Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Wednesday Evening Update: Joaquin And The Euro

Strengthening Hurricane Joaquin Wednesday afternoon
with sustained winds of 85 mph. 
The talented guys and gals at the National Hurricane Center must be pulling their hair out, if they have any left.

They're struggling with battling forecast models on what the future of Hurricane Joaquin is going to be.  

Plus, the stakes are high: Joaquin could cause a HUGE disaster somewhere on the U.S. East Coast if it makes landfall there, which it well might.

PLUS, at this point, with such an uncertain forecast, when and how does the National Hurricane Center basically press the button and issue warnings for the United States, and how do you do it without causing either panic or complacency?

PLUS PLUS, There's already dangerous weather occuring and brewing on the East Coast, whether or not Joaquin arrives or not. One batch of torrential rain is exiting the northeastern United States, causing patches of nasty flooding in spots from the Gulf Coast of Alabama to Downeast Maine.

More bouts of flooding rains are due along the East Coast, again, with or without Joaquin, over the coming days. If people have to prepare for a hurricane how best to do it amid very inclement weather, or worse, weather that is already causing a disaster?

PLUS PLUS PLUS: Most forecasting models want to forecast Hurricane Joaquin to make landfall somewhere between North Carolina and New Jersey.

The outlyer in this is the European model, Euro for short. It's usually quite reliable. You might remember the Euro as the one that told us that Hurricane Sandy would take a sharp left turn and hit New Jersey. The Euro told us this days before it would happen, and during a time when most of the other forecasting models said Sandy would cruise by off the coast and we shouldn't think it was a big deal.

Of course, Sandy was a big, BIG deal.

Now, The Euro is arguing with many of the forecasting models again. The Euro keeps Joaquin well off the coast, and has it heading northeastward out to sea instead of hitting the United States.

Yes, the Euro is reliable. But it doesn't mean it's right this time. Nobody knows whether its right or not.

The National Weather Service and the National Hurricane Center is trying to get as much data as possible on weather patterns. In fact they're going through extreme efforts. The more data the forecasting computer models have, the better the chances they'll come up with an accurate forecast.

Hurricane hunter planes have been buzzing Joaquin. Local National Weather Service offices in the eastern half of the United States have been frantically launching weather balloons, so we can get data upwind from the hurricane, to see how the trough of low pressure and weather fronts and such will affect Joaquin's motion.

Most of the computer models think the big trough of low pressure, which is a big dip in the jet stream over the East Coast, will grab Joachin and suck him north and west toward the East Coast.

The Euro model is noticing Joaquin is currently headed toward the southwest, with his eye on the Bahamas. Apparently, the Euro thinks Joaquin will dip far enough south that it will be out of reach from the pesky trough further north over the eastern United States.

Instead a frontal system and the remnants of Tropical Storm Ida would pull Joaquin toward the northeast and way from the United States, the Euro is thinking.

Don't ask me or anybody else to read the minds of these murky computer models. All we can do is let forecasters keep crunching the data, and maybe by tomorrow we'll have a better guess on where Joaquin is going. Maybe.

The bottom line: If Joaquin misses, parts of the eastern United States are in for some major flooding regardless of missing out on a hurricane.

If Joaquin hits, we're in for a major natural disaster.

If you're anywhere in the eastern United States, especially from southern New England to the Carolinas, you really, really want to keep an eye on this.

With Or Without Joaquin, East Coast In For A Flood

Visible satellite view of Hurricane Joaquin this morning
It could threaten the increasingly soggy East Coast Monday. 
The first round of torrential downpours is crossing the Northeast,  having trekked from the Gulf Coast through the Mid-Atlantic States and on into New England.

Flood alerts are up. This is the first wave of what promises to be several waves of dangerous downpours for much of the eastern United States. Beware, this could be scary in spots.

Yesterday, I said that things were totally uncertain and there was a mix of hype and genuine forecasting concern out there.

That's still true today, but things are a little more in focus now. Still, expect big changes in the forecasts in the coming days, with various areas coming under threat from floods at different times.

Hurricane Joaquin is going to enter the picture. We don't know exactly what effect he'll have on this mess. But whether or not the hurricane ultimately comes ashore on the East Coast or stays well off the coast, there's still going to be a bunch of rain. And I mean a BUNCH!

These flooding threats over the next week or so are going to hit some of the most populated areas of the nation. I wouldn't be surprised, if some of the forecasting models are right, that this has the potential to be a billion dollar disaster, given the huge area of the country under threat from the downpours.

I don't think I've ever seen computer models forecast seven or more inches of rain over several days in one, 1,000 mile stretch of the nation. But I've seen it this time.

TODAY

The first wave of rain caused flooding Monday in the Mobile, Alabama area and in the Florida Panhandle. Tuesday, parts of the mid-Atlantic states were targeted, especially western Virginia.

Today, the focus of heavy rain is across New England and eastern New York. More than four inches of rain might fall in some areas, especially Maine, parts of New Hampshire, the southern half of Vermont and northern Massachusetts.

Already, Burlington, Vermont had had a storm total of 2.78 inches as of 8 a.m. Wednesday,  It was still raining steadily there.

Even though New England had a dry September up until now, there is a real threat of flooding today.  Nothing like Hurricane Irene in 2011, for sure, but still something to be careful about. Already, flood warnings were flying for much of western New Hampshire and southwestern Maine as of 8 a.m.

NEXT UP

The focus then shift south of the Mid Atlantic states, possibly as far north as southern New England as a stalled front, tropical moisture moving north and a strong high pressure system from the north feeds in gusty Atlantic air from the east.

The potential for heavy rain over the next couple of days, into Saturday have little to do with Joaquin, which will still be drifting vaguely toward the United States, but still east of the Bahamas.

The U.S. rains later this week and into the weekend are called a "predecessor" storm. Often along the East Coast, before a hurricane, the weather pattern features fronts and moisture that slam certain areas with flooding rains.

The devil is in the details here, as we don't know where the focus of heaviest rain will be, but somewhere between North Carolina and Maryland, at least half a foot of rain could come down between Thursday and Saturday. A few computer models forecast a FOOT of rain.

This would lead to flooding, obviously, since it's already rained hard there the past couple days. If things come together just right, the flooding could be particularly severe and disastrous in some areas.

Again, stay tuned.

THEN THERE"S JOAQUIN

Formerly weak Tropical Storm Joaquin strengthened robustly overnight and as of 8 a.m. was a Category 1 hurricane with top sustained winds of 75 mph.  .

During El Nino years, which we have now, strong upper level winds tend to rip apart nascent tropical storms in the Atlantic and we've seen that over and over this year. 
Various computer models are a little more focused
on Joaquin's future track than yesterday. Many
bring the hurricane into the U.S. East Coast
but there's still no guarantee that will happen.

