Brrrr! -135.8°F Measured at Earth's New Coldest Spot

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:23 PM GMT on December 10, 2013

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I’m in San Francisco this week for the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), the world’s largest climate science conference. Over five thousand of the world’s top climate scientists are here, giving a staggering 10,000 talks and poster presentations. It’s total information overload, and I will only be able to offer this week but a small sampling of the incredible amount of science being presented here.

What is the coldest place in the world? It is a high ridge above 13,000 feet in Antarctica on the East Antarctic Plateau where temperatures in several hollows can dip below minus 135.8 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 92.2 degrees Celsius) on a clear winter night, announced polar scientist Ted Scambos of the National Snow and Ice Data Center, at a Monday press conference at the AGU conference. The official world cold record of minus 128.6 F (minus 89.2 C), set in 1983 at the Russian Vostok Research Station in East Antarctica will remain intact, though, since official records have to be measured by ground-based instruments. How cold is -135.8°F? That’s so cold that it would hurt to breathe, said Dr. Scambos in an AP interview. That’s also well below the -109°F temperature that dry ice (frozen carbon dioxide) begins to sublimate into gaseous carbon dioxide. But don’t get your hopes up that we can use the newly-found record cold spot to take CO2 out of the air and solve global warming—you need a temperature of -220°F (-140°C) to freeze CO2 out the air into dry ice “snow” at the concentrations that CO2 exists at in our atmosphere (about 398 ppm.) Still, it is an intriguing concept to build giant refrigerators in Antarctica to do just that—something that has been proposed by Purdue climate scientist Ernest Agee, in a research paper titled, CO2 Snow Deposition in Antarctica to Curtail Anthropogenic Global Warming, published earlier this year in the Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology .


Figure 1. With remote-sensing satellites, scientists have found the coldest places on Earth, just off a ridge in the East Antarctic Plateau. The coldest of the cold temperatures dropped to minus 135.8 F (minus 93.2 C)--several degrees colder than the previous record. Image Credit: Ted Scambos, National Snow and Ice Data Center.


Video 1. The coldest place on earth. Data from NASA-USGS Landsat 8 satellite, and NASA's MODIS sensor on the Aqua satellite. Image Credit:  NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center


Figure 2. In this spectacular photo from Antarctica taken by a NASA scientist on November 24, 2013, we see a lenticular cloud over a pressure ridge in the Antarctic sea ice. Lenticular clouds are a type of wave cloud. They usually form when a layer of air near the surface encounters a topographic barrier, gets pushed upward, and flows over it as a series of atmospheric gravity waves. Lenticular clouds form at the crest of the waves, where the air is coolest and water vapor is most likely to condense into cloud droplets. The bulging sea ice in the foreground is a pressure ridge, which formed when separate ice floes collided and piled up on each other. Image credit: NASA Earth Observatory.

Follow this week’s talks at AGU via the Internet
You can watch live streaming and recorded talks at this week’s AGU meeting—nearly 100 sessions (almost 600 presentations in total)--will be available live and on demand. Register here, and be sure to use code AGU13 for free access. You can also browse thousands of poster presentations at the poster site.
 
Amusing story: Metallica Has Officially Rocked on Every Continent Following Antarctica Gig on Sunday

Jeff Masters

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system for the ne showing this weekend sat/sun as per gfs


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Yellowstone National Park

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231. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
India Meteorological Department
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #35
SEVERE CYCLONIC STORM MADI (BOB08-2013)
23:30 PM IST December 10 2013
=======================================

At 18:00 PM UTC, the severe cyclonic storm MADI over west central Bay of Bengal moved slightly southwestward during the past 3 hours and now lays center near 14.9N 84.7E, about 410 km east southeast of Machillipatnam, 530 km northeast of Chennai and 790 km north northeast of Trincomalee (Sri Lanka).

It would move southwestwards and weaken gradually.

