Friday, May 30, 2014

Severe Storms, Tornadoes Not Where They Belong This Year

Here's an odd factoid I came across yesterday: The National Weather Service office in South Burlington, Vermont has issued three tornado warning for the area so far this year.
This home in New York State, northwest of Albany
was destroyed in a tornado earlier this month.  

Meanwhile, the National Weather Service office in Topeka, Kansas has issued exactly zero tornado warnings so far in 2014.

True, no tornadoes actually touched down in Vermont, but there were storms with the potential for that.

But in Topeka, springtime tornado warnings are almost as common as winter weather alerts in New England in January. Not this year.

Go figure.

So far across the nation, there's been a preliminary count of 415 tornadoes. Usually by now there's been more than 700, so we're mercifully below normal.

It's just that some of the tornadoes have been in odd places. Like northwest of Albany, New York earlier this month. Or down in Delaware.

Who knows what the rest of the season will bring?

Here in Vermont, some thunderstorms this afternoon might get a little strong, with gusty winds and small hail. But I don't expect any tornadoes, or tornado warnings.  For a change.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

No Tornado In Vermont Tuesday, But Supercell Thunderstorm Was Super Impressive, Super Damaging

From the National Weather Service: Storm damage
in Addison County, Vermont. Add caption
Meteorologists with the National Weather Service in South Burlington, Vermont spent the day Wednesday exploring Addison and Rutland counties, Vermont, along the path of an intense supercell thunderstorm that prompted tornado warnings on Tuesday.

The scientists found no evidence of a tornado, but did find an impressively large area of wind and especially hail damage.

Judging from what the National Weather Service said, and eyewitness accounts, this might be one of the most damaging single thunderstorms Vermont has ever seen.

Squall lines with multiple thunderstorms have probably on occasion caused more damage in Vermont, but this single supercell, which formed in the New York Adirondacks around 2:30 p.m. and dissipated in far southeastern Vermont around 6 p.m. is one for the record books.  
Hail broke these windows on Merchants Row in downtown
Rutland, Vermont. Photo from mychamplainvalley.com 

According to the National Weather Service report on the storm issued Wednesday evening, a three mile wide, 20 mile long swath of wind damage was noted from Bridport to Sudbury.

Within that swath, there was 40 to 60 mph winds, but in some spots in this area, downbursts caused winds of 75 to 85 mph.

A barn was damaged, as were some silos, and a utility pole snapped. Many, many trees toppled.

As the storm marched southeastward in to Rutland County, the wind tapered off, but the hail really became intense.

The chaos in Rutland, Vermont during the supercell thunderstorm
Photo by Kell Giffin, via NECN.  
There's no way to know for sure, but it might have been one of the worst hail storms in Vermont history.  

The hail started in Bridport, and continued in an incredibly long 35-mile swath to south of Rutland.

In many places, the hail was quarter to golf balls sized. In Proctor, newly leafed out trees are bare again, since an incredible volume of falling hail took the leaves off the trees.

In Rutland, many, many cars were dented, windows are shattered and gardens ruined.

In Cornwall, so much hail fell during the storm that some was left on the ground 24 hours after the storm passed. Photographs and videos taken during the storm in Rutland showed the ground totally white with hail, and visibility near zero in thick falling hail and rain. The images looked as if they were taken in an intense winter blizzard.

Flash flooding for the intense hail and downpours caused flash flooding in Rutland, damaging cars, homes and buildings as basements flooded.  
The menacing supercell thunderstorm rolls
into Shoreham, Vermont Tuesday in this
image from WPTZ-TV.  

So yes, Vermont has gone without a tornado since May, 2012, but this storm in Addison and Rutland counties was one for the record books. And the insurance adjusters.

It will be interesting to see if anybody tallies the dollar amount of damage from the storm. I'm guessing it could go into the millions of dollars.

Here's a video of the storm and its aftermath in downtown Rutland, Vermont. Note the shredded leaves on the sidewalk from the hail, the accumulated hail, and especially the flash flooding:






Another video of the intense hail in Rutland, Vermont yesterday:


Congress to Defense Department: If Climate Change Causes Wars, Ignore It Because We Have To Deny Climate Change

In one of the most boneheaded moves I've seen, the U.S. House of Representatives have told the Pentagon to not spend any money on figuring out how climate change might cause instability, wars and that type of ugly thing.
The U.S. House wants the Pentagon to ignore
the question of whether climate change will
cause military conflicts we should worry about. 

According to the Huffington Post, the House has mandated this no climate change reviews despite the fact Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and leading military leaders say they need to know if climate change will cause the kind of problems that lead to wars.

We need to be ready to deal with this kind of instability, says Hagel

The bill reads: "None of the funds authorized to be appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used to implement the U.S Global Change Research Program National Climate Assessment, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Fifth Assessment Report, the United Nation's Agenda 21 sustainable development plan, or the May 2013 Technical Update of the Social cost of Carbon for Regulatory Impact Analysis Under Executive Order 12866."

All that gobbledegook essentially means the Pentagon can't use any major research on how climate change could cause political instability.

The logic is rich. Said Republcan West. Virginia Rep. David McKinley  "Why should Congress divert funds from the mission of our military and national security to support a political ideology?"

Right. Does McKinley not recognize he is diverting funds from the mission of our military and national security to support a political ideology?   He has a lot of chutzpah, that's for sure.

So let's keep the U.S military unready for conflicts that might or might not be exacerbated by climate change, because, God forbid we admit that climate change is happening.

Maybe we should also prevent the military from dealing with Islamic terrorists, too, since we don't subscribe to their ideology.

Jeez!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

We're Not Sure If There Was A Tornado In Rutland, Vermont Today, But YIKES!

This afternoon, I did something that a native Vermonter like me rarely does: I called my relatives around Rutland, Vermont to see if their houses had been blown away in a tornado.  
From @bakingmama via Twitter: A likely wall cloud over
Rutland, Vermont. A tornado warning was in effect
for the city at the time the picture was taken.  

It turns out my parents and my sisters didn't get caught in a tornado, but there might have been a twister in or near Rutland.

A supercell thunderstorm moved northwest to southeast across Addison and Rutland counties, and radar showed strong rotation over Rutland County.

Photos on Twitter showed a structure in the thunderstorm as it arrived in Rutland City that looked to me like a wall cloud.

A wall cloud is a low, ugly, rotating cloud in supercell thunderstorms that often, but not always, produce tornadoes.

