Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Super Typhoon Maysak Kills At Least 5 in Micronesia, Threatens Philippines

Zain Haidar
Published: March 31,2015

Two days after causing widespread destruction in Micronesia, Maysak has intensified into a super typhoon and threatens the Philippines along with other island nations in the Western Pacific.
Maysak struck Micronesia's Chuuk State on Sunday evening, killing at least five people and demolishing up to 95 percent of tin houses on the island, according to Guampdn.com.
Communications systems on the island, which has a population around 50,000, were down this weekend, and the full extent of the damage caused by Maysak's battering winds and rain is still unknown.
(FORECAST: Maysak) 
Yap, which is part of the Caroline Islands, and the Philippines are on track to feel Maysak, now the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane, next.
Kembo Mida Jr., a Chuuk State resident and owner of the L5 hotel, witnessed the storm's destruction first-hand and spoke to Marianas Variety.
"Yap must prepare. Chuuk was devastated. L5 also suffered damage from wind and flooding throughout the building. Houses were blown away and trees snapped in half. It was very dangerous and scary," Mida said.
Guampdn.com reports that the Ayuda Foundation is already working to provide aid to Chuuk by filling up a 40-foot container with food and building materials for the island's residents.
In a radio broadcast, Federated States of Micronesia public information officer Marz Akapito said that boats would arrive on Chuuk with water bottles and medical supplies. After Maysak passes Yap, other boats will conduct more thorough damage assessments.
(INTERACTIVE: Current Satellite Loop of Maysak)
Chuuk locals use mango, banana and cocounut trees, many of which were pulverized by Maysak's winds, as a main source of food.
"I was lucky I have a concrete house, unfortunately I (can) not say the same for many of my fellow Chuukese. Ships have sunk. Homes destroyed. Breadfruits, mangoes, bananas and coconuts our local source of food... trimmed down to just stems and branches," resident Hiroyuki Mori said.
Meanwhile, Yap is preparing for Maysak's impacts as the storm approaches with maximum sustained winds of 160 mph.
According to Yap Lt. Gov. James Yangetmai, the outer east islands are in Condition of Readiness (COR) 1 while the western islands are at COR 3. Shelters open at COR 2.
Seeing as though most homes of the island are made of tin, shelter will be necessary if Maysak continues its current track.
A similar situation unfolded in the South Pacific weeks ago.
In mid-March, Tropical Cyclone Pam struck Vanuatu, killing 11 and leaving thousands homeless as it wiped out miles of foliage.
MORE: Cyclone Pam Hits Vanuatu (Mar. 2015)

Winter Weather Watch for Tuesday,March 31,2015

March 31,2015

Welcome to the Winter Weather Watch, your daily briefing on winter weather threats across the nation, from winter weather expert Tom Niziol and our team of meteorologists. Bookmark this page and check back for regular updates through spring 2015.
Below you'll find an overview of current and upcoming winter weather systems, as well as links to jump to the latest forecast and current maps and our list of the 2014-2015 winter storm names. You can either scroll down the page, or click on these links to jump to your section of interest.
Snowfall forecast: Map showing forecast snowfall totals over the next 48 hours.
Latest winter radar: See where any snow, freezing rain or sleet is falling now.
- Where's the cold: Is cold air building in Canada or Alaska?
Winter storm names: The entire list of names this season and the science behind how we name them.

Easter Weekend Snow

  • A wave of low pressure rides up an eastward moving cold front
  • This will mix with colder air over interior New England this weekend
  • Rain will mix with snow over the eastern Great Lakes & interior New England Friday night and Saturday
  • Expect all snow Saturday Upstate New York to northern New England
  • Snowfall could exceed 6 inches in the higher elevations
  • Coastal cities are likely to see rain

Forecast: How Much Snow?

48-Hour Snowfall Forecast

Now: Snow, Sleet, Freezing Rain

Current Winter Radar

Where's the Cold?

Current Temperatures

2014-2015's Winter Storm Names

In an effort to increase awareness and enhance communication of disruptive, impactful winter storms, The Weather Channel named winter storms starting in the 2012-2013 season. We are using a new list of names, shown above, for the 2014-2015 season.
(MORE: Origin of the Names | Science Behind Naming Winter Storms)
In 2012-2013, there were 27 named winter storms spanning over five months beginning with the post-Sandy Winter Storm Athena in early November and ending with Winter Storm Achilles in early May.
(RECAP: Winter 2012-2013 Named Storms)
In 2013-2014, there were 26 named winter storms beginning in early October with historic High Plains Winter Storm Atlas and ending with a mid-May Rockies snowstorm, Winter Storm Zephyr.
(RECAP: Winter 2013-2014 Named Storms)
Not every winter weather system will receive a name. The Weather Channel has specific criteria in place to determine when we name a particular winter storm. Our two main criteria for naming a winter storm are:
  • It is forecast to produce conditions that meet the National Weather Service winter-weather warning threshold(s) over a main population center or multiple states, beginning generally within 48 hours.
  • It is forecast to produce winter weather conditions that would be historic, especially unusual, or memorable, beginning generally within 48 hours.
For more coverage of winter weather, check out our Winter Storm Central page.

MORE: Winter Storm Astro (November 2014)

Super Typhoon Maysak a Rare Early-Season Category 5; At Least 5 Killed in Micronesia

Jon Erdman
Published: March 31,2015

Super Typhoon Maysak has rapidly intensified since Monday and is the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane, according to the Wednesday afternoon advisory issued by the National Weather Service in Guam (Guam is 14 hours ahead of U.S. Eastern daylight time).
Maysak now packs estimated maximum sustained winds of 160 mph, becoming only the third super typhoon in reliable records dating to the 1940s with estimated winds that strong prior to April 1, according to Weather Underground's Dr. Jeff Masters.
Maysak is also only the fifth super typhoon of record prior to April 1, according to senior digital meteorologist, Nick Wiltgen. A western Pacific tropical cyclone is named a "super typhoon" when maximum sustained winds reach 150 mph. The last such pre-April super typhoon was Super Typhoon Mitag in March 2002.
Prior to becoming a super typhoon, Maysak caused significant damage and killed at least five people in the Chuuk state of Micronesia, according to The Associated Press. The small atoll of Ulithi appears to have taken a direct hit from the eyewall of Maysak.

