Saturday, December 31, 2016

"Consolation Prize" Snow Due In Vermont Tonight

A little more snow is due tonight,
especially away from Lake Champlain. 
Vermont snow lovers no doubt felt cheated this week when the anticipated winter storm turned out to be less dramatic than originally advertised.

Oh sure, the ski resorts and cross country trails got a decent thump, but nothing spectacular. People who like that sort of thing felt let down.

Maybe Mother Nature felt bad for this crowd, so it looks as if some "consolation prize" snow is coming tonight.

I mentioned over the past few days that a weak storm system will zip through on New Year's Eve and that's still true.

It appears now that this weakling will have a bit more oomph than people thought earlier.

This will by no means be a blockbuster. Still, a few more inches of snow will arrive.

The Champlain Valley will get no more than one or two inches of snow. Maybe one or two lucky spots could end up with three inches.

Away from the lake, especially in the Adirondacks of New York, the Green Mountains and the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, there could be three to five inches of new fluff by the time this ends early tomorrow morning.

Like I said, no biggie, but a nice freshener for the slopes.

Of course, this is hitting on New Year's Eve,  as mentioned yesterday, I don't know if slick, snow covered roads and drunken drivers is the ideal combination, so there's that.

People braving the elements for First Night activities can take heart that although it will be snowing it won't be one of those bitter subzero nights that seem to come on many New Year's Eves.  Expect temperatures tonight in the 20s to near 30.

Still, in the Champlain Valleys, winds gusting to 30 mph tonight will add a bite to the otherwise mild weather

There also remains bad news on the horizon for snow lovers. Freezing rain, then a good slug of rain is coming in from a new storm Monday night and Tuesday.

It won't melt all the snow, but it'll ruin the powder.

Then it turns colder later in the week, so there will be chances of additional powder beyond that. We'll wait and see.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Snow Forecast A Semi-Bust In Vermont; Maine Buried

The Maine Turnpike looked dicey last night. 
Well, that didn't end perfectly, from a forecaster's point of view.

Yep, less snow in Vermont that you might have seen in forecasts ahead of the storm, that's for sure.

The European computer model was more right than many forecasters thought. (I hedged my bets on it too).

The big storm tracked a bit further east  and less snow fell in Vermont than a lot of people anticipated.

It was still snowing in many areas of northern Vermont early this morning,and snowfall totals will come closer to predictions.

I'll get to an attempt as to what will happen next with the weather further down. First, we'll recap what we know about what happened with this storm so far.

As of 11:30 last night, the most snow I'd see was 10 inches in Springfield and 7.8 inches in Williamstown.  I'm sure we'll get some slightly higher totals in later updates today.

To be fair to the National Weather Service in South Burlington, Vermont, they knew how uncertain this storm was right to the end when it started blowing in.

They put out three sets of forecast maps, one showing what they thought would be the least impacts in Vermont, another showing about what they thought might happen, and a third showing a worst case scenario.

It appears we got more snow than the least impacts map, but not quite as much as the middle of the road one, which was the one forecasters hedged their bets on. 

New Hampshire, thought to be in the bullseye of this storm, got less snow than anticipated, too. The most I've seen so far in the Granite State is 15 inches in Wakefield, with numerous reports of around a foot.

Western and southern Maine got  totally buried with this. They got NAILED. Thundersnow spread up from Massachusetts into Maine and the results were incredible.

Hollis, Maine got 5.8 inches in just one hour during thundersnow. Oxford, Maine had a total of 20 inches of new snow, including 3.8 inches within an hour.
A burst of heavier snow in Stowe, Vermont Thursday
Via Instagram/Universityepicphoto

So far, the most I've seen in Maine is 25.6 inches in North Waterford and 25 inches in Limerick. Many places in southwestern Maine got 20 or more inches of snow. 

Summing the incredible Maine snowfall rates up, Mike Dross had just about one of the best weather tweets I've ever read: "Atmosphere is projectile vomiting hexagonal shaped ice tonight in Maine."

WHAT'S NEXT

The now intense storm is heading into the Canadian Maritimes. It was still snowing pretty hard in northern Maine early this morning but that will taper off.

As expected, northwest winds around the backside of the storm is bringing moist air into the North Country. As the wet air rises up and over the Green Mountains, it'll wring out a few more inches of snow today over the ski resorts and western slopes.

Expect another two to four inches there, and a couple additional inches maybe in the Northeast Kingdom.

In the Champlain Valley,  the most you'll see is just a few flurries.

Usually, it gets very cold after a nor'easter goes by, but there was just not a good supply of cold air up in Quebec to swoop down on us.

So it'll be mild-ish for this time of year, with daytime highs in the 20s to near 30 and lows tonight just in the teens to around 20. Not bad.

We're still expecting a weak storm New Year's Eve to filter some light snow down on First Night celebrations. It won't amount to much, but will slicken roads somewhat Saturday night. I'm a bit worried about the mix of slick roads and drunken drivers.

(As is my custom, I'll be home early New Year's Eve and watch 2017 arrive from the safety of my own home.)

Unfortunately for winter sports enthusiasts, the next storm coming along Tuesday still looks as if it will be a mix to rain scenario.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Scaling Back The Storm Totals In Vermont, Still Tons Of Snow East

Latest snowfall map from the National Weather
Service in South Burlington, Vermont. Latest
trends put the heaviest snow a little
more to the east than previous forecasts. 
As of late afternoon, the heaviest of the snow was moving into and through Vermont, but the show was just beginning in New Hampshire and Maine, and along the New England coast.  

I maybe was too quick to cheer the American computer model this morning, as it looks as if the storm will track a wee bit further to the east tonight.

The European model was closer to reality after all, it looks like.

That means the snow will taper off sooner in western Vermont than earlier thought, with the bulk of it over before midnight.  Still, the winter storm warnings for most of Vermont and the winter weather advisory in the Champlain Valley remain in effect.

It'll continue on through most of the night in eastern Vermont as they'll be close enough to the compact, intense storm to get a good deal of snow out of it.

This evening's commute across all of Vermont is shaping up as the worst of the storm's existence. The snow is widespread across Vermont, roads are slickening up and the snow will continue to come down moderately to heavy at times.  Locally gusty winds will cause blowing and drifting.

You'll need to take care and go slow on the way home this evening. There were already numerous reports of slide offs and (mostly) minor crashes as of 4 p.m. Thursday.

The National Weather Service office in South Burlington has scaled back the amount of snow Vermont will get, but don't worry. The ski areas will get less than anticipated, but still a pretty good dump.

I'll let the NWS Burlington forecast discussion from this afternoon outline it for you:

"Expecting storm totals of 6 to 12 inches central/eastern VT, including Northeast Kingdom and Northern Green Mountains....with 6 to 8 inches western slopes and 2 to 6 inches Champlain Valely and northern Adirondacks. 

Snow tapers off across the St. Lawrence Valely and parts of the (Adirondacks) by evening commute and Champlain Valley by 9 or 10 p.m., but continues into early Friday for eastern Vermont/NEK (Northeast Kingdom) with redevelopment along the western slopes and dacks expected o Friday."

The reason for all this is the storm center now looks like it will pass over Cape Cod, not Boston as the American computer models hinted earlier. This eastward shift takes most of Vermont out of the running for the heaviest snow.

New Hampshire and western Maine are still in the sweet spot for very heavy snow overnight so careful if you're heading east toward that region. Or just don't bother.

We're still expecting a wet northwest air flow in back of the storm Friday, which is why snow will redevelop in the western slopes of the Green Mountains and the Adirondacks. The wet air will be forced to rise up the slopes, and that will cause the moisture in the air to condense into snowflakes.

That could be good for an additional three to six inches for some of the ski areas on Friday. Just flurries are likely in the Champlain Valley Friday.


Big Slamming Nor'easter Still On For Today, Tonight In New England

One map of expected snow accumulations. Pinks are the heavier
accumulations - over six inches. Note the sharp
cutoff in amounts just inland fro the coast
and in the Chanplain Valley in Vermont 
The forecast for the big nor'easter set to hit New England over the next 24 hurs has stayed remarkably the same overnight, though things look, if anything, a little more intense than the scenario we were looking at yesterday.

Vermont specific forecasts are further down in this post, but the New England overview is definitely something to behold.

I mentioned last night that the computer models were battling a bit, with the American model bringing the storm over Boston, then into the eastern Maine, while the European model had the storm staying just offshore.

This morning the models have all pretty much come into agreement, with the American model appearing to be the correct one now. (Go USA!!)

That means central and northern New England will take the brunt of the storm. New Hampshire and Maine look to be the big winners here.

Snow was spreading across New York and into New England as of 8:30 a.m. and will encompass all of New England during the day today.

With the storm track over the coast, the snow will change to rain everywhere along the coast from southern New England all the way up to Bar Harbor, Maine and beyond.

A zone from northern Massachusetts, eastern Vermont, New Hampshire away from the coast and western Maine are still in for 12 to 18 inches of snow, most of which will come down in just a few hours tonight as the storm races by.

I still think there might be spot accumulations of two feet in and near the White Mountains, a couple spots in western Maine and maybe in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom.

National Weather Service meteorologists in New Hampshire are considering upgrading the winter storm warning to a blizzard warning in some parts of the state because of the expected heavy snow combined with strong winds.

This storm is the bomb. It's not slang. This is a classic, "bomb" defined as a storm that strengthens super, super fast, blowing up into a monster like a bomb.

What that means is precipitation will come down really hard near and just to the northwest of the storm, winds will increase big time, and  thunderstorms could easily sprout in some spots.

There's a good chance of thunder snow tonight, especially over eastern New Hampshire and western Maine.  Snow in those areas could come down at a rate of up to three inches per hour. Note that snow plows on highways can't keep up with that, so travel could become nearly impossible for a time tonight in some areas.

The White Mountains region of New Hampshire is the bullseye for deep snow, with one to two feet still likely. There's going to be so much snow, and so much wind creating unstable snow drifts that an avalanche watch has been issued for Mount Washington and surrounding mountain terrain, including Tuckerman and Huntington ravines.

Back country ski adventurers might want to postpone a trip to that region, despite all the new powder.

Though there will be rain along the coast, the wind will really howl there. Wind advisories are up for coastal Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and downcoast Maine. These advisories might be upgraded to high wind warnings as gusts later tonight might go over 60 mph.

There's already a high wind warning and coastal flood advisory in Downeast Maine for gusts expected to get to 60 mph or more.

VERMONT SPECIFICS

The National Weather Service in South Burlington has not changed its forecast philosphy at all since last night.

They, too, are pretty much sold on the American computer model. The consensus among forecasters is there will still be a sharp west to east cutoff in snow amounts in the Champlain Valley, with just a few inches right near the lake to maybe a foot once you get to the western slopes of the Green Mountains.

Winter storm warnings are still up for all of Vermont, except the Champlain Valley, where it's still a winter weather advisory. 

There's still a big bust potential, as the area that has the sharp cutoff in snow could shift just a bit. The current thinking is four to six inches in the Champlain Valley in places like Middlebury and Burlington, and perhaps six to eight inches in St. Albans, with less right along the lake shore there.

A solid 8 to 14 inches is likely through most of the rest of Vermont, with most places getting a foot or more in the eastern third of Vermont north of White River Junction.

A few places in the Northeast Kingdom will get 18 inches or more.

Blowing and drifting snow will become a problem everywhere in Vermont. Some areas will get strong southeasterly winds as the snow arrives this morning and afternoon, and everyone will get into the wind gusts tonight  and tomorrow as the wind picks up and turns to the west and northwest.

Even in places where the snow ends by noon Friday, strong winds will continue, as will the blowing and drifting snow.

Bottom line: A lousy commute home this evening, another lousy one on the way in Friday morning and an iffy one on the return trip Friday evening.

I mentioned the thunder snow possibilities in New Hampshire. There's probably a slight chance you might get some thunder during the height of the storm in the Northeast Kingdom, but I'm doubtful. Further west, I think you're out of luck in that department.

Snow will taper off fairly quickly in the lowlands and in the southeastern third of Vermont  tomorrow morning. By then, the storm will be up in northern Maine and heading into Canada.

Wet air wrapping around the storm in the northwest winds will keep heavy snow showers going in the western slopes of the Green Mountains and the Green Mountain peaks much of the day.

Ski and riders note: POWDER DAY!!!!!!!

Over in New York state, the Champlain Valley will get only a few inches of snow, but the Adirondacks will score a decent four to as much as ten inches of snow.

A couple inches of additional light snow is likely Saturday night as a weak storm blows by, but another strong storm around Tuesday will probably bring mixed precipitation and rain to the North Country. It'll go by to our west, which is not what you want for snow

I can already hear the boos and hisses with that one from the winter sports enthusiasts.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Storm Update: Still Looking At Intense Snow; Big Bust Potential

For what it's worth, here's what the Weather Channel
is expecting from storm totals with the upcomig
Nor'easter. My opinion is they might be under-forecastng totals
in eastern Vermont and New Hampshire. I think a few towns
could get two feet of snow out of this.  
Everything is still on track for a major, disruptive Nor'easter in New England tomorrow and Friday, but the devil is in the details.

And what a devil it is! Especially in western Vermont.

As the National Weather Service in South Burlington notes, the highest potential for a wrong forecast, naturally, is in the most heavily populated in the state.

Everyone is still expecting a sharp west-to-east gradient along the edges of the storm, which is expected to be Vermont's Champlain Valley.

