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The United States of Moisture Extremes

16 May 2014, 6:01 am

90-Day Precipitation. I found the map above fascinating; extreme rains for the Pacific Northwest and Gulf Coast, with precipitation well above average east of the Mississippi, but precious little rain over the southern Plains and NO rain to speak of for much of the southwestern USA. Source: NOAA.

90-Day Precipitation Departure from Normal. A series of closed “cut-off” lows as created a quilt-work of moisture haves and have-nots since mid-February. Much of Minnesota and Wisconsin is 4-8″ above average for the last 3 months, while farms near Wichita, Kansas are running nearly a 12″ rainfall deficit.

Wildfires From Space. NOAA satellites shows the smoke and ash plumes from fires that continue to burn north of San Diego; more fires south of Tijuana, Mexico.

Firenadoes Spotted In San Diego Wildfires. has video of one of these spinning updrafts of fire and ash; here’s an excerpt of an explanation from Vox: “…Most often, the cyclone sucks carbon-rich gases, produced by burning plants, upward. At ground level, these gases might not come into contact with enough oxygen (needed to fuel a fire) to burn, but once they’re aloft, they mix with fresh oxygen and start burning suddenly. Once this happens, the extreme temperatures of a fire tornado (as high as 2,000°F) can be hot enough to re-ignite ash that’s been sucked up from the ground — and mixed with fresh, oxygenated air — as well…”


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Welcome to the WeatherNation blog. Every day I sift through hundreds of stories, maps, graphics and meteorological web sites, trying to capture some of the most interesting weather nuggets, the stories behind the forecast. I’ll link to stories and share some of the web sites I use. I’m still passionate about the weather, have been ever since Tropical Storm Agnes flooded my home in Lancaster, PA in 1972. I’ve started 5 weather-related companies. “EarthWatch” created the world’s first 3-D weather graphics for TV stations – Steven Spielberg used our software in “Jurassic Park” and “Twister”. My last company, “Digital Cyclone”, personalized weather for cell phones. “My-Cast” was launched in 2001 and is still going strong on iPhone, Android and Blackberry. I sold DCI to Garmin in 2007 so I could focus on my latest venture: WeatherNation. I also write a daily weather column for The Star Tribune And if you’re on Twitter, you’ll find me @pdouglasweather

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