Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Heat Records Broken in Alaska

From Climate Central:

A massive dome of high pressure, sometimes referred to as a "heat dome," has set up shop over Alaska, bringing all-time record temperatures just a few weeks after parts of the state had a record cold start to spring. In some cases, towns in Alaska were warmer on Monday and Tuesday than most locations in the lower 48 states.
Forecast temperature anomalies on June 19 from the GFS computer model.
Click image to enlarge. Credit:
For example, Talkeetna set an all-time high temperature record of 96°F on Monday, smashing its previous mark of 91°F set a day earlier, and previously set in June of 1969. In fact, it was warmer in Talkeetna, which is about 110 miles north of Anchorage, than it was in Miami, based on data from the National Weather Service (NWS). (As Weather Underground's Christopher Burt notes, there was an unofficial observation of 98°F on Monday, which would rank among the hottest all-time temperature records for the state.)
In Valdez, which sits along the cool waters of Prince William Sound, the temperature reached a remarkable 90°F Monday, beating the previous all-time mark of 87°F. And in Seward, another coastal port, the temperature hit 88°F, breaking the previous all-time high of 87°F that was set on July 4, 1999.
Extreme heat was also felt across the interior of Alaska, where hot temperatures are expected to continue this week until the large high pressure area, or ridge in the jet stream, weakens and moves away. The heat, combined with low relative humidity and the chance for thunderstorms, is raising the risk of wildfires across parts of Alaska.
A map of the upper level air flow at about 18,000 feet. The bright red area over Alaska corresponds to an unusually strong area of High Pressure bringing warmer-than-average temperatures.

Alaska is one of the fastest-warming states in the U.S., largely because the nearby Arctic region is warming rapidly in response to manmade global warming and natural variability. In recent years, Alaska has had to content with large wildfiresmelting permafrost, and reduced sea ice, among other climate-related challenges.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

"Severe flooding inundates parts of Central Europe"

An aerial view of the flooding in Passau, Germany, 03 June 2013. The floodings in Bavaria continue to worsen. (Peter Kneffel - AP)
An aerial view of the flooding in Passau, Germany, 03 June 2013. The floodings in Bavaria continue to worsen. (Peter Kneffel – AP)

From the Washington Post:
The village of Aschau, Bavaria recorded an impressive 405.1 mm of rainfall (15.9 inches) in just four days, of which 6.71” fell in 24 hours

Large areas of central Europe are experiencing their worst flooding in decades after heavy rainfall last week pushed rivers beyond their banks.

At least 21 people have died across Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic, and thousands have been forced to evacuate their inundated homes. Preliminary estimates suggest the flooding has caused several billion dollars in damage.

In Passau, Germany – along the confluence of the Danube and Inn rivers – floodwaters rose to their highest levels in over 500 years. The city declared a state of emergency after swollen rivers cut off outside road access. Soldiers from the German army are being sent to flooded areas in southeastern Germany to provide disaster relief.

An aerial view of flood water in the city of Melk, Lower Austria, Austria, 03 June 2013. (Roland Schlager - EPA)

An aerial view of flood water in the city of Melk, Lower Austria, Austria, 03 June 2013. (Roland Schlager – EPA)

A expansive area of low pressure parked over eastern Europe is to blame for the excessive rainfall. Warm, moist Mediterranean air colliding with colder Atlantic air was lifted over the north side of the Alps. A stationary front then formed, bringing an extended period of unsettled weather.

While this pattern setup is not unusual in the central Alps, the amount of precipitation measured in some locations was historically significant.

Rainfall totals (in millimeters) recorded across Austria and southeastern Germany, May 30 – June 3. (Austrian Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics)

Monday, June 03, 2013

Massive tornado - Moore, Oklahoma

A woman carries a child through a tornado-ravaged neighborhood in Moore, Okla., May 20, 2013. (Sue Ogrocki/AP)

Massive tornado rips through Moore, Oklahoma

A devastating, mile-wide tornado touched down near Oklahoma City on Monday, killing dozens of people—including children—decimating homes, businesses and a pair of elementary schools in the suburb of Moore.

The tornado left a debris field 20 miles long and several miles wide. According to the National Weather Service in Norman, Okla., the tornado was on the ground for approximately 40 minutes, and a tornado warning was in effect for 16 minutes before the twister developed.
Weather officials estimated the strength of the storm to be an F4 or F5 on the Fujita Scale—the highest rating a tornado can achieve. The National Weather Service said the tornado's preliminary classification was an F4, with winds up to 200 mph.
The devastated area was an estimated 30 square miles.
24 people killed, 377 injured.