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2016 May

Haboob, Sandstorm, Dirt Storm? The Answer’s Blowing in the Texas Wind

The terms used to describe wind are derived from sources around the world, although the name of one wind-related phenomenon, the haboob, has triggered ire, as illustrated when a haboob struck Lubbock, Texas, on Sunday. Elsewhere in Texas, deadly floods may be exacerbated later this week by a new round of heavy rain.

Bob Henson • 3:02 PM GMT on May 31, 2016

Bonnie Dies; Rampaging Flash Floods Kill 4 in Germany

Tropical Depression Bonnie was declared post-tropical by NHC at 11 am EDT Monday, but the remains of Bonnie will continue to bring additional rainfall of 1 - 3" to eastern South Carolina, eastern North Carolina, and southeast Virginia through Wednesday.

Jeff Masters • 4:10 PM GMT on May 30, 2016

Tropical Depression Bonnie Makes Landfall Near Charleston, SC

The center of Tropical Depression Bonnie made landfall on the coast of South Carolina just east of Charleston at 8:30 am EDT Sunday morning. At the time, Bonnie had top winds of 35 mph. On Saturday night, Bonnie reached peak intensity with 45 mph winds as the center of the storm lingered over the warm waters of the Gulf Stream.

Jeff Masters • 3:28 PM GMT on May 29, 2016

TD 2 Expected to Become Tropical Storm Bonnie as it Crosses the Gulf Stream

Tropical Storm Warnings continue for the coast of South Carolina as Tropical Depression Two chugs northwest at 13 mph towards the Southeast U.S. coast. Radar imagery from Charleston, South Carolina showed heavy rains from TD 2 had reached the coast late Saturday morning, and heavy rains will affect most of the coast of South Carolina by late Saturday afternoon.

Jeff Masters • 3:27 PM GMT on May 28, 2016

Tropical Storm Warnings for South Carolina as Tropical Depression Two Forms

Tropical Storm Warnings are flying for the coast of South Carolina as newly-formed Tropical Depression Two moves west-northwest at 12 mph towards the Southeast U.S. coast. An Air Force hurricane hunter aircraft found top sustained winds of 35 mph in a small region near the storm's center on Friday afternoon.

Jeff Masters • 9:39 PM GMT on May 27, 2016

NOAA Calls for Near-Average 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season; Other Groups Go Bigger

NOAA's annual Atlantic hurricane season forecast call for a 70 percent likelihood of 10 - 16 named storms, 4 - 8 hurricanes, and 1 - 4 major hurricanes. If we take the midpoint of these ranges, NOAA is calling for 13 named storms, 6 hurricane, and 2.5 major hurricanes--close to the 1981-2010 seasonal averages of 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes.

Jeff Masters and Bob Henson • 6:41 PM GMT on May 27, 2016

Tropical/Subtropical Depression Could Form Today in Northwest Atlantic

Formation of a tropical or subtropical depression appears imminent on Friday or Saturday in the waters between the Bahamas and Bermuda, and the system could approach the southeast U.S. over the Memorial Day weekend, potentially bringing heavy rain to the Carolina coast. Meanwhile, torrential rains of more than 10" plastered parts of Texas from Thursday into Friday, prompting high-water rescues.

Jeff Masters and Bob Henson • 3:50 PM GMT on May 27, 2016

Tropical/Subtropical Depression Likely off SE US Coast; Tornadoes Still Raking Kansas

Showers and thunderstorms have increased and grown more organized in association with an area of low pressure that has formed between the Bahamas and Bermuda. This low appears increasingly likely to develop into a tropical or subtropical depression as it moves west-northwest or northwest towards the Southeast U.S. coast over the next few days. Should it become a named storm, it would be called Bonnie. Meanwhile, more tornadic storms are possible over the Central and Southern Plains on Thursday following a very long-lived tornado in central Kansas on Wednesday.

Jeff Masters and Bob Henson • 3:51 PM GMT on May 26, 2016

Odds of a Weekend Tropical Depression Rise; Dodge City Dodges Multiple Tornadoes

An area of low pressure a few hundred miles north of the Bahama Islands (Invest 91L) has the potential to develop into a tropical depression as it moves northwest towards the Southeast U.S. coast over the weekend.

Jeff Masters and Bob Henson • 3:36 PM GMT on May 25, 2016

A Memorial Day Weekend Tropical System For the Southeast U.S.?

We're fast approaching the official June 1 start of the Atlantic hurricane season, and we already have an area of concern to watch for possible genesis of a tropical depression during the coming Memorial Day weekend. An area of low pressure is expected to form on Friday near to or a few hundred miles north of the Bahama Islands, and this low has the potential for tropical development as it moves northwest towards the Southeast U.S. coast.

Jeff Masters • 4:13 PM GMT on May 24, 2016

A Week of Storminess on the Southern Plains Dryline

With climatology in the driver’s seat, a busy week of potentially tornadic weather is taking shape across the Southern Plains. Supercell thunderstorms will form each afternoon and evening across portions of a dryline extending from western Kansas to western Texas. Storms are likely to congeal each night into one or more slow-moving complexes that will dump heavy rain and heighten the risk of flooding in localized areas.

Bob Henson • 4:26 PM GMT on May 23, 2016

Arctic Sea Ice Goes Far Beyond Record Low Extent for May

The sea ice that coats the Arctic Ocean each winter and erodes each summer is going through its most depleted spring since modern observing began. Satellite-based analyses show that the extent of sea ice is the lowest for any mid-May since observations began in 1979. The premature melt is associated with weeks of record-smashing warm temperatures across the Arctic.

