72 F. average high on May 26.
64 F. high on May 26, 2012.
Trace of snow flurries fell on May 26, 1951.
Heavy showers and T-storms possible today, best chance early morning, again tonight.
Severe storms possible Tuesday.
80s return by midweek.
Severe Potential. A surge of Gulf moisture interacting with strong jet stream winds and an eastbound cool front will spark strong to severe storms from Montana across the Plains, Midwest, reaching the Great Lakes by Tuesday. For Minnesota the best potential for hail and high winds may come Tuesday. Graphic: WeatherNation TV.
Serious Flash Flooding in San Antonio. Nearly 10" of rain drenched San Antonio, Texas Saturday, the wettest May day on record - second wettest ever recorded. That's roughly 2-3 months of rain falling on the metro area in less than 24 hours.
Photo credit above: "In Moore, Okla., there have been dramatic examples of survivors who lived through the killer tornado because the home or other building they were in had a safe room or fortified basement." Jocelyn Augustino/FEMA
Photo credit above: "A handout photo of a tornado in Newcastle, Okla., before it reached Moore, about 10 miles away, on May 20, 2013. With authorities saying they have likely recovered all the bodies to be found beneath the rubble left by the Category 5 tornado, the focus turned to the long and expensive path of recovering from one of the most catastrophic storms in Oklahoma's history." (Nick Rutledge via The New York Times).
1. Meteorologists aren’t any good at forecasting these storms.
How does 99.3 percent sound? In 2011, 553 people lost their lives in tornadoes. For all but four of those victims (99.3 percent), both a tornado watch and a tornado warning were in effect before the storm arrived. Modern tornado warnings are Nobel Prize-worthy endeavors that combine weather science, social science and technology. As recently as 1990, people in the path of a tornado were lucky to get five minutes’ warning. Now, thanks to advances in radar, computer simulations and research on how tornadoes develop, the average “lead time” is 12 minutes — and more than 15 minutes for major tornadoes. The city of Moore had a stunning 36 minutes of warning..."
Photo credit above: "Lightning in the sky over debris from the tornado that devastated Moore, Okla., Thursday, May 23, 2013." (AP Photo/Tulsa World, Mike Simons).
Photo credit above: "National Hurricane Center Director Rick Knabb talks this month in Fort Lauderdale about the lessons learned from Hurricane Sandy and expectations for the Atlantic storm season that begins Saturday. Knabb and hurricane center forecasters joined emergency managers at the annual Governor’s Hurricane Conference." (The Associated Press)
Predicting hurricane track & intensity is as much art as science; knowing which models to trust, and when. My meteorology professors at Penn State would cringe to hear me say this, but intuition and past history can play as big a role as model trends. Predicting hurricane potential 3-4 months from now is equivalent to forecasting what financial markets will be doing in late summer. Good luck with that. But there are factors that lead me to believe that this will be another above average year for tropical storms and hurricanes in the Atlantic basin, with as many as 2-3 hurricanes hitting the U.S. coastline by October. Here's the logic behind that prediction:
* Hurricane Cycle. There is a natural 25-40 year cycle for hurricanes - we entered the busy/active part of that cycle in the mid-90s, so this is a significant factor.
* Warm SST's. Sea surface temperatures are warmer than average, to the tune of 1F. That may not sound like much, but hurricanes get their strength from warm ocean water, and every 1F. of warmth increases hurricane potential by 5-10%
* No El Nino To Save Us. El Nino warming phases in the equatorial Pacific tend to increase winds over the tropics; more wind shear shreds developing tropical storms, reducing the threat of hurricane development in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. Right now we are in an ENSO-neutral state, meaning no El Nino or La Nina in the Pacific.
* Feeling Lucky? The last major (category 3 or stronger) hurricane to strike the USA was Wilma in 2005. The intervening 7 year stretch with no category 3+ hurricane is the longest on record for the USA. Last October we saw what a category 1 storm, Sandy, coming at high tide and a full moon can do. Jet stream winds are more erratic this year, more sweeping north/south dips and bulges to prevailing steering winds aloft, which increases the potential for tropical systems to penetrate unusually far north.
* it's important to remember that, overall, climate change doesn't seem to be triggering more hurricanes in the Atlantic, but since 1970 the number of category 3 or stronger hurricanes has roughly doubled; it may be having a causal effect on hurricane intensity. Scientists believe this may be linked to consistently warmer sea surface temperatures. 90% of all warming is going into the oceans, and that has implications for tropical development.
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Photo credit: Politico, AP.