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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Dr Phil Klotzbach of CSU is on right now at Barometer Bob show.

Link
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Saturday's risk is making me worry... I wouldn't be suprised if they might bump the risk up to high and i;m sure on saturday the TWC TORCON will most certainly be raised
Member Since: February 13, 2012 Posts: 11 Comments: 3821
Quoting kipperedherring:
Nigel20 and KEEPEROFTHEGATE rule!!! We love you guys!!!
I know right :).
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54858
418. txjac
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

According to the latest outlooks from the Storm Prediction Center, Tulsa will be in the clear Sunday and Dallas will get the action.

So no, you probably just put yourself in the middle of it. :P


Well crap!
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Quoting pottery:
Hey, Aussie!
Congratulations on winning the First Test in Barbados.
Good Game....

For me, there was Elation, Optimism, Doubt, Despair, and General Excitement.
Test Cricket as it should be.

Just had another nice shower here.
Put me in a mood for Sleep......

Whats up potttery? The West Indies played badly in thier second innings...which eventually lead to them losing
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This is a massive flare up along the monsoonal trough
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Quoting txjac:
Question ...do you think I did right? Changed my flight from landing in Tulsa to going in in Dallas and then driving to McAlester on Sunday afternoon?

According to the latest outlooks from the Storm Prediction Center, Tulsa will be in the clear Sunday and Dallas will get the action.

So no, you probably just put yourself in the middle of it. :P
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32532
Hey, Aussie!
Congratulations on winning the First Test in Barbados.
Good Game....

For me, there was Elation, Optimism, Doubt, Despair, and General Excitement.
Test Cricket as it should be.

Just had another nice shower here.
Put me in a mood for Sleep......
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413. txjac
Question ...do you think I did right? Changed my flight from landing in Tulsa to going in in Dallas and then driving to McAlester on Sunday afternoon?
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BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE GOODLAND KS
751 PM CDT THU APR 12 2012

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN GOODLAND HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
NORTHEASTERN HITCHCOCK COUNTY IN SOUTHWEST NEBRASKA...

* UNTIL 815 PM CDT

* AT 745 PM CDT...TRAINED WEATHER SPOTTERS REPORTED A BRIEF TORNADO
3 MILES NORTHWEST OF TRENTON. DOPPLER RADAR SHOWED THIS TORNADO
MOVING NORTHEAST AT 25 MPH.

IN ADDITION TO THE TORNADO...THIS STORM IS CAPABLE OF PRODUCING
DESTRUCTIVE HAIL UP TO HEN EGG SIZE.

* LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE...
MAINLY RURAL AREAS OF NORTHERN HITCHCOCK COUNTY.

THIS INCLUDES HIGHWAY 34 BETWEEN MILE MARKERS 61 AND 74.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

TO REPEAT...A TORNADO HAS BEEN CONFIRMED BY TRAINED WEATHER SPOTTERS.
TAKE COVER NOW. MOVE TO AN INTERIOR ROOM ON THE LOWEST FLOOR OF A
STURDY BUILDING. AVOID WINDOWS. IF IN A MOBILE HOME...A VEHICLE OR
OUTDOORS...MOVE TO THE CLOSEST SUBSTANTIAL SHELTER AND PROTECT
YOURSELF FROM FLYING DEBRIS.

&&

LAT...LON 4032 10076 4015 10095 4026 10114 4035 10105
4035 10076
TIME...MOT...LOC 0051Z 217DEG 21KT 4028 10097
HAIL 2.00IN
$$
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32532
Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:
The SOI continues to plunge and is getting close to -8,the threshold of El Nino.


The last time the SOI was that negative was back in early 2010
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Nite all, as the LLJ strengthens tonight, might see a few more tornadoes, not sure about tomorrow, didnt analyze it too closely, but the SPC doesn't make it sound too bad.
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Quoting RevElvis:
Perpetual Ocean by NASA (nice animation of ocean currents)

YouTube Link

Full Version YouTube Link


yeah.

WE definitely need to come up with some sort of turbine system to harness that Gulf Stream some.

Could probably get half a Terrawatt or more out of that without even making a noticeable difference in currents.

Water is about 1000 times more energy dense than air at the same velocity, so a few meters per second is all you'd need at a high gear ratio.


Man...if only...
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
The SOI continues to plunge and is getting close to -8,the threshold of El Nino.

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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


nothing yet.

Just storms doing not much...

OK, thanks much
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Another comment that follows up on Kate's remark.

"Nice article. Note that although ECMWF doesn't have the same operational requirements as the other centres, Met Office, JMA and Meteo-France do have roughly the same time constraints as US operational centres, and are all doing very well in comparison. Of course the rankings change whenever a centre gets a new supercomputer or has a major change to its algorithms -- this was seen with the introduction of 4D-Var and then Hybrid-Var at various operational centres."
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54858
I find it hard to believe that UKMET is better than the GFS and that CMC is almost as accurate.
I never trust the CMC, and right now, the CMC and GFS are at complete odds with this next trough.
But since the CMC agrees with the ECMWF, it probably will beat the GFS this time.
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Interesting graph from the link aspectre posted comparing the accuracy of various weather models.



The CDAS is a model that has not changed over the years that is used as a baseline. They compare predicted to observed 500 mb surface over the course of years. Note the overall improvement and how the GFS lags. The seasonal variation is also interesting.
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Quoting nigel20:
Good evening all!
what did I miss in the afternoon?


nothing yet.

Just storms doing not much...
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Good evening all!
what did I miss in the afternoon?
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Hey all......
The Barometer Bob Show this week April 12, 2012
My guests will include James Spann from ABC 33/40 in Birmingham, AL. We will talk about Severe Weather Awareness and Preparedness. Also, Phil Klotzbach from the CSU Tropical Meteorlogy Project, we will discuss the April 2012 Tropical Forecast and why they only predict 10 named storms for the 2012 Hurricane Season.

On now at http://hurricanehollow.org/
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Quoting weatherh98:


haha okay im not doin that thanks anyway, how does that work though?


I'll show you my graphics using photoshop for this season.
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
Quoting Grothar:
North Korea just launched an long distance rocket. Wonder who backed them up on this? Not good news
was that the wild e coyote back up trust roadrunner move that don't work out so well
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54858
Drought, drought, and more drought, I was nearly suffocating from smoke on my way to school this morning, all the smoke got trapped below a morning inversion layer and it was so thick I couldn't see a mile. You could even see pieces of ash floating around in the air.
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Quoting MAweatherboy1:

I think that is more likely to verify than the CSU forecast, and not just becuase the numbers are higher... I actually think that's a very good forecast.

I think their forecast is good too.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32532
Getting dry around here, watching Austin Weather, last rain around here was 24 days ago. System coming thru this weekend most rain will be to the east again.
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watch possible across Texas Panhanle/Oklahoma.
Storms may not initiate, but if they do, they would pose a risk for large hail and a few tornadoes.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
We've been too caught up with future "Alberto" and the Severe Weather Outbreaks that I forgot Tropical Storm Risk issued their outlook for 2012 today:


  • 13 named storms

  • 6 hurricanes

  • 3 major hurricanes

  • ACE index of 95


I think that is more likely to verify than the CSU forecast, and not just becuase the numbers are higher... I actually think that's a very good forecast.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 84 Comments: 7948
the middle discrete supercellular storm in Nebraska looks to be the best storm for a good tornado.
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We've been too caught up with future "Alberto" and the Severe Weather Outbreaks that I forgot Tropical Storm Risk issued their outlook for 2012 today:
  • 13 named storms
  • 6 hurricanes
  • 3 major hurricanes
  • ACE index of 95
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32532
Seems like the storms are weakening in KS.
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Quoting aspectre:
321 barbamz:
Same with 254 WxGeekVA's link to why The U.S. Has Fallen Behind in Numerical Weather Prediction.
In order to model weather, ya hafta lay the weather data&algorithms on top of a climate model. ie Ya hafta do climate modeling to do weather modeling.
And guess who doesn't want any Climate modeling done?

Great link! Very interesting comparison of models and discussion. One point made in the comments to this is from someone named Kate who says they work at EMC.

"We also can't compete with the European center because they do not have the time constraints that we do...meaning our model output has to be out at a specific time without fail. Also, the ECMWF model only runs twice per day (GFS 4x) and is able to wait for more data to arrive."

Another comment about the frequent conflation of climate and weather modeling.

"@Unknown: you are conflating (whether intentionally or ignorantly) weather prediction with climate prediction. Climate is a description of the distribution of weather. If you think of it like dice, climate is the shape and values on the dice, whereas weather is the result of any particular dice roll. Both have substantial economic impact (billions of dollars per year).

"Climate models have shown substantial skill in reproducing climates, but these have no more predictive power over knowing what weather will occur on a particular day in the future than knowing a die has six sides will help you predict which side will be face up after the next roll. Weather prediction, even with perfect models, is inherently limited to a few weeks.

"As your comment demonstrates, ignorance of this difference has caused great harm to both areas. Climate research is dismissed because people remember that cold weather last week, or that weather forecast that was wrong. Weather forecasting gets cut because people fight against climate change research or think weather forecasting is solved because the climate models are considered good."
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Quoting Articuno:

That top storm is very dangerous
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 84 Comments: 7948
Member Since: October 22, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2546
Perpetual Ocean by NASA (nice animation of ocean currents)

YouTube Link

Full Version YouTube Link
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New tornado warning in Nebraska between Imperial and Ogallala. Looks moving east.

It's at least 64kts sustained on the negative return, but the positive doesn't show up very well.

Very strong storm.

Ok, storm realtive says -50kts and plus 64kts, and looks sustained...
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NORTH PLATTE NE
555 PM MDT THU APR 12 2012

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN NORTH PLATTE HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
EASTERN PERKINS COUNTY IN SOUTHWEST NEBRASKA...

* UNTIL 630 PM MDT

* AT 550 PM MDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO. THIS DANGEROUS
STORM WAS LOCATED 8 MILES SOUTHEAST OF GRANT...AND MOVING NORTHEAST
AT 30 MPH.

* THIS DANGEROUS STORM WILL BE NEAR...
MADRID AROUND 605 PM MDT.
ELSIE AROUND 615 PM MDT.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

TAKE COVER NOW. MOVE TO AN INTERIOR ROOM ON THE LOWEST FLOOR OF A
STURDY BUILDING. AVOID WINDOWS. IF IN A MOBILE HOME...A VEHICLE OR
OUTDOORS...MOVE TO THE CLOSEST SUBSTANTIAL SHELTER AND PROTECT
YOURSELF FROM FLYING DEBRIS.

&&

LAT...LON 4071 10179 4100 10161 4100 10139 4100 10126
4070 10128
TIME...MOT...LOC 2355Z 216DEG 28KT 4078 10161

$$

STOPPKOTTE
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 84 Comments: 7948
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:
CNN reporting the ICBM (my term) failed shortly after launch.

Lol... Why is that not surprising?
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 84 Comments: 7948
Quoting aspectre:
Grothar: You have to hit the Control + buttons to see the pressure on this.
368 GeorgiaStormz: that didnt help anyway...

I usually have to Copy Image Location, then open a new tab/window with that address.
Then if the numbers&letters still aren't clear, use Control +



i was joking.
The tornadic storm had a hook echo:


It could redevelop, the rotation is still strengthening
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Quoting hurricanehunter27:
First tornado warning! On the cell I predicted an hour ago 2!


Same one i picked too!
I always am right with the 1st one
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Quoting caribbeantracker01:
if we will recall this has happened in the past


activity in the 2005 season

Source Date Tropicalstorms Hurricanes Major
hurricanes

CSU December 3, 2004 11 6 3
CSU April 1, 2005 13 7 3
NOAA May 16, 2005 12–15 7–9 3–5
CSU May 31, 2005 15 8 4
NOAA August 2, 2005 18–21 9–11 5–7
CSU August 5, 2005 20 10 6
Actual activity 28 15 7

Yeah I know make me think may that happen again this yeah that would be something
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Grothar: You have to hit the Control + buttons to see the pressure on this.
368 GeorgiaStormz: that didnt help anyway...

I usually have to Copy Image Location, then open a new tab/window with that address.
Then if the numbers&letters still aren't clear, use Control +
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Quoting RTSplayer:


You realize we could easily shoot that down with a COIL laser from our anti-nuke aircrafts right?

And they'd never know the difference...


We probably even have some of them in space right now, even though we're not supposed to according to international treaty.


Then again, the treaty may only apply to nukes, so maybe lasers are allowed...
North Korea sucks at a lot of things, but 2 things stand out. They suck at launching rockets and feeding people. Just sayin'...
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Quoting Grothar:


OMG Alaska!

977mb low!

What a beast!
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520

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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.