Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Cool Video: What If All Of Earth's Ice Melted?

Low lying sections of Miami now occasionally
flood even without storms due
to sea level rises largely brought on by climate change  
We know that global climate change is making sea level rise, which makes things perilous for those living near the ocean. And since a billion or more people could eventually be threatened by rising seas, this is of course, worrisome.

Business Insider put out a video, which takes us on a tour around the globe, showing how geography would change if all the ice on Earth melted.  

That would mean Antartica would be barren. The massive ice caps in Greenland -- gone. The deep blue sea would glimmer high in the Arctic.

And huge coastal cities around the world would drown.

Of course, not all the Earth's ice will melt in our lifetime, our our kids' or our grandkids' lifetime. Not even close, not even under the worst case global warming scenarios.

Still, some of the glacial, Greenland and Antarctic ice will melt in the coming years and decades, even in best case scenarios of global warming. Which means sea levels will rise, and coastal cities and towns around the world will face more and more flooding as time goes by.

Over at Skeptical Science, we learn that sea levels are expected to rise by anywhere from 50 centimeters to 1.5 meters this century. That's very roughly a three foot rise, folks. There's a lot of real estate around the world that is three or fewer feet above sea level. And think what a storm could do if oceans were three feet higher than they are now.

Already, low lying places like Miami get some flooding, even occasionally on sunny, storm-free days.  Plus when there is a storm, coastal surges are already worse than they would have been decades ago under similar storms, because the oceans are higher.

Just asking anyone in Katrina ravaged New Orleans, or the parts of New Jersey that got nailed by Superstorm Sandy back in 2012.

The ice free Earth video is disturbing, because it shows present day cities like Miami and Mumbai way out over the ocean, far from land areas. Florida itself gets tiny, Italy gets really skinny and Bangledesh all but disappears

Here's the video:

Monday, April 27, 2015

Watch Horrible Monday New Orleans Storm Blow Train Cars Off Bridge

Train cars on the ground beneath a New Orleans bridge
after strong thunderstorm winds blew them off.
Photo from the Times-Picayune  
A line of really, really bad thunderstorms tore through much of Louisiana this morning and early afternoon.

The part of the storms that everybody is talking about is how the incredibly strong winds blew rail cars off the Huey P. Long bridge in New Orleans. It was dramatically caught on video, which you will see at the bottom of this post.  

There was widespread other trouble in New Orleans and elsewhere in Louisiana. Winds gusted to 70 mph at the International Airport and a tornado was spotted by sheriffs in the area.

It's not clear as of late afternoon whether other tornadoes touched down in the New Orleans, Lafayette and Baton Rouge areas, but there were reports of roofs blown off of some houses and businesses.

That damage could have been caused by tornadoes, or powerful straight line winds.

Power failures affected tens of thousands of homes and businesses and flooding was widespread.

As of late afternoon, it wasn't over yet for Louisiana.  More severe storms were developing over parts of the state, packing high winds and large hail. The threat will continue into the evening.

Some incredibly strong storms were also offshore from Galveston, Texas and were heading northeast toward coastal Louisiana. If they hold together, these storms will join the chorus of heavy rain, large hail and high winds affecting much of Louisiana.

Flash flood watches also remain in effect for much of Louisiana.

This isn't one of those famous Louisiana hurricanes, but to many residents, I'm sure it felt like it.

Here's that train video. Yikes!!

Tis The Season Of Spring Weather Porn Storms. VERY Dramatic Images

From @MattHinesTX via Twitter, a dramatic
view of the spinning supercell thunderstorm
in Texas that produced several tornadoes.  
The nation's severe weather season is in full swing, though fortunately it is so far not as intense as it is in many years.

Still, there has been some drama. Even the quietest years have some drama.

On Sunday, severe thunderstorms broke in Texas.

One supercell storm in particular created some startling images as it marched kind of slowly eastward through north central Texas from near Abilene to a little southwest of the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area.

A posse of storm chasers remained closely attached to the supercell as it repeatedly dropped tornadoes across the Texas prairie.

They got some great photos and videos of the storm.

Almost all of the 19 reports of tornadoes in the nation Sunday came from this supercell thunderstorm, though I'm sure some of these are duplicate reports.

Luckily, no individual tornado lasted too long with this supercell, and the twisters hit rural areas. That meant there wasn't all that much damage, which was a good thing.

A beautiful image of a giant supercell thunderstorm
that produced tornadoes in Texas Sunday
Photo from Kelly DeLay via Twitter.  
For part of its life, the supercell storm had one of the best cloud structures I've ever seen, and certainly the best and most dramatic I've seen this year so far.

The mesocyclone - that's the real spinning part of the storm that would produce tornadoes - produced a large rotating, black column rising high into the air.

The curved, spiral bands of this mesocyclone looked like something out of one of those bad alien invasion movies.

It's no surprise that this kind of storm structure is often referred to as a mothership.

As you can see, I've posted some photos of this beast taken by storm chasers.

It's too bad supercell thunderstorms and tornadoes cause so much damage, death and heartache. If not for that, they would be truly beautiful things, some of the most awe inspiring examples of nature at work.

From StormChasingVideo.com, we get this footage of the Texas supercell, complete with day and nighttime views of some of the tornadoes it spit out, giant hail cracking the video taker's windshield, a hailstone that measures four inches across - almost grapefruit size! - and lots of lightning:


Other severe storms broke over the weekend elsewhere.

Here's a wild video of straight line winds Saturday in Dothan, Alabama. Whoever installed the homeowner's fence did a good job. I would have thought the winds would have flattened it.



Near Jacksonville, Florida, some people driving down a busy suburban boulevard suddenly encountered a tornado.

The thunderstorm that caused the tornado pretty much had a tornado warning with it almost all the way across northern Florida as it moved west to east. The Jacksonville touchdown, and any others that might have occured, were relatively brief.

Still, pretty scary:

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Storms? We Got Storms. And Some Beautiful Ones, Too

Tornado earlier this week in
Desert Center, CA.  
More nasty storms got going in parts of the southern and central Plains yesterday, and over the past couple of days there have been interesting storms elsewhere, too.

The first photo in this post, is a small but beautiful tornado in Desert Center California, about 40 miles west of the Arizona border.

Photographer Russell Fischer captured the EFO twister as it touched down in the desert. It caused minor damage to a solar facility.

(Click on the image to make it bigger and easier to see.)

The next photo, via Twitter from @stormpics, shows three, count 'em, three tornadoes lined up in a row near Scott City, Kansas on Friday.

These types of tornadoes, captured by Dick McGowan, are known as landspouts.

