Unusual clockwise storm system moving across United States


An unusual low pressure system moving in backward direction is causing severe thunderstorms and rainfall in the dry areas in Oklahoma and Texas, US. What is highly unusual for this system is that it moves from east to west or clockwise. Weather systems in the Northern Hemisphere topically moves counterclockwise or from west to east. 

GOES composite imagery acquired at 04:00 UTC on July 15, 2013 (Credit: NOAA/GOES)

This is a pretty rare event, having a transcontinental system crossed the entire United States from east to west during any time of the year. Interior US can sometimes catch ex-tropical systems from the Gulf of Mexico but a system developing and moving from the Northeastern USA to Mexico is extremely rare.

GOES Eastern Conus Sector Infrared satellite imagery acquired at 04:45 UTC on July 15, 2013 (Credit: NOAA/GOES)

A low pressure system started in the eastern United States, pushed westward under a ridge of high pressure building in to the north and east. Severe storms, tornadoes, hail, and damaging winds are expected to affect Texas, New Mexico, and parts of Arizona through the next few days. Showers and thunderstorms with locally heavy rainfall already affecting parts of the Southeast and along the Gulf Coast as the upper low continues to track southwestward. This system will bring drought relief but also the high risk for flooding in the region.

GOES East Infrared Ch2 satellite image acquired at 5:15 UTC on July 15, 2013 (Credit: NOAA/GOES)

GOES IR satellite image and jetstream forecast for July 15, 2013 (Credit: NOAA/GOES/SMC-CMC)

This is the second unusual weather pattern in July after an area of low pressure in the upper atmosphere got trapped over the South and brought downpours and thunderstorms that caused flooding from the Gulf Coast to the Appalachians and Ohio Valley on July 4, 2013. 

GFS Jetstream forecast (Credit: GFS/SFSU)

Featured image: GOES composite imagery acquired at 04:00 UTC on July 15, 2013 (Credit: NOAA/GOES)


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  1. 7“Teacher,” they asked, “when will all this happen? What sign will show us that these things are about to take place?”

    8He replied, “Don’t let anyone mislead you, for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’b and saying, ‘The time has come!’ But don’t believe them. 9And when you hear of wars and insurrections, don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place first, but the end won’t follow immediately.” 10Then he added, “Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11There will be great earthquakes, and there will be famines and plagues in many lands, and there will be terrifying things and great miraculous signs from heaven.

    12“But before all this occurs, there will be a time of great persecution. You will be dragged into synagogues and prisons, and you will stand trial before kings and governors because you are my followers. 13But this will be your opportunity to tell them about me.c 14So don’t worry in advance about how to answer the charges against you, 15for I will give you the right words and such wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to reply or refute you! 16Even those closest to you—your parents, brothers, relatives, and friends—will betray you. They will even kill some of you. 17And everyone will hate you because you are my followers.d 18But not a hair of your head will perish! 19By standing firm, you will win your souls.

    20“And when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then you will know that the time of its destruction has arrived. 21Then those in Judea must flee to the hills. Those in Jerusalem must get out, and those out in the country should not return to the city. 22For those will be days of God’s vengeance, and the prophetic words of the Scriptures will be fulfilled. 23How terrible it will be for pregnant women and for nursing mothers in those days. For there will be disaster in the land and great anger against this people. 24They will be killed by the sword or sent away as captives to all the nations of the world. And Jerusalem will be trampled down by the Gentiles until the period of the Gentiles comes to an end.

    25“And there will be strange signs in the sun, moon, and stars. And here on earth the nations will be in turmoil, perplexed by the roaring seas and strange tides. 26People will be terrified at what they see coming upon the earth, for the powers in the heavens will be shaken. 27Then everyone will see the Son of Mane coming on a cloud with power and great glory.f 28So when all these things begin to happen, stand and look up, for your salvation is near!”

    29Then he gave them this illustration: “Notice the fig tree, or any other tree. 30When the leaves come out, you know without being told that summer is near. 31In the same way, when you see all these things taking place, you can know that the Kingdom of God is near. 32I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass from the scene until all these things have taken place. 33Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear.

    34“Watch out! Don’t let your hearts be dulled by carousing and drunkenness, and by the worries of this life. Don’t let that day catch you unaware, 35like a trap. For that day will come upon everyone living on the earth. 36Keep alert at all times. And pray that you might be strong enough to escape these coming horrors and stand before the Son of Man.”
    Luke 21

  2. The low pressure system is still spinning anti-clockwise. It's motion is not clockwise. It's movement is not clockwise either, it is <i>retrograde</i>, or against the normal direction. Nothing about its behavior is clockwise, but its behavior is unusual in the sheer distance it is traveling retrograde.


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