Late February storms put only a slight dent in U.S. drought

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:14 PM GMT on February 28, 2013

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Abundant moisture from heavy rains and snows that fell during two major Midwest storms in late February put only a slight dent in the great Midwest drought of 2012 - 2013. According to the February 28, 2013 Drought Monitor, the percentage area of the contiguous U.S. suffering moderate or greater drought shrank from 56% to 54%, and the area in the worst category of drought--exceptional drought--fell from 6.7% to 5.4% over the past week. These are the largest 1-week improvements in these drought categories that we've seen for 9 months and 15 months, respectively. The improvements were most noteworthy in Oklahoma, the Texas Panhandle, and the Southeast U.S., where drought improved by a full category (using the level 1 to 4 categories of the Palmer Drought Severity Index.) However, the dry pattern that has been dominant over the U.S. for most of the past year will re-assert itself during the coming ten days, and most of the drought region will receive less than 0.5" of precipitation through March 9. There exists the possibility of a significant Midwest storm on March 10, according to recent runs of the GFS and ECMWF computer models, but it is too early to assess if this storm may be able to provide significant drought relief. In general, droughts are more likely in the Midwest U.S. when warmer than average ocean temperatures prevail in the tropical Atlantic, with cooler than average ocean temperatures in the tropical Eastern Pacific (La Niña-like conditions.) This is what we had in during most of 2012, and continue to have in 2013. Equatorial East Pacific ocean temperatures are currently 0.5°C below average. This is similar to the ocean temperatures seen in the spring of 2012, just before the Great Drought of 2012 began. Most of the U.S. drought region needs 3 - 9" of precipitation to pull out of drought. Unless the Midwest receives a top-ten percent wettest spring on record, drought is going to be a huge concern as we enter summer.


Figure 1. Drought conditions as of February 28, 2013 showed that drought still gripped a majority of the U.S. Image credit: U.S. Drought Monitor.


Figure 2. Predicted 7-day precipitation for the period ending Thursday, March 7. Less than 10% of the U.S. drought regions are predicted to receive as much as 0.5" of precipitation (dark green color.) Image credit: NOAA/HPC.

Jeff Masters

2/25/13- Blizzard (akboss1995)
Canyon, Texas
2/25/13- Blizzard
Breaking Storm (CameraDiva)
A lifting storm above the Ruby Mountain peaks.
Breaking Storm
snow on ice over water... (linear)
icing followed by snow and temperatures just above freezing...
snow on ice over water...

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From weather.com

Next Week

System is forecast to move out of the Rockies Monday then take a long track across the central U.S. to the Mid-Atlantic coast through mid to late week. Based on the forecast track there is potential to produce a rather broad swath of snowfall and that could lead to our next named storm. It is much too early however to try to resolve details of precipitation type and amount of snow. Stay tuned for details.

Saturn? (Sandy's shadow)
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Tuesday night:

RIGHT NOW MODELS
DEVELOP BETWEEN .25 AND .5 OF AN INCH OF RAINFALL THROUGH TUESDAY
MORNING. SOUNDINGS LOOK LIKE ALL RAIN. HOWEVER...RIGHT AT ONSET...IF
LOW LEVELS COOL A BIT...SOME FREEZING RAIN MIGHT OCCUR.
MODELS THEN
FORECAST THE UPPER LEVEL LOW OVER KANSAS TO PUSH QUICKLY SE INTO THE
AREA TUESDAY AFTERNOON INTO TUESDAY EVENING. MODELS DISAGREE AS TO
HOW FAR SOUTH THIS UPPER LOW WILL DIG. BUT EITHER WAY...THEY SHOW A
CHANGE OVER TO SNOW LATE TUESDAY AFTERNOON INTO EARLY TUESDAY
EVENING.
THIS BEARS SOME WATCHING...AS QPF LOOKS HEAVY ENOUGH FOR
SOME ACCUMULATION ON THE TAIL END OF THIS SYSTEM.
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


Huntsville Area:

Tonight: Cloudy, with a low around 31. Northwest wind 5 to 10 mph
.
Friday A 30 percent chance of snow. Cloudy, with a high near 41. Northwest wind 5 to 10 mph. Little or no snow accumulation expected.

