Saturday, April 30, 2016

Some Of The Measurements Of That Epic Jahuary Blizzard Was Wrong

Washington DC in January's epic blizzard  
We're on the cusp of May, so a lot of you don't want me talking about snow, but I'm going to anyway.

To my Vermont readers, relax. There is a bunch of precipitation in the forecast, but unlike last week, anything that comes out of the sky Sunday and Monday will be rain. Not snow.

Except for a possible few snowflakes Sunday morning in north central and northeast Vermont.

You can never be free of snow in Vermont, it seems.

Hey you, over in western Nebraska! Sorry about that winter storm warning you're experiencing this morning.

Actually, the snow I'm talking about today is the long-ago melted piles left by an epic January 23 blizzard in the Middle Atlantic states that crippled the region.

The National Weather Service has re-examined some of the measurements, which in turn adjusts some of the records that might or might not have been set, reports the Associated Press

The adjustments, which I'll get into in a minute, highlight the difficulty of measuring snow. It blows around, compacts, drifts, moves.

You'll always get these precise measurements from snowstorms. "Hey, that storm dropped 19.1 inches of snow!" Really, the best you can do is say you got about 20 inches in that situation.

But, the National Weather Service likes precision, which is a good thing. And they have standards on how to measure snow, so at least there's consistency in the methodology.

To properly measure snow, the National Weather Service says to let it accumulate on two foot square white boards, and take measurements once every six hours to get an official snow total.

New York City's Central Park now has a new record for biggest snowstorm on record. Initially, Central Park reported 26.8 inches of new snow during the blizzard, which fell short of the largest snowstorm record.

But it turns out 27.5 inches fell, so it WAS the largest snowstorm. Congrats New York!

The New York error came because of a miscommunication between Central Park Conservancy staff, who correctly measured the snow, and the National Weather Service New York staff, according to the AP.

Newark, New Jersey reported more snow than they actually got. During the blizzard, they recorded 28.1 inches. But they measured the snow every hour, not once every six hours. That didn't allow for normal compaction of the snow, so their method inflated the actual total.

It turns out they've probably been measuring the snow incorrectly in Newark since 1996. People there have since been retrained.

Another snow total that was looked at was at the Reagan National Airport in Washington, DC. They measured 17.8 inches during the storm.

People questioned that, because some nearby areas received far more snow. Adding to the questions, was the person who was measuring the snow temporarily lost where the boards were because the snow was so deep, says the Associated Press

But an investigation revealed that the person taking the measurements managed to get it right, so the 17.8 inches stands.

They're going to recommend adding yellow flags to measuring sites so that they can be found in deep snow.

Let's just hope we won't have to measure snow until late next fall or winter!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Snow Be Gone: Satellite Shows Aftermath Of Vermont Spring Snow

A visible satellite photo taken Wednesday morning clearly
shows a stripe of snow on the ground through the Adirondacks,
central Vermont and New Hampshire. 
I was chilly working in a client's South Burlington, Vermont garden yesterday as a rather harsh late April cold snap continues.

While I worked, patches of snow lingered in the shade, a full two days after a two inch snowfall hit the area.

Much of Vermont got one to four inches of late season snow Tuesday.

Temperatures did get into the upper 40s the past couple of days, but the air was dry. When it's that dry, snow doesn't melt readily in areas that are shaded.

Besides, it should actually be in the low 60s this time of year. That snow should have melted much sooner, had things been normal.

Heck, it shouldn't have even snowed, but that's Vermont for you.

The National Weather Service in South Burlington shared a really cool satellite photo taken Wednesday morning over Vermont.

It's in this post. Click on it and make it bigger and easier to see.

To orient yourself, you can find Lake Champlain as the dark blue blotch near the upper center of the photograph.

You can clearly see the stripe of snow Tuesday's storm set down from the Adirondacks, through central Vermont and into New Hampshire.

By the time the photo was taken, the northern and southern edges of the snow cover had melted. In far northern Vermont, less snow fell, so it melted sooner. The more south you went, the snow mixed with rain, and further south, was just rain.

You also see the whiteness isn't as brilliant in the Champlain Valley as it is in the higher elevations of central Vermont and the Adirondacks of New York.

Less snow fell in the valley, and it was a little warmer there, so more of it was gone by the time the satellite snapped the photo Wednesday morning.

The satellite photo, though, really has a clear footprint of that snow, doesn't it?

It was another cold morning today, but some moderation in temperature is coming to Vermont Starting today.

Temperatures will rise into the 50s today and maybe touch 60 in a few spots Saturday. There's another freeze coming tonight, but we're used to that now.

Readings will be only slightly cooler than normal going into next week, so I guess that's an improvement over what we had this week.

Off and on precipitation is due much of next week, but this time, it will come all in the form of rain.

That won't create any more really cool visible satellite photos of Vermont, but that's surely OK by me!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

No Gigantic Tornado Outbreak On Tuesday Defied Forecast, But Don't Complain

A tornado near Howe, Texas Tuesday night.
There were far fewer tornadoes Tuesday than
expected, and that's a good thing. 
I suppose you can say the forecasts for the central and southern Plains was wrong for Tuesday.

I, and NOAA's Storm Prediction Center and lots and LOTS of other forecasters said there was a good possibility of strong, long-tracked tornadoes for that region Tuesday afternoon and evening.

There were none.

Oh sure, there were some smaller tornadoes, And lots of big hail and thunderstorms with destructive winds. And flash flooding.

For the record there were 13 preliminary reports of tornadoes Tuesday, 388 reports of damaging winds and 273 hail reports, so it was definitely a stormy day out there.

But there were none of the expected huge, photogenic but unwanted tornadoes that literally tear communities apart. If a forecast is going to be inaccurate, this is the type of inaccuracy I like.

True, municipalities closed schools and made other emergency preparations that might not have been necessary, but that's good practice.

Hordes of storm chasers looking for their dream tornadoes came away disappointed, and wasted money and time chasing nonexistent storms.

But those are the breaks! And there will be other tornadoes to chase. Possibly in the next few days, in fact.

Look at this way. Communities are not in ruins. Families are not mourning dead fathers, mothers, children, aunts, uncles.

As noted, there is the possibility of dangerous thunderstorms, and tornadoes daily for the next week in different parts of the country. Don't let your guard down in those areas.

In fact, on Wednesday, there was an outbreak of tornadoes. Not the worst ever, but still bad. There were 19 reports of tornadoes in an arc from Iowa through Illinois into western Kentucky.  One tornado touched down in the Omaha, Nebraska metro area Wednesday and caused damage.

So it wasn't all good news on the tornado front this week.

The lack of enormous tornadoes on Tuesday, while definitely a very good thing, highlights the fact that we still have a lot to learn about forecasting severe weather.

Forecasts have gotten much, much better, but we still can't forecast precisely where tornadoes will hit more than a few minutes or at most, an hour, before they strike.

And overall storm systems sometimes "over perform" dropping more, and more dangerous tornadoes than expected. And sometimes we get days like Tuesday, where it's not as bad as feared.

One preliminary look at what made Tuesday's forecast gratefully wrong was a subtle feature in the air mass over places like Oklahoma and Kansas.

You need massive updrafts as one important ingredient in the formation of supercell thunderstorms that produce tornadoes. That was certainly in place Tuesday. But there was a subtle layer in the atmosphere where the updraft wasn't as violently upward as expected. In fact, there was a little layer of sinking air in spots.

That might be one reason that tornadoes were stifled. And another lesson learned for forecasters.

The lack of tornadoes Tuesday just might have made forecasting future tornado outbreaks just a tiny, tiny bit better in the future.

Here's a video of a funnel cloud/tornado lurking behind a building in the Omaha, Nebraska area Wednesday:

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Scenes From A Vermont Spring Snow

Snow falls on gardens in Burlington, Vermont's
Intervale Tuesday morning. 
Tuesday was quite the spring day in Vermont wasn't it?

April showers bring May flowers. But snow? Well, we needed the moisture I suppose. But I much prefer the rain showers, thank you.

A general one to three inches of snow fell over most of central and northern Vermont, and adjacent areas of New York and New Hampshire.

The 2.1 inches of snow that fell on Burlington was a record for the date. Of course, it doesn't usually snow much late in the season, so the old record was a paltry 0.6 inches.

Tuesday's snow also tied for the fourth snowiest day of the entire winter season in Burlington, if you consider running from autumn through spring.

Since we basically had a year without a winter, it stands to reason I guess we have a year without a spring. Just semi-winter going on and on.
Daffodils battered by Tuesday's snow in
Burlington, Vermont.  

Toward evening yesterday, I found myself saying. "Enough snow melted by late this afternoon that I was able to get a little work done in my garden.

Not something you want to say just days befor the start of May.

Still, it has been dry, and as I said the moisture from the snow helped. It wasn't a tremendous amount of "white rain" but what the heck.

I'm trying to do the glass half full thing here.

No more snow is in the forecast, but cold weather sure is. It was generally in the 20s regionwide this morning, with a few upper teens in the cold spots.

A few towns in the North Country never made it out of the 30s Tuesday. Today, most places will be in the 40s, which is an improvement of sorts. Though it's supposed to be in the low 60s this time of year.
Lilac buds catch snow in Burlington, Vermont Tuesday 

Tonight will be as cold as last night, maybe even a little worse, with clear skies and calm winds expected.

That's not going to help the perennials struggling with this chilly weather, is it?

This is the first spring I can recall that daffodils have been damaged by cold. It looks like I'll have far fewer blooms this spring that I expected.

And will I get lilacs?  What about the apple orchards? We'll wait and see how they do.
By late afternoon, the snow had melted off my gardens
in St. Albans, Vermont but these flowers
faced three nights of hard freezes. Would they survive?  

Thursday, the cold lingers with highs in the 40s to low 50s, and another hard freeze Thursday night.

It'll warm up some by Friday and the weekend, but temperatures will remain a little cooler than normal.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

At It Again: Snow In New England, Severe In Plains, Texas Floods

A snowy web cam view of Interstate 89 in Berlin,
Vermont this morning  
Seems we can't break from a frustrating, sometimes dangerous weather pattern this spring that has featured repeated bouts of snow in the Northeast.

And worse, lots of severe weather in the middle and south of the country. And we're at it again today.

Let's break it down.


Late season snow was streaking this morning through central and northern New York, and parts of Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine as a pretty vigorous little storm rides east along a stalled front.

The air north of this front is pretty darn cold for this time of year, so snow is breaking out.

This isn't the latest or heaviest spring snow ever. We've had substantial snowstorms in May in this neck of the woods. But it is frustrating for people who enjoy spring.

The snow will come down pretty hard at times in higher elevations north of Albany, New York, in central and southern Vermont, parts of New Hampshire and maybe Maine.

Above 1,000 feet elevation in Vermont, the National Weather Service is forecasting accumulations of one to three inches, with local amounts to four inches. In the valleys, there will even be a slushy coating on grassy surfaces.

It was snowing in low elevation Burlington, Vermont at 8 a.m. with a slushy bit of snow on everybody's lawn.

It doesn't look like there will be too much of anything near the Canadian border, because that area is closer to the dry, chilly polar air drifting south into New England.

South of the stalled weather front, it's much warmer, and the storm's energy might set off a few severe thunderstorms in the Mid-Atlantic states.

But the real dangerous storms are going to be in the middle of the country.


As mentioned yesterday, all the parameters are set for a nasty outbreak of severe storms and tornadoes in the central and southern Plains.

NOAA's Storm Prediction Center still says they fear several tornadoes, a few of which could be really, really strong and long lasting, in Kansas, Oklahoma, and maybe Nebraska and northern Texas.

Violent updrafts with the supercell thunderstorms could easily also create ginormous hailstones. Really bad ones, the size of softballs and grapefruit.
Areas in dark green, yellow, and especially orange
and red face the risk of severe thunderstorms
and tornadoes today.  

Obviously we  hope everybody stays safe out there.

I also hope storm chasers, both the professional ones and the adventure seeking yahoos who don't know what they're doing, stay safe and don't get caught in the unpredictable path of a strong tornado or get caught out there in the giant hail.

By the way, being in a car is not a safe place in either a tornado or a bad hailstorm.

Repeated bouts of severe storms and possible tornadoes are likely in various parts of the southern Plains and Mississippi Valley and maybe into the southeastern United States each of the next several days.

Which leads us to our next problem.


All those bad thunderstorms repeated breaking out in the southern Plains and lower Mississippi Valley will lead to even more flooding.
Areas in red and especially orange could face
enough rain to cause flooding over the next
week or so.  

There have been repeated floods in places like Texas and Louisiana this year and we've got another round coming.

The bulls eye once again seems to be northeastern Texas, and areas around Louisiana, Arkansas and maybe southeastern Oklahoma.

Over the next week, four to as much as nine inches of rain could come down on the already sodden landscape in this region. Which means more destructive floods are likely.

