If you’re one of the millions of Americans who plan to take at least one flight this summer, take heart: you are remarkably well protected from weather during your flight, especially considering the risks that U.S. passengers faced not that long ago. From the 1970s to the 1990s, more than 800 fliers perished in U.S. commercial airline crashes that were linked to microbursts, small but intense downdrafts generated by thunderstorms. It took years of persistence from scientists to raise awareness of the issue and solve the problem. But solve it they did--and it has now been nearly 22 years since a single U.S. passenger has died in a microburst-related incident.
Bob Henson • 4:14 PM GMT on June 30, 2016
Given the quick start we’ve seen to the 2016 hurricane season--with Tropical Storms Danielle and Colin becoming the third and fourth named storms on record--the Atlantic may not need much help working its way well through the alphabet. Even so, now is a good time to look at some oceanic and atmospheric factors that could help move the process along.
Bob Henson • 3:38 PM GMT on June 28, 2016
One of the worst flood disasters in West Virginia history has left thousands without power, ruined hundred of homes, and taken at least 23 lives. The floodwaters coursed through several valley towns in southeastern WV from late Thursday into Friday after multiple lines of heavy thunderstorms “trained” through the area along a stalled frontal boundary. More heavy rain on Monday could exacerbate the situation in localized areas, with flash flood watches and warnings already in effect.
Bob Henson • 3:09 PM GMT on June 27, 2016
It's been an unusually late start to the typhoon season: the Northwest Pacific has yet to see a named storm, making 2016 the 4th-slowest starting season on record. Typically, 90% of all Northwest Pacific seasons see their first named storm by May 1.
Jeff Masters and Bob Henson • 4:25 PM GMT on June 24, 2016
A tornado reportedly struck the outskirts of the east-central Chinese city of Yancheng during a powerful thunderstorm on Thursday afternoon, killing at least 78 people and causing widespread destruction. In the United States, more than 130 preliminary reports of high wind stretching from Illinois to North Carolina were logged in the wake of a fast-moving thunderstorm complex that swept along a surface front parallel to a strong upper-level jet stream late Wednesday. More severe weather is on the agenda for Thursday, as NOAA's Storm Prediction Center has placed parts of the central Appalachians and upper Ohio Valley under an enhanced risk of severe weather for Thursday afternoon and evening, with a slight risk extending from most of Kentucky to the Virginia/North Carolina coast. A few severe storms may also pop up in eastern Colorado.
Bob Henson • 4:29 PM GMT on June 23, 2016
A near-classic early-summer sequence of potentially tornadic storms followed by destructive straight-line winds is in the cards from the Midwest on Wednesday afternoon and evening, with the wind-packing storms possibly approaching the mid-Atlantic states on Thursday morning. NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center is calling for a moderate risk of severe weather (the second highest of SPC’s five risk categories) from northern Illinois into western Ohio. Lesser risk categories extend to the Washington, D.C. area.
Bob Henson • 4:49 PM GMT on June 22, 2016
Fierce thunderstorms capable of spawning significant tornadoes and very high winds are possible Wednesday afternoon and evening across an east-west corridor that will lie near or across the Chicago area. NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center is predicting a moderate risk of severe weather for Wednesday PM extending from southeast Wisconsin and northeast Illinois to southeast Michigan and northwest Ohio. Meanwhile, the atmospheric oven remains set on “high” across the Desert Southwest, where a fresh batch of records was seared into the weather annals on Tuesday. Tropical Storm Danielle made landfall near 7 pm CDT Monday ten miles north of Tuxpan, Mexico as a tropical storm with 40 mph winds.
Bob Henson and Jeff Masters • 4:16 PM GMT on June 21, 2016
Tropical Storm Danielle formed on Monday morning in the Gulf of Mexico's Bay of Campeche, but won't be around long. The storm's west to west-northwest motion will carry the storm inland over Mexico between Veracruz and Tampico by Monday evening.
Jeff Masters and Bob Henson • 3:59 PM GMT on June 20, 2016
A tropical disturbance over the southern Gulf of Mexico (Invest 94L) has grown more organized since Saturday, and appears likely to develop into a tropical depression on Sunday or Monday as the storm heads west-northwest at 10 mph.
Jeff Masters • 4:14 PM GMT on June 19, 2016
A tropical disturbance over Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula (Invest 94L) has the potential to develop into a tropical depression on Sunday or Monday over the Gulf of Mexico's Bay of Campeche as the storm heads west-northwest at 10 mph.