Given that, places like Middlebury, Burlington and St. Albans will get somewhere between 1 and 16 inches of snow out of this storm.

Not a very helpful forecast, is it?

Any big differences in expected snow totals depends on whether the storm jogs as little as 20 miles more west than expected, or 20 miles more east.

It's impossible to predict the exact path of a nor'easter 24 hours ahead of time. The error in forecasting a storm track this far in advance is often 50 miles or more.

As of Wednesday afternoon, The American computer models bring the storm inland, passing just west of Boston. That would favor snow further north and west in Vermont. The European model brings the storm just outside Cape Cod, minimizing snow in northwest Vermont.

Despite the European model's (overstated) better reputation, it's really a tossup as to which model has a better handle on this storm.

There are also subtle things within the storm that could affect the timing and intensity of the snow. A bit of a disturbance within the circulation of the storm could pass through the Champlain Valley during the Thursday evening commute, which would cause an ill-timed and dangerous burst of heavy snow.

That's also not set in stone, but it's something to watch.

At the tail end of the storm on Friday, it looks like there could be bursts of heavy snow along the western slopes of the Green Mountains, but it's hard to tell how far into the Champlain Valley that might extend from the mountains.

Once again, forecasters are pulling their hair out over this one

You can see the problems forecasters are having, then.  I almost think I should start a GoFundMe drive to get large supplies of Advil to the meteorologists at the National Weather Service office in South Burlington.

Right now, the consensus seems to be four to six inches of new snow in the Champlain Valley, but please don't whine if I and every other forecasters is off. The winter storm warning continues for all of Vermont except the Champlain Valley, and the winter weather advisory remains in the Champlain Valley.

Everywhere in northern New England in the eastern half of Vermont, all except coastal New Hampshire and western Maine are almost definitely in the sweet spot for heavy snow, even if the forecast track of the no'reaster is off.

Twenty inches of new snow in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom is definitely not out of the question, and many places could very easily get a foot. A couple spots in Vermont could clock in at two feet with this one.

Central and northern New Hampshire continue to look like Ground Zero with this storm. Snow could come down at a wild rate of three inches per hour at times, winds will blow the snow around, and I still think there's an outside chance of Granite State thundersnow.

I wouldn't be at all surprised to hear of storm totals exceeding two feet in some New Hampshire towns.

Maine is looking as interesting as New Hampshire with this storm, except with more variety. Western and northern Maine are in for 1 to 2 feet of snow. The coast will get more rain than snow, but also a lot of wind.

The wind could gust to 60 mph or a little more in Downeast Coastal Maine, in places like Bar Harbor and Eastport.

Massachusetts is still looking interesting, too. Lots of snow in the west and central part of the state, lots of wind at the coast.

Bottom line: Expect a rough Thursday afternoon through Friday noon time in most of New England. Plan accordingly

Nor'Easter to Blast New England With Big Snow

If you like a big New England snow dump, here's your chance.
The National Weather Service in South Burlington
shows a tight west to east gradient in snow
fall expected. As little as three inches in parts of
the Champlain Valley to more than a foot
possible to the east.  

As mentioned yesterday, a nor'easter is going to dump a lot of snow on at least parts of New England. 

At this point, it looks like New Hampshire and western Maine will be the biggest winners from this upcoming storm, but a few uncertainties and questions remain, as is always the case when we're talking about a nor'easter. 

There is enough certainty that a good amount of snow will fall so that winter storm watches have been upgraded to warnings in all of New Hampshire, western Maine, all of Vermont except the Champlain Valley and northwestern Massachusetts. 

For my Vermont readers, I'll get specific about what will go on in the 802 with the storm in a bit, but first the setup and overview:

CRANKING UP:

A weak looking weather system was coming across the Midwest toward the Middle Atlantic Coast this morning. 

Looks can be deceiving. It's got a lot of energy with it, and will crank up a fast-forming storm off of New Jersey or Long Island. 

The storm will get really strong really fast as it moves northeastward along the New England coast Thursday night and Friday. 

It's energy, and a nice feed of moisture from the Atlantic will give this storm plenty of water to work with. Enough cold air will be over northern and central New England to make this storm a snowy one.

IMPACTS

At this point, the expected track of the storm would drop the heaviest snow over New Hampshire, western Maine and probably eastern Vermont. 

This has all the hints of being an exciting storm for New Hampshire with at least a foot expected, perhaps 18 inches in spots. Thundersnow is possible (paging Jim Cantore!) 

The snow is likely to be rather heavy and wet, especially in New Hampshire and western Maine, and winds will gust to at least 30 mph, so power failures are a good bet. 

With eight to 12 inches of wet snow in central and western Massachusetts, combined with wind gusts to 40 mph, there might be some power failures there, too.  
Thundersnow fan Jim Cantore might consider a trip
to New England Thursday night as there is a slight chance
of thundersnow with an anticipated nor'easter. 

It'll likely be too warm along the coast, especially from New Hampshire south, for there to be much snow with this. Looks like mostly rain there, although snow might start and especially finish the storm.

Winds could gust over 50 mph along the coast for time late Thursday night.

This is a compact storm, so the effects will be concentrated in parts of New England. The fact that the storm will probably be  compact and tightly wound makes this even harder to forecast than most nor'easters.

A very slight jog to the west or east could make a big difference. A track a little further ot the east would make the heaviest snow hit Maine and eastern Massachucetts. A bit of a turn to the west puts western Massachusets, eastern New York and Vermont in the most intense crosshairs. 

VERMONT IMPACTS

The National Weather Service in South Burlington is confident enough about this storm to put the entire state of Vermont except the Champlain Valley into a winter storm warning. (The National Weather Service in Albany, New York covers Vermont's two southernmost counties, and that office put that region under a winter storm warning, too. 

The Champlain Valley is under a winter weather advisory, because the snowfall is expected to be a little lighter there. 

At this point, the forecast has quite an west to east gradient of expected snowfall, with two to three inches in the Champlain Islands, four to six on the Vermont side of the lake, six to 12 in much of the rest of Vermont, and spot amounts of over a foot in the mountains and in the Northeast Kingdom. 

As noted above, this forecast has a high bust potential. A storm track a little to the west, and the Champlain Valley gets clobbered, too, and snowfall amounts would end up even heavier than forecast in central and eastern Vermont.

If the storm goes a little bit to the east, the Champlain Valley would get only a little snow, and the rest of Vermont would get a little less than now expected. 

It'll start snowing during the day Thursday, and the snow will pick up in intensity during Thursday night. The snow will be heavy and wet, especially during the first few hours of the storm and especially in low elevations, so watch out for that in terms of power outages, and wrecking your bak shoveling out. 

Blowing and drifting snow could be a problem on Friday as the snowfall wanes in the afternoon, but winds pick up even more by then. 

MORE STORMS AHEAD

A weaker storm might drop some light snow on northern New England Saturday night, though it will probably be mixed with rain in southern New England.

A much stronger storm is likely to blow by to the west of New England during the middle of next week. Unfortunately for winter sports enthusiasts, that type of track almost always means mixed precipitation, then rain for all of New England.

Bummer, but enjoy this weekend, and the winter is still young, so more powder days will come for sure. 



Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The Storms And The Wind Just Keeps On Coming

A tangle of fallen and hanging branches in my St Albans,
Vermont yard that I have to clean up today after last night's big wind
Much of the northern United States is recovering from a nice big, windy storm, but don't relax too much. There's more where that came from.

More on that in a minute.  

That sprawling storm concentrated its highest winds in the northern and central Plains, with gusts as high as 79 mph.

Thundestorms worked their way oddly far north. Sioux Fals, South Dakota recorded their first Christmas thunderstorm on record.

My relatives in Yankton, South Dakota, where winds gusted to 72 mph, report many large branches down throughout town.

Here in Vermont, we really got the wind yesterday and last night. While not as strong as in the Dakotas, it still caused some problems, as we're not quite as used to such strong gusts like people in the northern Plains are.

In Vermont, winds gusted to 61 mph in South Hero and 58 mph in Alburgh. The wind, as expected, was strongest in the Champlain Valley, where there were numerous reports of gusts over 50 mph. 

The Champlain Valley reported quite a few trees, branches and power lines down, blown over signs, and even a fallen traffic signal in Colchester.  The ferry across Lake Champlain at Grand Isle had to shut down yesterday due to high winds and waves.

My yard in St. Albans is littered with dozens upon dozens of small branches, and a few shingles blew off my roof.

The wind has calmed down now, and it has turned mild. Most of the snow melted off my yard overnight.

But there's no rest for the weary. More storms are on the horizon.

The next one comes along Thursday. At first glance, it doesn't look like much. Just a little clipper coming in from the west. But it's dynamic and will spin up a coastal storm somewhere near New Jersey.

The new nor'easter will "bomb" in other words, intensify super fast as it makes its way northward along the New England coast.

That means some areas, probably the eastern half of New England away from the coast, are in for more than a foot of heavy, wet snow, along with strong winds.

There will be more rain along the coast than snow, but everywhere in eastern New England can expect strong, gusty winds out of this.

Here in Vermont, we're right on the edge of this thing as it looks now. There's a high probability current forecasts are wrong, because a slight wobble by the storm either a little west or a little east will either greatly increase or decrease the amount of snow we get out of this in the Green Mountain State.

As it stands now - and this is really subject to change - the National Weather Service in South Burlington is thinking possibly six inches or more of snow in eastern Vermont. That could taper off dramatically the further west you'll go across the state. We'll just have to wait and see.

Still, even in the Champlain Valley, a few to several inches of snow is possible out of this one. Stay tuned.

After that, another large scale storm will get going in the central Plains early next week. It looks like the Dakotas might be under the gun again, and the sprawling storm next week looks like it could bring another wide variety of weather, including strong winds, blizzards, rain, severe weather and ice.

It'll take a few days before we can figure out exactly what next week's storm will do. We'll just have to get through the rest of this week first

Philippines Reeling From Rare Christmas Typhoon

Typhoon Nock-Ten approaching the Philippines early
on Christmas Day with maximum sustained winds of 155 mph
As much of the northern half of the United States was being buffeted by strong winds during the Christmas holiday, a much more serious tempest hit the Philippines.

A typhoon named Nock-Ten swept across the nation with winds of up to 150 mph or even more, causing lots of damage, evacuations and other big problems there.

The storm weakened as it crossed the Philippines, but still had sustained winds of 115 mph as it moved over more populated areas of the nation

Typhoons are common in and around the Philippines, but ones this strong this late in the season are quite rare.

In fact, this was the strongest landfalling typhoon for so late in the season in the northwestern Pacific Ocean, says Jeff Masters at Weather Underground. (Two other past typhoons that didn't strike land were a bit stronger.)

This was the third time in modern history a typhoon has hit the Philippines on Christmas, but this one was the strongest of those.

The Philippine Star said at least four people died in the storm and at least eight others were missing.


Monday, December 26, 2016

Storm Rages In North Dakota; Also Impacts Here In Vermont

Traffic cam near Bismarck, North Dakota along
Interstate 94 demonstrated the dangerous driving
conditions in the region Sunday night. 
As expected, it was a wild Christmas Day in the Northern Plains as a powerful storm brought blizzards, lots of ice, high winds, rain and severe thunderstorms.

The storm, heading into Canada, will hit my area in Vermont and surrounding areas with freezing rain and strong winds today. I'll get to that in a bit.

DAKOTA STORM

North and South Dakota, and parts of Minnesota really took the brunt of this storm, A good chunk of western and central North Dakota, and northwestern South Dakota, had their expected blizzard.

Central South Dakota, eastern North Dakota and adjacent parts of Minnesota had a damaging ice storm, with ice accumulatiions of up to a half inch. That brought down quite a few trees and power lines.

Thousands of Dakotans lost electricity.

Everywhere in the region, the wind howled, with gusts over 55 mph reported over a wide area of the Northern and Central Plains. Some areas got 70 mph.  Long stretches of Interstate highways in the Dakotas were closed because of the dangerous conditions.

The weather in Rapid City, South Dakota had to be practically the worst in the world shortly before 1 p.m. Christmas Day. At the time, the temperature was 21 degrees, freezing rain was falling and the wind was northwest at 35 mph gusting to 70 mph.

Not a lot of outdoor Christmas caroling in Rapid City at that moment, I bet!

Many areas in the eastern Dakotas had thunder and lightning accompany the snow and/or ice.

For instance, my relatives in the city of Yankton, in southeastern South Dakota, experienced a Christmas that featured loud morning thunderstorms, gusty winds, rain, then howling gusts of up to 72 mph last night.

I'm sure there's tree damage and power failures in that area.

Also as expected, the storm disrupted Christmas travel. The appropriately named meteorologist Greg Gust at the National Weather Service in Grand Forks, North Dakota said "Between the ice and snow, and winds howling like crazy, there will be nothing moving," he said, according to CBS News.

The weather will gradually improve in the Northern Plains today, even as it deteriorates in the Northeast.

VERMONT AND ENVIRONS

For my readers in Vermont, today's going to be tricky as a result of that sprawling storm that hit the Dakotas.

The strong storm's warm front is heading into the Northeast, along with a packet of strong winds in soe areas, so it's going to be a tricky day and evening in many areas.

Freezing rain advisories are up for broad areas of Pennsylvania and New York today, and in northwestern Connecticut, western Massachusetts, eastern Vermont and much of New Hampshire this afternoon and evening.

