Today begins the second quarter of 2014. You made it through a long, hellish winter and the light at the end of the tunnel isn't from a snow plow for once. April is a beautiful time of the year. It brings warmer weather, flowers blooming, birds chirping, bees buzzing, and the atmosphere's most violent phenomenon: tornadoes.
A strengthening low pressure system over South Dakota this afternoon is producing a pretty striking temperature gradient across the northern Plains. The system is causing blizzard conditions over much of the Dakotas with temperatures as low as 10°F, while just a few dozen miles away, the town of Shenandoah, Iowa is sitting at a comfortable 79°F.
A strengthening low pressure system in western South Dakota is the source of a major blizzard that's expected to ramp up over the northern Plains today and tomorrow, bringing with it the potential for up to two feet of snow, wind gusts of 60 MPH, and cause temperatures to plummet into the single digits with wind chills as low as 15 degrees below zero.
Tropical Cyclone Hellen is on track to slam the island nation of Madagascar with the fury equivalent to a Category 5 hurricane and a potential 23-foot storm surge. Hellen's winds are predicted to reach 160 MPH shortly before it makes landfall within the next 24 to 36 hours on the northwestern coast of Madagascar, which is located one or two hundred miles off the southeastern coast of the African continent.
In a re-analysis of one of the strongest hurricanes to ever hit the United States, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) downgraded Hurricane Camille's winds at landfall from 190 MPH to 175 MPH. This adjustment knocks 1969's Camille from its spot as the strongest landfalling hurricane in the country to the second most powerful hurricane to hit the country.
"Lightning" is not the same as "lightening." The former is an electrical discharge from a thunderstorm. The latter is the descent of the uterus into the pelvis to line the baby up with the vagina at the end of a pregnancy.
Among the storms involved in today's modest severe weather outbreak across the south was one supercell in south-central Arkansas that towered to almost 53,000 feet and produced hail 1.75" to 2.00" in diameter. The storm had a great presentation on weather radar and made it easy to see why it was able to produce such large hail.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is in hot water with the FBI after an investigative report by NBC News uncovered hundreds of instances where FEMA workers assigned a lower flood risk to high-risk properties, allowing the owners to save "as much as 97 percent" on their flood insurance premiums.
Two reporters for Canada's The Weather Network were blown away by the ferocious blizzard that pounded the Maritimes yesterday, packing wind gusts of over 100 MPH in this Nova Scotian town just before the reporters were knocked off-camera. They were able to quickly get up and hobble back to their spot to finish the report.