Six more weeks of non-winter

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:35 PM GMT on February 02, 2012

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Here Ye! Here Ye! Here Ye!

On Gobbler's Knob on this magnificent Groundhog Day, February 2nd, 2012
Punxsutawney Phil, the Seer of Seers, the Prognosticator of all Prognosticators,
was summoned from his burrow in the old oak stump
by the tap of President Bill Deedly.

He greeted his handlers, John Griffiths and Ron Ploucha.

After casting an appreciative glance towards thousands of his faithful followers,
Phil proclaimed
As I look at the crowd on Gobbler's Knob
Many shadows do I see
So six more weeks of winter it must be!


That's the official word posted at groundhog.org from Punxsutawney Pennsylvania's famous prognosticating rodent, Punxsutawney Phil, who saw his shadow this morning. According to tradition, this means that a solid six more weeks of winter can be expected across the U.S. When the sun rises in San Francisco, this morning, wunderground's Alan T. Groundhog can give us an additional shadow-based forecast for the coming winter (video here.)


Figure 1. Wunderground's prognosticating groundhog, Alan T. Groundhog, prepares to go in front of the blue screen with wunderground meteorologist Jessica Parker.

How did this this crazy tradition start?
It all started in Europe, centuries ago, when February 2 was a holiday called Candlemas. On Candlemas, people prayed for mild weather for the remainder of winter. The superstition arose that if a hibernating badger woke up and saw its shadow on Candlemas, there would be six more weeks of severe winter weather. When Europeans settled the New World, they didn't find any badgers. So, they decided to use native groundhogs (aka the woodchuck, land beaver, or whistlepig) as their prognosticating rodent.

What winter? The non-winter of 2011 - 2012
Considering winter hasn't really arrived in the lower 48 states yet, I'm not sure how much validity we can give to fearless Phil's forecast. Here in Michigan, like in most of the U.S., we've basically had three straight months of November weather. There have been no major snowstorms, and frequent sunny days with highs in the 50s--twenty five degrees above average. January 2012 is in the weather record books as the 3rd least-snowy January for the contiguous U.S. since snow records began in 1966, the Rutgers Snow Lab reported yesterday, and December 2011 ranked as the 11th least snowy December on record. With the latest 2-week forecast from the GFS model showing a huge ridge of high pressure dominating the Western U.S. and no major snowstorms over the U.S. through mid-February, the winter of 2011 - 2012 has a chance to end up as the second least snowy winter in U.S. history. Temperature statistics for January will not be available until next week, but I expect the month will end up being a top-five warmest January, with temperatures about 4 - 5°F above average. We won't be able to beat the 8.7°F above-average temperature posted during the warmest January in U.S. history, which occurred in 2006. If U.S. temperatures remain 4 - 5°F above average during February, the winter of 2011 - 2012 will be the warmest in U.S. history. The five warmest U.S. winters since record keeping began in 1895 have all occurred since 1992, with the winter of 1999 - 2000 holding the record for warmest winter. Winter average temperature in the contiguous U.S. has been increasing by about 1.6°F per century since 1895 (Figure 2.)


Figure 2. Winter temperatures in the contiguous U.S. during the period 1895 - 2011 increased at a rate of about 1.6°F per century. The warmest winter was 1999 - 2000, and the coldest was 1978 - 1979. Image credit: NOAA/NCDC.

What's going on?
This January's remarkable warmth and lack of snow contrasts starkly with what happened during the previous two winters. January 2011 was the 5th snowiest and 35th coldest in U.S. history, and January 2010 was the 7th snowiest and 55th coldest. Wunderground meteorologist Angela Fritz had this to say in her blog post yesterday about what's been going on this winter: In December, we were reporting that the lower-48's unseasonably warm weather and lack of snow was due to a particularly positive Arctic Oscillation (AO) index. The Arctic Oscillation is a measure of the jet stream's strength. A positive AO is a stronger than average jet stream, and it tends to keep cold air bottled up in the Arctic. During a positive AO, the Arctic is colder than average, and the mid-latitudes are warmer than average. In December and early January, the AO was positive. In mid-January, the AO went negative, which we expect to have the opposite impact. A weak jet steam means cold, Arctic air can escape to the south, and that's what we've been seeing in Europe this week. This cold air has yet to spill southwards into the Eastern U.S. like it usually does during a negative-AO period, since the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO)--the component of the AO over the North Atlantic--has not gone negative, and is close to normal right now. However, the long-range GFS model is predicting a modest cold air outbreak will occur over the Eastern U.S. around February 15.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting WeatherNerdPR:

