Winter Olympics forecast: near-record warmth

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:28 PM GMT on February 15, 2010

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Under sunny skies and warm southwest winds the temperature in Vancouver, British Columbia climbed to 54°F (12.4°C) yesterday, just missing the record of 12.9°C (55°F) for the date, set in 1991 (records in Vancouver go back to 1937). That was marvelous weather for all the joggers that were out in t-shirts and shorts in Vancouver yesterday, but is lousy weather if you're trying to hold a Winter Olympics. The men's downhill was postponed yesterday and rescheduled for today, because of rain and bad snow. The women's combined, originally scheduled to run Saturday, has been postponed until Thursday. The mountain has been getting snow at the top, a mix of snow and rain along the middle section, and rain at the bottom, making for very difficult skiing conditions. Practice runs have been mostly been canceled. In West Vancouver, where the moguls competition was held yesterday, snow had to be trucked and helicoptered in because there wasn't enough on the ground. The snow-making machines weren't any help, because it was too warm to make snow. Too bad Philadelphia or Washington D.C. didn't make a bid for the Winter Olympics! It's an upside-down winter when Canada has trouble getting snow, and Washington D.C. gets five feet.

As we can see from a plot of the temperature departure from average for the month of January (Figure 1), most of Canada has seen very unusual warmth, with temperatures over 5°C (9°F) covering large swathes of the country.


Figure 1. Departure of January temperature from average for the strong to moderate strength El Niño year of 2010 (left), and a composite of the last five years that had a moderate to strong El Niño (right). Note that typically, an El Niño event brings much warmer than average temperatures to Vancouver, and cooler than average conditions to Florida. This year has seen an extreme amplification of this pattern. The impact of the Arctic Oscillation (AO) is evident over eastern Canada and Greenland, where exceptionally warm temperatures were recorded. Image credit: NOAA/ESRL.

Why all the warmth in Vancouver? El Niño partly to blame
So, what's going on? The average high temperature in Vancouver this time of year is typically 8°C (46°F). Vancouver has seen above-average temperatures every day this month, and tied one daily record so far. This unusual February warmth follows a record warm month of January, which averaged 3°C (5.4°F) above average, beating the previous record set in 2006 by a pretty significant margin, 0.9°C (1.6°F). Nearby Seattle, Washington had its warmest January in 120 years of record keeping, and both Oregon and Washington recorded their 4th warmest January. As we can see from a plot of the temperature departure from average for the month of January (Figure 1), most of Canada saw very unusual warmth, with temperature anomalies over 5°C (9°F) covering large swathes of the country. Record warm January temperatures were observed not only over British Columbia, but also over Manitoba and over much of Quebec, where half of the province's twelve largest cities experienced their warmest or second warmest January on record. Unusual Canadian warmth is to be expected during a moderate to strong El Niño episode, which is what we've had this winter in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. The pattern we've seen during the previous five moderate to strong El Niños dating back to 1987 (Figure 1, right) shows this trend, and also the trend towards colder than average conditions in Florida. However, the pattern for January 2010 shows an extreme amplification of this El Niño pattern. We had record warmth over much of Canada, and Florida got socked with its 10th coldest January on record. The extreme amplification of the January temperature pattern was due in part to the influence of the Arctic Oscillation/North Atlantic Oscillation, a natural wind pattern over the North Atlantic measured by the difference in pressure between Iceland and ocean areas to the south. That difference in pressure was remarkably small in the first half of January, leading to the weakest Arctic Oscillation pattern in 60 years of record keeping. This allowed cold air to spill southwards into Florida, and helped bring very warm temperatures to Greenland and Eastern Canada. El Niño, combined with the Arctic Oscillation, all superimposed upon exceptionally warm global temperatures, is probably the best explanation for the record January warmth in Canada. Globally, January 2010 was the 4th warmest January on record, with global ocean temperatures the 2nd warmest on record, according to NOAA.

The forecast: near-record warmth for Vancouver
The forecast for Vancouver for the remainder of the week calls for temperatures above 10°C (50°F) each day. Today's forecast high of 10°C (50°F) will approach the record high for the date of 12.6°C (55°F). The long range forecast through the remainder of the Winter Olympics promises continued near-record warmth, as the jet stream is projected to stay in its current El Niño-type pattern. In this configuration, a strong ridge of high pressure stays anchored over the Pacific coast, allowing plenty of warm air from the southwest into British Columbia. Unfortunately for the winter games, I expect that Vancouver will end up experiencing its 1st or 2nd warmest February on record.

No major snowstorms in sight
Today's snowstorm for the mid-Atlantic has shifted northwards, meaning the that the maximum 4 - 8 inches of snow from this storm will pass north of snow-weary Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and Baltimore. The computer models are showing that this will be the last significant snow storm to affect the eastern half of the U.S. for at least a week, and residents of the Mid-Atlantic can look forward to a slow but steady melting of their huge piles of snow. This is exactly what is needed to avoid a serious flooding situation--a rapid thaw or large rainstorm would have been a major problem.

Next post
I'll have a new post on Wednesday at the latest. I did an interview with the Washington Post weather blog by the "Capital Weather Gang", for those interested.

Jeff Masters

2010 Winter Olympic Torch Relay (galeao)
The Olympic Torch Relay departing Mackin Park in Coquitlam, BC. Crowds lined the streets and braved the Vancouver rain to cheer on the torchbearers as they continued on to the city of Burnaby. Just one more day before the Olympic Cauldron will be lit in Vancouver on February 12, 2010.
2010 Winter Olympic Torch Relay
Ballet Of Light (galeao)
The 'Ballet Of Light', formally known as artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer's art project Vectorial Elevation, consists of 20 robotically controlled, 10,000-watt Zenon lights that have been installed at Vanier Park and Sunset Beach in Vancouver. Beginning on February 5, they will be lighting the sky over English Bay every night until dawn, right up to the last day of the 2010 Winter Olympics on February 28. The pattern of the lights changes every 10 seconds in response to geometric designs submitted from the public via the Internet. It is quite a sight but works best with low clouds like this evening. View with the Inukshuk at the southern end of English Bay Beach.
Ballet Of Light

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134. Skyepony (Mod)
`
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 161 Comments: 37433
Quoting StormChaser81:
I watched a F3 go through a housing development in Orlando, FL, the things i saw where amazing and horrific, It went over a lake first and There was large mouth Bass thrown all over the housing development, among other types of fish. One of my fathers close friends lived in the housing development and when we arrived we saw nothing wrong with his house until we got to the back porch, It took the whole back porch walls and roof, the weird thing was the back side of the porch the meets the house still had the pictures on the wall untouched and on the table in front of the couch there was napkins and a cup of coffee still setting there. The weirdest was a straw (regular plastic straw) one inch deep into a oak tree.


Was with one lady taking her to her house. Got to neighborhood and she said "What happened to my house? Where is the door?" Her house, which sat up some on brick pilings, had been lifted, shifted about 3 feet, and turned over 45 degrees and sat back down. Yea, it leaned a lot and one wall partially caved in and roof messed up.
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Quoting atmoaggie:

Huh? (thinking physics, how can that be?)


Exactly, makes no sense. Others said they opened bottles of water and they had grit in them. Maybe sever pressure change separated top some allowing liquid out. No idea really. Maybe just a good trick by someone. :)
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Jinxed us -- it's snowing, again...at rush hour -- it's all that hot air coming off of the Hill that Dan mentioned. :)

It IS still supposed to be a light snow, isn't it?

