72° in New York City; Avalanche rips Colorado highway

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 8:12 PM GMT on January 06, 2007

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The heat is on in New York City! The temperature soared to 72° at New York's Central Park Saturday, tying their all-time warmest January temperature ever. New York City has hit 70 degrees in January only twice before since record keeping began in 1869--on January 4, 1932 (70°), and on January 26, 1950 (72°). The 72° reading is a full 34° above their normal high of 38. Records were smashed all over the Northeast today. Philadelphia reached 73° and Newark hit 72°. The all time record for January warmth was 74 °in both cities, set on January 26, 1950. Hartford, Connecticut hit 72,° besting their warmest January temperature ever--70, °set on January 14, 1932. How unusual is this winter? La Guardia airport broke their all-time record for the date (59) °at 6am this morning, when the minimum temperature is usually measured! La Guardia went on to post their warmest January temperature ever, 72°. New York City has not seen a single flake of snow this winter, surpassing the winter of 1877-1878 for the longest stretch without snow (a trace of snow was finally measured on January 4, 1878 that winter). New York City averages 22.4 inches of snow per year. While the current weather forecast does show some colder air moving into New York and most of the U.S. over the next week, no snow is forecast for New York City for at least another week.

The reason for the warmth? A moderate El Nino event is adding a tremendous amount of heat to the globe this winter, and has helped displace the jet stream farther to the north than usual. Global warming is also partly to blame, along with natural variability in the Earth's weather. I also believe that the on-going melting of the Arctic Ice Cap may have contributed to this winter's warmth, although it is difficult to know how much so without doing detailed model studies. Record low levels of sea ice in the Arctic in November and December have exposed much larger areas of open water than usual. The open ocean water provides a tremendous source of heat to the atmosphere, and the extra moisture from the open ocean areas creates cloud cover that insulates the surface. This has allowed less cold Arctic air than usual to form over the Northern Hemisphere. However, now that we are well into the coldest part of winter, the Arctic sea ice has frozen up more. This, combined with the natural cooling due to the 24-hour darkness that continues over the pole, is allowing a large area of cold air to form over the pole. The latest runs of the GFS computer model show that this Arctic air will plunge southwards over North America during the next two weeks, bringing near-normal winter conditions to the U.S. and Canada during the second and third weeks of January. However, exceptionally warm conditions will continue over most of Europe and Asia during this period.

Colorado's tough winter continues: huge avalanche buries cars
Denver's third major snowstorm of the winter brought up to 8 inches of snow to the Denver area today. The heavy snow triggered a major avalanche 60 miles west of Denver that buried a 200-foot wide section of U.S. Highway 40 to a depth of 15 feet. Two cars plunged over the edge, but all eight people inside were rescued. The avalanche occurred near 11,307-foot-high Berthoud Pass. Colorado has had a lot snow, thanks to a kink in the jet stream that has put the predominant storm track over the state. However, the weather has not been very cold--the average temperature in Denver during December was 1.4° above normal, thanks to warm weather that moved into the region before and after each major storm. About 95% of the U.S. had above-normal temperatures in December.

2007 to be warmest year on record?
There is a 60% chance that 2007 will be the warmest year on record, according to a forecast issued by the United Kingdom Meteorological Office on January 4. The forecasters cited the combined influence of the continuing global warming trend, and the presence of a moderate El Nino event. "Even a moderate (El Nino) warming event is enough to push the global temperatures over the top," said Phil Jones, director of the Climatic Research unit at the University of East Anglia. The warmest years on record were 2005 and 1998, when the global average temperature was 1.2°F higher than the long-term average of 57°F. Given the remarkable warmth across not only North America this January, but also Europe and Asia, I think that a 40% chance of a warmest year ever is a reasonable forecast, but 60% might be too high. Not all El Nino events create a big increase in global temperatures.

I'll talk more about the amazing warmth of this winter on Tuesday afternoon, when the National Climatic Data Center releases their U.S. statistics for December of 2006.

