Colorado Fires, East Coast Storms

Two people are dead in the Colorado Springs area due to the Black Forest fire, which continues to rage virtually unchecked about five miles northeast of Colorado’s second largest city (population 400,000.) The fire’ had burned through 15,700 acres by late Thursday afternoon, and was 5% contained. Over 38,000 people in 13,000 homes had been evacuated. The weather was no help on Thursday, as afternoon temperatures spiked to 90°, winds were sustained at 33 mph, gusting to 40 mph, and the humidity dropped as low as 14%. The fire began on Tuesday, June 11, during a record heat wave. Colorado Springs hit 98° on June 10–the city’s hottest temperature ever recorded so early in the year. The temperature topped out at 97° on June 11. The extreme heat, combined with the extreme drought gripping the region, made for ideal fire conditions. Fire conditions will not be as dangerous in the Colorado Springs area on Friday, as a weak cold front is expected to pass through the region during the afternoon, bringing cooler temperatures and increased humidity. Strong winds may still be a problem, though.

Figure 1. The Black Forest Fire burns behind a stand of trees on June 12, 2013, near Colorado Springs, Colo. (Chris Schneider/Getty Images)

Figure 2. Aerial view of a Colorado Springs neighborhood burned in the Black Forest Fire on June 13, 2013. (Image: AP Photo/John Wark)

The three most expensive fires in Colorado history have all occurred in the past year
The 360 homes burned by this week’s Black Canyon fire are the most ever destroyed in Colorado by a fire, and will likely make it the most expensive fire in Colorado history. The previous record was the $353 million Waldo Canyon fire of June 23 – July 10, 2012. That fire killed two people, destroyed 347 homes, forced the evacuation of over 32,000 people, and burned 18,247 acres of land. The High Park fire of June, 2012, which destroyed 259 buildings near Fort Collins, now ranks as the third most expensive Colorado fire (it was the most expensive one at the time.) The Black Forest fire has a long ways to go if it wants to challenge the 2002 Hayman Fire as the largest fire in Colorado history. The Hayman fire burned 138,000 acres, an area about nine times as large as this week’s Black Forest fire.

According to a federal report released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2012, Colorado can expect to see a sharp increase in wildfires during the coming decades, if the climate warms as expected. The report cited research predicting that a 1.8°F increase in Colorado’s average temperature–the level of warming expected by 2050 under a moderate global warming scenario–would cause a factor of 2.8 – 6.6 increase in fire area burned in the state.

Video 1. Aerial view of the Colorado Springs Black Forest fire on June 11, 2013.

Severe thunderstorms pound the Mid-Atlantic
It was another intense day of severe thunderstorm activity for the Mid-Atlantic region on Thursday. A child was killed in Virginia by a falling tree, and at least three people were injured in Albemarle, North Carolina when a violent thunderstorm blew trees onto homes. NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center (SPC) logged 376 reports of damaging thunderstorm wind gusts in the 15 hours ending at 11:25 pm EDT Thursday night, and three of these gusts were 74 mph or greater. SPC is now acknowledging that Wednesday’s bow echo that traveled 600 miles from Indiana to New Jersey was a low-end derecho, with over 150 damaging wind reports. The most impressive thunderstorm winds from the derecho occurred in Wabash County, Indiana, where a “macroburst” produced winds of 90 – 100 mph across an area seven miles long and three miles wide, destroying three buildings and causing extensive tree damage. Total damage from the two-day severe weather outbreak over the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic will likely run into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Figure 3. Severe weather reports for the 15 hours ending at 11:25 pm EDT June 14, 2013, from SPC.

Figure 4. Radar composite of the June 12 – 13 bow echo that traveled from Indiana to new Jersey. Image credit: NOAA/SPC.


More Unusual Tornadic Activity 1/23

1/23/2012 — FURTHER expansion of Tornado threat watch = AL, GA, SC, NC, VA, WV, MI

Posted on January 23, 2012

Watch the video alert here:


BE PREPARED if you live in any of these states!

currently 1230am CST — there have been several tornadic outbreaks with damaging winds / hail… in Arkansas, Illinois, Tennessee, Louisiana, Missouri, Kentucky, Ohio, Alabama, Mississippi, Indiana, Louisiana, and Michigan…

Areas to watch out for next will most likely be Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Illinois and Michigan are getting hit with hail and damaging winds– also possible tornadoes detected:

By 6am EST 1/23/2012 — look in the area marked below for severe weather to develop:

Watch the east coast states (new england)… it is up for debate as to whether severe will hit these areas.. or will the cooler weather kill the storm when it arrives in the north east?

I would venture a guess that AT LEAST damaging winds will reach New York. Be prepared as always.

for the rest of the story and more information, go to:

Arctic Air Targeting Central & Eastern US

Arctic air to blast the Central and Eastern United States by mid-month

Published on January 7, 2012 2:15 pm PT
– By TWS Senior Meteorologist
– Edited by Staff Editor – Numerous forecast models are latching onto a pattern that would bring arctic air down into the Central and Eastern United States by next week.

