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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Afternoon Aussie - Good Night Everyone Else - Stay Safe - Sleep Well
Member Since: February 29, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6003
Quoting Civicane49:


Really? I only had rainy days on last Sunday and Monday. My area is dry since then.


I meant in general for the islands. I remember that it was on Jan 27 to the 29 or so.
Idk where you like exactly..
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:


oh finally... after so many rainy days you got there.


Really? I only had rainy days on last Sunday and Monday. My area is dry since then.
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Quoting ClimateChange:
Hey Dr. Masters and readers, I've been busy with work so I haven't been commenting much. Anyways, one climate metric I see that global warming is affecting with great rapidity is extreme overnight minima. This is reflected in the gradual creeping northward of plant hardiness zones, although the most recent USDA maps do not appear to completely grasp the rapidity with which these changes are occurring. At the local airport in my area (which hasn't been significantly affected by any urban encroachment), extreme overnight minima have been rapidly increasing. In the 1980s, the average coldest daily low was -11.3F. This was similar to the figure for the 60s and 70s, and reflected in the 1991 USDA Plant Hardiness map which was zone 5B (-10 to -15F).

Since 2010 (four years, I'm counting 2013 because it is unlikely that it will get below 3 above the rest of this winter and unlikely to do so in December either -- maybe 10% chance), the average coldest daily low has been +0.8F. Now, I'll admit this is a small sample but it's part of a much larger trend. The 2012 Plant Hardiness update only increased the zone to 6A (-5 to -10F), but even at a timescale as long as 1990-2013 (24 years), the average coldest low is -2.3F, or well within 6B (0 to -5F). The Plant Hardiness update erroneously includes a number of years from a time when the earth was much colder yielding a false picture of the true conditions.

More striking, from 1940 to 1991 (52 years), only four years failed to reach at least 0F. Since 1992 (22 years), nine years have failed to reach at least zero, including three of the last four, four of the last six, and seven since 2001 (a 12 year period). This suggests that NE Ohio is now on the precipice of zone 7A (+5 to 0F), and that temperatures below zero which used to occur essentially every single winter (usually multiple times), now occur less than once every other winter.

Very interesting, Thanks for sharing.
And don't worry about Taz, he probably didn't understand what you were talking about. Surprised he didn't just say POOF you go.
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Bring on the Auto Racing Season...........
Member Since: February 29, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6003
The game had an interesting finish, so I'm not complaining.

Now bring the hockey!! Go Wings!! Go Broncos! :D
Member Since: July 2, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1183
Ravens won 34 49ers 31
Member Since: Posts: Comments:


Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32528
Momma can get new shoes, Thank you Ravens you pay very well

Anybody else crush the money line and the hedge the spread?
Member Since: July 6, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2259
Quoting Slamguitar:
Next clipper starting to affect Michigan.


Winter weather advisories for Lenawee, Monroe, Washtenaw, and Wayne counties for 2-4" of snow in a short time. No winter weather advisory for Oakland (the one I live in) county. I'm already getting an ok snow pack from these clippers.
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This picture was taken few days ago...

Such a beautiful town of mine... can clearly tell of all land areas, especially Manhattan.

Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
These fellas that are "out there" are watching the game with us here on Earth..

Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
Next clipper starting to affect Michigan.

Member Since: July 2, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1183
Quoting Civicane49:
Typically peaceful weather in my area:



oh finally... after so many rainy days you got there.
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
I was looking over past blogs of when the Joplin tornado occurred and stumbled across the blog on May 24, 2011 (the day the tornado was upgraded from an EF4 to EF5). I forgot for a while that a major tornado outbreak was occurring in Oklahoma on this date, and I tracked it without remembering. There was a damaging tornado on the ground at the time I was on, and I think I made it pretty clear that it was an EF5:

"There is almost no doubt in my mind that this is....an EF-5. According to radar, this tornado surpasses wind speeds of 200 mph."

"There is no doubt in my mind that this tornado will be rated an EF-5."

"Headed right towards Guthrie, everyone get to safety NOW. Very likely an EF-4/EF-5 tornado on the ground."

"Headed right towards Newcastle as a EF-4/EF-5."

"This tornado is amazing....completely obliterating anything in its path....ripping dirt clean out of the ground....Its an EF-4/EF-5."


It's good to laugh at yourself.

