#Haboob Hits Phoenix Metro Area
The first of what could be a busy weekend of thunderstorms and showers began impacting the Phoenix area Friday afternoon.
The National Weather Service issued dust and severe thunderstorm warnings for parts of the Phoenix area that have since expired. The storms brought strong winds and pockets of heavy rain.
Arizona Public Service Co. reported more than over 3,700 households without power. Salt River Project reported two smaller outages.
Though there hasn’t been widespread heavy rain so far, there have been pockets of significant rainfall.
The Phoenix Fire Department reported two fire incidents caused by lightning Friday afternoon in the area of 85th Avenue and McDowell Road.
Lightning strikes apartments, motel
Lightning struck the roof of a two-story apartment complex at 8550 W. McDowell Road, and 911 callers could see flames on the roof, fire officials said. The small fire was extinguished quickly.
Lightning also struck right across the street at the Sleep and Go Inn, according to fire officials. There was damage to the roof due to the lightning strike, but no evidence of fire.
No injuries were reported at either incident.
The Arizona Department of Transportation is reporting State Route 238 is closed in both directions from Gila Bend to about 5 miles west of Maricopa due to flooding.
A Maricopa County Flood Control District rain gauge at Gila Bend reported 0.20 inches of rain as of 3:30 p.m.
Blowing dust on I-10 and L-202 Santan. Drive smart and safe! #phxtrafficpic.twitter.com/V4qiBTYveN
— Arizona DOT (@ArizonaDOT) October 16, 2015
State Fair affected
The storms affected the first day of the Arizona State Fair in Phoenix. Some rides had to be shut down Friday afternoon while the stronger winds were in the area, according to fair officials.
Though the storm warnings have expired, other storms could develop with strong winds and locally heavy rain. The Weather Service forecasts a 70 percent chance of rain through Friday evening, with between a quarter- and a half-inch of rain possible (amounts could be higher within some thunderstorms).
Rain chances continue Saturday. The forecast calls for cloudy skies in the morning becoming partly cloudy by afternoon. High temperatures should be between 85 and 90 degrees with a 30 percent chance of rain.
The Special Olympics Fall Games opening ceremony on Friday at the Peoria Sports Complex was canceled on Friday due to the weather, according to the organizers.
Outdoor activities in wind, storms
Those folks looking to get outside and enjoy the fall weather should be cautious and mindful of the forecast.
Gregg Bach, spokesman for the Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department, said he doesn’t recommend going out in extreme weather conditions. However, if hikers decide to, they should make sure they are prepared.
The department released a “Take a Hike. Do it Right.” graphic, which offers advice such as dressing appropriately, teaming up and carrying a mobile phone. When there are thunderstorms and rain, Bach recommends always checking the weather before going on a hike.
“There’s a reason those warnings are in place and sent out by the Weather Service,” Bach said. “If people go out, they should be aware of what they encounter. … That’s why all those various warnings are out there – so they can make an informed decision.”
Bach said he does not expect any trails to close as a result of this weekend’s storms.
Tropical Storm Earl Reaches Hurricane Strength
Tropical Storm Earl has officially reached the level of a category 1 hurricane. The hurricane packing 130 kilometer (80 mile) per hour winds and heavy rain made landfall in Central America near Belize’s capital, where officials warned of likely flooding and damage to homes Thursday.
Earl swept in from the Caribbean at hurricane strength to strike just south of Belize City, population 60,000, around midnight Wednesday (0600 GMT Thursday), according to the US National Hurricane Center (NHC).
The storm weakened as it moved inland, and by 1200 GMT the NHC had downgraded it from a hurricane to a tropical storm with 65 mile (105 kilometer) per hour winds.
Belize’s National Emergency Management Organization had warned of a threat of flashfloods and mudslides and flooding in low-lying areas.
Earl was expected to dissipate further as it moves across northern Guatemala and southern Mexico, the NHC said.
The Mexican authorities took no chances, evacuating 300 families living close to a river along the border with Belize in the southeastern state of Quinta Roo for fear of flooding.
More than 750 shelters were readied in the state in preparation for expected high winds and fierce gusts.
Other southern Mexican states likely to be affected were Campeche, Tabasco and Yucatan.
In the northern Guatemala town of Puerto Barrios, a military commander, Colonel Nelson Tun, told AFP that “patrols in vulnerable areas” were being carried out.
“We have identified high areas to where the population can evacuate before possible flooding,” he said.
Guatemala in particular is prone to rainy season flooding and mudslides that often prove fatal.
Guatemala’s population, at 16 million, is much bigger than the 330,000 in Belize, Central America’s only English speaking country.
Guatemala’s president, Jimmy Morales, late Wednesday offered Belize humanitarian aid and shelters along the border if needed.
That gesture was significant after months of tensions between the two countries following a shooting death of a Guatemalan boy by a Belizean border patrol in April.
The fifth named tropical storm of the 2016 season, Earl strengthened to a Category 1 hurricane on Wednesday, according to the NHC. Winds initially measured at 120 kilometers per hour picked up just before landfall.
Category 1, the lowest of five grades on the hurricane scale, is described as having dangerous winds of between 119 and 153 kilometers per hour that can rip off roofs, bring down trees and cause extensive damage to power lines.
Belizean public and private sector workers were permitted to go to their homes Wednesday to secure property.
Officials warned that people living on the ground floor “will experience flooding” and some older wooden buildings would likely be destroyed.
The authorities have opened 29 shelters.
Tropical Storm Colin Barrels Toward Florida; State Guard Activated
TAMPA, Fla. – Tropical Storm Colin unleashed thunderstorms and flooding on Florida on Monday, prompting the governor to activate the national guard as the storm with 50-mph-winds barreled through the Gulf of Mexico toward the state’s northwest coast.
The storm, about 165 miles (265 km) from the Florida coast as of 2 p.m. (1800 GMT), was forecast to dump as much as 8 inches (20 cm) of rain in some parts of the state. The combination of the storm surge and high tides threatened to bring flooding to coastal areas from Florida up through North Carolina, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said.
The storm was forecast to make landfall below Florida’s panhandle late on Monday afternoon, on a track that would take it over the state and through southern Georgia and then along the Atlantic Ocean coast over South Carolina and North Carolina, the center said.
Governor Rick Scott said more than 6,000 Florida National Guard members were activated and ready for deployment. He also declared a state of emergency in 34 of the state’s 67 counties.Rip tides, lightning, tornado and hail posed dangers to communities far beyond Colin’s immediate path, Scott said.
“It’s going to impact pretty much our entire state,” Scott told a news conference.
In the St. Petersburg beach town of Gulfport, roads were already flooded. One resident used a kayak to float down a thoroughfare past a waterfront cafe that stayed open, allowing people used to severe weather to witness the storm.
More than 10,000 customers were without power ahead of the storm making landfall, local utilities reported.
“This is a mild tempest,” said Trace Taylor, a local writer lunching on onion rings. “What’s there to be afraid of? It’s just water and it’s not that bad.”
The storm also threatened crops in Florida, the country’s biggest citrus producer, which sent U.S. orange juice futures on Monday to their highest in more than two years.
Concerns about storm surges exacerbated by high tides prompted voluntary evacuations in low-lying areas of Franklin County, Florida, about 70 miles (110 km) southwest of Tallahassee.
Flooding and isolated tornadoes threatened densely populated communities from south of the Tampa Bay region through Jacksonville on the east coast, according to the National Weather Service.
Waters could rise by 1 to 3 feet (30 cm to 90 cm) along the state’s western coast from the storm surges.
Colin is part of a brisk start to the Atlantic hurricane season that runs through Nov. 30. Over the U.S. Memorial Day holiday weekend, the Carolinas were lashed by heavy rain and winds from Tropical Storm Bonnie.
Say Goodbye to El Niño, Hello La Niña
The grip of one of the strongest El Niños in recorded history is loosening, and in its place it appears that the cool flipside, La Niña, is arriving, writes Dennis Mersereau for Mental Floss.
Both phenomena are part of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation, ENSO, a natural climate variation that swings between warm and rainy conditions (El Niño) in the central-eastern Pacific and cooler, drier conditions (La Niña). The long tongue of slightly-warmer-than-average surface water that makes up El Niño has been weakening and beneath the surface, “a deep pool of cool water has been sliding slowly eastward for the past couple of months,” writes Rebecca Lindsey for Climate.gov, from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA).
If water temperatures persist more than 0.5 degrees Celsius below average, then La Niña has arrived. There’s a 75 percent chance that will happen by this fall, writes Emily Becker for NOAA’s ENSO blog. For now, global weather patterns are still under the sway of El Niño, technically, but the trend is toward more neutral conditions, she explains. If trends continue, El Niño should kick it at the end of the summer.
The water temperatures and pressure anomalies that herald these patterns might center over the central-eastern Pacific, but the effects ripple across the globe, changing precipitation and temperature patterns in many regions. In North America, the winters are usually milder during an El Niño and the West coast, southern U.S. and southeast see more rainy days.
When La Niña arrives, the U.S. Southwest, central and southern Rockies, the Great Plains and Florida usually have drier weather. Winters under La Niña are likely to be colder in the Northwest, northern California, northern Intermountain West and north-central states. However, although experts have noticed those trends, they have trouble predicting exactly how any one El Niño or La Niña will play out.
“[As] still-parched Californians found out this year, each event is different, and not all of them affect the weather as we would expect,” writes Mersereau.
Experts get some idea about how the pattern affects global weather and for how long by looking at past events. Becker writes that there are 14 La Niñas on record:
Of those 14 La Niñas, nine immediately followed El Niño years. Two occurred two years after an El Niño, with a neutral year intervening. Two were the second year of a “double dip” La Niña, where sea surface temperatures briefly returned to neutral during the summer before heading back into La Niña territory (1974/75 and 2011/12). The remaining one starts the records off in 1950.
La Niñas also tend to last longer than El Niños. After the unusually strong 1997/98 El Niño, La Niña lasted for 33 months, spanning three winters.
Still, even with a potential La Niña on the way, 2016 is on track to become the hottest year in recorded history, beating out 2015, Maddie Stone notes for Gizmodo. April 2016 was the 12th consecutive warmest month on record. She explains that even with the powerful influences of oscillating climate anomalies, “humans now control the master switch when it comes to our planet’s thermostat.”
- USA7 years ago
Search for Gunman Puts Community College of Philadelphia on Lockdown
- ENTERTAINMENT7 years ago
Usher’s Naked Selfie Exposes Too Much Despite Attempt to Censor Image
- USA7 years ago
Hacktivist Group Anonymous Publishes Names of Alleged Ku Klux Klan Members
- Breaking News7 years ago
Developments in Presidential Race, Trump does Terribly at Forum as Clinton shines
- Trending7 years ago
British Woman Shares Image of Herself Before and After Panic Attack
- News4 years ago
‘Only Survivor’ Reveals Truth of Fatal Accident in 1994 Linked to Ricardo Rossello
- MUSIC8 years ago
VIDEO That Time when Lenny Kravitz’s Penis Popped Out on Stage
- ENTERTAINMENT6 years ago
Marxism in Black Mirror, Social Media Reigns