A historic and unseasonable flood has begun on the Mississippi River and its tributaries, thanks to heavy rains that fell from Oklahoma to the Ohio Valley during Christmas week. Never before has water this high been observed in winter along the levee system of the river. The Father of Waters began over-topping its levees just north of West Alton, Missouri (population 500) on Tuesday, forcing evacuations.
Jeff Masters • 5:13 PM GMT on December 30, 2015
Wild weather continued to plaster the nation’s midsection on Monday as a multi-barreled storm system shifted eastward. The severe weather threat has ramped down, with the highest risks now from river and flash floods--from eastern Oklahoma to the Appalachians--and snow and ice, from Nebraska to New England. More than 40 weather-related deaths have been reported since Wednesday.
Bob Henson and Jeff Masters • 10:54 PM GMT on December 28, 2015
An incredible variety of weather hazards made their presence felt over Christmas weekend across the central U.S., from blizzard to tornado to freezing rain to flash flooding and river floods. More than 25 weather-related deaths have been reported since Wednesday, and major threats continue, including snow and ice from the Plains into the Midwest and potential record flooding along the Mississippi River.
Bob Henson and Jeff Masters • 3:24 AM GMT on December 28, 2015
One of the longest-lived tornadoes ever observed in December carved its way across as much as 150 miles of Mississippi and Alabama on Wednesday. The twister, likely to be rated at least an EF3 after damage surveys on Thursday, was part of an unusually far-flung year-end outbreak of severe storms that extended from the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes. At least 10 deaths were reported by midday Friday, most of them tornado-related. Thunderstorms will pose less of a threat on Thursday and Friday than on Wednesday, although in some areas they’ll accentuate the presence of a record-warm, record-moist air mass.
Bob Henson and Jeff Mast ers • 5:31 PM GMT on December 24, 2015
NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center (SPC) is projecting a moderate risk of severe weather for Wednesday from eastern Arkansas across northern Mississippi and Arkansas into western Tennessee and Kentucky, with lesser risks over a large surrounding area covering most of the nation between the Mississippi and the Appalachians. In the moderate risk area, long-track tornadoes are a distinct possibility. Strong thunderstorms are also possible on Thursday as far northeast as the Washington, D.C., area, as moist, record-warm air sweeps across the Eastern Seaboard for Christmas Eve.
Bob Henson • 5:49 PM GMT on December 23, 2015
The year 2015 is is just days away from nabbing the top spot as the world’s warmest in more than a century of recordkeeping. As if to emphasize the point, the year is wrapping up with a blaze of December heat records around the globe. Some of the most exceptional numbers are being tallied over eastern North America, Europe, and Australia. For millions of people across the southern and eastern U.S., Christmas Eve and/or Christmas Day will be the warmest in living memory, and in some cases the warmest on record going back to the 1800s.
Bob Henson • 5:36 PM GMT on December 21, 2015
The weather story of this month is the record warmth swaddling much of eastern North America and Europe, but there were many melt-related research topics discussed at this week's Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Society, from the decline in Arctic permafrost and sea ice to the increasing fraction of rain vs. snow across the mountains of the U.S. West.
Bob Henson • 11:20 PM GMT on December 18, 2015
November 2015 was Earth’s warmest November on record by a huge margin, according to NOAA and NASA. November 2015 also had the second largest positive departure of temperature from average of any month among all 1631 months in the historical record that began in January 1880; only last month (October 2015) was more extreme.
Jeff Masters • 6:23 PM GMT on December 17, 2015
Emphasizing the solutions to climate, change rather than talking about the science, is a better way to communicate to the public on the subject, argued Susan Hassol of climatecommunication.org, in her talk at today's American Geophysical Union conference. Talking about the science with the public often leads to false “zombie” science arguments that get pushed by climate change deniers to arise, confusing people on the issue. But people are very supportive of actions to take action on climate change, regardless of their views on the science.
