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.
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.
New precipitation forecast layers in Weather Defender give you the ability to predict rainfall up to 7 days out. Quantitative Precipitation Forecast predicts the total amount of expected liquid precipitation in a given forecast period.
The following periods are now available:
- Day 1: 0-24 hours from present
- Day 2: 24-48 hours
- Day 3: 48-72 hours
- Days 4-5: Multi-day forecast covering 72-120 hours from present
- Days 6-7: Multi-day forecast covering 120-168 hours
- Days 1-7: Multi-day forecast covering 0-168 hours (the entire next week)
Here is a screenshot of Day 1-7 Forecast taken today (looks like it will be very wet in New England):
Using the new layers is simple. Just navigate to the Forecast section of the Layer Browser and scroll until you see the Precipitation layers listed (see below).
Click Add to Map under the layer(s) you wish to add. As with all layer functionality in Weather Defender, the Precipitation Forecast layers will automatically update at regular intervals.