Jeff Masters

Where is Winter? (CarmelHillHopson)
Daffodils coming up, temperatures 30 degrees above normal, and spring like thunder showers. Not bad for the 15th day of winter.
Where is Winter?
Where is Winter? (CarmelHillHopson)
Daffodils coming up, temperatures 30 degrees above normal, and spring like thunder showers. Not bad for the 15th day of winter.
Where is Winter?
January daffodils (wsmorris)
I know some daffodils bloom early, but I've never seen them bloom outdoors on January 7!
January daffodils

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290. Thunderstorm2
5:59 PM GMT on January 08, 2007
Before i moved to FL i lived in Scotland UK and at the start of December the temps there were hot enough for a summer fruit to still grow
Member Since: December 22, 2006 Posts: 130 Comments: 7608
287. fredwx
5:55 PM GMT on January 08, 2007
I never said that I believe that Global Warming doesn't exist. I am saying that the warm weather over the Eastern US during the past 2 months is more likely caused by the El Nino and the positive NAO than by global warming.
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286. orionRider
5:55 PM GMT on January 08, 2007
In my country at least, 2006 was the warmest year on record. And 2006 is the 6th warmest globally. Not bad for a 'moderate El Nio'.
Now let me bring you some amazing flowers, all pictures were shot this afternoon, not far from Brussels:

Flowers in the winter! Belgium, Jan 8th 2006.

Granted I am not very old but I don't recall seeing apples, roses or poppies in January. and it's not just about flowers. If we don't get some serious snow cover this winter, I don't know what we'll drink next summer. Not to mention several bird species that did not fly south to their mating grounds and seeds rotting in the soaked ground. This winter will be an ecological disaster for western Europe.
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284. Thunderstorm2
5:45 PM GMT on January 08, 2007
The problem would be if EL NINO is going 2 make 2007 the hottest year then its not going to be all sun because the warm air would account for most of the storms with severe downpours causing catastrophe
Member Since: December 22, 2006 Posts: 130 Comments: 7608
282. fredwx
5:42 PM GMT on January 08, 2007
MichaelSTL: The NAO and the El Nino likely would explain most of the warming for the past 2 months. Global Warming would account for a small portion only of the current activity. The global warming trend of the past 100 years has little to do with the NAO.
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280. Thunderstorm2
5:36 PM GMT on January 08, 2007
They say Above Average hurricane Season but look at the predictions of the 2006 HC they were out by alot even if there was no
Member Since: December 22, 2006 Posts: 130 Comments: 7608
278. 882MB
5:31 PM GMT on January 08, 2007
Hey everybody, here's my point of view: If 1998 was a warm year and 2007 is going to be warmer then this hurricane season might be just like the 1998 HURRICANE SEASON, also in 1998 there was an EL NINO early in the season which them transformed into LA NINA, this might happen this year! and they are already saying ABOVE AVERAGE HURRICANE SEASON!
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277. fredwx
5:24 PM GMT on January 08, 2007
Keep in mind that the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) is also in a positive phase which often tends to be associated with above-averagel temperatures in the eastern United States and across northern Europe. This along with the El Nino may be the main cause of the warm weather.
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275. Thunderstorm2
5:22 PM GMT on January 08, 2007
ive gotten temps in the 80s for the past 3 odd days
Member Since: December 22, 2006 Posts: 130 Comments: 7608
273. Thunderstorm2
5:11 PM GMT on January 08, 2007
The current temps in the US are looking alright for winter.
Member Since: December 22, 2006 Posts: 130 Comments: 7608
271. Thunderstorm2
4:56 PM GMT on January 08, 2007
The last time there was a 'hot year' was in 1998 and El Nino was repoted then and now they say 2007 is going to be the hottest year and their is an El Nino out there now, Notice any pattern there
Member Since: December 22, 2006 Posts: 130 Comments: 7608
268. Dodabear
11:32 AM EST on January 08, 2007
Statement as of 9:38 am EST on January 8, 2007

... It has been very warm since Thanksgiving if you did not notice...

The first part of the winter of 2006 to 2007 has been anything but
winter. In the period since Thanksgiving... November 23rd to January
7th... Washington has been the warmest ever for that period in its
135 year record. Baltimore is up to 3rd warmest for that time in its
135 year record.

The top 3 for Washington...
2006-07 46.5 degree average
2001-02 45.8 degree average
1931-32 45.3 degree average

The top 3 for Baltimore...
1931-32 46.2 degree average
1889-90 45.6 degree average
2006-07 44.5 degree average

Now I wonder what they blamed it on in 1931-1932 ???
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267. pottery
10:47 AM AST on January 08, 2007
In and out.. Maybe Texas is not a part of this globe......
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 25410
266. Frozencanuck
2:26 PM GMT on January 08, 2007
Good morning everyone. Just had a band of ice pellets go through and yes it is cold in TX this morning. As a matter of fact its colder in the DFW area than it is here...LOL. I do believe winter is finally trying to move in.
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263. niederwaldboy
1:49 PM GMT on January 08, 2007
I live in South Cental Texas, and it is freaking cold this morning. Global warming my arse...