Landspouts usually spin up from the ground rather than lower from a rotating supercell thunderstorm toward the ground. Landspouts are also generally weaker than the bigger tornadoes that decend from supercell thunderstorms.

These landspouts in Kansas caused little if any damage.

There were 11 reports of tornadoes in the United States yesterday, including these landspouts in Kansas. Other areas of Kansas reported tornadoes. Texas had several, and one touched down in Louisiana.

More severe weather, and possible tornadoes are expected today, especially in the Tennessee and lower Obio Valleys.

Meanwhile, after severe storms hit parts of Australia earlier this week, another bout of storms hit Sydney Thursday and Friday.

Watch the incredible amount of hail in Sydney in this video:


Friday, April 24, 2015

High Wind, Ski Lift, Falling Tree Don't Mix

A tree falling onto a chair lift
causes some frightening moments
at a Ukranian ski resort.  
Ski season is pretty much over in North America, though a few die hard resorts are still open in northern New England, New York, the Rocky Mountains and parts of Canada.

And I woke up to an unwelcome inch of April snow in St. Albans, Vermont this morning.

Ugh.

That said, it's still pretty wild to look at the video, below, at the Bukovel ski resort in Ukraine. Somebody on a ski lift during a windy, snowy day caught the scary moment when a tree blew over onto the lift. Yikes!

Luckily there were no reports of deaths or serious injuries with this incident.

It's unclear when this incident happened, but the video was uploaded to YouTube earlier this month.

Watch it to the end, as the tree keeps causing trouble:

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Will That Huge Chilean Volcano Cool The World? (Spoiler: Probably Not Much)

Just after the start of yesterday's Calbuco
Volcano eruption in Chile.  
I'm sure I'm not the only person who has been absolutely fascinated by the beautiful but deadly images of the Calbuco Volcano that erupted unexpectedly in Chile yesterday.

A huge plume of ash towered several miles into the clear Chilean sky, mushrooming outward as it went high in the atmosphere in kind of an End Times tableau.

I've splashed some images of the Calbuco Volcano eruption throughout this post.

The immediate worry is, of course, the people who live nearby. The eruption came as a surprise to everyone, including scientists watching the volcano, so evacuations were hasty and chaotic.

I haven't heard of any deaths yet, which is a good thing.

Huge volcanic eruptions can disrupt the global climate, though my early reading is this eruption of Calbuco won't affect things too much.

As you can tell by any photo you've seen of Calbuco, volcanoes can emit an enormous amount of ash. The ash shades local areas, but quickly falls out of the sky, so the ash itself has little if any effect on the global climate.
The ash cloud spreads out over the
erupting Calbuco Volcano in Chile.  

Volcanos can also release a large amount of sulfer dioxide, which, if the volcanic eruption is big, can get pushed into the upper atmosphere and change the climate temporarily.

If the volcanic eruption is strong enough to push sulfer dioxide all the way up into the stratosphere, the sulfer dioxide turns into sulfer aerosols.

Each molecule of these aerosols acts as a little mirror, reflecting sunlight away from the Earth and thereby cooling the climate.

There have been a number of volcanic eruptions lately, and that might have shaped a marginal, pretty much unnoticeable bit of warmth from the climate that we otherwise would have seen.

The volcano keeps erupting as the sun sets.  
Still, 2014 was the warmest on record for the entire globe, and 2015 is off to its hottest start on record, if you consider the entire Earth, so volcanic eruptions clearly haven't had a noticeable effect.

However, yesterday's Calbuco eruption was particularly large. I haven't seen any analysis from scientists on how high in the atmosphere any sulfer dioxide got, whether any got all the way up into the stratosphere, and if so, how much.

My impression is, while big, Calbuco wasn't the kind of huge eruptions that would have a significant effect on global climate. I'll be interested to see what the scientists say about this in the coming days and weeks.

We have one relatively recent example of a large volcanic eruption having a subtle but noticeable effect on the climate. Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines erupted in 1991.  It was the second largest volcanic eruption in the world for the 20th century and sent sulfer as high as 21 miles into the atmosphere.

Enough sulfer aerosols got into the stratosphere that we could all notice a haze high up in the sky, and global temperatures cooled by about a half a degree for a couple years. That doesn't sound like much, but it temporarily reversed most of the effects of human caused global warming up until that time.

And it was noticeable. The summer of 1992 was the third coolest and third wettest on record in the United States.

At, the volcano emits a bright orange glow, and
lots of lightning in the volatile ash cloud.  
The sulfer aerosols from volcanic eruptions falls out of the atmosphere after a couple of years, and global temperature trends fell back into their previous pattern by 1993 or 1994.

Volcanic eruptions have, in history, been much bigger thatn Pinatubo and had much more serious effects on the global climate.

Ancient volcanoes have caused mass global extinctions. In more modern times, a volcano called Tambora in Indonesia had enormous global impacts when it erupted in April, 1815.

According to the Economist:

".....it sent molten rock more than 40 kilometers into the sky in the most powerful eruption of the past 500 years. The umbrella of ash spread out over a million square kilometers, in its shadow day was as night. 

Billions of dust, gas, rock and ash scoured the mountain's flanks in pyroclastic flows, hitting the surrounding sea hard enough to set off deadly tsunamis; the wave that hit eastern Java, 500 kilometers away, two hours later, was still two meters high when it did so. The dying mountain's roar was heard 2,000 kilometers away."

Worse, the immense amount of sulfur aerosols sent into the stratosphere cooled the global climate for a couple years to sometimes deadly effect.

In New England and parts of the Midwest, the eruption was the main cause behind the "Year Without a Summer" in 1816. Snow drifted up to 20 inches deep in Danville, Vermont in June. Frosts hit every months of the year - including July and August - across much of New England and the upper Midwest, destroying harvests.

Harvests failed in the cold in Europe, too. Grain was in short supply in Britain. Glaciers surged down Alpine Valleys. In China thousands starved due to poor harvests and cold, said the Economist.

Again, I don't know what effect yesterday's Chilean eruption will have, if any, but it certainly will not do anything close to what Tambora did in 1815.

That volcanoes can cool the world with sulfer aerosols has gotten people thinking this could be a neat way to combat global warming.

After Mount Pinatubo erupted in 1991, a scientist named Ken Caldeira began to wonder if constantly injecting sulfer aerosols into the stratosphere would combat global warming.

He didn't think that idea would amount to much, but his studies showed that the idea would indeed work.

However, it's not something Caldeira recommends, says Grist.

