Monday, March 31, 2014

Saharan Dust Falls Across Northern Europe

By: By Sean Breslin
Published: March 31,2014

Photo via
Saharan dust is dragged up from Africa and into northern Europe in this satellite image posted to
When soggy, green Northern Ireland gets coated by red, Saharan dust, the locals get slightly perturbed.
The dust is being pumped northward into the United Kingdom as winds aloft flow from the south to southeast instead of the normal west-to-east direction, says senior meteorologist Jon Erdman. An expansive blocking area of high pressure is stretching from eastern Europe to southern Greenland, and that's working in tandem with a strong southward dip in the jet stream centered just west of the Iberian Peninsula.
As a result, northern Europe has turned hazy with Saharan dust filling the air in some areas, according to a BBC report.
(PHOTOS: NASA Captures Weather Disasters From Space)
The dust lingers in the air until something can knock it down – rain, usually. When rain arrives, it mixes with the dust particles and falls as "dirty rain," covering cars and angering residents, writes
Even U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron was affected when his car was covered by a dusty residue, according to a Metro report.
It could be several days before rain knocks the dust out of the air. The dust could reach Iceland before the pattern changes.
"This upper-level pattern may persist through mid-week before the flow over Africa becomes more westerly," Erdman said.
Saharan dust reaching another continent isn't as strange as it may seem. The red dust sometimes makes an appearance in the United States.
Saharan dust is commonly transported westward across the tropical Atlantic Ocean in the summer months during hurricane season, Erdman said. This produces hazy sunrises and sunsets in the Caribbean Sea and even, occasionally, into parts of Florida.
MORE: Incredible Views of Dust Over the Atlantic Ocean
Dust over the Atlantic Ocean on July 20, 2013.

Winter Storm Xenia Forecast: Blizzard Striking North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota

By: Jon Erdman and Nick Wiltgen
Published: March 31,2014
  • Region affected: Northern Plains and parts of Upper Midwest

  • Timing: Now through Tuesday

  • Blizzard conditions ongoing


Winter Alerts

Winter Alerts

48-Hour Snowfall Forecast

48-Hour Snowfall Forecast

Monday Night Forecast

Monday Night Forecast

Tuesday Forecast

Tuesday Forecast
Winter Storm Xenia continues to rage across the Northern Plains with high winds and heavy snow, sending March out with a roar especially in the Dakotas and parts of Minnesota. Blizzard warnings continue for parts of the region as the storm continues.
Tornadoes were reported Monday afternoon in the warm air immediately ahead of the cold front associated with Xenia. Click here for more on the severe weather threat.
Here are the details on the rest of Xenia's path.


  • Monday night: Snow ends from west to east in the Dakotas, but persists in northern Minnesota and expands into western Minnesota. A thin band of freezing rain is possible in parts of central and northern Minnesota. Rain may change to freezing rain or sleet, then snow in eastern Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin by dawn, including the Twin Cities.
  • Tuesday: Lingering snow and some wind, diminishing late in the day in parts of the northern Great Lakes.

Snow, wind impacts

  • Snowfall: Storm total accumulations of over a foot possible in parts of North Dakota and northwest Minnesota.
  • Ice potential: A narrow zone in parts of central, north-central and northeast Minnesota may see a brief period of sleet and freezing rain. Ice accumulations are not expected to be significant.
  • Blizzard potential: The combination of high pressure over the Canadian Prairies and moderately strong low pressure tracking from the Corn Belt to the Great Lakes will continue to produce blizzard or near-blizzard conditions in a large swath of the Dakotas and parts of west-central and northwest Minnesota into Monday night and possibly early Tuesday.
  • Wind chills: Subzero wind chills are likely across much of the Dakotas and northern Minnesota Monday night into Tuesday morning. While not at all unusual for this part of the country in winter, it is now unusually late in the season to be seeing such bitter wind chills – remember to take the same common-sense measures to protect yourself from the cold as you would in mid-winter.
  • Travel impact: Road closures have occurred along stretches of I-29, I-94 and I-90 in the Dakotas and may expand into western Minnesota Monday and Monday night, possibly into early Tuesday. Secondary roads are or will become impassable due to blowing and drifting snow. Check our Commuter Forecast map for weather and traffic conditions on the road.
  • Road conditions and closures: South Dakota | North Dakota | Minnesota
  • Cities: Aberdeen, S.D. | Duluth, Minn. | Fargo, N.D. | Grand Forks, N.D. | Rapid City, S.D.
(MORE: 10 Cities Winter Spared | 10 Worst Winter Cities)
Check back with and The Weather Channel for the latest on Winter Storm Xenia.

MORE: Winter Storm Xerxes, April 2013 (Last Season's "X" Storm)

Dalton, Minn.

