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Archive for the ‘New England’ Category

Significant ‘Red Tide’ to Plague New England in 2010

Posted by feww on February 25, 2010

Shelfish such as Mussels and clams accumulate biotoxins produced by Alexandrium, which can cause paralytic shellfish poisoning in humans who ingest them.

NOAA Public Release

Researchers Issue Outlook for a Significant New England ‘Red Tide’ in 2010

Seed Population on Seafloor Points to a large ‘Red Tide’; Impacts will Depend on Ocean Conditions and Weather

Researchers at Gulf of Maine Toxicity project have issued an outlook for a significant regional bloom of a toxic alga that causes ‘red tides’ in the spring and summer of this year, potentially threatening the New England shellfish industry.

Microscopic image of Alexandrium fundyense cysts, the “seeds” that fall to the ocean bottom at the end of one season’s blooms.  Under the right conditions, these cells can germinate the following year to initiate another season’s blooms.
High resolution (Credit: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

The outlook is based on a seafloor survey of the seed-like cysts of Alexandrium fundyense, an organism that causes harmful algal blooms, sometimes referred to as ‘red tides’. Cysts deposited in the fall hatch the following spring; last fall the abundance of cysts in the sediment was 60 percent higher than observed prior to the historic bloom of 2005, indicating that a large bloom is likely in the spring of 2010.

The cyst bed also appears to have expanded to the south, so the 2010 bloom may affect areas such as Massachusetts Bay and Georges Bank sooner than has been the case in past years.

Maps showing the concentration of Alexandrium cysts buried in Gulf of Maine seafloor sediments over four years. The cyst abundance in 2009 is higher than ever observed and the Alexandrium cyst “seedbed” extends further to the south than was ever observed before.  High resolution (Credit: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

Although the algae in the water pose no direct threat to human beings, toxins produced by Alexandrium can accumulate in filter-feeding organisms such as mussels and clams, which can cause paralytic shellfish poisoning in humans who consume them. In order to protect public health, shellfish beds are monitored by state agencies and closed when toxin concentrations rise above a quarantine level. There have been no illnesses from legally harvested shellfish in recent years despite some severe blooms.

“’Red tide’ is a chronic problem in the Gulf of Maine and states have limited resources to handle it,” said Darcie Couture, director of Biotoxin Monitoring for the Maine Department of Marine Resources. “When we get this information about the potential severity of a bloom season and the dynamics of the bloom once the season has started, then it gives us an advantage in staging our resources during an otherwise overwhelming environmental and economic crisis.”

More …

Posted in Alexandrium fundyense cysts, Biotoxin, Gulf of Maine, New England, shellfish poisoning | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

State of Emergency in Oklahoma, S. Dakota, Texas

Posted by feww on December 25, 2009

Raging blizzard hits the lower plains

State of Emergency declared in Oklahoma, S. Dakota and Texas after winter storm kills dozens of people

“The storm is spanning two thirds of the country.  Its effects run the gamut from severe thunderstorms in the Gulf Coast to ice in New England to really what is a raging blizzard in the lower plains.The National Weather Service said.

Highlights of Storm Related Events:

  • Oklahoma’s governor Brad Henry declares state of emergency, closes all state highways and interstates.
  • As many as 3 dozen people have been killed in accidents in the Midwest.
  • About 50 vehicles pile up in chain-reaction crash in Oklahoma.
  • About a dozen states in the Midwest are under blizzard warnings.
  • Heavy snow forced the cancellation of at least 80 flights in Oklahoma Thursday, trapping hundreds of passengers and employees at Oklahoma’s main  airport.
  • About 10,000 customers lost power in Oklahoma.
  • Oklahoma City received  35cm (14in) of snow by Thursday night, nearly 6 times the record  of 6cm (2.5in) set in 1914.
  • 80kph (50mph) winds pummeled Kansas
  • 105 kph (65mph) helped bury parts of Texas in 1.5m (5ft) snow drifts.
  • Blizzard warnings stretch from Texas to northern Minnesota.
  • The real misery will commence after the snowmelt will cause large scale flooding in the south and the north-east.

Near Real-Time U.S. Composite Satellite Image.  Click image to enlarge.

National Weather service reported:

A powerful weather system pushing through the central U.S. will continue to significantly impact travel plans during this holiday season…
The north-central states can expect some of the heavier snowfall, occasionally accompanied by blizzard-like conditions as cold and windy conditions will spread through the region. Even places as far south as Oklahoma and northern Texas have seen snowfall totals in excess of a foot. The swath of precipitation will move toward the north and east, spreading a mixture of rain and snow to much of the Great Lakes by midday on Christmas. For more details, check the web site of the local Weather Forecast Office. Details…

Hazards. Click Image to enlarge and update. (24-Hr FE ED).

Snow Accumulation.   Click Image to enlarge and update. (24-Hr FE ED).

Weather Forecast.  Click Image to enlarge and update.
(24-Hr FE ED).

Predominant Weather. Click Image to enlarge and update. (24-Hr FE ED).

IR Satellite Image. Click Image to enlarge and update. (24-Hr FE ED).

Water Vapor Satellite Image. Click Image to enlarge and update.
(24-Hr FE ED).

Max Temps. Click Image to enlarge and update. (24-Hr FE ED).

Min Temps.
Click Image to enlarge and update. (24-Hr FE ED).

Temp – Real Time Mesoscale Analysis.
Click Image to enlarge and update.
(24-Hr FE ED).

6-Hr Precipitation amount.  (24-Hr FE ED). Click Image to enlarge and update.

12-Hr Probability Precipitation (%).   Click Image to enlarge and update. (24-Hr FE ED).

Wind Speed.  Click Image to enlarge and update. (24hr- FE ED).

Wind Gusts.  Click Image to enlarge and update. (24hr- FE ED)

Sky Cover.
Click Image to enlarge and update. (24hr- FE ED)

Related Links:

Posted in Gulf Coast, New England, Oklahoma storm, state of emergency, texas snowdrift | Tagged: , , , , | 7 Comments »

El Niño Update – 20 July 2009

Posted by feww on July 21, 2009


  • El Niño conditions are present across the equatorial Pacific Ocean.

  • Positive sea surface temperature (SST) departures continue to increase across much of the equatorial Pacific Ocean.

  • Current observations and dynamical model forecasts indicate ElNiño conditions will continue to intensify and are expected to last through Northern Hemisphere winter 2009-10.

Global SST Departures (ºC)

average SSr anomalies

During the last four weeks, equatorial SSTs were above-average in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Also, above-average SSTs covered much of the Northern Hemisphere mid-to-high latitudes.

Atmospheric Circulation over the North Pacific & North America During the Last 60 Days

atmo circ NP- NA - 60 days
During late May and early June, below-average heights persisted over Canada contributing to below-average temperatures over central and eastern Canada. During early June through mid-July, an anomalous north-south dipole in height anomalies (below-average heights over the eastern U.S. and above-average heights over eastern Canada) contributed to near or below-average temperatures over portions of New England and across the Great Lakes and to above-average temperatures in eastern Canada. Credit: All diagrams and captions by NOAA.

Related Links:

Posted in Canada, El Niño weekly report, Global SST anomalies, New England, TAO Diagrams | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Second ice storm in 3 days pummels NE U.S.

Posted by feww on December 22, 2008

Ice storms pummel much of the northern and northeastern United States

Two winter storms in three days hit the U.S. northeast causing havoc across the region.  In the West, parts of Washington state were hit with heavy snow storms. As much as 10 inches of snow fell, causing  power outages  and traffic congestion.

Not so fast!
Bags being returned from canceled flights jam the baggage claim area at a crowded Sea-Tac Airport [Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Washington, United States.] Numerous flights were canceled after heavy snow moved through the area. Leaving the airport is difficult as surface transportation is also being disrupted because of snow (December 21, 2008). Photo: Karen Ducey/Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Image may be subject to copyright.

Heavy snows and strong winds forced the closure of Snoqualmie Pass, east of Seattle on highway I-90. Conditions there were “just a complete whiteout blizzard” on the pass, Washington State Patrol trooper Dan McDonald told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer newspaper. “I’ve never seen anything like this. The side winds are probably easy 70 mph. They’re taking us off the road.”

Up to 30 cm of snow is expected in areas west of Boston, leading to long delays and cancellations at regional airports throughout New England. In New Hampshire up to 20,000 customers were without power, while in Massachusetts power outages affected about 6,000 households and businesses.

Related News Links:

Posted in blizzard, Massachusetts, New England, New Hampshire, Sea-Tac Airport | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »