A record 199 days without a tornado death; 1st tornado of 2013 hits Louisiana

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:10 PM GMT on January 10, 2013

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The U.S. has set a weather record of the sort we like to see: the longest continuous stretch without a tornado death. We've had 199 days without a tornado fatality, beating the record of 197 straight days that ended on February 28, 1987. The last U.S. tornado death was at Venus in Highlands County, Florida, from an EF-0 tornado associated with Tropical Storm Debby on June 24, 2012. After a horrific 2011 that saw 553 Americans die in tornadoes--the 2nd highest total since 1950--the 2012 tornado season was not far from average for deaths, according to NOAA's Storm Prediction Center. The 2012 tornado death toll was 68, ranking 25th highest since 1950. The average yearly toll between 1950 - 2011 was 91. According to SPC, the total number of tornadoes during 2012 was just 936. This is the first time since 2002 that fewer than 1000 tornadoes have been recorded. The reason for the low tornado total in 2012 was the massive drought that gripped much of Tornado Alley. It's tough to get tornadoes when you're experiencing near-record drought conditions and very few thunderstorms.


Figure 1. June 24, 2012: A tornado spawned by Tropical Storm Debbie crosses Lake Winterset in Winter Haven, Florida. Another tornado from Debbie on this day caused the last tornado death in the U.S., at Venus in Highlands County, Florida. Image credit: wunderphotographer whgator3.


Figure 2. The total number of U.S. tornadoes stronger than EF-0 from 1950 - 2012 does not show a significant long-term trend. However, this database is not very reliable, and we cannot use it to make judgements about how tornadoes may be changing in the long term. Data taken from NOAA's Storm Prediction Center (SPC). Since not all tornadoes from 2012 have been given an EF scale rating yet, the numbers from 2012 are estimated by assuming that the same proportion of EF-0 tornadoes that existed in 2011 also occurred in 2012.

First U.S. tornado of 2013 hits Louisiana
A powerful low pressure system centered over Texas that has dumped over 5" of rain over Southeast Texas and 10" over portions of Louisiana has generated the first U.S. tornado of 2013. The tornado touched down in Plaquemine, Louisiana at 8:35 am CST this morning, when a squall line of severe thunderstorms moved through. Light to moderate roof damage was reported at an industrial plant on Highway 405, about 80 miles west-northwest of New Orleans. NOAA's Storm Prediction Center has portions of Southeast Louisiana, Southern Mississippi, and Southern Alabama in their "Slight Risk" region for severe weather and tornadoes, so hopefully our record streak without a tornado death will not come to an end today.


Figure 3. Radar-estimated precipitation from the past three days from the Lake Charles radar. Over 10" of rain (dark pink colors) is estimated to have fallen over South Central Louisiana.

Earth's extreme weather: no big deal, compared to Venus
Our colleagues at TWC are airing a new series that starts tonight (Thursday) at 9pm EST/8pm CST, called "Deadliest Space Weather." We've put the trailer for tonight's episode on Venus up on the wunderground video section. As I highlighted in my book review of Dr. James Hansen's must-read book, Storms of My Grandchildren, Dr. Hansen argues that Earth's climate may eventually wind up like Venus', with a run-away greenhouse effect: "After the ice is gone, would Earth proceed to the Venus syndrome, a runaway greenhouse effect that would destroy all life on the planet, perhaps permanently? While that is difficult to say based on present information, I've come to conclude that if we burn all reserves of oil, gas, and coal, there is a substantial chance we will initiate the runaway greenhouse. If we also burn the tar sands and tar shale, I believe the Venus syndrome is a dead certainty." In tonight's episode of "Deadliest Space Weather", astronomers and planetary scientists will reveal why the climate of Venus went so horribly wrong, why a similar climate may one day descend on the Earth--and what will happen when it gets here.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting yonzabam:


Growers are certain to collect record insurance payments for losses on their 2012 crops, hit by the worst drought in half a century. Indemnities totaled $10.7 billion at the start of this week, up $670 million from the preceding week and just shy of the record $10.8 billion paid on 2011 losses.

