Thursday June 6, 2013
Meet Andrea--the first named storm of the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season.
Andrea (previously known as "invest 91L") has been spreading deep tropical moisture over west central Florida since first organizing over the central Gulf on Monday. On Wednesday, the disturbance strengthened into a tropical storm and received the first name on this year's names list.
Andrea has been threatening the Florida Big Bend--the part of the state where the peninsula transitions into the panhandle--all day, and as of this evening, has made landfall just west of Gainesville, FL. Current NOAA NHC forecasts suggest the storm will soon turn northeastward, cutting across north Florida and traveling up along the U.S. East Coast. Tropical storm warnings are already in effect for these locations. Take extra care if you're vacationing in any of these areas this weekend, as Andrea is expected to bring a threat of very heavy rains, flooding, and possible tornadoes.
Image credit: NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team
Friday May 31, 2013
Tomorrow, June 1, starts off the official 2013 Atlantic Hurricane season. What say the weather authorities about how active it'll be?
There are two groups famous for their yearly Atlantic hurricane predictions: Colorado State University, which releases its forecast for the upcoming hurricane season in early April; and, of course, the NOAA, which releases it's pre-season forecast in late May. This year, both Colorado State and the NOAA agree that the Atlantic could see more than its average number of storms (12 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes). According to both sources, warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures across the Atlantic (hurricanes are powered by heat from the sea) and an El Niño-less summer and fall (El Niño generally suppresses tropical activity in the Atlantic) will be to blame.
To read both predictions in full, check out the NOAA press release and visit the CSU Tropical Meteorology page.
Image credit: © Stocktrek/Getty Images
More Hurricane Season Resources
Friday May 24, 2013
Are you ready for "Swarmageddon 2013??
In case you haven't heard, the Magicicada brood II--the 17-year cicadas located in eastern North America--is due to emerge this spring/summer. For many, it's an annoyance of an event characterized by a sea of insects on lawns, in trees, and in the air, and by the choir of chirping that can be heard nearly 24/7. (At 7 kHz, this chirping, which is a mating call of the Magicicada, is one of the loudest sounds known to be produced by insects).
Here's where weather and climate ties in to their appearance: the cicada nymphs will emerge from the ground when the soil at 8" down holds steady at a temperature of 64°F (17.8°C) or higher. Soil readings in my area just rose above that mark as of last week, so something tells me I may be seeing orange and black in the very near future. Have you seen (or heard) any cicadas in your area? Share your sightings and cicada stories in the comments below.
Also, be sure to check out the National Public Radio (NPR) Radiolab Cicada Tracker where you can track and report cicada sightings along the Eastern U.S. If it's strictly soil temps you're after, visit the NOAA NCDC Climate Reference Network observations page.
Image credit: USDA Agricultural Research Service
Thursday May 23, 2013
Unsettled weather patterns over the past two weeks have led to several recent tornado outbreaks: 23 tornadoes in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Alabama (May 15-17), including an EF4 in Granbury, TX; and 49 confirmed tornadoes across the Midwest and lower Plains regions (May 18-22), including the Newcastle/Moore, OK tornado. But prior to May, tornado activity was so quiet, the U.S. was said to be experiencing a "tornado drought." Between May 2012 - April 2013, only 197 EF1 or stronger tornadoes occurred--an all-time record minimum for any 12-month period dating back to the 1950s. The combined death toll from these storms was also at a record low--seven.
Even states like Iowa, which is normally a poster child for tornadoes, managed to pass by the most active part of tornado season unscathed. On May 19, 2013, the first tornado touched down in the state (near Slater, IA) since May 24 of last year! This 359-day streak without a tornado was the longest tornado-free period in Iowa state history. The cool spring and the ongoing Midwest drought played a large part in the reduced storminess. (Thunderstorms need heat and moisture to form.)