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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1083. LargoFl
THE LATEST GFS/ECMWF SHOWS A STRENGTHENING LOW LEVEL JET (40 TO 50
KNOT RANGE) OVER THE EASTERN GULF SHIFTING EASTWARD ACROSS THE
PENINSULA DURING THE DAY AHEAD OF THE SURFACE LOW WITH EFFECTIVE
DEEP LAYERED SHEAR INCREASING TO AROUND 45 KNOTS. THIS SHEAR
COMBINED WITH FAVORABLE VERTICAL WIND PROFILES SUGGESTS THE
POSSIBILITY OF ORGANIZED STORMS AFFECTING THE REGION DURING THE
AFTERNOON WITH DAMAGING WINDS THE PRIMARY HAZARD. IN ADDITION A
TORNADO OR TWO CAN NOT BE RULED OUT GIVEN 0-3KM HELICITY VALUES
INCREASING INTO THE 250-400 M2/S2 RANGE ESPECIALLY IN AREAS WHERE
LOW LEVEL SHEAR AND INSTABILITY ARE MAXIMIZED. RATHER COLD MID LEVEL
TEMPERATURES (-10 TO -12C RANGE) VIA MODEL FORECAST SOUNDINGS ALSO
SUGGESTS THE POTENTIAL FOR SOME HAIL WITH THE STRONGEST STORMS.
GIVEN ALL OF THIS WILL INCLUDE DAMAGING WIND/HAIL WORDING IN THE
MORNING ZONE PACKAGE.
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1082. LargoFl
well all the ingredients are there for one real stormy day today huh....
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Good Morning (or whatever for your particular time zone)
Cold, What Cold?

Grayling Army Air Field, Michigan -19
Detroit 13
Grayling, Alaska 3

Now -22

Everything seems (the new lol) normal
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1080. LargoFl
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1079. LargoFl
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1078. LargoFl
geez we are in for it today around tampa bay......
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1077. LargoFl
GFS has the low coming into just north of Tampa Bay...
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1076. LargoFl
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1075. LargoFl
Folks..stay alert today....................
THIS HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK IS FOR WEST CENTRAL AND SOUTHWEST
FLORIDA.

.DAY ONE...TODAY AND TONIGHT.

...THUNDERSTORM IMPACT...
A LARGE AREA OF THUNDERSTORMS IS CURRENTLY MOVING EAST THROUGH THE
GULF OF MEXICO AHEAD OF A GULF LOW AND COLD FRONT. THESE STORMS
WILL EXPAND ONSHORE LATE THIS MORNING AND THROUGH THE AFTERNOON
AND EVENING HOURS. THE PRIMARY THREATS WILL BE DAMAGING WIND
GUSTS...SMALL HAIL...AND ISOLATED TORNADOES AND WATER SPOUTS.
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1074. LargoFl
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1073. LargoFl
well a rainy windy day ahead for us here today....
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1072. LargoFl
good Morning................
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Wheee! More rain due on Friday. This morning it was 20%, lunch time it was 60%, and before I went to my room it was up to 70%. Tomorrow some wind off Pyramid Lake - the clouds were all lenticular off in that direction as early as this evening's sunset, so I'm guessing earlier than the predicted 11:00am onset. Highs in the mid-60's, great weather to continue my excavation of the septic. Supposedly it was "engineered" installation; what I found now that I've dug up the pipe where it goes into the tank is the concrete around the intake pipe is rotted and torn to crumbles by the roots of the mulberry tree 20 or so feet away. Also the coupler that attaches the main line to the tank was never glued into place. And the drop is so feeble from the mid-line port to the tank that the pipe was half full of some dense, clay-like sludge. That section was the last of the "freezes up at the drop of a hat" line segment, and now I know why.

By the time I'm finished getting this system into shape, I will have learned more about plumbing than my mom.

Fred Lechuga, (www.fat2fitfred.com), a G+ acquaintance of mine, is really sick of having to run in the Chicago cold. Said he had to shovel this morning (after his running/yoga/workout) for the 100th time this winter (I do believe he's keeping track too.) I occasionally torment him with the long range stuff I see from y'all here.

The goats are now spending most of the day in the rapidly greening-up pasture. Lily the Nigerian cross (got some Nigerian, Boer and Pygmy in her blood) is bagging up and I really hope she doesn't wake me up in the midst of a cold, rainy March night needing a, um, "helping hand" with her kidding.

My little glass of "cherry herring" is empty now, one more refresh of the screen and I'm off. Lovely conversations as always! G'night.
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1070. sar2401
Quoting Jedkins01:


Nice looking upper system, convection is firing on schedule in the quadrant beneath strong upper divergence.