This time, the upper level winds are relaxing in a small part of the Atlantic. The part where Joaquin is. So it can strengthen.

Also, in general, the warmer the water, the better chance a tropical storm has of strengthening.

Water temperatures are at record high levels east of the Bahamas, which again happens to be right where Joaquin is hanging out.

Joaquin is taking full advantage of that and it will almost surely strengthen today. 

The next question is, What's Joaquin up to after drifting slowly on vacation slowly westward or southwestward east  of the Bahamas the next few days.

Well, eventually, the stalled front and big trough of low pressure causing all those flood problems on the East Coast will pick it up and fling Joaquin northward.

But exactly where? Things are a little more clear with Joaquin's path than yesterday, but they're still very uncertain. Joaquin could move northeastward, off the coast. That would fling some moisture back into the already wet East Coast storminess and make the flooding that much worse, but it wouldn't be a worst case scenario.

Other computer models take Joaquin and have it come ashore, maybe Monday somewhere in the Carolinas or Mid-Atlantic Coast. That would be a HUGE disaster, given the wind, the storm surge and especially the inland flooding that result in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.

As a side note, you might remember that in 2012, the European computer model, well in advance, told us Superstorm Sandy would hit the U.S. East Coast while the other models said it would miss.

Well, the European model was famously right and warned us well in advance.

This time, the European takes Joaquin far out to sea while many of the other forecasting models have the  hurricane hitting the coast.

Just because the European model was right with Sandy doesn't mean it will be right with Joaquin. Residents should still start preparing for a possible hurricane. But it will be interesting to see what happens.

The idea of Joaquin coming ashore is a scary scenario, but we just don't know if it's going to happen yet. Keep an eye on it. You'll see updates everywhere, including in this blog thingy.

Meanwhile, if you're anywhere in the eastern United States, keep an ear to forecasts. If there's any kind of flood warning, do what they advise. If they say evacuate now, do it. Now.

Every time there's a flood, people also drive onto flooded roads and get stuck. Or worse, washed away. I have no idea why people ignore the "Turn Around, Don't Drown slogan.

Please, don't be an idiot.

And we'll keep an eye on this weather event, which is pretty wild, if you ask me.


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Reality Or Hype? U.S. Northeast Forecasts Range From Inclement To Catastrophic

Potential forecast tracks for Tropical Storm Joaquin
or its remnants. As you can see, forecasts are
still uncertain and anything could happen.  
We do know the Northeastern United States is in for a stormy seven days or so, beginning today.

What we don't know, despite some wild forecasts you might see being hyped on social media, is whether this will turn out ot be just unpleasant, or disastrous.

My guess - and really just a guess at this point - is something worse than just unpleasant but also something that falls well short of catastrophic is going to happen.

But anyone who lives in this part of the country should DEFINITELY pay attention to forecasts between now and Sunday.

Let's break down what we know and what we don't know.

The forecast through Wednesday is a easier to decipher than what's coming this weekend.

The first round of rain has started.   Early this morning, I heard the steady drumbeat of rain outside my house in St. Albans, a small city in far northwestern Vermont.

That's a good thing. It had gotten awfully dry, and I sure do appreciate the rain.

It's dry in most of New England. We know that this first round of rain will be heavy. This is a good thing. We need a good soaking.

But also this is maybe a bad thing. Between now and Wednesday night, many areas might get too much rain in too short a time.

A slow moving cold front is interacting with lots of moisture, some of it from what were wannabe tropical storms in the Gulf of Mexico that really never got their act together.

But these wannabes helped collect LOTS of moisture that's headed north along and ahead of the cold front.

Two to four inches of rain would be great for New England, but you'd want to spread it out over a couple weeks. However, that amount of rain, with possibly higher totals, is coming mostly between this afternoon and Wednesday evening.
The National Weather Service is calling for three
to as much as eight inches of rain across
the Northeast over the next seven days. This
forecast is totally subject to change. 

That amout of rain in such a short period of time can cause flooding. Flood watches are up for a wide area through much of central and southern New England and down the spine of the Appalachians.

There's a bit of a break in the weather coming Thursday, then we get into the next round.

I've seen hype forecasts based on some of the computer models - ones in which the models go off the rails. I've seen one of a Superstorm Sandy like storm slamming into New Jersey, just like Sandy did.

I've seen another showing widespread rainfall of a foot or so in western New England. That would be three months worth of rain in three days. I've seen another depicted a strong hurricane or hybrid slamming into Long Island or New England.

All these scenarios are plausible, I guess, but pretty damn unlikely. That doesn't mean the Northeast is out of the woods on this. It could still get nasty and dangerous this weekend, so stay tuned.

Frankly, I might be a bit guilty of spreading the hype. I do re-tweet and share some of these dire forecasts. Just know it's not because I necessarily endorse them. I just think they're interesting.

Honestly, nobody has a good handle on the forecast. Things are just too complex, too weird to make a good forecast just yet.

So far, Tropical Storm Joaquin has formed, as expected, about 385 miles northeast of the Bahamas.

Meanwhile, there will be a very strong, juicy and soaking wet frontal system and storminess approaching the East Coast. How will Joaquin and the very wet system in the eastern United States interact, if at all?

This is such a complex weather pattern that nobody knows for sure. So if you're looking at forecasts today and tomorrow and you see one for this weekend that says with "certainty" something is going to happen this weekend, just know that forecast is total bullshit.

The National Hurricane Center, whose meteorologists usually have a pretty damn good handle on what tropical storms are going to do, are clueless about Joaquin. That's not a knock against them. It's just that this weather pattern is so weird, and the forecasting computer models disagree so sharply, that Joaquin's future is anyone's guess.

Joaquin might stay out to sea. It might get absorbed into the East Coast front and just cause a torrential rainstorm. Or maybe such an extreme downpour that flooding will become fairly widespread. Or it might retain its form as a tropical storm and hit Long Island or New England. Like I said, everyone is totally clueless on this one right now.

My advice: Just pay attention to forecasts as we get closer to the weekend if you live anywhere in the northeastern United States. There is the potential for a lot of rain and a lot of flooding in some areas. If that materializes, we don't know exactly where yet or how bad it will get,  so just wait.

There might also be some problems with high winds and coastal flooding in some areas, but again, stay tuned.

I don't think forecasts, even the day before anything hits, will be right on the money, but by Friday, they'll be pretty close.

We'll keep you posted

Monday, September 28, 2015

East Coast Rains To Be Too Much Of A Good Thing

Ocean surging onto the beach in Duck, North Carollina
this weekend. More coastal erosion is likely all week.  
It's been dry during the late summer and early autumn up and down most of the East Coast, but that sure is changing this week.

An interesting weather pattern has been setting up over the past couple of days and will come into full force this week.

The weather pattern will feature lots of rain, some wind, and especially damaging tides and beach erosion up and down the East Coast. Those coastal problems have already started.

Generally, the expected big rains are welcome because it has been so dry, but in some places, this might turn out to be too much of a good thing.

Some of the heavy rain has started too. The Carolinas, which had been dry, have gotten locally five or more inches of rain since late last week.

More rain is developing. There are flood watches now in the Florida Panhandle, which had also been dry. There has already been some nasty flooding around Mobile, Alabama. 

Over the course of the next seven days, three to five inches of rain could come down from the Middle Atlantic states into the eastern half of New England.

The weather pattern that's causing all this features a strong high pressure system over eastern Canada. Once it fully sets up, it won't move much most of the week. The clockwise winds around the high will bring lots of east to northeast winds to much of the East Coast.

The long fetch of east winds over water and astronomically high tides will continue the beach erosion and flooding during high tides that much of the East Coast has experienced the past couple of days.
High tides thsi weekend bring a kayaker
into the streets near Norfolk, Virginia  

That flooding could get worse as storminess increases along the coast, too. There's been a lot of wannabe tropical systems that never quite got going, including what was Tropical Storm Ida.

There's oodles of moisture with these wannabe systems, and just a general flow of intense wetness wanting to come up the East Coast.

On top of that, a tropical depression has formed between Bermuda and Florida. 

It will probably increase in strength a little to become Tropical Storm Joaquin.  There is a chance Joaquin or its remnants could head toward New England maybe next weekend.

That would increase the potentially flooding rains, the winds and the coastal flooding and erosion.

Luckily, as noted, it's been dry in New England and elsewhere in the East, so any flooding that does develop won't be as bad as it had been wet.

Inland in New England, where I live in Vermont, I was working in the yard yesterday and it was dust, dust, dust. A good one to three inches of rain is due in Vermont over the next seven days, which will be nice.

Not so nice is the long, long stretch of wave action on the coast. Expect lots of reports of serious beach erosion and repeated inundation of low lying areas.

This won't be anything like the epic coastal flooding of Superstorm Sandy in 2012, but the repeated high water and wave battering all this week is going to cause a lot of headaches, for sure.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Watch That Supermoon Eclipse Tonight Or Else!

If it's clear where you are tonight, the moon
will look something like this during the eclipse.  
The buzz among science and weather geeks tonight is the Supermoon eclipse.

It won't lead to any major scientific discoveries, but the Supermoon eclipse is Supercool for everybody, including anybody. Every average Joe and Jane. And those who like to howl at the moon.

Normal moon eclipses happen pretty often. Maybe once a year, even twice. It happens when the Earth gets in the way of the sun, so it stops shining on the moon.

What makes tonight's Supermoon thingy great is the moon is closer to the Earth than it almost always is. It's at Perigee, which means it's 31,000 miles closer to the Earth that at its farthest point. (The moon''s orbit isn't perfectly round, of course, so sometimes its closer to the Earth, sometimes is further away.)

When we have a Supermoon, to us Earthlings it appears 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than it usually does.

The moon was almost full last night, and I went outside under clear skies into my Vermont property, and I sure as hell didn't need a flashlight. It almost felt like daylight.

Lining up an eclipse with the Supermoon doesn't happen that often. It has happened in about 30 years, and after tonight, you won't see it again for until 2033.

So hope it doesn't get cloudy and get out that and watch.

It'll start at around 9:07 Eastern Time tonight, when it will start to appear a little nibble is being taken out of a side of the moon. That nibble will gradually spread across the moon until 10:11 when it's "eaten up."

You'll still see the moon during total eclipse, which peaks at 10:47 p.m. Eastern Time. It'll appear blood red. You'll really want to howl at the moon at this point. Just watch out for those noise complaints from neighbors

Of course, you'll want clear skies to see it. On the East Coast of the United States, generally the further north you go, the clearer it will be. Basically most of New England should be OK. But from the New York City metro area south, not so much.  
AccuWeather has this sky forecast for viewing
during tonights Supermoon eclipse. If you're in the green
, great viewing, yellow is so-so and red is kinda bad.

Luckily for me, the forecast for tonight at my perch in northwestern Vermont is for mostly clear skies and mild temperatures for this time of year.

Down into the Middle Atlantic states and the Carolinas, it'll probably be mostly cloudy tonight, but you might get a glimpse.

By the way, since the moon is closer to Earth than usual, the tides it causes are higher than normal.

The combination of this Supermoon, and a  weather pattern that features a wide flow of easterly winds over the Atlantic that piles water onto the U.S East Coast, coastal flood advisories and warnings are up for much of the Middle Atlantic Coast.

I also hate to say this, but the fact that sea levels are rising due to climate change and the land on the East Coast is sinking due to geological processes, this Supermoon flooding is a little worse than it would have been a few decades ago, before global warming really kicked in.

Chances are, especially if the weather patterns are right, the Supermoon flooding in 2033 could be even worse.

But now I'm getting gloomy, so I'll stop now. Just go out there tonight if you can and enjoy those eclipse moonbeams. You won't be disappointed.


Saturday, September 26, 2015

Slow Weather News, So Time For Some Music/Weather Song Favorites

A still from the music video for "Tornado" by Little Big
Town, one of my favorite "weather songs."  
Weather news has been kinda slow lately.

True, we had that tornado in South Carolina yesterday morning. There's going to be some minor coastal flooding today along the Mid-Atlantic seaboard. Hawaii has some unpleasant weather coming from Tropical Storm Niala this weekend.

And the supermoon eclipse is coming. I'll have a post on that tomorrow morning.

But since things are slow, my mind is wandering to songs that involve weather. There's so MANY of them of course. There's those multitudes of Christmas songs that pratter on and on about snow.

Rain is always present. "Purple Rain"  "Rain Drops Keep Falling On My Head," "Rainy Night in Georgia," "Rainy Days and Mondays Always Get Me Down."

Nice weather is well represented, too. "Walking On Sunshine." "Aquarius/Let The Sun Shine In." "Country Sunshine." "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me." "Here Comes The Sun." "Soak Up The Sun."

Storms are always present, too. "Hurricane," the Bob Dylan classic about the boxer is in there, for instance.

Arguably my two favorite weather songs are about big storms. One is directly about one famous storm, the other is a metaphor.

View of the sunken Edmund Fitzgerald in Lake Superior.
It's the subject of one of my favorite weather songs.  
The one directly related to weather is "The Wreck Of the Edmund Fitzgerald," the Gordon Lightfoot classic that documents the real life disaster of a ship going down in an epic 1975 Lake Superior storm.

The shipwreck killed 29 people. The 40th anniversary of the disaster is coming up on November 10.

The music in "The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald" evokes gloom and towering waves and danger and I always get a little seasick when I hear it, but it's still just so well done.

My other favorite weather song is "Tornado" by Little Big Town.

It's sung from the point of view of a woman promising revenge on a cheating boyfriend.

There's lyrics such as these:

"Thought you'd take a swing
Try another girl, try another night.
But it's the pain that brings my force of nature back to life
I'm a tornado more disturbed than an F5.

Bonus points to a country band that makes a weather geek reference to the Fujita scale of tornadoes that mean an F5 is the worst, strongest tornadoes. They're EF5's nowadays, for the Enhanced Fujita scale, but I quibble.

Like "Wreck Of the Edmund Fitzgerald," the musical arrangement of "Tornado"  evokes the feeling you get under the type of weather they're talking about. With "Tornado" the music makes you feel the threat and dread of a threatened twister.

Tell me what your favorite weather song is too, but posting a comment on this blog post.

Anyway,  here's two videos of the my two favorite weather songs. First, "Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald" and, next, tornado.






Thursday, September 24, 2015

Government Shutdown Could Affect Weather Forecasts

This is the message that greeted us on the
National Weather Service web site during
the 2013 government shutdown. It might be
about to happen again.  
The morons in Washington DC who want to shut down the federal government to score their elusive political points instead of serving their nation might even affect your weather forecasts.

By the way, if Congress Creatures and the grandstanders among them don't get their act together by September 30, there might be another government shutdown even stupider than the one in 2013.

Thanks Ted Cruz! 

Marshall Shepherd, writing in Forbes, says National Weather Service forecasts will go on, just as they did in the last government shutdown, but there are risks that things won't go smoothly.

For starters, we wouldn't have the great access to NWS products that we're used to, and there are a lot of 'em.

The last time we went through this ridiculousness, National Weather Service web sites were down, except for the parts that conveyed critical weather forecasts and updates during dangerous weather.

That was frustrating to say the least, because it's the go to place for all things weather.

True, there are private weather forecasters and other outlets, like the Weather Channel and AccuWeather, that do a fine job.

But Shepherd points out in Forbes that even these outfits depend on NWS and federal resources.

He writes: "Satellites monitoring the tropics for looming threat of hurricanes are federal assets. The dual-polarimetric, Doppler radar network watching for tornadic storms or flood-inducing rains are federal assets. The major weather models that provide day-to-day and long range forecasts are federal assetts.

I have often said, 'We wouldn't have french fries with the potato farmer, yet most people just see the french fries.'"

Many of the federal assets Shepherd describes would still run during a shutdown, but if something went wrong with them, maybe nobody would be around to  maintain them.

And what of morale among all federal employees, including NWS meteorologists?  Many would keep working while being promised to be paid eventually during a shutdown, but geez, talk about an employer - the federal government and Congress - disrespecting their employees!

I wonder how many talented NWS meteorologists would flee, leaving a weaker agency?

Shepherd takes an even handed, sober approach in his Forbes article, which is better than I can do.

I can't take that approach. So hey Congress Creatures: Stop your stupid politicizing and being big dicks and get to work!

Do your job!

Thanks for letting me rant.


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Exxon Saw Global Warming Coming, Shrugged

Did Exxon put profits and PR before science?
A damning report from Inside Climate News
suggests this was the case.  
The buzz in the past week has been on Inside Climate News' expose of Exxon and its early research into global warming, and then the fateful choice it made.

The Pulitzer-winning publication cited the work of James F. Black, who was an Exxon scientist back in the 1970s and 1980s.

As early as 1977, Black gave Exxon a blunt assessment that carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere could change the climate, with potentially dangerous results.  He said there could be extremes of heat, drought and floods.

This is a good 11 years before the concept of global warming really blasted onto the public stage, when NASA scientist James Hansen testified before Congress that this was a looming issue. Black's warning was basically in line with what we now understand about global warming. Even after all kinds of new data and studies have come in about the subject.

However, sometime in the middle 1980s, Exxon changed course, according to reporting from Inside Climate News:

"Then, toward the end of the 1980a, Exxon curtailed its carbon dioxide research. In the decades that followed, Exxon worked instead at the forefront of climate denial. It put its muscle behind efforts to manufacture doubt about the reality of global warming its own scientists had once confirmed. It lobbied to block federal and international action to control greenhouse gas emission. It helped ot erect a vast edifice of misinformation that stands to this day."

Critics say Exxon could have benefitted the world had they continued to study, and change their business model to accommodate climate change. Instead, say wags, they decided to make money instead.

For its part, Exxon disputes Inside Climate News' account. Exxon isn't talking to Inside Climate News, saying their reporting is wildly inaccurate. Inside Climate News stands by its reporting.

On Sunday, though,  Exxon spokesman Robert Kiel appeared on the NPR/WYNC radio show "On The Media." Co-host Bob Garfield went after the guy pretty aggressively, but the Exxon dude stuck to his talking points.

Kiel said that Exxon has continued global research uninterrupted since the 1970s. Kiel didn't dispute that Exxon was behind the campaign to sow doubt about climate change and muddy the science for the public, but said it is not doing so now.

Still, Exxon seemed to know early on something was seriously dangerous about too much CO2 emissions. It would have been great had they pursued the science, and maybe revamped the company into an alternative fuel powerhouse or something like that.

But, often its easier and more profitable to keep doing what you're doing. Hey, you gotta keep the shareholders and executives happy, right? Even if it hurts other people. Go figure.







Then, toward the end of the 1980s, Exxon curtailed its carbon dioxide research. In the decades that followed, Exxon worked instead at the forefront of climate denial. It put its muscle behind efforts to manufacture doubt about the reality of global warming its own scientists had once confirmed. It lobbied to block federal and international action to control greenhouse gas emissions. It helped to erect a vast edifice of misinformation that stands to this day.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Normal New England September Weather Today To Seem Shocking After Endless Summer Heat

My yard and trees in northwestern Vermont were still
looking awfully green this morning for this late in the season.  
Today where I live in Vermont and in the rest of northern New England, high temperatures will be in the 60s today, and there will be pockets of frost in the mountain valleys tonight.

This kind of weather is exactly normal for the third week in September, but to lots of us, it will seem shockingly, bitter cold.

That's because our endless summer had us steaming in July weather almost constantly from early August to just yesterday.

The heat has been on this month in much of the rest of the country, too, and the rest of the world for that matter.

In Burlington, Vermont, the mean temperature for September through yesterday was 72.1, or a whopping 9.2 degrees above normal.  Normal for July is cooler than this September so far by about a degree and a half.

Fourteen of the first 19 days of September in Burlington have gone above 80 degrees, pretty much unheard of for September. For comparison, only 10 of the first 19 days of July, 2015 got above 80.

In New England, famed for its fall foliage, trees are confused. The process of trees turning from green to bright autumn colors is very, very late. It will happen, and soon, but not only does it feel like mid summer in Vermont, it very nearly looks like it, too.

