Record 80s In Alaska, Snow & 40s In Ohio Valley/New England While Texas Continues To Flood!

Written by on May 17, 2016 in Spring 2016, United States of America with 0 Comments

If your up in Alaska, it’s been looking and feeling more like July with record breaking 80s as far north as Fairbanks but if down in the Midwest and Northeast, it’s more like March with record snow and cold, while down in Texas, it’s flooding rain your dealing with!

Here’s the highly anomalous upper air pattern responsible for the extremes.


Sub-Arctic Alaska Much Warmer Than Chicago, even Los Angeles?

Persistent ridging up in Northwest North America often delivers a cold trough down over the Great Lakes and that’s exactly what we saw last weekend when it was exceptionally warm in the sub arctic and exceptionally chilly in Chicago and throughout the Midwest region where it’s typically in the 70s at this point in May.

Persistent high pressure over Alaska has dried out of top soils and lower atmosphere which then heats the air. Alaska has been experiencing warmth much of 2016 with ridging a near permanent feature of the Alaskan atmosphere but this past weekend saw mid July-like warmth and as a consequence downstream, Chicago felt more like late March.

At this time of year, strong high pressure over dry ground means warm weather but it’s been plain old hot.


The high soared to 82 degrees in Fairbanks and 79 degrees in Juneau Saturday. The high even in Juneau was warmer than Los Angeles. and the minimum of 59 degrees Sunday morning in Fairbanks was warmer than the maximum of 47 in Chicago Saturday!



Significant snow melt.


In stark contrast, Chicago’s high back last Saturday only topped 47 and the low was 35 which tied a record going all the way back to 1895.


Note Rockford’s 31 was the latest freeze since 2002.

Here’s a picture of Fairbanks Saturday afternoon.


Chicago Sunday morning.


Both sunny but with a VERY different feel. Fairbanks, 59 degree low Sunday off 82 degree high Saturday. Chicago, record tying 35 degree low Sunday off 47 degree high Saturday.

Record cold mid May temps at 5,000ft.


Rare Mid-May Snow From Michigan To Maine, down to West Virginia

East of Cleveland, Ohio Sunday


Credit: WeatherNation

Credit: WeatherNation

Northern Maine was hit by up to 7.5 inches of snow with Caribou experiencing it’s most snow, so late in the season on record. Records date back top 1939.



0440 PM EDT MON MAY 16 2016





As well as Caribou receiving a record smashing 4.5 inches they also set a record cold maximum of just 40F.


Canaan Valley, West Virginia.


Freezing line at 850mb reached the Tennessee/North Carolina border while the -10C line crossing Sault Ste Marie, MI.

Credit: Ralph Fato

Credit: Ralph Fato

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Some NWS Discussions.

Via Ralph Fato

Via Ralph Fato

State College, PA.

Via Ralph Fato

Via Ralph Fato

Via Ralph Fato

Via Ralph Fato

A cold start to Monday.

Credit: WeatherBug

Credit: WeatherBug

MEANWHILE down in Texas!





Credit: WeatherNation

Credit: WeatherNation

San Antonio, TX

Credit: Sandra Luz Aguirre ‏@SandraLuzAguirr

Credit: Sandra Luz Aguirre ‏@SandraLuzAguirr

Article by

Severe Thunderstorms, Flash Flooding Take Aim on Southern Plains to Start the Week

May 16 2016 11:00 PM EDT
By Jon Erdman

Once again, a threat of flash flooding and severe thunderstorms will continue over the next several days in parts of Texas, Louisiana, and other parts of the Southern Plains and Gulf Coast, weary from what has been a 12-month siege of flood events.

Heavy thunderstorms have already caused some flooding in central and southeast Texas since this weekend. Scroll down to the flood reports section for details on the flooding that has occurred so far.

A few severe thunderstorms developed on Monday. Late Monday afternoon, two separate tornadoes was spotted near Felt, Oklahoma but no damage or injuries have been reported. Monday evening, a tornado was also reported north of Dalhart, Texas, along with hail up to 2 inches in diameter. A wind gust of 70 mph was reported Monday evening near Spearman, Texas and in Goodwell, Oklahoma.

Monday night a tornado was reported near Canadian, Texas where trees were downed and a gust of 74 mph was recorded. Baseball size hail was seen near Masterson, Texas Monday night.

Latest Radar, Watches and Warnings

Latest Radar, Watches and Warnings

See below for a guide to watch and warning colors.

