U.S. has a cool and very dry March; severe weather outbreak likely today

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:08 PM GMT on April 17, 2013

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It was another relatively quiet month for weather extremes in the U.S. during March 2013, said NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) in their latest State of the Climate report. The month ranked as the 43rd coolest March in the 119-year record for the contiguous U.S., and was the coolest March since 2002. This is in stark contrast to what happened in 2012, when the U.S. had its warmest March on record. Eleven states, mostly in the Southeast, experienced a top-ten coolest March on record in 2013. Remarkably, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, and North Carolina had March 2013 temperatures that were cooler than in January 2013. California, Nevada, and Arizona had a top-ten warmest March. The pattern of warmth in the west and cool conditions in the east was due to the fact that the jet stream was stuck in a large loop that allowed cold air to spill out of Canada into the Southeast U.S., and warm air to flow northward over the southwestern states. We can describe the jet stream behavior using the Arctic Oscillation (AO) Index, which is a measure of pressure patterns across the Arctic. During March 2013, the monthly-averaged AO index reached its most negative March value since records began in 1950.

According to NOAA's U.S. Climate Extremes Index (CEI), which tracks the percentage area of the contiguous U.S. experiencing top-10% and bottom-10% extremes in temperature, precipitation, and drought, the year 2013 has been below average for extremes. The CEI during January - March 2013 was 15%, and on average, about 20% of the contiguous U.S. experiences top-10% extreme weather as defined by the CEI.


Figure 1. Historical temperature ranking for the U.S. for March 2013. Eleven states, mostly in the Southeast, had a top-ten coldest March, and California, Nevada, and Arizona had a top-ten warmest March. Image credit: National Climatic Data Center (NCDC).


Figure 2. Historical precipitation ranking for the U.S. for March 2013. Although only two states had a top-ten driest March--Wyoming and Louisiana--just eight states were wetter than average, making March 2013 the 5th driest March on record for the U.S. as a whole. Image credit: National Climatic Data Center (NCDC).

Fifth driest March on record in the U.S.
Although only two states had a top-ten driest March in 2013--Wyoming and Louisiana--just eight states were wetter than average, making March 2013 the 5th driest March on record for the U.S. as a whole. Thanks to three major winter storms that crossed the Great Plains during the first half of April, there should be a notable improvement in drought conditions over much of the core U.S. drought region when Thursday's Drought Monitor report is issued, though. The most recent report from April 9 showed a big reduction of the area in the worst drought category, "Exceptional", from 5% to 3%, during the first week of April. About 51% of the U.S. is still in moderate or greater drought. According to data from the Rutgers Global Snow Lab, the March snow cover extent for the contiguous U.S. was the 10th largest March snow cover extent in the 47-year period of record. However, snowpack, an important water resource in the West, was below-normal in the Sierra Nevada Mountains as well as the Central and Southern Rockies.


Figure 3. Severe weather outlook for Wednesday, April 17, calls for a "Moderate Risk" of severe weather over much of Oklahoma, and portions of surrounding states. The main threat appears to be large hail, but there may also be a few strong EF-2 and EF-3 tornadoes. You can follow today's severe weather outbreak from our Severe Weather page, and wunderblogger Lee Grenci has a detailed post on today's severe weather threat.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting indianrivguy:
Mornin' Mr. Largo, gang!

Evening Aussie!

Morning Mate!
Morning all :-)
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Good morning, everyone. Evening, Aussie. A warm 73 already and severe weather on the way. We're already under wind advisories with gusts of 26 mph. I need to stake a small tree I planted before I leave for work.

Breakfast's on the sideboard: stuffed French toast with syrup or fresh fruit, bacon or sausage and fresh orange juice. Enjoy!
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Good morning everyone.

