Where did the sun go?

As we say so long to the month of April and hello to the month of May, you have all noticed that we did not receive many sunny days in April.  Actually, we haven’t really seen our share of sunny days since the start of 2011.  Digging into our climatology records for the past four months, we have had only nine sunny days.  What we define as sunny days is when only 0, 10, 20 or 30% of clouds obscure the sky.  Anything more than that is defined as partly sunny or partly cloudy, which we have had a total of 49 days of that condition.  Unfortunately, we have been under a mostly cloudy to overcast sky for a total of 62 days.  The good news is it was not all at once.  However, when looking at the month of March, well that is just sad. 

Now to make everyone feel better about not seeing the sunshine, let us look at Dickinson, North Dakota who is under a blizzard warning until later tonight.  Having snow on the ground for the first day of May is pretty bad.

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Posted under climate/climate change, weather geek

This post was written by qni_it on April 30, 2011

A reason to wake up early: 4 planets align!

If you happen to be an early riser, you’ll get to see a cool sight.  Mercury, Venus, Mars and Jupiter will be visible all at the same time.  In addition, if you happen to have a good pair of binoculars or a telescope you can add Uranus and Neptune to the mix.  For the past couple of months, most of the planets have been hiding behind the sun.  This alignment will last for the next couple of weeks, so we’ll have time to clear out these clouds and hopefully get to see this cool lineup. If you don’t have binoculars or a telescope, no worries.  You can actually see this pairing with the naked eye.  So head out and enjoy!   

Steven Graham took this picture from Christchurch, New Zealand. He took this picture with his digital camera with a long exposure.

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Posted under event, space

This post was written by qni_it on April 30, 2011

Tornado Tracks!

Dave Kennedy, a friend and fellow pilot of 13News Anchor Eric Wilson, passed along these photos from above Northern Alabama today. Even though the plane was flying at 36,000 feet you can easily see the tracks of the tornadoes! (Click to enlarge)

A former colleague of mine, Morgan Palmer of KIRO-TV in Seattle, passed along this image. At first glance you immediately think these are paths of tornadoes. This is actually a plot of the thunderstorm tracks. It’s pretty easy to pick out the long-track supercell thunderstorms that tracked over Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia.

 

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Posted under weather

This post was written by qni_it on April 29, 2011

April and March: cloudier than Winter!

After seeing all of the devastation in the south, I figure its a good idea to take a break and feature some pleasant weather news. If you think its been cloudy the past few months, you are exactly correct. I looked back and compared our sunny days per month to that of our fall and meteorological winter months (Nov-Feb). Usually this is the cloudiest part of the year, but we actually saw more sunshine than in March and April.

The good news is that as we close out this month and move into May, there looks to be more sun, at least in the near term. Sunny skies today should add another number to our April count and partly to mostly sunny skies should be with us Sunday through midweek of next week.

-Aaron

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Posted under sunlight

This post was written by qni_it on April 29, 2011

Tornado outbreak likely to become nation’s worst

According to The Weather Channel, shortly before our 10pm newscast the death count in yesterday’s tornado outbreak has surpassed 200 in Alabama alone. Nationwide, tornadoes killed 292. The death toll will rise overnight into Friday when more bodies are found in rubble still not accessible. If that rises above 315, the outbreak of April 27, 2011 will be the worst tornado outbreak in our nation’s history.

There are thousands of people without homes and with so many businesses damaged or destroyed, many have lost their jobs. Please consider making a donation to the American Red Cross. A link is located right here on our blog. -ES

Here is aerial helicopter damage from WBMA-TV, ABC33/40.

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Posted under record weather, tornado

This post was written by qni_it on April 28, 2011

National Weather Service stresses preparedness in wake of devastating tornado outbreak

The National Weather Service office in Chicago is offering a word of advice as we continue in an incredible storm-stricken year: be prepared.

