First tornado death of 2013 ends record 219-day streak without a tornado death

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 7:50 PM GMT on January 30, 2013

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A powerful tornado ripped through Adairsville, Georgia, northwest of Atlanta, at 11:19 am EST this morning, killing at least one person in a mobile home park. The tornado caused major structural damage in the downtown district, and overturned approximately 100 cars on I-75 near Exit 306 (see eyewitness video here, with swear words.) Eight injuries, some serious, are also being reported from a tornado just southeast of Calhoun, GA around 11:30am EST. NOAA's Storm Prediction Center has placed most of the Southeast in their "Slight Risk" region for severe weather for Wednesday, a step down from the "Moderate Risk" potential issued on Tuesday for the Midwest. Three other tornadoes have hit Georgia today, and there were 79 reports of wind damage due to high winds as of 2 pm EST along the cold front that triggered today's severe weather, from Alabama to Pennsylvania. Tornado watches continue for a wide swath of the Southeast this afternoon, from Alabama to North Carolina.


Figure 1. Car overturned by the tornado near Adairsville, Georgia, on January 30, 2013. Image courtesy of WSB-TV on http://pic.twitter.com/2lAL0Lmc.



Figure 2. Radar reflectivity (top) and Doppler velocity (bottom) images of the tornado that hit Adairsville, Georgia at 11:19 am EST Wednesday, January 30, 2013. Adairsville is under the circle with a "+" in it.


Figure 3. A wild weather day in the Southeast: NOAA's Storm Prediction Center logged four preliminary reports of tornadoes as of 2 pm Wednesday, along with 79 reports of damaging winds.


Video 1. View of the Adairsville, Georgia tornado of January 30, 2013. Note the blue power flashes as the tornado brings down power lines.

Record string of 219 days without a tornado death ends
Today's fatality ends the longest continuous stretch without a tornado death ever recorded in the U.S.--219 days. The last time the U.S. saw a tornado death was at Venus in Highlands County, Florida, from an EF-0 tornado associated with Tropical Storm Debby on June 24, 2012. The previous record was 197 straight days without a tornado death, which ended on February 28, 1987. Part of the reason for the long stretch without a tornado death during 2012 - 2013 was the relative lack of tornadoes. According to NOAA's Storm Prediction Center (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 jet stream was positioned unusually far north in Canada during much of 2012, which brought drought to much of Tornado Alley. It's tough to get tornadoes when you're experiencing near-record drought conditions and very few thunderstorms. Saskatchewan, Canada saw as many tornadoes in July 2012 as all of the U.S., thanks to the more northward position of the jet stream.


Figure 4. 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.

Record moisture and rains
Today's severe weather outbreak was helped by record levels of January moisture, as a flow of unusually moist air rode northwards from the Gulf of Mexico, where water temperatures were about 0.5°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, precipitable water was well over an inch well into Canada, and three upper air stations--Detroit, MI, Lincoln IL, and Caribou, Maine--set all-time records for January moisture, and four other stations had their 2nd highest January moisture on record. From the 00Z January 30 to 00Z January 31 upper air balloon soundings taken at the 73 radiosonde stations in the contiguous U.S., we observed these record or near-record precipitable water values for January:

Detroit, MI: New Record: 1.21" Old record: 1.20" 1/11/75
Lincoln, IL: New record: 1.46" Old Record: 1.35" 1/12/60
Caribou, Maine: New Record: 1.21" (Ties old record of 1.21" 1/14/2005)
Alpena, MI: 2nd place, 0.99". First place: 1.01", 1/5/97
Buffalo, NY: 2nd place, 1.21". First place: 1.34", 1/15/95
Wilmington, OH: 2nd place, 1.44" First place: 1.51", 1/12/2005
Gray, ME: 2nd place, 1.36" First place: 1.38" 1/20/96

Green Bay (4th), Albany, NY (4th), Sterling, VA (4th), Shreveport (6th), Little Rock (3rd), Nashville, TN (10th), Chatham, MA (10th), and Maniwawi, Quebec (4th) all had top-ten January precipitable water values. Radiosonde data goes back to 1948.

The exceptional moisture led to record rains in many regions of the Midwest, with numerous locations setting daily precipitation records. Two airports recorded their wettest January day on record, including Madison, WI (1.84", previous record 1.80" on January 1, 1892) and Houghton Lake, MI (1.21", old record 1.08" on in 1938.) Top-five wettest January days in recorded history were also set at Muskegon, MI (2.48"), Marquette, MI (1.21"), and South Bend, IN (1.94".) Here where I live, in Southeast Michigan, being outside yesterday was like walking through a surreal white soup. Rains like nothing I've ever seen in January fitfully poured from the sky throughout the day, ponding up on the frozen ground. Eerie white fog swirled over the sodden snow drifts as thunder rumbled overhead in temperatures 25°F above average. What planet was this? The heavy rains of 1.60" that fell in 26 hours at the nearby Flint airport made this month our wettest January in recorded history, with 3.66" of precipitation.

Jeff Masters

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Wow, it's actually warming up here in Moab, Utah (40s today). About time. Everyone's ready for it. City pipes burst in several neighborhoods and some have been w/o water for a couple of weeks, it's been so cold.

Not much snow in the La Sal mtns, though.

Boulder, I remember going to grad school there and the winds were something else. In fact, there was a stiff drink at one bar called the Boulder Wind. Would knock you out.

Hope my home state of CO gets some snow soon. Can't imagine a worse fire season than last year.
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WU Weather Historian Christopher Burt has a great new blog entry on this month's crazy weather (A Wild Ride Weather-wise for the Eastern Half of the U.S. the past Four Days). In it he makes a very keen observation:

"It has been interesting how the popular media reacted to the week-long cold wave that affected the Midwest and East Coast last week (Jan. 20-27). It was lead story on both the national and local TV networks with breathless reporters shivering in the windy streets of New York City or Minneapolis, etc.. What was significant, however, was that the cold wave was simply a typical January event that used to be common every winter (typical in terms of what the temperatures actually fell to). Of course, since last winter had no major arctic outbreaks, the recent cold was the first such in at least two years for many major cities east of the Mississippi. Everyone seems to have forgotten what normal winter weather feels like!"

Good point. In fact, the United States saw 507 low (or low maximum) temperature records from the 20th through the 27th (inclusive). Meanwhile, there were 2,025 high (or high minimum) temperature records from the 23rd through the 30th, almost exactly four times as many--yet we've become so inured by warmer-than-it-should-be weather that those latter records didn't even rate a mention in the evening news. Nothing surprising about that; as the planet continues to warm, deep cold snaps of any type are likely to become more and more a headline-making novelty when they do occur, while abnormal heat will become a ho-hum commonplace. No, nothing surprising--but certainly something worth a bit of concern...
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SNOW SQUALL WARNING IN EFFECT

Current Conditions

Observed at: Toronto Pearson Int'l Airport
Date: 8:00 PM EST Thursday 31 January 2013
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 29.7 inches
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 15 miles
Air Quality Health Index: 2

Temperature: 21.9°F
Dewpoint: 11.1°F
Humidity: 63 %
Wind: W 22 gust 28 mph
Wind Chill: 6
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 165 Comments: 52406
Amid growing concern over the surprisingly large amount of greenhouse gas produced by the Internet and other telecommunications activities, researchers are reporting new models of emissions and energy consumption that could help reduce their carbon footprint. Their report appears in ACS’ journal Environmental Science & Technology.


Researchers from the Centre for Energy-Efficient Telecommunications (CEET) and Bell Labs explain that the information communications and technology (ICT) industry, which delivers Internet, video, voice and other cloud services, produces more than 830 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), the main greenhouse gas, annually. That’s about 2 percent of global CO2 emissions — the same proportion as the aviation industry produces. Projections suggest that ICT sector’s share is expected to double by 2020. The team notes that controlling those emissions requires more accurate but still feasible models, which take into account the data traffic, energy use and CO2 production in networks and other elements of the ICT industry. Existing assessment models are inaccurate, so they set out to develop new approaches that better account for variations in equipment and other factors in the ICT industry.

They describe development and testing of two new models that better estimate the energy consumption and CO2 emissions of Internet and telecommunications services. They tested the models on a simulated network and on a deployed network that serves the majority of schools in California. Both models delivered better estimates than the current “top-down” models. The researchers suggest, based on their models, that more efficient power usage of facilities, more efficient use of energy-efficient equipment and renewable energy sources are three keys to reducing ICT emissions of CO2.
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506 TropicalAnalystwx13: ...
508 trHUrrIXC5MMX: you're LATE... I posted it yesterday when it came out (cough)

Yeah, but was your editorial as tongue-in-cheek?
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Teach Your Children
Member Since: February 29, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 4949
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


outside my window


You are right on the 401? That's way more snow than we have had out here about an hour east and 10 km north of Steeles/Taunton.

Ah, now I see the map. Thanks. Know it well.
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496 Tropicsweatherpr: Only 120 days until June 1st.

