Yangtze Cruise-Ship Disaster: Among the Worst Thunderstorm Tolls on Record?

By: Bob Henson, 3:42 PM GMT on June 03, 2015

A picturesque vacation for hundreds of Chinese tourists turned into a nightmare on June 1, when high winds associated with an intense thunderstorm capsized the Oriental Star cruise ship in 50-foot-deep water on the Yangtze River in Hubei Province, southwest of Wuhan, at around 9:30 pm local time. As of Tuesday afternoon, only 14 people had been rescued from about 450 reportedly on board, most of them retirees on a multiday scenic cruise from Nanjing to Chongqing. Th...


The Amazing Rains of May: Photos and Stats

By: Bob Henson, 2:35 PM GMT on June 02, 2015

Now that May has mercifully drawn to a close, and the south-central states are drying out and cleaning up, we can take full measure of what an incredibly, destructively soggy month it was, especially for Texas and Oklahoma. Both states obliterated their rainfall records for any calendar month going back to 1895. While the rains quickly doused a multiyear drought (see Figure 3 below), the flooding killed at least 31 people, with 6 others missing as of Monday night, a...

Flood Extreme Weather

Updated: 2:47 PM GMT on June 02, 2015

The 2015 Atlantic Hurricane Begins; New CSU, TSR Forecasts Call For a Quiet Season

By: Jeff Masters, 2:34 PM GMT on June 01, 2015

The 2015 Atlantic hurricane season is officially underway. We've already had one early season storm, Tropical Storm Ana; will we have an early June Tropical Storm Bill? There are indications that the second tropical depression of the year has a chance to form late this week in the waters near South Florida or the Bahama Islands on Friday or Saturday. We have warmer than average SSTs in these waters, and the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) is expected to be active in...

Updated: 2:37 PM GMT on June 01, 2015

Andres Becomes the Farthest West Major Hurricane on Record for May in the NE Pacific

By: Jeff Masters, 2:57 AM GMT on June 01, 2015

Hurricane Andres became only the fifth major May hurricane on record in the Northeast Pacific on Sunday, when it intensified into a 125 mph Category 3 storm in the waters about 800 miles southwest of the tip of Mexico's Baja Peninsula. Its unexpected intensification continued Sunday evening, with Andres reaching Category 4 strength with 140 mph winds at 11 pm EDT. According to the database of Eastern Pacific storms maintained by NOAA's Office for Coastal Management,...


Updated: 3:11 AM GMT on June 01, 2015

The Rains of May and the Science of Recurrence Intervals

By: Bob Henson, 3:54 PM GMT on May 30, 2015

As this memorable month sloshes toward its final weekend, rainfall records have continued to accumulate across the Southern Plains. May is already the wettest month on record in the statewide averages for both Oklahoma (14.43” as of 9:30 am CDT May 30, crushing the 10.75” from October 1941) and Texas (7.54” as of May 27, beating out the ominous 6.66” from June 2004). This is a startling feat when you consider that the two states’ combined area is alm...

Flood Extreme Weather

Updated: 10:37 PM GMT on May 30, 2015

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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.

JeffMasters's Recent Photos

Carrot Nose in Danger
Deep Snow in Brookline, MA
Sunset at Fort DeSoto
New Years Day Sunset in Death Valley