U.S. gets unusually boring January weather; Thursday storm to ease Midwest drought

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 9:59 PM GMT on February 16, 2013

Share this Blog
32
+

After an unusually intense period of extreme weather during 2011 and 2012, the U.S. had its quietest month in nearly two years during January 2013, according to NOAA's U.S. Climate Extremes Index (CEI). The index tracks the percentage area of the contiguous U.S. experiencing top-10% and bottom-10% extremes in temperature, precipitation, and drought. The CEI during January 2013 was 14%, which was the lowest since the 12% value during February 2011. On average, about 20% of the contiguous U.S. experiences top-10% extreme weather as defined by the CEI. In 2012, just two months (October and February) had below-average CEI, so the weather of January 2013 was a welcome relief from our recent "new normal" of increased extreme weather. Of course, the month wasn't completely without notable weather--the tornado outbreak of January 29 - 30 generated 57 tornadoes, the second largest January tornado outbreak on record. January 2013 ranked as the 39th warmest January since 1895, said NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) in their latest State of the Climate report. Utah and Nevada had a top-ten coldest January; no states had a top-ten warmest January. The January warmth was enough to make the 12-month period ending in January 2013 the warmest such period for the contiguous U.S., with every state being warmer than average. Sixteen states, across the central U.S. and Northeast, were record warm, and 27 additional states were top ten warm.


Figure 1. Historical temperature ranking for the U.S. for January 2013. Utah and Nevada had a top-ten coldest January, and no states had a top-ten warmest January. Image credit: National Climatic Data Center (NCDC).

Drought conditions improve slightly; wetter weather on the way to Midwest drought region
January 2013 had slightly above-average precipitation over the contiguous U.S., but there were notable wet and dry extremes. Louisiana had its wettest January on record, and Michigan, Virginia, Tennessee, and Mississippi all had top-ten wettest January weather. Florida, California, and Connecticut all had top-ten driest January weather. Heavy rains in Alabama and Georgia helped give that region no areas of exceptional drought for the first time since January 10, 2012. However, the core of the drought area over the Midwest U.S. shrank only slightly, with the area of the contiguous U.S. experiencing moderate-to-exceptional drought going from 61% on January 1 to 56% on February 12. The U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook, issued February 7, calls for new areas of drought to develop over Florida, Texas, and California. However, some improvement in drought conditions is expected over about 40% of the drought region by April 30. The latest forecasts from the GFS and European (ECMWF) model show a modest shift in the jet stream pattern during the remainder of February, which may allow more moisture-bearing low pressure systems to pass through the main portion of the Midwest drought region. One storm for sure will arrive on Thursday, and many areas of the drought region should enjoy their their wettest day in months.


Figure 2. Drought conditions as of February 12, 2013, showed that 56% of the contiguous U.S. was in moderate or greater drought. Image credit: U.S. Drought Monitor.


Figure 3. Predicted precipitation for the 7-day period ending Saturday, February 23 at 7 pm EST. Almost the entire nation is expected to get precipitation, including the core of the drought region. Image credit: NOAA/HPC.

Forward on Climate rally on February 17th in Washington, D.C. 
On Sunday, February 17, at noon EST, what is expected to be the largest climate rally in history will take place in Washington D.C. The rally is a project of the Sierra Club, 350.org, and the Hip Hop Caucus. The organizers mustered 15,000 protesters last year in D.C. to protest the potential approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline (meant to bring oil from Canada's tar sands into the U.S.) Protesting the potential approval of the pipeline will be a major focus of Sunday's rally, as well. More broadly, the rally aims to put pressure on President Obama to make good on the promises he made during Tuesday's State of the Union Address:

"But for the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change. Yes, it’s true that no single event makes a trend. But the fact is, the 12 hottest years on record have all come in the last 15. Heat waves, droughts, wildfires, floods – all are now more frequent and more intense. We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy, and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence. Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science – and act before it’s too late….But if Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will."

It's about time that the President began talking about the reality of our changing climate, and the need to pursue aggressive actions to combat human-caused climate change. January 2013 was a welcome relief from the intense stretch of extreme weather our nation has suffered over the past two years. But the extreme weather of 2011 - 2012 is going to be more typical of our "new normal" of weather during the coming decades. Earth's climate is warming, and the overwhelming majority of climate scientists agree that human activity is the main cause. Extreme weather events are increasing in response to the warming climate. People can take cost-effective actions to limit the damage, and our lawmakers are going to come under increasing pressure from grass-roots efforts like the Forward on Climate rally to act to slow down climate change.

I'll have a new post on Tuesday.

Jeff Masters

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 576 - 526

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19Blog Index

Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 37848
Quoting Jedkins01:



Breaking News, I live in Florida haven't seen any, and I'm always watching the sky, lol. I Mean sure there could be meteors, but I've seen a lot of them in my lifetime as someone who's always staring at the sky.

I have seen a couple that actually scarred me, that were very bright and spectacular. But those were very rare occasions.

Stuff is just spreading around and making the news after the event in Russia. It's just like the media freaked out and attempted or gave the feel that shootings are way more common then they are after the shooting in CT.

It's just the media's way capitalizing off trending material, nothing new.


I'm starting to wonder if that close pass asteroid had a few small companions with it (or loose bits?) that got caught into earths gravity being much smaller or were on a slightly diff trajectory and couldn't make it past Earth? Peculiar a few large sightings at once...though could be sensationalism following Russia I suppose too
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Meanwhile, in Altamonte Springs (north Orlando) we have extensive car-top frost (except for my car and a few others, right on the southeast edge of the parking lot) and temperatures in the mid 30s. This is the first time I have actually seen frost here since 2010, oddly enough. I think we will actually get to freezing here for the first time in a couple years.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting tornadodude:


no one should have to tell you that... lol


I was young, never been to the top of a mountain. How was I supposed to know that temps change with elevation?

They do have some pretty good hot chocolate up there though.

And it is cool to take pics of the blast doors that hold back those winds.
Member Since: July 2, 2012 Posts: 100 Comments: 10217
Quoting Astrometeor:


*changed* Isaac's spelling has really gotten to everyone today lol.

Hope you enjoy that blizzard of yours, wish I could have one.


rather amusing..Some humor is good every now and then...
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
Quoting Dragod66:
by the way ... it has been a lot of rain but now it has chaned over to snow and the wind is getting really bad on the back side. posting from central NS


*changed* Isaac's spelling has really gotten to everyone today lol.

Hope you enjoy that blizzard of yours, wish I could have one.
Member Since: July 2, 2012 Posts: 100 Comments: 10217
looks like a blizzard out there now
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
by the way ... it has been a lot of rain but now it has chaned over to snow and the wind is getting really bad on the back side. posting from central NS
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
568. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Tropical Cyclone Warning Center Perth
Tropical Cyclone Outlook
===========================

A weak low is located in the Monsoon trough near 11S 107E, about 200 km southeast of Christmas Island. The low is near stationary and is not expected to develop into a tropical cyclone within the next 72 hours.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Jedkins01:



I would imagine it gets very rough on the body though sometimes, winter here is like that, bounces between legitimately cold weather to balmy 70's and 80's in the same week. I know when it goes up and down too much it gets rough on the system lol.

One thing I noticed the is really different from here and that area is that surprisingly dry air masses can crank out monster storms thanks to very cold air aloft that sweeps over the plains and strong dynamics with those spring lows.

Its weird seeing thunderstorms put out tornado warning that don't actually look like that dangerous of storms because they have kind of a ragged appearance. Those LP cells.

Of course I'm sure you can get some real soakers in the summer too sometimes as the plains can also allow humid tropical air to surge well north from the gulf quickly.


Oh yeah, there are some definite extremes.

LP storms don't usually produce tornadoes, due to the lack of moisture, however they frequently produce large hail, up to softball size (sometimes larger), but they sure are incredible.