As I noted, starting today, it will be cooler in Vermont and the Northeast. But we still have a shot of experiencing the hottest September on record. Temperatures in the upcoming week will be slightly above normal, though there are signs of cold snap at the end of the month.

The heat really is uncharted territory.

And it's certainly not just Burlington, Vermont in the hot zone this month. According to a blog post in  WeatherUnderground by Bob Henson last week,  American cities as widely scattered as Portland, Maine, Flint, Michigan, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Denver and Sioux Falls, South Dakota have a decent shot at experiencing their hottest Septembers on record.

The United States heat has been shifting around, but pretty consistent. This weekend, record heat is forecast in much of California. Bad news there, since wildfires thrive on heat and drought, and they've had more than their share of fire disasters this year.

Overseas, it's the same story. The nation of Croatia, four cities in Germany, Sarajevo, Bosnia/Herzegovinia, among other places, have had their hottest September days on record this month.

Not everyone is sharing in the heat. Seattle, Washington has had an unheard of 18 consecutive months of warmer than normal tempeatures, but that streak looks like it might end this month. September, 2015 in Seattle has been running a little cooler than average.

On a global basis, 2015 is almost a sure bet to become the hottest on record. Based on the anecdotal evidence of added heat in September, that global 2015 heat record seems even more solidly locked in.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Tornado Drama Near Kansas City On Friday

Tornado in Hilldale, Kansas Friday. 
September isn't usually a big time of year for tornadoes, with the exception of the times a hurricane makes landfall and spins off twisters.

But tornadoes not related to tropical storms do hit in September from time to time and so it was near Kansas City, where a pretty dramatic one touched down Friday.

The storm damaged or destroyed several homes and caused minor injuries to a few people, the Kansas City Star reported.

Luckily, the area the storm hit wasn't really the most densely populated area around Kansas City, or the damage would have been worse.

The tornado did its most damage around the town of Hilldale, Kansas.

Here's a video of the tornado from StormChasingVideo.com. Check out the very end when the tornado, now narrow, crosses a bridge right near the videographer:


Friday, September 18, 2015

Broken Record Post on Broken Heat Records Again Around The World

The heat is on. August was the hottest on record
for the Earth. 2015 will be, too.  
I'm basically cutting and pasting posts that I seem to be filing once a month here in this weather blog thingy, but it's important.

Like I said after worldwide data temperature came in after February, March, May, June and July, August, 2015 turns out to be hottest August on record for the world, according to NOAA's Center for Environmental Information.

The Japan Meteorological Society and Britain's Met Office came to similar conclusions about August.

We are in uncharted territory as far as global heat goes. I don't think there's ever been seven months in one year that set new records for global high temperatures.

Scientists say there's a 97 percent chance - a near certainty - that 2015 will be the hottest year on record for the globe. That would beat the record set just last year. And the British Met Office predicted that 2016 could be even hotter. 

So much for the "pause" in global warming people talked about earlier this decade. It was really a faux pause anyway, since warming did continue during that period.

El Nino, that periodic warming of the eastern Pacific Ocean, has gotten stronger. El Ninos pump massive amounts of heat into the atmosphere, which boosts global temperature. That, and the fact that greenhouse gases are raising the Earth's temperature, explain the 2015 heat.

Of course, El Nino will eventually wane. Not every year going forward will be the hottest ever. Perhaps 2017 and 2018 will not quite score as Number One for global heat.  But overall, El Nino or no El Nino, the trend in temperatures across the globe is ever and ever higher. Get used to it.

NOAA's report is a global analysis released monthly that examines the Earth's temperature and precipitation patterns.

This months' report, released yesterday. also said that this summer, June through August, was obviously the hottest on record. Arctic sea ice was at its fourth lowest level on record. Antarctic sea ice, which has actually showing a slow expanding trend in recent decades, reversed course at least temporarily and was a bit below normal.

Another trend continued in August that we've seen all year. While most of the world was hot, a patch of the North Atlantic, and parts of the American Midwest, were a little cooler than normal.

So far this year, no fewer than a dozen nations and territories have recorded their hottest temperatures on record. The locations pan the globe and include the U.S. Virgin Islands, Germany, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Venezuela and Ghana.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Hilarious Video Shows Panic As Rain Invades Los Angeles

Rain clouds gather over Los Angeles earlier
this year. Time to panic! Photo from Reuters.  
Yesterday, I told you how Los Angeles had its second rainiest September day on record, with more than two inches of precipitation recorded.

Buzzfeed responded by releasing a video that shows how Angelenos respond to rare instances when it rains. Lots of commenters say the video is pretty accurate.

Love the panic in this video over - get this- a dangerous quarter inch of rain!!

Watch:

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Rainy Los Angeles Is Great News, But.....

A rare rainy September day in Los Angeles.
Photo by Richard Vogel/AP  
Yesterday, Los Angeles got 2.39 inches of rain, it's second wettest September day on record.

This was a real bonus, because it doesn't normally rain much at all in southern California in September.

There have only been seven September days since the 1880s in L.A. with an inch or more of rain, notes Capital Weather Gang.

So, this helps with the epic drought, but only a little. The hope is this rain is a harbinger of an upcoming wet winter to help ease the drought. But it would take a LOT of precipitation to end the drought.  

Most of California needs two years worth of rain to end the drought. Good luck with that.

The heavy California rain this week is due to the remnants of Hurricane Linda, which spun off the coast of Mexico last week.

The rains, though welcome, brought tragedy. That moisture from Linda caused that horrible flash flood in Utah. The death toll is now up to 16 and four are still missing, says The Weather Channel. 

Twelve of the dead were in the small town of Hilldale, where their vehicles got swept off roads by flash floods. Four others died in the canyons of Zion National Park.

This will be a continued risk if El Nino gives California and nearby states a wet winter, as many are predicting. The rain will be welcome, but the bursts of heavy rain could lead to more flash floods, mudslides and other havoc during the winter.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

ANOTHER Disaster: Utah Flash Flood Kills Eight People

People being rescued in yesterday's extreme
flash flood in Utah.  
Tropical moisture entered parts of the west on Monday. In part, it was good news, as it slowed the fires a little bit, at least temporarily, in parts of California.

But the moisture triggered intense thunderstorms that caused terrible local flash floods. One of those floods along the Utah-Arizona border killed eight people.

The storm dumped 2.5 inches of rain in two hours, sending walls of water up to 15 feet tall sweeping off the surrounding mountains.

At least two cars were swept by the water off a road and into a gully. At least eight people in those cars died, a few more are still missing.

Flash floods are a hazard in the West as the steep slopes can't hold much water. Abrupt waves of water and debris then sweep over areas, quickly trapping people.

Here's a video of the disaster:

Watch That Scary Video Of People Driving Through California Wildfire

The fire around Middletown, California looms over this highway
Saturday as it rapidly spreads.  
The wildfire that destroyed much of Middletown, California over the weekend was scary in many respects.

