To understand how odd the weather has been so far this week, consider this: yesterday, New York City basked in record-setting 70°F warmth, which set a new daily high temperature record for the date. At the same time, snow was moving into southern locales like Memphis and Nashville, TN.
Both the unusual warmth in the Northeast as well as the snow in the South were tied to the same weather system — a strong area of low pressure in the upper levels of the atmosphere that was cut off from broader steering currents, known to meteorologists as a "cut off low." This system, along with an area of low pressure at the surface, helped pump warm air up the eastern seaboard, while manufacturing just enough cold air in the South to produce the highly unusual snow.
The jackpot so far was the town of Denmark, Tennessee, where five inches fell. Missouri was particularly hard hit by the snow as well, with 3.5 inches falling in the town of Malden. The National Weather Service produced an interactive map of snowfall totals.
November snow is exceptionally rare in the Memphis area. According to The Weather Channel, Memphis has had just three days with an inch or more of snow in November since records began there in 1875. The Weather Channel also posted Weather Service snowfall reports from Memphis, Paducah, and Jonesboro.
On the warm side of the weather system, Newark, NJ and New York City both tied or set new records for the daily high temperature as well...
According to the new ClimAid report, the impacts of climate change are going to be felt broadly across New York. The Hudson River Valley, for example, could experience salt water contamination and see different tree varieties become more prominent. Credit: Flickr/P Donovan.
This year, New York has suffered through record snowstorms, heat waves, and floods. If 2011’s wild weather has people in the Empire State wondering if this is just a taste of what’s to come in the future, a new report has some discouraging answers.
According to the new ClimAID report, released Wednesday, New York State can expect more heat waves and drier summers, more heavy downpours, and more coastal flooding thanks to climate change. The warmer temperatures and changing precipitation will have dramatic impacts for the state’s environment, infrastructure and economy, the report says.
Just a few years ago, New York City released a report on how climate change will affect the city’s infrastructure. As average temperatures rise and heat waves increase, the city is expected to face more frequent blackouts and public health concerns. Sea level rise has put much of the city at flood risk during storms.
This new report covers the entire state, and focuses on what’s most vulnerable in several regions. For example, the report predicts that:
- snowpack in the Adirondacks will shrink, which will affect the region’s winter tourism.
- sea level rise could cause salt water to contaminate water supplies up the Hudson River, and could inundate wetlands and salt-marshes across Long Island.
- longer, warmer growing seasons mean some traditional crops will suffer, but new ones may flourish (say goodbye to McIntosh and Empire apples, and hello to grapes well-s...
The massive storm currently bearing down on Alaska is bringing hurricane-force winds, blizzard conditions, damaging storm surges and battering waves to the highly vulnerable western Alaska coastline. The National Weather Service has referred to the storm as "epic", and so far, the dire forecasts are proving correct. This superstorm has the potential to do severe damage to Alaskan communities that are less resilient to such events than they once were, due to ongoing impacts from global climate change and other factors.
The storm's center has a minimum air pressure reading comparable to Hurricane Irene that struck the East Coast in August, and the broad fetch of strong winds is causing coastal flooding in Nome, Kivalina, and other villages. According to The Weather Channel, a wind gust of 89 miles per hour at Wales, Alaska, and a storm surge exceeding six feet in Nome have already been observed.
You can follow breaking details of this massive storm via The Weather Channel, The National Weather Service Alaska Region, The Weather Service's Facebook page, Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang, Alaska media outlets such as the Anchorage Daily News, Alaska Dispatch, and KTUU. The dominant hashtag on Twitter is #akstorm.
For years, coastal storms have been increasingly eroding away villages like Kivalina and Shishmaref. A key factor making this current storm so dangerous, and much of the storm damage in recent years, has been the late formation of protecti...
48-hour NWS forecast of winds and waves in the North Pacific and Bering Strait. Note the large waves (bright colors) and strong winds (black arrows) predicted for Western Alaska.
A storm that the National Weather Service is calling "one of the most severe Bering Sea storms on record" is approaching the western Alaska coastline, threatening to unleash winds of up to 80 miles per hour tonight and Wednesday, along with a storm surge that could inflict heavy damage on the state's isolated coastal villages. That's more damage: many of these villages have already suffered coastal erosion in recent years — erosion that has been linked to global climate change.
"Major coastal flooding with severe beach erosion is expected along the coast from Cape Krusenstern to Point Hope. This storm will have severe impact[s] on the village of Kivalina," the Weather Service stated on its website. "Sustained wind speeds as high as 60 mph with gusts to 80 mph are expected. Storm surge along parts of the Chukchi Coast may be as much as six feet."
An aerial view of the village of Kivalina, Alaska. Credit: flickr/US Coast Guard.
Alaska is feeling more impacts related to climate change than other parts of the country because it's located so far north, where the climate around the world warming much faster than average. One major consequence for in Alaska has been increasing damage to coastal villages from the fall storms that typically roll in from the Bering Sea at this time of year. This particular storm is unusually intense for the region, however — the worst, say meteorologists, since one that struck nearly 40 years ago.
Typically, the presence of sea ice can help dampen the waves and storm surge that come with an ev...
Insurance company tally puts losses above $3 billion
The massive snowstorm that dumped more than two feet of snow on southern New England last week, making it the heaviest early season snowfall to hit the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic since before the Civil War, may have caused more than $3 billion in damage, according to Aon Benfield, a reinsurance company that provides forecasts about the total losses from extreme weather events and other disasters.
The storm, which hit so early in the season that many trees had not yet lost their leaves, caused branches to snap from the weight of the snow and toppled trees onto power lines, homes, and cars. The result: widespread power outages that left thousands in the dark for days. Connecticut was hit with its the biggest blackout in state history. The snowstorm occurred just two months after the event that previously held that title, Tropical Storm Irene.
In fact, the storm caused more extensive tree damage in parts of New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts than Irene did (luckily the "Snowtober" storm spared Vermont, which suffered severe flooding from Irene). It was also more damaging, in terms of costs, than the infamous "Snowmageddon" that hit the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast in 2010.
According to Aon Benfield: "Additional damage was reported to the transportation infrastructure from Maryland to Maine. At the height of the event, more than three million power outages were recorded."
If the Aon Benfield a...