This is an LP supercell, notice there is no precip coming from the base, but there appears to be large hail to the right


Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Astrometeor:


Normal weather for them. I visited them in the summer when I was young. No one told me that it is colder on top of a mountain even if it is 80 degrees at the base.


no one should have to tell you that... lol
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting tornadodude:


LOL

Yeah it's entertaining anyway, still about 60 degrees with a stiff southerly breeze right now



I would imagine it gets very rough on the body though sometimes, winter here is like that, bounces between legitimately cold weather to balmy 70's and 80's in the same week. I know when it goes up and down too much it gets rough on the system lol.

One thing I noticed the is really different from here and that area is that surprisingly dry air masses can crank out monster storms thanks to very cold air aloft that sweeps over the plains and strong dynamics with those spring lows.

Its weird seeing thunderstorms put out tornado warning that don't actually look like that dangerous of storms because they have kind of a ragged appearance. Those LP cells.

Of course I'm sure you can get some real soakers in the summer too sometimes as the plains can also allow humid tropical air to surge well north from the gulf quickly.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Jedkins01:



Yeah I love seeing those forecasts and observations there. The same weather that happens once every 100 years if not more for most locations happens there all the time.


holy crap!!! how can a building stand there? Better be well constructed
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
Quoting 1900hurricane:
Forecasts for Mt. Washington are ridiculous.

Partly sunny and cold, with a high near 10. Strong and damaging winds, with a northwest wind 105 to 115 mph decreasing to 90 to 100 mph in the afternoon.




Yeah I love seeing those forecasts and observations there. The same weather that happens once every 100 years if not more for most locations happens there all the time.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting FLWeatherFreak91:
I've looked at topographic maps and it doesn't really seem like my area is lower than the warmer areas I'm comparing my temp too. The area is heavily wooded with scattered pastures with lakes all around me. Now it's 35 here and 45 at TPA lol


Yeah mesoscale weather effects can be mysterious sometimes. I somewhat specialize in studying mesoscale meteorology because it often gets overlooked by forecasters and heavily so by global models. Probably because I'm very meticulous and like to narrow things down and study them in close detail repeatedly, especially in meteorology.

With that said, I'm not entirely sure why your region would get so much colder than surrounding ones. Maybe your local area is very efficient at producing calm surface winds on these type of nights? After all, clam winds is the most important factor of all to radiational cooling besides being in a more rural area.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 1900hurricane:
Forecasts for Mt. Washington are ridiculous.

Partly sunny and cold, with a high near 10. Strong and damaging winds, with a northwest wind 105 to 115 mph decreasing to 90 to 100 mph in the afternoon.



Normal weather for them. I visited them in the summer when I was young. No one told me that it is colder on top of a mountain even if it is 80 degrees at the base.
Member Since: July 2, 2012 Posts: 100 Comments: 10217
Quoting Jedkins01:



Yeah weather in the plains sure isn't boring, the flat open terrain really does account for the sudden extreme change in weather, and people say weather changes quick in Florida? Yeah right, they need to head to Kansas or Oklahoma, lol.


LOL

Yeah it's entertaining anyway, still about 60 degrees with a stiff southerly breeze right now
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Tazmanian:
#BREAKING 'Meteor Shower' Lights Up Night Sky Across Florida: Coast Guard


Coast Guard is flooded with calls from Jacksonville to Key West of what could be meteor shower. No injuries reported (NBC 6)



Breaking News, I live in Florida haven't seen any, and I'm always watching the sky, lol. I Mean sure there could be meteors, but I've seen a lot of them in my lifetime as someone who's always staring at the sky.

I have seen a couple that actually scarred me, that were very bright and spectacular. But those were very rare occasions.

Stuff is just spreading around and making the news after the event in Russia. It's just like the media freaked out and attempted or gave the feel that shootings are way more common then they are after the shooting in CT.