According to satellite imagery, the intensity of the system is T3.5. The associated convection depth and intensity have further decreased during past three hrs. Convection is being sheared from the low level circulation center. Associated broken low/medium clouds embedded with intense to very intense convection is seen over the area between 15.0N to 20.0N & between 82.0E to 88.0E. The lowest cloud top temperature is about -50C.

3 minute sustained winds near the center is 50 knots with gusts of 60 knots. The state of the sea is very high around the center of the system. The central pressure of the severe cyclonic storm is 992 hPa.

A buoy located near 14.9N 89.9E reported mean sea level pressure of 1008.0 hPa and surface winds of 16 knots at 1800 UTC of December 10th 2013. Pressure field has been increasing continuously during past 12 hours over the cyclone area of oceanic basin.

The low level convergence along with low level relative vorticity and upper level divergence have decreased considerably during past six hours. The sea surface temperature is about 26-27C. The ocean thermal energy is less than 50 kj/cm2 around the system center. The vertical wind shear of horizontal wind is high (20-30 knots) around system center hence the system is experiencing relatively colder water and high vertical wind shear. Total precipitable water imagery animation also indicates continuous entrainment of cold and dry air into the southern semi-circle of cyclone. It will lead to lack of sufficient supply of warm moist air from south to the core of the cyclone. Further slow movement of the system helped in cooling of sea surface due to upwelling. All these conditions would weaken the system further.

The severe cyclonic storm lies close to the middle tropospheric steering ridge, which runs along 16.0N. With weakening of the system the lower and middle tropospheric winds would continue to steer the system southwestward during next 48 hours.

Forecast and Intensity
========================
12 HRS 13.9N 83.7E - 45-50 knots (Cyclonic Storm)
24 HRS 12.9N 82.7E - 30 knots (Deep Depression)
48 HRS 11.0N 80.5E - Low Pressure Area
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 51 Comments: 46137
230. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Fiji Meteorological Services
Tropical Disturbance Summary
9:00 AM FST December 11 2013
===================================

At 21:00 PM UTC, Tropical Disturbance 05F (1003 hPa) located at 22.5S 175.0E is reported as moving south southwest at 12 knots. Position poor based on multispectral visible imagery and peripheral surface reports. Sea surface temperature is around 26C.

Convection has not increased or deepened much in the last 12 hours. Organization remains poor. System lies to the east of an upper trough in a high sheared environment. Cyclonic circulation extends up to 850 HPA.

Global models have picked up the system and moves it southeastward without much intensification.

The potential for this disturbance to form into a tropical cyclone within the next 48 hours remains Very Low.
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Quoting 220. TropicalAnalystwx13:

I should add "that's how it looks right now" to my post. It's entirely possible that temperatures trend cooler and DC gets accumulating snow like the ECMWF suggests. The NWS is disregarding it for the time being, however.
Interesting next couple of days for sure.Have to see if the models will trend colder (crossing fingers).
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very cold weather!!
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As cold winds blow across the relatively warm waters of the Great Lakes, they will pick up moisture. That moisture, in turn, will be wrung out on the lee side of the lakes in the form of locally intense bands of snow.

For Wednesday and Thursday, very cold air – with temperatures near zero 5,000 feet above the ground – will be crossing the open lakes, where water temperatures are in the mid 30s to low 40s. The temperature difference between the air and water will create instability in the atmosphere, allowing moist air near the lake surface to rise, forming clouds and snow squalls.

"Fetch" is the technical term for the distance over which wind crosses open water. When the wind blows down the long axis of one of the Great Lakes, snowfall potential is maximized on the lee side of that lake. In this case, it looks like three areas will have a favorable fetch:
•East of Lake Ontario over the Tug Hill Plateau in upstate New York, north of Syracuse
•East of Lake Erie over southwest New York, mainly south of Buffalo
•East of Lake Huron's Georgian Bay over Ontario province of Canada, as a long fetch of wind crosses Lake Superior and northern Lake Huron

At this time, at least within the U.S., it appears that the heaviest snow totals will be found east of Lake Ontario, where the favorable fetch and the sharp rise in elevation east of the lake will contribute to storm total accumulations of over 2 feet on the Tug Hill Plateau Tuesday night through early Thursday
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two feet of snow is next!!!
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Quoting 217. washingtonian115:
Thanks.Looks like that model run can be thrown in the trash then.
its the umbrella depiction for you wash
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Interesting post about metallica. Dr. masters would have never struck me a metalhead...

Anyways, after that I guess Nothing Else Matters. ANd of course at the South pole, there Whiskey would be frozen in the Jar.
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Quoting 217. washingtonian115:
Thanks.Looks like that model run can be thrown in the trash then.

I should add "that's how it looks right now" to my post. It's entirely possible that temperatures trend cooler and DC gets accumulating snow like the ECMWF suggests. The NWS is disregarding it for the time being, however.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32509
Quoting 217. washingtonian115:
Thanks.Looks like that model run can be thrown in the trash then.


Don't verify a forecast with another forecast!
Old NWS rule.
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Quoting 169. KEEPEROFTHEGATE:




What was the coldest temperature ever recorded in Florida?






 
The coldest recorded temperature was -2° F on 13 February 1899 in Tallahassee.


Coldest TLH temperature in the 20'th century was 6F in 1985 with 25 knot north winds. They closed FSU that day since so many buildings had broken pipes and no heat.
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Quoting 213. TropicalAnalystwx13:

A new system will impact the Great Lakes/Northeast region this weekend. D.C. may see snow, but warmer temperatures would keep accumulations low to nil.
Thanks.Looks like that model run can be thrown in the trash then.
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Climate Science

The Battle Over Global Warming Is All in Your Head


Despite the fact that more people now acknowledge that climate change represents a significant threat to human well-being, this has yet to translate into any meaningful action. Psychologists may have an answer as to why this is

Today the scientific community is in almost total agreement that the earth’s climate is changing as a result of human activity, and that this represents a huge threat to the planet and to us. According to a Pew survey conducted in March, however, public opinion lags behind the scientific conclusion, with only 69% of those surveyed accepting the view that the earth is warming — and only 1 in 4 Americans see global warming as a major threat. Still, 69% is a solid majority, which begs the question, Why aren’t we doing anything about it?

This political inertia in the face of unprecedented threat is the most fundamental challenge to tackling climate change. Climate scientists and campaigners have long debated how to better communicate the message to nonexperts so that climate science can be translated into action. According to Christopher Rapley, professor of climate science at University College London, the usual tactic of climate experts to provide the public with information isn’t enough because “it does not address key underlying causes.” We are all bombarded with the evidence of climate change on an almost a daily basis, from new studies and data to direct experiences of freakish weather events like last year’s epic drought in the U.S. The information is almost unavoidable.

If it’s not a data deficit that’s preventing people from doing more on global warming, what is it? Blame our brains. Renee Lertzman, an applied researcher who focuses on the psychological dimensions of sustainability, explains that the kind of systemic threat that climate change poses to humans is “unique both psychologically and socially.” We face a minefield of mental barriers and issues that prevent us from confronting the threat.


(MORE: As Temperatures Rise, Empires Fall: Heat and Human Behavior)

For some, the answer lies in cognitive science. Daniel Gilbert, a professor of psychology at Harvard, has written about why our inability to deal with climate change is due in part to the way our mind is wired. Gilbert describes four key reasons ranging from the fact that global warming doesn’t take a human form — making it difficult for us to think of it as an enemy — to our brains’ failure to accurately perceive gradual change as opposed to rapid shifts. Climate change has occurred slowly enough for our minds to normalize it, which is precisely what makes it a deadly threat, as Gilbert writes, “because it fails to trip the brain’s alarm, leaving us soundly asleep in a burning bed.”

