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Flooding in Beaumont, TX during Tropical Storm Imelda Photo: USA Today
Cities in Alaska and the Southeastern U.S. saw some of the greatest extremes in weather in 2019 — with Utqiagvik, formerly known as Barrow, coming in at 9.3 degrees warmer than average and Bozeman, Montana was 5.3 degrees colder than average, while Beaumont-Port Arthur, Texas was the wettest with 25.02 inches more rain than average and of U.S. cities, Tallahassee, Florida, had a 20-inch rainfall deficit. The Weather Channel and the Southeast Regional Climate Center (SERCC) of the National Weather Service teamed up to look at major reporting stations in the U.S. with at least a 60-year period of records to determine whether the warmest, coolest, wettest and driest in 2019 as compared to average conditions.
Why This Matters: There were some big extremes in 2019 — with an impressive list and geographic spread of U.S. cities seeing record-breaking weather.
Record warmth for Alaska is one of the biggest stories of the year — it looks as if the average statewide temperature was at or above freezing for the year — a first.
The Warmest: Besides Alaska, these Southeastern cities saw large temperature spikes — Hatteras, North Carolina was +3.9 degrees, Meridian, Mississippi was +3.8 degrees, Charlotte, North Carolina was +3.7 degrees, and Atlanta, Georgia was +3.6 degrees warmer.
The Coldest: The northern plains had the coldest extremes, with Bozeman, Montana at 5.3 degrees colder, Rapid City, South Dakota at 4.1 degrees colder, and Pierre, South Dakota at 3.7 degrees colder.
The Wettest: Beaumont-Port Arthur, Texas near Houston was the wettest in 2019 due to Tropical Storm Imelda, and it was the wettest in 2017 as well when it was hit by Hurricane Harvey. But cities near the Mississippi River also set records with Rochester, Minnesota at an additional 22.14 inches of rain, Fort Fort Smith, Arkansas with an additional 22.04 inches, Tupelo, Mississippi with an additional 21.98 inches, and Paducah, Kentucky with an additional 21.19 inches of rain.
The Driest: Much of the U.S. experienced droughts during 2019, and it was most acute in areas that are usually the wettest — in Alaska’s southeast and along the windward slope of the Big Island of Hawaii. Similarly, the Pacific Northwest, also known for being wet had an especially dry year with Hoquiam, Washington near Seattle getting 22.37 inches less rain, and Quillayute, Washington getting 18.62 fewer.
Temperature Anomalies for 2019 Map: NOAA/ESRL Physical Sciences Division via Weather.com
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration(NOAA) is forecasting a likely range of 13 to 19 named storms, of which 6 to 10 could become hurricanes and 3 to 6 become major hurricanes with winds of 111 mph or higher. The forecast is due to cooler ocean conditions in the Pacific and warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.
Why This Matters: It could be a disastrous summer. The new climate normal on top of the COVID-19 pandemic will make things challenging everywhere.
After suffering record-breaking heavy rains, the Central Michigan city of Midland experienced a catastrophic 2-dam collapse along the Tittabawassee River yesterday evening. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency and expressed that “In the next 12 to 15 hours, downtown Midland could be under approximately nine feet of water.” Whitmer also urged people […]
An important new study out this week from researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of Wisconsin at Madison reveals that hurricanes are getting stronger, just as climate models have predicted. As the New York Times explained, the analysis, of satellite images dating to 1979, shows that warming has increased the […]
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