Tuesday, August 31, 2010

State drying out



Remember way back in June when it seemed that rain would never end? A look back at a map from June 14 shows that every single site in the state from the panhandle to the southeast had an SMI over 0.0, indicating moist conditions. Many sites had an SMI over 5.0, indicating soils that were over field capacity and had no further room to put additional water. Thus, at that time, there was fear that additional rainfall would cause flooding.

But summer in Nebraska is hardly ever wet from start to finish and the summer of 2010 has been no different. In late July, the mid level ridge began to build northward and much of the state began to dry out and heat up. For a few weeks, northeast Nebraska got quite the soaking and rainfall totals in some locations are near 30 inches since the 1st of June. But most of the state has had a relatively dry August and the combination of that and above average temperatures has contributed to a precipitous decline to soil moisture.

The statewide mean SMI currently stands at -1.5 and many sites have had an SMI below 0.0 for three plus weeks. Some panhandle sites have not had an SMI above 0.0 since the 4th of July. So is that unusual? Well, no. A long stretch with relatively dry soil profiles is typical in western Nebraska and late summer is often a bit dry even in the east. The point here is that just because we had an unusually long spell of wet weather earlier in the summer does not mean that some places aren't suffering mild levels of drought stress. Time will tell if the current dry spell is a dip in the overall wet trend the state has had for the past three years or if it is the beginning of a longer period of drought.

Monday, August 30, 2010

NASA/NOAA Study Finds El Niños Growing Stronger


NASA/NOAA Study
Finds El Niños Growing Stronger


August 25, 2010


Sea surface temperature anomaly during the peak of the 2009-10 El Niño, the strongest Central Pacific El Niño observed to date.



High resolution (Credit: Image produced by Physical Oceanography Distributed Active Archive Centre (PO.DAAC) of NASA JPL.)


"A relatively new type of El Niño, which has its warmest waters in the central-equatorial Pacific Ocean, rather than in the eastern-equatorial Pacific, is becoming more common and progressively stronger, according to a new study by NASA and NOAA. The research may improve our understanding of the relationship between El Niños and climate change, and has potential significant implications for long-term weather forecasting".
"The scientists say the stronger El Niños help explain a steady rise in central Pacific sea surface temperatures observed over the past few decades in previous studies — a trend attributed by some to the effects of global warming. While Lee and McPhaden observed a rise in sea surface temperatures during El Niño years, no significant temperature increases were seen in years when ocean conditions were neutral, or when El Niño’s cool water counterpart, La Niña, was present".
read more about this at the following link:

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Largest Short Term U.S. Temperature Changes



The newspaper clipping attached here is from September 14, 1993 and shows a person cleaning ice and snow off of their car windshield in Gering, Nebraska.
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What is important to note is the fact that it was 97 F at 4 PM in nearby Sidney, Nebraska on September 12, 1993 and then at 8 AM (the following morning) September 13, 1993 it was 31 F with 4 inches of snow.
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It is hard to believe, but this is not a record for the U.S.
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Here are some interesting climate statistics for the fastest warm ups and fastest cool downs as recorded in the U.S.
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Fastest warming: 12 hour warm-up: 83 degrees
From -33 in the morning to 50 by late afternoon in Granville , ND on February 21, 1918

Fastest 15 minute warm-up: 42 degrees.
From -5 to 37 degrees in Fort Assiniboine , Montana on January 19, 1893

Fastest 7 minute warm-up: 34 degrees.
in Kipp , Montana in 1896

Fastest Cooling, 24 hour chill: 98 degrees.
From 44 to -54 below zero in Browning, Montana on January 23-24, 1916.

Fastest 12 hour chill: 84 degrees.
From 63 to -21 below zero in Fairfield , Montana on December 24, 1924.

