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Another Nor’easter Just In Time for Thanksgiving

13 Nov 2012, 10:43 pm
Lower Your Expectations. Yesterday a friend asked me if we’d see any more 70s. Nope. I think we’re done with 70s. Be happy to see 50s from here on out, with a 1 in 4 shot at another 60 degree high. Then again, when you lower  your expectations you’ll never be disappointed…

Above Average. Winter is on hold until further notice, at least until the weekend after Thanksgiving. Although rain showers are possible the first half of next week temperatures trend above average, with highs in the upper 40s to near 50 into Thanksgiving Day. You can see the average high/low above for Hopkins (dashed lines). To check out the temperature forecast for your hometown enter your zip code in this site, courtesy of Ham Weather.

Thanksgiving Day Weather. Here’s the Tuesday 12z ECMWF solution, valid midday next Thursday, showing stormy weather for New England, but a dry sky with unusually mild temperatures over the western half of the USA. A cold front will bring unseasonable chill as far south as Atlanta and Tampa. Map above: WSI.

A Fine Thanksgiving

On your mark. Get set. Hesitate. Will we see a real winter this year? I’ve gone on record predicting slightly colder & snowier than last winter.

Wait, did we even have “winter” last year?

The pattern is whisking big storms south and east of Minnesota – the east coast a veritable punching bag for Nor’easters. We’re still in a persistent drought, a signal which will probably linger thru at least the first half of winter.

Yesterday I put on my snow tires and staked my driveway, going through the motions. But there’s nothing wintry or forbidding on the weather map into next week. Highs approach 50 today and tomorrow; again Saturday into Wednesday of next week.

Models kick up a few light showers next Tuesday & Wednesday, but nothing to interfere with Thanksgiving travel within 500 miles of home. In fact we may end November on a remarkably quiet, mild note over the western half of America.

While Old Man Winter pulls his punch here, the parade of coastal storms continues out east. New England may see rain, high winds and minor coastal flooding on Thanksgiving Day. I could see some travel complications for Boston and Portland.

No worries here looking out 2 weeks.

Maybe we’ll ease into winter after all.

Another Nor’easter Next Week. The same (WSI) ECMWF solution shows another vigorous coastal storm pushing into coastal Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts next Wednesday into Thanksgiving Day, capable of high winds, heavy rain and minor to moderate coastal flooding. Right now it looks like metro New York, New Jersey, Long Island and Connecticut may be spared a direct strike. But there’s little question that the emerging weather pattern favors major storms for the east coast, a reflection of a negative phase of the NAO, the North Atlantic Oscillation, which may be linked to record ice melt over the Arctic 2 months ago.


More Crazy Records. 2,529 weather records in just the last week from coast to coast. Click here for an interactive map from Ham Weather.

Photos Reveal Severity Of Hurricane Sandy’s Coastal Impacts. The USGS has an article, and a series of before and after photos that underscore the scope and severity of Sandy’s storm surge. It’s hard to believe this was “only” a Category 1 storm. Here’s an excerpt: “The USGS has released a series of aerial photographs showing before-and-after images of Hurricane Sandy’s impacts on the Atlantic Coast. The photos, part of a USGS assessment of coastal change from as far south as the Outer Banks of North Carolina to as far north as Massachusetts, show that the storm caused dramatic changes to portions of shoreline extending hundreds of miles. Pre- and post-storm images of the New Jersey and New York shoreline in particular tell a story of a coastal landscape that was considerably altered by the historic storm. “Sandy taught us yet again that not all Cat-1 hurricanes are created equal: the superstorm’s enormous fetch over the Atlantic produced storm surge and wave erosion of historic proportions,” said USGS Director Marcia McNutt. “We have seized this opportunity to gather unique data on a major coastline-altering event.”….

Photo credit above: “Oblique aerial photographs of Mantoloking, NJ. View looking west along the New Jersey shore. Storm waves and surge eroded the beach exposing building foundations, protective dunes, and houses in this part on Mantoloking. The burned houses are visible in the center of the bottom photograph. Only a few pilings remain of the first line of houses. Sediment was deposited on the island, remains on some roads, or has been cleared and placed in large piles in the parking lot behind the house marked by the arrow on the right. The yellow arrow in each image points to the same feature. [larger version].”

