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2012 June

Extreme storms and extreme heat hit the U.S.

A violent line of organized severe thunderstorms called a derecho swept across the U.S. from Illinois to Virginia on Friday, damaging houses, toppling trees, bringing down power lines. Falling trees killed two people in Virginia, and the storms left at least 3.6 million people without power. A historic heat wave on a scale and intensity not seen in the U.S. since the great heat waves of the 1930s Dust Bowl era set new all-time heat records for at least ten major cities Friday.

JeffMasters, • 5:50 PM GMT on June 30, 2012

Air quality degrades as heat spreads east

The heat is spreading east today, and air quality alerts have been issued for many major cities from Kansas City to New York, including Chicago, Detroit, and Atlanta. The Waldo Canyon Fire is now 15% contained, and Invest 97L has a 20% chance of development over the next 48 hours, according to the National Hurricane Center.

angelafritz • 6:53 PM GMT on June 29, 2012

Heat wave shifts to the Midwest; Waldo Canyon Fire still 5% contained

The ridge of high pressure causing this week's record-setting heat wave continues to drift east today, and will inflict extreme June heat across most of the central U.S. and Midwest on Thursday. The Waldo Canyon Fire has gained 5,000 acres overnight, and $3.2 million has been spent fighting the fire so far.

angelafritz • 8:17 PM GMT on June 28, 2012

Heat wave shifts to the Midwest; Waldo Canyon Fire still 5% contained.

The ridge of high pressure causing this week's record-setting heat wave continues to drift east today, and will inflict extreme June heat across most of the central U.S. and Midwest on Thursday. The Waldo Canyon Fire has gained 5,000 acres overnight, and $3.2 million has been spent fighting the fire so far.

angelafritz • 8:17 PM GMT on June 28, 2012

More record-setting heat; Waldo Canyon Fire consumes 15,000 acres

Record-setting heat wave continues after hundreds of records were toppled on Tuesday. The Waldo Canyon Fire has engulfed more than 15,000 acres near Colorado Springs, while some residents are losing their homes. Debby says farewell to Florida after dumping more than 20 inches of rain in some parts, while a new African easterly wave shows minimal signs of organization in the main development region.

angelafritz • 7:17 PM GMT on June 27, 2012

Tropical Storm Debby makes landfall in Florida

Debby continues to weaken this afternoon, but remains a tropical storm with maximum sustained winds of 39 mph. The storm's center of circulation made landfall this afternoon near Steinhatchee, Florida, and will continue to lose strength over the next day or so, until it reaches the Atlantic.

angelafritz • 9:07 PM GMT on June 26, 2012

Debby dumps 20 inches of rain; 105° in Denver: hottest day on record

Florida, the Sunshine State, continues to be the thoroughly sodden state, thanks to torrential rains from slow-moving Tropical Storm Debby. On Monday, Debby spawned an area of intense thunderstorms that blew up over the Florida Panhandle, just east of Apalachicola. A weather station near Saint Marks, Florida, recorded 12.99" on rain in just 12 hours, bringing the 48-hour rainfall total at the site to 20.96".

JeffMasters, • 11:52 AM GMT on June 26, 2012

Debby lingers in the Gulf, bringing heavy rain, flooding to Florida

Debby remains a raggedy-looking tropical storm with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph. Despite Debby's less-than-organized appearance, the storm is still managing to dump buckets on Florida, and in particular today, the panhandle. A burst of thunderstorm activity has exploded on the northern side of Debby, and Tallahassee, Florida and it's southern neighbors are getting the worst of the storm's rain this afternoon as it rotates in place.

angelafritz • 9:26 PM GMT on June 25, 2012

Debby stalls, drenches Florida; 114° in Colorado ties state heat record

Tropical storm warnings continue to fly from Alabama eastward to Suwannee, Florida, as Tropical Storm Debby sits motionless over the Gulf of Mexico. On Sunday, Debby spawned a multitude of severe thunderstorms over much of Florida, which brought torrential rains, damaging winds, and numerous tornadoes. A tornado in Venus, Florida killed one person.

JeffMasters, • 1:09 PM GMT on June 25, 2012

Significant change in forecast track for Tropical Storm Debby

Tropical Storm Debby continues to linger in the northern Gulf of Mexico, dumping 6+ inches of rain over some parts of Florida today, and Debby's forecast track has shifted north toward the Florida panhandle.

angelafritz • 9:40 PM GMT on June 24, 2012

Tropical Storm Debby growing in size and strength

Tropical storm warnings are flying from Alabama to the Panhandle of Florida and along much of Southeast Louisiana coast, as Tropical Storm Debby inches to the north at 2 mph. The heaviest rains of Debby have moved ashore along much of the Gulf Coast of Florida, with up to two inches of radar-estimated rainfall in the Apalachicola, Florida area so far.

JeffMasters, • 1:24 PM GMT on June 24, 2012

Tropical Storm Debby has formed in the Gulf of Mexico

Tropical Storm Debby has formed in the Gulf, with winds of 50mph. Debby is expected to drift north and west over the next few days, with potential landfall in Texas next week; however, this remains a low-confidence forecast, and all interests along the Gulf Coast should remain aware of Debby's potential movement.

angelafritz • 9:18 PM GMT on June 23, 2012

Gulf of Mexico disturbance 96L close to tropical storm status

An area of low pressure and heavy thunderstorms in the Central Gulf of Mexico (96L) is close to tropical depression or tropical storm status, and all interests along the Gulf of Mexico coast should pay attention to the progress of this disturbance.

JeffMasters, • 1:26 PM GMT on June 23, 2012

Gulf of Mexico disturbance 96L poorly organized, but may develop

An area of low pressure and heavy thunderstorms in the Southern Gulf of Mexico (96L) is a threat to become a tropical depression this weekend, and all interests along the Gulf of Mexico coast should pay attention to the progress of this disturbance. The disturbance is bringing occasional heavy rains to Western Cuba, South Florida, and Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.

JeffMasters, • 2:27 PM GMT on June 22, 2012

Gulf of Mexico disturbance may develop; Chris a hurricane; record Duluth flooding

An area of low pressure and heavy thunderstorms entering the Southern Gulf of Mexico is bringing sporadic heavy rains to Western Cuba and Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, and winds of 20 - 25 mph to surrounding ocean areas. This disturbance will need to be watched for development as it drifts slowly northward at about 5 mph into the Central Gulf of Mexico by Saturday.

JeffMasters, • 3:03 PM GMT on June 21, 2012

Tropical Storm Chris forms; little change to Cuba disturbance; Duluth floods

Tropical Storm Chris formed Tuesday evening from a extratropical storm that spent enough time over waters of 24 - 26°C to acquire tropical characteristics. Chris is headed eastwards, out to sea, and will not trouble any land areas. Only twice before, in 1887 and 1959, has the third storm of the season formed earlier than this date.

JeffMasters, • 1:33 PM GMT on June 20, 2012

Two Atlantic disturbances to watch; Guchol hits Japan; extreme heat in Colorado

An area of low pressure and heavy thunderstorms has developed over Western and Central Caribbean, and this disturbance will need to be watched for development as it moves northwest at 5 - 10 mph and enters the Gulf of Mexico late this week. The disturbance is poorly organized, and its modest area of heavy thunderstorms is bringing rains to Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, South Florida, the Southern Bahamas, and Cuba today.

JeffMasters, • 2:55 PM GMT on June 19, 2012

Typhoon Guchol approaches southern Japan; 95L no threat to U.S.

Typhoon Guchol weakens as it approaches southern Japan. Guchol is expected to make landfall tomorrow evening near Kyoto, as it loses its tropical characteristics. The typhoon will likely bring strong winds and heavy rain to much of Japan over the next couple of days, and the Japan Meteorological Agency is forecasting up to 16 inches (40 cm) of rain from this system.

angelafritz • 7:45 PM GMT on June 18, 2012

Damages from June 13 hailstorm in Dallas may be $2 billion

Insured damage from a massive 3-hour hailstorm that pummeled Dallas, Texas on Wednesday, June 13, may reach $2 billion, said the Southwestern Insurance Information Service (SIIS) on Friday. If true, this would be the fourth billion-dollar U.S. weather disaster of 2012. A cluster of three severe thunderstorms dropped hail the size of baseballs over a heavily populated area.

JeffMasters, • 4:31 PM GMT on June 17, 2012

Category 1 Hurricane Carlotta hits Mexico

Hurricane Carlotta made landfall near Escondido, Mexico Friday night at 8 pm PDT as a Category 1 hurricane with 90 mph winds. Carlotta moved inland over the rugged terrain of Mexico this morning, and has weakened to a tropical depression. Since Carlotta was a relatively small hurricane, strong winds affected only a small portion of the coast.

JeffMasters, • 4:30 PM GMT on June 16, 2012

Hurricane Carlotta bears down on Mexico's Pacific coast

Hurricane Carlotta has steadily intensified today as it heads northwest towards the Mexican coast east of Acapulco. Carlotta may be undergoing rapid intensification, and a hurricane hunter mission is en-route, and will arrive at the storm near 2pm EDT on Friday to see how strong Carlotta has become.

JeffMasters, • 4:10 PM GMT on June 15, 2012

Tropical Storm Carlotta forms in the East Pacific

Tropical Storm Carlotta has formed in the East Pacific, and is heading northwest toward the west coast of Mexico, where impacts are expected to begin on Friday. Carlotta is forecast to intensify to hurricane status over the next 24 hours.

angelafritz • 5:25 PM GMT on June 14, 2012

Wildfire smoke shrouds Denver; climate change expected to increase Western fires

Colorado's third largest fire in recorded history, the High Park Fire, shrouded Denver and Fort Collins in acrid smoke Tuesday, causing an increase in emergency room visits related to smoke inhalation. The fire, currently burning fifteen miles west of Fort Collins, Colorado, covered over 43,000 acres (68 square miles) as of Tuesday. Firefighters reported that it was only 10% contained, and was exhibiting "extreme" behavior. A lightning strike triggered the fire on Saturday.

JeffMasters, • 2:16 PM GMT on June 13, 2012

North Carolina ignores science in sea level planning

Sea level rise scientists commonly cite one meter (3.3 feet) as the expected global sea level rise by 2100. However, a coastal economic development group called NC-20, says North Carolina should rely only on historical trends of sea level rise, and not plan for a future where sea level rise might accelerate. North Carolina should plan for only 8 inches of rise by 2100, they say.

JeffMasters, • 12:48 PM GMT on June 12, 2012

Damaging rains bust the drought in portions of Florida Panhandle

Flood waters are receding in the rain-drenched Florida Panhandle and coastal Alabama today, where prodigious rains from a moist, tropical airmass interacting with a stalled front brought flooding that caused at least $20 million in damage to the Pensacola, Florida area. The most remarkable rains fell in West Pensacola, where 21.70" was recorded over the weekend. Pensacola airport received 13.13 inches of rain on Saturday, the city's second-highest 1-day rainfall total in recorded history.

JeffMasters, • 2:43 PM GMT on June 11, 2012

Torrential rain causes widespread flooding in Florida panhandle

Torrential rainfall led to widespread flooding along the northern Gulf Coast on Saturday, and Pensacola came about 2 inches shy of matching its all-time rainfall record for a calendar day: 15.29 inches.

angelafritz • 2:25 AM GMT on June 10, 2012

Spring 2012: most extreme season in U.S. history

Spring 2012 in the contiguous U.S. demolished the old records for hottest spring and most extreme season of any kind. With the warmest March, third warmest April, and second warmest May, the March - April - May spring season was 5.2°F above average--the largest temperature departure from average of any season on record for the contiguous United States. What's truly remarkable is the margin the old record was broken by--a full 1°F.

JeffMasters, • 2:08 PM GMT on June 08, 2012

Hottest rain on record? Rain falls at 109°F in Saudi Arabia

Pilgrims to the holy city of Mekkah (Mecca), Saudi Arabia must have been astonished on Tuesday afternoon, when the weather transformed from widespread dust with a temperature of 113°F (45°C) to a thunderstorm with rain. Remarkably, the air temperature during the thunderstorm was a sizzling 109°F (43°C), and the relative humidity a scant 18%. It is exceedingly rare to get rain when the temperature rises above 100°F.

JeffMasters, • 11:24 AM GMT on June 07, 2012

A Letter to Mother Nature: a book review

One of our most dedicated wunderphotographers, Lucy Woodley, was inspired to collect a set of 90 of her favorite wunderphotos and put them into a book. Her effort, A Letter to Mother Nature, was published this May. Each photo in the book has a sentence above it, poetically describing the scene below. It only takes a few minutes to whip through the book, but the spectacular images and thoughtful text invite one to linger longer and contemplate the natural beauty we are surrounded by. Five out of five stars.

JeffMasters, • 11:52 AM GMT on June 05, 2012

Rick Knabb takes over as director of NHC

Today marks the first day of work for the National Hurricane Center's new director--Dr. Rick Knabb, who worked at NHC from 2005 - 2008 as a senior hurricane forecaster before leaving in 2008 to take a position as deputy director and director of operations of the Central Pacific Hurricane Center (CPHC) and NWS Forecast Office in Honolulu, Hawaii. Dr. Knabb left Hawaii to take a position as The Weather Channel's hurricane expert in 2010, where he worked until May of this year.

JeffMasters, • 12:56 PM GMT on June 04, 2012

The 2012 Atlantic hurricane season begins: what is in store?

It's June 1st, and the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season is officially underway. With two early season storms, Alberto and Beryl, having already come and gone, this year's season has gotten off to a near-record early start. Since reliable record keeping began in 1851, only the hurricane seasons of 1908 and 1887 had two named storms form so early in the year. So, will this early pace continue? What will this year's hurricane season bring?

JeffMasters, • 2:56 PM GMT on June 01, 2012