Infrared Satellite: Maysak
The eye of Maysak was moving westward to the north of Yap Island (population ~ 11,000) as of early Wednesday morning, local time. This should keep the most violent winds from Maysak just to north of Yap. That said, typhoon-force winds up to 75 mph are possible in the Yap Islands as Maysak makes its closest approach Wednesday morning. Coastal inundation of 4-6 feet is possible along windward shorelines of the Yap Islands. Rainfall flooding is also likely in poor-drainage and low-lying areas.
Typhoon warnings have been posted by the National Weather Service in Guam for Yap island in Yap state.
(INTERACTIVE: Current Satellite Loop of Maysak)
Forecast path and peak sustained winds of Maysak over the next five days. Circles denote uncertainty in the position of the center at each forecast point.
Fortunately, Maysak's center has remained sufficiently far south of Guam to limit impacts to perhaps some lingering outer rainbands and high surf on east, southeast or southwest-facing beaches.
It remains too early to tell if and how heavily Maysak may eventually impact the northern Philippines.
The concern is after an initial slight rightward (northward) bend in the track, upper-level high pressure would resettle in, steering Maysak toward the Philippines. If this occurs, the threat to the northern or central Philippines would be this weekend. All interests in the Philippines should monitor closely the progress of Maysak.
(FORECAST: Manila | Tacloban)
Typhoon Maysak first impacted Chuuk State, a group of Micronesian islands about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) southeast of Guam. Winds gusted as high as 71 mph Chuuk International Airport on Weno Island in the Chuuk State of Micronesian on Sunday, local time. (Chuuk is 14 hours ahead of eastern daylight time.)
Guampdn.com reported about 95 percent of tin houses were destroyed in Chuuk state. Communications were down in the islands Saturday, but were restored Sunday. Kane Faylim, airport manager for the Chuuk state government told the Associated Press airport employees had clear rocks deposited by large waves from the runway of Chuuk's airstrip Tuesday, which has now been reopened.
Maysak became the third typhoon of 2015, a record active early start to the year in the western Pacific, according to Weather Underground's director of meteorology, Dr. Jeff Masters.
Western Pacific Ocean tropical cyclones, called typhoons, can occur any time of the year, but typically hit a relative minimum in February and early March.
The name Maysak is Cambodian for a kind of tree.
Earlier in March, Tropical Cyclone Pam made a direct hit on the southern islands of Vanuatu in the south Pacific.
(PAM: Before/After Imagery | How You Can Help | Four Tropical Cyclones At Once)

MORE: Cyclone Pam's Devastation (Mar. 2015)

Severe Storms Looming for Early April

By: Bob Henson , 6:59PM,GMT on March 31,2015

The first ten days of April could produce more severe weather than the modest amount racked up so far across the U.S. in 2015. The same upper-level pattern that kept the West warm and the East cold through most of the winter has also kept severe weather to a minimum, as northwest flow and a series of cold fronts pushed warm, unstable air off the U.S. mainland. This year through March 30, we’ve seen a preliminary total of a mere 38 tornadoes, compared to a January-March average over the preceding three years of 163. As of Tuesday morning, NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center had issued just four tornado watches and four severe thunderstorm watches for the year thus far. This compares to a long-term Jan.-Mar. average (1970 – 2014) of around 39 tornado and 24 severe thunderstorm watches, according to SPC’s Greg Carbin.

Figure 1. Severe-weather outlooks issued by NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center on Tuesday morning, March 31, valid for Tuesday (top), Wednesday (center), and Thursday (bottom). Image credit: NOAA/SPC.

The 2015 numbers look destined to rise over the next few days, as a major circulation change takes place over North America. The long-prevailing northwest flow is being replaced this week by more zonal (west-to-east) flow, with an embedded upper-level impulse reaching the Midwest on Wednesday and another targeting the Southern Plains on Thursday. A moist low-level air mass is already in place, with dew points close to 60°F from Tulsa, OK, to Birmingham, AL. Surface low pressure generated by the upper-level impulses should continue to pull the moisture pool northward and generate unstable conditions. SPC placed a broad belt from Oklahoma to Georgia under a slight risk of severe weather for Tuesday afternoon and evening, with large hail possible as the moisture continue to flow north.

A large swath of the Great Plains is under an slight risk for Wednesday, from northwest Oklahoma to southern Minnesota, with an slight risk in place for Thursday across part of the Southern Plains and mid-Mississippi Valley. The predominantly west-to-east upper flow combined with southerly low-level flow will enhance vertical wind shear, a key ingredient in the formation of supercell thunderstorms. The main threats appear to be high winds and large hail, although tornadoes can’t be ruled out. As was the case last Wednesday, when F2 tornadoes struck the Tulsa suburb of Sand Springs and the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore, the corridor from Interstate 44 into east central Oklahoma could be a particular focal point for supercell formation by late Thursday. Severe weather may continue into the lower Mississippi Valley on Friday before the associated cold front moves into the Gulf of Mexico.

Forecast models indicate a strong upper-level trough will settle across the Great Basin by early next week, setting the stage for what could be a more extensive multiday round of severe weather beginning as soon as Sunday. A strong surface low should develop over the High Plains by late in the weekend, pulling unstable air back northward across a large area beneath west-southwest upper flow. Strong thunderstorms could spread across the Midwest and South by early next week, with several days of focused severe weather possible.

Is El Niño about to make its presence known?
Surface waters have warmed dramatically over the far eastern tropical Pacific over the last several weeks, and the water temperatures are now assuming a more classic El Niño configuration that’s been absent for the last few months, with prominent warming just off the coast of South America. Computer models are remarkably consistent on projecting a strengthening of El Niño conditions over the next few months. All eight international models surveyed by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology on March 16 indicated that at least moderate El Niño conditions should be in place by August (i.e., sea-surface temperatures at least 1.0°C above average over the Niño3.4 region). However, in a March 31 update, the BOM cautions: “Model outlooks spanning February to May . . . have lower confidence than forecasts made at other times of year. Some models currently show some spread in their outlooks for tropical Pacific Ocean temperatures, indicating that while further warming is indeed very likely, there remains some ambiguity about the amount of warming expected.”

One hallmark of El Niño across the U.S. is split flow, with the polar jet stream retreating to the north and the subtropical jet stream intensifying across the southern tier of states. This pattern tends to keep unstable air shunted toward the Gulf Coast, hiking the chance of severe weather there (especially in Florida) but reducing the odds over the nation’s heartland.

Long-range models for mid-April are suggesting an El Niño-flavored pattern may emerge, with prominent split flow (see Figure 2, below). This is partly related to an intense Madden-Julian Oscillation event, the strongest on record (see our March 18 post), whose impacts are now reaching the eastern tropical Pacific and reinforcing the trend toward El Niño conditions. On its heels, a strong downwelling (or warming-phase) oceanic Kelvin wave will be pushing slowly eastward within the eastern equatorial Pacific over the next month, according to WSI’s Michael Ventrice. “This should favor increased organized thunderstorm activity over the eastern tropical Pacific basin, which will act to accelerate the subtropical jet stream over the U.S. through the end of spring,” says Ventrice. “This spells heavy precipitation threats (including some severe weather) across the southeastern tier of the nation over the upcoming months under the developing split-flow type pattern.”

Unfortunately, next week’s strong western trough may bypass California, further reducing hope of an “Awesome April” that might take a dent out of the severe drought and heat now plaguing the state. If a strong El Niño were to develop and persist, it could increase the likelihood of substantial rain in California during the 2015-16 wet season.

Figure 2. The GFS ensemble forecast issued at 1200 GMT on Monday, 30 March, and valid at 0000 GMT on Monday, 13 April, shows a pronounced split-flow pattern at the 200-millibar height (roughly 40,000 feet), with much of the United States lying between the polar and subtropical jet streams. Image credit: Michael Ventrice, WSI.

New insight on how El Niño, La Niña shape severe weather risk
A paper published this month in Nature Geoscience elaborates on how the odds of U.S. severe weather in late winter and spring tend to be boosted by La Niña and diminished by El Niño. The authors, led by John Allen (International Research Institute for Climate and Society, or IRI), acknowledge that it’s difficult to examine the connection between the El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and severe weather. The datasets are imperfect (not all tornadoes or severe hailstorms get reported), and there’s a great deal of variability from year to year. “Trying to tease out an ENSO signal from both the natural noise and the human noise becomes quite complicated,” said coauthor Michael Tippett (Columbia University) in an IRI news release. “You can’t get a robust correlation using the observational record alone.” In this new study, the state of ENSO from 1979 to 2012 is compared not only with actual severe reports but also with the environmental factors associated with severe weather, such as instability and vertical wind shear, thus enabling the results to be analyzed more comprehensively. The study is the first to examine ENSO’s relationship to severe hail.

Figure 3. When ENSO is in a warm, or El Niño, phase (top), the frequency of springtime tornadoes goes down. When it is in a cool, or La Niña phase (bottom), tornadoes increase (indicated by red areas). The effect is strongest in the boxed area. Image credit: IRI, from Allen et al., Nature Geoscience, 2015.

In line with previous work by others, the largest influence found by the IRI team in winter (December-February) is across southern Texas and Florida, where the risk of tornadoes is roughly doubled during El Niño events. Prior studies had been inconclusive for springtime, but the IRI group found a significant ENSO influence focused across parts of northern Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas (see Figure 3), where the risk of tornadoes and severe hail rises dramatically during La Niña and drops during El Niño. There’s some asymmetry in this response: while not every El Niño event puts a dent in the region’s severe weather, La Niña events almost always push the likehood of tornadoes or severe hail above the climatological norm. “Naturally, this is only a simple model for the influence of ENSO on hail/tornadoes, and there needs to be more complexity added moving forward,” Allen told me in an email. He and colleagues are now looking into how variations in the strength of ENSO across a severe weather season might influence the outcome.

Given the weak El Niño event now under way, the IRI team is calling for slightly enhanced odds of a less-active severe season than usual. Allen explains the forecast in a video clip on IRI’s website.

Maysak maintains Category 5 strength
Jeff Masters posted a full report earlier today on Super Typhoon Maysak, now plowing across the Northwest Pacific east of the Caroline Islands. As of 8 am EDT Tuesday, Maysak’s top sustained winds were at 160 mph, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center. This makes the system one of only three Category 5 typhoons ever observed in the Northwest Pacific prior to April (the other two are Super Typhoon Ophelia of January 1958 and Super Typhoon Mitag of March 2002, both with 160-mph winds). The JTWC predicts some further strengthening of Maysak, with a projected top wind speed of close to 180 mph by Tuesday night. Any eyewall replacement cycle, if one occurs, could keep Maysak from getting stronger. Fortunately, Maysak is tracking north of Yap, the most populated of Micronesia’s Caroline Islands, and cooler water temperatures should lead to a fair amount of weakening by the time Maysak approaches the Philippines this weekend. At least 5 deaths and extensive damage have been reported on Chuuk State (Micronesia). The storm also passed just north of the sparsely populated islands of Fais and Ulithi while close to its top strength.