Satellite Imagery Helps Forecast Path Of Sandy. The University of Wisconsin meteorology department had a hand in the (extremely accurate) forecast path of Sandy a couple weeks ago, as reported at Here’s an excerpt: “Thanks to satellite imagery done in part by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison through the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies, people along the mid-Atlantic coast were prepared for the worst when Superstorm Sandy made landfall Oct. 29. “I think this storm was very much a success story,” CIMSS research specialist Derrick Herndon said. “If this storm had hit 30 [to] 40 years ago or longer, that 13-foot storm surge that came into Long Island … wouldn’t have been prepared for. They wouldn’t have known it was coming.” Herndon is right at the center of UW-Madison’s effort to provide satellite imagery to agencies such as the National Hurricane Center so they can properly forecast both the path and intensity of storms. Herndon and other researchers at CIMSS look at the satellite imagery of storms in the tropics and attempt to use that data to analyze the features of the storm and predict its wind speeds, structure and size along with other systems that may affect it...”

Image credit above: “A satellite image from Oct. 27 showing the low pressure system (circled in red) as it moves down from Alaska. The disturbance would eventually pull Sandy (labeled) back towards the east coast.

How We Beat Hurricanes’ Deadliest Element: Surprise. Before weather satellites meteorologists relied on ship reports to get a handle on where a hurricane was. Yes, pretty archaic, and the result was a huge death toll when hurricanes swept ashore. Weather satellites and numerical weather models changed all that, as reported in this excellent overview from Fast Company: “Instead of 24-hour updates on Sandy’s movements, what if you had turned on the news last week and heard this: “The usual signs which herald the approach of hurricanes was not present in this case. The brick-dust sky was not in evidence to the smallest degree…There were cirrus clouds moving from the southeast during the forenoon of the 7th, but by noon only alto-stratus from the northeast were observed.” In 1900, that’s how Weather Bureau employee Isaac M. Cline described the forecast of the Galveston Hurricane, which is still known as the deadliest storm in American history. In addition to 130-mph winds and 20-foot storm surges, storms of this era often arrived with a disastrous element of surprise. “They might have a barometer and some surf indications and a wet finger,” explains Jim Fleming, the editor of peer-reviewed journal History of Meteorology. “But they couldn’t have known where the cone of the hurricane was...”

Satellites, Supercomputers, And The Challenge Of Forecasting Storms. Here’s a good overview of the challenge, including a video from The PBS Newshour: “As Superstorm Sandy barreled its way west from the Caribbean to the Mid-Atlantic states and then swiveled north up to Canada, forecasters scrambled to understand it. The storm was unusual. It arrived late in the season and was fed by unseasonably warm waters. It was pushed inland by a high-pressure system and then merged with a cold front moving east from California. Add to all that a full moon and resulting high tide, and you have a real forecasting challenge. At the National Center for Environmental Prediction’s National Hurricane Center in College Park, Maryland, scientists gathered global data from weather balloons, satellites, commercial airplanes, buoys at sea and weather stations. That data gets fed into a supercomputer, which uses differential equations to create a model that predicts the track and intensity of the storm. Every six hours, the center comes up with possible weather outcomes, which scientists use to make a forecast...”

What To Do When The Storm Ends. The Journal News has a good article highlighting what people should do before, and after a damaging weather event or other natural disaster. Yes, there’s an app for that. Here’s an excerpt: “If Superstorm Sandy hit your home, you’ve probably lost something, from a few shingles to the whole shebang. If you’ve planned well, you can keep your losses as low as possible. And if you haven’t planned well, you can take action now to minimize your losses in the next disaster.The best thing you could have done before Sandy struck was make an inventory of your house and your possessions. There’s even an app for that if you still want to do it. Go to the Insurance Information Institute’s website ( and download its home inventory app…”

Photo credit above: “Piers remain from a boardwalk that was destroyed by surge from Superstorm Sandy in Atlantic City, N.J., Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012.” (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

What Happens In The Arctic Doesn’t Stay In The Arctic. Here’s a good explanation of how record Arctic melting in September may be impacting weather farther south, creating “Arctic Amplification”, slowing jet stream winds, creating more dips and ridges in the steering winds aloft, leading to more intense storms (especially for the east coast). Here’s an excerpt from Asheville’s Citizen-Times: “As the fastest-warming region of Earth, the Arctic is the leading indicator of global warming, both in carbon dioxide and its effects. As determined by ice core samplings, for the first time in 800,000 years the Arctic has passed 400 parts CO2 per million; before the Industrial Age, CO2 levels were at 275 ppm. CO2 is the principal greenhouse gas and stays in the atmosphere for hundreds of years.Drawing on new satellite data, scientific experts of the National Snow and Ice Data Center issued a report on Sept. 19 showing that Arctic ice has dramatically receded to levels not previously known. NSIDC Director Mark Serreze declared, “We are now in unchartered territory.”