*the
I don't have mah glasses on.So I may miss a few words.I'm almost bling.I'm use to the strong presription in my glasses.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 16444
Quoting MTWX:

Kepler isn't the one that found this one, it looks quite a bit further out. This was discovered by land based sites. And yes, the GFS is looking at spinning up a storm in the gulf... How's the weather been down there??

OOPS! I'll modify my comment.
Weather's been rainy, breezy with highs in the upper 70s to low 80s.
Member Since: July 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5648
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 20547
145. MTWX
Quoting WeatherNerdPR:
Kepler seems to be very efficient at it's job, 2nd Goldilocks planet in less than 2 months:
Jackpot: astronomers tag Goldilocks planet


Also, is that a TS in the GFS?

Kepler isn't the one that found this one, it looks quite a bit further out. This was discovered by land based sites. And yes, the GFS is looking at spinning up a storm in the gulf... How's the weather been down there??
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Quoting washingtonian115:
Oh no it's rhe ghost of Lee!!!!.
I thought T.S.Karen was back.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 20547
The euro still insists that cold air is on the way...
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 20547
Quoting washingtonian115:
Oh no it's rhe ghost of Lee!!!!.

*the
Member Since: July 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5648
Quoting WxGeekVA:




T.S. Lee part 2.
Oh no it's the ghost of Lee!!!!.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 16444
Astronomers find another Goldilocks planet:
Jackpot: astronomers tag Goldilocks planet


Also, is that a TS in the GFS?
Member Since: July 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5648
back l8r
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4481
Quoting WxGeekVA:




T.S. Lee part 2.


i think we should name it corky...not alberto xD
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4481
Quoting hydrus:
Tell ya what, if this comes to fruition, we will have another one for the record books...Latest GFS run 168 hours..




T.S. Lee part 2.
Member Since: September 3, 2011 Posts: 13 Comments: 3468
It's not "here ye, here ye!"- it's "hear ye, hear ye." Before people could post to Facebook and twitter and before they could even pass on news by phone there was the town crier who would draw attention to announcements with "hear ye!" in other words "listen up"- or in modern terms "you have a new message" :-)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Effective Storm Relatively Helicity maxes out around 400j/kg. I've seen this used in High risk areas before, and what this means is that we'll be seeing quite a few tornadoes across the Texas panhandle and western Texas tonight. Effective Bulk Shear is between 200-400, which is also very strong.

Supercells and tornadoes are favored tonight, more so possibly than originally thought.
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We have a neutral NAO...


and a positive PNA for some time now...

Yet the east has a nice warm febuary beginning. lol...
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4481
Quoting HurrikanEB:
Obviously, winter is bound to become somewhat of a novelty as this century wears on. But I still have full faith that this winter will rebound just enough to give the northeast at least one or two more fairly decent snowfalls. I also cling to the belief that not all of the winters in the next few years will be this miserable.

thanks, for the update... counting on that GFS cold snap as we head into the latter part of February/March

clarification: miserable = little/no snow.


This is the same kind of thing that was said 5 years ago. Then we had back to back winters that featured "Snowmageddon" and the "Snowpocalypse".
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Quoting hydrus:
Tell ya what, if this comes to fruition, we will have another one for the record books...Latest GFS run 168 hours..
Looks more like June.I would love to track a tropical cyclone in Feb.That would be sweet!.So if the rest of the season turns out to be a bust I can at least have something to be happy for.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 16444
Tell ya what, if this comes to fruition, we will have another one for the record books...Latest GFS run 168 hours..
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 20547
Quoting barbamz:
O I forgot, last thing I originally wanted to share. You know we've got a population of already thousands of parakeets (ring-necked parrots) in the wildlife near Rhine River? They manage to survive because of the usually mild climate (and moreover, GW) and can handle even some cold days in winter. This week a parakeet was found on the balcony in my neighborhood, obviously injured. The bird (a female, therefore without ring around the neck) stayed the night in the livingroom under the heater. She's got a very healthy appetite, so she recovered somehow. Next day we took her to the animal shelter. Probably the best for her in respect to the forthcoming even colder nights!


