All Weather News

Fire & Ice – Most Great Lakes Ice in April since 1973

3 May 2014, 5:37 am

Drying Out. After this week’s stalled storm and record rains from Pensacola to Tampa northward to Philadelphia and Long Island much of America dries out this weekend. Next week’s northward shift of the jet stream may spark a wave of heavy showers and T-storms from the Dakotas to the Great Lakes by midweek.


Extended Outlook: East Coast Heats Up – Cool Bias Rockies to Upper Midwest. After warming into the 60s next week, even 70s by Wednesday, temperatures cool off a bit between May 8-12 from Denver to the Twin Cities and Green Bay as the jet stream continues to bulge southward, pulling cooler air out of Canada. Map: NOAA and HAMweather.






Speaking of ice….

Wall of Ice Damages Homes, Threatens Resort Near Mille Lacs. It’s deja vu all over again. Here’s a clip from an article and video at The Star Tribune: “Driven by high winds, ice from Lake Mille Lacs has gone on a rampage in recent days, bursting into homes, tearing up the shoreline, blocking roads and forming massive mounds in yards. The problems are mostly in the Garrison, Minn., area on the western shore of the lake, which has taken the brunt of the east winds accompanying recent rains. Last year, it was the southeast corner of the lake, near Isle and Wahkon...”

Photo credit above: “Ice swept and damaged Randy Dykhoff’s property along the shore north of Garrison, MN Thursday, May 1, 2014. Dykhoff, of Mound, was notified by the Sheriff’s office of the damage that had occurred last Sunday. He said he carried several wheel barrow loads of ice through his kitchen. He has owned the property since 1997 and It was the first time he has experienced this.” Photo: Elizabeth Flores.


Winter Won’t Let Go: Great Lakes Still On Ice. The most April ice since 1973? Climate Central has an update; here’s an excerpt: “April has come and gone but a record amount of ice still remains on the Great Lakes. This April was the lakes’ iciest on record after a near-record winter, and the season has been notable for how early ice formed and how long it’s lingered. At the close of April, nearly a quarter of the five Great Lakes — the largest group of lakes on Earth — still have ice on them and ice is likely to linger for weeks to come according to the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory. That makes the month far and away the iciest April since recordkeeping began in 1973…”

Image credit: Climate Central and Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory.


Alabama Tornado Outbreak 2014 By The Numbers: 20 Tornadoes, 153 Miles of Damage. Meteorologist Paul Gattis has a good update on the extent of damage at; here’s a clip: It wasn’t the tornado outbreak of April 27, 2011. In fact, it wasn’t even close. But the storms that swept across Alabama on Monday and into early Tuesday morning was the most significant outbreak since that historic day three years ago. According to storm surveys from the National Weather Service, 20 tornadoes touched down across central and northern Alabama – including two that touched down just north of the Alabama-Tennessee state line in Lincoln County, Tenn…”

Image credit above: “Sky View HSV used a quadcopter to capture footage from storm-ravaged areas in the Bay Hill Marina, Coxey community and along 7 Mile Post Road in Limestone County Wednesday, April 30, 2014.” (Contributed by Sky View HSV).


Tornadoes Carve Scars Into The Earth That Are Visible From Space. The EF-4 that hit Vilonia and Mayflower was a monster; winds may have peaked close to 200 mph. The length, width and ferocity of the tornado becomes apparent when you can see the debris field from space. The Vane and Newsweek report; here’s an excerpt: “Almost three dozen people were killed in the latest tornado outbreak that tore through the Deep South this week. The outbreak included several “long-track” tornadoes, which can drag across the landscape for tens and sometimes hundreds of miles, leaving behind scars on the earth’s surface that can be seen from space. Gawker’s The Vane blog created gifs out of satellite images that clearly show the scars, eerie reminders of the scale of the havok the tornadoes wreaked. These scars tend to dissapear in several months as vegetation regrows, though they linger for longer in more populated regions, according to The Vane…”

Image above: The Vane.




Mamma Mia! Another Tornado Video from Italy. More tornadoes in unlikely places. Mike Smith Enterprises Blog has the video clip.



Tornadoes Most Likely To Occur During Multi-Day Spans. That was certainly the case this past week, and it’s something I see all the time. Red Orbit has an interesting article; here’s a clip: “…In a report published by the journal Monthly Weather Review – Jeff Trapp, a planetary sciences professor at Purdue, said a bout of 20 or greater reported tornadoes had a 74 percent chance of occurring throughout a period of tornado activity sustained for three or more days. Throughout those exact same periods, a tornado with an intensity that scored 3 or higher out of 5 on the Enhanced Fujita scale had a 60 percent chance of hitting, the report added…”



In a report published by the journal Monthly Weather ReviewJeff Trapp, a planetary sciences professor at Purdue, said a bout of 20 or greater reported tornadoes had a 74 percent chance of occurring throughout a period of tornado activity sustained for three or more days. Throughout those exact same periods, a tornado with an intensity that scored 3 or higher out of 5 on the Enhanced Fujita scale had a 60 percent chance of hitting, the report added.
“Two extreme tornado events last year led to 32 deaths, injured more than 377 and cost $2 billion in damage and inspired this study,” Trapp said in recent statement. “Unfortunately, the devastating tornadoes these past few days, tragically, seem to be bearing out the results.”Read more at

No Drought Relief In Sight For Desiccated West. Climate Central has more on a deepening drought that’s spreading from California into the Plains; here’s an excerpt: “…The driest places today are the places that have been dry for 2 or 3 years or longer: California, northwest Nevada and the southern Great Plains of the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles, northeast New Mexico and along the Colorado-Kansas border. In other words, drought is bringing the dust back to the Dust Bowl territory of the 1930s…”

Image credit above: U.S. Drought Portal.


What Parts Of The Country Get The Worst Weather Predictions? One year probably doesn’t “prove” anything, statistically, but every meteorologist truly does believe that their market, their city, is the hardest to predict the weather for. A friend forwarded this story along to me, courtesy of ForecastAdvisor, The Vane at Gawker. Here’s a clip: “…The easiest variable to predict was precipitation, with an average of 82.1 percent accuracy. This is largely because precipitation is simplified to a “yes/no” proposition—predicting clear skies every day would net you 70 percent accuracy in many parts of the country—but also because rain and snow are also fairly predictable across large swathes of the U.S. It rarely rains in the southwest, and the outlets had the most difficulty along the Gulf Coast (where intense thunderstorms are hit-or-miss most of the year) and especially around the eastern Great Lakes, where a large portion of the yearly precipitation falls in the form of lake-effect snow…”


A Time-Lapse Of All The Earthquakes From This Record-Breaking April. I’m not a seismologist, and I don’t play one on TV, but I seem to recall that tremors often come in waves, in swarms. Here’s an excerpt of an interesting story at Gizmodo: “…According to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) which issues alerts for tsunamis, April was a very busy month for the earth’s crust. Of course there are earthquakes every hour of every day, but the world usually only seens one or two earthquakes per month that are 6.5 magnitude or higher. This April there were 13, including five that were higher than 7.8, prompting tsunami warnings. “Easily a record for this institution,” reports PTWC…”


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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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