He contributed to a National Academy of Sciences report that, according to Grist, "concluded that technologies to block solar radiation should not be deployed at this time; and warned, 'There is significant potential for unanticipated, unmanageable, and regrettable consequences in multiple human dimensions....including political, social, legal, economic and ethical dimensions."

So nope, we're not going to act like volcanoes and inject stuff into the atmosphere like a bunch of volcanoes.

Instead, we'll stand in awe of eruptions like Calbuco, and hope that nothing like Tambora happens again.

Here's a video, including some time lapses, of the Calbuco eruption:

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Dramatic Brazilian Tornado...

A tornado roaring through Xanxere, Brazil earlier this week. 
The United States is now getting into the heart of tornado season now. Between now and the beginning of June, we can expect a lot of tornadoes, if the season is normal.

So far, for the fourth year in a row, the number of tornadoes is running well below normal, which is of course a good thing.

You never know what might come in May or early June, things could really pick up.

Tornadoes are likely to spin up in parts of Texas this evening. Supercells were already boiling up in that neck of the woods as I wrote this in the late afternoon, eastern time.

But this won't be an enormous outbreak. Also, though there will be an almost daily risk of tornadoes for the next week in the southern Plains and maybe the Gulf Coast states, current indications are twisters won't  be a dime a dozen.

Unfortunately, it seems other parts of the world are picking up the United States slack in terms of tornadoes.

Earlier this week, there was a particularly large one in Brazil.

The Associated Press said the tornado hit the southern Brazil city of Xanxere, killing two people, injuring 120 others and forcing about 1,000 other from their homes.

Tornadoes are relatively rare in Brazil, but the area of the country near the border of Argentina and Uruguay is sometimes prone to supercell thunderstorms, the kind that can produce tornadoes.

Somebody on the edge of the Brazi tornado path caught it on video. The video is awfully shaky, which is understandable since the buy filming the tornado could not have been sure if the house he was in would fly away, with him in it.

But you still see the trees and branches outside his window being sucked into the tornado. And once the worst of the storm passes, you see the twisted debris it leaves behind.

Watch:

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

First East Coast Severe Weather Of Season Departs. Snow In New England?

Lightning over Washington DC Monday. Photo
from Elayne Burke via Twitter.  
The first real out break of severe thunderstorms of the season hit the East Coast Monday, with tornado watches over a wide area from Georgia to Pennsylvania.

So far, there have been no reports of actual tornadoes, but a few rotating supercell storms came close to producing tornadoes, particularly in one storm near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

There were plenty of reports of large hail and some of damaging winds.

The thunderstorms were pretty much departing the East Coast early this morning, but the parent storm system responsible for the hazardous weather is going to hang around for awhile.

A long while, apparently.

It'll pretty much stall over southeastern Quebec, all the while feeding moist, increasingly cool air into New England through at least Sunday.

Nasty looking thunderstorm near Rochester, N.Y.
Monday. Photo from James Montronus, via Twitter.  
That means on and off showers through then, though there will be brief periods of drier air, with glimpses of sun, especially this afternoon.

The air will keep getting cooler over New England through the week as the storm feeds chilly air down from Canada. This means snow.

Before you get scared and think we'll get what Boston got in February, relax. Mountains of northern New York and New England will probably get a few to several inches of snow out of this.

At night, valleys in the North Country could get slushy coatings of snow Thursday and Friday nights,  maybe an inch or two here and there, but that will melt each afternoon as readings get above freezing.

It is late April after all.

The good news about this stuck low pressure in eastern Canada is it will suppress any new storm systems to the south.
Jennifer Blanchard took this photo of snow falling
in Glover, Vermont yesterday morning. More snow
is due in the mountains later this week. 

That means the chances of more severe thunderstorm and tornado outbreaks in the nation are pretty limited for the next week or more.  

It looks like Texas and the Gulf Coast could get some bad storms over the next couple of days, but that's about it.

At least for now.

Elsewhere in the world, there was rough, severe weather, too. A tornado caused damage in a Brazil city.

Severe flooding and damaging winds hit parts of Australia, especially near Sydney, killing at least three people.

Here's a house floating away in Dungog, Australia yesterday:

Monday, April 20, 2015

Awesome Satellite View of Spring Snow Melt In Vermont/Northern New York.

On April 12 in this screen shot from a NWS Burlington
Vermont video, a satellite image shows bare
ground in the Champlain Valley and ice breaking up
in Lake Champlain, but much of the rest of the
region still buried under snow and ice.  n
The National Weather Service in Burlington, Vermont today released a cool video showing the progression of early spring over most of Vermont, Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks of New York.

The view is via NOAA's MODIS visible satellite images, which can get down to pretty good detail in a relatively small area, like Vermont and northern New York.

The National Weather Service put images April 1, 12, 15 and 19 up in the video for comparison. They picked these days because skies were crystal clear, so no clouds were in the way of the view.

On April 1, everything is covered in snow except for a few evident bare patches in parts of the Champlain Valley.

By April 12, all of the Champlain Valley is clear of snow and ice is beginning to break up on Lake Champlain. Pretty much everyone else is snow covered. Things progress to Sunday, April 19, with snow only in the highest elevations, and no ice on Lake Champlain.

Things are beginning to backslide a little bit, temporarily of course.  Snow and sleet fell for a time this morning at mid and high elevations of New York and Vermont, though that had mostly changed to rain showers region wide by noon today.

Later this week and this weekend, a few inches of fresh snow might dust the mountains again as a chilly, unsettled spell of weather takes hold.

But soon enough, similar MODIS satellite images won't look so brown. Trees and fields will green up in another month or so, and the satellite images of Vermont on a clear day will be largely green instead of brown, as spring continues its unsteady advance toward the North Country.  

Here's the video:

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Global Heat Records, Data Coming Fast And Furious

NOAA says the globe had its warmest
March in modern record this year. The only
major cold spot was the northeast U.S. and
eastern Canada.  
While I continued to shiver in winter cold up here in northern New England during March, the world as a whole had yet another record warm month, according to NOAA's National Climatic Data Center. 

On a global basis, March averaged 0.85 degrees above the 20th century average for the month. But if you take the whole world into account, it's impossible to get a month that is several degrees warmer or colder than normal.

That 0.85 degree departure from normal in March is the third greatest of any month since the NCDC has kept track of such things.

The only notable cold area on Earth in March was the northeastern United States and eastern Canada.

This is the latest in what has seemingly become a constant string of new heat records across the globe.

The National Snow and Ice Data Center said Arctic sea ice reached its lowest extent on record for the month of March.