Dalton, Minn.
A car is almost completely covered up by snowfall from Winter Storm Xerxes on Monday, April 15, 2013. (Facebook/Debbie Kaminski)

Climate Report Predicts Dire Threats for People, Including Food, Water Shortages

Published: March 31,2014
A planet warmed by human-produced greenhouse gases poses significant risks already to people, cities and nations today and not just in the far-off future, according to a report the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released Monday.
And those risks could mean "abrupt or drastic changes" that could lead to unstoppable and irreversible climate shifts like the runaway melting of Greenland's glacial ice or the rapid drying out of South America's Amazon rainforest, the Christian Science Monitor reports.
The dangers of a warming Earth aren't limited to animals like polar bears. They're immediate and very human, the report says.
"The polar bear is us," says Patricia Romero Lankao of the federally financed National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., referring to the first species to be listed as threatened by global warming due to melting sea ice.
Pupils navigate a swamp on reed-rafts to get to school near Kenya's Lake Baringo, on March 14. A few dozen students at the school have been cut-off by the swelling lake that has now risen to reclaim plains from which it had receded more than a decade ago.
She was among the more than 60 scientists in Japan who wrote the  massive and authoritative report on the impacts of global warming, the second of three installments in the IPCC's latest assessment on the world's climate.
Another author offer of the report offered this assessment Monday: "We're all sitting ducks," said Princeton University professor Michael Oppenheimer.
After several days of late-night wrangling, more than 100 governments unanimously approved the scientist-written 49-page summary — which is aimed at world political leaders. The summary mentions the word "risk" an average of about 5 1/2 times per page.
(MORE: Climate Change Threatens Food Supply)
If climate change continues, the panel's larger report predicts these harms:
Violence: For the first time, the panel is emphasizing the nuanced link between conflict and warming temperatures. Participating scientists say warming won't cause wars, but it will add a destabilizing factor that will make existing threats worse.
Food: Global food prices will rise between 3 and 84 percent by 2050 because of warmer temperatures and changes in rain patterns. Hotspots of hunger may emerge in cities.
Water: About one-third of the world's population will see groundwater supplies drop by more than 10 percent by 2080, when compared with 1980 levels. For every degree of warming, more of the world will have significantly less water available.
Health: Major increases in health problems are likely, with more illnesses and injury from heat waves and fires and more food and water-borne diseases. But the report also notes that warming's effects on health is relatively small compared with other problems, like poverty.
Wealth: Many of the poor will get poorer. Economic growth and poverty reduction will slow down. If temperatures rise high enough, the world's overall income may start to go down, by as much as 2 percent, but that's difficult to forecast.
The report says scientists have already observed many changes from warming, such as an increase in heat waves in North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. Severe floods, such as the one that displaced 90,000 people in Mozambique in 2008, are now more common in Africa and Australia.
(MORE: Scientists: Let's Change How We Talk About Climate Change)
Europe and North America are getting more intense downpours that can be damaging. Melting ice in the Arctic is not only affecting the polar bear, but already changing the culture and livelihoods of indigenous people in northern Canada.
Past panel reports have been ignored because global warming's effects seemed too distant in time and location, says Pennsylvania State University scientist Michael Mann.
This report finds "It's not far-off in the future and it's not exotic creatures — it's us and now," says Mann, who didn't work on this latest report.
The United Nations established the climate change panel in 1988 and its work is done by three groups. One looks at the science behind global warming. The group meeting in Japan beginning Tuesday studies its impacts. And a third looks at ways to slow warming.
Its reports have reiterated what nearly every major scientific organization has said: The burning of coal, oil and gas is producing an increasing amount of heat-trapping greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide. Those gases change Earth's climate, bringing warmer temperatures and more extreme weather, and the problem is worsening.
The panel won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, months after it issued its last report.
Since then, the impact group has been reviewing the latest research and writing 30 chapters on warming's effects and regional impacts. Those chapters haven't been officially released but were posted on a skeptical website.
(MORE: Feel Like Spring Arrives Earlier Than It Used To?)
Matt Cardy/Getty Images
Volunteers use a pontoon to collect a car that has been cut off by flood waters at Burrowbridge on the Somerset Levels on Feb. 27 in Somerset, England. According to the Met Office, England and Wales have experienced their wettest winter since records began in 1766.
The key message can be summed up in one word that the overall report uses more than 5,000 times: risk.
"Climate change really is a challenge in managing risks," says the report's chief author, Chris Field of the Carnegie Institution of Science in California. "It's very clear that we are not prepared for the kind of events we're seeing."
Already the effects of global warming are "widespread and consequential," says one part of the larger report, noting that science has compiled more evidence and done much more research since the last report in 2007.
According to the report, risks from warming-related extreme weather, now at a moderate level, are likely to get worse with just a bit more warming. While it doesn't say climate change caused the events, the report cites droughts in northern Mexico and the south-central United States, and hurricanes such as 2012's Sandy, as illustrations of how vulnerable people are to weather extremes. It does say the deadly European heat wave in 2003 was made more likely because of global warming.
Texas Tech University climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe, who was not part of this report team, says the important nuance is how climate change interacts with other human problems: "It's interacting and exacerbating problems we already have today."
University of Colorado science policy professor Roger Pielke Jr., a past critic of the panel's impact reports, said after reading the draft summary, "it's a lot of important work ... They made vast improvements to the quality of their assessments."
(MORE: Earth's Carbon Dioxide Levels Reach New Heights)
Another critic, University of Alabama Huntsville professor John Christy, accepts man-made global warming but thinks its risks are overblown when compared with something like poverty. Climate change is not among the developing world's main problems, he says.
But other scientists say Christy is misguided. Earlier this month, the world's largest scientific organization, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, published a new fact sheet on global warming.
It said: "Climate change is already happening. More heat waves, greater sea level rise and other changes with consequences for human health, natural ecosystems and agriculture are already occurring in the United States and worldwide. These problems are very likely to become worse over the next 10 to 20 years and beyond."
Texas Tech's Hayhoe says scientists in the past may have created the impression that the main reason to care about climate change was its impact on the environment.
"We care about it because it's going to affect nearly every aspect of human life on this planet," she says.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.
MORE: The World's Most Historic Places in 2,000 Years

Tower of London Today

The Statue of Liberty Today
Above, we used Google Earth to visualize what 15 of the sites in the study might look like in the future, if its sea level rise projections come to pass. Thanks to Andrew David Thaler's DrownYourTown for the template to create these visualizations. (Photo by Bob Collowân/Wikimedia Commons)

Antarctic Glaciers Speeding Up, Nearing Collapse, Study Concludes

By: Becky Oskin
Published: March 31,2014

NASA/Maria-José Viñas
An iceberg breaks off Pine Island Glacier into the Amundsen Sea in West Antarctica.
Six big glaciers in West Antarctica are flowing much faster than 40 years ago, a new study finds. The brisk clip may mean this part of Antarctica, which could raise global sea level by 4 feet (1.2 meters) if it completely melts, is nearing full-scale collapse.
"This region is out of balance," said Jeremie Mouginot, lead study author and a glaciologist at University of California, Irvine. "We're not seeing anything that could stop the retreat of the grounding line and the acceleration of these glaciers," he told Live Science. (A grounding line is the location where the glacier leaves bedrock and meets the ocean.)
From satellite observations such as Landsat images and radar interferometry, Mouginot and his co-authors tracked the speed of West Antarctica's six largest glaciers. The biggest of the half-dozen are Pine Island Glacier, known for cleaving massive icebergs, and its neighbor, Thwaites Glacier. The other four are Haynes, Smith, Pope and Kohler glaciers. [Video: Antarctica's Pine Island Glacier Is Rifting]
(MORE: Climate Report Finds Dire Threats to Our Food, Water)
Ice from the six glaciers accounts for almost 10 percent of the world’s sea-level rise per year. Researchers worry the "collapse" of West Antarctica's glaciers would hasten sea-level rise. The collapse refers to an unstoppable, self-sustaining retreat that would drop millions of tons of ice into the sea.
The amount of ice draining from the six glaciers increased by 77 percent between 1973 to 2013, the study found. However, the race to the sea is happening at different rates. Recently, the fast-flowing Pine Island Glacier stabilized, slowing down starting in 2009. (The slowdown was only at the ice shelf, where the glacier meets the sea. Further inland, the glacier is still accelerating.)
But Pine Island Glacier's sluggishness was matched by an increase at Thwaites Glacier starting in 2006, the researchers found. For the first time since measurements began in 1973, Thwaites starting accelerating. Thwaites quickened its pace by 0.5 miles (0.8 kilometers) per year between 2006 and 2013, the study found.
(MORE: See How Fast Wind Energy Exploded in the U.S.)
"To see Thwaites, this monster glacier, start accelerating in 2006 means we could see even more change in the near future that could affect sea level," Mouginot said. The acceleration extends far inland for both Pine Island Glacier and Thwaites Glacier, he said. Pine Island Glacier's acceleration reached up to 155 miles (230 km) inland from where it meets the ocean.
Mouginot said warmer ocean waters contributed to the speed up. The huge ice streams flowing from West Antarctica are held back by floating ice shelves that act like dams. Several recent studies have suggested that warmer ocean water near Antarctica is melting and thinning these ice shelves from below. The thinner ice shelves offer less resistance, making it easier for glaciers to bulldoze their way toward the sea.
"This region is considered the potential leak point for Antarctica because of the low seabed. The only thing holding it in is the ice shelf," said Robert Thomas, a glaciologist at the NASA Wallops Flight Facility, in Wallops Island, Va., who was not involved in the study.
The study was published March 5 in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
MORE: Incredible Ice Waves of Antarctica