BBL.
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 32 Comments: 1918
Quoting charlottefl:


You wanna talk about an incredible tornado. Look up Jarrell, TX. They had an F-5 in '97 I believe. It skeletonized cattle, and ripped asphalt off the roads. I think it's forward speed was something crazy like 1 or 2 mph.
I have video footage of that one. The thing that always amazed me about that one it started out as a tiny ribbon and grew to massive proportions in short order.
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Obama administration scientist on snowstorms: ‘Weather is not climate’
http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/677-e2-wire/81083-lubchenco-on-the-snowstorms-weather-is-not-clima te
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2032
Quoting PcolaDan:


I was in Air Force tech school at the time. I had just gotten my 2 year oldson out of the hospital that day (hip infection, he was fine)and my Mother was there. Watched it from my 3rd floor apt. Remember it vividly, was looking for it and saw big black cloud SW of me thinking it would come out of that, saw flashes and knew it hit power lines, the cloud finally moved where I could see it better, which is when I realized, THE CLOUD WAS THE TORNADO --- 2 miles wide and headed straight for me. My mother said I have never before nor since talked to her the way I did went I sent the family into the bathroom and covered them with mattress and pillows. :) Kept an eye on it and saw it shift away from me and let out a sigh of relief. Hail as big as baseballs outside but the tornado missed us. Spent next few days body hunting (luckily I didn't find any). Was most horrific thing I had ever seen to date. Saw Andrew later and the scale was greater but weirder things in tornado - Corvette wrapped around tree bumper to bumper, van sticking out of a roof, unopened wine bottle - empty. Incredible power that I hope never to see again.


You wanna talk about an incredible tornado. Look up Jarrell, TX. They had an F-5 in '97 I believe. It skeletonized cattle, and ripped asphalt off the roads. I think it's forward speed was something crazy like 1 or 2 mph.
Member Since: December 18, 2006 Posts: 7 Comments: 2685
I watched a F3 go through a housing development in Orlando, FL, the things i saw where amazing and horrific, It went over a lake first and There was large mouth Bass thrown all over the housing development, among other types of fish. One of my fathers close friends lived in the housing development and when we arrived we saw nothing wrong with his house until we got to the back porch, It took the whole back porch walls and roof, the weird thing was the back side of the porch the meets the house still had the pictures on the wall untouched and on the table in front of the couch there was napkins and a cup of coffee still setting there. The weirdest was a straw (regular plastic straw) one inch deep into a oak tree.
Member Since: August 11, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2315
Quoting PcolaDan:
unopened wine bottle - empty

Huh? (thinking physics, how can that be?)
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Quoting PcolaDan:


I was in Air Force tech school at the time. I had just gotten my 2 year oldson out of the hospital that day (hip infection, he was fine)and my Mother was there. Watched it from my 3rd floor apt. Remember it vividly, was looking for it and saw big black cloud SW of me thinking it would come out of that, saw flashes and knew it hit power lines, the cloud finally moved where I could see it better, which is when I realized, THE CLOUD WAS THE TORNADO --- 2 miles wide and headed straight for me. My mother said I have never before nor since talked to her the way I did went I sent the family into the bathroom and covered them with mattress and pillows. :) Kept an eye on it and saw it shift away from me and let out a sigh of relief. Hail as big as baseballs outside but the tornado missed us. Spent next few days body hunting (luckily I didn't find any). Was most horrific thing I had ever seen to date. Saw Andrew later and the scale was greater but weirder things in tornado - Corvette wrapped around tree bumper to bumper, van sticking out of a roof, unopened wine bottle - empty. Incredible power that I hope never to see again.
I went through Hurricane David that year. I was 13 in 1979, but I remember seeing on the news the devastation from that tornado. It was a rough weather year for S.W.Florida in 79, severe T-storms. Some of the worst I have ever seen. You are blessed to still have your family after such a catastrophe. We were by Lake O when David hit. It was bad. Andrew was an absolute nightmare as were Charley and Jeanne.
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Quoting hydrus:
I have a video and a book that talks about the 1979 Wichita Falls tornado. The injuries they show are some of the most horrific I have ever seen. The damage in some areas simply cannot be explained. It taxes satisfactory verbal description.


I was in Air Force tech school at the time. I had just gotten my 2 year oldson out of the hospital that day (hip infection, he was fine)and my Mother was there. Watched it from my 3rd floor apt. Remember it vividly, was looking for it and saw big black cloud SW of me thinking it would come out of that, saw flashes and knew it hit power lines, the cloud finally moved where I could see it better, which is when I realized, THE CLOUD WAS THE TORNADO --- 2 miles wide and headed straight for me. My mother said I have never before nor since talked to her the way I did went I sent the family into the bathroom and covered them with mattress and pillows. :) Kept an eye on it and saw it shift away from me and let out a sigh of relief. Hail as big as baseballs outside but the tornado missed us. Spent next few days body hunting (luckily I didn't find any). Was most horrific thing I had ever seen to date. Saw Andrew later and the scale was greater but weirder things in tornado - Corvette wrapped around tree bumper to bumper, van sticking out of a roof, unopened wine bottle - empty. Incredible power that I hope never to see again.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting hydrus:
I have a video and a book that talks about the 1979 Wichita Falls tornado. The injuries they show are some of the most horrific I have ever seen. The damage in some areas simply cannot be explained. It taxes satisfactory verbal description.

Nooooo, not taxes! (thanks so much for the reminder as to what I am avoiding by being here at the moment...did you have to use that word? I was trying to be like Jeffs...)
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Quoting PcolaDan:
Taz, I was in Wichita Falls Texas for this tornado and it was on April 10. Bad ones can come any time the season starts, just like hurricane season.

1979 tornado
Main article: Red River Valley Tornado Outbreak

An F4 tornado struck the heavily populated southern sections of Wichita Falls in the late afternoon on Tuesday, April 10, 1979 (known locally as "Terrible Tuesday").[citation needed] The storm was part of an outbreak that produced 30 tornadoes around the region. Despite having nearly an hour's advance warning that severe weather was imminent, 45 people were killed (25 in vehicles) and 1,800 were injured because the storm arrived just in time for many people to be driving home from work.[citation needed] The tornado left 20,000 people homeless and caused $400 million in damage, a U.S. record not topped by an individual tornado until the F5 Moore-Oklahoma City tornado of May 3, 1999.[11]
I have a video and a book that talks about the 1979 Wichita Falls tornado. The injuries they show are some of the most horrific I have ever seen. The damage in some areas simply cannot be explained. It taxes satisfactory verbal description.
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96 & 106. We can only hope that these items become cost effective and available to the consumer. I hope to see more positive info on this as time progress's.
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Quoting Ossqss:
66 - AIM, initially I did have an issue that was two fold. First, you are suppose to install these at the lowest point in the system. I could not and experienced some element damage from back flow. That was cured with an anti-back flow device. Secondly, the control boards on the 3 separate heating elements had a resistor that was not up to par and failed after about 6 months. I initially replace the resistor with a much better one and it has worked flawlessly since (nearly 3 years). BTW, EEmax was extremely good on the customer service side. They sent me replacement parts free of charge and I still have those in stock if I need them. Including the control boards with on-board transformers instead of the resistors. I hope that helps :)


Just saw your post, Oss -- I sure appreciate the details, for the house tech (the husband), especially, lol!

I'm actually excited to look into this! Thanks!

***************

You know what's really great? Having friends/colleagues/acquaintances with differing opinions; and we can kid around, and jest, but either know or learn how far we can go; and we all help each other with the daily grind...

ADD: NO SNOW YET :-) And we're just supposed to get a smidge...smidge being a technical term for about an inch...unless it's been changed AGAIN, wouldn't be surprised!
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 32 Comments: 1918
Quoting jeffs713:
Annnd... Another 4 posts between 62 and 75 just went poof. I don't mind intelligent conversation. I do mind name calling.

Have a nice day!


YO! I think my ignore button is worn out. Good post!
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Here comes the rain.

Member Since: August 11, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2315
Quoting lickitysplit:
Its been quite entertaining to watch the flat earthers urinate all over themselves as it snows in DC and the south all the while ignoring heat deaths in Brazil and the mess up in Vancouver.

(without the derision, which doesn't gain much for the commenter nor his/her arguments)
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#96.. thanks JP..

Hiya Zoo!
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Quoting GTcooliebai:
Flurries?? http://www.baynews9.com/Klystron9.html?category=forecast


WTH have you been smoking, Flurries?
Member Since: August 11, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2315
Quoting PcolaDan:
Taz, I was in Wichita Falls Texas for this tornado and it was on April 10. Bad ones can come any time the season starts, just like hurricane season.