Flooding could extend northeast into Illinois and northwest into Nebraska as repeated storms over the next several days could drop a lot of rain there, too.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Oh Boy! More Snow Due In Vermont! Aren't You Thrilled

My shivering daffodils earlier this month in St. Albans, Vermont
Most of them survived that cold  wave and snow,
but they might be hit by a bit more snow Tuesday
morning, and another good strong freeze Wednesday morning. 
We've entered the final week of April, so you'd think we'd just sit back here in Vermont and watch things keep greening up under the warm spring sunshine.

It's never that easy. You should know that.

I might as well just state it plainly:

It's going to snow in Vermont again tonight and tomorrow.

Don't hit me please!

It will only snow a little. Not a blizzard. They won't close the schools. No need to go panic shopping for bread and milk at Price Chopper.

But sizable chunks of Vermont are going to get a little snow.

We've fallen into an on again off again, but mostly on weather pattern where chilly high pressure systems set up to our north, feeding chilly, air down from Canada.

A warm front is going to try to make a run at us from the south later today and tonight. It won't make it through here, because that cold high pressure system to the north is holding strong.

The cold air feeding into the precipitation associated with the warm will change rain to snow in many areas, especially in mid and high elevations late tonight.

Many locations in central and southern Vermont are due for a trace to two inches of snow out of this situation. The snow will mostly fall between midnight tonight and noon Tuesday.

The far north of Vermont won't get much of any precipitation, because the cold air feeding in is dry, and will evaporate much of the precipitation that will try to fall.

Still, even there, there could be a thin coating of snow on the ground in some areas

The weather will remain chilly the rest of the week. Temperatures Tuesday afternoon will struggle only into the 40s, with some mid elevation towns in the southern half of Vermont staying in the upper 30s due to a lack of sun. (A little afternoon sun will come out north.)

Another hard freeze is coming Tuesday night, with 20s statewide, and a few upper teens in the cold spots.

Despite sun on Wednesday, many locations in Vermont will stay below 50, with another freeze Wednesday night.

It will sorta, kinda warm up later in the week with afternoon readings in the upper 50s. That's still a bit below normal. High temperatures in most of Vermont this time of year should be in the low 60s.

We'll get there, eventually. .

Tornado Outbreak Likely In Central Plains Tuesday

A severe thunderstorm that had a tornado warning associated
with it near Ellsworth, Kansas Sunday.
Photo from Twitter via @basehunters.  
UPDATE 2 p.m. EDT:

NOAA's Storm Prediction Center just updated their forecast for tomorrow.

There's still quite a risk for severe storms and tornadoes in the central Plains.

When I wrote my summary this morning, I speculated that the Storm Prediction Center might upgrade the risk to the highest on their five-point chart.

In this update, they kept the risk level at moderate, which is fourth out of fifth highest.

High risk implies they expect numerous strong, long tracked tornadoes. Moderate in part means there could be some, but not numerous strong, long tracked tornadoes.

A fine distinction, but one nonetheless.

At this point, conditions don't point toward many, many super big tornadoes, but there could well be a few. Still definitely a dangerous situation.

The Storm Prediction Center also expanded the area of expected moderate risk southward into far northern Texas as they expect a greater aerial coverage of dangerous storms.


The forecast is ominous for the central and southern Plains Tuesday afternoon and evening as there is an outbreak of tornadoes and severe storms looming.

 Some of these tornadoes could be quite big and particularly dangerous.

If any of these hit populated areas, that would be very, very, VERY bad.

At this point, the area of biggest concern seems to be southern Nebraska, a wide swath of central Kansas and a good chunk of northern and central Oklahoma.

It's  the classic area this time of year to be under the gun for large tornadoes and severe storms.  In that respect, this ominous forecast isn't really all that unsual for this time of year.

The area often finds itself in a storm's "warm sector" near and just south of a warm front, and near and just east of a cold front and/or dry line, which is a sharp line with high humidity to the east and very low humidity to the west.

Add to this mix winds sharply veering winds with height and and unstable atmosphere that encourages very strong updrafts, and you get a twister outbreak in "tornado alley," which this region is often called.

The area I'm describing is under a moderate risk of severe storms and tornadoes Tuesday. It's the second highest level of alert on a five point scale from NOAA"s Storm Prediction Center.

Actually, the SPC might be toying with the idea of bringing this up to their highest risk level forecast, but they first want to see more data to determine whether that high risk is warranted.

For the record, if the SPC puts out a high risk alert for tornadoes, that's kind of rare. They only do that, on average, maybe three times a year.

Whether it ends up staying a moderate risk or a high risk, this likely storm outbreak is one to take seriously.
Tornado near Nelson, Nebraska Sunday, via Twitter @povlen13

As the Storm Prediction Center writes in its analysis issued very early Monday morning describing Tuesday's threats: "Strong, potentially long tracked tornadoes, very large, perhaps giant hail and damaging wind gusts will be possible with any storm that develops in the warm sector."

You know to be nervous when the SPC highlights the chance of strong long tracked tornadoes.

They seldom predict "giant" hail, which the kind of softball to even grapefruit sized hail that trashed some towns near Dallas, Texas earlier this month.

Of course, whether there is a lot of damage and risk to life depends upon where these potential strong and long tracked tornados touch down.

There is a lot of open, sparsely populated areas in the area of moderate risk. We can certainly hope that the strongest tornadoes and biggest hail comes down where very few people live. Big tornadoes are a thing of perverse beauty when they roll over wide open plains without hitting houses, businesses or occupied cars.

However, violent tornadoes obviously become terrible tragedies when theyslam into cities and suburbs, as they did in Moore, Oklahoma in 2013 and through Joplin, Missouri and Tuscaloosa, Alabama in 2011.

The large metro areas most at risk Tuesday from strong tornadoes include Wichita, Kansas, and Oklahoma City, where Moore is a suburb.

Let's just hope the supercells that will produce the tornadoes bypass these cities.

The threat of severe weather and possible tornadoes in parts of the nation will continue daily today through at least a week, as the weather pattern will favor this kind of weather.

There is a lot of uncertainty on many days as to exactly where and how extensive severe weather might be, though potential hot spots include areas  around Chicago, on Wednesday in the central and southern Mississippi Valley and perhaps northern Texas Friday.

There were a few reports of tornadoes Sunday in southern Minnesota and Nebraska, but it doesn't seem damage was all that great, which is a good thing.

Up until now, the number of tornadoes the nation has had so far this year is below average, continuing a trend that has lasted nearly four years now. Which is a good thing.

However, this week's storm systems will certainly boost the number of reported tornadoes this year

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Many Americans Don't Worry About Global Warming Because We've Been Enjoying It So Much

An ice skater in shorts and t-shirt enjoys record
Christmas week warmth in New York last December.
Photo from New York Daily News.  
I'll confess to a guilty pleasure.

