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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94. 1900hurricane
12:07 AM CST on January 07, 2007
Ice Storm!?!?!?

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93. Skyepony (Mod)
5:46 AM GMT on January 07, 2007
ForecasterColby came by a few weeks ago to say see ya after what passes as a winter is over.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 163 Comments: 37852
92. 1900hurricane
11:33 PM CST on January 06, 2007
Link
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91. 1900hurricane
11:32 PM CST on January 06, 2007
His blog is still here...
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90. 1900hurricane
11:20 PM CST on January 06, 2007
Posted By: StSimonsIslandGAGuy at 10:55 PM CST on January 06, 2007.

whatever happened to forecastercolby?


I've been wondering the exact same thing recently.
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89. Wishcasterboy
5:29 AM GMT on January 07, 2007
Posted By: StSimonsIslandGAGuy at 4:55 AM GMT on January 07, 2007.

whatever happened to forecastercolby?


Posted By: weatherboykris at 4:57 AM GMT on January 07, 2007.

or Wishcasterboy?


I'm in my blog talking about FRIGID weather.

Mike
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88. bigtrucker
12:19 AM EST on January 07, 2007
lets keep dumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. we'll have palm trees growing in canada. people better wake up and accept the fact we are contributing to the warming
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87. bigtrucker
12:17 AM EST on January 07, 2007
72 degrees in my backyard in West Haven, CT
Who needs florida, im just gonna plant a few palm trees in my backyard
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86. weatherboykris
5:15 AM GMT on January 07, 2007
goodnight
Member Since: December 9, 2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 11346
85. weatherboykris
5:01 AM GMT on January 07, 2007
thanks h23
Member Since: December 9, 2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 11346
84. weatherboykris
4:57 AM GMT on January 07, 2007
or Wishcasterboy?
Member Since: December 9, 2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 11346
83. hurricane23
11:57 PM EST on January 06, 2007
Good evening,

Overall weather condtions across south florida are quite calm with very dry air aloft so things look good for the remainder of the weekend and into early next week.for more feel free to check my blog here at wunderground or if not stop my website at Adrian's weather.Good night and have a nice weekend.


Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13793
81. weatherboykris
4:08 AM GMT on January 07, 2007
cyclonebuster,I've never actually heard what your plan is.What is it?
Member Since: December 9, 2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 11346
79. HurricaneMyles
3:54 AM GMT on January 07, 2007
No one wants to debate with you because you make the same flawed arguments everytime, so it's pointless. Go somewhere else and annoy them.
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70. ryang
10:25 PM AST on January 06, 2007
Can someone come to my blog.
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65. ryang
10:13 PM AST on January 06, 2007
No one is here.So come to mine.
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63. ryang
10:05 PM AST on January 06, 2007
ridethestorms come to my blog!
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62. ryang
10:03 PM AST on January 06, 2007
CB.Tell me on my blog.
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61. ridesthestorms
2:04 AM GMT on January 07, 2007
Hello All
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57. Skyepony (Mod)
12:29 AM GMT on January 07, 2007
A4Guy~ as of last monday yes, well sort of.. Forecasted to go neutral between mar-may, but the forecast is made with "great uncertainty".
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 163 Comments: 37852
56. A4Guy
12:16 AM GMT on January 07, 2007
QUESTION: Is the current El Nino event still expected to wane by mid-year, and consequently NOT impact the Atlantic Hurricane Season like it did in 2006?
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55. Skyepony (Mod)
12:17 AM GMT on January 07, 2007

creditLink

The snowslide was 200 feet wide and 15 feet deep along U.S. Highway 40, about 60 miles west of Denver.

"Our preliminary reports indicate that the slide covered all three lanes of the roadway and two cars were covered and pushed off the road," said Bob Wilson, spokesman for the Colorado Department of Transportation.

"Our crews are saying it is the largest slide they have ever seen."
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 163 Comments: 37852
54. Skyepony (Mod)
12:14 AM GMT on January 07, 2007

credit this news article

I hadn't realized 1000s of livestock had been killed during or as a result of last weeks blizzard.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 163 Comments: 37852
53. Thunderstorm2
11:03 PM GMT on January 06, 2007
got to go, everyone have a nice night
Member Since: December 22, 2006 Posts: 129 Comments: 7608
52. Thunderstorm2
10:36 PM GMT on January 06, 2007
i got about 2 inches of rain last night but thats just normal rain i got
Member Since: December 22, 2006 Posts: 129 Comments: 7608
50. Thunderstorm2
10:31 PM GMT on January 06, 2007
its going to get colder over the next couple of weeks
Member Since: December 22, 2006 Posts: 129 Comments: 7608
49. seflagamma
5:28 PM EST on January 06, 2007
Dr Master, Happy 2007 to you!!!!
What's not to like about wearing shorts and tanktops in January! Even here in SE Florida it is warmer than normal and life is good!
Feel bad about the bad snowy conditions in the western part of the country.

Thanks again for all you do for us throughout the year!
Gams
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45. Thunderstorm2
10:14 PM GMT on January 06, 2007
Mother Nature is more pissed there than she is now
Member Since: December 22, 2006 Posts: 129 Comments: 7608

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About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.