Weather roundup: Tornado outbreak

As the Atlantic Basin enters its heat summer season, the Bermuda Climate Prediction Center forecasts a possible change in ocean temperatures in the summer of 2021, which may contribute to an increase in storm…

Weather roundup: Tornado outbreak

As the Atlantic Basin enters its heat summer season, the Bermuda Climate Prediction Center forecasts a possible change in ocean temperatures in the summer of 2021, which may contribute to an increase in storm potential and in the height of storms.

“Atlantic hurricanes will continue to vary due to the interaction of atmospheric and oceanic energy (including greenhouse gases) and overlying sea surface temperatures. The winter of 2018 – 2019, which experienced above-normal global sea surface temperatures, can be compared to early-summer 2010 (in which Florida experienced destructive seasons). [This] year’s El Niño is likely to be as strong as 2010’s and, in addition, current Western Hemisphere ocean temperatures are comparable to late-summer 2010, which may add to Atlantic storm activity in the subsequent three-year period.”

MAY EASTER

Two powerful tornadoes spun off the remnants of hurricane Cindy as they raced across the southern U.S. over the long holiday weekend, killing at least two people and leaving hundreds of thousands without power.

“Although tornadoes remain rare, there was a small amount of damage caused by the storms across central and southern states. Eight tornadoes were reported in Mississippi and six more in Alabama from Friday through Sunday. Two people were killed: a woman in Newton County, Miss., who was hit by a tree, and a person who was struck by a large tree limb on Interstate 55 in Pike County, Ala. The storms caused damage to an elementary school in Neshoba County, Miss., two homes in Perry County, Miss., and a home in Tuscaloosa County, Ala.”

The data were collected by the National Weather Service in Birmingham, Ala.

“Heavy rains are still expected throughout the Commonwealth in the next few days, with drenching rainfall possible over a vast section of the Virginia Peninsula including the Virginia Beach Outer Banks, upper Virginia Peninsula, and near eastern North Carolina. Swimming is still encouraged in the outer bays, with any severe weather activity causing minor coastal erosion and eroding low-lying areas of the Virginia beaches.”

DEADLY WILDFIRES

Seven people died and thousands were forced to evacuate from their homes when thousands of homes were destroyed during destructive wildfires throughout the U.S. this spring, the National Interagency Fire Center said. At least 230 fires have burned more than 1.8 million acres since Jan. 1, the agency reported.

“Most of the fires started in the West, but five of the wildfires have been detected in Colorado and five others in California. The three largest fires — the Manzanita Complex in Oregon, the Carr Fire in Shasta County, and the Mendocino Complex in Northern California — burned more than 111,000 acres between them and have been relatively active. A majority of the fires are burning as day or night are approaching and will likely continue until the relative humidity returns to normal levels.”

Two weeks of wildfires closed dozens of schools and public lands in Colorado.

STORMS

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting an above-normal season of tornadoes in the United States, which will mean record-breaking activity around May, June and July.

“The main driver of an active spring and summer in the country’s Midwest, Northwest and southern tier will be the relatively moist pattern in the eastern U.S. during spring, with above-normal rains in southern Plains states and above-normal snowfall in the mountain West. These conditions will release moisture into the U.S. and will suppress tornado formation, while accommodating storms moving across the Plains states. Above-normal temperatures during summer, especially in the south, will also likely result in higher than normal occurrences of severe storms (spin-ups).”

SURVIVING THE WINTER OF 2020

Researchers at Yale University are forecasting a warmer than normal winter for the Northeast with the potential for snow across the upper Midwest. However, they are also expecting a warmer and wetter spring and summer for the entire U.S.

“As Arctic temperatures continue to rise, winter extreme events are likely to become more frequent and intense. This is not in keeping with historic patterns; it’s a new phenomenon. Scientists don’t know the mechanisms behind the winter snow-to-ice attachment ratio increase that is being observed in the region. The fluctuations can occur over short periods of time, which means this is a new trend.”

The weather pattern will also allow for a “round-the-clock flooding threat, from April to October for Louisiana, northern Mississippi, southern Missouri, northern Arkansas, southern and eastern Texas, Kentucky, Tennessee, southeastern Tennessee, and northern Mississippi. That means flooding will remain the leading cause of property damage, along with a decrease in river flows to reduced sources.”

The report also mentioned that

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