New Blast of Cold Air Invades Midwest U.S.

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:31 PM GMT on February 26, 2014

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A frigid blast of Arctic air will bring some of the coldest late February temperatures seen in decades to the eastern 2/3 of the U.S. this week, with temperatures 15 - 30° below normal commonplace. The cold air isn't going anywhere fast, and will stick around through early next week. The cold blast is due to an extreme jet stream pattern we have seen before this winter--a sharp ridge of high pressure over California, and a large trough of low pressure over Eastern North America. This upper air pattern was described by the National Weather Service in Buffalo, New York on Tuesday as one that occurs less than once every 30 years in late February. The intense cold is already affecting the Upper Midwest this Wednesday morning. My vote for worst winter weather of the day goes to Central Minnesota at Alexandria, where a temperature of -8°F this morning combined with winds of 14 mph to make a wind chill of -28°. The winds are expected to increase to 25 - 30 mph Wednesday afternoon with higher gusts, creating blizzard conditions. In Chicago, the intense cold is expected to put the December - February average temperature for this winter below 19°, making the winter of 2013 - 2014 the 3rd coldest winter in the Windy City's history. Only the winters of 1978 - 1979 and 1903 - 1904 were colder.


Figure 1. Great Lake ice cover as seen on February 19, 2014, by the MODIS instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite. Ice cover on North America’s Great Lakes reached 88 percent in mid-February 2014—levels not observed since 1994. The average maximum ice extent since 1973 is just over 50 percent. It has surpassed 80 percent just five times in four decades. The lowest average ice extent occurred in 2002, when only 9.5 percent of the lakes froze. Image credit: NASA Earth Observatory.

Rain coming to California
Unlike previous versions of this extreme jet stream pattern, though, the ridge over the Western U.S. will not be very persistent. The ridge of high pressure over California, which brought numerous record high temperatures for the date on Tuesday, will get broken down by a weak low pressure system on Wednesday and Thursday. On Friday and Saturday, a more intense storm system will smash through the ridge, bringing moderate to heavy rain to much of drought-parched California. This storm will then track eastwards, potentially bringing a major snowstorm and destructive ice storm on Monday to Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, and portions of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast U.S.


Figure 2. Departure of temperature from average at 2 meters (6.6') as diagnosed by the GFS model at 00 UTC February 26, 2014. A negative phase of the Arctic Oscillation (AO) created a sharp kink in the jet stream (Figure 3), which allowed cold air to spill southwards out of the Arctic over the Eastern U.S. Compensating warm air flowed northwards into the Arctic underneath ridges of high pressure over Alaska and Europe. Data/image obtained using Climate Reanalyzer™ (http://cci-reanalyzer.org), Climate Change Institute, University of Maine, Orono, Maine.


Figure 3. Winds at a height where the pressure is 250 mb show the axis of the jet stream, seen here at 00 UTC February 26, 2014. A sharp trough of low pressure was present over the Eastern U.S., and unusually strong ridges of high pressure were over the Western U.S. and the North Atlantic. Data/image obtained using Climate Reanalyzer™ (http://cci-reanalyzer.org), Climate Change Institute, University of Maine, Orono, Maine.

Wanted: professionals willing to speak about climate change to local groups
If you are a professional or graduate student with a strong background in climate science, the world needs you to reach out to local audiences at schools, retirement homes, the Chamber of Commerce, etc., and share your expertise. A new initiative by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) and the United Nations Foundation called climatevoices.org is launching a Science Speakers Network this spring, with the goal of bringing scientists and their local communities together for real dialogue on climate science that speaks to citizens’ current and future well-being and responsibility as members of a community and democracy. Materials for context-setting presentations will be offered as will coaching regarding how to begin conversations about climate change with fellow citizens. If you are interested in volunteering for this network, please go to climatevoices.org and create a profile.  Profiles will “go public” when the full web site is launched in April. Once you create a profile, you will be kept up to date on Climate Voices progress including construction of the full web site, availability of presentation materials, webinar coaching, and plans for project launch. For any questions, please contact: Cindy Schmidt (UCAR), cschmidt@ucar.edu. I have my own set of slides I use for such talks that anyone is welcome to borrow from, available at http://www.wunderground.com/hurricane/2013/climatetalk.ppt.

