Monday, May 03, 2010

Tropical air mass

AP Photo of severe flash flooding in Nashville Saturday.

It is hard to believe we had a humidex reading of 30C and and overnight low of 19C in Montreal during the same week we had a snowstorm, but hey here we are. Yesterday was very muggy across the eastern two thirds of North America as a steady stream of humid air poured northward. Montreal reached 26C but it was much warmer in Vermont and New York with temperatures approaching 30C. The warmest place in the US over the weekend was Norfolk, VA at 36C. The same areas that had 2 feet of snow on Tuesday were over 80F yesterday. This morning numerous showers and thunderstorms are around the St. Lawrence Valley as a cold front approaches from the west. The front will move the humid air off to the south and east and clearing skies will ensue with winds increasing out of the northwest from 30-50km/h.

Over the weekend this same air mass produced unprecedented flooding across the southern sates including Tennessee where nearly 8 inches of rain produced severe flooding in Nashville closing Interstates and washing away cars, homes and people. The death toll is at 15 from the weekend storms including several deaths in Arkansas from tornadoes and sever thunderstorms. The heavy storms are along the Gulf Coast today from Louisiana to Florida and Georgia. The storms along the Gulf Coast are hampering the US Coast Guard in clean up efforts (see National Geographic photo above) in one of the worst oil spills in US history. Millions of litres of oil are spreading north from an uncapped British Petro (BP) oil well in the Gulf of Mexico towards the Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida coasts. Already marine life is washing up along the shores and fishing has been suspended for at least the next 10 days. Rough seas and storms over the weekend made it difficult to set up booms and skim the oil off the surface of the Gulf.

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