Jeff Masters • 4:10 PM GMT on June 18, 2016
Android users who’ve been hungering for access to WU’s Storm app, which debuted in 2015 on iOS devices, have cause to celebrate: Storm is now available for you! Storm builds on the usefulness and clean design of the main WU app, and the data and forecasting strengths of WU and The Weather Company, to provide an array of features designed with storm trackers and weather enthusiasts in mind.
Bob Henson • 7:53 PM GMT on June 17, 2016
The warming influence of the intense 2015 - 2016 El Niño event is waning, but May 2016 was still the planet's warmest May since record keeping began in 1880, said NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information on Thursday. May 2016 marked the 13th consecutive month that the global monthly temperature record was broken--the longest such streak since global temperature records began in 1880.
Jeff Masters and Bob Henson • 7:23 PM GMT on June 16, 2016
Earth’s warmest year on record so far will make its presence felt in North America during the latter half of June. A massive dome of high pressure at upper levels will take shape across the United States this weekend and persist through next week. The most immediate concern is across the Southern Plains and Mississippi Valley, where very moist low-level air combined with the building heat has led to heat advisories for Wednesday and/or Thursday. Heat index values are expected to hit or exceed 105°F in many areas. Across parts of southern Arizona, Nevada, and California, an excessive heat watch is in effect for Sunday and Monday, with air temperatures projected to soar well above 110°F in some locations, including Phoenix.
Bob Henson • 5:18 PM GMT on June 15, 2016
The final week of northern spring will have a summery feel across the heart of North America, including much of the U.S. Rockies, Plains, Midwest, and Deep South. In most places, the heat won’t be smashing daily records, but it may persist or recur into next week, adding to its cumulative impact on people and ecosystems. Temperatures are likely to top 100°F from western TX to western KS later this week, with readings from 95°F to 100°F widespread from Arkansas and Louisiana across the South to Georgia by Thursday/Friday. Maximum heat index values may climb into the 105–115°F range. An excessive heat watch is already in effect for the coming weekend across the southeast CA and southern AZ deserts, including Phoenix, where temperatures may approach 120°F.
Bob Henson • 4:39 PM GMT on June 13, 2016
Whether it be in media coverage or in statements by politicians, the connections between our warming planet and extreme weather events are too often ignored or downplayed (or sometimes overplayed). Those who want to learn more about the global climate models that bolster our understanding of past, recent, and future change can face a seemingly impenetrable wall of jargon, formulas, and technical terms. Where can you quickly find the context to put a breaking weather event into a solid climate perspective, or to get a handle on how global climate models work? Two excellent resources are now available to meet both of these needs.
Jeff Masters and Bob Henson • 4:11 PM GMT on June 10, 2016
The El Niño event of 2015-16 is now history, according to NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center (CPC), which certified the demise in an advisory on Thursday. There is high confidence (though not ironclad certainty) that El Niño will be quickly replaced later this year by La Niña. Because many La Niña events last two or three years, there is already a slightly enhanced probability of La Niña in 2017-18, if history is any guide.
Bob Henson • 5:27 PM GMT on June 09, 2016
The contiguous United States was unusually cool on the inside and quite warm on the margins last month. For the 48 states as a whole, it was a fairly moderate May, ranking as the 62nd coolest and 45th wettest in the past 122 years of recordkeeping. Temperatures reflected the influence of the fast-receding 2015-16 El Niño event, with relative coolness from the south central states into the mid-South and unusual warmth across the northern tier of states as well as California and Florida. Alaska had its second-warmest May on record, continuing the high-latitude warm streak that has characterized 2016 thus far.
Bob Henson • 4:07 PM GMT on June 08, 2016
former Tropical Storm Colin was reclassified as a post-tropical storm at 11 AM EDT Tuesday by the National Hurricane Center (NHC). A tropical storm warning remained in effect from Cape Lookout to Oregon Inlet, NC, but will likely be discontinued early Tuesday afternoon as Colin races offshore. Severe weather associated with Colin’s arrival in Florida was minimal, although very heavy rain hit the Tampa area and the highest storm surge in a decade struck Florida's Big Bend.