Today I'm in the slight risk area(SE MI). My main threat is damaging winds, then tornadoes, then hail in a lesser degree. My tornado threat depends on if skies can clear up some this morning to build more instability. Heavy rainfall is also a threat and a flood watch has been issued.
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7 day for Tampa Bay area.........................
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 37950
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wow they had tornado's already...not going to be a good day in the midwest states..stay safe folks, heed those warnings for your area today
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Quoting indianrivguy:
Mornin' Mr. Largo, gang!

Evening Aussie!
GOOD MORNING
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 37950
Mornin' Mr. Largo, gang!

Evening Aussie!
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HEED LOCAL WARNINGS FOLKS,STAY SAFE TODAY............
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 37950
Good Morning folks!..
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 37950
Squall line over Texas:

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CMC model had been consistent in forecasting a potential tropical storm forming over the eastern Pacific during late next week. However, the recent run of that model is less enthusiastic of that scenario. Other global models are not expecting the development of a pre-season tropical storm. Nevertheless, this serves as a reminder that the Eastern Pacific hurricane season is right around the corner.

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Just got back. No tornadoes, but several picturesque wall clouds on my chase. It was a fun one. I also passed through West today (twice actually, once this morning to chase and once tonight coming back). Even a couple of hours after the blast, the billowing smoke was incredible. Even at night, the smoke was blacker than black. Lucky for me, the SE winds pushed the smoke right over I-35. It smelled awful.
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MESOSCALE DISCUSSION 0514
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
0201 AM CDT THU APR 18 2013

AREAS AFFECTED...ERN OK...MO...NW AR

CONCERNING...TORNADO WATCH 119...120...

VALID 180701Z - 180830Z

THE SEVERE WEATHER THREAT FOR TORNADO WATCH 119...120...CONTINUES.

SUMMARY...A SEVERE THREAT WILL LIKELY CONTINUE FOR SEVERAL MORE
HOURS FROM NERN OK INTO SW MO. THE SEVERE THREAT COULD MOVE INTO
CNTRL MO AFTER 08Z. WIND DAMAGE WILL BE THE PRIMARY THREAT BUT A FEW
TORNADOES COULD ALSO OCCUR.

DISCUSSION...A WELL-DEVELOPED BOWING LINE SEGMENT LOCATED FROM NEAR
JOPLIN MO EXTENDING SWWD INTO NE OK...IS LOCATED ALONG THE WRN EDGE
OF A 50 TO 65 KT LOW-LEVEL JET. THE BOW ECHO IS EXPECTED TO BE
MAINTAINED AS THE LOW-LEVEL JET CONTINUES TO STRENGTHEN OVER THE
NEXT FEW HOURS. ALTHOUGH INSTABILITY IS GENERALLY WEAK ACROSS SW AND
CNTRL MO...SFC DEWPOINTS ARE IN THE MID 60S F AND EFFECTIVE SHEAR IS
ESTIMATED AROUND 50 KT. THIS COMBINED WITH STRONG LOW-LEVEL FLOW AND
A FORWARD SPEED OF THE BOW AROUND 40-45 KT...WILL BE FAVORABLE FOR A
WIND DAMAGE THREAT. A TORNADO THREAT MAY ALSO EXIST ESPECIALLY NEAR
OR TO THE NORTH OF THE BOW APEX.

..BROYLES/HART.. 04/18/2013
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AT 134 AM CDT...A DAMAGING TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR HONEY CREEK STATE
PARK...MOVING NORTHEAST AT 45 MPH. THIS IS A LIFE THREATENING
SITUATION...RADAR CONFIRMS TORNADO DEBRIS IN THE AIR!
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Can`t wait for the start of hurricane season.Thnk God mun is tomorrow.
Quoting Civicane49:
Wet weather is anticipated for my area during the beginning of next week as the front from the west moves into the Hawaiian Islands:



Later all.
That is why I say I love Hawaii it always look that it rains.
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SEVERE WEATHER STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TULSA OK
102 AM CDT THU APR 18 2013

OKC041-097-180615-
/O.CON.KTSA.TO.W.0006.000000T0000Z-130418T0615Z/
DELAWARE OK-MAYES OK-
102 AM CDT THU APR 18 2013

...TORNADO WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 115 AM CDT FOR EASTERN
MAYES AND WESTERN DELAWARE COUNTIES...