Of course, the worst part is it killed one person and destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses in just hours.

Another odd aspect of this fire is how fast ir spread.

At 3:30 p.m. local time Saturday, the fire had just covered about 400 acres - not that huge by western standards.

By 6:30 p.m. it had consumed 10,000 acres and by 10:30 p.m. it had covered 25,000 acres.

It was windy and hot and dry that day, so a fire would spread fast. But experts say it was odd that the fire spread that fast.

According to a Wunderground blog by Dr. Jeff Masters, such extreme fire behavior is a result of the nearly unprecedented multi-year drought in the area.

Also, fires sometimes create their own weather, and there were "heat bursts" in the area, as convection, possibly related to the fire, caused strong winds that spread the flames.

The drought is so intense that practically every ember that landed ahead of the main fire started a new one.

People who  had to evacuate had to do so hastily, with no time to collect belongings. As you see in the video below, many had narrow escapes.

It's a miracle that none of the burning trees you'll see in the video fell on the road, blocking the escape for the people in the car. Or worse, waves of flames or burning trees could have fallen right o the car. Yikes

 Since droughts are becoming more likely as a result of climate change, these kinds of extreme fires will probably be more and more common in the future.

Here's the scary video:

Sunday, September 13, 2015

California Fires Worsen Again; A Town Is Basically Levelled.

A home burns in Middletown, California over the
weekend as a wildfire sweeps through the area. 
The long horrible western wildfire season got worse again over the weekend, as fires north of San Francisco and west of Sacramento, California intensified amid another heat wave that hit the state.

Many homes, apartments and buildings in and around Middletown, California burned.

An NBC news reporter drove through the middle of town as it burned around him and it is horrifying. You can see the video at the bottom of this post.

At least four firefighters were injured battling the blazes over the weekend, but latest reports indicate they will recover, which is good news.

It's getting into autumn now, so the chances of storms coming off the Pacific Ocean are due to begin to increase, at least in the Pacific Northwest. But there's nothing big coming in the near future, according to forecasts.

There's a chance of a bit of rain at times early this week in Oregon, Washington and the northern half of California, but I emphasis light rain, and it won't amount to much. Certainly not enough to squelch the fires.

Southern California will have to wait longer for substantial rain. Some rain - up to a half inch - might come this week as a dying tropical system brings moisture to the region. But this rain, too, will only put a temporary dent in the relentlessly dry landscape.

Also, the risk there is the Santa Ana winds that typically develop in the autumn. Those are hot, dry, strong winds that often trigger wildfires.

With the big drought out there, the Santa Anas could really drive terrible wildfires through heavily populated areas near Los Angeles and San Diego this fall.

The hope is a few rainstorms sneak into California before any Santa Anas start. That could help a little.

Still, no matter what happens, this is one of the worst fire seasons on record. Year to date, mid-September - more than 8.6 million acres have burned, the most since at least 2006, says the National Interagency Fire Center. 

Yeah, we're still definitely hoping for calm, rainy weather out west, aren't we?

Here's the NBC News report on the blaze aroud Middletown, California:

Saturday Was The Day Of The Waterspout

Waterspouts often form in coastal waters, especially around Florida this time of year.
One of several waterspouts offshore from Chicago Saturday.  

Yesterday, though, was off the charts as far as the geographic range of where these waterspouts showed up.

They were reported in Florida, naturally, especially near Tampa.

But they were also spotted in Lake Michigan just offshore from Chicagoin Lake Erie north of Ohio; just off the coast of Maryland, and around Long Island, New York, among other places.

Waterspouts are basically tornadoes over water, but almost always, they are weaker than tornadoes on land.

Still, you want to avoid them, because they can overturn boats and cause other havoc. Every once in awhile, they come ashore, injuring beach goers and damaging property.

Saturday was an extremely busy day for waterspouts because autumn was finally invading summer.

Someone unwisely goes swimming
as a waterspout swirls nearby on
Long Island, N.Y. Saturday. 
Cold air aloft sinking all the way to the Gulf of Mexico from Canada triggered the waterspouts near Florida.

The contrast between the warm humid air to the east and the chillier, autumnal air coming in from the northwest helped to develop a pretty dynamic cold front and storm system, which in turn helped trigger the waterspouts on the Atlantic Coast from Maryland to New England.

The waterspouts over the Great Lakes came in part because of the large contrast between the warm lake water, heated up by a toasty summer, and the autumnal air spilling south across the lakes.

Waterspouts are less likely today, though there might be some around the coastal waters of New England.

A waterspout near Tampa, Florida Saturday.  
The cold air that came in from Canada is modifying and becoming more stable, so the Great Lakes shouldn't have any spouts today.

I suppose there might be more around Florida, we'll see.

But if you are a waterspout fan, you hit the jackpot on Saturday.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Neverending Summer in Vermont Of All Places

Thunderstorms that developed amid near record
90 degree heat and humidity in Vermont on Sept. 9
dropped a little rain, but much more is needed.
Here, storm clouds briefly gather in Colchester, Vermont.  
It's going to rain pretty hard and turn coolish in Vermont Sunday and Monday as a soggy early autumn rainstorm reaches the state.

This is actually cause for celebration, as Vermont has been in the throes of a never-ending summer. And it's turned awfully dry as a result.

Vermont summers are notoriously short, but not this year.

May was the hottest on record in Burlington, Vermont, so we had an extra month of summer there when we usually have cool spring weather.

June and July were pretty close to normal temperature-wise in Vermont, but that time of year is summer, so it was somewhat warm enough for swimming and that type of thing.

August was Burlington's third hottest on record. Then came early September, which so far is running a blistering 9.5 degrees above normal. We've had three days in the 90s in September. That's extremely rare but not unheard of.

The heat in August and September has been accompanied by dry weather. We've only had about a half inch of rain since the third week in August. We should have had close three inches in that time period.

So it's a welcome development that one to two inches of rain is forecast by Monday evening. Temperatures might not get above 70 degrees Sunday and Monday afternoons for the first time since June 28.

Upper 60s for highs are pretty much normal for this time of year in Vermont, so you see how warm it's been.

Still, Vermont's never ending summer shows signs of reasserting itself next week. Highs are forecast to reach the 80s again at midweek, which is more typical of July. More record highs could fall.

For those worried about the fall foliage with this summer weather, it's not time to panic yet. Some trees are starting to turn, despite the warmth. And sometimes, dry, sunny summer weather in August and early September can encourage more than the usual brilliant reds in the autumn.

So we shall see.

Of course, Vermont is at least as well known for its long winters as it is for its short summers. I'm sure another long, long winter is at our doorstep here in the Green Mountain State.


Friday, September 11, 2015

Mean, Brilliant Video Skewers Climate Deniers With Their Own Arguments

A YouTube video with this title
skewers people who think climate change
doesn't exist, or don't think it's an issue. 
You've heard the arguments from people who don't believe climate change is real, or that it's unimportant, or nothing should be done about it.

