Friday, May 31, 2013

A Very Wet Week in Nebraska and the Great Plains

It has been exceptionally wet in Nebraska and in the Great Plains during the past 7 days.

The two maps below show the radar estimated precipitation for the conterminous U.S. as well as for the Nebraska region for the time period May 4 -May 31, 2013.

It is a little difficult to see the Nebraska locations in the second map but look carefully and you will be able to find LNK for Lincoln, LBF for Scottsbluff and VTN for Valentine.

Estimated rainfall totals during this one week time period range from 1-4 inches of rain in Western Nebraska,  4 to 8 inches of rain in Central Nebraska and more than 8 inches of rain in Eastern Nebraska.


Here in Lincoln, NE, we received an official measured total of 5.99 inches during this one-week time period.  The total May 2013 measured precipitation for Lincoln (through May 30) is 8.14 inches which is the 7th greatest monthly total for May with 127 years of data (1887-2013).  Here is a link to the monthly precipitation records for Lincoln, NE, >>>  Top Ten Wettest/Driest Months




Thursday, May 30, 2013

May 29, 2013: Nebraska's "Tornado Drought" Ends


The following map shows the storm reports submitted to the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, OK.

There were a total of 23 tornadoes reported to the SPC for May 29, 2013.  The term "filtered" means they have attempted to filter out any potential duplicate reports.  Duplicate reports occur when the same tornado is seen by multiple observers.  For example an observer might report seeing a tornado and they are 4 miles west of the tornado and another observer sees the same tornado but they are 5 miles east of the tornado.  The 9 mile distance at first might make it seem like they saw two different tornadoes , yet in fact it was the same tornado.  At the end of the year all of the tornado reports are analyzed to make sure that as best as possible any and all duplicate reports are eliminated.

The total of 16 tornadoes in Nebraska may ultimately be lowered by a few but it still remains as the most active day for tornadoes in Nebraska in over a year.

Here are some photos of the York, Nebraska May 29, 2013 tornado:






Here is a listing of the tornado reports for May 29, 2013:
Note all times are UTC (CDST is UTC - 5 hours) so 1956 UTC = 1456 or 2:56 pm CDST,


Time
Location County State Lat Lon Comments








1956
3 N CLAY CENTER CLAY NE 4057 9805 MULTIPLE REPORTS OF A TORNADO NORTH OF CLAY CENTER. (GID)
2045
6 N SUTTON CLAY NE 4069 9786 (GID)
2120
7 W YORK YORK NE 4087 9773 ROPE TORNADO BRIEFLY ON GROUND. HAS LIFTED. (GID)
2121
2 N CLAY CENTER CLAY NE 4055 9805 TORNADO ON GROUND AT PRESENT TIME. (GID)
2127
4 N CLAY CENTER CLAY NE 4058 9805 RAIN WRAPPED TORNADO STILL ON GROUND NEAR HIGHWAY 6 AND ROAD P. (GID)
2133
6 SW STOCKHAM CLAY NE 4066 9802 OUT BUILDING REPORTED DESTROYED ALONG WITH TREE DAMAGE NEAR ROAD P AND 318. TORNADO REPORTED ON GROUND APPROACHING STOCKHAM. (GID)
2136
3 NW YORK YORK NE 4090 9764 (GID)
2146
1 W COMSTOCK CUSTER NE 4156 9926 TORNADO ON THE GROUND ONE HALF MILE WEST OF COMSTOCK. (LBF)
2151
3 S YORK YORK NE 4083 9760 BRIEF TOUCHDOWN AND SINCE LIFTED. (GID)
2157
1 SE YORK YORK NE 4086 9758 DAMAGE REPORTED TO A FARMSTEAD LOCATED NEAR THE INTERSECTION OF ROAD 12 AND ROAD N. MINOR DAMAGE TO HOME BUT SIGNIFICANT DAMAGE TO OUTBUILDINGS. (GID)
2200
2 SSE YORK YORK NE 4084 9758 REPORT OF RAIN WRAPPED TORNADO DIFFICULT TO SEE WITH OCASSIONAL DEBRIS PUFFS. (GID)
2200
2 NW BENEDICT YORK NE 4103 9763 ONGROUND CONE TORNADO. (GID)
2247
6 SE UTICA SEWARD NE 4083 9726 SPOTTER REPORTED TORNADO ON THE GROUND. (OAX)
2300
3 NE RISING CITY BUTLER NE 4123 9726 (OAX)
2305
6 NE ASHTON HOWARD NE 4131 9871 (GID)
2308
3 SW BARTLETT WHEELER NE 4185 9859 (LBF)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Nebraska and EF5 (F5) Tornadoes

The tornado that occurred yesterday, May 21, 2013 in Moore, OK was rated as an EF5 (or F5 on the old Fujita scale).

