Thursday, February 28, 2008

Winters Snows Mean Spring Floods

After a very snowy winter, one of the snowiest in years for a few places in Colorado, Wisconsin and Vermont for example, officials are now making plans for potentially massive spring floods.

The days are growing longer and the sun angle is getting higher, and that means warmer weather will soon start the snow melt.

It isn't all bad news though. The stream flows in Colorado should be fantastic for white water rafting this spring.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Generous Precip For Some

So far this morning, 7 stations in the CoCoRaHS network have checked in with a 24-hour precip of 1.00 inch or more.

They are mostly in Alabama due to severe thunderstorms that rolled through overnight and in Iowa where heavy snow fell on Monday.

A fast round of snow moved through the Denver area overnight, but it didn't amount to much -- maybe an inch or so on average.

As I type this blog I can see the mountains from my window as clearing has already settled along the Front Range.

This time of year, the temperature can recover rapidly thanks to the days growing longer and the sun getting higher in the sky.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Cool Clouds In The Sky

Well since me, Josh in Wisconsin and Howard in Texas have been having a cloud discussion over the past few days, I thought -- why not post a cloud blog.

The atmosphere is such a awesome thing, and several forces/variables can work together to create some wonderous sights.

One of the coolest clouds I have ever seen in person is the Kelvin-Helmholtz cloud.

This is a high, cirrus type of cloud and it represents wind shear (different speeds) between two layers of the atmosphere (with different temperatures/densities).

When the wind shear is strong enough, little eddies form along the boundary -- and you can see these along the top of the cloud.

I have attached the picture I took on Dec. 5, 2005 in Westminster, Colorado -- looking west toward the foothills.

My cloud may not be the strongest example, but hopefully you can see the little waves that form along the top of the cloud.

Here is a link to the Cloud Appreciation Society (yes there is one) and there you will see a better example.

Click here.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Comments Answered & Severe Weather Facts

In my Feb. 15 post there were a few questions asked -- I am sorry I didn't get to them in a timely manner. I spent the weekend doing taxes and resting.

One question was about heavy rain and if the funnel and inner cylinder should be removed for an accurate reading. This observer was hoping to prevent loss of data from splash.

I personally would leave the funnel and cylinder in -- the splash is going to be very minor compared to the overall precipitation catch.

Now if you are anticipating hail, you could remove the funnel and inner cylinder. In this case, it'd be fascinating to have 2 gauges outside in the storm -- one to catch rain in the normal setup (with funnel on) and one to catch hail (without funnel).

You could then see the difference between the two and potentially tell how much extra water falls in the form of ice (or hail) during a thunderstorm.

The other question was about some unusual clouds in the sky. The person who left the comment is named HPH. Where are you located? That would be helpful.

One observer from Oshkosh, Wisconsin left a comment back for HPH attempting to help him figure out what type of clouds they were. And it was definitely a cold weather answer -- which could be the case.

But honestly, my first thought when I read the comment was mammatus clouds -- which are going to happen in a warmer climate near severe thunderstorms.

So if you will leave another comment sometime with your location, or if you have a picture of the clouds, we'll be glad to try and help you figure it out.


So do you think the severe weather we have seen so far in February is a sign of things to come?

According to the Storms Prediction Center (SPC) and their online storm reports database, there have been over 1,000 reports of severe weather since February 1.

Of those, half were on Super Tuesday. (Feb 5)

There have been 210 tornado reports, 272 hail reports and 554 high wind reports.

Of those 210 tornado reports, nearly 100 have been verified.

I found an awesome link online (a work in progress) that is recapping the Super Tuesday tornado outbreak.

Click here to read it.

I am sure there were more than 272 instances of hail during the recent severe weather events.

Hail is a weather variable that the data is highly searched for (esp. by insurance agencies) but very rarely recorded.

Unless a report makes it to the National Weather Service, or gets documented by a CoCoRaHS observer, it really isn't anywhere official.

Friday, February 15, 2008

More Tornadoes In The South?

Severe weather will once again rear it's ugly head across portions of the south today, with the greatest threat in eastern Texas and western Louisiana.

The setup will be somewhat similar to the one we saw over Arkansas and Tennessee the first week of February, with a huge clash of the airmasses thanks to a strong cold front.

Supercell thunderstorms are possible between Dallas and Houston with a few tornadoes not out of the question on Friday into early Saturday.

There will also be some heavy downpours and hail so all CoCoRaHS observers in eastern Texas need to be on alert and ready to report intense rain and hail reports (if you can do so safely).

Remember, when you file an intense hail or rain report, it immediately goes to your local National Weather Service office -- and this information can be extremely helpful to verify what is showing up on radar.

Your report could help either issue and better define a warning that goes out to the public!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Baby, It's C-C-Cold Outside

It's a frozen Valentine's Day for many this year all thanks to a strong cold front.

The front has already passed through much of Colorado, Nebraska and the upper midwest -- and it is heading south like a runaway truck.

Once it passes by, it will definitely put a chill in your outing to celebrate Valentine's Day tonight!

Snow will accompany the front, and it could be moderate at times from Denver to Des Moines. Strong winds will also be present today.

For those behind the front it will be a cold northerly wind -- and for those ahead of it, the winds will be warm and southerly.

Those southerly winds pumped the mercury all the way up to 65 degrees in Denver on Wednesday. We will be lucky to see 25 degrees today with a fast, but potent snowstorm.

Another round of bitter cold has already moved into the northern plains behind the front, with sub-zero readings across the Dakotas and Minnesota. Many locations will not climb above zero during the day on Thursday.

If you are traveling from Fargo to Dallas today, you will encounter an 80 degree difference in temperatures.

This cold air will sink all the way to the Gulf Coast states by the weekend, and it could spell an ice storm for portions of the south by Friday that were rocked by tornadoes just over a week ago.

So if this just isn't the news you were hoping for -- see if there are any last minute flight deals to Miami. They will see highs in the lower 80s all weekend long!

If your travel plans are taking you to New England today, hopefully it will be a smooth ride unlike on Thursday.

Flights were delayed up to 5 or more hours at New York area airports on Thursday due to a mixed bag of precipitation.

Ice coated much of the area on Wednesday before a warm front moved through and raised temperatures up to 20 degrees by Thursday afternoon.

Between the ice and heavy rain, a widespread 1 to 3 inches of liquid fell with some locally higher totals.

There were many reports of flooding in the NYC metro area as of late Thursday, including some road closures on major parkways.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Got The Winter Blues?

If you have the winter blues this year, which I am sure many do after such a rough winter across many parts of the country -- I may have some good news.

We are just under 4 weeks away from "springing forward" and gaining back an hour of sunlight each day!

That's right -- clocks go forward on March 9 here in the United States.

The extra sunlight will be nice, and will give you more time to complete outdoor evening chores once you get home from work, such as taking the dog for a walk.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Ice Box Of The Nation

Well it's official -- International Falls, Minnesota is officially the "ice box of the nation" here in the lower 48.

Frasier, Colorado was giving the city a run for their money by claiming they were the icebox.

International Falls claimed victory recently when the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office sent the city attorney a certificate granting the community Reg. No. 3,375,139.

Mother Nature didn't waste any time helping the 5,500 residents along the Canadian border celebrate by giving them a new record low on Monday morning of 40 degrees below zero. That beat the previous record of -37.

Monday, February 11, 2008

I Missed All The Active Weather

Well folks I am back from my trip, it was interesting -- and SO hard being away from a computer and not being able to follow the severe weather outbreak and winter storms -- esp. when the tornadoes were just a county away from where I grew up and my family still resides.

I think I mentioned I had to travel to Las Vegas for work. It was a very interesting flight from Denver to Vegas -- snow pack almost the entire way except for the immediate approach into Vegas.

Even southern Utah, northern Arizona and western Colorado (non-mountain regions) are white instead of the typical red.

Vegas was cold last week with highs in the 40s. All the local weather forecasters kept talking about how it has been such a cold year for them.

It just seems like the weather patterns are out of whack all over doesn't it? I vowed to Nolan when I started this blog that it would not become an opinionated global warming chat room filled with facts and myths about climate change.

And I intend to keep it that way.

But over the past few years, it seems like the weather patterns, once they get out of whack, they are quite extreme for those who are in the storm track.

Last year it was eastern Colorado with our huge blizzards, this year it is the whole intermountain west and portions of the central states.

I don't want to speculate as to why the weather has been so extreme for some, but I think it is a good wake up call for us to continue to educate ourselves about climate and weather -- and to be prepared for the worst -- that way if the worst does occur -- you have a much better chance to weather the storm and protect both your life and property.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Active Weather Pattern Continues

It seems like a broken record -- but the west is bracing for more wind and heavy mountain snow.

Lower elevations will see rain or snow -- with many places getting rain that are typically dry, such as Las Vegas and Phoenix.

As this big storm system moves into the center of the nation, there will likely be a severe weather outbreak from the lower Mississippi River Valley into the Ohio River Valley.

We'll have to just wait and see how well things materialize.

I will be traveling with my job this week out of state and will not have computer access until I return to Denver on Saturday.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Another Wintry Blast

Snow and ice is once again wreaking havoc on a large piece of real-estate this winter, stretching from the Texas panhandle across Oklahoma and Missouri into the Great Lakes.

I would hate to be traveling by air today as there are growing delays at many of the key U.S. hubs, including Chicago, New York, Atlanta and Salt Lake City. That will impact several airlines, in particlar United and Delta.

It is just me or does it seems like this has been a very active winter, with a storm trek that has favored locations in the central and northern tier of the nation?

The poor mountains of the west of been slammed with snow -- which is good -- that means plenty of drinking water this summer.

However, even the mountains are struggling at times to keep up with the almost weekly total of 1-3 feet they have been getting.

Many Colorado ski resorts have seen snow on 55-60 of the last 65 days. Bases are running 75 to 100 inches, and over that at Wolf Creek!

ATTENTION INDIANA RESIDENTS: There is a Severe Weather Workshop on March 1 in Greenwood. Click here to learn more.