2008: Ninth warmest year on record

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:05 AM GMT on January 21, 2009

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The temperature statistics are in, and the year 2008 ranks as the ninth warmest year for the globe on record, making it the coolest year since 2000, according to an analysis compiled by NASA. NOAA's National Climatic Data Center rated 2008 the eighth warmest on record, and the British Climate Research Unit rated it tenth warmest. NASA noted that given the uncertainty in the measurements, a range of 7th to 10th warmest was reasonable. Global temperature records extend back to 1880. December 2008 was also the eighth warmest December for the globe on record.

The average global temperature the past five years (and the last ten years) is the highest on record. The top ten warmest years since 1880 have all occurred in the past twelve years. So, despite the impressive cold blast in the Eastern U.S. this winter, the global climate is warming. The relatively cool temperatures of 2008 probably represent a normal year-to-year fluctuation in the weather. Cool weather is to be expected globally during a strong La Niña event in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, which was present during the first part of 2008 (see the cool blue colors over the Equatorial Pacific in Figure 1). It is no surprise that the last year it was cooler, 2000, was also the last time we had a La Niña event. With La Niña conditions beginning to develop again this year, I'd be surprised if 2009 turns out to be a record warm year. Dr. James Hansen of NASA is predicting a new global record temperature either this year or in 2010, though.


Figure 1. Global temperature anomalies in 2008 compared to the 1950-1980 baseline period. Below-average temperatures are shown in blue, average temperatures are white, and above-average temperatures are red. (Gray indicates no data.) Most of the world was either near normal or warmer than normal. Eastern Europe, Russia, the Arctic, and the Antarctic Peninsula were exceptionally warm (1.5 to 3.5 degrees Celsius above average). The temperature in the United States in 2008 was not much different than the 1951-1980 mean, which makes 2008 cooler than all of the previous years this decade. Large areas of the central and eastern Pacific Ocean were cooler than the long-term average, linked to a La Niña episode that began in 2007. The graph shows the long-term trend in surface temperatures since 1880. The annual average temperatures are shown in light orange, and the jaggedness of the line indicates how much the average global surface temperature varies from year to year. Because climate is so variable from year to year, it can be easier to spot long-term trends through multi-year averages. The dark red line shows the five-year running average, which is an average of five years of annual temperatures centered on a given year. Even this five-year average shows that climate has ups and downs, but the long-term increase in global average surface temperatures is obvious. The gray barbells indicate the range of uncertainty. Not surprisingly, the uncertainty is larger for older measurements than for more recent ones. Image credit: NASA.

A cool and snowy December in the U.S.
For the contiguous U.S., December was the 35th coolest December, ranking it in the coldest 30% of all Decembers observed since records began in 1895. December 2008 had near-average precipitation, ranking 43rd wettest. It was the 8th wettest December on record in the East North Central U.S., and 9th wettest for the Central U.S. Only the South experienced below average precipitation during the month. For the year 2008, temperatures in the U.S. were not much different than the 1951-1980 mean, which makes 2008 the coolest year since 1997. U.S. records set in December 2008 (courtesy of http://extremeweatherguide.com/updates.asp):

Spokane, WA: All-time 24-hour snowfall, 19.4", 12/17-12/18
Spokane, WA: All-time single storm snowfall: 23.3", 12/17-12/18
Sandpoint, ID: All-time 24-hour snowfall, 27.0"
Jackson, WY: All-time 24-hour snowfall, 27.0"
Fargo, ND: Snowiest month on record: 33.5"
Spokane, WA: Snowiest month on record: 61.5"
Green Bay, WI: Snowiest month on record: 45.6"
Madison, WI: Snowiest month on record: 40.4"
Wausau, WI: Snowiest month on record: 37.6"
Idaho: All-time 24-hour state snowfall record set at Dollar Hide, 46.5", 12/26-12/27 (not confirmed)

At the end of 2008, 20% of the contiguous United States was in moderate-to-exceptional drought. This is a decline from the 28% of the U.S. that was under similar drought conditions at the end of 2007. The average precipitation for the U.S. in 2008 was 30.48 inches, which is 1.34 inches above average. 2008 was the wettest year on record for New Hampshire and Missouri, second wettest for Massachusetts, and third wettest for Connecticut, Illinois, and Iowa. Also, 2008 was the fourth wettest year for Indiana, fifth wettest for Maine, Michigan, and Vermont, seventh wettest for New York, and eighth wettest for Kansas and Rhode Island.

