USA drought reaches record; Alaskan superstorm “Mega-Bomb”

69F high Thursday at MSP Airport at 4:04pm

65.45% of USA lower 48 states now in “drought” – a new record

Anatomy of a developing drought – Graphic Mississippi River image comparison in Minneapolis this year

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Source: Thanks Patrick Naidl – Mill City Museum

42 millibars in 24 hours – Rapid “deepening” of massive Alaskan “Mega-Bomb”

119 AK superstorm.gif

Source: NOAA

Color burst – Vivid fall color shots from Banning State Park

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Image Credit: Thanks to Father Paul Kammen for passing this along

Status Quo: Mild dry forecast holds into next week

MSP quick look forecast:

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Source: Twin Cities NWS

Drought 2012 reaches record:

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Image: UW Madison

I talked about Minnesota’s deepening drought Thursday morning with Cathy Wurzer on Morning Edition and posted details here on Updraft. Here’s another angle on Thursday’s latest U.S. Drought Monitor.

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65.45% of the lower 48 states are now in drought status. That’s the highest coverage in the 12 year history of the U.S. Drought Monitor.

The “epicenter” of the drought is in Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma. But the drought is rapidly deepening in Iowa and Minnesota…working its way north.

More from Climate Central here:

Since September 18, the area of the “Cornhusker State”(Nebraska) experiencing exceptional drought grew from 70.9 percent to 73 percent. Other states with a large footprint of the worst drought categories include Kansas, where 5 percent of the state is suffering from exceptional drought, and Oklahoma, where exceptional drought has enveloped 17 percent of the state, an increase from the Sept. 18 data. According to The Weather Channel, the “exceptional” drought extents in Nebraska and Kansas are both records for those states.

Alaskan “Mega-Bomb” pounds coast:

A massive superstorm is pounding the southern Alaskan Coast today.

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Source: NOAA

The storm is so large; it would cover most of the lower 48 USA.

The storm showed rapid intensification or “deepening” with pressure falls of 42 millibars in just 24 hours. That magnitude of rapid intensification is rare even for strong hurricanes, and far exceeds established criteria for so called “Bomb Cyclogenesis” which is 23 millibars of deepening in 24 hours at 55 degrees latitude.

The Alaskan superstorm has a lower central pressure than Hurricane Isaac.

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Source: NOAA

More from NOAA’s Ocean Prediction Center:

Linked is a GOES 15 WV animation of the hurricane force cyclone that rapidly intensified near the Southwestern Gulf of Alaska. The loop begins at 00Z Sep 26 when the surface low was 986 mb, and ends at 04Z Sep 27 when the low was a fully ma…ture and vertically stacked 956 mb system. Interesting to note, the lowest analyzed pressure at the surface was down to 950 mb at 18Z Sep 26.


  • Lars

    Great Reporting, Paul.

    What’s that feint swirl to the west of the super-bomb photo? According to the pressure gradients, I would not expect to observe this.