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2015 January

Brazil, California Face Specter of Worsening Drought

January has not been kind to two parched corners of the Americas. A large chunk of California’s San Francisco Bay area is wrapping up the month with no measurable rainfall, a first for January since records began, and reservoirs serving São Paulo, Brazil, are perilously close to running completely dry in the midst of the region’s worst drought since at least 1930.

Bob Henson • 9:35 PM GMT on January 30, 2015

What Do the Latest Climate Assessments Tell Us about Nor’easters?

An ever-lengthening procession of winter storms has marched across the mid-Atlantic and Northeast over the last few years. Recent overviews of national and global climate indicate that, as a whole, the most intense rainstorms and snowstorms in the northeast U.S. are growing even more intense.

Bob Henson • 4:00 PM GMT on January 29, 2015

Blizzard of 2015 Brings 2 - 3' of Snow and Questions About Forecast Accuracy

The snows from the Blizzard of 2015 have finally ended over most of New England, leaving some truly historic snowfall totals. The biggest snows hit Central Massachusetts, with three feet measured at Auburn, Hudson, and Lunenburg. More than two feet of snow fell across five other states, with 33.2" at Nashua, NH; 30" at Orient, NY; 28.5" at Burrillville, RI; 31.5" at Sanford, ME; and 34.1" at Winthrop, CT.

Bob Henson and Jeff Masters • 4:02 PM GMT on January 28, 2015

Historic Blizzard Rips across New England; New York City Largely Spared

Although the New York City metropolitan area was largely spared, the Blizzard of 2015 is pulling no punches this morning across much of eastern New England. Some locations in Massachusetts have already topped two feet of snow, with heavy snowbands still pounding the Boston metropolitan area and Cape Cod, extending northeast into coastal Maine.

Jeff Masters and Bob Henson • 4:46 PM GMT on January 27, 2015

Historic Nor’Easter to Wallop New York, New England

Jeff Masters and Bob Henson • 4:22 PM GMT on January 26, 2015

Potentially Historic Blizzard Taking Aim on New England

The densely populated area from New York City to Boston could experience one of its ten biggest snowstorms on record early this week, as a textbook nor’easter takes shape over the next 48 hours.

Bob Henson • 6:30 PM GMT on January 25, 2015

California Drought Worsening During Height of Rainy Season

The Western U.S. winter rainy season has reached its halfway point, and there is only bad news to report for drought-beleaguered California. No rain at all has fallen in January 2015 in San Francisco, or over much of Central California. The dryness has been accompanied by near-record warmth at higher elevations in the Sierras. As a result, the snowpack in the Sierras is abysmally low, running about 30% of normal for this time of year.

JeffMasters, • 9:10 PM GMT on January 23, 2015

A Striking Change in Lightning Deaths

The death toll from lightning has plummeted across the nation in recent decades, and the progress is holding up nicely. A century ago, lightning killed more than 400 people in the United States each year, at a time when the nation's population was much lower. Today, the U.S. death toll averages less than 30 per year.

Bob Henson • 5:21 PM GMT on January 22, 2015

Icy Roads Cause Havoc in Oregon, Texas, Northeast

Motorists in widely dispersed parts of the country found themselves slipping and sliding over the last week in treacherous black-ice conditions. Hundreds of accidents and more than a dozen deaths were reported.

Bob Henson • 4:28 PM GMT on January 20, 2015

Floods Kill at Least 260 in Malawi, Mozambique, and Madagascar

In what is likely to be one of 2015's deadliest natural disasters, two weeks of heavy rains have hit the southeastern African nations of Malawi, Mozambique, and Madagascar, triggering rampaging floods that have killed at least 260 people and left 260,000 homeless. Hardest hit was Malawi, where 176 people are dead or missing and 200,000 homeless.

Jeff Masters • 4:35 PM GMT on January 19, 2015

Incredible Lightning Photos of the Eye of Bansi From the International Space Station

One of the most incredible photographs ever of a tropical cyclone was taken this week of Tropical Cyclone Bansi in the South Indian Ocean, which peaked as a Category 4 storm with 150 mph winds two separate times, on January 13 and on January 16. Lightning within an intense thunderstorm in the eyewall of the storm lit up the eye at night, which was captured on the International Space Station by Astronaut Sam Cristoforetti.

Jeff Masters • 2:10 AM GMT on January 18, 2015

2014: Hottest Year in Recorded Human History

Earth had its warmest year on record in 2014, said NOAA and NASA at a joint press conference today. According to NOAA, global surface temperatures in 2014 were 1.24°F (0.69°C) above the 20th century average, highest among all years in the 1880-2014 record, easily breaking the previous records of 2005 and 2010 by 0.07°F (0.04°C). Using independent measurement techniques but mostly the same set of surface stations, NASA also rated 2014 as the warmest year on record, as did the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA).

Jeff Masters • 5:05 PM GMT on January 16, 2015

The 25 Billion-Dollar Weather Disasters of 2014

Earth had a relatively quiet year for natural disasters in 2014, with the combined economic losses adding up to $132 billion US dollars--37% below the $211 billion per year average damages from the previous ten years. There were 25 billion-dollar weather disasters in 2014, slightly below the ten-year average of 27. The most expensive natural disaster of 2014 was September flooding in India and Pakistan that cost $18 billion.

Jeff Masters • 7:58 PM GMT on January 13, 2015

The U.S. Climate of 2014: Remarkable Hot, Cold, Wet and Dry Extremes

The year 2014 saw remarkable extremes in the U.S. California, Nevada, and Arizona all saw their hottest year on record, going back to 1895. The year placed among the top-twenty warmest in most of the other western states, as well as in Maine. At the same time, a corridor of seven central states--Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Michigan--saw 2014 place among their top-ten coolest years.

Bob Henson • 4:17 PM GMT on January 12, 2015

Long Arm of Winter Brings Lake Effect Snow to Midwest, Ice Risk to South

Strong winds and recurrent blasts of bitter cold continue to plague much of the central and eastern United States, with little change in sight into early next week.

Bob Henson • 5:19 PM GMT on January 09, 2015

NOAA Reduces Odds of El Niño Conditions This Winter

The chance of a noteworthy El Niño event this winter is becoming more slender, diminishing along with California’s chances for more drought relief.

Bob Henson • 2:29 PM GMT on January 08, 2015

Global Extreme Temperatures in 2014: 3 All-Time National Cold Records, 2 Heat Records

Despite the fact that 2014 will likely be classified as Earth's warmest year in history in an announcement due from NOAA on January 16, the year was not a notable one for all-time national heat records. Two nations tied or set all-time records for their hottest temperature in recorded history in 2014, and three territories set all-time cold records.

Jeff Masters • 2:26 PM GMT on January 07, 2015

High Pressure Records in Jeopardy Across Great Plains

A sprawling dome of high pressure is on track to spill from Canada across most of the eastern United States over the next several days, bringing sharp winds and some of the coldest air of the season to many locations. In some locations, barometric high pressure readings may reach levels never before observed in January, and one or more all-time records can't be ruled out.

Bob Henson • 2:00 PM GMT on January 06, 2015

Bob Henson Joins Weather Underground as a Full-Time Blogger

Bob Henson, who is probably the world's premier science writer in meteorology and climate change, has joined us as a full-time blogger, and will be making regular posts in my blog on weather and climate change topics.

JeffMasters, • 3:23 PM GMT on January 05, 2015

Arctic Air Heads For Central United States

Major storm eastern half of the Nation to be followed by arctic air outbreak.

JeffMasters, • 9:01 PM GMT on January 02, 2015