As Dr. Jeff Masters noted in a recent blog post, five nations or territories have already recorded their hottest temperatures on record so far in 2015, and the year is still young. The year with the most nations or territories with new all time heat records was 2010 with 21 such records, but two of those records have since been broken.

The fingerprints of human-induced global warming are all over this latest barrage of hot climate data,   but it's not the only hand in the mix.

A developing El Nino is very likely helping to boost the nearly worldwide heat.  When this periodic warming of the eastern Pacific Ocean hits, global temperatures tend to spike upward, no matter what humans might be doing to the planet.

The combination of global warming and El Nino means there's a good chance 2015 will be the hottest year in modern records for the Earth as a whole. Right now, 2014 stands as the hottest times man has experienced since well before the 1880s, when record keeping got a whole lot more detailed.

Very likely, there might be some years, maybe 2017, or 2018, that are "cooler" than 2014 or 2015, because El Nino, if it develops, will have probably ended by then. This could bring on a very subtle, very temporary global cooling for a couple years, maybe.

When we get a year or two that's not a new worldwide heat record, we'll hear the inevitable, "See, the world is cooling." from those who would oppose any efforts to combat global warming.

But those are just political talking points. Because of the myriad factors and cycles that affect climate, some years will be warmer than others, even as the general trend line goes up and up and up.

That's what you need to follow, the general trend line. And certainly not a random cold spell in which some U.S. Senator can declare global warming a non-issue because he went outside and made a snowball during the winter.

Bill Maher, that very blunt political comedian, had a blistering segment on climate change during his show this week. You might agree with the guy, you might not on all kinds of subjects he touches upon, but you have to admit, Maher cuts to the chase.  
Bill Maher mocking Ted Cruz for when Cruz
compared himself to Galileo while saying
he doubted climate change exists.  

Like him or not, Maher goes for the kill.

In his climate rant, he mocked politicians who continue to say they don't know enough about global warming because they're not scientists.

Kind of like saying legislators can't appropriate funding for a new road because they are not dump trucks.

Maher said many GOPers' public stance on climate denial isn't for the general population. He says it's for the corporate donors who keep them in office..

Or as Mahar crudely put it: "It's not why politicians suck more than ever, it's who they're sucking more than ever.

The whole video is worth watching, if only for the bitter laughs. So go ahead:

Friday, April 17, 2015

Beautiful Supercells In Texas, Oklahoma

Beautiful supercell storm from White Knuckle Storm Chasing.  
As expected, some supercell thunderstorms erupted in parts of western Texas and Oklahoma on Thursday,  spewing big hailstones, torrential downpours, dangerous winds and a few tornadoes.

The tornadoes were brief and hit sparsely populated areas, which is a good thing.

One reason why that's a good thing is because we can enjoy images of the storms' beauty without the sadness of lost lives and property.

More big storms are expected in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas today.

Here's a video of some of the storms from chaser Jason Cooley:

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Blue Skies, Dry Air, Breezy Days Are Rite Of Spring In Northeast. Here's Why

Pretty much blue skies yesterday in an afternoon
view looking southwest from South Burlington, Vermont
toward still snowcovered Whiteface Mountain in New York.  
Yesterday was one of those bright, brisk, beautiful, blue sky and breezy April days here where I live in Vermont. (How's that for alliteration?)

You tend to get a number of days like this during the early and mid spring in much of southern Canada, the Northeast and the Great Lakes region.

Humidities in these air masses are very low, so the air has a very clear, haze-free quality to it. With plants not yet growing yet, the dead stuff from last year dries out quickly, raising the risk of fires.

There was a red flag warning in much of New England yesterday because of this risk. But otherwise, it was a perfect day.  

This kind of weather happens because areas of high pressure, the kind that was over the Northeast yesterday, tend to have dry, sinking air that discourags clouds. So it probably would have been a pleasant day no matter what time of year that high pressure system decided to come through.

However, the air was especially dry yesterday, which came about for reasons in addition to the overhead weather pattern.

Trees in the region, and in southern Canada, where the air mass came from, haven't leafed out yet. Leaves emit moisture into the air, so had everything been in bloom, the humidity might have been a little higher than yesterday's desert-like levels.

There might have even been a few extra clouds decorating the blue sky had things been leafy.

On top of that, the Great Lakes, and all the lakes in southern Canada and in our region, were either colder than the air, or still frozen.  This set up is common in the spring, as the air responds to the strengthening rays of the sun faster than water does.

Warmer air over colder water tends to prevent rising air currents from bodies of water, such as lakes. So they are not able to add any appreciable moisture to the air.  Less moisture equals fewer clouds, and more blue sky. Which is what we had yesterday.

This is in contrast to New England's incredibly cloudy late autumns and early winters. Then, the water in the Great Lakes and other bodies of water is warmer than the air, since the summer weather in the previous months had just warmed them up

When the water is warmer than than the air, updrafts tend to form and moisture in the water lifts up into the air, tending to form lots of clouds.

But it's spring, so the lakes don't do the moisture thing, since they're so cold.

This time of year, we in the Northeast have to rely on larger scale storm systems to supply the April showers that will (hopefully!) bring us those May flowers.

Luckily, there are several chances of showers over the next week or so in the Northeast. Nothing huge, but enough to keep encourage those trees to bud and early season flowers to bloom.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Still patches of ice, snow in and near Lake Ontario.  
It's finally warmed up in the northeastern United States after a long, cold winter.

Snow is mostly gone, at least in the low elevations, lake ice is breaking up, buds are appearing, and daffodils are emerging from the ground.

Hat tip to Marshall Shepherd for the visibile satellite image he put out on Twitter showing Lake Ontario in New York amid yesterday's sunshine.

In the photo in this post (click on it to make it bigger and easier to see) Lake Ontario is almost ice free. Still, on the western shore, you can see an area of ice that hasn't melted yet. It was blown there by steady west winds.

Also, you still see a patch of snow on the Tug Hill Plateau. That's high ground east of Lake Ontario that tends to get the heaviest and most persistent lake effect snows earlier in the winter. Not all that lake effect snow has melted yet, apparently.

You can also see the brown color of the rest of the landscape. Things haven't greened up yet in this neck of the woods.

If we get another satellite photo of the same area in another month or so, the landscape will look largely green.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

FIre And Rain Across The Nation Today

A wildfire Monday in Wind Cave National Park
in South Dakota. Photo by Curt Nettinga/
Hot Springs South Dakota Star.  
When James Taylor sang "I've seen fire and I've seen rain," he was certainly not giving a weather report, but the phrase could describe the bipolar nature of conditions across the nation early this week, especially today.