So only 103days until HurricaneSeason. Yeah, I know... but I can see it now...
"When I was your age, we useta hafta wait until June for the hurricanes. Made ya appreciate 'em all the more when they finally rolled around...
Not like you young'uns who can enjoy 'em all year long... And not an ounce of gratitude..."
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The number of confirmed tornadoes following the January 29-30 tornado outbreak is up to 37.

This makes it the largest tornado outbreak since April 13-16, 2012.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 109 Comments: 30309
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 165 Comments: 52406
just south of the highway 401 at kenndy rd interchange
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


outside my window
KEEPER...Where are you...On a busy Interstate??
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524. whitewabit (Mod)
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


outside my window


That looks like a lot of fun ..
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outside my window
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 165 Comments: 52406
Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:


what did you say to me Tuesday about Magnus???


Neapolitan complex?. Correction, Napolean complex??
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You, who are on the road
Must have a code, that you can live by
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Sorry...I did not know there was a specific time and day one was expected to post a news story in order to show those who have not yet seen it.
Children please
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oh great... My internet connection has been restored... I don't have to wait for pic to load here anymore
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Good Evening Everyone..wild night last night

Storm brings high winds, flooding to NC
Submitted by WWAY on Thu, 01/31/2013 - 9:00am.READ MORE:

News
Weather
N.C.
Severe Weather

1
boonemallflooding.jpg

RALEIGH, NC (AP) -- A winter storm system brought high winds and heavy rains that sparked some flooding in western North Carolina.

Nearly 14,000 customers were still without electric service late Thursday morning.

A fire driven by strong winds has destroyed a motel and a house in Surf City early Thursday. One person was taken to the hospital.

Another man was hurt when a tree fell on his house in Fayetteville on Wednesday evening.

A Charlotte television reporter was hurt when she was struck by a vehicle during a wreck Wednesday night. News 14 Carolina News Director Jim Newman said reporter Caroline Vandergriff was in stable condition in a Charlotte hospital.

Tornado watches and wind advisories expired in eastern North Carolina early Thursday.

Flooding occurred in the western mountains.

Appalachian State University canceled night classes Wednesday because of heavy rains and flooding across the campus in Boone. Classes were being held on a normal schedule Thursday as the flood waters receded.

Duke Energy reported more than 11,000 people without service, Jackson County in western North Carolina had the most outages.

Progress Energy reported nearly 1,800 without service. The biggest problem was near Fort Bragg.

Dominion reported more than 600 customers without service in the northeastern corner of the state.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

(Photo of flooding at Boone Mall courtesy WSOC-TV. Click here to see more storm damage images at WSOCTV.com)
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 13486
517. whitewabit (Mod)
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
ya may have a clipper or two for ya to deal with over weekend













could get up to 4 inches of snow from those clippers ..
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Quoting wxmod:


If the quakes were ten miles apart is that considered an aftershock?


I don't know if there is any criteria for that but remember how the Japanese coast looked after the nearly-apocalyptic 9.0 ?
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Quoting wxmod:


If the quakes were ten miles apart is that considered an aftershock?


There are two guidelines for labelling an earthquake as an aftershock. First, it must occur within an "aftershock zone." This is sometimes defined as within one fault-rupture length of the mainshock rupture surface, or alternatively, within an area defined by seismologists based upon early aftershock activity. Second, it must occur within that designated area -- the "aftershock zone" -- before the seismicity rate in that area returns to its "background", meaning pre-mainshock, level. If an earthquake meets these two criteria, seismologists consider it an "aftershock."

SOURCE

EDIT - FYI, fault rupture lengths are usually measured in tens or even hundreds of miles... though I've seen rupture lengths as low as 2 miles.
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SNOW SQUALL WARNING IN EFFECT

Current Conditions


Observed at: Toronto Pearson Int'l Airport
Date: 7:00 PM EST Thursday 31 January 2013
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 29.6 inches
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 15 miles
Air Quality Health Index: 2

Temperature: 22.3°F
Dewpoint: 10.9°F
Humidity: 61 %
Wind: W 15 gust 22 mph
Wind Chill: 9
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 165 Comments: 52406
513. wxmod
Quoting wxgeek723:


That would make the 6.0 quake a foreshock; the biggest quake is always considered the main event.


If the quakes were ten miles apart is that considered an aftershock?
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Sorry...I did not know there was a specific time and day one was expected to post a news story in order to show those who have not yet seen it.


what did you say to me Tuesday about Magnus???
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Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:
yay!!!





Grrr... east/central Boulder County is on the edge of it... again.

For those who missed post 400, here's my Grumpy-Gus rundown of the snow situation in the Front Range:

Here on the east side of the Continental Divide (Boulder/Denver/Ft. Collins area) we're approaching critically low snow levels. The system that just tore across the Midwest and Southeast dropped a lousy 1" of snow in Nederland. Boulder is currently about 3' (yes, FEET) of snow behind where it was last year... and last year was an exceptionally low snow year.