1979 tornado
Main article: Red River Valley Tornado Outbreak

An F4 tornado struck the heavily populated southern sections of Wichita Falls in the late afternoon on Tuesday, April 10, 1979 (known locally as "Terrible Tuesday").[citation needed] The storm was part of an outbreak that produced 30 tornadoes around the region. Despite having nearly an hour's advance warning that severe weather was imminent, 45 people were killed (25 in vehicles) and 1,800 were injured because the storm arrived just in time for many people to be driving home from work.[citation needed] The tornado left 20,000 people homeless and caused $400 million in damage, a U.S. record not topped by an individual tornado until the F5 Moore-Oklahoma City tornado of May 3, 1999.[11]



ok
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Quoting GrtLksQuest:


We have had a tankless water heater for 5 years. It is terrific. We can shower, do laundry, and run the dishwasher at the same time and it keeps up with the demand.


That would be so awesome! We can only do one at a time, and we don't want to buy a larger tank.
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 32 Comments: 1918
Quoting scottsvb:
This board has become a bunch a delousional Global Warming freaks. I guess the avg shmuck has been replying.

Negative. Many of us are capable of dissenting view points (without the derision, which doesn't gain much for the commenter nor his/her arguments)
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Quoting AwakeInMaryland:
Uh, Oss, IF you're still around, would you mind telling me if you've had any trouble with your tankless water heater?

Back in '05, post-Rita, I was in a hotel where they just didn't work...we got too many cold showers (though in the heat sometimes it wasn't too bad.)
They replaced them with regular hot-water heaters.
Disappointing and expensive, I'm sure.

So it would be great if they've been improved, if your model works!


We have had a tankless water heater for 5 years. It is terrific. We can shower, do laundry, and run the dishwasher at the same time and it keeps up with the demand.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Taz, I was in Wichita Falls Texas for this tornado and it was on April 10. Bad ones can come any time the season starts, just like hurricane season.

1979 tornado
Main article: Red River Valley Tornado Outbreak

An F4 tornado struck the heavily populated southern sections of Wichita Falls in the late afternoon on Tuesday, April 10, 1979 (known locally as "Terrible Tuesday").[citation needed] The storm was part of an outbreak that produced 30 tornadoes around the region. Despite having nearly an hour's advance warning that severe weather was imminent, 45 people were killed (25 in vehicles) and 1,800 were injured because the storm arrived just in time for many people to be driving home from work.[citation needed] The tornado left 20,000 people homeless and caused $400 million in damage, a U.S. record not topped by an individual tornado until the F5 Moore-Oklahoma City tornado of May 3, 1999.[11]
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i no what DC can do too all that snow send it too Vancouver
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Quoting jpritch:
Algae to solve the Pentagon's jet fuel problem


DARPA is also working on making solar cells much more efficient.

The whole article is worth a read.

Thanks. In regards to solar revolution ...

Enhanced absorption and carrier collection in Si wire arrays for photovoltaic applications
Here, we show that arrays having less than 5% areal fraction of wires can achieve up to 96% peak absorption, and that they can absorb up to 85% of day-integrated, above-bandgap direct sunlight. In fact, these arrays show enhanced near-infrared absorption, which allows their overall sunlight absorption to exceed the ray-optics light-trapping absorption limit
http://www.nature.com/nmat/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/nmat2635.html
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2032
Quoting PcolaDan:


LOL Congress!



oh
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i noted we got a new toy called Full Screen new!
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Quoting Tazmanian:



hot winds?


LOL Congress!
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Quoting PcolaDan:


In a normal year it tends to start in early to mid April. The more serious season is more in May as the warm fronst really begin to punch north bringing tons of heat and moisture out of the Gulf of Mexico.



ok so we are not yet there
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Quoting zoomiami:
goodness - you guys are feeding the trolls again.

On a weather related note - anyone currently on from Maryland/BWI area? Are you getting snow today or is it further north?

