Tropical Storm Isaac

TS Isaac as of August 27, 2012

This storm forced a change in plans for the Republican National Convention. The RNC was scheduled to open on Monday in Tampa, Florida, when Isaac turned north and started running parallel to Florida’s west coast. They delayed the start of the RNC until Tuesday, August 28, 2012.

Several news sources are saying that Isaac is cutting a path through the Gulf of Mexico that’s eerily similar to the catastrophic Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans and the region nearly seven years ago to the day.

Isaac’s potential landfall as a Category 2 hurricane as early as Tuesday prompted evacuations along a wide area of the Gulf Coast and sent people out to stock up on staples. As of 5 p.m. EDT Monday, Isaac remained a tropical storm with top sustained winds of 70 mph. Its center was about 255 miles southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River, and it was moving northwest at 12 mph. Source: Fox News

UPDATE: Hurricane Isaac

Hurricane Isaac 2012-08-28

As of this afternoon, Texas A&M Aggies postponed this weekend’s football game with Louisiana Tech until October 13. It is best that people don’t travel to Ruston, LA (north central Louisiana), with Isaac approaching.

Isaac, a massive storm spanning nearly 200 miles from its center, made landfall at about 6:45 p.m. near the mouth of the Mississippi River. But it was zeroing in on New Orleans, about 90 miles to the northwest, turning streets famous for all-hours celebrations into ghost boulevards. Source: Fox News.

Texas faces worst dry spell since 1895

Texas drought 2011-09-11

Texas isn’t the only place affected by heat and drought.

August was yet another busy month for global weather extremes. Highlights included record-busting heat and drought (again) in the south-central portions of the U.S.A. The climatological summer of June-August was the 2nd warmest since accurate measurements began in 1895. An intense heat wave also affected southern Europe in mid-month. Severe tropical storms lashed the eastern seaboard of the USA (Irene) and the Philippines and Japan. Torrential rains caused devastating flooding and landslides in Nigeria and Uganda. But the 2nd most important extreme weather story (2nd to the USA heat wave and drought) was the record cold wave and blizzard that hit New Zealand on August 14-15. Source: Weather Extremes : August 2011 Global Weather Extremes Summary : Weather Underground.

This drought and summer-heat is still going, and may continue until summer 2012. It did cool off last week though – lows in the mid-50′s, highs in the low 90′s – but we’ve only seen 1 inch of rain since August 1. That cool off is 2 weeks ahead of schedule. Usually we have a cool spell during the 3rd week of September.

Since January 1, state and local firefighters and crews from across the country have battled 18,887 wildfires over more than 3.5 million acres in Texas, according to state officials. Source: More wildfires erupt in Texas as it faces worst dry spell since 1895 – CNN.com.

Back in June I reported about Global Weirding and the number of counties in exceptional drought. Well, as expected, the trend continued into September. As of September 6, 81% of counties are in exceptional drought – the worst on the Drought Monitor’s scale.

See how fast wildfire spreads – Texas Parks and Wildlife

Global Weirding Serves Texas Worst Drought Since Dust Bowl

Almost two years after the drought of 2009, Texas is worse off than ever before. This summer, there are almost 4 times as many counties experiencing “exceptional” drought than in 2009 and almost 2 times as many than in 2006.

Just how hot is it? On May 25 – 27 days before the start of summer – we reached 100° F in Brazos county! If that’s a trend, I expect 45 – 60 days of 100+ degree days this summer. That is insane hot!

To our relief, it has rained and we got maybe 1/2 inch the last two nights. That will probably prolong the grass’ life another week or two. Check back in September, Texas might be in Dust Bowl 2.0. Meanwhile, crops and livestock are holding on for dear life.

To compound the trouble – or as a result of drought – Texas has experienced the worst fires ever too. More than 2 million acres have burned and it is only June – we have at least 90 days of dry, hot conditions ahead.

The tinder-dry conditions in Texas have spawned thousands of wildfires that have killed two firefighters, scorched about 2.3 million acres and destroyed about 400 homes since November. Source: Severe drought in Texas worst in map’s history | Star-Telegram

More time off the clock

Now it seems with every major earthquake, (in theory) our days are getting shorter.