Next post
Check out Ricky Rood's latest blog, called Cold in the East: A rant. There is a lot of misinformation circulating in the media right now about climate change, and Ricky and I will be doing our best to try to explain what is fact and what is crap in the coming weeks. I posted one such discussion last week, when I showed that the recent claims that sea ice is back to 1979 levels were a clever bit of cherry picking of the data that hides the critical summertime loss of Arctic sea ice. I'll have a new blog post on Friday.

Jeff Masters

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128. IKE
Make that 24.6 at my house. Cold morning.
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How come I have to go through 18 degrees and get no snow but everyone else get snow in NC where it is only 23
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Good Morning from COLD Wilmington
It is the coldest day by far this season..23 with a wind chill of 13
Forecast to get up to 38 with clear skies
We still have about 1 inch of snow covering the ground!
This is North Carolina?
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125. IKE
Now down to 25.5 degrees. Coldest morning of the winter season, so far.

At least it kills off the bugs outside...
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Quoting surfmom:
Morning - greeted by temp of 42 degrees -- this stinks!!
I'd like that I don't think it has even reached 42 degrees here in the past few days.
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Fanele made landfall
I wonder how Madagascar fared
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Morning - greeted by temp of 42 degrees -- this stinks!!
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121. IKE
26.1 degrees has been my low, so far, this morning...inland Florida panhandle.
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120. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Fiji Meteorological Services
Tropical Disturbance Summary
TROPICAL DEPRESSION SIX-F
21:00 PM FST January 21 2009
======================================

At 09:00 AM UTC, Tropical Depression Six-F (1006 hPa) located at 14.3E 160.8W is reported as moving slowly. Position POOR based on enhance infrared/infrared imagery with animation, peripheral observations, and latest QUIKSCAT Pass. Sea surface temperature is around 29C.

Tropical Depression SIX remains embedded in a monsoonal trough, under a 250 HPA diffluence region in a moderately sheared environment. The system is characterised by pulsating convection which has slighly increased in the last 6 hours due to diurnal variation. Another low level center lies northwest of TD SIX. The depression is expected to continue in a general west-southwest direction then gradually move south towards cooler sea surface temperatures.

Global models [US/UK/EC] has picked up the system and moves it southwest then south with little intensification.

POTENTIAL FOR TD SIX TO DEVELOP INTO A TROPICAL CYCLONE IN THE NEXT 24 TO 48 HOURS IS LOW.
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119. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Fiji Meteorological Services
GALE WARNING FOR TD 06F
==============================

At 0600 AM UTC, Tropical Depression Six-F (1006 hPa) located near 14.3S 160.3W is reported as moving west-southwest at 8 knots.

POSITION POOR.

Clockwise winds of 30-35 knots, increasing to 40 knots at time within 180 miles away from the center in the northeast to southeast sector.

AREA OF GALES MOVING WITH TD06F.
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118. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
77. TampaSpin 6:20 AM GMT on January 21, 2009


That was a family Bible that had been in the family from i think 1880's something.....that was very cool actually..


Thought it was suppose to be the bible used when Abraham Lincoln got sworn in...

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117. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Seychelles Meteorological Services
Tropical Cyclone Warning Number THIRTEEN
DEPRESSION SUR TERRE, EX-FANELE (07-20082009)
10:00 AM Réunion January 21 2009
===========================================

At 6:00 AM UTC, Overland Depression Fanele (955 hPa) located at 21.3S 44.3E has 10 minute sustained winds of 80 knots with gusts of 115 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving southeast at 8 knots

Dvorak Intensity:

Hurricane-Force Winds
======================
40 NM from the center

Storm-Force Winds
=================
80 NM from the center

Gale-Force Winds
================
100 NM from the center. Very rough to high seas up to around 50 NM offshore of the western coast of Madagascar

Near-Gale Force Winds
======================
120 NM from the center. Rough to very rough seas up to 100 NM offshore of the western coast of Madagascar

Forecast and Intensity
=======================
12 HRS: 22.7S 46.1E - 50 knots (DEPRESSION sur terre)
24 HRS: 23.6S 48.7E - 25 knots (PERTURBATION Tropicale)
48 HRS: 25.8S 51.7E - 30 knots (DEPRESSION Tropicale)
72 HRS: 28.9S 53.5E - (EXTRATROPICAL)

Additional Information
========================
Intense Tropical Cyclone Fanele has made landfall over the western Malagasy coast around 2.15z

An eyewall replacement cyclone has occured yesterday evening an has caused some slight weakening before landfall. However, it has given a greater extension to the maximum winds..