The Northern Plains are dry, warm and windy today, as it has been there most of this spring. Once again, the result is a very high fire danger, especially in places like the Dakotas and Nebraska.

Meanwhile, the south central and southeastern United States are getting the opposite extreme, with heavy rain and flooding. Which is what many of these areas have also been experiencing most of this spring.

It's a matter of stuck weather patterns again. During the winter, the infamous stuck weather that slammed New England with epic snows and colds is gone.

But that weather pattern set the stage for current conditions. The winter pattern created dry conditions in the northern Plains by shunting storms to the south.

That save pattern sent storm after storm through the Tennessee and Ohio valleys, which saturated that neck of the woods.

That awful winter pattern is gone. Want proof? It was 75 degrees in Burlington, Vermont yesterday, or about 20 degrees warmer than normal. Yay!!

However, in a new way, the weather pattern is kind of stuck again, but not as intractably as it was in the winter.

The current pattern, though much warmer than the one in the winter, is continuing to keep the northern Plains dry. In fact, the U.S. Drought Monitor's latest report has drought expanding and intensifying across Minnesota, the Dakotas and Nebraska, and continuing even more intensely in Oklahoma and parts of Texas.

Dangerous fires have already broken out in the Plains, and there's a big risk of those today.

Near Bismarck, North Dakota, a Monday wildfire forced the evacuation of 20 homes and closed a small college campus, though things are now back under control there.

In South Dakota, a so-called controlled burn in the Wind Cave National Park got out of control and became a nasty wildfire on Monday.

As I noted, the opposite problem is happening more to the south. Kentucky and West Virginia, which have had so many floods and flood alerts this March and April, were under the gun this Tuesday morning once again.

Heavy rain and flooding were reported in both states as heavy rains continued.

The heavy rains will mostly focus further south for the rest of the week. Totals over the next week could range from three to seven inches, with locally more in a wide area from Louisiana to the Carolinas.

Flooding will be a concern in those areas the rest of the week.

Elsewhere, there's good news and bad news. The northern Plains might get a little rain later this week, which will help, but not solve all of their problems with the dry conditions.

And most of California, in the midst of what some are saying is the worst drought in 1,000 years, is not expected to get any rain in the next week and beyond.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Texas Supercell Was A Gorgeous Beauty

A different view of the Texas supercell than the one
in the video below. This photo is from a passing airliner.
 
Supercell thunderstorms erupted east of Lubbock, Texas on Saturday.

Supercells are pretty much always bad, unleasing large hail, damaging winds, torrential rains and sometimes tornadoes.  

This one was no different, containing all of the above, although the tornado appears to have been really just a funnel cloud that never quite touched down.

Luckily, this storm moved over sparsely populated terrain, so there weren't a whole lot of buildings for the supercell to wreck or people to hurt.

The storm was beautiful, as these often deadly storms are.

The National Weather Service in Lubbock captured a time lapse of the storm from their offices.

It looks like two storms formed, merged, and then blossomed over the Texas prairie. It really looks like some massive series of explosions.

You can see in the video, below, the fast erupting clouds, the anvil top of the storm spreading out, and if you look carefully, the whole storm rotating, which is one of the main reasons the National Weather Service issued a tornado warning on the storm.

Watch the vid:

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Moment Vermont Finally Flipped Over To Spring

Just a few days ago, on Thursday, winter reasserted
 itself in Vermont. Pretty but dreaded at the same time.  
Where I live in Vermont, spring usually comes frustratingly late and reluctantly, and that sure was the case this year.

Oh sure, we've managed to get a few springlike days during March and the first part of April, but mostly it was a continuation of chilly weather, occasional snows, and cold north winds.

Almost every year, you can pinpoint the moment, almost to the minute, when Vermont finally flips over to spring.

In my view, at least, this moment happened just before sunset on Friday.

The long anticipation of spring reached a crescendo Thursday when we woke up to encouraging forecasts for subsequent days. But we also woke up to two or three inches of fresh wet snow that fell overnight.

The snow, clinging to every branch on the trees was pretty, but come on! We've had enough snow.

The rest of Thursday was a continuation of bland late winter. It warmed up enough in the afternoon to melt most of the new snow, but the sky stayed dark, the wind kept blowing. It was damp, and underfoot mud season was in full swing.

Walking across the yard felt like an adventure into the deepest, darkest swamp.

Friday morning brought more disappointment for spring lovers. Forecasts had said it would warm up. Instead, it was raw, windy and cold. Sprinkles of rain filtered down, freezing in some areas and glistening like a sparkly, mean icy joke on the trees.

As the day wore on, the wind kept howling, and the temperature stubbornly stayed low into the early afternoon. But was that a rumble of thunder in that gusty noontime shower that passed by? Thunder is a sign of spring, isn't it?

Late in the afternoon, I finished work, and put on my jacket to leave and head home. I walked out the door and it was suddenly mild. The jacket was suddenly stuffy and uncomfortable. I got rid of it.

Much better.  
Then on Friday, after winds stayed cold
and raw most of the day, the air abrutly
warmed and theses sun rays over Lake Champlain
in Vermont seemed to finally herald spring's arrival.  

I arrived home a little before sunset.

It was still kind of balmly out. The breeze, which had been stiff and cold all week, felt like a was a warm embrace from an old friend.

I noticed the first tentative heads of daffodil greens poking out of the mud next to the shed. Those daffodils were apparently just getting the memo, too.

The dark clouds seemed to be parting over still frozen Lake Champlain, west of my house.

Suddenly, the sun broke through over the lake,  and these glorious warm rays spread out lovingly over the Champlain Valley. Sort of like a second coming.

On TV, the weather guys and gals were promising a week of mild temperatures. Those beautiful sun rays over Lake Champlain might have been happening at sunset, but this was clearly the long awaited  dawn of one of the most welcome springs I can remember in Vermont.


Saturday, April 11, 2015

More Video On That Big Illinois Tornado

A destroyed house in Rochelle, Illinois after Thursday's
large tornado. Photo from Getty Images.  
As always in these situations, we've got interesting perspectives on that giant tornado that ripped across northern Illinois on Thursday, killing two people, injuring 22 others and destroying a pretty sizeable number of homes and businesses.  

The National Weather Service gave the tornado a preliminary rating of EF4 on a scale of zero to 5, five being the strongest.

The Illinois tornado traveled for nearly 20 miles across northern Illinois, sometimes reaching up to a half mile wide. It had peak winds of between 180 and 200 mph.

