Hurricane Ike 10 Years Later

Before Harvey flooded out Southeast Texas, there was Ike. It is hard to believe it has been 10 years since Hurricane Ike made landfall on Southeast Texas as a monsterous Category 2 hurricane in the early morning hours of September 13, 2008. Especially the fact this comes in light of Harvey. Ike pelted Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana with hurricane force winds and heavy rain. Ike was the last hurricane to hit Texas prior to Harvey. Almost a nine year gap of no hurricanes hitting Texas, let alone a major hurricane. The last major hurricane to hit Texas prior to Harvey was Bret in 1999, which is 18 years.

Thunderstorms over Sudan that later became Ike.

What is the origin of Hurricane Ike? Ike started as a mesoscale convective system (MCS) that formed over Sudan on August 19th. Most tropical waves come from thunderstorms that form in the Northeast part of Africa. They are set off by the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) or monsoon. The ITCZ is where there is thunderstorms from the clash of trade winds. These thunderstorms often provide beneficial rains in tropical and subtropical areas. The thunderstorms in ITCZ can break away and travel away. One of those thunderstorms from the ITCZ managed to do that. The MCS traveled over Africa and entered the Atlantic Ocean as a tropical wave on August 29th. The tropical wave traveled across with multiple vortices competing. One of them would win out as the thunderstorms in the tropical wave get better organized on September 1, 2008. It is upgraded to Tropical Depression #9. Later that day, it is named Ike as it travels over the open Atlantic. Tropical Storm Ike has to deal with wind shear in the upper level early in its life. The wind shear blows tops of thunderstorms, especially westerly wind shear. Since 2008 season is Neutral to La Nina, conditions are more favorable as there is less westerly wind shear. If 2008 was El Nino, there would be more westerly wind shear, which is why generally El Nino Atlantic Hurricane seasons see less storms. Wind shear generally kills tropical development. The higher the storm clouds are, the cooler it is. Higher storm clouds also mean they are more intense.

However, Ike gets a reprieve as the wind shear weakens and encounter warmer waters on September 3rd. This allows Ike to rapidly intensify into a major hurricane. By the next day, Ike becomes 2008’s strongest hurricane with 145 mph 126 knots 233 km/h winds and central pressure of 935 millibars. Ike’s strength did not last as it encountered wind shear on September 5th. The wind shear weaken Ike to Category 2 strength.

Hurricane Ike around its peak.

Ike is pushed southwards into more favorable areas due to upper level ridge to the north. Ike becomes a Category 4 hurricane as conditions are more favorable. As it goes westward, Ike made its first landfall on Turks and Caicos Islands as a Category 4 hurricane on the early morning hours of September 7th. The Turks and Caicos Islands are the first to feel Ike’s violent wrath in the form of strong winds, heavy rain, storm surge, and high waves. The South Caicos and Grand Turk take the brunt of Ike. Despite Ike’s fury, there are no reports of fatalities.

Damage in Grand Turk.

While Ike is ravaging the Turks and Caicos Islands, the outer bands of Ike are dumping heavy rain on Haiti and Dominican Republic, which have been ravaged by Fay, Gustav, and Hanna. The flooding from Ike claims 74 lives in Haiti and 2 in Dominican Republic. Prior to Ike, Tropical Storm Hanna ravaged Haiti and Dominican Republic with heavy rain that led to massive flooding. The flooding claims 529 lives in Haiti, while just one dies in Dominican Republic. Why did Haiti see more fatalities than Dominican Republic? The lack of trees in Haiti makes it even more vulnerable to mudslides from the mountains. The heavy rain causes deadly mudslides that destroys houses and kill people.

Stranded Cubans following Ike.

Once Ike passes Turks and Caicos Island, Ike heads for Cuba. The hurricane makes landfall on Cabo Lucrecia, Holguín Province, Cuba. Cuba is in a very rough ride with Ike as it traverses over the entire island nation. Cuba is being pelted by heavy rain, strong wind, high waves, and storm surge. Briefly, Ike goes over the water only to make a second landfall on Punta La Capitana, Pinar del Río, Cuba on September 8th as a Category 1 hurricane. Ike claims 7 lives in Cuba.

Ike near its secondary peak in Gulf of Mexico.

Once Ike exits Cuba, it is a large Category 1 hurricane. Ike traveling over all of Cuba caused the storm to expand as energy is spread out from land interaction. It also disrupted Ike’s core. Ike enters large area of warm water in the Gulf of Mexico and is getting close to the Loop Current, which is one of the warmest spot. Ike rapidly deepen from 963 to 944 millibars on the night of September 10th as it was over the Loop Current. However, the wind did not strengthen much, only from 80 to 100 mph 70 knots to 87 knots 128 km/h to 161 km/h. The reason is Ike is a very large hurricane with hurricane force winds extending up to 125 miles 109 nautical miles 201 kilometers from the eye. The pressure gradient is not tight due to its large size. Normally, an Atlantic hurricane with central pressure of 944 millibars is a Category 3 or 4 hurricane.

On September 11th, as America remembers and reflects the seventh anniversary of the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks, Southeast Texas is sunny and dry. The west side of a hurricane in the Northern Hemisphere is usually the “clean” side. It blows in dry and sinking air from the north. The nice sunny day is very deceptive as Ike is ever inching closer. Meanwhile in the Gulf of Mexico, Ike is generating massive waves that are heading towards the Texas and Louisiana. Ike continues across the Gulf of Mexico as a large Category 2 hurricane. Waves are coming ahead of Ike in coastal Texas. People are evacuating from coastal areas including Galveston. Some choose to stay behind. The outer cloud banks of Ike are over Southeast Texas as winds start to pick up. By the afternoon of September 12th, some coastal areas are getting squally weather from the feeder bands entering Texas.

By the night of September 12th, conditions have gotten much worse. Meanwhile in Houston area, it is still windy with occasionally light rain. As the night progresses, Ike is getting closer to landfall. The hurricane force winds enter Texas around the late hours of September 12th. Ike is getting stronger and developing a more organized eyewall. Ike now has a central pressure of 951 millibars and 110 mph 96 knots 177 km/h winds. Ike is a large hurricane with hurricane force winds extending up to 125 miles and tropical storm force winds extending up to 260 miles 226 nautical miles 418 kilometers.

Ike at landfall on Southeast Texas.

Highest wind gust possible based on multiplying by factor of 1.5.

By the early morning hours of September 13th, Houston area is seeing stronger winds and heavier rain. Power starts to go out throughout Southeast Texas as power lines are being knocked by the strong wind. The coastal areas are seeing storm surge getting higher and higher. Anyone who stayed behind in Galveston or Bolivar Peninsula are doomed by the massive storm surge. Ike makes landfall on the eastern end of Galveston Island at 2:10 AM Central Time. People who are staying behind in the coastal areas are wishing they had evacuated as they are surrounded by rising storm surge. Ike travels to the northwest towards Houston. By 4:00 AM, Ike is over Baytown, which is flooded by storm surge. A large area of Southeast Texas is getting hurricane force winds including all of Houston.

