Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Warm and Windy Means Storms Easter Weekend

It has been unseasonably warm, not only in East Texas, but a good majority of the Central Plains as well.

These were the high temperatures reported on Tuesday. While it may not be surprising to see San Antonio and Dallas hit 80°, it is hard to believe that cities such as Bismark, ND, and Minneapolis, MN topped out in the middle 70's.

A large ridge of high pressure is dominating the Plains, allowing the warm temperatures to stream northward all the way up to the Canadian border. It is also keeping major storm systems well away from us and keeping us dry.

This weather pattern won't last, however. By Friday afternoon, the ridge of high pressure will slide off to the east, giving way to a very strong trough of low pressure to move into the Southern Plains.

This next storm system will spark off a complex of showers and thunderstorms in Central Texas late Friday afternoon. It is this complex of storms which will roll into the Texas Forest Country by Friday night.

Based on the timing of this next storm, it should move out by Saturday afternoon, giving way to sunshine and warm weather for Easter Sunday.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Past Decade Warmest on Record

In a report released on Thursday, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said that this past decade (2000-2010) was the warmest 10 year period since modern instrumental recording of temperatures began back in the 1850's.

The WMO also reported that 2009 ranked as the fifth warmest year on record.

In 2009, it was unseasonably warm in southern South America, Australia, and southern Asia. On the other hand, the United States, Canada, and Siberia experienced cooler than normal temperatures.

In the southern hemisphere, August and November broke previous temperature records.

For more information, go to http://www.wmo.int/pages/index_en.html

Friday, March 19, 2010

Ringing in Spring with a Winter Storm

Old Man Winter is not quite done with East Texas, even though spring officially arrives at 12:32pm on Saturday afternoon. We will see all angles from this winter storm as it moves in on Saturday afternoon.

As you can see to the left, our Microcast computer model suggests that the leading edge of the strong cold front will be moving into the area around 3pm. It could come an hour or two earlier or perhaps a little later, just depending upon the track and speed of our low pressure system.

Notice that as the front moves in, we will see a good chance for showers and thunderstorms. While we don't anticipate much in the way of severe weather, any storms along the front could contain frequent lightning, heavy rainfall, and gusty winds.

Once the rain and thunder move out by Saturday evening, it will be the surge of cold air that will certainly get your attention soon thereafter. The image to your left is from our Adonis computer model. It shows what the temperatures will be like at 5pm on Sunday afternoon. Notice how the temperatures in Deep East Texas will be in the upper 40's. This will be about 25 degrees below normal for where we should be in mid-March. To add insult to injury, these cold temperatures will feel even colder when you factor in a very stiff northwest wind at 15 to 20 mph.
On Sunday morning, temperatures will start out in the middle 30's and Monday morning could be even colder, as lows dip down to near freezing.
Needless to say, while we may be entering the spring season, Old Man Winter may have one or two more stands left in him before the freezing temperatures are gone for good.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

NOAA: Flood Threat Likely in the Next Few Weeks

In a report just released by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), major flooding has begun and will continue to take place across the Northern Plains in the weeks and months ahead.

It's not so much from heavy rains, as much as it is the metling snowpack still on the ground.

"It's a terrible case of deja vu, but this time the flooding will likely be more widespread," says Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator.

"As the spring thaw melts the snowpack, saturated and frozen ground in the Midwest will exacerbate the flooding of the flat terrain and feed rising rivers and streams," she says.

This flood threat across the northern half of the country is due to El Nino, the same weather pattern which has provided us in East Texas with a colder and wetter than normal winter season.

Jack Hayes, Ph.D and director of NOAA's National Weather Service, says the extent and severity of the flooding will depend on no major rain events.

"In the South and East, where an El Nino-driven winter was very wet and white, spring flooding is more of a possibiltiy than a certainty and will largely be dependent upon the severity and duration of additional precipitation and how fast existing snow cover melts," he says.

While we have seen 3 snow events in East Texas, they were short-lived and all the snow was melted within one to two days after the event.

In the meantime, residents in the upper Midwest will have to pray and hope that the major creeks, rivers, and streams, stay below flood stage. It would sure help if they could also avoid any heavy rainfall events in the near future.

**This article was written with excerpts from NOAA. If you'd like to read more on this topic, please visit their website at www.noaa.gov. **

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Texas #1 for the Wrong Reason

A report just released by the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) says that Texas is at the top of the list when it comes to Mercury pollution.

Mercury is a neurotoxin that can impair the development of infants and children if exposed to prolonged periods of this element.

The study showed that five out of the top 10 most polluting power plants, including the number one power plant mercury emitter, was found in Texas.

This report rates the power plants both in terms of sheer mercury pollution and mercury pollution per gigawatt hour.

This article is courtesy of: Texas News Advisory
A streaming audio replay of the news event will be available at www.environmentalintegrity.org

Monday, March 8, 2010

Unsettled Weather and Strong Storms

The first half of our work week will be rather unsettled with chances for rain and thunder each day through Wednesday.

One disturbance will provide us with rain for the rest of our Monday, dragging in a very weak cold front or wind shift line. As the front stalls on top of us on Tuesday, we could see a few rain showers and isolated thunderstorms across our eastern counties.

Since we are dealing with a Pacific storm, the airmass behind this system will allow our temperatures to rise, instead of drop, like we typically see.

We will then be watching another upper level disturbance approach East Texas on Wednesday. This disturbance, unlike the one we are seeing today, will be much stronger and take more of a southern track. We will also have more humidity and moisture to work with.

The figure to your left is a computer model's plot of the dewpoints on Wednesday evening at 6pm. The yellow and orange contours represent the higher moisture content at the surface. Notice how the eastern half of the state will have the higher dewpoint values as this next storm sytem moves in.

As a result of more moisture and higher instability, the Storm Predicition Center out of Norman, OK, has placed portions of East Texas, southern Arkansas, and much of Louisiana under a "Slight Risk" for severe thunderstorms during the day on Wednesday.
Keep in mind that spring is just two weeks away. We are entering the time period in which we are transitioning from winter to spring. It is during the spring months in which we see more severe weather events as the storm systems are stronger and have more energy to work with.
I will continue to fine tune the forecast later tonight on your East Texas News. Make sure to tune in for updates on the rainfall and threat for storms through mid-week.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A Drought in Tornadoes

In a report just released by NOAA, no tornadoes were reported in the entire month of February 2010. This is not just for the state of Texas, but the entire United States.

This is unprecedented, as we typically see more tornadoes in this time period, especially during an El Nino type of season like we are currently in.

It should be noted that the lack of tornadoes touching down in February will have no bearing on what the next few months will hold for the lower 48 in regards to the number and frequency of tornadoes. Past history has shown that if we go through a quiet month, sometimes the following months will be just as quiet or more active than normal. There is just no way to tell what this month or the rest of the subsequent months will bring in regards to the amount of Twisters we may see.

Nevertheless, it is interesting that in an El Nino season, which brings in more storms, there was not one single confirmed touchdown anywhere in the United States.