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2014 May

Six Key Questions for the 2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season

The Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1. When will the first "Invest", tropical depression, and named storm of the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season form? We have a chance of all three of these events occurring in the Gulf of Mexico during the first week of hurricane season, though the models are currently hazy about this.

JeffMasters, • 3:18 PM GMT on May 30, 2014

Global Tropical Cyclones Shifting Poleward as the Climate Warms

Over the past 30 years, the location where tropical cyclones reach their maximum intensity has been shifting toward the poles in both the northern and southern hemispheres at a rate of about 35 miles per decade, according to a May 2014 study. "Historical intensity estimates can be very inconsistent over time, but the location where a tropical cyclone reaches its maximum intensity is a more reliable value and less likely to be influenced by data discrepancies or uncertainties," said NOAA/University of Wisconsin lead author Jim Kossin.

JeffMasters, • 2:46 PM GMT on May 28, 2014

Amanda Peaks as Strongest May Eastern Pacific Hurricane on Record: 155 mph Winds

The Eastern Pacific's first named storm of 2014, Amanda, put on an impressive performance of rapid intensification over the Memorial Day weekend, becoming the strongest May Eastern Pacific hurricane ever recorded on Sunday. Amanda peaked as a top-end Category 4 hurricane with 155 mph winds at 15 UTC (10 am EST) May 25, beating the previous May record holder, Hurricane Adolph of 2001, which reached a peak intensity of 145 mph on May 29th of that year.

JeffMasters, • 2:42 PM GMT on May 27, 2014

Tropical Storm Amanda Forms in the Eastern Pacific; Not a Threat to Land

The season's first named storm of 2014, Tropical Storm Amanda, has formed in the Eastern Pacific. Amanda is over 600 miles southeast of Manzanillo, Mexico, and is not a threat to any land areas. The arrival date of May 23 for season's first Eastern Pacific tropical storm is a bit early, compared to climatology. Usually, the first tropical storm of the season arrives on June 10, and the first hurricane on June 26.

JeffMasters, • 3:26 PM GMT on May 23, 2014

NOAA Predicts a Quiet Atlantic Hurricane Season: 8 - 13 Named Storms

NOAA's 2014 hurricane season prediction calls for a 50% chance of a below-normal season, a 40% chance of an near-normal season, and only a 10% chance of an above-normal season. They predict a 70% chance that there will be 8 - 13 named storms, 3 - 6 hurricanes, and 1 - 2 major hurricanes, with an Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) 40% - 100% of the median. If we take the midpoint of these numbers, NOAA is calling for 10.5 named storms, 4.5 hurricanes, 1.5 major hurricanes, and an ACE index 70% of normal. This is below the 1981 - 2010 average of 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes.

JeffMasters, • 4:46 PM GMT on May 22, 2014

April 2014 Tied for Earth's Warmest April on Record

April 2014 tied with April 2010 as Earth's warmest April since records began in 1880, said NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) today, making April the first month since November 2013 to set a global monthly temperature record. NASA rated April 2014 as the 2nd warmest April on record; global land temperatures were the 3rd warmest on record, as were global ocean temperatures. The year-to-date January - April period has been the 6th warmest on record for the globe.

JeffMasters, • 3:21 PM GMT on May 20, 2014

Extreme Floods in Bosnia and Serbia Kill at Least 38

Torrential rains on May 14 - 15 in Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina have caused extreme flooding that has killed at least 38 people, with the death toll expected to rise once flooding recedes and areas cut off from help are reached. Extratropical Storm Yvette, a strong and slow-moving upper-level low pressure that cut off from the jet stream, lingered over the region for two days, pulling up copious amounts of moisture from the Mediterranean Sea and generating torrential rains. At least 500,000 of Bosnia's four million people have been evacuated or have left their homes.

JeffMasters, • 3:19 PM GMT on May 19, 2014

Record May Heat and Wildfires Continue in California; Extreme Flooding in Serbia

More record May heat seared Southern California on Thursday, and fierce Santa Ana winds continued to fan nine wildfires in San Diego County. The fires had destroyed at least eight houses, an 18-unit condominium complex and two businesses and burned more than 15 square miles by Thursday evening, causing more than $20 million in damage. Los Angeles Airport hit 97° on Thursday, which is tied for the hottest May temperature on record.

