Ag Weather Forum
Bryce Anderson DTN Ag Meteorologist and DTN Analyst

Tuesday 06/17/14

The Message In The Twin Tornadoes

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.

(Photo courtesy @reedtimmerTVN)

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.

Bryce

Twitter @BAndersonDTN

(ES)

Posted at 3:44PM CDT 06/17/14 by Bryce Anderson
Comments (18)
Thinking back on the last forty years that I've been engaged in farming, the hottest, coldest, wettest and driest growing seasons were all in the first half of that period. However, the heaviest single rain events have been more recent. ISU Extension Climatologist, Elwynn Taylor, has an interesting perspective on rainfall in Iowa; Considering that crops use 23 inches of water/year and rainfall has increased from 30 inches/year to 33 inches since the 1940's, the increase in SURPLUS rain increases nearly 40%, not the more obvious 10% (30 to 33). Of course, this has a profound effect on flooding. Still, I have to wonder if "extreme" weather, to some extent, isn't verbalized more often due to its frequent use by the media?
Posted by Curt Zingula at 8:55AM CDT 06/18/14
It is true that linking short-term events to climate change is pushing the envelope--there just isn't that much of a record for severe weather reports to make a definitive link. But the precipitation trends to heavier events are tangible, documented and consistently occurring. These heavy-by-a-wide-margin precipitation events have become more prevalent are are likely to continue. And, obviously, this trend has a big impact on efforts to keep these heavy rains from moving many tons of topsoil into the ditch.
Posted by Bryce Anderson at 10:48AM CDT 06/18/14
I think that the message is that weather can be violent. Our records are too short to say this has never happened or its because of whatever they are now calling global warming. Are we not on the longest streak ever for a major hurricane to have not hit the USA? Lets focus on that part of the forecast for a bit...It is so easy to point to every event and call it part of the climate disruption narative. If the evidence is so undeniable why does the president have to tell college grads to hound us who don't believe in it at their commencement program? Why do liberals just love to tell everyone else to do so much and have such disdain for us who prefer to do things the way we see fit for ourselves.
Posted by Roger Neshem at 1:07PM CDT 06/18/14
Has anyone ever noticed how denial is the same with climate as it is with alcoholism? Just no reason to get off the stuff rather it be booze or oil? We have wars for it, we suffocate future generations all along depleting the earths resources to maintain driving BIG 4 wheel trucks and maintain a lifestyle that drunk on oil. All the weather we have now was predicted by the "alarmists"years ago, co2 molecules can be counted in the atmosphere and the effect is well documented, weather is changing accordingly to this formula but like the drunk in the bar the denialists insist on driving home!
Posted by Jay Mcginnis at 1:24PM CDT 06/18/14
Quite the comparison you got going there Jay. Why don't you go plug your electric car in and make sure your standing in a puddle of water.
Posted by GWL 61 at 2:30PM CDT 06/18/14
This supports the need for more improved drainage in many areas. Why are all the people that "have drainage of their own" turned "anti-drainage" toward the people that do not have drainage? Heavier rainfall events should support the need for drainage.
Posted by Unknown at 4:21PM CDT 06/18/14
I'm sorry, Bryce; but, I have to say that your level of credibility in my eyes just slipped a notch with your above message. Severe weather events, by definition, are always going to occur randomly in different parts of the world as time goes on. And despite the media's continual assertion for years on end about the threat of global warming (now climate change, since the globe is NOT warming, as threatened years ago by Al Gore), the science on this is NOT settled by scientists, by any means. If anything, there has been growing evidence in the last 5-10 years that the global warming/climate change theory is in reality a politically driven agenda. The IPCC is one of the (main) political entities (at the international level ) that is driving this agenda. posted by: Verlin Bulmahn, Indiana
Posted by Unknown at 9:35PM CDT 06/18/14
I sure will GWL, even plug it in during the rain, totally safe, but hey lets have a contest, both of us sit in a closed garage with our cars running, how about that one???? You in for it?
Posted by Jay Mcginnis at 9:42PM CDT 06/18/14
Bryce at what point or what does it take for the corrupt USDA "markets" to take note of how much damage too much rain can do to an area? How sad and sick is this situation that the only way commodity prices go up is disaster has to hit many areas hard before the USDA government controlled "markets" react. We all know another bearish report from that corrupt USDA will hit the "market" and again and again the end result is always the same, DOWN. The government has no business controlling markets, the "reports" are such a joke yet the "market" reacts now only to USDA lies.
Posted by DAVID/KEVIN GRUENHAGEN at 10:47PM CDT 06/18/14
Regarding warming--per the Japanese Meteorological Agency, the month of May was the warmest month worldwide on record. Details are at this link: http://tinyurl.com/mgje7me
Posted by Bryce Anderson at 5:11AM CDT 06/19/14
Verlin's comments about the IPCC are noteworthy. At the Copenhagen convention, Hugo Chavez, dictator of oil exporting Venezuela, spoke to cheering throngs that capitalism is the cause of global warming. Obviously there are political overtones to the work of the IPCC!!
Posted by Curt Zingula at 7:58AM CDT 06/19/14
The trend toward heavy, heavy rain must be respected. We need to remind ourselves that the precipitation issue continues the trend we have seen recently with more precipitation occurring in large events. What about infrastructure--it is not built to handle such large events. This has a severe impact on people, housing, livelihood and in general confidence when these things happen. These are real numbers and real occurrences. Records continue to be set--and not by a small margin, but by Gulliver-esque leaps--in many cases blowing the old records out of the water. For example--Sioux Falls has set its wettest month ever--in just the first half of June. And there are still almost two weeks left. The additional precipitation has certainly helped agriculture in the northern Plains and northern Midwest over the last couple decades. This is the downside of more precipitation. More flooding.
Posted by Bryce Anderson at 8:46AM CDT 06/19/14
Bruce, Do you support renewable fuels and the renewable fuels standard?
Posted by bbob at 9:26AM CDT 06/19/14
The Ag Weather Forum is for Ag Weather-related questions and comments. Thank you.
Posted by Bryce Anderson at 10:20AM CDT 06/19/14
I feel it is important that you answer the question. Why do you continually try to link weather events to global warming and climate change? What is your agenda?
Posted by bbob at 10:49AM CDT 06/19/14
Jay, only you could have such a dumb of a challenge as that. Its almost as dumb of post as the one you posted earlier.
Posted by GWL 61 at 11:22AM CDT 06/19/14
I thought this forum was for agenda driven drivel.
Posted by Brandon Butler at 12:54PM CDT 06/19/14
It looks pretty obvious that from the reaction we have had, that this topic was one that drew interest and, indeed, has been one which people are talking about. That's the purpose of this blog. To paraphrase Sigmund Freud, sometimes a weather topic is just a weather topic. I appreciate the comments. This thread is now closed. There will be other opportunities for discussion in the near future.
Posted by Bryce Anderson at 1:55PM CDT 06/19/14
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