All Weather News

Venus Transit, Central U.S. Heating Up Again

Transit Of Venus. No, I didn’t have the equipment to safely stare up at the sun yesterday evening, so I had to rely on the good men and women at NASA (via Facebook), who did the heavy lifting for me: “A beautiful image from our Flickr group! Post your pictures of the Venus Transit at”

According to historical records from the National Weather Service, the last time that two Atlantic storms were formed before June 1 was in 1908. The only other year that two storms formed before the official start of the hurricane season was in 1887.” – excerpt of a story at focused on the early start to hurricane season, and new technology that may help to improve hurricane track/intensity predictions. Details below.Photo credit above: “Leon Whaley of Carteret-Craven Electric Cooperative watches as others work to restore power after the remnants of Tropical Storm Beryl spun off a tornado that destroyed homes and damages dozens of others in the Pelletier community near Swansboro, NC on Wednesday, May 30, 2012.” (AP Photo/Tom Copeland)

Asthma By The Numbers. We’re suffering through a mini-epidemic of asthma: perception or reality? It sure seems like more Americans than ever are sneezing and wheezing; the New York Times has the story: “Federal health officials recently issued a gloomy report noting that the percentage of Americans suffering from asthma reached a record high of 8.4 percent in 2010, up from 7.3 percent in 2001. An estimated 25.7 million people had asthma in 2010, including 18.7 million adults and seven million children below the age of 18. It is a frightening disease in which sufferers struggle to breathe. In severe attacks, victims can die. Experts don’t know for sure what causes asthma, but sounder public policy could help control some of the triggers. Stronger regulations to reduce exposure to cigarette smoke and to control air pollution are especially important.”

Nothing More Refreshing Than A June Snowfall. Good grief: heavy, wet snow is falling on the highest elevations of California and the Pacific Northwest. Hard to believe the summer solstice is roughly 2 weeks away. Details from Yosemite National Park viaFacebook: “This is a photo from the Tioga Road near White Wolf yesterday afternoon. We got a bit of higher-elevation snow (and about 6/10 of an inch of rain in Yosemite Valley). (The Tioga and Glacier Point Roads were closed overnight but reopened this morning.)

Winter Flashback. It seems a bit odd to be showing a snowcover map (NOAA’s National Snow Analyses) on June 6, about 2 weeks before the summer solstice. Flurries were reported yesterday as far south as Elko, Nevada. As much as 10-80″ of snow remains on the highest peaks of the Cascade Range and northern Rockies. Meanwhile extreme heat will push from the Intermountain Region into the Plains and Upper Midwest by the weekend.

Whitewater-Baldy Complex Fire In New Mexico. Here’s the latest from NOAA’s Environmental Visualization Laboratory: “The Whitewater-Baldy Complex fire is up to 259,025 acres burned. Aerial ignitions along multiple portions of the fire boundary were carried out yesterday, June 4, 2012. This image was taken by the VIIRS instrument aboard the Suomi NPP spacecraft at 2015Z on June 4, 2012. The image combines high resolution bands 3, 2 and 1 to make the colored land areas and clouds.”

A 105% Probability Of A T-storm. Here is a photo of the thunderstorm that swept across Little Rock, Arkansas on June 4, courtesy of the Little Rock National Weather Service Office:  “This photo was taken by Chris McCrillis on the afternoon of June 4th as the storms moved into west Little Rock.”

Nine Tornadoes In One Storm Not A Record For Maryland. Here’s an excerpt “Nine confirmed tornadoes as determined by the National Weather Service investigators from Friday’s storms, but that’s not the most ever seeni n the state during one storm. There were 35 confirmed with Hurricane Ivan in 2004, the most on record, Howard Silverman of the National Weather Service said. Ivan left more than a dozen people hurt in Maryland.”

Photo credit: “High winds tossed a tree into a home in Finksburg on Friday.” (Photo submitted to WBAL News).

Social Media As A Tool In Flow Of Storm Information. Increasingly storm spotters (and the general public) are using social media to send in storm reports, especially twitter. Here’s a snippet of an interesting article at “From Facebook updates on severe weather to mobile apps directing victims to shelters during times of disaster, social media are becoming an integral part of emergency preparedness and response. Relief groups such as the Red Cross and local government emergency response departments are increasingly using the power of social media to disseminate potentially lifesaving information when disaster strikes. When Tropical Storm Beryl began dumping the first inches of what turned out to be more than a foot of rain on Northeast Florida last week, Jacksonville’s National Weather Service used Facebook to provide information to residents. It included where to find official forecast resources, maps and weather condition updates.”Photo credit above: BRUCE LIPSKY/The Times-Union. “The Times-Union sent out more than 500 tweets during the storm from Sunday morning to Monday evening.”