The system is expected to quickly cross Madagascar and to be back at sea within the next 18-24 hours. It seems that Fanele has a small window for some intensification before it makes its extratropical transition.

Most of the available NWP models are in good agreement with the forecast track, but there is still some spread in speed. Forecast track is towards the southeast, but the system should slow down Thursday night as some weak subtropical ridge rebuilt southward. So it seems that Fanele should not take the same trough that "Eric" took.
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Night everyone.....
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Quoting melwerle:
108. Thank you - lol!! Just read your "modification" - I've been thinking the only way to get on my kids "cool side" is to land a plane safely on the hudson river and get everyone out alive.

I mean...did THAT father score points or WHAT.

night...



lol... night
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108. Thank you - lol!! Just read your "modification" - I've been thinking the only way to get on my kids "cool side" is to land a plane safely on the hudson river and get everyone out alive.

I mean...did THAT father score points or WHAT.

night...

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Quoting hurristat:


I like highs in the twenties... not so cold i can't enjoy but not so warm it's melting... i happen to like the snow.


That's reasonable for winter =)

I like it in the low 30s, so the snow is packing and melting a little, so I can get out and have fun with it!
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Quoting melwerle:
Hey Tampa - i wasn't commenting on what the issue was with the preacher...just a generality of what is going on around here and things in general. I did hear the speach today from the preacher and I kind of went "huh?" but i tried to take it in historical context instead of right this minute context. Lots of history happened today and lots happened before today and several of these people have seen alot more than MY eyes have witnessed. I think it was more a reflection than a "right now" moment. But that is my translation of it. And we all know, I can be a dork (just ask my kids).


Trust me i know what you mean by the crazies down here in the South.....All i was doing was taking a moment of historical moment in time...and as my child whom voted for Obama listened to the Rev. said what the hell..and i just merely suggested it was not proper what he said........and yes i can totally relate to what your saying about the South.
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Quoting charlesimages:
I have a space heater and a small room on the south side of my house (good thing I picked this room in 2001 when we moved in!)

75-80F is ideal for sleeping the rest of the time I have it over 80F thanks to the sun warming + heater combo!

More cold coming too about 4 days out, more teens and singles/below 0.. 8-14 day shows warmth but.. I don;t think it'll be that "warm" maybe 30s and 40s if we are lucky. Average is about 30F


I like highs in the twenties... not so cold i can't enjoy but not so warm it's melting... i happen to like the snow.
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I have a space heater and a small room on the south side of my house (good thing I picked this room in 2001 when we moved in!)

75-80F is ideal for sleeping the rest of the time I have it over 80F thanks to the sun warming + heater combo!

More cold coming too about 4 days out, more teens and singles/below 0.. 8-14 day shows warmth but.. I don;t think it'll be that "warm" maybe 30s and 40s if we are lucky. Average is about 30F
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Well snow or not, it looks like you will avoid a freeze there tonight
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Quoting melwerle:
Hey Tampa - i wasn't commenting on what the issue was with the preacher...just a generality of what is going on around here and things in general. I did hear the speach today from the preacher and I kind of went "huh?" but i tried to take it in historical context instead of right this minute context. Lots of history happened today and lots happened before today and several of these people have seen alot more than MY eyes have witnessed. I think it was more a reflection than a "right now" moment. But that is my translation of it. And we all know, I can be a dork (just ask my kids).


that gauge may be very skewed and inaccurate ; )

modification: in reference to your state of coolness
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Hey Tampa - i wasn't commenting on what the issue was with the preacher...just a generality of what is going on around here and things in general. I did hear the speach today from the preacher and I kind of went "huh?" but i tried to take it in historical context instead of right this minute context. Lots of history happened today and lots happened before today and several of these people have seen alot more than MY eyes have witnessed. I think it was more a reflection than a "right now" moment. But that is my translation of it. And we all know, I can be a dork (just ask my kids).
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Quoting charlesimages:


Yea I see that, which is kind of sad considering.. My Aunt goes nuts while watching UofM games, she's really anti-MSU haha

Detroit Losers.. whoopsy HAHA!

