Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Colorado Storms Drop A TON Of Hail, Again. With Video

A car stuck in the hail around Denver Monday. Photo
by Steve Nehf, Denver Post.  
Huge hail storms hit in the Denver, Colorado metro area Monday, showing what I've been calling the year of big hail is continuing on into the autumn.   

The hail was as much as four inches deep in the town of Centennial. And this is the third time this month that an epic hail storm, enough to totally cover the ground, has hit the town of Aurora, Colorado.

Today, the severe threat shifts into eastern South Dakota and eastern Nebraska. Again, hail and strong straight line winds are the primary threat there, but there could be a tornado or two.

More severe weather is possible in the Central Plains Wednesday, and in the mid-Mississippi Valley Thursday.

At least the hail threat in Colorado is smaller today. Three videos of the storms below,

Here's what it looked like in Aurora, Colorado on Monday:



Another view of chaos in an Aurora yard:

 

Here's the scene in Centennial, Colorado

Monday, September 29, 2014

"Undulatus Asperatus" Clouds Help Create Fascinating Video

Undulatus Asperatus clouds over Cedar Rapids, Iowa
a few years ago. The clouds look very scary
but do not cause severe weather.  
"Undulatus Asperatus" sounds like the name of a horrible, rare, disease, doesn't it?

But it's a fairly rare type of cloud. It actually wasn't identified as a type of cloud until 2009. (Unlike the clouds we've long been familiar with. You know, cumulus, cirrus, that type of thing.)

Undulatus Asperatus clouds look dark and menacing as they move across the sky. They make it look like the Worst. Storm. Ever. is coming.

The name of the cloud roughly means "very turbulent, violent form of undulation," says National Geographic, which makes the cloud seem ever more scary.

But these clouds don't signal dangerous weather. They seem to be most often seen across the Great Plains of the United States. They usually appear in the morning or midday near weakening thunderstorms.

Undulatus Asperatus clouds have never been known to cause severe weather.

A video that's gone viral in the past week or so shows a time lapse of Undulatus Asperatus clouds over Lincoln, Nebraska in July.  They look otherwordly, and probably scared a few Nebraskans.

But the video is mesmerizing. Watch:

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Cool Images: New England's Fall Colors And Morning Fog From Space

The landscape in this visual satellite photo has turned
orange in southern Quebec and northern New
England. That's fall foliage.  
Two weather satellite images from the University of Wisconsin, Madison Space, Science and Engineering Center pretty much sum up fall in New England just awesomely.

The first fascinating satellite photo in this post is a visible image taken amid the clear skies Saturday.

With no clouds to get in the way, you can see the rust colored hue of the landscape in southern Quebec, New York's Adirondacks, and the northern parts of Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

That orange-ish hue is the autumn foliage, approaching peak in this region. More to the south, you can see things are still mostly green in southern New England.  
Morning fog is seen in the Connecticut River
valley, and in the valleys of central and eastern Vermont.  

The second satellite photo was taken this morning.

You can see river valley fog snaking up through the valleys, especially along the length of the Connecticut River, and in the Winooski and White River valleys of central and eastern Vermont.

Pretty cool vantage points of our beautiful autumn weekend.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

You HAVE To Watch This Arizona Monsoon/Storm Time Lapse

Mike Olbinski captured this image of
a haboob rolling into Phoenix in 2012.  
Photographer and videographer Mike Olbinski compiled what I believe is the BEST EVER time lapse compilation of all those monsoon thunderstorms, clouds and dust storms in Arizona this past summer.

Olbinski is a wedding and storm chase photographer based in Arizona.

If you were wowed in the past few years by any photos of haboobs, lightning, clouds, storms and floods in Arizona, chances are, Olbinski took the shot.

Olbinski says he logged 14,000 miles between June 15 and Sept. 30 to document what turned out to be one of the most active monsoon seasons in memory in the desert Southwest.

Here's the incredible video:

Friday, September 26, 2014

Ugh! Big Protest This Weekend Against "Chemtrails", A Threat That Doesn't Exist

These are contrails from jet exhaust. Not chemtrails. 
Last weekend brought inspiring mass protests pointing out the very real dangers looming due to climate change.  

This coming weekend will bring loony protests against an imaginary threat that way too many gullible people say is real: Something called chemtrails.

As Vane, the weather page on Gawker notes, these so calles chemtrails are really condensation trails from jet airplanes.

You know how your warm, moist breath causes a puff of steam when you exhale on a really cold day?

The same kind of thing happens with high flying jets. The hot, moisture laden exhaust from the jet engines belches into the frigid atmosphere tens of thousands of feet up there. So you get that white little streak like a tail behind a jet passing overhead.

Depending on wind patterns and the amount of moisture in the upper atmosphere, these condensation trails can spread into pretty big areas of high flying cirrus clouds that can linger for hours.

But there are a surprisingly large number of people that think these condensation trails are really dangerous chemicals being spread by the government for any variety of reasons, including spraying mind controlling drugs on an unsuspecting populace,  cause awful storms meant to cow people into not criticizing or resisting the government, or for some sort of population control scheme.

Hence, this weekend's Global March Against Chemtrails and Geoengineering.

Sadly, organizers use the same language some global climate change activists use:

"Help raise awareness against the world's largest ecological disaster mankind has ever witnessed with whatever your skill or talent is." 

The chemtrail activists use pseudo-scientific and flowery language to make their point:

"The damage is done! The research is conclusive! Our environment and our planet is on a dead end collision from the toxic effect of high altitude aerosol injections commonly known (sic) Aerosol Geoengineering and Chemtrails. No place on Earth is safe from Aerosols Geoengineering Ecoside!"

I think this chemtrail madness stems from both an anti-science mindset in this country and of course the Internet.  Groups of conspiracy theorists find their own "experts" to promote their wacky cause and say the serious scientists are part of the conspiracy, or don't know what they're talking about.

The Internet helps spread all this insanity.  I suppose I could be making things worse by giving the chemtrail activists a bit of publicity, but I think talking about them is better than pretending they don't exist. Knowledge is power.

There's a sort of tribalism at work in these conspiracy type things too. Once you convince somebody something is true, it's hard to dissuade them. So they buckle down, and find like minded people, and they all feed off each other. It's human nature, I guess.

I also think most people up in arms over "chemtrails" are well meaning, just misguided.

