Damaging freeze hits the Midwest U.S.

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:46 PM GMT on April 12, 2012

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Large portions of the Midwest U.S. shivered through a hard freeze (temperatures below 28°F ) this morning, and freezing temperatures extended as far south as Tennessee and North Carolina. Though the cold temperatures were not unusual for this time of year, they likely caused widespread damage to flowering plants fooled into blooming by last month's unprecedented "Summer in March" heat wave. Growers of apples, pears, peaches, nectarines, plums, and cherries worked during the night and early morning to minimize the damage by running large fans and propane heaters in their orchards, and some even rented helicopters in an attempts to keep temperatures a few degrees warmer. While freezing temperatures for an extended period will not kill the trees, they will destroy the flowers and fragile buds that are needed to produce fruit later in the year. Temperatures of approximately 28°F will kill about 10% of fruit tree buds and flowers, while temperatures of 25°F will produce a 90% kill rate. Temperatures of 25° were common over Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota this morning, and I expect that this morning's freeze was severe and widespread enough to cause tens of millions of dollars in damage to the fruit industry. There have been numerous freezes and frosts over the Midwest's fruit growing regions since late March, and orchards are definitely taking a major beating from the weather. It will be several weeks before the extent of the damage is known, but I think that so far it is unlikely that the industry has suffered a billion-dollar disaster, such as occurred in 2007. A warm spell in March that year was followed by cold temperatures in early April that were 10 - 20 degrees below average, bringing killing frosts and freezes to the Midwest and South that caused $2.2 billion in agricultural damage, wiping out apple, peach, winter wheat and alfalfa crops.


Figure 1. Temperatures this morning dipped below freezing across most the northeast quarter of the country, extending into Tennessee and North Carolina. Image taken from our wundermap with the new "go back in time" feature turned on.

History of billion-dollar U.S. freezes
Freezes can cause big damage to agriculture. According to NOAA's National Climatic Data Center, there have been six billion-dollar U.S. freezes since 1980, accounting for 5% of all billion-dollar weather-related disasters. Five of these freezes affected California or Florida; one hit the Midwest. Ranked by damages (in 2011 dollars), here are the six billion-dollar U.S. freeze events since 1980:

1) California Freeze of December 1990. Severe freeze in the Central and Southern San Joaquin Valley caused the loss of citrus, avocado trees, and other crops in many areas. Several days of subfreezing temperatures occurred, with some valley locations in the teens. $5.9 billion in direct and indirect economic losses, including damage to public buildings, utilities, crops, and residences.

2) Florida Freeze of December 1983. Severe freeze central/northern Florida; about $4.5 billion damage to citrus industry.

3) California Freeze of December 1998. A severe freeze damaged fruit and vegetable crops in the Central and Southern San Joaquin Valley. Extended intervals of sub 27° F temperatures occurred over an 8-day period; $3.5 billion estimated damages/costs.

4) Florida Freeze of January 1985. Severe freeze in central/northern Florida; about $2.5 billion damage to citrus industry.

5) East/Midwest freeze of April 2007. Widespread severe freeze over much of the East and Midwest (AL, AR, GA, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, MS, MO, NE, NC, OH, OK, SC, TN, VA, WV), causing significant losses in fruit crops, field crops (especially wheat), and the ornamental industry. Temperatures in the teens/20's accompanied by rather high winds nullified typical crop-protection systems. Over $2.2 billion in damage/costs.

6) California Freeze of January 2007. For nearly two weeks in January, overnight temperatures over a good portion of California dipped into the 20's, destroying numerous agricultural crops, with citrus, berry, and vegetable crops most affected. $1.5 billion estimated in damage/costs; 1 fatality reported.

Record warmth in the Western U.S.
As is often the case when one part of the country is experiencing much cooler than average temperatures, the other half is seeing record warmth, due to a large bend in the jet stream that allows warm air to flow northwards. Much of Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and Colorado experienced record warm temperatures yesterday. Most notably, Jackson, Wyoming hit 72°F, the earliest 70° reading in their history, and 27° above their normal high of 45°.


Figure 2. Severe weather risk for Saturday, April 14, 2012, from NOAA's Storm Prediction Center.

Tornado outbreak possible Saturday in Kansas and Oklahoma
A significant tornado outbreak is possible on Saturday, says NOAA's Storm Prediction Center. A warm, unstable airmass will collide with cold air funneling down from Canada, and strong jet stream winds will create plenty of wind shear. There is the potential for long-track strong tornadoes over Oklahoma and Kansas on Saturday, and SPC has has issued their second highest level of alert, a "Moderate Risk," for the region.

First named storm in the Atlantic possible next week
Both the GFS and ECMWF models are predicting that an extratropical "cut-off" low will separate from the jet stream early next week several hundred miles east of Bermuda, and linger for several days over subtropical waters with temperatures in the 22 - 24°C range. These ocean temperatures may be warm enough to allow the storm to organize into a named subtropical storm. However, climatology argues against such an occurrence; there has been only one named April storm in the Atlantic since 1851. If a subtropical storm does form next week, it would probably not affect any land areas.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting StormTracker2K:


I know exactly where that is. Near downtown Tampa close to the I-275 interchange.
I was on there this morning around 8 ish..wasnt much fun, accident on the bridge then yet another one on I-4 and macintosh
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42264
Quoting ncstorm:
We got 7's-Dr. Greg Forbes

Thursday April 12
KS west - 6
CO northeast - 5
NE southwest - 5
OK west - 5
TX east panhandle - 5
TX west - 3
Other areas less than 2

Friday April 13
IA west - 4
KS east - 4
MO west - 4
NE east - 4
SD extreme southeast - 4
OK southwest, central, northeast - 4
TX northwest near Childress and Wichita Falls -4

Saturday April 14
OK northwest - 7
KS south-central - 7
KS north-central - 5
NE southeast - 5
IA northwest - 4
MN southwest - 4

His numbers for today are too low... He should have a 7 or 8 for west Kansas... Tornadoes are pretty much a guarentee there today
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 84 Comments: 8047
Quoting StormTracker2K:


I agree there a big dewpoint gradient between here in the east coast of FL. The dewpoint is 46 here and 64 in Cape Canaveral but the moisture is expected to increase over the next 24 hours so maybe a small threat for rain tomorrow. The best chance of rain may not come until next Wednesday on.
yes we are hoping for that also, man this morning that fire smoke was Awful, I am so glad that front pushed past us, let soouth florida have a few whiff's too lol... makes my eyes water then i start sneezing..im so glad its out of here, dnot know how north florida deals with that day after day seems like every year
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42264
Quoting ncstorm:
We got 7's-Dr. Greg Forbes

Thursday April 12
KS west - 6
CO northeast - 5
NE southwest - 5
OK west - 5
TX east panhandle - 5
TX west - 3
Other areas less than 2

Friday April 13
IA west - 4
KS east - 4
MO west - 4
NE east - 4
SD extreme southeast - 4
OK southwest, central, northeast - 4
TX northwest near Childress and Wichita Falls -4

Saturday April 14
OK northwest - 7
KS south-central - 7
KS north-central - 5
NE southeast - 5
IA northwest - 4
MN southwest - 4


wow!
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6539
Doom con will go from the typical 12/5 will be bumped up to a 21/5 because of the earthquakes and tornados.

this can only mean one thing


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Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6539
We got 7's-Dr. Greg Forbes

Thursday April 12
KS west - 6
CO northeast - 5
NE southwest - 5
OK west - 5
TX east panhandle - 5
TX west - 3
Other areas less than 2

Friday April 13
IA west - 4
KS east - 4
MO west - 4
NE east - 4
SD extreme southeast - 4
OK southwest, central, northeast - 4
TX northwest near Childress and Wichita Falls -4

Saturday April 14
OK northwest - 7
KS south-central - 7
KS north-central - 5
NE southeast - 5
IA northwest - 4
MN southwest - 4
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 16225
Quoting GTcooliebai:
Hopefully the afternoon seabreezes get going soon as we're so dry.