I heard the Lions were going to LA??

It's "warmed up" at my place 5F


I have -2... but i have a fireplace...
and dont you be dissin' our untarnished record.
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41.8 deg. now..
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20443
7 time champions like Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt! Not a bad club to be in
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Quoting hurristat:


no its more like *saaacked* with the lions but MSU has kinda replaced U of M... and for you Indiana folk... has Indiana ever won a national championship... that's what i thought... and we have 7... chew on that one


Yea I see that, which is kind of sad considering.. My Aunt goes nuts while watching UofM games, she's really anti-MSU haha

Detroit Losers.. whoopsy HAHA!

I heard the Lions were going to LA??

It's "warmed up" at my place 5F
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Quoting hurristat:


no its more like *saaacked* with the lions but MSU has kinda replaced U of M... and for you Indiana folk... has Indiana ever won a national championship... that's what i thought... and we have 7... chew on that one


LMAO
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20443
Quoting melwerle:
Anywho - it's 25 here, no snow and my heat has been running on all three floors for i don't know...all day. I'm sure i am going to fall over when the bill comes in.

I gotta move the oldest from the upper level - to downstairs - I realize it's a teen thing to have the floor by yourself but DANG...enough already. We could shut the second and third story a/c & heat to a min and just take care of the downstairs.

Sweet dreams to all - I'm sure that my feet are feeling better than Michelle Obamas right now...and I'm sure that my night has been more quiet than their nanny that is watching their girls (they are all watching high school musical 3...i would rather gouge my own eyeballs out with a butterknife...)



aaahhh...Floridians...trade your butterknife for a spoon...
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Quoting charlesimages:
LOL! Yea so I can whine about the cold! Naw, to go make me some money and live with my best friend. Plus I have had a dream to move to FL since i was a little kid, I LOVE heat and humidity too!

Man, the OLD Wolverines were good now it's like.. dare I say it, no.. I can;t.. we already have the Lions *aaack*


no its more like *saaacked* with the lions but MSU has kinda replaced U of M... and for you Indiana folk... has Indiana ever won a national championship... that's what i thought... and we have 7... chew on that one
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Quoting melwerle:

I agree with you Orca - I don't care what color you are. I am way more interested in if you are a decent guy/gal and help folks. I tell my girls I'm going to ask for a TRW before they go out on a date just to make sure the guys aren't racking up huge bills and not paying on them...lol (j/k - in these times it would be a norm actually).



Mel my house has kids of every color in and out of my house...sorry to offend you and other Democrats upon what i thought was improper things said and this historic event.....that my only point...look at the video replay above and many might have different views.......i just thought is was over the top for the event that we as witnessing.....WOW!
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Quoting melwerle:

I agree with you Orca - I don't care what color you are. I am way more interested in if you are a decent guy/gal and help folks. I tell my girls I'm going to ask for a TRW before they go out on a date just to make sure the guys aren't racking up huge bills and not paying on them...lol (j/k - in these times it would be a norm actually).



THANK YOU!!! THAT FIRST STATEMENT IS WHAT PEOPLE SHOULD LIVE BY!!! (sorry for the overzealous caps)
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Anywho - it's 25 here, no snow and my heat has been running on all three floors for i don't know...all day. I'm sure i am going to fall over when the bill comes in.

I gotta move the oldest from the upper level - to downstairs - I realize it's a teen thing to have the floor by yourself but DANG...enough already. We could shut the second and third story a/c & heat to a min and just take care of the downstairs.

Sweet dreams to all - I'm sure that my feet are feeling better than Michelle Obamas right now...and I'm sure that my night has been more quiet than their nanny that is watching their girls (they are all watching high school musical 3...i would rather gouge my own eyeballs out with a butterknife...)

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Quoting TampaSpin:


Was the Blue ever good.....I'm from Indiana.....LOL ....what a miserable Football school.....LOL


Oh no you didn't just type that LOL
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LOL! Yea so I can whine about the cold! Naw, to go make me some money and live with my best friend. Plus I have had a dream to move to FL since i was a little kid, I LOVE heat and humidity too!

Man, the OLD Wolverines were good now it's like.. dare I say it, no.. I can;t.. we already have the Lions *aaack*
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Quoting Orcasystems:


I didn't call you racist.. I just said to open your mind and listen to all of the lines.. to all of the remarks about each colour.. I am sure each one can be taken in a positive and or negative context, depending how your willing to look at them.

I looked at all of them in a positive context.. I could care less what colour anyone is. Its personality that counts for me.

I agree with you Orca - I don't care what color you are. I am way more interested in if you are a decent guy/gal and help folks. I tell my girls I'm going to ask for a TRW before they go out on a date just to make sure the guys aren't racking up huge bills and not paying on them...lol (j/k - in these times it would be a norm actually).

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Quoting hurristat:


when they were good...


Was the Blue ever good.....I'm from Indiana.....LOL ....what a miserable Football school.....LOL.......i'm talking about Indiana of course....LMAO
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20443
Quoting charlesimages:


LOL yea!

I know where that is, I've been over there. Went to Ann Arbor in 2004 to see Michigan take on Indiana. GO BLUE!


when they were good...
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charles wu mail... why are you going to florida? you'll just join the nation of whiners about cold (jk)...
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Quoting hurristat:


HEY!!! OMG SOMEONE ELSE FROM MICHIGAN!!! I'm kinda in between Brighton and Novi, 15 min from Dr. Masters


LOL yea!

I know where that is, I've been over there. Went to Ann Arbor in 2004 to see Michigan take on Indiana. GO BLUE!
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Quoting TampaSpin:


I live in Florida but, im not a Floridian. I am from the North........LOL


you're half off the hook...
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Quoting HurrMichaelOrl:
Well tampaspin, that might be too warm. We did have some wet flakes in Orlando in Nov 06 when it was 43, could happen?


I got the lights on outside...im watching....LOL
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20443
Quoting charlesimages:


Hello there fellow Michigander! I'm from the Cedar Springs area.


HEY!!! OMG SOMEONE ELSE FROM MICHIGAN!!! I'm kinda in between Brighton and Novi, 15 min from Dr. Masters
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Quoting hurristat:


If it weren't for Orca, NEwx, and Bonedog, I'd probably go crazy telling you Floridians that you guys have absolutely no idea.


I live in Florida but, im not a Floridian. I am from the North........LOL
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Quoting HurrMichaelOrl:
Well tampaspin, that might be too warm. We did have some wet flakes in Orlando in Nov 06 when it was 43, could happen?


47 being the highest temperature recorded for snow, definitely possible
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Quoting hurristat:


Michigan.


Hello there fellow Michigander! I'm from the Cedar Springs area. I'll be moving to FL
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Quoting TampaSpin:


Its about 43deg. here at my house. I live in NW Tampa.


If it weren't for Orca, Keeper, NEwx, and Bonedog, I'd probably go crazy telling you Floridians that you guys have absolutely no idea.
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Well tampaspin, that might be too warm. We did have some wet flakes in Orlando in Nov 06 when it was 43, could happen?
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Quoting TampaSpin:


That was a family Bible that had been in the family from i think 1880's something.....that was very cool actually..


that is cool, but still...

I think Obama swearing in on Lincoln's bible is even more cool however.

What's interesting is that the clause "so help me god" was added to the end of the inaugural address and the the founding fathers were not very religious, Thomas Jefferson was a deist, etc... not trying to get an argument going, just remarking on the subject.
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2008 was far too cool for my liking, I sure hope 2009 is warmer. Great info Dr Masters thanks.
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Quoting HurrMichaelOrl:
Anybody in the Tampa area watching for a few flurries? It might be too warm there, but the light showers are now moving into west central Fl. I'm sure it's cold enough in some areas for snow.


Its about 43deg. here at my house. I live in NW Tampa.
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20443
Anybody in the Tampa area watching for a few flurries? It might be too warm there, but the light showers are now moving into west central Fl. I'm sure it's cold enough in some areas for snow.
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.