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2015 March

Severe Storms Looming for Early April

The first ten days of April could produce more severe weather than the modest amount racked up so far across the U.S. in 2015, as a major circulation change takes place over North America.

Bob Henson • 6:59 PM GMT on March 31, 2015

Category 5 Super Typhoon Maysak Pounding Micronesia

Extremely dangerous Category 5 Super Typhoon Maysak is pounding the islands of Yap State in Micronesia's Caroline Islands. At 8 am EDT Tuesday the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) put Maysak's top sustained winds at 160 mph, making it one of only three Category 5 storms ever observed in the Western Pacific prior to April. The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) put Maysak's central pressure at 905 mb, the lowest pressure they have estimated for any Western Pacific typhoon occurring so early in the year.

JeffMasters, • 2:30 PM GMT on March 31, 2015

A Record Early Start to Typhoon Season: Maysak the 3rd Typhoon of 2015

It's been a record early start to typhoon season in the Western Pacific, where Category 2 Typhoon Maysak, with top sustained winds of 100 mph as of 8 pm EDT Sunday, is gathering strength in the waters a few hundred miles east of Yap State in the Caroline Islands. Maysak is already the third typhoon of the year, setting a record for the most typhoons so early in the year.

JeffMasters, • 3:22 AM GMT on March 30, 2015

63.5°F in Antarctica: Possible Continental Record; 14 Years of Rain in 1 Day in Chile

The warmest temperature ever recorded on the continent of Antarctica may have occurred on Tuesday, March 24, 2015, when the mercury shot up to 63.5°F (17.5°C) at Argentina's Esperanza Base on the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. Prior to this week's remarkable heat wave, the hottest known temperature in Antarctica was the 62.6°F (17.0°C) recorded at Esperanza Base in October 1976.

Jeff Masters and Bob Henson • 2:58 PM GMT on March 27, 2015

Deadly Tornado Pummels Mobile Home Park in Oklahoma

Two Oklahoma suburbs took the brunt of damage from a rapid-fire severe weather outbreak that developed Wednesday afternoon. At least one person was killed and another critically injured when a tornado and/or accompanying downdraft winds moved across a manufactured home park in Sand Springs, just west of Tulsa.

Bob Henson • 4:03 PM GMT on March 26, 2015

White House Joins CoCoRaHS; A Belated March Arrival of Severe Weather

The White House is getting a CoCoRaHS rain gauge, extending the popular precipitation observing program to the home of the U.S. president. Meanwhile, severe thunderstorms are on tap for the southern Great Plains after an unusually quiet March to date.

Bob Henson • 9:29 PM GMT on March 24, 2015

Here’s the Scoop on New NOAA Severe Weather Risk Categories

Now that spring is upon us, the odds are rising that millions of Americans will find themselves under a “slight,” “moderate,” or even “high” risk of severe weather at some point in the next few months. These terms have been used by NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center (SPC) since 1981 to describe the anticipated likelihood of large hail, damaging winds, and/or tornadoes. Last fall the SPC risk categories underwent their first substantial revision in 33 years.

Bob Henson • 4:35 PM GMT on March 23, 2015

U.S. Spring Flood Forecast: No Widespread Major Flooding Expected

No widespread major flooding is expected this spring in the U.S., NOAA said on Thursday in their annual spring flood risk forecast. Rivers in western New York and eastern New England have the greatest risk of spring flooding because of a heavy snowpack of 3 to 9 inches of snow water equivalent, coupled with the potential for heavy spring rain to fall on the snow and cause a sudden melt-water pulse.

Jeff Masters and Bob Henson • 4:35 PM GMT on March 20, 2015

Earth Has Its 2nd Warmest February and Warmest Northern Hemisphere Winter

February 2015 was the second warmest February since global record keeping began in 1880, said NOAA and NASA. February 2015's near-record warmth continues a trend of very warm months for the planet--2014 was Earth's warmest calendar year on record, the period spanning the Northern Hemisphere winter (December 2014 - February 2015) was the warmest such period on record, and the past twelve months have been the warmest 12-month period in recorded history.

Jeff Masters • 2:42 PM GMT on March 19, 2015

Strongest MJO Event on Record Boosts El Niño Odds

A new all-time record for the strongest Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) event observed since record keeping began in 1974 was set on March 16, 2015. This event began increasing in intensity last week, and aided in the formation of twin tropical cyclones, one on each side of the Equator. The westerly winds these storms brought to the equatorial Pacific will boost the odd that we will see El Niño conditions strengthen and last through the summer.

JeffMasters, • 2:11 PM GMT on March 18, 2015

Cyclone Pam’s Toll Remains Uncertain; Great Plains Roast in Record Winter Heat

Four days after Category 5 Tropical Cyclone Pam unleashed its fury on the island nation of Vanuatu, the full extent of damage and casualties is not yet known. Meanwhile, The hottest late-winter airmass on record across the central Great Plains sent temperatures to absurd values for mid-March.

Bob Henson • 3:14 PM GMT on March 17, 2015

Category 5 Cyclone Pam Catastrophic for Vanuatu; Western U.S. Heat Records Fall

A tropical cyclone catastrophe of nearly unprecedented dimensions is unfolding in the unlucky South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu, as relief teams reach the hardest-hit areas from the Friday the 13th strike by Category 5 Tropical Cyclone Pam. Cyclone Pam is almost certainly the most destructive tropical cyclone in Vanuatu's history--and possibly for the entire South Pacific east of Australia.

Jeff Masters and Bob Henson • 2:13 PM GMT on March 16, 2015

Cyclone Pam Weakens to Category 4; Remembering the Hesston Tornado Outbreak

Tropical Cyclone Pam has weakened slightly to a top-end Category 4 storm with top sustained winds of 155 mph, according to the 2 pm EDT Friday advisory from the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC). Friday also marks the 25th anniversary of one of the worst late-winter tornado outbreaks on record for the central Great Plains.

Jeff Masters and Bob Henson • 11:13 PM GMT on March 13, 2015

Category 5 Tropical Cyclone Pam Makes a Direct Hit on Vanuatu

The South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu is taking an extreme pounding from the 165 mph winds of Category 5 Tropical Cyclone Pam, one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded in the waters east of Australia. The eye of Pam passed directly over several small islands north of the main Vanuatu island of Efate near 4:05 am EDT March 13, making Pam Earth's first landfalling Category 5 tropical cyclone since Super Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines in November 2013.

JeffMasters, • 3:01 PM GMT on March 13, 2015

Category 5 Cyclone Pam Bearing Down on Island Nation of Vanuatu

Residents of the South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu are bracing for the impact of Category 5 Tropical Cyclone Pam, one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded in the waters east of Australia. Pam has rapidly intensified over the past two days and reached top sustained winds of 160 mph as of 2 pm EDT Thursday, making it one of only ten Category 5 storms ever recorded in the basin since satellite records began in 1970.

JeffMasters, • 9:20 PM GMT on March 12, 2015

U.S. Winter 2014-15: Mild and Dry, but Not Everywhere

Despite huge west-to-east differences, the nation’s meteorological winter of 2014-15 (December through February) ended up warmer and drier than average. NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center reported on Wednesday that the contiguous 48 U.S. states saw their 19th mildest winter in records that go back to 1895. Precipitation came in as the 27th lowest on record.

Bob Henson • 11:14 PM GMT on March 11, 2015

Subtropical Storm Cari Forms Near Brazil; South Pacific's Cyclone Pam a Cat 4

A rare subtropical storm, with characteristics of both a tropical and a non-tropical system, has formed in the South Atlantic waters off the coast of Brazil, according to the 8 am EDT March 11, 2015 analysis by the Navy Hydrographic Center in Brazil. The storm has top wind speeds near 45 mph.

Jeff Masters • 4:25 PM GMT on March 11, 2015

Tranquility Reigns across Tornado Alley; Cyclone Pam Rages in Southwest Pacific

Through March 9, the U.S. has racked up only 28 preliminary tornado reports, compared to an average of 95 for the same time span (Jan. 1 to Mar. 9) during the years 2000 – 2014. The year thus far stands out even more for its utter lack of strong thunderstorms. Meanwhile, Cyclone Pam continues to intensify in the southwest Pacific, threatening to become a formidable system.

Bob Henson and Jeff Masters • 7:28 PM GMT on March 10, 2015

Arctic Sea Ice Plunges to Record Low Extent for Late Winter

nstead of easing toward its typical March maximum in coverage, the Arctic’s sea ice appears to be more inclined toward getting a head start on its yearly summer melt-out. As of Sunday, March 8, Arctic sea ice as calculated by Japan’s National Institute of Polar Research extended across 13.65 million square kilometers, more than 450,000 sq km--roughly the size of California--below the record extent for the date, set in 2011.

Bob Henson • 3:37 PM GMT on March 09, 2015

El Niño Conditions Now Official; Cold, Snow Take a Parting Swipe at East

More than a year after the prospect of a 2014–15 El Niño event first surfaced, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center (CPC) issued a long-awaited El Niño Advisory on Thursday. That said, we’re still a long way from a textbook example of El Niño: ocean warming is barely above the standard threshold, and the atmospheric response is not yet fully formed and consistent.

Bob Henson • 4:55 PM GMT on March 06, 2015

The 1969 Hurricane Camille Hurricane Party: It Never Happened

Legend has it that many of the 23 residents of the infamous Richelieu Manor Apartments in Pass Christian, Mississippi who chose to stay for Hurricane Camille's landfall on the night of August 17, 1969, held a hurricane party, in defiance of the Category 5 hurricane's might. But the hurricane party never happened.

Jeff Masters • 1:08 PM GMT on March 04, 2015

Bitter and Balmy: Local Highlights from an Astounding February

This year millions of Americans experienced either the warmest or coldest February for their locations, with records in some cases going back more than 100 years. A number of cities had their coldest average temperature for any month on record—truly stunning in a climate that’s running close to a record-high global air temperature. Meanwhile, February proved to be the warmest winter month ever documented across a huge swath of the West.

Bob Henson • 4:11 PM GMT on March 02, 2015