Is it spring or is it winter? Wild roller coaster of temperatures for the U.S.

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:19 PM GMT on January 28, 2013

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Is it spring or is it winter? The wild roller coaster ride of January 2013 weather continues this week, as Winter Storm Luna spreads snow, sleet and freezing rain across much of the Midwest and Northeast today, to be replaced by a spring-like surge of warm air nearly unprecedented in warmth and moisture for January. Temperatures in Oklahoma City have only reached 80° three times during January since 1890, but threaten to do so again today, and record-breaking high temperatures in the 70s are expected over much of Kansas and Missouri. Accompanying the exceptional January warmth will be near-record January moisture, as a flow of unusually moist air rides northwards from the Gulf of Mexico, where water temperatures are about 0.3°F above average. Meteorologists use a term called "precipitable water" to discuss how much water vapor is in the atmosphere. Precipitable water is defined as how much rain would fall on the ground if one took a vertical slice of the atmosphere above a given location and condensed all the water vapor into rain. Precipitable water levels tend to be highest in the summer, since warm air holds more waver vapor, and can exceed two inches in the Midwest U.S. In winter, though, it is rare to see precipitable water values higher than one inch. However, current model runs are predicting that precipitable water values on Tuesday evening will be near record values for January over much of the Central U.S. The high moisture will lead to widespread rainfall amounts of 1 - 2" over the Midwest. These rains are likely to cause flooding problems in areas where the rain falls on frozen soils with a significant snow pack. Flood watches are posted for much of Indiana, Southwest Lower Michigan, and Northwest Ohio, as a result. Here are the record January precipitable water values for some selected upper-air observation sites, along with the forecast precipitable water values for Tuesday evening from the latest run of the NAM model (thanks to Nick Wiltgen of TWC for compiling this):

Detroit, MI: Record: 1.20" at 00Z 1/11/75. Forecast: 1.2"
Nashville, TN: Record: 1.50" at 12Z 1/21/59. Forecast: 1.1"
Little Rock, AR: Record: 1.91" at 12Z 1/13/71. Forecast: 1.5"
Lincoln, IL: Record: 1.35" at 12Z 1/12/60. Forecast: 1.3"

Accompanying the heavy rain on Tuesday will be the threat of severe weather. NOAA's Storm Prediction Center has placed portions of Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi in their "Moderate Risk" region for severe weather on Tuesday. This is the first "Moderate Risk" forecast issued during 2013. Severe thunderstorms with damaging wind gusts and tornadoes are likely in the Moderate Risk area.


Figure 1. Five-day predicted precipitation amounts for the period ending 7 am Saturday, February 2, 2013. Image credit: NOAA/HPC.


Figure 2. NOAA's Storm Prediction Center has placed portions of Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi in their "Moderate Risk" region for severe weather on Tuesday. This is the first "Moderate Risk" forecast issued during 2013.

Dangerous air pollution episode finally eases in Utah
As I blogged about last week, clear skies, light winds, and a strong temperature inversion combined to create a dangerous air pollution episode in Northeast Utah in Salt Lake City and surrounding regions. However, over the weekend, a surge of warmer air and rain pushed into Utah, breaking up the temperature inversion, and bringing an end to the week-long pollution episode. In Salt Lake City, fine Particulate Matter less than 2.5 microns in diameter (also called PM 2.5) peaked at 59 micrograms per cubic meter on Saturday, nearly double the federal standard of 35 micrograms per cubic meter (averaged over 24 hours.) But by Sunday morning, PM 2.5 levels fell below 35 micrograms per cubic meter for the first time in over a week, allowing the city to finally breathe a little easier. In nearby Provo, Utah, the pollution had been much worse, with 24-hour average PM 2.5 levels more than triple the federal standard on Thursday morning, at 132 micrograms per cubic meter. On Sunday, air pollution levels in Provo also fell below the federal standard for the first time in over a week. With the forecast calling for snow through Tuesday and strong westerly winds building in, pollution levels should stay out of the red zone for at least the first part of this week. Brian Moench, an anesthesiologist and president of Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment, estimates that poor air quality contributes to 1,000 to 2,000 premature deaths each year along Utah's Wasatch Front.


Figure 3. Observed air quality in North Provo, Utah, January 23 - 28, 2013. 24-hour average fine Particulate Matter less than 2.5 microns in diameter (also called PM 2.5) levels (black circles, top image) were in excess of the 35 micrograms per cubic meter U.S. standard (orange line) during the first part of the period, and peaked at 131 micrograms per cubic meter--more than 3 times the Federal standard--Thursday morning. The wind speed at the surface never rose above 6 mph (lower image, black dots) while the pollution was in excess of the federal standard, but on the 27th, the wind rose to 10 mph, helping flush out the pollution. Image credit: Utah DEQ.

Jeff Masters

Icy Kiss? (ceocrocker)
To me, it looks a bit like a Hershey Kiss, but it also looks a little mammary in nature. I'll let each person make their own interpretation of Mother Nature's art!
Icy Kiss?
Smogy conditions (SlimJ77)
For the last 10 days we have had terrible smog in the valleys. I drove up above it the other day and took these pictures. Bad air quality for all of us. Today we get a freezing rain storm because of it, causing all sorts of mess.
Smogy conditions

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we got this right here right now

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54798
I wonder when we'll see something like this in the United States again:



It's been seven years since the last major hurricane (Wilma). Still, I suppose people (myself included, perhaps) are too hung up on categories, when Sandy demonstrated quite clearly that such classifications are sometimes meaningless. Still, there's something to be said about a major hurricane.
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54798
Quoting Civicane49:


Mt Wai'ala'ale is one of the wettest spots on Earth. In 1982, it received a record 683 inches. Did you know that Wai%u02BBale%u02BBale is Hawaiian for rippling waters?
I've heard of it before. Wai'ale'ale is not quite the rainiest place in the world though. In fact, it may not even be the wettest place in Hawaii. Geologist are in the process of establishing a 30 year record at Big Bog, Maui, which is situated along the eastern flank of the Haleakala caldera. The period of record for this site only goes back for 15 years so it can't officially be declared wetter than Mount Wai'ale'ale, but it seems likely it will since the current average rainfall there is 404.39 inches, opposed to the 393 inch average at Mount Wai'ale'ale. Source.

Both of these totals are still lower than the precipitation totals in places along the Khasi Hills of India (i.e. Mawsynram and Cherrapunji) which catch the moist monsoonal flow coming off the warmest Ocean in the world (Indian). Another place thought to catch the most rain in the world is Lloro, Columbia. There are no reliable rain measurements for this region, however.
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Didn't the great derecho from last year look something similar to this, horizontal band of t-storms? o_O

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I might be woken up in the middle of the night from this.

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Record high for my area was 73 degrees, expected to see 68-72. Could be close.

From Intellicast Historical Averages :

Jan 30 24 45 -10 (1966) 73 (1975) 0.13" NA
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Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:


Were you around for Iniki in 1992?


No, I wasn't around during that time.

Anyway, I'm out for the night. Later all.
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Quoting Civicane49:
Still some widespread showers across the Hawaiian Islands from the remains of the cold front:



Were you around for Iniki in 1992?
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Still some widespread showers across the Hawaiian Islands from the remains of the cold front:

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Sorry if it has been post but Tony Tcr is out Link
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why am I in this situation???

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Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:


it's cool. Similar to Spanish.

They use the ' too much


That apostrophe is called an 'okina. It is used in many Polynesian languages and is used to mark the glottal stop when you make a short pause when saying the word.

On a weather note, there could be a significant severe weather for tomorrow across areas of the Southern Plains and Lower Mississippi River Valley.

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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54798
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54798
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54798
Quoting 1900hurricane:
That's a thin squall line!


Some of the different short-term, high resolution models actually have 3 or 4 very thin lines tomorrow afternoon across Arkansas with discrete cells ahead. They may be thin, but they will likely pack a huge punch.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32501
Quoting PedleyCA:
Past my Bedtime - Stay Safe All - Stay Warm - Stay Dry - Sleep Well
Geez... didn't realize it was so late! And I gotta get 2 work early tomorrow... Nite, all!
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That's a thin squall line!

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Past my Bedtime - Stay Safe All - Stay Warm - Stay Dry - Sleep Well
Member Since: February 29, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 5999
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
sim radar

This looks like a rainy weekend setup for FL... wonder if the tail end of this will stay strong enough to bring rain to the NW Bahamas as well?
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Quoting PedleyCA:


It loaded the page here....

Thanks, I'm getting the page now too.
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Okay, my question: What? Why do I have a slight chance of snow Thursday night? Are they trying to get my hopes up for no school?

Thursday
Night




Chance
Snow

Low: 22 °F
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Quoting Civicane49:


Here is a link on the Hawaiian pronunciation. It just takes practice.


it's cool. Similar to Spanish accent wise.

They use the ' too much
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Quoting 1900hurricane:
Is anyone else having trouble bringing up the Penn State EWall? I can't seem to pull it up. The website is here if anyone want's to give it a try. It is personally my favorite model page.


It loaded the page here....
Member Since: February 29, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 5999
Quoting Astrometeor:
I love the graphics that my NWS output:



3 am to 5 am for me? Great...no sleep. Hmm, which class should I make up sleep in? Maybe Pre-Cal. Student teacher shouldn't mind too much, I don't do it that often and I only sleep if I just can't help it.

So far on the latest GFS, no negative tilt..:)
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Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:


cool...but the pronunciation throws me off...


Here is a link on the Hawaiian pronunciation. It just takes practice.
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Is anyone else having trouble bringing up the Penn State EWall? I can't seem to pull it up. The website is here if anyone want's to give it a try. It is personally my favorite model page.

*EDIT: It took a while but it finally decided to show up.
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Quoting Civicane49:


There's hardly any rain in my area since the early morning. Off course, some areas are receiving rain. Nonetheless, the rain should continue to diminish through tomorrow.

Here is the link with common Hawaiian words and phrases.


cool...but the pronunciation throws me off...
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Hmmmm.

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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
MESOSCALE DISCUSSION 0063
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
0959 PM CST MON JAN 28 2013

AREAS AFFECTED...CNTRL/ERN IA...NRN IL...FAR SRN WI

CONCERNING...SEVERE POTENTIAL...WATCH UNLIKELY

VALID 290359Z - 290600Z

PROBABILITY OF WATCH ISSUANCE...5 PERCENT

SUMMARY...MOSTLY SMALL HAIL BUT ISOLATED HAIL TO 1 INCH IN DIAMETER
SHOULD PERSIST NEXT FEW HOURS WITHIN AN EXPANDING AREA OF ELEVATED
TSTMS DEVELOPING E/NEWD FROM THE I-80 CORRIDOR.

DISCUSSION...ROBUST LOW-LEVEL WARM THETA-E ADVECTION AIDED BY A 55
KT LLJ ACROSS THE MID-MO VALLEY WILL SUPPORT PERSISTENT ELEVATED
TSTM DEVELOPMENT N OF AN ARCING WARM FRONT ALONG THE MO/IA BORDER TO
SRN IL. MUCAPE WILL REMAIN WEAK WITH MODEST MID-LEVEL LAPSE RATES
AROUND 6.5 C/KM PER 00Z TOP RAOB. NEVERTHELESS...SUFFICIENT
CLOUD-BEARING SHEAR DOES EXIST FOR ORGANIZED MULTICELL CLUSTERS
CAPABLE OF PRODUCING ISOLATED MARGINALLY SEVERE HAIL.

..GRAMS/HART.. 01/29/2013


Lol January thunderstorms; certainly a shock to Midwesterners' systems
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Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:


How's the rain going there... I see lots of yellows on radar..

Btw. Hawaiian is a nice language... would like to know some words and pronunciation.


There's hardly any rain in my area since the early morning. Off course, some areas are receiving rain. Nonetheless, the rain should continue to diminish through tomorrow.

Here is the link with common Hawaiian words and phrases.
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MESOSCALE DISCUSSION 0063
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
0959 PM CST MON JAN 28 2013

AREAS AFFECTED...CNTRL/ERN IA...NRN IL...FAR SRN WI

CONCERNING...SEVERE POTENTIAL...WATCH UNLIKELY

VALID 290359Z - 290600Z

PROBABILITY OF WATCH ISSUANCE...5 PERCENT

SUMMARY...MOSTLY SMALL HAIL BUT ISOLATED HAIL TO 1 INCH IN DIAMETER
SHOULD PERSIST NEXT FEW HOURS WITHIN AN EXPANDING AREA OF ELEVATED
TSTMS DEVELOPING E/NEWD FROM THE I-80 CORRIDOR.

