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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TC Felling

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Jollie still making quite an impact ... Her centre is still in the North Atlantic .Her tail is now in continental Europe ..and a new storm is about to whack The UK and Ireland latest winds here are 40 KTS Gusting to 53 Kts

Jollie North of Scotland Kerim about to whack Ireland As named by met.fu-berlin



Jollie tail in Europe and alot of precipitation heading for an already Sodden UK and Ireland


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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 168 Comments: 53285
Here has been WU's bestcast for the last 18 hours.
Snowfall amounts up to 1 inch, next 1 to 3 inches, next 3 to 11 inches and now 2 to 7 inches. I wonder what will come next?

NWS had it at 1 to 3 inches, next 3 to 6 inches, now 4 to 8 inches.

Accuweather, Under 1 inch, than 1 to 2 inches, now 2 to 4 inches.

I don't think they have a very good grasp of this storm.
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Well, the Mighty(thirsty)Mississippi will enjoy that Five-day predicted precipitation.
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Good Afternoon Everyone!

Just wanted to say thank you to all of the people who have commented on my blog post so far! :-) I still need more people to comment, so I have included the link below! :-) Thanks everyone!

http://www.wunderground.com/blog/WunderGirl12/com ment.html?entrynum=3

WunderGirl12

P.S. - Please do not comment on Dr. Masters blog. Please comment on the blog post itself. It makes it MUCH easier for me to gather the information. Thanks! :-)
Member Since: January 9, 2011 Posts: 23 Comments: 810


This is all I get, forecast 55, I have 53.8 now. I see the Radar is back online. But now the Airport is not reporting for almost 3 hours. I am not in a PWS rich area and some of the ones here are offline more than working. Wish I had a place to put one and could afford it.

Edit: typo
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"Remember the center of earth is a million degrees hot"!ALGORE 2007
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Another winter storm for Minnesota later this week...
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66. Skyepony (Mod)
Quoting LostTomorrows:
We're at Winter Storm Luna? I can't believe I missed the Wrath of Khan, ugh!


The Khan memes were probibly more memorable than the storm.
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We're at Winter Storm Luna? I can't believe I missed the Wrath of Khan, ugh!
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64. Skyepony (Mod)
Quoting MontanaZephyr:
Exclusive: Billionaires secretly fund attacks on climate science

Link

"...A secretive funding organisation in the United States that guarantees anonymity for its billionaire donors has emerged as a major operator in the climate "counter movement" to undermine the science of global warming, The Independent has learnt...."


U.S. media self-censors on Koch brothers' secret manipulation of climate change news - Quelle surprise!
http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate- change/exclusive-billionaires-secretly-fund-attack s-on-climate-science-8466312.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate- change/how-the-kochtopus-stifled-green-debate-8466 316.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2268070/B illionaire-Charles-Koch-secretive-fund-casts-doubt -climate-change.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/top-cli mate-scientist-denounces-billionaires-over-funding -for-climatesceptic-organisations-8467665.html

http://www.ibtimes.com/koch-family-uses-fund-chan nel-millions-anti-climate-science-groups-report-10 39906
Originally Posted by Tenney Naumer




Quoting JustPlantIt:
Any study on the ocean currents with this as well. It seems that they are also having an effect on ice melt?????


And changing.


Yes there is. I've posted a few in the past. This just happened to the first time they got an instrument under the ice to see how the melt ponds were letting the light, energy & heat through.
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Quoting wxchaser97:
I wasn't expecting severe weather though. It is bad enough that the temps will get at or near record levels for highs and thunderstorms will be possible.


indeed. Highs were for Wed could be near 60!.
From single digits to 60 in less than a week!!!?
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Good Afternoon Everyone!

Just wanted to say thank you to all of the people who have commented on my blog post so far! :-) I still need more people to comment, so I have included the link below! :-) Thanks everyone!

http://www.wunderground.com/blog/WunderGirl12/com ment.html?entrynum=3

WunderGirl12

P.S. - Please do not comment on Dr. Masters blog. Please comment on the blog post itself. It makes it MUCH easier for me to gather the information. Thanks! :-)
Member Since: January 9, 2011 Posts: 23 Comments: 810
Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:



yeah for down south but not so much for your area.
I wasn't expecting severe weather though. It is bad enough that the temps will get at or near record levels for highs and thunderstorms will be possible.
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Quoting wxmod:


I think they need to add a 'percent chance of survival' index. Also, it should be noted what these pollution levels do to wildlife and vegetation. Unreal levels already. I wonder how much higher it can go?
Agree with you!
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Quoting wxchaser97:
There is now a moderate risk of severe weather for tomorrow. The primary threat will be damaging winds but tornadoes are definitely possible.

Day 2 outlook



yeah for down south but not so much for your area.
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Quoting JustPlantIt:
Wxmod.... beyond 'Hazardous' maybe 'Deadly'.... next 'Lethal'. Just a scale appropriation index for future ref.


I think they need to add a 'percent chance of survival' index. Also, it should be noted what these pollution levels do to wildlife and vegetation. Unreal levels already. I wonder how much higher it can go?
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There is now a moderate risk of severe weather for tomorrow. The primary threat will be damaging winds but tornadoes are definitely possible.

Day 2 outlook
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Wxmod.... beyond 'Hazardous' maybe 'Deadly'.... next 'Lethal'. Just a scale appropriation index for future ref.
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Last 24 hourly reading of air quality from US embassy in Beijing, China

01-29-2013 01:00; PM2.5; 490.0; 493; Hazardous
1h BeijingAir BeijingAir ‏@BeijingAir

01-29-2013 00:00; PM2.5; 508.0; 505; Beyond Index
2h BeijingAir BeijingAir ‏@BeijingAir

01-28-2013 23:00; PM2.5; 510.0; 506; Beyond Index
3h BeijingAir BeijingAir ‏@BeijingAir

01-28-2013 22:00; PM2.5; 444.0; 463; Hazardous
4h BeijingAir BeijingAir ‏@BeijingAir

01-28-2013 21:00; PM2.5; 443.0; 462; Hazardous
5h BeijingAir BeijingAir ‏@BeijingAir

01-28-2013 20:00; PM2.5; 444.0; 463; Hazardous
6h BeijingAir BeijingAir ‏@BeijingAir

01-28-2013 19:00; PM2.5; 446.0; 464; Hazardous
7h BeijingAir BeijingAir ‏@BeijingAir

01-28-2013 18:00; PM2.5; 459.0; 473; Hazardous
8h BeijingAir BeijingAir ‏@BeijingAir

01-28-2013 17:00; PM2.5; 490.0; 493; Hazardous
9h BeijingAir BeijingAir ‏@BeijingAir

01-28-2013 16:00; PM2.5; 496.0; 497; Hazardous
10h BeijingAir BeijingAir ‏@BeijingAir

01-28-2013 15:00; PM2.5; 409.0; 440; Hazardous
11h BeijingAir BeijingAir ‏@BeijingAir

01-28-2013 14:00; PM2.5; 394.0; 430; Hazardous
12h BeijingAir BeijingAir ‏@BeijingAir

01-28-2013 13:00; PM2.5; 384.0; 423; Hazardous
13h BeijingAir BeijingAir ‏@BeijingAir

01-28-2013 12:00; PM2.5; 367.0; 412; Hazardous
14h BeijingAir BeijingAir ‏@BeijingAir

01-28-2013 11:00; PM2.5; 357.0; 405; Hazardous
15h BeijingAir BeijingAir ‏@BeijingAir

01-28-2013 10:00; PM2.5; 348.0; 398; Hazardous
16h BeijingAir BeijingAir ‏@BeijingAir

01-28-2013 09:00; PM2.5; 348.0; 398; Hazardous
17h BeijingAir BeijingAir ‏@BeijingAir

01-28-2013 08:00; PM2.5; 369.0; 413; Hazardous
18h BeijingAir BeijingAir ‏@BeijingAir

01-28-2013 07:00; PM2.5; 362.0; 409; Hazardous
19h BeijingAir BeijingAir ‏@BeijingAir

01-28-2013 06:00; PM2.5; 357.0; 405; Hazardous
20h BeijingAir BeijingAir ‏@BeijingAir

01-28-2013 05:00; PM2.5; 364.0; 410; Hazardous
21h BeijingAir BeijingAir ‏@BeijingAir

01-28-2013 04:00; PM2.5; 364.0; 410; Hazardous
22h BeijingAir BeijingAir ‏@BeijingAir

01-28-2013 03:00; PM2.5; 369.0; 413; Hazardous
23h BeijingAir BeijingAir ‏@BeijingAir

01-28-2013 02:00; PM2.5; 362.0; 409; Hazardous
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Thanks Dr. M; these record highs for parts of the US, in Jan going into Feb, do wreck havoc with Mother Nature as well as mankind. Untimely flower and grass blooms, pollen "early" in many parts of the Coastal South and Gulf due to a very dry Winter so far, and the fish and animals all confused as to whether come out of hibernation, or back out from the coastal rivers and creeks, as far as local fish populations such as Trout and Redfish in the Gulf are concerned. As a coastal fisherman myself, looking more and more like my normal really good Spring fish bite on the coastal flats, which normally does not happen until May or June, might be on early this year come late March or April at this rate.

I am not complaining about the earlier timetable but wondering about the long-term effects on migration patterns and overall estuary habitat conditions (untimely algae blooms and grass bed over-growth due to very warm temps comes to mind in certain coastal regions).
Member Since: August 8, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 8712
Quoting Skyepony:
A piece of the puzzle as to why the Arctic is so warm.. The melt ponds on first year ice is letting 3X more light through the ice & 50% more heat from the sun into the ice & ocean. First year ice is smooth so the melt ponds spread out & are larger than the ones on mutliyear ice with it's rougher surface due to collisions, upheaval & such.

Something else neat in there was blue ponds are shallow on multiyear ice the dark blue/black ponds are on first year ice.

[1] Arctic sea ice has declined and become thinner and younger (more seasonal) during the last decade. One consequence of this is that the surface energy budget of the Arctic Ocean is changing. While the role of surface albedo has been studied intensively, it is still widely unknown how much light penetrates through sea ice into the upper ocean, affecting sea-ice mass balance, ecosystems, and geochemical processes. Here we present the first large-scale under-ice light measurements, operating spectral radiometers on a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) under Arctic sea ice in summer. This data set is used to produce an Arctic-wide map of light distribution under summer sea ice. Our results show that transmittance through first-year ice (FYI, 0.11) was almost three times larger than through multi-year ice (MYI, 0.04), and that this is mostly caused by the larger melt-pond coverage of FYI (42 vs. 23%). Also energy absorption was 50% larger in FYI than in MYI. Thus, a continuation of the observed sea-ice changes will increase the amount of light penetrating into the Arctic Ocean, enhancing sea-ice melt and affecting sea-ice and upper-ocean ecosystems.


Thinkprogress does a nice summary here.

Any study on the ocean currents with this as well. It seems that they are also having an effect on ice melt?????


And changing.
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Good Afternoon Everyone!

Just wanted to say thank you to all of the people who have commented on my blog post so far! :-) I still need more people to comment, so I have included the link below! :-) Thanks everyone!

http://www.wunderground.com/blog/WunderGirl12/com ment.html?entrynum=3

WunderGirl12

P.S. - Please do not comment on Dr. Masters blog. Please comment on the blog post itself. It makes it MUCH easier for me to gather the information. Thanks! :-)
Member Since: January 9, 2011 Posts: 23 Comments: 810
Quoting LargoFl:
Jedkins might get some interesting weather huh.....



Yeah the ECMWF has a 55 to 65 knot low level jet passing through the region, that's pretty significant, moisture return should be much better with this front as well.

The NWS here seems to be a bit more alerted with this system then the SPC, given some of the model outputs, I can see why too. I don't think it will be a widespread outbreak, but it should be a solid squall line with some embedded severe.

This would be the first significant weather event since I've lived here, its been very quiet and dry so far.
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You are the best Pedley
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49. Skyepony (Mod)
A piece of the puzzle as to why the Arctic is so warm.. The melt ponds on first year ice is letting 3X more light through the ice & 50% more heat from the sun into the ice & ocean. First year ice is smooth so the melt ponds spread out & are larger than the ones on mutliyear ice with it's rougher surface due to collisions, upheaval & such.

Something else neat in there was blue ponds are shallow on multiyear ice the dark blue/black ponds are on first year ice.

[1] Arctic sea ice has declined and become thinner and younger (more seasonal) during the last decade. One consequence of this is that the surface energy budget of the Arctic Ocean is changing. While the role of surface albedo has been studied intensively, it is still widely unknown how much light penetrates through sea ice into the upper ocean, affecting sea-ice mass balance, ecosystems, and geochemical processes. Here we present the first large-scale under-ice light measurements, operating spectral radiometers on a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) under Arctic sea ice in summer. This data set is used to produce an Arctic-wide map of light distribution under summer sea ice. Our results show that transmittance through first-year ice (FYI, 0.11) was almost three times larger than through multi-year ice (MYI, 0.04), and that this is mostly caused by the larger melt-pond coverage of FYI (42 vs. 23%). Also energy absorption was 50% larger in FYI than in MYI. Thus, a continuation of the observed sea-ice changes will increase the amount of light penetrating into the Arctic Ocean, enhancing sea-ice melt and affecting sea-ice and upper-ocean ecosystems.


Thinkprogress does a nice summary here.

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Thick snow falling across my area..nearly 1"
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it changed now..cold front only lasts a few days here..
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 36651
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 36651
might get some great rains from this system.......
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 36651
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The TCR for Tony is out. The peak was 45kts.

Link
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looks like the states that need rain will get it....
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RE: 'Icy Kiss', loved the analogy!!!!! LOL
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Taxman


Better weather today...
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Exclusive: Billionaires secretly fund attacks on climate science

Link

"...A secretive funding organisation in the United States that guarantees anonymity for its billionaire donors has emerged as a major operator in the climate "counter movement" to undermine the science of global warming, The Independent has learnt...."
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36. Skyepony (Mod)
TRMM of 13S FELLENG. Bulk of the moisture is on the east side at the moment. Click here for smaller quicktime movie.

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35. Skyepony (Mod)
Landslide in Turkey..

em>At least seven people were killed late Sunday when a landslide invaded the pitch at an amateur football game in southeastern Turkey, engulfing players and spectators, local sources said. Three others were injured and a fourth person went missing as sodden earth knocked over a wall at the football pitch in the city of Sirnak, hit by heavy rains in recent days. Turkey is prone to deadly landslides, with torrential rains often overwhelming settlements perched on hillsides or near riverbeds.
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
over 30 degrees above normal highs unbelieveable for jan


But look at my friend winter in behind the unwanted guest :).
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 16327
"There's one for you, nineteen for me"
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over 30 degrees above normal highs unbelieveable for jan


Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 168 Comments: 53285
Has been raining off and on for a few days here in Moab, Utah (SE Utah). It came down on the snowpack and turned into ice one night, which led to ice skating rinks everywhere, very icy roads. Then it warmed up and rained on the snow, causing it to all melt at once and leading to really muddy backroads and even waterfalls coming off the slickrock, like you'd see after a big rain.

Now it's in the mid-30s after a month of unreal temps that were typically the coldest in the state.

So, I guess I'm ready for spring. I'm going south next year if it's like it has been. Too cold for me.
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Stu Ostro‏@StuOstro

RT@WxNick:Inspired by @NWSIWX disc, I annotated this map of unusual moist plume fcst ahead of next storm - rare for Jan http://twitter.com/WxNick/status/29588244798649139 2/photo/1

17 minRyan Maue‏@RyanMaue

@StuOstro @WxNick @NWSIWX nailed it -- normalized anomalies are in the record territory as well. --> GFS 12z forecast http://twitter.com/RyanMaue/status/295931987770871 808/photo/1
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 168 Comments: 53285
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 168 Comments: 53285
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 168 Comments: 53285
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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.