And yes, the tornado was indeed later rated an EF5.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32528
Quoting ClimateChange:
Hey Dr. Masters and readers, I've been busy with work so I haven't been commenting much. Anyways, one climate metric I see that global warming is affecting with great rapidity is extreme overnight minima.
.............
This suggests that NE Ohio is now on the precipice of zone 7A (+5 to 0F), and that temperatures below zero which used to occur essentially every single winter (usually multiple times), now occur less than once every other winter.


ClimateChange, I've been noticing the same thing here in central VA. This winter the low has been 11 F so far. If this temperature is the winter low it will be the first time the low was above 10 F in the 31 years we've lived here. When we first moved here it seemed to go below zero every year. Now it very rarely does.

On another subject, watch the Midwest drought. That may turn out to be the biggest climate story of the year.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting ClimateChange:
Hey Dr. Masters and readers, I've been busy with work so I haven't been commenting much. Anyways, one climate metric I see that global warming is affecting with great rapidity is extreme overnight minima. This is reflected in the gradual creeping northward of plant hardiness zones, although the most recent USDA maps do not appear to completely grasp the rapidity with which these changes are occurring. At the local airport in my area (which hasn't been significantly affected by any urban encroachment), extreme overnight minima have been rapidly increasing. In the 1980s, the average coldest daily low was -11.3F. This was similar to the figure for the 60s and 70s, and reflected in the 1991 USDA Plant Hardiness map which was zone 5B (-10 to -15F).

Since 2010 (four years, I'm counting 2013 because it is unlikely that it will get below 3 above the rest of this winter and unlikely to do so in December either -- maybe 10% chance), the average coldest daily low has been +0.8F. Now, I'll admit this is a small sample but it's part of a much larger trend. The 2012 Plant Hardiness update only increased the zone to 6A (-5 to -10F), but even at a timescale as long as 1990-2013 (24 years), the average coldest low is -2.3F, or well within 6B (0 to -5F). The Plant Hardiness update erroneously includes a number of years from a time when the earth was much colder yielding a false picture of the true conditions.

More striking, from 1940 to 1991 (52 years), only four years failed to reach at least 0F. Since 1992 (22 years), nine years have failed to reach at least zero, including three of the last four, four of the last six, and seven since 2001 (a 12 year period). This suggests that NE Ohio is now on the precipice of zone 7A (+5 to 0F), and that temperatures below zero which used to occur essentially every single winter (usually multiple times), now occur less than once every other winter.




YAWN and oh cares
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Hey Dr. Masters and readers, I've been busy with work so I haven't been commenting much. Anyways, one climate metric I see that global warming is affecting with great rapidity is extreme overnight minima. This is reflected in the gradual creeping northward of plant hardiness zones, although the most recent USDA maps do not appear to completely grasp the rapidity with which these changes are occurring. At the local airport in my area (which hasn't been significantly affected by any urban encroachment), extreme overnight minima have been rapidly increasing. In the 1980s, the average coldest daily low was -11.3F. This was similar to the figure for the 60s and 70s, and reflected in the 1991 USDA Plant Hardiness map which was zone 5B (-10 to -15F).

Since 2010 (four years, I'm counting 2013 because it is unlikely that it will get below 3 above the rest of this winter and unlikely to do so in December either -- maybe 10% chance), the average coldest daily low has been +0.8F. Now, I'll admit this is a small sample but it's part of a much larger trend. The 2012 Plant Hardiness update only increased the zone to 6A (-5 to -10F), but even at a timescale as long as 1990-2013 (24 years), the average coldest low is -2.3F, or well within 6B (0 to -5F). The Plant Hardiness update erroneously includes a number of years from a time when the earth was much colder yielding a false picture of the true conditions.

More striking, from 1940 to 1991 (52 years), only four years failed to reach at least 0F. Since 1992 (22 years), nine years have failed to reach at least zero, including three of the last four, four of the last six, and seven since 2001 (a 12 year period). This suggests that NE Ohio is now on the precipice of zone 7A (+5 to 0F), and that temperatures below zero which used to occur essentially every single winter (usually multiple times), now occur less than once every other winter.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
The GFS is slowly becoming more bullish regarding the weekend's severe weather potential across the southern plains. Now shows dewpoints in the 60s, instability over 1500 j/kg, and more backing of the winds with height (favorable for tornadoes).

Nice surface low too.

