Largest winter storm of the season helping dent Midwest drought

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:00 PM GMT on February 21, 2013

The largest snowstorm of the winter for the Midwest drought region is winding up, and promises to bring more than a foot of snow to portions of Kansas and Nebraska. Rain and snow from the storm--dubbed Winter Storm "Q"--will put a noticeable dent in the Great Drought of 2012 - 2013 over the Midwest. A second storm due to move through the region on Monday will provide a bit of additional help. The twin storms promise to drop more than an inch of rain (or liquid equivalent rain, for regions like Kansas and Nebraska getting heavy snow.) Many areas of the drought region should enjoy their their wettest day in months on Thursday. The core drought region in the Midwest needs 3 - 9 inches of precipitation to end the drought, so the 1" of precipitation expected from the two storms will merely dent the drought, not end it. Still, the economic value of the rain and snow from the two storms is in the billions of dollars. In addition, runoff from the storms will insure that barge traffic on the Mississippi River will be able to operate well into summer. The Mississippi River at St. Louis is currently about 7' above the lowest water level on record, up over six feet from the near record-low levels of early January.


Figure 1. Predicted precipitation for the 5-day period ending Monday, February 25 at 7 pm EST. The core Midwest drought region is expected to get about an inch of precipitation. Since this region needs 3 - 9 inches of precipitation to end the drought, this coming week's rain and snow will take them at least 10% towards that goal. Image credit: NOAA/HPC.


Figure 2. The amount of precipitation needed to bring the contiguous U.S. out of long-term drought conditions (raise the long-term Palmer Drought Severity Index, PDSI, above -0.5) shows that the core drought region in the Midwest needs 3 - 9 inches of precipitation to end the drought. Image credit: NOAA/Climate Prediction Center.

Drought-busting rains coming for Georgia and Alabama; flooding now a concern
Heavy rains last week in Alabama and Georgia helped give that region no areas of exceptional drought for the first time since January 10, 2012. Another 3 - 8 inches of rain is expected during the next five days, which will help bust the multi-year drought that has affected the area. Flash flooding will even be a concern, particularly on Tuesday. However, as noted in the latest NOAA seasonal drought outlook, "any recovery will occur very slowly, as it will take time for any increased rainfall to chip away at the large moisture deficits that have accumulated over the course of a multi-year drought."


Figure 3. NOAA's February 21 Seasonal Drought Outlook calls for drought to persist over at least 60% of the U.S. drought area through the end of May, with new areas of drought developing over the Southwest U.S. and Florida. However, significant improvement is expected in the Southeast and Upper Midwest.

Drought expected to continue into the summer
The area of the contiguous U.S. covered by drought remained unchanged this week at 56%, according to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor report. NOAA's February 21 Seasonal Drought Outlook calls for drought to persist over at least 60% of the U.S. drought area through the end of May, with new areas of drought developing over the Southwest U.S. and Florida; significant improvement is expected in the Southeast and Upper Midwest, though. After Monday's storm, the GFS and European (ECMWF) models predict that the jet stream will return to the pattern it was in for the first six weeks of 2013, meaning that precipitation-bearing storms will continue to miss the Midwest through at least the first week of March. Given that this jet stream pattern has been very persistent for many months, it's a good bet that drought will be a huge concern as we enter summer. NOAA's Climate Prediction Center predicts an increased chance of drier than average conditions over southwestern portions of the drought region during the coming three months. In general, droughts are more likely in the Midwest U.S. when warmer than average ocean temperatures prevail in the tropical Atlantic, with cooler than average ocean temperatures in the tropical Eastern Pacific (La Niña-like conditions.) This is what we have had so far in 2013. The equatorial tropical Pacific was about 0.3°C below average (as of February 18). This is similar to the ocean temperatures seen in the spring of 2012, just before the Great Drought of 2012 began.

Drought links:
My post on Lessons from 2012: Droughts, not Hurricanes, are the Greater Danger discussed how drought is our greatest threat from climate change.

Ricky Rood blogs about the Dust Bowl

Jeff Masters

Stormy Skies (geniebenie)
Stormy Skies
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Saguaros with Snow and Rocks, no Fog (DesertNomad)
Southern Arizona, USA
Saguaros with Snow and Rocks, no Fog

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393. etxwx
Quoting MAweatherboy1:
Unfortunately one of those damaging wind reports from east TX had a fatality associated with it on the SPC storm report page. Still a few stronger storms out there now over LA and MS.


Report from KTRE Lufkin TX on the storm fatality. Sadly, a 74 year old woman in Sabine County was killed when a tree feel on her mobile home. Additional damage reports from the area:
Sabine County Emergency Management Coordinator Larry Martin said he does not know if a tornado hit the area, but that he has only begun surveying the damage. The storm hit around 1:40 p.m.
Martin said most of the damage is in the area of US 96, north of Pineland and FM 1 at West Strickland Crossing. Wind damage reports have come from the counties of Polk and Cherokee. In the Goodrich area, there is a report of a barn being damaged and numerous trees down. In the Wells area, there are reports of damaged trees and down power lines and damage to a residence on FM 1911, near the intersection of FM 1247.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
392. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)


Tropical Storm ShanShan heading towards Malay Peninsula.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
I think I have literally watched every single tornado video known on YouTube.

If it's not snowing here, I hate Winter with a passion. Hurry up, Spring!



When I'm not doing school work I watch so many videos on tornadoes and severe weather it's scary. I like to watch lighting videos too.
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Has climate change affected the business subculture?

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Quoting ncstorm:
updated QPF map from the HPC




The HPC has ever so slightly expanded heavy accumulation into Florida and also southeast Georgia while also expanding totals into the Carolinas, that's good news for me :)
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I have to do a research paper on how climate change has affected the business subculture, and how it relates to impacting American society as a whole. Has to be about 3000 to 4000 words, this should be interesting...
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387. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Japan Meteorological Agency
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #10
TROPICAL STORM SHANSHAN (T1302)
9:00 AM JST February 22 2013
======================================

SUBJECT: Category One Typhoon In South China Sea

At 0:00 AM UTC, Tropical Storm ShanShan (1002 hPa) located at 5.6N 109.4E has 10 minute sustained winds of 35 knots with gusts of 50 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving west southwest at 2 knots.

Gale Force Winds
==================
240 NM in northwest quadrant
120 NM in southeast quadrant

Dvorak Intensity: T2.5

Forecast and Intensity
=====================
24 HRS: 4.5N 104.8E - 35 knots (CAT 1/Tropical Storm) South China Sea
48 HRS: 3.2N 101.8E - Tropical Depression overland Malay Peninsula
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
386. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Seychelles Meteorological Services
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #15
CYCLONE TROPICAL HARUNA (09-20122013)
4:00 AM RET February 22 2013
=======================================

At 0:00 AM UTC, Tropical Cyclone Haruna (968 hPa) located at 22.2S 43.0E has 10 minute sustained winds of 80 knots with gusts of 115 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving east at 4 knots.

Hurricane Force Winds
=======================
45 NM from the center, extending up to 50 NM in the northern semi-circle

Storm Force Winds
=================
65 NM radius from the center, extending up to 70 NM in the northern semi-circle

Gale Force Winds
===================
90 NM radius from the center, extending up to 100 NM in the northern semi-circle

Near Gale Force Winds
======================
100 NM radius from the center, extending up to 120 NM in the northern semi-circle

Dvorak Intensity: T5.0/5.0/D0.5/6 HRS

Forecast and Intensity
=======================
12 HRS: 23.4S 43.7E - 65 knots (CYCLONE Tropical)
24 HRS: 24.8S 45.2E - 35 knots (Depression sur Terre)
48 HRS: 26.9S 49.6E - 35 knots (Tempête Tropicale Modérée)
72 HRS: 27.9S 53.4E - 30 knots (Depression Tropicale)