Highest sustained winds during Hurricane Ike.

Bolivar Peninsula following Ike.

By the time the Sun rises, Ike is still ravaging Southeast Texas despite the fact it has weakened to Category 1 hurricane. Ike remains a monsterous and very dangerous hurricane. Many areas are still seeing heavy rain and strong winds. The wind blow down numerous trees and damage many buildings and houses. There is widespread flooding reported throughout Southeast Texas. Bayous and rivers are overflowing from widespread heavy rain. Coastal areas had storm surge as high as 25 feet/7.6 meters. It is one of the highest storm surge recorded in America and highest in Texas. It exceeds Camille, but below Katrina. Bolivar Peninsula saw the highest storm surge as the whole area looked like if a nuclear bomb had exploded. Once it is all over, many buildings and houses are damaged or destroyed, while many trees are uprooted. Coastal areas are utterly gutted from the massive storm surge. Millions of people are out of power for days. A large area saw 6 to 12 inches/15.2 to 30.5 centimeters of rain from Ike.

The damage is not just limited to Texas. Louisiana also felt the brunt of Ike, especially in Southwestern Louisiana. It is the same area that had been ravaged by Hurricane Rita in 2005. Many areas are flooded by Ike. There is even flooding in New Iberia, which is in Central Louisiana. It shows that Ike’s massive size had a huge impact over a large area from Texas to Louisiana. This is despite the fact that they only got tropical storm force winds. It shows that large, but not so strong hurricane is very dangerous as it produces massive storm surge and high waves.

Thunderstorms ahead of a cold front in the early morning hours of September 14, 2008.

The following night, a cold front passes, which allows thunderstorms to form from moisture left by Ike. The storms dumped 5 to 8 inches/12.7 to 20.3 centimeters of rain. The heavy rain causes more flooding on top of what Ike dumped in Southeast Texas. Once the rain ended, many areas saw a two day total ranging from 10 to 20 inches/25.4 to 50.8 centimeters of rain. Meanwhile, the remnants of Ike continue to wreak havoc in the Midwest. Ohio see hurricane force gusts, which causes more power outages. The remains of Ike continue into Canada and dump heavy rain in Ontario and Quebec. A total of 112 people lost their life with 34 unaccounted for in America. Most of the deaths are in Texas, where 84 people died.

Rainfall total from September 12, 2008 to September 15, 2008.

So, how was 2008 like prior to Ike. The winter of 2007-2008 is La Nina, so it is warmer and drier. Despite the La Nina, there are storms. Spring of 2008 is mostly dry. There were days of pleasant weather in Spring 2008. Summer of 2008 is average in terms of temperature and rainfall. Texas first brush with a hurricane is Dolly, which affected South Texas. The outer bands of Dolly dump heavy rain in the Houston area. Not too long after Dolly came, Tropical Storm Edouard pays a visit to Houston area. It is a rather unremarkable tropical storm that dumps up to 6 inches of rain. Edouard moves inland and gives beneficial rains to drought ridden Central Texas.

NHC Hurricane Ike Report
NHC Hurricane Ike Advisory Report
Morphed Integrated Microwave Imagery at CIMSS (MIMIC)


Atlantic Hurricane Season In August

It is now August and the season is heating up. Where do most August tropical storms and hurricanes form and end up going?

Here is a GIS heat map I created. This is all August tropical storms and hurricanes from 1870 to 2015. The heat map is from within 300 miles (480 kilometers) of a point.

The Main Development Region (MDR) heats up. The Windward Islands see more tropical cyclones making landfall. Interestingly, there is a dead area around Central Caribbean and Cuba. The Gulf of Mexico and Southeast is very active. Many tropical cyclones form near land in August and make landfall. Some of the of most devastating tropical storms and hurricanes made landfall in August:
Sea Islands (1893)
San Ciriaco (1899)
Monterrey (1909)
1945 Texas Hurricane (1945)
Camille (1969)
Amelia (1978)
David (1979)
Alicia (1983)
Bob (1991)
Andrew (1992)
Charley (1998)
Charley (2004)
Katrina (2005)
Dean (2007)
Irene (2011)

Despite Amelia making landfall on July 31, 1978, the worst aspect was heavy rain from August 1-4, 1978 in Central and West Texas, where up to 46 inches (116.84 centimeters) of rain fell. The costliest hurricane occurred in August, Katrina. The previous prior to Katrina was Andrew. August has produced some of the most devastating tropical storms and hurricanes.

Texas does get hurricane landfalls in August, including major hurricanes like Allen and Alicia. Allen was a Category 5 monster and almost made landfall on Port Mansfield as a Category 5 with 180 mph winds. Had that happened, that would of been really devastating. Allen made landfall as a Category 3 hurricane with 115 mph winds. Allen was a very large hurricane upon landfall. Alicia made landfall on Galveston as a Category 3 hurricane with 115 mph winds. It was Texas’s first billion dollar disaster. Alicia was a medium size hurricane, unlike Allen. Had Alicia been Allen, Carla, or Ike size, it would been much worse.

2016-2017 Winter

Another winter has past. It is now spring again. We really had no winter with the exception of the Pacific Northwest where it got cold. Most of America was wondering where is winter. It felt like another spring. How did this winter stack up?

5 Kilometer Gridded Map Of Temperature Anomaly

Most of the US experienced warmer than normal winter. Some had record warmth winter, especially in Texas, Louisiana, Florida, and New Mexico. Washington, Oregon, and Idaho had cooler than normal winter. The mean temperatures tell you a lot. Of course, the devils are in the details.

5 Kilometer Gridded Map Of Minimum Temperature Anomaly

The low temperatures were quite warm in areas where they had record warmth. The areas that were cooler than normal had cooler low temperatures. No surprise there.

5 Kilometer Gridded Map Of Maximum Temperature Anomaly

The high temperature anomaly is not as large as compared minimum temperature anomaly. Low and high temperature can have an impact on overall mean temperature. One can have a cool winter if the low temperatures are high, while high temperatures are low or vice versa.

5 Kilometer Gridded Map Of Rainfall Anomaly

It was very wet, especially in California, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Texas, Iowa, and Alabama. Plenty of rain despite La Nina. It was a weak la Nina.

Here is a Northern Hemisphere temperature anomaly map.

Most of the Northern Hemisphere was warm, especially over the Arctic, North America, Asia, and Europe.

Here is a Northern Hemisphere precipitation anomaly map.

The wettest area is over Northern California where they go the lion share of the precipitation.

Here is a Northern Hemisphere 500 millibar level anomaly map.

There was ridging over the Southern US, Alaska, and Europe. The ridging kept things warm under. There is troughing over Northwest Canada, Pacific Northwest, Siberia, and Arctic. That kept things cold for winter.

Here is a worldwide sea surface temperature anomaly map.

The La Nina was weak, while Northeast Pacific off the coast of Alaska was mostly cooler than normal. There is unusually warm water in the Bering Strait and Gulf of Mexico.

Temperature: 35.90°F
Low Temperature: 25.94°F
High Temperature: 45.86°F
Rainfall: 8.22

1895-2017 Winter Statistics
Winter Temperature Mean: 32.37°F
Winter Temperature Median: 32.49°F
Standard Deviation: 2.06

Winter Low Temperature Mean: 21.91°F
Winter Low Temperature Median: 21.95°F
Standard Deviation: 2.13

Winter High Temperature Mean: 42.84°F
Winter High Temperature Median: 43.08°F
Standard Deviation: 2.10

Winter Rainfall Mean: 6.76
Winter Rainfall Median: 6.69
Standard Deviation: 0.89

It was an abnormally warm and wet winter. The temperature and rainfall are 1 standard deviation. This is abnormal in terms of temperature and rainfall. Here are the top 10 warmest and wettest winters in America.

Top 10 Warmest Overall Winter
1.) 2015-2016 36.78°F
2.) 1999-2000 36.48°F
3.) 1991-1992 36.35°F
4.) 2011-2012 36.34°F
5.) 1998-1999 36.27°F
6.) 1997-1998/2016-2017 35.90°F
7.) 2001-2002 35.66°F
8.) 1994-1995 35.56°F
9.) 2005-2006 35.49°F
10.) 2004-2005 35.46°F

Top 10 Warmest Low Temperature Winter
1.) 1997-1998 26.74°F
2.) 2015-2016 26.65°F
3.) 1991-1992 26.39°F
4.) 2016-2017 25.94°F
5.) 1982-1983 25.88°F
6.) 2011-2012 25.63°F
7.) 1994-1995 25.56°F
8.) 1998-1999 25.49°F
9.) 1999-2000 25.46°F
10.) 2004-2005 25.42°F

Top 10 Warmest High Temperature Winter
1.) 1999-2000 47.50°F
2.) 1998-1999 47.07°F
3.) 2011-2012 47.06°F
4.) 2015-2016 46.92°F
5.) 2001-2002 46.59°F
6.) 1953-1954 46.51°F
7.) 1933-1934 46.43°F
8.) 2005-2006 46.37°F
9.) 1991-1992 46.32°F
10.) 1980-1981 46.05°F
11.) 1975-1976 45.88°F
12.) 2016-2017 45.86°F

Top 10 Wettest Winter
1.) 1997-1998 8.99
2.) 1931-1932 8.86
3.) 1936-1937 8.66
4.) 1982-1983 8.52
5. 1996-1997 8.49
6.) 1978-1979 8.44
7.) 1902-1903 8.23
8.) 2016-2017 8.22
9.) 1915-1916 8.19
10.) 1992-1993 8.17

The overall temperature ties with 1998. The past winter of 2015-2016 is the warmest on record. The low temperature is the fourth warmest on record. The high temperature does not make the top 10 warmest. It shows that low temperatures can be a huge factor. The lack of cold air kept the low temperature warm. However, the wet winter kept the high temperature in check.

Temperature: 52.97°F
Low Temperature: 40.87°F
High Temperature: 65.07°F
Rainfall: 6.12

1895-2017 Winter Statistics
Winter Temperature Mean: 47.36°F
Winter Temperature Median: 47.30°F
Standard Deviation: 2.37

Winter Low Temperature Mean: 34.95°F
Winter Low Temperature Median: 35.10°F
Standard Deviation: 2.30

Winter High Temperature Mean: 59.75°F
Winter High Temperature Median: 59.50°F
Standard Deviation: 2.85

Winter Rainfall Mean: 4.83
Winter Rainfall Median: 4.72
Standard Deviation: 1.82

Top 10 Warmest Overall Winter
1.) 2016-2017 52.97°F
2.) 1906-1907 52.57°F
3.) 1999-2000 52.10°F
4.) 1998-1999 51.70°F
5.) 1951-1952 51.53°F
6.) 1949-1950 51.13°F
7.) 1956-1957 50.90°F
8.) 1910-1911 50.80°F
9.) 2015-2016 50.77°F
10.) 1908-1909 50.67°F

Top 10 Warmest Low Temperature Winter
1.) 2016-2017 40.87°F
2.) 1906-1907 39.50°F
3.) 1956-1957 39.23°F
4.) 1949-1950 39.10°F
5.) 1991-1992 39.07°F
6.) 2004-2005 39.00°F
7.) 1931-1932 38.87°F
8.) 1937-1938 38.80°F
9.) 1910-1911 38.77°F
10.) 1994-1995 38.57°F

Top 10 Warmest High Temperature Winter
1.) 1999-2000 65.77°F
2.) 1906-1907 65.57°F
3.) 2008-2009 65.23°F
4.) 2016-2017 65.07°F
5.) 1998-1999 64.97°F
6.) 1951-1952 64.77°F
7.) 2005-2006 64.63°F
8.) 1970-1971 64.53°F
9.) 1908-1909 64.23°F
10.) 1975-1976 64.03°F

Top 10 Wettest Winter

Texas had the warmest winter on record. The previous warmest winter was 1906-1907. The reason for the warm winter is largely due to abnormally warm low temperature, which is the warmest on record. The high temperatures is fourth warmest on record. 2000 is the warmest in terms of high temperature. All temperatures are 2 standard deviation, which is definitely abnormally and are out liers. However, rainfall is within 1 standard deviation, which is average.

Upper Texas Coast
Temperature: 61.73°F
Low Temperature: 52.73°F
High Temperature: 70.80°F
Rainfall: 12.25

1895-2017 Winter Statistics
Winter Temperature Mean: 54.06°F
Winter Temperature Median: 54.07°F
Standard Deviation: 2.72

Winter Low Temperature Mean: 44.22°F
Winter Low Temperature Median: 44.13°F
Standard Deviation: 2.80

Winter High Temperature Mean: 63.89°F
Winter High Temperature Median: 63.63°F
Standard Deviation: 2.86

Winter Rainfall Mean: 10.23
Winter Rainfall Median: 9.86
Standard Deviation: 3.51

Top 10 Warmest Overall Winter
1.) 2016-2017 61.73°F
2.) 1949-1950 59.57°F
3.) 1906-1907/1998-1999 58.87°F
4.) 1910-1911/1951-1952 58.77°F
5.) 1956-1957 58.73°F
6.) 1999-2000 58.63°F
7.) 1931-1932 58.30°F
8.) 1922-1923 58.07°F
9.) 2012-2013 58.00°F
10.) 1926-1927 57.93°F

Top 10 Warmest Low Temperature Winter
1.) 2016-2017 52.73°F
2.) 1949-1950 50.63°F
3.) 1931-1932 49.77°F
4.) 1956-1957 49.53°F
5.) 1910-1911 49.33°F
6.) 1998-1999 48.90°F
7.) 1951-1952 48.83°F
8.) 2011-2012 48.70°F
9.) 1922-1923 48.47°F
10.) 1971-1972 48.17°F

Top 10 Warmest High Temperature Winter
1.) 2016-2017 70.80°F
2.) 1906-1907 70.17°F
3.) 1999-2000 69.47°F
4.) 1998-1999 68.77°F
5.) 1951-1952 68.67°F
6.) 2008-2009 68.63°F
7.) 1949-1950 68.57°F
8.) 2007-2008 68.30°F
9.) 1910-1911 68.27°F
10.) 2012-2013 68.10°F

This was a very warm winter and literally abnormally warm. The overall temperature of 2016-2017 exceeds the previous warmest winter of 1949-1950 by 2.16°F! It exceeds by near 3 standard deviations! That is definitely an outlier! The low temperature is also the warmest and exceeds the previous warmest low temperature of 1949-1950. It also exceeds 3 standard deviations! However, the warmest high temperature is a close one. It is only by 0.63°F, which is not a lot. Still, it is 2 standard deviations, which in outlier territory. Winter 2016-2017 is an anomaly in terms of warm temperatures! It goes down in the record books! It was a wetter than usual winter, but within 1 standard deviation. It was due to the heavy rains of January.