Antarctic Ice Waves

Antarctic Ice Waves
From our partners
Though they appear to be frozen ocean waves, these blue ice towers in Antarctica are created when ice compresses, forcing trapped air bubbles out. When sunlight passes through this thick frozen ice, blue light waves are visible but the red light is absorbed. (Photo credit: Tony Travouillon)

5 Ways Climate Change Will Cause Massive Disruptions For People, Ecosystems Worldwide

By: By Terrell Johnson
Published: March 31,2014
If the world continues on its current path – one in which countries keep pumping ever-increasing amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, primarily from burning coal, oil and gas – then a future of food and water shortages, massive losses of animal species and ecosystems, and the loss of entire nations to sea level rise almost certainly awaits in the not-too-distant future.
That was the conclusion of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of several hundred scientists from around the world who were assembled by the United Nations to assess and present their findings on the state of the world's science on climate change.
"We're all sitting ducks," said Princeton University professor Michael Oppenheimer, one of the lead authors of the IPCC's latest report, released Sunday night.
Titled "Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability," the report details climate change impacts closely linked with one another: as global warming sends temperatures rising, it will lead to both falling yields for agricultural crops and decreasing water supplies for millions of people, as sources of freshwater that have been relied upon for generations dry up.
That means an increased likelihood – and more devastating impacts – for all kinds of extreme weather events as well, the panel reports. “Nobody on this planet is going to be untouched by the impacts of climate change," said IPCC chair Rajendra K. Pachauri.

1) Climate change is already having major impacts on the world.

In the Summary for Policymakers that accompanies the report, the IPCC said:
In recent decades, changes in climate have caused impacts on natural and human systems on all continents and across the oceans. Evidence of climate-change impacts is strongest and most comprehensive for natural systems. Some impacts on human systems have also been attributed to climate change, with a major or minor contribution of climate change distinguishable from other influences.
In response to Earth's warming, glaciers around the world have shrunk and permafrost regions have warmed and thawed – which has "major implications" for water supplies – while many animal species (both in the ocean and on land) have shifted their geographic ranges as well as their migration, mating and seasonal activities.
For life in the oceans, this means they're moving toward the poles in search of cooler temperatures; animals on land are also moving northward, in search of the more suitable climates that existed years and decades ago.
Climate change already has impacted food crop production, the IPCC added, hitting wheat and maize (corn) crops hardest so far. Since the group's last report in 2007, rapid food prices have followed climate extremes in key food-producing regions.
“We’re not in a world where climate change is a future hypothetical," said Christopher Field, the IPCC Working Group II co-chair, at Sunday's press conference. "There’s no question we live in a world that’s already altered by climate change."

2) The world's most vulnerable people will be hit hardest.

IPCC: Differences in vulnerability and exposure arise from non-climatic factors and from multidimensional inequalities often produced by uneven development processes ... People who are socially, economically, culturally, politically, institutionally, or otherwise marginalized are especially vulnerable to climate change.
People who live in the world's tropical regions, those who depend on rain-fed agriculture and the oceans for their food and their livelihoods, and people who live on low-lying island nations are likely to feel the most acute impacts of climate change.
Sea level rise already poses major risks to small countries like Marshall Islands and the Maldives, which are likely to be swallowed up by the ocean in the coming decades. That means their tens of thousands of citizens will become climate refugees in search of new places to live.
Meanwhile in countries like India, hundreds of millions of people who live in rural areas still depend on rainfall, rather than modern farming practices like irrigation, to grow their crops. "The green revolution has not touched them at all," said Dr. Pachauri. "They are the ones who are going to be worst hit. These are the sections of society that are going to suffer the worst impacts of climate change."
As warming-related sea level rise occurs, it will worsen coastal flooding and tropical cyclone-related storm surge – think of storms like 2012's Hurricane Sandy and 2013's Typhoon Haiyan – while also making events like the Russian heat wave in 2010 and the Australian heat wave of 2013-2014 both more likely and more severe.

3) Climate change will make violent conflict worse, and vice-versa.

IPCC: Violent conflict increases vulnerability to climate change. Large-scale violent conflict harms assets that facilitate adaptation, including infrastructure, institutions, natural resources, social capital, and livelihood opportunities.
Though the IPCC authors agree that the impact of climate change on violent conflict is "contested," and take care not to say that wars will necessarily be caused by climate change, they emphasize that the world's poorest regions are particularly susceptible to the impacts of both.
That's because the impacts of climate change – whether from heat waves and droughts that affect food and water supplies, or from storms that erode resilience to climate extremes by damaging or destroying infrastructure – are likely to be particularly severe for people in coastal and rural areas.
In places that don't have the same kinds of institutions found in the developed world – who have no path to adapt to or mitigate the impacts of climate change – its effects will be felt most acutely.

4) Despite little action on controlling emissions, adaptation is now underway.

IPCC: Adaptation experience is accumulating across regions in the public and private sector and within communities. Governments at various levels are starting to develop adaptation plans and policies and to integrate climate-change considerations into broader development plans.
The world's industrial nations have made little progress to date in controlling their emissions of greenhouse gases, at least in terms of making meaningful reductions that would keep warming in the decades ahead to 2°C above the pre-industrial era, the widely-acknowledged target for avoiding the worst impacts of climate change.
Many nations have begun taking significant action toward adapting to climate change, however. The IPCC points to many nations in Europe and Australasia that already have incorporated adaptation planning at "all levels of government," including coastal and water management, land-use planning, and planning for sea level rise and water availability.
This is happening at the municipal and regional level in the United States, especially in major urban cities like New York and Chicago, while countries in Central and South America are creating conservation agreements and water resources management plans for their agricultural and tourist sectors.

5) The world has the information it needs to take action on climate change today.

At the Sunday press conference announcing the report, the members of the IPCC couldn't have been more clear: "Climate is changing, there is no doubt anymore," said Michel Jarraud, the secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organization, which co-sponsors the IPCC.
“Now we’re at the point where there is so much information, we can no longer plead ignorance," he added. "We know we have the information to make decisions."
Projections for the impacts climate change will have on food security, water supplies and human health and security are "profound" and "grave," said Pachauri, adding that we have "much greater certainty and far greater detail today" on these impacts than in the group's last report in 2007.
"There is a reason for the world not [to] neglect the findings of this report," he added. "We have reasons to believe that if the world doesn't do anything about mitigating the emissions of greenhouse gases, and the extent of climate change continues to increase, then the very social stability of human systems could be at stake."
Read the full IPCC report here, or watch the webcast of the report's presentation here.

MORE: Alaskan Glaciers Reveal Global Warming's Impact

Bear Glacier (2005)

Muir Glacier and Inlet (1895)
In the approximately 80 years between these photos, Bear Glacier's piedmont lobe has retreated completely out of the field of view. Large icebergs, floating in the ice-marginal lake that fills the basin formerly occupied by Bear Glacier's piedmont lobe, represent the only glacier ice that is visible. (USGS/Bruce Molnia)

National Weather Summary for March 31,2014 from

Weather Underground midday recap for Monday,March 31,2014

A cold frontal boundary inched across the West Coast on Monday, while a separate cold front extended from the central Rockies to the upper Midwest.

Heavy precipitation began to move across northern and central California on Monday as a cold front pushed across the West Coast. Winter storm warnings and winter weather advisories were issued across the Klamath Mountains and the Sierra Nevadas as heavy snow began to move across the higher elevations. This system also ushered moderate rain across western Oregon. Washington stayed mostly clear of precipitation.

A separate cold front stretched from Colorado to Minnesota on Monday. A strong low pressure system along the frontal boundary pushed heavy snow across the northern Plains, as blizzard warnings were issued across the Dakotas and western Minnesota. Walsh, N.D., reported a midday total of 7.0 inches of snow, while Grand Forks, N.D., reported a midday total of 3.5 inches of snow. Strong winds accompanied this system, as Pennington, S.D., recorded wind speeds of 64 mph. A mixture of rain and snow also moved across the upper Midwest. To the south, a line of showers and thunderstorms developed over the southern Plains and the Mississippi Valley.

Meanwhile, an area of low pressure moved north northeastward along the northeastern coast on Monday. This system brought a mixture of rain and snow to eastern New England, as Manchester, N.H., reported a midday total of 1.38 inches of rain. The remainder of the Eastern Seaboard stayed clear of wet weather. .

This Date in Weather History for March 31,2014 from

Weather History
For Monday,March 31,2014
1890 - Saint Louis, MO, received 20 inches of snow in 24 hours. It was the worst snowstorm of record for the St Louis. (David Ludlum)
1954 - The temperature at Rio Grande City, TX, hit 108 degrees, which for thirty years was a U.S. record for the month of March. (The Weather Channel)
1962 - A tornado struck the town of Milton, FL, killing 17 persons and injuring 100 others. It was the worst tornado disaster in Florida history. (David Ludlum)
1973 - A devastating tornado took a nearly continuous 75 mile path through north central Georgia causing more than 113 million dollars damage, the highest total of record for a natural disaster in the state. (The Weather Channel)
1987 - March went out like a lion in the northeastern U.S. A slow moving storm produced heavy snow in the Lower Great Lakes Region, and heavy rain in New England. Heavy rain and melting snow caused catastrophic flooding along rivers and streams in Maine and New Hampshire. Strong southerly winds ahead of the storm gusted to 62 mph at New York City, and reached 87 mph at Milton MA. (The National Weather Summary) (Storm Data)
1988 - March went out like a lion in eastern Colorado. A winter-like storm produced 42 inches of snow at Lake Isabel, including 20 inches in six hours. Fort Collins reported 15 inches of snow in 24 hours. Winds gusted to 80 mph at Centerville UT. Albuquerque NM received 14 inches of snow. (The National Weather Summary) (Storm Data)
1989 - Afternoon thunderstorms produced severe weather from North Carolina to Pennsylvania. Thunderstorm winds gusted to 76 mph at Cape Henry VA. While squalls blanketed northwest Pennsylvania with up to 9 inches of snow, thunderstorms in eastern Pennsylvania produced golf ball size hail at Avondale. (Storm Data) (The National Weather Summary)
1990 - The month of March went out just as it came in, like a lamb. Marquette MI, which started the month with a record high of 52 degrees, equalled their record for the date with a reading of 62 degrees. (The National Weather Summary)
2010 - Jacksonville, Florida's, record streak of days with high temperatures below 80 degrees comes to an end at 105 days. It was also Jacksonville's first 80 degree reading of the year. The previous latest first 80 degree day was on March 14, 1978.

World Weather Hot Spot for March 31-April 1,2014 from

Hong Kong,China: Heavy rain;received over 6 inches of rain Sunday (March 30,2014)

Spring to Bust Out Across the East This Week

By , Expert Senior Meteorologist
March 31,2014; 8:08PM,EDT
As tens of millions of people bid good riddance to March, spring will be busting out all over during the first week of April in the South, Northeast and part of the Midwest.
Some people have described this March as being a penguin, lion, polar bear and even a stubborn mule.
"Who cares what March came in like or is going out like," AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Elliot Abrams said. "The simple fact that it is departing is wonderful in itself."

The surging warmth will help lawns green up, buds to push out and blossoms to burst forth. People will be able to shed winter coats and break out short sleeves. The weather will be much more favorable for outdoor sporting activities ranging from jogging and bicycling to baseball and soccer.
As a storm stalls over the Central states with rounds of severe weather much of this week, a circulation around the storm will push warmer air into most places east of the Mississippi River.
MLB Weather
The Psychology of Spring
AccuWeather Temperature Forecast Maps

The pattern will send temperatures to near 80 degrees Fahrenheit in Birmingham, Ala., Atlanta, Raleigh, N.C., and Richmond, Va., during the middle and latter parts of the week. Temperatures will climb well into the 80s F in Columbia, S.C., and Savannah, Ga.

Highs will be in the 70s F most days around Nashville, Tenn., and Louisville, Ky.
Farther north, most days will feature highs in the 60s to near 70 F around Washington, D.C., to Cincinnati. Highs will be in the 60s F for at least a couple of days from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia and New York City.

Multiple days with highs in the 50s F are forecast from Chicago to Detroit and Boston. In this swath, a push of cooler air will sweep eastward and is likely to keep the warmup at bay, but temperatures will still be significantly and consistently higher than they have been during much of March.
Temperatures averaged 4 to 8 degrees Fahrenheit below normal over a large part of the Midwest and Northeast during March. Many areas in the South averaged 2 to 4 degrees Fahrenheit below normal this past month.
Some showers and thunderstorms are projected to push eastward from mid- to late-week from the Ohio Valley to part of the Northeast.

At the end of the week, there may be a round of strong to locally severe thunderstorms from the mid-Atlantic to the Southeast as the slow-moving storm from the Central states picks up forward speed.
Chilly weather is forecast to return later in the weekend into next week from the Upper Midwest to the Northeast and interior South.
"If there is a zone that stays chilly more often than not through much of April, it will be the area from the northern Plains to the Upper Midwest and interior Northeast," AccuWeather Long Range Expert Paul Pastelok said. "The Southwest will have more days with above-average temperatures than below-average temperatures during April, and warmth will build quickly over the Southwest."

On Social Media
Jesse Ferrell
Running a little hot are you there Philly radar... News
LIVE: Snow, Ice Expected Across Ohio Valley, South
A storm system will bring snow and ice to parts of the mid-Atlantic and the South through Monday. "Snow will spread along the Ohio River thi...
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Feeling like a kid on Christmas morning... Happy #OpeningDay! Let's go @Orioles! ⚾️

Tornado Threat Returns to Southern Plains This Week

By , Senior Meteorologist
March 31,2014; 8:07PM,EDT
People of the Plains will need to keep an eye on the weather this week for a multiple-day severe thunderstorm outbreak that will be complete with tornadoes.
A couple of slow-moving storm systems will be responsible for multiple rounds of severe weather over the Central states through Friday.
During Tuesday and Wednesday, thunderstorms can become briefly severe farther south from Texas to Kansas and Missouri. The storms on Wednesday could be known for large hail, ahead of a push of warm, humid air.

"We are looking at Thursday to be the first decent setup for tornadoes this spring," stated AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions Storm Warning Meteorologist Rebecca Elliott.
Thursday will likely be the most active day of the week, in terms of severe weather, across the southern Plains as a potent storm from the West clashes with warm, humid air streaming in from the Gulf of Mexico.

Warm, humid conditions will be established by Thursday centered on Arkansas, but including most of the neighboring states.
In addition to the tornado threat, there exists the potential for numerous thunderstorms capable of producing damaging winds, large hail and blinding downpours on Thursday.
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Cities likely in the path of Thursday's severe weather outbreak include Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Okla.; Fayetteville, Fort Smith and Little Rock, Ark.; and Dallas, Waco and Tyler, Texas; Joplin, Springfield and Cape Girardeau, Mo.; and Shreveport, La.
The violent thunderstorms may press to the lower Mississippi and Ohio valleys Thursday night and on Friday.

Residents throughout the South Central states should continue to check back with as details on the severe weather threat unfold, especially concerning the storms during the second half of the week.
The running total of tornadoes so far this year is lagging behind average.

The behavior of this season's severe weather season is consistent with the Long Range Forecast Team's synopsis that this year's severe weather and tornado threat will spike later than usual.
Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski contributed content to this story.

On Social Media
David Payne
Threat for severe weather increases Wednesday. Hail, wind and Tornadoes possible. @NEWS9 #okwx
Safya Yassin (Sofia)
Looks like more crazy tornado weather coming mid-week for Midwest/Southern Plains.
Michelle Apon
T-storm chances this PM & a threat for severe weather this week. Details coming up at 11:48 AM on @41ActionNews.
Ryan Wichman
Pattern also favors an active severe weather corridor the next few weeks across the southern plains and southeastern US. Not far off normal.
Matt Hoffman
A sign of spring with the weather lab printer printing off severe t-storm and tornado warnings. All in MN so far.
Preparing With Dave
Strong storm hitting the west coast right now. You'all to the east better be prepared. Thunderstorms here are future severe weather for you.
OK County Extension
Tornado season is here & with a chance of severe weather this week today is the day to review your storm safety plan with your family! #okwx
NWS Aberdeen
Severe weather: an arc of thunderstorms is moving into Hamlin/Deuel Counties, hail and even a brief tornado is possible #sdwx #mnwx
Multiple days of severe weather coming. Our storm chasers are ready. Bookmark
Multiple days of severe wx across the Central & Southern plains. Thur poses biggest threat #kswx #mowx #okwx...
Forever Chasing
Multiple days of severe wx poss across central/south plains, Thurs poses biggest threat #kswx #mowx #okwx #arwx #txwx
breakingweather: Tornado threat increases later this week across southern Plains:"

National Temperature and Rainfall Extremes for March 31,2014 from

As of 11PM,EDT/8PM,PDT

Daily U.S. Extremes

past 24 hours

  Extreme Location
High 95° Dryden, TX
Low Stanley, ID
Precip 1.29" Manchester, NH

Blizzard Closes Out March in the Plains

By , Senior Meteorologist
March 31,2014; 8:06PM,EDT
March is coming to an end with a disruptive blizzard that is shutting down travel across the northern Plains into Monday night and into early Tuesday morning.
As of late Monday night, snow totaling more than nine inches was reported in Grand Forks, N.D. and Hallock, Minn., according to NWS observers.
The blizzard will reach from northeastern South Dakota, much of North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota through Monday night. People in this area should expect travel delays and disruptions to daily activities.
Rapid City, Pierre and Aberdeen, S.D., Fargo, Jamestown and Bismarck, N.D., and Ortonville, Minn., lie within this zone.

Minneapolis should narrowly escape the worst of the blizzard, the city will still be subject to some snow and slick travel Monday night.
This blizzard will be short-lived--in terms of accompanying strong winds, not heavy snow--since the storm will weaken as it heads into central Ontario for the first day of April.

Even though true blizzard conditions will not be met across northeastern Minnesota and central Ontario, heavy snow and reduced visibility are still expected.
Some rain and ice will precede the snow and blizzard in some communities. As temperatures plunge with the developing storm, blizzard conditions will soon follow.
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Howling winds will make measuring the snow very difficult. Winds during the height of the storm will gust to around 45 mph, leading to severe blowing and drifting snow and blinding conditions.
The strong winds around the storm will cause blowing dust in parts of the central Plains.

Travel will be dangerous for a time. Officials may be forced to close lengthy stretches of highways and interstates. Interstates 29, 90 and 94 could be among such roads.
As of noon EDT Monday, the North Dakota Department of Transportation issued a no travel advisory for areas of northeastern, southwestern and north central North Dakota due to reduced visibility from snow and blowing snow.
Motorists attempting to travel during the blizzard run the risk of becoming stranded for a time. Residents should prepare for school and other activities to be canceled.
In the wake of the blizzard, the northern Plains will need to be further monitored for more snow events during April.
The chance for a bit of snow will return Wednesday. If a storm tracks far enough to the north, steadier snow may follow for later in the week.

On Social Media
Wayne Mahar
BIG STORM in Plains. Blizzard Warnings Dakotas. 3pm CT 74° Des Moines ahead of storm. 17° snow/wind Pierre, SD behind storm. #marchlamblion
SA Reynolds Travel
There is a blizzard threatening to halt travel across the northern Plains, US today. Disruptions to flights in the region should be expected
Alexandra Lee
Blizzard shuts schools, roads in northern US Plains .@Reuters #weather #blizzard #snow #tcot #Midwest

El Nino May Tame Atlantic Hurricanes, Bring Beneficial Rain to California

By , Expert Senior Meteorologist
March 31,2014; 8:05PM,EDT
There are indications that an El Niño is on the way for the middle and latter parts of 2014. The phenomenon may impact the weather in portions of the United States, starting this summer.
Fluctuations in the sea surface temperature over the tropical Pacific Ocean have been observed and recorded for approximately the past 60 years. These fluctuations are known as the El Niño Southern Oscillation or ENSO. When the waters are cooler than average for a several-month period, the event is called La Niña. Opposingly, when the waters are warmer than average over several months, the event is called El Niño.
According to AccuWeather Long Range Forecaster Mark Paquette, "We are confident that an El Niño is in the early stages of developing and may reach moderate strength moving forward into mid- to late summer of 2014."
While El Niño will not have an impact on this spring and summer's severe weather, it may come on early enough and strong enough to have impact on the upcoming hurricane season in the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific.

Disruptive winds, known as wind shear, often develop off the Atlantic coast of the United States and sweep over a large part of the basin during El Niño.
"It is possible that a budding El Niño and developing wind shear may truncate the number of hurricanes originating from near the west coast of Africa during the middle and latter part of the season," Paquette said.
El Niño, La Niña Influence on Hurricane Seasons
Long Range Forecasting Takes More Than a Crystal Ball
Spring 2014 Severe Weather Outlook

El Niño is generally not a major player in determining the number and strength of storms that originate over the Gulf of Mexico and much of the Caribbean.
While the number of storms tends to be lower in the Atlantic during an El Niño, it is not uncommon for the Eastern Pacific to have a very active hurricane season.
An El Niño may also enhance the summer monsoon over the Four Corners region of the Southwest as tropical moisture funnels in from the Eastern Pacific. Whether monsoon moisture is enhanced over drought-stricken California is less certain at this time, Paquette said.
However, there is some hope for rain later in the year that could impact the California drought, which has been weighing heavily on ranchers.
The greatest effects on the weather pattern in the Lower 48 states, including California, occur during the cold season.
"As far as impact on next winter, it is too early in the game to make a call one way or another, but some El Niño patterns in the past [1997-98] have produced significant storms in California," Paquette said.
El Niño winters are noted for wet and stormy conditions in the South and less-frequent, less-severe cold episodes in the Northern states.
The pattern has been known to bring outbreaks of severe weather in the South during the winter.
There is a tendency toward dry conditions in the Northwest and North Central states during an El Niño winter.

The strength of an El Niño can also have significant outcome of the weather pattern.
A strong El Niño can shift the winter storm track off the coast of the Northeast. A weak to moderate El Niño can allow the storm track to be near the coast.

Long-range weather forecasts are challenging, as many variables have to come together. Forecasts for the long range are typically described in overall departures from normal over a seasonal period rather than in daily extremes: wetter or drier than average and colder or warmer than average for a several-week to a several-month period.
AccuWeather will be releasing its summer 2014 outlook in late April along with a preliminary peek at the upcoming hurricane season.

On Social Media
Ben Kouchnerkavich
An El Nino is expected for mid to late-2014, and will likely provide many benefits (less hurricanes, less drought):…
Jim Dickey
Great write up on developing El Nino and what it means for the US:…
Windy Wilson
@Gazhacks How about I say let's wait and get the weather chat about El Niño . . . . . . 2014 or 2015 will be the warmest summer ever !!
El Nino May Tame Atlantic Hurricanes, Bring Beneficial Rain to California #NewsAd link…
Bill Binkley
Please also warm up the Mid-Atlantic a bit.El Nino May Tame Atlantic Hurricanes, Bring Beneficial Rain to California…
Michael Carl
El Nino May Tame Atlantic Hurricanes, Bring Beneficial Rain to California. #cawater #drought…
Rob Popovic
Arriba El Niño RT @breakingweather: El Nino may tame Atlantic hurricanes, bring beneficial rain to California:
Molly Cochran
@asoswx does a great job explaining how the El Nino could tame the upcoming hurricane season…