Robert Gifford, a professor of psychology and environmental studies at the University of Victoria in Canada, also picks up on the point about our brains’ difficulty in grasping climate change as a threat. Gifford refers to this and other psychological barriers to mitigating climate change as “dragons of inaction.” Since authoring a paper on the subject in 2011 in which he outlined seven main barriers, or dragons, he has found many more. “We’re up to around 30,” he notes. “Now it’s time to think about how we can slay these dragons.” Gifford lists factors such as limited cognition or ignorance of the problem, ideologies or worldviews that may prevent action, social comparisons with other people and perceived inequity (the “Why should we change if X corporation or Y country won’t?”) and the perceived risks of changing our behavior.

Gifford is reluctant to pick out one barrier as being more powerful or limiting than another. “If I had to name one, I would nominate the lack of perceived behavioral control; ‘I’m only one person, what can I do?’ is certainly a big one.” For many, the first challenge will be in recognizing which dragons they have to deal with before they can overcome them. “If you don’t know what your problem is, you don’t know what the solution is,” says Gifford.

Yet this approach can only work if people are prepared to acknowledge that they have a problem. But for those of us who understand that climate change is a problem yet make little effort to cut the number of overseas trips we make or the amount of meat we consume, neither apathy nor denial really explains the dissonance between our actions and beliefs. Lertzman has come to the conclusion that this is not because of apathy — a lack of feeling — but because of the simple fact that we care an overwhelming amount about both the planet and our way of life, and we find that conflict too painful to bear. Our apparent apathy is just a defense mechanism in the face of this psychic pain.

(MORE: The Evil Brain: What Lurks Inside a Killer’s Mind)

“We’re reluctant to come to terms with the fact that what we love and enjoy and what gives us a sense of who we are is also now bound up with the most unimaginable devastation,” says Lertzman. “When we don’t process the pain of that, that’s when we get stuck and can’t move forward.” Lertzman refers to this inability to mourn as “environmental melancholia,” and points to South Africa’s postapartheid Truth and Reconciliation Commission as an example of how to effectively deal with this collective pain. “I’m not saying there should be one for climate or carbon, but there’s a lot to be said for providing a means for people to talk together about climate change, to make it socially acceptable to talk about it.”

Rosemary Randall, a trained psychotherapist, has organized something close to this. She runs the U.K.-based Carbon Conversations, a program that brings people together to talk in a group setting about ways of halving their personal carbon footprint. Writing in Aeon, an online magazine, Randall suggests that climate change is such a disturbing subject, that “like death, it can raise fears and anxieties that people feel have no place in polite conversation.” Randall acknowledges that while psychology and psychoanalysis aren’t the sole solutions to tackling climate change, “they do offer an important way of thinking about the problem.”

Lertzman says the mainstream climate-change community has been slow to register the value of psychology and social analysis in addressing global warming. “I think there’s a spark of some interest, but also a wariness of what this means, what it might look like,” she notes. Gifford says otherwise, however, explaining that he has never collaborated with other disciplines as much as he does now. “I may be a little biased because I’m invested in working in it, but in my view, climate change, and not mental health, is the biggest psychological problem we face today because it affects 100% of the global population.”

Despite the pain, shame, difficulty and minefield of other psychological barriers that we face in fully addressing climate change, both Lertzman and Gifford are still upbeat about our ability to face up to the challenge. “It’s patronizing to say that climate change is too big or abstract an issue for people to deal with,” says Lertzman. “There can’t be something about the human mind that stops us grappling with these issues given that so many people already are — maybe that’s what we should be focusing on instead.”

MORE: The Psychology of Environmentalism: How the Mind Can Save the Planet

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Quoting 204. washingtonian115:
What storm is that coming from?

A new system will impact the Great Lakes/Northeast region this weekend. D.C. may see snow, but warmer temperatures would keep accumulations low to nil.
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Quoting 134. Sfloridacat5:
Why do Global Temperature Anomalies Maps only go back to a 1981 - 2010 baseline?

Was 1981 when satellites started ploting Global Temperatures?

The "baseline" isn't the same as "only goes back to"

The baseline is the climatic average period (typically 30 years) used to calculate anomalies, such as 1.0F above average, 1.0F below average, etc. The period of record gives you information on "how far back" your data goes.
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Quoting 154. Doppler22:


9-12"?? hmm
What storm is that coming from?
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Quoting 195. ncstorm:


Oh I remember quite well and they were wrong about thanksgiving..you even made a snide about the GFS then..you also stated the same rebuttle in referring to those scores which someone posted and told you that wasn't a good case in using... The CPC has been wrong more times than right...but you keep on reaching..

I wish people would research before plussing you ...

...which is a very interesting response to someone who did do research on something when all you provided was a misleading anecdote.
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Never did like Michael Bolton in the 80's, Now I have to endure his Honda commercials...Makes me want to hurl.
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Quoting 199. Doppler22:

I didn't read up so maybe this was the error but at first didn't the CPC predict a warmer November for the East? I think so. I know it eventually caught on and showed the cold air but at first didn't it show warmth? Because November here was def not warmer then average.


They predicted an EC for the majority of the east coast, and a warmer than average for the northeast.
Source
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Quoting 187. Astrometeor:


One error doesn't throw away the good record the CPC has had.

I didn't read up so maybe this was the error but at first didn't the CPC predict a warmer November for the East? I think so. I know it eventually caught on and showed the cold air but at first didn't it show warmth? Because November here was def not warmer then average.
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I'm not sure if this has been posted yet. It's a multi vehicle pile-up near Milwaukee, Wisconsin that happend yesterday. 1 person was killed in this accident. Not a very good picture because its a road cam.
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Quoting 179. Neapolitan:
Meanwhile, the very well-performing CPC says those hoping for a large Southern cooldown before Christmas might be in for disappointment (though it looks to remain chillier than normal around the Great Lakes for the next little while):

cpc

cpc



I'm not so sure about that, NWS already has the peninsula cooling to near and a bit below average next week. Nothing spectacular, but still, the CPC seems a bit overkill on the warmth. The GFS and ECMWF don't appear to reflect well above normal temps continuing, it appears the ridge will break down and get replaced by modest cooling with emphasis on modest.
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Source - Global Distaster Watch website

LARGEST QUAKES so far today -
5.2 SOUTHERN SUMATRA, INDONESIA
5.3 VOLCANO ISLANDS, JAPAN REGION
5.4 SAN JUAN, ARGENTINA

Yesterday, 12/9/13 -
5.1 NEAR EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
5.1 TURKMENISTAN
5.4 SOUTH SANDWICH ISLANDS REGION
5.3 HALMAHERA, INDONESIA
5.0 TONGA

More Earthquakes Keep Jolting North Texas - Another day, another earthquake in North Texas. The ice storm stopped pretty much everything in North Texas, but it hasn't stopped seismic activity.
More earthquakes rocked North Texas Sunday and Monday morning, including another one near Azle. Early Sunday morning, a 3.6-magnitude earthquake struck in Parker County, about 2 miles northwest of Azle. And then early Monday morning, another earthquake struck – a 3.7-magnitude quake about 11 miles northeast of Mineral Wells.
More than 20 earthquakes have hit the region since early November. Several earthquakes have hit in or near Azle. “I thought the house was going to fall down. After it [Sunday's quake] stopped shaking I heard a big boom — like a sonic boom, but you usually get two sonic booms and this was only one.”
What’s causing all of these quakes? Some scientists point to injection wells that are drilled to store wastewater from natural gas drilling.
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Quoting 189. Neapolitan:
I'm afraid you simply don't remember correctly. The CPC has actually earned Heidke skill scores in the 33-60 range for its 6-10 day temperature anomaly outlooks over the past two weeks (where 16 has been the manual average over the past month). Perhaps not an A+, but it can definitely be described as "well-performing" (and I can assure you they've been consistently and substantially better than the 360-hour model-only runs we've seen posted here time and again).


Oh I remember quite well and they were wrong about thanksgiving..you even made a snide about the GFS then..you also stated the same rebuttle in referring to those scores which someone posted and told you that wasn't a good case in using... The CPC has been wrong more times than right...but you keep on reaching..

I wish people would research before plussing you because I posted to your inaccuracy of New Bern, NC highest temp that you posted the other day and instead of you retracting your statement, you left it up as misleading.






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Quoting 171. TropicalAnalystwx13:

Very strange winter so far. Not performing like a cool neutral should be.


I've had two snows already this season with another system that brought flurries. So far so good.
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For the record, CPC's 500 mb height progs in the 8-14 day period look quite similar to the ensemble means.



I'd say the chances of another Arctic intrusion within a couple of days of Christmas look fairly good.
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Quoting 187. Astrometeor:


One error doesn't throw away the good record the CPC has had.

I don't pay close attention the CPC outlooks, but the ones I have seen have ended up pretty wrong so far this fall and winter. I think in general the CPC is slow to model trends (which isn't always a bad thing).
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Quoting 183. ncstorm:


you know if I remember correctly the CPC predicted thanksgiving to be warm for the southeast and you posted the same snippit..yeah its performing well alright..
I'm afraid you simply don't remember correctly. The CPC has actually earned Heidke skill scores in the 33-60 range for its 6-10 day temperature anomaly outlooks over the past two weeks (where 16 has been the manual average over the past month). Perhaps not an A+, but it can definitely be described as "well-performing" (and I can assure you they've been consistently and substantially better than the 360-hour model-only runs we've seen posted here time and again).
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Quoting 186. DonnieBwkGA:


Dulles had 2 snows greater than 3" March this year.

March is known for snows. My sister's birthday is March 28th and it was not uncommon for it to snow on her birthday.
My mom also tells the story about how it snowed on the day she was born.
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Quoting 183. ncstorm:


you know if I remember correctly the CPC predicted thanksgiving to be warm for the southeast and you posted the same snippit..yeah its performing well alright..


One error doesn't throw away the good record the CPC has had.
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Quoting 184. Sfloridacat5:

I feel sorry for the kids.
I grew up in the Washington D.C. area and have lots of fun memories sledding down the big hill behind our house.


Dulles had 2 snows greater than 3" March this year.
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Quoting 179. Neapolitan:
Meanwhile, the very well-performing CPC says those hoping for a large Southern cooldown before Christmas might be in for disappointment (though it looks to remain chillier than normal around the Great Lakes for the next little while):

cpc

cpc

That's more or less what I'd expect to see. Particularly looking at the 8-14 day outlook, five or so days of warmer conditions would probably outweigh the day or two of cold in their graphic. With the cold currently as modeled just starting to dive south at the end of the CPC's forecast period, it's the time period following this one (say 12-20) that could potentially be interesting.
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Quoting 182. DonnieBwkGA:


The last snowfall 2" or more at Reagan National Airport was 5.0" on January 26, 2011. So almost true ;)

I feel sorry for the kids.
I grew up in the Washington D.C. area and have lots of fun memories sledding down the big hill behind our house.
It's been a while. Willard Scott was one of the local weatherman back then. He would stand out in the snow and do the weather forecast. "It's snowing!"
Member Since: September 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 8140
Quoting 179. Neapolitan:
Meanwhile, the very well-performing CPC says those hoping for a large Southern cooldown before Christmas might be in for disappointment (though it looks to remain chillier than normal around the Great Lakes for the next little while):

cpc

cpc


you know if I remember correctly the CPC predicted thanksgiving to be warm for the southeast and you posted the same snippit..yeah its performing well alright..
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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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