All Weather News

Drought Expands (another wave of severe heat next week?)

13 Jul 2012, 6:12 am

60.84% of America is in a moderate drought (or worse). Nearly 80% of the lower 48 states are abnormally dry. Details below.

Earth-Directed X Flare: Big sunspot AR1520 erupted on July 12th around 16:53 UT, producing an X-class solar flare and hurling a CME directly toward Earth.  Forecasters expect the cloud to arrive on July 14th.  Its impact could spark moderate to severe geomagnetic storms, allowing auroras to be seen at lower latitudes than usual.  Check for more information and updates.


Tropical Storm Fabio. No, you can’t make this stuff up. Fabio is whipping up in the Pacific, details below.

55 days above 100 F. at Phoenix this year. Every day in June was 100+.
61% of America is in a drought, the highest percentage in 12 years. More from USA Today.

Moderate Drought Returns To Southern Minnesota. The latest Drought Monitor from NOAA shows nearly a quarter of Minnesota in a moderate drought, up from 14.86% a week ago. Nearly half the state is now “abnormally dry”. Farmers (and gardeners) need about 1″ rain/week for proper growth of crops. After a very wet June rainfall has dropped off a cliff, and today’s showers and T-storms probably won’t be enough to make a significant dent in the rainfall deficit.

2012: Even Drier Than Last Year. Texas and Oklahoma experienced an historic drought last year, even worse than during the Dust Bowl Days of the 1930s. This year’s drought is more widespread, but not quite as extreme. A few details:

* 80 percent of the country is at least abnormally dry this year, compared to 36 percent last year.

* 61 percent of the country is facing moderate to extreme drought conditions this year compared to half that last year.


* Only 20 percent of the country is not abnormally dry, as opposed to 64 percent last year.



Corn And Beans. WeatherNation TV meteorologist Bryan Karrick was out in Ellsworth, Wisconsin yesterday – sent back these pics of the maturing corn and bean crop – he noticed some stress on the crops, but we’re in (much) better shape than much of the Corn Belt in the Ohio Valley. That said, if we don’t get (significant, 1″+) rains in the next week or two there could be drought-related issues by late summer.



Latest Drought Monitor. This was just updated by NOAA, nearly 61% of the lower 48 states now in a moderate drought, 37% – over a third of the nation – in a severe drought. My hunch stands: this will probably wind up being the hottest, driest summer since 1988.


6-Week Drought Animation. Here is a time-lapse since June 5, showing the drought expanding in size and intensity over the last 6 weeks.


Friday Severe Threat. A few storms may exceed severe limits later today from Eau Claire to the Twin Cities southward to Des Moines and Omaha. Map courtesy of NOAA SPC.


Tropical Storm….Fabio? Yes, we’ve officially run out of hurricane names. “Fabio” is packing 60 mph winds, expected to become a category 1 hurricane well off the coast of Mexico. Category 1? Fabio should be a Category..6. Map courtesy of NHC and Ham Weather.


Severe Turbulence Affects Miami-Bound Flight. Here’s a meteorological explanation of what caused severe turbulence and numerous injuries on a recent flight, courtesy of NOAA’s Environmental Visualization Laboratory: “Strong convection over Cuba and in the Florida Straights contributed to severely turbulent conditions that affected American Airlines Flight 1780 as it approached Miami International Airport on Tuesday, July 10, 2012. At the time this image was taken by GOES East at 2145Z, storms covered almost the entire length and breadth of Cuba and others were developing along the aircraft’s approach path to the airport. The turbulence caused injuries to passengers and flight crew during a 15 second time span 30 minutes from the Aruba-originated flight’s conclusion.”


2012: The Year Of All Or Nothing. What a difference a year makes; historic drought in 2011, now Texans can’t turn off the rain. Flash flooding has been severe across central and eastern Texas; details from the Austin – San Antonio office of the NWS, via Facebook: “Flooding in San Antonio’s Brackenridge Park on 7-11-2012. Picture courtesy of Brandon Rosier.”


Urban Flooding. Here’s another photo from the San Antonio, Texas area, where flash flooding has been widespread. Details from the local National Weather Service office, via Facebook: “Flooding on the lower deck of I-35, on the northwest side of Downtown San Antonio on 7-11-2012. Picture courtesy of Brandon Rosier.


Flash Flood Tips. Some good advice from NOAA. Only 6″ of rapidly moving water can knock you off your feet; 18″ of water can turn your vehicle into a boat, with potentially tragic consequences.


Technicolor Sunset. Here’s a terrific photo from Denali National Park and Preserve: “The red and orange clouds mixing with blue sky turned a 5 minute walk to the bathroom into a 1 hour event last night.



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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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