Mike's Weather Blog -- February, March 2007

March 30, 2007 - Heavy Rain Falling Middle Of Nation

Flash flood watches have been posted from Minnesota to Texas today and will likely be extended into the day on Saturday.

The same storm system that spread a variety of weather across Colorado will bring heavy rain and severe thunderstorms from near Minneapolis south to the Gulf of Mexico.

Meanwhile, the research continues in Prowers County to determine the exact intensity of that deadly twister on Wednesday.

The weather here across Colorado will dry out and warm up over the weekend. The next weather maker will arrive by Tuesday of next week.

March 28, 2007 - March Shaping Up Warmer, Drier Than Normal

March 2007 has been anything but typical; normally it is cool, wet and snowy.

Currently, we are tied for the second warmest March on record in Denver. The average temperature so far this month has been 47.5 degrees, which is a full 8.4 degrees above normal.

March will not make the top 10 driest, but it could make the top 10 least snowiest. We will have to wait and see how much snow we see Thursday night.

A typical March bring almost a foot of snow to the city. This year, we have only seen 1.9 inches so far.

March 27, 2007 - Snow Moving Back Into Mountains

A storm system moving into Colorado will spread wind and mountain snow across the state today. Winter storm warnings and snow advisories cover several areas, including Aspen, Vail and Steamboat Springs.

Snow totals of 6-12 inches are expected in the warned areas above 8,500 feet by late Wednesday.

As this storm shifts east, it could spawn a snowstorm for the Front Range foothills and mountains as we head into the day on Thursday. Stay tuned to 7NEWS for the latest.

March 26, 2007 - March Isn't Living Up To Reputation

March is usually the snowiest month of the year along the Front Range of Colorado. Most cities along the Interstate 25 corridor see an average of 10-12 inches of snowfall.

So far this month, Denver has only seen 1.9 inches, and that mostly fell on February 28.

You might be wondering how snow that fell on February 28 could be documented on March's record? While temperatures are measured from midnight to midnight on each calendar day, precipitation is typically observed from 7 am until 7 am the following day.

So for example, any snow that falls after 7 am today will be reported at the 7 am observation tomorrow.

There are still a few days left in the month and anything is possible, but the current weather data suggests that March will end well below normal for Denver. In fact, it will be in the top 10 least snowiest if we don't see any snow between now and Saturday.

March 19, 2007 - Nation Marks Flood Safety Awareness Week

It is Flood Safety Awareness Week here in the United States, March 19-23. This is an extremely important topic to be educated on because flooding claims more lives each year in this country than any other weather related phenomenon.

Flooding can result from numerous situations, including stagnant weather patterns and slow-moving tropical systems...but one of the most dangerous occurrences is the flash flood. A flash flood occurs within 6 hours of a heavy rain event, a dam failure, or a sudden release of water from an ice jam. Though 6 hours sounds like plenty of time to take action, you don't always have that much time. There have been many cases where one has 45 minutes or less to react to a flash flood situation.

A flood, on the other hand, typically occurs over several days and can even be predicted to some extent, when a known amount of water upstream is on the way. An example of this situation often occurs in the east, when heavy snowmelt in the upper Mississippi River Valley is moving downstream. The Hydrologic Prediction Service of the National Weather Service can alert lowland farmers that flooding conditions is on the way due to snowmelt.

Here in Colorado, we are very prone to flash floods due to the varying terrain and our dry, sandy soils. We have several examples of past flood events, and one that comes to mind is the Big Thompson Flood of 1976. In 1982, the Long Lake Dam failure brought destruction to Rocky Mountain National Park, and more recently, you may recall the devastating Fort Collins Flash Flood of 1997.

So just exactly what do you do in a flood situation? Immediately seek higher ground! Don't ever walk through floodwaters. Did you know that just 6" of swiftly moving water could sweep you off your feet? Water is a very powerful force.

If you are in a car and it stalls due to floodwaters, immediately abandon it and seek higher ground. If you approach floodwaters over the roadway while driving, TADD.

TADD = Turn Around, Don't Drown!

You don't know how deep the water is on that roadway due to the turbulent flow and debris its carrying, and more importantly, you have no way of knowing if the roadway is still there. Water 6-12" deep can carry your automobile away, and water up to 2 feet deep can even carry a bus!

In the event that conditions are possible for flash floods in your area, the national weather service will issue a FLASH FLOOD WATCH, meaning to simply be alert and prepared for a possible emergency. When flooding is occurring a FLASH FLOOD WARNING will be issued, alerting you to put your plan of action in place.

A fact that many people find amazing is that is doesn't even have to be raining for a flash flood to occur in your area. Some of the most dangerous floods originate miles away. That is why it's important for you to stay tuned to the 24/7 Weather Center here at 7NEWS during active weather for the latest information and updates, and during clear weather for the most accurate forecast of any potentially dangerous weather forecasted for Colorado.

March 15, 2007 - 24/7 Mountain Cam Network

7NEWS is very proud of it's growing network of mountain cameras, with views from Crested Butte to Winter Park now available.

Through our cameras, you can catch beautiful scenes from Keystone, Crested Butte, Loveland Ski Area, Copper Mountain, Breckenridge and Winter Park during the weather segments on 7NEWS broadcasts.

In the days and weeks ahead, we will be working with our web staff to get these camera views added to the weather page of TheDenverChannel.com, and to add even more views of Colorado to our broadcasts.

March 14, 2007 - Is La Nina On The Way?

Scientists have observed that the warming of the equitorial waters of the eastern Pacific is rapidly decreased, meaning El Nino is over. However, there are signs that a La Nina is developing, which is the opposite of El Nino.

Typically a La Nina episode during the spring and summer months does not have a huge impact on the U.S. temperature and weather patterns; but it can be drier and warmer than normal over the southern states.

La Nina during the spring and summer months does have an impact on the hurricane activity in the Pacific and Atlantic basins.

Studies show there tends to be a greater-than-normal number of Atlantic hurricanes and fewer-than-normal number of eastern Pacific hurricanes during La Niña events.

March 13, 2007 - Looking Back At March 2003

On this date in 2003, the high temperature reached a record 74 degrees. In fact, several new record highs were set across the region.

Temperatures stayed extremely mild in the days to follow with 60s and 70s for afternoon highs. By March 17, signs of a change began to appear with afternoon clouds, thunderstorms and falling thermometers.

As even colder air spilled into the Front Range, precipitation changed to snow.

It was one of the biggest storms to ever hit Colorado, and was the biggest single event snow in Denver's history.

In the slideshow linked to this story, you can take a look back at that memorable storm.

March 12, 2007 - Near Record Highs Expected

A very mild airmass is in place over Colorado and the southwest United States with near record highs expected Monday and Tuesday.

In Denver, highs are expected to be in the lower 70s. The record high for Monday is 75 degrees and Tuesday is 74 degrees.

Elsewhere, near record highs are also expected in Phoenix and Los Angeles on Monday with highs in the lower 90s.

March 9, 2007 - Attend Ice Fest This Weekend

The Ice Fest, a community-wide event to celebrate the beginning of the International Polar Year, will be held March 8th to the 11th, 2007 on the CU-Boulder Campus. With a wide variety of activities around the theme of ice and snow, polar research and climate studies, Ice Fest will include science talks, films, presentations and a range of demonstrations and activities.

Two key events designed specifically to involve the Front Range community, Family Day on Saturday, March 10th, and Make a Difference Day on Sunday, March 11th, are geared for the general public and will offer a unique opportunity for families, teachers and the broad community to participate in discussions, view demonstrations, and enjoy a range of activities related to ice and snow. Some of the world’s leading polar and climate experts will be on hand to answer questions and share their insights, images and experience.

The new ATLAS building on the CU-Boulder campus will be the primary venue for the Ice Fest on the weekend.

The International Polar Year, or IPY, which starts March 1 and runs to March 2009, builds on a 125 year legacy of intensive, international collaboration and cooperation. The first IPY was in 1882-83. The most recent was expanded into the International Geophysical Year of 1957-58.

All activities and events are free of charge, with the exception of films on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday night, which have a minimal charge as part of the International Film Series. On Friday a free special presentation by Boulder filmmaker Michael Brown will include the showing on his recent BBC production entitled "Climate Crisis."

For more information and a map to Ice Fest, click here.

March 8, 2007 - Daylight Saving Time Arrives Early In 2007

Did you know this Sunday is Daylight Saving Time? It comes early this year due to the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

On August 8, 2005, President George W. Bush signed the Act into law at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The new law changes Daylight Saving Time effective in 2007 to begin on the second Sunday in March and end the first Sunday in November.

While it is a complicated law with many different provisions, one measure will be to see if the extra 4 weeks of Daylight Saving Time will result in a net energy savings for the nation.

The Secretary of Energy will report the impact of this change to Congress. Congress retains the right to resume the 2005 Daylight Saving Time schedule once the Department of Energy study is complete.

So as you set your clocks ahead one hour this weekend, it is also a great time to check the batteries on your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

March 7, 2007 - Jet Stream Remains Over Canada

Colorado continues to enjoy a fine stretch of late winter weather, and it is all thanks to the jet stream.

A large storm system will impact southwest Canada and the northwest United States over the next few days. Colorado will not see much impact from this storm because the jet stream track will take it across southern Canada.

The weather across the upper midwest and Great Lakes states will remain unsettled because the jet stream is dipping down into that part of the country.

Long-range data suggests that Colorado will continue to enjoy a mild, dry weather pattern through the weekend. By next week, the jet stream could move south and bring unsettled weather back to the state.

March 5, 2007 - Bitter Cold Locked Over Alaska

Bitterly cold air is gripping the state of Alaska with many locations staying below zero for both the daytime high and overnight low.

Normal high temperatures for early March around Fairbanks is range from 13 to 17 degrees with lows around 10 below zero. So far this month, high have averaged around -10 degrees with lows between -33 and -39 degrees.

So will that bitterly cold air affect Colorado down the road?

Typically when cold air sits that long in one place, it eventually "breaks off" and moves south with the jet stream. We will keep a close eye on this over the next 10 days.

We are rapidly approaching the time of year when we will see the first thunderstorms of the season.

March 4, 2007 - Beautiful Weather In Store This Week

If you have some time off at work this week, make plans to be outside. And if you have to work, brown bag your lunches and find a nice place to eat outdoors.

A ridge of high pressure will dominate the weather pattern over the next few days with ample sunshine and mild temperatures. Daytime highs will average in the upper 50s and lower 60s through Thursday.

Clouds and slightly cooler weather will enter the forecast by Friday.

March 2, 2007 - Windy Friday Will Give Way To Nice Weekend

A strong northwest flow of winds aloft will batter Colorado one more day. The winds mean more snow in the mountains, blowing snow in the Denver area, and cloudy weather.

As we head into Saturday, the winds will subside substantially and mostly sunny skies will take over Colorado. That trend will continue into Sunday with a nice warming trend too.

If you are making outdoor plans for the weekend, Sunday will be the pick day with ample sunshine and highs in the middle 30s to lower 40s mountains, with middle 50s to lower 60s on the plains.

February 28, 2007 - February Will End Colder Than Normal

The official February numbers won't be available until Thursday morning, but as of today, it looks like the month will end 4 degrees colder than normal. Extremes during the month of February spanned over 70 degrees, from a low of -18 on Feb. 2 to a high of 58 on Feb. 23.

Not counting what snowfall we receive today, the month was running about two tenths of an inch below normal on precipitation, and right about average on snowfall.

February 27, 2007 - Storm Recovery Continues In Arkansas

A tornado rated EF3 struck portions of southeast Arkansas on Saturday, leaving a trail of damage through the towns of Dumas and Back Gate. Winds in the twister were estimated to be between 138-167 mph. It was on the ground 29 miles.

In Dumas, 25 businesses were destroyed, 9 had major damage and 15 had minor damage. The town lost 19 homes and had at least 68 others with minor to major damage. In addition, 6 mobile homes, a park and a 20-unit assisted living center were destroyed.

In Back Gate, over 2 dozen homes were either damaged or destroyed.

An amazing statistic from this storm is that there was approximately 13 minutes of lead time from when the tornado warning was issued to when the storm struck.

That is likely why there were no deaths in the area where over 6,000 people live. The tornado caused 27 injuries.

February 24, 2007 - Local Storm Chasers Bag First Tornado Of Season

Local storm chasers Verne Carlson, Michael Carlson and Tony Laubach saw their first tornado of the 2007 chase season on Friday.

In anticipation of strong developing low pressure on the central plains, they left Denver Thursday afternoon for Garden City, Kansas.

After analyzing data on Friday, they decided to target western Oklahoma and the Texas panhandle for severe thunderstorm development.

A dryline setup Friday afternoon between Amarillo and Shamrock in the Texas panhandle, so the storm chasers made their way west along Interstate 40 to the small town of McLean.

A dryline is the boundary between moist air and dry air, which serves as a focal point for thunderstorm development.

By the afternoon hours, three thunderstorm cells fired up and moved north along the dryline. The first storm was rather weak, but the second storm showed signs of rotation.

As the rotation grew stronger, a funnel cloud dropped from the base of the storm. The funnel soon took on the classic cone shape and dropped to the ground, forming a tornado.

The tornado stayed on the ground about 5 minutes near the town of McLean, Texas. You can see a picture of the twister by clicking here.

Now Tony, Verne and Michael are driving through 60 mph wind gusts from the departing storm as they make their way home to Colorado.

February 22, 2007 - New Storm Impacting West

A new storm system moving onshore in the Pacific Northwest will bring unsettled weather today. Snow is expected in the mountains of Oregon, California, Nevada and Utah.

Rain will fall at lower elevations, and along the coast, from Seattle to Los Angeles.

The unsettled weather will move inland and combine with an approaching cold front by Saturday. The result will be a return to wintry weather with snow in the forecast for the mountains, Denver and the plains.

February 21, 2007 - February Stats To Date

The first 20 days of February were on the cool side with an average temperature of just 27.1 degrees. That is 5.4 degrees below normal.

Precipitation was slightly below normal with 5.1 inches of snow and 0.08 inches of moisture. Typically we should see closer to 0.30 inches of moisture during the first 20 days of the month.

We should add to those totals Saturday as a fast-moving, but potentially potent, storm system crosses the state.

February 20, 2007 - Much Of Country Sees Thaw

It has been quite a winter for much of the nation, including Colorado. So for many residents, the recent February thaw has been a welcome change of pace.

High temperatures from Texas to Minnesota are currently running 15 to 25 degrees above normal.

Will the warm weather last much longer? We are tracking another bubble of bitterly cold air building over Alaska that will be on the move over the next 5 to 10 days.

The climate prediction center is calling for cooler than normal temperatures in Denver on the 8 to 14 day outlook.

February 19, 2007 - Weather History: Find Out What Happened On This Date

On this date in weather history, Denver and eastern Colorado was in the middle of a cold snap in 2006. Record lows were set on Feb. 17 at -10 degrees, Feb. 18 at -13 degrees and Feb. 19 at -4 degrees.

On this date in 1899, 1980, 1986 and 1996 strong chinook winds hammered the Front Range. Winds of 45 to 65 mph with gusts even higher were recorded.

And on this date in 1924, 1937, 1939 and 1971 snow fell across the city, along with gusty north-northeast winds.

February 18, 2007 - Weather Disturbance Approaching Colorado

A weather disturbance moving in from the west will mean some unsettled weather across the state on Monday. Snow is expected in the mountains with a rain and snow mix possible in the valleys.