ASUS44 KEWX 081310
700 AM CST MON JAN 08 2007




JUNCTION CLEAR 22 17 81 W3 30.31F
*LLANO CLEAR 27 27 100 N3 30.37S
BURNET CLEAR 28 23 81 CALM 30.35R
*KERRVILLE CLEAR 25 21 86 W5 30.33F WCI 19
*ROCKSPRINGS CLEAR 37 18 44 S6 30.37R WCI 33
HONDO CLEAR 27 22 81 CALM 30.37S
*UVALDE CLEAR 32 27 80 CALM 30.36S
DEL RIO CLEAR 30 28 92 SE3 30.35F
LAUGHLIN AFB PTCLDY 28 27 93 NE3 30.35


GEORGETOWN CLEAR 30 21 69 W6 30.35S WCI 24
RANDOLPH AFB PTCLDY 32 23 69 NW7 30.36R WCI 26
KELLY USA CLEAR 32 28 86 N3 30.34S
SAN ANTONIO PTCLDY 31 24 75 NW3 30.37R
*LA GRANGE CLEAR 34 28 80 CALM 30.35S
*GIDDINGS CLEAR 32 28 86 CALM 30.38S
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261. pottery
8:51 AM AST on January 08, 2007
Yah. Lovely showers here this morning. Humidity 87, temp 75 f. Nice enough.

Orion, enjoy the roses. !
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 25410
260. orionRider
10:27 AM GMT on January 08, 2007
Hi everybody,

I live in Belgium (Western Europe) and last night the temp was 10C (about 50F), not a record, but close. Trouble is that since may, almost every day is warmer than average. Now, I understand some days can be above average, but there should also be some days below average. What climatic event can generate such a long period completely above the average? I don't talk about 2% warmer, but about bugs and roses and raspberries right now in my garden!
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259. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
4:24 PM JST on January 08, 2007
6:30am UTC (1:30am EST)

97S forms into Tropical Disturbance 06R with sustained 10 min winds of 25 knots with winds gusts of 35 knots.
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258. Skyepony (Mod)
5:19 AM GMT on January 08, 2007
Kris, no doubt it will warm well by June, but there is other factors. I put this up stemming from the discussion that the SST are so hot & ew, could be a bad season. StSimon has a point~ aweful season of 2005 ~jan~ atlantic way cooler than this year or last year. Excluding the atlantic, I do see more similarities between now & '05 then now & '06. June's just a long way off.

& for those that were saying the SST are getting hotter right now, not colder...check the NOWCAST for the week, it's cooling.
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256. weatherboykris
5:02 AM GMT on January 08, 2007
Member Since: December 9, 2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 11346
255. weatherboykris
5:00 AM GMT on January 08, 2007
It'll warm up.We're in a warm weather pattern and that will allow temps to not cool as much.Warm AMO cycle will see to sufficient temps by June.
Member Since: December 9, 2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 11346
254. Skyepony (Mod)
4:52 AM GMT on January 08, 2007
current SST anomilies

1-7-2006 SST anomilies

1-8-2005 SST anomilies

hhmm lets not fear the season yet.
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253. weatherboykris
4:35 AM GMT on January 08, 2007
Member Since: December 9, 2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 11346
251. Wishcasterboy
3:20 AM GMT on January 08, 2007
250. Wishcasterboy
3:17 AM GMT on January 08, 2007
Actually I was just playing off your reaction. I didn't really expect such a fiery reaction from you, Pottery.
249. pottery
11:17 PM AST on January 07, 2007
I love it !! I'm out.........
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 25410
248. pottery
11:14 PM AST on January 07, 2007
Dammit Wish. How can I go to bed now that my blood pressure is up and all. I think I'll go out and howl at the moon.........You play dirty man.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 25410
247. Wishcasterboy
3:16 AM GMT on January 08, 2007

Will do.
246. Wishcasterboy
3:14 AM GMT on January 08, 2007
Awww! Exactly what I wanted to hear, Pottery!
245. pottery
11:10 PM AST on January 07, 2007
Yeah Myles. Wishcaster it is your bounden duty to be as ridiculously idealist as you can be. Me and Myles did that. You cant just walk away from such strong herritage you know....Show some spunk here fellow..........
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 25410
244. Wishcasterboy
3:10 AM GMT on January 08, 2007
Damn, I got you good Pottery, no worry, LOL!. Get some sleep man!

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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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