All Weather News

Pensacola Floods (car may be safer than ditch during a tornado, according to new NOAA/Red Cross research)

The report from CoreLogic, a private company that provides financial and property information for risk management, shows that for the country as a whole, more than 4 million residential structures are at risk from storm surge flooding in a worst-case scenario storm, with a total estimated price tag of $710 billion.” – from a Climate Central story, details below. Photo credit:

It’s sort of a mystery right now in our science community as to why hurricanes intensify or de-intensify,” said Chris Velden, a UW scientist working on the project. “We hope to get some information from this aircraft to be able to answer those questions.” – excerpt from a story at The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel; details below.

What’s happening now is that we are changing the climate system, especially in the Arctic, and that’s increasing the odds for the negative AO conditions that favor cold air invasions and severe winter weather outbreaks.” – excerpt of an article below the 7-Day.

“Shelf Cloud”. Here’s a great photo and explanation from the Tallahassee office of The National Weather Service, via Facebook: “Here’s a picture taken from our west-facing window a few minutes ago as a shelf cloud moved over Tallahassee. This cloud formation is caused by cool outflow from weakening storms that were approaching the area.”

Record Rains Plague Pensacola, Florida. Here’s a clip of an article from Huffington Post: “Record amounts of rain dropped on the central Gulf coast Saturday, causing what could be millions of dollars in flood damage in the Pensacola area alone with more rain on the way. The National Weather Service said 13.11 inches fell on Pensacola over 24 hours by Saturday, coming close to the city’s all-time record of 15.29 inches set in 1934. The rain hit a lull by Saturday night, but NWS meteorologist Jason Beaman said they expected more showers and thunderstorms overnight and more intense rain again on Sunday and into Monday.”

Photo credit above: “A section of Oak Valley Drive in Escambia County, Fla., is washed out on Sunday, June 10, 2012, after heavy rains fell on Saturday, in Pensacola, Fla. Floodwaters from torrential rains damaged homes and closed roads throughout the Florida Panhandle, cutting power to the county jail and sending residents to emergency shelters as the area braced for additional rains Sunday.” (AP Photo/The Pensacola News Journal, Tony Giberson) CREDIT: TONY GIBERSON/PENSACOLA NEWS JOURNAL AND PNJ.COM

Florida Floods Close Roads, Cut Power To Jails. Some additional details “Floodwaters from torrential rains damaged homes and closed roads throughout the Florida Panhandle, cutting power to the county jail and sending residents to emergency shelters as the area braced for additional rains Sunday. One swimmer was reported killed. More than 600 inmates at the Escambia County Jail were without power and air conditioning after the rains left more than 5 feet of water in the bottom floor, which also houses the laundry and kitchen facilities. Extra deputies were brought in to beef up security, and generators powered lights outside the facility to shine into the jail. Officials worked Sunday to pump out the excess water and assess the damage.”

Photo credit above: Dan Anderson/EPA. “Josh Spinner inspects his water-surrounded home in Perdido, Fla. Sunday. More than 13 inches of rain has dumped on the area in the last 24 hours, according to the National Weather Service.”

Serious Flooding. A hurricane’s worth of rain has swamped the Florida Panhandle, with some 15+” rainfall amounts in the Pensacola area. More details (and an amazing video) via YouTube: “On June 9th 2012 several storms rolled in from the southwest over the Gulf of Mexico. The heavy rainfall caused flooding throughout the Pensacola region. This video was filmed about 3 hours after the end of the heaviest rainfall from my kayak immediately north of Fairfield Drive between NL and NM streets.” Video courtesy of

Wales Floods Leave Campsites And Villages Devastated. The Guardian has more on the record rains that have triggered widespread (serious) flooding across Wales, in the U.K.: “Hundreds of tourists have been left to survey the wreckage of their holiday homes after floodwater devastated campsites and villages across west Wales. Around 150 people were evacuated as up to 1.5 metres (5ft) of water hit the area around Aberystwyth on Saturday when more than 13cm (5in) of rain, twice the local average for June, fell in 24 hours. Floodwater was still in evidence on Sunday, and Andy Francis, of Mid and West Wales fire and rescue service, said there was “mass-scale damage to caravan parks and private dwellings” across the area.”

Photo credit here: “The scene at Riverside Caravan Park in Llandre, Wales after swollen waters breached the banks of the River Lery and flooded the caravan park Saturday June 9, 2012. Around 150 people had to be rescued from homes and caravans after severe floods hit west Wales. Holidaymakers and residents were helped to safety in a large-scale rescue operation mounted by fire crews, coastguard lifeboats and military helicopters when water swept through caravan parks and villages near Aberystwyth in Wales.” (AP Photo/PA Wire)

* The BBC has some amazing photos of the flooding in Wales here.

Stay In Your Car During A Tornado? There is some degree of controversy about this – the notion of staying in you during a tornado – instead of seeking some measure of shelter from flying debris in a nearby ditch. If you have a newer-model vehicle, complete with fancy airbags, this might not be a bad idea. An older car or ditch? I would opt for a ditch. Of course a building, ANY building, will offer more protection from the 150 mph. blender of debris whipped up by a tornado. Details in a Joint Statement from The American Red Cross and The National Weather Service; here’s an excerpt:
The Red Cross and Weather Service believe that if you are caught outdoors, you should seek shelter in a basement, shelter or sturdy building. If you cannot quickly walk to a shelter:

• Immediately get into a vehicle, buckle your seat belt and try to drive to the closest sturdy shelter.

• If flying debris occurs while you are driving, pull over and park. Now you have the following options as a last resort:

– Stay in the car with the seat belt on. Put your head down below the windows, covering with your hands and a blanket if possible.

– If you can safely get noticeably lower than the level of the roadway, exit your car and lie in that area, covering your head with your hands.

• Your choice should be driven by your specific circumstances.

The important thing to understand is that if you find yourself outside or in a car with a tornado approaching and you are unable to get to a safe shelter, you are at risk from a number of things outside your control, such as the strength and path of the tornado and debris from your surroundings. This is the case whether you stay in your car or seek shelter in a depression or ditch, both of which are considered last resort options that provide little protection. The safest place to be is in an underground shelter, basement or safe room.

* screen-grab above courtesy of KARE-11 and

Report: Storm Surge Could Cost U.S. Hundreds of Billions of Dollars. I had to look this over twice to make sure it wasn’t a typo – hundreds of billions of dollars? Climate Central meteorologist Andrew Freedman has the story – here’s a snippet: “A new analysis highlights the enormous exposure the U.S. has to storm surge-related impacts, which is one of the most significant hazards posed by a land-falling hurricane. The report from CoreLogic, a private company that provides financial and property information for risk management, shows that for the country as a whole, more than 4 million residential structures are at risk from storm surge flooding in a worst-case scenario storm, with a total estimated price tag of $710 billion. The report ranks New York City and Long Island as the most at-risk metropolitan area, where a Category 4 storm could inflict damage to residential homes of up to $168 billion. “Even a Category 1 hurricane or low-level tropical storm can wreak billions of dollars of destruction on cities and states many might have previously assumed to be safe from the strong winds and floods of hurricane events,” the report said. “Millions of homes are in fact at risk, from Maine to the southernmost tip of Florida, facing hundreds of billions of dollars in residential property damage.”

Photo credit above: “A storm surge from Hurricane Irene batters Montauk, New York in August, 2011.” Courtesy: Climate Central.

UW Researchers To Study Hurricanes For NASA Project. Details from Milwaukee’ “In a 15-story building, in the middle of landlocked Wisconsin, a team of scientists waits for a hurricane. A multimillion-dollar, unmanned aircraft will start flying from Wallops Island, Va., in September loaded up with a University of Wisconsin-Madison-engineered instrument to gather data from tropical storms off the Atlantic coast. The deployment is the first time UW scientists will take part in a research project to analyze storm data from a Global Hawk drone, which can loiter over a storm at 65,000 feet for up to 30 hours – two to three times longer than a typical aircraft – and cover a greater range.”

The Crisis In Europe, Explained. Confused how a few bad banks in Greece and Spain are messing with your 401 account? Me too. This story, from NPR, goes a long way toward explaining how Europe came to find itself in this mess; here’s an excerpt: “Before the euro was introduced, governments in Greece, Spain and Ireland, among others, had to pay a lot more to borrow money than governments such as France and Germany. But after the euro was introduced, there was this amazing convergence. Suddenly, all the countries could borrow at the same rate.

Soros explains the convergence: “When the euro was introduced the regulators allowed banks to buy unlimited amounts of government bonds without setting aside any equity capital; and the central bank accepted all government bonds at its discount window on equal terms. Commercial banks found it advantageous to accumulate the bonds of the weaker euro members in order to earn a few extra basis points. That is what caused interest rates to converge which in turn caused competitiveness to diverge.”

Graph credit above: “European yields“. Thomson Reuters Datastream

Sunbathing Alert. It turns out Apple and Google are flying planes to get ultra-high resolution imagery for a new generation of 3-D mapping. The U.K. Daily Mail has more disconcerting details: “Spy plans able to photograph sunbathers in their back gardens are being deployed by Google and Apple. The U.S. technology giants are racing to produce aerial maps so details they can show up objects just 4″ wide. But campaigners say the technology is a sinister development that brings society a step closer. Google admits it has already sent planes over cities while Apple has acquired a firm using spy-in-the-sky technology that has been tested on at least 20 locations, including London.”

Photo credit above: “Hyper-real: 3D mapping services used by C3 Technologies (as purchased by Apple) will form the main part of the software giant’s new mapping service.”

Climate Stories…

More Evidence: Arctic Effect On Jet Stream = More Extremes. How could warming in the Arctic (twice as fast as the lower 48 states of the USA) be impacting our weather, especially winter months? This story, from Climate Denial Crock Of The Week connects the dots: “If you have not seen the video above from my “This is Not Cool” series at Yale Climate Forum, take some time to watch. It was based on the most current research that is beginning to explain the increasingly erratic swings in northern hemisphere weather patterns over recent years. Now a team from Cornell has published yet another paper underlining those findings, which explain why climate change is producing not only unprecedented warm events like this recent spring, but also wild swings into record-breaking snow and ice storms. Cornell University: The dramatic melt-off of Arctic sea ice due to climate change is hitting closer to home than millions of Americans might think. That’s because melting Arctic sea ice can trigger a domino effect leading to increased odds of severe winter weather outbreaks in the Northern Hemisphere’s middle latitudes — think the “Snowmageddon” storm that hamstrung Washington, D.C., during February 2010.”

America’s New Energy Reality. American Energy Independence? No longer a laughable oxymoron. Here’s an excerpt of a vaguely optimistic and encouraging story from Pulitzer Prize winning author Daniel Yergin in The New York Times: “AMERICA needs a new political discourse on energy. This would recognize the emerging reality that the United States has turned around as an energy producer and is on a major upswing. And the impact will be measured not just in energy security and the balance of payments. Energy development also turns out to be an engine for job creation and economic growth — something that would hardly have been considered the last time we were electing a president. In 2008, the rise in oil prices was accompanied — and partly fueled — by a belief that an era of permanent scarcity was at hand. This mentality had deep roots extending back to the 1970s, when the United States went from being a minor importer of oil to a major importer. In the 2008 rendition, falling oil output was considered simply inevitable. The only questions were at what rate petroleum imports would rise and whether that rate would be slowed.”

Lawmakers Avoid Buzzwords On Climate Change Bills. Perception becomes reality when it comes to legislation to rein in greenhouse gas or mitigate rising sea levels. Here’s an excerpt of interesting story from Hampton Road’s “State lawmakers ran into a problem this year when recommending a study on rising sea levels and their potential impacts on coastal Virginia. It was not a scientific problem or a financial one. It was linguistic. They discovered that they could not use the phrases “sea level rise” or “climate change” in requesting the study, in part because of objections from Republican colleagues and also for fear of stirring up conservative activists, some of whom believe such terms are liberal code words.”

Photo credit above: “Mayflower Road in Norfolk’s Colonial Place neighborhood was mostly underwater as high tide approached in November 2009.” (Stephen M. Katz | Virginian-Pilot file photo)



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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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