WEEKLY WEATHER AND CLIMATE NEWS
11-15 March 2019
This is Break Week for the Spring 2019 offering of this course. This Weekly Weather and Climate News and the Historical Weather Events files contain new information items, but the Supplemental Information ...In Greater Depth files are repeated from last week.
Items of Interest:
- Becoming AWARE --During this coming week (10-16 March) South Carolina will be observing Severe Weather and Flood Safety Week. If you live in the Palmetto State, you should take time to become familiar with the various public affairs announcements issued by your local National Weather Service Office. Other states farther to the north will be observing their Severe Weather Awareness weeks in the next seven weeks.
Flood Safety Awareness -- Many locations around the nation annually experience spring floods that cause large monetary losses and occasionally the loss of life. Check the website https://www.weather.gov/safety/flood for information concerning flooding caused by excessive rain events, rapid snowmelt, ice jams and debris flow, along with useful flood safety and mitigation measures. Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New York and the New England States (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont) are observing their Flood Safety Awareness Week during this week (11-17 March).
- Tsunami Preparedness -- Guam & Northern Marianas, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are observing Tsunami Preparedness Week between 11 and 15 March 2019.
- Update on Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race -- After the ceremonial start of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Anchorage one week ago Saturday, the official start of the race was in Willow last Sunday. As of Sunday some of the mushers had left the Unalakleet checkpoint, approximately 737 miles from the start of the race and only 261 miles to the finish line in Nome. The winner of the Iditarod race is expected to reach Nome early this week.
A website is maintained for teachers and students interested in following the progress of the Iditarod and a 8th-grade English teacher from Massachusetts, who is the "2019 Iditarod Teacher on the Trail™." Current weather conditions and weather forecasts for this year's checkpoint stations are available.
- Following the advance of spring with phenological maps -- The USA-National Phenology Network (NPN)is producing a variety of maps of the 48 contiguous United States that show the advance of spring northward across the nation. Two “Status of Spring” maps, called the “Spring Leaf Index Anomaly” and the “Spring Bloom Index Anomaly” are generated on a weekly basis based upon the USA-NPN’s model called the Spring Leaf and Bloom Indices. The timing of leaf-out, migration, flowering and other seasonal phenomena in many species are phenological events that are closely tied to local weather conditions and broad climatic patterns. These maps are anomaly charts showing how the calculated indices for each week compare with the corresponding 30-year averages (for 1981-2010) and provide a means of comparison of this spring with “normal” conditions. [USA-National Phenology Network Spring]
USA-NPN is also generating some pilot Pheno Forecast maps that are based on their 6-day Accumulated Growing Degree Day (AGDD) forecasts. These Pest-detection, management, and treatment Maps are available for five pests: apple maggot, emerald ash borer, hemlock woolly adelgid, lilac borer and winter moth. The treatment window for these pests are displayed as it approaches, based on predicted life stage. [USA-NPN Pheno Forecasts]
- Recalling the 1993 "Storm of the Century" -- A major winter storm that traveled along the Eastern Seaboard from the northern Gulf of Mexico and New England between 11 and 14 March 1993 is being remembered as being the nation's most costly winter storm to date. Dubbed "The Storm of the Century", it was responsible for approximately $5.5 billion in damages ($9.8 billion in 2019 dollars) and 318 fatalities. Nearly half of the U.S. population was affected by the storm. Between 36 and 56 inches of snow fell along Appalachians as the storm traveled toward the northeast, causing the storm to be ranked as the second worst snowstorm to impact the Northeast, Southeast, and Ohio Valley. In addition to the snow, the storm was accompanied by thunderstorms that spawned 15 tornadoes in Florida. As the storm intensified, the central pressure fell to as low as 960.0 millibars (28.35 inches of mercury). This deep low pressure system generated strong winds that had gusts reaching 109 mph near Key West, FL and 144 mph atop Mt. Washington, NH. The strong winds also produced 12-foot storm surge on the northern Gulf of Mexico. [NOAA NCEI News]
Weather and Climate News Items:
- Eye on the tropics ---Tropical cyclone activity was limited to the South Indian Ocean basin during the last week:
- Tropical Cyclone Haleh was traveling generally toward the south-southwest at the start of last week, at least 700 miles to the south of Diego Garcia. By late last Monday (local time), Haleh had moved into a region of favorable conditions for intensification, resulting into it becoming a category 4 tropical cyclone on the Saffir-Simpson Scale, with maximum sustained surface winds reaching an estimated 135 mph. This intense tropical cyclone became record-setting since it was the sixth major tropical cyclone to form in the South Indian Ocean during the 2018-19 season, tying the previous record number of South Indian cyclones that formed during the 2006-07 season. [AccuWeather] However, Haleh continued heading to the south-southwest into hostile conditions, resulting in a gradual weakening during the first half of last week. Eventually, Haleh had weakened to a tropical storm before losing its tropical characteristics and becoming an extratropical low (midlatitude storm) by late Thursday. By Friday, the remnants of former Cyclone Haleh was located nearly 1000 miles to the south-southeast of Port Louis, Mauritius. The NASA Hurricane Blog has satellite images and additional information on Cyclone Haleh.
- A tropical depression developed off the coast of western Madagascar at the beginning of last week. Initially, this tropical depression drifted toward the Mozambique coast, making landfall late Monday. After moving inland and weakening over the next day, this tropical depression turned and headed toward the east. After moving out over the Mozambique Channel, the system intensified to become Tropical Storm Idai, or the tenth named tropical cyclone of the 2018/19 Southwest Indian Ocean cyclone season. As Idai developed, torrential rains accompanying this system resulted in flooding that claimed seven lives in Mozambique and 28 lives in Malawi. Idai strengthened to a category 2 tropical cyclone on the Saffir-Simpson Scale as it was tracking slowly toward the south approximately 390 miles to the north-northeast of Europa Island. approximately Current forecasts suggest that Idai should begin curving toward the southwest on Monday and Tuesday. Eventually, Idai should curve to take a track toward the west-southwest and then west during this week, intensifying to potentially a category 4 cyclone.
- New statewide record low temperature for Illinois is recognized -- The Illinois state climatologist announced that the State Climate Extremes Committee, consisting of representatives of the National Weather Service, NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information and himself has officially recognized the minimum temperature of 38 degrees below zero Fahrenheit recorded at the cooperative observer station at Mt. Carroll, IL on 31 January 2019 as being the lowest temperature in state history. This reading broke the previous record of 36 degrees below zero set in January 1999 at Congerville, IL. Mt. Carroll, located in northwest Illinois had previously been the state's low temperature recordholder between 1930 and 1999.
[NOAA NCEI News]
- An updated list made of lowest temperatures ever recorded in contiguous U.S. -- Weather historian, Christopher C. Burt, recently updated his list of the coldest locations in the contiguous United States where temperatures fell to 60 degrees below Fahrenheit or lower on 37 separate occasions since the 1870s. These temperature observations have been officially certified by the National Weather Service. In addition, three other unofficial readings have been noted. He also addresses the issue as to how reliable was the temperature reading of 69.7 degrees below zero made at Rogers Pass, MT on 20 January 1954, which is considered to be the official contiguous U.S. minimum temperature. [Weather Underground]
- Recent deadly tornado outbreak in Southeast investigated -- An outbreak of severe weather that included as many as 37 tornadoes took place across the Southeast on Sunday, 3 March 2019. This tornado outbreak, which tore through sections of Alabama, Florida and Georgia, was responsible for 23 deaths in Lee County, AL, making the date the deadliest tornado day in the United States in nearly six years, [Weather Under Ground News]
Dr. Marshall Shepherd, a meteorology professor at the University of Georgia and past president of the American Meteorological Society posted a blog entitled "Four Forecast And Messaging Takeaways From The Southern Tornado Outbreak" in which he discusses four items that he noticed about this outbreak: 1). "The forecast," which was prepared as an outlook two days earlier by the National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center, showed an enhanced chance for severe thunderstorm activity in sections of Alabama and Georgia that were hit by the tornado outbreak; 2.) "The technology works," as the dual-polarization feature on the National Weather Service Doppler radar units, gave a clear indication of a "tornado debris ball" in the region where the killer tornado moved across Lee County, AL; 3.) "A good forecast is not good if it is not received and acted upon," in which he notes that the number of fatalities due to the tornado may be due to too many people not getting the warnings or knowing what to do to protect themselves; and 4.) "Vulnerable structures," as many of the fatalities and injuries caused by the tornado outbreak were in or near mobile homes, which are a popular type of residence across the Southeast. [Forbes]
- Report highlights NOAA Research accomplishments in 2018 -- NOAA officials recently released a 127-page report entitled "2018 NOAA Science Report,"
in which the research and development within the agency during the calendar year of 2018 are highlighted in 72 stories. Furthermore, the report explains why NOAA invests in research, explains what kind of research NOAA supports, identifies where NOAA invests in research, and highlights how NOAA transitions research into operations, applications and helps enable commercial uses. [NOAA Research News]
- Four-centuries long climate reconstruction provides view of California climate -- An international and interdisciplinary team of scientists reconstructed a nearly 450-year long time series of jet stream and moisture patterns in California using climate model simulations and paleoclimate data. They made this four-centuries long reconstruction to understand the history of wildfires in the Golden State. Paleoclimatological and historical data that were used included as tree ring analyzes and historical fire records. The team warns that if the projected climate warming continues, then significant wet season rain and snow may not ensure a quiet fire season afterward in California. [NOAA NCEI News]
- Development of global atmospheric deposition maps sought -- An Expert Meeting on Measurement-Model Fusion for Global Total Atmospheric Deposition (MMF-GTAD) was held in late February at the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, agreed to establish a science steering committee, backed with the commitment of the assembled scientists, to produce global atmospheric deposition maps of pollutants such as ozone, nitrogen species, sulfur dust and aerosols. These maps are intended to provide governments, policy makers and international organizations with a tool that will support informed decisions on how to manage pollution deposited on the Earth's surface. [WMO News]
- International climate research for 21st century reviewed -- Professor Dame Julia Slingo, a meteorologist and climate scientist who is the former Chief Scientist of the United Kingdom’s Met Office, was recently interviewed about the achievements and future directions of the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP). She led a comprehensive review of this program that was co-sponsored by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO. WCRP has a mission to determine (i) to what extent climate can be predicted, and (ii) the extent of human influence on climate. [WMO News]
- High Tide Bulletin for the Spring of 2019 is released -- NOAA's National Ocean Service has recently released its High Tide Bulletin for meteorological spring (March through May) of 2019. Since a weak El Niño has developed during the last month, a slightly higher chance of coastal flooding is anticipated along both the U.S. Atlantic and Pacific Coasts during this spring. [NOAA National Ocean Service News]
- An All-Hazards Monitor -- This Web portal provides the user information from NOAA's National Weather Service, FAA and FEMA on
current environmental events that may pose as hazards such as tropical
weather, fire weather, marine weather, severe weather, drought and
floods. [NOAA/NWS Daily Briefing]
- Earthweek -- Diary of the Planet [earthweek.com]
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Prepared by Edward J. Hopkins, Ph.D., email email@example.com
© Copyright, 2019, The American Meteorological Society.