Still, I'm sure I will have people roundly criticizing me for dismissing this false threat of chemtrails. Or say I'm part of the conspiracy. Whatever.

The hard work for the rest of us is wading through all the stories out there to figure out which are the credible sources, and which are the flakes.

It takes a fair amount of reading to tease out the credible reports, but once you find a news or science source that really seems sane and well researched, stick with them.

If I find serious science and journalism that indicates chemtrails are real, I'll surely join the bandwagon against the phenomenon. But there's nothing credible out there. "Chemtrails" are just water vapor. Relax.

In terms of climate change, well, there's boatloads of serious science indicating that it's real and we need to deal with it. Hence last week's climate march.

True, there are whack jobs who say climate change will kill all of humanity within a few years (It won't.) And others who say climate change is just a bunch of scientists scamming for research dollars. (Uh, no.)

The bottom line:  Please do join environmental causes you feel strongly about.  But before you do, complete a little research to make sure the threat is real, is serious, and you're not taken in by people with wild imaginations or who are just trying to make a buck.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Classic Indian Summer Unfolding In Northern New England, SE Canada

Morning fog breaks up to reveal bright
fall colors during a 2012
Indian Summer in Vermont.  
One of the big joys of autumn is Indian Summer, and parts of northern New England, the interior Northeast and southeastern Canada are in the throes of a perfect one now.  

Indian Summer is loosely defined as a period of sunny, warm, calm weather after some of the autumn's first frosts.

Most of the area now heading into Indian Summer had a big frost last week. That chill is  all but forgotten as temperatures will rise into the 70s under sunny skies for the next few days.

The core of this Indian Summer, with the best weather now through Sunday, will be in northern New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and an area of southeastern Canada including Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City.

A very common fall weather pattern causes Indian Summer. Sprawling, slow moving high pressure systems often linger over the northeastern United States or southeastern Canada this time of year.

High pressure systems feature sinking air. Clouds need rising air to form, so the sinking air encourages clear skies.

The air in these autumn high pressure areas is often dry, so you get cool nights, but warm days with the sun.

The only major exception to the "no cloud" rule during Indian Summer is dense morning fog, especially near rivers and lakes. Pretty much every morning now through Sunday will feature patchy early morning fog.

The air cools off a lot at night during Indian Summer. The ground, rivers, ponds and such are still pretty warm from the recently departed summer. As the air cools, the relative humidity goes up and the moisture from the warm-ish rivers and ground, etc. forms a dense fog.

On the negative side, dense fog is dangerous because anyone who's driven through it knows you often can't see a damn thing it's so thick.

On the bright side, the morning fog is almost always a sign of another beautiful day in store. The rising sun will quickly dissipate the fog, usually by mid-morning.

A Pro Tip here: If you want to photograph fall foliage, get out there when there is dense morning fog. Yeah,  I know you can't see the foliage through the fog, but just wait. The rising sun, with its low angle, combined with dissipating fog around brightly colored trees, often leads to some spectacular photos

Try it, you'll see.

Speaking of foliage, this current Indian Summer is hitting when the foliage is getting very colorful in some areas. The High Peaks of the Adirondacks, the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, far northern New Hampshire, the mountains of western Maine and the Laurentians of southeastern Quebec are approaching peak color.

Lower elevations to the south of this region have some color, and it's nice, but there's still a fair amount of green.  It's still worth a look at the colors in those areas if you can't head to the north and mountains.

As always, Indian Summers have several days of wall to wall sunshine, but there are interruptions. The first nor'easter of the season is causing a rainy day in the mid-Atlantic states. That huge high pressure system causing the Indian Summer will block that nor'easter from reaching northern New England, but it will throw a few clouds into the sky today.

A cold front heading due south from Quebec later Sunday and Monday will cool off the weather a bit and create some clouds next week, especially since an east wind behind the front will bring in some low clouds from the Atlantic Ocean into parts of northern New England.

But meantime, enjoy this spectacular weather.



Go out and enjoy during this Indian Summer.

There's early foliage viewing to enjoy

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Tugging At Heartstrings To Force Action On Climate Change: A Poet And Desmond Tutu

Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner recites her poem at
the United Nations Climate Summit this week.  
Policy wonks and activists don't seem to be getting terribly far with gaining action on climate change.

So the next try is tugging at heartstrings, I guess. It's worked before (See weepy ASPCA) ads).

You have to market the importance of climate change, like it or not. And any good marketer will appeal to your emotions as well as your logic.

That's what seems to be going on.

At the United Nations climate summit this week, we have the release of two videos designed to hit your emotions  spur action like the Sarah McLaughlin "Angel" pet adoption commecials do, only less maudlin.

According to Eric Holthaus, writing in Slate, the first video is a poem, written and performed by Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner. She's a 26-year-old mother from the Marshall Islands, which are terribly threatened by climate change because the low-lying islands would be submerged amid rising sea levels.

Says Holthaus:

"After her recitation in front of 120 heads of state, her daughter and husband joined her on stage, to a standing ovation. An official U.N. Twitter account said many world leaders were moved to tears, evoking memories of a stirring speech from the Philippines representative Yeb Sano during the last major U.S. meeting on climate change, held just days after Typhoon Haiyan."

Here's the video accompanying Jetnil-Kijiner's poem. It's the version with scenes from the UN this week. After the video, scroll down a bit for some thoughts from Archbishop Desmond Tutu.


 

I surprised myself by actually being a bit moved by this video by Archbishop Desmond Tutu's thoughts on climate change.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu has some
good thoughts on climate change.  

The whole video is worth watching (see it at the bottom of this post.) ButTutu saves the best line for the end:

"There is a word we use in South Africa that describes human relationships: Ubuntu. It says: I am because you are. My success and my failures are bound up in yours. We are made for each other, part of one family, the human family, with one shared earth."

H/T to Bill McKibben via Twitter for sharing:

Here's the video:

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Butterfly-Shaped "Rain Showers" On St. Louis Weather Radar Turned Out To Be Butterflies

National Weather Service radar in St. Louis, Missouri
captured a butterfly shaped cloud of monarch
butterflies passing overhead on their
migration to Mexico.  
A really awesome and cool "weather disturbance" of sorts passed over the St. Louis, Missouri metro area last week, the web site CityLab reports.

National Weather Service radar in St. Louis showed what looked to be showers, or tornado debris, or something, constantly changing shape as it moved southward toward Mexico.

All other indications showed there were no storms or weather disturbances that could cause rain, tornadoes or anything else of note in Missouri. It was a really nice day.

For awhile, the "disturbance" heading toward Mexico took on the shape of a giant butterfly over  St. Louis and most of its suburbs.

It turns out the radar was picking up a giant flock of monarch butterflies migrating south toward Mexico.  The monarchs were really cool and thoughtful, in my opinion, to fly in the formation of a giant butterfly as they headed south.

Monarchs that live in the summer east of the Rocky Mountains fly to a specific mountain area in Mexico, where they hang out in oyamel fir trees for the winter. (They can't survive the cold winters in most of the United States.)

They also reproduce over the winter in Mexico, and the next generation of monarchs fly north for us to enjoy each spring.

That such a large number of monarchs is a good sign, as CityLab notes. Habitat loss, extreme weather and possibly pesticides have decimated the numbers of these beautiful butterflies, so here's hoping this radar image shows they're hanging in there.

Or maybe their dwindling numbers appeared on the radar to tell us to do things to protect them and let their numbers recover.


Monday, September 22, 2014

Incredible Time Lapse Shows Forest Fire Smoke Choking Lake Tahoe

The King Fire in California last week.
Photo by Noah Berger, Reuters.  
You've probably heard on the news about the so-called King Fire, a massive forest fire east of Sacramento California.

It has burned more than 87,500 acres, an area bigger in size than sprawling Atlanta, Georgia or Las Vegas, Nevada. It's still spreading amid shifting winds, drought and wicked hot temperatures.

Until recently, the King Fire pretty much avoided most homes, but now it's spreading into populated areas and has burned at least 22 structures and threatens more than 20,000 others.

A man named Wayne Allen Huntsman was charged with arson in connection with the fire and his bail was set at $10 million, local authorities said.

On Saturday, the wind abruptly shifted, bringing the smoke very fast over the Sierra Nevada mountains and into Lake Tahoe.

The onslaught of smoke forced the cancellation of the Ironman Lake Tahoe on Sunday, due to very sensible worries that vigorous exercise in dense smoke could be dangerous.

No doubt, the athletes were terribly disappointed. Says the Washington Post, quoting athlete Tom Kazukynas:

When the organizers of the Ironman announced that was canceled, athletes were crushed. 'Racers fell into the sand crying, total disbelief on some faces and shock on others,' said Kazukynas in an email. 'This Ironman is a once in a lifetime chance for many of the racers and to see the look of the athletes who just had taken away by an act of arson was absolutely heartbreaking."

A dense smoke advisory is still in effect around Lake Tahoe and Reno, Nevada due to the King Fire.

Here's that time lapse video showing the King Fire smoke invading the Lake Tahoe basin on Saturday. Pretty wild:

HUGE Throng at Climate March, But Will It Make A Difference?

Big crowds at the People's Climate March
Sunday in New York.  
The powers that be who keep track of such things  have pretty much settled on crowd estimates of 310,000 or so people who marched in Sunday's People's Climate March in New York City.

That's more than was generally expected, and together with a bunch of satellite marches worldwide, there was quite a turnout, to be sure.

One of the lead organizers, Bill McKibben, a climate activist (and fellow Vermonter!) said this was the largest demonstration by people concerned with climate change.

Which means theres a groundswell out there on the issue of climate change. The question is, will the New York march and all the other demonstrations make a difference? I frankly wonder.

My skepticism and cynicism isn't meant to insult or disparage all those people who took part in marches Sunday. If people feel strongly about anything, they should march in the streets, and the should make their voices heard.

I don't know if all these people marching would make an immediate change, but surely nothing would happen with regard to climate change policy if nobody marched.

So the People's Climate March was definitely a good thing.
Streets filled with climate demonstrators
in New York Sunday.  

Now, how will the policy makers react? This is where my cynicism kicks in. The march in New York was timed to coincide with a big United Nations meeting on climate. But the UN is pretty famous for putting out great reports on climate change, but not doing much on policy to combat it.

What about politicians?  Especially in the United States. Gridlock seems to have become a national tradition, especially in Congress, so nothing will happen, I fear.

This is especially the case because it's become a matter of faith, facts be damned, among both the conservatives and especially the Tea Party types that climate change is just a big hoax imposed on us by people who hate freedom.

Not to mention climate scientists who supposedly are raking in zillions of dollars in federal grants by studying climate change and sounding the alarm.

Like somebody's going to become a millionaire by poking probes into decaying ice fields in Greenland amid horrible weather for a few months.

But anyway, the conservatives. The very right wing Breitbart.com had the following headline for their People's Climate March story on Sunday: "Thousands Take To Streets Worldwide To Demand More Taxes, Less Energy."

That's the mindset we're working with, folks.  Supposedly serious policymakers actually believe headlines like that.  This is why I'm dubious about political leadership.

Well, then, maybe industry, business and many of those thousands of people, and others, will just make end runs around the obstinate politicians and take matters into their own hands. There does seem to be a thriving alternative energy industry popping up.    Investors, jobseekers and just about everybody else ought to like that.

The insurance industry, with a perfectly sensible eye on their bottom line, is taking climate change seriously.

But then you have Big Oil and those types, who are trying to preserve their business model, which means burning as much fossil fuel as possible.

I bring these up because industry does seem to have the lobbying power to control Congress, and thus policy. The only way we're going to seriously combat climate change is if the power of industry lobbyists sways more toward dealing with, rather than ignoring climate change.

I still wonder who will win this power game. Marches like the one on Sunday are a heads up there is some people power out there trying to sway things.

But as successful as Sunday's demonstrations were, the peaceful pressure from the likes of McKibben and all those placard waving marchers is going to have to continue and intensify.

Just like climate change itself.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Video: How Flash Floods Can REALLY Surprise

Screen shot of flash flood video taken last week
in California.  
Last week, flash floods hit many areas of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and some of the deserts of far southeastern California.

Here's a video of a flash flood in Joshua Tree, California. It shows how such floods can really surprise people with their intensity and speed. They are called flash floods, after all.

When the video opens, water has already suddenly flooded a formerly dry wash. While the video taker and other onlookers watch, the flood really changes character suddenly.

