Monday, May 29, 2017

Back To The Wet In Vermont, Northeast

A cloudy early morning this Memorial Day over St. Albans,
Vermont signals the start of another extended rainy period .
I flew in to Burlington, Vermont late last night and am now home from a trip to the Midwest.

Apparently, I missed some pretty nice weather in Vermont Saturday and Sunday (though the weather was pretty decent where I was in South Dakota, too.)  

Now, it's back to the wet.

We're not breaking any kind of rainfall records this month, but precipitation has been consistent, and above normal this May.

So let's close out the month of May with another wet spell, shall we?

As of early this Memorial Day morning, a decent slug of rain was over Ontario, New York, Pennsylvania and far southern New England and it was headed this way.

If you missed your chance for outdoor parties, barbecues and such Saturday and Sunday, you're out of luck.

Today looks pretty wet, especially late this morning and afternoon, though precipitation might taper off this evening.  Don't worry about anything too terribly heavy. It'll be a soaker, but not a flood, that's for sure.

Unlike yesterday, today, under the clouds and rain, look to be fairly cool and raw for this time of year.  Temperatures were in the 50s to low 60s at dawn. Readings might go up a few degrees before the rain sets it, but then it'll settle down to near 60 degrees. Rather chilly.

We'll stay under the threat of rain through Wednesday.  An upper level low pressure system will get humg up near us, mostly to our northwest. That will swing some troughs of low pressure - really mini-cold fronts across our region Tuesday and Wednesday.

The strong spring sun, comhined with instabillity from these mini cold fronts will set the stage for lots of showers Tuesday and Wednesday, especially in the afternoons.

Especially if morning sun breaks through both days, we'll probably see some thunderstorms as well. While most places will have nothing severe, a couple thunderstorms both days could hustle up some gusty winds and small hail across Vermont and the rest of the Northeast.

In fact, NOAA's Storm Prediction Center has Vermont and other area of the northeastern United Sttes under a margional risk of severe storms both Tuesdayt and Wednesday.

Beyond that, I don't see signs of any summer heat coming our way anytime soon.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Pics, Video From Saturday's Severe Weather

Ominous storm in Edgar Springs, Missouri Saturday. 
As expected, a wide swath of the nation from Texas to Virginia were blasted by severe weather Saturday.

This  including a few tornadoes (though fortunately not that many), but the day especially featured strong winds, giant hail and flash floods.

There was an incredibly 386 reports of strong, damaging winds and nearly 300 reports of large hail, according to NOAA's Storm Prediction Center. 

Hail a little bit bigger than softballs pummeled Adrian, Missouri.

Hail bigger than baseballs in Adrian, Missouri Saturday.
The severe weather went as far east as near Richmond, Virginia, where hail as big as hens eggs punched through car windows and damaged homes in the area.

Severe weather is still expected in a stripe from Texas to Mississippi, and in much of the Ohio Valley and Mid-Atlantic states, though it might not be quite as widespread as Saturday.

As bad as Saturday was, it could have been worse, given the extreme instability in the atmosphere across parts of Oklahoma, Missouri and Arkansas.

The instability - the potential for explosive severe storms, was pretty much near record territory.

By the way, a few thunderstorms will probably break out in our neck of the woods in Vermont Tuersday, and a couple of them might be strong. However, I don't expecdt a super big widespread severe outbreak in the Green Mountain State.

Here's a video of some big hail pummeling cars amid some sunshine in Glen Allen, Virginia on Saturday:

Saturday, May 27, 2017

VERY Bad Severe Weather Outbreak Today In Southern Plains, Mississippi Valley

Areas in orange and especially in red are at definite risk of
very severe thunderstorms and tornadoes today. 
Forecasters with NOAA's Storm Prediction Center are very worried today about the likelihood of an outbreak of very serious severe weather today from Oklahoma and Texas into the Tennessee Valley.

The atmosphere down there is as extremely unstable as it can possibly get, so tornadoes, some of them strong, widespread hurricane-force wind gusts and hail that could become the size of baseballs, softballs or even grapefruit are all good bets today.

The Storm Prediction Center says the instability in the atmosphere in parts of Oklahoma and Arkansas are at near record levels, so that's ominious.

In Arkansas and surrounding areas, thunderstorms will likely develop explosively today. I don't think people will have much time to react to thunderstorms that start as a tiny shower, and within minutes, become dangerously severe or tornadic thunderstorms.

In addition, forecasters say that along northeast side of where the thunderstorms develop, probably in northern Arkansas, and the southern half of Missouri, a dangerous derecho might develop.

Derechos are long-lasting, intense lines of thunderstorms that hit wide areas with damaging straight line winds. Wind speeds vary within the path of a derecho, but some spots that are hit can have wind gusts of 100 mph or more in the stronger derechos.

Forecasters say today's possible derecho would probably be strong, with winds like that. There might be embedded tornadoes with today's derecho as well.

Especially a bit to the west and south of this derecho, in eastern Oklahoma, far southwestern Missouri, maybe the southeast corner of Kansas and parts of northern Texas, strong tornadoes and gigantic hailstones are quite possible today.

