An upside-down winter: coldest in 25 years in U.S., warmest on record in Canada

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:26 PM GMT on March 12, 2010

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The U.S. just experienced its coldest winter in 25 years, according to the National Climatic Data Center. The winter period December - February was the 18th coldest winter in the contiguous U.S. over the past 115 years, and the coldest since 1984 - 1985. It was also a wet winter, ranking 19th wettest. The states experiencing the coldest winters, relative to average, were Texas and Louisiana, which had their 5th coldest winters on record. Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Florida, and South Carolina also had a top-ten coldest winter. The only state much above average was Maine, which had its 3rd warmest winter. As I discussed earlier this week, this winter's cold weather over the U.S. is largely due to the Arctic Oscillation/North Atlantic Oscillation, which assumed its most extreme negative configuration since record keeping began in 1950. El Niño helped keep things cool from Texas to the Southeastern U.S., as well.


Figure 1. Winter temperatures for the winter of 2009 - 2010. Image credit: National Climatic Data Center.

A cold February in the U.S.
February temperatures were 2.2°F below average across the contiguous U.S., making it the 29th coldest February in the 115-year record. For the second month in a row, Florida was the coldest state, relative to average. Florida had its 4th coldest February on record. Seven other states had February temperatures between 5th and 8th coldest on record: Louisiana, Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Georgia, and South Carolina. Maine had its 3rd warmest February, New Hampshire its 5th, and Washington its 6th. Precipitation across the U.S. was near average in February.

Warmest and driest winter on record in Canada
Canada had its warmest winter on record, 4.0°C (7.2°F) above average, according to Environment Canada. The previous record was 3.9°C above average, set in 2005-2006. Canada also experienced its driest winter on record this year, with precipitation 22.0% below normal. The previous driest winter was 1977-1978 (20.1% below normal). Canadian weather records go back 63 years, to 1948. David Phillips, a senior climatologist with Environment Canada, warned of potential "horrific" water shortages, insect infestations, and wildfires this summer due to the warm, dry winter. Phillips blamed the warm winter weather on El Niño and the severe loss of arctic sea ice last fall. The winter season in Canada has warmed, on average, by 2.5°C (4.5°F) over the past 63 years.


Figure 2. Departure of temperature from average in Canada for the winter of 2009 - 2010. Image credit: Environment Canada.

Brazilian tropical/subtropical storm named "Anita"
The South Atlantic tropical/subtropical storm we've been tracking this week has moved over colder waters and has now transitioned to a regular extratropical storm. Earlier this week, the storm became just the 7th tropical or subtropical cyclone on record in the South Atlantic. According to a statement put out by MetSul Meteorologia, a Brazilian weather company, this storm is now named "Tropical Storm Anita:"

The regional weather centers and the private weather enterprises of both Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina, southernmost Brazilian states, in a joint decision, named Anita the rare tropical storm of March 9th and 10th in the coastal areas of the region. The name was chosen considering a historic figure of Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina, both states affected by the tropical cyclone. Anita Garibaldi (1821-1849) was a heroine of the Farroupilha Revolution (1835-1845), one of the most important events in the Brazilian history that took place in the Southern part of the country. Anita was used in the past to designate tropical cyclones in other basins: North Atlantic, the Pacific and the Indian Ocean.

Next week, we need to keep an eye on northeastern Australia, where Tropical Cyclone 20 may pay a visit. The storm is under light shear and warm waters, and is forecast to increase to Category 4 strength by Monday. Also of concern is Tropical Cyclone 19, which is expected to hit Fiji as a Category 2 storm early next week.

First tornado death of the year for the U.S
A tornado that hit Cleburne, Arkansas on Wednesday caused three serious injuries and the tornado season's first fatality, a 79-year old man sheltering in his single story wood-frame home. Yesterday, a suspected tornado ripped through Haines City, Florida destroying four condos and damaging fifteen others. One person was injured. Two other tornadoes caused minor damage in central Florida. The severe weather outbreak continues today, as NOAA's Storm Prediction Center is forecasting a "slight" chance of severe weather over portions of Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio. After today, the severe weather action should diminish for at least five days over the U.S. The major U.S. weather story this weekend will be flooding in the Mid-Atlantic, where heavy rains of up to four inches are expected. Soils are already saturated and the heavy snows from this winter's major snowstorms will also melt, likely creating moderate flooding problems over much of the Mid-Atlantic.

Links to follow:
Interactive tornado map
Severe weather page


Figure 3. Severe weather forecast for today from the NOAA Storm Prediction Center.

Jeff Masters

Tornado, Saline County, AR (waltdsgirl)
Tornado, Saline County, AR
deluge of rain... (happytobealive)
We drove west on I-10 today and this is what we encountered near Live Oak, Florida. We pulled to the side of the road for a time because the rain was more than the wipers could clear for safe driving.
deluge of rain...
wind damage (Openmike)
Wind tore the awning from a business on U.S. 19 between Crystal River and Homassaa Springs, Fl., Thursday afternoon. Severe stroms hammered the area, causing wind damage and flooding. A tornado was reported, by a trained spotter, about ten miles South of this location. Check the series for more storm and flood pictures.
wind damage

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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 55984
Quoting pottery:
post 332,
a PIN HOLE EYE! Where's Taz??
lol
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 55984
post 332,
a PIN HOLE EYE! Where's Taz??
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
TPPS11 PGTW 131835

A. TROPICAL CYCLONE 19P (TOMAS)

B. 13/1730Z

C. 12.8S

D. 178.8W

E. FOUR/MTSAT

F. T3.5/3.5/S0.0/24HRS STT: S0.0/06HRS

G. IR/EIR

H. REMARKS: 13A/PBO TIGHTLY CURVED BAND/BANDING EYE/ANMTN.
CNVCTN WRAPS .90 ON LOG10 SPIRAL YIELDING 3.5 DT. MET AND PT
AGREE. DBO DT.

I. ADDITIONAL POSITIONS:
13/1322Z 12.7S 179.1W AMSR
13/1324Z 12.8S 179.0W TRMM
13/1328Z 12.8S 179.1W MMHS


ROSS
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 55984


131500Z POSITION NEAR 12.6S 179.0W.
TROPICAL CYCLONE (TC) 19P (TOMAS), LOCATED APPROXIMATELY 380 NM
NORTHEAST OF NADI, FIJI, HAS TRACKED SOUTHWESTWARD AT 06 KNOTS
OVER THE PAST SIX HOURS. ANIMATED INFRARED SATELLITE IMAGERY SHOWS
CONVECTIVE BANDING WRAPPING INTO A LOW LEVEL CIRCULATION CENTER AND
A 130703Z SSMIS IMAGE SHOWS A DEFINED MICROWAVE EYE. THE INTENSITY
HAS NOT INCREASED AS EXPECTED IN THE PREVIOUS FORECAST AND REMAINS
AT 65 KNOTS BASED ON PGTW, ABRF, AND CPHC DVORAK INTENSITY
ESTIMATES. UPPER LEVEL ANALYSIS SHOWS THAT TC 19P IS LOCATED IN AN
AREA OF LOW VERTICAL WIND SHEAR (VWS), BENEATH AN AREA OF DIFFLUENCE
PROVIDING GOOD RADIAL OUTFLOW. TC 19P IS CURRENTLY TRACKING ON THE
NORTHWESTERN PERIPHERY OF A SUBTROPICAL STEERING RIDGE THAT IS
WEAKENING DUE TO A TRANSITORY MID-LATITUDE, UPPER LEVEL TROUGH. THE
SUBTROPICAL RIDGE WILL CONTINUE TO WEAKEN AND ALLOW TOMAS TO ROUND
THE RIDGE AXIS BY TAU 72 AND THEN BEGIN TO RECURVE TO THE SOUTHEAST.
TC 19P IS FORECAST TO CONTINUE TO INTENSIFY THROUGH TAU 72, WHEN
OCEAN HEAT CONTENT WILL DECREASE AND VWS WILL INCREASE AS TOMAS
BEGINS TO INTERACT WITH THE BAROCLINIC ZONE. NUMERICAL MODEL
GUIDANCE IS IN AGREEMENT WITH THE RECURVATURE SCENARIO, HOWEVER THE
TIMING OF THE RECURVE DIFFERS SLIGHTLY. THE GFS MODEL IS AN OUTLIER
WITH A SHARPER TURN AND A SIGNIFICANTLY FASTER TRACK SPEED THAN THE
OTHER MODELS. THE CURRENT FORECAST IS BASED ON THE CONSENSUS OF
AVAILABLE GUIDANCE, WHICH INDICATES A TRACK OVER VANUA LEVU, FIJI
WITH SPEEDS SLIGHTLY SLOWER THAN CONSENSUS AT THE EXTENDED TAUS TO
ACCOUNT FOR GFS. MAXIMUM SIGNIFICANT WAVE HEIGHT AT 131200Z IS 19
FEET. NEXT WARNINGS AT 140300Z AND 141500Z. REFER TO TROPICAL
CYCLONE 20P (ULUI) WARNINGS (WTPS31 PGTW) FOR TWELVE-HOURLY
UPDATES.//
NNNN

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 55984

TPPS10 PGTW 131821

A. TROPICAL CYCLONE 20P (ULUI)

B. 13/1730Z

C. 12.9S

D. 162.5E

E. ONE/MTSAT

F. T6.5/6.5/D4.0/24HRS STT: D0.5/06HRS

G. IR/EIR

H. REMARKS: 05A/PBO IRREG EYE/ANMTN. LG EYE WITH CDG
SURROUNDING CNVCTN YIEDS 6.5 DT. PT YIELDS 6.0. MET YIELDS 4.0.
DBO DT.

I. ADDITIONAL POSITIONS:
13/1423Z 13.1S 162.7E MMHS
13/1458Z 13.0S 162.7E TRMM
13/1501Z 13.0S 162.6E AMSR
13/1510Z 13.0S 162.6E MMHS


ROSS
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 55984
UW - CIMSS
ADVANCED DVORAK TECHNIQUE
ADT-Version 8.1.1
Tropical Cyclone Intensity Algorithm

----- Current Analysis -----
Date : 13 MAR 2010 Time : 181500 UTC
Lat : 13:07:57 S Lon : 162:34:53 E


CI# /Pressure/ Vmax
6.5 / 917.4mb/127.0kt


Final T# Adj T# Raw T#
6.5 6.6 7.3

Latitude bias adjustment to MSLP : +3.4mb

Estimated radius of max. wind based on IR :<10 km

Center Temp : -28.0C Cloud Region Temp : -84.7C

Scene Type : PINHOLE EYE

Positioning Method : SPIRAL ANALYSIS

Ocean Basin : WEST PACIFIC
Dvorak CI > MSLP Conversion Used : PACIFIC

Tno/CI Rules : Constraint Limits : 2.7T/12hr
Weakening Flag : OFF
Rapid Dissipation Flag : OFF



Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15950

131500Z POSITION NEAR 13.0S 162.7E.
TROPICAL CYCLONE (TC) 20P (ULUI), LOCATED APPROXIMATELY 230 NM WEST-
NORTHWEST OF VANUATU, HAS TRACKED WEST-NORTHWESTWARD AT 07 KTS OVER
THE PAST SIX HOURS. TC 20P HAS UNDERGONE A PERIOD OF RAPID INTENSIFI-
CATION OVER THE PAST SIX HOURS, WITH THE CURRENT INTENSITY AT 105
KNOTS, AND DVORAK INTENSITY ESTIMATES RANGING BETWEEN 90 AND 115
KNOTS. ADDITIONALLY, INTENSITY GUIDANCE HAS INCREASED WITH A MAXIMUM
INTENSITY OF 150 KNOTS WITHIN THE NEXT 48 HOURS, AND SLOWLY DECREA-
SING AS THE UPPER LEVEL OUTFLOW DIMINISHES WITH THE APPROACH OF A
MID-LATITUDE TROUGH. IN THE EARLY PORTION OF THE FORECAST STRONG
UPPER LEVEL SUPPORT IN ASSOCIATION WITH HIGH SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURES
AND OCEAN HEAT CONTENT WILL ALLOW THE CONTINUED DEVELOPMENT OF ULUI.
AROUND TAU 72 THE MID-LATITUDE TROUGH WILL BEGIN TO HINDER THE POLE-
WARD OUTFLOW CHANNEL, CAUSING THE SLIGHT WEAKENING TREND IN THE
FORECAST. HOWEVER, THIS WILL ONLY BE A MINOR IMPACT TO THE SYSTEM AS
IT MAINTAINS AS A STRONG TROPICAL CYCLONE THROUGHOUT THE FORECAST
PERIOD. THE TRACK WILL REMAIN CONSISTENT WITH PREVIOUS FORECASTS,
WITH TC 20P TRACKING WEST-NORTHWESTWARD UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF A SUB-
TROPICAL RIDGE (STR) LOCATED OVER WESTERN AUSTRALIA, EXTENDING TO NEW
CALEDONIA. MODEL GUIDANCE SUGGESTS THAT THE MID-LATITUDE TROUGH WILL
CAUSE THE STR OVER AUSTRALIA TO WEAKEN ALONG THE EASTERN PERIPHERY,
LEADING TO A WEAK STEERING ENVIRONMENT BEYOND TAU 72. ULUI IS EX-
PECTED TO SLOWLY DRIFT TO THE WEST-SOUTHWEST IN THE WEAK STEERING
ENVIRONMENT THROUGH TAU 120. MAXIMUM SIGNIFICANT WAVE HEIGHT AT
131200Z IS 24 FEET. NEXT WARNINGS AT 140300Z AND 141500Z.
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 55984
Floater - Rainbow Color Infrared Loop,ULUI
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129796
Real-Time Tropical Cyclone Products - Description of Products
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129796
SH202010 - Tropical Cyclone ULUI,RAAMB PAGE