Nobody got hurt or were endangered, but it is wild. Watch:


Saturday, September 20, 2014

Stormy Europe, Again

A microburst whomps part of Paris earlier this week.  
More storms have swept through parts of western Europe over the past few days, continuing a very stormy year in that neck of the woods.

The worst of it was in southern France, where a flash flood swept through a campsite and other areas, killing at least four people.

As much as 18 inches of rain fell in one town within about 36 hours, which is about half a normal year's worth of rain.

Elsewhere, hail fell in torrents around Florence, Italy, as you can see in this video:

Friday, September 19, 2014

Yeah, It Was Cold: One Of Vermont's Strongest Early Season Frosts In Many Years

A close up of frost on my lawn in St. Albans, Vermont
this morning. The freeze was at least two weeks
earlier than normal.  
Winter came early to the North Country this morning as expected.

If anything, it was even a tad colder in many areas than forecast.

The worst I've seen so far was the perennial cold spot of Saranac Lake, New York, where it got down to at least 21 degrees.

Burlington, Vermont reached 32 degrees, which tied the record low for the state set in 1959.

It was the first time in 14 years there was a freeze in September, and it was the earliest fall frost in at least two decades.

St. Johnsbury, Vermont also tied its record low for the date, reaching 29 degrees.

Temperatures well down into the 20s were widespread through Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and northern New York, so countless gardens are pretty much kaput.

This early frost bucks a trend in which the first frost in the autumn has been getting a bit later in New England, and the last frost of the spring is getting a little earlier. 

Mornings like this prove that, although there are trends in climate, it's uneven, and you can get spells of weather that go against those trends. You also can't count on what the average freeze date is to plan your garden. Freezes can come much earlier or later than what is considered "normal."

It'll warm up some this afternoon, and we're done with the frost and freezes for at least a few days in New England. The exception is the cold pockets of the Adirondacks and Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, on into western Maine, where there might be some local frosts.

But those places were so cold there's no gardens left to protect, so those cold hollow frosts are now no big deal.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Hot Times On Earth: August Was Hottest On Record

Lots of red on this map, depicting
the hottest August on record in 2014,
say climate scientists.  
The National Climate Data Center came out with their monthly report this morning on the world's climate and they gave us more of what they've been saying all year.  

It's wicked hot on Earth. The year 2014 had the hottest August on record for the globe as a whole, if you combine ocean and land based temperatures 

Ocean temperatures were the hottest on record in August for any month on record, says the report.

If you ignore the oceans and just take temperature readings on land, it was "only" the second hottest August recorded, says the Climate Data Center.

This report, along with NASA's report earlier this week in which they also concluded August was the hottest on record on Earth, will add fuel, so to speak, for the big People's Climate March in New York this weekend. 

I keep hearing from climate change deniers that global warming stopped in the late 1990s, but I'm not seeing that. True, the rate at which temperatures have been rising slowed, but hasn't stopped.  Also, ocean temperatures have been increasingly rapidly in recent years.

And I'm beginning to wonder if this year marks the start of an acceleration in global atmospheric temperatures.  Most months this year have been the warmest on record, or in the Top 10 list of warmest months.

So far, 2014 is the third hottest year on record, says the Climate Data Center. We'll see what the rest of the year brings.

Looking at the details, the eastern United States has continued the trend it's experienced all year: While the world heats up, that region stays cool. Also, northwestern Siberia and part of Australia were a little cool in August.  Most of the rest of the world was hot, hot, hot.

Yes, we're going to get an early frost tonight where I live in Vermont, but I have to wonder, among many other things, how very late in the fall or early winter first frosts will come in the future.


Nasty Frost and Freeze Tonight in Vermont, Rest of Interior Northeast

Frost on a flower last autumn in St. Albans, Vermont.
Similar scenes are likely tomorrow morning.  
The growing season is about to come to an end in a wide swath of northern New York, pretty much all of Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, and in many valleys of the Northeast.

Freeze and frost warnings are up for this entire region as temperatures tonight will go down into the 20s  and low 30s.

The Adirondacks and the northern half of Vermont outside the Champlain Valley are under a freeze warning, as temperatures there are expected to fall below 32 degrees.

In the Champlain Valley and southern Vermont, there's a frost advisory up for tonight for temperatures expected to be between 32 and 35 degrees.

Here's why there's a frost advisory in those places: Temperatures are normally measured at five feet off the ground. On clear, calm nights, the temperature might go down to 33 or 34 degrees, so you think, "Phew! no frost."

But you'd be wrong. Right down at ground level, five feet below the thermometer, it's often one to three degrees colder than what the thermometer is reading. . So you can get a damaging frost even though the temperature officially never sank below 32 degrees.

In the "warmer" areas under a frost advisory, you probably can save most of your flowers and garden veggies by covering them up.  And of course you can bring potted plants indoors.

But for valleys in the Adirondacks of New York,  and much of Vermont and New Hampshire, I wonder if even covering plants will be enough as temperatures slump into the 20s.

Whether this upcoming frost and freeze is earlier than normal depends upon where exactly you are. For many people, this frost and freeze will come one to three weeks earlier than normal. But for other areas, it's right on schedule.

In Vermont, the first frost of the fall season normally hits anywhere between early September in the cold hollows of the Northeast Kingdom to mid-October near Lake Champlain. (Early September frosts are also pretty normal in Adirondack valleys like around Saranac Lake and in parts of northern New Hampshire)

Those cold spots have already had frosts and freezes this month, so they already had their normal end to the growing season.

In central and eastern Vermont, tonight's expected freeze is about one to two weeks earlier than normal, says the National Weather Service in South Burlington.

In Vermont, the water in Lake Champlain maintains its warmth into the fall, and that helps keep that area a little warmer, and usually delays the first freeze of the season.

The first 32 degree reading of the season in Burlington, Vermont is around October 7. I'm not sure if Burlington will reach 32 degrees tonight, but it will be close.

If it does, it won't be the earliest 32 degree reading on record. The earliest 32 on record was on Sept. 13, 1964.  The record low for Friday morning in Burlington is 32 degrees, set in 1955, so we might flirt with tying or breaking the record low for the date.

Because the Champlain Islands between New York and Vermont are surrounded by warm-ish lake water, that area is the only one in the interior Northeast not under any kind of frost or freeze advisory. It should stay at least a few degrees above freezing in places like South Hero, Vermont and Cumberland Head, New York.