Some analysts expect the final payout to reach $20 billion to $25 billion to create the first money-losing year for insurers in a decade



Winter wheat makes up three quarters of the US wheat crop. To lose a quarter of it would be a disaster, not only for insurers, but for food prices in the developing world. I'd expect more food riots throughout the world.

It has many knock on effects. Pig breeders in the UK are going out of business because poor harvests in the US and other regions have pushed up feed prices.


As of this moment, growing conditions are not anywhere near ideal, but All is far from being lost.

In the article linked at comment 394, it’s not clear, at least to me, if they're talking 1/4 in affected areas which would be 1/12 of the winter wheat crop nationwide. Or 1/4 of the winter wheat nationwide. I did some searching and found much of the linked article was apparently taken from a Jan 9, 2013 Reuters news story. There I found a previous Reuters news story on winter wheat which might support the 1/4 of the 1/3 grown in affected areas. Or not. From this earlier Reuters story...
Some wheat has failed to come up at all, said Bob Klein, a University of Nebraska crop specialist. "It hasn't germinated because it hasn't had any moisture. We've also had some high winds that took out some wheat."

Klein said farmers will wait until spring to evaluate conditions and soil moisture levels before deciding whether to give up on their wheat. Some may try to plant other crops.

"They'll wait till the last minute to see what they do," he said.


Statements in the January 9, 2013 Reuters news article and at the link posted at 394 which was drawn from that article noted conditions “as of early December.” Beginning in late December, there has been colder weather and moisture over parts of the Plains. Not trying to be Pollyanna here. Just realistic. By Spring we’ll know more about the Plains wheat crop and have more information about the extent of any continuing drought. Meanwhile, if they so choose, farmers are eligible for low-interest loans.
Member Since: April 29, 2006 Posts: 156 Comments: 18934
Cold here. Low was 37.8... I looked at the temps when I got up and we were the same as my Sisters house in NE Wisconsin. WTH is up with that. The man on the news said we were colder than Detroit, Ouch.... Relief by next Thursday. 44.8 right now. Send long underwear..... lol
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463. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
JeffMasters has created a new entry.
Quoting TomballTXPride:


20 Year Lag. WHAT???!!! Keep ~ I was thinking more like 7 or 8 years, Man!!

Why 20 years?
who really knows we can only go by what we have been seeing and if it continues await the results

come on you do know this is nothing more then a big field experiment the results to which we are awaiting
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54827
Quoting luvtogolf:


It is funny that I have never once said that the earth isn't warming (85 here today in Tampa in mid-January). I also have never said that man has had nothing to do with our current warming trend. However, back a while ago, I posted an article from a scientist who challenged the theory that man is the cause of GW. I made a comment that he had some compelling data. I didn't agree or disagree with the article. Well, I immediately got called a denialist, uninformed, uneducated and every other condescending remark in our English language. To be honest, since then I have been cynical on this blog because of the way I was treated.
While the treatment you've outlined was unfortunate, my primary response would be that basing one's opinions on one's emotions instead of scientific fact isn't very logical at all. That is, whether or not you support a particular scientific theory should be based only on empirical evidence, not how badly you think adherents to that theory treated you.

(My job, home, my children, my health, and my very life have been directly threatened for my support of climate science. But that support is neither despite nor because of those threats; it's because it is the only extant theory that fits the mounting evidence.)
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13597
Loving the heat down here in SW FL ... the bananas and papayas have started ripening again after slowing down around Christmas and New Year's. I just hope we can keep from any freezes now that all the mango trees have begun to bloom and set fruit (way too early). For us we still have at least half of winter to go. (It's kinda hard to hold your breath from now to March 1st!)

Stay safe, all....
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Quoting TomballTXPride:


Don't forget the entire continent of Antarctica thawing out, Keep.
there could be a 20 year lag before that occurs lets get the northern hemisphere melted out first which won't be much longer now 2 maybe 3 more summer seasons to go if things remain on coarse as expected


faster and faster
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54827
456. etxwx
Quoting luvtogolf:


No need, I appreciate your civility but it was over a year ago and I don't have the time or energy to go find it. I'm heading to the course in a little while and something is up when I can play on January 11 in 85 degree weather.


Hope you have a great game, luvtogolf. I'm headed out to put out hay on the new tractor that Santa brought. Sounds like a good day all around. Shaping up to be nice and sunny here...but not 85F thank goodness. Stay cool.
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Quoting ScottLincoln:

If you still have the link to the paper you're discussing, you can send it to my private messaging and I'll glance it over and try to provide feedback in a more civil way that maybe wasn't given to you at the time.


No need, I appreciate your civility but it was over a year ago and I don't have the time or energy to go find it. I'm heading to the course in a little while and something is up when I can play on January 11 in 85 degree weather.
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55 and sunny in C IL, heading into 60s. ILwthr haven't seen official, but saw Litchfield .44", StL .68", Spfld only .18", though last night radar did show a burst form N of StL and move up the river valley. Sure wasn't the 1-2 forecast though.
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Quoting Xyrus2000:


Seriously, why do you keep posting this nonesense. Your "ice age" claims have been debunked repeatedly.

Link

And if that isn't good enough, you can go to Nature and other science periodical sites and search for the climate research of that era.
Too obvious Nea
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Quoting pottery:

Enjoy it, Keep.
Some showers here today. But they are warm !
i dont live they anymore pottery iam in toronto now but i was born and raised there
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54827
448. VR46L
Quoting TomballTXPride:


JB is absolutely correct, Luis. We'll see if this comes about. Although I'm beginning to think that it will in some way, shape, or form. The GFS has now been hinting at a brutal cold snap for the Eastern half of the contiguous U.S. for over a week now.



The CPC seem to agree ....




Member Since: March 1, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6950
Quoting etxwx:


I appreciate your reply, luvtogolf. I, too, think it's important to avoid absolute (as in all or nothing) thinking. One thing that made an impression on my thinking was realizing how quickly (in geological terms - a mere 100+ years) humans extracted and released (via burning fossil fuels) carbon material that had been sequestered in the earth for millions of years. That's new. And there haven't been any recent, major geological events to account for that scale of release. Natural systems (oceans, plants, etc) have been able to capture some of the carbon dioxide, but it seems like that tank is about full.


I think we need Superman to come, turn back time like he did in 1 and give us a do over.
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Quoting TomballTXPride:
Great Lakes may be freezing over for February. So much for those above average surface temperatures that prevailed throughout 2012, eh??


it is a typical event to expect from one end of the extreme scale to the other

but don't you worry things are moving along at an extreme pace wait till 2015 and our first ice free arctic summer with a rapid melting greenland ice sheet thrown in for good measure

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54827
Quoting luvtogolf:


It is funny that I have never once said that the earth isn't warming (85 here today in Tampa in mid-January). I also have never said that man has had nothing to do with our current warming trend. However, back a while ago, I posted an article from a scientist who challenged the theory that man is the cause of GW. I made a comment that he had some compelling data. I didn't agree or disagree with the article. Well, I immediately got called a denialist, uninformed, uneducated and every other condescending remark in our English language. To be honest, since then I have been cynical on this blog because of the way I was treated.

If you still have the link to the paper you're discussing, you can send it to my private messaging and I'll glance it over and try to provide feedback in a more civil way that maybe wasn't given to you at the time.
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
my hometown is being buried today by as much as 100 cm of snow as a blizzard rages still at this hr

Enjoy it, Keep.
Some showers here today. But they are warm !
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Quoting TomballTXPride:


JB is absolutely correct, Luis. We'll see if this comes about. Although I'm beginning to think that it will in some way, shape, or form. The GFS has now been hinting at a brutal cold snap for the Eastern half of the contiguous U.S. for over a week now.

The freezing line is all the way down to Central Florida and Upstate NY will be feeling temperatures in the -20s.
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Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:


incredible!!!! How many inches,no... how many feet are there, about 5'?
my hometown is being buried today by as much as 100 cm of snow as a blizzard rages still at this hr
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54827
Quoting not2beeasilyconned:
I suppose this all due to global warming,

What is "all due to global warming?" Please be specific. If you are referring to something a scientist has indicated, please name the scientist and what "all" refers to.
Quoting not2beeasilyconned:

despite the fact there hasn't been any [global warming] for the best part of 17 years now.

Incorrect. Not even remotely close to being accurate.


Quoting not2beeasilyconned:

This blog is the world record in manipulation and selective use of statistics.

