Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Weird December Severe Weather Outbreak And Heat Peaks Today in U.S.

A huge are of the nation (in dark green, yellow, orange and red) are
at risk for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes today.
The are in red is at the greatest risk.
Across most of the eastern United States today, the day before the day before Christmas dawned foggy, wet, and incredibly warm.

The air in many spots feels muggy. Like tornado weather. And tornado weather we'll get for much of the Midwest and South today.

Yes, this morning has all the hallmarks of a late April stormy, warm, humid spring day.  Never mind that it's late December. I can't get over how odd this is.

Before dawn, there was already a tornado watch up for parts of Texas, Louisian and Arkansas and pretty impressive thunderstorms were already firing up.

It'll get worse as we go through the day. Don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting this is going to be an apocalyptic tornado day with zillions of bad tornados and storms, like the epic super outbreak of April 25-28, 2011 (that one contained 355 tornadoes that killed 321 people)

Today won't be anything like that. Still, NOAA's Storm Prediction Center says "mulitple tornadic supercells" are possible in and near the Tennessee Valley.

Places like Memphis, Tennessee and Jackson, Mississippi are under a moderate risk of severe storms and tornadoes today, according to the Storm Prediction Center. That's the second highest alert level possible, and that high level of concern is fairly rare for December.

People across much of the nation, from Michigan to Alabama and from North Carolina to Arkansas will want to keep an eye to the muggy skies as they rush to complete their Christmas shopping.

It's true that the nation often has an outbreak of severe weather in December, but I don't remember the last time I saw a severe weather threat area in December being so large, and extending so far north.

There's at least a minimal chance of severe thunderstorms all the way to the Canadian border in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

The area of enhance risk, where severe storms and tornadoes are most likely later today, is in itself huge.

It extends from Louisiana, through the Tennesse Valley all the way north to southwestern Ohio. This is the kind of thing you see in the peak of severe weather season, in April or May, not December.

The weather experts were saying all along the intense El Nino would energize storms crossing the United States, raising the possibility of wintertime severe thunderstorm and tornado outbreaks.

Your proof is there today.

In fact, in another unusual thing for December, the severe weather threat will continue in various parts of the south daily at least through Sunday. It's very rare to have several days in a row of severe thunderstorms in December.

Even though the heat is on, parts of the country that have been mild will turn more wintry, i.e normal in the upcoming days.

A quick shot of cold air in the Northeast, especially northern New England, will keep daytime temperatures in the 20s come Monday.

That's very normal for this time of year but it's been such an incredibly abnormal December.  At this point, December in Burlington is running an astonishing seven degrees warmer than the hottest December on record. If it doesn't get too cool at the very end of the month, this could be quite a record.

In Burlington, Vermont, there has not been a subfreezing high temperature yet so far this fall and winter. Normally, we would have had many such days by now.

Last year by this date, Burlington had already had 13 days with high temperatures at or below freezing, which is far more typical than this year.

This sure is a contrast to this past February, which was among the coldest on record. It's possible some New England communities will have their coldest winter month on record (February) and their warmest winter month on record (December) in the same year  -- 2015.

In the Plains, winter is set to make a return, too. It looks like there's a good chance of a big snowstorm from Colorado into the upper Midwest.

The northern panhandle of Texas is looking at possible blizzard conditions over this upcoming weekend, and those blizzard conditions look to extend north into western Oklahoma and Kansas.

So yes, if you want spring to wait until, um spring, after this week, it'll be back to winter for much of the nation. A lot of us don't like the cold, but this warmth and severe weather is also too freaky for a lot of us.

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