The uncertain legacy of Copenhagen

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 8:39 PM GMT on December 22, 2009

The Copenhagen (COP15) climate summit is over, and leaves an uncertain legacy. What was accomplished in Copenhagen was far outweighed by what was not accomplished. While the final Copenhagen Accord affirmed that we must hold the warming of our planet below 2°C above pre-industrial levels by 2100 to avert dangerous climate change, no timetable for accomplishing that goal was specified. The promises made by the various nations at the summit would likely lead to a 3.9°C warming of the planet, according to an analysis by MIT's Sustainability Institute. Copenhagen did demonstrate that the hype preceding the talks was not undeserved--the stakes involved are huge, and we have an epic political battle on our hands that will afford high drama in 2010. Probably the best summary of the political battle at Copenhagen was posted by author Mark Lynas on the UK Guardian's web site. The title of the article was, "How do I know China wrecked the Copenhagen deal? I was in the room".

The leaders for greenhouse gas reductions
While the Copenhagen Summit made it clear that the coming battle will feature the U.S. and China, the voices of two tiny island nations--Tuvalu and The Maldives--will be important as well. When ranked by percentage of population located near the coast at an elevation of ten meters or less, the top five spots are held by small island nations with more than 90% of their population in this Low Elevation Coastal Zone--the Maldives, Marshall Islands, Tuvalu, Cayman Islands, and Turks and Caicos Islands (McGranahan et al., 2007). The very existence of these island nations are threatened by sea level rise due to climate change. The leaders of Tuvalu and The Maldives brought considerable attention to their plight at the Copenhagen conference, and President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives, in particular, has made his tiny country a force to be reckoned with in the coming battle.

Figure 1. President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives, Vice President Dr Mohamed Waheed and 11 cabinet ministers donned scuba gear and submerged 4 meters below the surface of sea to hold the world's first underwater cabinet meeting on October 17, 2009, in order to dramatize the threat sea level rise poses to their country.

The leaders against greenhouse gas reductions
Canada has joined Saudi Arabia as a leading voice against efforts to control emissions of greenhouse gases. According to The Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI), which is published annually by Germanwatch and CAN-Europe, Canada ranks second to last in climate policy and in overall efforts to tackle climate change, among the 57 industrialized countries and emerging economies that together account for more than 90 per cent of global energy-related CO2 emissions. Canada's national statement at COP15 featured no commitments of money or targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and Canada also lobbied to change the "base" year from when emission reductions should be computed from 1990 to 2006. Croatia was the only other country to support Canada's position. The notorious political pranksters The Yes Men dramatized Canada's position by issuing a phony press release during COP15 claiming that Canada had come to its senses and was now going to work toward a 40 per cent cut in greenhouse gas emissions, the type of cut scientists say is necessary if we are to avoid dangerous warming of more than 2°C over pre-industrial levels. Canadian reporters immediately recognized the news release as a hoax. Canadian politics is heavily dominated by the fossil fuel industry, and Canadian reporters immediately saw the impossibility of the Canadian government performing an about-face on climate policy.

Figure 2. The top ten and bottom ten performing countries on the Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI), published annually by Germanwatch and CAN-Europe to rank the efforts to combat climate change of the 57 industrialized countries and emerging economies that together account for more than 90 per cent of global energy-related CO2 emissions. The ranking system factors in three scores: the emissions level (CO2 per primary energy unit, primary energy unit per GDP, and primary energy unit per capita); the emissions trend (whether emissions are rising or falling), and a subjective rating of the nation's national and international climate policy. Tall bars indicate a higher ranking, and thin bars represent a poor ranking. None of the 57 countries were doing enough to keep global warming below 2°C, so the top three spots on the list were left blank. Image credit:

Comparison with the battle over CFC regulations and the ozone hole
On June 28, 1974, Sherry Rowland and Mario Molina, chemists at the University of California, Irvine, published the first scientific paper warning that human-generated chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) could cause serious harm to Earth's protective ozone layer (Molina and Rowland, 1974). They calculated that if CFC production continued to increase at the going rate of 10%/year until 1990, then remain steady, CFCs would cause a global 5 to 7 percent ozone loss by 1995 and 30 - 50% loss by 2050.

They warned that the loss of ozone would significantly increase the amount of skin-damaging ultraviolet UV-B light reaching the surface, greatly increasing skin cancer and cataracts. The loss of stratospheric ozone could also significantly cool the stratosphere, potentially causing destructive climate change. Although no stratospheric ozone loss had been observed yet, CFCs should be banned, they said. A huge international political battle ensued, one that eerily echoes many of the same themes as the battle over global warming. In a 1984 interview in The New Yorker, Dr. Rowland concluded, "Nothing will be done about this problem until there is further evidence that a significant loss of ozone has occurred. Unfortunately, this means that if there is a disaster in the making in the stratosphere we are probably not going to avoid it." These prophetic words were proved true the very next year with the discovery of the Antarctic ozone hole. Speedy action to save the planet from potentially disastrous loss of the ozone layer was realized with the swift implementation of the Montreal Protocol two years later, though.

As was the case with the battle over the CFCs and the ozone layer, I expect it will take a obvious imminent climate change disaster to motivate governments to take strong action. I believed in September 2007 that such an event had occurred, when the Arctic ice cap lost more than half of its area, compared to levels observed in the early 1950s. I was astounded at the nonchalance the event earned in the press and among politicians. But, in hindsight I should not have been surprised, since the stakes are very much higher than the battle to ban CFCs--now we are talking about the fossil fuel industry, the very basis for our modern industrialized society. A very big, very obvious disaster in the making will probably be needed to motivate strong enough action to make a major difference in CO2 emissions. Our climate is certainly capable of generating such an event in the coming decade. Unfortunately, if we wait until a disaster is obviously imminent, we will have far less time to prevent a climate disaster than we had for the ozone depletion crisis. The lifetime of CFCs in the atmosphere is 50 - 140 years, but a substantial portion of the CO2 put in the air stays for thousands of years. According to the 2007 IPCC report, "About 50% of a CO2 increase will be removed from the atmosphere within 30 years, and a further 30% will be removed within a few centuries. The remaining 20% may stay in the atmosphere for many thousands of years."

McGranahan, G., D. Balk, and B. Anderson, 2007, "The rising tide: assessing the risks of climate change and human settlements in low elevation coastal zones", Environment & Urbanization, 19(1), 17-37.

Molina, M.J., and F.S. Rowland, "Stratospheric Sink for Chlorofluoromethanes: Chlorine Atom-Catalyzed Destruction of Ozone", Nature 249, 810-812, 1974.

Next post
Have a great Christmas, everyone, and I'll be back with a new post on Monday (at the latest).

Jeff Masters

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Happy New Year all!
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Member Since: August 30, 2008 Posts: 8 Comments: 2849
1686. hydrus
Quoting aquak9:
g'morning Wu-bloggers

all quiet except for the impending polar vortex..

oh and a 5.3 in the Indonesian area.
Poor Indonesia with the bloody earthquakes. You would think they would get a break already.
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1685. hydrus
Quoting AussieStorm:
I have just finished uploading the photo's I took while i was away. You can find them here
Aussie, have you heard more news about damage from Lawrence? I heard it hit land twice as a 5, Is this true?
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New Blog
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I have just finished uploading the photo's I took while i was away. You can find them here
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JB this morn. *Read at your own risk*



That means, for those of you who have hair, alot of problems ( I am getting rid of that nuisance) and for most of us, the dread of electric shock. I feared this time of the year as a child as my sadistic little brother thought it amusing to charge himself up in his footsie Pajamas and shock the daylights out of me while I was minding my own business near the Christmas tree, whirling one of these slippers with an attachment to it so I could make it spin like a cyclone and cause the tinsel to stand straight out like a hurricane flag. His comment to me would be that my hurricane ( that is what I was mimicking, a hurricane hitting a Christmas Tree) needed a thunderstorm

ah the best of both worlds.. a hurricane hitting a Christmas Tree, Actually a Christmas eve storm in New england in 1994 brought hurricane force gusts and heavy rains as it turned west northwest toward New England and wound up sout of it. It was a very warm storm. But hurricanes at Christmas? It was I who tried to envision that! It was Al Gorish in nature. So there I invented global warming, not Al Gore.

The bottom line, there is alot of cold weather on the charts the next 2-3 weeks, but you already knew that. I dont know if you knew the terror cold weather supplies for me. I was stunned, upon returning home yesterday, to find that Santa Clause left Jessie ( my daughter) a similar pair of footsie Pajamas. He left me a pair of Homer Simpson Pajamas. Jessie's comment "Heh Daddy, arent these the kind of Pajamas that Uncle Matt used to shock you?" does not bode well for me. While you people may enjoy cold, and I certainly am appreciative of it being around for my overall winter idea, the terror lurking in patterns like this can not be comprehended unless you lived through this kind of situation.