Which is exactly how some have come to the conclusion that there has been no global warming in 17/15/10/11/etc years.
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438. etxwx
Quoting luvtogolf:


It is funny that I have never once said that the earth isn't warming (85 here today in Tampa in mid-January). I also have never said that man has had nothing to do with our current warming trend. However, back a while ago, I posted an article from a scientist who challenged the theory that man is the cause of GW. I made a comment that he had some compelling data. I didn't agree or disagree with the article. Well, I immediately got called a denialist, uninformed, uneducated and every other condescending remark in our English language. To be honest, since then I have been cynical on this blog because of the way I was treated.

I still believe the earth is warming, I do believe that man has some influence (how much? don't know).


I appreciate your reply, luvtogolf. I, too, think it's important to avoid absolute (as in all or nothing) thinking. One thing that made an impression on my thinking was realizing how quickly (in geological terms - a mere 100+ years) humans extracted and released (via burning fossil fuels) carbon material that had been sequestered in the earth for millions of years. That's new. And there haven't been any recent, major geological events to account for that scale of release. Natural systems (oceans, plants, etc) have been able to capture some of the carbon dioxide, but it seems like that tank is about full.
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Quoting not2beeasilyconned:
I suppose this all due to global warming, despite the fact there hasn't been any for the best part of 17 years now.

This blog is the world record in manipulation and selective use of statistics.


You talk about cherry picking data and then you refer to ONE dataset that still has 1998 as (very marginally) the warmest year?

That's the UK Hadcrut data. In the NASA and NOAA datasets, 2005 and 2010 were warmer than 1998.

As you well know, it has been repeatedly explained on here that 1998 was an anomalous outlier year due to a record El Nino that warmed the tropical Pacific by up to 6C.

But, it doesn't matter how often that's explained, you'll be back tomorrow spouting the same nonsense. Single years don't prove anything. Even single decades can be misleading, due to natural variation.

Average global decadal temperature, with regard to the average for 1951-80. Source NASA GISS.

1981-90 0.20C
1991-00 0.32C
2001-10 0.55C

But it makes no difference. They'll still say it hasn't warmed since 1998.



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Quoting luvtogolf:


It is funny that I have never once said that the earth isn't warming (85 here today in Tampa in mid-January). I also have never said that man has had nothing to do with our current warming trend. However, back a while ago, I posted an article from a scientist who challenged the theory that man is the cause of GW. I made a comment that he had some compelling data. I didn't agree or disagree with the article. Well, I immediately got called a denialist, uninformed, uneducated and every other condescending remark in our English language. To be honest, since then I have been cynical on this blog because of the way I was treated.

I still believe the earth is warming, I do believe that man has some influence (how much? don't know).


Good post.
I have seen people get blasted here for pretty silly reasons, it's true.
Quoting a paper that has interesting and meaningful info. for or against the GW debate can bring down the wrath.

It's just that some on here are more defensive than others.
Also, the mind-set (one way or the other) is pretty strong, and this often leads to intolerance.

I'm guilty of that too.
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Joe Bastardi‏@BigJoeBastardi

@BigJoeBastardi 288 hr.. that should shiver some timbers http://twitter.com/BigJoeBastardi/status/289775171 542335488/photo/1/large
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54827
Quoting calkevin77:


There are reasons why they print suffocation warning labels on plastic grocery bags :)
My thought is that it is a liability issue in the age of everyone suing anyone.... In other words....CYA
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Quoting etxwx:
The following is a sincere question for those who seem unconvinced that man is influencing earth's climate in a major way. I am truly curious:

Is there something in particular that would cause you to rethink your position? Such as an event, a statement from a leader you respect, particular scientific evidence or other information? As in: "I'll be more inclined to believe man is the primary influence on the climate when....." (Fill in the blank)

Just trying to get a sense of your reasoning here - this is not meant to be a "gotcha" question.


It is funny that I have never once said that the earth isn't warming (85 here today in Tampa in mid-January). I also have never said that man has had nothing to do with our current warming trend. However, back a while ago, I posted an article from a scientist who challenged the theory that man is the cause of GW. I made a comment that he had some compelling data. I didn't agree or disagree with the article. Well, I immediately got called a denialist, uninformed, uneducated and every other condescending remark in our English language. To be honest, since then I have been cynical on this blog because of the way I was treated.

