Category: National and World

Funnel Cloud Reported at New Orleans Armstrong International Airport

| February 23, 2016 @ 11:19 am

2-23-2016 11-18-36 AM

Here is the weather observer’s report from MSY at 11:10 a.m.:

NEW ORLEANS/MOISANT,LA (MSY) ASOS reports Tornado KMSY 231710Z 04004KT 4SM FC RA BR FEW011 BKN026CB OVC075 21/19 A2968 RMK FUNNEL CLOUD B09 AO2 PRESFR SW CB W-N-E-SE MOV NE P0010 T02110189

No, the Entire State of Kentucky Wasn’t Under a Tornado Warning

| February 23, 2016 @ 9:46 am

2-23-2016 9-19-35 AM

When I looked up and saw counties across the entire state of Kentucky being outlined in red a little after 9 a.m., I thought, there is no severe weather in the Bluegrass State today. Then I thought, it is probably their statewide tornado drill. That was the case.

Three offices participated in the drill this morning, including Paducah, Louisville, Jackson KY , Charleston WV and Wilmington OH. A test Tornado Warning has sent out by Louisville, Charleston, Jackson and Paducah. Wilmington (Cincinnati) sent out a Special Weather Statement.

Because the code in the warning was set to test, some TV station crawl systems did not carry the warning, but that is how the drill was done in past years, the NWS in Louisville said.

The purpose of a tornado drill of course is to make sure everyone can get the warning, so it requires lots of coordination between broadcasters, emergency management and the NWS.

Statewide tornado drills used to be done in Alabama as part of severe weather awareness week. That practice was stopped several years ago.

It seems we get plenty of practice from real events anyway! One of those events will occur tonight. We will have frequent posts throughout the day. The new SPC severe weather outlook will be out shortly and we will have an update.

OBX Snow!

| February 12, 2016 @ 6:43 pm


Snow affected the northern portions of the Outer Banks on Friday, making the tan colored sands of the North Carolina coast look more like the dazzlingly sugar white sands of Northwest Florida and Alabama.

Some snowfall amounts from eastern North Carolina included:

…3 inches at Nags Head
…3.5 inches at Kill Devil Hills
…1 inch at Duck

Winter storm warnings were in effect for the Outer Banks, something you don’t see every day!

The precipitation started out as light snow at Hatteras, but it quickly changed over to rain with temperatures in the middle 30s.

Historically, Cape Hatteras has seen several big snows, including a couple of 7 inch storms and their all time record, 11 inches, which occurred on December 30th in 1917.

Winter Weather Advisories to our Northeast

| February 7, 2016 @ 10:59 pm
Snow accumulation amounts and winter weather advisories.

Snow accumulation amounts and winter weather advisories.

Winter weather advisories (WWA) have been issued for Monday through much of Tuesday for a wide area to the northeast of Alabama. Here’s a rundown of some expected conditions.

Places like Crossville and Cookville could see 1-2 inches of snow. Morristown and the Tri-Cities could see 1-3 inches. Knoxville and Cleveland are oficially NOT in the WWA at this time, but Knoxville could pick up 1.5 inches of snow as well. Travel into eastern Tennessee may become difficult Monday night into Tuesday.

The mountains of North Georgia could see 1-2 inches of snow in places like Chatsworth, Ellijay and Dahlonega. Black ice will be a problem.

5 inches of snow is possible in Gatlinburg, with higher amounts at higher elevations.

Only an inch of snow is expected in Asheville. Boone should get 2-3 inches.

Some of the highest amounts will be in the mountains of west Virginia, where as much as ten inches

Rain showers will transition to snow showers late Monday afternoon and a few snow showers will continue through the overnight hours with even a few snow flurries into Tuesday morning. The best chance for any accumulations will be over the Tennessee Valley of North Alabama, from Huntsville to the east. But any areas that see persistent snow showers could get a dusting.

The deep low east of Wilmington NC tonight has intensified to 980 millibars. It will bring high winds of 60 mph and heavy snows to Cape Cod on Monday. 18 inches or more of snow may fall.

Record Setting Storm for NYC?

| January 23, 2016 @ 6:22 pm

Here is an update as of 6:27 p.m. from the NWS in New York City:
Good evening, The storm total at Central Park, NY up to 7 pm is 25.1 inches. The liquid equivalent for the event is 2.19″ This snowfall ranks #3 since records have been kept in 1869.

The huge snowstorm pounding the East Coast is threatening to break several all time snowfall records, including the all time record from a single storm for Central Park in New York City. Central Park is the official record location for New York City.


Click image to enlarge.

Click image to enlarge.