The wild parrot on a adjacent balcony

Ring-necked parrots take over Germany and southern England
She looks pretty.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 16444
O I forgot, last thing I originally wanted to share. You know we've got a population of already thousands of parakeets (ring-necked parrots) in the wildlife near Rhine River? They manage to survive because of the usually mild climate (and moreover, GW) and can handle even some cold days in winter. This week a parakeet was found on the balcony in my neighborhood, obviously injured. The bird (a female, therefore without ring around the neck) stayed the night in the livingroom under the heater. She's got a very healthy appetite, so she recovered somehow. Next day we took her to the animal shelter. Probably the best for her in respect to the forthcoming even colder nights!


The wild parrot on an adjacent balcony

Ring-necked parrots take over Germany and southern England
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
a little sloppy with thunder bolts and such
I,ll work on it Keep. The gulf is lookin a bit unsettled. There is a small low moving of of Mexico into the gulf. It will be neat to see how it interacts with all that moisture. Please post or link some more forecast models if possible... South Indian Ocean lookin agitated.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 20547
Obviously, winter is bound to become somewhat of a novelty as this century wears on. But I still have full faith that this winter will rebound just enough to give the northeast at least one or two more fairly decent snowfalls. I also cling to the belief that not all of the winters in the next few years will be this miserable.

thanks, for the update... counting on that GFS cold snap as we head into the latter part of February/March

clarification: miserable = little/no snow.
Member Since: May 2, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 1306
Quoting NoNamePub:
Can any one post Current SST's vs Last years Same Date?Not sure where to find them

Mahalo in advance! 




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Quoting Grothar:


Hey barb. Stay warm!


I try to do so, Gro. Til now I'm fine. But the next week I'm going to the Alpes for some cross-country skiing. I hope the cold will be gone by then, otherwise I'll be glued to the ground with my ski, lol.

Last link to some more cruelties (Reuters) and good night! Barb

Villagers scramble for fuel in Europe's big chill

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This is awesome, yet the noise they make is actually slightly unnerving.


Member Since: September 3, 2011 Posts: 13 Comments: 3468
Nice sunset on the traffic cam. Glad the bridge didn't blow up.
Member Since: May 18, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 5961
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Quoting barbamz:
Always be careful to trust in weather!

From Spiegel Online (you know in Germany the names of future highs and lows can be ordered by people):
Marketing Mishap
European Cold Front 'Cooper' Sponsored by Mini
Dozens of people have been killed so far as a high pressure system from Siberia holds much of Europe in its icy grip. The cold front has been named "Cooper" in Germany, after the Mini Cooper compact. The company's advertising agency having paid 299 euros to sponsor it.
More

And, btw, hi Grothar and Pat!


Hey barb. Stay warm!
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 69 Comments: 25517
Depth and breadth of the 26C Thermoline


Tropical Cyclone Heat Potential




Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127701
Quoting WxGeekVA:


18Z GFS has a fairly intense tropical/subtropical entity in the GOM next Thursday.


So the models still support the system (possible Alberto)? Chances of development could rise to .01% if they still support it on Saturday...
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Quoting Patrap:
Europe really taking a Brutal Blow from Winter with "Cooper".

Hello barbamz.


Yeah, and you're already going to reopen the hurricane season in the GOM? At least some nice rain, especially for Texas, as much as I can see.
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18Z GFS has a fairly intense tropical/subtropical entity in the GOM next Thursday.
Member Since: September 3, 2011 Posts: 13 Comments: 3468
Uploaded by mayanmanifestor on Jan 31, 2012

Dozens Die in European Winter

It may not have felt very cold in most of the U.S., but in Central and Eastern Europe a brutal cold snap has killed at least 48 people so far. Ukrainian authorities say 30 people have died of hypothermia in recent days alone. Temperatures in Kiev are 10 below zero Fahrenheit and are projected to be about two below in Moscow today. It's normally about 18 degrees in Moscow at this time of year. In Prague, where the cold has also damaged train tracks, authorities are setting up tents for an estimated 3,000 homeless people.