TIA


Hiya zoo, you can get somw real good camera shots at trafficland.com which looks fairly clear right now. Is moving into DC area from SW right now and doesn't look too heavy.
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Quoting Tazmanian:
PcolaDan so it starts by mid MAR too late MAR


In a normal year it tends to start in early to mid April. The more serious season is more in May as the warm fronst really begin to punch north bringing tons of heat and moisture out of the Gulf of Mexico.
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goodness - you guys are feeding the trolls again.

On a weather related note - anyone currently on from Maryland/BWI area? Are you getting snow today or is it further north?

TIA
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Annnd... Another 4 posts between 62 and 75 just went poof. I don't mind intelligent conversation. I do mind name calling.

Have a nice day!
Member Since: August 3, 2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5875
Here's our 7 day forecast, I'm thinking the possibility exist more for Tues. night/ Early Wed. morning...

http://www.baynews9.com/Klystron9.html?category=forecast
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Algae to solve the Pentagon's jet fuel problem

The brains trust of the Pentagon says it is just months away from producing a jet fuel from algae for the same cost as its fossil-fuel equivalent.

The claim, which comes from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) that helped to develop the internet and satellite navigation systems, has taken industry insiders by surprise. A cheap, low-carbon fuel would not only help the US military, the nation's single largest consumer of energy, to wean itself off its oil addiction, but would also hold the promise of low-carbon driving and flying for all.
and
Unlike corn-based ethanol, algal farms do not threaten food supplies. Some strains are being grown on household waste and in brackish water. Algae draw carbon dioxide from the atmosphere when growing; when the derived fuel is burned, the same CO2 is released, making the fuel theoretically zero-carbon, although processing and transporting the fuel requires some energy.

The industry received a further boost earlier this month, when the Environmental Protection Agency declared that algae-based diesel reduced greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50% compared with conventional diesel. The Obama administration had earlier awarded $80m in research grants to a new generation of algae and biomass fuels.

For Darpa, the support for algae is part of a broader mission for the US military to obtain half of its fuel from renewable energy sources by 2016. That time line meant that the Pentagon needed to develop technologies to make its hardware "fuel agnostic", capable that is of running on any energy source including methane and propane.

DARPA is also working on making solar cells much more efficient.

The whole article is worth a read.
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Quoting PcolaDan:


LOL Well, except for the lack of mountains, may be a good idea. Guess there is always Capitol Hill, but you can usually rely on a hot wind there. :)



hot winds?
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Quoting scottsvb:
This board has become a bunch a delousional Global Warming freaks. I guess the avg shmuck has been replying.
I am all for constructive well thought out posts regardless of the position. But this has sunk to mindless
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do i smell a smell i think i smell trolls
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Quoting Tazmanian:
i no i no whats move the Winter Olympics too Washington D.C.


LOL Well, except for the lack of mountains, may be a good idea. Guess there is always Capitol Hill, but you can usually rely on a hot wind there. :)
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PcolaDan so it starts by mid MAR too late MAR
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Flurries?? http://www.baynews9.com/Klystron9.html?category=forecast
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Does any of this really matter to you geeks?
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Quoting PcolaDan:


Do you mean tornado season? That is in spring when the cold dry air meats up with the moist air from the Gulf as the warm fronts start pushing north.



yes
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Quoting scottsvb:


LOL then dont read what I post also! Dumb Dumb. I actually had to un-hide you.. I guess no one likes your posts also?


Wow, how old are you? I really don't care if you had to "un-hide" me. This makes the 4th thing I have posted today. If somone wishes to not read what I have to say, then they can hide me. I don't care if somone disagrees with my posts. thats what intellectual debate is. Recently the blog has gone from intellecual debate, to people getting furious when somone disagrees with them and ending up in a name-calling feud. I assure you more people do not want to read your name calling than whatever I choose to post--most of the time it is weather/climate/blog related, and I also avoid name calling.
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Quoting Tazmanian:
when dos the midwest start geting in too there severe weather season are they this now geting in too it ???


Do you mean tornado season? That is in spring when the cold dry air meats up with the moist air from the Gulf as the warm fronts start pushing north.
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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.