So far, the three major NYC Airports have picked up the following snowfall amounts through 5 p.m. CST:

…LaGuardia 23″
…JFK 26″
…Newark 21″
…Central Park 25.1″ (through 6 p.m. CST)

And New York City is directly under a huge snow band that is basically stationary over the area. It may continue to snow heavily through 10 p.m. CST. With snowfall rates of 1-2 inches per hour and more, it is conceivable that Central Park could hit 25-29 inches! That would be the all time record for a single storm. The official forecast is for 26.5 inches. (We are expecting an update from Central Park any moment.)

New York City’s greatest snowstorms:
26.9 February 11-12, 2006
25.8 December 26-27,1947 (some sources say 26.4)
…25.1 January 22-23, 2016 (through 6 p.m.)…
21.0 March 12-14, 1888
20.9 February 25-26, 2010
20.2 January 7-8, 1996
20.0 December 26-27, 2010
19.8 February 16-17, 2003
19.0 January 26-27, 2011
18.1 January 22-24, 1935
18.1 March 7-8, 1941

17.8 is the official storm total for Reagan National (that information just in at 6:07 p.m. CST). This is good enough to tie for 4th place on the all time list for Washington DC snowstorms (tied with the February 25-26, 2010 storm). They could easily make 3rd place before the night is over despite the fact that the snow is diminishing in D.C.

Dulles has picked up 28.3 inches.

Blizzard conditions were officially observed this morning in D.C.

So far, several snowfall totals over 36 inches have been observed, including 40 inches at Glengary WV. 39 inch totals have been observed at Jones Springs and Shpherstown WV and 39 inches near Philomont VA. In Maryland, 37 inches was observed at North Potomac Maryland.

The all time record 24 hour snowfall total for Maryland is 31 inches at Clear Spring in 1942. West Virginia’s is 35 inches at Flat Top in 1998. Virginia’s is 33.5 inches in 1994 in Luray. Some all time state records may fall.

Late Night Look at Storm Impacts

| January 21, 2016 @ 10:36 pm

Here is the official NWS forecast for total snowfall from the National Digital Forecast Database.

Click image to  enlarge

Click image to enlarge

The Blue Ridge Parkway looks like it will be Ground Zero for this winter storm with 25-30 inches of snow between now and Sunday. A blizzard warning is in effect for the Blue Ridge.

A secondary maximum will be over the Gauley Mountains of West Virginia where the forecast is for 30 inches of snow in Pocahontas County.

Let’s go area by area and see the main impacts:

Almost no snow. It will be windy though. Gale watches are in effect in the harbors along the Connecticut and Rhode Island coasts.

Right on the borderline, as always seems to be the case. There is considerable disagreement among the models. A blizzard watch has been issued for much of eastern Pennsylvania, northern Delaware, much of New Jersey, the NYC area and Long Island. Official snow forecast is 9 inches. Winds could gust to 45 mph. A coastal flood watch is in effect Saturday night.

15 inches of snow expected. Blizzard watch in effect. Snow most of the day on Saturday.

Blizzard warning in effect. Snow accumulations of more than two feet, with snow developing Friday morning and continuing through Saturday night. Winds could gust to 50 mph. Could be the second biggest snowfall in D.C. history.

Could be in for a crippling ice storm with sleet and freezing rain through much of the day Friday. 0.4 inches of ice accretion and 1-2 inches of sleet by Friday night with another .1 inch of ice. Half an inch of ice can cause huge problems.

Will be hard hit with 8-12 inches of snow across a wide area. Over 6 inches in Louisville and nearly 11 inches in Lexington. Over a foot of snow in eastern Kentucky. Winter storm warnings are in effect.

Heaviest snow in western Tennessee, with nearly six inches possible in Memphis and 7 inches in Jackson TN. 3-8 inches across the entire state of Tennessee. Up to five inches over northwestern Mississippi south of Memphis. 1-5 inches of snow across the northern third of Mississippi.

1/2-3 inches of snow, with the heaviest amounts over Northwest Alabama. Winter weather advisories are in effect.

1-3 inches across northern Georgia and upstate South Carolina, except for higher amounts in the mountains of northern Georgia and the foothills of South Carolina.

Big Tornadoes in the Dallas Metroplex Tonight

| December 26, 2015 @ 8:26 pm

Supercells moving across North Texas tonight ahead of a cold front have produced multiple tornadoes, including a large and extremely dangerous tornado that crossed the Dallas area between 6-7 p.m. tonight.

It touched down around 6:47 in eastern Dallas County north of Sunnyvale.

It caused damage in and around Garland, where we have heard reports that there may be fatalities. (LATE REPORT AT 8:33: WFAA Is reporting four fatalities in Garland.)

The tornado then struck Rowlett.

Here is a photo from Fox 4 in Dallas of the tornado near Rowlett.


it went across the lake from Rowlett to Rockwall, rolling cars off the 66 Bridge.

For the past few weeks, we have been keeping our fingers crossed as we were in a position to end the year as the least deadly year in U.S. tornado history. Then Wednesday’s long track deadly tornado carved a 135 mile path across Mississippi and into Tennessee, killing seven. And now this tonight. Our thoughts and prayers are with the folks in North Texas tonight.

Heartbreaking News

| December 23, 2015 @ 5:20 pm

Up until today, the United States was on a path that would lead to an all-time record low number of tornado fatalities for the year.

But there are numerous reports from spotters and other sources of at least some fatalities near Holly Springs MS this afternoon from a long track, well forecast and well warned tornado that is still on the ground in southern Tennessee.



This tornado (or family of tornadoes) may have been on the ground for over 130 miles!

Now there is a confirmed tornado on the ground near Oxford MS as well!

The 2015 North Atlantic Hurricane Season

| December 2, 2015 @ 8:17 am


The 2015 North Atlantic Hurricane Season was fairly slow, as had been predicted in most seasonal forecasts. There were eleven named storms, which is very close to the long term average of 11.5. Four of the storms became hurricanes and two went on to become major hurricanes, below the long term averages of 6.1 hurricanes and 2.6 major hurricanes.

The season got started well before the official start date of June 1st, when Tropical Storm Ana formed from a non-tropical low on May 8th. The system had peak winds of 60 mph as it crossed over the Gulf Stream. It would weaken as it moved off the Gulf Stream and go on to make landfall on the northeastern coast of South Carolina with winds of 45 mph.

A named storm forms in the Atlantic in June in just about every other year on average, and Bill did just that, jumping straight to tropical storm status on the first advisory based on aircraft reconnaissance data. The storm was designated Bill on the evening of June 15th with a well defined circulation center some 175 miles east southeast of Corpus Christi, Texas. It made landfall later on the 16th on Matagorda Island, with a central pressure of 997 mb and top winds of 60 mph.

The storm remained unusually organized as it made the trek northward across Texas and into Oklahoma, perhaps aided by the “brown island effect” of saturated ground from recent heavy rain over the southern Plains. Newport, Oklahoma picked up a two day rain total of 11.52 inches. I-35 was closed in the Arbuckle Mountains due to a rock slide.

A tropical depression formed about 250 miles east northeast of Cape Hatteras on July 16th. SIx hours later it was upgraded to Tropical Storm Claudette. The storm weakened as it moved northeastward and merged with a frontal boundary, but it still produced adverse weather in Newfoundland, where flights were canceled.

Danny was a Cape Verde storm that became the season’s first major hurricane with top winds of 115 mph. Danny would weaken due to dry air and wind shear and dissipated before reaching the Leeward Islands.

Tropical Storm Erika was another Cape Verde storm like Danny, but never got its act together. The storm formed on August 25th and steamed across the Atlantic, making landfall on Dominica and in Hispaniola. The storm dissipated while dodging Cuba, but brought heavy rains to South Florida.

Hurricane Fred formed from a very strong tropical wave that moved off Africa on August 29th, became a depression on the 30th and quickly became a hurricane on the 31st. It is the furthest east that a hurricane has ever formed in the Atlantic and prompted hurricane warnings for the Cape Verde Islands for the first time in history.

The season entered a boring period, with unremarkable tropical storms named Grace, Henri and Ida forming over the open Atlantic and dissipating before affecting any land areas.

Hurricane Joaquin stole the show during the 2015 Atlantic Hurricane Season. Joaquin formed east of the Bahamas on September 28th and became a tropical storm on the following day as it moved in a southwesterly direction toward the Bahamas. It would continue to strengthen and became a major hurricane on the evening of the 30th. Hurricane Joaquin would affect the Bahamas as a category four hurricane, but would weaken as it moved through the islands. Joaquin turned to the northeast and very nearly achieved category five status when its top winds reached 155 mph. It was the most intense Atlantic hurricane since Igor in 2010. Fortunately, Joaquin weakened before it impacted Bermuda with heavy rain and tropical storm force winds.

The official National Hurricane Center forecasts predicted for three days that Joaquin could impact the eastern United States, despite strong indications from the European model that the storm would remain well offshore. This led to considerable angst along the East Coast and a look at how the National Hurricane Center’s Cone of Uncertainty is used in such situations.

Part of the moisture pulled northward by Joaquin would be pulled back into South Carolina by a big upper level low, which resulted in catastrophic flooding in the Palmetto State.

The final named storm was Kate, which became a hurricane on November 11th, making it the latest hurricane since Epsilon in 2005. Kate affected the southeastern Bahamas, but recurved off the East Coast of the U.S. and missing Bermuda.

While the storm counts were slightly below the long term averages, the energy expended by the eleven storms was just 59 percent of normal. The Atlantic basin was dominated by El Nino conditions during the hurricane season. The higher than normal wind shear contributed to the below normal activity.

For the tenth straight year, there has been no landfall of a major hurricane in the United States. It hasn’t happened since Hurricane Wilma in October 2005. In addition, Florida has not bit hit by ANY hurricane of any intensity since Wilma.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

| November 26, 2015 @ 2:25 pm

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family on this special holiday. The weather is certainly cooperating for us here in Alabama, although that is not the case all around the country.

Boy, the weather held off just long enough nationally to get everyone to Grandma’s house, and it has gone downhill today across a large area of the West and the Plains.

Click image to enlarge.

Click image to enlarge.

A powerful upper level trough across the West is poised to caused a wide array of bad weather over the next several days. The axis of the trough extends from williston ND to Pocatello, Idaho to Fresno, California this afternoon.

Ahead of it, widespread precipitation is occurring, including snow across the Mountains of the Wes, into the Central Plains and Midwest, from Nebraska to Upper Michigan. A wintry mix is occurring from northeastern New Mexico through the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles, Central Kansas and into Iowa. Ice storm warnings cover a wide area from eastern New Mexico, northwestern Texas, western Teas and the southern part of Kansas. There is a high probability of a 1/4 inch accumulation of ice from the Texas Panhandle into Iowa. One half inch of ice will accumulate across parts of western Oklahoma.

From the Oklahoma State Climatologist Gary McManus: Given the recent developments, I’m afraid we’re going to have to upgrade the
EMERGENCY BREAD AND MILK DEF-BRAUMS LEVEL to LEVEL ONE across west central through north central Oklahoma.
That’s serious!

Ahead of this shield of wintry precip, rain is occurring from southern New Mexico and Texas all the way into the Great Lakes. A rapidly weakening Hurricane Sandra, over the eastern Pacific, will interject its moisture into the system over the weekend. The system has top winds of 115 mph this afternoon, but will will weaken to a depression before it makes landfall early Saturday in the Mexican state of Durango.

Incredible rainfall amounts will fall over the southern Plains over the next five days (how many times have we said that this year?). 8 to 9 inches is expected across southern and eastern Oklahoma into western Arkansas. Tishomingo in southern Oklahoma has picked up 70.90 inches of rain so far this year. Another 9 inches would be incredible!

Flash flood watches are in effect from Dallas to St. Louis.

Absolutely gorgeous weather for Thanksgiving here in Alabama. Skies are sunny and temperatures are in the lower 70s at every major reporting station across the state. The nearest rain is a few light showers along the Northeast Florida and Georgia coasts. A nice southeasterly wind is making it feel even balmier.

We stay dry through the Black Friday shopping experience. It will be mild for the early morning shoppers, with lows just in the 50s. Iron Bowl Saturday will be dry as well, with temperatures in the 70s for the big game. Rain will not arrive until late in the day on Sunday.

Travel Plans? Here’s the Rain

| November 23, 2015 @ 3:04 pm

Got travel plans for Thanksgiving Day? Here’s a look at the probability of precipitation across the United States for Thanksgiving Day from 6 am to 6 pm. Looks like a large swath of the Central US from Central Texas across eastern Kansas and northeastward into Lake Michigan will see the best chances for precipitation, most of that rain. There is also a bullseye in Wyoming and much of that is likely to be snow.


Whatever your travel plans might be, please be safe in all that you do. Happy Thanksgiving.


Chapala Churning Closer to Land

| November 2, 2015 @ 8:17 am

Typhoon Chapala remained a hurricane this morning and continued to churn across the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Aden as it gets closer to landfall in Yemen.


This is the latest satellite view of Chapala. It was getting closer to Yemen after brushing just north of the island of Socotra in the Arabian Sea. The Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) placed Chapala’s wind at 105 knots this morning with gusts to 130 knots (120 mph with gusts to 150 mph). The forecasters there continued to predict a gradual weakening trend as Chapala makes its was toward landfall just to the west of Mukalla (or Al Mukalla on some maps) around midnight tonight. Once the eye has made landfall, the tropical cyclone should diminish in strength rapidly falling below tropical storm strength about 24 hours after landfall. Here’s the graphic from JTWC.


Here’s another view of Cyclone Chapala.