Bob Henson • 4:06 PM GMT on June 07, 2016
Coastal residents from Georgia to North Carolina can expect to be deluged by rains associated with Tropical Storm Colin on Tuesday morning as the storm sweeps northeastward at an accelerating pace. Late Monday night, Colin was approaching the Big Bend coastline of northwest Florida, after a day of pushing water into Florida's Gulf Coast and dumping heavy rains across the Sunshine State.
Bob Henson • 4:22 AM GMT on June 07, 2016
Tropical Storm Colin is expected to make landfall along the Big Bend of Florida's northwest Gulf Coast late Monday, with heavy rains sweeping across the Sunshine State and potential storm-surge flooding along parts of the state's Gulf Coast. Tropical storm warnings are in effect on both sides of the Florida peninsula and northeast to South Carolina, as Colin will be sweeping northeastward along the Southeast U.S. coast on Tuesday. Top sustained winds of 50 mph may strengthen slightly on Tuesday.
Bob Henson • 4:12 PM GMT on June 06, 2016
NOAA’s National Hurricane Center has upgraded Tropical Depression 3 to Tropical Storm Colin, making it the earliest "C" storm on record in the Atlantic. Colin may undergo modest strengthening before reaching the northwest Florida peninsula late Monday. Heavy rains and severe weather are possible across much of Florida tonight through Monday, with some threat of storm surge flooding along Florida's west coast. Colin's track is expected to lie near the southeast U.S. coast on Tuesday, which may necessitate tropical storm watches or warnings later Sunday night.
Bob Henson • 1:50 AM GMT on June 06, 2016
A large swath of coastline from the Florida panhandle to the state’s west coast was placed under a tropical storm warning on Sunday morning by the National Hurricane Center (NHC) with the commencement of advisories for newly declared Tropical Depression 3, expected to become Tropical Storm Colin by Sunday night. The tropical storm warning extends from Indian Pass (southeast of Panama City) to Englewood (between Tampa and Fort Myers). Regardless of its exact track and strength, TD 3 will bring very heavy rains across much of Florida, especially on Sunday night and Monday, with the potential for nighttime tornadoes in South Florida on Sunday night.
Bob Henson • 5:14 PM GMT on June 05, 2016
A landfalling tropical depression or tropical storm appears increasingly likely to affect the west coast of Florida early in the coming week, as a large tropical wave in the Northwest Caribbean is expected to move into the southeast Gulf of Mexico and strengthen early next week. Heavy rains and potential flood impacts can be expected over the middle and northern Florida Peninsula as the system approaches and moves inland. Elsewhere, Tropical Depression Bonnie is weakening far east of the Carolinas, and a tropical disturbance has 50-50 odds of developing into a tropical depression far west of Baja California.
Bob Henson • 7:15 PM GMT on June 04, 2016
A concentrated area of heavy thunderstorms has developed over the Western Caribbean, and this system has the potential for development into a tropical depression on Sunday or Monday, possibly becoming a tropical storm early next week over the eastern Gulf of Mexico before it brings very heavy rains to Florida. In the Northeast Pacific, a tropical cyclone may develop this weekend or early next week, heading toward open waters. Tropical Depression Bonnie is expected to weaken as it moves away from the U.S. East Coast. In Texas, five soldiers have died and four others are missing after high water swept away their vehicle at Fort Hood on Thursday.
Jeff Masters and Bob Henson • 4:12 PM GMT on June 03, 2016
The next named storm for the Atlantic will be named Colin, and there is one potential area to watch for its development early next week: over the Western Caribbean, where a large area of low pressure laden with plenty of moisture is expected to form. A tropical disturbance may develop and move toward Florida early next week, bringing heavy rain with it. Tropical Depression Bonnie has reformed off the coast of North Carolina and could again become a tropical storm as it moves away from the Southeast U.S. Meanwhile, major flooding continues to afflict parts of Texas, and deadly floods are ravaging parts of Germany and France.
Jeff Masters and Bob Henson • 4:16 PM GMT on June 02, 2016
The 2016 Atlantic hurricane season is off to an early start, with two named storms already in the books before the official June 1 start of the season. The latest seasonal forecast from Colorado State University is calling for a near-average season, similar to the NOAA outlook but in contrast to higher projections from other groups. Meanwhile, Hurricane Hunters will investigate the remnants of Tropical Storm Bonnie, which are trying to reorganize off the Southeast US coast. Models suggest that the next Atlantic tropical storm could take shape over the next week from two areas of potential development.
Jeff Masters and Bob Henson • 4:14 PM GMT on June 01, 2016