It's just the media's way capitalizing off trending material, nothing new.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting tornadodude:


Yeah it's amazing how quickly it can change. Was 25 and snowing with a north wind Friday night, today, warm SE wind, hit 71

All depends on which way the wind blows for us. it's always north or south haha



Yeah weather in the plains sure isn't boring, the flat open terrain really does account for the sudden extreme change in weather, and people say weather changes quick in Florida? Yeah right, they need to head to Kansas or Oklahoma, lol.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Forecasts for Mt. Washington are ridiculous.

Partly sunny and cold, with a high near 10. Strong and damaging winds, with a northwest wind 105 to 115 mph decreasing to 90 to 100 mph in the afternoon.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
556. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Quoting wxgeek723:


Looks like December 21st is a little late.


heh

I guess so.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting tornadodude:
Image from Florida tonight (via James Reynolds)



Looks like December 21st is a little late.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Plato is so large... yet producing gale force winds over much of the northeast.
45 mph gusts over my area in SW Conn.

Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
Image from Florida tonight (via James Reynolds)

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
By the way...Plato is now a monster 954 mb over Nova Scotia...
Major Blizzard/very strong winds going on there



I'll have my map updated tomorrow... should be a classified storm by then
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
Quoting BahaHurican:
At the southern end I think it's coastal plains, river delta type country, then as u head inland towards South Africa there are some highlands. There is definitely some flooding potential...



very good there...

I see Mozambique and other countries around it have a stripe of flatland near the coast but with steep mountains right next to it... a big mudslide threat there
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
Quoting weatherpug:
Posting from mid-central coast Maine--high winds and blowing snow--worse for us than Nemo--agree with TheCanadian that this storm is powerful for our area.



yes
cross the sw highlands into the gulf of st lawrence she goes
gonna be rough night and first half of the morning

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 170 Comments: 53473
549. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Philippines Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Services and Administration
Tropical Cyclone Outlook
==============================

At 10:00 AM PhST, The Low Pressure Area was estimated at 910 km east of General Santos City (6.0°N, 134.0°E).

This weather disturbance is expected to bring moderate to heavy rains (5-10 mm/hr) and thunderstorms in Mindanao particularly the regions of Davao, Caraga and SOCCSKSARGEN which may trigger flash floods and landslides.

Residents in these areas are advised to take all the necessary precautionary measures.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:


I don't know about the topography of Mozambique.. If there are then people better prepare for this
At the southern end I think it's coastal plains, river delta type country, then as u head inland towards South Africa there are some highlands. There is definitely some flooding potential...

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting AussieStorm:

They probably don't know about it.


eventually they will, especially when they themselves notice it begins a nonstop raining, or are warned by the weather service they have there
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
Thanx Neapolitan ...

off to hide under blankets in bed tonight low 50's again - I know boo hoo - but no heat in this house!! :>) - take care all...

.CLIMATE...
ON THIS DATE IN KEYS WEATHER HISTORY...ON FEBRUARY 17TH THE THREE
COLDEST LOW TEMPERATURES FOR KEY WEST WERE 46 DEGREES IN 1996...51
DEGREES IN 1958...AND 53 DEGREES WHICH WAS TIED IN 2010...1991...AND
1922. 2013 HAS THE POTENTIAL TO SLIDE INTO AT LEAST THIRD PLACE
TODAY. TEMPERATURE RECORDS AT KEY WEST DATE BACK TO 1872.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:


I don't know about the topography of Mozambique.. If there are then people better prepare for this

They probably don't know about it.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
36 in Wesley Chapel Fl at this time (Pasco county)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Currently in Sydney.....


Loop
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting docrod:
Recent events have certainly raised awareness in meteor activity. For those interested in fireball activity (large meteors)the American Meteor Society maintains a active sighting log ...

Here is the link ... Link
Here's a page for Event 383, this evening's Florida siting: http://www.amsmeteors.org/fireball_event/2013/383
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13508
Recent events have certainly raised awareness in meteor activity. For those interested in fireball activity (large meteors)the American Meteor Society maintains a active sighting log ...

Here is the link ... Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting AussieStorm:

Could be worse, It's currently -51C in Oymyakon, Russian Federation. And it's 3:38pm



of course it could be worse, always could be.

Still doesn't mean it's not cold to them.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting AussieStorm:

Hi,
Yeah, I wouldn't be surprised if this causes a lot of landslides, flash flooding and floods. They don't deal very well with heavy rain there.


I don't know about the topography of Mozambique.. If there are then people better prepare for this
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:


it's a very slow mover... worse situation for Mozambique...

Hi by the way

Hi,
Yeah, I wouldn't be surprised if this causes a lot of landslides, flash flooding and floods. They don't deal very well with heavy rain there.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting FLWeatherFreak91:
Only three deg above freezing here in Odessa, fl!

Could be worse, It's currently -51C in Oymyakon, Russian Federation. And it's 3:38pm
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Posting from mid-central coast Maine--high winds and blowing snow--worse for us than Nemo--agree with TheCanadian that this storm is powerful for our area.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting AussieStorm:

The ECMWF has been hinting on that system for about a week now. It's also forecast to hit Mozambique as a pretty strong yet small Tropical Cyclone.

72 hrs.


192 hrs.


it's a very slow mover... worse situation for Mozambique...

Hi by the way
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
Only three deg above freezing here in Odessa, fl!
Member Since: December 1, 2006 Posts: 2 Comments: 3619
Quoting MAweatherboy1:
I wouldn't be surprised if a TCFA is issued for 94S tonight. It still needs a little more organization but it's getting there and models definitely want to develop it. Should be a fun one to watch for the next several days.


The ECMWF has been hinting on that system for about a week now. It's also forecast to hit Mozambique as a pretty strong yet small Tropical Cyclone.

72 hrs.


192 hrs.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Time to Bail - Everyone Stay Safe - Extra Blankets for Florida - Sleep Well...
Member Since: February 29, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 5765
MesoWest Jurupa Valley CA US SGXWFO, Riverside, California (PWS)
Updated: 6:49 PM PST on February 17, 2013
Clear
57 °F
Clear
Humidity: 68%
Dew Point: 47 °F
Wind: Calm
Wind Gust: 11.0 mph
Pressure: 29.92 in (Rising)
Visibility: 10.0 miles
UV: 0 out of 16
Pollen: 8.40 out of 12
Pollen Forecast new!
Clouds:
Clear -
(Above Ground Level)
Elevation: 794 ft

Today was 48.6/70.7 normal 44/67 It is 60.3 right now.
Member Since: February 29, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 5765
Quoting BahaHurican:
Wouldn't lakes influence patterns of heating / cooling?

Lakes sure do influence temperatures. If anyone knows where Lake St. Claire is, I go there fishing in the summer. It gets pretty hot on some days, 90s, but if you go out to a decent sized lake the temperature can be up to 10 degrees cooler sometimes. In the winter it is the opposite.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Saw a huge bright meteor streak by Jupiter not too long ago, figured it was something like that going on. Saw it shoot by right in the telescope I've got. Can't make this stuff up! Strange though, there's no known meteor shower going on - yet we've been getting loads of activity the last few days.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
It cold out 38!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! in Loxahatchee!!!!!!!!!!!
Member Since: May 23, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 4452
Quoting Skyepony:


The coming storm
Rising sea levels are forcing tough decisions about where and how to build near water


There is an "old" book out there titled "Design with Nature" by Ian McHarg Link. I will send you my copy if you have not seen it but only if you promise to return it. This book is from the 1960's and one chapter very much should be of interest to you. He was very much ahead of his time.

- hope the ponies are fine -
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
#525 That plot looks like an unfinished Valentines day card.
Member Since: February 29, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 5765

Viewing: 576 - 526

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19Blog Index

Top of Page

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.

Local Weather

Mostly Cloudy
75 °F
Mostly Cloudy