National Weather Forecast
On Friday, scattered areas of showers and storms are expected from the Rockies eastward, though not everyone will see rain. A few snow showers will also mix in across the Rockies. Quiet weather is expected across the western United States.
Very heavy rain that could cause flooding is expected across the Plains and into parts of the lower Mississippi Valley through the first half of the weekend. In some areas, at least 3-5” of rain will fall. Several inches of snow will be possible in the Colorado Rockies.
The greatest threat of flooding rains on Friday will be across south-central Texas, where swaths of 6”+ will be possible with 2-3” per hour rainfall rates.
Meanwhile, severe weather will be possible across the Plains on Friday as well. The greatest tornado threat will be across the northern Slight Risk area, including Kansas City and Omaha. Large to very large hail will also be possible across the severe risk area, and we’ll continue to watch the strong wind threat as well.
For Mother’s Day Sunday, we’ll be watching showers and storms west to east from the Four Corners to the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast, and north to south from the Great Lakes to the Southern Plains. Record heat is expected in the Pacific Northwest and in parts of the Southeast, including Atlanta.
Excessive heat is expected as we head into Mother’s Day weekend in the Pacific Northwest, with numerous record highs expected.
Watch Out: Tornado Alley Is Migrating Eastward
More from Scientific American: “Although tornadoes touch down in many places across the eastern half of the country, from the 1950s through the 1990s they struck most often in Tornado Alley, an oval area centered on northeastern Texas and south-central Oklahoma. More recently, that focus has shifted eastward by 400 to 500 miles. In the past decade or so tornadoes have become prevalent in eastern Missouri and Arkansas, western Tennessee and Kentucky, and northern Mississippi and Alabama—a new region of concentrated storms.”
Impact of warmer seas on fish stocks leads to rise in pirate attacks
More from The Guardian: “Dwindling fish stocks caused by the climate crisis are leading to an increase in pirate attacks, according to a new study looking at two piracy hotspots over the past two decades. Warmer seas have negatively affected fisheries in east Africa, one of the world’s worst areas for piracy; while in the South China Sea, another hotspot for attacks, it has had the opposite effect: fish populations have risen. This phenomenon created a “rare natural experiment” in which to test the links between climate breakdown and piracy risk, according to Gary LaFree, a professor of criminology and criminal justice at the University of Maryland, and one of the co-authors of the paper, published in the American Meteorological Society journal, Weather, Climate, and Society (WCAS).”
Plastic can drift far away from its starting point as it sinks into the sea
More from the American Chemical Society: “Discarded or drifting in the ocean, plastic debris can accumulate on the water’s surface, forming floating islands of garbage. Although it’s harder to spot, researchers suspect a significant amount also sinks. In a new study in ACS’ Environmental Science & Technology, one team used computer modeling to study how far bits of lightweight plastic travel when falling into the Mediterranean Sea. Their results suggest these particles can drift farther underwater than previously thought. From old shopping bags to water bottles, plastic pollution is besieging the oceans. Not only is this debris unsightly, animals can become trapped in it or mistakenly eat it. And if it remains in the water, plastic waste can release organic pollutants. The problem is most visible on the surface, where currents can aggregate this debris into massive, so-called garbage patches. However, plastic waste also collects much deeper. Even material that weighs less than water can sink as algae and other organisms glom onto it, and through other processes. Bits of this light plastic, which typically measure 5 millimeters or less, have turned up at least half a mile below the surface. Researchers don’t know much about what happens when plastic sinks, but they generally assume it falls straight down from the surface. However, Alberto Baudena and his colleagues suspected this light plastic might not follow such a direct route.”
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– D.J. Kayser