Fastest 2 hour chill: 62 degrees.
From 49 at 6:00am to -13 at 8:00am in Rapid City , South Dakota on January 10, 1911

Fastest 15 minute chill: 47 degrees.
From 55 at 7:00am to 8 at 7:15am in Rapid City , South Dakota on January 10, 1911







Sunday, August 22, 2010

Summer 2010 Heat Wave Update for Lincoln, NE


Sunday August 22, 2010 was our 33rd day with 90 F or higher in Lincoln this summer.
Normal for a Lincoln summer is 42 days.
Back in 1936 (without air conditioning) Lincoln had 83 days with 90 F or higher and 41 days with temperatures 100 F or higher.
We have only hit 100 F or higher once this summer. So as they say, "it could be a lot worse"!

The hottest day ever recorded in Lincoln, NE was July 25, 1936
The High for the day was 115 F, and the Low for the day was 91 F.
The Average temperature for the day was 103F !

With an overnight low of only 91 F, after a daytime high of 115 F, residents of Lincoln spent the night of July 25, 1936 on the capitol lawn to escape the heat inside their non-air conditioned dwellings. (Photo courtesy: Nebraska Historical Society).
More information:


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Jan.-July 2010 Warmest on Record for the Globe



Headline: "It was the warmest January–July on record (1880-2010 = 131 years) for the global land and ocean temperature".


Year-to-date (January–July) Summary: (from NCDC State of the Climate)


The January–July 2010 map of temperature anomalies shows that anomalous warm temperatures were present over much of the world, with the exception of cooler-than-average conditions across the higher-latitude southern oceans, the northern Pacific Ocean, along the western South American coast, Mongolia, and central Russia. The combined global average land and ocean surface temperature for January–July period was the warmest such period on record. This value is 0.68°C (1.22°F) above the 20th century average. Separately, the average worldwide land surface temperature ranked as the warmest on record, while the worldwide average ocean surface temperature ranked as the second warmest January–July on record—behind 1998.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Lincoln, NE, Hits 100 F on August 12, 2010




Lincoln, NE, hit 100 F on August 12, 2010.


The climatology of Lincoln, NE, temperatures of 100F or higher:

124 years of data (1887-2010)


Normal # of days 100F or higher: 5 days

Most # of days 100F or higher: 41 days in 1936

Total # of years with no 100F or higher temperatures:24 years (19% of the years)

Month with the most 100F or higher temperatures: July (50% of all occurrences)
Highest 100F or higher temperature: 115F, July 25, 1936
Longest stretch of 100F or higher temperatures: July 11-15, 1934 (15 days)

Earliest 100F or higher temperature: May 24, 1967

Latest 100F or higher temperature: September 28, 1953


Lincoln Heat Wave Internet Site:



Lincoln 100 F Climatology Internet Site:


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Long Range Temperature Outlook Autumn-Winter 2010-2011











The long range outlook for October, November and December 2010 (OND 2010 on the map) is a forecast of a continuation of above normal temperatures for much of the Conterminous 48 states, including Nebraska.

The Climate Prediction Center is forecasting that a La Nina will be developing this Autumn into the upcoming Winter. La Ninas typically bring Winters of strong contrasts in the Great Plains and Midwest with large swings from warmer than normal temperatures to outbreaks of bitter cold Arctic air. The second outlook map, January, February and March 2011 (JFM 2011 on the map) has a forecast of colder than normal temperatures for the Pacific Northwest and across the far northern Great Plains. Nebraska is in a region of "EC" which means equal chances of it being Above Normal, Normal or Below Normal.























Monday, August 9, 2010

Dangerous Heat Index in Eastern Nebraska




From the National Weather Service:
"Heat is the number one weather-related killer in the United States.The National Weather Service statistical data shows that heat causes more fatalities per year than floods, lightning, tornadoes and hurricanes combined. Based on the 10-year average from 2000 to 2009, excessive heat claims an average of 162 lives a year. By contrast, hurricanes killed 117; floods 65; tornadoes, 62; and lightning, 48".

As noted on the attached map, the heat index reached values exceeding 120 F on Sunday August 8, 2010. Lincoln's high temperature was 98 F but the heat index was 114 F and Omaha had a high temperature of 96 F but had a heat index of 115 F.

The official Heat Index table is included as well. Note that the values were calculated based upon being in the shade. If you are in the open with exposure to the direct rays of the sun, the values would be significantly higher. High wind speeds actually make it worse as well since they increase the amount of hot air striking your body.




Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Interpreting Weather Radar




Radar Map Interpretation:

The radar map in this posting is from the evening of August 3, 2010 and centered on the state of Nebraska.


Precipitation:

The areas of precipitation are shown in color with the lightest precipitation being green, moderate precipitation being yellow and the more intense precipitation colored red.


Movement (direction and speed):

The blue arrows show the direction (movement) of the precipitation with the speed (in knots) indicated at the end of the arrow. One knot = 1.15 mph. For example, 25 knots = 28.8 miles per hour


Height of the clouds:

The numbers in blue with a line underneath indicate the height of the tops of the clouds. Add two zeros to the number to get the height in feet. For example, the 600 near Lincoln indicates that the cloud is 600+00 = 60,000 feet in height.


Hail:

The radar will also indicate when there is hail observed in the cloud and "HAIL" is noted along side the cloud height.


Tornadoes:

If the radar detects a circulation within the cloud that is a precursor to a tornado, that is, it could build downward to the ground to form a tornado, a TVS is indicated on the map. TVS means a
"tornado vortex signature". Tornado warnings can be issued based upon this information. That is, a tornado does not have to be on the ground to alert the public that a potential tornado could occur at any moment.



Tuesday, August 3, 2010

High Plains July 2010 Precipitation Totals



July 2010 was wet for many locations across Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota. Southeastern South Dakota and northeastern Nebraska, where precipitation was 200-300 percent of normal, were hit particularly hard this month and flooding along many rivers continues even now.

Early in the month heavy precipitation in the panhandle of Nebraska led to flooding and even evacuations in the town of Lodgepole. Meanwhile, 6.95 inches of precipitation fell in 24 hours (July 4-5) in Dodge City, Kansas setting a new record for the greatest 24-hour precipitation ever recorded there!

Later in the month, more storms brought heavy precipitation to southeastern South Dakota where street flooding was reported in Sioux Falls, Mitchell, and Vermillion. In addition to the heavy rains, a record breaking hailstone with a diameter of 8 inches fell in Vivian.

Monsoonal moisture brought heavy rains to Colorado as well, pushing the Trinidad Perry Stokes Airport up to the wettest July on record with 6.84 inches.

Below is a list of the locations which made it into the top 10 list for July.

Location

Month to Date Precipitation (inches)

July Rank

Record/Year

Period of Record

Arthur, NE

7.45

WETTEST

7.14/1958

1929-2010

Marion, SD

12.74

WETTEST

9.47/1915

1901-2010

Trinidad Perry Stokes AP, CO

6.84

WETTEST

6.55/1981

1948-2010

Vermillion 2 SE, SD

11.99

WETTEST

9.63/1907

1893-2010

Wessington Springs, SD

10.78

WETTEST

7.55/1907

1893-2010

Yankton 2E, SD

10.21

WETTEST

8.86/1972

1932-2010

Dodge City, KS

8.40

2nd wettest

9.13/1962

1875-2010

Eastonville 2 NNW, CO

6.28

2nd wettest

6.41/1998

1956-2010

Sioux Falls, SD

8.55

2nd wettest

9.11/1900

1893-2010

Wakefield, NE

7.77

2nd wettest

10.28/1972

1894-2010

Waterdale, CO

5.41

2nd wettest

6.14/1982

1902-2010

White Lake, SD

7.44

2nd wettest

7.49/1992

1909-2010

Bloomfield, NE

7.02

3rd wettest

7.99/1999

1906-2010

Centerville 6 SE, SD

8.04

3rd wettest

12.54/1900

1897-2010

De Smet, SD

7.74

3rd wettest

8.99/1921

1893-2010

Effingham, KS

9.69

3rd wettest

18.65/1993

1960-2010

Hay Springs 12 S, NE

5.05

3rd wettest

5.57/1962

1952-2010

Huron, SD

6.43

3rd wettest

6.69/1993

1881-2010

Independence, KS

11.11

3rd wettest

11.73/1950

1893-2010

Iola 1 W, KS

11.05

3rd wettest

17.61/1992

1906-2010

Karval, CO

8.00

3rd wettest

8.95/1998

1942-2010

Miltonvale, KS

10.67

3rd wettest

13.31/1993

1948-2010

Walthill, NE

8.66

3rd wettest

9.33/1972

1909-2010

Brookings 2 NE, SD

6.71

4th wettest

12.10/1963

1893-2010

Forestburg 3 NE, SD

6.49

4th wettest

7.59/1915

1893-2010

Mount Hope, KS

9.29

4th wettest

12.63/1950

1893-2010

Camp Crook, SD

4.85

5th wettest

6.02/1989

1893-2010

Herington, KS

9.11

5th wettest

13.11/1951

1918-2010

Lemmon, SD

5.66

5th wettest

9.64/1993

1908-2010

Sidney Municipal AP, NE

4.89

5th wettest

5.80/1982

1948-2010

White City, KS

9.23

5th wettest

13.57/1993

1961-2010

Chanute Martin Johnson AP, KS

10.29

6th wettest

16.36/1992

1894-2010

Parsons 2 NW, KS

9.42

6th wettest

13.39/1992

1925-2010

Tyndall, SD

7.21

6th wettest

10.22/1962

1893-2010

Butte, NE

6.60

7th wettest

8.87/1993

1906-2010

Kennebec, SD

5.03

7th wettest

8.89/1915

1893-2010

Ordway 2 ENE, CO

4.33

7th wettest

5.03/1941

1915-2010

Bonner Springs, KS

8.10

8th wettest

16.24/1993

1938-2010

Osawatomie, KS

7.38

9th wettest

17.83/1958

1944-2010

Columbia 8 N, SD

4.34

10th wettest

7.39/2000

1949-2010

Gregory, SD

4.82

10th wettest

8.65/1981

1906-2010

Menno, SD

5.77

10th wettest

10.52/1900

1896-2010

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Is it Normal to be Normal?

Lincoln, Nebraska:

The observed average temperature for July 2010 was 77.8 F.
The "normal" July average temperature is 77.8 F.
Therefore, July 2010 average temperature was in fact "normal".

However, how often does this occur?
That is, how often is the monthly average temperature normal?

The answer: NOT OFTEN!

Here is a table listing the number of months that were normal:

January (1887-2010: 124 years): Never
February (1887-2010: 124 years): 2 times (2010 and 1918)
March (1887-2010: 124 years): 3 times (1995, 1983, 1933)
April (1887-2010: 124 years): 2 times (1923, 1901)
May (1887-2010: 124 years): 1 time (2005)
June (1887-2010: 124 years): 1 time (1937)
July (1887-2010: 124 years): 4 times (2010, 1988, 1943, 1941)
August (1887-2009: 123 years): 3 times (1969, 1965, 1912)
September (1887-2009: 123 years): Never
October (1887-2009: 123 years): Never
November (1887-2009: 123 years): 1 time (1892)
December (1887-2009: 123 years): 1 time (1966)

Out of 1,483 separate monthly averages
(beginning in January 1887 and ending in July 2010),
only 18 months had "Normal" average temperatures.

That is Lincoln's monthly average temperature was normal
only 1% of the time

And, here is a link to the entire month by month data table.

http://www.lincolnweather.org/lincoln-monthly-temps-vs-normals.html