Strong tornadoes plowed through the Midwest U.S. last night, killing at least four people. Three people died in Harrisburg, Illinois, and another person was killed in southwest Missouri near Buffalo when a possible tornado ripped through a mobile home park. A tornado also moved through downtown Branson, Missouri early this morning, causing heavy damage to the city's famous theaters, and injuring at least twelve people.
JeffMasters, • 3:05 PM GMT on February 29, 2012
La Niña, the cooling of the equatorial Pacific waters off the coast of South America that has dramatically affected our weather for most of the past two years, is almost done. Sea surface temperatures (SSTs) over the tropical Eastern Pacific have warmed rapidly over the past two weeks, and are now slightly warmer than the threshold to be considered La Niña conditions. It is likely that SSTs will continue to warm during March and April, and that La Niña is done.
JeffMasters, • 3:39 PM GMT on February 27, 2012
Recent, globally record-setting years have demanded a product that combines U.S. and international record extremes into one, easy to use interface. We created "Record Extremes" in response to that demand, and have included records from three national and international sources.
angelafritz • 6:14 PM GMT on February 23, 2012
Since 2006 , federally declared weather-related disasters in the United States have affected counties housing 242 million people--or roughly four out of five Americans. That's the remarkable finding of Environment America, who last week released a detailed report on extreme weather events in the U.S.
JeffMasters, • 5:55 PM GMT on February 20, 2012
Documents illegally leaked from the Heartland Institute, one of the most active groups engaged in attacking the science of climate change, provide an unprecedented look into how these groups operate. The story was broken Tuesday by DeSmogBlog, a website dedicated to exposing false claims about climate change science. The documents reveal that donors to Heartland included oil billionaire Charles Koch, and Heartland has spent several million dollars over the past five years to undermine climate science.
JeffMasters, • 3:15 PM GMT on February 17, 2012
January 2012 was the globe's 19th warmest January since records began in 1880. Eurasia had its ninth largest snow cover extent in the 46-year period of record. Cold and snowy conditions dominated across central and Eastern Europe, as well as much of China. North America had its third smallest January snow cover extent, since much of the United States and southern Canada were warmer and drier than average, limiting snow cover.
JeffMasters, • 3:18 PM GMT on February 16, 2012
At least ten people were killed by Tropical Cyclone Giovanna in Madagascar, which hit the island nation as a powerful Category 3 storm. Many remote areas that were affected by the storm have not been heard from yet, so the full extent of Giovanna's damage is not yet known. Giovanna is currently in the Mozambique Channel between Madagascar and Mozambique as a tropical storm with 50 mph winds, and is slowly intensifying.
JeffMasters, • 4:41 PM GMT on February 15, 2012
Tropical Cyclone Giovanna powered ashore along the east coast of Madagascar as a destructive Category 3 storm with 125 - 130 mph winds at 22 UTC last night. Winds at the coastal city of Tamatave, 70 miles north-northeast of where the center came ashore, peaked at 52 mph, gusting to 71 mph. Giovanna passed just south of the capital of Antananarivo as a Category 1 storm at 8 am local time Tuesday morning. It is likely that the storm dumped 5 - 10 inches of rain along much of its path.
JeffMasters, • 1:07 PM GMT on February 14, 2012
Earth's most dangerous storm of 2012 is Tropical Cyclone Giovanna, which is bearing down on Madagascar as a powerful Category 4 storm with 145 mph winds. Giovanna is predicted to hit a heavily populated portion of the east coast of the island near 22 GMT tonight as a Category 3 storm, then move inland, passing near the capital of Antananarivo as a Category 1 storm on Tuesday morning. The outer spiral bands of the storm have already moved over the island, bringing heavy rains and gusty winds.
JeffMasters, • 2:45 PM GMT on February 13, 2012
Wintertime minimum temperatures in the U.S. have risen so much in recent decades that the USDA had to update their Plant Hardiness Zone Map for gardeners for the first time since 1990. Ann Arbor used to be in Zone 5, but is now solidly in the warmer Zone 6. This got me to wondering, what sort of plants in Zone 6, until now unknown in Ann Arbor, might migrate northwards in coming decades into the city? The truly awful possibility: The Ohio Buckeye Tree.
JeffMasters, • 2:53 PM GMT on February 10, 2012
It wasn't the warmest January in U.S. history, but it sure didn't seem like winter last month--the contiguous U.S. experienced its fourth warmest January on record, and the winter period December 2011 - January 2012 was also the fourth warmest in the 117-year record. The percent area of the U.S. experiencing extremes in warm maximum temperatures was 56 percent--the second highest value on record.
JeffMasters, • 2:25 PM GMT on February 08, 2012
Europe's winter onslaught continues unabated this week, with very cold temperatures and heavy snows over much of the continent. Yesterday, a rare snow storm hit North Africa, bringing 2 - 3 inches of snow to Tripoli, Libya. It was the first snow in Tripoli since at least 2005, and may be the heaviest snow the Libyan capital has seen since February 6, 1956. Across Europe, at least 250 deaths have been blamed on the winter weather since the cold spell began on January 26.
JeffMasters, • 2:57 PM GMT on February 07, 2012
JeffMasters, • 1:51 PM GMT on February 06, 2012
The first Super Sunday Invest in history formed this morning in the Yucatan Channel between Mexico and Cuba, and is slowly becoming more organized as it moves northeast towards Southwest Florida. The new disturbance, Invest 90L, has a modest but growing area of heavy thunderstorms near its center. Visible satellite imagery shows a pronounced spin at middle levels of the atmosphere, and 90L may be able to close off a surface circulation if it can find 24 more hours of marginally favorable conditions.
JeffMasters, • 8:17 PM GMT on February 05, 2012
Brutal winter cold continues over most of Europe, where at least 200 people have died in a cold wave that began January 26. Hardest hit has been Ukraine, where the temperature bottomed out at -17°F (-27°C) at the capital of Kyiv this morning. Rome, Italy experienced a rare snowfall today, only its second day with snow during the past fifteen years. Very cold temperatures 10 - 20°C below average will continue for another seven days in Europe before gradually moderating late next week.
JeffMasters, • 4:06 PM GMT on February 03, 2012
Punxsutawney Phil, Pennsylvania's famous prognosticating rodent, saw his shadow this morning. According to tradition, this means that a solid six more weeks of winter can be expected across the U.S. Considering winter hasn't really arrived in the lower 48 states yet, I'm not sure how much validity we can give to fearless Phil's forecast. The latest 2-week forecast from the GFS model shows a huge ridge of high pressure dominating the Western U.S. and no major snowstorms over the U.S. through mid-February.
JeffMasters, • 3:35 PM GMT on February 02, 2012
Wintertime minimum temperatures in the U.S. have risen so much in recent decades that the U.S. Department of Agriculture decided last week to update their Plant Hardiness Zone Map for gardeners for the first time since 1990. The Plant Hardiness Zone Map is the standard by which gardeners and growers can determine which plants are most likely to thrive at a location. Zone boundaries in the new 2012 edition of the map have generally shifted one 5°F half-zone warmer than the previous map.
JeffMasters, • 2:17 PM GMT on February 01, 2012