But our winds have certainly kept up their usual winter bluster. The Fern Lake Fire in Rocky Mountain National Park is STILL burning (LINK). Just ten days ago firefighters had to put down a small grassfire in the foothills west of Boulder (LINK). So until things change it seems our fire "season" along the Front Range doesn't end, even in the depths of winter. If we don't get snow soon I predict this year's fire season for Colorado will be one for the history books (even worse than last year's, which broke several records for the largest and most expensive fires).

Now, February and March are typically our snowiest months, so there's still hope... but the 10-day forecast shows few signs of improvement in the near-term.

Anyone have any snow they want to share... please?

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Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:


you're LATE... I posted it yesterday when it came out (cough)

Sorry...I did not know there was a specific time and day one was expected to post a news story in order to show those who have not yet seen it.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 109 Comments: 30309
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
ya may have a clipper or two for ya to deal with over weekend













yeah..I want snow
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
The AccuWeather Spring outlook is out.



So judging by what they say, the northwest should see a ton of precipitation. Wet in the southwest and cold and snowy across the Colorado Rockies. Dry at times across the Great Lakes region and full sunshine across the South. Cool in Florida and a mild start/cool end across the Northeast. ;)


you're LATE... I posted it yesterday when it came out (cough)
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Quoting whitewabit:


See that its balmy there ..
ya may have a clipper or two for ya to deal with over weekend











Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 165 Comments: 52406
The AccuWeather Spring outlook is out.



So judging by what they say, the northwest should see a ton of precipitation. Wet in the southwest and cold and snowy across the Colorado Rockies. Dry at times across the Great Lakes region and full sunshine across the South. Cool in Florida and a mild start/cool end across the Northeast. ;)
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 109 Comments: 30309
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Adairsville, GA Preliminary Tornado Report


Dangerous tornado indeed as the report says
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Quoting wxgeek723:


That would make the 6.0 quake a foreshock; the biggest quake is always considered the main event.


true...thanks for pointing that out
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Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:


From what link you got that?

Adairsville, GA Preliminary Tornado Report
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 109 Comments: 30309
Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:
9 aftershocks from the main 6.0 quake in Santa Cruz Islands..including a stronger 6.2 as well



That would make the 6.0 quake a foreshock; the biggest quake is always considered the main event.
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Current obs at Mount Washington...



It should be gusting well over 100mph all night up there.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
The Adairsville tornado has an exact wind measurement now...160 mph.

EF3 ends at 165 mph.




From what link you got that?
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 13341
Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:
Only 120 days until June 1rst.

Link


I can't wait to use the new stuff I have for the 2013 season
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Quoting whitewabit:


See that its balmy there ..
It could be a lot worse, so I'll take it with no complaints. Well maybe some. LOL
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Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:
65 mph gust reported from the storm as it passed by my area early AM today

It was wild up here too, several 60-70mph gusts were reported.
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Only 120 days until June 1rst.

Link
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 13341
9 aftershocks from the main 6.0 quake in Santa Cruz Islands..including a stronger 6.2 as well

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494. whitewabit (Mod)
Quoting nymore:
Lovely outside here
Temperature
-12 °F
Windchill -38 °F


See that its balmy there ..
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65 mph gust reported from the storm as it passed by my area early AM today
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Lovely outside here
Temperature
-12 °F
Windchill -38 °F
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491. whitewabit (Mod)
Peoria, Illinois (Airport)
Updated: 13 min 48 sec ago
Mostly Cloudy
11 °F
Mostly Cloudy
Windchill: -6 °F
Humidity: 61%
Dew Point: 0 °F
Wind: 17 mph from the WNW
Wind Gust: 28 mph
Pressure: 30.09 in (Falling)
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Another pic from a few minutes ago
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yay!!!

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Riverside, California (Airport)
Updated: 40 min 53 sec ago
Clear
78 °F
Clear
Humidity: 18%
Dew Point: 31 °F
Wind: 9 mph from the North
Wind Gust: 20 mph
Pressure: 30.08 in (Falling)
Visibility: 10.0 miles
UV: 4 out of 16
Pollen: 8.10 out of 12
Pollen Forecast new!
Clouds:
Clear -
(Above Ground Level)
Elevation: 817 ft

74.5 here, low was 49.0 Nice Day of a few forecast.
Member Since: February 29, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 4949
Quoting PedleyCA:


That would put it even closer to exit 306....
I'm guessing it is about a half of a mile from the exit give or take.
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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.