Now, let’s look at the Last Frontier, Alaska.

Alaska Divisional Temperature Anomaly

Alaska Divisional Minimum Temperature Anomaly

Alaska Divisional Maximum Temperature Anomaly

Alaska Divisional Precipitation Anomaly

Temperature: 5.73°F
Low Temperature: -1.30°F
High Temperature: 12.80°F
Rainfall: 7.30

1925-2017 Winter Statistics
Winter Temperature Mean: 4.21°F
Winter Temperature Median: 4.57°F
Standard Deviation: 4.61

Winter Low Temperature Mean: -2.85°F
Winter Low Temperature Median: -2.90°F
Standard Deviation: 4.94

Winter High Temperature Mean: 11.26°F
Winter High Temperature Median: 11.67°F
Standard Deviation: 4.31

Winter Rainfall Mean: 8.13
Winter Rainfall Median: 7.91
Standard Deviation: 1.63

Alaska as a whole had a largely normal winter. The average temperature is within standard deviation. The precipitation is also within average as well. While the rest of the Lower 48 was warm, Alaska had a typically Alaskan winter. Even than Alaska can get cold and warm in the winter.

Top 10 Coolest Overall Winter
1.) 1924-1925 -7.20°F*
1.) 1964-1965 -5.03°F
2.) 1970-1971 -3.97°F
3.) 1955-1956 -3.10°F
4.) 1946-1947 -3.07°F
5.) 1942-1943 -2.77°F
6.) 1931-1932 -2.33°F
7.) 1933-1934 -2.23°F
8.) 1974-1975 -2.03°F
9.) 1975-1976 -1.83°F
10.) 1968-1969 -1.53°F

* December 1924 is missing.

Top 10 Warmest Overall Winter
1.) 2000-2001 14.97°F
2.) 2015-2016 14.30°F
3.) 2002-2003 13.43°F
4.) 1976-1977 12.80°F
5.) 2014-2015 11.60°F
6.) 1944-1945 11.30°F
7.) 1985-1986 11.27°F
8.) 1928-1929 11.23°F
9.) 1941-1942 11.03°F
10.) 1986-1987 10.80°F

Top 10 Coolest Low Temperature Winter
1.) 1924-1925 -15.25°F*
1.) 1964-1965 -12.50°F
2.) 1970-1971 -11.47°F
3.) 1955-1956 -10.80°F
4.) 1946-1947 -10.70°F
5.) 1931-1932 -10.60°F
6.) 1942-1943 -9.80°F
7.) 1933-1934 -9.63°F
8.) 1974-1975 -9.43°F
9.) 1975-1976 -9.30°F
10.) 1948-1949 -9.00°F

* December 1924 is missing.

Top 10 Warmest Low Temperature Winter
1.) 2000-2001 8.50°F
2.) 2015-2016 8.13°F
3.) 2002-2003 7.53°F
4.) 1976-1977 6.73°F
5.) 2014-2015 5.37°F
6.) 1985-1986 4.60°F
7.) 1944-1945 4.47°F
8.) 1941-1942 4.43°F
9.) 1928-1929 4.27°F
10.) 2013-2014 4.13°F

Top 10 Coolest High Temperature Winter
1.) 1924-1925 0.90°F*
1.) 1964-1965 2.50°F
2.) 1970-1971 3.53°F
3.) 1942-1943 4.27°F
4.) 1946-1947 4.57°F
5.) 1955-1956 4.60°F
6.) 1933-1934 5.20°F
7.) 1974-1975 5.30°F
8.) 1968-1969 5.33°F
9.) 1973-1974 5.63°F
10.) 1975-1976 5.67°F

* December 1924 is missing.

Top 10 Warmest High Temperature Winter
1.) 2000-2001 21.43°F
2.) 2015-2016 20.47°F
3.) 2002-2003 19.30°F
4.) 1976-1977 18.87°F
5.) 1928-1929 18.23°F
6.) 1944-1945 18.17°F
7.) 1985-1986 17.97°F
8.) 2014-2015 17.80°F
9.) 1941-1942 17.63°F
10.) 1986-1987 17.57°F

Top 10 Wettest Winter
1.) 1928-1929 11.89
2.) 1934-1935 11.55
3.) 1943-1944 11.26
4.) 1927-1928 10.88
5.) 1931-1932 10.78
6.) 1984-1985 10.65
7.) 2000-2001 10.61
8.) 1991-1992 10.38
9.) 1989-1990 10.26
10.) 1930-1931 10.22

Top 10 Driest Winter
1.) 1924-1925 3.12*
1.) 1968-1969 4.13
2.) 1929-1930 5.47
3.) 1949-1950 5.52
4.) 1977-1978 5.78
5.) 1973-1974 5.84
6.) 1933-1934 5.87
7.) 2009-2010 5.87
8.) 1981-1982 5.93
9.) 1972-1973 6.07
10.) 1935-1936 6.17

* December 1924 is missing.

The coldest winter since 1925 occurred in 1964-1965, while the warmest is 2000-2001. The wettest winter is 1928-1929, while driest is 1968-1969. Some of Alaska’s warmest winters occurred when the Lower 48 was cold. It shows if it is cold in the Lower 48, it is more likely to be warmer in Alaska. The cold air has to go somewhere. It is largely due to upper level ridging over Alaska, called the East Pacific Oscillation (EPO). It is largely affected by “The Blob”, which I created a data called the Northeast Pacific Warm Pool (NEPWP). The warmer the NEPWP is, the more negative EPO is.

Data came from Divisional Data Select, National Temperature and Precipitation Maps, and NOAA/NCEI Climate Division data: Mapping and Analysis Web Tool

Fall 2014


The meteorological Fall from September to November has passed into memory lane again. Wow, time flies fast. It is already the start of the meteorological Winter, which is from December to February. It is also Christmas season, which seems to come faster every year before you even realize it. Ho! Ho! Ho! This Fall was a sharp contrast between warm and cold. Not only Fall was interesting weather wise, it was interesting from the medical aspect as Ebola (I got an Ebola blog, so check it out) came to America in Dallas and New York.