Clean Up From 2011 Flood Continues. Hopefully we won’t have a year like last has some interesting details: “The flooding along the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers in 2011 left many farmers struggling to recover. In 2012, many are still cleaning up the mess and working to restore their cropland to productive levels seen before the flooding. The flooding caused many corn and soybean fields to become so damaged, that restoring the land will likely take multiple years. “We’ll be working on this for years,” Mason Hansen, corn and soybean farmer in Missouri Valley, Iowa, told the Des Moines Register. “It’ll never be right. Ever. People don’t have any idea how big of a mess this is.” Hansen told the Des Moines Register that he has spent the past nine months removing sand from his crop fields and filling in holes gouged out by the flood. He has cleared 140 acres of the sand, but he still has 160 acres more to go.”

New Hurricane Director: Florida’s Good Fortune Won’t Last. It’s been 8 years since Florida suffered a direct hit from a hurricane – there is growing fear that Floridians are becoming increasingly apathetic. Some sage advice from the new Hurricane Center Director, courtesy of a story and video at The Sun-Sentinel: “The new director of theNational Hurricane Center has a message for residents: Don’t assume Florida’s good fortune, six years without a hurricane strike, will continue. “Someone is going to get the next major hurricane, and you have to be prepared,” Rick Knabb said on Tuesday. “It’s not a matter of if but a matter of when.” Knabb, 43, of Weston, is a veteran tropical forecaster, most recently the hurricane expert for The Weather Channel and previously a hurricane specialist for the hurricane center.”

New Model Will Help NOAA Forecasters Study The Eyewall Of Hurricanes This Year.The story from in Lafayette, Louisiana – here’s an excerpt: “When the first hurricane emerges from the Atlantic Ocean or Gulf of Mexico this season, NOAA will use a new statistical model to help predict the start of the “eyewall replacement cycle,” a key indicator that a storm’s strength and size is about to change dramatically. This new tool adds to a suite of forecast products NOAA uses to warn coastal communities of imminent threats. An eyewall is an organized band of clouds that immediately surround the center, or eye, of a hurricane. The most intense winds and rainfall occur near the eyewall.”Photo credit above: NOAA.

Hurricane Shutters Are On The Front-Line In Hurricane Defense. Here’s some good advice from The Miami Herald: “If your home isn’t secured with a shutter system, now is the time to move this item to the top of your to-do list. Shutters are important not only to protect your windows from flying debris but also to prevent your home from being breached with hurricane-force winds if a window breaks. When the wind gets in your home, it places intense pressure on interior walls and can lead to a roof collapse. Commercially installed shutters generally average $9 to $30 per square foot, according to the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety. For do-it-yourselfers, the cost is about 50 percent less per square foot.”

Photo credit above: “Installation: Workmen John Morales and Bruno Koti install Rolladen shutters at a Isle of Bahia home.” LOU TOMAN/Sun Sentinel LOU TOMAN / Sun Sentinel.

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Text, Don’t Call When Natural Disaster StrikesReuters has the story; here’s an excerpt: “It is better to send text messages than to call when natural disasters strike and networks get congested, a senior U.S. official said on Wednesday, also urging people to add battery-powered cell phone chargers to their storm emergency kits. Craig Fugate, head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, told reporters that forecasts for a “normal” Atlantic hurricane season should not keep those in potentially affected areas from getting ready for storms that could make landfall. “There is no forecast yet that says where they are going to hit or not hit. So if you live along the Gulf Coast, the Atlantic, and as far inland as the folks in Vermont found out last year, you need to be prepared for this hurricane season,” Fugate said at a White House news briefing.” (Photo above: NASA).

Early Start To Predicting Near-Normal Hurricane Season According To NOAA Forecasters: Two Models Improve Forecaster’s Ability To Predict Storm Track and Intensity. O.K. This article gets top honors for “longest headline”, but there are some interesting nuggets in this story from “(Miami, Fl) Despite forecasters predicting a “near-normal” 2012 hurricane season, it is already off to an early start even before the June 1 official start date. Two tropical cyclones have already formed in the Atlantic prior to June 1, the first, Tropical Storm Alberto formed off the coast of South Carolina on May 19 and remained off the east coast of the United States until it weakened and was no longer considered a tropical cyclone by the National Hurricane Center on May 22. Tropical Storm Beryl was first recognized as a tropical depression on May 25 at 11:00 P.M. by the National Hurricane Center off the Florida coast and made landfall as a Tropical Storm with winds estimated at 70 mph near Jacksonville Beach, Fl. shortly after 12:00 A.M. on Memorial Day.” (Image above: NOAA).

Cal Fire Officials Anticipating A Busy Fire Season. A lack of rain across the Southwest has many officials concerned about an extra-severe fire season. Here’s an excerpt of a story from “The central Sierra Nevada had a relatively calm fire season last year, but an unusually dry winter and a December wind storm that blew down many large trees has Cal Fire officials anticipating a busy summer for wildfires. Several late spring storms brought some much-needed rain to the Northern San Joaquin Valley and snow to the Sierra, helping to lessen the fire threat. The weather, however, has returned to its normal dry pattern for this time of year. The vegetation is drying up and becoming fuel for a blaze, said Battalion Chief Barry Rudolph of the Tuolumne-Calaveras unit of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.” (May 25, 2012 fire image courtesy of Gregory Bull from AP).
TV: An Intervention. Remember when you had to purchase an entire “album” to get the one track you really wanted to listen to? TV is coming up to an inflection point, a moment of truth. Increasingly, many viewers are spurning cable and satellite (“why pay for 400 channels when I only watch a dozen on a regular basis?”) This “unbundling” effort is gaining steam. Only pay for what you watch. Makes sense, right? It may to you and me, but it will create an ugly revolution in the television industry and change the way shows are financed. Here’s a story from Huffington Post: “I’ve complained numerous times in this space about the endless claims from media pundits that “TV is dying.” Despite pronouncements by experts like David Carr and miscounted viewership by Nielsen, I can assure you, TV IS NOT DYING. That said, despite a current heyday of creativity and originality — Television does have something wrong with it. Yes, as Carr pointed out and Nielsen reported, “traditional TV viewing” has eroded. However, it has not been replaced by something other than TV, it’s been replaced by more TV, just on other platforms. In some cases, those other platforms are legal; in other cases they are not. As Brian Stelterdemonstrated last week, many twenty-somethings are using their parents’ HBO GO account to watch Girls, without a TV. As TorrentFreak points out, many others are simply stealing TV.Photo credit above:
What Is “SmartGlass”? Microsoft is showing it’s R&D chops here – some pretty interesting interactivity will be possible between the big (TV) screen and the smaller screen on your lap. explains: “Microsoft used its E3 press conference to unveil its new SmartGlass technology that will use handheld devices such as smartphones and tablets as both an Xbox control device and as a second screen for the display of dynamic, rich information. Head of Xbox Live, Marc Whitten, confirmed that in additional to working with Windows 8 phones and tablets, SmartGlass would be compatible with iPhone, iPad and Android devices. The technology will finally see the arrival of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer web browser to the Xbox 360 before the end of the year.
Climate Stories…
Megafires, Record Heat And Drought. How Climate Change Is Affecting The Southwest. The story from EcoWatch; here’s a snippet: “Huge and devastating wildfiresare currently ravaging large expanses of the southwestern U.S. As the Guardian reports, low intensity wildfires have always been part of the landscape of the southwest, but a study by fire scientists last month “charted a disturbing new trend of large and devastating fires, consuming record areas of land and burning for weeks.” These “megafires” have become a regular summer occurrence in the southwest “because of drought, climate change and human interference with the natural landscape,” according to the Guardian. New Mexico, for example, is currently experiencing the biggest fire in state history. The fire, which started at the Whitewater-Baldy complex in the southwestern part of the state, currently covers an area of 337 square miles.”Photo credit above: “Crew members from the Granite Mountain Hotshots of Prescott, Ariz., cut a fire line along a mountain ridge outside Mogollon, N.M., Saturday, June 2, 2012, in an effort to manage and contain the Whitewater-Baldy fire which has burned more than 354 square miles of the Gila National Forest in New Mexico. Unlike last year’s megafires in New Mexico and Arizona, this blaze is burning in territory that has been frequently blackened under the watchful eye of the Gila’s fire managers.” (AP Photo/U.S. Forest Service, Tara Ross)Expert: Climate Change Will Increasingly Become Global Health Issue. Here’s an excerpt from a report at U.S. News and World Report: “Previously just the worry of climate scientists, environmentalists, doomsday prognosticators, and gas-price watchers, climate change is starting to worry some others— public health specialists, who say that global warming could affect large swaths of the population. In a paper published in the journal PLoS Medicine Tuesday, a group of European public health experts write that climate change could alter “patterns of physical activity and food availability, and in some cases [bring] direct physical harm.” Slight temperature increases could also change disease distribution in colder regions and make hotter regions less hospitable to humans.”

400 PPM: A Milestone That Means Everything, And Nothing. The story from Climate Central: “I’m not big on taking note of milestones. They’re artificial, and usually meaningless, but people get all worked up about them anyway. I don’t like to stay up late on New Year’s Eve, for example, because Dec. 31 is a purely arbitrary date. Nothing real actually begins the next day, but we all pretend otherwise. I have similar feelings about the first day of spring, the temperature reaching 100° as opposed to 99° and all sorts of other magic-sounding dates and numbers that don’t have any real significance. But since no law says I have to be consistent, I’m going to take note of a milestone that happened some time in the past couple of months, and which was reported last week by NOAA. For the first time in recorded history, and almost certainly for much longer than that, the atmosphere’s concentration of carbon dioxide, or CO2, has nipped above 400 parts per million in at least one part of the world. Monitoring stations in Alaska, northern Europe, and Asia have all noted readings above that level during this past spring.”

Geoengineering Efforts Against Climate Change Could Turn The Sky White. Well there’s a lovely thought; details from “Scientists have proposed injecting huge amounts of sulfate aerosols into the sky as a way of reducing the effects of climate change. These scientists also believe the particles could reflect away more sunlight, reducing the direct sunlight which reaches the earth by 20 percent. New Scientist writes: The blue colour of the clear sky comes from light being scattering by molecules in the air. The scattering is much stronger for short blue wavelengths than for longer red wavelengths.”

What On Earth Is Happening To Canada? Answer: Black Out Speak Out. Here’s an excerpt from Huffington Post: “June 4 is “Black Out Speak Out Day” in Canada. It’s not a holiday. It’s a rare national day of protest against Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s conservative government’s attack on civil society organizations including labor, environment, immigration, and students. Over 13,000 Canadian websites will be blacked out in protest. Many U.S. groups, including the Sierra Club, will join in solidarity. How did this happen to our friendly neighbors to the north? Why did Harper become so oppressive? Canadians pride themselves in being reasonable, open to discussion, tolerant, process-oriented-a bastion of democracy. Harper’s attacks are happening for many reasons, not the least of which was the success of environmental groups in Canada, the U.S. and Europe threatening what Big Oil wants most: unlimited tar sands expansion and pipelines like the Keystone XL to send its oil around the globe.”

Photo credit above: “Demonstrators hold up signs in front of the White House in Washington, Friday, Sept. 2, 2011, to protest the Keystone XL Pipeline project in the US, and the Tar Sands Development in Alberta Canada.” (AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)

USA Trails Latin America And Asia In Climate Change Preparation. Some interesting stats in this article from; here’s an excerpt: “A new survey from MIT is the first to systematically investigate the efforts of cities around the globe to adapt to climate change, showing that 95 percent of major cities in Latin America are planning for climate change, compared to only 59 percent of such cities in the United States. Quito, Ecuador, is not considered a global leader by most measures. But there is one way in which Quito is at the forefront of metropolises worldwide: in planning for climate change. For more than a decade, officials in Ecuador’s mountainous capital have been studying the effects of global warming on nearby melting glaciers, developing ways of dealing with potential water shortages and even organizing conferences on climate change for leaders of other Latin American cities.”

Photo credit above: “Quito, Ecuador. Photo: wikimedia/Patricio Mena Vásconez.”

Arctic Witnesses Climate Change. Here’s an excerpt from “As per a reportpublished in the journal Nature, it has been revealed that climate change is having disastrous effect on the Arctic. The report named as ‘Eurasian Arctic greening reveals that teleconnections and the potential for novel ecosystems’ was being studied by a group of researchers from the University of Lapland, Finland, and Oxford University. The report was of the view that they investigated an area which was around about 100,000square kilometers and stretched from western Sibera to Finland. First author of the study Dr. Marc Macias-Fauria of Oxford University’s Department of Zoology said that they studied vegetation pattern and after studying the pattern, it was found that Salix and alder have increased by two meters in size in last 2o to 40 years.”



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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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