Friday Night A 40 percent chance of snow showers. Cloudy, with a low around 30. Northwest wind 5 to 10 mph. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

Saturday A chance of snow before noon, then a chance for flurries. Cloudy, with a high near 39. Northwest wind 5 to 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%.
.
.
next week:

Monday Night: A 50 percent chance of rain. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 36.

Tuesday A chance of rain and snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 56. Chance of precipitation is 50%.
Tuesday Night A slight chance of rain and snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 33. Chance of precipitation is 20%.


huh! That means I might have to use photoshop tonight for that GA...
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873


Huntsville Area:

Tonight: Cloudy, with a low around 31. Northwest wind 5 to 10 mph
.
Friday A 30 percent chance of snow. Cloudy, with a high near 41. Northwest wind 5 to 10 mph. Little or no snow accumulation expected.

Friday Night A 40 percent chance of snow showers. Cloudy, with a low around 30. Northwest wind 5 to 10 mph. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

Saturday A chance of snow before noon, then a chance for flurries. Cloudy, with a high near 39. Northwest wind 5 to 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%.
.
.
next week:

Monday Night: A 50 percent chance of rain. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 36.

Tuesday A chance of rain and snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 56. Chance of precipitation is 50%.
Tuesday Night A slight chance of rain and snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 33. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
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@ Maboy1

What worries me about this one is the intensity as it moves up the coast


That is in the low 980s! Not even close to my CWA

Im not looking for hurricane winds here
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
Here's a comparison of the operational 12z GFS run against the GFS ensemble. Notice how the GFS takes the low south of Bermuda, but the ensemble takes it well north of the island.



Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 83 Comments: 7836
OK boys and girls... gotta put those chickies to bed... yes, I cleaned them today, oh, I smell like a chicken too. Just started cooking dinner..., HellifIknow.. just some chow for the evening! Smells pretty darn good though. ??? rice or pasta. I'll figure it out. Have a good eve. everyone.
Member Since: November 13, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 488
Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:
it is a strong low to start off...the GFS takes it out eastwards, not the case with Euro...
It would be a Nor'beast if it were to move up the coast starting with that intensity


Euro actually takes it east also. Looks good at 168 hours:



But off it goes at 192 hours:



I'm not sold on such an eastward track though. Expect the models to trend north, maybe not enough to give us a major storm up here, but definitely not straight east like many of the models are saying now.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 83 Comments: 7836
it is a strong low to start off...the GFS takes it out eastwards, not the case with Euro...
It would be a Nor'beast if it were to move up the coast starting with that intensity



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108. VR46L
Quoting JustPlantIt:
Gotta love someone with some 'personality'!!!!!!!


Yes Weather as a subject can be really dry and its good to see some humour thrown in But that is only my opinion !!
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
I love this guy. He's my local meteorologist and he's hilarious.

Link
Gotta love someone with some 'personality'!!!!!!!
Member Since: November 13, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 488
This is something that normally happens in the dead of winter around here, not in March...

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A new 1 month outlook for March was also released by the CPC today, looks like near or below average for most:

Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 83 Comments: 7836
104. VR46L
CPC Maps today half and half outlook in 6-10 day outlook but colder than normal outlook for most of US in 8-14 outlook

6-10 DAY




8-14 DAY

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Quoting newt3d:


This seems inconsistent. Based on the grass, the rotation motion of the tornado is clockwise.

Based on the cloud formation near the tornado, the rotation motion of the tornado appears to be counter-clockwise.


That is why they call them "twisters". :)
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102. etxwx
Stunning reversal? Why 'big paper' just went green in Indonesia

By Dan Murphy, Staff writer - CS Monitor
February 19, 2013
Asia Pulp & Paper Co. has promised to stop using wood from Indonesia's natural forests. Unprecedented market pressures, driven in part by Barbie and Mickey Mouse, helped.
Complete article can be found here.
Member Since: September 4, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1484
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:
I want this again:


That is the Superstorm of '93. If you want that, get ready for multiple roof collapses in the Atlanta Metro. Snow removal capability would also be stretched way beyond the limit. At least it would all melt pretty fast, just as it did 20 years ago.
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I love this guy. He's my local meteorologist and he's hilarious.

