Weather Around The World, Week Of 5/12: Killer Tornadoes In Texas; Super-Typhoons In The Pacific

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Home / Weather Around The World, Week Of 5/12: Killer Tornadoes In Texas; Super-Typhoons In The Pacific
NOAA's composite forecast for temperature May 19-26 indicates that Weather Pattern Government will still be in place, with a cold trough in the west and a warm ridge in the east. The likely result is severe weather over much of the middle of the country. Forecast courtesy of NOAA.

NOAA’s composite forecast for temperature May 19-26 indicates that Weather Pattern Government will still be in place, with a cold trough in the west and a warm ridge in the east. The likely result: severe weather over much of the middle of the country. Forecast courtesy of NOAA.

Jerry Lee Lewis said  wind, rain, sleet, and snow left him breathless.

This week’s weather included tropical storms,  tornadoes, and Super-Typhoons, too.

Let’s take a deep breath and Go Around The World.

Weather Pattern Government Changes Slowly But Will Return To Its (Bad) Old Ways

Weather Pattern Government, which has persisted since last Wednesday, has brought a variety of unpleasant weather from the Rocky mountains to the Atlantic Coast.

There was a tropical connection; a snowstorm in the plains and Rockies; tornadoes and flooding in a wide area of the south, southern and central plains, and midwest.

And despite calmer conditions the next few days, Government is still the dominant weather regime.

Here’s just a little taste of what Government served up for weather this week:

  • An unusual early-season tropical storm (Ana) stalled off the coast over warmer-than-normal water before meandering ashore in the Carolinas.
  • Tornadoes have been recorded every day since last Tuesday, including 38 on Wednesday, 26 on Saturday, and four confirmed as EF3 by the National Weather Service.
  • Severe thunderstorms produced heavy rain throughout the week. All-time single-day rainfall records were set in Texas and Nebraska on Tuesday and Thursday.
  • Snow piled up in Rapid City, South Dakota Saturday night and Sunday, setting a new 24-hour May record of 13.5 inches.
  • Monday, May 11 was the deadliest day, with five deaths recorded in Texas and Arkansas in EF3 and EF2 tornadoes. In Nashville, Arkansas, the tornado siren’s battery ran down before the killer tornado hit.

Government’s Dominant Flow

Government consists of a long-wave trough (dip) in the jet stream over the western US and a ridge (northward bulge) over the entire eastern half of the country. The result is warm air streaming north from the Gulf of Mexico and cold air pushing southward over the Rocky Mountains and spilling into the northern plains. The whole setup created tornadoes and strong thunderstorms from Texas to the midwest, snow in the mountains and northern plains, and allowed a tropical storm to form in the stagnant flow off the Atlantic coast.

Shorter waves ripple around the long-wave pattern, which is reluctant to move. As the first wave finally reaches the east coast, there will be a respite from the extreme weather, but by later in the week the long wave pattern will be reinforced. Warm, humid air will again pour out of the Gulf of Mexico and a dry flow of colder air aloft will cover the west. The stage will be set for another round of stormy weather.

Longer-range forecasts indicate that another round of storms could hit next week.

Why Is There So Much Rain And Snow?

Many daily and monthly rainfall and snowfall records were set this week along with several all-time records. Oklahoma City had its third rainiest day ever on Wednesday — a new record for May. So where is all the water coming from?

The Gulf of Mexico has always been there, and it is a virtually endless supply of moisture. But the atmosphere can only hold a certain amount of water vapor. When the air is saturated with all the water vapor it can hold, some of the water vapor condenses and falls as precipitation.

The amount of water vapor that the air can hold is dependent on the temperature: warmer air can hold more water vapor. In addition, water evaporates more readily from warmer water.

As global warming causes an increase in both air and water temperatures, more water evaporates, and the air can hold more water vapor. It shouldn’t be a surprise that there is more precipitation.

Weather Channel Names Winter Storm Venus

The Weather Channel has named the snow event in the Rockies and northern plains Winter Storm Venus. This snowstorm is clearly part of the larger Weather Pattern Government and doesn’t deserve its own name.

Super-Typhoon Noul Winds Down

This satellite photo from Sunday morning shows Super-Typhoon Noul with its well-defined eye over the northern tip of the Philippines.  Tropical Storm Dolphin, which could become a Super-Typhoon, is in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Image courtesy of US Navy.

This satellite photo from Sunday morning shows Super-Typhoon Noul with its well-defined eye over the northern tip of the Philippines. Tropical Storm Dolphin, which could become a Super-Typhoon, is in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Image courtesy of US Navy.

Noul was a Super-Typhoon as it grazed the sparsely populated northeastern tip of the Philippines on Sunday, killing two and forcing several thousand to evacuate their homes.

Though Noul was aiming directly at Taiwan, a turn to the right spared the island all but outer bands of rain, and winds gusting to minimum tropical storm force.

The once Super-Typhoon-force maximum winds of over 150 miles per hour near the eye of Noul have now diminished to minimal typhoon strength (75 miles per hour), and will be only moderate tropical storm strength (about 50 miles per hour) when the center passes near Tokyo later today.

A note about names: The Philippines still insists on using its own names for tropical cyclones that enter its geographical area. So this Super-Typhoon is known as Dodong in the Philippines and Noul elsewhere.

Tropical Storm Dolphin Will Probably Become A Super-Typhoon

A minor disturbance meandering northward in the central Pacific took a sharp left turn on Monday and is now intensifying as tropical Storm Dolphin. Forecasts indicate that this storm has a very good chance to become a Super-Typhoon. It should reach typhoon strength as it passes Guam on Wednesday and heads in the general direction of Japan. It is too early to say whether Dolphin will strike Japan.

Sluggish Government Dominates The Weather

Lethargic Weather Pattern Government will be the driver of weather over the United States for the next two weeks at least. What effects do you see where you live?

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