The unsettled weather will reach Denver and eastern Colorado by the afternoon hours.

It will be a fast storm system, with mostly sunny skies back in the forecast by Tuesday.

February 15, 2007 - Storm Chaser Convention This Weekend

The world's largest gathering of storm chasers will take place this weekend right here in our own backyard. The annual convention will be held at the Raddison Hotel Southeast, off Interstate 225 and Parker Road in Aurora.

Come and rub elbows with some of the best in the business, and learn some great things about weather, storms, and chasing.

We have complete details listed under the weather news section of our weather page. Click here to read more.

February 14, 2007 - Upstate N.Y. Braces For More Snow

A taste of winter settled along the Front Range this week with colder temperatures and snow. Although there is still plenty of snow cover across eastern Colorado, there has been some significant melting over the past 7 days, especially with those big piles of snow on roadside curbs and in parking lots.

Speaking of melting, the people of Oswego County, New York will have quite a mess on their hands this spring as the melting process begins. Over the past 10 days, the county has picked up anywhere from 100 to 150 inches of snow.

Unofficially, at least 146 inches of snow has been recorded in the small town of Redfield, New York.

If verified, that would break the previous one event record of 127 inches set in 2002 at Montague, and set a new all-time snow record for New York state from one snow event.

The large area of low pressure that has been parked over southeastern Canada now for several weeks is to blame for all the heavy snow. Counter-clockwise wind circulation around the low pressure has kept a steady wind blowing into Oswego County off Lake Ontario.

The wind direction has been oriented so that it crossed the entire length of the lake, picking up copious amounts of moisture. Once the winds hit land and the slightly higher terrain, the moisture is squeezed out in the form of snow, much like we see here along the foothills during an upslope snow event.

Something interesting to note on Lake Erie, just south of Lake Ontario, is that it too was producing heavy lake effect snow for communities downwind of the water – that is until it completely froze over. Lake Erie is actually larger than Lake Ontario in terms of surface area, but it is very shallow, averaging only 62 feet deep. It’s deepest point is 210 feet deep. This allows the lake to quickly warm up during the summer and freeze during the winter.

Lake Ontario is about 283 feet deep on average; it’s deepest point is 804 feet.

While we are talking about the Great Lakes, I thought you would enjoy a few more facts about these fascinating bodies of water. The 5 lakes have a total combined coastline of 10,900 miles – more than 44 percent of the circumference of the Earth. 3,288 miles of that coastline is within the state of Michigan, making it the U.S. state with the second largest coastline behind Alaska.

The lakes have more than 94,000 square miles of surface, bigger than New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire combined. If spread out evenly over the entire lower 48 states, the 5 Great Lakes would cover the nation in over 9 feet of water.

February 13, 2007 - Storm Chasers Give Back To Community

Each year the most experienced storm chasers in the United States come together to produce a DVD featuring memorable severe weather events of the past season. 100 percent of the profits from DVD sales go to charitable organizations, such as the American Red Cross.

In 2004 and 2005, DVD sales were used to help the victims of hurricanes, including Katrina and Rita.

The 2006 season is now on sale. "Storms of 2006" is a compilation of the best storm footage featuring 10 events and the work of over 50 contributors.

Click here to order your copy of "Storms of 2006".

To see how storm chasers across the nation use their passion to help give back to those most affected by severe weather, click here.

February 12, 2007 - Upstate N.Y. Sees More Snow

There could be a new record for all-time snowfall in New York state. Unofficially, 12 feet 2 inches of snow has been recorded in the small town of Redfield.

If verified, that would break the previous one event record of 10 feet 7 inches set in 2002 at Montague.

The county of Oswego has been declared a state of emergency by the governor. The county's community of Parish had recorded 115 inches of snow, Mexico had 103 inches, North Osceola had 99 and Scriba 94 inches as of Sunday. The city of Oswego had 85 inches.

