Jeff Masters on TS Debby & Continuing Record Heat

Debby stalls, drenches Florida; 114° in Colorado ties state heat record
Posted by: Dr. Jeff Masters, 1:09 PM GMT on June 25, 2012 +32

Tropical storm warnings continue to fly from Alabama eastward to Suwannee, Florida, as Tropical Storm Debby sits motionless over the Gulf of Mexico. On Sunday, Debby spawned a multitude of severe thunderstorms over much of Florida, which brought torrential rains, damaging winds, and numerous tornadoes. NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center logged 20 preliminary tornado reports on Sunday, and a tornado in Venus, Florida killed one person. Venus is in Central Florida, between Port St. Lucie and Sarasota. Another person is missing in Alabama, swept away by rough surf. The heaviest rains of Debby affected the Tampa Bay region, where over ten inches were reported at several locations. The Tampa Bay airport picked up 7.11 inches on Sunday. It’s a good thing this isn’t the week of the Republican National Convention, which is scheduled for late August in Tampa! Minor to moderate flooding is occurring at three rivers near Tampa, and flooding has been limited by the fact the region is under moderate to severe drought.

Figure 1. Radar-estimated rainfall from Tropical Storm Debby has totaled over 6 inches (orange colors) along a swath from Tampa to Ocala.

Winds from Debby have fallen considerably since Sunday, thanks to a slug of dry air that wrapped into Debby’s core, disrupting the storm. Our Wundermap for the surrounding ocean areas shows that winds at almost all buoys and coastal stations along the Gulf Coast were below 30 mph at 8am EDT. The exception was a Personal Weather Station at Bald Point, near Apalachiacola, Florida, which reported sustained winds of 32 mph. An Air Force hurricane hunter aircraft flying through Debby has measured top surface winds of 43 mph as of 9 am EDT. Visible satellite loops show Debby has virtually no heavy thunderstorms near its center of circulation, which will severely limit its potential for intensification today. The heavy thunderstorms of Debby are mostly on the east and north sides. Upper-level winds out of the west creating a moderate 10 – 20 knots of wind shear that continues to drive dry air into Debby’s core. This dry air can be seen on Water vapor satellite loops. Ocean temperatures are about 27.5°C (81°F) in the Northern Gulf of Mexico, which is about 1°F above average, but these waters do not extend to great depth, which will limit how strong Debby can get.

Figure 2. True-color visible Aqua satellite image of Debby taken at 3 pm EDT Sunday June 24, 2012. At the time, Debby had top winds of 60 mph. Image credit: NASA.

Forecast for Debby
Debby’s slow motion will make rainfall the primary threat from the storm, though tornadoes will continue to be a threat over the next few days. NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center has placed most of Florida in its “Slight Risk” area for severe weather today. The slow motion of Debby will inhibit intensification of the storm by stirring up cooler waters from the depths to the surface. Debby’s close proximity to land places a portion of its circulation over land, which will also tend to slow down intensification. Wind shear is expected to remain in the moderate range through Wednesday. I expect Debby will begin to build heavy thunderstorms near its core today and Tuesday, with the winds increasing again to 60 mph by Wednesday morning. The latest SHIPS model forecast gives Debby just a 4% chance of undergoing rapid intensification–a 30 mph increase of winds in 24 hours. The 8 am EDT NHC wind probability forecast is giving Debby a 19% chance of becoming a hurricane by early Wednesday morning. Steering currents for Debby are very weak, a the storm should hang out in its current location for several more days. The models continue to have a large spread in where they thing Debby might eventual make landfall, and the official NHC forecast may have large errors for its positions at the 3 – 5 day range.

Colorado’s 114°: hottest temperature in state history
The remarkable heat wave that affected Colorado on Saturday and Sunday has tied the all-time heat record for the state. According to wunderground’s weather historian Christopher C. Burt, Saturday’s 114° reading in Las Animas tied for the hottest temperature ever measured in the state of Colorado. Two other 114° readings have occurred in Colorado history: in Las Animas on July 1, 1933, and in Sedgwick on July 11, 1954.

Colorado Springs tied its all-time record for warmest temperature ever measured on both Saturday and Sunday, with readings of 100°. The city has hit 100° four other times, most recently on July 24, 2003. The record heat in Colorado Springs exacerbated a wildfire that grew to more than 3 square miles on Sunday, driving 11,000 residents (2% of the city’s population) out of their homes.

In Fort Collins, the mercury hit 102° on Sunday, just 1° below the city’s all-time hottest temperature of 103° set on Jul 21, 2005. The heat did no favors for firefighters struggling to the contain the massive 81,000 acre High Park fire fifteen miles northwest of Fort Collins. The fire is the second largest and most destructive wildfire in Colorado’s history, and is 45% contained.

La Junta, CO hit 110° on Sunday, tying its all-time hottest temperature record, set on June 28, 1990.

The heat wave extended into neighboring Kansas, where Hill City hit 114°, tying its all-time warmest June temperature. Tribune, Kansas hit 109°, tying its all-time hottest temperature. Goodland, Kansas hit 109°, its hottest June temperature on record.

Two more days of exceptional heat are predicted for Colorado and Kansas, with the forecast for Denver calling for a high of 101 – 104° on Monday. The city hit 102° on Sunday, just 3° below the hottest temperature ever recorded in Denver, the 105° readings on July 20, 2005 and August 8, 1878.

Jeff Masters


Snow Sculpture Contest Begins in Breckenridge

Breckenridge Snow Sculpture Championships Begins (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

First Posted: 01/25/2012 9:57 am Updated: 01/25/2012 10:43 am

Fifteen teams of snow sculptors from ten different countries have already begun carving what they hope to be the winning piece in Breckenridge’s annual Snow Sculpture Championships.

Each team of artists must carve out a massive sculpture from a 12-foot-tall, 20-ton block of man-made snow without the use of any power tools or colored dyes. The teams began the sculpting process Tuesday at 11 a.m. and 65 hours later on Saturday, Jan. 28 at 10 a.m. the teams must be finished with their work.

The awards ceremony will take place on Sunday at 3:30 p.m., but curious visitors are encouraged to come and view the process and the final products anytime starting Jan. 24, according to the GoBreck contest website.

The event plans on keeping the sculptures up for viewing until Feb. 5.

The Snow Sculptures are located in the area around the Riverwalk Center at 150 West Adams Avenue in Breckenridge.

Check out GoBreck for more information on the Snow Sculpture Championships.

Rio Grande Rift Earthquake Potential

Some earthquakes expected along Rio Grande Rift in Colorado and New Mexico, new study says

January 12, 2012

Some earthquakes expected along Rio Grande Rift in Colorado and New Mexico, new study saysEnlarge

( — The Rio Grande Rift, a thinning and stretching of Earth’s surface that extends from Colorado’s central Rocky Mountains to Mexico, is not dead but geologically alive and active, according to a new study involving scientists from the University of Colorado Boulder’s Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences. 


“We don’t expect to see a lot of earthquakes, or big ones, but we will have some earthquakes,” said CU-Boulder geological sciences Professor Anne Sheehan, also a fellow at CIRES. The study also involved collaborators from the University of New Mexico, New Mexico Tech, Utah State University and the Boulder-headquartered UNAVCO. The Rio Grande Rift follows the path of the Rio Grande River from central  roughly to El Paso before turning southeast toward the Gulf of Mexico.

Sheehan was not too surprised when a 5.3 magnitude  struck about 9 miles west of Trinidad, Colo., in the vicinity of the Rio Grande Rift on Aug. 23, 2011.  The quake was the largest in Colorado since 1967 and was felt from Fort Collins to Garden City, Kan.

Along the rift, spreading motion in the crust has led to the rise of magma — the molten rock material under ’s crust — to the surface, creating long, fault-bounded basins that are susceptible to earthquakes, said Sheehan, a study co-author and also associate director of the CIRES Solid Earth Sciences Division. The team studied the Rio Grande Rift region to assess the potential earthquake hazards.

Using Global Positioning System instruments at 25 sites in Colorado and New Mexico, the team tracked the rift’s miniscule movements from 2006 to 2011. “Questions we wanted to answer are whether the Rio Grande Rift is alive or dead, how is it deforming and whether it is opening or not,” said Sheehan.

Some earthquakes expected along Rio Grande Rift in Colorado and New Mexico, new study says
The high-precision instrumentation has provided unprecedented data about the volcanic activity in the region. Previously, geologists had estimated the rift had spread apart by up to 2 inches or 5 millimeters each year, although the errors introduced by the scientific instruments were known to be significant. “The GPS used in this study has reduced the uncertainty dramatically,” Sheehan said.

Using the latest high-tech instrumentation, the scientists found an average strain rate of 1.2 “nanostrain” each year across the experimental area, the equivalent of about one-twentieth of an inch, or 1.2 millimeters, over a length of about 600 miles.  “The rate is lower than we thought but it does exist,” Sheehan said.

The researchers also found the extensional deformation, or stretching, is not concentrated in a narrow zone centered on the Rio Grande Rift but is distributed broadly from the western edge of the Colorado Plateau well into the western Great Plains. “The surprising thing to come out of the study was that the strain was so spread out,” Sheehan said.

Results of the study are published in the January edition of the journalGeology.

The team plans to continue monitoring the Rio Grande Rift, probing whether the activity remains constant over time, said lead study author Henry Berglund of UNAVCO, who was a graduate student at CU-Boulder working at CIRES when he completed this portion of the research. Also, the team may attempt to determine vertical as well as horizontal activity in the region to tell whether the Rocky Mountains are still uplifting or not, Berglund said.

“Present-day measurements of deformation within continental interiors have been difficult to capture due to the typically slow rates of deformation within them,” Berglund said. “Now with the recent advances in space geodesy we are finding some very surprising results in these previously unresolved areas.”

As far as the potential for future earthquakes in the region, the study’s results are unequivocal, however. “The rift is still active,” Sheehan said.

The new study also is co-authored by CU-Boulder Associate Professor and CIRES Fellow Steven Nerem, Frederick Blume of UNAVCO, Anthony Lowry of Utah State University, Mousumi Roy of the University of New Mexico and Mark Murray of  Tech.

Provided by University of Colorado at Boulder


2011’s Health & Happiness Lessons

Top 10 Health & Happiness Lessons of 2011

Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience Senior Writer
Date: 31 December 2011 Time: 09:28 AM ET

Skiing at Snowmass, CO.
Outdoorsy Colorado remained the slimmest state in America in 2011.
CREDIT: Marcin Moryc, Shutterstock

A lengthy job search promotes worry, stress and anger, but a bad job is worse for happiness than no job at all.

Those findings are on the Gallup polling agency’s list of most compelling findings about health and happiness in 2011. The agency queries tens of thousands of Americans every year about their health, well-being and happiness. The resulting Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index is a day-by-day measurement of America’s mental state. Here’s what Gallup’s editors say intrigued them the most this year:

1. Long job searches are bad for well-being

The longer Americans search for jobs, the unhappier they are with their lives, according to a Gallup poll analysis released in February. Only 34 percent of unemployed Americans who had been looking for work for at least 11 weeks said they were “thriving” in life, compared with 47 percent of those who had been looking for 10 weeks or less. Sending out more job applications with no luck had a similar effect: Half of people who had sent out fewer than 10 applications said they were thriving, compared with 32 percent of those who had sent out more.

2. More Americans now normal-weight than overweight

For the first time in three years, more Americans qualified as “normal weight” than “overweight,” according to poll data released in October. That poll found 36.6 percent of Americans had a body mass index (BMI) placing them in the “normal” category, compared with 35.8 percent who were classified as overweight.

Still, 25.8 percent of Americans qualified for the more severe condition of being obese, defined by a BMI of 30 or higher. BMI is calculated using weight and height. That meant the majority of Americans – 61.6  percent –  are still in weight ranges that put them at higher risk for health problems such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer. [8 Reasons Our Waistlines Are Expanding]

3. Fewer young adults go without health insurance

A growing number of young Americans had health coverage in 2011, thanks to a provision in the Affordable Care Act that allows children to stay on their parents’ health plans until age 26. Since that rule went into effect in 2010, Gallup found, the number of uninsured 18- to 25-year-olds without insurance dropped by 3.8 percentage points, to 24.2 percent.

However, the proportion of 26- to 64-year-olds without insurance increased over the same time period, from 18.1 percent to 19.9 percent. Overall, the survey found, 17.4 percent of Americans lacked health insurance in the second quarter of 2011.

4. Colorado is America’s skinniest state

An August Gallup report revealed that Colorado, with an obesity rate of 20.1 percent, remains the skinniest of the states. West Virginia had the heftiest population, with 34.3 percent of its people obese. That’s the highest rate Gallup has measured since it began obesity tracking in 2008.

Although Colorado is relatively svelte today, its current population would be the fattest in America if the state were to travel back in time 20 years. In 1991, not a single state reported an obesity rate of more than 20 percent.

5. Americans struggle to afford food

Obesity rates aside, Americans actually had a harder time affording food and other basic necessities in 2011 than in recent years. When asked if they always had enough money to buy food in the last year, 79.8 percent of Americans said yes, the lowest number since November 2008. At that time, the start of the economic crisis, 79.4 percent of Americans said they never struggled to afford groceries.

The reasons for these patterns is not entirely clear, Gallup reported in November.

6. “Suffering” holds steady

Four percent of Americans said in September that their lives were so bad that they were “suffering,” a number that has held steady for 2½ years. That’s one of the lowest rates in the world, Gallup reported in October. Perhaps unsurprisingly, income and suffering were correlated, with people making less than $24,000 a year about six times more likely to describe themselves as suffering as those with incomes over $90,000 a year.

7. Employers are offering less health coverage

Employer-based health insurance is on the decline in America, with only 44.5 percent of Americans getting health coverage through work in the third quarter of 2011. That percentage has been on a steady decline since Gallup began tracking health insurance numbers in 2008, when the rate was 49.8 percent. There has been a simultaneous increase in the number of Americans getting their health insurance from the government (up to 25.1 percent from 22.9 percent) as well as an increase in people without any insurance at all (up to 17.3 percent from 14.6 percent).

8. Americans caring for each other

While working a day job, one in six Americans also acts as a caregiver for an elderly or disabled family member, Gallup reported in July. The caregiver job was most prevalent in the 45- to 64-year-old age demographic, with 22 percent of people in that group reporting caregiving responsibilities. Women were more likely to be caregivers for a needy relative than men were, 20 percent to 16 percent.

9. Bad health costs $153 billion a year

Weight-related health issues and other chronic problems cause American workers to miss an estimated 450 million days of work more each year than normally healthy workers, Gallup reported in October. That absenteeism costs more than $153 billion in lost productivity annually.

Normal-weight workers without chronic health conditions experience about 4 days a year when health interferes with their normal activities. Workers who are overweight and obese with one or two chronic conditions average 13 “unhealthy” days a year, while overweight or obese workers with three or more chronic conditions report 42 unhealthy days annually.

Workers do not take all of these “unhealthy” days as sick days, but Gallup researchers calculated that workers miss about one day of work for every three unhealthy days they experience.

10. A bad job is worse than no job

Workers who are emotionally disengaged from their jobs view their lives more negatively than workers who have no job at all, Gallup reported in March. Forty-two percent of the people who said they felt disconnected from their work and workplaces described themselves as “thriving” in life, compared with 48 percent of the unemployed. Workers who were happily engaged and enthusiastic with work were happiest in life. Of that group, 71 percent said they were thriving.


No Connection with the Quakes

Flurry of Earthquakes in Peru, Virginia & Colorado Not Connected

Natalie Wolchover, Life’s Little Mysteries Staff Writer
Date: 24 August 2011 Time: 05:01 PM ET
Earthquakes in the world in the past 7 days. Credit: USGS
Earthquakes in the world in the past 7 days.

The magnitude 7.0 earthquake in northern Peru today (Aug. 24) was the third major temblor to shake the Americas in less than 48 hours. A magnitude 5.8 quake hit Virginia yesterday, and a magnitude 5.3 event rumbled under Colorado the day before.

One might naturally wonder if there’s a trend here — if the Peru, Colorado andVirginia earthquakes are connected. But experts say there isn’t, and they aren’t.

“The question comes up all the time,” said David Schwartz, an earthquake geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), “but these three earthquakes are completely unrelated.”

to read more, go to:

More on Colorado/New Mexico Earthquake

Unusually strong earthquake in Colorado / New Mexico, United States – Roads have been damaged

Last update: August 23, 2011 at 2:11 pm by By Armand Vervaeck and James Daniell

Earthquake overview : After having experienced a foreshock with a magnitude of 4.6 at 5:30 PM on August 22, a second strong mainshock measuring 5.3 magnitude (5.5 initially reported)  scared the Trinidad, Raton area.

Landscape near Trinidad, Colorado – Panoramio image courtesy Slakingfool –

UPDATE : few homes have been damaged during this earthquake. No collapsed homes, but cracks in walls, broken windows, collapsed chimneys, etc. labels this as ‘minor damage’

UPDATE : Report from a girl on facebook : My father lives West of Trinidad (epicenter area ER) (Valdez-Segundo area) His chimney collapsed, walls were cracked, dishes broken. Some objects fell off the wall, but luckily everybody is safe.

UPDATE : Colorado State Patrol is reporting there is damage to I25 near mile markers 5 and 8. That is south of Trinidad, near the New Mexico border. Las Animas County reports damage to highway 12.  They also say there is structural damage to some buildings in the area.

to read more, go to:

Colorado/New Mexico Shaken by 5.3 Earthquake

Largest Colorado quake since 1973 shakes homes

By STEVEN K. PAULSON, Associated Press – 14 hours ago

DENVER (AP) — The largest earthquake to strike Colorado in almost 40 years shook hundreds of people in the southern part of the state and in northern New Mexico, causing minor damage to a few homes.

The magnitude 5.3 temblor was recorded at about 11:46 p.m. MDT Monday about nine miles southwest of Trinidad, Colo., according to the National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colo. That area is near the New Mexico border is and about halfway between Denver and Albuquerque, N.M. The quake followed three smaller ones that hit the area earlier in the day.

U.S. Geological Service geophysicist Shengzao Chen said the information center had received calls from more than 70 people in Trinidad and several dozen people in New Mexico who felt the shaking. More than 30 people in Colorado Springs, Colo., about 130 miles north of Trinidad, also reported feeling the quake, he said.

USGS geophysicist Jessica Sigala said Tuesday that Monday’s earthquake damaged chimneys, cracked walls and knocked items off shelves, but there were no injuries.

A few homes were damaged and there were rockslides on Colorado Highway 12 and Interstate 25, but both highways remained open, a Las Animas County Sheriff’s Office dispatcher said Tuesday.

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Historic Contact: Celts & Pawnee Indians

 This article is from:

The Pawnee Americans is an obscure 1925 article recently brought to our attention by a reader. Author Mark E. Zimmerman cites archaeological finds along major riverways throughout mid-America as well as Native American ethnographies to theorize Celts, who came to America long before Columbus, had children with the ancestors of a Pawnee tribe, the same one mentioned by Von Del Chamberlain in his 1982 book When Stars Came Down to Earth: Cosmology of the Skidi Pawnee Indians of North America illustrated with a map of the Milky Way preserved on a tanned elk hide. (NY Times article on Adler Planetarium show “Spirits From the Sky” in late 2000). Although Zimmerman believes these “long heads” slowly migrated from the eastern seaboard, through the Ohio River valley to what is today southeastern Nebraska and northeastern Kansas, perhaps more conveniently, Celtic sailors well may have navigated the inland waterways to bring their Ogham and European archaeoastronomy to southeastern Colorado and the Oklahoma Panhandle. Zimmerman’s 13 page article, highlighted and including our map, below, has just been added to our online PDF bibliography. You may download the 1.2 MB article directly here. Alternatively, for an overview of this and more, watch Celts & Indians on our videos page.

Zimmerman refers to a tribal elder Lenni Lenape historian and the Walum Olum, tree bark pictographs to aid in recalling song verses. More about the largely ignored, Native American ethnographic record on this, can be found at Frozen Trail, a web site describing Norse travels across an ice bridge from Greenland to Labrador. At the bottom of this external web page are links for more about the controversy regarding this artifact, discredited and discarded by much of academia, still simmering in 2008.

satellite map showing selective mid-American riverways and locations