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127701
Europe really taking a Brutal Blow from Winter with "Cooper".

Hello barbamz.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127701
Always be careful to trust in weather!

From Spiegel Online (you know in Germany the names of future highs and lows can be ordered by people):
Marketing Mishap
European Cold Front 'Cooper' Sponsored by Mini
Dozens of people have been killed so far as a high pressure system from Siberia holds much of Europe in its icy grip. The cold front has been named "Cooper" in Germany, after the Mini Cooper compact. The company's advertising agency having paid 299 euros to sponsor it.
More

And, btw, hi Grothar and Pat!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
A nasty GOM with that flow Gro..

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127701


Larger Image

Hubble Zooms in on a Magnified Galaxy


Thanks to the presence of a natural "zoom lens" in space, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope got a uniquely close-up look at the brightest "magnified" galaxy yet discovered.

This observation provides a unique opportunity to study the physical properties of a galaxy vigorously forming stars when the universe was only one-third its present age.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127701
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 69 Comments: 25517
Short hello from Germany. Dr. Masters asks above "What winter?" Well, winter emigrated to old Europe and is going to stay at least for another week. But no snow in my region (different thing in southern Europe). Bad thing for unprotected and poor people, especially in the East and South.

Read more:
Cold snap claims 160 lives across Europe
A cold snap in Europe has led to the deaths of 160 people as countries from Italy to Ukraine struggle to cope with plummeting temperatures.
Updated: 22:26, Thursday, 2 February 2012



Temperature right now in Germany (Celsius)
www.wetteronline.de
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108. chizarlie

http://www.cafepress.com/wunderground


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127701
How do I get one of those sweet t-shirts?
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Quoting hydrus:
The jet digging in near the Carolina,s and the N.E. quadrant. Might get cold for ya Press..
a little sloppy with thunder bolts and such
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Quoting presslord:


he probably heard someone reference "the Carolinas"...and just lost it...
The jet digging in near the Carolina,s and the N.E. quadrant. Might get cold for ya Press..
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 20547
Quoting presslord:


he probably heard someone reference "the Carolinas"...and just lost it...
maybe,one never really knows. except the one that takes that coarse of action.
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
why is he doing that do ya think hes upset about something maybe a total break down a man at the end of his rope maybe


he probably heard someone reference "the Carolinas"...and just lost it...
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10479
Quoting presslord:
the Ravenel Bridge guy keeps ramming his SUV into the side of the bridge....
why is he doing that do ya think hes upset about something maybe a total break down a man at the end of his rope maybe
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they just took him out
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10479
Quoting trunkmonkey:


Here in Indianapolis, the weather is great 52 degrees, sunny, Sunday, rain 47 degrees, but wow can't ask for better weather, 50k people each night downtown Indy, I was down the other nite, NFL experience really neat, I bet the Superbowl will come back to Indy, we know how to throw a party! :)


reporters and visitors to your city have nothing but great things to say about your city and the people. Great job and loud applause for the city of Indianapolis.
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Quoting presslord:
OK...this is great....a bunch of cruise ship passengers went out to visit Boone Hall....and now they can't get back to the ship....and it's gonna sail this evening....I don't understand not taking this guy out



Yeah...dont eff with a man's hard earned cruise ship vacation! roflmao!
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Quoting NEwxguy:


Yeh,got a big party set.We're the only part of the country rooting for them,and pretty much everybody is picking the Giants.Should be a great game no matter what happens.


I'm a Jets fan, and I will never ever ever ever ever ever root for the Patsies to win a football game ever, not even for a million dollars!!!!!!

Let's Go Giants!!!!
Member Since: September 3, 2011 Posts: 13 Comments: 3468
Quoting NEwxguy:


Yeh,got a big party set.We're the only part of the country rooting for them,and pretty much everybody is picking the Giants.Should be a great game no matter what happens.


Here in Indianapolis, the weather is great 52 degrees, sunny, Sunday, rain 47 degrees, but wow can't ask for better weather, 50k people each night downtown Indy, I was down the other nite, NFL experience really neat, I bet the Superbowl will come back to Indy, we know how to throw a party! :)
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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.

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