January 7, 1873: A storm named the 'Great Blizzard' hits Minnesota. This three-day blizzard caused extreme hardship for pioneers from out east who were not used to the cold and snow. Visibility was down to three feet. Cows suffocated in the deep drifts and trains were stuck for days. More than 70 people died, and some bodies were not found until spring. Weather conditions before the storm were mild, just like the Armistice Day storm.
7-Day Outlook Calls for a Gradual Warming Trend
Here's a semi-serious question: can you feel any colder than numb? Not sure. We've picked up nearly 12 minutes of daylight since December 21. Having that sun out sure helps.
Meteorologist Todd Nelson fills in for me when I'm traveling. His sons, Crosby and Cash, ages 7 and 5, are blaming him for a lack of snow. "There's a dirty 1 inch crust of glaze ice out there. What happened to the snow?" Todd laments.
We had 9 inches on the ground December 17 but there have been 3 separate rain events since then, including nearly an inch of rain Christmas Day. Rain, then subzero. Our weather is manic.
I still don't see any big storms; but a plowable snow is possible next Monday and Tuesday. Expect 20s early next week, maybe 30s within 2 weeks as a January Thaw sets up with winds blowing from the Pacific.
Meanwhile Atlanta may pick up 3-4 inches of snow this morning while California sees flooding, mudslides & avalanches. On the blog: 2016 brought 160 natural disasters and 19 major floods to the U.S., the most on record, according to reinsurance company Munich Re.
Hoping for a quieter year.
Coastal Storm. Over a foot for Raleigh, Norfolk and the suburbs of Boston? That's what NOAA's 4 KM NAM model is predicting with the 00z forecast. It looks like 2-3" for D.C. and metro New York City. Source: Tropicaltidbits.com.
Photo credit: Michael Macor, The Chronicle. "Tricia Guyot and children Chris, 13, and Kayleigh, 10, pack up the car for their trip back to Orange County after being told to evacuate the Yosemite Valley Lodge because of an impending storm."
Future Radar. I like this animation from Tropicaltidbits.com because it shows future radar (precipitation type) and isobars. You can see the fast-moving storm pushing up the east coast, brushing major city centers but pounding the Carolinas. Meanwhile check out the nearly steady-state fire hose of Pacific moisture aimed at the Bay area and much of central and northern California, where some of the worst flooding since 1997 may be imminent. From uber-drought to instant-flood. Talk about whiplash.
AerisWeather Briefing: Issued Friday morning, January 6th, 2017:
* A high impact winter weather event is set to unfold across portions of the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic today into tomorrow.
* Winter Storm Warnings are in effect today and tomorrow across this region. This includes the cities of Birmingham, Atlanta, Charlotte, Raleigh and Norfolk. Snowfall totals will likely approach 4” in the Atlanta metro, with over a half a foot in portions of eastern North Carolina and southeast Virginia.
* A Winter Storm Watch is in effect for Boston Saturday, as 4-8" of snow is likely to fall.
* In the west, a high impact rain and flooding event is likely across California this weekend as the next atmospheric river system moves in from the Pacific.
* Rainfall totals of a foot or more in a 48 hour period will be likely across parts of California through the weekend. Flash Flood Watches are in effect. Facilities that have had issues in the past with situations like this will likely see issues as we head into the weekend and next week.
- Birmingham: Sleet, freezing rain and snow will start to move in during the midday hours, with travel conditions deteriorating after that. Sleet will become all snow during the evening, gradually ending toward midnight.
- Atlanta: Rain and sleet will start toward the mid to late afternoon hours, gradually changing to all snow throughout the evening hours before pushing out during the morning hours Saturday.
- Charlotte: Rain during the afternoon hours today will change to snow during the evening hours tonight, lasting through the midday hours Saturday.
- Raleigh: Rain and sleet will move in early this evening, transitioning to snow and sleet during the mid-evening hours, then all snow overnight tonight into the day on Saturday.
- Norfolk: Snow will begin late this evening and last through the day Saturday.
Local Snowfall Forecast:
With the very heavy rain expected, I see the potential of a significant flooding event across the region. Facilities that have had issues in the past with situations like this will likely see issues as we head into the weekend and next week. Map: Aeris AMP.
Significant River Flood Threat. With the heavy rain expected, a significant flood threat will exist across central and northern California. There are already river gauges that are expected to exceed flood stage as we head over the next seven days shown above.