That Matt was not bothered by an electric shock, and I was, should speak volumes as to why he was ( still is, he can throw a football still 55 yards..he threw it over 70 when he was in college) a better athlete than me. I am rational, he is not. There I got the last shot in after all that pain.

If you are still reading this after my babbling, let me get to point number one. A number busting shot of arctic air is coming into the northeast tonight into Thursday.. How can we tell that. Well we really dont know until after it goes by whether I am right,.. but lets take NYC. The lowest temp for Wed am is 19, down from the 22 it had yesterday. I will take 15 and lower. The threat of 10 degrees will rest on whether they get blasted by a snow-squall late tonight as the arctic front comes through. The Emperor of the north loves to lay down a white carpet when he comes a calling. That arctic front is in the northern lakes now and there should be some wild snow squalls, and these are synoptic in nature as well as lake effect, coming southeast into the lakes today and the interior northeast tonight. Some of them will survive to the coast from NJ north and lead to a problem. This is a classic set up for this and some wild squall events ( 1-2 inches in one hour in one place, and 10 miles away, a dusting) may survive all the way to the coast. I saw a situation like this in early December of 1977. The key is the max coming from the northwest with the air cooling from 5k-up as the front is coming in. The lift from the front ( the lower levels are not that cold in front of it), plus the cooling, moist air above allow it. It is more a meteorological curiosity than it is a major weather event, but I am drawing attention to it because it may be more than just some flurries. The model has 30 at NYC tomorrow afternoon, I say its 25 or lower at 3 p.m. and the high is probably before 9 am.

Now lets switch to Dallas where more winter malice is on the way. When was the last time it snowed 3 times in Dallas in December? The first part of the two part storm I have been brewing up for this week is likely to be snow from Dallas north. The GFS looks over-warmed. But for most of Texas, this certainly has been a December to remember, and though not a crushing storm in the southern plains, it will be one that causes problems as snow is put down on the roads. This then continues northeast through the Ohio valley to the mid and north atlantic states.

Now, whether there is a big snow event or not in the northeast, I am hoping that the rational among you see what I was talking about. We have gone from the GFS sending a storm out to north of Bermuda by Thursday to one that comes to the coast and sends a small piece out, while energy comes from behind and deepens it so much, it pulls up into the coastal plain. Looks over-reactive to me, and a far better solution is to weaken the first area of precip as it comes northeast ( remember that was supposed to be the storm that took off out to sea) and then take a low from Savannah Thursday night to Cape Cod Friday night. This is a less well behaved event, more like early December, though colder rather than the blizzard. The high is in the wrong place ( moves offshore) but great dynamics pile in Friday and Saturday, so this winds up, when we look at it as a lot of 1-3s and 2-4s from Texas to the northern mid atlantic, and then from Pa and north Jersey northeast, things can really get down to business. But while the upper dynamics are great Friday and Saturday it is like a great chef with only hamburg rather than filet for the meal... It can still taste good to some, but not to everyone.

But I will play with accumulations later today. Put it this way.. the threat of 6 inches or more is northwest of where it was during the blizzard in the mid atlantic states and much of the northeast, but accumulating snow should fall in most places that got over 6 inches of snow with the blizzard southeast of the main axis of monster snows.

But if it had been warm and snowless so far this winter, just think alot of people getting this would be jumping for joy. And with my static attack warning for the next few weeks, its not like this is it, winter is over. Far from it, and almost the opposite. While not able to give details here, my private services clients which have had this cold winter in their forecast since early summer, have just have me make a cold January even colder! This in the face of the CFS which for some reason is warm in much of the nation now in January. It completely missed the west even in its now-cast for December ( Salt Lake City is 7 below normal where it had it over 5 above, as the nowcast for the month) and I suspect what happened in Europe in December with that model is about to happen in the US. The most amazing thing is its 700 mb forecast looks good, and with a deep min near the east coast and blocking galore, I cant figure out how it comes to the surface forecast. If the Euro weeklies are even half right, its off. But too me, this whole thing just looks like we are stepping down into an abyss. The scary thing if you look at the el nino, it is forecasted to fall apart the rest of the winter ( it has reached its peak) and a moderate nino collapsing has end games such as 1966,1958,2003,2007 for mid and late winter!

Its like this could be simply one cold hand off to another.

