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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194. kmanislander
1:44 AM GMT on January 08, 2007
Pottery,

I suspect it has something to do with the fact that as air rises and cools the air temp drops very quickly. Have you ever been in a plane with a screen showing speed over ground, outside temp etc ?
As you climb out after take off the temp plummets very quickly. At about 38000 feet it is about 45 below outside the aircraft even though it may be 95 degrees on the ground below!. Thats why a decompression at cruise altitude is so serious.
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193. Wishcasterboy
1:43 AM GMT on January 08, 2007
Needs some sanctity in here.

192. pottery
9:39 PM AST on January 07, 2007
Cb I take it you mean that the horiz. flow is what is charging your tunnel which is vertical ??????
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24311
191. pottery
9:33 PM AST on January 07, 2007
kman. Good link. Thanks. What a peculiar thing though. Do we know the mechanics of this yet? ie how come ?
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24311
188. pottery
9:27 PM AST on January 07, 2007
CB< I think he means that because current models are in one dimension, they do not acurately take into account advection (which is the whole idea of your proposal ) In the future 3 dim. models will apparently do that. You have to wait.Thats my take on it anyway.......
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24311
187. kmanislander
1:30 AM GMT on January 08, 2007
Pottery

You are right, the water is hotter than the air and here is something about that

Link
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186. pottery
9:24 PM AST on January 07, 2007
CB , thanks for explaining advection. Now I understand. I think.
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184. kmanislander
1:23 AM GMT on January 08, 2007
Obviously a highly qualified individual.
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183. pottery
9:19 PM AST on January 07, 2007
Kman. Both were brilliant. And I'm kind of glad the're over ! Yeah, strange portents in the north, and some disturbing sst down here. I'm trying to come to grips with the mechanics involved. The dammed water is almost hotter than the air. What goes on.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24311
181. kmanislander
1:19 AM GMT on January 08, 2007
Who is Frank Marks ??
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179. kmanislander
1:16 AM GMT on January 08, 2007
Hi Pottery

Whats up mon ?
How was Xmas and new Years ?

I ate too much, drank too much etc etc etc
Anyway, the kids are back in school and I am back at work.
What a crazy winter up N eh ?
Hope it doesn't portend anything for us guys in the Tropics !
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178. pottery
9:13 PM AST on January 07, 2007
Hi there Kman. Good to see you.
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176. kmanislander
1:04 AM GMT on January 08, 2007
Happy New Year all

Looks like global warming is the topic for the next 5 months or so. I saw pics of people playing soccer in Central Park yesterday with 70 degree temps. We are already at 85 degrees here which is warm for our " winter". Usually we are in the low 80's high 70's

Of course, even if this leads to higher than average SSTs it does not necessarily mean an active hurricane season in 07. Other factors have to line up as well.
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173. Tazmanian
5:00 PM PST on January 07, 2007
well in the mean time they are now forcast my snow levels to fall to all valley floors and it could snow to sac and so on and so on but be for haveing highs in the 70s on monday in some parts of the valley then what a big turn a round

AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HANFORD CA
105 PM PST SUN JAN 7 2007
A PATTERN QUITE SIMILAR
TO THE 3RD WK OF DECEMBER IN 1998. REGARDLESS OF THE EXACT POSITION
OF THE CLOSED LOW...ALL OF THE MODELS BRING AN ARCTIC AIRMASS INTO
CA THU THRU FRIDAY ACCOMPANIED BY VERY LOW SNOW LEVELS. THE GFS HAS
CONSISTENTLY FORECAST 850 MB TEMPS AROUND -6 C AND 1000-500 MB THKNS
VALUES OF 516 DM TO 522 DM AT 12Z FRI. WITH THESE PARAMETERS...AND
ENOUGH MOISTURE AND INSTABILITY...IT WOULD BE COLD ENOUGH FOR
SCATTERED SNOW SHOWERS ON THE SJ VLY FLOOR FROM LATE THU NIGHT THRU
FRIDAY