ROMEOVILLE, IL, APRIL 28, 2011: It has been more than 20 years since the Chicago area has seen a violent tornado, however, the vivid images of death and destruction coming in from the southeast U.S. should serve as a reminder to Chicagoans of devastating effects of a direct hit from a violent tornado. The last violent tornado to strike the area was August 28, 1990, when an EF-5 tornado leveled portions of Plainfield and the southwest suburbs of Chicago. The long period of time that has elapsed since this tornado has led to many Chicagoans developing a sense of complacency, however, the recent rash of violent tornadoes striking major metropolitan areas should serve as a wake-up call and result in a greater sense of urgency to ensure preparedness for a tornado.

The images of homes completely destroyed and cars tossed around like toys is a testament to the power of tornadoes and reinforces the urgency of having a plan in place ahead of time of what to do when a tornado is coming. Given the Chicago area’s historic vulnerability to violent tornadoes, such as the ones that left hundreds dead Wednesday, it is imperative that everyone in the Chicago area not only have a way of receiving warnings but also know what they will do when a warning is issued for their area. NOAA Weather Radios serve as an invaluable tool in receiving warnings and can be programmed to set off an alarm whenever a tornado warning is issued for a particular area. Preparing ahead of time and making sure everyone in your household knows where the safest place to be during a tornado is imperative.

While the 2011 severe weather season has gotten off to a slow start in the Chicago area, the slow start to the season does not serve as a predictor as to how busy the rest of the season will be. Typically, La Nina patterns, like the one we are currently in, result in more frequent and more significant tornado outbreaks across the central and eastern United States. As the jet stream begins its seasonal migration northward the threat of tornadoes, and possibly strong to violent tornadoes, will likely be on the increase over the coming weeks in the Chicago area making the need to plan now even more urgent.

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Posted under news, tornado

This post was written by qni_it on April 28, 2011

Tornado Outbreak Latest Information

What an amazing job by these meteorologists! Here is video from last night’s live coverage of a massive tornado as it ripped through Tuscaloosa courtesy of WCFT/WJSU. (click here if you have video playback problems)

 

11:45am –

CNN and AP reporting 231 tornado related deaths in the past 24 hours. This is almost 3 times what the entire U.S. sees in a year on average. Alabama has seen 149 deaths in the past day. An average year brings only 6 deaths to that state.

 

9:15am –

CNN now reports 194 people have died in 5 states.

 

8:00am -


Photos are continuing to surface. These are courtesy of Laurie Sullivan on our 13 Weather Authority Facebook page. She relayed them from a friend in Alabama. The exact location of these chilling photos is still unknown. (click to enlarge)

 

 

As of this morning, here is the latest information…

-181 tornado related fatalities in the past 24 hours. (average of nearly 80 in the entire U.S. in one calendar year!)

-Alabama has had 66 tornadoes (average of 23 in any given year with an average of 6 tornado deaths in the state each year)

-374,000 customers in Alabama alone are still without power this morning

Compare this with the nation’s largest outbreak ever, the Super Outbreak of 1974…

- 148 tornadoes in a 24 hour period from April 3rd to April 4th, 1974

- 315 to 330 killed

- Nearly 5,500 injured

- During this massive outbreak, there were 171 tornadoes from April 1st to April 4th

 

Undoubtedly the death toll will continue to rise in these locations as we discover the full scope of the damage today and in the coming weeks and months. More information will follow as it becomes available.

-Aaron

 

 

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Posted under tornado

This post was written by qni_it on April 28, 2011

Tuscaloosa tornado video (from start to end)

Enough to put tears in your eyes knowing that people’s lives were either being severely changed or ended as this video was being recorded. -ES

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Posted under tornado

This post was written by qni_it on April 27, 2011

Birmingham tornado video

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Posted under tornado

This post was written by qni_it on April 27, 2011

Tuscaloosa tornado video

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Posted under tornado

This post was written by qni_it on April 27, 2011