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32528
Quoting Slamguitar:
I blame the power outage in the Superdome on HAARP. No other logical explanation. Except aliens.


And we are in hurricane offseason
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That's why these things need these guys at the electrical, they'd get the job done.


Instead they use these guys.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24478
The electrical engineers saying Beyonce halftime show,overheated the transformers, its compressible NO?
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Did Patrap spill the Fresca on the electrical box there in New Orleans?
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Quoting Slamguitar:
I blame the power outage in the Superdome on HAARP. No other logical explanation. Except aliens.

But were they Legal or Illegal Aliens?
Makes a big difference, you know.
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Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Grothar:
Yo, Snake. Yo, pot! One of my friends just said before... didn't this used to be fun once?

I can't see it, but I can imagine the thing.

Have some more Pizza ?
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I blame the power outage in the Superdome on HAARP. No other logical explanation. Except aliens.
Member Since: July 2, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1183
Quoting Grothar:
Yo, Snake. Yo, pot! One of my friends just said before... didn't this used to be fun once?


Yes, have had the same discussion here tonight.
It used to be about football.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Yo, Snake. Yo, pot! One of my friends just said before... didn't this used to be fun once?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Grothar:


How can you tell the difference?


Good point!
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Quoting Grothar:


How can you tell the difference?


You didnt get a Pizza ?
That's the clue.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting PedleyCA:
Halftime


How can you tell the difference?
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Quoting Grothar:
Interesting concept. A show of advertisements, interrupted by an occasional football play.


Brilliant.
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Halftime
Member Since: February 29, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6003
Interesting concept. A show of advertisements, interrupted by an occasional football play.
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Quoting VR46L:


Very true Good Point , they are not getting past. B
ut that is poor consolation if the wind is howling and your house is on the Atlantic Coast lol.


true.
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
475. VR46L
Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:


Take a closer look at northern Italy... see that those bands can't cross the high elevations where the Alps are, they literally die off before doing so.


Very true Good Point , they are not getting past. But that is poor consolation if the wind is howling and your house is on the Atlantic Coast lol.
Member Since: March 1, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6950
Quoting VR46L:


Aye the weather has been just pathetic Here its hit 55 mph but missing the nasty stuff



Take a closer look at northern Italy... see that those bands can't cross the high elevations where the Alps are, they literally die off before doing so.
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
473. VR46L
Quoting falloch:
The winds outside from the big storm from Iceland are just starting to wrap around the house, here on the w. coast of Scotland - 50 mph winds, 70+ gusts expected overnight - snow, sleet, etc. Ho-hum, Happy February. At least the sun rises earlier, sets later than in December.


Aye the weather has been just pathetic Here its hit 55 mph but missing the nasty stuff

Member Since: March 1, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6950
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Another meteorologist from The Weather Channel, the winter weather expert Tom Nizol, has joined Weather Underground and is blogging. Why not take the time to welcome him?

Link


yeah.. I saw his name on the community activity side box early this afternoon.
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
I'm just rooting for whatever team is down. I like to see a good game go to the last few seconds.

Although big comebacks are impressive too.
Member Since: July 2, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1183
My money (literally) is on the ravens.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32528
The winds outside from the big storm from Iceland are just starting to wrap around the house, here on the w. coast of Scotland - 50 mph winds, 70+ gusts expected overnight - snow, sleet, etc. Ho-hum, Happy February. At least the sun rises earlier, sets later than in December.
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niners 31
ravens 27

917 total yards.

both teams are HORRIBLE
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Since this is the last game and none of my teams are left. I will root for the 49ers. They have more Super Bowl experience. By a bunch 5-0 to 1-0
Member Since: February 29, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6003
Quoting Slamguitar:
Anyone want to make guesses for total combined yards from both teams?

I say 883.


882 or 884
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Anyone want to make guesses for total combined yards from both teams?

I say 883.
Member Since: July 2, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1183
San Fran beat atlanta after we CHOKED :'(

but i HATE the ravens.

so I don't care who wins.
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Another meteorologist from The Weather Channel, the winter weather expert Tom Nizol, has joined Weather Underground and is blogging. Why not take the time to welcome him?

Link
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32528
I got the 49ers over Ravens in this close game, 28-27. Hope everybody is having a great Super Sunday!
Member Since: August 1, 2011 Posts: 28 Comments: 8041
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54858

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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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