Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.
By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:40 PM GMT on March 13, 2014
The relentless winter of 2013 - 2014 continues to add to its extraordinary resume over the Eastern U.S., where yet another near-record cold blast is underway. Temperatures on Thursday will be 10 - 25° below normal over the eastern 1/3 of the country, and it will be a serious case of weather whiplash in places like New York City, where the temperature peaked at 65°F at JFK Airport on Tuesday, a record high for the date. Temperatures will struggle to reach the upper-20s on Thursday--a spectacular 40° swing, and one of the coldest high temperatures so late in the year. The weather pattern that brought this winter's persistent cold to the Midwest and Eastern U.S., and record warmth and drought to the West Coast, is going to remain in place through most of the remainder of March. The latest 16-day forecast from the GFS model predicts a continuation of the dominant ridge over the Western U.S. and trough over the Midwest and Eastern U.S. that we've all grown very, very, very tired of (said Dr. Masters, after shoveling the latest installment of 6.5" of concrete-like snow of this winter's 90.7 inches that have fallen in the Detroit area--second only to the 93.6" that fell in the winter of 1880 - 1881.) Detroit has now had over 1" of snow on the ground for 72 consecutive days, and will easily break the record of 74 straight days, set during the notorious winter of 1978. Just to the south, in Toledo, Ohio, and Fort Wayne, Indiana, Wednesday's dumping of 6.7 - 7" of snow from Winter Storm Vulcan made the winter of 2013 - 2014 the snowiest on record at both cities. Chicago's 3.2" brought the winter total to 79.1", making it the Windy City's 3rd snowiest winter (the record: 89.7" in 1978 - 1979.) Some major cities that have had a top-five snowiest winters on record during 2013 - 2014:
Ann Arbor, MI: 1st snowiest, 92.1" (previous record: 89.8", 2007 - 2008)
Toledo, OH: 1st snowiest, 84.8" (previous record: 73.1" in 1977 - 1978)
Ft. Wayne, IN: 2nd snowiest, 72.2" (previous record: 81.2", 1981-82)
Detroit, MI: 2nd snowiest, 90.7" (record: 93.6" 1880 - 1881)
Flint, MI: 2nd snowiest, 81.8" (record: 82.9", 1974 - 1975)
Grand Rapids, MI, 2nd snowiest, 112.6" (record: 132.2", 1951 - 1952)
Billings, MT: 2nd snowiest, 95.2" (record: 98.7", 1996 - 1997)
Chicago, IL: 3rd snowiest, 79.1" (record: 89.7", 1978 - 1979)
Philadelphia, PA: 3rd snowiest, 62.9" (record: 78.7", 2009 - 2010)
Indianapolis, IN: 3rd snowiest, 54.7" (record: 58.2", 1981 - 1982)
Cincinnati, OH: 4th snowiest, 45.8" (record: 53.9", 1977 - 1978)
Figure 1. Predicted temperatures for March 20 - 26, 2014, from NOAA's Climate Prediction Center show a continuation of much colder than average temperatures over the Midwest and Northeast U.S.
Figure 2. Daniel Davis is covered in snow and ice while clearing a sidewalk during a snow storm in Detroit Wednesday, March 12, 2014. The storm moved Detroit into 2nd place for its snowiest winter on record, behind the winter of 1880 - 1881. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
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