When credit is due, it is given. This was not forecast by me or anyone else in this long of range and Piers Corbyn of put the forecast out in Fall for mid-January to have the arctic air blast.

What is interesting is he seems to predict these longer range patterns based on the solar activity.



On the Northeast Weekend Storm’s Effect

Why Weekend Snow Was So Destructive

Wynne Parry, LiveScience Senior Writer
Date: 31 October 2011 Time: 04:00 PM ET


October Snowstorm from Space. This weekend's snowstorm set records.

Snowtober’s wrath, seen from space.
CREDIT: Snowtober’s wrath, seen from space.

The surprisingly early snowstorm that smacked the East Coast this weekend picked up energy after crossing the country, producing an “extreme precipitation event” with damaging effects magnified by the fact that leaves remained on the trees.

“In many cases, this storm is unprecedented,” said Chris Vaccaro, a spokesman for the National Weather Service.

The record-breaking storm set itself apart by dumping snow, measuring as deep as 32 inches (81 centimeters) in Peru, Mass., along a wide swath of the East Coast, from Virginia to Maine, at a time when conditions are usually too warm for snow.

“Usually a lot of these cities will see their first inch of snowfall in late November into December,” Vaccaro said. “This type of storm is several months ahead of schedule.”

Dozens of locations from Virginia to Maine set daily snowfall records on Oct. 29 and Oct. 30. New York’s Central Park recorded 2.9 inches (7.6 cm), the first time since record-keeping began in 1869 that an inch or more of snowfall has been recorded there during the month of October, according to the NWS.

Is global warming to blame? While it is difficult to connect a specific weather event to human-caused climate change, researchers have predicted that precipitation events, including snowstorms, will become more extreme, according to Vaccaro. [FAQ: Global Warming and Snowstorms]

“When you look at precipitation events becoming more extreme, this is an example of an extreme precipitation event,” he said.

Kevin Trenberth, a senior scientist at the independent National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., got a little more specific.

Climate change likely increased the amount of snow by five to 10 percent, since the storm picked up moisture from the Atlantic Ocean, Trenberth said. The oceans have warmed, on average, about 1 degree F (0.6 degrees C) since the 70s, and warmer oceans means more moisture in the atmosphere to feed storms.

The storm that hit the East Coast was a re-energized version of one that hit the western part of the country almost a week earlier. Between Monday and Wednesday (Oct. 24 and Oct. 26), the high temperatures there dropped from 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celsius) to 32 degrees F (0 degrees C) with heavy snow in Denver, Colo., for example, Vaccaro said.

The storm traveled east across the country, tapping into moisture off the coast of North Carolina at Cape Hatteras to revive itself. Meanwhile, cold air traveling from a high-pressure area over southeastern Canada probably formed the foundation for a snowstorm, rather than a rainstorm, which would have been more typical this time of year. As the developing storm moved northeast off the mid-Atlantic coast and off the northeast coast, it continued to draw cold air southward, and drop record-breaking amounts of snow, he said.

Large storms like this, called Nor’easters, aren’t common this time of year, but even more unusual was the supply of cold air that helped produce the very heavy wet snow across the region, Vaccaro said.

The timing of the arrival of the storm compounded its effects, because heavy snow collected on tree branches with leaves still on them, causing them to break and knock down power lines. News reports this morning suggest about 2.5 million people were without power from the storm.

“A bad winter storm is a bad winter storm on its own, but when you combine the leaves on top of that it makes it much more severe,” said Elizabeth Matthews, spokeswoman for ConEdison, which provides electricity to most of New York City and Westchester County in New York.


Enter Hurricane Katia

Future Hurricane Katia track likely further north and east than Irene

Published on August 29, 2011 11:15 am PT
– By Kevin Martin – Senior Meteorologist
– Article Editor and Approved – Warren Miller

Click to view the long range track

( — Tropical Depression 12 has formed and should become Tropical Storm Katia within the next 12 or 24 hours.

Katia will be a very strong Hurricane within then next five or six days as it heads west-northwest through the Atlantic Ocean. There are factors to put this into perspective and one of those is the troughing expected along the Eastern U.S. as Katia moves into the Western Atlantic Ocean this weekend.

Right now this far out is a long shot, however looking at where I think the storm will be in five to six days time; including the intensity, have decided on a track similar to Hurricane Igor in 2010.

Igor moved northwest and then eventually northward into Bermuda Island. My reasoning would leave the Gulf of Mexico as the least probability in the forecast, giving the strongest one for Cape Cod to Bermuda Island and then into Nova Scotia.

Hurricane Katia will be about the size of Texas, much smaller than Irene was.

There are key factors such as a low out ahead of the system, and a low behind the system at the current time. This will help establish a healthy upper level outflow signature over the next couple of days and this will rapidly become a Hurricane, reaching Category Two in a couple days and shooting to Category Three and Four fast after day five.


Dr, Masters on Tropical Activity

urricane Irene Weakens on its Approach to North Carolina
Posted by: JeffMasters, 7:58 AM GMT on August 27, 2011 +3
As of 300AM EDT, Hurricane Irene was located at 33.7N, 76.5W, 60 miles south of Cape Lookout. It was moving north-northeast at 14 mph with maximum sustained winds of 90 mph, making it a Category 1 storm on the Saffir-Simpson scale. Irene has a minimum central pressure of 952 mb.

Hurricane warnings are in effect for the US Atlantic coast from the Little River inlet in North Carolina to Sagamore Beach, Massachusetts. Tornado watches are also in effect for the North Carolina/Virginia/Maryland coast. Figure 1 shows the hurricane, tropical storm, and tornado watches and warnings for Irene. Remember, a hurricane warning means hurricane conditions are expected, and tropical storm force winds (greater than 34 mph) will occur within 36 hours. Tropical storm warning means that tropical storm force winds are expected in the next 36 hours, but hurricane conditions are not. A tropical storm watch means tropical storm force winds are possible within 48 hours.

Update on Irene

urricane Irene Approaches the Bahamas
Posted by: JeffMasters, 7:42 AM GMT on August 24, 2011 +9
As of 2AM EDT, Hurricane Irene was located at 21.3N, 72.6W, 400 miles southeast of Nassau. It was moving west-northwest at 9 mph with maximum sustained winds of 100 mph, making it a Category 2 storm on the Saffir-Simpson scale. Irene has a minimum central pressure of 966 mb. Hurricane warnings have been issued for all of the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands. Tropical storm warnings are in effect for Haiti from Le Mole St. Nicholas to the Dominican Republic border.

Satellite Views
Figure 1 shows that Irene has a large eye visible in infrared imagery, (26 miles across accoring to a report from the Hurricane Hunters at 130AM) with well-defined outflow cirrus bands. Tuesday evening, TRMM, NASA’s tropical research satellite, flew directly overhead Irene, getting a radar scan of the storm using it’s downward pointing radar, shown in Figure 2. It is immediately apparent that Irene has well-developed bands of rain showers, with strong storms present in the eyewall.

Figure 1 IR satellite view of Irene taken at 113AM EDT, August 23, 2011

More on Irene

Hurricane Irene upgraded to Category Two, TWS projects Category Four in the Bahamas and U.S. Coast

Published on August 22, 2011 5:35 pm PT
– By Jim Duran – Writer
– Article Editor and Approved – Warren Miller

( — Aircraft from NOAA has found 100 mph sustained winds in Irene and TWS Senior Meteorologist Kevin Martin says this will be a Category Three within the next 24 hours.
“I finally have produced an intensity map and will be conservative with a max of Category 4 in-which The Bahamas will see this damaging hurricane on up to my landfall point between Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and Wilmington, North Carolina.” said Martin.

Hurricane Irene is strengthening faster than projections as it moves into warmer waters and misses the Dominican Republic’s 10,000 foot peaks.

Martin says in his latest forecast video that it could end up going to a Category Five but that is not going to be projected for another 24 hours.

All interests from Florida to New England should keep an eye on future updates.

to read more and see the video, go to:

Storm Surges & El Nino

Stormy Future: El Niño Could Bring Bigger Storm Surges

OurAmazingPlanet Staff
Date: 01 August 2011 Time: 10:18 AM ET

delaware wetlands
A storm surge at Delaware wetlands.

Heads up, East Coast. El Niño-related weather could get even worse in the future, according to a new study.

The coastal communities, already threatened by rising sea levels due toclimate change, may also see more destructive storm surges from these higher waters in future El Niño years, a new study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says. A destructive storm surge is where storms cause water levels to rapidly increase by at least 1 foot (0.3 meters).

The study was prompted by an unusual number of destructive storm surges along the East Coast during the 2009-2010 El Niño-dominated winter.

to read more, go to:

El Nino Poses Possible Threat to East Coast

Strong El Niño could bring increased sea levels, storm surges to U.S. East Coast

New study examines how El Niño in cold months affected water levels over past 50 years

July 15, 2011

Coastal areas along the East Coast

A new NOAA study found coastal areas along the East Coast could be more vulnerable to storm surges and sea level rise in future El Nino years.

Coastal communities along the U.S. East Coast may be at risk to higher sea levels accompanied by more destructive storm surges in future El Niño years, according to a new study by NOAA. The study was prompted by an unusual number of destructive storm surges along the East Coast during the 2009-2010 El Niño winter.

The study, led by Bill Sweet, Ph.D. from NOAA’s Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services, examined water levels and storm surge events during the ’cool season’ of October to April for the past five decades at four sites representative of much of the East Coast: Boston, Atlantic City, N.J., Norfolk, Va., and Charleston, S.C.

to read more, go to: