January 1, 2013

Replay The Weather: 2012

Starting our look back into 2012 and major weather events, the first thing that comes to everyone’s mind is the lack of winter that we had as places were setting records for heat, not snow, during this time period. We also had places that usually have feet of snow have nothing more than brown ground with no snow on the ground. We all enjoyed the warm weather, however it was not all good to have this lack of winter moisture because it led us into the next major event of 2012 the Dust Bowl Revisited.

The 2012 early start to the season brought very dry conditions to the region including a wide portions of the United States from the West Coast to parts of the East Coast with the widest area being impacted from the Northern Plains into the Southern Plains and a huge impacted area was the Ohio River valley along with the Northern portion of the Mississippi River valley. The drought continued into this fall and winter, however as of late October a lot of moisture returned into many places allowing the drought to improve to an extent and a look into the first part of 2013 may provide more relief to some of the drought stricken places.

By the middle of the year the warm weather continued to impact many locations as places well north were still setting late season records for the heat. The third big element of the year was the severe weather and the lack of it.

However, there were a few severe weather events that still made an impact on the year, the first occurred in the Southern Plains from places like Texas into the Oklahoma region and extended into Kansas. The second big event was the huge derecho event that took place from the Northern plains and pushed all the way across the Great Lakes into the Mid-Atlantic Region. This event created enormous damage from winds that exceeded 65mph as some places saw wind gust hit close to a 100mph and stronger. This event was responsible for significant power outages from the Northern Plains into the Mid-Atlantic region.  The next big severe weather event that will be remembered is the event that just occurred over the Christmas Day, this event spawned over 30 tornadoes which created a new record for Christmas Day for the most severe weather. This event created multiple tornadoes that started just north of Houston and spread into Louisiana and then in the afternoon hit Southern Mississippi along with Alabama. The largest tornadoes on the day occurred in Southwest Mississippi which was hit with a confirmed NWS EF-3 tornado in Pearl River County Mississippi. The next big event was that fact that Western Mobile Alabama got hit with a EF-2 tornado just a week after being hit by a EF-1 tornado in the same region, which put the statement out that “A tornado can hit the same spot twice”.

Another major event of 2012 was the Wild Fires that were created by the intense dry weather. There were some of the largest fires on record from the Eastern Slopes of the Rockies into the Northern Plains and also back into the West Coast later during the season. These fires were enhanced both by the per long dry conditions along with many strong wind events that pushed the fires to extreme levels. The wild fires continued through most of the late Spring into all of the Summer and then slowly started to diminish during the late fall as some rain relief helped.

Moving on to the winter weather, the first part of the year lacked winter weather, however as we finish 2012 we are entering an active winter pattern. The first taste of snow hit the Northern Plains on October with some light dustings. Then  the second event was another snow storm that pushed through the Northern Plains bringing some places over 6 inches of snow and even heavier in the Eastern Dakota’s. The third significant weather event was one that occurred prior to Christmas that pushed through the Central Plains into the Great Lakes bringing this region a pleather of snowfall. The next major winter storm to setup occurred during the Christmas holiday and this storm brought a rare white Christmas for places in Northeast Texas and a lot of snow to Eastern Oklahoma and Arkansas which took the brunt of this storm with some places getting 12inches or more. The snowflakes even made their way into Mississippi and Tennessee and then as it moved up the coast we saw snow in Northern Alabama and Georgia. The storm gained strength and created a significant snow storm over the Eastern Great Lakes and a big ice event in the Mid-Atlantic region.  As the year closes we are now watching another winter storm unfold over the same places that got hit with the Christmas storm.

Lastly to summarize 2012 we need to mention the tropics and how they impacted the United States. The two major events were Hurricane Isaac in August and then Hurricane Sandy aka Super Storm Sandy. First, looking at Isaac this storm pushed into the Gulf of Mexico and then gained strength it was a very long living Tropical Storm before it got classified as a hurricane. But right before landfall it did make it to hurricane strength and it moved onshore over Southeast Louisiana just to the south of New Orleans. The storm created significant damage in places that didn’t see much during Katrina. The reason is that the storm brought a big storm surge into Louisiana and it caused another breach in a levee system that forced flooding into places. Isaac also created some damage in the Mississippi Gulf Coast region with storm surge of 3-5ft for places pushing trash and debris on shore in the coast. Also some places recorded winds in excess of 90mph around the storms center, multiple tropical tornadoes were reported throughout Mississippi and Louisiana with Isaac.

The next storm to have a huge impact on the United States was Sandy, she will be remembered as one of those 100 year storms. What made Sandy so special is that it created a movie scene from the “Perfect Storm” by having strong air invade it from the west and another stalled weather system to the north of it and they all collided together to make Super Sandy. Now, many people tried to blame Climate Change on this epic storm which as no proof to it. The proof it does have is that it landed in the most populated place in the United States creating great panic and distress. What happened with Sandy is that it got caught on the southern side of a high pressure to the north which forced Sandy to take a Northwestward movement until it made landfall in New Jersey bringing the right front quadrant on shore over New Jersey and New York City. The right front quadrant was responsible for the damage that was seen throughout New Jersey and New York, “NOT CLIMATE CHANGE”.  This storm will definitely be one for the record books by far and the name of Sandy will more than likely be retired from the NHC Hurricane list. The other good thing that did come out of Sandy is that the NHC will be re-evaluating the hurricane guidelines in hopes of making it better for the future so that the confusion can be avoided between the warning systems.

Well this is the end of my tale for the 2012 season I look forward to providing you all here at redOrbit.com another great season of weather coverage in 2013. Hope everyone has a Happy New Years.

Image Credit: Photos.com

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