But I digress ( what else is new) For many of you, the snow is gone, but not for long as as much of the nation should be covered with snow on New Years Day as Christmas, though the depths will be different.

thanks for reading, ciao for now



The Big Dog goes over the next 7 days and looks at the GFS interpretation of the storm later this week. I like the overall idea as outlined yesterday, that this will be a two part event with the second being the one that can really blow up, and its a bigger threat for the northeast this time then mid atlantic ( though the mid atlantic will have some snow with both of these systems. Anyway give it a look

The astounding European forecast is shown on the Long Ranger with the two January 1-15 N Hemisphere anomalies from 1977 and 1985, the two coldest examples worldwide, compared against them

thanks for reading, ciao for now ****
Member Since: July 25, 2006 Posts: 2 Comments: 876
top of the world view

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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:

Don't think I could handle sub zero. Wearing a sweater down here when it is in the 60's ):

I moved to West Palm from South Bend, IN about 7 years ago. I don't go up there in the winter anymore, lol. Mainly because it's hell getting back, 17hrs first time, 15hrs last time, stuck in an airport because of snow. Also because last time we went 2 years ago it was -5 with a wind chill of -15, eeeek. My wife's first breath of cold air too, she's a Florida Native. Let's just say mama was NOT happy at all, lol. We didn't stop shivering the whole time we were there. Not that we're wimps, just acclimated to a little higher temp now.
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Dying cyclone brings life to farmers

When it rains ... Max Chandler at the flooded Castlereagh River which runs by his property near Gilgandra. Picture: James Croucher Source: The Daily Telegraph

IT WAS a spectacular end to years of misery - a dying cyclone hurtling across the country, bringing the most rain in a single day for more than 100 years.

Even the threat of flooding couldn't dampen the joy of farmers about to plant winter crops.

"We've been hanging out for rain for four or five months as things have been very dry out this way," Max Chandler said, as he toured his 3600ha Bowenleigh property along the Castlereagh River.

"It's too late to plant our summer crops but this certainly gives us an early start on our winter crops.

"We've also been handfeeding our sheep and cattle for the past three months. Hopefully now we'll get some grass growing."

Since Christmas Day, 221mm of rain has fallen on Mr Chandler's property near Gilgandra in the state's Central West.

More than 40mm has fallen on Sydney since Christmas morning but that pales in comparison to Uralla, near Armidale, which recorded 88mm of rain in the 24 hours to 9am yesterday - the most in a single December day since records began 107 years ago.

Start of sidebar. Skip to end of sidebar.

End of sidebar. Return to start of sidebar.

Farmers in the Gunnedah region admitted to waiting in the rain to begin planting cereal crops, hopeful of securing bumper returns.

The weather system that began as a cyclone off the West Australian coast is expected to continue to dump heavy rain across the state for a fifth straight day today.

The downpour has prompted authorities to issue warnings for five major rivers, with thunderstorm and flash flooding warnings active last night across NSW from west of Bourke to the Queensland border, south of Dubbo and to Bulahdelah, north of Newcastle.

Gilgandra Mayor Doug Batten said the rain was great news for farmers. "This year we had the offer of a good harvest but we just missed out on vital rain in August," he said.

"This sort of rain and this sort of ground moisture will give us a good start moving into 2010."

The SES has received more than 250 calls for assistance since Christmas Day, mostly in Central West of NSW and on the North Coast.

More than 100 SES volunteers, nine flood-boats and seven helicopters - used for supply drops and to check on stranded livestock - have already been summoned to the Central West region.

Spokesman Terry Pappas said the main concern was for rural properties along the Castlereagh River near Coonamble.

Send us your best photos to

The Bureau of Meteorology was predicting the river would peak at almost 5m last night.

"Basically, that means moderate flooding. The township is safe at this stage but there will be a lot of rural isolation downstream," Mr Pappas said last night.

"A lot of farmers and homesteads will be cut off from the main town."

Premier Kristina Keneally yesterday promised State Government support if the areas under threat are flooded.

Weatherwatch director Don White said the flooding would have been worse if not for the dry spell leading up to Christmas.

"The last six weeks have been exceptionally dry over NSW and so the flooding hasn't been as bad as it could have been," he said.

"In some places the rainfall is just catching up to normal."

Rain is predicted again today in Sydney, with showers possible for the rest of the week.

But Mr White said it was unlikely to be such gloomy weather for New Year's Eve.

"There will be a shower or two around and a little bit of instability but it shouldn't dampen the spirits too much," he said.
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Congratulations Scott.
Cold is comming again, will the frost make it down to Florida this time?
Plants in or Plants out?
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o i c ....

Ya cant trust the long ranges. Dont get excited 'till its iminent!
Member Since: July 25, 2006 Posts: 2 Comments: 876
1676. IKE
Quoting PensacolaDoug:
We still got the big blast commin or has that changed already?

