An unusually quiet March for tornadoes--only 6 so far

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 11:37 AM GMT on March 21, 2013

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After an unusually active January for tornadoes, with approximately double the activity of a typical January, tornado activity dropped to near-normal levels in February, and virtually flat-lined during March. The five confirmed tornadoes in Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama on Monday, March 18 brought the March 2013 tornado tally to just six. Monday's severe weather outbreak in the south brought hail up to the size of softballs to Jackson, MS, and damage from the hailstorm is estimated in the tens of millions.

Since 2000, the U.S. has averaged 89 tornadoes each March, so we have a long way to go to reach average. The 154 tornadoes last year in March 2012 was the fourth highest March total since records began in 1950 (record: 170 in March 2007.) Records for most and least tornadoes in a month have been set 24 times over the past 60 years. Ten of those records have been set in the past decade--six for the fewest tornadoes, and four for the most, said tornado researcher Harold Brooks last week. In addition, the three earliest starts of tornado season and the four latest have all occurred since 1997, and "We've had a dramatic increase in the variability of tornado occurrence," Brooks said. The jet stream, which plays a key role in tornado formation, has been wildly variable in recent years, leading to the large swings in tornado activity.


Figure 1. The EF-2 tornado with 120 mph winds that hit Meriwether and Pike County, Georgia on Monday, March 18, 2013 was one of just six March tornadoes in 2013. The cell labeled "3" spawned the tornado. Two other supercells are also labeled (cell #1 brought hail to Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson Airport.) Thanks go to Stu Ostro of TWC for providing the image.

NOAA's Storm Prediction Center is highlighting only a small "Slight Risk" area for severe weather on Thursday over Northern Texas, and another "Slight RIsk" area on Saturday over the Southeast U.S. The winter-like jet stream pattern we are in is likely to be dominant for at least the next week, and perhaps into April. So, March 2013 has a shot at making the top-five list for the quietest March months on record for tornado activity. Years with fewest March tornadoes since 1950:

1) 1951: 6
2) 1969: 8
3) 1966: 12
4) 1958: 15
5) 1978: 17


Forecasting the End
We're safely past the December 21, 2012 date of the predicted Mayan Apocalypse, so its permissible to engage in a bit of "what if" speculation on how civilization on Earth might ultimately meet its doom. That's the premise of The Weather Channel's "Forecasting the End" series, which begins airing Thursday March 21 at 9 pm EDT. I'll be making appearances in six of the episodes, set to air each Thursday through mid-April. You might hear me say the phrase, "It would be a bad day on planet Earth" more than once during the shows, as the type of events being considered--an asteroid strike, super volcano eruption, gamma ray burst, encounter with a rogue planet, and massive methane expulsion event--would all do very bad things to earth's climate, making human life on Earth a tenuous proposition. The spectacular graphics should make for an enjoyable show.

New Wettest Place on Earth Discovered?
After successfully helping cast down one iconic world record--the bogus 136°F measured at El Azizia, Libya in 1922--wunderground's weather historian, Christopher C. Burt, and weather records researcher Maximiliano Herrera are at it again. Mr. Burt documents in his latest blog post a challenge to the world's rainiest location, which is officially Mawsynram, Meghalaya State, India, with an annual average precipitation of 11,872 mm (467.40”). It turns out that Puerto Lopez, Colombia may be even wetter.

I'll have a new post on Friday.

Jeff Masters

Sample of hail (sirenscall)
3/18/13
Sample of hail

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Quoting Astrometeor:
Good evening weather blog....this is a weather blog right?

It is what it is. But what it is, only it knows. lol
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15940
562. Skyepony (Mod)
ASCAT of the Low off the east coast
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Quoting Slamguitar:
It's kind of fitting that in the seminar I attended today Dr. Masters talked about how off topic his blog's comment section gets, especially during the hurricane off-season.

That's why I love (and hate) you guys though. :D


He talks about us? Awwww, <3 you too Dr. M

For me it is a love and hate relationship with a good portion of my favorite bloggers here.
Member Since: July 2, 2012 Posts: 101 Comments: 10364
560. auburn (Mod)
Quoting Slamguitar:
It's kind of fitting that in the seminar I attended today Dr. Masters talked about how off topic his blog's comment section gets, especially during the hurricane off-season.

That's why I love (and hate) you guys though. :D


we are gonna try our best to keep it on topic this year..
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Quoting Slamguitar:
It's kind of fitting that in the seminar I attended today Dr. Masters talked about how off topic his blog's comment section gets, especially during the hurricane off-season.

That's why I love (and hate) you guys though. :D


oops! ... He didn't mention me by name did he???
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I noticed the SPC noted in their recent discussion that their may be an upgrade in risk issued for Georgia and north Florida region once the details get pinned down, that is maybe to moderate risk. Models are looking a bit scary, really cold air aloft, strong dynamics and a 55+ knot low level jet. Their should be plenty of heating a quite a bit of surface CAPE as well, which has been the main thing lacking in past events this winter and Spring.
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Quoting Astrometeor:


Good to know that I don't need to watch something that has already been showed by the Discovery Channel, the History Channel and countless others multiple times.

May I suggest a show on the science behind weather, and not this dumb-downed for public version?


What if there was a black hole and a white hole and a quasar and a strangelet and...and...and an anti-matter universe, and they were all going to collide with the Earth at the exact same time!!

115f SST and 500mph hypercanes...pffft, that's nothing.


I'm pretty sure White Holes, Strangelets, and anti-matter universes are still hypothesis, but I just threw out some biggies; Bigger than TWC program had anyway.
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It's kind of fitting that in the seminar I attended today Dr. Masters talked about how off topic his blog's comment section gets, especially during the hurricane off-season.

That's why I love (and hate) you guys though. :D
Member Since: July 2, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1183
555. wxmod
Beautiful China. MODIS satellite photo today. Glad I wasn't born there. If I was, I would wake up each morning and drink beer until I ran out, then throw the bottles out the window. Great place!

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this eve's Key West discussion ... cheers

ON THIS DATE IN KEYS WEATHER HISTORY...IN 1906...THE HIGH TEMPERATURE IN KEY WEST WAS ONLY 63 DEGREES. THIS SET THE DAILY RECORD FOR COOLEST MAXIMUM TEMPERATURE MEASURED IN KEY WEST ON MARCH 21ST...A RECORD WHICH STILL STANDS 107 YEARS LATER. TEMPERATURE RECORDS AT KEY WEST DATE BACK TO 1872.
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The low bombing off the eastern seaboard is looking good tonight.

Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 46 Comments: 11670
552. auburn (Mod)
Quoting Astrometeor:


I hope it achieves that some-day.

How are you doing this chilly (at least where I am) evening auburn?


All is good on the hill..kinda chilly here tonight also.
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Quoting auburn:


It aspires to be.


I hope it achieves that some-day.

How are you doing this chilly (at least where I am) evening auburn?
Member Since: July 2, 2012 Posts: 101 Comments: 10364
550. auburn (Mod)
Quoting Astrometeor:
Good evening weather blog....this is a weather blog right?


It aspires to be.
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Quoting RTSplayer:
Well, watched that hour long segment on TWC for the mega-disasters. Rather boring stuff, since I already knew quite literally everything on there except possibly one tiny detail.

Most of it is all stuff we heard about in like 3rd or 4th grade in the 1980's.


Good to know that I don't need to watch something that has already been showed by the Discovery Channel, the History Channel and countless others multiple times.

May I suggest a show on the science behind weather, and not this dumb-downed for public version?
Member Since: July 2, 2012 Posts: 101 Comments: 10364
Well, watched that hour long segment on TWC for the mega-disasters. Rather boring stuff, since I already knew quite literally everything on there except possibly one tiny detail.

Most of it is all stuff we heard about in like 3rd or 4th grade in the 1980's.
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Good evening weather blog....this is a weather blog right?
Member Since: July 2, 2012 Posts: 101 Comments: 10364
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no anything but the plus please anything
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544. beell
don't make me plus on you, keep.
;-)
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Quoting beell:
nuke the unborn baby whales...
beell ya alright snap out of it everything is ok
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542. auburn (Mod)
Quoting TomTaylor:
Alright cool.

Just making sure I wasn't in trouble lol.


Naw you cool :)...LOL
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541. beell
nuke the unborn baby whales...
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Quoting stormchaser19:
One year ago


Now


Its also interesting,that AMO is really positive


Big difference how the Tropical Atlantic is above average compared with 2012.
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Quoting auburn:


That was a general statement for everyone,not just you..I perhaps worded that a little strong,but regardless the Drs blog is no place for political banter nor religious arguments.didn't mean to make you feel like I singled you out,it wasn't meant that way.

I took your post as an opportunity to remind everyone .
Alright cool.

Just making sure I wasn't in trouble lol.
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One year ago


Now


Its also interesting,that AMO is really positive
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537. auburn (Mod)
Quoting TomTaylor:
woah...I wasn't encouraging it and I haven't participated in any political banter either, so I'm not sure why you're asking me to keep it on my blog.

All I'm saying is political banter is found across the internet, it's not a localized or exclusive WU problem like some try and make it out to be.


That was a general statement for everyone,not just you..I perhaps worded that a little strong,but regardless the Drs blog is no place for political banter nor religious arguments.didn't mean to make you feel like I singled you out,it wasn't meant that way.

I took your post as an opportunity to remind everyone .
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Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:


Speaking of ENSO,the Mid-March update of the models is up and they are Neutral thru Summer and Fall.





Source
For the love of weather, i hope it stays like that.
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Quoting Gearsts:
Yes and also the enso regions are warming.


Speaking of ENSO,the Mid-March update of the models is up and they are Neutral thru Summer and Fall.





Source
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Quoting auburn:


political Banter is fine in your Blog..but lets keep it out of Dr. Masters Blog shall we..
...I wasn't encouraging it and I haven't participated in any political banter either, so I'm not sure why you're asking me to keep it on my blog.

All I'm saying is political banter is found across the internet, it's not a localized or exclusive WU problem like some try and make it out to be.
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Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:


It will be interesting to see if that warm pool east of Japan continues to extend eastward.
Yes and also the enso regions are warming.
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Quoting Skyepony:

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Quoting Gearsts:
------Negative PDO losing its grip?


It will be interesting to see if that warm pool east of Japan continues to extend eastward.
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night ped see ya in the daylight
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Quoting Skyepony:
Here's a recent cloudsat of the blob off South America.




Same pass catches the storm off the east coast..


Nice. Thanks.
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Going to call it a night. Been awake since 2AM and it wasn't supposed to be that way. OK, Stay Safe -Stay Warm - Sleep Well - See Ya when the big light
is on again.
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Tornado at Barooga New South Wales.
A tornado touches down at Barooga, New South Wales on March 21, 2013. At least 20 people were injured and buildings were damaged.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15940
------Negative PDO losing its grip?
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Not much, I guess. hard to imagine much in the way of moisture in the interior of Egypt. I was out there a few years back, and had the pleasure of catching the Leonid meteor shower while in the desert. It was the most astounding thing I've ever witnessed - no light pollution, no humidity, best stargazing ever.

Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


IR night mode of high dessert clouds i guess what do you see

)
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524. auburn (Mod)
Quoting TomTaylor:
Political banter is found on all blogs, boards, and forums.

Let's not act like this is just a WU problem that just came up in the last few years. I do admire you for staying out of these debates, however.


political Banter is fine in your Blog..but lets keep it out of Dr. Masters Blog shall we..
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523. etxwx
And here's one more story for your bedtime reading....eeek!
Spiders eat bats all the time, scientists reveal
By Charles Choi, LiveScience Contributor / March 18, 2013 via CSMonitor

A small bat (superfamily Rhinolophoidea) entangled in the web of a Nephila pilipes spider at the top of the Cockatoo Hill near Cape Tribulation, Queensland, Australia. The spider pressed its mouth against the dead, wrapped bat, indicating that it was feeding on it. Photo by Carmen Fabro, Cockatoo Hill, Australia

Excerpt: There's only one place in the world to escape bat-catching spiders: Antarctica. These arachnids ensnare and pounce on bats everywhere else in the world, researchers say. Bats rank among the most successful groups of mammals, with the more than 1,200 species of bats comprising about one-fifth of all mammal species. Other than owls, hawks and snakes, bats have few natural enemies.

Still, invertebrates — creatures without backbones — have been known to dine on bats. For instance, giant centipedes in a cave in Venezuela were seen killing and eating bats, and the arachnids known as whip spiders were spotted feeding on dead bats in caves of the Caribbean. Cockroaches have been observed feeding on bat pups that have fallen to the floor of caves.

Accidental deaths of bats in spiderwebs were known as well, but were thought to happen very rarely. Still, spiders are known to occasionally dine on a variety of vertebrates — creatures with backbones. For instance, fishing spiders capture and devour fish and frogs; some species of wolf spiders, huntsman spiders, tarantulas and related spiders have been seen killing and eating frogs and lizards; and tarantulas and comb-footed spiders have apparently fed on snakes and mice. There are also numerous reports of spiders killing other flying vertebrates, snagging birds with large orb webs.


You can get the rest of the gruesome details here if you dare...g'nite and sleep tight!
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522. Skyepony (Mod)
Here's a recent cloudsat of the blob off South America.




Same pass catches the storm off the east coast..

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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
life is short lighten up a little
Yeah it is...
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Quoting evilpenguinshan:
Hey Keep, what are we looking at in Egypt there? (post 511)



IR night mode of high dessert clouds i guess what do you see

)
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Quoting Levi32:


+ freaking 1.

At least other weather forums I've seen actually stay on the topic of meteorology. This place is full of fire-breathing political ideologues now. Half the time I don't even want to post anything given the context it would be placed in.


Yeah any suggestions?
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Quoting Levi32:


freaking 1.

At least other weather forums I've seen actually stay on the topic of meteorology. This place is full of fire-breathing political ideologues now. Half the time I don't even want to post anything given the context it would be placed in.
Political banter is found on all blogs, boards, and forums.

Let's not act like this is just a WU problem that just came up in the last few years. I do admire you for staying out of these debates, however.
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517. Skyepony (Mod)
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Hey Keep, what are we looking at in Egypt there? (post 511)

Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
.
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The vertical instability is not too bad today :-)
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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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