Jeff Masters

Snowy Friday (Beaker)
After a major winter storm in the Twin Cities area, I spent Friday afternoon capturing a glimpse of the beauty left in the aftermath of the storm.
Snowy Friday

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Lenticular clouds are pretty awesome.
They even use them on patches given to high altitude glider pilots.

Quoting 432. MAweatherboy1:
My dad, who is a pilot, took this picture of some lenticular clouds a little ways south of Salt Lake City as he was flying a couple days ago:



Lenticulars are so cool!
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Quoting DonnieBwkGA:
I think strong hurricanes would tear up offshore wind farms instead.

The "study" said you'd need 78,000 of them offshore from New Orleans alone. The average turbine and blades alone costs $200,000. That doesn't include siting (which would be really expensive since you'd need some kind of oil platform thing), support structures (which would have to be pretty stout to withstand surge and wind) and infrastructure. Assuming these things are going to help pay for themselves by generating electricity, you need underwater cable, distribution stations, and high voltage line. Still, let's just stay with the $200,000 figure, that equals $15,600,000,000 (billion) just for New Orleans. There are times that, regardless if it's a good idea, there will never be a budget to build it. I would expect a civil engineer to understand that.
Member Since: October 2, 2004 Posts: 0 Comments: 13078
Quoting 479. DonnieBwkGA:
I think strong hurricanes would tear up offshore wind farms instead.


1. it would depend on the design
2. 75+ mph winds would drive a different design, not a great big windcatcher long blade type, but perhaps a shorter, stubbier version
3. one problem is the capital investment in a fixed base facility waiting on the chance for a hurricane to come thru. wind farms need a steady diet of wind, not a one time event
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Quoting 485. hydrus:
Holy fricken moly..Cal is getting some big numbers...Is Nino here already.?


not yet but that rain in the next 5 days should help with the drought..unfortunately they may have to worry about mud slides..

Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 14406
Quoting 484. ncstorm:
Holy fricken moly..Cal is getting some big numbers...Is Nino here already.?
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Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 14406
Quoting 464. Patrap:
It was Politic's,Religion and Money that the 13 Colonies broke away from.

So........,

Here we be.

: )
The Brits then were broke, so they figued they would pilfer us...Tommy Jefferson and da crew sent dem a lettah...
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Quoting 477. Patrap:
Happy 86th Birthday to Fats Domino

86 and having a cold beer. Beer does get better with age.
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Quoting 469. Grothar:


Anytime, Blue. I'm always ready to help with the technical answers here. :)
Well you have the gift..You were here before the word existed.:)
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Quoting 472. WaterWitch11:


sacramento sometimes gets them


They didn't say where they thought it would be, I assumed it was SoCal. We have seen a few small ones. More likely Up State.
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I think strong hurricanes would tear up offshore wind farms instead.
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Quoting 417. Patrap:
How do we get off Oil?



Ok, not primarily oil related...but big biz the same Link

The flowers blooming now are creeping me out! And the frogs out..end of Feb HERE! Might get freezing over night the next few...but am more worried about a week or month long freeze with spring breaking out already!
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Happy 86th Birthday to Fats Domino

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 420 Comments: 127525
Quoting 471. Some1Has2BtheRookie:


There were reports that west coast tornadoes were a product of the ACME company. That is until they found the real culprit



Hmmmmmmmmmmm, there was an image of "Taz" there. I guess he could not stick around.
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 4737
Quoting 450. barbamz:


La Habanera with English subtitles. Taking place in Puerto Rico (and a bit in Sweden). Have a nice evening, Gro!


Thanks, Barb. I haven't seen that one in more than 40 years. :)
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Quoting 457. PedleyCA:
We have found the enemy and He is us.


Pogo (Earth Day 1971)

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Quoting 453. PedleyCA:


They said we might get an EF0 with these storms in Calif.


sacramento sometimes gets them
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Quoting 460. Grothar:


1851. Since record keeping began. Up to then, they thought it was roadrunners stirring up the dust.




There were reports that west coast tornadoes were a product of the ACME company. That is until they found the real culprit



Modified to see if "Taz" will stick around now.
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 4737
the next storm come soon
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Quoting 461. Bluestorm5:


LOL XD Thanks for the laugh, Gro!