JeffMasters, • 2:13 PM GMT on May 16, 2014

Record May Heat, Drought, and Fires Scorch California

Record May heat sent temperatures soaring above 100° in much of Southern California on Wednesday, and fierce Santa Ana winds fanned fires that scorched at least 9,000 acres in San Diego County, forcing thousands to evacuate. For the second consecutive day, the Los Angeles Airport set a record for the hottest May temperature since record keeping began in 1944. Wednesday's 96° beat the record set on Tuesday of 93°. More record heat is forecast on Thursday, and hot offshore Santa Ana winds will bring extreme fire danger.

JeffMasters, • 2:21 PM GMT on May 15, 2014

Slow-Motion Collapse of West Antarctic Glaciers is Unstoppable, 2 New Studies Say

Human-caused global warming has set in motion an unstoppable slow-motion collapse of the glaciers in West Antarctica of massive scale and power, said scientists at a NASA press conference and press release on Monday. The scientists analyzed 19 years of satellite data to show that the fast-melting glaciers that drain into West Antarctica's Amundsen Sea had passed a point of no return. The glaciers contain enough ice to raise global sea level by 4 feet (1.2 meters) in a few hundred years at their current rate of melting.

JeffMasters, • 6:01 PM GMT on May 13, 2014

Ocean Temperatures Reach El Niño Threshold; El Niño Odds Rise Above 65%

For the first time since the fall of 2012, weekly-averaged sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the equatorial Pacific have reached the threshold needed for an El Niño event to be declared. By definition, an El Niño episode occurs when SSTs are at least +0.5°C from average for three consecutive months in the region 120°W - 170°W, 5°S - 5°N (called the Niño 3.4 region.) The weekly ENSO update issued by NOAA on May 12, 2014, put ocean temperatures for the past seven days in this Niño 3.4 region at +0.5°C from average.

JeffMasters, • 4:01 PM GMT on May 12, 2014

Super Typhoon Haiyan Storm Surge Survey Finds High Water Marks 46 Feet High

Category 5 Super Typhoon Haiyan pushed a massive storm surge of up to 23 feet (7 meters) into Tacloban, Philippines, newly-published storm surge survey results reveal. At Haiyan's initial landfall point on the east coast of Samar Island, massive waves on top of the storm surge crashed against the coast, creating high water marks an astonishing 46 feet (14.1 meters) above mean sea level--some of the highest high-water marks ever recorded from a tropical cyclone.

JeffMasters, • 3:47 PM GMT on May 08, 2014

Climate Change Moves Firmly Into the Present: Blockbuster National Climate Assessment

Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present,” begins a new 1,000+ page report on U.S. climate released May 6. The National Climate Assessment, issued every four years by NOAA, is an effort by more than 300 U.S. scientists to assess how the climate is changing in the U.S. The report lists hotter heat waves, more intense droughts, coastal inundation due to rising seas, heavier downpours, melting of glaciers and permafrost, bigger wildfires, worsening air pollution, stronger storms, increased diseases transmitted by insects, food, and water, and threats to mental health, as being of particular concern for Americans.

JeffMasters, • 2:02 PM GMT on May 06, 2014

April 27 - 30 Severe Weather Outbreak: 39 Dead, $1 Billion+ in Damage

The deadly and devastating U.S. severe weather outbreak of April 27 - 30, 2014, has finally drawn to a close. The death toll from nature’s 4-day rampage of deadly tornadoes, extreme flooding, and damaging severe thunderstorms has killed at least 39 people, and will end up costing more than $1 billion, according to disaster expert Steve Bowen of Aon Benfield. NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center (SPC) lists 133 preliminary tornadoes over the four days in 14 states; damage surveys are on-going, and 38 of these tornadoes had been confirmed as of noon on May 1.

JeffMasters, • 5:24 PM GMT on May 01, 2014