I agree there a big dewpoint gradient between here in the east coast of FL. The dewpoint is 46 here and 64 in Cape Canaveral but the moisture is expected to increase over the next 24 hours so maybe a small threat for rain tomorrow. The best chance of rain may not come until next Wednesday on.
Member Since: October 26, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2651
Quoting entrelac:
Any word on the cause of the oil slick in the Gulf?


nope they are just going to clean it up.
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6539
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:
NOAA retires GOES-7 after 25 years as a weather and communications satellite


Excerpt:


GOES-7 is the only satellite in the history of NOAA’s geostationary program to serve both as the GOES-East and GOES-West spacecraft in the course of normal operations. When its predecessor GOES-6 failed, GOES-7 was the sole geostationary spacecraft from 1989 to 1994. Engineers moved the spacecraft from a western position in the winter to cover Pacific storms into California and the northwest to an eastern position in the summer to cover east coast hurricanes. GOES-7 provided vital imagery of the deadly Hurricane Andrew as it tore through southern Florida in 1992.

On April 12, GOES-7 was “retired” from service through a final burn from its booster, which moved it approximately 186 miles (300 km) above its operational geostationary orbit to a “graveyard orbit”, such that it will not interfere with other satellites. The final maneuver to adjust the spin rate of the spacecraft and deplete all remaining fuel happened at 2 a.m. EDT today. The communications packages were turned off then and the satellite powered down.


Thanks for the nice informative post
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 12 Comments: 8486
Quoting GTcooliebai:
The drive on Ulmerton Road (SR 688) must have been real fun this morning, couple that with road construction, and you get a slow commute.





I know exactly where that is. Near downtown Tampa close to the I-275 interchange.
Member Since: October 26, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2651
Quoting StormTracker2K:
Thunderstorm firing near Cocoa Beach. This was unexpected!

Hopefully the afternoon seabreezes get going soon as we're so dry.
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The heat is setting up perfectly.


And the moisture is there.
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6539
Any word on the cause of the oil slick in the Gulf?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
NOAA retires GOES-7 after 25 years as a weather and communications satellite


Excerpt:


GOES-7 is the only satellite in the history of NOAA’s geostationary program to serve both as the GOES-East and GOES-West spacecraft in the course of normal operations. When its predecessor GOES-6 failed, GOES-7 was the sole geostationary spacecraft from 1989 to 1994. Engineers moved the spacecraft from a western position in the winter to cover Pacific storms into California and the northwest to an eastern position in the summer to cover east coast hurricanes. GOES-7 provided vital imagery of the deadly Hurricane Andrew as it tore through southern Florida in 1992.

On April 12, GOES-7 was “retired” from service through a final burn from its booster, which moved it approximately 186 miles (300 km) above its operational geostationary orbit to a “graveyard orbit”, such that it will not interfere with other satellites. The final maneuver to adjust the spin rate of the spacecraft and deplete all remaining fuel happened at 2 a.m. EDT today. The communications packages were turned off then and the satellite powered down.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
The drive on Ulmerton Road (SR 688) must have been real fun this morning, couple that with road construction, and you get a slow commute.



Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Thunderstorm firing near Cocoa Beach. This was unexpected!

Member Since: October 26, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2651
Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:


Good afternoon to you. It will be a wet weekend as a unusual Cold Front moving thru on April will bring plenty of rain.

Thanks for the update
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 12 Comments: 8486
Waiting or the Jet Streak over South Arizona to move in, then we will get the severe wx popping

Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6539
... Red flag warning in effect from noon today to 8 PM EDT this
evening for Pinellas and Charlotte counties...

The National Weather Service in Tampa Bay area - Ruskin FL has
issued a red flag warning... which is in effect from noon today to
8 PM EDT this evening.

* Affected area... Pinellas... Charlotte.

* Wind... north to northwest at 10 to 15 mph this afternoon.

* Humidity... falling to near 25 percent this afternoon.

* Impacts... any fires that develop will likely spread rapidly.
Outdoor burning is not recommended.

Precautionary/preparedness actions...

A red flag warning is issued when very favorable conditions for
the spread of wildfire are occurring now... or will occur within
24 hours.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
This is from the SPC's latest discussion for today... It sounds like they wanted to put in a moderate risk but decided against it. I also noticed how they are indicating the possibility of strong tornadoes as well.

VIRTUALLY ALL MODEL SOLUTIONS HAVE CONVERGED ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF
ISOLATED DISCRETE SUPERCELLS ALONG THE SURFACE DRYLINE THIS
AFTERNOON FROM NORTHEAST CO INTO FAR WESTERN KS. FORECAST SOUNDINGS
APPEAR QUITE FAVORABLE FOR TORNADIC SUPERCELLS CAPABLE OF VERY LARGE
HAIL AND DAMAGING WINDS. HAVE ALSO ADDED SIGNIFICANT TORNADO
PROBABILITIES ACROSS THIS REGION AS COMBINATION OF STEEP LOW LEVEL
LAPSE RATES...STRONG LOW LEVEL VERTICAL SHEAR...AND DISCRETE MODE
ENHANCE THE RISK OF STRONG TORNADOES GENERALLY BETWEEN 22-02Z. THE
MAIN CONCERN FOR UPGRADING TO MODERATE IS THE LIKELY WIDE SPACING OF
STORMS AND LIMITED AREAL COVERAGE. THIS WILL BE RE-EVALUATED AT
20Z.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 84 Comments: 8047
Quoting Grothar:


Are those rocks, or how thick the hail really was?


You came out of hiding?
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6539
Quoting GTcooliebai:
No wonder it was hazy/smokey here in Pinellas County this morning the wind direction from these Active Wildfires throughout the State is responsible. The drought is getting pretty bad here I heard.

Active Wildfires State of Florida 4/11/12 (Notice the amount burned on the county line of Baker and Columbia counties in North FL. 25,000 acres)




Yup and thunderstorms next week will likely spark many more. Hopefully several days of decent thunderstorms chances will begin to lower the fire threat some.

Member Since: October 26, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2651
Quoting nigel20:

whats up tropicsweather...whats the news from Puerto Rico?


Good afternoon to you. It will be a wet weekend as a unusual Cold Front moving thru on April will bring plenty of rain.
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14908
Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:


I think our friend nrtiwlnvragn may know the exact date,but every year,they release it around mid to late May.
As do I...Imagine the suspense as folks await my prediction..lol
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:


I think our friend nrtiwlnvragn may know the exact date,but every year,they release it around mid to late May.

whats up tropicsweather...whats the news from Puerto Rico?
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 12 Comments: 8486
Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:


I think our friend nrtiwlnvragn may know the exact date,but every year,they release it around mid to late May.


I don't know the exact date, just the end of May.

Edit: Add

Most likely during this week




Link
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Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:


Hi, Grothar.

That is hail. That area of Texas is still in drought conditions and so there is a lot of dust mixed in with the hail. The link has all of the information.


Sure look like rocks
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Grothar:


Are those rocks, or how thick the hail really was?


Hi, Grothar.

That is hail. That area of Texas is still in drought conditions and so there is a lot of dust mixed in with the hail. The link has all of the information.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Jax82:
MODIS image today, the winds have shifted the smoke to the southwest. Its nice to get a break, anyone on the gulf side gets it today.


That's quite a smoke plume
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 12 Comments: 8486
We now have a hatched area...




I must say I was quite surprised to get my first thunderstorm of the year today... I got some pea sized hail and a lot of heavy rain which is really good considering how dry we've been up here.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 84 Comments: 8047
No wonder it was hazy/smokey here in Pinellas County this morning the wind direction from these Active Wildfires throughout the State is responsible. The drought is getting pretty bad here I heard.

Active Wildfires State of Florida 4/11/12 (Notice the amount burned on the county line of Baker and Columbia counties in North FL. 25,000 acres)


Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting cyclonekid:
When is NOAA going to release their 2012 Outlooks?


I think our friend nrtiwlnvragn may know the exact date,but every year,they release it around mid to late May.
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14908
Quoting hydrus:
Very cold this morning here in Tennessee. 28 degrees here with widespread frost after weeks of record highs. Found this neat picture of whats known as Hoar Frost on a web..

Sorry about the cold...that's very nice pic
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 12 Comments: 8486
Quoting cyclonekid:
When is NOAA going to release their 2012 Outlooks?


Late May.
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
for some reason i get the feeling things are not going to turn out the way they are expecting


Me too
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Quoting nigel20:

Whats up hydrus?
Very cold this morning here in Tennessee. 28 degrees here with widespread frost after weeks of record highs. Found this neat picture of whats known as Hoar Frost on a web..
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
135. txjac
Quoting SteveDa1:


Sorry if it looks like I'm trying to shove knowledge down people's throats - I'm just expressing a statement and this is all my own opinion. ;)


I didnt get that from your entry ...I actually agree with you
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Quoting SteveDa1:


This cannot be asked of them however. People's beliefs are tied to who they are and once there lives are settled there perspectives won't change. Through studies, it has been shown that when someone confronts another person's beliefs that individual reacts as though it had to survive, therefore doing everything he/she can to stick to its belief. Which is why debates between, for example, atheists and religious individuals won't ever end until the problem is targeted at the source: education.

What clearly needs to be done, is to teach people while they are young and there brains are still developing. If the education system wasn't a joke, everyone would have a much better perspective on the world around them and not be extremely narrow-minded.


Sorry if it looks like I'm trying to shove knowledge down people's throats - I'm just expressing a statement and this is all my own opinion. ;)
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When is NOAA going to release their 2012 Outlooks?
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Quoting hydrus:
I laughed a little at this...Looks like September , not April..

Whats up hydrus?
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 12 Comments: 8486
Quoting hydrus:
I laughed a little at this...Looks like September , not April..


Yeah it looks as if FL may start to get into a summertime pattern next week. Could be very active here mid to late next week with afternoon thunderstorms some of which could be intense.

Member Since: October 26, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2651
Quoting TxKeef:
New earthquake in Alaska.

4.0 cantwell, alaska 2012-04-12 11:41:08 62.802°N 148.994°W 65.3


Looking at the depth of the others, one thing I noticed is this specific quake was quite a bit deeper at 57.3km
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Quoting Patrap:
Major Hail Storm in TX Panhandle - RAW FOOTAGE


What is the footage showing?
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 12 Comments: 8486
Saturday April 14, 2012 moderate risk area (red) as delineated Thursday on the SPC Day 3 Convective Outlook. Cities and population areas (dots) superimposed. Yellow is slight risk area.



Not much else to say at the moment... And I can hear your collective sigh of relief.
:)
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Quoting Patrap:
Major Hail Storm in TX Panhandle - RAW FOOTAGE



Damm!
Member Since: October 26, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2651
I laughed a little at this...Looks like September , not April..
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happy birthday for spam... NOT!
And wouldn'tcha know it, lawyers are behind it.
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
for some reason i get the feeling things are not going to turn out the way they are expecting


The season doesn't need to be active to be 'bad'.
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Quoting Grothar:


Are those rocks, or how thick the hail really was?


That is how thick the hail really was.

They explained it in the article on the source link.


While that was probably a compacted drift, there were actually piles of hail on the ROAD high enough to be up to an SUV hood.
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56141

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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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