In the United States, Severe Weather Outbreak Beaver has not produced life-threatening weather like Aardvark did two weeks ago, but She has covered a broader area with more diverse forms of meteorological mischief.
On the other side of the world, weather and water conditions are affecting the search for those still missing in the Korean ferry boat tragedy.
At the bottom of the world, there’s real trouble brewing on a longer-term basis. And a greenhouse law is now in effect in Vermont.
Severe Weather Outbreak Beaver Won’t Leave Until The Weekend
The cutoff low pressure center in the jet stream connected with Beaver is now centered over the plains and is affecting the weather coast to coast.
- To the east, thunderstorms with hail and heavy downpours are occurring, along with some tornadoes.
- On the west coast, temperatures will soar into triple digits.
- Over the Rockies, a late-season snowstorm is dropping over a foot of snow in the higher elevations.
As Aardvark ambled two weeks ago, so Beaver will browse and not clear the east coast until Friday.
Though the threat of tornadoes will continue for much of the week, Sunday probably produced the most activity, with 27 tornadoes (including one in Beaver Crossing, NE) reported up to category EF2 strength (winds up to 135 miles per hour). Compared to Aardvark, which produced more than 100 tornadoes up to category EF4 (winds up to 200 miles per hour), Beaver was a rather tame animal. Beaver is not finished, but feedback mechanisms tend to sap the strength of these systems over time.
The most serious threat from now on will be flooding. Because of Beaver’s slow movement, storms may ‘train,’ with successive heavy downpours moving over the same terrain. Furthermore, the rain may fall in the same areas for several days. A repeat of the 20 plus inches of rain that fell on Pensacola in connection with Aardvark is not expected, but is also not impossible.
Beaver’s Hot Side: The Santa Ana
On the tail end of Beaver, a Santa Ana wind regime will set up in California, just as it did behind Aardvark. Temperatures in Los Angeles will be in the 90s all week, and could top 100 on Thursday. The Santa Ana is very dry, and is associated with strong winds blowing through the canyons. Fire danger in the Los Angels basin is in the critical range.
Beaver’s Snowstorm In The Rockies
Beaver dumped over a foot of snow in the high mountains, and up to half a foot in Denver. The Weather Channel rather ridiculously insisted on calling this Winter Storm Zephyr. It was certainly part of Beaver, and the snow melted quickly on the warm roadways at the lower elevations. Some power outages occurred, and Beaver will certainly leave low temperature records in Her wake.
Weather Delays Search For Missing Bodies In Ferry Boat Sinking
Jeju Island, South Korea, scene of the recent ferry boat tragedy, is sandwiched between the Sea of Japan and the Yellow Sea. It is subject to storms from both directions. For the last three days, the search for the 29 missing passengers has been suspended due to marine warnings and high seas. Unfortunately, the waters are also subject to strong currents, and the past week has been the best time for divers to search the submerged vessel because of the neap tides.
These are the smallest tides of the month, occurring at the time of the quarter moon, and they produce the weakest currents. This week, the full moon will cause spring tides (unusually high tides; the word ‘spring’ in this context has nothing to do with the season). Spring tides result from the lining up of the sun and moon and the pooling of their gravitational power at the times of full and new moon, and they produce the strongest currents.
Vermont’s Landmark Legislation Regarding Idling Cars
Vermont’s no-idling law is now in effect. It states: “Effective May 1, 2014, a driver may not idle his or her motor vehicle for more than five minutes in a 60-minute period.” There are exceptions, but this law joins Vermont with 25 other states in having at least some jurisdictions with no idling laws. Studies show clearly that shutting off the motor and restarting creates less greenhouse gas emissions than idling. For most passenger cars, the efficiency kicks in after only ten seconds.
Melting Of West Antarctic Ice Sheet Is Irreversible — Studies By NASA And University Of Washington
Two studies published May 12 have determined that Antarctica’s West Atlantic Ice Sheet is melting — and that the process is irreversible. The melting will continue until the ice sheet is gone and the oceans have risen as much as ten feet.
Global warming is at least partly responsible (surprise!), though the ozone hole may have had a part in initiating the process. The good news is that the ice will melt slowly — over several centuries. Long before the ice sheet is gone, however, coastal cities will not be where they are now.