AT 101 AM CDT...A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WITH STRONG LOW LEVEL ROTATION
WAS LOCATED NEAR SPAVINAW STATE PARK...MOVING NORTHEAST AT 50 MPH.
THIS STORM PRODUCED A TORNADO IN BROKEN ARROW AT ABOUT 1205 AM...AND
ANOTHER TORNADO IS OCCURRING OR IMMINENT.

SOME LOCATIONS IN OR NEAR THE PATH OF THIS STORM INCLUDE...STRANG...
SPAVINAW STATE PARK...PENSACOLA...SPAVINAW...LANGLEY...CHEROKEE STATE
PARK...CHLOETA...DISNEY LITTLE BLUE STATE PARK AND DISNEY.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

IF YOU ARE NEAR THE PATH OF THIS STORM...TAKE COVER NOW! IF NO
UNDERGROUND SHELTER IS AVAILABLE MOVE TO AN INTERIOR ROOM ON THE
LOWEST FLOOR. MOBILE HOMES AND VEHICLES SHOULD BE ABANDONED FOR MORE
SUBSTANTIAL SHELTER. AVOID WINDOWS!

&&

LAT...LON 3651 9492 3633 9473 3616 9512 3639 9529
3651 9511
TIME...MOT...LOC 0602Z 232DEG 42KT 3636 9512

$$
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Edited to amend my ignorant mistake.
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570. whitewabit (Mod)
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
and ya got a few hrs of trailing rains storms to come


Brother lost power for 1 1/2 hours which equals 6-8 inches of water in his basement ..
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and ya got a few hrs of trailing rains storms to come
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568. whitewabit (Mod)
power outages around Central Illinois is causing flooding of basements as the ground is saturated ..
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SPC has issued a moderate risk for the area stretching from Mississippi to Michigan for later today. Damaging winds and tornadoes appear to be the biggest threats.







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SEL1

URGENT - IMMEDIATE BROADCAST REQUESTED
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH NUMBER 121
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
1250 AM CDT THU APR 18 2013

THE NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER HAS ISSUED A

* SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH FOR PORTIONS OF
NORTHERN AND CENTRAL TEXAS

* EFFECTIVE THIS THURSDAY MORNING FROM 1250 AM UNTIL 700 AM CDT.

* PRIMARY THREATS INCLUDE...
SEVERAL LARGE HAIL EVENTS WITH A FEW VERY LARGE HAIL EVENTS TO 2
INCHES IN DIAMETER POSSIBLE
SEVERAL DAMAGING WIND GUSTS TO 70 MPH POSSIBLE

THE SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH AREA IS APPROXIMATELY ALONG AND 60
STATUTE MILES EAST AND WEST OF A LINE FROM 20 MILES SOUTH
SOUTHEAST OF SAN ANGELO TEXAS TO 45 MILES WEST NORTHWEST OF
SHERMAN TEXAS. FOR A COMPLETE DEPICTION OF THE WATCH SEE THE
ASSOCIATED WATCH OUTLINE UPDATE (WOUS64 KWNS WOU1).

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

REMEMBER...A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH MEANS CONDITIONS ARE
FAVORABLE FOR SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS IN AND CLOSE TO THE WATCH
AREA. PERSONS IN THESE AREAS SHOULD BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR
THREATENING WEATHER CONDITIONS AND LISTEN FOR LATER STATEMENTS
AND POSSIBLE WARNINGS. SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS CAN AND OCCASIONALLY
DO PRODUCE TORNADOES.

&&

OTHER WATCH INFORMATION...CONTINUE...WW 119...WW 120...

DISCUSSION...THUNDERSTORMS ARE INCREASING ALONG A COLD FRONT SURGING
SOUTHEASTWARD INTO WEST CENTRAL TX. THIS ACTIVITY IS EXPECTED TO
SPREAD ACROSS THE WATCH AREA OVERNIGHT. STRONG WINDS ALOFT AND
AMPLE CAPE WILL PROMOTE A RISK OF HAIL AND DAMAGING WINDS IN THE
STRONGER STORMS.

AVIATION...A FEW SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS WITH HAIL SURFACE AND ALOFT
TO 2 INCHES. EXTREME TURBULENCE AND SURFACE WIND GUSTS TO 60
KNOTS. A FEW CUMULONIMBI WITH MAXIMUM TOPS TO 500. MEAN STORM
MOTION VECTOR 27035.


...HART
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The blog is back on.

Severe weather continues for the Great Plains.

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Wet weather is anticipated for my area during the beginning of next week as the front from the west moves into the Hawaiian Islands:



Later all.
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Quoting Tazmanian:



so tell me are you one of them people that suck?


I think you totally missed the point of that post, Taz. See you guys later.
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10200
Last post of night: the pictures that are fake from West explosion is actually a wildfire in Texas from 2008. Look similar to the explosion today so people could've easily make mistake it for today's explosion.
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Quoting MississippiWx:


...A lot of people just suck.



so tell me are you one of them people that suck?
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510 Grothar: So the blog is going off at 11:00 PM tonight for a few hours. Everybody better say what they want now.

Help! I'm being held hostage in a Chinese fortune cookie factory.
Member Since: August 21, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 4860
Nursing home has collapsed with people in it.
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Community Maintenance: The blogs will be undergoing maintenance this evening after 11:00pm Eastern. It may take several hours for the repairs to be complete. We apologize for the inconvenience.
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Nursing home supposedly collapsed in conjunction with the explosion in TX.
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Well Im out for the night..nice day off to track, make graphics and have fun with storms...

4 mins to shutdown...
Gnite
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Quoting MississippiWx:


A lot of people just suck.
Yeah, it's just a world we live in.
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Quoting Tazmanian:



what?


...A lot of people just suck.
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10200
Quoting MississippiWx:


A lot of people just suck.



what?
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Quoting Bluestorm5:
Warning: There are couple of fake pictures from West, Texas explosion going around, especially on Twitter...


A lot of people just suck.
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10200
Warning: There are couple of fake pictures from West, Texas explosion going around, especially on Twitter...
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Quoting HrDelta:


This has not been a good week for the US.




wont it be nic if yellowstone blew up too top off the week even no yellowstone wont blew up in my life time
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Sounds like another anhydrous ammonia tank is on fire. All fire fighters have been told to pull back. We may have another explosion about to take place.
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Quoting Tornado6042008X:


 
Watch out for potential tornadoes. Torcon is a 6 for East-Central Oklahoma.




i think the potential for nados is overe for the night and that torcon of 6 sould be lower too a 3 or 4 for the rest of the night


it now mainy a flash flooding evnt with havey rain thaat is the olny thing you have too watch out for tonight nados ch are be comeing less and less
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Quoting etxwx:
Explosion sounds very bad indeed, thoughts and prayer go out to all involved.

KWTX

Dallas Morning News


This has not been a good week for the US.
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545. etxwx
Explosion sounds very bad indeed, thoughts and prayer go out to all involved.

KWTX

Dallas Morning News
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Community Maintenance: The blogs will be undergoing maintenance this evening after 11:00pm Eastern. It may take several hours for the repairs to be complete. We apologize for the inconvenience.

T-16 MINS
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Quoting etxwx:
For news on the fertilizer plant explosion:
Waco Herald Tribune


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Watch out for potential tornadoes. Torcon is a 6 for East-Central Oklahoma.
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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.