Bob Henson • 4:01 PM GMT on May 20, 2016

April 2016: Earth's 12th Consecutive Warmest Month on Record

April 2016 was by far the planet's warmest April since record keeping began in 1880, according to NOAA and NASA. The seven warmest months in NASA's database, relative to average, have been the past seven months (with data going back to 1880).

Jeff Masters and Bob Henson • 9:42 PM GMT on May 18, 2016

Deadly Rains From Tropical Cyclone One Kill 34 in Sri Lanka, Leave 134 Missing

One of the deadliest weather-related disaster of 2016 is unfolding in Sri Lanka, where heavy rains from Tropical Cyclone One have triggered flash floods and landslides that have killed at least 34 people and left 134 missing. The rains began on Monday, when an area of low pressure that formed on the leading edge of the advancing monsoon began to consolidate just to the southeast of Sri Lanka.

Jeff Masters • 3:28 PM GMT on May 18, 2016

An Oklahoma Tornado Rewrites the Rule Book

Overshadowed by the mighty EF4 and EF3 tornadoes that tore across south-central Oklahoma last Monday, May 9, another less damaging twister--from the same thunderstorm--has left seasoned scientists both astonished and fascinated, breaking a long-held rule about where tornadoes form within a supercell thunderstorm. More tornadoes are possible on Monday across parts of Oklahoma and Texas.

Bob Henson • 5:17 PM GMT on May 16, 2016

A Quiet Start to the Eastern Pacific Hurricane and Northwest Pacific Typhoon Seasons

The 2016 Eastern Pacific hurricane season officially begins on Sunday, May 15, and should be quieter than the crazy 2015 season, thanks to cooler sea surface temperatures (SSTs) and less favorable upper-level winds brought on by what appears to be an emerging La Niña event. Mexico's Servicio Meteorológico Nacional (SMN), predicts 17 named storms, 9 hurricanes, and 4 major hurricanes in the Eastern Pacific in 2016.

Jeff Masters • 3:13 PM GMT on May 13, 2016

April Keeps the Warm, Wet U.S. Trend Going for 2016

Although the warmth was notched down a bit from the year’s first quarter, April was still much milder and moister than average, according to the monthly U.S. climate roundup. Daily record highs are far outpacing record lows for the 48 contiguous states, while Alaska is having its warmest year on record by far.

Bob Henson • 6:58 PM GMT on May 11, 2016

Tornadoes Kill Two in Oklahoma; Severe Weather Outbreak in Ohio Valley on Tuesday

A significant tornado outbreak hit the Plains on Monday night, killing two people in Oklahoma and causing significant damage in several towns, including Wynnewood, Oklahoma. NOAA's Storm Prediction Center (SPC) logged 22 preliminary reports of tornadoes, with touchdowns occurring in Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa, Arkansas, Illinois, and Nebraska. There were more than 90 reports of large hail at least 1" in diameter.

Jeff Masters • 3:10 PM GMT on May 10, 2016

Six U.S. Billion-Dollar Severe Weather Disasters in 2016; More Severe Weather Today

Two billion-dollar severe weather disasters hit the U.S. in April, bringing the total number of U.S. billion-dollar severe weather disasters in 2016 so far to six--tied for third most on record.

Bob Henson and Jeff Masters • 3:40 PM GMT on May 09, 2016

Hurricane Intensity Forecast Models Are Improving

The models used to predict hurricane intensity have steadily improved over the past six years, and this improvement may herald the arrival of significantly improved hurricane intensity forecasts in the coming years. A good portion of this credit goes to the Hurricane Forecast Improvement Project (HFIP), a ten-year project that began in 2009 with the objective of reducing hurricane track and intensity errors by 20% over five years (by 2014) and by 50% over ten years (by 2019.)

Jeff Masters and Bob Henson • 4:30 PM GMT on May 06, 2016

The Fort McMurray Disaster: Getting Beyond “Is It Climate Change?”

In just two days, the fire engulfing the Canadian city of Fort McMurray in Alberta has seared itself into the North American consciousness. As of Thursday morning, May 5, more than 1,600 structures had been destroyed and 7,500 hectares (18,500 acres) burned as the fire continued to burn out of control. The Fort McMurray fire arrived months ahead of when summer wildfire typically races through the boreal forests of northern Alberta. It’s not rocket science to connect the dots between the preconditions for the Fort McMurray fire and large-scale, long-term trends.

Bob Henson and Jeff Masters • 3:49 PM GMT on May 05, 2016

Brutal Heat Intensifies Across India; Generous Monsoon on the Way?

There are signs of a wetter-than-average monsoon in the cards for India this year, but until then, millions of residents will have to deal with torrid pre-monsoon heat assaulting much of South and Southeast Asia this spring. More than 300 fatalities have been reported in the states of Odisha and Telangana. On May 1 and 2, at least 12 Indian locations broke or tied their all-time highest May temperatures, after a national record high for April was set on April 24.

Bob Henson • 3:24 PM GMT on May 04, 2016

The Life-Saving Bonus from Greenhouse Gas Emission Cuts: Better Air Quality

In honor of Air Quality Awareness Week, we take a look at the phenomenal benefits in public health that can result from cutting greenhouse gas emissions, potentially saving hundreds of thousands of lives. In the year 2013, outdoor air pollution was connected to about 2.9 million deaths globally, and about 80,000 deaths in the U.S. The global toll was even larger when considering both indoor and outdoor air pollution: more than 5.5 million premature deaths.

Jeff Masters and Bob Henson • 3:21 PM GMT on May 02, 2016