-28° to 72° in 6 days: a wild ride in Oklahoma

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:09 PM GMT on February 17, 2011

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The plants and animals of northeast Oklahoma are officially freaking out. Cold air pouring in behind last week's remarkable snowstorm over northeast Oklahoma brought unprecedented cold to the state on February 10, with a bone-chilling -31°F recorded at Nowata and -28°F at Bartlesville. These were the coldest temperatures ever measured in Oklahoma. But what a difference a week makes! Yesterday afternoon, just six days after experiencing -28°F, Bartlesville hit 72°F--an incredible 100°F temperature swing in just six days. Nearby Ponca City, which hit -25°F six days previously, hit 75°F yesterday, also achieving a 100°F temperature swing in just six days.


Figure 1. Record snows of 25" piled up in northeast Oklahoma near Afton on February 9, 2011. The fresh coasting of snow, which is a very excellent emitter of infrared radiation to space, enabled temperatures in Northeast Oklahoma to plunge to record lows on the morning of February 10. Image credit: wunderphotographer Bladerider.

A 100+ degree temperature change in just six days is a phenomenally rare event. I checked the records for over twenty major cities in the Midwest in Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, Wyoming, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Montana, and could not find any examples of a 100-degree temperature swing in so short a period of time. The closest I came was a 108° swing in temperature in fourteen days at Valentine, Nebraska, from -27°F on March 11, 1998 to 82°F on March 25, 1998. Valentine also had a 105°F temperature swing in fifteen days from November 29, 1901 (71°F) to December 14, 1901 (-34°F.) Our weather historian, Christopher C. Burt, lists the world record for fastest 24-hour change in temperature as the 103°F warm-up from -54° to 49° that occurred on January 14 - 15, 1972, during a chinook wind in Lowe, Montana. This week's remarkable roller coaster ride of temperatures in Oklahoma is truly a remarkable event that has few parallels in recorded history.

Darwin sets its all-time 24-hour rainfall record
Darwin, Australia suffered its greatest 24-hour rainfall in its history on Wednesday, when a deluge of 13.4 inches (339.4 mm) hit the city when Tropical Cyclone Carlos formed virtually on top of city and remained nearly stationary. Over the past three days, Carlos has dumped a remarkable 25.37" (644.6 mm) of rain on the Darwin (population 125,000), capital of Australia's Northern Territory. Carlos has moved slowly inland today, and continues to dump rain on Darwin, but these rains will gradually subside over the next few days as the storm weakens and moves farther inland. Not surprisingly, the rains have triggered major flooding in the Darwin area. The heavy rains in Darwin are due to the very slow motion of the storm, which has been able to keep a significant portion of its circulation over the warm 30°C (86°F) waters off the coast. These water temperatures are near normal for this time of year. Australia's west coast is also watching Tropical Cyclone Dianne, which is expected to remain offshore as it moves southwards, parallel to the coast.


Figure 2. Radar image of Tropical Cyclone Carlos taken at 14:35 UTC on February 17, 2011. Spiral bands from Tropical Storm Carlos were rotating clockwise onto shore near Darwin, adding to that city's record rainfall totals. Image credit: Australia Bureau of Meteorology.



Carlos' deluge add to the misery of flood-weary Australia, which has suffered from some of its greatest natural disasters in history in 2011. Earlier this month, Category 4 Tropical Cyclone Yasi smashed into Queensland with 155 mph winds, making it the strongest hurricane to hit Queensland since at least 1918. Yasi was the second most expensive tropical cyclone ever to hit Australia, with damages currently estimated near $3 billion. Australia is still reeling from torrential deluges that affected the states of Queensland and Victoria November - January, triggering flooding that caused the most expensive natural disaster in Australian history. Damage estimates of the flood are speculative, but range from $10 - $30 billion. The floods were spawned by the rainiest September - November (spring) and December in Queensland's history, driven in part by La Niña-enhanced sea surface temperatures along the coast that were the warmest on record. However, all rivers in the flooded eastern half of Queensland have now fallen below flood level. Rainfall amounts in the coming week are expected to be in the 1 - 4 inch range, which should not cause any significant new flooding problems.

Tropical Cyclone Bingiza makes a 2nd landfall in Madagascar
On Monday, Tropical Cyclone Bingiza roared ashore over Northern Madagascar as a dangerous Category 3 hurricane with 115 mph winds. The storm is being blamed for six deaths, has left 15,000 homeless, and has destroyed 8,500 buildings. After re-emerging over the waters of the Mozambique Channel between Africa and Madagascar on Tuesday, Bingiza re-intensified, and made a second landfall along the southwest coast of Madagascar early today as a tropical storm. Bingiza is expected to dissipate over Madagascar tomorrow, but not before dumping very heavy rains capable of causing additional flooding problems on Madagascar's deforested mountain slopes.


Figure 3. Visible satellite image of Tropical Cyclone Bingiza making its second landfall over Madagascar at 14 UTC on February 17, 2011. Image credit: Navy Research Lab, Monterey.

Bingiza is just the second tropical cyclone in the Southwest Indian Ocean (west of 90E) during the 2010 - 2011 season; this is an unusually low amount of activity for the basin. According to an email I received from Sebastien Langlade of the tropical cyclone forecasting office on La Reunion Island, January 2011 was the first January since accurate records began in 1998 that the Southwest Indian Ocean failed to record a single tropical storm. The only other storm in the basin so far this season has been Tropical Cyclone Abele (29 Nov - 4 Dec 2010), a Category 1 storm that stayed out to sea. Bingiza was the 4th major (Category 3 or stronger) tropical cyclone world-wide this year.

Jeff Masters

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105. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
12:32 AM GMT on February 18, 2011
Quoting twincomanche:


I saw that but the "big one" was supposed to hit this afternoon and evening, you know maybe "doom" stuff. Just wondered if anything else has happened?
well the lights are still on and we are on the computer and the tv works so i guess we are ok for now maybe the next time
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54847
104. afj3
12:32 AM GMT on February 18, 2011
Quoting twincomanche:


The short answer is no. Other than the obvious that if we get a bunch of monsoonal rain, hurricanes or other than we start out with more moisture in the soil. This dry weather is pretty typical. The hurricane season this year was dryer than normal.

thanks!
Member Since: June 10, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 349
103. twincomanche
12:27 AM GMT on February 18, 2011
Quoting Orcasystems:


yes.. China had problems from the flare.. I posted it this morning in the previous blog


I saw that but the "big one" was supposed to hit this afternoon and evening, you know maybe "doom" stuff. Just wondered if anything else has happened?
Member Since: January 2, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 586
102. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
12:24 AM GMT on February 18, 2011


be interesting to see next set at 00z
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54847
101. Orcasystems
12:24 AM GMT on February 18, 2011
Quoting twincomanche:
Has anyone seen about any radio communication issues or other strange stuff with the solar storm?


yes.. China had problems from the flare.. I posted it this morning in the previous blog
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
Has anyone seen about any radio communication issues or other strange stuff with the solar storm?
Member Since: January 2, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 586
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
evening to one and all

Evening. So far only sane people here. At least that have posted.
Member Since: January 2, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 586
evening to one and all
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54847
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
wunder should march roar like a lion that gfs shows energy from sw pacific coming from the north getting absorbed into system over nw rockies as advancement occurs into high plains that could be an interesting picture

Looks quite likely. I hope your happy :D
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Quoting Orcasystems:


KOG, I need some ice on a Bayou in Destin FL, think you can handle that for me?
that may be a little late for the menu now big fish it could get cold but ice lets just see what the old man winter got left
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54847
Quoting CybrTeddy:
Evening all.
Hello.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 17481
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:

like always
all days are numbered big shifts going on
lots of atomsphere movin around
cold and heat is the battle ground
i expect the first severe round
this time around
as we advance into march
and spring ground


Yeah, I know you're right. The worst tornado I've ever been through, and I've been through MANY...was in March....was an F5
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Quoting afj3:
Hello all!
Greetings from sunny South Florida. Sorry to divert attention away from the Southern Hemisphere, but is there any correlation between a dry winter in South Florida and hurricane activity in the Atlantic basin? It's really dry here!


Check out your local weather and then go to the almanac and yesterdays weather. You'll see average rainfall, rainfall this month and last years rainfall at this time. Good stuff.
Member Since: January 2, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 586
Evening all.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24471
Quoting EYEStoSEA:


No thanks, think I'll pass on that system. It's been absolutely beautiful in Ms today....and yesterday....and another tomorrow :)

like always
all days are numbered big shifts going on
lots of atomsphere movin around
cold and heat is the battle ground
i expect the first severe round
this time around
as we advance into march
and spring ground
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54847
Quoting afj3:
Hello all!
Greetings from sunny South Florida. Sorry to divert attention away from the Southern Hemisphere, but is there any correlation between a dry winter in South Florida and hurricane activity in the Atlantic basin? It's really dry here!


The short answer is no. Other than the obvious that if we get a bunch of monsoonal rain, hurricanes or other than we start out with more moisture in the soil. This dry weather is pretty typical. The hurricane season this year was dryer than normal.
Member Since: January 2, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 586
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


No thanks, think I'll pass on that system. It's been absolutely beautiful in Ms today....and yesterday....and another tomorrow :)
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wunder should march roar like a lion that gfs shows energy from sw pacific coming from the north getting absorbed into system over nw rockies as advancement occurs into high plains that could be an interesting picture
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54847
87. afj3
Hello all!
Greetings from sunny South Florida. Sorry to divert attention away from the Southern Hemisphere, but is there any correlation between a dry winter in South Florida and hurricane activity in the Atlantic basin? It's really dry here!
Member Since: June 10, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 349
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54847
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


KOG, I need some ice on a Bayou in Destin FL, think you can handle that for me?
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54847
And the same for SW Florida as far as the eye can see. It's real easy to forget about hurricanes this time of the year.
Member Since: January 2, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 586
Caribbean still staying moist...
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Nice on the Cumberland Plateau too. 61 degrees. Wind out out West at 15 mph....
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81 and partly here in Cape Coral today.
Member Since: January 2, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 586
Such beautiful "Chamber of Commerce" weather here in Palm Beach county Florida.
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54847
Its a humid day here in Kansas City, where we broke the High temperature record, 75 degrees today. Made for a nice lunch time walk. Though its supposed to get a bit cold again.
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Quoting Grothar:


Make sure you wear your hat and mittons. Don't get your boots wet either. And if I catch you on the slopes without your scarf again, I won't let you go on the little pony ride in front of the the ski slopes. (Hope you are having fun.)


I'm not there for another two weeks, but I am having fun here LOL

See ya tomorrow Grothar!
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Quoting Orcasystems:


Hmmm...

My Mommy always warned me about old men offering candy and pony rides....


HAHAHAHA now that was funny.
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Quoting Grothar:


I know. I've seen some of the comments. I mean, you're not that bad. One must have a tough hide to stay on this blog. Last time I was on, people were comparing their educational degrees. After reading some of the blogs, I am quite sure none could have been degrees in English.


Thats why I stick to humour and GE graphics... I know my weather limitations :) Even then.. not to sure about my sense of humour at times either :)
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
I am out. Duty calls. I will have to check on the insults tomorrow. Everyone have fun and play nicey nice.
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Quoting Orcasystems:


Hmmm...

My Mommy always warned me about old men offering candy and pony rides....


No wonder people call you names. LOL
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Be sure to be on the look out in a few days for a server weather event.The cold air should be returning back to the north east around Monday,and the south should remain warm.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 17481
#64
LOL, I could have posted that long-winded comment in my own badly neglected blog as a new entry, but...

Sorry to interrupt the conversation, guys and gals...

Work calls...
G'day at yas!
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Quoting Orcasystems:


That's the nicest thing I have been called on here all week :)


I know. I've seen some of the comments. I mean, you're not that bad. One must have a tough hide to stay on this blog. Last time I was on, people were comparing their educational degrees. After reading some of the blogs, I am quite sure none could have been degrees in English.
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Quoting Grothar:


Make sure you wear your hat and mittons. Don't get your boots wet either. And if I catch you on the slopes without your scarf again, I won't let you go on the little pony ride in front of the the ski slopes. (Hope you are having fun.)


Hmmm...

My Mommy always warned me about old men offering candy and pony rides....
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
hahahahaha!

:)
Member Since: January 24, 2007 Posts: 317 Comments: 31946
Quoting caneswatch:


Forget that. If it's been like this all day then it'll probably like this through the night.


Make sure you wear your hat and mittons. Don't get your boots wet either. And if I catch you on the slopes without your scarf again, I won't let you go on the little pony ride in front of the the ski slopes. (Hope you are having fun.)
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Quoting Grothar:


I've always depended on the kindness of strangers. Thanks.


That's the nicest thing I have been called on here all week :)
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
Hiya Dr Jeff,

Indeed, quite remarkable to have a 100F swing over that short period, with clearly the more notable reading being the record -28F low, than the 72F high... I'd say those plants and animals are rejoicing! (More to come as record highs are now replacing those record lows today and next several)

While the 24 hr chinook spike is the most incredible temp burst recorded, it's worth noting the seasonal frame the others occurred - a rapid downward drop being most likely during the Fall-Winter transition (warm ridge / arctic trof plunging), while the upticks are more likely as we approach Winter-Spring transition (arctic trof / warm ridge rebuilding), as this latest has - especially true across the S tier states... As I've mentioned before, Winter 1989-1990 was a flip of the switch from the brutal arctic outbreak in December to a mild Jan-Feb, the temp rise was less intense, most likely as it occurred in Mid-Winter at end Dec / start Jan...

Wild temp swings over the southern tier in February are not particularly uncommon, most especially in South TX, where we find historical precedence in several years... Two extreme Februarys I can point out that both had deep arctic blasts followed by record warmth would be 1899 and 1996, although over a longer time frame than Oklahoma just recorded...

Look what happened in Feb 1899 when many all-time record lows that still stand were set over the South... San Antonio recorded all-time low of 4.5F on the 12th, but jumped to 90.6F by the 22nd just ahead of another frontal passage (86.1F spike)... Also in agreement with slightly larger range was Beeville TX with a 5F low on the 12th, peaking with a 93F high on the 22nd for a spike of 88F (although both highs were likely on the 21st, using 7AM obs period, putting this within a 9 day range)...

February 1996 offered up another incredible range over a bit longer period, beginning with an arctic intrusion that dug deep into the Gulf South, with some S TX stations dropping into up teens to 20's, then had a remarkable swing as very warm ridging returned (and across the S US) that brought all-time Feb record highs, featuring earliest 100 degree readings at several S TX locations: Beeville fell to 21F on the 4th, then hit 98F by the 22nd... while San Antonio hit 100F, Austin Bergstrom hit 101F...

Of the most recent events, we can observe the pattern changes and outline what has brought this about as we see that the NAO has swiftly shifted positive, we also see in viewing the upper air analysis at 200 mb of a very expansive cross-equatorial ridge building NWD from South America / E Pac / Caribbean, with corresponding mid level / sfc ridging rising into the S / E CONUS as well (will need view the GFS W Atl / N American / E Pac / S American charts to see the breadth of it)... Perhaps a teleconnection response with the NAO and ENSO (among others), IMHO much of which we're seeing now represents somewhat typical signs of early Spring transition for this region (LOL, although I KNOW Winter is NOT completely done here either as jet stream troughing battles it out with mid-upper level ridging from southern latitudes, and clashes further into full-blown Spring)...

All that said, the 100F spike in OK was one for the record books and shows what can happen in a short span with the right combination of trof departure / ridge replacement!

Cheers!
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
nice really but hey lets wait till after the 5 oclock whistle to see how things go



Looks like it only made it to 4:28 EST. Damn icebreaker.
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Quoting Grothar:


I've always depended on the kindness of strangers. Thanks.


Don't try to make me laugh, cause my core hurts from snowboard training. Knowing you, you'll still try LOL
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
nice really but hey lets wait till after the 5 oclock whistle to see how things go



Forget that. If it's been like this all day then it'll probably like this through the night.
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Quoting KoritheMan:

Man, the winter lasts entirely too long for you guys up north. Can't say I envy you.
in a normal winter we can pretty well rule out cold and snow by april 15 in southern ontario
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54847
#27..No, no, no, no, no!! Alaska and W Canada can keep all that cold air. North TX wants a divorce from this La Nina Winter, immediately.

Tired of being very ill with upper respiratory infections. Three days of 102F fever on the 4TH episode of illness due to wacked out weather.

Enjoying morning lows near 63F, highs near 75F each and every day :D
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
a few days of cooler weather for the most part for the deep south but time is running out for such events as winter approaches early march late feb the northern half of CONUS and all of canada could still see some deep cold till the spring warming takes over in the latter half of march
Man, the winter lasts entirely too long for you guys up north. Can't say I envy you.
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Quoting KoritheMan:

If it's any consolation, it doesn't look as strong as some of the previous outbreaks we've seen thus far.
a few days of cooler weather for the most part for the deep south but time is running out for such events as winter approaches early march late feb the northern half of CONUS and all of canada could still see some deep cold till the spring warming takes over in the latter half of march
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54847
Quoting Orcasystems:


I was being good yesterday... Floodman wasn't sure if he had any peers on here... due to his highly advanced age... I was good... and didn't mention your name :)


I've always depended on the kindness of strangers. Thanks.
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Quoting RitaEvac:
10 days a blue norther looks to plunge into TX


If it's any consolation, it doesn't look as strong as some of the previous outbreaks we've seen thus far.
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About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.