Jeff Masters • 5:57 AM GMT on December 16, 2015
After two weeks of intricate negotiation, world leaders wrapped up the 2015 UN climate summit in Paris with the most important diplomatic advance on global climate protection in more than two decades. The Paris Agreement is aimed at getting all of the world’s nations on board with plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions--even if those plans are not legally binding. Meanwhile, Typhoon Melor powered into the Central Philippines on Sunday night, December 13 (U.S. EST time) as a Category 3 storm with 125 mph winds, and an extremely strong nontropical cyclone struck Alaska's Aleutian Islands over the weekend, bringing sustained winds of nearly 100 miles per hour to the westernmost parts of the United States.
Bob Henson and Jeff Masters • 5:29 PM GMT on December 14, 2015
Severe weather is possible over parts of Texas and Oklahoma on Saturday, as a powerful jet stream with winds topping 175 mph encounters an air mass at near-record levels of warmth and instability for mid-December. Heavy rains are possible from Texas to Wisconsin as a line of storms sweeps east overnight and into Sunday. Further north, some parts of the Midwest could see their heaviest one- or two-day rainfall on record for December.
Bob Henson • 4:50 PM GMT on December 11, 2015
Even more than one might expect, the 2016 Atlantic hurricane season is shaping up with both high- and low-end possibilities, based on preliminary thoughts released Thursday by a team at Colorado State University. If CSU is right, the coming Atlantic hurricane season has a better chance than the last four seasons of being either unusually active or uncommonly tranquil.
Bob Henson • 7:51 PM GMT on December 10, 2015
Meteorological autumn was the warmest on record for the 48 contiguous U.S. states, according to NOAA’s wrapup of November and fall conditions released Wednesday morning. The large-scale mildness hasn’t abated, as temperatures were well above freezing Wednesday morning over nearly all of the United States east of the Rockies ahead of what looks like a unusually long stretch of very mild weather for mid-December, with large parts of New England and New York still waiting for their first measurable snow of the year. Meanwhile, A freight train of high-energy, moisture-laden Pacific storms has crashed into Washington and Oregon over the last week, causing widespread flood and wind damage as well as record warmth. Another well-defined channel of moisture, extending all the way from the Caribbean into the far northeast Atlantic, has fueled a series of intense storms across Iceland and the British Isles over the last several days.
Bob Henson • 7:36 PM GMT on December 09, 2015
Conditions in far southeast India are slowly improving after five weeks of frequent torrential rain from the northeast monsoon that has led to more than 250 deaths. Parts of Chennai have spent days inundated by as much as eight feet of polluted water, with widespread power outages exacerbating the crisis. Among the factors that helped boost the likelihood of heavy autumn rains in Chennai: El Niño, the Indian Ocean Dipole, and long-term climate warming. Miami is also having its wettest winter week on record, with more than 8" since December 1. And in Paris, negotiators are entering the final week of a crucial UN climate summit.
Bob Henson • 4:02 PM GMT on December 07, 2015
the year 2015 may end up with the lowest number of U.S. tornado fatalities in at least 141 years. As of December 2, preliminary numbers from the NOAA Storm Prediction Center show only 10 tornado-related deaths nationwide. If this number holds through the end of the year, it will beat the 12 deaths reported in 1910 to become the lowest annual total on record.
Bob Henson • 6:25 PM GMT on December 04, 2015
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Jeff Masters • 4:42 PM GMT on December 03, 2015
The 2015 Atlantic hurricane season is officially over, and it will go into the books as the most memorable hurricane season to occur during a strong El Niño event. More than a week of tough negotiations lies ahead at the UN Climate Conference (COP21), but Monday--the opening day--more than 150 heads of state were on hand, and dozens of them gave speeches, acknowledging the gravity of human-produced climate change and the daunting task of turning it around.
Jeff Masters and Bob Henson • 3:50 PM GMT on December 01, 2015