Zeta (again!), and the Texas drought

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 5. tammikuuta 2006 klo 16:06 (GMT)

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I was hoping to be able to declare an end to the Hurricane Season of 2005 today, but Zeta had other ideas. After weakening to a tropical depression last night, Zeta has made another comeback and is a tropical storm again. Satellite imagery is showing deep convection moving in towards Zeta's center on the east side, and both ship reports and satellite measurements support calling Zeta a tropical storm once again. The wind shear has apparently dropped this morning, allowing the re-organization. This is likely to be short-lived, and extremely high levels of wind shear are forecast to impact the storm tonight. This shear will surely tear Zeta apart by Saturday at the latest.

The Texas/Oklahoma drought
The latest drought map for the U.S. was released today, as it is every Thursday by the NOAA Climate Prediction Center. Comparing today's image to the one from a month ago shows the steady increase in area and severity of the drought affecting Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and surrounding areas. Today's drought map now puts the Dallas/Fort Worth metro area into the "exceptional" drought category, the most severe category of drought. Ninety-day rainfall totaled less than half normal across the southern Mississippi Valley, resulting in "severe" drought expanding into northeastern Arkansas and southwestern Missouri, while the "extreme" drought in southern Texas joined the extreme drought area in the north. Twelve-month rainfall deficits exceed 20 inches in southeast Oklahoma, northeast Texas, southwest Arkansas, and parts of Louisiana. It's ironic to note that had Hurricane Rita hit Houston and moved northward across Dallas/Fort Worth as originally forecast, her 4-8 inch rains would have likely saved tens of millions of dollars in drought damage the area is seeing now. Of course, Rita would have done billions in other damage, so I'm sure given the choice, the drought-stricken areas will take the drought!

Easing of the Northwestern U.S. drought
Figure 1 also shows a marked easing of the drought affecting the Northwest U.S., where most areas have been under a significant 5-7 year drought. While just one season of rains cannot put enough groundwater back into the aquifers to fully break such a long term drought, conditions this winter are a fantastic turn around for an area that was under extreme to exceptional drought for years.


Figure 1. Drought maps for December 6 and January 3, showing the progression of the drought over Texas, and the relaxing of the drought over the Northwestern U.S.

Jeff Masters

()
Wildfire near Stephenville (Schnucki)
This wildfire was put out by the brave firefighters in Erath County, TX on January 3rd, 2006
Wildfire near Stephenville

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139. F5
7. tammikuuta 2006 klo 16:47 (GMT)
China is doing just that. That was and is a major problem with the Kyoto protocol. It punished the US and other developed countries while doing nothing for two MAJOR polluters in China and India. The only thing it would have done is wrecked our economy, which is what you are starting to see in Western Europe where they adopted the treaty.

Is there global warming? On a short-term, the best answer is "maybe". Again, you have to question the reliability of older data when comparing it to current data. However, even assuming that it is occurring, how much effect is due to man and how much is due to natural factors that are out of our control, such as solar activity, natural oscillations in sea-surface temps such as ENSO, North Atlantic multi-decadal oscillation, and other trends anomolies that may not have even been discovered yet. That's at the heart of the issue for those who oppose Kyoto that are not part of industry lobbying (they have their own agenda of course). How can you proscribe certain levels of emissions which can only be obtained by putting a huge throttle on the US economy for something which is at best an unproven theory?

Now, none of this should preclude research and investment into both cleaning the emissions of our current energy production and into alternative energy sources. But, you probably won't find that many people interested in putting their money into research that isn't likely to have a big payoff.

If anything, we need to be finding ways to reduce pollution from our emissions to provide a healthier environment in the air and water as a priority over CO2 emissions IMO. That's one thing we do know the effects of, more or less.
138. Inyo
7. tammikuuta 2006 klo 02:21 (GMT)
i'm gonna respond even though this is an old blog.

Battery backup for the power grid is totally unworkable. Wherever you heard this from, they are not giving you good information.

what about 'wet batteries' IE pumping water up a hill in the daytime and using it at night? It's far from a solution to the whole thing but there are other methods than just big piles of chemical batteries.

And I think people underestimate how much land area would need to be dedicated to solar generators if we were to build on the assumption that we would make up for cloudy areas by transmitting power from sunny areas.

very true.. but think of the massive amount of space - thousands of square MILES - worth of south-facing rooftop in Los Angeles, San Diego, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Albequerque, Salt Lake City, other areas with relatively sunny climates. I am not saying solar power can ever be the entire source but if technology brings up the efficiency of the stuff, we have a LOT of space to use without using up farmland or wild areas.

Europeans use the global warming as a political tool against us, as one would expect.

hmm, perhaps they do, I am no expert on European politics. However, i would say to some extent, they have reason to be angry. If China were doing something that many scientists thought could lead to our entire west coast being uninhabitable, i think we might 'conspire' against China too. The fact is that we are by far the largest producer of CO2, and if human-caused greenhouse warming occurs, it will affect the poor more than the rich - and also could have very extreme effects on europe if the Gulf Stream gets messed up (yes i know that this is only a theory and isnt likely to happen... but you are talking about ice ages and stuff here.. serious stuff).

I admit i am not an expert on power generation and furthermore, that solar power isn't going to 'save' us from fossil fuels any time soon. It does seem like it has a lot more potential than some people make it out to have, though
Member Since: 3.09.2002 Posts: 42 Comments: 867
137. gippgig
6. tammikuuta 2006 klo 22:31 (GMT)
Goodbye Zeta. What a way to end the season!
Member Since: 5.12.2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 64
136. Oxfat
6. tammikuuta 2006 klo 18:12 (GMT)
Inyo,

. if you notice, its never cloudy everywhere, and we have an integrated power grid in this country. also, batteries.

Battery backup for the power grid is totally unworkable. Wherever you heard this from, they are not giving you good information. The amount of power that we use is so great that it can only be provided by large generators running 24 hours a day. The integrated grid idea is correct only to a point. It is not feasible to send power over long distances. Your bill may show you are buying power from a long ways away, but in reality your local generator is supplying it, and monetary transactions cascade back from region to region to the company you bought it from.

And I think people underestimate how much land area would need to be dedicated to solar generators if we were to build on the assumption that we would make up for cloudy areas by transmitting power from sunny areas. That means that we would have to have generators everywhere just to ensure that we were catching the sun as it was available.

that 'global warming is a conspiracy by evil Europe to ruin us' stuff to be complete nonsense

I mostly agree with you. Europeans use the global warming as a political tool against us, as one would expect. It is not a conspiracy, however political leaders have used issues like this to maintain their political base for much longer than Ive been alive (not inconsiderable, as my body reminds me). By making one country look bad, you solidify your strength. The people Ive met in Europe (a limited sample, Ill admit) are very nice, just trying to make a living and enjoying their families. The discord originates with those who try to sway public opinion to match their own agendas.
135. Oxfat
6. tammikuuta 2006 klo 18:10 (GMT)
Inyo,

. if you notice, its never cloudy everywhere, and we have an integrated power grid in this country. also, batteries.

Battery backup for the power grid is totally unworkable. Wherever you heard this from, they are not giving you good information. The amount of power that we use is so great that it can only be provided by large generators running 24 hours a day. The integrated grid idea is correct only to a point. It is not feasible to send power over long distances. Your bill may show you are buying power from a long ways away, but in reality your local generator is supplying it, and monetary transactions cascade back from region to region to the company you bought it from.

And I think people underestimate how much land area would need to be dedicated to solar generators if we were to build on the assumption that we would make up for cloudy areas by transmitting power from sunny areas. That means that we would have to have generators everywhere just to ensure that we were catching the sun as it was available.

that 'global warming is a conspiracy by evil Europe to ruin us' stuff to be complete nonsense

I mostly agree with you. Europeans use the global warming as a political tool against us, as one would expect. It is not a conspiracy, however political leaders have used issues like this to maintain their political base for much longer than Ive been alive (not inconsiderable, as my body reminds me). By making one country look bad, you solidify your strength. The people Ive met in Europe (a limited sample, Ill admit) are very nice, just trying to make a living and enjoying their families. The discord originates with those who try to sway public opinion to match their own agendas.
134. putintang3
6. tammikuuta 2006 klo 17:47 (GMT)
in relationship to the dustbowl era of 1931 to the number of hurricanes that formed in the same year is a 21 named storms 10 of which was hurricane strenght. What do you think the possiblity that this is the same pattern of weather. Put
Member Since: 29.08.2005 Posts: 2 Comments: 309
133. weatherdude65
6. tammikuuta 2006 klo 17:43 (GMT)
To think that I actually used to live in this stuff...yuckLink
132. Trouper415
6. tammikuuta 2006 klo 17:35 (GMT)
See ya Zeta. Or are you playing hide and go seek?

Looks like we have more stormy weather on the way according to what you posted eh 88889?
Member Since: 22.09.2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 637
131. weatherdude65
6. tammikuuta 2006 klo 17:30 (GMT)
I sent a question about the email to who ever is responsible for it....hope to hear something soon.
130. Pensacola21
6. tammikuuta 2006 klo 17:28 (GMT)
Email didnt work :-(
Member Since: 16.09.2005 Posts: 30 Comments: 3912
129. weatherdude65
6. tammikuuta 2006 klo 17:12 (GMT)
OK..I sure will :-)
128. Pensacola21
6. tammikuuta 2006 klo 17:10 (GMT)
I didn't get it... Try to send one in a little while... I'm archiving files.. Be back in a little bit!

:-)
Member Since: 16.09.2005 Posts: 30 Comments: 3912
127. weatherdude65
6. tammikuuta 2006 klo 17:09 (GMT)
Yeah...I sent one this morning and I think mine took a while to send as well.
126. Pensacola21
6. tammikuuta 2006 klo 17:07 (GMT)
ohhh... Did you try to email me? I tried to send you a few but they took forever to load... I think it's messed up.
Member Since: 16.09.2005 Posts: 30 Comments: 3912
125. weatherdude65
6. tammikuuta 2006 klo 17:07 (GMT)
Us Central Florida folks are not used to this:

...WIND CHILL ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 1 AM TO 9 AM EST SATURDAY...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN MELBOURNE HAS ISSUED A WIND CHILL ADVISORY FOR ALL OF EAST CENTRAL FLORIDA FOR EARLY SATURDAY MORNING.

THE COLDEST AIR OF THE SEASON WILL REACH CENTRAL FLORIDA
TONIGHT...WITH AIR TEMPERATURES FALLING INTO THE 30S AFTER
MIDNIGHT. THESE TEMPERATURES...COMBINED WITH 10 MPH WINDS...WILL MAKE IT FEEL EVEN COLDER. WIND CHILL READINGS WILL LIKELY FALL INTO THE LOWER 30S AFTER 1 AM...WITH MINIMUM WIND CHILLS REACHING THE UPPER 20S ACROSS MUCH OF EAST CENTRAL FLORIDA AROUND SUNRISE SATURDAY.

A WIND CHILL ADVISORY MEANS THAT VERY COLD AIR AND WINDS NEAR ORABOVE 10 MPH WILL COMBINE TO GENERATE LOW WIND CHILLS. THIS WILLRESULT IN VERY UNCOMFORTABLE CONDITIONS FOR THOSE NOT USE TO THECOLD OR ANYONE REMAINING OUTDOORS FOR LONG PERIODS OF TIME IF PRECAUTIONS ARE NOT TAKEN.

IF YOU MUST VENTURE OUTDOORS TONIGHT...MAKE SURE YOU WEAR A HAT AND GLOVES. BRING PETS INSIDE OVERNIGHT.
124. weatherdude65
6. tammikuuta 2006 klo 17:05 (GMT)
Hey 21!!! I figured you were really busy this morning. :-) Did not know about the email thing till now.
123. Pensacola21
6. tammikuuta 2006 klo 17:03 (GMT)
Hey Dude!
Member Since: 16.09.2005 Posts: 30 Comments: 3912
122. Inyo
6. tammikuuta 2006 klo 17:01 (GMT)
with all the talk about 'climate change' i have to kind of laugh at people who say it isnt happening. The climate has never been stable in the history of the earth. We've had numerous ice ages, droughts, heat waves, etc, and even in the last 1000 years there have been strong fluxuations (the 'little ice age' and in california at least, some very long term droughts and wet periods). In fact, if anything, the climate has been relatively stable lately.

