Weather

How climate change may be moving the polar vortex

January 8th, 2014 at 4:33 pm by under Weather
Maps show the 500-millibar geopotential height (the altitude where the air pressure is 500 millibars) on January 5, 2014 (left), and in mid-November 2013 (right). The cold air of the polar vortex is purple. Maps by NOAA Climate.gov, based on NCEP Reanalysis data from NOAA ESRL Physical Sciences Division.
large images January 5 | mid-November 2013

‘Polar vortex’ is the new buzzword of 2014 for the millions of Americans learning about its role in producing record cold temperatures across the country. Meteorologists have known for years that the pattern of the polar vortex determines how much cold air escapes from the Arctic and makes its way to the U.S. during the winter. Now climate scientists want to know if a warmer Arctic is influencing its behavior.

(more…)


Extreme cold becoming more rare

January 8th, 2014 at 1:43 pm by under Weather

(Andrew Freedman – Climate Central)

The deep freeze that continues to affect the U.S. has resulted in numerous daily temperature records, and some all-time cold temperature records. But in general, this Arctic outbreak, courtesy of a huge chunk of the polar vortex that the jet stream temporarily dislodged from the Arctic, is bringing the coldest temperatures in 20 to 30 years to many areas of the Midwest, Ohio Valley, Deep South, and the eastern seaboard.

Trend in frigid nights in St. Louis from the 1970s to the most recent decade. Yellow line indicates linear trend since 1970.
Click to enlarge the image. Credit: Climate Central.

Some of the most severe cold has affected the Midwest, from Minnesota to Illinois and east to Michigan. Chicago set a record for the 7th coldest noontime temperature since 1930, with a temperature of just -14°F at midday on Monday. But the city did not set any all-time cold records.

(more…)


Kaxan’s cold weather tips for your pet

January 7th, 2014 at 5:51 pm by under Weather

Kaxan in WXC -2

Kaxan and the ASPCA want everyone to remember to keep their pets warm during these cold winter days and nights!

The following guidelines will help you protect your companion animals when the mercury dips.

  1. Keep your cat inside. Outdoors, felines can freeze, become lost or be stolen, injured or killed. Cats who are allowed to stray are exposed to infectious diseases, including rabies, from other cats, dogs and wildlife.
  2. During the winter, outdoor cats sometimes sleep under the hoods of cars. When the motor is started, the cat can be injured or killed by the fan belt. If there are outdoor cats in your area, bang loudly on the car hood before starting the engine to give the cat a chance to escape.
  3. Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm, dogs can lose their scent and easily become lost. More dogs are lost during the winter than during any other season, so make sure yours always wears ID tags.
  4. Thoroughly wipe off your dog’s legs and stomach when he comes in out of the sleet, snow or ice. He can ingest salt, antifreeze or other potentially dangerous chemicals while licking his paws, and his paw pads may also bleed from snow or encrusted ice. Morton Pet-Safe Ice Melt
  5. Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth. When you bathe your dog in the colder months, be sure to completely dry him before taking him out for a walk. Own a short-haired breed? Consider getting him a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly. For many dogs, this is regulation winter wear.
  6. Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car during cold weather. A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death.
  7. Puppies do not tolerate the cold as well as adult dogs, and may be difficult to housebreak during the winter. If your puppy appears to be sensitive to the weather, you may opt to paper-train him inside. If your dog is sensitive to the cold due to age, illness or breed type, take him outdoors only to relieve himself.
  8. Does your dog spend a lot of time engaged in outdoor activities? Increase his supply of food, particularly protein, to keep him, and his fur, in tip-top shape.
  9. Like coolant, antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle, and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol. Visit the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center more information.
  10. Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts. A cozy dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.

Coldest morning in 4 years

January 7th, 2014 at 10:58 am by under Weather

This morning, ABIA smashed their old record low of 17 degrees – reaching 12 degrees!

This was the coldest temperature ABIA has seen since January 10, 2010.

Here are some of the other coldest low temperatures across the area this morning – courtesy of the LCRA Hydromet network.

1-7 hill co lows

1-7 metro lows

1-7 east lows


Polar vortex causes extreme cold across U.S.

January 6th, 2014 at 7:52 pm by under Weather

The record-setting cold snap that has nearly two-thirds of the nation in its grips has its roots in what is referred to as a polar vortex. But what on Earth is that?

The article below from NBCNews.com breaks it down:

———

By Erik Ortiz, Staff Writer, NBC News

Move over, haboob. See you next summer, heat dome. The weather phenomenon hogging all the attention now is “polar vortex.”

Twenty-six states are under wind-chill warnings or watches, and the polar vortex is to blame, breaking loose from its North Pole confines and plunging the country in a deep, dangerous freeze.

(redacted)

It isn’t expected to linger for long but will leave a mark. Here’s what you need to know:

NOAA via AP

NOAA satellite image taken Monday, Jan. 6 at 01:45 a.m.

So what exactly is a polar vortex?

A polar vortex is basically a great swirling pool of extremely cold air located tens of thousands of feet in the atmosphere, said Frank Giannasca, senior meteorologist with The Weather Channel.

Basically an arctic cyclone, it ordinarily spins counterclockwise around the north and south poles.

While it tends to dip over northeastern Canada, it’s catching everyone’s attention because it has moved southward over such a large population — as many as 140 million Americans are feeling the freeze.

Why has it traveled so far south?

There’s a variety of reasons why a chunk of cold air over Canada would break off our way.

(more…)


List Of Low Temperatures This AM

January 6th, 2014 at 1:15 pm by under Weather

Here is a list of recorded low temperatures from this morning courtesy of the NWS.

ABIA TIED RECORD LOW OF 22 DEGREES.  TIED PREVIOUS RECORD SET IN 1972.

 

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE AUSTIN/SAN ANTONIO TX
1141 AM CST MON JAN 6 2014

...LOW TEMPERATURES AROSS SOUTH CENTRAL TEXAS THIS MORNING...

BELOW IS A SELECTED NUMBER OF WEATHER OBSERVING SITES AND THE
OBSERVED LOW TEMPERATURES FROM THIS MORNING. ALL AREAS EXPERIENCED
FREEZING TEMPERATURES WITH THE NORTH AND HILL COUNTRY SEEING
TEMPERATURES IN THE TEENS THIS MORNING.

LOCATION                              TEMP      TIME/DATE

BURNET (COOP BURT2)                    15        0800 AM 01/06
BURNET AIRPORT (KBMQ ASOS)             17        0753 AM 01/06
20 SSE SONORA (EDWT2 RAWS)             17        0746 AM 01/06
8 NNW LAGO VISTA (BNET2 RAWS)          17        0747 AM 01/06
1 N LBJ STATE PARK (BDTT2 RAWS)        18        0708 AM 01/06
JOHNSON CITY (COOP JCYT2)              18        0800 AM 01/06
SMITHVILLE (COOP SMHT2                 18        0840 AM 01/06
FREDERICKSBURG (T82 AWOS)              18        0735 AM 01/06
LOST MAPLES STATE PARK (LMNT2 RAWS)    18        0746 AM 01/06
GEORGETOWN AIRPORT (KGTU ASOS)         19        0648 AM 01/06
BLANCO (COOP BLCT2)                    19        0730 AM 01/06
AUSTIN GREAT HILLS (COOP AGHT2)        19        0700 AM 01/06
ROCKSPRINGS (KECU AWOS)                19        0755 AM 01/06
LAGO VISTA AIRPORT (KRYW ASOS)         19        0655 AM 01/06
AUSTIN EXECUTIVE AIRPORT (KEDC AWOS)   19        0735 AM 01/06
KERRVILLE AIRPORT (KERV AWOS)          19        0815 AM 01/06
LLANO (KAQO AWOS)                      19        0655 AM 01/06
1 NW CAMP SWIFT (BTRT2 RAWS)           20        0808 AM 01/06
NEW BRAUNFELS (COOP NBGT2)             20        0741 AM 01/06
HORSESHOE BAY AIRPORT (KDZB AWOS)      20        0715 AM 01/06
GIDDINGS (KGYB AWOS)                   22        0655 AM 01/06
BERGSTROM INTL AIRPORT (KAUS ASOS)     22        0653 AM 01/06
CAMP MABRY (KATT ASOS)                 22        0751 AM 01/06
GONZALES 1N  (COOP GNOT2)              23        0700 AM 01/06
1 E LA GRANGE (LGNT2 RAWS)             23        0803 AM 01/06
BOERNE STAGE AIRPORT (K5C1 AWOS)       23        0655 AM 01/06
NEW BRAUNFELS AIRPORT (KBAZ ASOS)      24        0751 AM 01/06
GONZALES AIRPORT (KT20 AWOS)           25        0715 AM 01/06
YOAKUM  (COOP YKMT2)                   25        0814 AM 01/06
RANDOLPH AFB  (KRND ASOS)              25        0758 AM 01/06
SAN ANTONIO INTL ARPT (KSAT ASOS)      27        0751 AM 01/06
PORT SAN ANTONIO  (KSKF ASOS)          27        0755 AM 01/06
HONDO MUNICIPAL AIRPORT (KHDO ASOS)    28        0751 AM 01/06
CASTROVILLE AIRPORT  (KCVB AWOS)       28        0715 AM 01/06
UVALDE AIRPORT (KUVA AWOS)             28        0735 AM 01/06
STINSON MUNICIPAL AIRPORT (KSSF ASOS)  29        0753 AM 01/06
PLEASANTON AIRPORT (KPEZ AWOS)         29        0815 AM 01/06
LAUGHLIN AFB (KDLF ASOS)               29        0758 AM 01/06
DEL RIO INTL AIRPORT  (KDRT ASOS)      30        0853 AM 01/06

OBSERVATIONS ARE COLLECTED FROM A VARIETY OF SOURCES WITH VARYING
EQUIPMENT AND EXPOSURE. NOT ALL DATA LISTED ARE CONSIDERED OFFICIAL.

 


Arctic air settles in

January 5th, 2014 at 9:29 am by under Weather

Take a look at the forecast temperatures over the next two nights across Central Texas – some of the coldest readings we’ve seen in nearly three years:

1-5 sun lows 1-5 mon lows

Tips to help you prepare from the National Weather Service:

“Low temperatures in the mid-teens in the Hill Country, 15-20 along I-35, and lower-20s at other locations in the early morning hours on Monday and Tuesday.

Wind chills will range from 5 to 15 in the Hill Country, and 10 to 15 elsewhere including Metro Austin and San Antonio. Expect spikes in the homeless seeking shelters.

Plants should be brought indoors if possible. Covering plants may be effective for hardier types, but may not work in some cases with temperatures well below freezing for 10-14 hours each morning.

Pipes are a concern in the Hill Country or in exposed situations such as mobile homes near rivers or streams. Usually nine consecutive hours of temperatures at or below 21 F is enough for unprotected pipes to burst. Covering outdoor faucets, opening up indoor cabinets for warm air flow under sinks, flushing the water out of sprinkler systems, and wrapping exposed pipes offer protection.”


A look back at the weather in 2013

January 4th, 2014 at 10:30 pm by under Weather

The National Weather Service released their 2013 climate information. At Camp Mabry, we ended up with more than 6″ above the normal rainfall total, a slightly above normal average temperature and 12 days when we received more than an inch of rain. The area also saw several significant floods.


PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE AUSTIN/SAN ANTONIO TX
106 PM CST SAT JAN 4 2014

...PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT...

...2013 YEAR IN REVIEW CLIMATE INFORMATION...

LOCATION            YEARLY RAINFALL    NORMALS    DIFFERENCE
AUSTIN MABRY          41.03             34.32        6.71
AUSTIN BERGSTROM      37.04             32.15        4.89
SAN ANTONIO           32.00             32.27       -0.27
DEL RIO               15.47             19.52       -4.09

LOCATION            HOTTEST DAY        COLDEST DAY
AUSTIN MABRY        108 ON JUN 29      27 ON DEC 7
AUSTIN BERGSTROM    107 ON JUN 29      24 ON DEC 24
SAN ANTONIO         108 ON JUN 29      29 ON JAN 16/DEC 7
DEL RIO             108 ON JUN 29      27 ON JAN 16/DEC 8

LOCATION            WETTEST DAY        MOST SNOWFALL
AUSTIN MABRY        4.22 ON OCT 13     T ON JAN 4
AUSTIN BERGSTROM    3.16 ON OCT 13     T ON JAN 4 & 14/DEC 7 & 8
SAN ANTONIO         9.87 ON MAY 25     T ON JAN 3
DEL RIO             2.21 ON JUL 21     T ON JAN 3

LOCATION            AVERAGE TEMP       NORMAL     DIFFERENCE
AUSTIN MABRY           70.1             69.4         0.7
AUSTIN BERGSTROM       67.9             67.3         0.6
SAN ANTONIO            70.6             69.5         1.1
DEL RIO                71.4             70.5         0.9

 (more...)

Dangerously cold temperatures arrive

January 4th, 2014 at 9:35 am by under Weather

A significant Arctic blast entered the area early Sunday, set to bring the coldest temperatures Central Texas has seen in nearly three years.

After temperatures hover in the 30s and 40s on Sunday with gusty winds from the north, two nights of hard freezes are in store for the entire area.

hardfrz

The forecast temperatures are the coldest the area has seen since February 2011.

As the dangerous Arctic chill settles in, remember the 4 P’s and other safety tips below:

coldtips

From the National Weather Service:

“Low temperatures in the mid-teens in the Hill Country, 15-20 along I-35, and lower-20s at other locations in the early morning hours on Monday and Tuesday.

Wind chills will range from 5 to 15 in the Hill Country, and 10 to 15 elsewhere including Metro Austin and San Antonio. Expect spikes in the homeless seeking shelters.

Plants should be brought indoors if possible. Covering plants may be effective for hardier types, but may not work in some cases with temperatures well below freezing for 10-14 hours each morning.

Pipes are a concern in the Hill Country or in exposed situations such as mobile homes near rivers or streams. Usually nine consecutive hours of temperatures at or below 21 F is enough for unprotected pipes to burst. Covering outdoor faucets, opening up indoor cabinets for warm air flow under sinks, flushing the water out of sprinkler systems, and wrapping exposed pipes offer protection.”

Stay warm out there!


Freezing temperatures to start Friday

January 3rd, 2014 at 1:30 pm by under Weather

After a freezing start to the day in Central Texas, temperatures are only expected to climb into the mid 50s Friday. We dropped to the upper 20s in Austin last night with the teens is parts of the Hill Country.

MinT_large

Am lows
We’re not the only ones dealing with extreme cold. The latest forecast from the NWS outlines the cold the northeast U.S. will experience behind the system that brought feet of snow and gusty winds.
Short Range Forecast Discussion
NWS Weather Prediction Center College Park MD
329 AM EST Fri Jan 03 2014
Valid 12Z Fri Jan 03 2014 – 12Z Sun Jan 05 2014 …
Heavy snowfall should wind down this morning across the Northeastern U.S…
…Well below normal temperatures will affect the Northeast on Friday…
…The next arctic surge will arrive into the Northern Plains by Saturday…
The upcoming period extending into the weekend will continue to feature wintry precipitation and much below normal temperatures. As of early this morning, widespread snow continues to fall across the coastal sections of the Mid-Atlantic and up into New England. Accumulations should continue throughout the morning across coastal sections of New England before winding down as the strengthening surface low exits into the Canadian maritimes. The tightening pressure gradient will significantly enhance the wind field over the northeastern states. The combination of the modified arctic air with the gusty winds will lower wind chill temperatures to the single digits over the Mid-Atlantic while areas of New England can expect readings into the -10s and -20s. Besides the cold, the weather should be rather quiet across this region as a surface/upper ridge builds in the wake.