Where I live in Vermont, we just came off the warmest winter on record.

I know it was bad for the winter sports industry, and if I don't like winter, I should just move to someplace warmer.

However, in many ways, I enjoyed this past winter more than I enjoy most winters.

I wasn't constantly struggling with layers of clothes, ski parkas, boots, etc. It didn't take an hour each morning to get dressed, start the truck and get to work.

I even got work done out in the gardens which is unheard of in Vermont.

I guess I was part of the crowd, judging from a new study I've seen discussed in the news lately.

It turns out at least in the United States, global warming has caused winters to warm up much more than summers.

Winters are generally easier, than the once were and summers aren't that much more unbearable than they used to be.

Despite the ever wilder storms and floods and such that keep pounding us Americans, in general, global warming has made the weather "nicer," at least in the opinions of many.  We tend to like milder winters and dislike hot, humid summers.

With winters warming faster than summer's, we broadly think the weather has gotten more pleasant in recent decades.

According to the Associated Press: 

"Americans are getting the wrong signal from year-round weather about whether they should be concerned about climate change," said study lead author Patrick Egan, a public policy professor at New York University. "They're getting the good parts and haven't had to pay the price of the bad part."

If you're totally selfish and don't care what's going on with climate change and its effects on people in other parts of the world, it's all good for us Americans, right?

Um, no, At least the climate scientists are saying no.

Here's the deal: Eventually, summer temperature rises are going to start catching up with the winter temperature increases.

That means in the coming decades, American summers will turn quite a bit hotter, and in many places, quite a bit more humid.

We humans tend to get cranky in such oppressive weather. Even worse, it's dangerous. You'll see more heat related deaths and illnesses, and diseases, most of them spread by bugs such as mosquitoes, will spread north into previously unaffected areas.

Plus, as climate change worsens, storms, floods, droughts and sea level rises will also screw up the lives of Americans, and the rest of the globe for that matter.

That totally sounds like not much fun.

Quoting from the AP again:

"America 'may have been lulled into a complacency when it comes to the impacts of climate change,' said Penn State climate scientist Michael Mann, who wasn't part of the study but called it a solid analysis."

Of course, our complacency over summer is because it's not all that hard to crank up the air conditioning. And if you have to go outside, it's still easier than going out in a blizzard.

I guess we'll have to wait and see how cranky we get if the summers start getting a lot hotter. And stormier. And droughtier.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Vermont Spring To Be Interrupted Again. More Fires, Too!

Some happy looking daffodils in my St.
Albans, Vermont yard this morning. They won't be
quite as happy with the 25 degree temperatures
forecast tonight. 
Spring in Vermont and the rest of the Northeast for that matter took a great leap forward the past couple of days.

It got into the 70s all the way to the Canadian border Thursday and most of the area was about that warm Friday.

The grass has greened up big time, more flowers are blooming and the trees are really budding.

So we will get into the full green up of late spring within like, minutes, right?

What a silly question! Of course not! This is Vermont.

Spring is to be interrupted again. Expect excruciatingly slow progress toward more greening over the next week or so as temperatures stay well below normal. With night time frosts and freezes.

And snow. Did a mention snow? Don't worry. Not much, and only in the mountains. Way up high, where not many of us live, so I guess that's OK.

Let's get into the details:


It rained a little yesterday, but that won't matter much. The fire danger will be back today. It's been with us for a couple weeks now what with the dry, cool, windy April weather we've had.

Only a little rain fell in most places in northern Vermont Friday, not enough to really soak things down. Southern Vermont and adjacent New Hampshire and the Capitol District of New York had pretty much no rain, so it's especially dry down there.

All of New Hampshire except the far north is under a red flag warning today, meaning there's quite a high danger of brush fires. No outdoor burning, please.

Vermont and eastern New York is under a special weather statement, as the National Weather Service is giving us all a dope slap for even thinking about burning our brush piles and whatnot today.

Sure, early this Saturday morning was damp and cloudy from yesterday's miserly bit of rain and cold front, but another blast of windy, very dry air from southern Canada will be here from midmorning on.


That interruption to our spring starts today, too. High temperatures will range from the upper 40s in the northern high elevations to around 60 far south. That's not horrible, but definitely cooler than average for this time of year.

Tonight will be pretty frigid for this time of year, with most of us getting into the 20s. It'll be in the icy upper teens in the cold mountain  hollows to near 30 near Lake Champlain and maybe some areas of far southern Vermont.

I think most of the early spring plants that came up will survive this, but bring in anything you brought outside to get some sun. They won't survive the night

It'll get into the 50s Sunday afternoon in most spots with sun fading behind some afternoon clouds.

Most of the upcoming week is going to be cold, really.

Another cold front is due Monday and it will stall for a time over central New England. This will bring a chilly bout of rain and showers to most areas.

The good news is the rain will focus more on the southern half of the region, which has been drier. The bad news is it will be cold, with high temperatures holding in the 40s both Monday and Tuesday. Maybe Wednesday, too.

And that snow I mentioned is still possible way up high Sunday night and again Monday night. Let's whiten those Green Mountain peaks again!

The weather will temporarily turn drier midweek, but a few more showers will come in toward Friday. By then, the temperature will warm up a bit, and only be a little cooler than normal. (Lows 28-35, highs 55-60)

I guess we'll take what we can get in this stuttering spring.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Uruguay Tornado Hits Store; Watch This Incredible Surveillance Video

Shoppers and employees of a Dolores Uruguay
shoe store look out at windows at an approaching large
tornadoe. Seconds later, they fled to a back room
as wind and debris swept through the store.v
Last week, a terrible tornado struck Uruguay, killing four people and trashing much of the city of Dolores.

I'm always particularly fascinated by surveillance videos of these things, and one of them, taken in a Dolores shoe store on a busy street corner, is one of the most riveting.

In it, you first see store employees and shoppers looking out the window in fascination and worry as they apparently see the tornado approaching.

As the wind picks up, one by one, they flee the large glass windows in front of the store, probably for a more sheltered back room.

These people apparently with the well-placed notion the windows are about to shatter.

As things start to get really bad, you see a car turn the street corner outside. I imagine whoever was in that car was terrified.

Then we see lots of debris blowing past outside, and also blowing into the store as windows and fixtures cave in.

Here's the video:

Rainy Vermont Tribute To Prince

Rain showers are scattered across my home state of Vermont today.

I'd swear its Purple Rain that's falling

So, I'll dedicate this post to Prince.

Rest in peace, Prince, and thanks.