Now, we don't know to what extent we affect it, or whether or not we are the cause for the recent warming. We do know it is changing. I take all that 'global warming is a conspiracy by evil Europe to ruin us' stuff to be complete nonsense. however, it certainly isnt a clear case, either. It will be interesting to see what happens. I myself think it is entering a period of more rapid change, and that we do have some effect on it.

As for the fuels, some people are saying solar and wind power can only complement 'conventional' fuels. At this time, that is true. However, it is silly to claim that solar power can 'never' be our mainstay, and that we won't find other replacements for coal or nuclear. Who knows what technology will bring. As for 'where do you get power when its cloudy'... if you notice, its never cloudy everywhere, and we have an integrated power grid in this country. also, batteries.
Member Since: 3.09.2002 Posts: 42 Comments: 867
121. weatherdude65
6. tammikuuta 2006 klo 16:59 (GMT)
Hey 21! and hello to everyone else
120. Pensacola21
6. tammikuuta 2006 klo 16:42 (GMT)
Yeah, you're right about that!
Member Since: 16.09.2005 Posts: 30 Comments: 3912
119. gbreezegirl
6. tammikuuta 2006 klo 16:32 (GMT)
Yes 21, kick off to Mardi Gras season at Bamboo Willie's. Krewe of Nereids. I am so glad we are back to some sense of normalcy around here since Ivan put an end to last year's celebration!
Member Since: 7.09.2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 274
118. Pensacola21
6. tammikuuta 2006 klo 16:12 (GMT)
Hey G-breeze! It's going good here, how about you? I didn't even know they were having that at the boardwalk.. Definately too cold for a boat!!!
Member Since: 16.09.2005 Posts: 30 Comments: 3912
117. gbreezegirl
6. tammikuuta 2006 klo 15:51 (GMT)
Hey 21. How's it goin? Gonna be a cold weekend for us it seems. Had hoped to take boat out to beach on Saturday for the Mardi Gras King Cake party at the boardwalk. Brrrr. Think it will be too cold will have to drive.
Member Since: 7.09.2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 274
116. ForecasterColby
6. tammikuuta 2006 klo 15:50 (GMT)
Zeta downgraded for the 10AM, and with good reason. To quote the NHC in reference to myself: "this will be the final advisory...part deux...on the system".
115. Pensacola21
6. tammikuuta 2006 klo 15:27 (GMT)
Weatherdude - If you are out there. I have been trying to email ya! Email is not working!!
Member Since: 16.09.2005 Posts: 30 Comments: 3912
114. Pensacola21
6. tammikuuta 2006 klo 15:26 (GMT)
Hey all... How is everyone?

My email seems to not be working
Member Since: 16.09.2005 Posts: 30 Comments: 3912
113. Oxfat
6. tammikuuta 2006 klo 12:53 (GMT)
Fshhead,

The problem with alternate energy sources such as solar and wind is that they can only be supplemental. On rainy days and calm days, people still need power. So we still need base capacity to meet peoples needs when conditions arent right for sun/wind power. The alternate sources then are add-ons to a complete power system rather than replacements to conventional power generation. This is okay to a certain extent.

Cycling the large conventional power plants (nuclear and coal) adds wear and tear. They are designed to run consistently at 100% power. Additionally, if you cycle them completely offline, it takes time to bring them back up. You cant just flip a switch.

Moving to solar/wind will be gradual, and never be a complete replacement for conventionally produced power. It is worth pursuing, but it should not be billed as this great, wonderful solution to our energy problems.
112. dcw
6. tammikuuta 2006 klo 11:30 (GMT)
They didn't downgrade it based on QuickScat...wtf is going on with this storm??
Member Since: 2.08.2001 Posts: 2 Comments: 3
111. Fshhead
6. tammikuuta 2006 klo 09:46 (GMT)
Hey Snowboy.......
You should check out my blog that I got going about global warming. I gotta say I am getting a bit of flak from some people. I don't know.....just seems like alot of weather "anomolies" in recent years.Ice caps melting at record paces, Earth's temperature rising.Sounds alot like global warming to me. BUT..... this is my opinion. I got alot of links,"facts" that I have found. This one is particularly interesting....
http://www.worldviewofglobalwarming.org/index.html
Take a look at the glacier before & after pics. Look at the last set on the bottom. Man.....that glacier & ice looks like a lake now. Another little tidbit I saw in the Miami Herald today was that 2 huge icebergs had broken off from Antartica & were adrift off the South American coast.
One of the biggest ongoing points in my blog is.... our we causing it or is this a natural cycle.My opinion is we are causing it.This issue to ME is the biggest concern we have as human beings. Not as country's, religions,races & such.
C'mon people we are supposed to be in the new millenium....
We are still using fossil fuels.. this is absurd to say the least. I would like to see energy take the leaps & bounds that technology has taken in the past 10-20 years.

To me solar is the one that makes most sense.
I'd put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don't have to wait 'til oil and coal run out before we tackle that."
Thomas Edison (18471931)

Thomas Edison had the right idea long time ago.
I realize solar is not viable in all places. There are other types of alternatives for these places.
I still say we are starting to see the very 1st signs of what is to come for us.
Member Since: 19.11.2005 Posts: 9 Comments: 9960
110. gippgig
6. tammikuuta 2006 klo 08:52 (GMT)
Zeta is still a tropical storm according to the 4AM advisory. I can't believe they didn't downgrade it. On the other hand, it has looked worse - a lot worse - before & come back. Guess we shouldn't give up quite yet - but I'm not optimistic.
Member Since: 5.12.2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 64
109. gippgig
6. tammikuuta 2006 klo 07:52 (GMT)
Zeta looks bad. The convection is dying - but a little bit of convection has wrapped around to the west side. This seems quite odd.
Member Since: 5.12.2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 64
108. snowboy
6. tammikuuta 2006 klo 07:14 (GMT)
hey atmos, KRWZ or anyone else on night shift?
Member Since: 21.09.2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 2547
107. atmosweather
6. tammikuuta 2006 klo 06:35 (GMT)
Have a good night David, will email you now
Member Since: 24.09.2005 Posts: 33 Comments: 9265
106. atmosweather
6. tammikuuta 2006 klo 06:34 (GMT)
Hey David, good to see you :)
Member Since: 24.09.2005 Posts: 33 Comments: 9265
105. KatrinaRitaWilmaZeta
6. tammikuuta 2006 klo 06:14 (GMT)
well atmosweather drop we a e mail on my post that i did then when i can i will get back to you i got to get some sleep now
104. KatrinaRitaWilmaZeta
6. tammikuuta 2006 klo 06:08 (GMT)
hey atmosweather yes it is and for the frist time in a week we had no rain but this will not last long

her is soem new news that may be you can hlep me with

ANOTHER WAVE PROGGED TO BRUSH THE FAR NORTHERN PORTION OF THE STATE
SATURDAY NIGHT THEN GFS BUILDS WEAK RIDGING INTO THE AREA SUNDAY.
EXTENDED MODELS CONTINUE TO ADVERTISE STRONG ZONAL POLAR JET
TRAVERSING THE PACIFIC THROUGH THE FORECAST PERIOD. MODELS
HOWEVER QUICKLY BECOME OUT OF PHASE WITH TIMING OF FAST MOVING SHORT
WAVES NEXT WEEK. POLAR JET POSITION WILL DETERMINE IF NORCAL
RECEIVES A SERIES OF GLANCING BLOWS FROM SHORT WAVES OR MORE
SIGNIFICANT PRECIP THROUGH THE EXTENDED PERIOD.



then her this one


HOWEVER IT DOES APPEAR THE JET IS STRENGTHENING
ONCE AGAIN OVER EASTERN CHINA AND THE WEST PAC...SO WOULD NOT BE
SURPRISED IF WE RETURN TO A WET PATTERN AGAIN BY THE MIDDLE OF NEXT
WEEK.

so look like we may get bback in to it
103. KatrinaRitaWilmaZeta
6. tammikuuta 2006 klo 06:02 (GMT)
have you see you no oh today
102. atmosweather
6. tammikuuta 2006 klo 06:01 (GMT)
Hey David, good to see you :)
Member Since: 24.09.2005 Posts: 33 Comments: 9265
101. KatrinaRitaWilmaZeta
6. tammikuuta 2006 klo 05:58 (GMT)
hey atmosweather
100. atmosweather
6. tammikuuta 2006 klo 05:38 (GMT)
Yeah David they do. I was only joking as it would be a "minor inconvenience" if it were to hit central Florida, although we would welcome the rain as well. But hopefully a big trof will drop down next week and bring some much needed moisture to the plains.
Member Since: 24.09.2005 Posts: 33 Comments: 9265
99. KatrinaRitaWilmaZeta
6. tammikuuta 2006 klo 05:33 (GMT)
haydn no do not give the Z storm to fl give the Z storm to tx now that where they need it the mosts
98. atmosweather
6. tammikuuta 2006 klo 05:33 (GMT)
If Zeta spawned a second storm it would be named Alberto, as it will form in 2006 and take the first name on the 2006 list. There have been instances where tropical cyclones have split. The NHC can help you with that (FAQ) or you could try Wikipedia.
Member Since: 24.09.2005 Posts: 33 Comments: 9265
97. gippgig
6. tammikuuta 2006 klo 05:23 (GMT)
Weird hurricane question: If Zeta split into 2 storms would we have
a) 2 Zetas
b) Zeta & Eta
c) Zeta & Alberto
d) a situation nobody ever thought of before

Is there any information on hurricanes splitting in two? At one point the forecast for Delta (as I recall) mentioned that as a possibilty & I remember hearing many years ago that the Stormfury criteria were so strict because many years before that a seeded hurricane split in 2 & one part hit land.

Looks like Zeta is trying to develop a little convection on the NW side for a change. In any case, I think the coming mid-level shear will kill it dead in a day.
Member Since: 5.12.2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 64
96. haydn
6. tammikuuta 2006 klo 05:21 (GMT)
P.S.S. I agree. Last comment for sure or I'll spend another two hours on this blog. It's going to track NW, get sheared apart, and when I get up...poof....2005 is history.
95. atmosweather
6. tammikuuta 2006 klo 05:15 (GMT)
Hey Progressive, great to see you too :)

Haydn, I would welcome it with open arms if it stayed at its current strength. We are 4" behind this season.
Member Since: 24.09.2005 Posts: 33 Comments: 9265
94. ProgressivePulse
6. tammikuuta 2006 klo 05:08 (GMT)
Hiya atmos, good to see ya.
Member Since: 19.08.2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 4863
93. ProgressivePulse
6. tammikuuta 2006 klo 05:06 (GMT)
I am in West Palm, FL haydn. Plentiful rain here when needed. We are in our dry season now, mid to upper 70's everyday, 50 to 60 at night, "perfect". Exept for this weekend, supposed to be in the 30's. BREAK OUT THE MOON BOOTS.
Member Since: 19.08.2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 4863
92. haydn
6. tammikuuta 2006 klo 05:06 (GMT)
one final comment.....hm....maybe Zeta will come and strike central Fl...
91. atmosweather
6. tammikuuta 2006 klo 05:04 (GMT)
Have a good night hadyn
Member Since: 24.09.2005 Posts: 33 Comments: 9265
90. haydn
6. tammikuuta 2006 klo 05:03 (GMT)
from the context I assumed you were in CA. Have a good day tomorrow. I'm in SC.
89. atmosweather
6. tammikuuta 2006 klo 05:03 (GMT)
Hey David, send some over to central Florida please :)
Member Since: 24.09.2005 Posts: 33 Comments: 9265

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About JeffMasters

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

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