Lubbock Dust Storm 10/17/11

The winds are whipping through Lubbock, Tex. with dust swirling through the air.

“The dust storm just gave us a preview of West Texas during a nuclear winter,” a dust storm witness Will McKay tweeted.

Around 6:30 pm local time, winds were sustained at 39 mph, but gusting to 64 mph. At that time, there had been no damage reports by the National Weather Service.

Video by Sonny Patten

What caused the dust storm? It’s “partly because they’re in that terrible drought,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Frank Strait said.

“When you have winds blowing over 60 mph in Lubbock, like they have been, it makes you prone to dust storms. When the soil gets really dry, this year is an extreme example of it, you start getting blowing dust out there. You can kick up quite a bit of dust and lower the visibility. It can make everything dirty too, ha, which is no fun.”

The strong winds also downed numerous power lines in Lubbock, while causing damage to an airport hanger and the roof of a fire department nearby.

“dust storm of the century. #lubbockproblems,” Twitter user kmagier said.

“In case you’ve never seen a Panhandle/South Plains dust storm… #crazy” Nicole Guthrie tweeted.

“Have to shower after being outside in this tornado of dust! #sandyteeth,” dust storm witness Tracey Clem tweeted.

“Take cover! Dust storm!” Carrie Skinner tweeted.


Lubbock Dust Storm 10/17/11


NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center: La Niña is back


September 8, 2011

Dry lake bed.

Dry lake bed.

Download here. (Credit: NOAA)

La Niña, which contributed to extreme weather around the globe during the first half of 2011, has re-emerged in the tropical Pacific Ocean and is forecast to gradually strengthen and continue into winter. Today, forecasters with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center upgraded last month’s La Niña Watch to a La Niña Advisory.

NOAA will issue its official winter outlook in mid-October, but La Niña winters often see drier than normal conditions across the southern tier of the United States and wetter than normal conditions in the Pacific Northwest and Ohio Valley.

“This means drought is likely to continue in the drought-stricken states of Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico,” said Mike Halpert, deputy director of the Climate Prediction Center. “La Niña also often brings colder winters to the Pacific Northwest and the northern Plains, and warmer temperatures to the southern states.”

Climate forecasts from NOAA’s National Weather Service give American communities advance notice of what to expect in the coming months so they can prepare for potential impacts. This service is helping the country to become a Weather Ready Nation at a time when extreme weather is on the rise.

Seasonal hurricane forecasters factored the potential return of La Niña into NOAA’s updated 2011 Atlantic hurricane season outlook, issued in August, which called for an active hurricane season. With the development of tropical storm Nate this week, the number of tropical cyclones entered the predicted range of 14-19 named storms.

The strong 2010-11 La Niña contributed to record winter snowfall, spring flooding and drought across the United States, as well as other extreme weather events throughout the world, such as heavy rain in Australia and an extremely dry equatorial eastern Africa.

Re-emergence of La Niña in the tropical Pacific Ocean.

Average sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies (degree C) for the week centered on Aug. 31, 2011, indicate the re-emergence of La Niña in the tropical Pacific Ocean.

Download here. (Credit: NOAA)

La Niña is a naturally occurring climate phenomenon located over the tropical Pacific Ocean and results from interactions between the ocean surface and the atmosphere. During La Niña, cooler-than-average Pacific Ocean temperatures influence global weather patterns. La Niña typically occurs every three-to-five years, and back-to-back episodes occur about 50 percent of the time. Current conditions reflect a re-development of the June 2010-May 2011 La Niña episode.

NOAA’s National Weather Service is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories. NOAA’s National Weather Service operates the most advanced weather and flood warning and forecast system in the world, helping to protect lives and property and enhance the national economy. Visit us online at weather.gov and on Facebook.

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Join us onFacebookTwitter and our other social media channels.


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