The Amazing Rains of May: Photos and Stats

Now that May has mercifully drawn to a close, and the south-central states are drying out and cleaning up, we can take full measure of what an incredibly, destructively soggy month it was, especially for Texas and Oklahoma. Both states obliterated their rainfall records for any calendar month going back to 1895. While the rains quickly doused a multiyear drought (see Figure 3 below), the flooding killed at least 31 people, with 6 others missing as of Monday night, a...<br /><a href="">Read More</a>

The 2015 Atlantic Hurricane Begins; New CSU, TSR Forecasts Call For a Quiet Season

The 2015 Atlantic hurricane season is officially underway. We've already had one early season storm, Tropical Storm Ana; will we have an early June Tropical Storm Bill? There are indications that the second tropical depression of the year has a chance to form late this week in the waters near South Florida or the Bahama Islands on Friday or Saturday. We have warmer than average SSTs in these waters, and the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) is expected to be active in...<br /><a href="">Read More</a>

Andres Becomes the Farthest West Major Hurricane on Record for May in the NE Pacific

Hurricane Andres became only the fifth major May hurricane on record in the Northeast Pacific on Sunday, when it intensified into a 125 mph Category 3 storm in the waters about 800 miles southwest of the tip of Mexico's Baja Peninsula. Its unexpected intensification continued Sunday evening, with Andres reaching Category 4 strength with 140 mph winds at 11 pm EDT. According to the database of Eastern Pacific storms maintained by NOAA's Office for Coastal Management,...<br /><a href="">Read More</a>

The Rains of May and the Science of Recurrence Intervals

As this memorable month sloshes toward its final weekend, rainfall records have continued to accumulate across the Southern Plains. May is already the wettest month on record in the statewide averages for both Oklahoma (14.43” as of 9:30 am CDT May 30, crushing the 10.75” from October 1941) and Texas (7.54” as of May 27, beating out the ominous 6.66” from June 2004). This is a startling feat when you consider that the two states’ combined area is alm...<br /><a href="">Read More</a>

Earth's 5th Deadliest Heat Wave in Recorded History Kills 1,826 in India

The death toll from India's horrid May heat wave has risen to 1,826, making this year's heat wave the second deadliest in India's recorded history--and the fifth deadliest in world history. According to statistics from EM-DAT, the International Disaster Database, India's only deadlier heat wave was in 1998, when 2,541 died. With over 400 deaths recorded in just the past day and the heat expected to continue over India for another week, the 1998 death toll could well...<br /><a href="">Read More</a>

Tropical Storm Andres Forms in the Northeast Pacific; Not a Threat to Mexico

The Northeast Pacific's first named storm of 2015 is here. Tropical Storm Andres formed at 11 am EDT on Thursday, in the waters about 690 miles southwest of Manzanillo, Mexico. The first named storm of the Northeast Pacific hurricane season usually forms by June 10, so we are nearly two weeks ahead of climatology. According to the database of Eastern Pacific storms maintained by NOAA's Office for Coastal Management, the formation of a tropical storm in May in the Ea...<br /><a href="">Read More</a>

Active Atlantic Hurricane Period That Began in 1995 May be Over: NOAA

It should be another quiet Atlantic hurricane season in 2015, and the active hurricane pattern that began in 1995 may now be over, said NOAA in their May 27 seasonal hurricane forecast. They give a 70% chance of a below-normal season, a 20% chance of a near-normal season, and only a 10% chance of an above-normal season. They predict a 70% chance that there will be 6 - 11 named storms, 3 - 6 hurricanes, and 0 - 2 major hurricanes, with an Accumulated Cyclone Energy ...<br /><a href="">Read More</a>

Epic Rains, Disastrous Floods Plague Texas, Oklahoma

Water cascaded through the streets, creeks, and bayous of downtown Austin and Houston on Monday as an upper-level storm inched its way across the southern Great Plains. Slow-moving thunderstorms dumped 6” to 8” across the western Houston metro area between 8:00 and 11:00 p.m., and heavy rains continued well past midnight across much of the south and west metro area, bringing some totals as high as 10+”. Though the Houston flooding came well short of that in 20...<br /><a href="">Read More</a>

Summer Weather Watch: Keep an Eye on These Five Possibilities

It’s Memorial Day weekend, the traditional start of the U.S. summer season, and millions are wondering what kind of weather the next three months will bring. Seasonal predictions have their limits any time of year, and that’s especially true in summer, when upper-level winds are weaker and local influences play a larger role. Moreover, the largest single influence on year-to-year climate variability--the El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO)--is often at low ebb ...<br /><a href="">Read More</a>

What Can Lightning Tell Us about Storm Severity


As soon as an incipient thunderstorm spits out its first cloud-to-ground lightning bolt, it’s a potentially deadly threat. A complex of severe storms can generate many thousands of lightning flashes per hour. Along with being a hazard in its own right, lightning can serve as an useful clue to how quickly a thunderstorm is strengthening. New tools along these lines have been developed to help forecasters, and they’re being tested this spring at NOAA's Hazardous...<br /><a href="">Read More</a>