Record Cold in a Warming World

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:58 PM GMT on March 04, 2014

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An impressive blast of Arctic air has toppled more records for all-time March cold over the Eastern U.S., in the wake of the major snowstorm that brought 4 - 8" of snow from Missouri to Maryland. Fresh snow is very efficient at radiating heat to space, and the 3.8" of snow that fell in Baltimore on Monday helped drive the temperature down to 5°F on Monday night, tying the city's all-time March low temperature record set on March 4, 1873. The temperature eventually dipped down to 4°F Tuesday morning, breaking the March record. Atlantic City, NJ, which got 5.5" of snow on Monday, also set a new all-time cold record for the month of March on Monday night, when the temperature fell to 2°F. The previous all-time low for the month of March was 3°F set on March 4, 2009. Official records for the Atlantic City area date back to 1874.

At least five other cities have set or tied all-time March cold temperature records during the current cold wave:

Charlottesville, Virginia set an all-time March low of 1°F Tuesday morning (previous record: 7°F on March 4, 1943.)

Billings, Montana set an all-time March low of -21° on March 2, 2014 (previous record: -19°.)

Pierre, South Dakota set an all-time March low on both March 1 and March 2, dipping to -20° (previous record: -19°F on March 11, 1998.)

Flint, Michigan set an all-time March low of -16° on March 3 (previous record: -12°.)

Rockford, Illinois tied its all-time March record low of -11° on March 3.

At least five U.S. cities have set records for their coldest winter on record, as detailed by wunderground's weather historian Christopher C. Burt in his latest blog post. He has not yet compiled a list of cities that have set a record for their warmest winter on record during 2013 - 2014, but I know of at least two: Las Vegas, Nevada, and Tucson, Arizona.


Figure 1. Departure of surface temperature from average as diagnosed by the GFS model at 00 UTC March 4, 2014. A negative phase of the Arctic Oscillation (AO) allowed cold air to spill southwards out of the Arctic over the Eastern U.S., bringing temperatures up to 36°F (20°C) below average. Compensating warm air flowed northwards into the Arctic underneath a ridge of high pressure over Europe. Data/image obtained using Climate Reanalyzer™ (http://cci-reanalyzer.org), Climate Change Institute, University of Maine, Orono, Maine.

How can a planet that is warming experience record cold?
This week's impressive cold blast brings up the question: How can a planet undergoing "global warming" experience record cold? Well, it's a big planet, and the weather has naturally crazy extremes. We expect to see many locations experience all-time daily and monthly cold records each month. It's just that the number of these cold records will be outnumbered by all-time heat records, when averaged over the globe, and over decades. It is called Global Warming for good reason! A 2009 study led by Dr. Jerry Meehl of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, CO found that in the U.S., the ratio of the number of record daily highs to lows was near 1:1 in the 1960s and 1970s, but had increased to more than 2:1 during the decade of the 2000s, due to our warming climate. The ratio for the 2010’s was approximately 2.4-to-1 for daily records, for the four years 2010 - 2013, as explained in detail at Guy Walton's wunderblog. If "business as usual" emissions of heat-trapping gases like carbon dioxide continue this century, this ratio of record highs to record lows is expected to increase to 20:1 by the year 2050, and 50:1 by 2100. So, even on planet experiencing extreme global warming, we will still see a few record low temperatures in the 22nd Century.


Figure 2. Ratio of record daily highs to record daily lows observed at about 1,800 weather stations in the 48 contiguous United States from January 1950 through September 2009. Each bar shows the proportion of record highs (red) to record lows (blue) for each decade. The 1960s and 1970s saw slightly more record daily lows than highs, but in the last 30 years record highs have increasingly predominated, with the ratio now about two-to-one for the 48 states as a whole. ©UCAR, graphic by Mike Shibao; data from a 2009 study led by Dr. Jerry Meehl of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, CO.

Two Years Ago: Summer in March
When we do break all-time heat records in the current warming climate, we should expect that some of these new records will crush the old records in phenomenal ways. That was the case during the astonishing U.S. record-breaking "Summer in March" heat wave just two years ago, in 2012. It was the warmest March on record for the contiguous U.S., 8.6°F above the 20th century average for March, and 0.5°F warmer than the previous warmest March in 1910. Of the more than 1,400 months that have passed since the U.S. record began in 1895, only one month, January 2006, had a larger departure from its average temperature than March 2012. Every state in the nation experienced a record warm daily temperature during March, and 25 states east of the Rockies had their warmest March on record. An additional 15 states had monthly temperatures ranking among their ten warmest. All-time March records were broken at 290 stations, with some stations breaking their all-time March record four times. There were 21 instances of the nighttime temperatures being as warm, or warmer, than the existing record daytime temperature for a given date. Four stations broke daily records by 30°F or more.


Figure 3. "This is the kind of sunset that you can expect to see in July, not in March. 77°F when I took this," said the caption on this wunderphoto taken on March 17, 2012 in Windom, Minnesota by wunderphotographer sally.

Jeff Masters

Apostle Islands Ice (walcek)
You drive on 3-ft. minimum thick ice for a couple miles out to these islands on frozen Lake Superior. (Saves on kayaking workout)
Apostle Islands Ice
Frozen Silence (RevMac)
No one else was out walking a very popular Nashville park on a frozen ice and snow storm day in early March.
Frozen Silence

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Quoting 380. Climate175:
Are some of them completely dead ? All, None. ???

Some plants in there come back by the root, although the tropicals (grown as annuals in N. FL) have died.
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Quoting 379. opal92nwf:
I'm ready for May-June. The winter depression will be eliminated by then. It's pervasive even here in Florida.


Now this is what I want

Although right now it still looks like the first picture I posted..
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Quoting 379. opal92nwf:
I'm ready for May-June. The winter depression will be eliminated by then. It's pervasive even here in Florida.

Haha!.My flowers look like brown dry stubs in the yard.They're very frail and past life support..
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 16444
Quoting 379. opal92nwf:
I'm ready for May-June. The winter depression will be eliminated by then. It's pervasive even here in Florida.

Are some of them completely dead ? All, None. ???
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I'm ready for May-June. The winter depression will be eliminated by then. It's pervasive even here in Florida.

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Quoting 370. etxwx:


Did you have any ice this morning, AtHome? We had just a bit but when my husband drove south this afternoon to go vote, he saw a lot more on the trees than what we had here. Hope all is well with ya'll down there. Stay warm!
Here's a little hope...


Hey etex. Thanks for the hope. lol. I'm just grumpy. :)
We didn't have any ice. I think it was right between our areas. Lumberton, Buna had some. Trees down in Silsbee.
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Quoting 369. ColoradoBob1:
Quoting 363. jpsb:

You'll want to learn what the term "observed event" means. As far as science goes.


Here's an example :

I claim I'm 16 year-old blonde girl with perky breasts .

A group of observers arrive with instruments to measure me. They measure and document I'm a 65 year old man with no upper teeth , an I'm half bald.

What is true ?

I am still a blonde.

That is an observed event.
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Quoting 374. washingtonian115:
It feels like early January outside and not early March.Only difference is that the sun is going down later and is higher in the sky.
Very True.
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Dr. Masters is the topic of this Real Science article from today. Interesting data.

Link
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It feels like early January outside and not early March.Only difference is that the sun is going down later and is higher in the sky.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 16444
Quoting 366. Patrap:


There was a scene like that in the movie, "A Christmas Story", which I am forced to watch every year.
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MARCH 2014
4th-7th. Very unsettled weather; "Muddy Gras" in Louisiana? Is this correct? Farmer's Almanac prediction for Mardi Gras which is today for Louisiana.
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Quoting 362. ncstorm:



was fried Bologna in it?

with mustard
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370. etxwx
Quoting 358. AtHomeInTX:
bleh! enough already! go away cold!

12NewsSETX ‏@12NewsSETX 3m

Today's high of only 36 was the COLDEST March High EVER recorded since records began in 1901!


Did you have any ice this morning, AtHome? We had just a bit but when my husband drove south this afternoon to go vote, he saw a lot more on the trees than what we had here. Hope all is well with ya'll down there. Stay warm!
Here's a little hope...
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Quoting 363. jpsb:

You'll want to learn what the term "observed event" means. As far as science goes.
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Quoting 364. Grothar:
As far as I know, Niagara Falls never really freezes completely. There is always some water trickling down below the ice. However, I remember reading an article many years ago, when the falls were blocked with massive ice jams.
and the water stopped flowing river blocks upstream more so if a heavy ice year as thaw occurs and winds swirl the broken ice around it could lead to blockage some where down in time

till it breaks and a mad rush of water follows it
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Quoting 363. jpsb:





http://climatedatablog.wordpress.com/rss-2/


I thank you for that meaningless graph , never the less , it was 85f degrees here at 4 PM Sat. and 9F degrees here at 5 AM yesterday morning. A 76 degree swing in 2 days.
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365. jpsb
Quoting 349. KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
there is still some running water




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As far as I know, Niagara Falls never really freezes completely. There is always some water trickling down below the ice. However, I remember reading an article many years ago, when the falls were blocked with massive ice jams.
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363. jpsb
Quoting 347. ColoradoBob1:


Observed events sport -
You might want to broaden your reading material ..........


2. Christopher C. Burt, Weather Historian
1:51 AM GMT on March 04, 2014 +3

And down to 9° this morning. An amazing 76° drop over the past two days!


Quoting 1. BaltimoreBrian:
Thought I would add that Lubbock, TX had a most worthy blue norther on March 1/2. The temperature dropped from 85 degrees near 4 p.m. on March 1st to 17 by 9 a.m. on March 2nd. I bet a 68 degree drop in 17 hours ranks high even by their demanding standards! Here are the temperature observations.


Link





http://climatedatablog.wordpress.com/rss-2/
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Quoting 356. Patrap:
I just saw a Barrel go over the falls..with Who Dat on it I think.



was fried Bologna in it?

Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 14629
Quoting 358. AtHomeInTX:
bleh! enough already! go away cold!

12NewsSETX ‏@12NewsSETX 3m

Today's high of only 36 was the COLDEST March High EVER recorded since records began in 1901!


Sounds like a good day for Spring Breakers to hit the beach in Galveston.
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Quoting 345. jpsb:
Niagara Falls comes to a halt AGAIN: Millions of gallons of cascading water is frozen in bitter temperatures




http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2572681/N iagara-Falls-comes-frozen-halt-AGAIN-subfreezing-t emperatures-freeze-millions-gallons-water-normally -flow-Falls.html



Even in the article you can clearly see the water flowing. Once again, the Daily Mail fails to post something factual.
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Classic little March Storm brewing along the Colorado Front Range. It went from a forecast of some rain followed by light snow to 3 to 6 inches over the course of a day. Currently it looks like a 3 to 5 hour window of heavy precipitation (with a potential for 1" to 2" per hour of snow) Currently it is 55 at my house. Forecast is for a backdoor front to come through and switch things from rain to snow between 8pm and 10pm. Wild card is convective activity which can lower snow levels more quickly. At this point we could see some rain for a few hours and an inch of wet snow or a quick change to snow and 10 inches by morning.

The whole thing is gone by 5am and the high is 49 tomorrow with 67 on Thursday. Then on Friday there is potential for a low to cut off and create an upslope event that drops some significant snow again. March along the Colorado Front Range makes watching the weather very interesting here. I suspect the forecasters are pulling their hair out however.
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bleh! enough already! go away cold!

12NewsSETX ‏@12NewsSETX 3m

Today's high of only 36 was the COLDEST March High EVER recorded since records began in 1901!
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Quoting 310. ScottLincoln:


Oh man, you guys sure got me!
It disproves everything I said!


Too bad the phrase wasn't salami. No one would have noticed. :) At least you got to the meat of the problem.
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I just saw a Barrel go over the falls..with Who Dat on it I think.
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"Some"??? Mom, little bro, and I have been taking two shovels and a sledgehammer along with salt to the task today of breaking up ice and snow...the stuff won't go away!

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Niagra Falls live webcam
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 14629
Oof, ended up being 26 degrees below average today for the high temperature.

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Later folks..


EXTENDED FORECAST DISCUSSION
NWS WEATHER PREDICTION CENTER COLLEGE PARK MD
1058 AM EST TUE MAR 04 2014

VALID 12Z FRI MAR 07 2014 - 12Z TUE MAR 11 2014

...OVERVIEW...

THE PREVAILING LONGWAVE PATTERN EXPECTED ACROSS NORTH AMERICA DAYS
3-7/FRI-TUE IS PROJECTED TO BE MOSTLY SPLIT...WITH SHORTWAVE
TROUGHS EXITING THE EASTERN PERIPHERY OF A PACIFIC TROUGH AND
SEPARATING INTO TWO OR MORE SEGMENTS WHILE CROSSING THE WEST...
RESULTING IN PERIODIC DEVELOPMENT OF CLOSED LOWS OVER THE ROCKIES
AND CROSSING THE DEEP SOUTH EVERY FEW DAYS. THIS PATTERN FAVORS
PERIODIC AND OCCASIONALLY CONSTANT PRECIPITATION FOR THE PACIFIC
NORTHWEST...WHILE HEAVY RAINFALL POSSIBLY ACCOMPANIED BY LESS SNOW
AND ICE OCCUR ACROSS THE DEEP SOUTH.
THE SOUTHERN STREAM SYSTEMS
HAVE RELATIVELY GOOD MODEL AGREEMENT AND THUS ARE ASSOCIATED WITH
NEAR TO AT TIMES ABOVE AVERAGE CONFIDENCE. HOWEVER...THE NORTHERN
STREAMS HAVE ONLY AVERAGE AGREEMENT EARLY IN THE PERIOD BEFORE
FALLING BELOW AVERAGE. DUE TO POSSIBLE INTERACTIONS OF THE
VARIOUS STREAMS...PREDICTABILITY AS A WHOLE IS ABOUT AVERAGE WITH
GREATER SEPARATION GENERALLY FAVORING HIGHER PREDICTABILITY WITH
THE SOUTHERN STREAM DUE TO LESS COMPLEXITY.


AS NOTED ABOVE...PREDICTABILITY IS SLIGHTLY HIGHER WITH THE
SOUTHERN STREAM. THUS...EXCEPT
FOR THE SOUTHEAST LOW ON DAY 3/FRI WHERE THE 00-06Z GFS ARE
CONSIDERED TOO FAST AND OFFSHORE...GENERALLY RELIED UPON A
DETERMINISTIC AND ENSEMBLE MEAN CONSENSUS FOR ALL SYSTEMS ACROSS
THE SOUTH. MODELS HAVE TRENDED SLOWER WITH THE LOW ALONG THE
GEORGIA COAST BY EARLY FRIDAY POSSIBLY RESULTING IN HEAVY RAIN OR
MIXED WITH SNOW/ICE INLAND ACROSS THE CAROLINAS. HEAVY RAINFALL
MAY BEGIN TO DEVELOP ACROSS THE CENTRAL TEXAS BY DAY 5/SUN BEFORE
SPREADING EASTWARD ALONG THE GULF COAST EARLY NEXT WEEK IN
ASSOCIATION WITH THE NEXT CLOSED LOW. THE CURRENT MODEL CONSENSUS
SHOWS A WARMING TRENDS ACROSS THE SOUTH AS WELL...WITH IT BECOMING
INCREASINGLY DIFFICULT TO PRODUCE SNOW/ICE AFTER THE FIRST CLOSED
LOW EXITS THE SOUTHEAST EARLY IN THE PERIOD.
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 14629
No, I am not in this picture.


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The Daily Mail.

The England Enquirer.
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Quoting 345. jpsb:
Niagara Falls comes to a halt AGAIN: Millions of gallons of cascading water is frozen in bitter temperatures




http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2572681/N iagara-Falls-comes-frozen-halt-AGAIN-subfreezing-t emperatures-freeze-millions-gallons-water-normally -flow-Falls.html

there is still some running water

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Halt my rear.

Seems the Niagara Falls webcam is flowing fine.
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Quoting 332. jpsb:
I don't know what curve fitting algorithm you used to plot temperature, but that curve in no way fits the data.


Observed events sport -
You might want to broaden your reading material ..........


2. Christopher C. Burt, Weather Historian
1:51 AM GMT on March 04, 2014 +3

And down to 9° this morning. An amazing 76° drop over the past two days!


Quoting 1. BaltimoreBrian:
Thought I would add that Lubbock, TX had a most worthy blue norther on March 1/2. The temperature dropped from 85 degrees near 4 p.m. on March 1st to 17 by 9 a.m. on March 2nd. I bet a 68 degree drop in 17 hours ranks high even by their demanding standards! Here are the temperature observations.


Link
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18z NAM

Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 14629
345. jpsb
Niagara Falls comes to a halt AGAIN: Millions of gallons of cascading water is frozen in bitter temperatures




http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2572681/N iagara-Falls-comes-frozen-halt-AGAIN-subfreezing-t emperatures-freeze-millions-gallons-water-normally -flow-Falls.html

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Quoting 336. barbamz:


Good night hello with another beautiful and powerful wave video from Castro Urdiales, Northern Spain. You know I just love those videos ;-)

When you look at the GFS forecast maps (winds 950hpa) you still see one storm after the other churning the North Atlantic (= all your former winter storms with their martial names) and probably pushing warm air into the heart of the Arctic. Below the map for Saturday. Click the map and mouse over the timetable.



Meanwhile: A period of sunshine for my place with a ridge of high pressure (dear "Guido") establishing across Central Europe.




Forecast for Mainz on Rhine River in Celsius.

Stay well tempered, although Ash Wednesday is arriving soon!


earth model

Date | 2014-03-08 21:00 UTC ⇄ Local

Data | Wind + Temp @ Surface

Link
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340. Patrap 5:50 PM EST on March 04, 2014

Thanks for the backup Pat; now go enjoy your Fat Tuesday.................. :)
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342. jpsb
Quoting 324. ScottLincoln:

You are misrepresenting what Newton's 3rd law of motion means. It doesn't in any way mean that if there is a climate forcing in the warming direction that somehow all of the other forcings will magically just change to the cooling direction to balance out. That's Grade A balogna/baloney/boloney/poloney (depending on who's correcting me).
What you are trying to sell is that putting more CO2 in the atmosphere will only result in higher temps. "All other forcings being equal". Well to that I say bull. All other forcings are never equal in a system as complicated as Earth's climate. Higher temps ->more evaporation->more clouds->lower temps. And that is just one of many many many possible out comes.
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Google:Coral Reef Loss
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Coral dying is the term used a lot now.

Caribbean has lost 80% of its coral reef cover in recent years

Comprehensive survey of the Caribbean's reefs is expected to act as a warning of problems besetting the world's coral


theguardian.com, Thursday 1 August 2013 02.00 EDT

A major survey of the coral reefs of the Caribbean is expected to reveal the extent to which one of the world's biggest and most important reserves of coral has been degraded by climate change, pollution, overfishing and degradation.

The Catlin scientific survey will undertake the most comprehensive survey yet of the state of the region's reefs, starting in Belize and moving on to Mexico, Anguilla, Barbuda, St Lucia, Turks & Caicos, Florida and Bermuda.

The Catlin scientists said the state of the regions' reefs would act as an early warning of problems besetting all of the world's coral. As much as 80% of Caribbean coral is reckoned to have been lost in recent years, but the survey should give a more accurate picture of where the losses have had most effect and on the causes.

Loss of reefs is also a serious economic problem in the Caribbean, where large populations depend on fishing and tourism. Coral reefs provide a vital home for marine creatures, acting as a nursery for fish and a food resource for higher food chain predators such as sharks and whales.

Stephen Catlin, chief executive of the Catlin Group, said: "It is not only important that scientists have access to this valuable data, but companies such as ours must understand the impact that significant changes to our environment will have on local economies."

Globally, coral reefs are under threat. The future of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia is in doubt as mining and energy companies want to forge a shipping lane through it to form a more direct link with their export markets.

Warming seas owing to climate change can lead to coral being "bleached" – a state where the tiny polyps that build the reefs die off. The US government's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts increasing frequency and severity of mass bleaching events as global warming takes effect.

Richard Vevers, director of the project, told the Guardian that one important role of the new survey would be to describe a new "baseline" to establish how far such problems have taken their toll to date, which will enable future scientists to judge how degradation – or conservation – progresses.

He said the team of scientists would also probe the underlying reasons for such degradation, with a view to informing conservation efforts.

The team will use satellite data as well as direct observations to assess the reefs. As part of the survey, they will develop software that marine scientists can apply to other reefs around the world. A new camera has been constructed to assist their efforts.

Vevers said: "The Caribbean was chosen to launch the global mission because it is at the frontline of risk. Over the last 50 years 80% of the corals have been lost due mainly coastal development and pollution. They now are also threatened by invasive species, global warming and the early effects of ocean acidification — it's the perfect storm."
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Been a blowout day at work and just got a chance to read Dr. Master's post. Very good, and concise, information as to the global averages of cold vs. heat records (as Brazil has experienced recently). Folks have to remember that scientists are looking at long-term trends and we are the first generation in history that have the scientific tools (including satellites) to be able to document the "big picture" in real time. I am sure that people on Earth in past eons (within one life time or generation) had no idea that a cooling phase was in effect (a few decades after they were dead) when facing a brutally hot summer or that a warming phase was in effect during a brutal winter.

Another thing to keep an eye on in the next few decades is coral bleaching around the world. While we tend to focus on human impacts on the Continents, a good sign in terms of ocean warming issues is with the corals.
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Coldest Mardi Gras ever here I think, never got out the 30's all day.



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Quoting 335. Sfloridacat5:


Yeah, April is usually the month when the heat gets cranked up.
And the further north you move up Fl. they less of a true wet/dry season there is.


November is usually dry here but rain picks up in the winter. April and May are usually dry also.
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Good night hello with another beautiful and powerful wave video from Castro Urdiales, Northern Spain. You know I just love those videos ;-)

When you look at the GFS forecast maps (winds 950hpa) you still see one storm after the other churning the North Atlantic (= all your former US/Canadian winter storms with their martial names) and probably pushing warm air into the heart of the Arctic. Below the map for Saturday. Click the map and mouse over the timetable.



Meanwhile: A period of sunshine for my place with a ridge of high pressure (dear "Guido") establishing across Central Europe.




Forecast for Mainz on Rhine River in Celsius.

Stay well tempered, although Ash Wednesday is arriving soon!
Member Since: October 25, 2008 Posts: 52 Comments: 5712
Quoting 334. jrweatherman:


In Clearwater. Our dry season also starts in October but it can get really dry in April/May when the cold fronts are less frequent and the summer storms have yet to start. On top of that it gets hot.


Yeah, April is usually the month when the heat gets cranked up.
And the further north you move up Fl. the less of a true wet/dry season there is.
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Quoting 333. Sfloridacat5:


Were are you located?
Dry season starts in October down here in Fort Myers.


In Clearwater. Our dry season also starts in October but it can get really dry in April/May when the cold fronts are less frequent and the summer storms have yet to start. On top of that it gets hot.
Member Since: May 17, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 899
Quoting 306. jrweatherman:


No, I think it's over me here in Clearwater:)

48 hours out and the models are getting pretty aggressive. A real good soaker of 3-6" would be great as we get close to the dry season.


Were are you located?
Dry season starts in October down here in Fort Myers.
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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.