Below, you'll see a video shot from a plane Friday, retracing the tornado's path. You can see how it widened and strengthened as it plowed across open fields, hitting some farm complexes, and narrowly missing others.

You can see the randomness of the damage. One farm trashed, the other literally steps away seeming unscathed. You can see how it tore through the village of Fairdale, turning one side of the tiny village to mincemeat, and pretty much leaving the other side alone.

Near the end of the tornado's path, you can see it narrowing. It sliced a skinny line of damage through an industrial complex, causing a narrow area of roof damage on one huge building.

Then, the tornado damaged one more farm, then, apparently, lifted. Watch:



Here's another video, this one from Severe Studios, a time lapse as tornado chasers followed the tornado, with part at the end a fairly close of view of the twister:

Friday, April 10, 2015

Watching Scary, Fatal Illinois Tornado In Real Time

Yesterday's giant tornado ripping through Rochelle, Ill.  
Us weather geeks, and some of the general public have been doing this for a few years now, but it still fascinates me.

With instantaneous media and technology, we watch disasters unfold in real time. We don't learn about them after the fact anymore.

So it was last evening as we watched an enormous, fast moving tornado rip across the northern Illinois countryside, live on our laptops and smart phones.

There were live feeds, videos and photos of the tornado and its damage put up minutes or seconds after the event happened, ever-changing radar images showing the progress of the storm and who would be targeted next.

The guilty part of this? It's disaster as live entertainment. Like a reality show,

Entertainment is a harsh word in this context, of course. I, and surely most people, were not happy or applauding to see the gigantic twister threaten lives and property.

We felt a sense of dread, not excitement, when we saw images of Grubsteakers Restaurant in Rochelle, Illinois, instantly reduced to rubble during the peak of the evening dining hour. Did anyone in there survive?  
Another image of that giant Illinois tornado.  

Happy spoiler alert: The restaurant's owner, a real hero, barked orders for everybody to go into a basement storm shelter as the storm approached. They were all trapped down there when a wall fell on the door, but were rescued, dusty but uninjured, about 90 minutes after the storm struck.

So it wasn't entertainment, exactly, maybe more like fascination, as the giant tornado kept at it on our computer screens. The storm was incredible, as most big tornadoes are. Its forward speed was frightening as it charged across the flat Illinois landscape.

Above the actual stout, wedge-shaped funnel, a fat, ragged cyclinder of clouds raced in a circle overhead. The clouds were white on the forward facing side as the sun tried to break through the clouds at the edge of the storm, and brown and black in the rest of the maelstrom.

Little fingers, mini funnels, sometimes reached out horizontally rom the main tornado. That's why we were glued to our screens watching this. It was a monster. A monster movie. Except the storm was real, and real people were suffering.

Unlike in a reality show, there were no winners.

The tornado killed one person, and injured at least eight others. Given the size of this storm, I suppose we're lucky it didn't kill more people. Still, one death and those injuries and that extensive damage is too much.

We'll go back today and look at some more updated videos, some of which are at the bottom of this post.

The tornado season is still young, and other large tornadoes could devastate other quiet Midwestern towns this spring and early summer.

When the next big tornado comes, we'll be back watching it live. And hoping the storms stay entertaining. By that I mean, completely missing any towns, villages, houses or farms.

From Live Storms Media, here's the Illinois tornado crossing Interstate 39:




Next video via Facebook, Stephanie Curtis:

Thursday, April 9, 2015

More Severe Weather In Midwest Today

A tornado near Deerhead, Kansas Wednesday evening
(Note the rainbow just to the right of the tornado)
Photo via Twitter, @Mark_Tarello.  
As expected, tornadoes, hail and severe thunderstorms slammed parts of the middle of the country yesterday, and more is coming today.

So far, there have been a total of 10 tornado reports from yesterday, all but one of them in open country in remote parts of Oklahoma and Kansas. (There was another tornado in Missouri)

The Oklahoma and Kansas tornadoes didn't cause much damage, and storm chasers got some decent images, so all is good.

So far.

That the tornadoes hit rural areas, and didn't last long, is of course great news. Let's hope that happens again today, but the rough weather is going to move into more populated areas.

The greatest chances of bad storms today are in the southern Great Lakes and the Ohio Valley, then down into the lower Mississippi Valley.
Beautiful mammatus clouds with a thunderstorm near
Slaton, Texas Wednesday. Photo via
Twitter by Mark Mahalik.  

In these areas tornadoes, large hail and severe winds are all possible. NOAA's Storm Prediction Center also said it can't rule out a large, strong tornado or two.

The area most under the gun includes Milwaukee, Chicago, Memphis, St. Louis, Cincinnati and Indianapolis, so as you can see there is a threat to populated areas.

Of course, I don't want to overhype this. As is almost always the case with severe weather outbreaks, most people will suffer no damage or injuries in this zone.

But a few unlucky people will. That's enough to heed warnings in those areas.  

If you get a tornado warning, definitely go hide in your basement under the warning expires. Don't go for a walk or a drive if they tell you a storm with large hail and damaging winds is approaching. Just hang out in a sturdy building away from windows until the storm passes.

A huge hailstone that landed
in Sullivan, Missouri Wednesday  
Watch out for flash floods, too. There was renewed flooding in Kentucky and surrounding areas yesterday as strong thunderstorms unleashed torrential rains on already oversaturated ground.

The same risk exists in the same part of the country today. If there's water on the road ahead of you, you can't be sure how deep it is. Just turn around if you encounter that.

The storms will move into the mid-Atlantic region tomorrow.

The storm system causing all this rough weather has a bit of a silver lining. It's going to push a warm front through New England early Friday, so that region of the country is in for a few days of mild spring weather.

There was two inches of new snow in most of Vermont last night, including outside my window in St. Albans, Vermont. So a warm spell would be welcome.

I don't know how long the warmth will last, but it will certainly go on for a few days before the chilly regime possibly returns later in the month.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

That Well Advertised Severe Weather Outbreak To Ramp Up Today

Tornadoes are possible in Oklahoma, Kansas
and Missouri today, but we hope no big ones
go through neighborhoods, like this one in Moore,
Oklahoma in 2013. Image fro KOCO.  
As has been advertised all week, a pretty good sized severe weather outbreak is going to get going in earnest today and continue tomorrow in the middle of the nation.

Yesterday, there were two reports of a brief tornado in Kansas.

Once again, Kentucky was nailed on Tuesday, as that state seems to be the focus of Mother Nature's wrath this year, as I've previously noted.

More flash flooding hit the state, less than a week after Kentucky flooding killed at least two people and left widespread damage to homes, businesses and roads.

A severe storm with a tornado warning just missed West Liberty, Kentucky, which was totally trashed  by a March, 2012 twister. No tornado has been reported to have touched down in Kentucky yesterday, but there were reports of wind damage and hail.

Today, the severe weather will become much more widespread than yesterday. The areas most at risk this afternoon and evening are Oklahoma, eastern Kansas, most of Missouri and western Illinois.

There's a pretty good chance some tornadoes will spin up in this region, and one or two of the tornadoes could become quite strong, says NOAA's Storm Prediction Center. 

I'm betting the inevitable storm chasers were already driving toward the predicted storm region as I wrote this early this morning.

People who don't get tornadoes might end with huge hailstones and damaging thunderstorm winds. The storms will probably head into Indiana and Kentucky (again!) tonight, with the risk of damaging storms there.

Tomorrow, the best chances of severe weather are in Illinois and southern Wisconsin, where there could be a few tornadoes, says the Storm Prediction Center. 

Bad storms could also occur anywhere through the central and southern Great Lakes, in the Ohio Valley and down all the way to northeastern Texas.

Possibly severe storms could reach the Mid-Atlantic coast Friday, and central Texas as well.

All these storms this week are part of a major weather pattern change that typically happens in the spring.

New England is the last to feel the effects of the pattern change warm up,  but it's starting to. Warm air briefly got into New England late last week, but the past few days, the region has been stuck to the north, the cold side, of a weather front.

This setup helped produce the coldest weather New England has ever seen in April, though that was confined to northern Maine. Periodic snows have been a daily occurence in parts of New England since Saturday, and that will continue today and tonight for some parts of the region.

Accumulations will be light. The warmer weather will finally break through into New England by Friday, and pretty much stay around for the next several days after that.




Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Severe Weather Popping Up In Nation's Middle For The Rest Of The Week

It's possible a tornado could do this kind of
damage this week somewhere in the middle of the
country, but we can hope that any tornadoes that
form are out in open country and miss towns.  
The nation's most significant outbreak of tornadoes, big hail and severe thunderstorm winds so far this season is almost sure to develop this week.

Actually, large parts of the country, in a line from Texas to Nebraska on east to the East Coast will have the threat of some type of severe weather at some time during the next few days.

From my perspective, it's interesting to try to thread the needle between overhyping things and being complacent right before a pretty big outbreak of bad weather.

On one hand, as Dennis Morrisseau outlined in the Gawker weather blog The Vane, there's a lot of screaming and yelling and pulling hair among the weather media and some of us weather geeks online

As bad as the Super Outbreak of April 27, 2011 when zillions died in tornadoes!!!! Zillions more across the nation at grave risk and we're all going to die this week of being blown away in unprecedented EF20 tornadoes!!!!!!!!! (Editor's note: There's no such thing as anything more powerful than an EF5 tornado)

So, reality check. Calm the hell down, will ya?

This tornado and severe storm outbreak will NOT be as bad as ones that happened on and around the April 27, 2011. That episode spun off something like 200 tornadoes that killed 313 people - a true, tragic, massive disaster.

While there's a chance that a couple neighborhoods could be totally trashed in this outbreak, which of course is bad news, this won't rise to the level of 2011.

And yes, technically, tens of millions of people are "at risk" of damaging and dangerous severe weather. However, for the overwhelming majority of these tens of millions of people, all they have to do is pay attention to forecasts and warnings, and get indoors when severe weather approaches.

A few of these people might end up cowering in basements as a tornado rips apart their houses above them, but for most people, the damage will be limited to maybe a brief power failure, a branch broken from the tree outside, or a little hail dent or two in Toyota Corolla parked in the driveway.

It's too bad we still can't predict the exact path of tornadoes more than a few minutes ahead of time.

On the other side is complacency. Some people hear a tornado warning, yawn, then go back to watching "The Big Bang Theory." And then complain bitterly and selfishly when the repeated tornado warnings pre-empt "The Big Bang Theory."

Or worse, when a warning is issued and the meteorologists tell you to go hide in the basement, people go outside to look for the funnel. Or even worse, get in their car and chase the damn tornado, even though they have no experience doing that and such a chase could be fatal.

After you watch this video of the ultimate stupidity, "Let's go for a leisurely walk amid falling baseball sized hailstones!" I'll get into the specifics of where, generally, and how extensive the severe weather might get.


Early this morning, a lone severe thunderstorm managed to pop up and roam across southeastern Kansas. That's the opening salvo.

A few, relatively isolated thunderstorms could get going this afternoon in and around Missouri, Iowa and Indiana today amid a general zone of showers, thunderstorms, rain and downpours. The tornado threat is quite low, but if one forms, the most likely area is southeastern Kansas. Several more spots will see some big hail and potentially damaging winds.

The real show starts tomorrow in Iowa, western Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma and maybe into parts of north Texas.

The forecasters at NOAA's Storm Prediction Center at this point are thinking the severe storms in this zone will be kind of widely scattered and certainly won't hit every place in this zone. But a few of the supercell storms that do form could be real doozies.

They'll grow explosively from just a cloud to a rotating supercell seemingly in minutes. Some of these supercells could spin off possibly a pretty strong tornado or two, a few weaker tornadoes, some gigantic hail and of course the ever present strong, damaging thunderstorm wind gusts.

The most active day will probably be Thursday and the focus will probably be in and around southern Wisconsin, Illinois, down the Mississippi Valley and through Arkansas, Missouri, Louisiana and northeastern Texas, says the Storm Prediction Center. 

There will probably be a hodgepodge of supercell thunderstorms out ahead of a cold front with the risk of tornadoes, and a line of bad storms just ahead of that cold front. Those storms, some severe, will move east into the Ohio Valley Thursday evening and night.

With the risk of tornadoes and other thunderstorm damage in this rather heavily populated area of the country, people will want to pay attention to forecasts and do what reputable forecasters tell you to do.

In other words, don't panic, but if you happen to get a tornado warning where you live and work, take shelter.

The worst of the storms tend to happen around the evening rush hour. If you're ready to drive home from work but there's a supercell or squall line close by and heading your way with big hail, strong winds or even a tornado, it's best not to drive home. Wait it out, wait until the worst of it goes by, then go home when it's safer.

On Friday, the threat of severe storms shifts to the Mid-Atlantic coast, from Georgia, up through the Carolinas and as far north as New Jersey.

There's the risk of more severe weather in the middle of the country possibly next weekend or next week as the weather pattern has evolved into a classic spring time one.

