Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Donald Trump's Golf Course Scarily Threatened By Global Warming; Rest Of Us Just Fine

Donald Trump's views on climate change are kinda
incapsulated here.  
Donald Trump isn't much of a climatologist or meteorologist.

He's a famous climate change denier. A couple of winters ago, New York had a nasty winter cold wave. Temperatures got into the single numbers and wind chills were below zero.

He Tweeted that was "proof" that global warming is a hoax.

Last Christmas Eve, New York was in the throes of a remarkable winter hot spell. Record high temperatures well into the 70s had men playing basketball and ultimate frisbee shirtless, Last minute Christmas shoppers sweated it out in the heat.

Not a word from Trump that the December heat was "proof" of global warming.

Of course, a single New York cold snap or a couple days of strange New York winter heat don't do anything to prove or disprove climate change, but never mind,

He's Donald Trump, and he's decided that the global warming is a plot by the Chinese to ruin our economy by trying to make us make pointless precautions against the "fake" global warming crisis.

To Trump, there is no global warming.

Except, of course,  around his golf course in Ireland.

Says Politico:

"The New York billonaire is applying for permission to erect a coastal protection works to prevent erosion at his seaside golf resort, Trump International Golf Lines and Hotel Ireland, in County Clare.

A permit application for the wall, filed by Trump International Golf Links Ireland was reviewed by Politico, explicitly cites global warming and its consequences - increased erosion due to rising sea levels and extreme weather this century - as a chief justification for building the structure."

Trump says as president, he'd dismantle climate treaties and promote American production of fossil fuels to make the U.S. the dominant producer of oil, gas, coal etc.

So, Trump says publicly that global warming is nothing to worry about, but behind the scenes, he worries about it if it threatens his business or political interests.

What else is he doing behind the scenes?

He apparently says what he wants to believe. Trump also made waves at a recent California rally when he said that California is not having a drought at all

Which is news to just about everybody, including the U.S. Drought Monitor, which has most of California still in a drought, and some parts of the state still in extreme drought, despite some rains over the winter.

Trump, I think, was talking about the complicated task in California of allocating water correctly for agriculture, homes, wildlife, business, etc.

But just waving your hands and saying there's no drought is a bit much.

Trump probably thinks that he's powerful enough, if he says something, it is automatically so.  A little  dollop of hypocrisy makes him all the more obnoxious.

Which would make him a dangerous president in a lot of ways, including in the arena of climate change.



Monday, May 30, 2016

First Decent Severe Thunderstorms Of Season In Vermont

A large tree fell  and blocked Route 105 between Sheldon
and St. Albans, Vermont Sunday during a severe thunderstorm
Wires were down, too as you can see.  
Well, this was convenient for me.

Thunderstorms developed in Vermont Sunday, and there were a couple isolated severe thunderstorms.

The worst one was just up the road from my house in St. Albans, Vermont, so it was easy for me to storm chase, as I like to do.

Vermont storm chases aren't anything like what goes on in the Midwest and Plains, when chasers have close encounters with large, dangerous tornadoes.

Chases here are much safer. By, say Oklahoma standards, Vermont's Sunday storm wasn't that bad, but for us it was.

The damage was pretty much exclusively in the form of fallen trees and power lines in a concentrated area of the northern parts of St. Albans, and adjacent Sheldon, Franklin and Highgate.

The storms I was in were dramatic enough, with incredibly heavy rain - rainfall rates were close to two inches an hour. The winds were strong, and there were a few dime-sized hail stones pinging off my truck.

This big tree fell and barely missed a house during
a severe thunderstorm in Sheldon, Vermont Sunday.  
It wasn't the worst thunderstorm ever, but I've never had so much trouble getting back home after a chase.

The major routes south from Sheldon and Highgate back to St. Albans were all blocked off by fallen trees and wires.

So were all the back roads I tried. Finally, someone was able to clear a tree from Route 207 coming out of Highgate so I made it out.

Boy, we needed the rain, though. The storms started to train in northern New York. By that I mean a string of storms kept going over the same spot, over and over again.

That prompted flash flood warnings in parts of the northern Adirondacks, as a few places got a quick four to five inches of rain out of the storm train.

The train briefly continued into the northwest corner of Vermont. But aside from the initial severe storm I chased, the storms weren't intense by the time they got to Vermont. So no serious flooding.

And bonus! My gardens were parched before the rain.  The storm at my house in the southeastern corner of St. Albans wasn't at all severe, but I did get a downpour out of the storm, followed by a few hours of repeated showers. That helped a lot.

Here's a very raw video compilation I took of Sunday's storms, that kicked off Vermont's summer storm season:  The video is most intense toward the end:

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Possible Tropical Storm Bonnie Steals Media Spotlight From Much Worse Texas Flood

KHOU's Tiffany Craig reports
Darren Mitchell took this
photo of water covering
the windows of his
submerged car with
him inside. At last report,
tragically, he's still missing.
He posted the photo on Facebook
just before the car was swept away.
I notice today the media attention is all on a tropical depression northeast of the Bahamas.

It might turn into Tropical Storm Bonnie today and will probably cause a little gusty wet weather in South Carolina coast this weekend.

A tropical storm in May! How novel! Especially since the Atlantic hurricane season doesn't officially start until June 1.

While wannabe Bonnie should be taken seriously, given its potential for some gusty winds and potentially flooding rains in South Carolina, I'm guessing this won't be as big a deal as say, the thunderstorms that have been going on in Texas since Thursday.

Some areas northwest of Houston have gotten up to 17 inches of rain and it was still pouring in many areas around there late Friday afternoon.

As you can imagine they're having an epic flood, one of a series of record and near record floods that have hit that part of the country over the past year or two.

I'm totally willing to bet that the effects and destruction from the Texas storms are turning out to be much worse than what will happen with wannabe Bonnie.

Oh sure, there's media attention on the unfolding disaster in Texas, but tropical storms and hurricanes get the bulk of news coverage, because, well, they're tropical storms and hurricanes.

Texas, quite frankly, as bad, though. The Weather Channel reports two people dead and three missing fron the flooding.

They had to rescue people from roofs of homes near Austin, and many roads were closed by the flahs flooding. In Bryan, Texas, a tornado added to the chaos. The twister damaged about 150 homes.

This is yet another in a series of weather disasters for Texas.

And it ain't over. More flooding and bouts of severe weather are due in the Lone Star State occasionally over the next week.

Texas is in for a lot more weather trouble than anything a little tropical depression could do.




Thursday, May 26, 2016

Tropical Threats, Storms, Heat: Summer Is Here

I guess we can safely say summer is here.
Various computer models hint at a possible
tropical storm heading into the Carolinas this weekend.  

Oh sure, there will be some cool spells locally here in Vermont and elsewhere in the country, but we've hit a few milestones that say it's the hot season.

Here are a few:

TROPICAL TROUBLE:

The Atlantic hurricane season officially runs from June 1 to November 30, but you can sometimes get storms before and after those dates.  

We actually briefly had a weird one, Hurricane Alex, back in January over the eastern Atlantic. It made a very rare landfall in the Azores. 

Tropical storms and hurricanes are most likely in the summer and fall, though, when ocean waters are warmest.

They're already warming up, and now,  before the June 1 officials start date, we might end up with Tropical or Sub-tropical Bonnie.

The National Hurricane Center says there's a disturbance northeast of the Bahamas, and conditions out there could allow this to become a tropical or subtropical storm by the weekend.

A subtropical storm, by the way, is a hybrid with characteristics of both a tropical storm and a regular old low pressure system. Tropical storms and hurricanes purely have warm cores, subtropical storms have elements of warm cores, and colder centers typical of plain storms.

Anyway, whatever this thing is would head northwestward, and threaten the Carolina coasts this weekend.

I really doubt the would-be Bonnie will become a hurricane, but there's potential there for gusty winds and heavy rains in parts of the Southeast in a few days.

It's only May and we already might be up to the letter "B" in the alphabetical list of Atlantic tropical storms.

This does not necessarily mean the hurricane season as a whole will be busy. However, El Nino, which suppresses Atlantic hurricanes is waning. It might be replaced by the opposite pattern, La Nina, but early fall, and that could encourage hurricanes.

We'll see.

THE HEAT IS ON

After a relatively cool April and early May, summer weather has hit the Northeast, including here in Vermont.

Tuesday was a strange day, with mid summer heat in the mid-80s in the northwest corner of Vermont where I live, while it was cloudy and in the low 60s in the normally warmer southeastern part of the state.

Wednesday, we all shared in the summer warmth. Burlington got up to 84 degrees, the hottest so far this year. A few cities in the Northeast hit 90 for the first time this year.

It's going to get hotter for awhile, too.
This weekend in Vermont is going to feature
 summer weather. Very warm, humid and scattered
thunderstorms. A few storms might be strong.
This is a thunderstorm near Fairfield, Vermont last summer.  

Many places across the Northeast will hit 90 Friday and Saturday. Here in Vermont, there could be a couple 90s popping up as well. Official forecasts have highs in the mid to upper 80s on both days.

However, it's been dry, and that tends to allow temperatures to rise further than they normally would.

If it stays mainly sunny Friday and Saturday and afternoon thunderstorms don't get going until after, say 4:30 or 5 p.m., we could get to 90.

(More on those potential storms in a minute)

There's also concern about the Vermont City Marathon in Burlington, Vermont Sunday.  It will be a little cooler Sunday, but still hot - near 80 degrees - and kinda humid for people running 26.2 miles. That can be dangerous for long distance runners.

Race organizers are urging participants to prepare for the weather and especially stay hydrated during the race.

Typical mid-summer warmth is forecast to last into the middle of next week.

STORMY

A hallmark of summer in the Northeast are the occasional strong to severe thunderstorm. You know the drill: It's a hot and humid summer day, and then in the mid or late afternoon or evening, we get a nice big thunderstorms.

Sometimes they're just splash and dash type of things, and sometimes they cause strong winds, hail, lightning and flash floods.

There is the chance of strong storms Friday and Saturday in Vermont and other parts of the Northeast, but there's not going to be a widespread outbreak of severe weather.

Still, heads up!

NOAA's Storm Prediction Center has a marginal risk for severe storms Friday afternoon in northern New York and in Vermont and New Hampshire.

Hot weather, combined with cool pockets of air in the upper atmosphere, will undoubtedly set off some thunderstorms. Most will be garden variety, no biggie. But a couple towns could get some damaging wind gusts out of this.

The same kind of thing might happen Saturday afternoon. There's also a chance of storms Sunday and Monday, but it's too soon to figure out how widespread or strong they might be.

Stay tuned, and welcome to summer.


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Dodge City, Kansas Was Most Photogenic And Dangerous Place To Be On Tuesday

Two tornadoes on the ground simultaneously
near Dodge City, Kansas Tuesday.  
Dodge City, Kansas was ground zero for a massive supercell thunderstorm, tornadoes, at least one of which was enormous, and some incredible clouds.

It you're a weather geek that's into photography, Dodge City, Kansas was the best place in the world to be yesterday.

Unfortunately, it came with a price. NBC News reports two people critically injured in the Dodge City tornadoes, and some buildings destroyed.

On the bright side, Dodge City missed a major disaster. The big tornado just barely missed the city's downtown, which is a great thing.
Massive tornado on the ground near Dodge City,
Kansas Tuesday. From @TornadoGreg on Twitter.  

As an aside, the reminds me exactly of an old episode of "Gunsmoke" which was set in Dodge City. That episode had a tornado hitting some farms, but missing downtown Dodge City.

The tornadoes around Dodge City took many forms, including one that looked like a massive stovepipe.

There were tornadoes with multiple vorticies within them, and at one point, there were two, possibly even three tornadoes on the ground around Dodge City simultaneously.

After the tornadoes, the city was treated to the sight of mammatus clouds at sunset associated with the departing supercell thunderstorm.

Mammatus clouds over Dodge City after the tornadi
supercell storm passed Tuesday. Phot from @extremewinds
on Twitter.  
These clouds form from ice crystals way at the top of the thunderstorm. This area is known as the anvil, because it extends somewhat horizontally on top of the storm and is shaped something like an anvil.

The ice crystals sink and evaporate, forming the pouch-shaped clouds.

The Dodge City storms formed near what is known as a dry line, which is a sharp north to south line in which it's quite humid to the east and very dry to the west.

This time of year, supercell storms and tornadoes often form along dry lines, so this storm wasn't so unusual.

The dry line wavers back and forth across the Plains. In fact, the dry line briefly moved east of Dodge City after the storms, then quickly moved back to the west again, so it's humid there again

The wavering dry line that's still out there and will be much of this week sets the stage for possibly more severe storms and tornadoes today and especially tomorrow in the central Plains, including the area around Dodge City.

Here's video of the tornadoes from Dan Robinson:



Here's another video of the tornado from Val and Amy Castor:


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Epic Heat Disaster In India Is Killing Thousands

A woman in India gets relief from a fan
during that country's current record
breaking heat wave  
Heat waves lack the dramatic optics of disasters such as tornadoes, floods and hurricanes, but they can often be among the worlds deadliest calamities.

Such is the case now in India and surrounding nations as a relentless heat wave grinds on. It's not known exactly how many people have died so far, but the number has to be in the thousands at least.

Last year, 2,400 or so people died in heat waves across India. This year, the heat is worse.

We know at least 340 people have died of the heat around New Delhi, and hospitals are overwhelmed with people suffering from heat-related injuries and illnesses.

It's amazing that a disaster has killed perhaps thousands of people and it's not in the top headlines of news organizations.

Then again, as I said, heat waves lack optics, and the deaths are not dramatic looking. Just tragic.

Heat waves are the neutron bomb of weather disasters: All the houses and buildings remain intact, but a lot of people die.

We do know this heat wave in India is one for the record books. The nation last week recorded its hottest temperature on record, with a reading of 124 degrees.

As almost all of us know from experience,  heat waves feel worse, are more draining and are more dangerous when the humidity is high.

The dew point temperature is a good way to measure how humidity feels. The dew point is the always the same or lower than the actual temperature and is the level at which moisture in the atmosphere would condense into fog or precipitation.

To most Americans, it begins to feel a bit humid when the dew point gets to around 60. It feels pretty damn oppressive when the dew point is 70.

In parts of India, dew points have been approaching or even exceeding an incredible 90 degrees. This is near the limit of what humans can survive, even if they're not exerting themselves and getting enough water.

As we all well know, many Indians have no access to electricity, never mind air conditioning, so this is clearly a dangerous situation.

Not all the deaths in India are due to the heat. The scorching weather is accompanied by a huge drought. Some farmers are committing suicide on their parched lands rather than give up and be forced to live in urban shantytowns.

Even for those who do have access to cooling - and jobs -  things are weird. In one city, people trying to cross streets find themselves stuck to the melting asphalt. Yes, melting asphalt.

Of course there have always been heat waves and people have always died during them. But as the planet warms, some hot spells are getting longer and more intense than they have in the past, which spells trouble.

Especially when they hit in areas that don't always have hot weather, like India

Heat waves like this one have killed lots of people in various parts of the world. An unprecedented European heat wave in 2003 killed an estimated 20,000 people. 

In 2010 as many as 50,000 people died from heat stress and respiratory illnesses during an never-before seen Russian heat wave.

Heat waves are usually more likely to kill ill and elderly people, which I think is another reason why these disasters don't attract headlines.

However, the public ought to be protected, and know what to do to protect themselves during intense heat waves, just as there are rules to protect ourselves from tornadoes, hurricanes and floods.

It's a cliche, but it's true: The life you save might be your own.


Sunday, May 22, 2016

Arctic Heat And Melting Ice Just Keep Getting Worse And Worse

Click on this chart to make it bigger and easier
to see. The black line is the trend in
Arctic sea ic this year. The red line represents
the record low year of 2012. The gray shading
is pretty much the longterm average 
It seems every time we glimpse up toward the Arctic this year, things just keep getting more and more dire.

The ice is melting faster and earlier than ever before as the increasing warmth of spring grinds on. Temperatures are staying way above normal and are forecast to continue doing so.

Worse, strong, warm high pressure is parked over parts of the high Arctic, which means lots of toasty sunshine to accelerate ice melt.

I know what you're thinking. Who cares about a balmy Arctic spring?

My reply is the same as I've offered before. A warm, melting Arctic can screw up your life. Yes, the life you lead thousands of miles south of the Arctic.

First of all, the less ice there is, the less heat gets reflected back to space. Less ice means the oceans and earth can absorb more heat, worsening global warming.

This is known as positive feedback. Global warming melts ice. The lack of ice makes global warming worse. That melts even more ice. And so on and so on.

The Arctic melt also screws up coastal cities over the long term. The ice melting in the Arctic Ocean isn't that big a deal when thinking of sea level rise. It's like an ice cube melting in a glass. The glass won't overflow when the ice melts.

However, the ice melting off Greenland IS a big deal. That is like a melting ice cube held above the glass of water. Eventually the dripping of water from the melting ice cube into the glass will make that glass overflow.

Water flowing off Greenland from the excessive melts are slowly making the world's oceans "overflow"

On top of that, the jet stream depends largely on a sharp temperature contrast between the equatorial regions and the poles. The jet stream controls the strength, position and movement of most storms and areas of fair weather high pressure - the weather in general.

The Arctic is warming up much more rapidly than places near the Equator. That means there's less of a temperature contrast. Which could mean a weaker or weirder jet stream. Whichwould make weather systems or patterns get "stuck" in place more often.

That, in turn, would lead to longer and more intense heat waves, droughts, floods or even cold waves, depending on where and how the jet stream gets "stuck."

So yeah, worry about a warming Arctic.

Here are some recent details of what's going on up there:

ARCTIC HEAT WAVES

Researchers with NOAA said Barrow, on Alaska's northern tip, had by far its earliest date at which the snow cover melted away in the spring.

The snow was gone at Barrow by May 13, a full 10 days earlier than the previous record.

Meanwhile, the town of Longyearbyen, in the northern tip of Norway - the northernmost civilian community in the world, has had only one cooler than average day so far this year, which is unheard of, notes Bob Henson in a recent Weather Underground post. 

Also, as I noted previously, parts of Greenland in April had its earliest thaw on record. Ominously, there have been more thaws since. We'll see if Greenland has a hot (for them) summer. It would be bad if they did.

(See sea level rise, above)

NO ICE, ICE, BABY

Arctic sea ice is still melting at a record fast pace this spring, as Bob Henson notes in his Weather Underground blog.

The melt is so far going at a far faster pace than the record 2012 melt.

Satellite pictures are showing major cracks and openings in Arctic ice. These cracks, called leads, always happen later during the summer in the Arctic, but never in May.;

Until this year.

"It looks like late June or early July right now," says David Douglas, a research biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey

Scientists are marveling - not in a good way -- about the melting ice.

"We're in record breaking territory no matter how you look at it," Jennifer Francis told the Washington Post recently.

Francis, an Arctic specialist at Rutgers University, studies how changes in the Arctic affect weather patterns in the mid-latitudes were most of us live.

"The ice is really low, the temperatures are really high, the fire seasons have started early," Francis said.

Wildlife such as polar bears and walruses are suffering, too. They need ice to hunt for food, and it's literally disappearing under their feet.

Though things are off to an ominous start, there's no guarantee this year will break a record for least Arctic ice. If it's relatively cloudy in the Arctic during June and July, and if air and ocean circulation patterns assist in pushing ice toward somewhat lower latitudes,  the Arctic sea ice melt might slow down dramatically, as Henson notes. 

WILDFIRES:

Remember that big wildfire in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada at the beginning of this month?

Well, it's still burning, big time, with no signs of containment. Most of the fire has moved away from Fort McMurray, but it now covers an area bigger than Rhode Island and is moving into neighboring provinces.  

The fire probably won't go out until the snow flies in the autumn.
Global warming might have contributed tot he giant
Fort McMurray fire in Canada. The fire, in turn, might
help make global warming a little worse.  

This is bad for a lot of reasons, besides the fact that a bunch of trees just went up in smoke and more are going every day.

We've seen smoke from this fire a couple times this month now all the way down here in Vermont. It makes the sky hazy,

That's soot. It's not great for the lungs. But worse, the wind sometimes blows the soot over and onto the Arctic Ocean and onto the Greenland ice cap.

The soot particles are dark, and when they settle on ice, the dark soot attracts the sun's heat, accelerating melting. If the ice had stayed white, a lot of the sun's heat would have been reflected back into space, so the melting would be slower.

Also, the Fort McMurray fire is burning through boreal forests that have permafrost under the soil's surface.

Normally, the forests and vegetation shade the permafrost, so it stays, well, frosty.  The fires get rid of that protective vegetation and leave charred black stuff in its wake.

That means the sun can get down and melt the permafrost. When that happens, tons of carbon dioxide, the principal greenhouse gas, gets released into the air, worsening global warming.

More positive feedback, like that ice melting in the Arctic Ocean.

So yeah, I hope the few people that live in the Arctic regions are enjoying their warm year. They're probably not. They're worried instead.

We down here in the "South" should be worried, too.



Friday, May 20, 2016

The Warm Season Means We Can Enjoy More Beautiful And Interesting Clouds, Thank Goodness

A beautiful sky over Georgia, Vermont Thursday
morning showed instability in the air,
and accurately portended a few showers
and thunderstorms.  
I think yesterday ushered in the season of interesting clouds in Vermont.

As a weather geek, clouds are often interesting and beautiful to me, but in the warm months, they're much better.

In warm weather, you're much more likely to get those billowing clouds and towering cumulus, which sometimes blossom into full fledged thunderstorms.

The ever changing towers these clouds make, the dramatic shadows, the ominious patterns of approaching storms, the gleaming whiteness of more distant thunderstorms and the dramatic anvil tops of those thunderstorms in the late afternoon sun are always stunning.

Yesterday, a cold pocket of air high in the atmosphere moved overhead. The warm May sun heated the ground. The contrast between the warm surface and cold upper air created some of those billowing clouds I love so much.

This introduced the seasons of great clouds.

At first, in the late morning, there were just some seemingly benign scattered clouds, but the chaotic nature of them, as you can see in the first photo in this post, hinted at more beauty ahead.

As the day went on, the towering cumulus reached higher and higher, until they got thick enough to produce rain.

Toward evening here in St. Albans, Vermont, one or two of those big clouds developed into a garden variety thunderstorm, with a couple nice rumbles of thunder, a quick shower, and even a couple tiny hailstones. Harmless hailstones, smaller than peas, so the garden is safe.

There's a chance of similar weather in Vermont Sunday, depending upon the timing of a weak cold front. The weather pattern might favor a chance of more scattered showers and thunderstorms late next week.

This all gets my cloud watching juices flowing.

Of course, Vermont's summertime cloud drama pales in comparison to the Great Plains. Spring and early summer there are peak storm season there.

I enjoyed this small thunderstorm over
my St. Albans, Vermont home Thursday evening.  
I obviously don't want to see death and destruction from those Plains storms and tornadoes, but the ones that don't cause much harm are fun to watch.

In early June, I'll make my annual pilgrimage to South Dakota so that I can visit my in laws in Yankton.

That's the height of the storm season there. Every year, in early June, I'm there, and get to see some awesome clouds and storms that rise high above the South Dakota plains, all the while spitting lightning, downpours and hail

And they're huge. Two years ago, Norfolk, Nebraska, about 70 miles south of Yankton, was pummeled by softball sized hail and hurricane force wind gusts.

The storm was so big that the top of that distant thunderstorm loomed overhead, and dropped a couple small hailstones as I planted flowers in my mother-in-law's window box.

Gardening, storms and hail. I was in heaven.

Last year in South Dakota,  I even saw a wall cloud, which is often a precursor to a tornado

My goal this year is to see a tornado out there. A small one, a twister that harmlessly crosses a field without hitting anybody's house.  I don't want to see anyone harmed, or anybody's property damaged.

Don't worry, I won't storm chase. I don't have the experience for that. Inexperienced storm chasers are the worst, putting themselves and others in danger.

But come on, just one funnel cloud in South Dakota, please?

Even if I see no South Dakota funnels, I'll come home to Vermont, and enjoy a summer of beautiful, ever changing skies.

It's one of the biggest joys of summer. Get out there, lay down on a blanket and watch the greatest show on Earth, right overhead.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Record Hot Times For Planet Earth For 12th Month In A Row

A red world: Global temperaturs were way abov
normal almost everywhere in April.  
NOAA confirmed yesterday that last month was the hottest April on record for Planet Earth.

Incredibly, it was the 12th consecutive month that the world has seen a hottest month, and 2016 is likely to go down as the warmest year on record for the globe.

Blame climate change, with an assist from El Nino for this literal hot mess.

Climate change is continuing to exert upward pressure on global temperatures and will continue to do so for the forseeable future.

El Nino, the periodic warming of the eastern Pacific, puts a lot of extra heat into the air. The most added heat in the air lags the peak of El Nino by a few months, which explains why it's so hot. And why temperatures in the last year or so have spiked up way above the somewhat slower long term upward trend.

Each of the last seven months in NOAA's database, going back to the late 1800s, are the only ones that were a degree or more warmer than the long term average.

When you're looking at the globe as a whole, a few tenths of a degree above or below normal is remarkable. A full degree is incredible.

By the way, we haven't had a month that was even a smidge cooler than normal, if you take the Earth as  whole, since February, 1985. So if you're 31 years old or younger, you've never experienced a cooler than average month on the Globe.

Many of not most scientists are expecting global temperatures to cool slightly in the upcoming months and year or two as El Nino wanes.

So don't expect to keep hearing "warmest ever" phrases every month. But with underlying global warming continuing on, don't expect to ever harken back to the 1980s or before. I don't think we'll ever see a cooler than average month again, unless there's massive global volcanoes, huge asteroid hits or nuclear war or some other terrible thing.

The warmth in April was once again concentrated up in the Arctic.

Ice extent continues way below normal up there, which might set the stage for a record low ice extent come Septemeber. Whether or not that actually happens depends on summertime weather patterns at the top of the globe.

But the trend is there. It's also not helping that massive early season wildfires in Canada and Siberia are dropping bits of soot on some of the existing ice, which would hasten melting under summertime sun. (Dark objects like soot absorb the sun's heat. White ice reflects the heat more.)

Young people are always admonished to change the world. But we shouldn't be changing the world this way. Watch for more weather disasters, big climate disruptions and other expensive consequences of global warming coming to a planet near you.


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

What It's Like To Be In The Worst Weather In The World, 100 MPH Plus Winds

A scientist at the Mount Washington Observatory in
New Hampshire goes airborne amid
109 mph gusts on Monday.  
A lot of us in northern New England were grumbling about the weather Monday, what with the May snows in many areas that brought a dusting to three inches to many mid and high elevations of northern Vermont, and close to eight inches in northern Maine.

Stop complaining.

The weather was nowhere near as bad where you were than atop Mount Washington in New Hampshire, but that's pretty much always the case.

Winds at the summit of Mount Washington often blow in excess of 100 mph, and once gusted to 231 mph, which was for decades a world record.

The Mount Washington Observatory at the mountain peak is constructed with three food thick concrete and three layers of bullet proof glass on windows to protect its occupants from the weather.

Of course, the occupants sometimes have to go outside, even in wild conditions, usually to de-ice weather equipment

Monday, it snowed on Mount Washington, of course, and the wind howled above 100 mph.

The Observatory released this now viral video of the guy going out to do the weather obs. Seemed a bit breezy to me!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Vermont Snow: Coulda Been Worse, Going To Get Better

Wintry enough at the Bolton Valley Ski Area in
Vermont this morning, for sure. 
As expected, there was some late season May snow in Vermont and much of the rest of northern New England and northern New York overnight.

But it wasn't quite as bad as some of us feared, and we continue to note that things will get better this week. However, mid and high elevations in Vermont got their share of late snows last night.

The National Weather Service office in South Burlington reported 3.8 inches of snow in Hyde Park, 2 inches in Johnson and Pomfret, and numerous reports of around an inch.

A photo shared on Twitter from Westfield, Vermont showed what looked like a good inch of snow on the ground.

A webcam from the Bolton Valley Ski Area, and many other areas of northern Vermont also showed snow on the ground. For instance, a dusting of snow was also visible on the trees and ground on a traffic web cam along Interstate 89 in Berlin, although the highway itself was just wet.

It snowed in northern New Hampshire and Maine, two. As of 7:30 a.m. this morning, it was snowing hard in Caribou, Maine.
Via Twitter, by Carol Ingalls Towle, snow on
the ground this morning in Waterville, Vermont 

The most depressing early morning report came from the reliably extreme Mount Washington Observatory in New Hampshire.

At the summit of the 6,000+ foot mountain at 5 a.m., it was 10 degrees and snowing, with winds gusting to 89 mph for a wind chill of 19 below.

Although some snow will continue at high elevations today, things will get better. The air is drying out, so the mountain snow and valley rain showers will likely get less and less widespread as today wears on.

It will still be awful for May, with high temperatures reaching only the 40s in many locations amid chilly northwest winds gusting to 30 mph.

Tuesday and Wednesday will be on the cool side for May, but still, much better. There will be some sun, with afternoon readings in the 50s, maybe touching 60 in a few spots.

We could hit 70 again by the end of the week. 70 is close to normal for this time of year, so it's not a big deal. But it will sure feel great.




Sunday, May 15, 2016

More Incredible Hail Battered The Midwest Last Week.

A snow plow clears massive amounts of hail out
of an Omaha, Nebraska parking lot last week. 
Very much like the past two springs, this year seems to be a very bad season for hailstorms in the United States, even as the tornado count remains below average.

Destructive hailstorms this time hit especially hard around Omaha, Nebraska and the St. Louis, Missouri suburbs.

These storms came after a series of hailstorms caused nearly $2 billion in damage earlier this spring in Texas.

The Omaha World-Herald reported that hail piled up 18 to 24 inches deep after the hail washed down slopes, clogged storm sewers. Leaves brought down from trees by the hail contributed to the clogged drains.

Front end loaders and snow plows cleared streets of the heavy hail, leaving it in big piles that resembled the aftermath of a large blizzard.

At least one motorist had to be towed out after becoming stuck in the deep hail. Others waited for people to bring snow shovels to dig their cars out.

The St. Louis Post Dispatch reported hail Wednesday was as big as grapefruit and softballs in some areas, particularly around Cottleville,, Weldon Spring and  St. Charles, Missouri.

The paper said large hail smashed out car windows and dented vehicles at a Mercedes Benz dealership in O'Fallon, Missouri. There was at least $100,000 in damage at the dealership alone.

One small tornado touched down outside of St. Louis during the storms. Large trees fell in Ferguson, Missouri, blocking streets.

Here's a news clip of the hail piles in Omaha:



Here's some damaging hail pinging down on a St. Louis suburb. Bet the cars in the video didn't fare well:

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Yes, It's Going To Snow In Vermont Again Tomorrow Night, Oh Joy

A lovely spring evening in my St. Albans, Vermont
garden Friday evening. Unfortunately, these flowers are'
are going to get snowed on Sunday night.  
UPDATE: As of Sunday morning, the forecast hasn't changed at all.

It's chilly and dark out there now, and there will be a lot of mostly light rain showers around today.

Mostly north and mountains.

Snow levels will fall late today and I'm still expecting a dusting or more of snow in much of northern Vermont, especially at elevations above 1,000 feet.

PREVIOUS DISCUSSION

It realy seemed like spring had truly arrived.

Temperatures soared to 80 degrees Thursday, and mild rains hit Vermont Friday. Trees leafed out, flowers bloomed.

Friday evening's damp air had that sweet, wonderful organic aroma that only comes when the forests and gardens have emphatically come back to life.

There was a gorgeous clear blue spring sunrise this Saturday morning, too.

Which of course means it's going to snow again. This being Vermont and all.

This spring has been characterized by dramatic and frustrating setbacks and here we go again. Another blast from Canada is coming down.

This morning, you can see it on the weather maps, with frost and freeze warnings across the entire upper Midwest, stretching from Wyoming, through the Dakotas, Minnesota, all the way to Michigan.

For us here in New England, a cold pool of wet, frigid air is going to stall over us Sunday and Monday. That means snow, even in the valleys.

Today will be a transition day. We started off sunny, but clouds will build during the afternoon. It'll still be springtime mild, with temperatures a few degrees either side of 70.

Showers and maybe a rumble of thunder will move in later in the day, marking the transition back to winter.

Sunday will be raw and showery, especially in the northern half of the state and in the higher elevations.

At first, any snow will be confined to the highest peaks, but as the cold settles in, snow levels will gradually fall.

Sunday night, several inches will probably fall above 2,500 feet in elevation. The National Weather Service is going for four or five inches at summit level, but I wouldn't be surprised if the top of places like Mount Mansfield and Jay Peak end up with close to a foot by Monday night.

I also wouldn't be surprised if many northern and central Vermont towns that are a little up in elevation get a dusting to three inches.

Snowflakes will probably come down at times Sunday night, even on the floor of the Champlain Valley.

The only solace I can give you is this won't be the biggest May snowfall on record. WPTZ's John Hickey noted this morning that on May 14, 1834, there was a two-foot deep snowfall on the high ground near Newbury, Vermont and three feet near Haverhill, New Hampshire.

Monday will remain cold and raw and showery and occasionally snowy in the higher elevations. Afternoon readings will mostly stay in the upper 40s, compared to the mid and upper 60s that we should be getting this time of year.

I think in most spots, it'll remain "warm" enough at night so that most if not all perennial flowers and such that have come up and bloomed should be fine during this cold spell.

Bring in the cold sensitive plants by this evening, though, and leave them indoors until later in the week.

Things will slowly start getting better Tuesday with temperatures climbing day by day, but still running well below normal until at least Thursday.

By Friday, we will have totally broken free of the spring chill.

At least for now.


Thursday, May 12, 2016

Bill Nye And I Had A Disagreement

I'm glad Bill Nye is an advocate against climate change
but not all weather events are caused by global warming.  
I like Bill Nye.

I also like the fact that he's sounding alarm bells on climate change. It is something to worry about, as  rising seas and increasingly erratic weather threaten the well being of so many people now, and especially in the future.

However, sounding the wrong alarm bells can backfire, as it did yesterday.

Nye posted an image of a television screen with CBS This Morning that showed an image of a tornado marauding through a Kentucky town on Tuesday.

Nye's accompanying Tweet read, "More severe weather. More suffering. More expense. Let's all take climate change seriously."

The implication was that Monday and Tuesday's United States tornado outbreak was at least influenced by global warming.

Perhaps a little, who knows? But I Tweeted back at Nye and said (with abbreviations cleaned up here)

"I agree with your stance on global warming, but tornado outbreaks like this one, though tragic, are normal this time of year."

Which is true.  Outbreaks like the one this week happen almost every year, regrettably. This one killed at least two people and destroyed lots of homes and businesses. Definitely not a good thing.

But attributing a tornado outbreak, the kind that have always happened, to climate change is incredibly dicey, to put it mildly.

The reasons I objected to Nye is that his Tweet seemed factually incorrect and gave ammunition to the people who try to deny climate change.

Climate change activists are irrational alarmists goes the party line.

And sure enough, The Federalist, a conservative publication, weighed in with an article about Nye's Tweet.

The Federalist in an article titled "Bill Nye Is a Huckster" said snarkily:

"If people trusted global warming alarmists, they might function under the premise that severe weather events are something unique to this particular age. It was only the discovery of fossil fuels that forced man to wrestle with the terrifying hurricanes, floods, tornadoes and rain showers. Before the Fall of Man, it was San Diego for everyone all the time."

The thing is, certain weather events are getting more common as the planet warms. Other things aren't really changing, as far as we know. There doesn't seem to be any particular trend in the number of tornadoes.

But deadly heat waves, droughts, and extreme storms have increased in some regions, and that could e a sign of climate change.

No single weather event can conclusively be tied to climate change. But unlike the tornadoes this week, some disasters are consistent with what scientists say are the fingerprints of climate change.

Take Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, which was overrun by an extreme wildfire this month.

True, wildfires have consumed towns and cities before. On the same day as the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, a wildfire roared parts of Wisconsin and Michigan That Peshtigo Fire of 1871 killed an estimated 2,000 people.

That's a lot worse than Fort McMurray, isn't it?

However, a wildfire as extreme as the one in Fort McMurray, that early in the spring that far north in Canada, might be a symptom of climate change. A lot of factors came together to create that disaster, but climate change could well have been one of them.

Nye might have done better to cite Fort McMurray instead of a tornado in Kentucky.  Climate change denialists will always attack climate change activists for their "alarmism" So we need to be careful to be alarmed only by things that are really alarming.

Rationality is on the side of people advocating for confronting climate change and trying to do something about it. It's a lot better than bringing a snowball onto the U.S. Senate floor in the dead of winter to "prove" climate change doesn't exist.

I don't mean to dwell on a single Tweet by Bill Nye or attack him. I'm just using his Tweet to make a point.

Here's my thing: We shouldn't panic over climate change. We're not all going to die in three hours because the world has gotten so hot.

But we should rationally, and as quickly as possible, deal with it. Find alternatives to fossil fuel. Understand better how the world's climate and environment will change with a warming world so that we can deal with it.

Doing so will help us economically, competitively and morally. The following is a cliche, but still: Why should we hand over a world to our grandchildren that's worse than the one we have now?

We really don't need any more Fort McMurrays.


Fort McMurray Smoke Drifts Over Vermont

Satellite photo from the National Weather Service
office in Burlington, Vermont shows smoke
over the region from Alberta  
People in Vermont and much of the rest of the Northeast might have noticed the sky took on a hazy look last evening, and the blue sky still has a greyish hue to it this morning.

That's smoke from Alberta, mostly from the fire that devastated Fort McMurray last week. The fire is still burning big time and spewing smoke far and wide.