Richard Gross, of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, calculations indicate that by changing the distribution of Earth’s mass, the Japanese earthquake should have caused Earth to rotate a bit faster, shortening the length of the day by about 1.8 microseconds. “Earthquakes change the Earth

I wonder what the effects of a faster-spinning planet are to people? Will we get stronger, taller? Will the weather get more violent because of magnetic pole changes?

Japan Crisis Continues

Daiichi Nuclear Plant

The No.3 nuclear reactor of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant at Minamisoma is seen burning after a blast following an earthquake and tsunami in this handout satellite image taken March 14, 2011.

Japanese engineers worked through the night to lay a 1.5 km (one mile) electricity cable to a crippled nuclear power plant in the hope of restarting pumps desperately needed to pour cold water on overheating fuel rods and avert a catastrophe. (Reuters)

Several sources have said that there was radioactive material released into the atmosphere, but they differ on just how much. They also differ on the severity of the disaster. Some say best case like Three Mile Island, worst case Chernobyl. Tokyo is less than 200 miles south of the plant and they afraid of radiation – levels spiked to 10 times normal a few days after the earthquake.

[6:28 a.m. ET Thursday, 7:28 p.m. Thursday in Tokyo] Japan’s National Police Agency reported at 6 p.m. Thursday (5 a.m. ET) that 5,457 people are confirmed dead; 9,508 have been reported missing; and 2,409 were injured following last week’s 9.0-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami. (CNN)

A week after the earthquake and they are still fighting fires, trying to prevent total core meltdown to at least 3 of the 6 reactors at Daiichi, and trying to limit radiation release/exposure. The whole world has rushed to Japan’s aid.

Texas Winter Drought 2010-11 from La Niña

Back in July of 2009 I wrote about how one of the worst droughts in Texas was worsening.

Now it’s December, 2010, and we are staring down the barrel of another (winter) drought - one of the worst.

The U.S. Drought Monitor on Thursday indicated 85 percent of Texas is between abnormally dry and in extreme drought, compared to about 29 percent a year ago. Source: KBTX.com | Experts Fear Texas Heading Into Another Severe Drought

I appears to be the effects of La Niña.

La Niña causes mostly the opposite effects of El Niño. La Niña causes above average precipitation across the North Midwest, the Northern Rockies, Northern California, and in the Pacific Northwest’s southern and eastern regions. Meanwhile there is below average precipitation in the southwestern and southeastern states. Source: Wikipedia | El Niño-Southern Oscillation and NOAA.gov | ENSO Diagnostic Discussion

This certainly appears to be true. For the past week – 2 weeks before winter – the North Midwest (Minneapolis, Chicago, Detroit, Buffalo) has been buried by snow.

Thanksgiving Cold Front

Is this global warming? This is wacked “this mornings low 67°, which is 20° warmer than the norm and only 2° cooler than the normal daytime high.”

Our local news station weather blog Tracking a Thanksgiving Cold Front:

National Weather Forecast Map November 23, 2010

National Weather Forecast Map November 23, 2010

Its lunchtime across the Brazos Valley this 22nd day of November…and the temperature outside is 78°.  No need to rub your eyes, that’s right…it’s 78°.  Needless to say, both overnight lows and daytime highs are running about 10 – 20 degrees above where they should be for this time of the year.  In fact, this mornings low only made it down to 67°, which is 20° warmer than the norm and only 2° cooler than the normal daytime high.

We’ll have to deal with this warm, muggy, breezy and cloudy weather for the next couple of days as we gear up for the beginning of the holiday season and head towards Thanksgiving Day.  But changes are on the horizon…

You are looking at the temperatures from 7am Monday morning.  Sharp, cold Canadian air is locked up beind the jetstream and is trying to work its way toward Texas and the Brazos Valley.  And it does look like it will get here…it will just take a few more days.  Its arrival? Welp…it looks like Thanksgiving day.

Earthquakes shorten our days

Wow. I never realized that this happened.

The Feb. 27 magnitude 8.8 earthquake in Chile may have shortened the length of each Earth day … by about 1.26 microseconds. Source: NASA – Chilean Quake May Have Shortened Earth Days.

What does this mean? Is the earth spinning faster? Some answers are around on the web, but not many.

A shortened day could mean sunlight shines on a spot for less time, and darkness would cover an area for less time too. I think what it would affect more than the clock though. I think gravity, surface temperature, climate, the moon’s orbit, satellites’ orbits, would be affected to name a few. Only (a shortened) time will tell.