Anytime, Blue. I'm always ready to help with the technical answers here. :)
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Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 420 Comments: 127525
Offshore wind farms could tame hurricanes before they reach land,
Stanford-led study says

Offshore wind farms could tame hurricanes before they reach land, Stanford-led study says
Wind farm could reduce peak hurricane wind speeds by up to 92 mph and decrease storm surge by up to 79 percent
February 26, 2014

Computer simulations by Stanford Professor Mark Z. Jacobson have shown that offshore wind farms with thousands of wind turbines could have sapped the power of three real-life hurricanes, significantly decreasing their winds and accompanying storm surge, and possibly preventing billions of dollars in damages.

For the past 24 years,  Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford, has been developing a complex computer model to study air pollution, energy, weather and climate. A recent application of the model has been to simulate the development of hurricanes. Another has been to determine how much energy wind turbines can extract from global wind currents.

In light of these recent model studies and in the aftermath of hurricanes Sandy and Katrina, he said, it was natural to wonder: what would happen if a hurricane encountered a large array of offshore wind turbines? Would the energy extraction due to the storm spinning the turbines’ blades slow the winds and diminish the hurricane, or would the hurricane destroy the turbines?
...


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Quoting 451. 1900hurricane:

Some of that highlighting appears rather generous.


I had a lot red left in Paintshop and didn't know what to do with it.
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Enjoy the rest of the day after all god made it for you.For god so loved the world he gave his only son that who so ever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life!Good news!
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It was Politic's,Religion and Money that the 13 Colonies broke away from.

So........,

Here we be.

: )
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 420 Comments: 127525
Quoting bjrabbit:


The electric battery/charging system has been in development since the early 70's...over 40 years...with the best minds in science and industry working on the problem.

What is REALLY FUNNY is that all of these folks who spout science have no idea about the physics and chemistry (uh...science) regarding battery/charging technology.

The "green" solution of electric cars and green this and that ignores a lot of failed physics and chemistry to try to make these ideas work.

Going faster than light sounds nice on Startrek and it would be great, but, the physics does not allow it....my point being it is nice to fantasize about green this and that, but, in the end, most of it is just a fantasy due to physics or chemistry.

Hey, I'm all for a cleaner environment, but we've come a long way since the Gary, IN skyline and waters of the pre 70's era. Let's just skip the movement.


True, but racing fueled a lot of the development of the "infernal" :) combustion engine, lots of money wuz/is spent on refinement, way more i would think than electrical car systems
and Zug Island was once considered the "dirtiest square mile on the planet"
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Quoting 460. Grothar:


1851. Since record keeping began. Up to then, they thought it was roadrunners stirring up the dust.




LOL XD Thanks for the laugh, Gro!
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Quoting 448. Bluestorm5:


Since when West Coast is prone to tornadoes ;)


1851. Since record keeping began. Up to then, they thought it was roadrunners stirring up the dust.


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Quoting 455. WaterWitch11:


I think you should add Climate Change to your list

it is so much easier to ignore it than to confront it.
Very true, and unfortunately, accurate .
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Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature,invisible though they are,have been understood and seen through the things he has made.So they are without excuse.Romans 1;20 GOD
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We have found the enemy and He is us.
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Quoting 395. TroutMadness:


interesting point but fossil fuel powered cars have had over 100 years of development

Not all power plants are fossil fueled :)


The electric battery/charging system has been in development since the early 70's...over 40 years...with the best minds in science and industry working on the problem.

What is REALLY FUNNY is that all of these folks who spout science have no idea about the physics and chemistry (uh...science) regarding battery/charging technology.

The "green" solution of electric cars and green this and that ignores a lot of failed physics and chemistry to try to make these ideas work.

Going faster than light sounds nice on Startrek and it would be great, but, the physics does not allow it....my point being it is nice to fantasize about green this and that, but, in the end, most of it is just a fantasy due to physics or chemistry.

Hey, I'm all for a cleaner environment, but we've come a long way since the Gary, IN skyline and waters of the pre 70's era. Let's just skip the movement.
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Quoting 285. TropicalAnalystwx13:

There are three things you're never supposed to talk about with others...

1) Don't talk about politics
2) Don't talk about religion
3) Don't talk about money

People in general are too serious these days.


I think you should add Climate Change to your list

it is so much easier to ignore it than to confront it.
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the next snow and ice storm this weekend
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Quoting 448. Bluestorm5:


Since when West Coast is prone to tornadoes ;)


They said we might get an EF0 with these storms in Calif.
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Quoting 444. hydrus:
they are actually hot when you make soup out of them.
O..I mentioned food...How completely out of the ordinary.:)
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Quoting 446. Grothar:
This map does not mean that tornadoes do not strike elsewhere, only the most prone.


Some of that highlighting appears rather generous.
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Quoting 442. Grothar:


Kommt das von La Habanera? Wow, haven't heard that name in a long time.


La Habanera with English subtitles. Taking place in Puerto Rico (and a bit in Sweden). Have a nice evening, Gro!
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This map was compiled by NOAA designer John Nelson of 60 years of tornado activity in the US.

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Quoting 446. Grothar:
This map does not mean that tornadoes do not strike elsewhere, only the most prone.



Since when West Coast is prone to tornadoes ;)
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"Scepticism is an essential part of scientific endeavour. It demands all claims are treated as unproven until evidence and experience either confirm or falsify them. Denialism, by contrast, is the stubborn and persistent refusal to acknowledge what the evidence shows beyond all reasonable doubt."
Ophelia Benson

See more at: http://phytophactor.fieldofscience.com/#sthash.ph hUGuZU.dpuf
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This map does not mean that tornadoes do not strike elsewhere, only the most prone.

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Quoting 440. TroutMadness:


i wuz thinking more along the lines of total volume of gases produced, not just CO2 the atmosphere surrounding the planet is more or less fixed right? and i calculated the water volume for just the burning of nat gas in 2010 (latest numbers i could find) wuz about equal to Lake Michigan in volume - i think gasoline actually produces more than nat gas


Ok, Sorry, I misunderstood. I'll see what I can dig up. Thanks for the clarification.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 3234
Quoting 432. MAweatherboy1:
My dad, who is a pilot, took this picture of some lenticular clouds a little ways south of Salt Lake City as he was flying a couple days ago:



Lenticulars are so cool!
they are actually hot when you make soup out of them.
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How's it hanging Grothar?
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Quoting 411. barbamz:
European map for tomorrow (oh, already today):




Very last post today. As low "Zarah" - of course with a lot or rain for the British - is entering the stage I was reminded of a famous film song from Swedish Zarah Leander (in German though, and it's from 1937, uuuh), known for her dark voice: The wind has told me a song ...

Translating a bit of the lyrics:
But in the night I'm awake and my soul listens. Heart, do you hear the sound and swoosh in the palm trees? The wind has told me a song. It tells of happiness, unspeakably beautiful. It knows what my heart is missing, for whom it beats and glows. It knows for whom. Come, come, Oh. ...
In the evening I often was at the shore and hoping - what for? ....
-- Of course, for a stormy low, lol.

You see, the song really is weather related. But good night now!




Kommt das von La Habanera? Wow, haven't heard that name in a long time.
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Quoting 421. Patrap:
#418

You should have a fine Crawfish harvest,so,

Maybe yous can do me a favor in return one day my friend.

Please,excuse me, I have Oysters to enjoy on the Veranda....


Have a nice evening.


Geez this is the eatenest weather blog ever..I eat more food due to this blog than when I imbibe the sacrament.
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Quoting Naga5000:


This should help. Link


i wuz thinking more along the lines of total volume of gases produced, not just CO2 the atmosphere surrounding the planet is more or less fixed right? and i calculated the water volume for just the burning of nat gas in 2010 (latest numbers i could find) wuz about equal to Lake Michigan in volume - i think gasoline actually produces more than nat gas
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Feb .26, 2014 1:30 pm ET

Northeast |


- A general area of light snow from West Virginia through Upstate New York to northern New England Thursday.

- Some lake-effect snow will be added into the general area of snow east of Lakes Erie and Ontario.

- Gusty winds across much of the region.

- Highs in the teens from central and northern New York to northern New England.

- Highs in the mid 30s to low 40s across much of the Middle Atlantic region.
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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.