I'm sure I'll get some maybe deserved howls of protest from them from posting the video you'll see below, but it puts their arguments into more, I don't know, human situations.

The video has actors using the same arguments used in climate change in reacting to a traffic light turning red, a cancer diagnosis, a house fire, a romantic breakup and other situations.

It's hilarious.

Is it unfair or fair? You be the judge:

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Yet Another Gorgeous Time Lapse Of Severe Storms

I found yet another time lapse compilation of severe storms and this one is absolutely gorgeous.

Image from "A Storm of Color", a time lapse compilation
by Pecos Hank.  
It's by Pecos Hank, a full time storm chaser with a great YouTube channel.

In this video, I'm not super crazy about the narration, but the videography is exquisite.

I especially like how Pecos Hank often frames the scene with a human scale landscape or surroundings.

This is just brilliant and beautiful. Watch:

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

More Big Storm Videos To Give You A Wednesday Jolt

There are chances of severe storms in parts
of the Northeast today. Let's hope they're not as bad
as the ones in the video you'll see in this post. 
A few strong to severe thunderstorms are possible where I live in Vermont today. and also in the rest of northwestern New England and northern New York.

This will spell the beginning of the end of a remarkable hot spell.

Today will be the 11th day in a row of temperatures above 80 degrees in Burlington, Vermont. Really odd for this time of year.

This kind of hot, humid weather can be an ingredient for strong storms.

Already, there was a severe warned storm last night in central New Hampshire.

I'm sure today there will be a few damaging wind gusts and torrential downpours as a cold front starts pushing into the expected 90 degree heat and high humidity today.

In the spirit of the storm forecast, I give you two severe storm videos. I definitely hope they aren't as bad as in the two videos you'll see below.

The first goes back to Naples, Italy. You might remember I showed you baseball sized hail pelting fisherman just off the coast.

This compilation video shows you more of the storm. It's scariest in the beginning, as somebody takes a video inside a car as the hail demolishes the vehicle:



The next video is security camera footage of a microburst in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina on September 3.

Notice how fast the chaise lounges and even the slushy machine get swept off the deck. Glad I wasn't there for that:




Britain's Getting Into The Storm Name Game

Nasty winter storms in Britain, like this 2014 one in Cornwall,
will probably soon get names, says the British Met Office.
Photo by Bernie Pettersen,/SWNS.  
It seems like everything has to have a name nowadays.

I know we've named hurricanes ever since I can remember. Then, a couple years ago, The Weather Channel decided to start naming winter storms.

Now the British Met Office is getting into the act, wanting to name the big storms that often pummel Britain in the late fall and winter.

The logic is that by giving a single name to a storm could help raise awareness of severe weather, and help prod people into preparing for them.

"We hope that naming storms in line with the official severe weather warnings here will do the same and ensure everyone can keep themselves, their property and their businesses safe and protected at times of severe weather," said Derrick Ryall, head of the public weather service at the Met Office.

The Met Office is reaching out in social media, asking the public for suggestions on storm names. They names will alternate between male and female with each storm, just like Atlantic Ocean hurricanes do.

They've already gotten a number of suggestions for names. Let's hope some are at least creative. Maybe they should name storms after some interestingly names towns in Britain.

Winter Storm NetherWallop or Storm Crapstone, perhaps?


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Watch Epic Flood In Spain Washes Through Middle Of A City

Chaos in Adra, Spain as flash flooding sweeps
lots of vehicles away.  
Wild flooding hit parts of Spain in the past week, particularly around the city of Adra. 

In the nearby city of Malaga, nobody was flying in our out of the airport because it was pretty much flooded, as were most of the roads near the airport.

Here's a dramatic video of the water rushing through Adra, taking cars and trucks with it.

The water isn't SUPER deep, but it is rushing and goes to prove it doesn't take all that much water to sweep vehicles away.

Watch:

Remarkably Long Stretch Of Vermont Warmth Peaking

It's been remarkably warm in Vermont and much of the
Northeast since early August, so I'll give you this
photo to cool off for now.  
Yesterday, September 7, Burlington, Vermont tied its record high for the date of 94 degrees. Sunday, Burlington tied a record high of 90 degrees.

A remarkably long stretch of hot weather is peaking, and there are several pretty impressive stats on the warmth that began earlier this summer and continued into September.

A plethora of records has been tied or broken in and around Burlington the past few days.

That 94 degree reading Monday was tied for the third hottest temperature of any September day, in records going back to the 1880s.

Monday was also Burlington's hottest Labor Day on record. The low temperature of 72 degrees was a record high minimum for the date. And the water temperature in Lake Champlain was 75 degrees on Monday, the latest in the season the water has been so warm.

A  truly wild thing is how persistent the warmth has been in the second half of this summer.

The last cooler than normal day in Burlington was August 8, when it was a middling six degrees chillier than average.

Every day since then has been warmer than average except for August 27 which was exactly normal, National Weather Service data shows.  Today will be the 31st day in a row with at or above normal temperatures.

It's very unusual for temperatures to stay at or above normal for that long. I don't know what the record for longest at or above normal streak is, but we have to be up there in Burlington.

The hot streak is even more impressive around New York City. As of yesterday, Central Park had had 60 consecutive days of temperatures of 80 degrees or more. That's a record long stretch. Newark, New Jersey as of yesterday had 65 consecutive days of 80 or more, also a record

The streak will continue this week.  Temperatures in Vermont and the rest of New England will be way, way above normal during the first half of the week. Some record highs, and some record high low temperatures are possible in some areas today and Wednesday.

Other areas have been hot, too. Many cities in the Pacific Northwest had their hottest summer on record.

Caribou, Maine, having survived its coldest winter on record earlier this year, had its hottest August on record.

Caribou is just one example of how the late summer warmth is a big contrast to this past February, which was one of the coldest on record. In Burlington, Vermont, the 38 days ending on March 3, only two days were warmer than normal. And even then, just barely.

The recent warmth has not made up for the early year cold. The year 2015 is so far still running a bit cooler than average in Burlington. That's a contrast to the world as a whole, which is on pace to have its hottest year on record.

Blame El Nino and climate change for that hot world temperature streak. 

In Burlington, the way I see it, the first chance of breaking the long stretch of higher than normal temperatures is Saturday or Sunday, but even that is iffy. Readings will be pretty close to normal next weekend.

I don't see signs of any super nasty cold waves coming in through mid-September.

By the way, yesterday was the seventh day of 90 degree readings this year. Normal for a summer is about six, so Burlington isn't too far off that mark.

It's been wicked dry lately, too. Only 0.02. inches of rain has fallen on Burlington since August 22. That is until very early this morning, when an additional 0.14 fell. Whoop de doo.

Rain, some of it even locally heavy, is due in Vermont midweek. At least we hope so.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Baseball Sized Hail While Out Boating In Italy

One of the gigantic hailstones that crashed down
on the Naples, Italy area the other day.  
Now THIS is scary. In the video below, fisherman were out on a boat near Naples, Italy, when a severe thunderstorm moved in.

Watch them struggle amid baseball sized hail.

The storm dumped the large hail on areas near Naples, causing lots of damage to cars and buildings.

There were no reports of serious injuries. Even the people on the boat in the video below were not badly hurt.

Which is a miracle as you'll see if you watch the video:

Sunday, September 6, 2015

White Lightning? Strike Causes Bourbon "Firenado" in Kentucky

A bourbon firenado erupts after lightning struck a
Jim Beam warehouse in Kentucky last week.  
Lightning recently struck a Jim Beam bourbon warehouse in Kentucky, sending about 800,000 gallons of the stuff pouring into a retention pond.

The Weather Channel reports the bourbon caught fire, setting off a dramatic bourbon "firenado" that was caught on the video, below.  A guess the thunderstorm that produced this drama puts new meaning into the term "white lightning."

No word if God was smiting Jim Beam bourbon, or wanted to inhale the fumes, but here you go:

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Global Warming Causing Cold Winters? Goofy And Denialist Bait, But Maybe True

New research suggests that global warming might be contributing to such extreme cold winters that have cropped up in some spots in the Northern Hemisphere in recent years, including last winter in New England.

Warming wouldn't seem to cause cold spells at first glance. And I'm sure the climate change denialists would spout and steam about how ridiculous this seems.

But more and more research seems to be backing up this thesis.

New research indicates a warming Arctic contributes
to larger dips in the jet stream, meaning more intense cold
blasts in mid-latitudes  
A new study in Nature Geoscience, a peer-reviewed journal says rising temperatures in the Arctic are contributing to some nastier and nastier winters occasionally in parts of North America and Europe.

The Arctic is warming at a much faster rate than points further south. The warmer Arctic makes for bigger northward and southward bulges in the jet stream, that wavy river of upper level fast moving air that largely controls the speed, strength and direction of weather systems.

The Arctic is warmer than it was, but it's still pretty cold in the winter. The sharper, more persistent southward dips in the jet stream, ones that dip more south than they used to, bring repeated waves of bitter air into places like the United States and western Europe.

The latest research builds on previous work by other scientists, including Jennifer Francis, a climate scientist at Rutgers University, that generally reached the same conclusions.

Of course, other factors are at work, too, so there's no guarantee any one winter will be bitter. For instance, El Nino is going to be a big factor this winter. El Ninos sometimes help prevent some of these big dips in the jet stream.

That's just one example of how the warming Arctic doesn't always cause cold winters in parts of the Northern Hemisphere, but it can.

Of course, the concept of cold winters gets the warming denialists all riled up.

Last year, when it was cold, for instance, some guy named James Taylor wrote in Forbes how "ridiculous" it is for climate scientists to suggest climate change could have contributed cold waves and large snowstorms.

This research about the Arctic's influence on the jet stream is valuable, but it will give ammunition to the denialist echo chamber which seeks to discredit climate scientists through some odd leaps of logic.

Next time somebody tells global warming doesn't exist because it's cold outside your own window, just wave them off.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Scary Spanish Hailstorm Bombs Swimming Pool With Baseball Sized Stones

The weather in most of the United States has been more or less calm lately.

Not so in Spain, where there were widespread hailstorms and severe thunderstorms hit lately.

One of the worst storms hit Aragon, Spain, where you can see in the video baseball sized hail hit this swimming pool area. Bet there was lots of shattered glass and dents in this area:


Wild Video: Flash Flood In Utah

Wild flash flood captured by David Rankin in Utah
I've featured these flash flood videos before, but I can't get enough of them.

Videographer and photographer David Rankin caught a particularly good one in southern Utah on August 30. A large storm dumped as much as 2.5 inches of rain over normally dry, mountainous terrain in the region.

Flash floods are a common consequence of these storms, but this one is particularly wild. You can see how dangerous they are, with all the logs and debris these rushes of water pick up.

In the drone footage within the video, you can see the storm in the distance that's causing the flash flood.

Pretty amazing:

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

"Perfect" Hurricane Pops Up On Beautiful Satellite Photo

Hurricanes Jiminez, to the right, and Ignacio, to the left
closer to Hawaii.  n
This week, an unprecedented three major hurricanes co-existed with each other in the central and eastern Pacific.

In this post, click on the satellite photo to make it bigger and easier to see. The hurricane to the right is Jimena It has to be the most perfectly formed hurricane I've ever seen in a satellite photo.

Too bad hurricanes can be so deadly. Otherwise, at least from space they are among the most beautiful weather phenomenon you will ever see.

The other hurricane in the photo, northeast of Hawaii, is Ignacio, which gave rough weather to the easternmost islands in the Hawaii chain yesterday.

Hurricane Jimina is expected to turn north and weaken over the next few days. It will miss Hawaii.

Third Hottest August On Record In Burlington, Vermont

A pleasant warm evening a couple weeks ago
in Colchester, Vermont. August turned out
to be nearby Burlington's third hottest on record.  
It was generally a pretty warm August in much of the Northeast, and Vermont was in on the toasty summer action.

August ended yesterday in Burlington, Vermont as the third hottest on record.

There was no extreme heat during the month, but the temperatures were consistent. There really weren't any chilly spells like you usually get in August.

The coolest night in Burlington only got down to 53 degrees this past August. That's is perhaps a tie for the warmest "low" temperature on record at the National Weather Service in South Burlington.

Meteorologist Andy Nash found two warmer August lows, in 1900 and in 1892. But in those days, temperature readings were taken at the University of Vermont, which is closer to Lake Champlain than the current measuring site at the Burlington International Airport.

Warm lake water could have easily upped the temperatures a bit at UVM way back when.

The August low of 53 in 2015 is tied with 2011 with a similar low. Four other Augusts had lows of 53, but those were in the days when temperatures were recorded at UVM

In August, 2015. there was some heat, of course, including four consecutive days of 90 temperatures from August 18 through 21.

It was dry, too. Burlington only got about half its normal rainfall. Usually about four inches falls in August. This time, it was a pinch under 2 inches.

September is getting off to a warm start, too. Yesterday, Sept. 1, reached 85 degrees in Burlington. Daytime temperatures in the 80s are expected daily today through at least Tuesday. There might even be a 90 or two thrown in. That's about ten degrees warmer than normal for this time of year in Vermont.

However, the Green Mountain State is not headed toward its warmest year on record, like the world as a whole is. We had a brutally cold winter, including the third coldest February on record.

Through August 31, the mean temperature for 2015 in Burlington is running at about 1.7 degrees below normal.