Most Memorable Weather of 2014

Here are the notable weather events of 2014 that stay in my memory. Feel free to add to this list with your own memorable weather events.

 1. Arctic Cold

January Cold

January started with bitter cold for most of the country and the term “Polar Vortex” was popularized.

The term “Polar Vortex” came into popular usage to describe the cold Arctic air that descended over half of the United States, extending from Wisconsin to Louisiana and to the East . The Great Lakes ice cover reached over 92%, the most seen since 1979. After this cold start, snow and ice continued for parts of the country well into Spring.

2. California Drought

California Drought

The California Drought near its greatest extent to date

The drought in California continued to become the worst in the area in over a millennia. Most of the state was in an exceptional drought state. The West continues to experience drought conditions, even after torrential rains in California in December.

3. April 27- 30, 2014 Tornadoes

April 27-29, 2014 Tornado Outbreak

April 27-29, 2014 Tornado Outbreak

A total of 84 tornadoes over a period of four days were confirmed. Collectively, they resulted in 35 fatalities and over 200 injuries. On April 27, the deadliest tornado of 2014 passed through Mayflower and Vilonia, Arkansas, causing 16 of these deaths.

4. June 16-18, 2014 Tornadoes

Tornado Damage in Pilger, Nebraska on June 16, 2014

Tornado Damage in Pilger, Nebraska on June 16, 2014

The severe weather event most significantly affected the state of Nebraska, where two twin EF4 tornadoes killed two and injured twenty others in and around the town of Pilger on the evening of June 16. Tornado activity continued on June 17th, with an early morning EF3 tornado causing major damage in Verona, Wisconsin, and an EF2 tornado from the same storm caused damage in residential areas of Madison. Overall, the outbreak resulted in 77 tornadoes, two fatalities, and numerous injuries in the Great Plains and Midwestern United States.

5. Hurricane Arthur

Hurricane Arthuir

Hurricane Arthur off the coast of the Carolinas on July 3, 2014.

Hurricane Arthur is the earliest hurricane to hit North Carolina in a season since records began in 1851.  The previous record was July 11, 1901. It is also the first hurricane to make landfall on the U.S. mainland since Isaac on Aug. 28-29, 2012 and the first Category 2 hurricane in US since Ike 2008. After making landfall on July 3, Arthur continued to the North along the east coast dampening July 4 celebrations an doing an estimate $50 million in damage.

6. Cool Summer 2014

The Midwest experienced a cooler than average summer.

The Midwest experienced a cooler than average summer.

Below average temperatures persisted for the middle portion of the Unites States through the Summer months. While the weather was somewhat cooler than average here, global temperatures were the warmest across global land and ocean surfaces since record keeping began in 1880, edging out the previous record set in 1998.

7. Western Wildfires

The Carlton Complex wildfire burning in north-central Washington state, USA.

The Carlton Complex wildfire burning in north-central Washington state, USA.
By Jason Kriess, SFC, Washington National Guard

With drought and high winds, the West was primed for wildfires this year. Oregon’s Buzzard Complex Fire was the largest in 2014, burning almost 400,000 acres. In Northern California, the Happy Camp Complex fire burned more than 134,000 acres. In Washington, the Carlton Complex Fire burned more than 250,000 acres, becoming the largest in the state’s history. In total, wildfires burned over 3.5 million acres in 2014.

8. Great Lakes Water Levels Rise

09Great Lakes

The longest period on record of abnormally low Great Lakes water levels has ended, but it’s uncertain whether the recovery is temporary or the beginning of a new long-term trend. The slump began in the late 1990s. It continued for 15 years, culminating in December 2012 when Lake Michigan and Lake Huron set low-water records. Since then, levels have sharply rebounded. In September, the levels of all five of the Great Lakes were above average for the first time since the drop-off began.

9. Buffalo Snow

Buffalo Lake effect storm

Buffalo Lake effect storm, November 2014
By Fortunate4now

The Buffalo, New York area may be accustomed to lake effect snow, however a storm dumping over 6 feet of snow with a second storm adding 1 -2 additional feet in November tested the resolve of even the hardiest residents.

10 .California Rain

 Satellite image of the monstrous winter storm that impacted California and the West Coast from December 10 to 13, on December 10, 2014. The flow of the Pineapple Express atmospheric river is highlighted by the yellow arrow. The image has been modified to improve visibility.

Satellite image of the monstrous winter storm that impacted California and the West Coast from December 10 to 13, on December 10, 2014. The flow of the Pineapple Express atmospheric river is highlighted by the yellow arrow. The image has been modified to improve visibility.

In December, heavy rains brought some relief to drought conditions in California.  Nearly a foot of rain fell in some places in a single day. The weather also brought high winds with the rain which resulting in flooding and mudslides.After years of drought, much more rain is still needed to restore depleted reservoir and ground water supplies.

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