The twin tornadoes that devastated northeastern Nebraska Monday, June 16 caught everyone's attention and took everyone's breath away. The dual twisters were incredible to look at--obviously, one big reason for their attraction being that this phenomenon does not happen that often.
There is a good run of detail about the tornado duet at this link from the Washington Post. http://tinyurl.com/…
Here is a portion of that article, written by Lindsay Bever: "Tornadoes form from a supercell thunderstorm, which contains a large column of rotating air. It's not uncommon for one twister to dissipate before another forms out of the same supercell. But it's much less common for the primary twister to keep going when the new one forms, producing the two simultaneously, said Greg Carbin, warning coordination meteorologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Storm Prediction Center."
But, the double-barrel tornado happening was only the most visible of the numerous--here's this word again--extreme--happenings of not just Monday, but from the past weekend. The tornadoes, of course, practically leveled the town of Pilger, Nebraska; killed millions of dollars' worth of cattle in northeastern Nebraska; and destroyed crops as well. And, heavy rain from that system totaled five to six-plus inches from the northeastern corner of Nebraska across the northern tier of Iowa--some of these counties having had previous heavy rains.
And, from last weekend--five to nine inches of rain in northwestern Iowa, southwestern and south-central Minnesota, eastern South Dakota, along with a tornado/hail/high wind package in south-central Nebraska, caused, again, probably several million dollars in damages.
Finally, previously in June, hail and high winds crashed through portions of north-central and northeastern Nebraska into western Iowa with heavy damage to homes, outbuildings, and crops, forcing replanting to be done.
Is this spell over yet? Not by a long shot. This very-potent pattern is winding up to spill another round of at least several inches of rain over the Canadian Prairies, Montana, North Dakota, northern South Dakota and Minnesota during the rest of this week. These areas, along with Michigan, have been very wet almost all spring-early summer.
Now, to the message in these occurrences. In the first place, they serve as reminders that, even though the general weather pattern, with frequent rains and variable temperatures, is favorable, heavy storms can still cause some real havoc. At this point, it will take even more storm issues to shake the grain market out of a feeling of confidence regarding crop size this year.
The second message is that comments from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) regarding the prospect of more extreme precipitation events in North America continue to verify. We have seen many rainfall records for June broken--and not by a few hundredths of an inch, or even an inch, but by multiple inches. And, as has been noted in several IPCC climate change reports, the heaviest amount of spring precipitation has been in the northern Midwest, northern Plains and the Canadian Prairies. As I remarked to producers who attended this week's Western Iowa No-Till Field Day, folks who I talk with at farm shows bring up the subject of "extreme" weather happenings everywhere I go, be the event a regional or national show. And we see another instance--or, this season, several--of climate change assessments likely being borne out.
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