Meteorologists with the National Weather Service in South Burlington said they would head down to Rutland County on Wednesday to see if any wind damage down that way was due to a tornado.

There's no question the Rutland region suffered damage in the supercell. (Almost all supercells cause storm damage, with or without tornadoes)

Winds of 74 mph were reported in Bridport. There have been reports of damage to the Price Chopper supermarket in downtown Rutland.

Much, much hail fell around Rutland. Many of the stones were golf ball sized or maybe even a little bigger. I'm sure a lot of gardeners are bummed about the damage. And maybe some car owners as well.
Lots of hail in Rutland today as a supercell
thunderstorm with a tornado warning swept through.
 

An odd weather pattern contributed to the formation of the Rutland County supercell and the possible tornado.

Southwesterly wind brought in some moderately humid air into southwestern Vermont, which is not odd for this time of year.

A cold front was approaching Vermont, again not weird at all. What was weird is the the cold front was coming in from the northeast. Usually, cold fronts come in from the west or northwest.

The cold front coming in from the weird direction apparently caused winds to shift direction with height in the atmosphere over Vermont.

That must have been the ingredients to set the the Rutland County supercell spinning, and setting off a possible tornado.

The so-called backdoor cold front continued to cause odd, sometimes somewhat dangerous weather in Vermont into the evening. Flash flood warnings were in effect in far southern parts of the state.

Where I live in St. Albans, the weather in the evening abruptly turned chilly, and we had a strange combination of dense fog and thunder.

This is the second time this month the National Weather Service in South Burlington has had to issue a rare tornado warning in Vermont. A couple of Saturdays ago, radar detecting spinning in a storm over central Vermont.

That storm did cause some wind damage near Craftsbury, but an investigation by National Weather Service meteorologists showed the damage was caused by a microburst, not a tornado.


North Dakota Tornado Injures 9 Oil Workers

It seemed most of the storm chasers were eyeing activity in Texas yesterday, but the big news, and the bad news, hit North Dakota.
Kevin Ragan took this shot
of a tornado menacing an oil
field in North Dakota Monday. 

A tornado struck an oil workers' camp near Watford City, injuring nine of the men, one critically.

Many of the workers were living in trailers, which are particularly vulnerable to the strong winds of a tornado.

That the storm Monday was in North Dakota wasn't that surprising. By the end of May and June, the zone where tornadoes are more likely shifts north, often to near the Canadian border.

Or even into Canada.  It looks like there is the risk of tornadoes Wednesday and Thursday in the southern Canadia prairies, north of the Dakotas.

Here in New England, where I live, we are now getting into our version of the peak of the severe thunderstorm risk.

There were a few strongs storms in Maine yesterday. A few storms today in southwestern Vermont and New York State could be somewhat strong, with hail and gusty winds. But I don't expect anything epic, like the giant hail and tornadoes that hit the East Coast last week.

This round will at worst cause very minor, very localized damage.
Close up of the North Dakota tornado
that injured nine oil workers Monday.   

I mentioned that tornado chasers focused on Texas yesterday. A slow moving storm system did spawn a few severe thunderstorms and a couple of tornadoes.

The good news of that is, it's been raining pretty hard in many drought stricken areas of the southern Plains. Even so, the rain is not exactly the kind of gentle, steady rain that would most likely put a dent in a drought.

Instead, it's torrential downpours that run off into local flash floods that cause some damage, but don't really soak into the ground.

Still, I'm sure they'll take any rain they can get.

Below is a video of that tornado in North Dakota on Monday:




Friday, May 23, 2014

Hail Of A Week Across The Nation: Destructive Storms Colorado To Pennsylvania

Even as the sun came out, heavy hail accumulations
caused this crash in Arapahoe County, Colorado Wednesday.  
The number of tornadoes so far in 2014 in the United States is still, thankfully, below normal this year, despite twisters in odd places, like in upstate New York and in Delaware yesterday.

But the hailstorms have been intense. Denver streets were blocked by deep hail Wednesday, and huge hailstones rained down on many communities in the Northeast Thursday.

Between all the damaged or destroyed cars, pockmarked siding and extensive crop damage, I'm sure damage from hail on Thursday alone amounted to many, many millions of dollars.

The hail caused surreal scenes as it shredded leaves and branches from trees, and set off flash floods, since the huge volume of hail quickly melted.

From Twitter, @AshleyReed17 took this surreal
photo of the aftermath of intense hail
in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania. 
Strange fogs developed as the sun came out after the storms, as the cold hail steamed into the humid air as it thawed.    

I'm sure auto dealers and auto body shops all over the place will be slammed over the next few months.

Today through the weekend, the threat of big hail will continue in parts of the East Coast and the High Plains, but it doesn't look like the severe storms will be as widespread as they have been over the past week.

The photos are one thing, the videos are another. A lot of hail videos popped up on YouTube, as the very loud destruction from the hail played out in front of residents.










Here's what the storms looked like in Reading, Pennsylvania:



Wyomissing, Pennsylvania was probably the hardest hit. There are gaps in this video with just a green screen but watch through how the intense hail shreds the leaves and branches on trees. The extreme volume of hail causes flash floods as the sun comes back out, and we get a tour of some pretty bad damage:









An Outage Outrage: National Weather Service Warning System Fails Amid East Coast Tornadoes

For about a half hour late Thursday afternoon, as tornadic supercells, vicious hailstorms and terrible winds threatened millions of people along the East Coast, the National Weather Service warning system failed.  
A semi is blown over after a possible tornado
 Thursday along Interstate 88 northwest of Albany, N.Y. 

That meant few people could get timely warnings.

Also radar images from the National Weather Service were down, so people were stymied at tracking severe storms and supercells roaming the Northeast.

Capital Weather Gang says the outage lasted from 4:06 to 4:37 p.m. Thursday, during the height of the severe weather.

Operations were also affected around Denver, which was also under a tornado warning.

Capital Weather Gang also obtained a National Weather Service email detailing the problem.  "It appears that all NWS warnings did not properly disseminate during the outage, and significant severe weather was occurring during the outage," according to the e-mail.

The problem was apparently caused by an ongoing upgrade to a computer firewall.

This fiasco raised a lot of questions about the lack of redundancy in the National Weather Service's warning system.

It's true private forecasters, such as the Weather Channel, AccuWeather, and WeatherNation can spread warnings, but you really need a truly national, non-business, government agency to issue consistent warnings during dangerous weather.