Summary: We’re tracking two high impact weather events as we head into the weekend. The first will impact the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic as we go through today and the first half of the weekend, bringing accumulating snow to the region – heavy in spots. Approximately four inches of snow is expected for the Atlanta metro, with over a half a foot across eastern North Carolina and southeast Virginia. Like what we saw back in “Snowjam 2014” when roads were gridlocked in Atlanta, roads will be treacherous across these regions once snow/sleet/freezing rain starts falling, with slush refreezing quickly on the roads. The good news for Atlanta this time around is the heaviest of the snow is expected to fall overnight. However, travel will continue to be difficult into the early weekend across the region.
The second event is out west, where heavy rain is expected to impact California throughout the weekend, with parts of the mountains expected to receive over a foot of rain and over 3” expected in the Bay Area. This will have the potential to cause significant flooding across the region, with major impacts for some areas. Facilities that have had issues in the past with situations like this will likely see issues as we head into the weekend and next week.
D.J. Kayser, Meteorologist, AerisWeather
State Braces for Floods, Mudslides, Chaos as Giant Storm Rolls In. SFgate.com in the Bay Area has specifics: "A roaring atmospheric river bearing down on California is set to deliver the type of punishing rains that only happen around once every quarter century, forecasters said. Emergency agencies and residents in the path of the fire hose are bracing for what’s expected to be disastrous weather-related chaos when the storm hits this weekend. “We’re prepared for significant flooding,” said Brad Alexander, a spokesman for the California Office of Emergency Services. “It’s a similar approach that we have with all major emergencies. Everyone is available, and we have our emergency playbooks at hand.” While the northern two-thirds of the state will be washed over from Saturday to Monday, a relatively narrow swath of highly concentrated moisture in the epicenter of the storm is taking aim south of San Francisco in Santa Cruz County and near Big Sur in Monterey County..." (384-hour GFS rainfall map: Tropicaltidbits.com)
New Obama Reports Warns of Changing "Threat Environment" for the Electricity Grid. The Washington Post reports: "...The agency urged policymakers to grant regulators new emergency powers should threats become imminent, among other recommendations. The document notes the sprawling scale of U.S. electric infrastructure: The nation has 7,700 power plants (ranging from coal-fired to nuclear) and 55,800 substations. Some 707,000 miles of high-voltage transmission lines link the two, and then 6.5 million additional miles of local lines spread out from the substations. Dramatic change is sweeping over the sector. For instance, so-called smart meters are being added to bring more online control to the electrical grid. And more and more households are adding solar systems to their rooftops, providing new connecting points. A “rapidly evolving system” is in major need of modernization and upgrades to keep pace, the report says..." (Map credit: FEMA).
File photo: Aaron Shafer.
Press release from Munich Re is here. Flood photo: USGS.
Photo credit: "The PowerRay, an underwater drone, is designed to detect and take footage of fish. The device can be controlled b VR goggles." Photograph: John Locher - AP.
SUNDAY: Clouds increase, not quite as harsh. Winds: S 8-13. High: 17
MONDAY: Period of light snow or flurries develops. Winds: E 8-13. Wake-up: 11. High: 23
TUESDAY: More snow, few inches possible. Winds: NW 10-20+ Wake-up: 21. High: 32
WEDNESDAY: Clouds increase, flurries late. Winds: SE 8-13. Wake-up: 12. High: near 20
THURSDAY: Gusty winds, turning colder again. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 11. High: 16
FRIDAY: Sunny, serious lack of kinetic energy. Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: -7. High: 4
Photo credit: "A large rift in Antarctica's Larsen C ice shelf, photographed by NASA's IceBridge mission on Nov. 10, 2016. The rift surged ahead by about 10 miles in late December." Credit: NASA/John Sonntag
- 2016 confirmed as the warmest year on record, warmer than 2015 by close to 0.2°C
- Global temperatures reached a peak in February 2016 around 1.5°C higher than at the start of the Industrial Revolution
- Extreme conditions impacting several regions across the Earth
The latest figures from C3S, part of the EU’s Copernicus earth observation programme, show that 2016’s global temperature exceeded 14.8°C, and was around 1.3°C higher than typical for the middle years of the 18th century. 2016 was close to 0.2°C warmer than 2015, which was previously the warmest year on record..."
Graphic credit: "Annual global air temperature at a height of two metres (left axis) and estimated change from the beginning of the industrial era (right axis). Sources: Copernicus Climate Change Service, ECMWF, for data from 1979; Met Office Hadley Centre, NASA and NOAA for blended data prior to 1979." (Credit: ECMWF, Copernicus Climate Change Service)
Beyond 2016: Year in Review. More details on last year's warmth from NOAA.
Photo credit: "Lake Erie at Buffalo, NY." Photo: Angelica Morrison.