Here you go:

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Wild Dust Devil Stops A Softball Game. For A Minute

A large dust devil scored a home run during
a college softball game in Virginia last Saturday.  
A viral video is circulating now that shows the highlight of a college womens softball game last Saturday between the Lynchburg Hornets and Bridgewater Eagles in Lynchburg, Virginia.

The video is at the bottom of this post.

The star of the game turned out to be a large dust devil. 

Everybody seems incredibly nonchalant as the huge dust devil passes over the infield. The umpire stopped play until the dust devil settled down. Within a minute, though, it was game on!

Dust devils usually hit on nice, sunny days, like the weather Lynchburg was experiencing Saturday.

The sun heats up air near the ground, and that warm air rises into cooler air up above.  More warm air near the surface flows into the spot where the original warm air rose, that air rises, and you get sort of a chimney effect.

Then, wind blowing horizontally into this chimney gets it spinning, and a dust devil forms.

Dust devils rarely hurt anybody or cause damage, though a few of the very strongest ones can get destructive.

Like most dust devils, the one at the Lynchburg softball game caused no harm. It was just kinda fun.


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Earth's Hot Times Continue Unabated; Keeps Getting Worse

March, 2016 was the hottest year, relative to
normal, of any month on record says NOAA.
The old record was set just a month earlier.  
Where I sit in northwestern Vermont, April is going to turn out to be a somewhat cooler than normal month.

In fact, it will be cooler than normal by the widest margin of any month since March, 2015.

That's not saying much. April in Vermont will only be moderately cooler than average, even with a chilly snap due this weekend and early next week.

Vermont is an exception to the ongoing hot times around the globe.

NOAA just released its monthly global climate assessment, this time for March, and announced it was the hottest March on record, and the hottest of any month on record, relative to normal.

April heat is ongoing in other parts of the world, too. There have been unprecedented heat waves  so far this month in Southeast Asia, China, India, Greenland, the Maldives, Burkino Faso in Africa and i Seattle, Washington.


First let's get into the NOAA March report.

March, as noted, had the largest departure above normal for the Earth as a whole of any month since at least 1880.

The old record for the largest departure for above normal on Earth was set way, way back on, um, February, 2016, just a month earlier.

March, 2016 was the 11th consecutive hottest month on record, according to NOAA, an unprecedented long consecutive global heat wave.

Yes, El Nino is part of the reason this is happening, but global warming is, too. Even though we certainly won't continue to have consecutive record warm months, it'll still stay hotter than average, even if we get into a La  Nina, which tends to cool the planet. (Many climatologists say we are poised to enter a "cooler" La Nina. )

The year 2015 was by far the Earth's warmest on record, but the first three months of 2016 were way, WAY above even 2015's incredibly hot values.

It'll take an awfully strong La Nina later this year to drag this year's global average temperature below 2015 record values.


According to Christopher Burt at Weather Underground, Cambodia had it's all time national hottest temperature on record this month (108.7 degrees) as did Laos at (108.1)

At least 50 Thailand cities and towns also had their all time hottest temperatures on record So did many cities in China's Hainan province.

The African nation of Burkino Faso reached 117.5 in April, that country's hottest reading on record.

Greenland, as noted in a previous post, had an unheard of for April thaw earlier this month.

Up in normally temperate Seattle, Washington, it was 89 degrees on Monday, the hottest April reading there on record.

Many of the heat waves across the globe I've just outlined are still ongoing.

It's looking like April, overall for the globe will also be among the hottest on record, if not the hottest.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Houston Drowns Again In Epic Flood

This guy for unknown reasons drove into deep Houston
floodwaters Monday and had to be rescued by
a TV reporter doing a live report nearby.  
You've probably seen the news out of the Houston, Texas area, where at least five people have died in massive flooding due to record downpours Monday morning.

More than 11 inches of rain came down on Houston Monday, its rainiest day on record. And that 11 inches came before noon.

Rainfall ranged up to 17 inches in just 12 hours or so, and many areas around Houston reported a foot of precipitation.

News footage showed vast neighborhoods under water. Damage is immense. There's a couple videos at the bottom of this post that you just have to see.

As always with these extreme newsworthy weather events, you get the question:

Was this caused by climate change?

Some would say yes. But, the answer is much more complicated than that. For that matter, so is the question.

The online magazine Slate put out this Tweet Monday: "Houston is flooding - again -- and climate change is a major reason why."

The link to the actual Slate article, written by Eric Holthaus, is correctly more nuanced that the Slate Tweet.

As Holthaus writes:

"Since the 1950s, Houston has seen a 167 percent increase in the heaviest downpours - defined as the umber of days where total precipitation exceeded the heaviest one percet of all local events -- one of the fastes rates of increase anywhere in the country.

That's exactly what's expected to happen as the climate warms, since warmer air can hold more water vapor than cooler air.

An increase in the frequency of heavy rain events has long been considered one of the likeliest consequences of global warming, and a recent comprehensive National Academies report endorsed this link. 

Blocking weather patterns like this weekend's may be happening more often due to climate change, boosting the likelihood of heavy rainfall events, according to a new study published last week."

Two points to consider about Holthaus' writing.

First, the more minor one: If you're going to get a blocking pattern, they're much more likely to happen this time of year, in the spring, than other times of year.

A blocking pattern often happen when cold pools of air in the upper atmosphere get cut off from the jet stream, which steers weather systems generally from west to east across the northern hemisphere.

Picture receding water after a flood. When the water subsides, puddles remain behind. Those are like those cold pools of air that block weather patterns this time of year.

The jet stream retreats more and more to the north this time of year, so, like that receding water leaving those puddles behind, the receding jet stream leaves those cold pools of air behind.

Blocking patterns are not at all unusual in April. Still, Holthaus is absolutely correct when he says  says that the blocking weather patterns have gotten more common.

Another good point Holthaus makes shows that climate change isn't the only thing making the Houston flood worse.

He writes:

"This is at least the fourth major flood in the Houston area in just the past 12 months, with previous flooding events last May, June and October pummeling Texas hard."

(Editor's note: There was also some pretty bad flooding in Texas in December, too)

"The triangle between Dallas, Houston and San Antonio is sometimes referred to as 'flash flood alley' because of its dangerous mix of hilly terrain, sprawling urbanization and frequent heavy downpours, adding to the region's already considerable vulnerability to climate change."

It's true that downpours in Texas are getting more frequent and worse over the past few decades. Simultaneously, the area has been paved over with freeways and parking lots and strip malls and housing developments and so on.

The water can't soak through all that pavement, as it used to soak into the ground. So the water runs off during heavy rain, and the flooding is thereby worse than it otherwise would have been.

But asking whether the event is climate related is the wrong question. As Dr. Marshall Shepherd reminds us, weather is influenced by lots of things, and one of them is often climate change. But teasing out what part of it is climate change is difficult.

Think of a very great Major League Baseball batter who hits a lot of home runs.  Then let's say the batter decides to go on steroids. He now hits even more home runs.

He would have hit a lot of home runs without the steroids, so how do you figure out which home run was caused by steroids and which were caused by his natural talent. You can't tease those apart so easily.

Climate change puts weather on steroids. The weather hits more "home runs" in the form of more and bigger extremes. There would have been a lot of weather extremes anyway, but this just add juice, pardon the pun, to the system.

One of the most iconic videos from Monday's Houston flood has to be the guy who mysteriously drove into a flooded underpass as a television reporter was doing a live standup.

The reporter had to rescue the confused guy:

Drone footage shows huge neighborhoods around Houston under water:

Despite Early Drizzly Showers, Vermont Fire Danger Actually Increases Today

Firefighters work to contain a Bristol, Vermont forest
fire in April, 2013. Conditions are ripe
for similar fires in Vermont this week.  
During that nice weather we had over the weekend, me and many others were warning people to be careful with fire. Blazes could get out of control quickly this time of year in that kind of weather.

Early this morning, it was a bit damp and drizzly in Vermont, especially across the north, after some light overnight rain. Fire danger over, right?

Nope, not by a long shot.

It didn't rain much at all last night, with most places having a quarter inch or less, and southern Vermont getting barely a sprinkle, if anything. So things didn't get wetted down that much.

On top of that, a blast of dry air is coming into Vermont today, which, with the sun, will dry out anything that got even vaguely wet. The difference today, too, is that winds will gust to 30 mph or more, which would quickly spread any fires that start.

By the way, most of New England and the Northeast is in the same boat today. Dry air, sun and strong winds have got a high fire danger stretching from Delaware northward through southern and central New England into eastern New York and Vermont.

Here in Vermont, the fire danger today gets higher the more south you go. Less rain fell last night in the south as mentioned, and they've been drier than the north all spring anyway.

In far southern Vermont, theres a red flag warning, which basically means no outdoor fires and be very much on the lookout for brush fires.

A slightly less dire special weather statement covers the rest of southern and central Vermont, telling people to be very careful with fire.

There are no particular weather statements for far northern Vermont and New York and New Hampshire, but even there, things should dry out this afternoon quite a bit, and with the gusty winds, I'd avoid outdoor burning there too, for sure.

Wednesday and Thursday are going to be very dry, too, so you'll have to watch out then, too. At least then, the wind won't be blowing as strong.

There might be some welcome showers on Friday.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Odd Greenland Heat Wave Breaks April Records, Worries Scientists

A freak weather pattern caused this unprecedented
melting in Greenland in 2012. Are we setting up
for more extreme melting this year? We'll find out,
but a bit of melting has already started two
months earlier than normal.  
That cold wave we had here in Vermont in early April is fast fading from memory (we hope!), especially after the gorgeous 70 degree weather Sunday.

But during our nasty April cold spell a couple weeks back,  a corresponding, unprecedented heat wave in Greenland won't be forgotten by climate scientists soon.

That's because these scientists are downright scared by what happened.

A few places in southern, coastal Greenland do get above freezing fairly often in April. But most of the frozen ice capped island stays well below freezing into late May or June. Some places in the middle, high elevation part of Greenland rarely get above freezing at all.

The heat in Greenland last week was something else, though.

About 12 percent of Greenland's ice sheet had some melting during this early heat wave. That doesn't sound like much, but in April, none of it melts. Until now.

Thule, on Greenland's northwest coast, experienced southerly winds gusting to 75 mph which brought temperatures that hit 34 degrees. That's more than 30 degrees above normal for this time of year.

Nuuk, Greenland hit 46 degrees and a spot on the southwestern coast of the island spiked up to 61 degrees, compared to an average high of 25 degrees there this time of year.

There's a spot in the middle of Greenland that hit 21 degrees above zero. Below freezing, yes, but still 41 degrees above normal.

That's the equivalent of it hitting 96 degrees here in northern Vermont in the middle of April. And that 21 degrees is roughly 10 degrees warmer than the average high temperature for what passes for normal summer "heat" in the middle of July up there.

The reason why scientists care about this Greenland heat wave, and why you should to, is it started the summer melt season in Greenland two months ahead of schedule.

Ice has been melting off the Greenland ice fields with increasing vigor over the past several decades, under the influence of global warming.

The more ice melts off Greenland, the more sea levels globally could rise.

The early April heat in Greenland does not guarantee that the summer melt season will be much worse than normal up there. It could stay colder than normal there this summer for all I know.

But signs are not pointing toward such a cool summer.

I brought up the cold New England weather in early April and the Greenland heat together at the top of this post for a reason. There was a relationship between the two events.

You might remember in previous posts that I brought up the weird jet stream gyrations that seem to be bringing more extreme weather events to different parts of the world, including here in the Good Ole USA, including Vermont.

The jet stream during early April was consistent with what scientists have been saying would probably happen with increasing frequency.

The upper level air flow plunged from far northern Canada all the way down to New England.

Then it recurved north, far much north than usual, taking warm air fro the subtropic Atlantic and delivering it to Greenland. Normally the jet stream wouldn't bulge as far north as Greenland to bring that much warm air, but this time it did.

As climate and environmental blogger Robert Scribner wrote:

"An extraordinary polar amplification of this kind -- one that includes Equator-to-Pole heat transfers -- risks hitting or increasing the intensity of a number of harmful climate tipping points. These include the amplifiying feedbacks of increasing rates of sea ice melt and Arctic carbon store response. 

In addition, extreme warmth over Greenland risks further glacial destabilizaion, increasing rates of se level rise and increasing weather instability in the North Atlantic."

In other words, weird jet stream gyriations like this one would set off more melting, which would make these weird jet stream twists and turns even more extreme, and worse for us.

Of course, not every climate scientist and watcher paints as dire a picture as Scribner. But most are worried about events like the April Greenland heat wave. Mostly because these Arctic heat waves have been happening more and more frequently.

And another early season Greenland hot spell might be in the offing.

A weather pattern similar to the one in early April seems to be setting up for this coming weekend.

The core of the coldest air in North America this weekend will stay well up into central and northern Quebec and Ontario. It's going to turn chilly in New England Saturday and Sunday,  but it won't be extreme like early in the month. Colder than normal, yes, but not something utterly weird.

But another surge of extremely warm air with this pattern wants to make a beeline toward Greenland. That could cause a little more unwelcome ice melt.

Hard Core Spring Arrives In Vermont

This cute little fella got the honor of being the first
daffodil to bloom this season in my gardens in
St. Albans, Vermont. Nice spring weather this
weekend helped with the blooming. 
I hope you enjoyed the past weekend if you live in Vermont and surrounding states, because you really can't get anything better than that in April.

Sunshine, low humidity, warm temperatures.....Ahhh.

We could use some rain, as I noticed as I prepped my gardens over the weekend that the moisture content is a little low for this time of year.

Plus, the brush is dry, and we could get fires going. There were a few over the weekend.

For those like me who want the rain, some is actually coming, especially in northern areas. It'll cloud up today, with a rising chance of showers this afternoon.

Usually the type of cold front that's coming our way drops little or no rain, but a little storm system is going to form along the front and zip through or near northern New York, Vermont and New Hampshire tonight.

It won't drop much rain, maybe a quarter to a half inch, with a little less  than that in the Champlain Valley. But still, it will give a boost to the spring greening process out there.

Behind the cold front Tuesday and Wednesday, it's going to be kinda chilly for this time of year. Nothing extreme for April, but cooler than the weekend was.

Look for highs in the 45 to 55 range Tuesday and Wednesday, with the cooler weather in the higher elevations to the north..

Tuesday night will be a bit frosty, but again, nothing wild for Vermont.

After a warmer day Thursday, it looks like we'll get a little more rain Friday. Early indications are another Canadian high pressure area will come in next weekend for more cool, mostly dry weather.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

More Spring Weather Porn, Tornadoes And More

Via @stormchasing on Twitter, (JR Hehnly) a beautiful Oklahmoa
tornado Friday. I say beautiful because it is, and
was in rural areas so it didn't cause much damage.  
As advertised the southern Plains, especially Texas got more severe weather over the past couple of days and more is looming.

The threat of severe thunderstorms and possibly a few tornados will be a daily threat in parts of Texas daily through Wednesday. 

An even bigger threat is the rain -- lots of it. Flash flooding is already occuring in parts of Texas, and that's only going to get worse as torrential thunderstorms will continue to roam the state for at least a few more days.

Flood watches are up for much of Texas and other sections of the southern and central Plains.

The bad weather is terrible for people. I don't want to minimize the property damage and the hurt the weather is causing people in Texas and elsewhere.

Still, the images and videos of this weather are still impossible to ignore and compelling to watch.

I trivialize it by calling it "weather porn" because weather geeks get off on this kind of thing, but it's a convenient label, so I'll stick to it.

Some of this "weather porn" is below.

The ever-reliable storm chaser Pecos Hank captured these two tornadoes dancing around each other near Eva, Oklahoma on Friday:

Here's Storm Chasing Videos' view of tornadoes in the Oklahoma panhandle Friday, which is the same storm system Pecos Hank was on:

It hailed again in Texas again Friday and Saturday. Here's the golf ball sized hail and flooding near the Toot 'N Totum store in Dalhart, Texas, captured by Storm Chasing Videos:

The United States wasn't the only place that had tornadoes.

A large one struck Uruguay, of all places the other day, killing four people and injuring at least 200 in the city of Dolores.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Will Texas Be Terrified By More Giant Hail Over The Next Few Days? Plus, Watch More Scary Hail Videos!

This was a very nice house in Wylie, Texas
until hail turned it into something looking like a
 junk heap. (Click on the image to make it bigger
so you can really see the damage)  
Texas just can't seem to catch a break.

All winter, and so far all this spring, they've been getting repeatedly slammed by tornadoes, gigantic thunderstorms, even more gigantic hail and enormous floods.

Oh, and high winds and grass fires way up in the panhandle earlier this spring.

What's next, locusts? The plague?

Probably not. But maybe Zika, with all the mosquito-breeding water that's being left behind by all the storms.

There's been at least a couple billion dollars in weather-related damage in Texas since December.

Let's pile on  more damage!

It's happening again this weekend. Severe thunderstorms, maybe a few tornadoes, giant hail and a high risk of flash floods are in store for much of Texas this weekend and into Monday.

Lately, it's been the Dallas-Fort Worth area that has really been seeing the storms, and this outbreak will probably nail them, too.

The worst weather will likely be west of DFW today, but will spread into the metroplex tomorrow

Although the tornado and hail risk is real, I wonder if the hail bombardments will be less severe than last week's epic storms. Let's hope so.

These storms are going to have torrential rains. Some parts of Texas could get up to eight inches of rain over the next few days. Flash flooding is a real concern in much of the state, as well as good chunks of Oklahoma and Kansas.

There was already some flash floods in western Kansas early this morning

Meanwhile, a big snowstorm is going on in Colorado and Wyoming, including the Denver metro area.
Most homes in Wylie, Texas have blue tarps on their roofs
 due to hail damage and leaks. Torrential rains
and severe storms are likely in the area this weekend,
which will probably make things worse.   

But Texas looks to be, once again, the really big target for wild storms.

I still can't get over the hail last week in Texas, especially around the city of Wylie, which was completely trashed by that softball to grapefruit sized hail.

More fascinating videos of that storm have surfaced, which you can see below.

In the first one, the family had just moved into the house and hadn't even set everything up yet. Watch the hail crash through the windows, sending splinters of glass and debris throughout the interior.

You can tell the people in the video were very scared, but I probably would have been even more frightened than them.

In the next video, watch the hail and wind trash a yard, parked cars and the houses in the neighborhood. You can see windows blown out everywhere through the extreme storm:

In this next video, you can see how the incredibly strong winds that accompanied the Wylie storm made the hail destruction that much worse.

Friday, April 15, 2016

See What Hail Did To This Roof

The other day I told you about that awful hail storm in Texas, which included hail the size of grapefruit in spots.

The pic in this post shows the view from inside a Wylie, Texas home attic after the storm ended and the sun came out.

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

You can see the many holes blasted through the roof by the hail.

You can imagine the rest of the damage done to this house. Between the holes in the roof and the windows shattered by the hailstones, no doubt plenty of rainwater gushed into this house, too.

Not to mention LOTS of other houses. In addition to this kind of damage, theres a lot of destruction from water, too.

You can see why bad hailstorms, when they hit populated areas like they've been doing in Texas recently, can cause a billion dollars in damage or more.

By the way, a day after the Dallas-Fort Worth suburbs were pummeled by this huge hail, another very destructive hail storm hit the San Antonio area. Among other things, that hailstorm in San Antonio totaled a bunch of new cars at a BMW dealership.

The area around Wylie and Denton, Texas had a destructive hailstorm in March. Some people had already had roofs replaced and cars repaired from that storm, only to have them destroyed again this week, as the Dallas Morning News reports

I hate to think about how the insurance premiums are going to go up around there.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Gorgeous In Vermont, Northeast, But It's A REALLY Bad Time To Play With Fire

My weather dog Jackson keeps a careful
eye on the bursh pile burn I had last winter
I did it with a burn permit, and
with snow on the ground to prevent it
from spreading. Now that's it's dry don't
set a burn pile like this going.  n

Dryness is getting worse out there in Vermont and the rest of New England today as the humidity remains low and breezes continue.

A red flag warning is up for most of New Hampshire and much of Maine. That means there's definitely a danger of fire.

Outdoor burning is banned in New York State. There are no particular bans in Vermont, but some towns are probably denying burn permits to residents,.

I wouldn't do any outdoor burns if I were you.


The sun is out very nicely this spring Thursday in Vermont.

It's a little cool, but oh well.

The great news is every day through Sunday looks like it will be sunny. And it will be turning warmer each day.

It could even get to 70 in a few spots Sunday.

Not to rain on your sunny parade, but I do have a word of caution: Whatever you do, don't burn your brush pile this week.

And no throwing cigarette butts out your car window!!

This time of year, and this kind of weather this time of year, is prime wildfire and brush fire season in Vermont, and much of the rest of the Northeast and southeastern Canada for that matter.

There's several reasons why.

The most obvious is the dry, dead grass and brush out there. Things haven't really started to green up much yet, and the dead stuff from last year is still there, ready to burst into flames with any spark.

There's no leaves on the trees yet, either, so the warm April sun can penetrate the forest floor and dry things out quickly. Even if there's still mud underfoot from the thawing frost in the ground, the stuff on top is tinder dry.

High pressure systems, the kind that cause this kind of bright, sunny weather, tend to have particularly low humidity this time of year. Especially if the high pressure systems comes from southern Canada.

Those southern Canadian highs tend to be particularly dry this time of year.

Again, there's no leaves on the trees, so there's no leaves to transpire moisture into the air, increasing the humidity.

If the air is super dry, like it will be the rest of this week, things dry out faster and also burn more readily.

The more days in a row it's sunny and nice, the drier it gets. So the fire danger will increase as we head toward the weekend.

Fortunately, it doesn't look like it's going to be particularly windy this week. High winds obviously fan and spread flames, so the relative lack of wind this week is good news.

Again. Be careful with fire. Always. But especially this week.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Beautiful Time Lapse of Thunderstorms

A billowing, developing thunderstorm
as viewed from South Burlington,
Vermont last summer.  
Since spring is here and summer is to follow, it's time to cloud watch.

Clouds, at least to me, are usually far more interesting in the spring and summer than in the winter.

There tends to be more showers and thunderstorms during the warmer season, and you get those big billowly towering cumulus, thunderheads and full blown thunderstorms adding interest in drama to the sky.

To get you ready for thunderstorm cloud watching season, there's a beautiful time lapse taking on a summer day last year at the bottom of this post.

In it, you see a thunderstorm to the left dying out, and to the right, a series of cumulus clouds trying, trying, trying to erupt into a thunderstorm.

The efforts repeatedly fail, until suddenly the clouds erupt into a beautiful local thunderstorm.

It doesn't last long, and the new thunderstorm begins to die, but there's a promise of another one soon.

I can just picture myself in that meadow watching the clouds all day. That will happen soon, I'm sure.

Meanwhile, here's the video:

Tuesday, April 12, 2016


The National Weather Service is going to stop
yelling at us. Image from Tech Insider  
Anyone who spends even a tiny bit of time online knows that if someone types in all caps, they're yelling.

It's always considered rude to yell, whether online or off, so you probably shouldn't yell unless absolutely necessary.

But if you see National Weather Service forecasts, statements and such, everything is in all caps.


Now that's going to change, and the National Weather Service is going to become quieter, and more polite.

It's not that they were ever intentionally rude.

According to the Seattle Times:

"Weather Service spokeswoma Susan Buchanan said the agency started using all capital letters in 1849 forecasts because of the telegraph. Twenty years ago, the agency tried phasing out the practice but old equipment wouldn't recognize lower case letters.
National Weather Service forecasts like this one
in all caps, is soon to be a thing of the past.  

Starting May 11, Weather Service forecasts wil no longer read like someone shouting in a  hurricane - the agency will use both upper and lower case letters."

Finally, an equipment upgrade will enable to National Weather Service forecasts to come to us in a normal voice and calm down already.

The National Weather Service will still occasionally yell at us, but only in situations in which we really need to pay attention, like when a mile wide EF5 tornado packing 250 mph winds is heading toward you.


Yeah, I would yell, too, if a really bad tornado, hurricane or flood was heading toward me.

Sometimes yellling is appropriate.

Softball Sized Hail And Storms Cause Incredibe Damage And Scary Scenes In Texas.

A man holds a gigantic hailstone
that fell on Wylie, Texas Monday.
Photo via Twitter, @heelsandracing. 
An incredible hailstorm hit parts of Texas Monday, dumping softball sized hail on several populated areas.

A few Texas neighborhoods got pummeled by hail the size of grapefruits, which is beyond the pale.

As you can imagine, there was a LOT of damage and some injuries.  Watch the very dramatic, terrifying videos of the storm at the bottom of this post.

The hail was so big that it nearly destroyed some houses. Not only did many windows break, but the hail was big and powerful enough to crash through home roofs.

Once the roofs were breached, the heavy rain accompanying the hail soaked the interior of many homes, television station KDFW reports. 

The hardest hit community was the city of Wylie, Texas, population about 44,000 where  most homes and buildings were damaged by hail.

The city's public works center and schools are closed today due to hail damage, says KDFW.

Emergency rooms in the area were busy with people who'd been cut by flying glass as hail crashed through home windows, or who were caught in cars that were pummeled.

Windows were blown out of these homes in Wylie, Texas
from softball sized hail. Click on the image to
make it bigger and easier to see.  
Damage will be as expensive as a big tornado for sure.

While few if any homes were completely destroyed as in a large twister, the large, damaging hail hit a much larger area than a tornado would.

Since these are busy, populated Dallas suburbs, many thousands of homes, businesses and cars will need expensive, extensive repairs.

This is the third, and the worst destructive hail storm to hit North Texas in the past month. Two March hail storms caused $1 billion, with a "B" dollars in damage.

Click on this link to see hail smashing through glass in this home. Unbelievable!

Here's some more videos out of the Wylie, Texas area Monday:

More from Wylie, Texas:

Coming through the windows in Wylie, Texas: