Wild weather week ends; Mississippi River rises out of danger zone

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:44 PM GMT on February 01, 2013

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One of the most unusual weeks of January weather in U.S. history has drawn to a close, and residents of the Southeast are cleaning up after a ferocious 2-day outbreak of severe weather. NWS damage surveys have found that at least 42 tornadoes touched down on January 29 - 30, making it the 3rd largest January tornado outbreak since records began in 1950. Here are the largest January tornado outbreaks since 1950:

129 1/21 - 1/22 1999
50 1/7 - 1/8 2008
42 1/29 - 1/30 2013
40 1/9 1/10 1975

As wunderground's Angela Fritz wrote in her blog today, the powerful tornado that ripped through Adairsville, Georgia, northwest of Atlanta, at 11:19 am EST Thursday morning, killing one person, has been rated a high-end EF-3 with 160 mph winds. At least seven other tornadoes in the outbreak were EF-2s. Damaging winds reports for the 2-day period numbered 597, the highest 2-day January total since NOAA's Storm Prediction Center (SPC) began tabulating these in 2000. The severe weather outbreak was fueled an air mass that set many all-time January records for warmth and moisture, as detailed by our weather historian, Christopher C. Burt, in his latest post, A Wild Ride Weather-wise for the Eastern Half of the U.S. the past Four Days.


Figure 1. Damage to the Daiki Corporation factory in Adairsville, GA, after the January 30, 2013 EF-3 tornado. Image credit: Dr. Greg Forbes, TWC.


Figure 2. Severe weather reports for the month of January; 597 reports of damaging winds were recorded January 29 - 30. Image credit: NOAA/SPC.

Mississippi River rising
This week's storm brought widespread rains of 1 - 2" to Missouri and Illinois, along the drainage basin of the stretch of the Mississippi River that was so low as to threaten to stop barge traffic. Happily, the rains have caused the river to rise by more than seven feet over the past week, along the stretch from St. Louis to Thebes, Illinois. Thanks to this much-needed bump in river levels, plus the future run-off that will occur from the snows that have accumulated in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa, I expect no potential low water closures of the Mississippi until June at the earliest. According to today's newly-released Drought Monitor, though, the area of the contiguous U.S. in moderate or greater drought remained unchanged at 58% this week. It will be dry across the core of the drought region for at least the next week; the GFS model is predicting that the next chance of significant precipitation for the drought region will be Saturday, February 9. Don't bet on this happening, though, since the model has been inconsistent with its handling of the storm. The drought has killed hundreds of thousands of trees across the Midwest, and many more will succumb during the next few years. According to Brian Fuchs, a climatologist with the National Drought Mitigation Center, drought was present in at least isolated spots in all 50 states of the U.S. for the first time in history during 2012.


Figure 3. The water level in the Mississippi River at St. Louis was at -4' early this week, just above the all-time record low of -6.2' set in 1940. However, rains from this week's storm have raised water levels by seven feet. Image credit: NOAA/HPC.


Figure 4. The liquid equivalent of melting all the snow on the ground present on February 1, 2013. Widespread amounts of water equivalent to 0.39" - 2" of rain are present over Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa, which is near average for this time of year. When this snow melts, it will raise the level of the Mississippi River and aid barge navigation. Image credit: NOAA/National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center.

Links
Adairsville Tornado Recap, Photos, and Video from Angela Fritz

A Wild Ride Weather-wise for the Eastern Half of the U.S. the past Four Days by wunderground's weather historian, Christopher C. Burt.

Tornado Expert Sees "Staggering" Damage in Georgia



Have a great Groundhog's Day and Super Sunday, everyone!

Jeff Masters

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GREAT LAKES REGION IS THE PLACE TO WATCH NEXT FEW DAYS..
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42102
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Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42102
Good short article on why we must press on with space exploration.
Member Since: July 2, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1183
Thanks to this much-needed bump in river levels, plus the future run-off that will occur from the snows that have accumulated in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa, I expect no potential low water closures of the Mississippi until June at the earliest

Thanks Dr. M. That is comforting news in the short-term for the Mississippi Delta shipping industry and Army Corp of Engineers............ This illustrates the classic paradox of weather on a large synoptic scale.....One geographic area's curse (the recent bitter cold and snow for parts of the mid-west due to the jet stream kink) is a blessing for another area (the downstream snow melt for the Delta).
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Finally some good news to come out of the severe weather outbreak. Thanks for the update Doc!
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Member Since: May 23, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 4984
I obviously chose to come on the blog at the wrong time.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32824
Quoting stormchaser43:

I have plenty of thongs. Purple and Blue that I wear. I don't wear them when I ride my horses though. lol. I'm afraid they will be obsolete with the world getting hotter and we may all have to go even smaller.


bahahahhah!
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


debris on radar:


I actuallly have no memory of this at all.
But it was a sad day.


It was a sad day. Eery to see the vapor trail of the unburnt steering rocket fuel on radar.

My wife and I stood outside and watched it cross the sky, and then the contrail split into three pieces. I had the NASA broadcast from the internet playing in the house, and they were calling the shuttle with no response. Still hard to think about. I am glad I did not get the kids up that day to watch.
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vision



you could even dock one at the ISS as a lifeboat in case of evac/escape

using an atlas rocket launch for mini shuttle you could launch 3 or 4 or more units for multi tasking operations
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Quoting nymore:
I was just trying to give him a heads up that he has the two events confused. No slight was intended, why are you and some others so defensive. We all make mistakes.


Didn't mean to sound defensive lol, I was just pointing out something. This is a very touching topic for many people here in Florida and Texas as well as the rest of the south, lots of hearts were broken those days.
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Even after the Shuttle ended a year and a half ago, our journey goes on. There are five different manned spacecraft under development.

The first, and most famous right now is NASA's Orion spacecraft. The first flight is scheduled in June-July of next year on the Delta IV Heavy.


The second, and equally as famous is SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft. The Dragon first flew in December 2010, followed by two ISS flights unmanned in May 2012, and October 2012 with the next one on target for March 2013. The first manned orbital flight is scheduled for Summer 2015, and on that glorious summer day.. America will return to space.


The next one up is Boeing's CST-100, which has not flown as of yet and is currently under development. CST-100 will use the former shuttle Orbiting Processing Facility to store and build the spacecraft starting in the next 4 months. The first manned flight of the CST-100 will be in 2016.


After that is SNC's DreamChaser, which is a lifting body similar to the space shuttle, and will use another one of the former Space Shuttle OPF's for development and MAF's former tank processing room for STS (as announced yesterday) DreamChaser will be starting manned piloted landings at Edwards Air Force Base starting in two weeks, and will have its first manned flight in 2016-2017.


Finally, there is Blue Origin's vehicle. Little is known about this, they're notoriously secretive. However, it is known that abort tests from their launch pads have been completed and they're targeting for a first flight in 2017-2018 with their own rocket.


Needless to say, America will be back on track soon. This ''gap'' that we're in should end in a little more than two years.
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Quoting CybrTeddy:


The 27th Anniversary of the Challenger disaster happened 4 days ago, and is more than relevant. This week is NASA's 'week of remembrance' as for a freak coincidence, all three of NASA's manned spaceflight disasters happened on the same week on difference years. Apollo 1 on January 27th, 1967, Challenger on January 28th, 1967, and Columbia on February 1st, 2003.
I was just trying to give him a heads up that he has the two events confused. No slight was intended, why are you and some others so defensive. We all make mistakes.
Member Since: July 6, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2260
Quoting nymore:
The Challenger disaster was in 1986, which your link talks about. The Columbia disaster was ten years ago. When it burned up over Texas


The 27th Anniversary of the Challenger disaster happened 4 days ago, and is more than relevant. This week is NASA's 'week of remembrance' as for a freak coincidence, all three of NASA's manned spaceflight disasters happened on the same week on difference years. Apollo 1 on January 27th, 1967, Challenger on January 28th, 1967, and Columbia on February 1st, 2003. Very chilling to think about.
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Quoting JeffMasters:
Lee Grenci has a post on how wind shear may have contributed to the Challenger disaster ten years ago:

http://www.wunderground.com/blog/24hourprof/show. html?entrynum=25

Jeff Masters


debris on radar:


I actuallly have no memory of this at all.
But it was a sad day.
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Quoting nymore:
Going Commando


frantically searches for that picture of Arnold in his beach thong...

**remembers the time I got banned for posting pic of Dirty Harry***

decides...better not...
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just a vision

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Was up by adairsville helping a friend recover, from the news reports, there were cars and tractor trailers run off i-75 by the tornado and left upside down, on the side of the road, etc, in ditches and so on.
saw it on live tv.

the only picture going around seems to be of that truck that got smashed but tv showed alot of other smashed dented and wrecked cars lying around. Amazingly still only 1 death. Not many people were allowed too close to the scene.
Very nearly an ef-4, but ef-3 it is.

Either way boring weather now cool days, cold nights.
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Quoting nymore:
current conditions:
temp -32 °F,
wind chill -50 °F,
dewpoint -42 °F,
humidity 57%,
wind SE at 6 mph



Just for humor purposes
Thats what you wear in sub 30 temps
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Wow. The last week in January has been very bad for our Astronauts. I didn't realize that all three happened during this week.

Link
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Thanks for the update Dr. Masters, and the link to Angela's blog.

I bookmarked the Wunderground news page the other day, and check it often!
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What?..Dr. Masters made a mistake?
Let me put it this way..How often does he make one?
Not very often.. :)
Member Since: August 13, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 6915
Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:



lol.... what would it be now 2013???


nothing people should be wearing none now


lol
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Quoting Neapolitan:
The Columbia disaster was in 2003, which your comment talks about. The Apollo 1 disaster was 46 years ago. When it burned up on the launchpad
Jeff's quote talks about the Challenger disaster and wind shear, ten years ago. Well Challenger blew up shortly after launch in 1986. Columbia burned up on re-entry over Texas 10 years ago. He has the two events mixed up. Work on your reading skills please.
Member Since: July 6, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2260
Quoting Neapolitan:
The Columbia disaster was in 2003, which your comment talks about. The Apollo 1 disaster was 46 years ago. When it burned up on the launchpad

Your turn. ;-)



???

He was noting that Dr. Masters mentioned that the Challenger disaster was ten years ago, but it was 27 years ago.
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Quoting nymore:
The Challenger disaster was in 1986, which your link talks about. The Columbia disaster was ten years ago. When it burned up over Texas
The Columbia disaster was in 2003, which your comment talks about. The Apollo 1 disaster was 46 years ago. When it burned up on the launchpad

Your turn. ;-)
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Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:



lol.... what would it be now 2013???
Going Commando
Member Since: July 6, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2260
Quoting nymore:
The Challenger disaster was in 1986, which your link talks about. The Columbia disaster was ten years ago. When it burned up over Texas


True. Good catch.
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Quoting JeffMasters:
Lee Grenci has a post on how wind shear may have contributed to the Challenger disaster ten years ago:

http://www.wunderground.com/blog/24hourprof/show. html?entrynum=25

Jeff Masters
The Challenger disaster was in 1986, which your link talks about. The Columbia disaster was ten years ago. When it burned up over Texas
Member Since: July 6, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2260
Quoting FLWaterFront:


Just a short note on this, without wanting to inflame controversy....

When your reliable weather records only go back about 130-150 years on a planet that is 4.5 billion years of age, "extreme," "wild," "unprecedented" and even "never before seen," "unheard of" and "almost unimaginable" are going to happen more often than one might at first realize.

Technically, under a stable climate, extreme events start to occur less and less, because as the record of events is created we would keep pushing the minimum and maximum further away from the mean. For example, under a stable climate you would see numerous record highs and record lows set soon after starting the record, but this frequency would decline as your record continues to increase in length because it becomes harder and harder to break the records.
An increase in heat energy and moisture content would cause the rate of records being set to become almost stable, or even increase - especially records related to warmer weather and an accelerated hydrologic cycle. This effect has already been observed, and the length of our records is irrelevant to that observation.
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Quoting nymore:
current conditions:
temp -32 °F,
wind chill -50 °F,
dewpoint -42 °F,
humidity 57%,
wind SE at 6 mph



Just for humor purposes



lol.... what would it be now 2013???
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
27. JeffMasters (Admin)
Lee Grenci has a post on how wind shear may have contributed to the Challenger disaster ten years ago:

http://www.wunderground.com/blog/24hourprof/show. html?entrynum=25

Jeff Masters
Quoting FLWaterFront:


Just a short note on this, without wanting to inflame controversy....

When your reliable weather records only go back about 130-150 years on a planet that is 4.5 billion years of age, "extreme," "wild," "unprecedented" and even "never before seen," "unheard of" and "almost unimaginable" are going to happen more often than one might at first realize.
Yes--especially after it's been scientifically shown over and over and over that things are indeed becoming more "extreme," "wild," "unprecedented" and even "never before seen," "unheard of" and "almost unimaginable".
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
The ultimate respect for these heroes, RIP 10 years ago today..
I had some tears that day.
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Quoting Neapolitan:
Someone's actually complaining that this isn't a sports blog, and that the current entry doesn't discuss unscientific, rodent-based myths?

Sigh...

Anyway, it's interesting to note that, despite the bitter cold some saw last week, more daily high temperature records were set or tied across the US in just the last three days of the month alone (932) than there were daily low temperature records set or tied during the entire month (712). Overall, daily high maximums and minimums outnumbered daily low minimums and maximums by 5,442 to 2,026, or 2.69:1. (That ratio will grow slightly more lopsided as numbers trickle in over the next several days.)


It was well into the 40's here yesterday. Not that unusual as Montana east of the divide tends to do dramatic ups and downs.

But the forecast for at least the next WEEK is for highs in the 40's....~

Green House!
Green House!
Green HOUSE!
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Quoting AussieStorm:


These "events" are happening more and more often. Soon they will become the norm and what's nowadays is called normal weather will be called abnormal.

Just before I go. Brisbane is getting smashed by a very Dangerous Thunderstorm right now.




Radar loop

Goodnight


My maternal grandfather settled in Brisbane, QLD, Australia as a young man in the early part of the 20th century (after WWI and through the early 1920s). He had spent four years at sea prior to this, having left his boyhood home in Northern Europe.

He did not want to come to the US. But his wife-to-be did not want to go to Australia. She won that argument.

But for the rest of his life, he longed for Australia and talked about it in glowing terms. I learned much about Oz as a result, without ever having set foot on/in it.
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Global warming is responsible for thongs? Oh, the humanity! Now there's a reason to pass legislation....
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
The ultimate respect for these heroes, RIP 10 years ago today..

I live in central texas, and I saw pieces of it falling from the sky. I didn't know what it was at the time, I was in my car. When I got home and turned on the TV, I realized what I was seeing. Such a sad day.
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Quoting FLWaterFront:


Just a short note on this, without wanting to inflame controversy....

When your reliable weather records only go back about 130-150 years on a planet that is 4.5 billion years of age, "extreme," "wild," "unprecedented" and even "never before seen," "unheard of" and "almost unimaginable" are going to happen more often than one might at first realize.


These "events" are happening more and more often. Soon they will become the norm and what's nowadays is called normal weather will be called abnormal.

Just before I go. Brisbane is getting smashed by a very Dangerous Thunderstorm right now.




Radar loop

Goodnight
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15977
Quoting stormchaser43:
Gee, nothing on the Superbowl! :-)

Nothing. Nothing on Groundhog's Day. Just more hype with the wild weather. Years ago it was just called weather. Nowadays everything is hype, "wild", "unprecedented", "extreme", etc etc.

I sense someone's headlines and webs hits haven't been doing so well lately............

Well......Have a great weekend, Too!!

stormchaser43


Just a short note on this, without wanting to inflame controversy....

When your reliable weather records only go back about 130-150 years on a planet that is 4.5 billion years of age, "extreme," "wild," "unprecedented" and even "never before seen," "unheard of" and "almost unimaginable" are going to happen more often than one might at first realize.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Someone's actually complaining that this isn't a sports blog, and that the current entry doesn't discuss unscientific, rodent-based myths?

Sigh...

Anyway, it's interesting to note that, despite the bitter cold some saw last week, more daily high temperature records were set or tied across the US in just the last three days of the month alone (932) than there were daily low temperature records set or tied during the entire month (712). Overall, daily high maximums and minimums outnumbered daily low minimums and maximums by 5,442 to 2,026, or 2.69:1. (That ratio will grow slightly more lopsided as numbers trickle in over the next several days.)
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The ultimate respect for these heroes, RIP 10 years ago today..
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Quoting stormchaser43:
Gee, nothing on the Superbowl! :-)

Nothing. Nothing on Groundhog's Day. Just more hype with the wild weather. Years ago it was just called weather. Nowadays everything is hype, "wild", "unprecedented", "extreme", etc etc.

I sense someone's headlines and webs hits haven't been doing so well lately............

Well......Have a great weekend, Too!!

stormchaser43
funny if i had such a problem i would not come to shit on a place i did not like i just would not come here

but then again maybe thats the purpose to try and make someone or something look bad it is what it is.

extreme weather get use to it theres a lot more to come
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current conditions:
temp -32 °F,
wind chill -50 °F,
dewpoint -42 °F,
humidity 57%,
wind SE at 6 mph



Just for humor purposes
Member Since: July 6, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2260
Quoting stormchaser43:
Gee, nothing on the Superbowl! :-)

Nothing. Nothing on Groundhog's Day. Just more hype with the wild weather. Years ago it was just called weather. Nowadays everything is hype, "wild", "unprecedented", "extreme", etc etc.

I sense someone's headlines and webs hits haven't been doing so well lately............

Well......Have a great weekend, Too!!

stormchaser43


Groundhog Day: What will unpredictable Phil forecast?
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15977
Thank you for the update Doc
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Thanks Dr Masters
Talking about weather extremes, just look at Australia, Currently there is massive flooding still in Queensland and NE New South Wales and at the same time, there is bushfires burning in Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and still in western parts of New South Wales. January was extreme here. we had the highest ever average temp from 800 wx stations, Many towns and suburbs have broken high temp records, like Sydney City broke a record that went back 153 years. Up in Queensland there are towns breaking rainfall totals that have stood since records started. Just wild.

Btw, this is what I am about to get, I'll call this round 2, even though it's a different day.


There is some lightning with this system but not as much as the storm this afternoon.


P.S Punxsutawney Phil won't see his shadow, so you'll have an early Spring.

Goodnight all.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15977

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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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