Plus, most media outlets rely upon the National Weather Service to provide warnings. Most people it seems, tune into radio and TV when dangerous weather threatens, so National Weather Service alerts are crucial.

Why doesn't the National Weather Service have the right resources to do this?  I'm sure a lot of people were caught out in the big hailstorms in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Delaware today because they didn't get warnings.

The scary thing is, a likely tornado, that was causing damage, was heading toward the Albany, New York metro region when the outage happened. The storm weakened before reaching Albany, which is a good thing.

I wonder if anybody got hurt because of this situation. Or worse, will this kind of failure happen again when a big tornado is bearing down on a city? Will people die because of system failures at the National Weather Service?

I can only imagine the intense frustration among the excellent meteorologists at the National Weather Service over this issue.

Meteorologist and Slate writer Eric Holthaus said there have several, less serious computer glitches and failures in the last six weeks.

Holthaus wrote:  "Outages like this can't continue. The National Weather Service should immediately implement redundancy into their computer systems to ensure the people they serve - us- aren't kept in the dark when dangerous weather approaches. Until then, the system in place is an embarrassment to the diligent scientists that work there."

I couldn't agree more, Eric.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Hope You Didn't Fly Into Denver Today: Tornado And End Of The World Style Hail, Clouds

As you might have seen on the news, today was a chaotic day at Denver International Airport, and much of the rest of Denver  to say the least.
Hail accumulation Wednesday on Tower Road near
Denver International Airport. Photo by
Steve Nehf, Denver post.  

The busy airport and surrounding neighborhoods and towns got hit by a supercell thunderstorms that appeared ready to drop a tornado right on the runways or even terminal.  

At least five tornadoes did eventually touch down in the Denver areas, but reports so far indicate the twisters didn't cause much damage.

The real story with this supercell was the epic hail that hit parts of the metro area. There was so much cars got stuck in it, as if a blizzard had hit the area.

Possible rain wrapped tornado near
the Denver airport Wednesday.  
The tornadoes and huge hail storms continued on the high plains of Colorado and southern Wyoming into this evening.
Denver Police took this photo of
a hail buried street. 

Huge hail, severe thunderstorms, flooding and a tornado or two on Wednesday were also hitting parts of Ohio Valley and Midwest. It's pretty stormy across the nation today.
















Of course, some videos quickly emerged from the storm and made it to YouTube.

Here's a television reporter driving through the hail.




Here's the storm hitting a northeast Denver neighborhood



On some streets, hail accumulated so deeply, motorists got stranded. Here's a U.S. border patrol officer shoveling and helping a driver

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Those Amazing Supercell Scary "Alien Mothership" Clouds Photos Just Keep Coming

The photo and video I posted yesterday of the amazing supercell thunderstorm in Wyoming went viral yesterday and for good reason. It was the best cloud photo I think I've ever seen.  
This photo from @WeatherTours on Twitter, captured this supercell
Monday near Gurley, Nebraska. Add caption

It'll be almost impossible to top that, but people will keep trying.

The storm system that caused that incredible supercell Wyoming Sunday moved toward Nebraska Monday, causing another spectacular cloud display in the southwestern part of the state Monday.

The result was more awesome cloud photography.



Australian storm chaser Daniel Shaw got this image
of the supercell near Julesberg, Nebraska.  

Monday, May 19, 2014

Amazing "Tree Trunk" Spinning Storm in Wyoming Sunday Is Tops In "Weather Porn"

Severe weather broke out in the High Plains of Montana, Wyoming and Nebraska Sunday.

The rough weather, which included a couple of small tornadoes, hit mostly remote, sparsely populated areas. The exception was Billings, Montana, which got some large hail.

But Sunday's biggest drama was the cloud you see in the photo. It was a spinning supercell in the middle of nowhere, basically, near Clareton, Wyoming.

I got it from Basehunters Chasing, who are storm chasers with a penchant for capturing beautiful, incredible Tornado Alley storms.

This is probably they're best shot yet. Find them: @basehunters via Twitter.

Also, click on their Facebook page for much more. 

The storm didn't produce a tornado, but it is surely one scary cloud. Like an alien mother ship ready to take over the world, or a giant elephant ready to stomp the hell out of us.

Basehunters were also kind enough to take this time lapse video of this supercell storm. Watch this incredible, high quality weather porn:





For good measure, here's a view of Sunday's hail storm in Billings, Montana:

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Death Toll Rising in Epic Balkan Floods; Videos Show Havoc

The news continues to be grim coming from countries like Serbia and Bosnia as the worst flooding in those countries continues to devastate many towns and kill a rising number of people.
Homes in Bosnia overwhelmed by a mudlide
associated with record flooding this week.
Photo by Elvis Barukcic/Getty Images  

At last check, the death toll is about two dozen. It could rise substantially, according to some media reports.

Even worse, the flooding dislodged old land mines left over from wars in the region during the 1990s.

Rescuers or people returning to their wrecked property might encounter these mines, and that could raise the death and injury toll further.

The flooding was caused by an upper level low pressure system that was cut off from the normal west to east push of the jet stream.

That stalled system meant it could sit there, all the while drawing incredibly wet air into the Balkans. The storm also made the air rise, unleashing huge amounts of rain.

These systems, called cut off lows, are fairly common in the spring across much of the northern hemisphere. The jet stream is retreated to the north this time of year, leaving behind these lows like puddles remaining after a rain storm.

People await rescue from flooding in Serbia.
Photo by Dado Ruvic/Reuters.  
With nothing to push the lows away - remember, the jet streatm has pulled away to the north -- the cut off lows produce days of rainy weather because they sit in pretty much the same spot for for several days.    

Sometimes, these lows cause relatively minor flooding. This one is different, as it was oriented to keep bringing in massive amounts of precipitation.

Also the climate is warming, and that tend to make heavy rainstorms even heavier.

No, you can't blame each weather disaster on global warming, so there's no smoking gun in the Balkans. But this kind of torrential rain and flood disaster is becoming more common across many areas of the globe.

Here are some videos that demonstrate the magnitute of this huge disaster;

A bridge collides with another bridge in Bosnia



Dramatic video of a house collapsing:



A Serbian soldier gets caught in the flooding:



Here's a report from Reuters:



A dog is rescued from flooding and debris:

Saturday, May 17, 2014

No, That WASN'T A Surprise Tornado In Vermont Early Saturday Morning. Was Microburst

6:30 p.m. SATURDAY UPDATE:

National Weather Service meteorologists from South Burlington hightailed it to Craftsbury this afternoon to check out whether some wind damage was due to a tornado.
James Sinko took this photo of a pole impaled into a
metal roof in Craftsbury, Vermont after an early
Saturday microburst. Photo via @JamesSinko on Twitter.  

The area had been under a tornado warning early Saturday morning after meteorologists detected rotation in the clouds above.

The meteorologists' conclusion: Nope, it wasn't a tornado. It was a microburst.

Even though nobody wants to see property damage, a microburst sounds vaguely disappointing, compared to a tornado.

However, microbursts are often as dangerous as a tornado.

Just check out the damage, as inventoried by the National Weather Service inspection of the damage in Craftsbury, near the intersection of Collinsville and Wild Branch roads.

A roof was torn off a barn, several trees fell over, there was minor damage to a home, and a pole was impaled into the roof of a shed.

A turkey hunter nearby who was out when the microburst hit said he heard the sound of a tornado. That's not surprising. A microburst, a rushing gush of wind, can sound like a twister.

A microburst is an outflow of violent wind from a severe thunderstorm. They cover areas of less than 2.5 miles wide and almost never last more than five minutes.

Meteorologists who inspect damage like what happened in Craftsbury can often readily tell whether the mess was caused by a microburst or a tornado. A microburst knocks down trees and scatters debris pretty much in just one direction. A tornado will topple trees in a variety of directions, and debris will fly every which way.

The National Weather Service conclusion that the storm was a microburst rather than a tornado is preliminary. They'll analyze things a bit more before putting this investigation to bed.

12:30 p.m. SATURDAY UPDATE

As you can see by the reader comment at the bottom of this post, there are reports of wind damage near Wolcott and Craftsbury last night. That's right in the area that the National Weather Service in South Burlington issued a tornado warning.

A meteorologist at the South Burlington National Weather Service office just told me they are sending people up that way this afternoon to see if there is evidence of wind damage, and whether that damage was caused by a tornado or straight line winds.

The meteorologist said radar indicated rotation aloft. However, Doppler radar, based in Colchester, Vermont, has a hard time seeing down near the surface, because mountains block the view. Radar first detected rotation more to the south, near Worcester or that area, then it moved north to Wolcott.

The mountains block the view of the radar toward Wolcott even more than they do more to the south, so it was surely hard for the National Weather Service to determine whether there was indeed some sort of tornado going on.

It looks to me out of an abundance of caution, given the rotation aloft, that they issued the pre-dawn tornado warning.

The assessment team should be back later this afternoon and the National Weather Service will put out a statement later today on whether they think a tornado touched down, or whether any damage was caused by straight line winds.

PREVIOUS DISCUSSION FOLLOWS: 

I slept in late this rainy Saturday morning and was shocked into full wakefulness when I discovered there was a tornado warning for central Vermont, just 20 or 30 miles to my east early this morning.
A tornado ripped the roof of of an apartment building
in Washington, Vermont in May, 2009.  

The tornado warnings came around 4 a.m., especially around the towns of Worcester, and later Wolcott, as the National Weather Service in South Burlington detected rotation in a line of storms that was making its way through the state.

As of 8 a.m. Saturday, the National Weather Service tells me there are no reports of touchdowns and no reports of damage.

My guess is there was indeed rotation on radar, but the swirling did not reach the ground.

Or, since that section of Vermont is pretty remote, a tornado maybe touched down in a place where there are no people and no structures.

It's still dark at 4 a.m., so nobody would have seen a twister. Plus, if there was one, it was probably rain wrapped, as there was a lot of heavy rain involved.

Still, that there was enough rotation in the storms to warrant a tornado warning comes as a big surprise to me.

First of all, tornadoes are usually the product of supercell thunderstorms, which typically reach their peak intensity in the late afternoon or evening, not just before dawn.

But sometimes, in a weather pattern like this,  with storms moving north fast, within a slowly moving line of rain, you get rotation and spin up thunderstorms.

Again, though, Vermont is a somewhat odd place for this to happen.

Tornadoes are rare in Vermont. We average less than one per year.

According to the excellent Tornado History Project, there have been 45 tornadoes in Vermont since 1953.  None of them killed anybody, but 10 people have been injured.

The project lists 68 additional injuries from Vermont tornadoes, but those 68 injuries were from a tornado that crossed from New York State into Bennington County, Vermont on May 31, 1998. All the injuries associated with that tornado occured in New York State.

That tornado was the only EF3 intensity twister on record in Vermont since 1953. The rest have been between EF0 and EF2. That means, except for the 1998 tornado, all twisters had winds of 135 mph or less. Most of the tornadoes were EF0, meaning they had winds of between 65 and 85 mph.

If there is a tornado alley in Vermont, the Tornado History Project suggests two of them: One in Franklin County, in far northwestern Vermont, and the other in far southern Vermont. According to the history's map, those two locations have the heaviest concentrations of tornado touchdowns, and virtually all of the EF2 intensity twisters.

If there is any new information on whether there was a tornado in central Vermont last night, I'll update this post.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Are Hurricanes Getting Stronger Further North?

An interesting NOAA study came out recently that indicates that in general, hurricanes and tropical storms are reaching their peak intensity further and further to the north as the decades pass.   
Hurricane Juan approaching Nova Scotia, Canada
in September, 2003. Scientist say they think
hurricanes are reaching peak intensity more and
more to the north in recent decades.  


This makes intutitive sense, since, as the oceans warm under the influence of global climate change, tropical storms and hurricanes would have more room to grow.

Hurricanes need warm water to thrive. Usually the water temperature needs to be near or above 80 degrees for them to thrive. If a hurricane hits land, or colder water, they weaken.

The study notes that this trend is not good, because cities to the north are not as well prepared for hurricanes as tropical communities.

And if hurricanes are going more to the north, their rain misses the tropics, where it is sometimes needed.

NASA says the trend toward more northern hurricanes isn't as noticeable in the Atlantic, off America's East Coast, as it is elsewhere in the northern hemisphere.

But over the past couple of decades, there has been a lot more hurricanes in the Atlantic basin. That's believed to be due mostly to natural cycles and not so much due to global climate change.

This year, an El Nino ocean pattern is developing in the eastern Pacific Ocean. That causes worldwide weather disruptions. But the good news is El Nino tends to reduce the number of hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean, lessening the chance somebody on the East Coast will get pounded late this summer and fall.

Then again, it only takes one hurricane to cause chaos.


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Stuck Weather Pattern Causes Trouble, AGAIN!