Guide to Watches and Warnings

(MORE: View National Interactive Radar Map | Difference Between a Watch and a Warning)

Below is a look ahead at the severe weather and flood threats into the new week ahead.

Severe Storm Threat Forecast

Severe weather will remain a possibility across the region. The atmosphere will be very unstable with plenty of moisture to work with, so the strongest thunderstorms could produce damaging winds (58+ mph), large hail (1 inch diameter or larger), and tornadoes.

A major outbreak of severe weather with dozens of tornadoes is not expected, however.

Here’s and overview of where severe storms could develop the next couple of days.

Into Early Tuesday:

  • Scattered severe storms are expected from western Oklahoma into the Texas Panhandle.
  • Large hail and damaging winds are the biggest threats, though a tornado or two cannot be ruled out.


  • The greatest chance of severe storms will be from central and eastern Texas to southwest Arkansas, extreme southeast Oklahoma and western Louisiana. This could include a development of a large thunderstorm complex that may sweep through parts of Texas.
  • Once again, damaging wind gusts and large hail are the main concerns, though there is the possibility of a few tornadoes.
Tuesday's Thunderstorm Forecast

Tuesday’s Thunderstorm Forecast

Areas shaded red have the greatest chance of seeing severe weather.

Flood Threat Forecast

The threat for locally heavy rainfall from thunderstorm clusters has already begun from parts of the Rio Grande Valley of central Texas into southeast Texas.

Then, as another cold front drops south and stalls out Tuesday, more rounds of thunderstorms with heavy rain are expected to occur each day and evening through Thursday or Friday from the Southern Plains into the Deep South and Gulf Coast.

(MAPS: 7-Day Rainfall Forecast)

Through late week, the greatest heavy rain threat appears to be in central, north and east Texas into parts of Louisiana, though some heavy rain may also fall as far north as the Ozarks and east into the Deep South.

(FORECAST: Houston | Austin | San Antonio | Dallas)

Forecast Rainfall Into Late Week

Forecast Rainfall Into Late Week

Locally higher rainfall amounts may occur in a period of just a few hours where individual or clusters of thunderstorms move slowly or stall over a given area. This outlook is meant to show a general area where the excessive rainfall threat is highest.

Flood Reports Through Monday

Early Monday morning, major flash flooding hit the Corpus Christi area with numerous water rescues reported throughout the city. Water was reportedly over the roofs of cars in the southeast part of town. Some residents of Ingleside had to be rescued from their homes. One location southeast of Corpus Christi picked up 11.51 inches of rain in the 24 hours ending Monday morning. For more details on this story, see the link below.

(LATEST NEWS: Major Flooding Hits Southeast Texas)

On Saturday, water rescues from vehicles were reported on the southwest side of Houston in Bellaire, Meyerland, and Westbury. Locally 4-5 inches of rain fell in the area during a short period of time. On Sunday, roads were flooded near Marathon, Texas and near Kingsville, Texas.

(MORE: Is Houston America’s Flood Capital?)


A series of disturbances will track through the Southern Plains this week as the southern branch of the jet stream becomes more active.

By mid-to-late week, a more pronounced upper-level southward dip in the jet stream will swing out of the Desert Southwest into the Plains, triggering what should be the most significant round of thunderstorms in the Southern Plains, Lower Mississippi Valley, Deep South and Gulf Coast mid-late week.

A persistent south to southeast wind off the Gulf of Mexico will provide a plethora of moisture to fuel thunderstorm development. Therefore, any storms that form will have the potential to dump very heavy rainfall.

The setup for repeated rounds of thunderstorms with locally heavy rain in parts of the Southern Plains and Gulf Coast over the next several days.

Parts of Texas and Louisiana are already flood-fatigued after April’s flood and several other floods over the past year, and they do not need anymore significant rain.

How Wet has it Been?

Houston has received over 74 inches of rain in the past 12 months, placing it as the wettest 12-month period ending on May 12 of any year.

This shatters the previous record for this period of 68.25 inches by about 6 inches. Houston currently sits at 24.8 inches of precipitation above average for this 12-month period, with Abilene, Dallas, and Austin also 20 to 25 inches above average over the past 12 months.

Some rivers in east Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas are still above flood stage, and soil moisture remains much higher than average in these areas, meaning even relatively brief heavy rainfall may quickly run off and trigger flash flooding.

See this morning’s video.

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