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129796
tomas is the storm Im tracking,,,
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129796
Dvorak final T#s are up to 6.1, adjusted T#s to 6.8, and the raws are up to 7.0 now.



Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Patrap:
The image isnt mine at all.

The Post's were to Highlight the RAAMB site on the Wunderground Tropical Page.

The Imagery dosent update now like during the Atlantic Season..

But all the relevant info is there for a QUICK Glance.


Yes Pat...farbeit for me to suggest that you create the satellite image yourself....lol.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26700
Quoting P451:
Interesting feature is getting ready to pound NJ. We got it good last night. Looks like we're in for something even stronger this time.

Temp 43, Winds gusting to 45. Waiting for the heavy rain to move back in. Shouldn't be too long now.

Images as of 12:55PM:




Looks like y'all are in for alot of moderate rain for a fairly long time period! How much snowpack is left up there?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting P451:
Interesting feature is getting ready to pound NJ. We got it good last night. Looks like we're in for something even stronger this time.

Temp 43, Winds gusting to 45. Waiting for the heavy rain to move back in. Shouldn't be too long now.

Images as of 12:55PM:





Hmm, that low looks almost tropical and now it's being drawn in by the larger system and will likely track into the US Mideast before the larger low moves out to sea. It's part of that same blob that hit Florida with thunderstorms and tornadoes yesterday.
Member Since: August 30, 2008 Posts: 8 Comments: 2835
Yeah, I'm having a hard time telling what is going on inside the storm itself strength-wise, but it definitely is undergoing a strengthening trend. The well defined eye should probably completely clear the rest of the low clouds out relatively soon. It's going to be a good one to look at when the sun comes up in that part of the world!





Member Since: Posts: Comments:
316. JRRP
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6213
Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
Hmmmm in those images Ului looks a lot more ragged. So maybe not as strong as I thought from picture in # 302.


Those are not images of Ului, those are of Tomas
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7874
Quoting nola70119:
Anyone out there in Haiti? I am trying to track progression of the rainy season. My email is [email]


There are computer model forecasts that depict future rainfall in places including Haiti here. For example, the latest GFS 12z run depicts heavy rain in Haiti from March 19 to March 20. (Also, it's probably not a good idea to publicly post your email address).
Member Since: August 30, 2008 Posts: 8 Comments: 2835
Quoting Patrap:
ALL Tropical Floater Imagery

Current Rainbow Image


Those are pics of Tomas not Ului
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7874
Dvorak Image show it has a way to go yet in structure,but improving hourly.

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129796
The outer bands of Tomas are now moving into Fiji, and the storm could hit the country as a weak cat. 3. This will likely be the worst storm in Fiji since Gavin of 1997.

Ului is a strong cat. 3, and not only has it intensified from a tropical storm to a severe cyclone in 24 hours, but it will hit cat. 5 soon. Based on the current intensity forecasts, I think Ului will peak at 183 mph (295 km/h) before it hits higher shear and drier air. The weak upper-level anticyclone may protect it at this stage, but any landfall above cat. 3 in Australia looks unlikely.
Member Since: August 30, 2008 Posts: 8 Comments: 2835
JSL Image,,..

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129796
ALL Tropical Floater Imagery

Current Rainbow Image
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129796
The image isnt mine at all.

The Post's were to Highlight the RAAMB site on the Wunderground Tropical Page.

The Imagery dosent update now like during the Atlantic Season..

But all the relevant info is there for a QUICK Glance.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129796
Anyone out there in Haiti? I am trying to track progression of the rainy season. My email is levin.pix@gmail.com
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
301 and 302..
Yeah, seeing the 'eye' forming, but it is not clear as yet.
As I said, I think in a couple of hours we should see the eye open up.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Ului is definitely ramping up per the latest infrared image:

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting pottery:
Hmmm! Not seeing an eye as yet, but there is certainly one coming soon.........
Great post Pat.


His visible image is quite old, from yesterday...there is an eye starting to form on IR imagery. It's not clear yet but it is definitely starting to shape up.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26700
...sort of like a deaf tornado, right?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
299. JRRP
blind hurricane
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6213
Hmmm! Not seeing an eye as yet, but there is certainly one coming soon.........
Great post Pat.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Ocean Heat Content & Forecast Track





Earlier,not updated,but shows the Growth curve well...

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129796
2km Storm Relative IR Imagery with BD Enhancement Curve

Time of Latest Image: 201003130430






Enhanced Infrared (IR) Imagery (1 km Mercator, MODIS/AVHRR)
Time of Latest Image: 201003131155
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129796

SH202010 - Tropical Cyclone ULUI


Enhanced Infrared (IR) Imagery (4 km Mercator)




Storm Relative 1km Geostationary Visible Imagery
Time of Latest Image: 201003130430
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129796
Quoting Ameister12:

It already looks like a cat 5!


It is just now developing a defined eye for the first time. It's only a Cat 3, but strengthening steadily at the moment.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26700
Quoting Levi32:
Good morning.

Ului looking pretty nice this morning, with a great outflow pattern and an eye developing. Ului is now a Category 3 cyclone, forecasted to intensify into a Cat 5 over the next couple days.



First Category 5 of 2010.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Levi32:
Good morning.

Ului looking pretty nice this morning, with a great outflow pattern and an eye developing. Ului is now a Category 3 cyclone, forecasted to intensify into a Cat 5 over the next couple days.


It already looks like a cat 5!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
291. JRRP
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6213
Another close call will be how far south Ului gets pulled by the trough. If he/she (don't know what gender lol) gets pulled south of 20S, ocean heat content drops off rapidly. Although SSTs remain warm enough to support a major cyclone south of 20S, the depth of the heat would likely not be enough to sustain a catastrophic Category 4 or 5 cyclone. If this were to occur, Australia would likely be threatened by a weakening major cyclone instead of a catastrophic monster, but we all know a Cat 3 is still nothing to sneeze at.

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26700
AUSTRALIA WATER VAPOR LOOP



There are a couple things I'm noticing here. First, the large subtropical ridge west of Ului over the east coast of Australia is slowly retreating westward, while the longwave trough moving over New Zealand is continuing eastward and leaving the scene. As this happens, it looks like Ului will get stuck within weak steering currents during the 2-5 day period. This situation would be the southern hemisphere equivalent of a major hurricane getting stranded in the western Caribbean as an upper trough is leaving to the northeast and the western GOM ridge is retreating westward, resulting in neither feature being able to exert significant steering influence on the storm.

The next thing I see on the loop is a cut-off upper shortwave approaching 37S, 157E. This feature looks like it will be slowly propagating eastward and digging southward as it goes, eventually moving south of New Zealand in 3-5 days. My thinking is that this feature will free Ului and pull the storm southward, perhaps to 20S or a little farther south. However, this shortwave likely won't be strong enough to fully recurve Ului, and after sliding off to the east, an upper ridge will build back in to the south of Ului, directing the storm back towards the west, towards Australia. Thereafter it becomes a race between Ului and the next longwave trough, which is currently approaching western Australia on the loop. It will be a close call on whether the trough can catch and recurve Ului before reaching the coast, or after Ului has already made landfall.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26700
288. JRRP

Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6213

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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