From what I've read it may not make it as far south as the models were previously indicating.

Defuniak Springs forecast high for Saturday has gone from the low 40's to around 51.

Although I read this from the Dallas morning discussion....

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We still got the big blast commin or has that changed already?
Member Since: July 25, 2006 Posts: 2 Comments: 876
Silver Spring, MD: 37 %uFFFDF

Partly Cloudy
Feels Like:
37 %uFFFDF
29.79 in and rising
52 %
10 mi
21 %uFFFDF
WNW 14 mph

Wind is actually more like 20-30 mph and it does not feel like 37F...more like freezing!
OH, Good morning! We have the same temps as Florida!!
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1673. IKE
Morning....I've got a low of 36.3.

Looks like a sunny day.
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G'mornin Ya'll.
Member Since: July 25, 2006 Posts: 2 Comments: 876
Member Since: July 25, 2006 Posts: 2 Comments: 876
Stop Getting Sick! Easy Ways to Stay Well All Season
By Lucy Danziger, SELF Editor-in-Chief - Posted on Sat, Dec 19, 2009, 5:44 pm PST

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1669. IKE
37.0 degrees outside my window....right now.

Song stuck in my brain this morning:)
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1668. aquak9
g'morning Wu-bloggers

all quiet except for the impending polar vortex..

oh and a 5.3 in the Indonesian area.
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Complicated by Very Extreme Pattern Setting up for the East. Could a 93 Rival Storm Occur?

read more from here

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Quoting Skyepony:
Aussie~ welcome back.. This looked like an interesting book out of your part of the world..Beyond Reasonable Drought.

Thanks, yes would be an interesting read. Just wait till you see the photo's I took while I was away.
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Quoting xcool:
thank alot

Congrats Mate! It's a great feeling isn't it. I cried when my two were born, both times. Enjoy it mate.
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1664. Skyepony (Mod)
Aussie~ welcome back.. This looked like an interesting book out of your part of the world..Beyond Reasonable Drought.

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1663. xcool
thank alot
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1662. Skyepony (Mod)
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Hi all, I'm back from my week away down at my parents place, will upload photo's later tonight.
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GFS 0Z Run. 2 meter Low temperatures for 1-4-10*

Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
yes, definitely congrats! hope you and your family are well!
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Congrats Scott! The best to you and your family.
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Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
Who is Scott?

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Is Scott the new Dad?
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Quoting xcool:
hi all.and hey matt
Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
Geoff, I doubt those records will be broken this season--but you never know!

Maybe the Theta Chi bros will go sailing if the records are in jeopardy ;)

haha count me out! and hey Scott
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From the "concencei" on the blog...seems like a cold weekend for so. Florida, but nothing record setting.
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Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
Coldest lows in Indiana:

Evansville, IN -23 Feb 2, 1951
Fort Wayne, IN -24 Jan 12, 1918
Indianapolis, IN -27 Jan 19, 1994
South Bend, IN -22 Jan 20, 1943 & Jan 25, 1897

then you add in the wind chill too :O cold!
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1647. xcool
hi all.and hey matt
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1645. bassis
31 deg in dover NH and lots of black ice tonight after all the rain
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:

Don't think I could handle sub zero. Wearing a sweater down here when it is in the 60's ):

gets cold for sure :P
Member Since: Posts: Comments: you think any of those records will be broken this winter season?
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
Let's hope that is NOT the case, as you may see highs near 45F/lows near 32-38F in Miami.

Whoa! I live north of Grothar and that means colder for us. Is that for real? Drak, if still on..a possibiltiy?

a portion of the NWS Miami, Fl Area forecast discussion 8:54PM EST 12-27-09:



Link for that is below:

Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
Coldest highs in Indiana:

Evansville, IN -3 Jan 20, 1985 & Dec 22, 1989
Fort Wayne, IN -11 Jan 20, 1985
Indianapolis, IN -11 Jan 20, 1985
South Bend, IN -8 Feb 9, 1899

wow... brrrr
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Quoting tornadodude:

well it depends on the magnitude. we see sub zero temps a couple times each winter.

hey btw haha

Don't think I could handle sub zero. Wearing a sweater down here when it is in the 60's ):
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Let's hope that is NOT the case, as you may see highs near 45F/lows near 32-38F in Miami.

Whoa! I live north of Grothar and that means colder for us. Is that for real? Drak, if still on..a possibiltiy?

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Dr. Masters co-founded wunderground in 1995. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990. Co-blogging with him: Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

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