Damaging freeze hits the Midwest U.S.

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

Share this Blog
35
+

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

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 122 - 72

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13Blog Index

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
sst's 30 days ago



sst's today

Warming is expected, but that's quite a bit of warming over the last 30 days.
Can you share the link for those images?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:
I do not think anyone has posted this image yet. This is a picture of the hail in Texas yesterday. ... Simply put, AMAZING!



Source


Are those rocks, or how thick the hail really was?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:
I do not think anyone has posted this image yet. This is a picture of the hail in Texas yesterday. ... Simply put, AMAZING!



Source


itll flood as it melts.
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6461
Major Hail Storm in TX Panhandle - RAW FOOTAGE

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:
TSR joins the crowd

April Forecast Update for Atlantic Hurricane Activity in 2012


Excerpt:

TSR lowers its forecast and predicts Atlantic hurricane activity in 2012 will be slightly below the 1950-2011 average. Users should note that the precision of TSR's April
outlook for upcoming Atlantic hurricane activity between 1980 and 2011 is low.

Thanks for the link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
sst's 30 days ago



sst's today


huge difference
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6461
I do not think anyone has posted this image yet. This is a picture of the hail in Texas yesterday. ... Simply put, AMAZING!



Source
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
sst's 30 days ago



sst's today
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
Quoting BahaHurican:
U gotta remember Mexico City is the quinticential landfill city. The bulk of that rather bulky city is built on a lakebed, and is therefore mostly reclaimed land.

Can u say liquefaction?



I've read some reliable accounts of steamers sinking during hurricanes where all the survivors were the male leadership of the ships - captain, mates, etc - while the 600 casualties included all the women and children passengers...

Chivalry only lasts until reality sets in. Then it's each man for himself.
there is chivalry out there, but it is on the wane...Hope you are doing well Baha..
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
for some reason i get the feeling things are not going to turn out the way they are expecting


maybe because we are looking at the prospect of a storm already
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6461
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:
TSR joins the crowd

April Forecast Update for Atlantic Hurricane Activity in 2012


Excerpt:

TSR lowers its forecast and predicts Atlantic hurricane activity in 2012 will be slightly below the 1950-2011 average. Users should note that the precision of TSR's April
outlook for upcoming Atlantic hurricane activity between 1980 and 2011 is low.
for some reason i get the feeling things are not going to turn out the way they are expecting
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
New earthquake in Alaska.

4.0 cantwell, alaska 2012-04-12 11:41:08 62.802°N 148.994°W 65.3
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
TSR joins the crowd

April Forecast Update for Atlantic Hurricane Activity in 2012


Excerpt:

TSR lowers its forecast and predicts Atlantic hurricane activity in 2012 will be slightly below the 1950-2011 average. Users should note that the precision of TSR's April
outlook for upcoming Atlantic hurricane activity between 1980 and 2011 is low.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
108. Tygor
Quoting DavidHOUTX:


Yes you are indeed correct about those deficits. We will take all the rain we can get! It kind of sucks that these precip graphs are not very accurate. Hopefully this one pans out though!


I'd die for Houston's rain this year :) Can't complain in San Antonio though, we have about 0.04 today. First rain in nearly a month.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:


gfs 1000 mb low.
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6461
TCHp is increasing as well
April 12, 2011

April 12, 2012

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting RitaEvac:


And sadly that is what is wrong with society today, they live in their dream world and....unfortunately these kind of people have it coming for em, natural selection. If you don't take in your surroundings and the true world you live in, you will perish.


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.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Shucks... I gotta run... got a 1 p.m. mtg and have to make a stop on the way down...

I'll look in later as time permits.

Ya'll out there in the hatched zone, stay safe!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

That may have been a bad idea to post
Quoting MTWX:


I sort of agree with you. On one hand they want to make people in tune with how serious this event has the potential to be, but on the other hand may induce panic too.. And you know now... If the event ends up not being comparable to last years outbreak, the the general public will crucify the SPC!
No way, guys. Please excuse my being blunt. Facebook is becoming a great tool to get the general public to pay attention. And the public needs to. SPC knows what they're doing. Not likely a moderate day 3 risk will be any less than High and PDS by Saturday. It won't be comparable to April 27, 2012 in the sense of being the same. Maybe not as many tors. Maybe more concentrated. Maybe a few long trackers. Who knows at this point? Probably not even the Sky. But it doesn't matter. Just one violent, long-tracking, tor-raising supercell, even if its path does not cross a metro area, will validate the concern raised today on FB. Add (two sentences): Chances are good we will see way more than that. I understood what today's moderate risk on day 3 meant, but the general public does not.

This risk would not be issued unless clear and present. SPC is very aware of POS (No, not that. Public Overwarned Syndrome.) When they see risk as they do today for Saturday, I'd rather they say

Just posted on Facebook by the SPC:
"Did you know that a moderate risk issuance on day 3 occurs on average only once per year? The last time a day 3 moderate issued was for the 27 Apr 2011 outbreak."


than something sweet and a maybe.

Only problem with SPC on Facebook is the busier they get, the smaller the chance of them being able to keep the page up to date. Their FB disclaimer: This page is an experimental service provided by NWS to explore the use of Facebook to extend the reach of NWS information. Facebook posts do not always reflect the most current information. For current official info, visit: http://www.spc.noaa.gov/
Member Since: April 29, 2006 Posts: 151 Comments: 18349
Quoting Neapolitan:
Farson? Ha! Five people and a convenience store. ;-) Pinedale used to be awesome; now it's a natural gas hell with heavy smog and heavier trucks. No, I lived in, worked in, and graduated from high school in the other side of the Wind Rivers in Lander.
Wow... Lander is the town that got me interested in that part of the Rockies.... Nowadays I hang out more in Riverton, mainly because I like to catch the rodeo there. How did a kid from LANDER end up in S FL???

Wait.... that might be a long, LONG story.... NVM...

LOL
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
It's understood that Hollywood..
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting cyclonekid:
An in depth look on the subtropical development possible early next week.



Power in numbers, euro and gfs

probsbly 50 mph tops
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6461
Quoting nigel20:
April 11, 2011

April 12, 2012


We have now surpassed 2011 completely
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6461
April 11, 2011

April 12, 2012
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting redux:



my general comment is that common people would not be able to distinguish a mesocyclone from any other kind.

its not fair to put this burden of knowledge onto them. they have more important things to worry about, like what kind of beer to bring to the tailgate, or who is going to take their kid to soccer practice.


You don't need knowledge to know when and where to seek shelter. As soon as the sky is dark, seek some form of shelter. It should be instinctive. If they are appropriately warned that they are in an area with a heightened chance of severe weather and they see dark skies - it should kick off an instinct inside of them to seek shelter immediately because they trust the message being sent to them. No need for any knowledge, just trust.

I think that if the wording was much clearer, trust would be gained and people would take action when menacing weather unfolds.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting BahaHurican:
There's not much out there... Pinedale? Farson? Lander? LOL

I get up to that area every summer I can afford it... still haven't climbed any mountains yet [except in a car], but I'm sure I'll get there one day.... lol

Farson? Ha! Five people and a convenience store. ;-) Pinedale used to be awesome; now it's a natural gas hell with heavy smog and heavier trucks. No, I lived in, worked in, and graduated from high school in the other side of the Wind Rivers in Lander.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
An in depth look on the subtropical development possible early next week.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Neapolitan:
Liquefaction
U r so right. Going now to change the spelling.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting redux:



my general comment is that common people would not be able to distinguish a mesocyclone from any other kind.

its not fair to put this burden of knowledge onto them. they have more important things to worry about, like what kind of beer to bring to the tailgate, or who is going to take their kid to soccer practice.


And sadly that is what is wrong with society today, they live in their dream world and....unfortunately these kind of people have it coming for em, natural selection. If you don't take in your surroundings and the true world you live in, you will perish.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting kwgirl:
Liquification
Liquefaction
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting RitaEvac:


I like things simple, I work around engineers, and they drive me nuts

I'm studying engineering, so don't expect anything better from me
Member Since: Posts: Comments:


WARNING AREA
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
Quoting jeffs713:

Dallas shows a similar event (a bit earlier than Houston, though), but not to the same magnitude. Looks like there isn't as much lift associated with the north texas end of the event, so precip totals won't be quite as heavy.



Thanks...I appreciate the summary. Hope you have a great day!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting BahaHurican:
U gotta remember Mexico City is the quinticential landfill city. The bulk of that rather bulky city is build on a lakebed, and is therefore mostly reclaimed land.

Can u say liquifaction?



I've read some reliable accounts of steamers sinking during hurricanes where all the survivors were the male leadership of the ships - captain, mates, etc - while the 600+ casualties included all the women and children passengers...

Chivalry only lasts until reality sets in. Then it's each man for himself.
Liquification
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting SteveDa1:


Maybe they should tell the general public how to react. Every time there's a chance for a major severe weather outbreak, the public in the area is warned, appropriately.

It might go something like this... In caps to make it sound more serious, obviously.

You are in an area where there is a high probability for a major severe weather outbreak including tornadoes. Please note that not every area in the region will get hit but most likely, more than a few places will. These weather events may drastically change your lives if affected by either very strong winds, tornadoes, very large hail and localized flash flooding from downpours. As stated, however, not every locale will get hit by some form of severe weather in the risk area. Be on the lookout throughout the day for signs of severe weather.

Many people don't know that a risk area means a probability that a certain region will get hit by severe weather because I think it isn't clear enough that it is a probability and not a certainty. Some people's perspective on life is so narrow that they think that if they are in the warned area and nothing happens TO THEM then they are disappointed and lose confidence. Obviously, many people will not see severe weather in the risk area every time there's an outbreak so there's bound to be at least a large portion of people losing trust.

Morning thoughts...



my general comment is that common people would not be able to distinguish a mesocyclone from any other kind.

its not fair to put this burden of knowledge onto them. they have more important things to worry about, like what kind of beer to bring to the tailgate, or who is going to take their kid to soccer practice.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting awagner94:


Thanks for the response. I live in Fort Worth and would be interested in anything you have for this area.

thanks again. I appreciate your time.

Dallas shows a similar event (a bit earlier than Houston, though), but not to the same magnitude. Looks like there isn't as much lift associated with the north texas end of the event, so precip totals won't be quite as heavy.

Member Since: August 3, 2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5871
Quoting nigel20:

Thanks for summarizing what I said in one line


I like things simple, I work around engineers, and they drive me nuts
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting nigel20:

Thanks for summarizing what I said in one line


Bad for the ocean but worse if your a nearby landmass.
Member Since: October 26, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2651
Quoting jeffs713:

Looking at the GFS meteogram, the atmosphere is getting more moist due to persistent SE flow from the Gulf. This, combined with a shortwave embedded within a longwave trough, and a front coming through (slowly), led to LOTS of precip over a day.



Thanks for the response. I live in Fort Worth and would be interested in anything you have for this area.

thanks again. I appreciate your time.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting StormTracker2K:


Yeah we've hit 90 or higher now 7 times so far this year at my location and we typically don't hit 90 until May.


We usually get a 90 in late may and we have came close already
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6461
Quoting aspectre:
19 weatherh98: Yea and the Mexico city one was a 6.5

Yep, but it wasn't near Mexico*City... and the magnitude for that quake was downshifted by the USGS at least thrice over several hours instead of the normal once within a few minutes.
[Corrected from blog2069comment1116]
Magnitude6.5earthquake at 18.390n102.652w at a depth of 65.6kilometres(40.7miles)
~39miles(63kilometres)NW of LazaroCardenas(LZC)
and ~245miles(395kilometres)WSW of MexicoCity(MEX)


1014 ncstorm: Didn't Mexico City just have an earthquake a couple of weeks ago?

The 20March earthquake was a magnitude7.4 at 16.662n98.188w
about midway between Acapulco(ACA) and Oaxaca(OAX)
and ~199miles(321kilometres)SSE of MexicoCity

* It appears that the soil of MexicoCity quivers like a bowl of jelly for any moderately strong earthquake within 300miles(483kilometres), setting off reports of swaying buildings there.
U gotta remember Mexico City is the quinticential landfill city. The bulk of that rather bulky city is built on a lakebed, and is therefore mostly reclaimed land.

Can u say liquefaction?



Quoting RitaEvac:


Women and children first you say? that is what they are... ;)
I've read some reliable accounts of steamers sinking during hurricanes where all the survivors were the male leadership of the ships - captain, mates, etc - while the 600 casualties included all the women and children passengers...

Chivalry only lasts until reality sets in. Then it's each man for himself.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting RitaEvac:
Don't be too alarmed by the GOM, keep in mind there were not any cold air intrusions this winter into this region





Yeah we've hit 90 or higher now 7 times so far this year at my location and we typically don't hit 90 until May.
Member Since: October 26, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2651
Quoting RitaEvac:


In short it's a vertical thrust, which means bad if in the ocean.

Thanks for summarizing what I said in one line
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
Don't be too alarmed by the GOM, keep in mind there were not any cold air intrusions this winter into this region



Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting awagner94:
Looking forward (and I just started catching up on this blog so if this has been discussed i apologize) what is happening in Texas this weekend? I understand there may be a setup for dangerous thunderstorms. Can any of the meteorologists chime in and let me know what's happening to cause this possibility?

thanks in advance....

Looking at the GFS meteogram, the atmosphere is getting more moist due to persistent SE flow from the Gulf. This, combined with a shortwave embedded within a longwave trough, and a front coming through (slowly), led to LOTS of precip over a day.

Member Since: August 3, 2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5871
Quoting nigel20:
April 12, 2012

Megathrust earthquakes are those that occur on subduction zone (convergent boundary in which one plate moves under another tectonic plate). While these plates are subducted by each other...large sections of these plates get stuck and when a sudden slip in one of these plates occur we get a megathrust quake.


In short it's a vertical thrust, which means bad if in the ocean.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
April 12, 2012
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 122 - 72

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13Blog Index

Top of Page

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.

Local Weather

Overcast
69 °F
Overcast