The freezing rain won't be heavy enough anywhere in this region to bring down trees and power lines, but it will be more than enough to make roads very icy and treacherous.

Even as temperatures rise above freezing this evening, the ice will remain for awhile because the ground is rather cold.

Additionally, a freezing rain warning is up for southern Quebec, and a winter weather advisory is up for northern New Hampshire and much of interior Maine for a couple to a few inches of snow, followed by ice.

Be careful driving out there folks!

Strong winds are going to be another issue, especially in Vermont's Champlain Valley, where the terrain will channel south winds up the valley.

Winds will gust to 50 mph or a little more late today and this evening in the Champlain Valley, which would cause scattered power failures and bring down some branches and trees.

Waves on still mostly unfrozen Lake Champlain could reach as high as seven feet tall. Luckily, lake levels are low, so I don't expect too much damage from the waves on exposed shores.


Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Storm A Huge Mess In Northern Plains

I don't think it will get this bad in North Dakota this weekend,
but they're still due for a wicked, wicked blizzard 
As expected, the Dakotas are going to be ground zero for an intense winter storm this Christmas weekend but the sprawling system is having coast-to-coast effects.

The blizzard warning covers all but southeastern North Dakota and the western third of South Dakota.

There, six to 12 inches of new snow, propelled by winds gusting to or even above 55 mph, will create a dangerous whiteout, making travel impossible on Christmas Day.

Overall, the storm has slowed down a bit, so the worst effects of the blizzards and ice and such will be during the day Christmas, Christmas night an on into Monday

The southern and eastern edges of the blizzard zone will probably get a period of sleet and freezing rain  mixing in, which will only make the situation worse.

I think South Dakota wins the jackpot for the most variety of bad or dangerous weather out of this strong storm. We already mentioned the blizzard warning in the western part of that state.

Central South Dakota and eastern areas of the state north of Sioux Falls are in for freezing rain and gusty winds. In most spots, the freezing rain won't accumulate enough to bring down trees and power lines, though wind gusts of up to 50 mph won't help. Plus the roads will be very icy

The southeastern corner of South Dakota, where many of my relatives are gathered (in Yankton) for Christmas, will get a little freezing drizzle, then rain and possible thunderstorms, which is odd for Christmas. One or two of the thunderstorms might be strong.

The possibility of severe thunderstorms with this huge storm is even stronger in Nebraska and  Kansas, again, much further north than we're used to seeing in late December. Strong straight line winds are the biggest threats with the Christmas thunderstorms.

Minnesota is screwed with this storm, too.  Far northern Minnesota is in for a snowstorm, with a fair amount of sleet and freezing rain mixed in.

Central Minnesota, northwest of Minneapolis, is under an ice storm warnng. There, a fairly heavy accumulation of ice, combines with winds gusting to 40 mph will probably bring down quite a few power lines, trees and branches.

Elsewhere in the nation, the effects of this storm won't be quite as intense, but they will be felt. Almost all of the Rocky Mountains are under winter storm warnings and winter weather advisories.

It'll also get quite windy in parts of the Rockies and western High Plains all the way down into Texas.

In the Northeast, the storm will produce a brief bout of rain early in the week, with an icy mix in northern New York and northern New England, To make matters worse up here in the North Country, winds could gust to 50 mph or so Monday and Tuesday, with the inevitable scattered power outages coming out of that as well.

After that, the details on the nation's weather are sketchy, as computer models are all over the place, except for this one area of agreement: It looks like it will be a very active weather pattern at least into the first week of January, and probably beyond.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Record High Wave: Another In A Zillion Weather Records

This is a ginormous wave on the coast of Portugal a couple
winters back, but it's not the biggest wave ever recorded
on Earth. AP photo via the Telegraph. 
When you look at the weather, there are a zillion different ways records can be broken.

We're all familiar with record high temperatures, record low temperatures, record rainfall, most snow ever.

You can also slice and dice weather phenomenon in so many different ways to uncover record this or record that.

Just last week, one of the coldest temperatures on record hit northern Maine. Not at the surface, where people live, but thousands of feet overhead above the Pine Street State.

With better technology and better observations and more eyes looking, we can see other records being set.

Recently, a world record was discovered for the world's tallest ocean wave. During a storm ion February, 4, 2013, a wave rose to 62.3 feet high somewhere between Iceland and Britain, the Telegraph in Britain reported. 

The wave was a little taller than the height of a six story building, and was measured by an automatic buoy.  I'm glad this particular wave didn't crash onshore anywhere.

The Telegraph says the North Atlantic in a region from just east of Canada to an area south of Iceland and west of Britain creates more huge waves than anywhere in the world.

Intense storms often form in this region, especially in the winter, so you can imagine how big waves can get there.

I imagine there have been other, bigger waves out in the open oceans, but we didn't have the measuring capability to find them. As measuring basically anything gets easier and easier, we'll find more and bigger records, and extremes in more esoteric subjects.

In the meantimes, I'd avoid any waves that are the height of a six-story building. It might be a bit painful.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

China Crisis: Imagine Having To Flee Your City Because The Smog Is So Bad

For some reason, these Chinese students were forced
to take exams outdoors in a thick, toxic smog.  
The only thing obscuring the skies over my house in relatively clean Vermont today is pure white snowflakes.

Which makes me doubly glad I don't live in northern and central China, where the smog has gotten so bad people are fleeing the pollution-choked cities.

According to the Guardian newspaper:

"Tens of thousands of 'smog refugees" have reportedly fled China's pollution-stricken morth after the country was hit by the latest 'airpocalyse, forcing almost half a billion people to live under a blanket of toxic fumes.

Hugh swaths of north and central China have been living under a pollution 'red alert' since last Friday when a dangerous cocktail of pollutants transformed the skies into a yellow and charcoal-tinted haze"

These winter time smog attacks in China have been creating health hazards for years now. In the winter, temperature inversions often form, with warm air overlying cold air near the surface.

That warm air forms a lid, trapping pollutants in the cold air instead of letting it escape. Sunshine often breaks up inversions, allowing the pollution to drift away. But the weak winter sun is often incapable of breaking inversions like the stronger spring and summer sun can.

The Guardian said Ctrip, China's leading online travel agent, said it expected 150,000 travelers from China to head to places like Australia, Indonesia, Japan and the Maldives to escape the killer smog.

More from the Guardian:

"Yang Xinglin, who also fled to Chongli (a mountain resort away from the pollution) said she requested time off from her job at a state-owned real estate firm so she did not have to inhale the smog.

'You ask me why I left Beijing? It's because I want to live,' Yang, 27, told the Guardian."

Some who wanted to flee the smog couldn't because the poor visibility associated with the pollution was grounding hundreds of flights.

One particular source of outcry over the pollution came when a school headmaster in Henan province forced eighth grade students to take exams outdoors all day in the thick smog, despite the obvious health risks.

As you can see by the photo in this post, you can barely make out the students in the smog.

Chinese government authorities had ordered schools closed because of the smog, but the principal of the school decided to go ahead with the exams anyway since they'd already been organized, said the Straights Times. 

It's unclear why the school made the students take exams outside in the heavily polluted air instead of indoors, where it might have been a little safer.

The principal of the school has since been suspended.

The air is even worse than usual in China this winter because the government is pumping stimulus into polluting industries to prop up the economy. Greenpeace said poorly regulated steel producers are adding to the smog even more than in past winters.

Greenpeace says there is hope in China that things could get better in future winters because use of coal is expected to decrease and the government is investing in cleaner industry and environmental regulations.

Big Chrismas Storm To Blast Much Of Nation With Everything

A National Weather Service forecast map
shows the expected powerful Christmas storm
over the Northern Plains. 
The Christmas holday is going to bring a big blast of storminess this year to much of the nation.

The weather will include blizzards, ice, rain, floods, lots of wind and even the possibility of a tornado or two, depending upon where you live.  

This is going to be another one of those cross- country storms that we've seen this month, the type that brings a variety of mostly bad weather coast to coast. starting with California and ending with the Northeast.

The difference this time is the upcoming storm is going to be stronger than the other ones we've had this month.

There are some benefits to this storm, though not many if you're planning to travel. The storm is going to sock California with quite a bit of rain and snow, which will put another dent into their severe drought.

It has been relatively wet in California this month, but not super wet. I guess it's better than nothing.

Rain will arrive there Friday, with snow in the Sierra Nevada and other high elevations. This won't be the world's most epic storm there, so only a little flooding is expected in the lowlands.

The mountains could get one to two feet of snow out of this, which is good for California.

The storm will begin to consolidate itself over the Rocky Mountains Saturday, dumping a decent amount of snow on many of the Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and Montana ski resorts.

The storm will emerge into the western Plains somewhere near northeastern Colorado and quickly blow up into a powerful storm as it heads across South Dakota into northern Minnesota Sunday and Monday.

Blizzard watches are already up for Sunday into Monday in much of North Dakota and the western half of South Dakota.

Heavy snow could fall, and with winds gusting to maybe to as much as 55 mph, expect whiteouts in that neck of the woods if the forecast plays out as expected.

Near the storm track, freezing rain and sleet is a good bet for parts of central South Dakota into Minnesota.  
National Weather Service forecast map shows precipitation
falling across most of the nation, Most of this is associated
with a large storm expected to cross the United States
during Chrsitmas weekend. Purplse shades are the heaviest
precipitation, moderate is blue, green is light.  

Exactly where the ice sets up in that region is still open to question, so just wait for further forecasts if you're in places, or traveling through places like Sioux Falls, South Dakota or near or just north of Minneapolis.

Further south, the storm will bring up some very warm, humid and unstable air from the Gulf of Mexico, which could lead to a few severe Christmas Day thunderstorms in parts of Kansas and Oklahoma.

In the East, Christmas Day weather will be quiet, as the storm will still be well to the west.

Most areas of the East will eventually get some rain out of this, but not any incredible amounts.

Across upstate New York and northern New England, the warm front associated with the storm might bring some mixed precipitation to that region later Sunday night and Monday, so think about that if you're going to be traveling up that way during the start of Christmas week

It'll probably get windy in the Northeast Monday and Tuesday as the storm trudges by to the north and drags a cold front through the region.


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Another Weird Heat Wave Coming To Arctic, Grounding Santa's Sleigh?

Record warmth in the Arctic is expeted in the
next several days as this global map shows.
Iage is GFS modeling via the University of Maine
Climate re-analyzer 
For the second winter in a row, forecasters are expected a bizarre warm spell up in the Arctic that could bring temperatures to near the freezing point right around the North Pole.

In the darkness of winter, the Arctic is normally a wicked frigid place. It's usually way, way below zero and pretty damn inhospitable.

But over the next few days, temperatures at the North Pole could be very similar to those here where I am in Vermont.

The immediate cause of the likely upcoming Arctic heat wave is a strong storm near Greenland that will pull warm air up toward the Arctic.

Relatively warm air sometimes does get pushed into the area around the North Pole if the wind is right, but I'm talking single numbers and teens above zero. Not near 32 degrees. That's something like 40 to 50 degrees warmer than normal.

In this case, there's more open water in the Arctic than usual and less ice. The ice tends to act as a buffer to chill many incoming bursts of warm air, but with the relative lack of ice, this frozen buffer isn't nearly as effective as it ought to be.

Many scientists are saying this has the fingerprints on climate change on it. As you've read here previously, the Arctic has been particularly toasty warm this year. 2016 will end up by far. Temperatures in the Arctic in November and December were especially hot.

That's in part because of the relative lack of sea ice up there. Starting in early autumn, the amount and thickness of sea ice in the Arctic expands greatly as winter sets in. That expansion continues into the spring.

This year, the ice has indeed gotten more extensive day by day as winter progresses, but the process has not been nearly as fast as usual. In fact, some of the sea ice started to melt back for a few days in November, which is a super, super rare occurence.

Scientists tell The Guardian newspaper that the only explanation for the extreme warmth in the Arctic is global warming. Oh, sure they get spells of relatively warm air up there, but not like this.

There's data that shows big winter warm surges have pushed into the high Arctic on average twice a decade since at least the 1950s and probably well before that. But the extreme nature of the warmth is what fascinates and worries scientists.

Scientists are also still trying to figure out whether the surges of warm air into the Arctic are becoming more frequent, says the Washington Post. 

The fact that this is the second year in a row the temperature will have flirted with 32 degrees near the North Pole is doubly shocking.

The fact that the cold air was displaced from the Arctic, possibly due to warm Arctic seas, the cold air that's normally at the North Pole has to get shoved somewhere. In November, it settled over northern Asia and Siberia, which had recofd cold weather.

Eventually, some of that frigid air sloshed into North America, helping to cause a spate of record cold in the middle of the United States last weekend. 

The cold air again shoved into Siberia, and may find its way into the United States in the form of another spell of brutal colld air in January.

I said maybe on that one. Time will tell.


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

"Cooler" Global November Still Wicked Hot Compared To The Past

Record warmth in much of North America was partly
offset by cold weather in parts of Asia and Siberia
in November, 2016, leading the month
to become the fifth warmest on record for the Earth. 
New data shows that November, 2016 was "only" the fifth hottest on record for Planet Earth, cementing the end to a nearly two year trend of almost monthly record hottest months.

The relative cool down was expected, as the Earth tends to chill out slightly several months after an El Nino ends, as is the case now.

That's especially true when we get a La Nina episode, when waters in the Pacific off of South America cool down.

A weak La Nina is underway now. November globally "cooled" to fifth warmest since 1880 largely as a result of La Nina.

Still fifth warmest on record is pretty damn hot, and 2016 almost assuredly will go down as the Earth's hottest year in modern records, says NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information. 

Near record November heat in much of Canada and north central parts of the United States an in the Arctic was partly offset by cold weather in parts of northern Asia and Siberia in November.

In general, climatologists believe 2017 as a whole across the globe will be a bit cooler than the record levels of 2015 and 2016, but will still be well above normal as climate change continues to assert itself.

Monday, December 19, 2016

That Was One HELL Of A Cold Wave

Lots of people were thinking this in the Northern Plains
and Midwest over the weekend. H/T to John
Howland for posting this cartoon on Facebook
An epic cold wave over the Plains and Midwest will start to fade today after breaking numerous rlow temperature records.  

A lot of the record lows were broken by large margins.  

Some examples, according to the Weather Channel:

First, Saturday:

Pueblo, Colorado, -19, old record -10.
Garden City, Kansas: -13 degrees, old record -1
Aberdeen, South Dakota: -32 degrees, old record -24
Bismarck, North Dakota, -31 degrees, old record -27.

On Sunday, things in some areas got worse.

South Dakota seemed to be the epicenter of the record low temperatures, but a lot of other areas set records as well.

The Weather Channel says record lows in South Dakota included -37 degrees in Aberdeen and Watertown; -31 at Huron, -27 in Sioux Falls, -26 at Mobridge and -25 at Mitchell. (The actual temperature of -37 in Aberdeen was accompanied by a wind chill of 58 below.)

Other record lows within shouting distance of South Dakota were -20 at Sioux City, Iowa and -31 at Valentine, Nebraska,

The cold spread south, bigly, as Donald Trump might say, all the way to Oklahoma and Texas Saturday night.

Kansas City, Missouri got down to 9 below, the city's third coldest reading since 2000.

Record lows including 3 degrees at Tulsa, Oklahoma, 4 degrees at Oklahoma City, minus 3 at Amarillo, Texas and 10 degrees above zero at Abilene, Texas

A  fascinating part of this was watching the Arctic front press rapidly south through the southern Plains.

The front led to some pretty extreme statewide extremes.

This weekend's Arctic cold front approaching Kileen, Texas.
Photo by Cancels Serrano, via Twitter. 
Meteorologist Matt Mahalik noted on Twitter that at one point in Texas, there was a 42 degree temperature distance over 13 miles, or basically a degree per 1,600 feet, which is absolutely amazing.

As the cold front bisected Texas, there was an 84 degree temperature difference between the panhandle in the North and the humid Rio Grande valley to the south.

The apparent temperature - wind chill or heat index and not the actual temperature - Saturday morning in Oklahoma ranged from 17 below in the northwestern Panhandle to 70 degrees in the southeast corner of the state.

One thing that might be confusing to people is that scientists say the Arctic is having an incredibly warm stretch of weather. So how is it able to send record cold air down to the United States.

Two things: One, the  Arctic is much warmer than normal overall, but much warmer than normal up there is still damn frigid by our standards.

Plus the warmth up there isn't uniform, just like it's not uniform everywhere else. There are pockets of colder air as there always is. The jet stream was able to configure itself just perfectly to directly channel a pocket of frigid air directly south into the United States.

So  yes, it's all the jet stream's fault.

Relief is definitely on the way as that weird jet stream pattern quickly breaks down.

True, several more record lows are occuring this Monday morning in the Midwest, but there probably won't be as many extremes as over the weekend.

The cold wave has spread east, but is weakening. Temperatures across the East will be well below normal today and Tuesday morning, but I expect few, if any record lows there.

Here in Vermont early Monday, temperatures were within a few degrees either side of zero in most plaees. Some of the colder areas in northern New York were in the upper teens below zero. Definitely chilly, but not record breaking.

Things are going to warm up drastically in the cold zone this week. By midweek, temperatures in most of the nation, including the areas in the northern Plains that were in the core of the frigid cold, will warm up to near or above normal readings.

For instance, Aberdeen, South Dakota, which suffered through those minus 37 degree temperatures Sunday morning is expecting a high temperature of 25 degrees today, 27 degrees Tuesday, and 34 degrees Wednesday.

That's above zero. Sweet relief for them, I'm sure.


Sunday, December 18, 2016

Scientists Fear Climate Data Blackout Under Trump

A famous tweet by Donald Trump shows
 his "knowledge" of climate science. 
Climate science, despite the hysterical objections of climate denialists. is based on data.

The more data we get, the more we understand how climate change will affect us,  how bad it will get, what we need to do to mitigate it, and how we go about trying to erase the worst effects of it.  

Just in the past week, we've gotten big dumps on informatio from the Arctic, and how it's had a rough climate year, and what that means for us.

For instance, the data shows, according to an "Arctic Report Card" from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) the following, as reported by The Verge:

"The so-called Arctic Report Card showed a few new records this year: the minimum extent of Arctic sea ice from mid-October to late November was the lowest since satellite observations began in 1979.

In the North American Arctic, spring snow cover in May fell to the lowest levels since satellite observations begin in 1967. And the average air temperature over land this year was also the highest on record, representing a 6.3 degree Fahrenheit increase since 1900."

Then there's Greenland. We learned this week that two new studies published in Nature indicate the Greenland ice sheet is less stable than may scientists thought. Everybody knew there was a melting trend in Greenland, contributing to global sea level rise, but the new studies said what was thought to be a fairly stable ice sheet could melt down almost completely, at least eventually.

That would create a lot more sea level rise than many scientist originally thought.

All this is to say we need a lot more data and a lot more science to fully understand the complexity and implications of climate change.

But we're entering a period under the Trump administration that is hostile to climate science.

Trump has been notoriously dismissive and ignorant about climate change. As an example, a couple of winters ago, he tweeted that since there was a nasty January cold wave going on in New York City, that must mean climate change is a hoax.

He's stocking his cabinet and staff with climate change deniers and people from the oil industry, who have a vested interested in denying climate change.

Worse, Trump is not officially in office and he appears to be already on a witch hunt to scrub the federal government of climate scientists.

The Trump transition team had asked for a list of people in the Department of Energy who are working on climate science.

The Energy Department declined to give those names, and the Trump transition team is disavowing the request for the list as a mistake by a Trump employee who was not authorized to make that request.

Still, you can understand why people are nervous.  
Advocates say climate scientists should get more
ito the forefront of climate activism and social media.

That's why there's a big social media push to collect data pertaining to climate change and storing it on the cloud or scattering it across the world to make it harder for someone who might want to maliciously destroy the data, to keep it from seeing the light of day.

A lack of data, the logic goes, would stymie the work of climate scientists and activists in the age of Trump.

Eric Holthaus, a meteorologist, journalist and climate activist is a ringleader in this effort.

Holthaus told NPR:

"There are ways of keeping this data open and publicly available and uninterrupted during any sort of era of our government that might be hostile to climate science. 

And it definitely feels like we are entering a time when climate scientists feel the need to sort of hunker down and preserve wat they've done so far. This project is helping them to continue their work uninterrupted

And again, the goal in this project is not out of some paranoia of a conspiracy to erase knowledge from humanity. It's to make sure that we are advocating for climate science in the sense that these scientists ave devoted their lives, and they are now going to be operating under a government that is hostile to climate science."

Holthaus went on with NPR:

 "I wouldn't expect the Trump team to come and say, you know, by the way, we're going to just delete all the work that you guys have done for the last decades. I think the most likely scenario is that there will be across-the-board budget cuts in the realm of climate science across multiple parts of the government."

Collecting science data is all wonderful if you have scientific data with you or your scientific organization has collected it. But is there anything we can do to help?  I reached out to Holthaus and others via Twitter. His and other suggestions are to donate to university science departments and other scientists and become a citizen scientist yourself. 

To be a citizen scientist, you don't have to learn how to take ice cores on an Arctic glacier, then live there on a pile of ice for a year.

There are programs to hook up with in which you can observe changes in your local environment. These small scale projects are a great ingredient, believe it or not, to understand climate change.

Meanwhile, there is a movement to convince climate scientists to do more outreach, more activism to get the word out and combat anything Trump might do.

Some scientists already do this, perhaps most notably Michael Mann, the Penn State Atmospheric Science professor and director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State who has actually gotten death threats because of his science and was sued by climate denialists who questioned the integrity of his work. (Several independent reviews concluded Mann's science was sound.)

The lawsuit experience has turned him into an activist, and he's all over social media and the media in general to spread his science, and yes, his opinions.

Other climate scientists should follow suit, at least to an extent, says people like current Obama administration U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell reently told a meeting of the American Geophysical Union that to fight Trump's Tweets, scientists have to counter-Tweet, and more.

According to The Verge:

"She name checked Snapchat and Twitter, and pointed out that one of the most popular tweets from the U.S. Geological Survey reached a lot of people because Leonardo DiCaprio retweeted. it. DiCaprio hs re than 16 million followers. 'You guys are all rock stars to me,' Jewell told the crowd. 'But I don't think any of you have 16 million followers."

There might even be an assist or two from politicians.

According to the Sacramento Bee, at the same American Geophysical Union meeting where Jewell spoke, California Gov. Jerry Brown said if Trump turns off climate monitoring satellites, "California will launch its own damn satellite....Were going to collect that data." 

"We've got the scientists, we've got the lawyers and we're readh to fight. We're read to defend," Brown said.

It will be an interesting, rough four to eight years in the climate science wars. The good news is forces are mobilizing to attempt to keep the Trumpsters in check.

The bad news is I doubt we can totally keep scientific integrity going in the next few years.

Meanwhile, I'm sure the climate-related disaster and humanitarian crises will keep piling up.

It's a wonderful world.
 

Severe Storms: It's Australia's Season

Severe storm approaches Brisbane, Australia
Sunday. The storm caused widespread damage
In the Mid-South yesterday, there were a handful of tornado reports ahead of a strong Arctic front sweeping across the nation.

No injuries were reported, and damage was pretty light, which is a good thing.

We do get tornadoes this time of year, but obviously, winter isn't the peak season for these dangerous storms. Spring and summer is the peak season.

If you want to see severe thunderstorms, supercells and tornadoes, go to the Southern Hemisphere, where it is now summer.

Mostly because of geography, theres' not as many big storms in the Southern Hemisphere as in NorthAmerica.

However, Australia is pretty famous for some intense storms and supercells and tornadoes.

Below are videos, the first one of an epic supercell that swept across part of Australia a week ago, and then more videos of a particularly intense, damaging, severe storm Sunday in Queensland. The damage was particularly bad in and around Brisbane.

Australian Broadcasting Corp. said Queensland Environmental Minister Steve Miles was trapped for a time in  his house by fallen trees and power lines.

If you're craving some severe weather videos, here's one of a recent supercell in Australia. What's striking, pardon the pun, about this video is the incredible amount of lightning in the storm:



Here's a news video of this past week's storm in Queensland, Australia. Pretty nasty!!!




Here's what it looked like in one back yard in Ipswich, Australia


Saturday, December 17, 2016

Storm Update: Still On Track For A Mess

Lots of blue, pinks and purples on the National Weather Service
map Saturday morning, indicating many, many snow, ice and
cold weather warnings, alerts and advisories. Add caption
It's snowing this morning in Vermont, as expected, as we get set for a storm total of two to four inches north and three to seven inches south. 

It was much worse down south this morning in places like Washington DC, Philadelphia and New York, where freezing rain is making a total mess of the roadways.

Places like I-95 in Baltimore and the Capital Beltway in suburban Washington DC were shut down by ice this morning.  You'll see a lot of highway pileups on the news tonight from that region, for sure.

Here in Vermont and the rest of the North Country, we'll get into the ice later on, but I don't think it will be quite as bad as down south. Still, I wouldn't recommend travel tonight, especially east of the Green Mountains.

East of those Green Mountains, and in the St. Lawrence Valley of New York, it will be hard to scour out the cold air tonight, so a bunch of freezing rain is likely.

It won't accumulate enough on trees and wires to bring them down, but it will make roadways dangerous. I wouldn't go out and drive in these areas tonight and Sunday morning, to be honest.

In fact, the ice might spread a bit this evening. In parts of southeastern New England, a weak wave of low pressure tracking along the coast today in tandem with the larger storm to the west might pull colder air back into that region this evening, freezing things back up and causing another period of icy weather there.

I'm still expecting another flash freeze Sunday, as a strong cold front sweeps eastward. Temperatures in New York wlll start to fall in the morning then drop quickly across Vermont in the afternoon as the cold front continues pushing east.

It'll be awful underfoot Sunday night and Monday, as temperatures plunge to zero or so. The slush will freeze to ice quickly. The roads will be bad enough: Expect a possible third slow Monday morning commute in a row.

Sidewalks and driveways will be horrendous. I expect a big uptick in emergency room visits across Vermont and the rest of New England Monday as people slip and fall on the ice. Be careful out there.

Meanwhile, we're "enjoying" the ice, much of the rest of the nation is having a lousy weekend of weather, too.

A bitter cold wave has enveloped the Plains and Midwest, with cold air plunging all the way through to Texas.

There's quite a contrast on that cold front. At one point in Oklahoma Saturday morning, temperatures ranged from 6 below in the northwest corner of the state to 65 above in the southeast corner.

Ahead of that cold front severe weather, with the possibility of a couple tornadoes, could hit parts of Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee.

As I've advertised, it'll calm down during the upcoming week, and turn milder across much of the nation, including New England.