According to intensity estimates from the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, 2015 is the first year on record to have three Category 5 storms form in the Pacific Ocean during the first three months of the year. The other two Category 5 storms in 2015 were Tropical Cyclone Pam (165 mph winds), which devastated Vanuatu in mid-March, and Tropical Cyclone Bansi (160 mph winds), which affected ocean areas a few hundred miles east of Madagascar. Reliable satellite records of Southern Hemisphere tropical cyclones extend back to the early 1990s, so we only have about a 25-year period of good records for global tropical cyclones.

We’ll have a new post by Wednesday morning.

Bob Henson

Figure 4. An infrared image of Super Typhoon Maysak from 0444 GMT on Tuesday, March 31. Image credit: NOAA/NASA and RAMBB/CIRA, courtesy Stu Ostro (The Weather Channel).

Weather Underground National Forecast for Tuesday,March 31,2015

By: nationalsummary , 10:00PM,GMT on March 30,2015

Weather Underground Forecast for Tuesday,March 31,2015

Wet weather continues moving through the Great Lakes and Midwest on Tuesday, while scattered rain showers spread across the Northwestern corner of the nation. A trough of low pressure is expected to slide southeastward from the upper Midwest and across the Midwest and Great Lakes on Tuesday. This system has limited moisture associated with it, but will likely produce scattered rain showers that will spread across Michigan, Ohio, and into southern New England by Tuesday night. At the same time, a weak cold front extends south from this system and will move across the lower Mississippi Valley and Tennessee Valley throughout the day. Expect scattered showers with possible thunderstorm development for these areas Tuesday afternoon and evening.

Meanwhile out West, a strong low pressure system moves into western Canada and creates a strong cold front that pulls abundant moisture onshore from the Pacific Ocean. This system will produce moderate rain showers for northwestern Washington early on Tuesday. As this frontal boundary advances eastward throughout the day, expect rain showers to spread eastward over the Intermountain West and into the northern Rockies by Tuesday evening. The rest of the West Coast and Southwest will remain dry as high pressure remains the dominant weather feature.

This Date in Weather History for March 31,2015 from weatherforyou.com

Weather History
For Tuesday,March 31,2015
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.

Winter's Foothold in East to Delay Peak Bloom of DC's Cherry Blossoms

 By Michael Kuhne, AccuWeather.com Staff Writer
March 31,2015; 7:44PM,EDT

Old Man Winter's foothold in the eastern United States hasn't budged much in early spring and will likely delay the peak blooming of the abundant sakura blossoms gracing the nation's capital.
Each year more than 1.5 million people visit Washington, D.C., during the spring for the annual National Cherry Blossom Festival.
"Temperatures over the last week have been running 5 degrees below average for this time of year," AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Brian Edwards said.
The peak bloom date, which is expected between April 11 and 14 this year, is defined as the day when 70 percent of Yoshino cherry trees that surround the Tidal Basin are open, according to the National Park Service.
"Peak bloom varies annually depending on weather conditions. The most likely time to reach peak bloom is between the last week of March and the first week of April," the National Park Service reports. "Extraordinary warm or cool temperatures have resulted in peak bloom as early as March 15 (1990) and as late as April 18 (1958)."
The average temperature has been 44.9 F from March 23 through March 29, Edwards said, adding that the normal temperature is around 50 F.
"Exactly when the buds will open is not easy to predict and it is extremely difficult to give an accurate forecast much more than 10 days before peak bloom," the park service reports.
(Photo/National Cherry Blossom Festival)
Japan presented the U.S. with more than 3,000 cherry trees in 1912 to celebrate the relationship between the two countries, sparking the nation's first cherry blossom festival in 1927.
Detailed Washington, D.C., Weather
AccuWeather Severe Weather Center
PHOTOS: Latest Peak Bloom for DC Cherry Blossoms Since 1993

The initial gift included 12 varieties, of which two, Yoshino and Kwanzan, are now the most abundant.
According to the National Park Service, there are now approximately 3,800 cherry trees located near the Tidal Basin, East Potomac Park and the Washington Monument.
(Cherry blossoms in April 2014. (Photo/Mike Donahue ‏@MichaelDPhotos)
In 1993, the blossoms for the National Cherry Blossom Festival hit peak bloom on April 11, according to the National Cherry Blossom Festival's website.
In spring of 2014, the city saw the latest peak bloom since that time.
Last year's peak bloom date occurred on April 10, and in 2013 it occurred on April 9.

Spotty Severe Storms to Affect South Into Tuesday Evening

By , AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist
March 31,2015; 8:13PM,EDT
Strong to locally severe thunderstorms will affect areas from northern Texas and southern Oklahoma to western and southern Georgia into Tuesday evening.
The vast majority of the storms in this swath will be typical heavy Southern thunderstorms. However, a few locations will experience a damaging storm.
The main threat from the storms will be large hail and locally strong wind gusts, along with blinding downpours. A couple of the strongest storms can produce brief tornado.
People spending time outdoors should keep an eye out for rapidly changing weather conditions and seek shelter in a sturdy building or vehicle as storms approach. While the main threat to property will be hail and strong winds, lightning is the greatest risk for people outdoors.

One small cluster of storms erupted Tuesday afternoon near Little Rock, Arkansas, and produced hail up to 2 inches in diameter. Hail reports poured in from across many locations throughout the south, including hail 1.75 inches in diameter in Good Hope, Alabama and near Leland, Mississippi. Strong winds also were reported, including a 70 mph wind gust near Pendleton, Arkansas.
AccuWeather.com Severe Weather Center
VIDEO: Tornado Damage Captured in Moore, Oklahoma
Southern US Interactive Radar

The storms are erupting along a developing frontal zone separating building warm and humid air to the south from slightly cooler and less humid air to the north.
A potentially significant outbreak of severe weather is likely on Wednesday centered on Iowa but extending as far north as parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin to as far south as Texas.
The risk of severe weather will continue over the Central states into Thursday night.

Maysak Intensifies to Super Typhoon Over Pacific

By Eric Leister, Meteorologist
March 31,2015; 8:11PM,EDT
Super Typhoon Maysak, one of the strongest cyclones in history during the months of January, February and March, has already slammed several Micronesian islands on its way to the Philippines.
Maysak will continue to strengthen during the next 12-24 hours as it moves westward across the Pacific Ocean. Though passing to the north of Yap, flooding rain and significant damaging winds will still be possible.
Maysak first developed into a tropical storm on Friday while located across Micronesia, southeast of Guam. The storm has continued strengthening since and will remain a large and dangerous typhoon as it tracks westward toward the Philippines this week.
This animated GIF shows Maysak tracking across the Pacific Ocean. (NOAA/Satellite)
Maysak slammed the island of Chuuk over the weekend with damaging winds and torrential rainfall as the core of the storm moved directly over the island. More than 250 mm (10 inches) of rain was reported, most of which fell in under six hours.
Andrew Yatilman, director of the National Emergency Management Office of the Federated States of Micronesia, reported to Radio New Zealand that there was severe damage across Chuuk with roofs completely torn off homes and possible casualties.
Yap will be the next significantly populated island to be affected by Maysak. The close encounter will occur from Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, local time, with lingering impacts into Wednesday afternoon.
Maysak will be close to peak intensity at this time with sustained winds expected to be 285 kph (180 mph) or greater, equivalent of Category 5 hurricane. Gusts as high as 350 kph (220 mph) are possible. Fortunately with the storm passing about 100 miles to the north wind gusts of 160 kph (100 mph) will be more likely.

Major wind damage across the islands is expected, along with flooding rainfall. The powerful super typhoon will bring life-threatening conditions to the islands for a period of 12 to 24 hours. Conditions will improve Wednesday night as the storm moves away from the area.
After passing Yap, Maysak will soon begin to feel the influence of increasingly strong wind shear as it tracks across the western Philippines Sea. This wind shear will begin a weakening trend as the typhoon approaches the Philippines.
Tropical Weather Center
Western Pacific Typhoon Center
Philippines Weather Center

Despite the weakening trend that is expected through the end of the week, Maysak could still be a dangerous typhoon or tropical storm as it begins to affect the eastern Philippines next weekend.
An eventual path into the central or northern Philippines is most likely, bringing the threat for flooding rainfall and damaging winds.
Impacts from the storm will arrive in Manila by Sunday or Monday; however, threats will be limited to tropical downpours which may cause some localized flooding.
Maysak will continue to weaken as it crosses the Philippines and even though it will move into the Philippine Sea, no restrengthening is expected and the cyclone will likely dissipate shortly after exiting the Philippines.
Meteorologist Adam Douty contributed to this story.

  • Barbara Bellaar · Amsterdam, Netherlands
    Boracay my have bad weather....
  • Jocel Casuyon Piornato · Bacolod City
    Is it safe spending holiday on boracay?
  • Paul Derand · Top Commenter
    My forecasts:

    Supertyphoon Maysak is located near 10°N 139.5°E, it moves WNW. The central atmospheric pressure is 900hpa and there are winds of 260 km/h, it strengthens gradually. While moving WNW, it is expected to strengthen a little more until Tuesday night, reaching central winds of 285 km/h. From Wednesday, it is expected to move WNW and to start weakening gradually. It would reach Luzon on Saturday evening as a minimal typhoon and weaken even more.

    YAP: There are typhoon-force winds and torrential rains. Up to 260-285 km/h supertyphoon typhoon-force winds with up to 325-365 km/h gusts and torrential to intense rain are expected on Tuesday evening. Typhoon-force winds and torrential rain are expected around Tuesday midnight. Storm-force-winds and very heavy rain and expected later in the night. Then, heavy rain and gales ... See More
  • Cory Morrison · · Top Commenter · Sheridan College, Oakville
    I hope this storm does not recurve near Alaska or else that would mean cold for North America.
  • Michael Pannoni · Top Commenter
    I've explained this before and given that this is a new season, watch these systems to see if they recurve because they can play a key role in the pattern over North America. Notice how it is not forecast to recurve and change the upper flow.
  • Belinda Montejo
    #MAYSAK is now a #SUPERTYPHOON - winds gusting to 315kph/195mph - making it only the 3rd super typhoon in March ever! pic.twitter.com/6iB9pdXMwv


Spring Warmth to Make Short Visit to the Northeast by Late Week

By Brett Rathbun, AccuWeather.com Meteorologist
March 31,2015; 8:09PM,EDT
While portions of the mid-Atlantic have enjoyed a day or two of spring warmth in March, most of New York state and New England will finally break out of the persistent winter chill.
Residents will have the opportunity to keep their jackets in the closet and break out the shorts and t-shirts as a surge of warmer air moves in, but only for a short time.
According to AccuWeather.com meteorologist Steve Travis, "Winds will shift out of the south and advect warmer air from the Gulf of Mexico into the region for the second half of the week."
Some locations across the Northeast may experience their warmest weather since last autumn or Christmas Day including Pittsburgh and State College, Pennsylvania; Albany, Buffalo, and Syracuse, New York; and Hartford, Connecticut.

Temperatures on Thursday will range from the 40s across northern New England to the 50s across central New York state and southern New England to the 60s across western New York, Pennsylvania and along the Interstate 95 corridor from New York to Baltimore and the 70s around Washington, D.C. and southern Pennsylvania.
Northern Maine will remain the cool spot with temperatures only in the 30s on Thursday, but will rise into the 40s on Friday.

With the warm air in place, a storm system will move into the region towards the end of the week with showers and a couple of thunderstorms. There is still some disagreement with the timing of this system.
If the storm system moves quicker into the region, temperatures could run lower than currently expected. However, if the storm tracks slower, temperatures could be even higher.
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Cooler air will build in behind this storm for the Easter weekend. A return to jeans and jackets will be needed.
"Chilly air will return just in time for Easter, as temperatures will run below normal over the weekend" Travis said.
This next shot of cool air may be short-lived as another surge of warmer air is possible for early next week.

Severe Weather to Kick Off April in Central US

By , Senior Meteorologist
March 31,2015; 8:07PM,EDT
After spotty severe storms stretch from northern Texas and southern Oklahoma to parts of Georgia on Tuesday evening, a more widespread severe weather danger will target the central Plains on Wednesday afternoon into Wednesday evening.
Omaha, Lincoln and Grand Island, Nebraska; Topeka, Salina and Emporia, Kansas; Kansas City, Missouri; and Des Moines, Cedar Rapids and Waterloo, Iowa, are among the communities at the greatest risk for thunderstorms capable of unleashing large hail and damaging winds later in the day into the evening.
Very spotty severe storms can erupt farther to the southwest from late Wednesday into early Wednesday night from south central Kansas to western Oklahoma and part of west central Texas.
A small number of tornadoes be produced during the outbreak on Wednesday.
"I think that a line of storms will develop and become severe across central Nebraska and northwestern Iowa Wednesday afternoon," stated AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions Meteorologist Alex Avalos.

Severe thunderstorms should also fire northward to Mankato, Minnesota.
"That [line of severe weather] will move southeast and threaten Kansas City, Topeka, even Emporia and points east in Kansas overnight Wednesday," Avalos continued.
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Other cities in the threat zone Wednesday night include Dubuque, Iowa; La Crosse, Wisconsin; and Kirksville, Missouri.
Storms may fire up farther to the southeast on Thursday.
According to AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Bernie Rayno, "There is the potential for locally severe storms featuring strong winds, hail and perhaps a few tornadoes over the Ohio Valley to southeastern Oklahoma on Thursday afternoon and evening."

Rainfall from the storms on Thursday will reach an area where the ground is saturated and streams are running high. Portions of the Ohio and lower Mississippi valleys may have an uptick in flooding problems late this week as a result.
Fueling the impending severe weather will be the warmth set to build across the Plains at midweek. April is set to start with highs in the 80s throughout a large part of the central Plains.
A cold front slicing into this warmth will trigger the violent thunderstorms.
Wednesday is likely to be worse in terms of severe weather coverage than Thursday, but it only takes one violent thunderstorm or a lone tornado striking a populated area to cause damage and/or bodily harm.

Easter Weekend Storm to Unload Rain and Snow in Midwest, Northeast

By , AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist
March 31,2015; 8:05PM,EDT
Following a late-week surge in warmth in the Midwest and Northeast, a storm will accompany a press of chilly air during part of the Easter Weekend with rain and even accumulating wet snow in some locations.
The storm will cause some travel problems and hinder outdoor activities due to wet conditions, slushy areas and poor visibility.
Just as colder air begins to slice into the Northeast, a storm will track from the Ohio Valley to New England spanning Friday night into Saturday. The exact track of the storm and how quickly temperatures drop will determine where the swath of snow sets up and the amount of accumulation possible.

Temperatures will plunge 20 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit from their peak on Thursday and Friday over much of the Midwest and Northeast. Highs on Saturday are projected to range from the 30s around Buffalo, New York, to the 40s in Boston and the 50s in Washington, D.C.
While the air is unlikely to ever get cold enough for snow with the storm along much of the Interstate-95 corridor and south of I-70 in the Ohio Valley, portions of I-80, I-90, I-81, and New York's Southern Tier Expressway and Thruway could get slushy and slippery in some locations.
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Accumulating snow is possible across parts of northern Indiana, Ohio, upstate New York, northern New England and neighboring Canada. Part of this zone could receive a few inches of snow during the first part of the weekend.
Where the snow falls during the nighttime and early morning hours, the snow could make some roads slushy and slippery, especially in locations that do not receive direct sunlight.
A change from rain to a wintry mix or wet snow is possible from portions of West Virginia to parts of northern and western Pennsylvania, central New York state and part of central New England. In these areas, accumulating snow is most likely to be limited to the higher elevations and grassy areas in the valleys.
While most roads in the snow area of New England, Ontario and Quebec will be wet during the midday and afternoon hours on Saturday, low visibility could cause some difficulties for motorists and flights at secondary airports.
Even where rain falls, some airline delays at the major airports in the Northeast can occur for a time due to downpours, low cloud ceilings and patchy fog.
How quickly the storm moves along will determine whether or not clearing takes place in parts of the Northeast during the day Saturday. Sunshine is likely to break through over parts of the Midwest as the day progresses.
Temperatures will recover a bit on Easter Sunday, where the sun manages to stay out. While the sun is forecast to shine on part of the I-95 mid-Atlantic corridor, clouds and spotty showers will affect areas farther west around Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Detroit and Chicago. Some flurries could fly during part of the day on upstate New York and parts of New England.
A second patch of snow and mixed precipitation may develop Sunday night into Monday over parts of the mid-Atlantic and lower Great Lakes.
AccuWeather.com and the AccuWeather Network will provide updates over the next few days as the track of the storm and change to colder weather becomes more definitive.

Easter Weather Outlook for Europe

By Eric Leister, Meteorologist
March 31,2015; 8:03PM,EDT
Easter holiday activities will get underway across parts of Europe on Friday and continue through the day on Sunday.
In the wake of two powerful wind storms, Europe will return to a more typical pattern for early April as high pressure builds over the Atlantic west of the British Isles.
A weaker storm system will pass near the British Isles on Friday spreading showers across Scotland, England and Wales with rain spreading southward into northern France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland.

This storm will then turn eastward over the weekend spreading a soaking rainfall into eastern Europe and Balkan Peninsula.
Meanwhile, high pressure over the Atlantic Ocean will build into western Europe bringing largely dry and pleasant weather to areas from the British Isles through France, Spain and Portugal on Saturday and Sunday.
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Some low clouds and drizzle are possible in eastern England on Sunday; otherwise, dry weather with some sunshine and seasonable temperatures is expected across the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Meteorologist Tyler Roys added, "For any outdoor Easter holiday activities either on Good Friday or Easter Sunday should be good on both days across Spain and across Italy, including Rome for the Way of the Cross at the Colosseum."

Across eastern Europe, plans may be impacted as rain moves through the region. Showers will occur on Saturday from the Baltic States into Poland and Ukraine while a steadier rain impacts central Europe, including the cities of Berlin, Munich, Vienna and Zagreb.
By Sunday, the heaviest rainfall will shift south and east soaking Athens, Sofia, Bucharest and Kiev. Across central Europe, rainfall will be limited to scattered showers with much of the day ending up dry.

San Francisco: Dry Weather, Sunshine to Persist into Holiday Weekend

By Michael Kuhne, AccuWeather.com Staff Writer
March 31,2015; 8:01PM,EDT
Residents across the Bay Area can expect sunshine and dry weather through the holiday weekend.
"Sunshine will dominate the area tomorrow through Friday, thanks to a broad area of high pressure off the coast," AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Danielle Knittle said.
Temperatures will be mostly in the upper 60s through the next several days.
Heading into the weekend, Saturday still looks dry, but some clouds will move into the area Knittle added.

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"By Easter Sunday, there will be some clouds along with some intervals of sun." she said.
Temperatures over the weekend will stay in the 60s.

Fast-Tracking Snow to End March in Northeast

By Brian Lada, Meteorologist
March 31,2015; 8:00PM,EDT
March will not be going out like a lamb in the Northeast as a low pressure system delivers snow and rain to the region.
This will be far from a major storm, but could cause some disruptions to travel and those with any plans in the outdoors.
The steadiest snow will fall near and north of Interstate-80 to the Pennsylvania/New York border. Pennsylvania cities from Bradford to Williamsport and Scranton are most likely to receive accumulating snow.
Farther south, it is expected to be too warm for snow to fall with Pittsburgh, Harrisburg and Philadelphia all having just rain.

In general, many areas will receive between 1 and 3 inches of snow, but some locally higher amounts are possible, especially on the ridges.
In addition to substantially reducing the visibility, snow that falls heavily can overcome the warming effect of the March sun and create slushy and slippery conditions.
These slushy and slippery conditions are most likely in areas that do not receive direct sunlight or on bridges in the higher elevations.
Sudden heavy snow shut down part of I-80 in part of central Pennsylvania during Tuesday afternoon.
With temperatures forecast to fall well below freezing on Tuesday night, black ice could form on roadways and cause slippery travel until after daybreak on Wednesday.
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Marginal temperatures will limit the snowfall accumulation farther to the east.
Because of the timing of the snow, late Tuesday into Tuesday evening around New York City the snow is not likely to accumulate on the streets and highways. A small slushy accumulation could occur on grassy areas in the suburbs. Motorists should exercise caution on bridges and through underpasses.
As the storm continues to move eastward Tuesday night, rain or a rain and snow mix can end as a period of snow centered on Long Island and the southern coastline of New England. A few locations in this zone can pick up a coating to an inch of snow, mainly on grassy surfaces.
Any snow that does accumulate on into Tuesday night should not last for long as mild weather will build in the East by Thursday.
"All this mild air that's in the middle of the country will suddenly race eastward," said AccuWeather.com Chief Meteorologist Eliot Abrams.
This will cause temperatures to climb into the 50s and 60s in the same area where the snow falls on Tuesday, melting all of the snow before the end of the week.

Although the calendar may be turning to April, that does not mean that Tuesday will bring the last snow of the season to the Northeast.
Colder air can be expected to return to the region for the upcoming weekend which will open the door for snowflakes to fly once again.
AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski contributed content to this story.

Fierce Winds Roar From UK to Germany Tuesday

By Eric Leister, Meteorologist
March 31,2015; 7:56PM,EDT
On the heels of a storm that brought widespread strong winds from Ireland and the United Kingdom through northern France, Belgium, Netherlands and Germany, another will follow a similar path unleashing another round of locally damaging winds on Tuesday.
Widespread wind gusts over 65 km/h (40 mph) will occur for the entire region, including cities such as Dublin, London, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam and Berlin. Isolated wind gusts over 80 km/h (50 mph) are possible in Dublin and Amsterdam the most likely to endure winds of this magnitude.
These strong winds will be capable of downing trees and causing extended power outages. Travel will also be impacted as flight and train delays are expected due to the magnitude of the winds over a large area.

While gusty winds will continue Tuesday night into Wednesday, the threat for any damaging gusts or power outages will come to an end.
While strong winds will be the primary threat with this storm system, a period of rain will advance from southern England into Netherlands, Belgium and Germany Monday night. On Tuesday this steady rain will fall over southern Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland.
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Showers be scattered across Ireland and the United Kingdom on Tuesday with lingering showers across much of northern Europe on Wednesday.
Another storm will bring a period of rain to northern Europe on Friday, before more tranquil weather arrives for Easter weekend.

Historic California Drought Forces Ski Resorts to Close Early

By Kevin Byrne, AccuWeather.com Staff Writer
March 31,2015; 7:54PM,EDT
With 30 plus years of experience managing ski resorts in the California, Tim Cohee has seen his share of challenging winters, but this winter has been the worst.
Cohee, owner, CEO and general manager of China Peak Mountain Resort in Lakeshore, California, was forced to shut down operations back in February, as California's historic drought shows no signs of stopping. There is a possibility they could reopen, but the chances of that happening are low, Cohee said.
"We all thought last year was the worst thing we could possibly see and then this year is substantially worse than last year," he said.
A dearth of snow, unfavorable snow-making temperatures and large storms that delivered rain rather than snow were three factors that conspired to exacerbate the season, according to Cohee. In other years, Cohee said the lack of snow could be counterbalanced with good snow-making weather.
March has been a record-warm month statewide and this is likely going to be a record-low snowpack year, according to AccuWeather.com Western Weather Expert Ken Clark.
The current statewide snowpack levels are 6 percent of normal as of March 30 and last year was 30 percent on that date, according to the California Department of Water Resources. Last week, California Gov. Jerry Brown announced $1 billion in funding for drought relief and critical water infrastructure projects.
Farther north, at least seven ski resorts in the Lake Tahoe area closed earlier than normal or suspended operations due to the deteriorating conditions, according to the Sacramento Bee. Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort closed on Monday, March 16, but didn't rule out reopening if conditions improved.
"Conditions around the mountain have deteriorated to the point where we can no longer deliver a product that meets our standards," General Manager John Rice said in a statement on Sierra-at-Tahoe's website. "Although temperatures remain high and the forecast lacks precipitation, we are fully committed to resuming operations if we receive an adequate amount of snow."
Typically, most ski areas in California look to stay open until late April or early May, Cohee said.
With four straight below-par seasons, some ski areas are battling issues on how to move forward. One such issue is season pass sales, and the spring is typically when season pass renewals and sales for the next winter will take place. For many resorts, the spring sales are important because it helps generate summer cash flows and will keep resorts from borrowing too much money in the summer, according to Cohee.
Cohee stressed the need to be transparent with his customers, and in Facebook posts, he has explained why purchasing passes this time of year is important to the resort. He also emphasized the need to be sensitive to the fact that season pass holders paid lots of money for below-average conditions this year.
China Peak is offering a variety of incentives and benefits to add value for customers who purchase 2015-16 season passes this spring. One such offer is what Cohee calls a "multimillion dollar risk," on the company's end, where if they do not receive a minimum of 100 days of upper mountain or mid-mountain skiing next year, purchasers will receive a 2016-17 season pass at no cost.
Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows Resort in Olympic Valley, California, will see its season conclude in the next two weeks, unless Mother Nature can deliver late-season snow, according to Michael Radlick, a spokesperson for Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows.
In this photo taken Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015, a ski lift sits idle at the Donner Ski Ranch in Norden, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Like China Peak, the resort operators are looking to add value for skiers or riders who might be hesitant to buy season passes this spring. The resort's new Tahoe Super Pass comes with a 'worry-free guarantee' Radlick said. Those who purchase 2015-16 Gold or Silver Tahoe Super passes will be able to roll over up to four unused days next winter for credit towards the purchase of a 2016-17 pass.
"We recognize it can be challenging for skiers and riders to commit to a season pass purchase when they don't know how often they'll actually be able to ski the following winter season due to reasons that may be out of their control," said CEO Andy Wirth in a news release. "By introducing the ‘worry-free guarantee,' the intention is to provide our passholders with reassurance that they will realize the full value of their season pass purchase."
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Bob Roberts, president and CEO of the California Ski Industry Association, said only eight out of 27 California resorts are still open, with resorts in Oregon and Washington also ceasing operations.
Despite the many closures, Roberts said the 2013-14 season was still worse in terms of timing as they had very poor snow conditions during the crucial holiday periods. This year, Roberts said they were fortunate to at least get good snow around the holidays, a point Cohee echoed.
"A lot of people got lucky at Christmas and got some good Christmas business, [but] then things had pretty much fallen apart from that point on," Cohee said, adding that China Peak opened Dec. 20, several weeks after its targeted Thanksgiving opening.
Last year brought 5.2 million visitors to the slopes in California, and although this year's final visitation numbers won't be available for another month or two, Roberts suspects it will be around 5.2 to 5.3 million.
"For us it's about when [the snow] falls," Roberts said.
In this photo taken Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015, melting snow reveals rocks and dirt at an idle ski lift at the Donner Ski Ranch in Norden, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
With more than 40 years of experience, Roberts has seen the ski industry reinvent itself several times. Declining snowpack and shorter ski seasons, especially for areas in lower elevations, have been a challenge for more than a decade. Within the last five years, resort operators are moving beyond winter and into the mountain recreation business to find ways to stay relevant and profitable through the spring, summer and fall.
Over the last four to five years, Roberts said roughly $300 million has been invested in infrastructure and attractions in the Lake Tahoe area alone.
"That has not abated. That is something that has worked," he said.
Roberts cited a 32,000-square-foot indoor training facility for extreme sports at Boreal Mountain Resort in Truckee, California, which is open 11 months out of the year and provides a stable income.
Going forward, Roberts said they're hopeful for greater snowfall next winter and he expects snow-making budgets at larger resorts to increase.
"Hope springs eternal; you can't be in this business if you don't think the glass is half full," Roberts said.