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2013 April

Red River Rising: a Top-Ten Fargo Flood in 4 of the Past 5 Years

The Red River at Fargo, North Dakota surpassed major flood level on Sunday and continues to rise, with a peak expected Wednesday at the 7th highest flood level observed since 1897. This year will be the fourth time in the past five years that Fargo has experienced a top-ten flood in recorded history. Flood stage is eighteen feet, and the Red River has now reached flood stage at Fargo for an astounding nineteen of the past twenty years.

JeffMasters, • 3:44 PM GMT on April 29, 2013

Dark Snow Project: Crowd-Source Funded Science for Greenland

The Dark Snow Project, the first-ever Greenland expedition relying on crowd-source funding, hopes to raise $150,000 to mount a field research campaign to find out how much wildfire and industrial soot darken the ice, increasing melt. The project is the brainchild of Dr. Jason Box, a glaciologist based at the Byrd Polar Research Center at Ohio State University, one of the world's leading experts on Greenland's glaciers.

JeffMasters, • 3:03 PM GMT on April 26, 2013

Unusually cold spring in Europe and the Southeast U.S. due to the Arctic Oscillation

During March 2013, the Arctic Oscillation (AO) index hit -3.2. Not only was this the most extreme negative March value of the AO since record keeping began in 1950, it was also the sixth lowest AO index ever measured. This unusual contortion of the jet stream in March 2013 allowed Europe to have exceptional cold weather in a month when the global average temperature was among the warmest 8% of Marches on record.

JeffMasters, • 2:52 PM GMT on April 25, 2013

March 2013 the globe's 10th warmest March; a billion-dollar U.S. weather disaster

March 2013 was the globe's 10th warmest March since records began in 1880, according to NOAA. The year-to-date period of January - March has been the 8th warmest such period on record. Two billion-dollar weather disasters occurred globally in March, bringing the 2013 total to five. The first billion-dollar weather disaster in the U.S. was a severe weather outbreak that began on March 18, featuring a "derecho" that dropped hail up to softball size from Louisiana to South Carolina.

JeffMasters, • 1:56 PM GMT on April 24, 2013

Damaging major flooding in Illinois as Mississippi River crests

The mighty Mississippi River has surged to damaging major flood heights along a 200-mile stretch just north of St. Louis, Missouri. “We have seen some of the worst flooding damage to neighborhoods and homes across our state in Illinois history,” Governor Quinn said on Monday, and he declared 44 counties disaster areas. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency after flash flooding hit many areas of his state.

JeffMasters, • 2:48 PM GMT on April 23, 2013

Mother Nature's face is not aging slowly or gracefully

"Mother Nature's face is not aging slowly or gracefully, the wrinkles and scars caused by accumulating greenhouse gases are already visible. The good news? Extreme weather is also chiseling fissures and gaping holes in the climate deniers' bunker, leaving a crumbling foundation for their arguments. Moving on, it's time to prepare for the unusual weather ahead that is likely to become usual." So writes Dr. Jennifer Francis of Rutgers in "The Changing Face of Mother Nature."

JeffMasters, • 2:49 PM GMT on April 22, 2013

Extreme Drought to Extreme Flood: Weather Whiplash Hits the Midwest

Water levels on the Mississippi River at St. Louis bottomed out at -4.57' on January 1 of 2013, the 9th lowest water level since record keeping began in 1861, and just 1.6' above the all-time low-water record set in 1940. But the exceptional April rains and snows will drive the river by Tuesday to a height 45 feet higher than on January 1. The latest forecast calls for the river to hit 39.4' on Tuesday, which would be the 8th greatest flood in history at St. Louis, where flood records date back to 1861.

JeffMasters, • 2:42 PM GMT on April 19, 2013

Flash flood emergency in Chicago; dangerous severe weather outbreak possible today

Torrential downpours from endless thunderstorms have pounded the Chicago area since noon Wednesday, forcing declaration of a flash flood emergency in the city. Four to six inches of rain has fallen in the past 24 hours over most of Northern Illinois, with more than half of that total falling since midnight in many areas. Chicago's Ohare Airport received 5.85" as of 10 am CDT, and the 3.84" of rain that has fallen so far today is the heaviest rain ever recorded in a calendar day in the Windy City so early in the year.

JeffMasters, • 3:29 PM GMT on April 18, 2013

U.S. has a cool and very dry March; severe weather outbreak likely today

March 2013 ranked as the 43rd coolest March in the 119-year record for the contiguous U.S., and was the coolest March since 2002. This is in stark contrast to what happened in 2012, when the U.S. had its warmest March on record. Eleven states, mostly in the Southeast, experienced a top-ten coolest March on record in 2013. Remarkably, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, and North Carolina had March 2013 temperatures that were cooler than in January 2013.

JeffMasters, • 1:08 PM GMT on April 17, 2013

NOAA employees may be furloughed 4 days during the 2013 hurricane season

National Weather Service and NOAA employees may be forced to take up to four unpaid days off this summer, thanks to the the government-wide sequestration cuts which have forced an 8.2% budget cut. NOAA has attempted to respond to the mandatory budget cuts by freezing hiring and cutting back on staff travel and training. However, this has not been enough, and NOAA is proposing 4 furlough days: July 5, July 19, August 5, and August 30.

JeffMasters, • 8:57 PM GMT on April 15, 2013

Where's spring? Third winter storm in a week hitting Northern U.S.

The winter of 2012 - 2013 refuses to give way to spring over the Northern Plains and Great Lakes, where snow will once again rule the skies this third week of April. Two separate April snowstorms have set all time snowiest-day records at two major cities in the Northern Plains, with the latest record to fall the all-time snowiest day for Bismark, North Dakota. On Sunday, Winter Storm Xerxes walloped Bismark with 17.3" of snow, beating the city's previous all-time snowiest day record of 15.5" on March 3, 1966.

JeffMasters, • 2:52 PM GMT on April 15, 2013

NOAA report unable to pinpoint causes of the historic 2012 U.S. drought

The extreme 2012 drought in the Central Great Plains of the U.S. was more intense than any drought since record keeping began in 1895, says a new NOAA assessment of the historic drought. The study was unable to pinpoint the cause of the drought. Other major global droughts in recent years have been linked to global warming and patterns of sea surface temperatures, but these factors were seemingly not important in causing the drought of 2012.

JeffMasters, • 7:27 PM GMT on April 12, 2013

Tornado kills one in Mississippi, but a quiet spring for tornadoes so far

Tornadoes ripped through the U.S. on Thursday for the fourth day this week, as a slow-moving spring storm brought a variety of major weather extremes across the nation. Seven preliminary tornadoes were recorded on Thursday, and one person was killed by a tornado that hit Liberty, Mississippi. Multiple injuries were reported from a tornado that hit Shuqualak, Mississippi.

JeffMasters, • 3:12 PM GMT on April 12, 2013

Hurricane Sandy's name retired; Isaac snubbed

Hurricane Sandy has been permanently retired from the list of Atlantic hurricane names. Sandy was by far the deadliest and most destructive Atlantic tropical cyclone of 2012, with damages estimated at $50 billion. Sandy killed at least 147 people across the Atlantic basin, including 72 in the U.S. Sandy is the 77th name to be retired in the Atlantic since hurricanes began getting names in 1953.

JeffMasters, • 6:24 PM GMT on April 11, 2013

Active 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season Expected by CSU, TSR, and WSI

After three consecutive years with a remarkable 19 named storms in the Atlantic, expect another Atlantic hurricane season with similar levels of activity in 2013, says the hurricane forecasting team of Colorado State University. They call for an Atlantic hurricane season with 18 named storms, 9 hurricanes, 4 intense hurricanes, and an Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) of 165. The long-term averages for the past 63 years are 11 named storms, 6 hurricanes, 3 intense hurricanes, and an ACE of 103.

JeffMasters, • 4:02 PM GMT on April 10, 2013

One-inch hail at 18°F in NE; record snows in SD

It's crazy spring weather at its finest in the Midwest U.S., where a powerful April storm system is bringing heavy snow, large hail, strong winds, freezing rain, heavy rain, and a remarkable temperature contrast on either side of its cold front. Abilene, Texas reached 93° Tuesday between 4 - 5 pm, and by 12:30 a.m Wednesday, it was snowing and 37°.

JeffMasters, • 1:54 PM GMT on April 10, 2013

Europe expected to see a large increase in Hurricane Sandy-like hybrid storms

Dangerous part-hurricane, part extratropical hybrid storms like Hurricane Sandy of 2012 are expected to be an increasing threat for Western Europe by the end of the century due to global warming, says a new paper called "More hurricanes to hit Western Europe due to global warming", published in April 2013. The number of hurricane-force storms in August - October is expected to increase from 2 to 13 over the 21st century, according to the high-resolution climate model used.

JeffMasters, • 4:18 PM GMT on April 08, 2013

Damaging Winds Rip Cruise Ship from Its Moorings

Lee Grenci • 12:30 PM GMT on April 05, 2013

Severe Weather and Mesoscale Boundaries

Note: I am "subbing" for Jeff this week. I certainly can't take his place, but I'll try my best to post interesting topics related to weather forecasting.

Lee Grenci • 11:21 AM GMT on April 02, 2013

Invisible Improbable Rain Discovered!

A stunning discovery by a humble Weather Underground personal weather station owner has rocked the meteorological world. Boris Badi-i-sad-o-bist-roz, who maintains a backyard weather station in Watrousville, Michigan, has discovered the existence of improbable rain, which promises to revolutionize the understanding and prediction of the weather.

JeffMasters, • 2:15 AM GMT on April 01, 2013