DISCUSSION...ROBUST LOW-LEVEL WARM THETA-E ADVECTION AIDED BY A 55
KT LLJ ACROSS THE MID-MO VALLEY WILL SUPPORT PERSISTENT ELEVATED
TSTM DEVELOPMENT N OF AN ARCING WARM FRONT ALONG THE MO/IA BORDER TO
SRN IL. MUCAPE WILL REMAIN WEAK WITH MODEST MID-LEVEL LAPSE RATES
AROUND 6.5 C/KM PER 00Z TOP RAOB. NEVERTHELESS...SUFFICIENT
CLOUD-BEARING SHEAR DOES EXIST FOR ORGANIZED MULTICELL CLUSTERS
CAPABLE OF PRODUCING ISOLATED MARGINALLY SEVERE HAIL.

..GRAMS/HART.. 01/29/2013
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32501
Quoting Civicane49:


Mt Wai'ala'ale is one of the wettest spots on Earth. In 1982, it received a record 683 inches. Did you know that Waiʻaleʻale is Hawaiian for rippling waters?


How's the rain going there... I see lots of yellows on radar..

Btw. Hawaiian is a nice language... would like to know some words and pronunciation.
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I love the graphics that my NWS output:



3 am to 5 am for me? Great...no sleep. Hmm, which class should I make up sleep in? Maybe Pre-Cal. Student teacher shouldn't mind too much, I don't do it that often and I only sleep if I just can't help it.

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Quoting TomTaylor:
I'm not too familiar with most those locations, but I have been to Kauai a few times recently. It's interesting to see that Poipu, on the south side of the island, received the most rain recorded on the island. Poipu averages around 40 inches of rain a year. Meanwhile, Mt Wai'ale'ale, which averages over 400 inches a year, received less than half of what Poipu received.


Mt Wai'ala'ale is one of the wettest spots on Earth. In 1982, it received a record 683 inches. Did you know that Wai'ala'ale is Hawaiian for rippling waters?
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Perhaps the event is starting early, Blue.

MESOSCALE DISCUSSION 0062
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
0929 PM CST MON JAN 28 2013

AREAS AFFECTED...N-CNTRL OK

CONCERNING...SEVERE POTENTIAL...WATCH POSSIBLE

VALID 290329Z - 290530Z

PROBABILITY OF WATCH ISSUANCE...40 PERCENT

SUMMARY...ISOLATED TSTMS MAY BE INITIATING WITHIN THE WARM/MOIST
SECTOR ACROSS CNTRL OK. ENVIRONMENT IS FAVORABLE FOR SUPERCELLS WITH
ALL SEVERE THREATS POSSIBLE.

DISCUSSION...A SHORT NNE TO SSW BAND OF ISOLATED SHOWERS HAS FORMED
IN THE PAST HALF HOUR FROM LOGAN TO NRN GRADY COUNTIES...E OF THE
SURFACE DRYLINE IN WRN OK. ALTHOUGH LARGE-SCALE ASCENT WAS NOT
ANTICIPATED TO STRENGTHEN SUBSTANTIALLY TILL AFTER 09Z PER MOST
MODEL GUIDANCE...IT IS POSSIBLE THAT THIS CONVECTION MAY BECOME
SUSTAINED AS WEAK MID-LEVEL HEIGHT FALLS OVERSPREAD THE REGION BY
06Z. EVENING FORECAST SOUNDINGS ALONG WITH MODIFIED 00Z OUN/LMN
RAOBS SUGGEST MODEST MLCAPE AND MID-LEVEL LAPSE RATES SHOULD PERSIST
AMIDST A HIGHLY FAVORABLE LOW/MID-LEVEL WIND PROFILE FOR UPDRAFT
ROTATION. THUS...IF CONVECTION CAN BECOME SUSTAINED...RISKS FOR
SEVERE HAIL/WIND AND A TORNADO OR TWO WOULD DEVELOP.