America 2014 Fall
Mean Temperature: 54.13°F
Total Rainfall: 7.12

America Fall Temperature (1895-2014)
Mean: 53.66°F
Median: 53.64°F
Standard Deviation: 1.11
Lowest: 50.89°F (1976)
Highest: 56.58°F (1963)

America Fall Rainfall (1895-2014)
Mean: 6.91
Median: 6.92
Standard Deviation: 1.11
Lowest: 4.21 (1939)
Highest: 9.72 (1985)

Temperature for Fall was within average despite a cold November. There are reasons why this Fall is not as cool as one would expect. First, October 2014 was very warm. How warm was October 2014 was for America?

America October 2014
Mean Temperature: 56.89°F

Top 10 Warmest October In America (1895-2014)
1.) 1963 59.36°F
2.) 1947 58.80°F
3.) 1950 57.47°F
4.) 2014 56.89°F
5.) 2007 56.68°F
6.) 1931 56.57°F
7.) 2003 56.55°F
8.) 1934 56.52°F
9.) 1938 56.41°F
10.) 1900 56.35°F

Pretty warm, that it was the fourth warmest on record since 1895. Let’s see November temeprature statistics.

Top 20 Coolest November In America (1895-2014)
1.) 1911 37.27°F
2.) 2000 38.03°F
3.) 1951 38.08°F
4.) 1947 38.10°F
5.) 1955 38.23°F
6.) 1896 38.32°F
7.) 1898 38.39°F
8.) 1929 38.41°F
9.) 1976 38.48°F
10.) 1959 38.66°F
11.) 1972 38.93°F
12.) 1940 39.00°F
13.) 1895 39.16°F
14.) 1993 39.22°F
15.) 1919 39.31°F
16.) 2014 39.33°F
17.) 1991 39.43°F
18.) 1935 39.49°F
19.) 1985 39.51°F
20.) 1996 39.63°F

November 2014 was quite cold. In fact it is in the top 10 coldest winter on record, 16th to be exact. Now, that is cold. November 2000 was colder than November 2014, which occurred in a weak La Nina. Interesting see that some of the coldest Novembers occur in El Nino like 1911, 1972, 1976, and 1991.

Let’s look at Texas. Fall was quite turbulent for Texas as Ebola virus paid a visit to Dallas. Three people came down with Ebola and one of them died.

Texas 2014 Fall
Mean Temperature: 65.80°F
Total Rainfall: 8.09

Texas Fall Temperature (1895-2014)
Mean: 65.61°F
Median: 65.63°F
Standard Deviation: 1.55
Lowest: 60.00°F (1976)
Highest: 69.87°F (1931)

Texas Fall Rainfall (1895-2014)
Mean: 7.32
Median: 7.26
Standard Deviation: 2.47
Lowest: 2.95 (1917)
Highest: 13.37 (1919)

Like America, even though November was cold, Fall 2014 was within the mean. The reason has to do with October. Here is the top 10 warmest October for Texas.

1.) 1947 71.80°F
2.) 1931 70.80°F
3.) 1934 70.70°F
4.) 1963 70.30°F
5.) 1950 69.80°F
6.) 2014 69.80°F
7.) 2004 69.70°F
8.) 1956/1962 69.40°F
9.) 1926 69.20°F
10.) 1941 69.10°F

October 2014 is the 6th warmest October on record for Texas. It is even warmer than October 2004, which was very warm for Southeast Texas. At least the Fall rainfall is above average as it is welcomed to put an end to the drought that has plagued Texas. Let’s look at November temperture for Texas.

Top 20 Coolest November In Texas (1895-2014)
1.) 1976 47.80°F
2.) 1929 48.00°F
3,) 1972 48.80°F
4.) 1959 49.10°F
5.) 1895 50.00°F
6.) 1898 50.50°F
7.) 1911 50.70°F
8.) 1932/1991 50.90°F
9.) 1907/1957/1993 51.00°F
10.) 2000 51.10°F
11.) 1979 51.20°F
12.) 1936/1961 51.30°F
13.) 1918/2014 51.40°F
14.) 1920/1947 51.60°F
15.) 1951/1992 51.80°F
16.) 1939 51.90°F
17.) 1980 52.10°F
18.) 1956 52.20°F
19.) 1923/1937 52.40°F
20.) 1926/1940/1997 52.50°F

November was cold for Texas as for most of the US east of the Rocky Mountains. Texas experienced its 13th coolest November on record as it ties with 1918. November 2000 was quite cold for Texas as it was very rainy and wet. Of course nothing compares to 1976, which was very cold. Many of these cold Novembers gave way to cold winters for Texas like in 1898, 1911, 1972, 1976, and 2000. Could this be a harbinger to come? Now, let’s look at Upper Texas Coast.

Upper Texas Coast 2014 Fall
Mean Temperature: 70.13°F
Total Rainfall: 12.52

Upper Texas Coast Fall Temperature (1895-2014)
Mean: 70.22°F
Median: 70.25°F
Standard Deviation: 1.58
Lowest: 64.27°F (1976)
Highest: 74.23°F (1931)

Upper Texas Coast Fall Rainfall (1895-2014)
Mean: 12.35
Median: 11.58
Standard Deviation: 4.90
Lowest: 3.12 (1924)
Highest: 27.47 (1998)

Again, despite a cold November, Fall 2014 had temperatures within the mean. There was a stark contrast between hot October and cold November. Here is the top 10 warmest October for Upper Texas Coast.

Top 10 Warmest October In Upper Texas Coast (1895-2014)
1.) 2004 76.80°F
2.) 1931/1941 75.40°F
3.) 1919/1947 75.10°F
4.) 1926/1962 74.20°F
5.) 1934 73.90°F
6.) 1963 73.80°F
7.) 1933 73.40°F
8.) 1956/1984/1998 73.30°F
9.) 1935 73.20°F
10.) 1928 73.10°F
11.) 2014 73.00°F
12.) 1950 72.90°F
13.) 1973 72.80°F
14.) 1954 72.70°F
15.) 1897/1938 72.60°F
16.) 1960/2007 72.50°F
17.) 1899/1927/1971/2006 72.40°F
18.) 1951/1991 72.30°F
19.) 1900 72.20°F
20.) 1946/2000/2013 72.10°F

It is the 11th warmest October on record. It is nowhere near the warmest October, which is 2004 and it was really warm. Interesting to note that following October 2004, it was a stormy and wet November and snow December with snow falling on Christmas Eve and Christmas. Many areas saw 1 to 3 inches with amounts as high as 13 inches! That is on level with the February 14-15, 1895. The Christmas Even 2004 snow event is easily 1 in 100,000 event for December or 1 in 1,000 event between December to March. White Christmas have never been recorded in Southeast Texas. I suspect White Christmas have happened on the Upper Texas Coast in the past, likely in the mid 19th century when there have been some big cold blasts. So, how did November compare to past November?

Top 20 Coolest November In Upper Texas Coast (1895-2014)
1.) 1976 52.80°F
2.) 1929/1972 55.20°F
3.) 1959 55.30°F
4.) 1932 55.40°F
5.) 1911 56.10°F
6.) 1898 56.30°F
7.) 1907 56.50°F
8.) 1895/1936 56.60°F
9.) 1979 56.90°F
10.) 1939/1980 57.00°F
11.) 1991 57.10°F
12.) 1993 57.20°F
13.) 1920/1923 57.30°F
14.) 1941/1992/2014 57.40°F
15.) 1937/1943 57.50°F
16.) 1918/1970 57.60°F
17.) 1926 57.80°F
18.) 1951 58.10°F
19.) 1917 58.30°F
20.) 1912/1947/1997 58.40°F

It was a cold November for Upper Texas Coast as it is in top 20. It ranks 14th coldest November on record. There were cold Novembers back to back from 1991 to 1993. November 1976 is truly an outlier as it was very cold. In fact, there was freezing rain and sleet on November 28-29, 1976. Like most of America, Winter 1976-1977 was a very cold winter for Upper Texas Coast.

Interesting to note that the coldest Fall for America, Texas, and Upper Texas Coast is 1976. The Winter of 1976-1977 was very cold and one of the coldest on record. This past Fall does not come anywhere near 1976. Fall 1976 is truly rare. So, what could Winter 2014-2015 will be like? I will issue a forecast soon.


Summer 2014

It is already Fall as Summer 2014 is in memory lane. Sorry for the delay due to the ongoing Ebola epidemic in West Africa. Summer felt different from past summers. Not as hot as it has been in the past. This how Summer 2014 stacked up for America, Texas, and Southeast Texas in terms of temperature and rainfall from June to August.

America 2014 Summer
Mean Temperature: 71.68°F
Total Rainfall: 9.42

American Summer (1895-2014)
Mean: 71.53°F
Median: 71.62°F
Standard Deviation: 0.98
Lowest: 69.08°F (1915)
Highest: 74.00°F (1936)

America did not have a hot Summer for sure. It was an average Summer as it is close to the mean. Summer 2014 is cooler compared to the past summer from 2010 to 2013. Here is a bell curve of American Summer temperature average.


In terms of rainfall, America had the 8th wettest Summer on record. It is because of the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes had near record wet Summer. Here is a statistic of American Summer rainfall.

American Summer (1895-2014)
Mean: 8.35
Median: 8.39
Standard Deviation: 0.78
Lowest: 6.08 (1930)
Highest: 10.50 (1928)

Summer 2014 is outside the standard deviation of the mean. It was indeed an abnormally wet Summer for America. A little interesting thing to notice, the wettest and driest Summer on record for America happened two years apart. Here’s a bell curve of American Summer rainfall total.


It is close to be an outlier. Almost close to the 95th percentile, but is outside the 90th percentile range, which makes it an anomaly.

Let’s take a look at the Lone Star State.

Texas 2014 Summer
Mean Temperature: 81.63°F
Total Rainfall: 7.30

Texas Summer (1895-2014)
Mean: 81.36°F
Median: 81.40°F
Standard Deviation: 1.35
Lowest: 78.70°F (1976)
Highest: 86.80°F (2011)

Texas did not have a hot Summer as it was quite normal in terms of mean. The Summer between 2010 to 2013 were hot, so it is considered a cool spell. Here’s a bell curve of Texas Summer temperature.


Summer 2014 is within standard deviation as show in this histogram and bell curve. Abnormally cool and hot summers are outliers like 1976 and 2011. They are a rarity and are 1 in 10,000 event.

Summer rainfall in Texas is also normal as it is within average. It is wetter than last summer, which was rather dry. Summer 2011 was very dry and hot as drought ravaged Texas. Summer 2007 was very wet as it rained all the time. Wonder what rainfall is like in the Summer in Texas?

Texas Summer (1895-2014)
Mean: 7.61
Median: 7.41
Standard Deviation: 2.10
Lowest: 2.46 (2011)
Highest: 13.62 (2007)

Here is a bell curve of Summer Texas rainfall.


Summer 2014 rainfall in Texas is average as it is close to the mean. A very dry or wet summer is an outlier like 2007 and 2011. Come to think of it, Summer is an outlier in terms of temperature and rainfall, very warm and dry. So, how did Upper Texas Coast fare in Summer 2014?

Upper Texas Coast 2014 Summer
Mean Temperature: 83.00°F
Total Rainfall: 9.85

Upper Texas Coast Summer (1895-2014)
Mean: 82.34°F
Median: 82.29°F
Standard Deviation: 1.01
Lowest: 79.97°F (1903)
Highest: 86.07°F (2011)

Summer 2014 had an average temperature of 83°F and ties with 1990 as the 23rd warmest Summer on record. It is within the standard deviation of the mean, so not really an abnormally warm summer when you look at it. Rather interesting despite the fact that there has been no 100 day in Houston, a first since 1997. So, how is this possible? The Divisional Weather has average lows and highs. Let’s take a look at it.

Upper Texas Coast 2014 Summer
Low Mean: 74.33°F
High Mean: 91.60°F

Here is statistics for Summer low and high temeprature for Upper Texas Coast.

Upper Texas Coast Summer Low Temperature Average (1895-2014)
Mean: 73.07°F
Median: 73.13°F
Standard Deviation: 0.86
Lowest: 71.00°F (1903)
Highest: 75.83°F (1998)

The average low for Summer 2014 is above the standard deviation, which means the night time temperature is warmer than normal. In fact, Summer 2014 is the seventh warmest low temperature on record going back to 1895. Here is a list of top 10 warmest low temperature for Upper Texas Coast.
1.) 1998 75.83°F
2.) 2010 75.80°F
3.) 2011 75.57°F
4.) 2009 74.77°F
5.) 1993 74.50°F
6.) 1999 74.40°F
7.) 2014 74.33°F
8.) 1958 74.30°F
9.) 2012 74.27°F
10.) 1951/1980 74.13°F

The unusually warm low temperature is from the humidity, which keeps it from going down too low at night or too high in the day time. Summer 2014 was more humid than past Summers for Upper Texas Coast. In terms of high temperatures, it right on average. It is nothing like Summer 2011, which was very hot. Summer 2010 had warm low temperatures, which made it warm despite not seeing many 100 degree days that Summer. Of course we could not complain about the cool Summer of 1919.

Upper Texas Coast Summer High Temperature Average (1895-2014)
Mean: 91.60°F
Median: 91.47°F
Standard Deviation: 1.41
Lowest: 88.63°F (1919)
Highest: 96.57°F (2011)

Summer 2014 high temperatures are right on average, so not a bad Summer after all. Sometimes Summers are very warm despite high temperatures being normal because the low temperatures are very warm at night. It is the devil in the details. Anyways, here is a bell curve of Summer temperature average.


Upper Texas Coast Summer (1895-2014)
Mean: 12.24
Median: 11.11
Standard Deviation: 4.72
Lowest: 5.03 (1930)
Highest: 25.85 (1900)

In terms of rainfall, less than 10 inches of rain fell from June to August. Some areas got more rain than other areas. Coastal areas received less rain than inland areas. That would explain why Upper Texas Coast as a whole did not get over 10 inches of rain this past summer. It is within standard deviation of the average Summer rainfall total. Thankfully, Summer 2014 is not in the top 20 driest Summer. Here is a bell curve of Upper Texas Coast Summer rainfall.


The histogram and bell curve is skewed to the left. Summer 2014 is within standard deviation from the mean and median, so it was not an abnormally dry Summer. A dry or wet Summer is an anomaly like 1900 or 1930. Summer 2011 is up there in terms of dry Summer. Summer 2011 is truly an extreme Summer for Texas and Upper Texas Coast as it was very dry and warm.

2013-2014 Winter


BRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!! It was a cold and snowy winter for many. For some, they ask, “Where is winter?” as it felt like that winter never came. This winter has been certainly cold compared to recent winters of 2011-2012 and 2012-2013. So, how cold was this winter?

Temperature: 31.27°F
Rainfall: 5.69

1895-2014 Winter Statistics
Winter Temperature Mean: 32.29°F
Winter Temperature Median: 32.47°F
Standard Deviation: 2.01

Winter Rainfall Mean: 6.74
Winter Rainfall Median: 6.69
Standard Deviation: 0.89

It has been quite cold for America. A far cry from last two winters, which were balmy. Winter did not want to come. So, why was this past winter cold? The reason is the North Pacific Oscillation (NPO) or East Pacific Oscillation (EPO). Like North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and Arctic Oscillation (AO), when EPO goes negative, it causes upper level ridging over Alaska, which allows cold air to go down south. Even if EPO is negative, while NAO and AO are positive, America gets cold. This setup happened in December 1983 and February 1989, where deep freezes hit America.


Winter rainfall has been below average. This is mainly due to the dry winter in the Western US. So, how does 2013-2014 rank? Let’s look at top 20 coldest winter since 1895.

Top 20 Coldest Winter
1.) 1978-1979 26.61°F
2.) 1894-1895 26.65°F*
3.) 1935-1936 27.78°F
4.) 1898-1899 27.95°F
5.) 1909-1910 28.17°F
6.) 1904-1905 28.69°F
7.) 1928-1929 28.72°F
8.) 1977-1978 29.04°F
9.) 1916-1917 29.10°F
10.) 1917-1918 29.11°F
11.) 1911-1912 29.35°F
12.) 1903-1904 29.89°F
13.) 1976-1977 30.01°F
14.) 1902-1903 30.03°F
15.) 1948-1949 30.14°F
16.) 1936-1937 30.35°F
17.) 1914-1915 30.39°F
18.) 1963-1964 30.40°F
19.) 1983-1984 30.56°F
20.) 1919-1920/1984-1985 30.57°F

*December 1894 data is missing.

Notice there have been some data change for climate division, so the value and ranking is a little different. For example, Winter 2009-2010 was 15th coldest winter on record and now it is 22nd coldest on record. Winter 2013-2014 does not make the top 20 list. It is the 34th coldest winter on record. It is cold considering that last winter was 19th warmest winter on record. Quite a stark contrast right there. Interesting to note that some of the coldest winter occurred in the same decade, 1910s and 1970s and some occurred back to back in the early 1900s, mid to late 1910s, and late 1970s.

Since, this winter had been dry, how does 2013-2014 fare in the rainfall department. Here is a top 10 driest winter on record.

Top 10 Driest Winter
1.) 1976-1077 4.17
2.) 1930-1931 4.68
3.) 1980-1981 4.72
4.) 1894-1895 4.73*
5.) 1962-1963 4.88
6.) 1946-1947 5.40
7.) 1963-1964 5.47
8.) 1919-1920 5.63
9.) 1903-1904 5.68
10.) 2001-2002/2013-2014 5.69

*December 1894 data is missing.

I got the winter rainfall forecast way off. 2013-2014 is the 10th driest on record and ties with 2001-2002, which had little snow on the East Coast. That lack of snow contributed to the clean up of what used to be the World Trade Center, which tragically was destroyed on September 11, 2001 by terrorists. Initially, it was feared that it could take up to two years to clear the World Trade Center site. The dry winter is due to the severe drought in the Western US, especially in California. If I was in California, I would be more worried about drought than earthquakes. At least earthquakes happen quickly, while droughts are prolonged. Also, droughts can happen anywhere in the world, whether desert or tropical rainforest. A huge earthquake can only happen in areas with active fault lines, which is Pacific Rim or South Asia due to India subcontinent moving further north.

Now, let’s look at the great state of Texas’s winter.

Temperature: 45.93°F
Rainfall: 2.42

1895-2014 Winter Statistics
Winter Temperature Mean: 47.28°F
Winter Temperature Median: 47.22°F
Standard Deviation: 2.32

Winter Rainfall Mean: 4.82
Winter Rainfall Median: 1.83
Standard Deviation: 4.68

It was even cold in the Lone Star State. The cold weather may have kept things dry as it is below standard deviation as I will look soon. It makes an abnormally dry winter. That is concerning as drought is a major problem in Texas. So, how does 2013-2014 rank in Texas?

Top 20 Coldest Winter
1.) 1898-1899 41.33°F
2.) 1894-1895 41.55°F*
3.) 1904-1905 42.20°F
4.) 1978-1979 42.83°F
5.) 1977-1978 42.87°F
6.) 1963-1964 43.03°F
7.) 1911-1912 43.43°F
8.) 1983-1984 43.50°F
9.) 1972-1973/2009-2010 43.83°F
10.) 1909-1910 44.23°F
11.) 1917-1918 44.30°F
12.) 1976-1977 44.50°F
13.) 1935-1936 44.53°F
14.) 1962-1963 44.57°F
15.) 1912-1913 44.63°F
16.) 1960-1961 44.67°F
17.) 1914-1915 44.80°F
18.) 1928-1929 44.87°F
19.) 1905-1906 44.90°F
20.) 1947-1948 44.93°F

*December 1894 data is missing.

This winter is not in the top 20 coldest winter as it ranks 27th coldest on record for Texas. It makes the top 30 coldest winter on record. It is the coldest winter since 2009-2010 and that winter was cold. On the topic of rainfall, it was bone dry. That is a very concerning as Texas has been in a drought since 2008. So, how does 2013-2014 compare in the rainfall deparment?

Top 10 Driest Winter
1.) 2008-2009 1.54
2.) 1908-1909 1.67
3.) 1917-1918 1.72
4.) 1970-1971 1.80
5.) 1916-1917 2.11
6.) 1966-1967 2.12
7.) 1975-1976 2.13
8.) 1995-1996 2.31
9.) 1901-1902 2.32
10.) 2013-2014 2.42

The 2013-2014 Winter is tenth driest on record. The most recent dry winter is also the driest on record, 2008-2009. This past winter is even drier than 2010-2011 and that was a strong La Nina. This past winter was Neutral bordering into La Nina. It shows that El Nino or La Nina is not only factor for winter rainfall and temperature. There are other factors in play. In the meantime, let’s check out the Upper Texas Coast, which Houston is in.

Upper Texas Coast
Temperature: 52.17°F
Rainfall: 4.36

1895-2014 Winter Statistics
Winter Temperature Mean: 53.96°F
Winter Temperature Median: 53.98°F
Standard Deviation: 2.64

Winter Rainfall Mean: 10.24
Winter Rainfall Median: 9.88
Standard Deviation: 3.54

Top 20 Coldest Winter
1.) 1894-1895 47.85°F*
2.) 1977-1978 48.07°F
3.) 1898-1899 48.90°F
4.) 1963-1964 49.03°F
5.) 1904-1905 49.17°F
6.) 1976-1977 49.60°F
7.) 2009-2010 49.67°F
8.) 1978-1979 49.87°F
9.) 1962-1963 50.03°F
10.) 1983-1984 50.07°F
11.) 1911-1912/1972-1973 50.13°F
12.) 1939-1940 50.33°F
13.) 1935-1936 50.50°F
14.) 1905-1906 50.63°F
15.) 1909-1910 50.93°F
16.) 1917-1918 51.13°F
17.) 1967-1968 51.20°F
18.) 1959-1960 51.30°F
19.) 1947-1948/1960-1961 51.37°F
20.) 1958-1959 51.43°F

*December 1894 data is missing.

Like America and Texas, the Upper Texas Coast did not crack top 20 coldest winter. It is the 26th coldest winter on record. It is cold for sure, much colder than the past two winters. 2009-2010 was much colder than 2013-2014 despite more freezing temperatures than in 2009-2010. 2009-2010 had below average temperatures every single day. Winter 2009-2010 still remains in the top 10 coldest winter on record.

The past few months had below normal temperature. In terms of rainfall, it has been dry. The analog precipitation forecast was way off for Upper Texas Coast. The winter rainfall total is well below standard deviation of 3.54. That is very concerning as drought remains a problem. However, I was right in regards of winter precipitation as Houston saw five freezing rain events. Here is how 2013-2014 compared for Upper Texas Coast.

Top 10 Driest Winter
1.) 2008-2009 2.83
2.) 1917-1918 3.93
3.) 1970-1971 4.05
4.) 2013-2014 4.36
5.) 1908-1909 4.48
6.) 1961-1962 4.97
7.) 1896-1897 5.30
8.) 1975-1976 5.63
9.) 1903-1904 5.74
10.) 1985-1986 5.77

The 2013-2014 Winter is fourth driest on record. For the record, the Winter of 2008-2009 is driest on record since 1895. Driest winters occur usually during a La Nina and we were Neutral. This is very concerning as drought has stricken a good portion of Texas and America. However, I see light at the end of the tunnel. El Nino is developing and word is it could be a strong one like 1982-1983 or 1997-1998. If that is the case, we could see a wet spring or summer and certainly a wet fall and winter. That would be a good thing as it can bring the drought to a screeching halt.

2013 Weather In Review

The unlucky 13 of 2013 has passed into memory lane. Now, we are in 2014. We will not see another year with the number 13 until 2113, which is 99 years from now. I doubt I will be around that time. Anyways, 2013 was a rather interesting weather year as you can see in the top 10 2013 weather events I compiled. Let’s see how 2013 fared in rainfall and temperature by region.

2013 America
Annual Temperature: 52.40°F
Annual Rainfall: 31.16

1895-2013 Average
Mean: 52.19°F
Median: 51.99°F
Standard Deviation: 0.91

Mean: 29.18
Median: 29.31
Standard Deviation: 2.16

2013 in America is rather interesting. In terms of temperature, it was within annual mean and median. However, when it comes to rainfall, it is close to being abnormally wet, but within the standard deviation. 2013 is a far cry from 2012, which was a very warm year. Here are two maps that show the difference in in temperature and rainfall by state. Dry in the West and wet in the Midwest and East. Here is a map by state.


Even though, America was wetter than normal, the drought persists and is getting worse, especially in the Western US. It is most severe in California, where the drought is likely the worst since 1500s. The culprit is a cool Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), which is the same reason why Texas is dry. A cool PDO causes the jet stream to go further north, carrying storm systems that produce rain further north, which is amplified with La Nina.

There is also a persistent ridge at 18,000 feet or 5,600 meters over the Pacific, Western Canada, and Alaska. I generated this maps and it clearly shows that. The ridging diverts storms northwards around the ridge and the storm goes southwards towards the Upper Midwest. The ridging is what deprives the Western US their rain.


The same ridging is also causing Alaska and Western Canada to be warmer than normal. The ridging allows the air to warm, while diverting cold air to the south. Ridging over the North Pacific and Alaska is sign of a negative East Pacific Oscillation (EPO). EPO is North Pacific equivalent to North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). A negative NAO causes ridging over Northeast Canada and Greenland, and causes cold air to go down south. Negative NAO is a strong factor in cold winters like 2009-2010.


On the topic of the effect of PDO and EPO on Texas, let’s go straight to Texas.

2013 Texas
Annual Temperature: 65.10°F
Annual Rainfall: 27.39

1895-2013 Average
Mean: 65.11°F
Median: 65.08°F
Standard Deviation: 0.98

Mean: 27.93
Median: 27.43
Standard Deviation: 5.29

The 2013 temperature average and rainfall total is within the standard deviation. It is not often that happens as Texas is prone to either extreme cool or hot and dry or wet years. In fact, 2013 was a normal year in terms of temperature and rainfall.

Granted, Texas is still in a drought, but in a better shape than in 2011. However, I am a bit concerned the drought could return if we do not see more rain. On the topic of Texas, let’s head to the Upper Texas Coast.

2013 Upper Texas Coast
Annual Temperature: 69.33°F
Annual Rainfall: 44.52

1895-2013 Average
Mean: 69.46°F
Median: 69.43°F
Standard Deviation: 0.95

Mean: 47.64
Median: 46.34
Standard Deviation: 10.42

Like America and Texas, Upper Texas Coast had normal temperatures despite a heat wave in late June, where Houston saw 107°F. The reason for the slightly cooler year is that Spring 2013 is one of the coolest on record. Rainfall was within standard deviation despite dry months in 2013. Some months would be dry, while other times it would be wet. If it was not for the heavy rains of April, May, and October, 2013 would have been a dry year for the Upper Texas Coast.

Even though Upper Texas Coast had near normal rainfall total and heavy rain events have happened, I am concerned about drought as we are still in a cool PDO phase, which I mentioned previously in regards to California’s drought problem. The past five years has not seen an abnormally wet year. The last time that happened was in 2007. Here is a divisional map.


It shows the climate divisions in the Upper Midwest had record breaking wet years, especially in the Michigan, Dakotas, and Montana. In fact, North Dakota and Michigan had their wettest year on record. Large area of California and parts of Idaho had their driest year on record. The drought in California is worse than in 1977. Many areas saw record wet and dry years in 2013 as you can see in the divisional map.

In terms of temperature, most areas were slightly cooler than normal. There are pockets of warmth, but if you want really warm years, go West. Many areas in California were warm, but not record breaking warmth. No area shattered records in temperature in 2013.

What will 2014 hold in the weather world? I think it could be an interesting one. Perhaps we could see more freezes and snow in the winter. Than tornado outbreaks in the spring. By the time hurricane seasons starts, I think we could see the first major (Category 3 or above) hurricane to make landfall, which would be the first since Wilma in 2005. Until than, time will only tell.