The northern half of New Hampshire and much of Maine is under a freeze watch for tonight, and I bet that will be upgraded to a warning later today.

After a brief warm up this weekend, it will turn chilly again for a few days early next week. The National Weather Service in Burlington, Vermont said there's even the possibility of the first snow flurries of the season atop higher mountains like Jay Peak and Mount Mansfield Monday night or Tuesday morning.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Great Weather Photos: Lightning, Waterspouts, Hurricanes And More

Florida waterspout. Photo by Frank Abbott.  
As I sometimes do, I scrolled around looking for great weather photos taken in recent days.

As always, I was not disappointed.

The first photo in this post is an incredibly beautiful, impeccably composed photo of a large waterspout off the coast off Pensacola, Florida on Monday.

It was taken by photographer Frank Abbott.

Stunning!

The second photo is of the same giant waterspout, taken from a closer vantage point. This photo was taken by Jon Worley.
Another view of the Florida waterspout. Photo by Jon Worley.  

Looks like the people in the foreground are pretty much in awe of it.

The third photo in this post is a close up satellite view of the eye of Hurricane Eduoard, which was spinning in the central Atlantic Ocean yesterday when the photo was taken.

It's no threat to land, which is a good thing, because it looks mighty powerful in this photo.

The last image in this post is a close lightning strike in the southeastern California desert, taken by Will Wilkens.  (You might have to scroll down a bit to see it.

The storm was part of the initial push of moisture from what was Hurricane Odile. The remnants of the hurricane are expected to cause severe flooding and torrential downpours in the Desert Southwest today and tomorrow.    













A close lightning strike in the California desert yesterday.  

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Greenland's "Dark Ice" This Summer Is Ominous

Dark colored ice in Greenland crisscrossed with
crevices. Melt water goes into the crevices
and can accelerate deterioration of the ice sheet.
Photo by Jason Box.  
If you've ever stepped outside into the winter sunshine after a snowstorm you know how blindingly bright it is out there.

The white snow reflects light, so it's glaring. The white snow reflects heat from the sun, too, and that helps keep things cold in the middle of January.

Greenland is a big ice sheet. Almost all of it is covered in thick, thick, thick ice all year.

That ice, although never pristinely white in the summer, reflects away the summer sun's heat, rather than absorbing it because the ice is very light colored.

At least it was. The ice sheet has been getting dirtier and darker in recent years and decades, and according to Eric Holthaus in Slate, this year the Greenland ice sheet is the darkest color it's ever been. Pictures of the ice sheet look like it's a giant version of a rotting snowbank at the last gasp of winter.

Dark, light, who cares? Well, YOU should. And everybody else, too. The dark ice in Greenland absorbs the sun's heat, a lot like a blacktop is a lot hotter in the summer than a patio painted white.

That means the ice up there was melting a lot faster than usual over this summer.  Fast melting is bad in Greenland. Unlike the Arctic Ocean, it's not floating ice. If ice floating on the ocean melts, the sea level won't rise, just like if the ice in your glass of gin and tonic melts. The glass won't get any fuller.

But if Greenland's ice melts, it runs off into the ocean, and contributes to sea level rise, perhaps the biggest threat from global warming. Since so much of the world's population lives in big cities on the coasts, it'll be tricky when the sea levels rise and flooding gets worse and worse.
Dark ice and a big crevice in Greenland
this past summer. Photo by Jason Box.  n

Do you move entire cities? Build multi-billion dollar sea walls and hope for the best? There's really no good options.

Already, American cities like Miami, Fla. and Norfolk, Va. are seeing the effects, and it might no be long before places like New York, Washington and Boston start to go under.

You want to keep Greenland's ice sheets bright and white, to slow the melting a bit.

A white Greenland won't solve the problem of rising sea levels, but anything to slow the process down helps.

Now what, though?  As I said, Greenland's ice was dark and yucky over the summer. There's a lot of theories why. The boreal forests of the Arctic way up north in Canada, Alaska and Siberia had more forest fires than ever before this summer, and in recent summers. 

(The Arctic is warming up, the snow is melting sooner the summers are hotter, so forest fires, in general are becoming more likely, and bigger. Arctic forest fires are burning at roughly twice the rate they were about a decade ago.)

Some of the soot from this year's northern forest fires landed on the Greenland ice sheet, so that helped make it darker.

You also get summer snowstorms in parts of Greenland to freshen up the ice and snow cover, and that didn't happen as much as usual this year. The dark stuff might also be partly composed of pollution and dust from places like here, and China, and God knows where else in the Northern Hemisphere. Maybe microbes are contributing.

A scientist named Jason Box is the main source for Slate's material on Dark Greenland. He's pretty strident in his public alarm over global warming. He's the guy who found himself in a bit of controversy in July when he Tweeted: "If even a small fraction of Arctic sea floor carbon is released to the atmosphere, we're f'd." 

So OK, Jason Box is blunt, and he probably pisses off people who aren't particularly concerned about global warming.  But from everything I read, his science is totally sound, so he's got cred.

It's not clear how to fix this, other than cooling the Earth, so we don't have so many Arctic forest fires, so Arctic summers are not hot, which would limit melting.




Whirlwind: British Columbia Teachers Strike Goes Round and Round

Whirling winds whip up papers, placards in
British Columbia teachers' strike.  
There's a teacher's strike in Surrey, British Columbia, and they were out picketing, as strikers tend to do.

Then some odd weather excitement disrupted the picket lines.  

The dust-devil like whirlwind sent placards and papers hundreds of feet into the air. I wonder if Mother Nature was commenting on the strike?

Here''s the video



Monday, September 15, 2014

Update: Cabo San Lucas Is Trashed; Odile Flood Threat In U.S. Worsens

Inside the terminal at the Cabo
San Lucas airport. 
The resort mecca of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico got absolutely nailed by Hurricane Odile, as anyone reading or watching the news can tell you.   

So far, I haven't heard reports of fatalities, but news is just barely starting to trickle out of the resort area. Infrastructure is damaged, so I'm sure we are having trouble getting a complete assessment of the destruction.

Below is a very telling video of a drive through the resort shortly after the hurricane tapered off. You can see tourists walking around kind of shell shocked, and a lot of damage.

Also, scroll down below the video, as I have some updates on the potentially worsening effects the remnants of Odile will have in Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and nearby areas.

Here's the Cabo San Lucas destruction:




Hurricane Odile moved northward, as expected, but the track was a little to the east of some forecasts.

Because of the track that's a little more to the east, the remnants now look like they will head right toward Arizona. Of course, Odile won't be an organized storm by then, just a big blob of moisture.

A really BIG blob of moisture.

Flash flood watches are up for a wide area of the southwestern United States, including much of Arizona and New Mexico, southern Nevada and extreme southeastern California, in the deserts.

Some of the heavy rain will come in by early Wednesday, but the worst of it will be Wednesday night and Thursday.

And wouldn't you know, the rain won't hit the areas of California that are having an epic drought, and an epic heat wave, and epic wildfires. Instead, it's going to rain hard in areas that got wicked flash floods in Arizona and southern Nevada.

Forecasts for the amount of rain that will hit the flash flood watch area have increased since this morning. Some areas could get up to five inches of rain, or even more than that.

Stay tuned on this one.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Hurricane Odile To Blast Baja California; Cause New Flooding In Desert Southwest?

Satellite view of Hurricane Odile approaching
the southern tip of Baja California on Sunday.  
This hurricane season, the East Coast of the United States hasn't had it too bad, as there haven't been many tropical systems in the Atlantic so far this year.

That's the good news.

The bad news, is, we have to keep turning our eyes to the west, which we don't often have to do for hurricanes.

Right now, Hurricane Odile is the troublemaker. It's moving toward the Baja California pennisula on the northwest coast of Mexico.

As of late morning Sunday, Eastern Daylight Time, and breakfast time out in western Mexico, the storm had top sustained winds of 135 mph.

That's a Catagory 4 hurricane, the second strongest catagory we have. Later today, those strong wind will hit the southern tip of Baja California, and then spread northward as the hurricane moves toward the northwest, along the coast.

Basically, this means much of Baja California in Mexico is screwed. They're going to get extremely damaging winds, of course. Also, a severe storm surge will slam into coastal buildings and structures, causing severe damage.

It'll rain like hell with this, of course. They're expecting five to 10 inches of rain, with some mountainous areas probably clocking in at 15 inches, so there will be huge flooding and mudslides in the area.

So we should hope for the best and pray the storm unexpectedly veers away from the coast of Mexico. But don't count on it.

If Hurricane Odile is heading north, it'll hit California in the United States or someething like that, right?

No.

The West Coast is largely protected from hurricanes because the water temperature in the Pacific Ocean is chilly there, due to normal currents. Hurricanes grow and thrive on warm water, above 80 degrees, and fall apart and die in colder water.

It's extremely rare for a tropical storm to hit southern California or southeastern Arizona. It might have happened once or twice in the past century

So that's Odile's fate as it heads northwestward. It'll fall apart. But that doesn't mean the United States gets off scott free from this.

The first problem is, the southern California coast will get hammered by swells and waves generated by Odile, so there will be dangerous conditions and rip tides for swimmers and surfers. There might be some coastal flooding as well.

Even worse, moisture from Odile will move into the Desert Southwest. If this sounds familiar, it's because it is. Last week, moisture from Hurricane Norbert, which had been off the Mexican Coast, fed into Arizona, southern California and southern Nevada, and epic flooding resulted.

Phoenix, Arizona had its wettest day on record, and some of the worst flooding on record hit areas around Phoenix, Arizona, Las Vegas, Nevada and Riverside, California.

The rainfall and the flooding from Odile probably won't be as extreme as last week, but still, it spells trouble.

Most of the rain will miss coastal and central California, which is currently experiencing a big heat wave and an ever-worsening drought. Wildfires are a problem, and Odile's moisture won't be enough to tamp those blazes down.

Record Low "High" Temperatures Chill The Hell Out Of Us Vermonters

Overcast skies like this over St. Albans, Vermont
Friday contributed to record low maximum
temperatures the past couple of days.  
Think it's been awfully chilly in northern New England the last few days?

You're totally right.

The nights, actually, have only been moderately colder than normal, but we've had some remarkably chilly afternoons the past couple of days.

The damp, cold weather is all the more hard to deal with because it came so abruptly. Daytime temperatures had been consistently in the 70s and 80s across the region until Friday.

Record low maximum temperatures were set both Friday and Saturday in Montpelier and St. Johnsbury, Vermont as high temperatures struggled into the low 50s under cloudy, rainy skies.

Friday, Burlington, Vermont had a record low maximum of 56 degrees. Other cities, like Massena, N.Y. set similar records.

On Saturday, the summit of Mount Washington N.H. reported sleet and freezing rain. Ugh.

When a strong cold wave moves in, as it did this week, and the skies remain cloudy, the chances of getting a "low high temperature" are the best, and that's exactly what happened.

Normal high temperatures this time of year are near 70 degrees, not the low 50s.

Skies cleared briefly Friday night, allowing a view of the Northern Lights, and allowing temperatures in the cold valleys of northern New England to slip to 32 degrees or lower.

Today, skies will slowly clear over the Northeast. It will still be chilly, but temperatures with a little sun should be able to get close to 60 degrees, or at least upper 50s in northern New England and New York, so more record low daytime temperatures don't seem likely tonight.

But clear skies tonight mean what little warmth there is can radiate out to space. Frost advisories are up for all but the Champlain Valley of Vermont, most of New Hampshire, much of northern New York and for western Maine.

Cover up those tender plants you have outside, or bring them indoors this evening.

For those who like fall weather, it will stay cooler than normal the rest of the week across the Northeastern United States.


Saturday, September 13, 2014

Aurora Borealis (Mostly) Lived Up To Its Billing: Great Photos

From @DaveThroupEA on Twitter. A volcano and
Northern Lights in Iceland last night.  
The Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, put on an excellent show in much of the Great (Whitish) North of the world last night, pretty much as expected.

For a couple days before the event, scientists said a bigger than usual solar storm would help light up the skies, especially since the solar eruption was sort of, but not perfectly aimed toward Earth.

Twitter lit up with examples of some great views, and I've shared some in this post. The most shared has to be the first one in this post.

It was taken in Iceland, and you see the Bardarbunga volcano erupting with the Northern Lights overhead.

@hangingditch on Twitter provided this view
from Cumbria, UK.  
There might be more auroras tonight, but it probably won't be as widespread and spectacular as last night.    

The best comment about the Aurora last night came from @btvjim, otherwise known as That Guy, who Tweeted: "Isn't Aurora a dancer at Club Super Sex?"






Dan Russell, who is @DanRuss on Twitter, took
this shot over Lake Champlain near Burlington, Vermont
last night. 
















Goran Strand caught this other worldly view in Sweden.  















The Mount Washington Observatory in New Hampshire got this
spectacular view. You can see an undercast of clouds
in the valleys beneath the mountain summit glowing
in the light from the Norther Lights.  

Friday, September 12, 2014

Well, THIS Dog Likes The Summer Snow

This dog didn't exactly complain about snow
in Calgary this week.  
As you may have heard, this week has brought rare summer snow to Calgary, Alberta Canada, the Black Hills of South Dakota, and even Denver, Colorado got into the act last night.

A lot of people in the "Snowtember" snow zone grumbled about the early slap in the face from winter, but not this young dog who experienced snow for the first time in his life in Calgary this week.

He's a rescue dog from California, so he missed out on snow the last two winters.

Looks like he's going to like winters, though. Watch and be cheered:

Thursday, September 11, 2014

A Gusty Sign Of Winter

A big dead falling branch smushed some of
my hostas as winds gusted to 45 mph
around my home in St. Albans, Vermont.  
You don't need a stronger sign that winter is coming than what happened in Rapid City, South Dakota today.

They had their earliest snowfall on record.  And many areas of the Black Hills of South Dakota had several inches of snow. Pretty incredible.

Locally, where I live in Vermont,  we had signs today of the approaching cold season, too, but it was more subtle than the West's cold snowball to the face.

Here in Vermont, it wasn't even cold, with temperatures in the upper 60s and 70s.  So what was the the sign of winter?

In two words: Strong winds. The wind howled from the south ahead of a cold front, gusting to 45 mph at the National Weather Service office in Burlington. Similar wind speeds were noted elsewhere in Vermont and New York.  And the gusty winds lasted all day.

There were scattered power outages, and lots of (mostly small) branches and a few trees were blown down.  My yard is littered with lots of twigs and branches, and I've only begun to clean it up.
Strong winds left a trail of twigs and branches
across my lawn in St. Albans, Vermont.  

That we had such a strong wind was because a storm system to our northwest was pretty strong.

In the autumn and early winter, increasingly powerful low pressure systems often move northeastward across the middle of the country, and on up into the Great Lakes.

Or, a nor'easter gets going along the coast, and we get the winds from that, along with rain and snow.

This is a contrast to summer, when storms are weak, and so are cold fronts.

They generate gusty, sometimes severe thunderstorms every once in awhile, but it's extremely rare to get a day-long bout of gusty winds in mid-summer. But very gusty dayts are common in New England from now on through the winter.

So yes, winter is coming.

By the way, that cold front that came through will keep temperatures in the Northeast fairly chilly for the next few days. On the bright side, we're doing better than Rapid City, South Dakota: No snow is in the forecast just yet.

Growing Civil Disobedience On Climate Change?

Will a big demonstration coming up soon
push the needle on climate change activism?  
Scientists, activists and others are getting very, very antsy on the lack of movement on climate change.

It looks like more and more people are ready to hit the streets to at least try and combat inaction on climate change.

Some of the political leaders are there, but things aren't happening because of an ideological stance among many conservatives that climate change doesn't exist, or isn't dangerous, or isn't something to worry about.

That leads to gridlock, and too few people are generating ideas or action plans on how to minimize the threats climate change pose.

Never mind that most climate scientists are getting more and more alarmed with regard to climate change.  There was the news this week, for example, that concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increased at a record pace in 2013.

While we in the eastern half of United States were blessed with a cool summer and it's currently snowing in the Black Hills of South Dakota, that only amounts to a couple of exceptions.  (Even in the worst case scenarios of global warming forecasts, occasional cold waves will still happen. Winter won't be repealed.)

The world as a whole keeps warming, with most months so far this year placing in the top 10 warmest, if not THE warmest. Through July, the year 2014 was tied with 2002 as the third hottest year for the Earth on record. 

Meanwhile, there hasn't been much meaningful debate as to what to do about climate change. The debate among politicians is whether it's happening, or whether it's some strange conspiracy among climate scientists to rake in federal grant money or something.
Climate scientists recently lent
their name and quotes to distributing
facts about climate change.  

Hint:  A lot of scientists I've met tend to be ornery on occasion and love to bring up problematic facts.

If there were such a big conspiracy to grab the government dough, we would have heard someone loudly giving us proof of that by now.

With nothing else to force the issue, is it time for civil disobedience in regards to climate change?

A lot of people thing so.

It'll be interesting to see how many people show up on September 21 for what organizers hope is a major scene in New York City called the People's Climate March.

It's timed for September 21 because the UN is holding a major climate meeting on that day.

Say the organizers:  "We'll peacefully flood the streets in historic numbers, both in New York City and in solidarity events around the world."

I guess flooding the streets of New York with demonstrators is better than flooding the streets of New York with water from the Atlantic Ocean, due to rising sea levels.

A main organizer of the People's Climate March, journalist and activist (and a fellow Vermonter!) Bill McKibben, sure seems optimistic. He Tweeted yesterday: "Home in Middlebury tonite with a church full of people prepping for #climatemarch VT sending 14 buses!

Yeah, Vermont is full of activists, but not that many of us live here. So 14 buses is pretty impressive.

People's Climate also said they anticipate about 1,500 events in 130 countries to coincide with the New York march.

If the People's Climate March is huge, it could be a turning point, as political leaders will begin to feel more pressure to do something with climate change.

There's already some interesting local developments.  The other day, in Massachusetts, Bristol District Attorney C. Samuel Sutter dropped charges against two climate activists who blocked a 40,000 coal shipment to a local power plant.

Said Sutter, as quoted in the Boston Globe:  "Because of my sympathy with their position, I was in a dilemma... I have a duty to go forward to some extent with this case and to follow the applicable case law, but they were looking for a forum to present their very compelling case about climate change.

"I do believe they're right, that we're at a crisis point with climate change."

In other words, the D.A. decided that climate change is a worse problem than a couple of environmentalists delaying a coal shipment. He kinda put a stamp of approval on climate change civil disobedience.

Climate scientists are getting more and more outspoken, too. (Although some, like James Hansen and Michael Mann, are not exactly excessively shy with their warnings about climate change)

This past week, Skeptical Science did a series of online cartoons quoting climate scientists, who happily  lent their name to the cause, to outline lots of facts about climate change to the public.  So yeah, scientists seem to be getting a little more activist, too.

Meanwhile, a few former climate change deniers are starting to accept that climate change is happening. However, the disheartening piece of that is, many of those guys think that rising levels of carbon dioxide are a good thing.

According to the Washington Post, the  conservative Cato Institute thinks rising carbon levels in the atmosphere is cause for celebration.

The Post quotes Paul Knappenberger from the Cato Institute as follows:

"Carbon dioxide is building in the atmosphere and rising to levels that have probably not been seen in a long time (hundreds of thousands of years)

OK, Knappenberger's got that totally right. But he goes on:

"The rise is a continued reminder of the steady drumbeat of human progress. The carbon dioxide that is building in the atmosphere, at least in part, gets there through human emissions of carbon dioxide that are the by-product of burning fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gas) to produce the vast majority of the energy that has powered mankind's industrial and technical ascent since the Industrial Revolution."

Yes, the Industrial Revolution, all in all, generally worked out well for humans. But throughout millenia, humans have used things to advance civilization, then abandoned those things for something they discovered works better.

Is Knappenberger suggesting we should stay stuck in the Industrial Revolution and not move on to something that works better, something that minimizes the consequences of global warming that threatens human progress?  Should we not at least not look into technologies that might advance humans further?

Maybe it will take civil disobedience to help prove Knappenberger wrong.  

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Three Days Of Summer Snow Make A Mess Of Calgary

Workers try to remove snow from a Calgary golf course
in anticipation of a golf tournament this weekend. Photo by
Stuart Dryden, Calgary Sun.  
It's been snowing for three days now in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and as you can imagine, it's really taking a toll.

The big problem is the trees haven't begun to lose their leaves yet, since it's still technically summer. The snow is piling up on the leaves, weighing down the trees and they're breaking left and right. 

Then you have the tableau of snow covered boats still docked at the lakes. (Again, still summer!)

Plus you get the usual litany of slippery roads, car accidents, slips and falls on icy sidewalks and events being canceled.

 They're even trying to clear snow off a golf course so they can play the Spruce Meadows Masters Tournament in Calgary this coming weekend.

According to the Weather Channel, Calgary had 4.6 inches of snow Monday and another half inch today.
This photo wasn't taken last winter.
It's this week, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.  

Believe it or not, that's not a record early season snowfall. The earliest four inch snowfall on record in Calgary was on September 6, 1972,  says the Weather Channel.

On August 25-26, 1900 the city had a two-day total snowfall of around four inches. And a dusting of snow covered the Calgary ground on July 23, 1918, adds the Weather Channel.

The cold air causing the snow is heading across the international border into the United States, so the states will get some snow as well.

There's a winter storm warning for higher elevations of Montana, and even somewhat lower elevation cities like Great Falls might pick up a couple inches tonight.

There's also a winter weather advisory for tonight and tomorrow in the Black Hills of South Dakota, where they might get three to six inches of snow.

Yikes!!

Everybody has an opinion. Someone leaves
their thoughts on this week's snow in Calgary.  
The cold will spread south and east across the Great Lakes, Plains, Ohio Valley and East Coast over the the next few days.

None of these places will get snow, but frosts and freezes are possible in some of these areas.  

Meanwhile, the the great relief of people in Calgary, winter hasn't permanently settled in. Environment Canada forecasts a high of 50 degrees (Fahrenheit) on Saturday, 63 on Sunday and 75 next Monday.

Meanwhile, here's a chilling video of a guy's drive around Calgary during the snow. The trees don't look so good.


The Flooding Continues....

From @8NewsNow on Twitter, flooding
on a Nevada Interstate Monday.  
The other day, I wrote about the flood woes in Phoenix on Monday, with its wettest day on record.

Since then, the flash flooding in different parts of the nation has continued on and on,  hitting the Tidewater area of southeastern Virginia and eastern North Carolina, then toward evening in southern Nevada, near Las Vegas.

In Virginia and North Carolina, many areas received 9 to as much as 12 inches of rain in a day. In Nevada, several inches of rain flooded, closed and destroyed parts of Interstate 15.

A post-script on the Phoenix flood. It turned out they got 3.29 inches of rain Monday, beating the calendar day record of 2.91 inches set in 1933. (It hadn't stopped raining when I last reported the Phoneix flood, so I had 2.96 inches.

This wasn't, however, a 24-hour record for Phoenix. That was 4.98" on July 1-2, 1911.

But I'm nitpicking, of course. The flooding, by any measure, in Phoenix and other areas, including Nevada, was breathtaking.

The Southwest might have a repeat next week, as a similar weather pattern, when a forecasted hurricane off Baha California could spread more deep tropical moisture into the Southwest.

Here's the scene on Interstate 15 on Monday between Las Vegas and Mesquite, Nevada. Scary. (Scroll down for more flood news below the video):

 

Overnight, it was the Midwest's turn.

Kirksville, Missouri picked up 8.62 inches of rain in just a few hours early today. Television Station Fox 4 in Kansas City says several motorists had to be rescued from flooded Interstate 29 last night. Some of the people rescued had been clinging to their car roofs for an hour.

It seems weather historian Christopher Burt said it best in his blog yesterday:

"It seems this has been a summer of remarkable extreme precipitation events across the U.S.

Indeed!

Climate Progress weighed in this week about the frequent floods.   They note climate change makes flooding like we've seen in so many different areas of the world more likely. They cite the 2014 National Climate Assessment:

"Warmer air can contain more water vapor than cooler air. Global analyses show that the amount of water vapor in the atmospher has in fact increased due to human caused warming.

This extra moisture is available to storm systems, resulting in heavier rainfalls. Climate change also alters characteristics of the atmosphere that affect weather patterns and storms."

Some climatologists are also looking into the possibility that climate change is causing weather patterns to become "stuck" causing prolonged storminess and downpours in some areas, while other areas experience drought.

As for the near future, flood watches are in effect today across parts of Indiana and Illinois because of the risk of torrential thunderstorms. Flood watches are also up for northern Wisconsin and the Upper Pennisula of Michigan

One last flood video: There was another flash flood, this time in Turkey. In the incredible video below, a woman is washed along in a torrent racing down a city street. Watch what happens: