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2013 Slowest Weather Year in Decades

by Jamie Robinson        October 25, 2013  |  12:17 pm  |  Category: Latest News

For all the talk of global warming and extreme weather events being on the increase, 2013 bucks that trend in almost every respect. It's not just the current hurricane season that is well behind seasonal averages. For example, the number of tornadoes this year sits at 771. This is compared to the average number of tornadoes annually since 2000 of 1342. Admittedly, we still have 2 months left in the year though November and December are not typically big tornado quantity months.

With regards to hurricanes, thus far this year we've only had 2 named storms achieve hurricane status (Humberto and Ingrid). Each of these storms was only a hurricane for a short time and never exceeded Category 1 status. The lack of tropical activity isn't just contained to the Atlantic. The Eastern Pacific, also, has not had any major (Category 3 or higher) hurricanes yet this year. The only other year in which neither had a major storm was 1968. We are also in the midst of the longest period of time without a major storm hitting the U.S. since the mid-late 1800s. We have not had a major storm hit since Wilma in late October 2005.

Other extreme forms of weather are also down for 2013. The number and affected acreage of wildfires are both down considerably this year. We have seen a total of 40,306 wildfires this year affecting a total acreage of 4,152,390. This is compared to the average of 2004 - 2012 of 75,066 wildfires and 7,602,762 acres. As for the number of high temperature records set this year (both high maximum and high minimum temperatures), we are also seeing a significant reduction from last year. For the year to date, we have set 23,110 new "high" records as opposed to 58,115 for the same time frame last year. Finally, we're on pace in 2013 for the fewest number of 100°F days in a year in nearly 100 years.

 

Central States Enjoy Much Cooler July

by Jamie Robinson        August 28, 2013  |  12:37 pm  |  Category:

cool july, hot august

The nation's mid section enjoyed a much cooler July in 2013 compared to the sweltering heat they had to endure a year earlier. As you can see from the table below, many cities through the heart of the country experienced significantly lower temperatures in 2013. St. Louis, for example, was 12.2°F cooler in 2013 than it was in 2012. They also had zero days above 100°F while they had to deal with 15 such days last year.

This resulted in 23 heat related fatalities in July 2012. Even Wichita Falls, which is accustomed to high heat in the summer, experienced a 67% reduction in the number of 100°F+ days in 2013 (21 → 7). While the cooler weather wasn't quite as favorable for traditional summer activities such as boating and swimming, it was much nicer for most other outdoor activities.

Unfortunately, many areas are seeing much more seasonal weather in August. Here's to hoping that we don't see a heat wave like we did last summer.

Stay cool!

Remembering Tim Samaras

by Rory Groves        June 3, 2013  |  9:01 am  |  Category: Latest News

I was stunned and deeply saddened when I heard of Tim Samaras' untimely death in the Oklahoma tornadoes this weekend, as well as his son and chasing partner. Tim was a veteran storm chaser and I knew him well. Back in 2002, Tim helped to test an early version of SWIFT WX, which would later become Weather Defender, in his history-making tornado probe deployments. We published a press release about his success which got noticed by National Geographic who featured Tim's work and went on to fund future projects. 

A few years later I asked Tim to be the keynote speaker at the 1st Annual Minnesota Skywarn Workshop I was organizing. It was a free event and I couldn't afford to pay him beyond travel expenses, but Tim came anyway because he believed in the mission of Skywarn and promoting severe weather awareness. It was a packed house and Tim's presentation on In-Situ Tornado Probes was well received. 

Tim was a brilliant engineer and at the very forefront of weather technology and severe weather science. And he was nothing if not cautious. That's what makes his death so difficult to accept. When I remember Tim, there are many positive traits that come to mind. But mostly, he was a good man who was respected by all. It was my privilege to know him.

My prayers are with the Samaras family and all the families who have witnessed the ultimate devastation in recent weeks.

 


Rory Groves

Founder & CEO 
SWIFT Weather

 

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