The long and highly destructive hurricane season of 2012 has finally drawn to a close. The hurricane season of 2012 will long be remembered for spawning Hurricane Sandy--a freakish storm that was the largest, most powerful, and second most destructive Atlantic hurricane on record. But this year's hurricane season had a number of unique attributes, making it one of the most bizarre seasons I've witnessed.
JeffMasters, • 4:50 PM GMT on November 30, 2012
The 2012 Atlantic hurricane season closes this Friday with another top-five tally for named storms--nineteen. This is the third consecutive year with nineteen named storms in the Atlantic, which is a remarkable level of activity for a three-year period. The closest comparable three-year period of activity occurred during 2003 - 2004 - 2005, when each season had fifteen-plus named storms.
JeffMasters, • 4:13 PM GMT on November 28, 2012
A new 2012 paper, "Homogeneous record of Atlantic hurricane surge threat since 1923" looked at storm surge data from six tide gauges along the U.S. coast, and concluded that the number of moderately large hurricane and tropical storm surge events has increased since 1923, and is on pace to nearly double by the year 2100, compared to 20th century levels. Moreover, 1-in-9 year to 1-in-30 year Katrina-level storm surge events are twice as likely to occur in warm years compared to cool years.
JeffMasters, • 5:22 PM GMT on November 26, 2012
Celebrations of the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States in 2012 were aided by some of the most tranquil travel weather ever seen on what is America's busiest travel week. Unusually warm and precipitation-free conditions prevailed over almost the entire nation on Wednesday and Thursday, with many locations in the Midwest reporting their warmest Thanksgiving Day on record. At least three cities set records for their warmest temperature ever recorded so late in the year.
JeffMasters, • 5:35 PM GMT on November 23, 2012
With a name like "Language Intelligence: Lessons on Persuasion from Jesus, Shakespeare, Lincoln, and Lady Gaga", a book with a title like that compels one to pick it up and see what the heck the author is talking about. And Joe Romm's new book on how to communicate doesn't disappoint--it's a thoughtful and compelling look at the techniques used by some of history's great communicators to help persuade.
JeffMasters, • 4:46 PM GMT on November 21, 2012
Beneficial rains over portions of the Central U.S. during the past week put a slight dent in the nation's worst drought since 1954. According to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor, the amount of the contiguous U.S. in moderate to extreme drought declined last week to 59%, down from the 65% peak of September 25, 2012. However, the intense drought is likely to persist through the winter, and its already heavily impacting the Winter Wheat growing season.
JeffMasters, • 4:44 PM GMT on November 19, 2012
The colossal devastation and loss of life wrought by Hurricane Sandy makes the storm one of the greatest disasters in U.S. history. But shockingly, Sandy is probably not even the deadliest or most expensive weather disaster this year in the United States--Sandy's damages of perhaps $50 billion will likely be overshadowed by the huge costs of the great drought of 2012.
JeffMasters, • 3:34 PM GMT on November 16, 2012
October 2012 was the globe's 5th warmest October on record. Global land temperatures were the 8th warmest on record, and global ocean temperatures were the 4th warmest on record. October 2012 was the 332nd consecutive month with global temperatures warmer than the 20th century average. The last time Earth had a below-average October global temperature was in 1976, and the last below-average month of any kind was February 1985.
JeffMasters, • 5:18 PM GMT on November 15, 2012
A powerful Nor'easter is expected to develop off the North Carolina coast on Monday, then move northeastwards out to sea. The storm will be too far from coastal areas of New Jersey and New York hard-hit by Sandy to cause more than minor coastal flooding, thankfully. However, high winds, heavy rain, and moderate coastal flooding are expected to affect the coast of North Carolina beginning on Saturday.
JeffMasters, • 2:54 PM GMT on November 15, 2012
At its peak size, twenty hours before landfall, Sandy had tropical storm-force winds that covered an area nearly one-fifth the area of the contiguous United States. Ten hours before landfall, the total energy of Sandy's winds of tropical storm-force and higher peaked at 329 Terra Joules--the highest value for any Atlantic hurricane since at least 1969. This is 2.7 times higher than Katrina's peak energy, and is equivalent to five Hiroshima-sized atomic bombs.
JeffMasters, • 1:10 PM GMT on November 13, 2012
For the first time in sixteen months, the contiguous U.S. has had a month with below-average temperatures, with October 2012 ranking as the 44th coldest (73rd warmest) October since record keeping began in 1895, said NOAA's National Climatic Data Center. Despite the cool October temperatures, the year-to-date period of January - October was the warmest such period on record for the contiguous U.S.--a remarkable 1.1°F above the previous record.
JeffMasters, • 7:06 PM GMT on November 10, 2012
Devastating Hurricane Sandy was the eleventh billion-dollar weather-related disaster in the U.S. so far this year, and the most expensive, said insurance broker AON Benfield in their November 8, 2012 Catastrophe Report. This puts 2012 in second place for most U.S. billion-dollar weather disasters behind 2011, when NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) counted fourteen such disasters.
JeffMasters, • 4:26 PM GMT on November 09, 2012
Winter Storm Athena punished New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut with heavy snows, high winds, and a 3-foot storm surge. The storm brought unexpectedly high snowfall amounts along a swath from Central New Jersey northeastwards across Southeast New York, Long Island, Connecticut, and South Central Massachusetts. The 4.7" of snow that fell at New York City's Central Park was the city's earliest 4-inch snowfall on record.
JeffMasters, • 3:28 PM GMT on November 08, 2012
Winter Storm Warnings are up for Southwest New Jersey, Northern Delaware, and Southeast Pennsylvania, including Philadelphia, PA, where Winter Storm Athena is expected to drop 3 - 5" of snow today through Thursday morning. Slushy accumulations of up to 1" are likely in Baltimore, and non-accumulating snow will fall as far south as Washington, DC. Athena is the season's first Nor'easter and first winter storm to get a name under The Weather Channel's new naming system.
JeffMasters, • 2:57 PM GMT on November 07, 2012
An early-season Nor'easter is taking shape along the coast of South Carolina today, but is now forecast to be weaker and move farther offshore than originally forecast, resulting in lower impacts to the New Jersey and New York coasts than originally feared. The storm will head north-northeast along the coast on Wednesday, intensifying into a 990 mb Nor'easter, a few hundred miles south of Long Island, NY, by Wednesday evening.
JeffMasters, • 4:11 PM GMT on November 06, 2012
An early-season Nor'easter will form off the coast of South Carolina on Tuesday evening. The storm will accelerate to the north-northeast on Wednesday and pull in cold air from Canada, intensifying into a medium-strength Nor'easter with a central pressure near 984 mb by Wednesday evening. The models are pretty unified on the timing and strength of this storm, and a 12-hour period of strong winds of 40 - 45 mph will likely affect portions of the coast from Maryland to Massachusetts.
JeffMasters, • 3:26 PM GMT on November 05, 2012
Residents and relief workers in the region hit by Sandy should anticipate the possibility of the arrival on Wednesday of a moderate-strength Nor'easter with heavy rain, accompanied by high winds capable of driving a 1 - 2 foot storm surge with battering waves. The surge and waves will potentially cause moderate to severe erosion on New Jersey coast, where Hurricane Sandy pulverized the protective beach dunes.
JeffMasters, • 7:38 PM GMT on November 03, 2012
Residents and relief workers in the region hit by Sandy should anticipate the possibility of the arrival on Wednesday of a moderate-strength Nor'easter with heavy rain, accompanied by high winds capable of driving a 1 - 2 foot storm surge with battering waves.
JeffMasters, • 4:16 PM GMT on November 02, 2012
The immensity of the impact of Superstorm Sandy on the Eastern U.S. is difficult to comprehend, and the scenes of devastation coming from the impact zone are stunning and heart-wrenching. To help understand the extraordinary scale of this historic storm, I've put together a list of notable statistics from Sandy.
JeffMasters, • 7:19 PM GMT on November 01, 2012