wow 516DM that is un haerd of her in ca that is low

Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115104
172. pottery
8:59 PM AST on January 07, 2007
..but I'm trying to come up with a reason for this, any ideas ?
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171. pottery
8:57 PM AST on January 07, 2007
Thats whats bothering me Taz.......
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170. Tazmanian
4:54 PM PST on January 07, 2007
you think the sea temps are hot now wait in tell july
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115104
169. pottery
8:42 PM AST on January 07, 2007
Those SST maps are very disturbing to me for the following reasons. I am it Trinidad, 11 n 61 w. We have had , for the last 2 weeks , typically early dry-season weather. ie cool air temps, strong n.e. winds, some showers. I am assuming that these conditions apply east of me into the mid atlantic. These conditions would normally cool the SST substantialy, but not this time ? Whats up ???????
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24311
168. Tazmanian
4:30 PM PST on January 07, 2007
yes hurricane23 they arre get a little warm right now and they are warmer then they where last year at this time this wait in tell may and jun comes they be hoter and may be hoter then last year at this time tooo and the GOM and atlantic basin are warmer then they where at this time last year so we could be looking at hoter sea temps by may and jun this wait in the july gets her
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115104
167. hurricane23
7:11 PM EST on January 07, 2007
Good evening,

I was taking a quick look at SST'S across the atlantic basin and GOM and they are plenty warm and will only get warmer as we approach the 2007 Atlantic hurricane season.All this might have implications in a few months.

ATLANTIC SST'S
Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

GOM AND CARIBBEAN SST'S
Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
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166. weatherboykris
10:11 PM GMT on January 07, 2007
The NY Jets sure did choke
Member Since: December 9, 2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 11346
160. bappit
8:30 PM GMT on January 07, 2007
Hmmmm ... did a search on "GFS is exhibiting". Seems it does some sort of exhibition fairly often.
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159. bappit
8:27 PM GMT on January 07, 2007
"The change in the weather is known to be extreme."

I think that's Bob Dylan.
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155. Thunderstorm2
7:58 PM GMT on January 07, 2007
its going to get a little colder over the next 5 days for me,except for thursday
Member Since: December 22, 2006 Posts: 129 Comments: 7608
154. Thunderstorm2
7:57 PM GMT on January 07, 2007
My Future Temps here in Orlando

Today
83 F | 64 F
28 C | 18 C
Tommorow
72 F | 45 F
22 C | 7 C
Tuesday
64 F | 38 F
18 C | 3 C
Wednesday
66 F | 46 F
19 C | 8 C
Thursday
75 F | 54 F
24 C | 12 C
Member Since: December 22, 2006 Posts: 129 Comments: 7608
153. Wishcasterboy
7:52 PM GMT on January 07, 2007
All i'd have to do to get a lot of snow is move up an extra five hundred feet and I would be knee deep in the stuff!
152. Patrap
1:52 PM CST on January 07, 2007
7
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 424 Comments: 128284
151. Thunderstorm2
7:51 PM GMT on January 07, 2007
true
Member Since: December 22, 2006 Posts: 129 Comments: 7608
150. Wishcasterboy
7:49 PM GMT on January 07, 2007
If you really really want so, move up north.
149. Thunderstorm2
7:48 PM GMT on January 07, 2007
dam right some snow would be nice
its 83 degrees here in Orlando
Member Since: December 22, 2006 Posts: 129 Comments: 7608
148. Patrap
1:46 PM CST on January 07, 2007
Had snow here on Xmas 04..6
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 424 Comments: 128284
146. Wishcasterboy
7:46 PM GMT on January 07, 2007
Some snow would be nice.
145. Wishcasterboy
7:45 PM GMT on January 07, 2007
Ying Yang Twins.
144. Wishcasterboy
7:43 PM GMT on January 07, 2007
Well for us Northwesterners, lets just say it's out of the norm. I really doubt it will happen though.

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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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