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2011 June

Tropical Storm Arlene hits Mexico

Tropical Storm Arlene made landfall on the northeast coast of Mexico south of Tampico at 5am EDT this morning as an intensifying tropical storm with 65 mph winds. Wind gusts as high as 46 mph were recorded in Tampico last night, and intermittent heavy rain and winds gusting up to 34 mph have affected Brownsville, Texas today. The Brownsville Airport picked up 1.31" of rain as of 10am EDT, and Arlene has dropped rainfall amounts of 1 - 2 inches over extreme South Texas so far.

JeffMasters, • 2:44 PM GMT on June 30, 2011

Tropical Storm Arlene slides toward Mexico coast

Tropical Storm Arlene hasn't intensified much on paper, but thunderstorm activity has increased, and it looks impressive on satellite considering it was just named 24 hours ago. In a 5:30pm EDT special update, the National Hurricane Center said the tropical storm had winds of 60 mph.

JeffMasters, • 11:56 PM GMT on June 29, 2011

Tropical Storm Arlene--a heavy rainfall threat for Mexico

The 2011 Atlantic hurricane season has its first named storm, Tropical Storm Arlene, which rapidly spun up last night from a tropical wave that had emerged into Mexico's Bay of Campeche. An Air Force hurricane hunter aircraft is currently in the storm, and has found that Arlene is strengthening. At the plane's flight altitude of 1,000 feet, top winds reported as of 9:30am EDT were 54 mph, on Arlene's south side. The aircraft's SFMR instrument that remotely measures surface wind speeds found top surface winds of 67 mph on southeast side of the storm.

JeffMasters, • 1:48 PM GMT on June 29, 2011

Large fire threatens Los Alamos nuclear lab; 95L headed for Mexico

The dangerous Los Conchas wildfire has burned to a spot one mile southwest of Los Alamos, New Mexico, forcing the nuclear laboratory there to close, and the evacuation of 8,000 people. The fire was fanned yesterday by winds that reached sustained speeds of 21 mph, gusting to 30 mph, along with temperatures in the low 80s and humidities as low as 14%. Today, winds will be out of the south at 10 - 20 mph, which will tend to force the fire towards the laboratory. Critical fire conditions are expected to return to the area by Thursday.

JeffMasters, • 2:04 PM GMT on June 28, 2011

Hottest day on record in Texas Panhandle; fire threatens Los Alamos

The hottest temperatures in recorded history scorched large portions of the Texas Panhandle, Oklahoma Panhandle, and southwestern Kansas on Sunday. Amarillo hit 111°, breaking its hottest day-ever record of 109° (set just two days previously, on June 24). A cold front moved through the region overnight, bringing northerly winds and cooler temperatures to the region. However, a new ridge of high pressure will gradually build in this week and temperatures are expected to reach near-record levels again by Thursday, with 102°F expected in Amarillo.

JeffMasters, • 4:54 PM GMT on June 27, 2011

2010 - 2011: Earth's most extreme weather since 1816?

Never in my 30 years as a meteorologist have I witnessed a year like 2010--the astonishing number of weather disasters and unprecedented wild swings in Earth's atmospheric circulation were like nothing I've witnessed before. It is quite possible that 2010 was the most extreme weather year since the devastating "Year Without a Summer" in 1816--caused by the massive climate-altering 1815 eruption of Indonesia's Mt. Tambora, the largest volcanic eruption since at least 536 A.D.

JeffMasters, • 1:32 PM GMT on June 24, 2011

Floods overwhelm North Dakota levees; floods kill 175 in China

Flood waters from North Dakota's Souris River are pouring over the levees protecting Minot, North Dakota today, and flood heights are expected to rise to the highest levels in recorded history tonight. The Lake Darling flood control reservoir located about 15 miles upstream from Minot is full to overflowing, and record releases of water are occurring to prevent the lake's dam from over-topping. Water began flowing over the levees yesterday, forcing the mandatory evacuation of 12,000 residents. By Sunday, water levels on the Souris River are expected to peak at four feet above the previous all-time flood height, set in 1881.

JeffMasters, • 3:33 PM GMT on June 23, 2011

Record flooding in North Dakota forces evacuation of 11,000

A 1-in-100 to 1-in-200 year flood is in progress in North Dakota along the Souris River, where flood heights never seen in recorded history are putting unprecedented pressure on the river's levees. The Lake Darling flood control reservoir located about 15 miles upstream from Minot, North Dakota, the state's 4th largest city, is full to overflowing. Record releases of water are occurring to prevent the lake's dam from overtopping. A mandatory evacuation of 11,000 residents from Minot is underway, and must be completed before Thursday morning, when water levels on the Souris River are expected to rise several feet above the previous all-time flood height, set in 1881.

