in history for Windsor, London, Hamilton, and Toronto.


Figure 3. The jet stream pattern features a large, southwards dipping bulge over the Western U.S., creating a trough of low pressure with cold and snow, and a large, northwards looping bulge over the Central U.S., creating a record-strength ridge of high pressure.

Why the record early-season warmth?
The unusual warmth is due to a loop in the jet stream that has created a large upper-level ridge of high pressure that is stuck in place over the Eastern U.S.--a phenomenon known as a "blocking pattern." Since the jet stream acts as the boundary between cold air to the north and warm air to the south, and the large loop in the jet places its axis far to the north of the eastern U.S., summer-like warmth has developed over the eastern half of the U.S. Conversely, colder than average temperatures have developed over the western third of the U.S. behind the southwards-dipping loop of the jet stream. This jet stream pattern is too extreme to be stable, and the big loop over the Western U.S. will break off and form a giant eddy on Wednesday. The resulting area of low pressure will be known as a "cut-off low", because it will be cut off from the jet stream. The cut-off low will drift slowly eastwards during the week, gradually bringing an end to "Summer in March" over the Eastern half of the U.S.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting KoritheMan:


I worked until 9:30 tonight. Took my break in Garden Center, and I could easily see that winds were still gusting upwards of 25 mph, the sky overcast, and humidity levels high. Having been through a dozen or so tropical cyclones in my life, my first thought was "This is reminiscent of a tropical storm."


Creep factor "7"..im giving it on my NOLA meter

anything above a 5 I check the Jenny, think about putting the Cars up on the Audubon Ridge near Children s Hospital.



Doom looks to get here maybe by dawn, but its dem rogue inbound River crossing Swirlie's I cant get warned for.

Have to track dem suckas here and with the local NOAA Alert Tones to my South.



Interesting Spring opener.

Nature takes the 1F plus increase in Global Temps and increases her WV 4% more and Loads the Dice towards Chaos..

The Iraq Shock and awe all over again.

9 years later.

Natures way.

Welcome to the New Earth.

Created, well..
by,

Us.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127804
Quoting Levi32:
You shift the Earth's axis of rotation by jumping up and down (if you're not standing on a pole), and the Earth falls towards you at the same time that you are falling towards it. Everything affects everything, but very few effects are actually large enough to measure.
Very true. I'd add that many effects are not understood.
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Quoting aislinnpaps:
Gusts here are currently at 37


Baton Rouge recorded gusts to 35 mph earlier today, but I was asleep. I am most disappointed.
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Gusts here are currently at 37
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UGH
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Quoting Patrap:
The Flow out the Se is Like Banding now,,really impressive.



I worked until 9:30 tonight. Took my break in Garden Center, and I could easily see that winds were still gusting upwards of 25 mph, the sky overcast, and humidity levels high. Having been through a dozen or so tropical cyclones in my life, my first thought was "This is reminiscent of a tropical storm."
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Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127804
The Flow out the Se is Like Banding now,,really impressive.

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127804
Quoting drought:


I was commenting on SLP's original statement about VIL being 45 kg/m3. It should be grams.


i said it was kg/m^2. because thats what it is. (oh and uh, its SPL for Sound Pressure Level...not SLP for Sea Level Pressure lol)

Guys do you think the Deep River has something to do with killing this rain? because its all going by-by right there at it.
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4481
Quoting Chicklit:
The Human League. Here ya go.
img src="">Link
More great 80s kitsch-now, cool then: Link A Flock of Seagulls
at the risk of being banned I'll post one of my faves from the 80s LinkTears for Fears
Don't get me started!


Never much cared for A Flock of Seagulls, but I did like Tears for Fears. Here's a band I liked very much, and danced to live on stage: The Parachute Club.
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New Orleans sounding, valid 0000 UTC:



Plenty of low-level moisture. Looks like a bit of a cap aloft, probably due to cloud cover, but this shouldn't be too big an issue in terms of the rainfall. Flood potential certainly exists from Houston eastward to New Orleans through Thursday. Be careful!
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The above is awesome. Enough Said.
Member Since: September 3, 2011 Posts: 13 Comments: 3470
374. Skyepony (Mod)
Cloudsat capturing the deluge..
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Quoting Jedkins01:


VIL isn't necessarily the greatest tool to determine rainfall, even though it might seem so, but that is a high value.


I was commenting on SLP's original statement about VIL being 45 kg/m3. It should be grams.
Member Since: March 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 114
Quoting aislinnpaps:
I think she might want to call in that the roads are impassable. Better safe than...


Quoting ScottLincoln:


Numerous reports of flooding are coming in to the weather service. I believe some highways have several feet of water over them just west of Lake Charles. If she does venture out before light, I'd suggest much caution!


Yes, I told her to call in before she leaves the house to see if the roads are open. They were closed earlier where she has to drive. And I told her not to drive into any water. I thought it had let up now it's started right back.
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heavy rain hitting Louisiana right now
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370. Skyepony (Mod)
Going back to that graph.. Looking at the data that came from. The other concentrated on the red line. I can see the argument for the green. I've been torn for a few years between 3013 & 2015 for the first ice free summer.
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Quoting ScottLincoln:


Numerous reports of flooding are coming in to the weather service. I believe some highways have several feet of water over them just west of Lake Charles. If she does venture out before light, I'd suggest much caution!
...or a pirogue. Wow, what a wet mess...
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im not believing this...

the system is breaking up right before it gets to me, and then redeveloping around me! I havnt got a drop yet!
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4481
I think she might want to call in that the roads are impassable. Better safe than...
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Quoting AtHomeInTX:


I can believe it. That's one town over from me where my daughter lives. She's worried about driving to work tomorrow at 5 a.m This rain just won't stop.



Flooding concerns mount
Posted: Mar 20, 2012 9:07 PM CDT Updated: Mar 20, 2012 9:08 PM CDT

A conveyor belt of rain has set up across Southeast Texas and Southwestern Louisiana this evening. Rain and storms continue to develop over the gulf and move northwards over SETX & SWLA over and over again. Newest model data this evening shows this continuing tonight and into Wednesday Morning before letting up Wednesday Afternoon. An additional 1 to 3 inches is possible over Southeast Texas tonight and Wednesday Morning. Rainfall totals could reach 6-10 inches particularly over Eastern Section of Southeast Texas - Orange, Newton and Eastern Jefferson Counties causing additional flooding.


Numerous reports of flooding are coming in to the weather service. I believe some highways have several feet of water over them just west of Lake Charles. If she does venture out before light, I'd suggest much caution!
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Quoting MTWX:
The photos were from this afternoon... Just got off the phone with her and she said there is almost 3 ft of water flowing down their street right now!


I can believe it. That's one town over from me where my daughter lives. She's worried about driving to work tomorrow at 5 a.m This rain just won't stop.



Flooding concerns mount
Posted: Mar 20, 2012 9:07 PM CDT Updated: Mar 20, 2012 9:08 PM CDT

A conveyor belt of rain has set up across Southeast Texas and Southwestern Louisiana this evening. Rain and storms continue to develop over the gulf and move northwards over SETX & SWLA over and over again. Newest model data this evening shows this continuing tonight and into Wednesday Morning before letting up Wednesday Afternoon. An additional 1 to 3 inches is possible over Southeast Texas tonight and Wednesday Morning. Rainfall totals could reach 6-10 inches particularly over Eastern Section of Southeast Texas - Orange, Newton and Eastern Jefferson Counties causing additional flooding.
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Two tornado sightings, one north of Natchitoches heading north, one south of Natchitoches heading north.
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363. MTWX
The photos were from this afternoon... Just got off the phone with her and she said there is almost 3 ft of water flowing down their street right now!
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Firefighters work to remove a bus damaged by a bridge which collapsed, following a strong quake that hit Mexico on March 20, 2012. Photo courtesy: AFPclose
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361. MTWX
Some images from my friend in Orange, TX


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SEVERE WEATHER STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SHREVEPORT LA
921 PM CDT TUE MAR 20 2012

LAC069-210230-
/O.CON.KSHV.TO.W.0012.000000T0000Z-120321T0230Z/
NATCHITOCHES LA-
921 PM CDT TUE MAR 20 2012

...A TORNADO WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 930 PM CDT FOR
NATCHITOCHES PARISH...

AT 921 PM CDT...A TORNADO WAS REPORTED. THIS TORNADO WAS LOCATED ON
THE NORTHWEST SIDE OF NATCHITOCHES...MOVING NORTH AT 30 MPH.

OTHER LOCATIONS IN THE WARNING INCLUDE BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO GRAND
ECORE...CLARENCE AND POWHATAN

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

HEAVY RAINFALL MAY OBSCURE THIS TORNADO. TAKE COVER NOW! IF YOU WAIT
TO SEE OR HEAR IT COMING...IT MAY BE TOO LATE TO GET TO A SAFE PLACE.

&&

LAT...LON 3188 9322 3182 9295 3175 9308 3177 9319
TIME...MOT...LOC 0221Z 193DEG 28KT 3182 9313

$$
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31865
The Human League. Here ya go.
img src="">Link
More great 80s kitsch-now, cool then: Link A Flock of Seagulls
at the risk of being banned I'll post one of my faves from the 80s LinkTears for Fears
Don't get me started!
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Quoting Jedkins01:



Spring peepers start to peep in Florida on warmer nights by the end of January, LOL.


No doubt. So, when can I expect to see alligators in my backyard? Another 17 years or so?
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Quoting hydrus:
Imagine this a mile wide moving at 55,000 mph. Do we really have something powerful enough to alter its course.? If we do, it is probably a well kept secret.



There some wicked powerful lasers being developed out there, I'm pretty sure a big one could be built to alter its course to the furnace :)
Member Since: August 21, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 7385
Quoting bluenosedave:
A little anecdote/data point for you all.

I moved here to Yarmouth, NS on Apr. 9, 1995. I heard my first spring peepers that year about 5 days later, around Apr. 14. (There's a small marshy area near my backyard.)

Tonight I heard my first spring peepers of 2012. That's about 25 days, or 3 1/2 weeks, earlier than 17 years ago.



Spring peepers start to peep in Florida on warmer nights by the end of January, LOL.
Member Since: August 21, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 7385
Quoting drought:


45 kg per cubic meter is pretty wet! :P


VIL isn't necessarily the greatest tool to determine rainfall, even though it might seem so, but that is a high value.
Member Since: August 21, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 7385
A little anecdote/data point for you all.

I moved here to Yarmouth, NS on Apr. 9, 1995. I heard my first spring peepers that year about 5 days later, around Apr. 14. (There's a small marshy area near my backyard.)

Tonight I heard my first spring peepers of 2012. That's about 25 days, or 3 1/2 weeks, earlier than 17 years ago.
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Quoting Jedkins01:



lol you and your vertically integrated liquid... I hope someday you appreciated the kind of math involved there :)



45 kg per cubic meter is pretty wet! :P
Member Since: March 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 114
Quoting hydrus:
Imagine this a mile wide moving at 55,000 mph. Do we really have something powerful enough to alter its course.? If we do, it is probably a well kept secret.
Trust me the Russians could make something bigger.
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Gust front just went over
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4481
Quoting Grothar:


Very interesting article. So they can send a nuclear missile millions of miles into space, hit a small rock moving at thousands of miles per hour. Hmmm. I just want to know one thing. How come they can't find my luggage at the airport.


They found your luggage, Grothar. They said you have to go get it. They could not find a volunteer to do it.

Your luggage is here
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This astronaut photograph, taken from the International Space Station while over China (approximately 400 kilometres to the north-west of Beijing), provides the unusual perspective of looking down on a meteor as it passes through the atmosphere. Green and yellow airglow appears in thin layers above the limb of the Earth, extending from image left to the upper right. Atoms and molecules above 50 kilometers in the atmosphere are excited by sunlight during the day, and then release this energy at night, producing primarily green light that is observable from orbit. Part of a space station solar panel is visible at image upper right; behind the panel, a bright region indicates the Sun low on the horizon.
Date 13 August 2011
Source NASA Earth Observatory
Author ISS Expedition 28 crew
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Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4481
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127804
Quoting washingtonian115:
Well I though we lighten up the mood a bit around here with a little 80's music trivia

Hint:It came out in 1982.Here is a line from the song

"I was working as a waitress at a cocktail bar"

(If you seriously don't get this people that were around in the 80's I'm shoot'in ya in your foot!!).


"Don't You Want Me, Baby?" Can't remember the band. I think that's a good thing.
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Louisiana and Mississippi are going to get a deluge..
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I think the strange noises in Clintonville, WI are mass hysteria.
Member Since: March 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 114
Quoting washingtonian115:
The answer is The Human League:Don't You Want Me.I'am ashamed...even my 10 year old son knows the answer to that.lol.


i knew it but AthomeInTX answered first so i didnt answer and i wasnt even alive then lol
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4481
Quoting Jedkins01:



Here in Florida sufficient VIL doesn't necessarily warrant a warning, Ive seen levels that support 2 inch hail move right over me and not get a single hail stone, the NWS deals with this issue by looking at the cell in terms of (X,Y,Z) instead of (X,Y) traditional radar view to see if large hail is actually making it to the ground. I have experienced some brutal thunderstorms here in wet season but Ive only seen hail twice here ever.



Only near Clearwater Florida could you experience tornadoes more than hail. Ive seen actual tornadoes, not just funnel clouds, more times than hail here.


eh well thats florida. this is the notorious North Carolina :D i will be happy when the dual polarization is installed here..

GO CAROLINA ALLEY!!!

Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4481
Quoting msgambler:
I'm ok Pat, I'm under the "Patrap Forcefield". I'm working out of Lafayette for a few months so I know you got my back.


"You dont have to see his DOT certification,"






Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127804
Imagine this a mile wide moving at 55,000 mph. Do we really have something powerful enough to alter its course.? If we do, it is probably a well kept secret.
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Quoting Neapolitan:
The plot continues to thicken in Clintonville, Wisconsin, tonight, as the bizarre underground noises heard for the last several nights there have been confirmed by hundreds.
So, whattaya think? A side effect of rapid thawing? Mass delusion? A blob of magma working its way to the surface? A community of blind and mole-like subterranean trolls toiling the night away?


Something very similar has been happening recently in McAdam, New Brunswick. The official explanation has been earthquakes and aftershocks. Listening to these folks, that sounds dubious, but I don't have any experience with earthquakes, thankfully.
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The answer is The Human League:Don't You Want Me.I'am ashamed...even my 10 year old son knows the answer to that.lol.
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I'm ok Pat, I'm under the "Patrap Forcefield". I'm working out of Lafayette for a few months so I know you got my back.
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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.