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2017 February

Glacial Pace for Southern Hemisphere Cyclone Season; Tornado Threat in Midwest

In a turn of events that’s mystified even the experts, hurricane-strength cyclones have been virtually absent since July from the entire Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean south of the equator. Meanwhile, there is a risk of strong tornadoes on Tuesday afternoon and evening from parts of Missouri and Arkansas to Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky.

Bob Henson and Jeff Masters • 5:06 PM GMT on February 28, 2017

More Record Heat Invading the U.S. as Cleanup From Rare February Tornadoes Begins

Record warmth slathered the Northeast on Friday and Saturday, the latest chapter in a phenomenal sequence of unseasonal mildness during the last half of February. As of Monday morning, NOAA’s U.S. Records site had catalogued 5857 daily record highs for the month, with only 95 daily record lows.

Bob Henson and Jeff Masters • 6:04 PM GMT on February 27, 2017

All-Time Warmth for February Stretches to New England

A February remarkable for its long stretches of mildness steamed onward Thursday, with more all-time records for the month continuing to tumble across wide stretches of the U.S. The apex of the record-setting warmth expanded on Thursday from the Midwest into New York and New England. Severe weather could erupt on Friday across parts of the eastern Great Lakes, and more all-time February warmth is possible through Saturday.

Bob Henson and Jeff Masters • 5:47 PM GMT on February 24, 2017

The Milding of February: All-Time Winter Warmth in Midwest

Residents of Wisconsin have never experienced a winter day like the one that enveloped the state in a springlike balm on Wednesday. An uncommon lack of late-February snow cover across Illinois and southern Wisconsin allowed very mild air streaming northward to sweep across the state with very little surface cooling. All three of Wisconsin’s largest cities saw the highest temperatures observed on any December, January, or February day in more than a century of recordkeeping. Wednesday’s warmth was a fitting coda to a remarkably warm stretch across most of the Midwest, with unprecedented strings of unusually mild readings over the last week.

Bob Henson • 4:41 PM GMT on February 23, 2017

More Floods and Evacuations in California--Plus Wind Gusts Topping 190 MPH

The atmospheric river that slammed the central third of California on Monday left its mark in multiple ways, including what could end up as the highest reliably recorded wind gusts for the state. Fortunately, the storm underperformed somewhat when it came to rainfall, much like its older sibling that hit southern California last Friday. Even so, the rains of the last week have caused plenty of havoc statewide.

Bob Henson and Jeff Masters • 6:50 PM GMT on February 21, 2017

Dangerous, Multipronged Storm Strafing Central/Northern California

What may become known as the President’s Day Storm of 2017 barreled into the San Francisco Bay area on Monday morning. The core of the storm was an atmospheric river roughly 75 to 100 miles wide, pointing a firehose of moisture toward vulnerable foothills and urban areas. With soils already sodden, the risk of flash flooding was high, and the tail end of the storm promised to bring ferocious winds into the area that could knock out power for many thousands of residents, in some cases for prolonged periods.

Bob Henson • 5:57 PM GMT on February 20, 2017

No Rest: Another Round of Intense Rains Heading for Central and Northern California

While southern California tries to dry out from Friday’s watery onslaught, yet another atmospheric river will be pointed at central and northern California from late Sunday through Monday, exacerbating the woes of what’s already been a record-wet winter to date across the northern Sierra. The impending storm is likely to pack a big punch for city dwellers from San Francisco to Sacramento.

Bob Henson • 4:08 PM GMT on February 19, 2017

Epic Storm Pounds Southern California With Heavy Rain, High Wind and Huge Waves

The epic assault of the winter of 2016 - 2017 on California continued on Friday morning as torrential rains, damaging winds and huge waves from a massive and powerful Pacific storm system pounded the Golden State. Carrying with it an “atmospheric river” of moisture originating in the subtropics near Hawaii, Friday’s storm was most dangerous because of its heavy rains.

Jeff Masters • 5:20 PM GMT on February 17, 2017

January 2017: Earth's 3rd Warmest January on Record; Lake Oroville Water Levels Drop

January 2017 was the planet's third warmest January since record keeping began in 1880, said NOAA' and NASA. The only warmer Januarys were 2016 (highest) and 2007 (second highest).

Jeff Masters and Bob Henson • 5:38 PM GMT on February 16, 2017

This is February? 80°F in Denver, 99° in Oklahoma, 66° in Iceland, 116° in Australia

The strong, recurrent Pacific jet stream that’s been delivering massive amounts of rain to California has also been pushing mild Pacific air downslope off the Rockies and eastward, keeping the southern two-thirds of the U.S. absurdly warm for early February. Trees and shrubs are weeks ahead of schedule across the South, and severe weather has been striking frequently. Temperatures soared to record levels for any February across large parts of TX, OK, KS, and CO on Friday and Saturday. Record heat for the month was also reported in Iceland, and some Australia stations have seen their all-time highest temperatures.

Bob Henson • 4:17 PM GMT on February 14, 2017

More than 180,000 Under Evacuation Orders as Oroville Dam Spillways Compromised

Tens of thousands of Californians fled their homes on short notice Sunday evening as an emergency spiillway at Oroville Dam, the nation's tallest, showed signs of failure. The crisis had lessened somewhat by Monday morning, but the evacuation order remained in effect as officials assessed damage to the dam's two spillways. More heavy rain and snow will hit California beginning later this week.

Bob Henson • 3:46 PM GMT on February 13, 2017

One Snowy, Windy Nor’easter Gone; More on the Way?

A fast-moving, hard-hitting snowstorm walloped large swaths of the Northeast U.S. and New England on Thursday, a mere day after record highs above 60°F had enveloped much of the region. Widespread wind gusts of 50 to 70 mph--qualifying the storm as a blizzard for several hours in many areas, including Boston--added to the impact of this classic midwinter event, which dropped widespread snow totals of a foot or more from Long Island, New York, to southwest Maine. More snow may hit parts of the region over the next week.

Bob Henson • 5:04 PM GMT on February 10, 2017

So Long, La Niña; Arctic Temperatures Soar 63°F in 24 Hours

n its latest monthly advisory, issued Thursday, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center (CPC) sounded the death knell for the 2016-17 La Niña.

Jeff Masters • 5:15 PM GMT on February 09, 2017

EF3 Tornado Rips Through New Orleans East, Injuring 25

At least nine tornadoes touched down in south Louisiana and south Mississippi on Tuesday, causing widespread damage and dozens of injuries, but no deaths. The largest tornado was an EF2 with winds of 111 - 135 mph that tore through New Orleans East, injuring 25.

Jeff Masters • 3:53 PM GMT on February 08, 2017

The Cure for Catastrophe: How We Can Stop Manufacturing Natural Disasters

In his excellent new book, The Cure for Catastrophe: How We Can Stop Manufacturing Natural Disasters, Robert Muir-Wood presents a fascinating expert guided tour of the history of catastrophes and how humans have responded to them.

Jeff Masters • 5:40 PM GMT on February 07, 2017

Avalanches Kill at Least 137 in Afghanistan

Heavy snowfall in Afghanistan near the Pakistan border has triggered avalanches that have killed at least 137 people in recent days. The death toll is expected to rise as rescuers reach remote areas where blocked roads and mountainous terrain were hampering rescue efforts. Some villages in the worst-hit province of Nuristan, which received nearly 3m (10ft) of snow, have been cut off from communication.

Jeff Masters • 4:36 PM GMT on February 06, 2017

Climate Science Denial Shifts to a New Tactic Among Trump Appointees

Denial of climate science has shifted to a new tactic: to claim that the indisputable heating of the planet is primarily a natural phenomenon, and that there is major uncertainty among scientists on the issue. These assertions are false. Based on the evidence, more than 97% of climate scientists have concluded that human-caused climate change is happening; scientists’ “best estimate” is that ALL of the global warming since 1950 has been human-caused, primarily through an increase in carbon dioxide due to the burning of fossil fuels.

Jeff Masters • 5:29 PM GMT on February 03, 2017

Winter Abandons South Florida: A Record-Warm Two-Month Stretch

The winter of 2015-16 featured periods of exceptional warmth in South Florida, yet even that high bar is being eclipsed by the persistent simmering that’s gone on for most of the last two months. In Miami, the average temperature of 74.65°F for the two-month period of Dec. 2016 - Jan. 2017 is a full degree above the 73.6°F record from 1971-72, and it also tops any two-month Dec-Jan interval in NWS/Miami data going back to 1895.

Bob Henson • 11:05 PM GMT on February 01, 2017