JeffMasters, • 2:10 PM GMT on June 22, 2011

Hurricane Beatriz slams into Mexico; heavy rains, tornadoes hit the Midwest

Hurricane Beatriz plowed into the Pacific coast of Mexico near La Fortuna this morning as a Category 1 hurricane with 90 mph winds, bringing very heavy rains and mudslides to a 200-mile stretch of coast. Acapulco reported 5.20" of rain yesterday, and one injury due to a falling free. The primary threat from the storm will be heavy rain, and the expected rains of 6 - 12" are likely to cause very dangerous flooding and mudslides today and Wednesday morning.

JeffMasters, • 2:34 PM GMT on June 21, 2011

Hurricane warnings for Mexico; tornadoes and floods for the Midwest U.S.

The outer spiral bands of intensifying Tropical Storm Beatriz have reached the coast of Mexico between Acapulco and Puerto Vallarta, and a hurricane warning is now in effect for the coast of Mexico from Zihuatanejo northwestward to La Fortuna. The major threat from Beatriz will be heavy rains. Rainfall amounts of 4 - 8 inches will be common along the coast, and up to a foot of rain is likely in some mountainous regions, causing significant flooding and dangerous mudslides.

JeffMasters, • 2:26 PM GMT on June 20, 2011

Missouri River flood hits unprecedented flow rates

A great 100-year flood has arrived along the Missouri River and its tributaries from Montana to Nebraska. Record spring rains, combined with snow melt from record or near-record winter and spring snows, brought the Missouri River at Williston, North Dakota to 30' today (June 17), two feet above the record crest set in 1912. Tributaries to the Missouri, such as the Souris River in North Dakota and the North Platte River in Nebraska, are also flooding at all-time record heights. With warm summer temperatures and 2 - 5" of rainfall expected over much of the area during the coming week, snow melt and rain runoff will swell area rivers even further, creating an even more dangerous flood.

JeffMasters, • 3:18 PM GMT on June 17, 2011

Globe has 10th warmest May on record; critical fire conditions for Arizona

May 2011 was the globe's 10th warmest May on record, according to the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). May 2011 global ocean temperatures were the 11th warmest on record, and land temperatures were the 6th warmest on record. Sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the Atlantic Main Development Region (MDR) for hurricanes from the Caribbean to the coast of Africa between 10°N and 20°N were 0.6°C above average, the 7th highest SSTs of the past 100 years.

JeffMasters, • 2:27 PM GMT on June 16, 2011

U.S. had most extreme spring on record for precipitation

There's never been a spring this extreme for combined wet and dry extremes in the U.S. since record keeping began over a century ago, statistics released last week by the National Climatic Data Center reveal. Their Climate Extremes Index (CEI) looks at the percentage area of the contiguous U.S. experiencing top 10% or bottom 10% monthly maximum and minimum temperatures, monthly drought, and daily precipitation. During the spring period of March, April, and May 2011, 46% of the nation had abnormally (top 10%) wet or dry conditions--the greatest such area during the 102-year period of record.

JeffMasters, • 2:20 PM GMT on June 14, 2011

Volcanic eruptions in Chile and Africa disrupt aviation; Arizona fire nears record

JeffMasters, • 3:23 PM GMT on June 13, 2011

Arizona's fire danger to increase Saturday; Adrian hits Category 4

The powerful winds that have fanned Arizona's massive Wallow fire into the state's second largest fire on record will remain relatively modest on Friday, and the forecast for Eastern Arizona calls for afternoon winds of just 10 - 15 mph. Unfortunately, NOAA's Storm Prediction Center forecasts that critical fire conditions will return on Saturday and Sunday, with strong southwest winds of 15 - 20 mph, gusting to 35 mph. The return of critical fire conditions this weekend means that the Wallow fire will likely become Arizona's largest wildfire in history.

JeffMasters, • 3:06 PM GMT on June 10, 2011

Winds diminish for Arizona's fire; flooding from 94L kills 23 in Haiti

The powerful winds that have fanned Arizona's massive Wallow fire into the state's second largest fire on record will diminish today, and the forecast for Eastern Arizona calls for more modest afternoon winds of 15 - 20 mph through Saturday. For the first time this week, NOAA's Storm Prediction Center has not issued red flag warnings for critical fire conditions in Eastern Arizona, and firefighters should be able to make progress battling the Wallow fire, which is 0% contained.

JeffMasters, • 2:27 PM GMT on June 09, 2011

Smoke, heat, and air pollution across much of the U.S.

Smoke from Arizona's second largest fire on record, the massive Wallow fire near the New Mexico border, has now blown downwind over 1,500 miles to the Northeast U.S. The fire, which is 0% contained, is expected to rage full-force for at least another day due to unfavorable weather. Hot, dry, and windy weather is predicted again today over Eastern Arizona, where NOAA has issued red flag warnings for critical fire conditions.

JeffMasters, • 1:41 PM GMT on June 08, 2011

Arizona wildfires spread smoke 1,000 miles; 94L little threat to develop

Smoke from Arizona's third largest fire on record, the massive Wallow fire, has now blown downwind over 1,000 miles to Iowa. The fire, which is 0% contained, is expected to rage full-force for at least three more days due to unfavorable weather. Hot, dry, and windy weather is predicted again today over Eastern Arizona, with southwesterly surface winds of 20 - 30 mph. Extremely low humidities of 5 - 15% and hot summer temperatures are also expected, creating a dangerous fire weather situation.

JeffMasters, • 1:50 PM GMT on June 07, 2011

Little change to 94L; exceptional heat in Texas, record rains in California

There is not much change to the large, wet, and disorganized tropical disturbance (Invest 94L) in the Western Caribbean, between Jamaica and Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. The disturbance has brought intermittent heavy rains to Jamaica over the past two days, but nearby islands have thus far escaped the deluge. Satellite-estimated rainfall amounts of 1" per hour occurred in ocean regions just east of Jamaica this morning. Satellite loops show no increase in organization of 94L in recent hours, and the storm's low-level spiral bands and upper-level outflow are poorly defined.

JeffMasters, • 2:43 PM GMT on June 06, 2011

Caribbean disturbance 94L dumping heavy rains on Jamaica

A large, wet, and disorganized tropical disturbance (Invest 94L) continues to spread heavy rain to the Central Caribbean near Jamaica. Rain has fallen continuously at Jamaica's Kingston Norman Manley Airport since midnight, with 1.89" having fallen from midnight to noon local time. Heavy rains of up to 1/2" per hour are probably affecting portions of the island early this afternoon, judging by the recent increase in heavy thunderstorm activity.

JeffMasters, • 4:44 PM GMT on June 05, 2011

Caribbean disturbance slow to develop; 5 EF-5 tornadoes this year confirmed

Disorganized heavy thunderstorm activity continues in the region between Central America and Jamaica. Wind shear has fallen to the moderate range, 10 - 20 knots, and is predicted to continue to fall over the next two days. The last two runs of the NOGAPS model have developed the disturbance into a tropical depression or storm by early next week, with the system moving northwards into Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, and eastern Cuba. The other major models do not show the disturbance developing.

JeffMasters, • 3:33 PM GMT on June 03, 2011

Tornadoes rip Massachusetts, killing 4

Two rare and powerful tornadoes ripped through Massachusetts' third largest city, Springfield yesterday. Separate tornadoes hit the city near 4:30 pm and 6:20pm EDT, killing four people, injuring 40, and causing extensive damage. The four deaths ties 2011 with 1973 as Massachusetts' deadliest tornado year since 1953, when 90 people died in an F-4 tornado that hit Worcester. NOAA's Storm Prediction Center logged seven preliminary reports of tornadoes in Massachusetts yesterday.

JeffMasters, • 1:30 PM GMT on June 02, 2011

CSU predicts a very active hurricane season: 16 storms, 9 hurricanes

A very active Atlantic hurricane season is on tap for 2011, according to the seasonal hurricane forecast issued June 1 by Dr. Phil Klotzbach and Dr. Bill Gray of Colorado State University (CSU). The CSU team is calling for 16 named storms, 9 hurricanes, and 5 intense hurricanes, and an Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) 166% of average. Between 1950 - 2000, the average season had 10 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 2 intense hurricanes.

JeffMasters, • 4:30 PM GMT on June 01, 2011

Hurricane season blows in 93L for Central Florida

The Atlantic hurricane season is officially underway, and Mother Nature appears to be taking her cue from the calendar, as we have a surprise storm off the coast of Florida that is a threat to develop into a tropical depression later this week, after it crosses Florida into the Gulf of Mexico. An cluster of thunderstorms called a Mesoscale Convective System (MCS) pushed across southern New England early yesterday, emerged over the ocean, and rotated clockwise towards Florida, steered by a large high pressure system centered over Kentucky.

JeffMasters, • 1:32 PM GMT on June 01, 2011