People Most Likely To Die Of Heart Problems In Winter, Regardless Of Climate. The story from CBS News and; here’s an excerpt: “People are more likely to die from a heart-related issue in the winter, regardless of if you have chilly winds knocking at your door or warm weather year round. New research presented this week at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2012 in Los Angeles showed that total and circulatory system-related deaths rose considerably during the relatively coldest season of the year in a variety of different climates. “This was surprising because climate was thought to be the primary determinant of seasonal variation in death rates,” said Dr. Bryan Schwartz, a cardiology fellow at the University of New Mexico said in a press release. Researchers from Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles looked at death certificates from between 2005 to 2008 in seven different U.S. cities with different types of winter temperatures: Los Angeles County, Calif., Texas, Arizona, Georgia, Washington, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts…” Image: NOAA.

Tourists Swim In Venice Square As Heavy Rain Pounds Italy. Reuters has the photo and accompanying article – here’s the intro: “Nearly three quarters of Venice was flooded on Monday and tourists swam in St Mark’s Square as a wave of bad weather swept through northern and central Italy, forcing the evacuation of 200 people from their homes in Tuscany. Shops, homes and historic palaces filled with water in Venice and authorities said 70 percent of the lagoon city was flooded. High water in Venice reached 149 cm (5ft), the sixth highest level since records began in 1872, forcing residents to wade through waist-deep water. Tourists in swimming costumes sat at cafe tables under the water...”

Does Your Thanksgiving Turkey Come With A Cardiologist? Nothing like smothering your favorite bird with bacon. Mmm good. Thanks to Todd Nelson for passing this one along. I can feel my chest tightening up just staring at this…

Climate Stories…


Experts Argue Global Warming’s Impact on Sandy’s Unusual Path To New Jersey. Here’s an excerpt of a very interesting story at “That’s what the weather experts kept saying immediately before, during and after Sandy smacked New Jersey in the face. Not this far north, they said, not in autumn, and certainly not this bad. Which is why the global warming finger-pointing that usually begins after a natural disaster, preceded this one. But six weeks before Sandy was even a specter threatening the Caribbean, Rutgers scientist Jennifer Francis — not your normal climate change Cassandra — issued a warning during a teleconference call on global warming. The melting ice caps, she said, appeared to be tied to recent extreme weather events, especially those occurring in the fall. “It’s probably going to be a very interesting winter,” she said…”

Image credit above: NASA.

Superstorm Sandy Shows Climate Change Isn’t Science Fiction, Top U.N. Official Says. has the story – here’s a clip: “Until recently, climate change seemed like a science fiction scenario,” Helen Clark told a Stanford audience recently. Clark, the administrator of the United Nations Development Program and former prime minister of New Zealand, argued that a lack of coordinated global action on the issue is undermining efforts to alleviate extreme poverty. Climate change is damaging agriculture, driving up food prices, creating water insecurity, destroying coral reef fishing grounds and exposing millions to diseases such as diarrhea, dengue fever and malaria, she said. Ahead of global climate negotiations set to begin in Doha, Qatar later this month, Clar visited campus on the the heels of Superstorm Sandy in the eastern United States and a wave of extreme weather events worldwide. “It’s not just a problem for small coastal regions in developing countries,” she said….”

How Climate Change Is Causing Antarctic Sea Ice To Expand. Here’s an excerpt of a fascinating article from National Geographic: “As rising temperatures continue to shrink the extent of Arctic summer sea-ice, there has been much speculation as to why the ice cover on the opposite side of the planet has expanded slightly in recent years. Now British scientists have found the explanation–and it’s related to climate change. Using data gathered by U.S. military satellite-tracking of the motion of the Frozen Continent’s icepack between 1992 and 2010, the researchers have found a link between Antarctic winds and the growth of sea-ice in the Weddell, Cooperation and Ross seas. The analysis, “Wind-driven Trends in Antarctic Sea-ice Drift,” was published online yesterday in the science journal Nature Geoscience….”

Photo credit above: “Picture of Antarctic sea-ice by Edward Bacon//National Geographic My Shot.”



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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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