Which is good in terms of widespread mild temperatures but bad if you don't like rambunctious thunderstorms in the middle of the country.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Spring Taking Over Nation, But Bits And Pieces Of Winter Hang On. Especially Frigid Maine

Last Friday, spring seemed to arrive around my home
 in St. Albans, Vermont. By Saturday, as you can
see in the pick, my yard was once again a wintry
landscape of snow and icicles.  
Up where I live in northern Vermont, it seemed  like spring finally hit last Friday.

Under a lot of sunshine, the temperature soared into the 60s, and most of the snow finally melted from my yard.

By mid-morning Saturday, the yard was snow covered again, after a cold front combined with a storm system dumped a couple inches of snow.

The snow started to melt a bit Saturday afternoon, only to be replaced by more snow from a passing cold front early Sunday.

Some of that snow melted Sunday afternoon, but I awoke to another dusting of new snow this morning.

Such is the frustrating life of living in northern New England in early spring.

You try to count your blessings though. At least it's not all that cold in Vermont this Monday morning. Temperatures are in the 20s.

In northern Maine this morning, there's some pretty unprecedented cold for April. Big Black River Maine, reported 20 below! Presque Isle reported at least 13 below early today, and Houlton was at 12 below.  That is just insane for April.

These readings set a new record for coldest temperatures on record for New England.   The previous coldest April reading in the past I could find was -12 in Bloomfield, Vermont on April 1, 1923.

Back here in Vermont, at least the snow is no longer piling up. It's too late in the spring for that. Afternoons get above freezing, and things thaw a little bit, at least in the valleys here in Vermont.

True, it's probably going to snow a little again tonight, and maybe Tuesday night. And maybe a little on Wednesday. Bur during the afternoons, it'll go over to a cold rain, so I suppose that's an improvement.

Plus, the snow is staying in place at the ski areas. There was the best Easter weekend skiing in ages across Vermont and the rest of northern New England, so there's that.

AND, it'll probably warm into the 50s next weekend. Springlike enough. Maybe someday things will green up and flowers will bloom. One can only hope.

Meanwhile, most of the rest of the nation is enjoying spring weather. I say enjoying, because most of it is nice. But not all of it.

Being spring, the weather can be volatile in the middle of the country, and there's the risk around Wednesday and Thursday of a pretty nasty severe weather outbreak of tornadoes, hail, strong winds and flooding.

As I noted, winter is lingering in some areas, as it does most springs. There was a freezing rain advisory for parts of central Minnesota this morning, for instance. Snow is also expected in parts of the northern Rockies.

In a welcome bit of winter news, snow is expected this week in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. This comes after news last week that snowpack in the Sierra is at record lows, which means there won't be much water from snowmelt to feed the needs of drought-stricken California.

This week's snow in the Sierra will only be a drop in the bucket and certainly won't solve the state's drought problems. Not even close. But any precipitation in California is welcome.

At this point, I bet Californians wouldn't even mind these little repeated spring snows I keep getting at my Vermont house this week.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Two Terrifying Weather Videos, But Luckily, Nobody Got Hurt

Window washers being battered by
high winds slamming their carriage
into a skyscraper.  
Two weather-related videos are making the rounds around the web this weekend, in which weather probably terrified a few people, but in the end, everyone is OK.

The first video was taken in Shanghai, China, on the 91st floor of Shanghai World Financial Centre, the second tallest building in town.

High winds came in fast, and sent a window washing carriage with two occupants swinging wildly in the gale and smashing, hard and repeatedly, against the walls of the building.

Rescue workers eventually smashed some windows on the skyscraper to reach the window washers, who were shaken up but not badly injured, says news.com.au.

The video of the window washing nightmare was taken by an office worker inside the skyscraper:


Next, we go to Seattle, Washington, where an unusually strong thunderstorm for that part of the country rolled in on Wednesday.

Cold air aloft and converging winds contributed to the storms, which dumped heavy hail in parts of the area and created lots of lightning strikes.

A person taking a video near the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport managed to catch two separate airliners getting struck by lightning.

Lightning often strikes passenger aircraft, which are designed to take such hits. But it's still briefly scary for the people in the planes, and sometimes for people watching from the ground

See for yourself:


Saturday, April 4, 2015

My Nominee For Worst Weather Place In The World Is Kentucky

Simone Wester and her seven month old son Jeremiah
flee their flooded Louisville apartment on Friday
Photo by Timothy Easley/AP  
Oh, it must have been SO much fun living in Louisville, Kentucky on Friday. There were flash flood warnings, flood warnings, a tornado watch and a shelter in place warning for heavy smoke.

This pretty much seals the deal for Kentucky: It's the state with the worst weather in the nation.

Oh, sure, California is hogging all the headlines with its epic drought. And New England got lots of attention for its brutally cold winter and record snows.

(News flash: As I wrote this Saturday morning, it was snowing outside my Vermont window. Again. Just a day after I was teased with a sunny day with highs in the 60s.)

Anyway, my April snowfall is still a lot better than the conditions in Kentucky so far this year.

Let's review:

In February, Kentucky got near record snowfalls, some of the coldest temperatures on record in the state, a damaging ice storm, and some flooding.

On March 5, parts of Kentucky had their biggest snowstorm on record, with up to two feet of powder falling. Some people were stranded by the snow on Interstate highways for up to 12 hours.

This snow was followed by the coldest temperatures on record in a good chunk of Kentucky.

Then the snow melted in mid March. Along with some rain, flooding hit the state. The Ohio River along the Ohio-Kentucky border went well above flood stage. 

Then yesterday hit. Repeated torrential thunderstorms in Louisville and much of the rest of the state caused some huge flash flooding, requiring hundreds of rescues of people stranded in flooded homes and cars.

Many areas received four to seven inches of rain in just a few hours.

Sadly, a mother and child were swept away in a flooded car and are presumed dead.  A camper in a tent died in Kentucky and her husband was critically injured when a large tree branch fell on them during a severe storm.

Damage was widespread, to say the least.

Then, a massive GE warehouse caught fire. It's unclear if the fire was at all weather related, but the thick smoke prompted a shelter in place warning for people living nearby. They had to shut their doors and windows and stay inside because of the possibly toxic smoke.

On top of this, most of Kentucky was under a tornado watch Friday afternoon. Luckily, there were no reports of tornado touchdowns, but strong thunderstorm winds caused scattered damage, and the new afternoon thunderstorms worsened the flooding.

For tonight and tomorrow morning, frost and freeze alerts are up for much of Kentucky.

I'm not sure what's next for Kentucky in the weather department. We do know there's the possibility of more heavy rain and severe storms in Kentucky later next week.

After that, locusts?