Summer in March, 2012, draws to a close

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:54 PM GMT on March 23, 2012

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The most incredible spring heat wave in U.S. and Canadian recorded history is finally drawing to a close today, after a ten-day stretch of unprecedented record-smashing intensity. Since record keeping began in the late 1800s, there have never been so many spring temperature records broken, and by such a large margin. Airports in fifteen different states have set all-time records for March warmth, which is truly extraordinary considering that the records were set in the middle of the month, instead of the end of the month. The 29.2°C (85°F) measured at Western Head, Nova Scotia yesterday was the third warmest temperature ever recorded in Canada in March, according to Environment Canada and weather records researcher Maximiliano Herrera (top two records: 31.1°C at Alberini Beaver Creek BC on March 29th 1926, and 29.4°C in 1921 at Wallaceburg.) Michigan's all-time record for March warmth was toppled on Wednesday, when the mercury hit 90°F at Lapeer. The previous record, 89° at Lapeer in 1910, was matched at three stations yesterday--Ypsilanti, Dearborn, and Lapeer. The duration, areal size, and intensity of the Summer in March, 2012 heat wave are simply off-scale, and the event ranks as one of North America's most extraordinary weather events in recorded history. Such a historic event is difficult to summarize, and in today's post I will offer just a few of the most notable highlights.


Figure 1. Clear skies over the Eastern U.S. caused by a blocking ridge of high pressure on March 21, 2012, are apparent in this visible satellite image. The comma-shaped cloud pattern over the Central U.S. is associated with a "cut-off" low pressure system. This low is moving over the Eastern U.S. today through Saturday, and will bring an end to "Summer in March" over the U.S. and Canada. Image credit: NOAA's Environmental Visualization Lab, and modified by Andrew Freedman of Climate Central.

Low temperatures beating previous high temperature records for the date
I've never seen a case where the low temperature for the date beat the previous record high. This happened on at least four occasions during "Summer in March, 2012":

The low temperature at Marquette, Michigan hit 52° on March 21, which was 3° warmer than the previous record high for the date.

The low at Mt. Washington, NH on March 21 (44°) beat the previous record high for the date (43°.)

The low temperature for International Falls, Minnesota on March 20 bottomed out at 60°F, tying the previous record high for the date.

The low temperature in Rochester, Minnesota on March 18 was 62°F, which beat the previous record high for the date of 60°.

Breaking all-time April records for warmth in March
Not only did many locations in Canada set records for their all-time warmest March day during "Summer in March, 2012", a number also broke their record for warmest April day:

St. John, New Brunswick hit 27.2°C (81°F) on March 21. Previous March record: 17.5°C on March 21, 1994. April record: 22.8°C.

Kejimkujik Park, Nova Scotia hit 27.9°C on March 21. Previous March record: 22.5°C on March 30, 1986. April record: 25°C on April 27, 1990.

Yesterday, I reported that Halifax, Nova Scotia hit 27.2°C (81°F) on March 22, 2012. Previous March record: 25.8° set the previous day. April record: 26.3°C, set on April 30, 2004. However, Rob Paola, a meteorologist with Environment Canada's Prairie and Arctic Storm Prediction Center in Winnipeg, Manitoba, wrote to tell me that Halifax did not break its April record: In fact, Halifax recorded a temperature of 29.5°C on April 28, 2009. For some reason, that stat does not show up on EC's normal/extremes climate site for Halifax, which only has data up to 2006 for extremes. More details on my blog at http://robsobsblog.blogspot.ca/

Breaking daily temperature records by more than 30°F
It is exceptionally rare for a weather station with a 50+ year period of record to break a daily temperature record by more than 10°F. During "Summer in March, 2012", beating daily records by 10° - 20°F was commonplace, and many records were smashed by over 20°. Two stations broke records by more than 30°F, which is truly surreal. Western Head, Nova Scotia hit 29.2°C (85°F), yesterday, breaking their previous record for the date (10.6°C in 1969) by 18.6°C (33°F.) Yesterday's high temperature was 24°C (44°F) above average. Pellston, Michigan in the Northern Lower Peninsula--dubbed "Michigan's Icebox", since it frequently records the coldest temperatures in the state--hit 85° on March 21. This broke the previous record for the date (53° in 2007) by 32°, and was an absurd 48°F above average.

Breaking daily temperature records nine consecutive days or more
It is extremely rare for stations with a 50+ year period of record to break a daily high temperature record for seven or more days in a row. The longest such streak of consecutive high temperature records at International Falls, Minnesota, was a 5-day period March 3 - 7, 2000. The city has tied or broken their high temperature for the date ten consecutive days, as of yesterday. This streak will likely end today, as the high is predicted to be 60 - 65, and the record high for the date is 66. Chicago, Illinois has tied or broken their daily high temperature record the past nine days in a row. This ties the nine-day streak of record highs set on August 26 - September 3, 1953. Other cites that have set daily high temperature records the past nine days in a row include Fort Wayne and South Bend, Indiana. Numerous cities have broken high temperature records on seven consecutive days during "Summer in March, 2012", including Gaylord, Pellston, and Traverse City in Michigan.


Figure 2. All-time high temperature records set in March 2012 for the U.S. The grey icons show locations where the March record was broken on multiple days. Image taken from wunderground's new record extremes page, using data from NOAA's National Climatic Data Center.

The big picture: the impacts of "Summer in March, 2012"
I've always said living in Michigan would be much more bearable if we could just get rid of March. March weather here is always horrible, with brutal cold, high winds, damaging ice storms, heavy snow, interminable cloudy stretches with no sun, all interspersed with a few teasing warm spells. Well, this year, I got my wish. This March, we started with twelve days of April weather, followed by ten days of June and July weather, with nine days of May weather predicted to round out the month. This has been a huge benefit to the economy--vastly reduced heating costs, no snow removal bills, and far fewer traffic accidents due to icy roads. However, there is major downside to the "Summer in March, 2012" heat wave. The growing season is now in full swing, five weeks early. A damaging freeze that will severely impact the fruit industry and other sensitive plants is very likely. Indeed, the forecast calls for lows in the upper 20s in the cherry-growing region of Michigan near Traverse City on Monday night. The exceptional March warmth has also melted all the snow in the northern U.S. and southern Canada, drying out the soils and setting the stage for a much warmer than average summer, and an increased chance of damaging drought conditions. The early loss of snowpack will also likely cause very low flow rates in the major rivers in late summer and early fall, reducing the amount of water needed for irrigation of crops. Low flows may also cause problems for navigation, limiting commercial barge traffic on Midwest rivers.

Links
Andrew Freedman of Climate Central interviewed a number of climate scientists who are experts in studying the link between extreme weather events and climate change for his post, Global Warming May Have Fueled March Heat Wave Odds.

Wunderground's weather historian Christopher C. Burt will be posting a more comprehensive summary of the "Summer in March, 2012" heat wave this weekend.

Have a great weekend, everyone, and I'll be back Monday with a new post. I expect I'll be hard at work this weekend, mowing my lawn for the first time ever in March!

Jeff Masters

2012 03 22 Neighbor's Magnolia Tree drops its blossoms (gatyamgal)
Because of our week of record breaking Temps here in Bettendorf, IA, the neighbor's tree bloomed and lost its blossoms 3 weeks early. What will April bring?
2012 03 22 Neighbor's Magnolia Tree drops its blossoms
Spring Landscape (thebige)
Spring Landscape
Jefferson Memorial (KEM)
Cherry blossoms in Washington DC.
Jefferson Memorial

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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Yeah, I'm aware that it's still a couple days out, but it has shown the same thing for several days now, and it nailed the March 2 tornado outbreak.

Copy cat! XD
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Yeah, I'm aware that it's still a couple days out, but it has shown the same thing for several days now, and it nailed the March 2 tornado outbreak.



dont you mean APR 2nd?
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

What I understand from that: adsjhtrjtjejjwwjeriirtitiidiikgkdgkfk


I believe that I did hear the word uno, but it was only one time.
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Quoting MAweatherboy1:

Still a ways out though. Just something to watch

Yeah, I'm aware that it's still a couple days out, but it has shown the same thing for several days now, and it nailed the March 2 tornado outbreak.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32275
Quoting MAweatherboy1:

Still a ways out though. Just something to watch

Yeah, I'm aware that it's still a couple days out, but the GFS nailed the severe weather outbreak on March 2. Really should keep an eye on it.
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947. wxmod
The low off the coast of Los Angeles looks just like the last low that moved through that area right before it cause the summer temperatures into Canada. This one will probably park in Texas again.
It's raining in the Mojave Desert.

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Quoting Ameister12:

That's not looking good at all. O_O

Still a ways out though. Just something to watch
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I don't think there will be too much damage in Chile. They tend to do well with earthquakes.
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Speaking of James Cameron, 100-year anniversary of Titanic sinking coming up April 15.

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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Boy oh boy...


That's not looking good at all. O_O
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Boy oh boy...

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32275
Quoting percylives:
Here's a youngster who is definitely an outlier on the bell curve of achievement.

Link

WOW, just wow! Talk about something worth bookmarking.
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Quoting ScottLincoln:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L04RSwFLaBY

What I understand from that: adsjhtrjtjejjwwjeriirtitiidiikgkdgkfk
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32275
938. wxmod
Rain in Nevada (bone dry Nevada) today. Too bad Utah!

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Quoting MAweatherboy1:

Speaking of earthquakes... 6.2 in Chile.

Hopefully no damage reports
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 11 Comments: 8144
Quoting sunlinepr:
Tsunami?

Not likely.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32275
Director James Cameron has reached deepest spot on Earth, nearly 7 miles below surface

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/03/1 20325-james-cameron-mariana-trench-challenger-deep -deepest-science-sub/?source=hp_dl1_news_dsc20120325
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Quoting sunlinepr:
Tsunami?

Thankfully not according to PTWC
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000
WEPA42 PHEB 252244
TIBPAC

TSUNAMI BULLETIN NUMBER 001
PACIFIC TSUNAMI WARNING CENTER/NOAA/NWS
ISSUED AT 2244Z 25 MAR 2012

THIS BULLETIN APPLIES TO AREAS WITHIN AND BORDERING THE PACIFIC
OCEAN AND ADJACENT SEAS...EXCEPT ALASKA...BRITISH COLUMBIA...
WASHINGTON...OREGON AND CALIFORNIA.

... TSUNAMI INFORMATION BULLETIN ...

THIS BULLETIN IS FOR INFORMATION ONLY.

THIS BULLETIN IS ISSUED AS ADVICE TO GOVERNMENT AGENCIES. ONLY
NATIONAL AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT AGENCIES HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO MAKE
DECISIONS REGARDING THE OFFICIAL STATE OF ALERT IN THEIR AREA AND
ANY ACTIONS TO BE TAKEN IN RESPONSE.

AN EARTHQUAKE HAS OCCURRED WITH THESE PRELIMINARY PARAMETERS

ORIGIN TIME - 2237Z 25 MAR 2012
COORDINATES - 35.1 SOUTH 72.7 WEST
DEPTH - 10 KM
LOCATION - NEAR COAST OF CENTRAL CHILE
MAGNITUDE - 7.2

EVALUATION

NO DESTRUCTIVE WIDESPREAD TSUNAMI THREAT EXISTS BASED ON
HISTORICAL EARTHQUAKE AND TSUNAMI DATA.

HOWEVER - EARTHQUAKES OF THIS SIZE SOMETIMES GENERATE LOCAL
TSUNAMIS THAT CAN BE DESTRUCTIVE ALONG COASTS LOCATED WITHIN
A HUNDRED KILOMETERS OF THE EARTHQUAKE EPICENTER. AUTHORITIES
IN THE REGION OF THE EPICENTER SHOULD BE AWARE OF THIS
POSSIBILITY AND TAKE APPROPRIATE ACTION.

THIS WILL BE THE ONLY BULLETIN ISSUED FOR THIS EVENT UNLESS
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION BECOMES AVAILABLE.

THE WEST COAST/ALASKA TSUNAMI WARNING CENTER WILL ISSUE PRODUCTS
FOR ALASKA...BRITISH COLUMBIA...WASHINGTON...OREGON...CALIFORNIA.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
000
WEHW42 PHEB 252245
TIBHWX
HIZ001>003-005>009-012>014-016>021-023>026-260045 -

TSUNAMI INFORMATION STATEMENT NUMBER 1
NWS PACIFIC TSUNAMI WARNING CENTER EWA BEACH HI
1245 PM HST SUN MAR 25 2012

TO - CIVIL DEFENSE IN THE STATE OF HAWAII

SUBJECT - TSUNAMI INFORMATION STATEMENT

THIS STATEMENT IS FOR INFORMATION ONLY. NO ACTION REQUIRED.

AN EARTHQUAKE HAS OCCURRED WITH THESE PRELIMINARY PARAMETERS

ORIGIN TIME - 1237 PM HST 25 MAR 2012
COORDINATES - 35.1 SOUTH 72.7 WEST
LOCATION - NEAR COAST OF CENTRAL CHILE
MAGNITUDE - 7.2 MOMENT

EVALUATION

BASED ON ALL AVAILABLE DATA A DESTRUCTIVE PACIFIC-WIDE TSUNAMI IS
NOT EXPECTED AND THERE IS NO TSUNAMI THREAT TO HAWAII. REPEAT. A
DESTRUCTIVE PACIFIC-WIDE TSUNAMI IS NOT EXPECTED AND THERE IS NO
TSUNAMI THREAT TO HAWAII.

THIS WILL BE THE ONLY STATEMENT ISSUED FOR THIS EVENT UNLESS
ADDITIONAL DATA ARE RECEIVED.
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Quoting Articuno:

Magnitude 7.0 quakes or greater are capable of causing widespread and heavy damage.

A lot of Chile is built to withstand a quake like this since they get them so often. We'll probably see little to no damage.
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Tsunami?
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Quoting sunlinepr:
Big quake in CHILE


Magnitude 7.0 quakes or greater are capable of causing widespread and heavy damage.
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Here's a youngster who is definitely an outlier on the bell curve of achievement.

Link

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Big quake in CHILE

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924. wxmod
Nevada rainmaking today. Checkerboard jet pattern. This MODIS satellite photo shows about 250 miles in width north of Las Vegas.



Infrared showing about a 300 mile width. MODIS today.

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Magnitude 7.2 - MAULE, CHILE
2012 March 25 22:37:06 UTC


Details
Maps
Tsunami
Earthquake Details

This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.

Magnitude 7.2

Date-Time
Sunday, March 25, 2012 at 22:37:06 UTC
Sunday, March 25, 2012 at 06:37:06 PM at epicenter
Location
35.198°S, 71.783°W
Depth
30 km (18.6 miles)
Region
MAULE, CHILE
Distances
32 km (20 miles) NNW (341°) from Talca, Chile
215 km (133 miles) NNE (32°) from Concepcion, Chile
215 km (134 miles) SSW (208°) from SANTIAGO, Chile
Location Uncertainty
horizontal +/- 19.8 km (12.3 miles); depth +/- 6.7 km (4.2 miles)
Parameters
NST=336, Nph=342, Dmin=24.5 km, Rmss=0.84 sec, Gp= 94°,
M-type=regional moment magnitude (Mw), Version=7
Source
Magnitude: USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)
Location: USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)
Event ID
usc0008pwq
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USGS appears to say 7.2 on that Chile quake:

000
WEPA42 PHEB 252244
TIBPAC

TSUNAMI BULLETIN NUMBER 001
PACIFIC TSUNAMI WARNING CENTER/NOAA/NWS
ISSUED AT 2244Z 25 MAR 2012

THIS BULLETIN APPLIES TO AREAS WITHIN AND BORDERING THE PACIFIC
OCEAN AND ADJACENT SEAS...EXCEPT ALASKA...BRITISH COLUMBIA...
WASHINGTON...OREGON AND CALIFORNIA.

... TSUNAMI INFORMATION BULLETIN ...

THIS BULLETIN IS FOR INFORMATION ONLY.

THIS BULLETIN IS ISSUED AS ADVICE TO GOVERNMENT AGENCIES. ONLY
NATIONAL AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT AGENCIES HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO MAKE
DECISIONS REGARDING THE OFFICIAL STATE OF ALERT IN THEIR AREA AND
ANY ACTIONS TO BE TAKEN IN RESPONSE.

AN EARTHQUAKE HAS OCCURRED WITH THESE PRELIMINARY PARAMETERS

ORIGIN TIME - 2237Z 25 MAR 2012
COORDINATES - 35.1 SOUTH 72.7 WEST
DEPTH - 10 KM
LOCATION - NEAR COAST OF CENTRAL CHILE
MAGNITUDE - 7.2

EVALUATION

NO DESTRUCTIVE WIDESPREAD TSUNAMI THREAT EXISTS BASED ON
HISTORICAL EARTHQUAKE AND TSUNAMI DATA.

HOWEVER - EARTHQUAKES OF THIS SIZE SOMETIMES GENERATE LOCAL
TSUNAMIS THAT CAN BE DESTRUCTIVE ALONG COASTS LOCATED WITHIN
A HUNDRED KILOMETERS OF THE EARTHQUAKE EPICENTER. AUTHORITIES
IN THE REGION OF THE EPICENTER SHOULD BE AWARE OF THIS
POSSIBILITY AND TAKE APPROPRIATE ACTION.

THIS WILL BE THE ONLY BULLETIN ISSUED FOR THIS EVENT UNLESS
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION BECOMES AVAILABLE.

THE WEST COAST/ALASKA TSUNAMI WARNING CENTER WILL ISSUE PRODUCTS
FOR ALASKA...BRITISH COLUMBIA...WASHINGTON...OREGON...CALIFORNIA.

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Quoting hydrus:
This is an interesting segment about Hurricane Gilberts effect on Jamaica...Link

Thanks, the damage from Gilbert was quite unbelievable...I didn't experience Gilbert, so I only go off what my parents told me. I was born one year after hurricane gilbert 1989.
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 11 Comments: 8144
Quoting nigel20:

That would be a worrying sign

Speaking of earthquakes... 6.2 in Chile.
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SPC Day 2 Convective Outlook:



SPC Day 3 Convective Outlook:



Severe Weather doesn't look like it will take much of a significant break, with Slight risk areas outlined for tomorrow and Tuesday. We may get a little break Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, but the latest GFS brings a significant storm system into the Central Plains for next week. This isn't the first time it has showed a significant event either, it's been showing it for a couple of days now.

With a record 322 preliminary tornadoes and 56 fatalities so far this year, I do not think we need anymore...
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32275
Quoting WxGeekVA:


Hmmm, look where none have occurred recently o.0

That would be a worrying sign
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Be back l8r guys n gals.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
It's thundering again.


Might git some more bro
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Link
to my new blog entry concerning model forecasts in the SW pacific basin if you want to check it out..:D
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4486
It's thundering again.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32275
Quoting nigel20:

Up to today Gilbert have been the most costly natural disaster in Jamaica
This is an interesting segment about Hurricane Gilberts effect on Jamaica...Link
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Quoting Articuno:




The Ring of Fire also includes the western USA,
For example the 1700 Cascadia Earthquake was a 9.0 earthquake that was a megathrust that had a Slip length of 1000 km (625 mi) and a Slip motion of 20 m (60 ft)
It occured with the Juan de Fuca Plate subducting beneath the North American Plate.

Although some huge earthquakes, like the 7.7 Gujarat India earthquake of 2001 and the 7.9 Sichuan China can occur outside the ring of fire and even outside a fault lines like the earthquakes shown above.

Megathrust earthquakes usually occur in Japan, Indonesia, Chile, and Peru.




Hmmm, look where none have occurred recently o.0
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Nasty cell right thar
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Quoting Articuno:





The Ring of Fire also includes the western USA,
For example the 1700 Cascadia Earthquake was a 9.0 earthquake that was a megathrust that had a Slip length of 1000 km (625 mi) and a Slip motion of 20 m (60 ft)
It occured with the Juan de Fuca Plate subducting beneath the North American Plate.

Although some huge earthquakes, like the 7.7 Gujarat India earthquake of 2001 and the 7.9 Sichuan China can occur outside the ring of fire and even outside a fault lines like the earthquakes shown above.

Megathrust earthquakes usually occur in Japan, Indonesia, Chile, and Peru.



Thanks for the info
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 11 Comments: 8144
Quoting SPLbeater:


SEE! this is why you dont wish for hail, lol!

Go to your room mister...I hope you learned a lesson here....xD

How big waz it!?

It was only dime to quarter, but it came down really hard for a long time. We probably had an inch accumulation. It got really cold afterwards...hail-cooled air.

I think we'll get some more later.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32275
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Well...some cars are gonna need another windshield...


SEE! this is why you dont wish for hail, lol!

Go to your room mister...I hope you learned a lesson here....xD

How big waz it!?
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4486
Quoting nigel20:

It's also likely that such a quake would happen along the "Ring of Fire"...this is the most active region in terms of earthquakes and volcanoes. The last two Megathrust quakes occur along the"Ring of Fire"




The Ring of Fire also includes the western USA,
For example the 1700 Cascadia Earthquake was a 9.0 earthquake that was a megathrust that had a Slip length of 1000 km (625 mi) and a Slip motion of 20 m (60 ft)
It occured with the Juan de Fuca Plate subducting beneath the North American Plate.

Although some huge earthquakes, like the 7.7 Gujarat India earthquake of 2001 and the 7.9 Sichuan China can occur outside the ring of fire and even outside a fault lines like the earthquakes shown above.

Megathrust earthquakes usually occur in Japan, Indonesia, Chile, and Peru.


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Quoting SPLbeater:


and the damage is...?
pobably

OK
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 11 Comments: 8144
.
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Quoting SPLbeater:


and the damage is...?
pobably

Well...some cars are gonna need another windshield...
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32275
Amazing post, Dr. Masters. I've bookmarked this post for future reference. Keep it up!

To anyone: What implications could this record heat have on the Atlantic hurricane season? Due to the record warm Winter the Atlantic should be quite toasty.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Well, I got my hail.


and the damage is...?
Quoting nigel20:

Is it because I made a blog post?

pobably
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4486

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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.