Articles by Paul Douglas

April 15

Status of Spring Based on “First-Leaf Observations” – Flash Flood Awareness – Ask a Meteorologist About Risk

Spring Leaf Index AnomalyNational Phenology Network Status of Spring. In spite of recent snows and based on (first leaf) observations, spring green-up has come about 10-15 days ahead of schedule, based on data collected by The National Phenology Network: “Spring leaf out continues to spread north across the country. After arriving early in southern parts of Southwest and Southeast states, cold temperatures halted the progress of spring leaf out for several days across the northern part of the Southeast, Southern Great Plains, and mid-Atlantic. Spring leaf out is now arriving days to weeks early across the northern Great Plains, Midwest,...

April 15

Tracking Volcanic SO2, Power Outages and a Potentially Shifting “Tornado Country”

June 17, 2010 near Albert Lea, MinnesotaMeteorologist Aaron Shaffer Tornado Alley? More Like “Tornado Country” Data suggests “Tornado Alley” is shifting south and east over time, with more severe, long-track tornadoes hitting the Mid South (Little Rock to Birmingham) in recent years. A symptom of climate change? The honest answer: we’re not sure yet. Tornado Alley should be renamed “Tornado Country” because twisters are fairly commonplace east of the Rockies. In 2010 a total of 145 tornadoes struck Minnesota, the most in the nation that year. Details on the June 17, 2010 super-outbreak here. Severe damage was reported from Wadena...

April 13

March Relapse Midwest to New England – Severe Storm Reminders from NOAA

Chilly Bias Into Late April? Long-range GFS guidance isn’t holding out much hope for rapid warming anytime soon with a closed low predicted for eastern Canada 2 weeks out, keeping temperatures (slightly) cooler than average for the upper Midwest. NOAA NOAA NOAA Severe Weather Awareness Week. I know, it seems odd with slush in the forecast later today, but it won’t be long before the sirens are sounding. A test of the sirens is scheduled for Thursday at 1:45 and 6:45 pm. Uh ohElena Lacey How to Survive a Killer Asteroid. A post at WIRED.com (paywall) has helpful advice: “…If...

April 13

Colorado State: 2021 Hurricane Season Will Be Busy – NOAA: CO2 Levels Now Highest in 3.6 Million Years

Mellowing Pattern by Late April. The GFS model suggests a relatively benign pattern within a couple of weeks, with an active southern branch of the jet stream igniting frequent severe storm outbreaks over the southern USA, but relatively mild weather over the central USA. Philip Klotzbach, Twitter Colorado State University: Busier Than Average Hurricane Season. Here’s an excerpt from CSU’s press release: “We anticipate that the 2021 Atlantic basin hurricane season will have above-normal activity. Current weak La Niña conditions may transition to neutral ENSO by this summer/fall, but the odds of a significant El Niño seem unlikely. Sea surface...

April 8

Tracking Western U.S. Drought Trends – Climate Change a Factor for Some Home Buyers

Trending Closer to Average by Late April. After next week’s cool correction a zonal flow should lure the mercury to, or just above, average by the last week of April, highs mostly in the 50s with a few 60s possible. Summer Temperature Anomaly ProbabilitiesNOAA Climate Prediction Center Extended Wish-Cast: A Stinking Hot Summer? Confidence levels are very low, but NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center’s suite of long range climate models suggests high confidence for warmer than average temperatures for much of the USA for June, July and August. Interesting data points, but I wouldn’t wager any money on that bet just...

NOAA Satellite
April 8

When Weather Systems Stall – Climate Models Predict Hot Summer – GFS Model Upgrade May Help Hurricane Predictions

Future Radar Through Friday Eveningpivotalweather.com Forecast Calls For Very Green Lawns When weather stalls bad things often result. Longer heatwaves, deeper droughts and more severe flooding. Hurricane Harvey stalled in the Gulf of Mexico in August of 2017, squeezing out over 60” of rain near Houston. Rapid warming of the Arctic may already be impacting the shape and configuration of jet stream steering winds, favoring a wavier, loopier pattern, more prone to weather getting stuck. A slow-motion storm will temporarily stall near Minnesota this week, pouring out 1-3” rainfall totals by Friday evening. I wouldn’t be surprised to see reports...

heat-wave-formation
April 6

Record-Smashing 85F Yesterday in the Twin Cities – Soaking Rains Likely Upper Midwest

NAM Rainfall Forecast Next 84 Hourspivotalweather.com ECMWF Rainfall by Friday morningweatherbell.com ECMWF Rainfall Solution. 2-3” of rain by Friday morning? NOAA NAM is suggesting over 4” (top image) and there’s little doubt that a slow-moving storm will create a long-duration rainfall event from late tomorrow into Friday. From spotty wildfires to street flooding in the meteorological blink of an eye? At this point nothing surprises me anymore. Twin Cities National Weather Service Twin Cities National Weather Service Record-Smashing. The Twin Cities saw 85F yesterday, breaking the old record of 80F in 1991. The normal high is 52F, if anyone asks....

drought in field
April 5

Expanding Drought – From Tornado Alley to “Tornado Country” – Using Cargo Ships to Detect Tsunamis?

U.S. Drought Monitor Expanding Drought. The latest U.S. Drought Monitor shows a large and growing area of extreme drought across the Dakotas and far northwest Iowa, with pockets of drought for the Red River Valley and far western counties in Minnesota. Recent rains restored soil moisture from Mankato and the Twin Cities to Duluth, at least for the short term. Blocking Pattern = Lingering April Warmth. With a massive ridge of high pressure stalled over the Great Plains and Rockies I don’t see much chance for a volley of cold fronts anytime soon. Part of me wonders if Mother Nature...

April 1

Dwindling Snow Cover – Expanding/Intensifying Drought – Concern Over NWS Outages

Snow cover on March 31, 2021NOAA NOHRSC Where’s the Snow? Less than 10% of the lower 48 states have snow on the ground as of Wednesday, limited to the higher elevations of the western U.S. and northern Maine. Amazing how quickly it melted, in retrospect. ECMWF Snowfall by April 4weatherbell.com Snow? We’ll Make More. A powerful blast of Canadian air will drop a few inches of snow from the hills of West Virginia into northern New England. Winter is down, but not out just yet. U.S. Drought Monitor Expanding, Intensifying Drought. I’m struck by the extent of exceptional drought over...

tornado-leading-image-header
March 31

National Weather Service Experiencing Internet Failures – Is Tornado Alley Shifting South/East?

Weather Service Internet Systems Crumbling as Key Platforms Fail. Well this isn’t good, coming as we enter prime time for severe weather across the USA. Capital Weather Gang explains the scope of the problem: “The National Weather Service experienced a major, system-wide Internet failure Tuesday morning, making its forecasts and warnings inaccessible to the public and limiting the data available to its meteorologists. The outage highlights systemic, long-standing issues with its information technology infrastructure, which the agency has struggled to address as demands for its services have only increased. In addition to Tuesday morning’s outage, the Weather Service has encountered...