February 9, 2007 - Bitter Cold Freezes Lake Erie

The bitterly cold pool of air that has gripped the midwest and northeast for the past several weeks has been deadly, claiming over a dozen lives.

In fact, it has been so cold, that Lake Erie in the Great Lakes has completely froze over. This is actually good news for locations downwind of the lake because it cuts off the moisture supply for lake effect snow.

Lake Ontario has not froze over yet, and as a result, heavy lake effect snow has fallen to the east of the lake shore. Some places in upstate New York have seen anywhere from 75 to 110 inches of snow over the past week.

February 8, 2007 - London, UK Sees Snow

Up to 4 inches of snow blanketed England and Wales on Thursday morning, causing travel havoc all across the United Kingdom.

Commuter train service, airports, and major highways all saw delays due to the snow.

Both London's Gatwick and Heathrow airports reported delays, cancellations, and even a brief closure for snow removal.

February 7, 2007 - On This Date In History

On this date in 1940, a distant thunderstorm was observed in Denver. It was only the second time since 1900 that a thunderstorm was recorded during the month of February at the Denver observation.

In 1980, a cold front passed through along with upslope winds behind it. Snow fell off and on over the next 48 hours, dropping up to 2 feet in the foothills west of Denver.

February 6, 2007 - Record Highs In So. California

If you were in southern California on Monday, you probably had to double check the calendar to make sure it still read February. Much of the area climbed into the middle and upper 80s.

New record highs set on Monday include:

  • Downtown L.A. -- 89 degrees
  • Los Angeles International -- 86 degrees
  • U.C.L.A. -- 87 degrees
  • Long Beach -- 85 degrees (tied old record)
  • Santa Monica Pier -- 83 degrees

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    February 5, 2007 - Winter Grips New England, Great Lakes

    The large area of low pressure that is parked over southeast Canada will keep it cold and unsettled this week for people in the Great Lakes and New England states.

    It was below zero almost the entire weekend for folks in portions of Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Dakota. It wasn't much warmer across Iowa, eastern Nebraska and the Ohio River Valley states of Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.

    Heavy lake effect snow will continue today for portions of Michigan and New York state.

    If you want some warm weather, it won't feel too bad here in Colorado. But the pick city of the week for fantastic weather is Las Vegas. They are expecting mostly sunny skies, light winds and afternoon highs around 70 degrees.

    February 4, 2007 - February Thaw Arrives In Colorado

    If you haven't been outside yet today, you are missing out! It is beautiful and feels nice thanks to ample sunshine and light wind.

    There are still some strong and gusty winds in the mountains that could mix down onto the plains later today.

    If you are planning on travel into the mountains or foothills, you may encounter blowing snow so be prepared.

    Temperatures over the next few days will vary up to 30 degrees across northeast Colorado. Areas with the deepest snowpack will take longer to warm up.

    And areas closest to the foothills will warm the fastest due to downsloping winds. The good news is that we should all at least see some degree of melting through Tuesday.

    February 3, 2007 - Wind Keeps Overnight Temperatures Up

    Overnight lows Friday were tough to forecast. Where the wind blew it remained in the teens, such as in Denver.

    But where the winds were calm, temperatures dropped well below zero, such as in Lamar.

    In places with just a light breeze, low temperatures Saturday morning were near 0 degrees, such as in Limon and Greeley.

    No matter what the temperature was, it still felt very cold due to the wind chill. We have a wind chill calculator located on the bottom right of our main weather page.

    From TheDenverChannel.com click on weather, then scroll down on the right side of the page until you see weather calculators.

    February 2, 2007 - World Wetlands Day

    Today is not only Groundhog's Day, but it is also World Wetlands Day!

    World Wetlands Day is celebrated each year on the 2 of February. It marks the anniversary of the signing of the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar Convention) in Ramsar, Iran, on 2 February 1971.

    To learn more about this event, click here.

    Stay warm today, it will be dangerously cold with highs only in the single digits and wind chill values well below zero.

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