Wednesday, January 30, 2008

January Cold and Tornadoes

We've been fairly cold since my last post on January 19. However, there have been a few surprises in there. The coldest morning so far this winter season was -4F on the morning of the 25th. After that, the temperatures began to moderate and then warm signifcantly ahead of an arctic cold front that blasted through on the evening of the 29th. The arctic front was incredibly strong with a squall line of storms marching across the state from north to south. The squall line produced two tornadoes in the state and widespread damage. What I found most incredible about the passage of the front, was the dramatic drop in temperature over a short period of time. If you go back and look at the data for January 2008, you'll see that on the 29th, the high for the day was 54 at 8:20pm and by midnight, the temperature had dropped to 17! That is a 37 degree drop in temperature in just 3 hours 40 minutes! Once the front passed, the winds began to howl. The peak wind gust here at home was 50mph with several gusts over 40mph. I normally keep the high wind speed alarm on my weather station set to 30mph, but it was sounding constantly. So I set the alarm for 40mph and it still sounded every 2-3 minutes. I don't remember sustained winds like that in many years. The peak gust of 50mph didn't set a record for me though. The highest wind I've recorded was 51mph from the NNW on April 4, 2003.
The squall line did produce some tornadoes and straight line wind damage. Here are a couple of pictures. You can find many more pictures of the damage and a newscast video in the storm photo section of my website at