So what do you think, Jed? Are those storms in the Panhandle going to get to me in Eufaula? I still need to decide if I dope up the dog before I go to bed.
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86 days til hurricane season.
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Nice looking upper system, convection is firing on schedule in the quadrant beneath strong upper divergence.
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Quoting 1065. Astrometeor:


You win.

Enough for me tonight, looks like I will have school for the first time this week tomorrow. Counties Closed for Tomorrow

Also, my school announced today that the basketball game tomorrow is more important than the ACT test...they canceled the ACT test for all of the juniors. Now the juniors have to use their own time to take the test...I feel bad for them.

Juniors can now ride the Pep Bus. The ACT will not be administered to juniors on Thursday, March 6.

Even at a school for smart people...sports are still favored over academia. Sad.


If your school's basketball team is in playoffs, I can understand why they had to reschedule ACT since you can't really move state playoffs game to another day or it'll mess up the whole tournament across Tennessee.
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Another bust of a forecast from the NWS and TWC. Was supposed to get to 41 yesterday, we got to 31.5

Today it was supposed to get to 48 (then they adjusted downward to 45, with TWC calling for 51)...it got to 35.8 according to my weather station.

We still have some snow on the ground, so that probably contributed. But still! Bad forecasting this winter...
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Quoting 1064. Grothar:


lol. I am inundated with them.


You win.

Enough for me tonight, looks like I will have school for the first time this week tomorrow. Counties Closed for Tomorrow

Also, my school announced today that the basketball game tomorrow is more important than the ACT test...they canceled the ACT test for all of the juniors. Now the juniors have to use their own time to take the test...I feel bad for them.

Juniors can now ride the Pep Bus. The ACT will not be administered to juniors on Thursday, March 6.

Even at a school for smart people...sports are still favored over academia. Sad.
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1064. Grothar
Quoting 1063. Astrometeor:


You just have a flood of bad jokes, don't you Gro?


lol. I am inundated with them.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 27211
Quoting 1062. Grothar:


Nite nc. Whatever floats your boat.


You just have a flood of bad jokes, don't you Gro?
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1062. Grothar
Quoting 1052. ncstorm:
Good night yall..Florida just in time for the Noah movie..



Nite nc. Whatever floats your boat.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 27211

000
FXUS62 KTBW 060150
AFDTBW

AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TAMPA BAY RUSKIN FL
850 PM EST WED MAR 5 2014

.UPDATE...LARGE COMPLEX OF STORMS OVER THE GULF IS ASSOCIATED WITH
A LEAD SHORT-WAVE WELL AHEAD OF THE MAIN UPPER-LEVEL TROUGH OVER
TEXAS. CONVECTIVE DEBRIS WILL CONTINUE TO SHEAR ACROSS THE REGION
OVERNIGHT...BUT HARD TO SAY WHETHER OR NOT WE WILL SEE ANY
MEASURABLE RAINFALL AS THE 00Z TBW SOUNDING STILL SHOWS A
CONSIDERABLE DRY LAYER BETWEEN 800 AND 600 MBS. MADE SOME TWEAKS
TO THE POPS AND WEATHER...BUT DO NOT PLAN TO SEND TEXT ZONE
FORECAST UPDATES AT THIS TIME.

ADDITIONAL RAINS WILL BE APPROACHING THE NATURE COAST TOWARD
MORNING WITH THE MAIN EVENT MOVING FROM NORTHWEST TO SOUTHEAST OVER
OUR AREA BETWEEN 10 AM AND 7 PM THURSDAY. GLOBAL MODELS ARE
HANDLING THIS GULF SYSTEM SIMILARLY SHOWING LOW PRESSURE MOVING
FROM THE NORTHEAST GULF THURSDAY AFTERNOON TO ACROSS NORTH FLORIDA
AND INTO THE ATLANTIC BY THURSDAY EVENING. THESE MODELS SHOW A
RATHER ROBUST LOW-LEVEL JET WITH AROUND 40 KNOTS OF BULK SHEAR
SUPPORTING THE SLIGHT RISK OF SEVERE STORMS FORECAST FOR OUR AREA.
THE NAM IS MUCH LESS IMPRESSIVE WITH THE LOW IN THE GULF AND
THEREFORE WEAKER WITH THE WINDS. BASED ON THE STRENGTH OF THIS
UPPER-LEVEL TROUGH...THINK THE GLOBAL MODELS ARE HANDLING THIS
BETTER THAN THE NAM. IT DOES NOT LOOK LIKE WE WILL HAVE VERY STEEP
LAPSE RATES IN THE HAIL GROWTH REGION...SO THE PRIMARY THREAT WILL
BE DAMAGING WIND GUSTS AND A FEW WATERSPOUTS AND/OR TORNADOES.
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Quoting 1055. PcolaSurf182:
Lots of lightening and thunder in Pensacola right now. No rain yet. Looks like it's all still out over the Gulf, but it's definitely on it's way.


Not surprised, the upper system is providing strong upper divergence, that means fast updraft speed and thus lots of lightning.

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1059. sar2401
Quoting WaterWitch11:
Parched Wine Country growers turning to water witches

Link

:)

Having lived in Wine Country for almost 30 years, I can't say I'm surprised by this. A lot of people there also believe in psychic powers, ghosts, and UFO's. My theory is too much cocaine over too many years causes your brain to go funny. :-)
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1058. sar2401
Quoting PcolaSurf182:
Lots of lightening and thunder in Pensacola right now. No rain yet. Looks like it's all still out over the Gulf, but it's definitely on it's way.

Thats what it looks like on radar, It appears the storms are starting to lose lightning as they come ashore. As long as they don't maintain convection as they move NE into SE Al, I won't have to dope up the dog. I don't know what the deal is with these 3 in the morning storms all the time now. I've had to drag myself out of bed three times in the past month to put the dog in a windowless bathroom where he can't see the lightning and the thunder isn't as loud. He still goes nuts, poor guy.
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Parched Wine Country growers turning to water witches

Link

:)
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1056. ncstorm
well one more post and then I am out..

Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 16225
Lots of lightening and thunder in Pensacola right now. No rain yet. Looks like it's all still out over the Gulf, but it's definitely on it's way.
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Quoting 1053. sar2401:

I don't want to hear that. Out setup is for a Georgia Wedge, which transports cold air from the Carolinas over to Alabama. We are already expecting highs to be in the low 40's so we don't need any more cold air sneaking in.
Right now, models are overperforming the temperatures here slightly by 5 degrees. That's a sign that models are being too warm for tomorrow night.
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1053. sar2401
Quoting Bluestorm5:
00z runs have really favored snowstorm here now. What a big shift from rain to ice to snow in just 12 hours for WNC...

I don't want to hear that. Out setup is for a Georgia Wedge, which transports cold air from the Carolinas over to Alabama. We are already expecting highs to be in the low 40's so we don't need any more cold air sneaking in.
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1052. ncstorm
Good night yall..Florida just in time for the Noah movie..

Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 16225
00z runs have really favored snowstorm here now. What a big shift from rain to ice to snow in just 12 hours for WNC...
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1050. sar2401
So, seriously, I need advice. I'm looking at a bunch of thunderstorms forming in the Gulf off the western FL Panhandle. Anyone want to give me their best guess if they think the storms might get to me in SE AL and when? I need to decide if and when I should dope up my dog. He gets completely panic stricken during a storm and he's getting older, so getting that upset isn't good for him. I've tried everything my vet and I know and nothing works except a sedative. If I give it to him too early, it wears off before the storms get here. Too late and it doesn't act fast enough. I also hate to dope him up if we're not going to have a storm. Birmingham, of course, just says showers.
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1048. sar2401
Quoting PedleyCA:
Time to Bail - Stay Safe - Stay Warm - Hang in There Peeps...

GN, Ped, if you're not already in the sack.
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To be honest, the good thing about 2013 being dull is that there's no hype going into 2014 and that make it easier on waiting for a storm to pop out.
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1046. sar2401
Quoting KoritheMan:

Correct. As boring as last year's hurricane season was, I still find it rather... endearing that we only had two hurricanes and no major hurricanes.

What I found "endearing" was that the NHC/NOAA and CSU's August updates dropped, I think, one storm from a prediction that needed about a storm every 10 days to come true. I think almost all the regulars here could sense that the 2013 season was headed down the dumper but not the people who are supposed to know. The seemed to get locked in to what the computers spit out in June and made a modest adjust even when the A-B was holding firm, the SAL layer was not going away, and instability in the Atlantic was pathetic. I'll be interested to see the predictions for this year and to see if the August updates are more realistic.

BTW, if any of you "The NHC/NWS are gods and can do no wrong" types are still up, just hush up for once. :-)
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Quoting 1041. GTstormChaserCaleb:
Kori will be just fine he has been through a hurricane before, the most I have been through is the back end of Hurricane Jeanne, got a wind gust of 80 mph. which wasn't too bad. But I can only imagine when sustained winds start getting up past 100 mph. how nasty it can get. Anyone actually been inside a wind tunnel before? We actually have one at our school. Might have to test it out a day. :D

Link


I really liked the experience of Frances and Jeanne, intense enough to be exciting but not bad enough to rip things apart, Debby turned out to be surprisingly fun because it formed a pseudo front that stalled over our area with numerous severe thunderstorms, some producing tornadoes. My storm total was 13 inches from it, and a wind gust to 64 mph, a lot more impressive than the original 40 mph gusts and 3 inches of rain originally expected.

I remember meeting you out at Indian Rocks Beach for Debby. Maybe we'll touch base again over the summer if we get another tropical system.
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KoritheMan 3:11 AM GMT on March 06, 2014 +1

Quoting 1017. nwobilderburg:


True, but at least I don't have to worry about hurricanes every year. Just an earthquake every 30 years.
On the contrary, one of the primary reasons I'd never leave Louisiana is the hurricanes.


And both reasons why I'll take the UK anyday...lack both! And lack tornadoes, and extreme heat, extreme ice storms, volcanoes even etc. I'm fascinated by them all...but don't want to be where any of it is close to commonplace. Life is hard enough and riddled with enough random problems and drama to deal with mother nature in extreme too! LOL

When my ex asked if I fancied moving to the UK, cause he didn't want to live in the US...geologically and meteorologically...it was a def yes LOL
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Time to Bail - Stay Safe - Stay Warm - Hang in There Peeps...
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Quoting 1017. nwobilderburg:


True, but at least I don't have to worry about hurricanes every year. Just an earthquake every 30 years.


Having been through both, if given the choice between earthquakes and hurricanes, I'll pick hurricanes every time. This is attributed to the following reasons: 1) you have at least 3 days warning most of the time 2) you can prepare hurricane parties to enhance the no power/stuck inside experience, and 3) It is warm if you are getting hit by a hurricane.

Earthquakes are one heck of a surprise!
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Quoting 1038. Doppler22:



**I'll remove if you ask me to mods**
Kori will be just fine he has been through a hurricane before, the most I have been through is the back end of Hurricane Jeanne, got a wind gust of 80 mph. which wasn't too bad. But I can only imagine when sustained winds start getting up past 100 mph. how nasty it can get. Anyone actually been inside a wind tunnel before? We actually have one at our school. Might have to test it out a day. :D

Link
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Quoting 1036. Qazulight:


91......see that would make you 23.

Plenty of jobs in Fargo.

Last night was about 4 and we are looking at negative something Saturday morning.

Looking forward to wearing cotton under garments again. With the static from nylon and the gas from a little beer and Sauerkraut, a person could self immolate getting undressed at night.

Cheers



Heck, why not go all out, send the poor kid to Williston to freeze to death? Plenty of jobs out there!

But because I can only plus a post once, I had to come out of lurk mode tonight - I feel like a bad adult because a fart joke just made my day. :)
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Quoting 1028. TropicalAnalystwx13:

What's a hurricane?


Depends on where you are.

In New Orleans it is rum fruit juice, syrup.

In the Bahamas is it coffee liqueur, 151 rum, Irish cream, and Grand Marnier.

Cheers
Qazulight
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Quoting 1035. Astrometeor:


Those things that like to avoid Kori at all costs.



**I'll remove if you ask me to mods**
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Quoting 1025. Dakster:


And wondering whether that will be the one that puts most of CA in the Ocean.


HEY, No need to go there!!!
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Quoting 1012. KoritheMan:

Yeah, no foolin'. I was born in '91, so I am more than a little ecstatic I got to witnes such extremities.

Still lamenting that I've never seen overnight lows in the single digits, though, like where BR had a week of temperatures below 10F in 1989. Oh well.


91......see that would make you 23.

Plenty of jobs in Fargo.

Last night was about 4 and we are looking at negative something Saturday morning.

Looking forward to wearing cotton under garments again. With the static from nylon and the gas from a little beer and Sauerkraut, a person could self immolate getting undressed at night.

Cheers
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Quoting 1028. TropicalAnalystwx13:

What's a hurricane?


Those things that like to avoid Kori at all costs.
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Quoting 1008. hydrus:
I am tired of the cold. This was the coldest winter folks have seen here since 1985. And it definitely felt like it. I am concerned with this, so I will just watch the next few days to see what happens. I dont have to tell you with spring upon us, and the very cold air still being pushed far to the south, a serious severe weather outbreak is a distinct possibility. That is why I hope the Euro and GFS drop it.


Even more so if this continues well through spring, more cold air air spilling south also means deep troughs, strong upper systems. Eventually, there will be violent severe weather.

Although if this pattern persists, it may just arrive a bit later than usual.
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How does 10/6/2 sound for this hurricane season? With Arthur and Isaias both becoming major hurricanes. I think we bust the drought this year too. Everyone is going to be thinking El Nino here comes another quiet season, then the big one comes.
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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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