5th warmest winter on record

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:17 PM GMT on March 10, 2006

The winter of 2005-2006 (December, January and February) was the 5th warmest on record in the U.S., according to the National Climatic Data Center. February temperatures were near average for the U.S., with no states much warmer or much cooler than their long-term means. February 2006 was the 45th warmest on record since 1895. However, the record warm January over most of the U.S. helped push the temperatures for the winter as a whole sharply upwards. The global numbers are not tabulated yet, but it is likely that the winter will rank in the top 15 warmest winters globally, since December was the 9th warmest December on record, and January was the 13th warmest. The very cold temperatures seen in Asia during January 2006, plus the emergence of La Ni�a, will keep the global winter from setting any records for warmth.

Figure 1. Global temperatures in January 2006 were the 13th warmest on record, and the warmest on record in the U.S. Note the cool blue dots along the Equator off the Pacific coast of Central America, indicating the presence of La Ni�a cooling of the ocean surface. It is unprecedented in the historical record for a La Ni�a of this intensity to develop so early in the year.

Precipitation for the winter of 2005-2006
Precipitation was much below average in February for much of the U.S., making this February 2006 the 9th driest on record. December-February precipitation was near normal for the U.S. as a whole, but portions of the south-central U.S. and southwest U.S. suffered acute drought conditions. However, the Southwest is poised to receive its biggest storm of the season Saturday, when a half-inch of rain is expected in Phoenix, bringing its amazing string of 143 straight days without rain to an end. Up to foot of snow is expected in the mountains near Phoenix. Not much precipitation is likely for the upcoming months, though, as the persistent La Ni�a pattern should act to keep the jet stream and major storm systems well north of the Southwest.

Figure 2. Precipitation for the winter of 2005-2006 averaged near normal for the country, with the very dry conditions in the south-central and southwest U.S. being balanced by heavy precipitation in the northwestern U.S.

Tropical outlook for March
The oceans in the Northern Hemisphere are near their yearly minima in temperature this week. In the Atlantic, only the Caribbean is above the minimum 26 C threshold for hurricane formation. Wind shear remains high over the entire Atlantic, and is forecast to remain high for at least the next ten days. I'm not anticipating any off-season tropical development in the Atlantic this March. As the sun crosses the Equator on Spring Equinox (March 20), the oceans will slowly begin to heat up again.

Hottest temperature ever recorded
OK, so this isn't meteorology, but yesterday scientists at Sandia National Laboratories announced they had produced a superheated gas with the hottest temperature ever recorded--3.6 billion degrees Fahrenheit, or 2 billion degrees Centigrade. The Sun checks in at a mere 15 million degrees Centigrade.

Jeff Masters

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105. miken62
12:20 PM EST on March 12, 2006
thats too bad ...this is serious stuff and posts during weather situations like what is happening now should be as accurate as possible and no joking around...if some one wants to joke around ..they should start their own joke blog....unfortunately people will die today from this severe weather ...but we should not make fun of that ...

IT COULD BE YOU in harms way !!
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104. RL3AO
5:16 PM GMT on March 12, 2006
what is up the post around 6:08 am by Storm..about a tornado ripping up a town and killing over 300 people...

There is no mention on CNN or Fox about this ...so far ..2 dead ...

why post info that is incorrect and insensitive..

he was being an idiot
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103. miken62
12:09 PM EST on March 12, 2006
what is up the post around 6:08 am by Storm..about a tornado ripping up a town and killing over 300 people...

There is no mention on CNN or Fox about this ...so far ..2 dead ...

why post info that is incorrect and insensitive..

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101. RL3AO
4:25 PM GMT on March 12, 2006
High rish of storms in IL, MO, and far southern IA

and the Twin Cities might pick up 6-12 inches of wet snow
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100. HurricaneMyles
4:12 PM GMT on March 12, 2006
More evidence of a tornado was present in the wind direction. Just north/northwest of the hook echo thier was winds moving towards the radar station I was using. The hook echo itself was moving very quickly in the opposite direction. I'd agree with Colby. We probably had nasty tornado touch down. I hope no one was hurt.
Member Since: January 12, 2006 Posts: 5 Comments: 827
99. ForecasterColby
4:10 PM GMT on March 12, 2006
Yep. Usually a random formation that happens to be hooked doesn't stay very long, though. This tornado has moved across 3 counties in a half hour. It's suprisingly long-lasting, and probably pretty strong or large. Quite a beauty on radar.
98. HurricaneMyles
3:53 PM GMT on March 12, 2006
I knew what you were looking at Colby. I was simply refering to the rotation that was also in the cell. I'm sure you know you can sometimes get clouds that look like hook echos. That one was unmistakably tornadic, though.
Member Since: January 12, 2006 Posts: 5 Comments: 827
97. code1
9:30 AM CST on March 12, 2006
Thank goodness the worst of it looks to be north of Richmond. I went to school at EKU and unless they have done some major renovations to the dorms there, those poor kids have to be terrified. I had a townhouse there, and all residents of Richmond are given weather warning radios from Madison Co. Seems they do have far to many storms for comfort. I remember them being terrifying at times. Give me a cane anytime!
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96. ForecasterColby
3:38 PM GMT on March 12, 2006
Actually, Myles, what we're looking at is the hook on the south end of the storm. A 'hook echo' is a pretty good tornado sign.
95. KatrinaRitaWilmaZeta
7:37 AM PST on March 12, 2006
drop me a post in my blog

but the good news is that the storm is moveing fast
94. DenverMark
3:31 PM GMT on March 12, 2006
Not good if we're having the first tornado already. Please, everyone in Missouri/Iowa/Illinois keep a close eye on things.

Regarding the tunnels, best to do what TrollWrangler said - just ignore it.
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93. HurricaneMyles
3:30 PM GMT on March 12, 2006
Wow! With such massive rotation on radar it definitly looks like a tornado!
Member Since: January 12, 2006 Posts: 5 Comments: 827
92. ForecasterColby
3:30 PM GMT on March 12, 2006
And one last thing - it doesn't matter if you don't care how much it will cost. What matters is whether the people with the resources to build it care. If they'd really pay for themselves, take it to a company. It'd be a) great PR and b) make them money once they've paid for themselves.
91. ForecasterColby
3:28 PM GMT on March 12, 2006
Likely tornado on the ground!

90. ForecasterColby
3:25 PM GMT on March 12, 2006
Cyclone, it doesn't matter what you say or do around here, you have no credibility. If you truly believe in your idea, stop preaching to people who aren't listening and get together a research team. Write a detailed report detailing not only that your tunnels work, but that they would also control midwest storm systems. Then, perhaps, you'll have some crediblity. Right now, I just wish your tunnels would upwell some intelligence in you.
88. ForecasterColby
3:17 PM GMT on March 12, 2006
Now we're planning on a line across the Yucatan Channel? You have any idea how many billions that'd cost?
85. ForecasterColby
3:12 PM GMT on March 12, 2006
Cyclone, your tunnels were supposed to cause upwelling (which they don't) in the Gulf Stream. Cooling the Gulf Stream would cool water along the E Coast, not the GOM.
84. weatherguy03
3:06 PM GMT on March 12, 2006
Now children play nice in Dr. Masters blog..LOL..
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81. ForecasterColby
2:57 PM GMT on March 12, 2006
Cyclone, let's assume for a second your idea did work. You cool the GS to 60. This storm isn't feeding off the GS.
79. ForecasterColby
2:18 PM GMT on March 12, 2006
Cyclone, there are people dying out there. For once in your life, shut up.

This is a terrible event, and all the indicators are showing that it will be even worse over the next 2 nights. We've already got a few sketchy reports of fatalities, tons of property damage, and the SPC just used a high risk on their map, which they've not done in a while.
11:06 AM GMT on March 12, 2006
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76. louastu
6:10 AM GMT on March 12, 2006
High risk of severe weather in Illinois.
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75. louastu
6:02 AM GMT on March 12, 2006
Looks like a tornado train in Southern Illinois.
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74. louastu
5:46 AM GMT on March 12, 2006
As far as I can tell there are 7 counties in 3 states under a tornado warning right now.
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73. louastu
5:41 AM GMT on March 12, 2006
I don't want deadly, or destructive tornadoes. But a violent tornado in an open field would be kind of cool to see.
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71. louastu
5:33 AM GMT on March 12, 2006
Well, moderate thunderstorm here. Just lost sattelite signal.
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70. RL3AO
5:26 AM GMT on March 12, 2006
tomorrow might be a fun day--look how large of an area the risk of moderate storms covers. I would say it covers 3 times the area of todays moderate area--maybe 4 times


I hope that image inserted right
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69. louastu
5:28 AM GMT on March 12, 2006
If these storms hold together, it looks like we could get some interesting weather within a few hours.
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68. louastu
5:20 AM GMT on March 12, 2006
I just noticed that I spelled the word weather, "wheather". Wow, I feel stupid.
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66. louastu
5:19 AM GMT on March 12, 2006
I hope not.
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64. ForecasterColby
5:15 AM GMT on March 12, 2006
NWS is reporting plenty of damage, and a couple homes totally destroyed. Several large and powerful tornadoes on the ground as we speak.
63. louastu
5:09 AM GMT on March 12, 2006
Ya, looks like we might get some good wheather here in Central Indiana tomorrow. Wouldn't mind seeing a tornado as long as it is not killing people, or destroying homes.
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62. ForecasterColby
4:55 AM GMT on March 12, 2006
Quite a few tornadoes today, with a couple still on the ground.
61. louastu
11:18 PM GMT on March 11, 2006
Looks like I am in a moderate risk for tomorrow. We might get 2-5 inches of rain over the next couple of days.
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59. lightning10
6:08 PM GMT on March 11, 2006
We had this insane hail storm 10 minutes ago. It lasted on and off for like 30 minutes. Everytime it looked like it was going to spop the sun came out and it would rain harder. The problem is that my dad was to worried about his Emails to get the camera to take a pitcure :(
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 41 Comments: 630
58. lightning10
4:11 PM GMT on March 11, 2006
Its over friends. RAIN in the phoenix area. Congradulations. I was starting to think they where going to break LA's record of 210 days without rain.

As for where I live. This storm has done a great job of rainin in every other direction besides here. ITs raining to the north and the south here just a few sprinkels. A few hours ago there was a cell that looked very promising. It got near my area then just split in 1/2 and it was raining just a little north and a little south but nothing here. ITs as if there is a little dry pocket over my area that is keeping the rain away.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 41 Comments: 630
57. ForecasterColby
4:11 PM GMT on March 11, 2006
Tremendous svr weather outbreak setting up over the midwest and southeast...*ulp*
56. ForecasterColby
1:20 AM GMT on March 11, 2006
Yeah, I remember when I was tracking Charley (who was bearing down on me, at the time), it took like 10 minutes to get a radar loop...lol.

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Dr. Masters (r) co-founded wunderground in 1995. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters 1986-1990. Co-blogging with him: Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

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