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2013 May

Tornadoes, Floods, and Severe Thunderstorms Continue in the Midwest

It was yet another active day for tornadoes, flooding, and severe thunderstorms in the Midwest on Thursday, with NOAA's Storm Prediction Center logging 16 preliminary tornado reports. Twisters touched down in Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Illinois. The tornadoes missed heavily populated areas for the most part, but seven people were injured in Arkansas in two separate tornadoes, and two other people were hurt by lightning.

JeffMasters, • 2:46 PM GMT on May 31, 2013

Hurricane Barbara Hits Mexico; Severe Weather Outbreak Continues in Midwest

The Eastern Pacific's Hurricane Barbara is still alive as a tropical depression at the edge of the Atlantic's Gulf of Mexico, and has the potential to gain new life as an Atlantic tropical cyclone later today. Barbara made landfall near 4 pm EDT May 29, 2013, on Mexico's Bay of Tehuantepec coast, as a Category 1 hurricane with 75 mph winds. The storm killed two people, and brought heavy rains of 16.02" (407mm) to the state of Chiapas in an 18-hour period.

JeffMasters, • 3:29 PM GMT on May 30, 2013

Barbara Nearing Mexico at Hurricane Strength; Midwest Tornado Outbreak Today

Hurricane warnings are flying for the Pacific coast of Mexico, where Tropical Storm Barbara is rapidly intensifying as it makes landfall. Barbara should be ashore by 10 am PDT, and is expected to intensify to a Category 1 hurricane with 75 mph winds before landfall. Barbara formed on Tuesday night (May 28), an unusually early date for the formation of the Eastern Pacific's second storm of the year. The record earliest second storm of the year occurred just last year, on May 21 (Tropical Storm Bud.)

JeffMasters, • 2:02 PM GMT on May 29, 2013

TD 2-E a heavy rain threat to Mexico; 150th anniversary of only U.S. May hurricane

TD Two-E in the Eastern Pacific, centered about 200 miles west-southwest of the Mexico/Guatemala border, will bring very heavy rains capable of causing dangerous flash floods and mudslides to Mexico's Bay of Tehuantepec area over the next 2 - 3 days. The storm is close enough to the coast that it is unlikely a hurricane can form before landfall.

JeffMasters, • 4:06 PM GMT on May 28, 2013

April 2013: Earth's 13th warmest April; 92E a threat to Mexico and Guatemala

April 2013 was the globe's 13th warmest April since records began in 1880. The year-to-date period of January - April has been the 8th warmest such period on record. April 2013 global land temperatures were the 17th warmest on record, and global ocean temperatures were the 7th warmest on record. The Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent during April 2013 was the 9th largest in the 47-year period of record, and the first above-average April snow cover since 2003.

JeffMasters, • 3:15 PM GMT on May 27, 2013

NOAA, TSR, UKMET, PSU, WSI, and WU Community Predict Active Atlantic Hurricane Season

NOAA forecasts an above-normal and possibly very active Atlantic hurricane season in 2013 in their May 23 outlook. They give a 70% chance of an above-normal season, a 25% chance of an near-normal season, and 5% chance of a below-normal season. They call for 16.5 named storms, 9 hurricanes, 4.5 major hurricanes, and an ACE index 162% of normal. This is well above the 1981 - 2010 average of 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes.

JeffMasters, • 9:11 PM GMT on May 24, 2013

Tornadoes and Climate Change: Huge Stakes, Huge Unknowns

We currently do not know how tornadoes and severe thunderstorms may be changing due to climate change, nor is there hope that we will be able to do so in the foreseeable future. It does not appear that there has been an increase in U.S. tornadoes stronger than EF-0 in recent decades, but climate change appears to be causing more extreme years--both high and low--of late. We may see an increase in the number of severe thunderstorms over the U.S. by late this century.

JeffMasters, • 4:05 PM GMT on May 23, 2013

Moore Tornado an EF-5; $2 Billion Damage Estimate: 3rd Costliest Tornado in History

The Moore, Oklahoma tornado of May 20, 2013 is now ranked an EF-5, making it one of only 59 U.S. tornadoes to achieve that distinction since record keeping began in 1950. This morning, the Oklahoma Insurance Department said the preliminary tornado damage estimate could top $2 billion. This would make the 2013 Moore tornado the 2nd most expensive tornado in history.

JeffMasters, • 3:22 PM GMT on May 22, 2013

Violent EF-5 Tornado Causes Catastrophic Damage in Moore, Oklahoma

A massive and violent tornado at least a mile wide smashed through Moore, Oklahoma near 3 pm CDT Monday, causing catastrophic damage along a 22-mile long path. The National Weather Service in Norman, Oklahoma has rated the tornado at least an EF-4 (166 - 200 mph winds), and detailed damage surveys may upgrade this rating to the top-end EF-5 level in the coming days. Damage was extreme and covered a huge area, and many buildings swept away down to their foundations.

JeffMasters, • 4:00 PM GMT on May 21, 2013

Violent tornado devastates Moore, Oklahoma

A massive and violent tornado at least a mile wide smashed through Moore, Oklahoma near 3 pm CDT Monday, causing catastrophic damage along a 20-mile long path. The National Weather Service in Norman, Oklahoma has rated the tornado at least an EF-4 (166 - 200 mph winds), and detailed damage surveys may upgrade this rating to the top-end EF-5 level in the coming days. Damage was extreme and covered a huge area, and many buildings swept away down to their foundations. T

JeffMasters, • 12:48 AM GMT on May 21, 2013

Tornadoes Slam 5-State Area, Killing Two; Outbreak Continues Today

The Midwest U.S. is under the gun again today, as a potent storm system that spawned a preliminary count of 24 tornadoes in five states on Sunday reloads and prepares to dish out another afternoon and evening of atmospheric mayhem. Sunday's tornadoes swept through Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, and Illinois, with Oklahoma bearing the brunt of the assault. The outbreak's only deadly tornado hit Shawnee, Oklahoma, killing one person.

JeffMasters, • 1:29 PM GMT on May 20, 2013

U.S. has its 23rd coolest April; 16 tornadoes confirmed from Texas outbreak

t was an unusually cool April over much of the U.S. during April 2013. It was the coolest April since 1997, and ranked as the 23rd coolest April in the 119-year record for the contiguous U.S., putting the month in the coldest 20% of all Aprils on record. North Dakota had its coldest April on record, and six additional states--South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Minnesota, and Wisconsin--had top-ten coldest Aprils on record. No state recorded a top-ten warmest April.

JeffMasters, • 2:29 PM GMT on May 17, 2013

Study: 97% Agreement on Manmade Global Warming

The scientific agreement that climate change is happening, and that it's caused by human activity, is significant and growing, according to a new study published Thursday. The research, which is the most comprehensive analysis of climate research to date, found that 97.1% of the studies published between 1991 to 2011 that expressed a position on manmade climate change agreed that it was happening, and that it was due to human activity.

angelafritz • 7:36 PM GMT on May 16, 2013

EF-4 tornado kills 6 in Texas; Mahasen makes landfall in Bangladesh, killing 10

After going twelve months with a record-low tornado death toll of just seven people, last night we received a jolting reminder that tornadoes typically kill a lot more people than that in the U.S. A deadly tornado swept through Granbury, Texas near 8 pm CDT, killing six and injuring up to 100. Preliminary figures indicate that a total ten tornadoes touched down in Texas last night.

JeffMasters, • 3:34 PM GMT on May 16, 2013

Extreme Weather Whiplash: 106° in Iowa on the Heels of Record May Snows

A ferocious heat wave unprecedented in intensity for so early in the year sent temperatures soaring as high as 108° in the Midwest on Tuesday. Just two weeks ago, the deepest snowfall ever measured during any May of record buried a wide swath from Arkansas to Minnesota. And how's this for a definition of "Weather Whiplash": Sioux City, Iowa had their first-ever snowfall in the month of May on May 1 (1.4"), but hit an astonishing 106° yesterday.

JeffMasters, • 5:48 PM GMT on May 15, 2013

Mahasen not Strengthening; Eastern Pacific's First Tropical Depression Forming

Tropical Cyclone Mahasen in the Bay of Bengal continues to show little change as it steams northeastward at 14 mph towards the Bangladesh coast just north of the border with Myanmar. Though the storm is no longer expected to reach hurricane strength, Mahasen's storm surge and heavy rains represent a significant threat to people living in low-lying areas along the Bangladesh and Myanmar coasts. The greatest storm surge will occur in northern Myanmar.

JeffMasters, • 1:34 PM GMT on May 15, 2013

Little Change to Tropical Storm Mahasen; First Eastern Pacific Tropical Disturbance

Tropical Cyclone Mahasen in the Bay of Bengal continues to show little change, and the storm is running out of time to undergo rapid intensification into a dangerous major hurricane. The 10 am EDT Tuesday advisory from the Joint Typhoon Warning Center put Mahasen's top sustained winds at 50 mph, with a motion northeast at 8 mph towards Bangladesh. Satellite loops show that Mahasen has been struggling with wind shear over the past day.

JeffMasters, • 2:23 PM GMT on May 14, 2013

Bay of Bengal Tropical Storm Mahasen remains a dangerous threat

Fifteen of the twenty deadliest tropical cyclones in world history have been Bay of Bengal storms that have hit Bangladesh, India, or Myanmar. That's why hurricane forecasters are watching Tropical Cyclone Mahasen a little nervously today. Even though there has been little change to the 55 mph tropical storm over the past two days, the storm remains a potential threat to undergo rapid intensification into a dangerous major hurricane.

JeffMasters, • 2:39 PM GMT on May 13, 2013

Dangerous Cyclone Mahasen gathering strength in the Bay of Bengal

Dangerous Tropical Cyclone Mahasen is gathering strength over the Indian Ocean's Bay of Bengal, and is a potential major threat to Bangladesh and Myanmar. The 11 am EDT Saturday advisory put Mahasen's top sustained winds at 55 mph, with a motion northwest at 19 mph into the center of the Bay of Bengal. Satellite loops show that Mahasen has a large area of intense thunderstorms with very cold cloud tops that reach high into the atmosphere. The cloud pattern is not well-organized.

JeffMasters, • 4:25 PM GMT on May 11, 2013

Double Trouble: twin tropical cyclones spin up in the Indian Ocean

There's double trouble in the Indian Ocean today, with a pair of counter-rotating tropical cyclones spinning away on either side of the Equator. In the Southern Hemisphere, we have Tropical Cyclone Jamala. In the Northern Hemisphere, it's Tropical Cyclone 01B, a tropical storm with 40 mph winds that is dumping heavy rains over western Sumatra. This storm much larger and far more dangerous than its Southern Hemisphere twin brother.

JeffMasters, • 3:27 PM GMT on May 10, 2013

Tornado drought: only 3 U.S. tornadoes during May's first week

With just three tornadoes during the period May 1 - 7, 2013 has had the third-fewest U.S. tornadoes during the first week of May since record keeping began in 1950. The only year with fewer tornadoes during the first week of May were 1970 (zero) and 1952 (two.) During the ten year period 2003 - 2012, the U.S. averaged 73 tornadoes during the first week of May, with a high of 239 during May 1 - 7, 2003.

JeffMasters, • 3:55 PM GMT on May 08, 2013

Survey says: 97% of climate scientists agree that humans cause global warming

You're invited to participate in an anonymous 10-minute survey where you will be reading the abstracts (summary) of ten randomly selected technical papers on Earth's climate published between 1991 and 2011. After reading each abstract, you will be asked to rate the level of endorsement within the abstract for the proposition that human activity (i.e., anthropogenic greenhouse gases) is causing global warming.

JeffMasters, • 4:14 PM GMT on May 07, 2013

Extreme Drought to Flood in Georgia: Weather Whiplash Strikes Again

The remarkable storm that brought record-breaking May snows and cold to the Midwest last week continues to spin over the Southeast U.S. The storm is unleashing flooding rains, bringing a case of "Weather Whiplash" to Georgia: flooding where extreme drought had existed just a few months ago. On Sunday, the storm dumped 3.4" of rain on Atlanta, Georgia--that city's sixth heaviest May calendar day rain storm since record keeping began in 1878.

JeffMasters, • 3:57 PM GMT on May 06, 2013

Fires, Floods, and Heavy Snow: an Extreme May Weather Situation

A highly unusual jet stream pattern is bringing a bizarre combination of heavy May snows, flooding, extreme fire danger, and well below average severe thunderstorm activity to the U.S. A strong "blocking" high pressure system has set up over Greenland, blocking the normal west-to-east progression of weather systems. The blocking high has forced an unusually sharp southwards dip in the jet stream over the Central U.S., where all-time May snowfall and cold temperature records are being set.

JeffMasters, • 3:23 PM GMT on May 03, 2013

Historic May snows hit Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa

A rare and historic May snowstorm continues to pelt Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin with snowfall amounts unprecedented in the historical record for the month of May. The storm brought 15.5" of snow to Owatonna, Minnesota, about 50 miles south of Minneapolis. This is (unofficially) the largest May snowstorm in state history, surpassing the 3-day total of a 15" snowstorm at Sandy Lake Dam/Libby. The 14.7" of snow that has fallen at Baldwin, Wisconsin is just shy of Wisconsin's May state record snowfall of 15.4".

JeffMasters, • 1:37 PM GMT on May 02, 2013

Rare May snowstorm bringing heavy snows from Colorado to Wisconsin

Winter Storm Achilles is expected to bring 6 - 9" of snow to Minneapolis by Thursday morning. Snowfall rates as high as 1 - 3" per hour may occur in snow bands in East Central Minnesota this afternoon, and an 8 - 10" swath of snowfall is expected from South Central Minnesota into East Central Minnesota and West Central Wisconsin. With ratios of snow to liquid water an exceptional 5:1 or even 4:1 (normal is 10:1), the wet, heavy snow will be capable of downing power lines and tree limbs.

JeffMasters, • 2:42 PM GMT on May 01, 2013