..GRAMS/HART.. 01/29/2013
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32501
Quoting PedleyCA:
Comfortably Numb
If you haven't watched the live version, watch it. Link

Solo is a little more drawn out but most of all it is crazy how well they sync the light show with the music they are playing. My Dad was also lucky enough to see this concert live (not the one filmed here, but on the same PULSE tour) while my mom was pregnant with me lol.
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BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE QUAD CITIES IA IL
944 PM CST MON JAN 28 2013

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN THE QUAD CITIES HAS ISSUED A

* SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR...
NORTHEASTERN BENTON COUNTY IN EAST CENTRAL IOWA...
NORTHWESTERN LINN COUNTY IN EAST CENTRAL IOWA...
EASTERN BUCHANAN COUNTY IN NORTHEAST IOWA...
NORTHWESTERN DELAWARE COUNTY IN NORTHEAST IOWA...

* UNTIL 1030 PM CST.

* AT 942 PM CST...TRAINED SPOTTERS AND DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING QUARTER SIZE HAIL. THIS
STORM WAS LOCATED APPROXIMATELY NEAR VINTON...AND MOVING NORTHEAST
AT 55 MPH.

* OTHER LOCATIONS IN THE WARNING INCLUDE BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO
URBANA...CENTER POINT...WALKER...ROWLEY...TROY MILLS...
QUASQUETON...WINTHROP...MASONVILLE...LAMONT...MANC HESTER...
DUNDEE...DELAWARE...GREELEY...COLESBURG AND EDGEWOOD.

THIS INCLUDES INTERSTATE 380 BETWEEN MILE MARKERS 35 AND 50.

&&
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32501
Comfortably Numb
Member Since: February 29, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 5999
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Those will probably fizzle out or remain extremely weak over the next few hours. The "main event", so to speak, probably will not get going until 10-12z.

Meanwhile...there are strong, elevated storms along the warm front in Iowa. Some of them have the possibility of producing marginally severe hail.

Yeah, the storms in Oklahoma isn't really that strong. I knew it wasn't the main event, but it's still fun to watch these little storms. Tomorrow should be fun to track...
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Quoting Civicane49:
Good evening everyone.

After bringing heavy rain to most of the Hawaiian Islands yesterday and earlier today, the cold front is weakening over the Maui County. However, there are still some clouds and moderate showers persisting mainly over Oahu and the Maui County. Drier weather should return by the middle of this week. The front should lessen some drought conditions across the Hawaiian Islands.

Here are the total amount of rainfall on some areas in Hawaii.
I'm not too familiar with most those locations, but I have been to Kauai a few times recently. It's interesting to see that Poipu, which is on the south side of Kauai, received the most rain recorded on the island. Poipu averages around 40 inches of rain a year. Meanwhile, Mt Wai'ale'ale, which averages over 400 inches a year, received less than half of what Poipu received.
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Quoting Bluestorm5:
Storms are starting to fire up in Oklahoma, where Slight Risk is issued for tonight. Wish I can track them, but I need to get some sleep for school tomorrow.




Those will probably fizzle out or remain extremely weak over the next few hours. The "main event", so to speak, probably will not get going until 10-12z.

Meanwhile...there are strong, elevated storms along the warm front in Iowa. Some of them have the possibility of producing marginally severe hail.

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32501
Cyclone Felleng has become better organized. Microwave imagery reveals that the eyewall is nearly closed. Given the organized structure on satellite and microwave imagery, Felleng is at a strength equivalent to a Category 1 hurricane. The cyclone is forecast to intensify further as it soon begins to turn southward, sparing Madagascar. The system will later begin the weakening trend by 96 hours.

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27-years ago....

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Quoting ScottLincoln:

Didn't the wind field increase with Isaac as it neared the Louisiana coast?
If the minimum pressure of the cyclone steadily dropped and the maximum wind speed didn't pick up then the wind field must be expanding. Either that, or there were some issues with the circulation and winds mixing down (possibly due to dry air, as kori mentioned).

...Or the background environmental pressure also dropped, which is doubtful.
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Storms are starting to fire up in Oklahoma, where Slight Risk is issued for tonight. Wish I can track them, but I need to get some sleep for school tomorrow.



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Quoting nymore:
oh but it does snow at the equator.


The sunlight on top of those mountains must be super intense...!
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Quoting LargoFl:
australia flooding, alot of pics on the web.......


Sheesh, they are even worse than Texas when it comes to extreme back and forth weather, eh? Weren't they just having a hot spell...?
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Quoting ScottLincoln:

Didn't the wind field increase with Isaac as it neared the Louisiana coast?
Yeah, there was that too. I mentioned it in the report as well.
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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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