Depending on which way the wind has been blowing, the smoke has gotten as far from Alberta as the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Winds have shifted, and now the smoke is blowing over us.

Air quality isn't wonderful, but it's not bad enough to trigger air pollution alerts.

But the hazy Vermont sky is a reminder that the North American wildfire season is off to a bad start.

And we'll probably have hazy days like this several more times this summer.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

More Tornadoes, More Tornado Videos And A Great Tornado News Interview

These two people being interviewed by a reporter
from television station WPSD in Paducah, Kentucky
is wonderful. Video of this post-tornado interiew is
lower down in this post.  
As expected, severe weather continued across much of the central part of the nation Tuesday.

The most violent of Tuesday's tornadoes was around Mayfield, Kentucky, where about 10 people were injured and numerous buildings were damaged.

NOAA's Storm Prediction Center received 21 tornado reports Tuesday, on top of the 29 reported Monday.

Today, a zone from northern Texas up to Iowa is under the gun for severe weather. The highest risk for bad storms is in northern Texas into Oklahoma. Although there might be a few more tornadoes, the biggest threat is from giant hail and strong winds.

After today, the threat for severe weather, especially in the central and southern parts of the country, will diminish, but not go away entirely.

Below are some more great storm videos from the past couple of days. The post-tornado news interview from Mayfield, Kentucky in this package of videos is a must-watch.

Here's a tornado spinning through Mayfield, Kentucky and causing damage



Going back to Monday's tornadoes, the ever reliable storm chaser Pecos Hank caught this violent tornado in Wynnewood, Oklahoma:



Finally, I'm not trying to make fun of people, but I love this news interview in the aftermath of the Mayfield, Kentucky tornado. The woman is obviously and understandably relieved that she's OK:

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Oklahoma Slammed By Tornadoes. More Dangerous Weather Coming

A nasty tornado sweeps through Wynnewood,
Oklahoma on Monday.  
This time of year is typically the worst and most dangerous in terms of tornadoes in the United States.

Monday proved that point.

Two people died and multiple houses were destroyed as several tornadoes swept Oklahoma and surrounding states.

Some of the tornadoes appeared to be the strongest so far this year, with estimated EF4 intensity. There were a few reports of tornadoes reaching a mile wide.

As awful as these tornadoes were, at least the ones that reached maximum strength and width didn't do so while going through heavily populated neighborhoods or cities.

NOAA's Storm Prediction Center received 23 reports of tornadoes in the Plains Monday, though some of those could be duplicate reports.

Some of the supercell thunderstorms producing tornadoes had amazing structures as their twisting towers reached high in the sky. They are known as low precipitation, or LP supercells, and offer amazing views of the physics involved in these spinning storms.
The twisting motion of an Oklahoma supercell
Monday is apparent in this shot from a News9 helicopter.  

A photo from an Oklahoma television station of one of these is next to this paragraph.

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

Today might not be as violent in the U.S. in terms of tornadoes as yesterday, but severe storms and a few tornadoes are likely, espeically in parts of the Ohio Valley, central Texas and maybe in the eastern Dakotas, much of Nebraska and northern Kansas.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, severe storms and a few tornadoes seem likely in much of the same area hit Monday. This would be a band from northern Texas through Oklahoma and Missouri and into southern Iowa and western Illinois.

The following video is a good summary of the tornadoes from the NBC Nightly News Tuesda as the outbreak was just unfolding:



Here's an Associated Press video, via television stations KWTV/KOTV of a large tornado in Elmore City, Oklahoma:



Doug Drace caught this large, violent tornado throwing lots of debris into the air near Katie, Oklahoma:

Monday, May 9, 2016

Our Vermont Spring Interrupted Again

Trees around my house in St. Albans, Vermont
were finally showing some green last evening. But
it was chilly as heck when I took the photo, and
those dark clouds overhead would later
yield some snow flurries.  
A spate of nice spring weather late last week and on Saturday prompted the trees to finally start turning green around my St. Albans, Vermont home.

This being Vermont, of course, we had a very sharp cold front Sunday, with strong, chilly winds.

I awoke this morning to a thin scrim of snow on my truck, reports of snow flurries down in Burlington and a frost advisory.

The National Weather Service South Burlington, Vermont office's forecast discussion said it best:

"Spring in the North Country, love it or hate it, it definitely keeps you on your toes weatherwise."

This spring in particular, with its frequent snowy and frosty setbacks.

The bits of snow in Vermont early this morning were not even close to the heaviest for May or the latest on record, but still kind of disheartening.

There might even be a little more snow up in the mountains today as some cold weather instability showers develop. Widely scattered raindrops will hit the valleys, but a little more white could come to the peaks.

Everywhere will be cold today, with highs a few degrees either side of 50. It should be in the mid-60s this time of year.

If you have sensitive plants outside that somehow survived last night, bring 'em in. It's going to be frosty all over northern New England and northern New York tonight.

There's a frost advisory for tonight and early tomorrow morning in the Champlain Valley of New York and Vermont. The only reason why the rest of Vermont isn't under a frost or freeze warning is the growing season technically hasn't started there, so the National Weather Service doesn't issue such advisories outside the time of year when most crops are off and running.

Much of southern New England is also under a frost advisory overnight. 

It'll be better Tuesday with sun boosting temperatures to near 60 degrees. A somewhat chilly night Tuesday night will be followed by sun and warming temperatures mid-week.'

However, it looks chilly and damp again for next weekend. The spring see-saw continues.



Sunday, May 8, 2016

Tornadoes Menace Plains Again

Jane O'Neill took this photo of a tornado Saturday
in Wray, Colorado.  
Tornado chasers seemingly by the dozens converged on Wray, Colorado Saturday as a photogenic twister touched down there.

I might be exaggerating on the numbers, but judging from the number of videos of the tornado on YouTube, there were quite a few people there.

Television station 9News in Denver reported at least five people injured and several structures damaged in Wray.

Videos taken of the tornado show debris from buildings and farm equipment blowing across highways.

Today, the tornado risk shifts to the traditional tornado alley area of the Great Plains, particularly western and central parts of Kansas and Oklahoma.

More severe weather is likely Monday in and near the Ozarks and mid-Mississippi valley. 

Here's some videos of the Wray tornado:

AccuWeather aired storm chaser Reed Timmer and his team's video of the Wray tornado. He kept driving into the outer circulation of the intensifying tornado, something I sure as hell don't recommend.

Timmer's been chasing tornadoes for years, so he knows what he's doing (I hope!) but amateurs please don't do what you see in this video:



Another video producer, Forever Chasing, stayed a bit more of a distance away, and thus captured the colors and the structure of the tornado and its parent supercell thunderstorm:

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Canada's Fire Weather Spread Into Minnesota, Other U.S. Areas, Too.

Cover photo from Canada's National Post illustrates
the utter destruction of Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada.  
The cataclysmic Fort McMurray wildfire rages on, and the weather that caused that fire spread into the Upper Midwest.

Fires broke out there, too.

While certainly tiny in comparison to Fort McMurray, wildfires in northern Minnesota prompted evacuations and threatened numerous homes.

An assisted living facility was evacuated as a precaution in Minnesota, the Duluth News Tribune reported. 

It's not in immediate danger, but they wisely wanted to get residents out of the way in case the wind changes direction and drives the fire toward the facility.

Television station KARE reported one fire in northern Minnesota had consumed 450 acres as of Friday and was only 10 percent contained.

The temperature reached 92 degrees in Duluth, Minnesota Friday, the earliest 90 degree reading on record there. That reading also broke the previous record high for the date by a full 10 degrees.

Minneapolis also had a record high for the date Friday at 92 degrees. Saturday morning Minneapolis was among the places stuck in a murky cloud of grey smoke.

Air pollution is a big problem in places like Wisconsin and Minnesota now, too. Smoke from Fort McMurray, combined with smoke from local wildfires, has made fine particulates in the air skyrocket.

Scattered thunderstorms arrived later Friday in northern Minnesota, cooling the temperatures and providing a little wetting.

But the rain wasn't enough to contain fires, or eliminate the fire danger across northern Minnesota. Red flag warnings are up for today because windy dry weather could encourage more wildfires.



Thursday, May 5, 2016

Updates And More Scary Fort McMurray Fire Videos

The fire menacing a Fort McMurray neighborhood
Photo by Mary Sexsmith  
It had to be terrifying. The flames descended on Fort McMurray, Canada so fast that nobody had time to grab anything.

Just get in the car and flee as fast as you can. But you couldn't go fast because of the traffic congestion caused by everybody else fleeing.

It's amazing that I have only heard of two deaths with this thing so far. Both apparently were in car crashes during the evacuation and not the fire itself.

Reuters reports at least 1,600 structures, including hundreds of homes, have been destroyed so far.

There is no telling when all these evacuees will be able to return to Fort McMurray. Some had to evacuate evacuation centers because of the spreading fire.

Smoke from the fire has spread southward all the way to the U.S. Gulf of Mexico coastline, That's a distance of at least 2,500 miles, which tells you massive and powerful this blaze is.

On top of the human suffering - which of course is by far the most important -- the fires have disrupted production in the oil sands area around Fort McMurray.

So this affects you. Oil on the world markets is trading at a 3 percent higher because of tighter supplies brought on by the Alberta fire, CBC reports.

Below is a compilation of some of the wilder videos.

Here's one view of the harrowing escape. You can tell how frightened the people in the car are amid the flames. I'd be scared out of my mind, too:



Here's the traffic congestion. No surprise when the guy on the motorcycle finally freaks out:



This guy is so understandably frightened he can't start his car as spot fires break out on front lawns and a wall of flames approaches from the forest. He says it's probably the last time he'll see his house.

Sadly, he was probably right.



In this rear dash cam, I thought he was driving at night the smoke was so thick. I realized it was daylight when he emerged from the worst of it:

"Drowning World" Photographer Has Striking Images Of Extreme Flood Victims

A lot of the scientists are telling us that among the many awful things climate change is causing is extreme storms and floods.

It isn't all heat and fires (See: Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada.)

The floods worldwide do see to be coming fast and furiously, seeming striking somewhere every week.

 Photographer Gideon Mendel has been going to many of these floods since 2007, taking him to places as diverse as Brazil, India, the United States, Britain, Nigeria and Thailand.

Mendel calls his project "a hazy middle groud between documentary and art, with a bit of activism thrown in."

He said most people think if climate change as involving distant glaciers melting or a stranded polar bear in the Arctic somewhere.

But Mendel says he wants to show that people are being affected in profound ways by climate change right now.

To do that, he poses people standing in the flood waters in or near their homes. He has them face the camera with pretty intense stares - as if to accuse all of us of contributing to the climate change that has devastated their lives.


These are the most effective photos that I've seen in his collection, I think. The expressions on the flood victims' faces are this terrible mix of pain, anger, sadness, resignation and defiance.

You can see a couple examples of these portraits in this post.  (Click on the images to make them bigger and really get a good look at them.)

Mendel also has many photos of water lines in homes, and images of people's personal photographs ruined by floodwater.  

Of course, each flood Mendel documents have many causes. But climate change is tending to make floods worse, so chances are the inundations he's showing are worse than what they otherwise would have been

H/T Washington Post for the this.

Here is a video of Mendel further explaining his project and showing more of his incredible images.



Southeast Asia Gripped By Brutal, Long Heat Wave

A woman in India stays as close to a fan as possible
during the country's intense and long lasting heat wave  
Weird heat waves have been gripping different parts of the world quite often over the past year, that's for sure

(Shout out to tropical Greenland!)

Over the last few weeks, the Earth's first truly deadly heat wave of 2016 is grinding on in southeast Asia.

In India, 330 million people have been affected by the worst of the heat wave and drought, which has brought temperatures there to as high as 119 degrees, according to the Wall Street Journal. 

At least 87 people died from the  heat in India and March, and likely far more than that in April, though the government hasn't compiled that information yet. At least 250,000 villages in India are facing severe water shortages.

In Thailand,the heat wave is being described as the longest lasting in at least 65 years. It's gotten as hot as 112 degrees there in late April, according to Bangkok Coconuts. 

More than 130 children have drowned in Thailand in the past month as the kids flee to waterways to escape the heat.

The heat and accompanying drought have destroyed crops in India, Thailand, and Vietnam, whose coffee crop is wilting in the dry heat.

The famous bugaboo El Nino gets lots of the blame for this heat wave and drought. El Nino tends to accentuate droughts and heat waves in southeast Asia.

Underlying global warming contributes a bit to make the situation even worse.

Monsoons will hopefully ease the drought and heat wave but that will take time. Normally, the wet monsoon season starts to creep into southern India in June and slowly spreads northward across much of the region.

Much like California hoping for a lot of El Nino driven winter storms a few months back, people in Southeast Asia hope a rapidly waning El Nino will encourage a robust monsoon.