One interesting facet in the study of how global warming is affecting day to day weather patterns is the idea that it might encourage "stuck'" weather systems.  
From@MarkBiddinger via Twitter,
 a tornado in Ohio Wednesday,
caused in part by a stalled weather
front in the eastern United States.  

That's what might be behind this past winter, when a stuck ridge of high pressure kept rain away from California, intensifying a terrible drought that has brought on big early season wild fires. 

The stuck pattern contributed to the consistent winter and early spring cold in the Midwest and Northeast, and the destructive parade of storms that trashed Britain over the winter.

The theory is, the jet stream which propels weather systems generally from west to east across the northern hemisphere, thrives on the difference between the very cold Arctic and the hot tropics.

Since the Arctic is warming faster than the tropics, there's not as much of a north to south temperature contrast. This would slow the jet stream, causing it to meander and get stuck in a pattern where the same kind of weather hits the same location for a long period of time.

The jet stream has always gotten "stuck" from time to time. It just appears to be happening much more frequently nowadays. And it seems to be stuck again today, and that could spell more trouble.

A caveat: While human caused global warming is a proven fact, the evidence that it causes stuck weather patterns is strong, but not proven.

And the stalled weather front and renewed flooding in the eastern United States that I'm about to talk about might or might not have to do with climate change.  One storm does little to prove or disprove  climate change.

In any event, a cold front, the type of system that usually moves from the Midwest to off the East Coast within two or three days, has been inching its way across the Midwest and Ohio Valley for days now.

It has caused three consecutive days of tornadoes in Ohio.

Now the front is finally getting close to the East Coast, and it is getting even slower. That has given the front, which is oriented north to south, to draw lots of tropical moisture from around Cuba up its eastern flank.

That's not too unusual. Cold fronts sometimes collect plenty of moisture, which leads to downpours. No big deal, really. Since cold fronts move right along, the downpours only last a few hours in one particular spot, so nothing too bad comes of it.

This time, the front is so slow the heavy rain will last a long time in any given spot. There's flood watches in a long stripe from the Florida panhandle all the way north to western New York because of this fact.

Many of these areas saw heavy rain earlier this month from, yes, yet another stalled weather front. That stuck storm caused damaging floods from Florida to the New York City metro area.

Even as it is stuck, the nature of this front is changing, so the threat of tornadoes and severe thunderstorms is diminishing, especially in the Northeast. But the flood threat is growing.

For my Vermont area readers, since the greatest concentration of them are up here, where I also live, I'm not yet too concerned the slow front will cause much flooding here.

That other stalled front earlier this month didn't drop that much rain on the Green Mountain State, so it's not that wet to begin with. Some heavy rain can soak into the ground.

This next super slow front will probably drop one to three inches of rain in Vermont when it gets here Friday afternoon and Saturday, less than in other parts of the East. So there might be minor flooding, but no cataclysm.






Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Incredible California Wildfires Bode Ill For Rest Of The Year

The wildfires in California, especially those near San Diego this week, have been, well, wild.
From @10news on Twitter, fire whirlwinds Wednesday
around San Diego.  

The wildfire season out West is usually in the late summer and early fall, and already the fires are huge, burning at least 30 houses. 

Firefighters are scrambling all over southern California as more and more fires break out amid record heat and strong winds.

The winds and heat are expected to subside toward the weekend, but today's huge fires are only an opening salvo.

From @Sappy_San_Diego on Twitter, a wildfire Wednesday
near San Diego. 
Last fall's fire season never really ended. The blazes continued through the winter, and now they're picking up in intensity as the heat of summer approaches and what little rain was falling has totally dried up.

California, I'm afraid, is going to keep burning for at least the next five months as the incredible drought there continues.








Here's a video of one of the San Diego fires causing a "firenado"

   

And another view of the fires threatening homes in Carlsbad, CA

My New Favorite Local News Anchor Rips Whining Viewers Who Didn't Like Tornado Warnings

My new favorite local television news anchor is Nancy Naeve of KSFY-TV in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Nancy Naeve of KSFY-TV in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
She put whiners who complained about tornado warnimgs
aired on the station in their place.  

I've actually watched her on TV before, when I'm visiting my in-laws in South Dakota. But I didn't know I should be this impressed with her until now.

Here's why: KSFY interrupted regularly scheduled programming Sunday evening because tornadoes were spinning through nearby Iowa.

The station, as all television outlets in Tornado Alley tend to do, go into full update mode, telling people exactly where the tornado is, which neighborhoods should take cover immediately, what people should do, and how the storm is developing.

You can get weather warnings anywhere of course, but local TV is arguably the best, because you can watch their constantly updated storm maps, their TV meteorologists are experts in severe storms and the reporters know everything about the area, so the warnings and alerts tend to be timely, informative and accurate.

In other words, stations like KSFY save lives during tornadoes.

Well.  To some people Sunday evening, KSFY's tornado coverage was a High Crime Against Humanity. The tornado warnings pre-empted the season finale of the show "Once Upon A Time."

The viewers inundated the station with HUGE amounts of hate messages, many too vile to print here, because KSFY deprived viewers of the immediate ability to watch the season finale of a really bad TV show about storybook characters pretending they're on "Dynasty" or something.

Yes, it's vaguely annoying at first to be greeted with weather warnings on TV when the tornadoes are nowhere near you. For instance, Sunday, most of the bad weather was in western Iowa while most of South Dakota was relatively calm.

In fact, I, at first, initially get frustrated when TV programming is interrupted by severe weather that's not affecting me.

Then I remember: Next time it could be your house that's under the gun in severe weather, as the excellent Nancy Naeve pointed out to viewers as she angrily berated the whining views who sent the hate messages to KSFY.

Here's part of what Naeve said, as reported by Capital Weather Gang:

"I tell you what. Quit calling and ripping Shawn (KSFY's meteorologist) for being on the air to save people's lives..No show is as important as someone's life. You aren't going to gon the air if it's not important. And people just berated our station for him being on the air. I tell you waht, if it was your home and your neighbors, you would feel differently. So please, don't do that. That's not nice."

As Naeve also pointed out, people who were missing the exalted "Once Upon A Time" season finale could have just gone to ABC.com on their computer and watched it there.

Bonus: Naeve is a dog lover, like me, according to her bio on KSFY's web site.

Here's the must-watch video, as Naeve confronted viewers on the Monday morning after the tornadoes:


 KSFY went on th

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Weather Porn: Dangerous Close Up Money Shots Or Stunning Scene Setters?

The Washington Post's Capitol Weather Gang had an interesting post today on the relative merits of different kinds of severe storm photography and videos, stuff I like to call weather porn.
@TornadoTitans, via Twitter offered up
this long view of a scary supercell thunderstorm
in Kansas over the weekend. 

Is it better to get distant shots of storms, where you can see the gorgeous, complex structures of these supercell thunderstorms that roam the Plains?

Or do you want to get right into the storm's business, getting as close to a violent tornado as possible, or inside the damn thing, so you can vicariously live on the edge of danger when you watch the videos?

Gawd knows there's a market for both. I certainly lap up both.

But there's moral issues involved. Everybody in the storm photography and video field wants to outdo what's already been done, so they take more and more risks.

The result seems to be more and more people are getting run over by tornadoes.

This came to a head last May 31, when storm chasers were killed by a massive, unpredictable tornado near El Reno, Oklahoma.

Over the weekend, tornado chasers got in trouble once again as unpredictable tornadoes spun up in and around Nebraska.   
Even the tame thunderstorms of Vermont
like this one north of Sheldon, Vermont
in 2012 I captured, can be
awesomely beautiful from a distance.  


Luckily, nobody got killed this time, but one chase team got its vehicle smacked through the windshield by a huge piece of irrigation equipment that became airborne as a tornado approached.

Another team dodged falling power poles and lots of scary sparks and electrical currents when they got too close to a tornado.

I have to admit, I get a thrill out of these in or near the tornadoes videos, which makes me part of the problem. I'm part of the demand.

I chase storms myself occasionally, but I'm in Vermont, where we rarely get tornadoes or extremely severe storms. Just marginally severe ones, mostly. Still I'm cautious.

In the rare instance when there is a tornado warned supercell, I keep my distance. Yeah, I get into the thick of a strong storm to get a sense of the drama, but if things get dicey, I try to get out of Dodge.

I often pull back from storms,  not necessarily out of a sense of safety, but out of a desire to take in the whole picture, to enjoy the complex structure in the clouds of even the most pedestrian, garden variety thunderstorm off in the distance.  

Many storm chasers pull back also and give us stunning images of storms. Even the most aggressive, in the heart of the storm type chasers, like TornadoTitans often give us perspectives from outside the chaos of a supercell.

I want to see even more of that.

At the risk of glorifying people who take too many risks, here are a couple of the videos I was talking about, where people got too close last weekend.  The first is the crew getting hit by wind blown irrigation equipment, the second is the close call with a tornado involving electrical poles:



Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day Weather: Nice Where I Am; Extreme Elsewhere

Happy Mother's Day to all you moms out there!
From @Basehunters via Twitter, an amazing looking
rotating supercell thunderstorm Saturday evening
near Hunter, Kansas. More severe weather is
expected today. Add caption

Up in my neck of the woods in Vermont, moms are going to be treated by probably the nicest day so far this year. Temperatures under quite a bit of sunshine will get up into the 70s.

It's probably a good idea to take mom to an al fresco lunch somewhere in New England. She'll enjoy the fresh air. Enjoy!

Not so in much of the rest of the country. Moms -and everyone else - will have to watch out for sometimes dangerous weather as our nation's bursts of extreme weather seem to be continuing.

The biggest danger spot is in Iowa, and in parts of eastern Nebraska and Kansas. There's a risk of strong long lived tornadoes today in that part of the nation, which of course are always dangerous.

There were several tornadoes Saturday, including one that caused a lot of damage in Orrick, Missouri. Luckily, in Orrick, population 800, there was a warning well ahead of the tornado, giving people time to take shelter. No injuries were reported. 

Just because Orrick had a warning, and people could see the tornado coming from a far distance, doesn't mean that will happen today. If a tornado drops suddenly, or is wrapped in rain so you can't see it, people won't see today's tornadoes coming until it's too late.

Let's hope they pay attention to warnings.   Normally, I don't suggest shoving mom into a basement for Mother's Day, but if you get a tornado warning, definitely do that. It'll be the best Mothers Day gift you can possibly give.

Even in places around Iowa that don't get tornadoes, huge hail and strong damaging winds are definitely worth worrying about today.

More to the west, winter is making a triumphant (??) return to Colorado. The Denver metro area is in for several inches of Mother's Day snow today, with a foot of snow expected in some of the higher elevations just outside Denver.

A Mother's Day snowball fight maybe?

Down in the Southwest, strong winds and the risk of wildfires is the worry. It's wicked dry in southern California, Arizona and New Mexico. Winds to 60 mph in that area won't help as the wildfire season gets off to an early start.

In southern California, record heat and strong Santa Ana winds are expected through midweek. You'll probably hear about some wildfires out there over the next few days, unfortunately.

Last night, I posted a video of that tornado hitting Orrick, Missouri.

Here's another view of that storm:


Saturday, May 10, 2014

Tornado Slams Missouri: Heavy Damage In Town of Orrick

Storm chasers caught a tornado causing damage in the town of Orrick, Missouri Saturday.
From @basehunters via Twitter: A tornado rips roofs
from buildings Saturday in Orrick, Mo. (Click on the image
to make it bigger and easier to see.)

As of late evening, potentially tornadic storms continued to roam the area.

This tornado also proves you don't have to see a funnel that reaches all the way to the ground to get a twister that causes serious damage.

Watch:


Awesome Time Lapse of Huge Alabama Gush Of Rain

Stills from a television station skycam showing brief
but intense gushes of rain in Montgomery, Alabama.  
A television sky cam caught what appears to me to be a microburst, or at the very least a couple huge gushes of rain with gusty winds coming out of a storm cloud around Montgomery, Alabama.  

I'm not sure when this took place but it was probably quite recently, as the video was just uploaded today.

Whoever got hit by that gush or rain probably experienced a quick, strong gust of wind, too, and maybe some hail

But whatever. It's really cool. Especially when you see it in time lapse




Friday, May 9, 2014

Gorgeous Time Lapse Of Spinning Supercell Storm in Texas, Oklahoma

The team from VortexChasers.net captured this
gorgeous supercell thunderstorm this week.  
VortexChasers.Net captured this beautiful, awesome rotating supercell thunderstorm on the
Texas/Oklahoma border this week.

Bonus: It hit mostly rural areas, so the damage wasn't that bad, and if there was a tornado, it didn't last long.

Mesmerizing:

Thursday, May 8, 2014

More Severe Weather In The Plains Yesterday, Today

Severe thunderstorms, dramatic supercells and a few tornadoes hit the High Plains yesterday, as they often do this time of year.
From @TornadoTitans via Twitter, a supercell
thunderstorm in Oklahoma Wednesday.   

The damaging storms were widespread Wednesday, dropping large hail in Minnesota, as far north as to near the Duluth area. The severe storms spread southwest into eastern Colorado and down into Oklahoma and Texas.

The Plains are under the gun again today, with the biggest threat in central Iowa and southern Minnesota where large hail is likely and a few tornadoes are possible.

Again, tis the season, and we can hope the severest storms miss populated areas.

From Wednesday, here's a video from Jony Hallen of a tornado near Akron, Colorado:





And here's a great time lapse of a (usually) rotating supercell thunderstorm in Texas Wednesday evening from BasehuntersChasing:


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Security Camera Captures Tornado Slamming Pre-School Playground

Usually a week or so after a bad tornado, security camera video begins to surface of what it looked like inside the twister.  
The tornado-damaged St. Luke's United Methodist Church
in Tupelo, Miss. A dramatic security video of the tornado
hitting the church's preschool playground has surfaced.  

Nobody could safely film a tornado from such a vantage point, of course, so if the security camera stays intact during the storm, it becomes a great window into the chaos inside the tornado.

Such was the case at the St. Luke's United Methodist Church Pre-School Playground in Tupelo, Miss. when a big tornado hit on April 28.

A couple things to note in the video:

As the Capital Weather Gang points out, it's amazing how much of the playground remains somewhat intact despite being pummeled by falling trees and debris.

A worrisome detail: Right until the worst of the tornado hits, you see traffic moving along a highway in the background. I hope nobody driving was hit by the twister.

A third note: Notice after the worst of the tornado passes, things calm down a bit, but then it gets hit by more wind gusts and torrential, torrential rain. That's probably something called a rear flank downdraft. Most tornados are followed by an intense downdraft.

This downdraft feeds the air circulation in tornadoes and often helps keep them going. They can contain dangerous winds that are almost as damaging as a tornado itself.

And rear flank downdrafts don't always accompany a tornado, but they always indicate at least the potential for one. They are part of spinning supercell thunderstorms that often produce twisters.

Here's the dramatic security video from the playground. Glad no kids were there.


First Impressions: Obama Climate Report Moving The Issue Forward?

On Tuesday, the Obama administration's big fat report on climate change landed, THUNK! on all us media scribes and blogs.  
Feeling the heat: Obama's latest climate change
report and action plan might actually drive
the debate on what to do about the crisis forward.  

Actually, at first glance at the thing, I'm kinda impressed.

I haven't had a chance to go through the whole thing yet, and I know the devil is in the details.  But Obama and his climate guys and gals got some things right.

First of all, the report seems to emphasize how climate change is affecting you, me, Joe Blow from Idaho and Polly From Peoria.

The report tries to avoid abstraction and emphasizes that climate change isn't a distant worry and maybe some day it will flood some island somewhere so who cares?

The emphasis from this is we're living it now, here's the proof and it's going to get worse.

Also, unlike the UN reports climate reports that come out every year or so, this one seems to be written in plain, everyday language. The parts I've seen are written in something of a conversational tone. I like that.

When you're talking about something the public needs to pay attention to, you can't blind them with science. Yes, it has to be scientifically based, but not many people have the patience to wade through academic abstracts. The people who wrote this report understand that.

I also like that the well-orchestrated release of the report, done on what turned out to be a slow-ish news day, meaning the major, mainstream media ran with this.

There are signs the media might be moving past the false debate rut it's been in, where every time they do something on climate change, they have to give a skeptic equal time to prove how "balanced" they are.

Kind of like having one scientist on saying the Earth is round and another saying it's flat, for the sake of balance.

The Obama report from Tuesday might push things along in the media a bit.

Now, can we please move the debate on how best to respond to climate change? There are signs the debate is starting. It's going to be a complicated one.  How best to respond to the myriad of threats posed by climate change?

What basic philosophy should underly these debates? Free market solutions? Grass roots?  Government programs?  International efforts?  Some complex mix of all of the above?

This will be difficult, to say the least, but I'm beginning to hope we are finally moving beyond the "maybe it's happening, maybe it's not" stupidity.  

I also like the fact that Obama summoned several TV meteorologists to the White House to discuss the climate report.

It's interesting that television meteorologists have been among the most skeptical groups regarding global warming.  The theory goes that computer models that forecast day to day weather are often wrong, so some television meteorologists assume the computer models that predict global climate change could be REALLY wrong.

Getting meteorologists into the thick of the climate change discussion is a wise move. Because people are familiar with TV meteorologists. We tend to like them. So they could become a good way of informing the public about climate change, whether something that happened locally is just normal weather, or could be tied to a changing climate.

Of course, the ever reliable Fox News had their own take on all this, as they always do. Fox's Dana Perino tried to goad the meteorologists to ask Obama about Benghazi rather than climate change.

(In Perino's defense, she said she was only joking, so we needn't get too exercised about this.)

In Fox world, the only thing happening is Benghazi. Like the Obama administration is the only one that may or may not have tried to do a political spin on an international crisis or problem.

However, I'm guessing Fox News will become a self-parody in the world of global warming. They will either ignore it, or mock it and Fox News fans will love it.

But they're a minority, and the rest of us, with the help of Obama's climate report, will roll up our sleeves and get to work on dealing with this big threat.

Amazing Fire Whirl Spins Over Missouri Field

This photo, which popped up on the Weather Channel and appears to be legit and not a photoshop scam, shows an amazing firewhirl in Chillicothe, Missouri last weekend. 

A farmer was burning his field and a gust of wind got the whirl going.

According to the Jon Erdman of the Weather Channel, via the Washington Post:

"Firewhirls turn and burn. They are rapidly spinning vortices that form when air superheated by an intense wildfire rises rapidly, consolidating low-level spin from winds converging into the fire like a spinning ice skater, pulling its arms inward."

Meanwhile, in Oklahoma and surrounding states, the fire danger remains very high today.

Wildfires killed a person in Oklahoma Sunday, and new fires Monday forced evacuations near the town of Woodward, Oklahoma.

Rain might finally hit parts of the region later today and Thursday, but almost all of the rain will fall east of the sections of the High Plains where extreme drought and the wildfires have settled in.

Plus, any rain that does fall in and near Oklahoma will likely come in the form of severe thunderstorms over the next couple days, which could produce huge hail, near hurricane force wind gusts and a few tornadoes.

Meanwhile, more to the north, a winter storm warning is up today for the Black Hills of South Dakota, which are due for five to eight inches of snow.

And the nations wild weather train rolls on.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Oklahoma Wildfires Kill 1 Person, Cause Chaos

This time of year, we associate Oklahoma with tornadoes, as it's pretty much the peak of the twister season out there.  
Flames consume homes and buildings near
Guthrie, Oklahoma Sunday, in a photo
from TornadoTitans. 

Yesterday, another type of weather disaster struck, a symptom of the heat and drought that have been affected the West for so long now.

Record heat, incredibly dry weather and strong winds fanned wildfires, especially near the town of Guthrie. One man who did not want to evacuate ahead of the fire died in the blaze, according to television station WOCO.

At least five or six occupied houses burned, as did other structures and outbuildings, WOCO reported.

The fire started as a controlled burn, which tells me somebody is in big trouble. Forecasts ahead of the blaze warned of extreme fire dangers.

Record heat hit the southern Plains yesterday, sending temperatures above 100 degrees, which is awfully early in the year for that. Wichita, Kansas got all the way up to 102 degrees on Sunday.

It was the earliest reading above 100 degrees on record.

An out of control wildfire near Guthrie, OK
Sunday, in this image from TornadoTitans.
Readings that hot in Kansas are fairly impressive for July, never mind early May.

The record heat, strong winds and desert dryness should continue during the first part of this week in the southern Plains, likely fanning more wildfires.

Rain and cooler temperatures should arrive toward the end of the week. That's the good news.

The bad news is parts of the wildfire area could end up with severe thunderstorms and tornadoes with that rain.


Sunday, May 4, 2014

"Goodbye, Mama": Instant Communication Drives Home Tragedy Of Tornado Deaths

Last week, I was following the tornado outbreak in the Plains and Southeast with an immediacy that was unimaginable even a decade ago.
A before and after view
of an Arkansas neighborhood
hit by a tornado last Sunday.  

A tornado would touch down somewhere, and a couple minutes after it did, there was an image of it on Twitter.

I could follow live video streams of the storms, watch local television stations warn the public, and listen to police scanner traffic of the unfolding disaster, all in real time.

Then there was this story that came out of Arkansas of the immediacy of tragedy. A EF-4 tornado west and north of Little Rock claimed 15 of the 37 lives lost in the tornado outbreak.

Regina Wood said she was giving her understandably scared college age son Jeffrey Hunter, updates via text on the big tornado as it approached him in Vilonia, Arkansas last Sunday 

The house apparently had no basement, and he had no time to run, nowhere to hide. His mother kept trying to encourage him as he holed up in a bathroom.

As the tornado started to tear the house apart, Hunter was able to send one last text.  Said Wood: "I have a text on my phone as the tornado was hitting, 'Goodbye mama.'"

Hunter indeed died in the storm. The one, slight consolation for Wood is thanks to modern technology, she knows she was among her son's last thoughts before he died.

But I also have to wonder if it hurts more, knowing the details of what he was going through, the increasing panic as the storm approached. And the helplessness Wood must have felt as the tornado closed in on her son, and she could do nothing about it.

I shudder just thinking about it.


Saturday, May 3, 2014

U.S. Wildfire Fighting Budget Not Up To Snuff, Says Government Agency

The drought on the West Coast and in the Southwest means the wild fire season this year in that neck of the woods looks like it will be a bad one.  
A California wildfire last year.  

Unfortunately, it looks like there might not be enough money budgeted to fight the fires. 

In a press release issued last week, the USDA said they expect a shortfall of $470 million to fight fires this season.

Fighting these fires is expensive. The government has budgeted $1.4 billion to fight the fires, and the USDA forecasts  at least $1.8 billion will be needed.

Of course, if the government runs out of money to fight fires, they won't put their fire hoses and water dropping aircraft away. They'll continue to battle the blazes, and just take money from other programs, some of which would help prevent or mitigate future fires, according to the USDA.

The cost of fire fighting has gone up for two main reasons. Fire seasons are longer and worse than they used to be, probably because of climate change.  Over the past three decades the fire season length has increased by more than two moths and the annual acreage burned in the U.S. has more than doubled to 7 million acres annually.

And a lot of us are building houses in woodsy places that easily go up in flames.

So firefighters have to spend a lot of resources trying to protect those houses.

Hmm. Maybe building a dream house in some tinder dry wilderness isn't such a good idea after all.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Dramatic Video: Watch A Landslide Take A Baltimore Street, Cars With It


There's a street in Baltimore, Maryland that sits high above some railroad tracks running through the city.  
Aftermath of the Baltimore landslide.  

Residents said for months, the street showed signs of collapsing onto the train tracks far below but the city would just pour asphalt on the spots along the street that sort of sank.

On Wednesday, torrential, flooding rains hit large swaths of the East Coast, including Baltimore. Watch what happens to that street, and the cars parked along it:


Thursday, May 1, 2014

Dramatic Italy Tornado Video Shows Why Being Near Windows During A Tornado Is A Bad Idea

The United States isn't the only place beset by destructive tornadoes lately.
Right before the windows broke during an Italian
tornado this week.  

One tore through Italy this week, and hit an office building as a worker filmed the twister.

He and other workers got away from the windows at the last second, sparing themselves some serious injuries.

Yes, folks. Stay away from windows during a tornado.

Still, the footage is dramatic. Watch:


Vermont's Cool Streak Extended Through April

Technically, anyway, April in Burlington, Vermont was on the cool side.
Snow on the ground in St. Albans, Vermont on April 16.
The month that just ended was a little cooler than average. 

The mean temperature for the month was 44.6 degrees or 0.2 degrees cooler than normal.

Essentially, that's normal, but if you want to get strict about it, April was the sixth consecutive cooler than average month in Burlington. We've been in kind of a temperature rut. You have to go back to October to find a warmer than average month

At least April was nothing like March, which for Vermont as a whole was the coldest on record. We actually pulled off some spring like days in April, which is a good thing.

April showers were abudant this year. The month's rainfall came to 3.66 inches, which was 0.84 inches wetter than average.

That's not extreme, though. The record wet April, in 2011, had Burlington drowning in 7.88 inches of precipitation.

There's no telling if May will break the cool streak. Today will be on the warm side, but the next few days after that look to be on the chilly, damp side.

But at least it won't go below zero again until November at the earliest