UPDATE: 01/07/05: The Pinapple Express is slamming intoCalifornia, but fortunately it’s 24 hours too late to set upthe conditions necessary for a three-front faceoff over thecentral US. Thus the rare event that appeared to pose aserious weather hazard in that area will now either nothappen or be delayed until next week.

If it does happen, this rare event is likely to unfold overthe central UnitedStates during the middle of next week. It will bring severestorms involvingsnow, ice, rain and possible rare midwinter tornadoes. 2004was a record year for tornadoes in the US, and in 2005California has already seen tornadoes and waterspouts,previously extremely rare in the far west.

These storms are this violent because of the rapidlyincreasing difference between the temperature of the loweratmosphere (the troposphere) and the layer just above it,the stratosphere. This means that, when cloud tops reachinto the stratosphere, very rapid and extreme cooling takesplace, causing storms to develop rapidly and with greatintensity.

This differential is due to the fact that the loweratmosphere is retaining far more heat than normal, becauseof rising carbon dioxide levels and the subsequent globalwarming effect.

Such storm convergences took place in 1950 and 1937, but notwith the violence expected this time, assuming that thesystems actually do converge. At present the NationalWeather Service believes that the convergence will takeplace over the Ohio and Tennesee valleys, but this remainsuncertain.

Stay tuned to unknowncountry for weather updates. And don’tmiss our SALE–you get an additoinal 5% off everything inour store, but only until Thursday, Janauary 13!

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