Has Nebraska ever had a tornado of this magnitude?

The answer is yes, during the evening of May 5, 1964.

An F5 tornado touched down in central Nebraska with a path extending from Adams County to the NW corner of Butler County (near Hastings, NE  to Columbus, NE). 

This tornado occurred at 0030 UTC May 6, 1964.  However, UTC (Universal Time Coordinates) is 5 hours later than CDST, so the actual time in our time zone was 7:30 pm CDST, May 5, 1964.

There were 4 deaths and 50 injuries as a result of this tornado. 
The path length of this tornado was 79.7 miles.

The following map shows the location of the F5 tornado in Nebraska.


We have had three other tornadoes in Nebraska that were just under the magnitude of an F5 tornado, the F4 tornado in Omaha on May 3, 1975; the Locust Street June 3, 1980 tornado in Grand Island and the F4 Hallam tornado on May 22, 2004.  There is also the  March 1913 Omaha tornado which is unrated but has destruction rivaling what we have seen this year in Moore, OK.

Using Radar to Estimate Precipitation

Did you know that we can estimate precipitation totals without a rain gauge?  Meteorologists have the ability to analyze radar data and estimate the accumulated precipitation totals.

The following map shows the radar estimated precipitation for the Nebraska Region.
Time period:  12Z (7am CDST) May 18, 2013 to 12Z (7am CDST) May 19, 2013.
 

Nebraska is in the center of the map with portions of the surrounding states. Look carefully to see the state outline and county outlines. Right to left: LNK is Lincoln, BBW Broken Bow,
LBF is North Platte, & CYS is Cheyenne, WY.



The following map shows the radar estimated precipitation for the Conterminous U.S. 
Time period:  12Z (7am CDST) May 18, 2013 to 12Z (7am CDST) May 19, 2013. 

The following map shows the radar estimated precipitation for the Nebraska Region.
Time period:  12Z (7am CDST) May 19, 2013 to 12Z (7am CDST) May 20, 2013.
  

  The following map shows the radar estimated precipitation for the Conterminous U.S.
Time period:  12Z (7am CDST) May 19, 2013 to 12Z (7am CDST) May 20, 2013.
 

Although the most accurate precipitation measurement procedure is to use rain gauges, this process of estimating the rainfall using radar data is quite useful, especially for areas without a dense observational network of rain gauges.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

May14, 2013, Nebraska: Hottest for so early in the Season


May 14, 2013: Record Breaking Heat in Nebraska

Lincoln set a record high today of 100F breaking the old record of 96F set in 1915.  This was the earliest in the season that Lincoln has seen 100F or higher with 127 years of data (1887-2013).  This is in sharp contrast to Lincoln's record low of 31F just two days earlier.  The previous earliest 100F or higher was May 24 (1967).

Omaha set a record high today of 101F breaking the old record of 96F set in 1915.  This was the earliest in the season that Omaha has seen 100F or higher with 143 years of data (1871-2013).  The previous earliest 100F or higher was May 29 (1934).

Grand Island set a record high today of 102F breaking the old record of 99F set in 1941.  This was the earliest in the season that Grand Island has seen 100F or higher with 119 years of data (1895-2013).  The previous earliest 100F or higher was May 20 (1925).


However, these were not the warmest locations in the state.  The highest temperature observed today was the 108F in Tekahma, Nebraska.  Wahoo, NE,  hit 104F, Wayne, NE and York, NE hit 103F; Grand Island, NE and Columbus, NE hit 102 F.

Was the 108F in Tekamah a state record for the warmest ever observed temperature for the month of May? No, the warmest ever Nebraska May temperature was 110F in Broken Bow in 1895.

There is a listing of high temperatures for today below the three maps.




Map of NWS Observed High Temperatures for May 14, 2013. 
Note Lincoln, NE is not plotted on this map




Observed High Temperatures (in deg. F) in Nebraska on May 14, 2013:


BVN  :  ALBION AIRPORT    :  100
AUH  :  AURORA AIRPORT    :  102
BIE  :  BEATRICE AIRPORT  :   96
BTA  :  BLAIR AIRPORT     :  102
BBW  :  BROKEN BOW AIRPORT:   97
OLU  :  COLUMBUS AIRPORT  :  102
FET  :  FREMONT AIRPORT   :  101
GRI  :  GRAND ISLAND ARPT :  102
HSI  :  HASTINGS AIRPORT  :   96
HJH  :  HEBRON AIRPORT    :   98
HDE  :  HOLDREGE AIRPORT  :   99
IML  :  IMPERIAL AIRPORT  :   98
EAR  :  KEARNEY AIRPORT   :   99
LXN  :  LEXINGTON AIRPORT :   99
LNK  :  LINCOLN AIRPORT   :  100
MCK  :  MCCOOK AIRPORT    :  100
OFK  :  NORFOLK AIRPORT   :  103
LBF  :  NORTH PLATTE ARPT :   97
OFF  :  OFFUTT AFB        :   99
OGA  :  OGALLALA AIRPORT  :   96
OMA  :  OMAHA/EPPLEY      :  101
MLE  :  OMAHA/MILLARD     :  100
ONL  :  O`NEILL AIRPORT   :   94
ODX  :  ORD AIRPORT       :  100
PMV  :  PLATTSMOUTH ARPT  :  100
TQE  :  TEKAMAH AIRPORT   :  108
OAX  :  VALLEY NWS OFFICE :  100
AHQ  :  WAHOO AIRPORT     :  104
LCG  :  WAYNE AIRPORT     :  103
JYR  :  YORK AIRPORT      :  102

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Lincoln, NE, Latest Spring Freezes 1887-2013

Headline:  "May 12, 2013 saw a Record Low of 31 F in Lincoln, Nebraska" 

This breaks the old breaking the record of 32 F set in 1946.
There are 127 years of data (1887-2013).

This is the 6th latest freeze in Spring for Lincoln, NE.

This record low raises the question of "What are the latest days in Spring  with
freezing temperatures in Lincoln, NE"?

Here is a listing of the days with 32F or colder starting with today, May 12, 2013.

May 12, 2013:  31 F
May 13, 1997:  27 F
May 14, 1907:  32 F
May 15, 1907:  31 F
May 16, 1940:  31 F
May 29, 1947:  32 F


LINK to all the Lincoln, NE, daily records

The following map shows the May 12, 2013 low temperatures for our region.  Lincoln, NE is not plotted on the map but Omaha, NE, is plotted.


Monday, May 6, 2013

Year 2013 Nebraska Tornado Totals as of May 5, 2013

Nebraska Tornadoes Year to date as of  May 5, 2013: 

March 19, 2013: A land spout tornado report near Shelton, NE.
March 29, 2013: Two tornado reports
(10:57 & 10:59pm) near Sutherland, NE
(may be the same tornado, i.e. one instead of two tornadoes)
April 8, 2013: One tornado report near Benkleman, NE.

Here is a graph of the normal monthly frequency of tornadoes in Nebraska.
The 2013, 2012, and 2011 data compared to the normals are below the graph.

 
Year 2012 Obs.; Norm.
February   2;    0
March      6;    1
April     25;    3   
May        6;   12
June       1;   15
July       2;    6
August     1;    3
September  1;    1
October    0;    1
Total     44;   42


Year 2011 Obs.; Norm.
February   0;     0
March      1;     1
April      0;     3   
May        13;   12
June       25;   15
July       3;     6
August     13;    3
September  0;     1
October    0;     1
Total     55;    42

 Obs. = Observed; Norm. = Normal

Friday, May 3, 2013

The May 27-29, 1947 Nebraska Snowstorm

                  May 2, 2013 An unusual May snowfall blankets Lincoln, NE.  Photo by Ken Dewey

On May 1-2, 2013 Lincoln, NE received 2.7 inches of snowfall (LINK:  May 1-2, 2013 Lincoln Snowfall).  This was only the 3rd time that there has been measureable snowfall in the Capitol city since 1900. The latest recorded snowfall in Lincoln was on May 3-4, 1967 with a total of 3.0 inches. 

May 1947 Snow Storm:
In late May1947 a major snowstorm spread from Nebraska into the Great Lakes region.  Although this snowstorm missed Lincoln, NE, it buried central and northern Nebraska with almost a foot of snowfall.

Here is a report with a snowfall map produced by Jeff Boyne, NWS, LaCrosse, WI.

Check it out and imagine what it must have been like with trees in full leaf, gardens planted, etc. and then this major winter-like snowstorm hits much of Nebraska just a few days before June!

The Nearly Forgotten Snow Storm of May 27-29, 1947
Jeff Boyne, NWS La Crosse Climate Services Focal Point

Through the years, this late season snow storm has been purged from memories of many people in northeast Iowa, southeast Minnesota, and western Wisconsin. Maybe it is that people do not want to think about snow in late May or that the snow quickly melted, but very few remember this storm. If it was not for this author stumbling upon a 9 inch snow amount in Viroqua, Wisconsin this reminder that snow storms can occur this late in the spring in the Upper Mississippi Valley may have never been written.
On the morning of May 27, 1947, a developing low pressure system was located over central Nevada. It was this low which would be responsible for the snow storm over the Central Plains, Upper Mississippi Valley, and Upper Michigan from May 27th through May 29th. A strong arctic high pressure system was located over the Mackenzie Basin in northwest Canada. This high would provide the cold air needed for a winter storm to develop. A mixture of rain and snow developed over Colorado and Wyoming during the day on May 27th and changed to all snow during the night as the low deepened and moved slowly east through southern Colorado.

On the morning of the 28th, the high pressure center had moved rapidly south to southern Saskatchewan. This high pressure area brought unprecedented cold for late May to North Dakota. Temperatures fell to as low as 15 degrees at Eckman, which is located near the Canadian border. In addition, the mercury fell to 23 degrees at Bismarck which is the lowest ever recorded there after May 20th. Meanwhile, below freezing temperatures were found across Montana, Wyoming, northeastern Colorado, western Nebraska, northern Minnesota, and western South Dakota. The sub freezing temperatures caused a partial to total loss of fruits and tender plants. During the day, this cold air surged southward across eastern Nebraska, eastern South Dakota, Iowa, southern Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Many cold maximum temperatures were established across the region for the day.

At the same time this was occurring, the area of low pressure was continuing to strengthen as it moved east through southern Kansas. From the evening of the 27th through the 28th, this low produced a 6-12" snow band from southeast Wyoming east across northern Nebraska into northwest Iowa. The heaviest snow in this band was found in Alliance and Harrison, Nebraska where 12" had fallen. The weight from the heavy wet snow caused considerable damage to power lines, telephone lines, telegraph lines, trees, and shrubs.

During the late afternoon and evening of May 28th, the surface low began to move northeast across northern Missouri, northwest Illinois, and southeast Wisconsin. The reason for this change in direction was due to a strong upper level disturbance that had dropped into the base of the upper level trough over Nebraska during the day. This upper level disturbance caused an amplification of the upper level ridge over the Ohio Valley and much of New England. As a result, temperatures in this region climbed into the 80s instead of the 50s and 60s which were seen the day before. However on the cold side of the system, temperatures remained in the 30s and 40s in the Upper Mississippi Valley. In addition to the cold temperatures, rain changed to snow across southern Minnesota, northeast Iowa, and across much of Wisconsin. This was the latest snow ever reported in a season in this area, with some places experiencing their biggest May snow storm on record.

From the late afternoon of the 28th into the early morning hours of the 29th, 7-10" of snow fell across Allamakee County in northeast Iowa, and Vernon, Crawford, southern Monroe, and Richland Counties in southwest Wisconsin. The heaviest snowfall amount was 10" in Gays Mills, WI. Meanwhile, a 7-9" band of snow fell across northern Adams, Waushara, Winnebago, Outagamie, and Waupaca Counties in central and east central Wisconsin. The weight of the heavy snow caused severe damage power lines, telephone lines, bushes, and trees.



..

Thursday, May 2, 2013

May 1-2, 2013 Snowfall in Lincoln, NE

How rare is snowfall in Lincoln during May?




Last night’s snowfall (May 1-2, 2013) in Lincoln was only the third time since 1900 (114 years of data) that it has snowed in May in Lincoln.

These are the only May snowfalls of record in Lincoln:

May 3, 1907: 2.2 inches
May 3-4, 1967: 3.0 inches
May 1-2, 2013: 2.7 inches

The snow on May 1-2, 2013, was the first measurable May snowfall in 46 years in both Lincoln and Omaha. 

This snowfall was also a "thunder snow" with lightning and thunder at the peak of the snowfall.

What makes this event even more dramatic is that the area had temperatures in the mid 80's F just two days before the snowfall (April 29, 2013).  Note the map below.

The local Garden Centers were especially hit hard by this event with the tender vegetation exposed to the freezing temperatures and snowfall (note the photos below).

Other snowfall totals across the region include:
Omaha/Eppley 3.1 inches

NWS Valley 3.0 inches

Lincoln Airport   2.7 inches

Offutt AFB   1.6 inches

North Platte Airport 0.9 inches

Grand Island Airport 0.7 inches

Hastings Airport  0.3 inches


 Four radar images one static at 11:50 EDT (10:50 CDT),
the other three are animations for the evening of May 1, 2013

  



 Photos from Lincoln, May 1 and 2, 2013:

All Images © Ken Dewey, Applied Climate Science,
School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln