Wednesday, October 1, 2014

35,000 Walrus Come Ashore in Alaska As Sea Ice Retreats

By Sean Breslin
Published: October 1,2014 

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but this image tells the story of a thousand climate studies.
The image above shows 35,000 Pacific walrus, all looking for a place to rest. They usually rest on Arctic ice. In this photo, they're all coming ashore in Alaska because there isn't any ice to be found.
(MORE: 10 Incredible Things You'll Only See in the Fall)
The photo was taken during NOAA's annual Arctic marine mammal aerial survey, spokeswoman Julie Speegle told the Associated Press. Walrus are coming ashore in record numbers, the report adds, because they can't find sea ice on which to rest.
Experts say the phenomenon is directly related to the loss of sea ice in the Arctic, the AP also noted.
"We are witnessing a slow-motion catastrophe in the Arctic," Lou Leonard, vice president for climate change at the World Wildlife Fund, said in a statement that was reported by CNN. "As this ice dwindles, the Arctic will experience some of the most dramatic changes our generation has ever witnessed. This loss will impact the annual migration of wildlife through the region, threaten the long-term health of walrus and polar bear populations, and change the lives of those who rely on the Arctic ecosystem for their way of life."
The National Snow and Ice Data Center reported Arctic ice coverage reached its lowest point of the summer on Sept. 17, and sea ice extent will gradually build in the coming months. This year's sea ice coverage in the Arctic was the sixth-lowest since records began in 1979, the report added.

Quietest Atlantic Hurricane Season Since 1986

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:59PM,GMT on October 1,2014

The traditional busiest month of the Atlantic hurricane season, September, is now over, and we are on the home stretch. Just three weeks remain of the peak danger portion of the season. September 2014 ended up with just two named storms forming--Dolly and Edouard. Since the active hurricane period we are in began in 1995, only one season has seen fewer named storms form in September--1997, with Category 3 Hurricane Erika being the only September storm. Between 1995 - 2014, an average of 4.3 named storms formed in September. With only five named storms so far in 2014, this is the quietest Atlantic hurricane season since 1986, when we also had just five named storms by the beginning of October. In terms of Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE), activity in the Atlantic up until October 1 has been only about 43% of the 1981 - 2010 average.

Figure 1. Tracks of Atlantic named storms in 2014. Note how all of this year's hurricanes (tracks in red) have occurred well north of the tropics, north of 24°N latitude--a testament to how hostile for development conditions have been in the tropics, due to dry, sinking air. Image credit: National Hurricane Center.

Forecast for the remainder of hurricane season
Looking at climatology, since 1995, we have seen an average of 3.6 named storms form in the Atlantic after October 1. Two of those years--2006 and 2002--saw no storms form after October 1. The most post-October 1 storms was eleven, which occurred in 2005--no surprise there! The latest 2-week forecast from the GFS and European models show a continuation of the basic atmospheric pattern we've seen over the tropical Atlantic this season, with plenty of dry, sinking air. These conditions should lead to lower than average activity into mid-October, which is when historically, Atlantic hurricane activity begins to drop sharply. I expect we'll see at least one more named storm in the Atlantic this year, with two a more likely number. It's unlikely we'll get three or more post-October 1 named storms.

During October, the focus of Atlantic tropical cyclone genesis shifts to the Western Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and the waters between the Bahamas and Bermuda. The Lesser Antilles typically see very few tropical cyclones after October 1, and I expect their hurricane season is over. Sea Surface Temperatures over the Caribbean are currently 0.2°C above average, and 0.4°C above average in the Gulf of Mexico.

Figure 2. Atlantic hurricane activity begins to fall off sharply around mid-October.

Figure 3. Vertical instability over the Caribbean in 2014. The instability is plotted in °C, as a difference in temperature from near the surface to the upper atmosphere. Thunderstorms grow much more readily when vertical instability is high. Normal instability is the black line, and this year's instability levels are in blue. The atmosphere has been dominated by high pressure and dry, sinking air since June, which has made it difficult for tropical storms to develop, and no tropical depressions or tropical storms have been able to form in the Caribbean this year. Image credit: NOAA/CIRA.

Quiet in the Atlantic
A tropical wave predicted to come off the coast of Africa on Saturday is forecast by the UKMET and GFS models to develop by Monday in the vicinity of the Cape Verde Islands. An upper-level trough of low pressure over the Eastern Atlantic will bring high wind shear to this region early next week, though, making developing difficult. Another major invasion of dry air from the Sahara is currently in progress over the Tropical Atlantic, which will make it difficult for any tropical storms to make the crossing from Africa to the Lesser Antilles intact.

Figure 4. Dust from the Sahara can be seen streaming eastwards across the tropical Atlantic in this September 30, 2014 composite image from the VIIRS instrument on the Suomi spacecraft. Image credit: NOAA Visualization Lab.

Eastern Pacific tropical disturbance 90E a heavy rainfall threat
In the Eastern Pacific, an elongated area of disturbed weather (Invest 90E) was located a few hundred miles south of the Pacific coast of Mexico on Wednesday morning, and was headed west-northwest near 10 mph. This disturbance has good support from all three of our top tropical cyclone genesis models to develop this week. In their 8 am EDT Wednesday Tropical Weather Outlook, NHC gave 90E 2-day and 5-day odds of development of 70% and 90%, respectively. 90E is a threat to bring heavy rains to the Pacific coast of Mexico throughout the week. So far, though, 90E's heavy rains have remained offshore, as seen on satellite loops. Tropical Depression Rachel dissipated a few hundred miles west of Baja, Mexico on Tuesday.

Typhoon Phanfone a threat to Japan
In the Western Pacific, Tropical Storm Phanfone has taken advantage of light wind shear of 5 - 10 knots and extremely warm ocean temperatures of 31°C (88°F) and intensified into a Category 1 typhoon. Ocean temperatures will cool slightly to 30°C (86°F) on Thursday but wind shear will remain light, which should allow Phanfone to intensify into a Category 4 typhoon, and possibly a super typhoon with winds of 150 mph or greater. The typhoon is headed northwest towards Japan, and the 00Z Wednesday runs of the GFS and European models both show Phanfone recurving to the northeast and making landfall on the southern Japan main island of Kyushu early next week. However, the models are widely divergent in their handling of the trough of low pressure expected to pull Phanfone to the northeast, resulting in major differences in the forward speed of the storm. The GFS model has landfall occurring near 18 UTC on Sunday, while the European model is almost two days slower, with a 12 UTC Tuesday landfall. Given these huge differences in the forecasts from our top two typhoon track models, the long-range fate of Phanfone is highly uncertain.

Jeff Masters

Weather Underground National Forecast for Wednesday,October 1,2014

By: nationalsummary , 10:00PM,GMT on September 30,2014

Weather Underground Forecast for Wednesday,October 1,2014

A low pressure system will move across the northern Plains on Wednesday, while a separate wave of low pressure will move over the eastern third of the country.

A strong area of low pressure will lift northeastward over the northern Plains and south central Canada. This system will interact with warm, muggy air over the central U.S. to initiate rain and thunderstorms over a handful of states. Strong to severe thunderstorms will be possible over the upper Midwest, the middle Mississippi Valley, the central Plains and the southern Plains. Severe thunderstorms are forecast to develop over northern Oklahoma, Kansas, northwest Missouri, eastern Nebraska and southwest Iowa. These thunderstorms will be capable of producing large hail, dangerous straight line winds and isolated thunderstorms. Additionally, showers will linger over the Intermountain West. High elevation snow showers will be possible above 8,000 feet across the central and northern Rockies.

Meanwhile, an onshore flow from the Gulf of Mexico will trigger isolated thunderstorms across the Gulf Coast and the southeast. To the north, a wave of low pressure is expected to usher rain across portions of the northern Mid-Atlantic and New England.

Out west, a ridge of high pressure will build over the eastern Pacific. This system will bring warm, dry conditions to the majority of the West Coast on Wednesday.

This Date in Weather History for October 1,2014 from

Weather History
For Wednesday,October 1,2014
1752 - The second severe hurricane in two weeks hit the Carolinas. The Onslow County Courthouse was destroyed along with all its records, and Beacon Island disappeared. (David Ludlum)
1893 - The second great hurricane of the 1893 season hit the Mississippi Delta Region drowning more than 1000 persons. (David Ludlum)
1987 - A blast of cold arctic air hit the north central U.S. An afternoon thunderstorm slickened the streets of Duluth MN with hail and snow, and later in the afternoon, strong northerly winds reached 70 mph. Unseasonably warm weather continued in the Pacific northwest. Afternoon highs of 90 degrees at Olympia WA, 92 degrees at Portland OR, and 89 degrees at Seattle WA, were records for the month of October. For Seattle WA it marked the twenty- first daily record high for the year, a record total in itself. (The National Weather Summary)
1988 - Afternoon and evening thunderstorms produced severe weather across central Oklahoma and the eastern half of Texas. Thunderstorms in Texas produced softball size hail northwest of Nocona, and baseball size hail at Troy and Park Springs. (The National Weather Summary) (Storm Data)
1989 - Thunderstorms produced severe weather in the southeastern U.S. through the daytime and evening hours. Severe thunderstorms spawned eleven tornadoes, with seven of those tornadoes in Georgia. A tornado southwest of Moultrie, GA, killed two persons and injured a dozen others. Tornadoes also injured one person north of Graceville, FL, and two persons at Bartow, GA. (Storm Data) (The National Weather Summary)

End in Sight to Florida Rain Following Soggy September

By Jordan Root, Meteorologist
October 1,2014; 10:25PM,EDT
After enduring a rather soggy September month, drier weather will finally arrive in Florida as the calendar dives into October and the state trends out of the rainy season.
The Sunshine State was not able to live up to its name this past month as many areas experienced a bumper crop of cloudy and rainy days.

Florida Endures a Soggy September

Actual Rainfall (inches)Normal Rainfall (inches)012345678910111213MiamiOrlandoTampaJacksonvilleTallahasseeNaplesMelbourneOcalaWinter Haven
To compare actual versus normal rainfall in the above graphic, click on the circles within the graphic.
18.15 (inches) v. 6.96 (inches)TheamountofrainthatfellatDaytonaBeachinSeptember2014versustheaveragerainfallforthemonth.ThismakesSeptember2014thewettestSeptemberandthefourthwettestmontheveronrecordforthesite.16.46 (inches) during September 2004ThepriorwettestSeptemberonrecordatDaytonaBeach.24.82 (inches) during October 1924ThewettestmonthonrecordatDaytonaBeach.AbouthalfofthisrainfellonOct.10,1924,whichwasnotassociatedwithanorganizedtropicalsystem.

The rainy season in Florida typically runs from June to September, a period that is often highlighted by tropical systems.
However, land-falling tropical systems were not a part of the rainy season this year, yet the last month featured a large uptick in rainfall.
September actually had more fronts dipping into the state than normal, which allowed for an increase in shower and thunderstorm activity.
According to Meteorologist D.J. Hoffman, the fronts and the tropical moisture across Florida provided a ripe setup for daily downpours.
"The series of fronts that tracked into Florida typically stalled and would bring a soaking stretch of days," said Hoffman.
While the amount of rain was not exceptional or record-breaking in most areas, Daytona Beach was a major exception. The wettest day came on Sept. 24 when a daily rainfall record was broken. The rain gauge recorded 6.41 inches of rainfall, shattering the old record of 4.22 inches that was set in 1974 for the date.
Florida Interactive Radar
AccuWeather Fall 2014 Forecast
PHOTOS: Roll Cloud Sprawls Across Morning Sky in Venice, Florida

The west coast of Florida to the northern portion of the state received the heaviest rainfall for the month. However, some areas actually were drier than normal, including portions of South Florida and the Panhandle.
The heavy rainfall will likely take a break in the upcoming days as a pattern change ushers the region out of the rainy season.

A strong cold front will sweep out the thunderstorms this weekend.
"Scattered showers and thunderstorms will continue across the Florida Peninsula through Friday, but a cold front on Saturday will bring an end to the wet season across the northern half of the state," said Hoffman.
The dry air will reach South Florida and the Keys on Sunday.
Temperatures will take a dive as well, dropping from the typical mid-80s to the cool low 70s across northern Florida.
While a lasting break is in store for northern and many central counties of the state, the dry weather may be short-lived farther south.
High pressure is set to build in behind the front next week which will extend the dry period.

AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski contributed content to this story.

On Social Media
Wayne Sumner
@Bazzaqpr1969 well it's rainy season so I'm expecting a few storms..hopefully it'll be like Florida where it rains for an hour then sun
After a soggy September, drier weather will finally arrive for Florida as the calendar turns to October:

Severe Weather Outbreak to Span a Thousand Miles

By , Expert Senior Meteorologist
October 1,2014; 10:20PM,EDT
Locally damaging thunderstorms and flooding downpours may travel across a thousand-mile stretch of the nation through the balance of the week.
The storms over the Plains at midweek will reach the Appalachians on Friday. By Friday evening, the storms will likely have affected more than a dozen states, and from cities ranging from Dallas, St. Louis and Kansas City, Missouri, to Chicago, Cleveland and Pittsburgh.
After the last gasp from an old storm over the Dakotas produced severe weather Tuesday evening, a new storm system is emerging from the Rockies and will swing northeastward during the middle and latter part of the week.
The risk of locally gusty thunderstorms into Wednesday night will extend from part of northwest Texas to Iowa. The greatest risk of damaging thunderstorms with hail and strong winds will exist across central and eastern Kansas, southeastern Nebraska, southern Iowa, and western Missouri.

The storm threat includes or areas close to the major Plains cities of Omaha, Nebraska; Des Moines, Iowa; Kansas City, Missouri; Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Topeka, Kansas.
According to AccuWeather Severe Storm Meteorologist Eddie Walker, "There is a chance of rotating thunderstorms capable of producing a few tornadoes over part of the central Plains Wednesday evening."
In addition to the damaging storm threat, there is the risk of isolated flash flooding as far north as parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin into Wednesday night.
VIDEO: Snow, Hail and Rain Blast Colorado Severe Weather Center
Interactive Radar

During Thursday, the risk of heavy, gusty thunderstorms and incidents of flash flooding will extend from parts of central Texas to Wisconsin and Michigan. The storms will fire along the system's advancing cold front.
The greatest risk of thunderstorms with damaging winds is projected to extend from northeastern Texas to northern Illinois and western Indiana.

Locally damaging storms on Thursday may impact the cities of Little Rock, Arkansas; Springfield, Missouri; Terre Haute, Indiana; Dallas; Chicago and St. Louis.
Locally drenching rain and gusty winds can cause travel delays at O'Hare Airport.
On Friday, the cold front will continue to advance to the east and south. While the risk of severe weather will tend to become more isolated, there will still be the potential for locally gusty thunderstorms and a general swath of drenching downpours and isolated urban flooding.
The showers and thunderstorms will extend from coastal Texas to the Appalachians and southern Ontario during Friday into Friday night.
The greatest risk of locally strong thunderstorms and gusty winds will extend from southwestern Ontario to northeastern Tennessee. The storm risk on Friday includes the eastern part of the Ohio Valley.

Weather-related travel problems are possible on Friday. Sudden bursts of rain can not only blind motorists, but may also cause brief urban flooding. Airline delays could occur on the busy travel day from Atlanta to Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Buffalo, New York.

On Social Media
In the face of increasingly severe storms & changing weather patterns causing drought & floods.
Robert Lee
Weather Alert: Severe Thunderstorms + Tornadoes + Flash Floods 2014.10.01 - Alert raised over Kansas City and...
Severe #Weather Outbreak to Span a Thousand Miles - :

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta to Begin Under Sunny Skies

By Kevin Byrne, Staff Writer
October 1,2014; 10:13PM,EDT
Hundreds of colorful balloons will dot the blue skies above Albuquerque, New Mexico, this weekend as the 43rd annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta gets underway.
The fiesta, which runs from Oct. 4-12 and expected to attract crowds of nearly 80,000 people, will begin with pleasant and mostly favorable weather conditions for flying.
Clear skies with plenty of sunshine are in store for the beginning of the event on Saturday and Sunday, with high temperatures settling near 80 F both days. Senior Meteorologist Dave Samuhel said daytime temperatures will be higher than normal, while low temperatures will remain below average throughout the weekend.
During this time of year, Albuquerque is known for its tremendous amount of cloud-free conditions and abundant sunshine, according to the organization's website.
(Photo/Raymond Watt)
According to the National Weather Service, a feature known as the "Albuquerque Box" produces an atmospheric wind pattern that results in balloons remaining over the park during the morning hours.
Additionally, the NWS stated that that this weather pattern occurs under stable conditions during the fall when no strong weather systems are affecting the area.
Don Edwards, the fiesta's event director, said they have a waiver issued from the Federal Aviation Administration, which states that if winds exceed 10 knots (11.5 mph), then balloons are not allowed to take flight and the launch field will be closed.
Samuhel said winds will be stronger on Saturday than Sunday due to a weak weather disturbance that could make conditions turn breezy.
Winds out of the northwest could reach up to 10 mph at times on Saturday, he added.
Detailed Albuquerque Forecast
Track Any Rain With AccuWeather's MinuteCast™ for Albuquerque
Albuquerque Radar

In past years, Edwards said there have been situations where surface winds were under the waiver requirement at around 8 to 10 mph, but higher elevations had winds around 20 to 30 mph.
"In that case, we have actually inflated the balloons and had them stay as a static display on the field," Edwards said.
More than 500 balloons will make up Balloon Fiesta Park's 78-acre launch site, which is the equivalent of 54 football fields.
On Saturday morning, the fiesta begins with a mass ascension when all of the balloons take flight from Balloon Fiesta Park.
Fiesta organizers are well prepared for any type of severe weather, said Edwards who also used to pilot balloons in this event.
Edwards said that each year they apply to have their own radio frequency, which is used to communicate weather conditions to the pilots that are up in the air. They also have a resident meteorologist who works closely with fiesta officials to monitor the forecast.
(Photo/Paul D deBerjeois)
There are 14 sessions that will see balloons inflated, with nine scheduled for the morning and five scheduled for the afternoon, Edwards said.
Hot air balloons can become more responsive in cooler air, which is more common in the morning. However, the downside is that propone tanks are less responsive in cooler conditions, resulting in a smaller flame. The propone tanks are used to fuel burners which heat the air inside the balloon and allow pilots to control their ascent or descent, since warmer air is less dense and thus more buoyant.
"It's kind of a catch-22," Edwards said. "The balloon likes it when it's cooler, but the propane isn't [as] responsive."
The fiesta also incorporates a competition, held strictly among gas balloons, known as the America's Challenge. It is a distance competition where gas balloons, which rely on a lifting gas such as helium or hydrogen, will fly for up to three days and land anywhere along the East Coast of the U.S. or Canada.
The pilots in this competition receive a very extensive forecast, according to Edwards.
"At different altitudes, the wind goes different directions and different speeds, and they use that to guide the balloon in a general direction of where they want to go," he said.
Edwards said if conditions are appropriate, he hopes the balloons in the America's Challenge event will launch around sunset on Saturday.
"We're all expecting a real good first weekend," Edwards said.

On Social Media
Joel Courtney
Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is this weekend. Balloonist gets an early start, low over the studio today!
93.3 KOB-FM
Who else can hardly wait for the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta to start this weekend?? #iamtooexcitedtosleep Hugs, Kiki
Concierge Alliance
“@TravelMagazine: Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta starts this weekend.” Such a beautiful pic- we had to share it! #hotairballoon
Patricia Woods
Good morning all! The skies are decorated with hot air balloons. The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta starts Saturday. Yay!
The Travel Magazine
Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta starts this weekend. Find out more:…