All Weather News

Heat Holding On and Severe Storm Recap

9 Jun 2012, 7:20 am

64.4 F. average spring temperature at Wichita, Kansas (almost 8 F. warmer than average), making it the warmest spring in over 120 years. Source: Wichita office of The National Weather Service.

8-14 Day Temperature Outlook. Here is the forecast trend looking out 2 weeks, according to NOAA CPC, showing a high probability of significantly warmer than average temperatures through the third week of June for the central third of the country. Map: Ham Weather.

Spring 2012: Most Extreme Season In U.S. History. Here’s an excerpt from Dr. Jeff Master’s must-read Wunderblog: “Spring 2012 in the contiguous U.S. demolished the old records for hottest spring and most extreme season of any kind, said NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) on Thursday. With the warmest March, third warmest April, and second warmest May, the March – April – May spring season was 5.2°F above average–the largest temperature departure from average of any season on record for the contiguous United States. What’s truly remarkable is the margin the old record was broken by–spring 2012 temperatures were a full 1°F above the previous most extreme season, the winter of 1999 – 2000. All-time seasonal temperature records are very difficult to break, and are usually broken by only a tenth of a degree. To see the old record crushed by a full degree is a stunning and unparalleled event in U.S. meteorological history. “

Graphic credit above: “Temperature rankings for spring 2012 in the Contiguous U.S. Thirty-one states were record warm for the 3-month period, and an additional eleven states had top-ten warmth. Spring 2012 beat the previous record for hottest spring on record, set in 1910, by an remarkable 2°F. Image credit: NOAA/NCDC.

Record Events. Here are the towns that registered record highs, lows and 24 hour rainfall amounts in the last 7 days. Data courtesy of NOAA and Ham Weather.

Today’s Severe Risk. SPC predicts a few storms will exceed severe criteria (58 mph+ winds, hail over 1″ in diameter) from the Dakotas into the Red River Valley of Minnesota.

Wild Wall Cloud Scares New Jersey Graduates. Yes, if you see a rotating cloud like this it probably can’t be good – in this case there was a lowering cloud base, but no tornado. Details (and remarkable video) from Philadelphia’s WPVI-TV, “….But was it a tornado? Action News Meteorologist Cecily Tynan says no. On Action News at 11, Cecily explained that what graduates and their families saw was what’s known as a wall cloud or pedestal cloud. It forms when the base of a storm cloud extends towards the surface of the ground. A wall cloud is in the area of the strongest updraft. If there was rotation, a tornado could likely have formed, but since there was no rotation in the storm, there was no chance for a tornado.”

“What Was That Thing?” It wasn’t a tornado – no debris – the circulation never reached the ground and triggered damage, but there is a difference of opinion in meteorological circles about what formed in the skies above New Jersey. Here’s an excerpt from The Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang: “CWG’s Ian Livingston, who just spent two weeks storm chasing in the Plains and blogged earlier today about identifying scary storm types, offers the following explanation: Watching the video, and examining radar from the time of the storm, it appears the low-hanging cloud is a shelf cloud / outflow type feature with scud-type clouds associated with it. At times, the videographer pans up enough to see a “line” of similar low hanging clouds going up above their head (and presumably further). A rain curtain to the left, likely “behind” the low clouds, tends to back this up.” 

Photo credit above: “Screenshot from video of Galloway Township, NJ storm. Video uploaded to YouTube by MatthewRBlanchard on June 7.”

Hail, Flooding Swamp Cars In Colorado. The Denver/Colorado Springs area has taken a pounding in recent days: tornadoes, flash flooding and enough hail to call out the snow plows! has more details: “Six tornadoes touched down across northeast Colorado on Wednesday, including one near Denver’s airport, though none caused any damage. But golf-ball sized hail punched holes in car windshields and combined with heavy rain to flood streets in Colorado Springs, where NBC affiliate KOAA-TV lost count of the numerous water rescues. “Holy hail,” was how KOAA-TV anchor Rob Quirk began his broadcast Wednesday night. KOAA video showed a person being rescued from a car swamped by hail and water at an intersection near a mall, one of 10 rescues at that site alone.”

Photo credit above: “Hail and floodwaters swamped this vehicle in Colorado Springs Wednesday night. A rescuer is seen helping someone from the vehicle, in this video clip from NBC Affiliate KOAA-TV.”

Wednesday’s Storm: “1 in 100 Year Event”. Details from “Mayor Steve Bach called the massive storm a “once in 100-year storm.” The Mayor said there were 21 home rescues and 25 car rescues throughout the course of the evening. No one was injured or killed in the storm and Mayor Bach says everything worked the way it should to keep people safe.”

Photo above courtesy of aliving00 and Instagram.

7 Days Worth Of Severe Storm Reports. 1,666 severe reports in the last 7 days, according to NOAA. For an interactive map from Ham Weather click here.

7 Unusual Tips For Hurricane Preparedness. Here’s an excerpt of an article from The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

* “Buy a local/state map: Whether you are waiting out the storm or are forced to evacuate, a local and/or state map is essential. When the power goes out, your GPS might not be fully charged or fully functional, so a map will ease many headaches when either finding the quickest way out of town or getting around closed/blocked roads.

* Do your laundry and dishes ahead of time: Having all of your clothes, towels and dishes clean and ready to go will not only give you more resources during the storm, but you also won’t have to worry about finding a place to wash them since you will have lots of clean ones on hand.

* Place towels along window sills and the bottom of doors leading outside: The towels will act as an extra barrier to keep water from seeping into your home. This is especially important for any windows or doors on lower levels and in basements.”

9 Months After Irene, People In North Carolina Still Suffer. Details from; here’s a snippet: “As winds from the second named storm of the 2012 hurricane season picked up speed, the sounds of recovery from the only hurricane to hit last year still echoed through a rural area across the water from North Carolina’s Outer Banks. Buzz saws, nail guns and other power tools competed for attention with birds and frogs as almost 1,700 volunteers from a group called Eight Days of Hope carried out their work in Pamlico County. They pulled out insulation and Sheetrock, put down new flooring and replaced electrical outlets submerged when Hurricane Irene roared through eastern North Carolina in August before tearing a path up the East Coast.”

Hurricane Evacuation Survey Shows Many Along Coast Don’t Know If They Are At Risk For Storm Surge. You would think you’d want to know if you live in a potential hurricane storm-surge flood-zone, but the reality suggests something else. Details from Charleston’s Post and Courier: “Too many people who live in the riskiest places for storm surges say they wouldn’t evacuate unless a major hurricane threatened. At least one-third aren’t sure if they live in a place that could be flooded by a storm surge from a less powerful storm. Three in every 20 who do live there think they don’t….Partly because of the survey, hurricane evacuations will now be called for in specific areas based on surge zones. Those zones can be viewed in the S.C. Emergency Management Division’s 2012 Hurricane Guide.”

Map above courtesy of the South Carolina Emergency Management Division.

Weather Service May Impose Furloughs. The Washington Post has the story; here’s an excerpt: “The National Weather Service notified lawmakers Thursday that it plans to furlough up to 5,000 employees for 13 days between July and September if Congress and the agency cannot find $36 million to cover its budget deficit. Weather Service officials acknowledged to legislators, as well as the union, that requiring employees to take unpaid leave could disrupt critical weather operations at the peak of the hurricane season. But with labor costs of $2 million a day, the Weather Service cannot pay its employees through the end of the fiscal year in September without a solution to a problem of its own making. An internal investigation concluded that for years, the agency reallocated millions of dollars that Congress approved for other projects to pay employees.”

Death Ray? No worries, it’s just the MPX (Chanhassen) National Weather Service Doppler detecting the setting sun at 9 pm Friday evening. If you check the radar frequently you’ll notice these beams of energy at sunrise and sunset. Yes, it’s reassuring knowing that Doppler can detect rain, hail, tornado circulations, dust, insects, birds and even..the sun.

Spring Optional. It doesn’t look much like spring up at Crater Lake, Oregon – details from The National Park Service, via Facebook: “Every once in a while, Wizard Island peeks out from under the snow clouds. Come and see it here at Crater Lake National Park tomorrow, June 9th for National Get Outdoors Day. Admission to the park is free for the day!

China Says Only It Has Right To Monitor Air Pollution. Sadly, everyone living in China has to breathe the lousy air, but only Chinese authorities can actually measure the level of pollution. Makes perfect sense to me. More from Reuters: “A senior Chinese official demanded on Tuesday that foreign embassies stop issuing air pollution readings, saying it was against the law and diplomatic conventions, in pointed criticism of a closely watched U.S. embassy index. The level of air pollution in China’s heaving capital varies, depending on the wind, but a cocktail of smokestack emissions, vehicle exhaust, dust and aerosols often blankets the city in a pungent, beige shroud for days on end. Many residents dismiss the common official readings of “slight” pollution in Beijing as grossly under-stated.”

The Bear Necessities. From Denali National Park and Preserve, via Facebook: “Denali is no place for the timid. These tiny cubs seemed oblivious to the steep drop below them as they played in the remaining midnight light.”

Congratulations Class of 2012!  Here are a few excerpts from a particularly well-done segment on Friday’s “NBC News with Brian Williams” that resonated with me. The entire video clip (well worth watching) from is here.

Life is full of contradictions. You want wealth? Create value for others. If you want to fly – fall down often.”
– Newark Mayor Cory Booker

The key to success is continually maintaining an ever-present curiosity.”
– Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor

You’re going to fall down, but the world doesn’t care how many times you fall down, as long as it’s one fewer than the number of times you get back up.”
– Screenwriter Aaaron Sorkin



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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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