Link
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NEXT SYSTEM TO WATCH WILL BE IN THE WEDNESDAY AND BEYOND TIME FRAME.
27/00Z AND 12Z ECMWF RUNS ALONG WITH THE CURRENT 28/00Z RUN ALL
SHOWING A STRONG COASTAL LOW DEVELOPING ON WEDNESDAY. ECMWF
CURRENTLY HAS THE TWO SYSTEMS PHASING OVER THE MIDWEST AND
DEVELOPING A DEEP CUT OFF LOW. THIS LEADS TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF A
SURFACE LOW OFF THE CAROLINA COAST TRACKING NORTHEAST BRIEFLY AND
HOOKING EAST. THE CWA WOULD BE ON THE FAR NORTHERN FRINGE OF THE
PRECIP WITH THE PRECIP SHIELD OF THE 28/00Z ECMWF SHIFTING FARTHER
SOUTH THAN PREVIOUS RUNS. TO NOTE...28/00Z GFS IS FARTHER SOUTH WITH
THE SURFACE LOW AND A WEAKER UPPER LOW...WITH LITTLE TO NO PHASING
APPARENT. GEFS MEAN HOWEVER IS MUCH CLOSER TO THE ECMWF THAN THE
OPERATIONAL GFS RUN BUT STILL SHOWING A VERY LARGE SPREAD IN
SOLUTIONS WITH THE PLACEMENT OF THE LOW.

AT THIS POINT...HAVE LEFT CHANCE POPS IN FOR WEDNESDAY INTO
WEDNESDAY NIGHT. THICKNESS VALUES SUPPORT SNOW FOR MUCH OF THE EVENT
WITH A RAIN/SNOW MIX AT TIMES. UNCERTAINTY IS STILL HIGH REGARDING
THE TRACK OF THE LOW ALONG WITH THE EXTENT OF THE PRECIP SHIELD.
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:
I want this again:
Awesome storm that I remember well!!!!
Member Since: November 13, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 488
Long term...
the long range models show the high over the Florida Peninsula to move
east into the western Atlantic waters for the early to middle of next
week...as low pressure develops over the southeast United States
and moves east into the western Atlantic waters. This will allow
for another strong cold front to move southward and through South
Florida by middle of next. This will bring another shot of
possible colder air to the area for late next week. At this time
the long range models are showing that the lows could fall again
down into the upper 30s to middle 40s over most of the area for late
next week except middle 30s west of Lake Okeechobee...and highs
could again be in the 60s over most of the area.

here u go rob
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Interesting presentation on the colors used on Storm Surge maps from next weeks Interdepartmental Hurricane Conference.

Many presentations are already online.


Communication of Hurricane Storm Surge Threat: A Mixed-Method Analysis (Powerpoint)

Basically, using Red/Green colors resulted in the most accurate interpertation of storm surge maps.
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I want this again:
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Quoting eddye:
were having freezeing rain in south fla also it looks like next weekend going 2 be cold didnt know were going 2 have 2 strong cold fronts come through


Where do you see that at Eddye? GFS, Nam?
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Here's the Sea Height Anomaly to compare. Top is 2013, bottom is 2012.


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Nice little warm tongue in the Gulf. Interesting to compare with how it looked last year. Top is 2013, bottom is 2012.

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were having freezeing rain in south fla also it looks like next weekend going 2 be cold didnt know were going 2 have 2 strong cold fronts come through
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trough by 240 hrs:
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Quoting washingtonian115:
After next week your chances of snow will be none to zero.Last year when I saw 80's close to 90'sninMarch I knew snow was out of the cards.


Last year was very unusual in that respect. This year is very unlikely to repeat that performance. What is more likely is an average to below average March in the DC area, temperature-wise. Snow is another matter, it could still happen or perhaps it will not.

Then again, Washington got enough snow a couple of years back to equal three seasons worth of normal snowfall.
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Long term...
the long range models show the high over the Florida Peninsula to move
east into the western Atlantic waters for the early to middle of next
week...as low pressure develops over the southeast United States
and moves east into the western Atlantic waters. This will allow
for another strong cold front to move southward and through South
Florida by middle of next. This will bring another shot of
possible colder air to the area for late next week. At this time
the long range models are showing that the lows could fall again
down into the upper 30s to middle 40s over most of the area for late
next week except middle 30s west of Lake Okeechobee...and highs
could again be in the 60s over most of the area.
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Quoting Jedkins01:
Apparently we have a slight chance at snow here too as well. The NWS included a slight chance of showers Saturday night into Sunday morning as they mentioned that models have gotten stronger with lift associated with the strong shortwave enough for a chance of "precip" for here(I noticed they didn't just say rain in the discussion).

They go on to say in the discussion that while the chance is very low, they will be watching closely in case any snow occurs in the area!

BTW unlike Central Florida, its possible that temps will be at or below freezing across much of the Tallahassee area during the time of potential precip.


Yeah, I could easily imagine that Tally might get a genuine snow shower or two with this system. Again, if this were January you'd be looking at the potential for several inches. Even more importantly, it would likely stick for a couple of days.

Tallahassee got a pretty good snowfall during the Christmas 1989 event, which blanketed much of North Florida in white. Some of that snow stayed around for a couple of days because it was followed by extreme cold.
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Check out the 850mb winds (bottom left) on the NC coast:
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For you, washingtonian115: copyrights jealously guarded by large corporations
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ECMWF goes from :

North missippi:


to just off the coast:


To pounding the NC coast:
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Quoting washingtonian115:
Athometx haven't seen you in a while.

According to CWG next Wenesday is our last chance to see snow.Yes I know snow can happen later in the year such as in April but their are hints that after the March cool down the blow torch will be set again.


Hey Washi. First time all winter we're getting days of sunshine. Which is great as long as this doesn't mean the end of the rains for us. It's cold too.UGH! Lol.

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The area of 90% humidity across the SE on saturday supports flurries:
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GUIDANCE IS COMING IN SLIGHTLY DRIER FOR THE WEEKEND...ESPECIALLY
SATURDAY DURING THE DAY. BOTH THE GFS AND ECMWF BRING IN A POTENT
SLUG OF MOISTURE THROUGH ABOUT 12Z SATURDAY BUT DRY IT QUICKLY
THEREAFTER. BUFR SOUNDINGS ESPECIALLY IN NORTH GEORGIA INDICATE
ALL SNOW ESPECIALLY IN THE 09Z-12Z SATURDAY WINDOW.
AFTER SOME
ADJUSTMENTS TO TEMPS AND POPS...THE RESULTING SNOW AMOUNTS ARE
ACTUALLY VERY SIMILAR /THOUGH JUST A TEENSY BIT LESS/ THAN WHAT
THE MIDNIGHT SHIFT HAD IN PLACE...GENERALLY NEAR TO JUST UNDER AN
INCH AT THE HIGHEST ELEVATIONS...AND A DUSTING POSSIBLY INTO SOME
OF THE NORTH METRO COUNTIES. WILL CONTINUE WORDING IN THE HWO BUT
OTHERWISE FOR NOW POTENTIAL NEED FOR WINTER PRODUCTS LOOKS PRETTY
LOW. HOWEVER...MUCH LIKE TONIGHT IN THE SHORT TERM...LOW TEMPS
WILL BE HOVERING NEAR TO SLIGHTLY BELOW FREEZING FOR FRIDAY
NIGHT...AND TRENDING COLDER SATURDAY NIGHT AND ESPECIALLY SUNDAY
NIGHT. FREEZE PRODUCTS WILL LIKELY BE NEEDED.

OTHER INTERESTING FEATURE OF NOTE IS THE MID-WEEK SYSTEM. STILL
SOME BIG DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE GFS AND ECMWF BUT 12Z ECMWF IS
ACTUALLY TRENDING CLOSER TO THE 12Z GFS /KIND OF A SURPRISE...
USUALLY THE GFS IS TRYING TO CATCH UP TO THE ECMWF/
WITH BRINGING
A COLD...CLOSED UPPER LOW ACROSS THE SOUTHEAST WITH A SURFACE LOW
MOVING ACROSS CENTRAL GEORGIA. STILL NOT ENOUGH CONFIDENCE WITH
FRONTAL PASSAGE ON TUESDAY TO ADD THUNDER...BUT BOTH BRING THE
COLD CORE UPPER LOW ACROSS NORTH GEORGIA WEDNESDAY. GFS BRINGS
OVER 3 INCHES OF SNOW TO WEST CENTRAL GEORGIA..
.GENERALLY JUST
SOUTH AND WEST OF THE METRO AREA. THIS IS OBVIOUSLY OUT THERE IN
FANTASYLAND BUT INTERESTING NONETHELESS...AND FORECAST TRENDS WILL
HAVE TO BE VERY CLOSELY MONITORED.

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THE FROST FREEZE SEASON BEGINS MAR 1ST. WITH FORECAST LOW
TEMPERATURES RUNNING 28-33 FOR A LARGE PORTION OF THE AREA...WILL
NEED TO ISSUE A FREEZING WARNING FOR ALL AREAS EXCEPT THE FAR SW
AND FAR SE CWA. FORECAST LOW TEMPERATURES RUNNING 7-11 DEGREES
BELOW NORMAL TONIGHT AND 9-14 DEGREES BELOW NORMAL FOR FRIDAY.

OVERALL CONFIDENCE IS LOW TO MEDIUM.
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Freeze Warning
URGENT - WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE PEACHTREE CITY GA
229 PM EST THU FEB 28 2013


GA
/O.NEW.KFFC.FZ.W.0001.130301T0500Z-130301T1400Z/

INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...CALHOUN...DAHLONEGA...CLEVELAND...
ROME...CARTERSVILLE...GAINESVILLE...MARIETTA...AT LANTA...
LAWRENCEVILLE...ATHENS...CARROLLTON...DOUGLASVILL E...EAST POINT...
DECATUR...CONYERS...COVINGTON...NEWNAN...PEACHTRE E CITY...
GRIFFIN...MILLEDGEVILLE...MACON...WARNER ROBINS...AMERICUS...
CORDELE
229 PM EST THU FEB 28 2013

...FREEZE WARNING IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT TONIGHT TO 9 AM EST
FRIDAY...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN PEACHTREE CITY HAS ISSUED A
FREEZE WARNING...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT TONIGHT TO 9 AM
EST FRIDAY.

* LOCATIONS...MOST OF NORTH AND CENTRAL GEORGIA.

* TEMPERATURES...IN THE LOWER 30S.

* TIMING...FREEZING TEMPERATURES ARE POSSIBLE ANYTIME BETWEEN
MIDNIGHT TONIGHT AND 9 AM FRIDAY MORNING.

* IMPACTS...SENSITIVE OR NEWLY-BUDDED PLANTS MAY BE DAMAGED OR
KILLED.


PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A FREEZE WARNING MEANS FREEZING TEMPERATURES ARE FORECAST TO
THREATEN OUTDOOR PLANTS. THOSE WITH AGRICULTURAL INTERESTS IN THE
WARNED AREA ARE ADVISED TO HARVEST OR PROTECT TENDER VEGETATION.

&&

$$

I think our freeze/frost program resumes March 1st, but It hasnt been so warm recently, nothing is really budding. Not sure how much discretion the NWS has.
Highs now are supposed to average 60F....but we will be in the 40s and 50s for a while.
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Quoting FunnelVortex:
Another one of my artworks.



This seems inconsistent. Based on the grass, the rotation motion of the tornado is clockwise.

Based on the cloud formation near the tornado, the rotation motion of the tornado appears to be counter-clockwise.
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Deleted. KeeperOfTheGate has already answered eddye's (and my) question.
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Quoting JustPlantIt:
Some of the biggest snows on the NE have happened in March!!! Don't count it out yet.
'Superstorm' of 1993 came to mind!!!
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Carolina coast should take a beating:

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Quoting washingtonian115:
After next week your chances of snow will be none to zero.Last year when I saw 80's close to 90'sninMarch I knew snow was out of the cards.
Some of the biggest snows on the NE have happened in March!!! Don't count it out yet.
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Quoting eddye:
keeper is that high temps that the gfs shows
min temps or overnight lows
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Quoting hurricanehunter27:
Is that showing snow for North Georgia?


yes.
1-2 inches..but i'm not sold,.


A freeze down to mobile directly following the system's exit.
It would be important for it to occur at night:



Clipper's are not the big snowmakers for GA eithier though. Our big snows start in South TX/Gulf of mexico
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:
Here's to hoping:
After next week your chances of snow will be none to zero.Last year when I saw 80's close to 90'sninMarch I knew snow was out of the cards.
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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.