Some of this activity is going to hit some pretty populated areas, such as Tulsa, and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, St. Louis and Kansas City, Missouri, Little Rock, Arkansas, Wichita, Kansas, and Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Airline Pilot Takes Awesome Photos Of Storms While In Flight

"Pacific Storm" by Santiago Borja Lopez, an airline pilot and
photographer with a fascination for storms 
An Ecuador-based airline pilot has a beautiful side job involving weather: He takes incredible photos of lightning-lit thunderstorms from the cockpit.

According to, Santiago Borja Lopez, captures nighttime thunderstorms from a Boeing 767 he operates on long haul flights.

No worries if you're on a plane he's piloting, though. He takes the photos from the control seats, and takes the photos while he is off-duty. (Pilots often take turns at the controls.)

There's an example or two on this here web page blog thingy, but definitely check out his website for much, much more.  (Click on the images in this post to make them bigger and easier to see.)

"Curia" By Santiago Borja Lopez, an aerial view of
a nightime storm approaching Panama City. 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

National Hurricane Center Says They're Bracing For A Busy Season

Severe flooding in North Carolina last year from Hurricane
Matthew. The National Hurrican Center says this year
could be another busy hurricane season. 
The NOAA's Climate Prediction Center   this morning said they are gearing up for a busier than normal hurricane season in the Atlantic basin.

Here's the scoop, straight from the source:

"Forecasters predict a 70 percent likelihood of 11 to 17 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher) of which five to nine could become hurricanes (winds of 74 or higher) includig 2 to 4 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph of higher) An average season produces 12 named storms of which six become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes."

The official Atlantic tropical storm and hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30, though you can get some out of this season. We already had one tropical storm this year, Arlene last month.

Whether a potentially busy hurricane season badly affects the United States is still an open question. If we get these extra tropical storms and hurricanes, will many of them hit the coastline, or will most of them stay harmlessly out to sea?

Believe it or not, we still haven't had a major hurricane (Category 3 or higher) make landfall in the United States in 12 year. That's a record long time.

However, as we well know, a hurricane doesn't have to be major, or cross the coastline to cause major trouble for us.

Last year, Major Hurricane Matthew stayed just offshore of Florida, and did not come ashore until it had weakened to a Category 1 storm with 75 mph winds in South Carolina.

Still, Matthew caused massive storm surge and river flooding in Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas, causing about $10 billion in damage in the United States and another $5 billion in the Caribbean.

We in Vermont remember Hurricane Irene in 2011, which was a tropical storm by the time it reached us but still caused what was easily one of the Top 5 worst flood disasters in Vermont history.

NOAA bases its 2017 forecast on several factors. During the hurricane season, El Nino, the periodic warming of the eastern Pacific Ocean, is expected to be weak or non-existent.

El Ninos increase upper air wind shear, which tears apart wannabe hurricanes. Also, water temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea are warmer than average. Warmer water tends to encourage tropical storms and hurricanes

Another Windy, Raw Storm Hitting Vermont Today

Damage in Rutland, Vermont from a May 5 windstorm.
Another gusty storm is hitting Rutland and other areas of
Vermont today, but it likely won't be nearly as bad as this one .
Parts of Vermont, especially the western slopes of the Green Mountains are under a wind advisory today as an unusually strong storm gives us another bout of gusty, wet weather.

This storm reminds me of the one on May 5, which caused damaging downslope winds along the western slopes of the Green Mountains, especially around Rutland.

It doesn't look like this storm will be as bad or as destructive as the one on May 5, but I expect some trees and power lines to come down today.

I'm sure Green Mountain Power is just thrilled by that bit of news, given the damage they suffered on the May 5 storm and the additional widespread problems with severe thunderstorms a week ago.

As of late morning, gusts were already up to 37 mph in Rutland and 33 mph in Bennington. Winds today could gust as high as 55 mph in the southern and central Green Mountains and 50 mph in the northern Green Mountains.

It's going to rather chilly and wet today and tomorrow in the North Country, too. Some places today and tomorrow won't get past 60 degrees, at a time of year when normal high temperatures are in the low 70s.

At least the storm's effects on Vermont won't be as bad as they were in some other parts of the country. The storm helped create damaging tornadoes that touched down in the Southeast and near Dayton, Ohio on Wednesday.

Nothing like that is coming to us anytime soon.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Cool Images, Videos Of Some Of This Week's Weather: Wild Sunsets And Tornadoes

Storm chaser Daniel Shaw captured this image of an
immense supercells thunderstorm east of Roswell, New
Mexico earlier this week. 
The nation's weather has calmed down somewhat from last week's super active weather, but things are still going on, which of course gives us cool weather images and videos.

Videos are at the bottom of this post.  

One thing all of us weather geeks have been talking about this week is the evening supercell thunderstorm east of Roswell, New Mexico.

Several storm chasers captured the huge amount of mammatus clouds on the rear flake of the immense storm's anvil at sunset. Quite an otherworldly scene.

Also this week, tornadoes and severe weather struck across the south. Tornadoes caused damage in Texas, Georgia and North Carolina, where one tornado blew a fire station apart while firefighters huddled beneath fire trucks.

More tornadoes and severe weather is already spinning up in the Southeast today, and is expected to continue the rest of the day.

Here's the video of the New Mexico sunset supercell:

Here's a family's view of a close encounter with a scary tornado in Autryville, North Carolina on Tuesday.