Severe storms glow green over the central US, turn deadly in Missouri by Brian Lada•The first full week of May kicked off with rounds of severe weather in the central United States, with one storm turning deadly in Missouri.Some of the worst storms of the day struck on Monday morning as a line of severe storms swept across Kansas and Missouri. Intense wind gusts over 70 mph were common with Plaza, Kansas, clocking a wind gust as high as 80 mph.Ominous shelf clouds hung low on the horizon on the leading edge of these morning storms, and in some cases, appearing as if they were glowing green or turquoise.More than 50,000 power outages were reported between Missouri and Kansas as the winds brought down trees and power lines. Part of Interstate 70 was shut down between Manhattan and Wamego, Kansas, for hours due to power lines across the highway, according to a Kansas State Trooper.
Storms may be to blame for one death after a tree fell over onto a house in Butler, Missouri.
„On May 4th, at approximately 10:30 a.m., the Bates County Sheriffs Office received a call in reference to the storm damaging a house. The storm had downed a tree into a home in rural Butler,” the Bates Country Sheeriff’s Office posted on Facebook. „Unfortunately the incident resulted in one death.”
While intense winds were the primary concern across Kansas and Missouri, damaging hail hammered northern Arkansas. There were numerous reports of hailstones as large as golf balls pelting the region, but chunks of ice as large as grapefruits pounded one neighborhood just north of Fayetteville, Arkansas.
Vehicles were dented, windshields were shattered and even roofs were damaged in Shady Grove, Arkansas, from the hailstorm.
By the late afternoon, a new round of severe weather began to develop over Oklahoma and into souther Missouri. While the primary threats from the morning storms were strong winds and damaging hail, the afternoon storms brought the added danger of tornadoes.
One of the stronger storms of the afternoon erupted just southeast of Oklahoma City with hail larger than baseballs.
The thunderstorms are forecast to shift eastward heading into Tuesday, drenching the Deep South and Central Appalachia.
„While some localized flash flooding issues cannot be completely ruled out, the storms will lose their overall potency as they trek east,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Mary Gilbert said.
Keep checking back on AccuWeather.com and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – More than 101,000 customers continued to lack electricity Monday morning in the wake of a Sunday afternoon storm that passed through Middle Tennessee.
More strong to severe storms were predicted to hit Monday afternoon and evening across the region, according to a tweet from the National Weather Service Nashville. The main threat of the storms will be strong winds up to 75 mph, large hail and isolated flash flooding.
Sunday’s storms killed at least one person and caused one of the largest power outages on record for the Nashville Electric Service.
„The line of storms took down a number of trees, power lines and poles,” NES said in Twitter statement.
At one point Sunday night, more than 130,000 people were without power.
The NES outage map showed widespread service disruptions across the Nashville area, and the utility said on its Twitter account that it currently has no ETA for restoration in specific areas.
Spring Hill Firefighter Mitchell Earwood died in a weather-related incident while off-duty at his home. Earwood had been a member of the fire department during the past 10 years.
@NESpower Do you know when you will hit the north Nashville area been almost 4 hours since power has went out
NES was assessing the damage and had called in all available resources. Bucket and tree-trimming crews were slated to work throughout the night and keep working until all power is restored.
The utility was taking safety precautions to ensure social distancing, such as limiting vehicles to two people and staggering the reporting times of crews.
Mt. Juliet police reported eight homes with significant damage, mainly from large trees and limbs falling from storms that rolled through Sunday afternoon.
No injuries were reported as of early Monday, Mt. Juliet Police Capt. Tyler Chandler said.
Power outages were reported throughout Wilson County and at one point Mt. Juliet saw 19 road closures because of trees and power lines falling on roadways.
During the storm, the National Weather Service clocked a wind gust at the Nashville International Airport at 72 mph, the fifth-highest ever officially measured in Nashville. The fastest was 96 mph on April 1, 1974.
Contributing: Andy Humbles and Emily R. West, Nashville Tennessean; and N’dea Yancey-Bragg, USA TODAY
This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Nashville power outage: More than 100K without power after storm
Some middle Tennessee residents could be without electricity for up to two weeks after strong thunderstorms swept through the area Sunday, knocking out power for more than 100,000 customers.
„Straight line winds as high as 60-80 miles per hour knocked down trees, power lines and power polls, interrupting power to 130,000 of our 400,000+ customers,” Nashville Electric said in a statement Monday. The utility said the outage was one of the largest on record.
„Restoration times will depend on individual circumstances. In some cases, power could be out for a week or two” as challenges related to coronavirus complicated crews’ responses and more storms were expected, the statement said. „This is unfortunate timing on the heels of a tornado and as we deal with battling COVID-19.”
Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County Mayor John Cooper also noted that the power outages were especially inconvenient as people were largely staying home to slow the spread of coronavirus. He also pointed out that the storms came on the two month anniversary of the Nashville tornado that left at least two dozen people dead.
„Crews are working diligently to restore power and clear any debris in neighborhoods,” Cooper said.
Significant wind damage in Shelbyville with the severe storms today #tnwx https://twitter.com/BedfordSevereWx/status/1257105450304241665 …Bedford SevereWx@BedfordSevereWx
Times Gazette building on E Depot St. picture via John Smith on Facebook. #tspotter
He said that no fatalities were reported in the county but sent condolences to Spring Hill, whose police department reported that firefighter Mitchell Earwood died during the storm due to „a tragic weather-related incident” while at his home and off duty. He had served with the fire department for 10 years.
The Metro Nashville Department of Public Works said it received reports of more than 80 downed trees in Davidson County.
High winds with the severe storms today sadly brought down this historic 200+ years old oak tree at @JTMooreMS in the Green Hills area of #Nashville #tnwx https://twitter.com/DrGaryHughes/status/1257103444478955520 …Dr. Gary Hughes@DrGaryHughesReplying to @NWSNashville
The National Weather Service Nashville said a 72 mph wind gust was measured at Nashville International Airport — the fifth fastest on record.
The weather service warned that strong storms with winds of up to 75 mph, large hail, and isolated flash flooding could hit middle Tennessee again Monday afternoon and night.
„Treat Severe Thunderstorm Warnings the same way you would Tornado Warnings and JUST TAKE SHELTER,” the NWS instructs. „70 mph is 70 mph whether it’s spinning around in a circle or blowing in a straight line.”
Emergency managers pleaded with willful Floridians in 2016 to flee as Hurricane Matthew hurtled toward the East Coast with one infamous entreaty querying the supply of body bags to motivate stalwarts.
If a hurricane threatens this season, some evacuation requests may be replaced by stay-at-home orders as officials struggle to minimize the spread of coronavirus.
Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz said he will have a plan this month that outlines guidance for counties on how they may want to handle storms differently to contain infections.
Details could include requiring people in hurricane-fortified homes to stay put through a storm.
“If you have a Cat 1 or Cat 2 storm and your house was built after Hurricane Andrew, maybe we issue you a stay-at-home order rather than an evacuation order,” Moskowitz said during an April task force call about reopening the state. “Do we change the concept of evacuating at all?”
Sheltering in hotels instead of schools
With hurricane season beginning June 1, emergency managers are considering how they will juggle a tropical cyclone while avoiding a crush of people in shelters, crowded onto evacuation buses and in need of aid – already stretched thin – after a storm.
Some options Moskowitz noted could include using the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s transitional sheltering assistance program before a storm makes landfall to put people in hotels instead of opening schools where it could be difficult to maintain social distancing. The hotels may be eager for the business early in the hurricane season as the state wakes from its coronavirus coma, Moskowitz said.
Hurricane season 2020: The cone isn’t shrinking this year; what that means for forecasting
With an expected lack of volunteers coming from other states, Moskowitz suggested paying out-of-work Floridians to fill the void after a storm.
Hiring ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft to ferry people out of harm’s way instead of loading them onto mass transportation, and issuing gas cards to residents suffering pandemic-triggered unemployment are also being considered.
“We might reach out to Uber and say we want to evacuate people car by car rather than putting them in a bus on top of each other,” Moskowitz said.
If power goes out, it may take longer to come back on
At the same time, Florida Power & Light is warning customers it may take extra time to restore electricity with the possibility of limited help from outside resources and the added precautions of social distancing.
Eric Silagy, president and CEO of FPL, said during the April call that housing for utility workers may be a challenge, especially if they are competing with evacuees for hotel rooms.
“Should a storm make landfall in our service area, we will be asking our customers for patience during these extraordinary circumstances,” said FPL spokesman Bill Orlove. “There is the possibility that customers will be out of power for an extended period of time should a storm affect us this season.”
Moskowitz’s hurricane proposals likely will be divided by early-season cyclones, which are typically weaker systems that would coincide with the stirrings of businesses reopening, versus those that grow during the tropically fertile months of August through October.
Moskowitz reasons early-season storms mean more manageable evacuations and recovery.
“As we get into August, maybe hotel rooms aren’t the strategy and we go back to mass shelters,” he said. “If you start getting to August and September and you are looking at a Cat 3 or 4, then the stay-at-home order isn’t going to be as effective.”
Major storms normally don’t threaten early in season … but there are signs this year
In early summer, most storms form in the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico as the atmosphere starts its seasonal wind-up. By August, the mid-level African Easterly Jet is beginning to spin waves off the continent like pinwheels that can ultimately form the strongest hurricanes.
While dozens of Category 1 hurricanes have bloomed in the first two months of hurricane season, just one major hurricane on record has made landfall in the U.S. in June – 1957′s Hurricane Audrey, which hit western Louisiana as a Category 3 on June 27. A major hurricane is a Category 3 or higher.
Hurricane Dennis made landfall southeast of Pensacola as a Category 3 storm July 10, 2005.
Five Category 2 hurricanes have hit the U.S. during June or July, including an unnamed 1926 storm that struck south of Daytona Beach on June 28.
The National Hurricane Center emphasizes that wind speed doesn’t always correlate with a storm’s danger. Massive Hurricane Florence in 2018 was a Category 1 when it made landfall near Wrightsville Beach, N.C. Still, water roared 100 miles up the Neuse River, piling 11 feet of storm surge into the historic city of New Bern, N.C.
In Florida, evacuation zones are based largely on storm surge, not wind speed.
Colorado State University researcher Phil Klotzbach said early-season activity is the hardest to predict, but there are signs a flare-up is possible.
“Sea surface temperatures are often the limiting factor in formation of early-season tropical storms,” said Jeff Masters, Weather Underground co-founder and a meteorologist for Scientific American. “I expect that the warmer-than-average ocean temperatures currently being observed across the typical formation region for early-season storms – the Gulf of Mexico, Western Caribbean and waters surrounding the Bahamas – will increase the odds of an early-season storm this year.”
Storm-disrupting wind shear also is forecast to be low for June and July, bolstering the possibility for early storms, Masters said.
Separate shelters or segregated shelters? Virus makes it problematic
If mass shelters must be opened, evacuees may have their temperatures taken or undergo rapid coronavirus testing at the door. Moskowitz said the state is already working with Abbott Labs and others to get additional tests for shelters.
“Currently, unless you are medically unstable, it’s come one, come all to the shelters, which are there to save lives from storm surge, bottom line,” said Palm Beach County Emergency Management Director Bill Johnson. “I’m not sure how pragmatic it will be to have separate Covid shelters.”
Johnson said people may be asked to go to segregated areas in a shelter if they have a fever or aren’t feeling well. Also, Palm Beach County shelters give each person 20 square feet of space, but that could shrink to allow for more social distancing.
“My biggest fear is that people who should evacuate won’t evacuate because they think there aren’t safe options,” Johnson said.
Then there are the “shadow evacuees” – people who leave even though they are not in an evacuation zone. During 2017′s Hurricane Irma, it’s estimated as many as 3 million of the 7 million who evacuated didn’t need to do so, clogging traffic arteries and piling cars up at the state line.
Johnson will not change evacuation zones because of coronavirus, but hopes people will understand the nuances of evacuating and evaluate their circumstances before doing so. If they aren’t in an evacuation zone and can survive without electricity, they should consider staying.
“I don’t believe evacuation is an innocuous activity,” Johnson said.
This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: Coronavirus: Florida considers using hotels, Lyft during hurricanes
Springtime is the perfect time for roadtrippers to hit the road and enjoy the warmer temperatures and beauty of the season. The nation comes alive this time of year when flowers begin to bloom and fresh air fills the atmosphere. Here are six of the best US road trips to consider for your spring road trip adventure.
|Photo by MJ Tangonan|
Nowhere is the brightness of spring more welcome than in the dreary Pacific Northwest, making a road trip along the Columbia River a true joy. This route stretches for almost 70 miles starting in Portland and continuing through the Columbia River Gorge and on to the towering Mount Hood. The perfect stopping point on your road trip is Multnomah Falls, one of the tallest and most recognizable waterfalls in the country.
|Photo by Skeeze|
This 25-mile route is a great road trip if you are short on time and need something that you can enjoy in one day. The route stretches through both Maryland and Virginia, as well as the DC area. Finishing at the idyllic estate of Mount Vernon, you will encounter nearly 600 types of wildflowers as you travel this scenic parkway. The star attraction of this road trip is the cherry blossom trees that dot the landscape of this region in the spring. Be sure to stop and check out the blooms near the Tidal Basin in DC.
|Photo by Ashley Satanosky|
It is always a nice time of year to hit the Tamiami Trail for a road trip and the spring is no exception. This famous roadway connects the two coasts of Florida, stretching from Miami across the bottom of the state to Naples and up along the Gulf Coast through cities such as Fort Myers and Sarasota before finishing in Tampa. In addition to the scenic coastline that you will drive near on this road trip, you can also check out the Everglades and all of its environs.
|Photo by Pixabay|
Hit these two parks before the summer crowds set in by taking a spring road trip between the two American treasures. The two parks are separated by less than 100 miles, making it an easy for roadtrippers to check off two national parks from your travel bucket list. During the spring, you will see the wildlife making their annual spring migration to their summer homes. You will also enjoy a myriad of colorful wildflowers as far as the eyes can see. Undoubtedly these are gorgeous sights for any road trip.
|Photo by Mitchell Kmetz|
Roadtrippers can take in the grandeur of the Texas Hill Country with this quintessential road trip. Rather than taking the interstate for the fast route, take the time to meander through the hills and take in all of the natural beauty. From San Antonio, take I-10 out of the city, heading west on I-410 to TX-16 north, also known as Bandera Road. With this route, your road trip takes you through the charming towns of Bandera and Fredericksburg. Boasting a myriad of German-inspired restaurants, wineries, and a lovely shopping district, Fredericksburg makes an ideal destination to stop and stretch your legs on this road trip..
|Photo by Maher El Aridi|
Roadtripping through this desert oasis is perfect this time of year before the hot temperatures take hold of the region. Your road trip will take you through the Sonoran Preserve, the Montezuma Castle National Monument, Slide Rock State Park, Sedona, and more. As you journey along this route on your road trip, you will start to experience cooler temperatures as you approach Flagstaff, located at an elevation of 7,000 feet. It is easy to get lost in your driving as you take in the red sandstone rock formations and the stunning desert landscape.
|Photo by Averie Woodard|
Before you hit the road of adventure to discover America the beautiful, be sure that you understand how to plan a road trip. No road trip planner is complete without a full array of classic road trip snacks. Making a playlist of fun road trip songs will also make the journey more enjoyable. Lastly, be sure to check the local forecast of your route so that you know what kind of weather conditions to prepare for.
The hole in the ozone layer over the South Pole shrank to the smallest it’s been in 30 years in 2019, and this year, scientists are eagerly watching and waiting to see what 2020 means for the ozone layer’s ongoing recovery over that part of the world.
After the sun rises over the South Pole in mid-September, where sunlight has been absent for months and temperatures are bitterly low, the conditions are prime for the ozone depletion reactions that have led to the Antarctic hole in the ozone layer. In the stratospheric clouds, the breakdown is spurred on by an elevated amount of ozone-depleting gases emitted from human activity and chemicals with lifetimes of up to 100 years.
The gases that aid in the depletion are reactive chlorine gases called chlorofluorocarbons, or CFC gases, Bryan Johnson, an atmospheric chemist who works for the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, told AccuWeather in a Skype interview.
CFCs had been used since the 1930s as refrigerants and in aerosol sprays. At a ground level, they were nonreactive, nontoxic and nonflammable even when they escaped during parts of the production process. However, CFCs are hardy and can last up to a century before finally breaking down in the stratosphere where they release chlorine and catalyze ozone destruction.
„It’s only when they hang around for these long lifetimes at 50 to 100 years when they eventually get up into the stratosphere where the sunlight will break them down,” Johnson said. It’s there where these substances do the most damage to the ozone layer.
At the Global Monitoring Laboratory at the South Pole, NOAA monitors the ozone hole via weather balloons that have ozone instruments attached to them. Their journey takes the instruments 22 miles high in about two hours, where they can record detailed measurements on a profile of the ozone. About 60 to 70 of the balloons are launched each year, Johnson said, the bulk of which are released during September and October when there is a more rapid depletion of ozone.
|This image provided by NOAA shows the ozone hole. The Antarctic ozone hole has swelled this month to one of its biggest sizes on record, U.N. and U.S. scientists say, insisting that the Earth-shielding ozone layer remains on track to long-term recovery but residents of the southern hemisphere should be on watch for high UV levels in the weeks ahead. (NOAA via AP)|
„I think to me the most interesting thing or amazing thing to see with these measurements is in the end of September, or the end of October when the ozone has had its peak, you go through a 4- or 5-mile layer of just zero. There’s just no ozone there,” Johnson said. „The total amount of ozone is depleted by 60, 65%.”
According to long-term trends from the data collected, the hole over Antarctica grew from 1980 through the early 1990s before stabilizing in the early 21st century.
The first suspicions that there could have been a depletion in the ozone layer surfaced in the 1970s, according to Johnson. Estimates of 3 or 4% had been considered, according to Johnson, until the Bridge Antarctic Service Crews in 1985 reported 30 to 40% losses of ozone.
„The thing is, you know, the ozone hole, it was a surprise,” Johnson said. „It just caught everyone off guard and [we] realized that, well, in the right conditions over Antarctica, the chlorine is a lot more destructive to ozone. So that’s the surprise that we just don’t want. We don’t want to be surprised again like that, so monitoring helps that a lot.”
According to NASA’s Earth Observatory, scientists estimate that about 80 percent of the chlorine and bromine in the stratosphere over Antarctica today comes from human sources.
The Montreal Protocol, an environmental agreement ratified in 1987 by the United Nations that regulates the production and consumption of almost 100 man-made chemicals that qualify as ozone-depleting substances, limited the production of CFCs and began to phase them out of production. However, the long lifetime of the destructive chemicals has caused them to be an enduring problem as they drift around in the atmosphere.
„That’s why we expect to still see ozone holes develop for the next 40, 50, 60 years, and it just takes time for the atmosphere to take on all those long-lived gases,” Johnson said.
These long-lived, ozone-depleting chemicals move around in the air currents or are carried by the wind and ultimately end up in the upper atmosphere with the ozone layer, NOAA research chemist Steve Montzka told AccuWeather over a Skype interview. Eventually, they can make it to Antarctica.
|This undated photo provided by NOAA in May 2018 shows aurora australis near the South Pole Atmospheric Research Observatory in Antarctica. When a hole in the ozone formed over Antarctica, countries around the world in 1987 agreed to phase out several types of ozone-depleting chemicals called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). Production was banned, emissions fell and the hole shriveled. But according to a study released on Wednesday, May 16, 2018, scientists say since 2013, there’s more of a banned CFC going into the atmosphere. (Patrick Cullis/NOAA via AP)|
„It just so happens that the physical and chemical characteristics of the atmosphere, in the upper atmosphere over Antarctica allow for rather uniquely, or to a larger extent than other places in the atmosphere, severe ozone depletion,” Montzka said. „It’s a combination of the extreme cold temperatures that happened over Antarctica and the presence of these chemicals that cause ozone depletion that wreaks havoc on the ozone layer.”
Johnson breaks down the process of ozone depletion at the poles into basically three parts, beginning with the sun setting over the poles come autumn. With the sun absent, the atmosphere grows bitterly cold, and wind patterns begin to organize.
Polar stratospheric clouds begin to form from tiny particles in the cold, dark conditions in the upper atmosphere, processing the chlorine from the chemicals. The stage has been set for once the sun rises in the spring.
„When the sun comes up and everything remains stable, it’s just the right conditions for chlorine to destroy ozone,” Johnson said. „The Southern Hemisphere is a little better at doing this, at staying very stable in this containment vessel that we call the polar vortex. It holds the air in and allows all the chemistry to happen.”
Ozone can be a deadly pollutant closer to the ground, but in mid-latitudes, the ozone layer protects people from high energy UV light along with other possible damage caused by the sun. While ozone holes away from the poles aren’t common, the hole over Antarctica served as a warning for scientists.
„It’s the ozone layer everywhere around the world that’s impacted and degraded to a certain degree by ozone depleting substances. The place where that depletion is the largest is over Antarctica,” Montzka said. „So Antarctica is kind of just a canary in a coal mine where the biggest changes are seen in the ozone, gives us a kind of indication of what happens when the ozone layer goes away because of human-emitted chemicals.”
During 2019, the Antarctic ozone hole was the smallest it had been in more than 30 years, which Johnson attributes to two factors: the first being the slow decline in CFCs and the second being the meteorological conditions.
|This image made available by NASA shows a map of a hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica on Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019. The purple and blue colors indicate the least amount of ozone, and the yellows and reds show the most. In October 2019, NASA says the ozone hole near the south pole this year is the smallest since it was discovered, but it is more due to freakish Antarctic weather than efforts to cut down on pollution. (Goddard Space Flight Center/NASA via AP)|
„There’s still plenty of ozone depletion that we’re observing in the atmosphere, and yet more recently as the ozone-depleting chemical concentrations are decreasing, there are hints that the ozone layer is starting to recover,” Montzka said. With the Montreal Protocol making „dramatic changes” to the amount of depleting substances emitted into the atmosphere, the concentrations of the „bad actors” causing ozone depletion have also declined.
„That’s had a lot to do with those initial signs of ozone recovery that we’ve seen,” Montzka said.
Scientists had also observed a 20% decrease in ozone depletion during the winter months from 2005 to 2016, according to the Earth Observatory.
„The other factor that plays a big role are the meteorological conditions, the atmospheric dynamics, the waves and these meteorological disturbances that break down that big circulating wind pattern around the Antarctic, we call it the polar vortex,” Johnson said. „That polar vortex sets up every winter when the sun goes down, and the chemistry happens when the sun comes back up. That polar vortex remains stable, it allows the chlorine chemistry to complete its cycle and destroy 50 to 60% of the ozone layer, the ozone in the atmosphere.”
During 2019, the polar vortex had remained stable until September, when the depletion typically begins.
„The destruction chemistry kind of got shut off early,” Johnson said, explaining that an occurrence such as this with the polar vortex breaking down is seen every decade or so.
|U.S. Associate Director for Research of the Earth Science Division (ESD) within NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD) Jack Kaye delivers a conference about evolution of the Ozone hole on the Antarctic at the U.S. Pavillon during the COP21, United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Le Bourget, outside Paris, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)|
While the recovery process has been long, Johnson stressed that it’s natural for the ozone layer to go through a cycle of replenishing ozone and attempting to close back up. However, the goal each year is to see a recovery and, once the CFCs are no longer in the atmosphere, to see a healthy ozone layer.
„Once all the CFCs and reactive gases that are the sources of the destruction of ozone chemicals are gone, you know it won’t matter what the meteorological conditions are,” Johnson said. „There just isn’t any chlorine that would give you an ozone hole, so 50 years from now you won’t see that anymore.”