I still believe the earth is warming, I do believe that man has some influence (how much? don't know).
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Quoting pottery:
Sometimes, reading this blog leads me into deep despair.

But then I realise that Evolution continues, and the ones that are slow to Evolve are keeping the thing balanced. Evolution needs to be a slow process.
At least, that's the only positive thing I can get from it all.


Made me laugh out loud! That's surely the best way to look at it!
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Many factors to consider when discussing Global Warming: 1) Smoke stacks from certain factories 2) Emissions from cars 3) Burning of fossil fuels. There is many other factors I can't think of off the top, but the main question here is how much CO2 is being emitted into the atmosphere since this is the main gas that is tied with Global Warming? All three of these factors come from the human hands. Who builds cars? Not us humans? Who built these factories that make cars? Not us humans? Now I respect others opinions and if they are against Global Warming that is fine by me. I think that this is a great topic for debate.
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A cool news article on the NASA front.

NASA Prepares for Launch of Next Earth Observation Satellite

"01.10.13 NASA's Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) is scheduled to launch Feb. 11 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. A joint NASA and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) mission, LDCM will add to the longest continuous data record of Earth's surface as viewed from space."

"After launch, LDCM will enter a polar orbit, circling Earth about 14 times daily from an altitude of 438 miles (705 kilometers), returning over each location on Earth every 16 days. After launch and the initial checkout phase, the USGS will take operational control of the satellite, and LDCM will be renamed Landsat 8. Data will be downlinked to three ground stations in Gilmore Creek, Alaska; Svalbard, Norway; and Sioux Falls, S.D. The data will be archived and distributed at no cost to users from the USGS's Earth Resources Observation and Science Center in Sioux Falls."


Link
Member Since: June 9, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 864
Quoting PensacolaDoug:
Pokes head in, looks around, decides ain't safe once again......
LOL me too..Doc must be pissed for having his blog disrupted like this..I gave up yesterday,its hopeless.
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wow even thru next week here.............
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Pokes head in, looks around, decides ain't safe once again......
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Quoting etxwx:
The following is a sincere question for those who seem unconvinced that man is influencing earth's climate in a major way. I am truly curious:

Is there something in particular that would cause you to rethink your position? Such as an event, a statement from a leader you respect, particular scientific evidence or other information? As in: "I'll be more inclined to believe man is the primary influence on the climate when....." (Fill in the blank)

Just trying to get a sense of your reasoning here - this is not meant to be a "gotcha" question.

Looking forward to the answers, too.
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Quoting schistkicker:


Of course he/she is right. Their bald assertions are at least as good as any data-based, evidence-supported argument that involves actual science. It's extra true if it's an assertion that has already been debunked, because scientific investigation is just a conspiracy, anyhows.

DOWN WITH HEAT CAPACITY!!


heheheheh, I like that !
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Quoting not2beeasilyconned:
I suppose this all due to global warming, despite the fact there hasn't been any for the best part of 17 years now.

This blog is the world record in manipulation and selective use of statistics.


Nah, we've got NOTHING on Anthony Watts. ;)
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Quoting TampaBayStormChaser:
You know folks, it is possible to debate things without personal attacks...

True.
And I haven't seen any personal attacks here today which is good.
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419. etxwx
The following is a sincere question for those who seem unconvinced that man is influencing earth's climate in a major way. I am truly curious:

Is there something in particular that would cause you to rethink your position? Such as an event, a statement from a leader you respect, particular scientific evidence or other information? As in: "I'll be more inclined to believe man is the primary influence on the climate when....." (Fill in the blank)

Just trying to get a sense of your reasoning here - this is not meant to be a "gotcha" question.
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Quoting AussieStorm:


#408: Probably one of the cutest pics I've seen in a while Aussie. Have a good night and I hope you guys get some cooling down there.
Member Since: June 9, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 864
Quoting pottery:


Is that so ?


Of course he/she is right. Their bald assertions are at least as good as any data-based, evidence-supported argument that involves actual science. It's extra true if it's an assertion that has already been debunked, because scientific investigation is just a conspiracy, anyhows.

DOWN WITH HEAT CAPACITY!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

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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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