Additional Information
========================
For the last 6 hours, general configuration of Haruna has improved with a convective ring colder and an eye that has still narrowed. Average DT has reached 5.0- and consequently current intensity is maintained at 80kt but with larger winds extension radius (central pressure adjusted lower). System has continued to track eastward and eastern edge of the eye has entered through the coast near Cape Saint-Vincent. From this moment to Saturday, as a mid-level trough pass in the south of the system, Haruna should be embedded within a northwesterly steering flow on the southwestern side of a rebuilding near equatorial ridge, and progressively accelerate southeastward. Halura should move along the coast from Cape Saint-Vincent to Tulear until mid afternoon. Actual forecast track and configuration of the coast give a large uncertainty for exact location of landfall.

For the next hours, weather conditions will continue to seriously deteriorate within a 200 to 250 km radius from Tulear. Cyclonic conditions are expected over the coasts of this area, especially northern part. Surge storm between 40 and 70 cm is forecast. Inhabitants of this area should monitor the evolution of this system and stay tuned with information provided by their national weather services.

From Saturday and after it get back over waters southeast of Madagascar, system should continue to track east southeastward by progressively decelerating again. Over that portion of the forecast track, environmental conditions appear unfavorable (strong northwesterly wind shear and cooler sea surface temperatures). However, some modest intensification may be possible. At the end of the forecast period, system should not evacuate toward the mid-latitudes and track northward on the northeastern edge of high pressures coming from the southwest.
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Looks to me like the eye is coming onshore now:





ADT numbers have jumped a bit to around 6.0, maybe a little last minute strengthening before landfall.
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Quoting Terradad:
Near Asheville NC - Rain started within the past hour. It has now turned into a sleet/rain mix. Temp is 44F and falling - it was 48 when the rain started.

Yes - sleet at 44F !

Well, a sleet rain mix, at least.

ps - I LOVE the new mods! Long overdue.




Cool, I saw snow at 44 a couple of weeks ago. Huge wet flakes, some of the biggest I have ever seen.

We had heavy rain from this system, I shall see tomorrow how much, but I think more than what they were thinking.
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Freezing rain and snow is starting to fall and will continue to fall throughout the night and into mid-morning before turning into just rain. Hoping for no school tomorrow!
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US National Weather Service Lake Charles Louisiana
As a part of our new Dual Pol Upgrade one of the features we are able to detect is what is known as a Tornado Debris Signature. Today we found one in a storm as it moved over Vernon Parish. This is normally confirmation of a tornado. In the four panel plit you can see here, Reflectivity is in the top left. Wind is in the top right. Differential Reflectivity is in the bottom left and Correlation Coefficient is in the bottom right. The TDS is in the CC field. We see an area of largely reduce CC (green color) in the field in the exact same location as the velocity shows.

Tomorrow morning a team from the NWS in Lake Charles will be going out to investigate the damage path this storm created. If you have damage in Vernon Parish near Kurthwood or West of Hutton please let us know so that we can include that in the path of the storm.



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Not much in the way of severe weather today, it just never really materialized:



Unfortunately one of those damaging wind reports from east TX had a fatality associated with it on the SPC storm report page. Still a few stronger storms out there now over LA and MS.
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New image. Looking a little better
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Storm trying to rotate in Central MS.
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Quoting stormchaser19:
HARUNA Bottom of the image



Such a large eye
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HARUNA Bottom of the image

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Mauna Loa...Hawaii (I know this happens there btw)

...WINTER STORM WARNING NOW IN EFFECT UNTIL 6 PM HST FRIDAY...
...WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IS CANCELLED...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN HONOLULU HAS CANCELLED THE WINTER
WEATHER ADVISORY. THE WINTER STORM WARNING IS NOW IN EFFECT UNTIL
6 PM HST FRIDAY.

* LOCATIONS...BIG ISLAND SUMMITS ABOVE 10500 FEET.

* HAZARD TYPES...SNOW.

* ACCUMULATIONS...6 TO 12 INCHES TONIGHT AND FRIDAY.
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Rarely do I go this far out for a forecast, but both the European and GFS have been "pinging" on this Southeast cold snap for several runs. To agree this far out is kind of unusual. If this pans out, look for a fairly substantial east coast storm around the start of March, maybe snow in areas that normally don't see much snow. Very interesting nonetheless !!

Link
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Near Asheville NC - Rain started within the past hour. It has now turned into a sleet/rain mix. Temp is 44F and falling - it was 48 when the rain started.

Yes - sleet at 44F !

Well, a sleet rain mix, at least.

ps - I LOVE the new mods! Long overdue.


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59.9 here today. Dreary, but not cold.
PWS up the hill had 59.0 today.
Currently 58 both places.
Airport is still not reporting.
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Although I'm very tired from work...I'll always have energy to come here to see y'all..

I'll have my map in about an hour//
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3 or D duh...
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Quoting SFLWeatherman:
Hurricane season 2013!:)

how many landfalls on the U.S this season of Hurricane and TS??

A.0
B.1
C.2
D.3
E.4
F.5
G.6
H.7
C

NOAAHurricaneHunters ‏@NOAA_HurrHunter
#NOAA49 (#NOAA G-IV) is experience some light to moderate turbulence above a 170kt jet stream.
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Hurricane season 2013!:)

how many landfalls on the U.S this season of Hurricane and TS??

A.0
B.1
C.2
D.3
E.4
F.5
G.6
H.7
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Quoting wxchaser97:
Another tornado warning in MS, WSW of Hazelhurst.



SEVERE WEATHER STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE JACKSON MS
732 PM CST THU FEB 21 2013

MSC029-220215-
/O.CON.KJAN.TO.W.0040.000000T0000Z-130222T0215Z/
COPIAH MS-
732 PM CST THU FEB 21 2013

...A TORNADO WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 815 PM CST FOR NORTHERN
COPIAH COUNTY...

AT 732 PM CST...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE METEOROLOGISTS CONTINUE TO
TRACK A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO. THIS
TORNADO WAS LOCATED 15 MILES WEST OF GALLMAN MOVING NORTHEAST AT 45
MPH.

THE TORNADO WILL BE NEAR...
GALLMAN BY 750 PM CST...
CRYSTAL SPRINGS BY 755 PM CST...
HOPEWELL BY 800 PM CST...

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A TORNADO WARNING MEANS THAT A TORNADO IS OCCURRING OR IMMINENT. YOU
SHOULD ACTIVATE YOUR TORNADO ACTION PLAN AND TAKE PROTECTIVE ACTION
NOW.

A TORNADO WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 1100 PM CST THURSDAY EVENING
FOR SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI.

&&

LAT...LON 3189 9066 3205 9038 3205 9023 3203 9025
3202 9022 3200 9023 3199 9020 3194 9020
3193 9017 3182 9062
TIME...MOT...LOC 0132Z 247DEG 39KT 3187 9059

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367. etxwx

PERMAFROST CAVE: The frost crystals at the entrance to the Ledyanaya Lenskaya cave in Russia denote the region's permafrost, which has been in place for roughly 400,000 years, according to the cave's speleothems. Image: Vladimir V Alexioglo

Siberian Caves Reveal Advancing Permafrost Thaw
By David Biello - Scientific American - 2.21.13

Excerpt: Geoscientist Anton Vaks of the University of Oxford led an international team of experts—including the Arabica Caving Club in Irkutsk—in sampling the spindly cave growths known as stalagmites and stalactites across Siberia and down into the Gobi Desert of China. Taking samples of such speleothems from six caves, the researchers then reconstructed the last roughly 500,000 years of climate via the decay of radioactive particles in the stone. When the ground is frozen above a cave no water seeps into it, making such formations "relicts from warmer periods before permafrost formed," the researchers wrote in a study published online in Science on 21 February.

The details of the study reveal that conditions were warm enough even in Siberia for these mineral deposits to form roughly 400,000 years ago, when the global average temperature was 1.5 degrees Celsius higher than present. It also suggests that there was no permafrost in the Lena River region at that time, because enough water seeped into the northernmost cave to enable roughly eight centimeters of growth in the formations.

That was, in fact, the last time the formations in the Ledyanaya Lenskaya Cave grew, although other caves further south showed multiple periods of growth coinciding with other warmer periods. "That boundary area of continuous permafrost starts to degrade when the mean global temperature is 1.5 degrees C higher than present," Vaks explains. "Such a warming is a threshold after which continuous permafrost zone starts to be vulnerable to global warming."

Since Vaks's present is the "preindustrial late Holocene," that means the planet is already more than halfway there, having experienced 0.8 degree C warming to date. Such a thaw is no small matter, given that permafrost covers nearly a quarter of the land in the Northern Hemisphere and holds roughly 1,700 gigatonnes of carbon—or roughly twice as much carbon as is currently trapping heat in the atmosphere. Much of that carbon would end up in the atmosphere if the permafrost was to thaw further.

Complete article here.

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Another tornado warning in MS, WSW of Hazelhurst.

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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
I think I have literally watched every single tornado video known on YouTube.

If it's not snowing here, I hate Winter with a passion. Hurry up, Spring!


There are some phenomenal tornado videos out there, one of my favorites is this one

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Robert Brookens (Barometer Bob) will be awarded the 2013 Distinguished Service Award For a sustained, significant contribution to one or more fields of hurricane related activity or knowledge over a career.

Congrats to Barometer Bob
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Check it out
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Why Facts don't matter
...

The dynamics that govern most discussion of climate science are no different. Yet there is this persistent hope that one day reason will win over those who cling to the belief that man-made climate change is a manufactured issue. Matthew Herper, who covers science and medicine for Forbes, recently expressed this hope:

We have reached the point where every rational person who believes in making decisions based on science and available data should, if not fully believe that human beings are warming the planet by releasing greenhouse gases, at least recognize that this is what the data seem to suggest and that it is what the vast majority of scientists who study weather believe is the case.


http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/collideascape/2 013/02/21/why-facts-dont-matter/#.USbDw2t5mSM


Sarcasm flag on - we all know Forbes is a left liberal mag... Flag off
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361. auburn (Mod)
Quoting AllyBama:


BOO...I didn't get any either!..lol


I would just be happy with some cold temps...
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The Barometer Bob Show for February 21, 2013.
Guest will be Amy Frank Godsey, Florida State meteorologist. We will talk about Severe Weather Awareness. Also, we may have Mike Theiss from UltimateChase.Com.

Stormchat
sign in with your WU handle.

See ya's there.
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I think I have literally watched every single tornado video known on YouTube.

If it's not snowing here, I hate Winter with a passion. Hurry up, Spring!
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updated QPF map from the HPC

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Quoting tornadodude:


Any guesses on how large the eye is?

From Google Earth. I've worked out it's 72nm N/S 85nm E/W. but that's just an estimate.
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Quoting washingtonian115:
Once again...Everyone else got snow except D.C..Even Arizona!.If that's not pathetic then I don't know what is..


BOO...I didn't get any either!..lol
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Quoting Skyepony:
HARUNA dishing the brunt in the front left quadrant. Click pic for loop.
Quoting Skyepony:
HARUNA dishing the brunt in the front left quadrant. Click pic for loop.
Perfect Doughnut shape.
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Quoting washingtonian115:
Once again...Everyone else got snow except D.C..Even Arizona!.If that's not pathetic then I don't know what is..

get ya guns out and shoot down the shield.
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353. auburn (Mod)
Quoting ARiot:


I grew up in the South, my first tornado was a hit to my school in second grade.



Moved away as an adult, later moved back. Big outbreak in AL a few years ago tore up towns all around, small one danced over our house, thankfully.

Leaving again as soon as I can, but trust me, it isn't the tornados that will run you off :-)



So true...LOL
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Quoting WDEmobmet:




so, are you telling me that I might need a boat to get to work tomorrow? lol..j/k
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Quoting Skyepony:
HARUNA dishing the brunt in the front left quadrant. Click pic for loop.


Any guesses on how large the eye is?
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Quoting ARiot:


I grew up in the South, my first tornado was a hit to my school in second grade.



Moved away as an adult, later moved back. Big outbreak in AL a few years ago tore up towns all around, small one danced over our house, thankfully.

Leaving again as soon as I can, but trust me, it isn't the tornados that will run you off :-)

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349. Skyepony (Mod)
HARUNA dishing the brunt in the front left quadrant. Click pic for loop.
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Quoting washingtonian115:
It would seem so.Lol.Inthink congress or the Obama's are causing it.
Have you thought in moving towards Michigan or Wisconsin? supposedly it snows a lot in there:)
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347. ARiot
Quoting allancalderini:
Definitely. If I ever live in the United states I am sure it will not be the south or the Midwest I am scare to death of Tornadoes.


I grew up in the South, my first tornado was a hit to my school in second grade.



Moved away as an adult, later moved back. Big outbreak in AL a few years ago tore up towns all around, small one danced over our house, thankfully.

Leaving again as soon as I can, but trust me, it isn't the tornados that will run you off :-)

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Quoting wxchaser97:
Circulation should pass near, just north of, Fayette, MS.


SEVERE WEATHER STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE JACKSON MS
641 PM CST THU FEB 21 2013

MSC001-063-220115-
/O.CON.KJAN.TO.W.0039.000000T0000Z-130222T0115Z/
ADAMS MS-JEFFERSON MS-
641 PM CST THU FEB 21 2013

...A TORNADO WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 715 PM CST FOR JEFFERSON
AND NORTH CENTRAL ADAMS COUNTIES...

AT 641 PM CST...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE METEOROLOGISTS CONTINUE TO
TRACK A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO. THIS
TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR FAYETTE MOVING NORTHEAST AT 45 MPH.

THE TORNADO WILL BE NEAR...
RED LICK BY 650 PM CST...
BLUE HILL AND UNION CHURCH BY 655 PM CST...
MCBRIDE AND PLEASANT HILL BY 700 PM CST...

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A TORNADO WARNING MEANS THAT A TORNADO IS OCCURRING OR IMMINENT. YOU
SHOULD ACTIVATE YOUR TORNADO ACTION PLAN AND TAKE PROTECTIVE ACTION
NOW.

A TORNADO WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 1100 PM CST THURSDAY EVENING
FOR SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI.

&&

LAT...LON 3186 9100 3183 9086 3182 9084 3180 9084
3179 9085 3178 9077 3177 9074 3172 9073
3169 9074 3158 9130 3164 9133
TIME...MOT...LOC 0041Z 244DEG 40KT 3174 9105
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It's snowed 4 times in the past week here in Oklahoma, of course where I am it all melted already haha
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Quoting allancalderini:
I am sorry to say it Washi but I have finally surrender and accepted your city is curse in getting snow:( sorry.
It would seem so.Lol.Inthink congress or the Obama's are causing it.
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Quoting washingtonian115:
Once again...Everyone else got snow except D.C..Even Arizona!.If that's not pathetic then I don't know what is..



i got snow evere one above 800ft got snow here in N CA
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Cat 6 lead authors: WU cofounder Dr. Jeff Masters (right), who flew w/NOAA Hurricane Hunters 1986-1990, & WU meteorologist Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

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