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Cold Wave Crescendos with a Frigid Weekend

By: Bob Henson 2:36 PM GMT on December 19, 2016

One of the sharpest cold fronts in recent years tore across the central and eastern U.S. this past weekend, leaving millions of Americans shivering in its wake. Packing wind chills below -50°F at times, the cold punch was a fitting climax to more than a week of off-and-on chill over large parts of the northern U.S. Extreme temperature contrasts were the norm with this front: for example, noontime readings across Georgia on Sunday ranged from 37°F with rain at Dalton, in the far north, to 83°F at Albany, in the far south. More than 1000 flights were cancelled on Friday and Saturday as bursts of snow struck in and near Denver and Chicago and a brief, high-impact round of freezing rain hit parts of the mid-Atlantic early Saturday morning. A horrifying 67-vehicle crash on ice-glazed I-95 in Baltimore, MD, killed two and injured more than 20 others, at least two in critical condition.


Figure 1. Darryl Hendricks moves into position on a breakwater to photograph sea smoke rising off the waters of Casco Bay, Maine, on Friday, Dec. 16, 2016, in South Portland. Hendricks risked both frostbite and being late for work in pursuit of what he called "the one shot I really wanted." The temperature dropped to -2°F with a wind chill of -25°F. Image credit: AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty.


Figure 2. Pedestrians walk across a snowy street in downtown Kansas City, Missouri, on Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016. Image credit: AP Photo/Charlie Riedel.

A Texas-sized temperature swing
Grand prize for the most dramatic frontal passage goes to West Texas, where the cold air mass plowed south on Saturday in the form of a classic “blue norther” (sometimes called a Texas norther). A mesonet station about 6 miles west of Denver City, TX, reported a temperature drop of 36°F in just 10 minutes--from 21°C (70°F) to 1°C (34°F)--accompanied by winds of 40 knots (46 mph) gusting to 69 knots (79 mph). Thanks to Anton Seimon (Appalachian State University) for finding this nugget.

Temperatures across Texas at 4:00 pm CST Saturday ranged from 6°F at Dumas (nearby Dalhart sank to a record-low –8°F by Sunday morning) to a record-hot 92°F at McAllen. Midland set a record high of 80°F on Saturday afternoon, but by 11:59 pm CST, the city’s official temperature had plummeted to 18°F, just one degree short of the day’s record low! It was Midland's biggest one-day temperature spread for any date in records going back to 1930. More than a century ago, a blue norther on November 11, 1911 (11/11/11) managed to pull off the twin-record-in-one-day trick in both Oklahoma City, OK (83°F and 17°F) and Springfield, MO (80°F and 13°F). Both of these Oklahoma City records still stand.



Figure 3. In Big Lake, Texas, about 50 miles southeast of Midland, temperatures sank from around 80°F at 4:00 pm CST Saturday to near freezing by 6:00 pm and below 20°F by midnight. Times are shown for a 24-hour clock (15 = 1500 CST = 3:00 pm CST). Because the lower atmosphere was so well mixed on this day, the temperature traces are virtually identical at the indicated heights above ground of 1.5, 2, and 9 meters (roughly 4.9, 6.6, and 29.5 feet). Image credit: West Texas Mesonet, Texas Tech University.


Figure 4. It’s not hard to find the frontal boundary across the south-central U.S. in this model analysis from 18Z (noon CST) Saturday, December 17, 2016. Image credit: www.tropicaltidbits.com.

Serious cold in the nation’s heartland
Readings well below -20°F were scattered across the central and northern Great Plains into the Upper Midwest, and a few spots notched their coldest single night in many decades. Watertown, SD, dipped to -37°F on Sunday morning, just 3°F shy of its all-time low of -40°F (January 13, 1916). The reading smashed Watertown’s daily record of -24°F from 1983 and set a new monthly record for December. Data in Watertown goes back to 1893. In Limon, CO, a December record was also set, and an all-time record for any month tied, as the temperature bottomed out at -27°F before midnight Saturday. Limon’s climate data begins fairly recently, though, in 1970.

If it’s any comfort, many folks in Florida are ready for a touch of relief after a summerlike weekend of high humidity and temperatures soaring as high as 90°F. Miami’s low on Sunday was a balmy 79°F, tying the monthly record-warm minimum set on Dec. 2, 1901, and the day's average temperature of 82.5°F was a record for any December day since weather records began in Miami in 1892. Several other locations set daily record highs over the weekend across the South, even as daily record lows were being toppled just a few hundred miles to the north. We’ll see how the totals of record highs and lows stack up once the extreme pattern of this past weekend segues into a less-amplified setup this week.

Jeff Masters will be back later today with a roundup of November’s global climate.

Bob Henson


ice block
ice block
Red ,ice and I'm blue
Sky Light
Sky Light
Ice Havoc
Ice Havoc
Fairfax County in Northern VA has been hit hard by a thin layer of ice. It has caused havoc all over the county. An overturned tanker near Dulles Airport, 40 or more accidents, one dead person,.... and a massive pile near Gallows road and 495. I do not dare go out to take a better photo!
Cold Tree 2
Cold Tree 2
19 here this AM. Maybe not awfully cold by some standards, but mighty cold for mid-December in Hampton, VA

Winter Weather

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

Reader Comments

Thanks for the update, chilly 31F in Houston this morning...
Looks to me like GFS agreeing with the ECMWF for a more northerly storm track for the Christmas Day storm in the Plains and upper midwest. With the storm track so far north, we should be very warm along the East Coast, just like last Christmas.

"We%u2019ll see how the totals of record highs and lows stack up once the extreme pattern of this past weekend segues into a less-amplified setup this week."

If this was a cold crescendo, I'd like a diminuendo for Christmas.
Logged in to WUnderground today and all my favorite cities are gone. All now replaced by European cities. Anyone else see this? Nothing against these cities but there are not the ones I am used to seeing. :)

Sofia, BU 37 °F Mist
Plovdiv, BU 36 °F Clear
Veliko Tarnovo, BU 36.9 °F Clear
Moscow, RS 31.1 °F Overcast
Warsaw, PL 34 °F Overcast
Prague, CZ 34 °F Mostly Cloudy
London, UK 43 °F Mostly Cloudy
Barcelona, SP 48 °F Light Rain

Will probably just change my password and put the normal cities back but just seemed very strange.
It is cold, but in Chicago the cold was hyped too much. It never got as cold nor snowy this weekend. They predicted -18° for Sunday night, but it only got as low as -5° F. Now it's back up to plus 5°. I guess that I should be happy that we dodged the bullet, but I would prefer accurate forecasting.
¯\_(ツ)_/¯
China chokes under heavy smog, with worse ahead
Hospital visits spiked, roads were closed and flights cancelled on Monday as China choked under a vast cloud of toxic smog, with forecasters warning worse was yet to come.
At least 23 cities in the world's most populous nation have issued red alerts for air pollution since Friday. A host of emergency measures have been implemented to protect the public's health from the smog, which is smothering almost a ninth of the entire country.
...
Chinese censors, who tightly control online commentary, were busily removing remarks about the smog from the twitter-like Weibo social media platform, according to the web site Freeweibo.com, which tracks posts deleted from the service.

We ask for rain and we get a cloudy, humid, and hot week. 82 is the high today here.

If anyone wants to complain about the cold, just slip into The sauna known as Florida
Cold frontal passage on Sunday in DC was remarkably sharp (well for here). Warm humid and sticky prior with temps in mid 60s but the front hit as I was turning into the approach road to Wegmans in Landover and in that mile, temps dropped from there to about 56 in three minutes. I've never seen the numbers unroll like that on my car thermometer before.

Fell to 48F in 15 minutes, then stayed in low 40s the rest of the afternoon.
Quoting 7. JrWeathermanFL:

We ask for rain and we get a cloudy, humid, and hot week. 82 is the high today here.

If anyone wants to complain about the cold, just slip into The sauna known as Florida


I lived in Florida. I came back North.


couple of impulses a pattern for winter has emerged seems
thanks for the cold winter weather update
Toronto Pearson Int'l Airport
Date:
11:00 AM EST Monday 19 December 2016
Condition:
Mainly Sunny
Pressure:
30.7 inches
Tendency:
Rising
Temperature:
15.3°F
Dew point:
3.7°F
Humidity:
60%
Wind:
W 10 mph
Wind Chill:
3
Visibility:
15 miles
Quoting 7. JrWeathermanFL:

We ask for rain and we get a cloudy, humid, and hot week. 82 is the high today here.

If anyone wants to complain about the cold, just slip into The sauna known as Florida


Give me the sauna any day!
Notice another storm south of Cyprus (Eastern Mediterranean).
Quoting 8. georgevandenberghe:

Cold frontal passage on Sunday in DC was remarkably sharp (well for here). Warm humid and sticky prior with temps in mid 60s but the front hit as I was turning into the approach road to Wegmans in Landover and in that mile, temps dropped from there to about 56 in three minutes. I've never seen the numbers unroll like that on my car thermometer before.

Fell to 48F in 15 minutes, then stayed in low 40s the rest of the afternoon.


I experienced something like that 2 years back. Took a trip to Chattanooga in early March to escape the Michigan winter. Driving back to Michigan on I-75 it was on and off raining and about 70 degrees as I approached the TN/KY state line. 10 miles later in Kentucky it was 42 degrees. Went from windows open when it wasn't raining to putting the heat on. Craziest thing I've ever experienced.
Quoting 14. luvtogolf:

"It starts today"

Electors are saying they are getting harassed, intimidated and even death threats. Real nice and once again those showing true colors because they didn't get it their way.

Maybe the deaths threats are coming from Trump supporters that are afraid that some electors are thinking about casting their vote for someone else. Maybe for the candidate that won the popular vote. Maybe another Replubician that can at least act like a president.
Quoting 4. roberie:

Logged in to WUnderground today and all my favorite cities are gone. All now replaced by European cities. Anyone else see this? Nothing against these cities but there are not the ones I am used to seeing. :)

Sofia, BU 37 °F Mist
Plovdiv, BU 36 °F Clear
Veliko Tarnovo, BU 36.9 °F Clear
Moscow, RS 31.1 °F Overcast
Warsaw, PL 34 °F Overcast
Prague, CZ 34 °F Mostly Cloudy
London, UK 43 °F Mostly Cloudy
Barcelona, SP 48 °F Light Rain

Will probably just change my password and put the normal cities back but just seemed very strange.


I saw this as well; given the eastern European cities, I thought my computer might have been hacked.
OF COURSE! While almost every state in the CONUS goes below 60F, Florida stays above 80F.


Mr. P give us your thoughts on this cold snap?


Im cold.

No Sir, I dont like it.






85 with a 74 dewpoint at 12pm is what I have but look at the 79 dewpoint up in the villages. Yikes.

Dewpoints not temperatures folks. If we hit 90 again then the heat index could tag 100 today so be careful if you are on vacation and visiting the Orlando area as it is extremely hot outside.

Quoting 20. isothunder67:

OF COURSE! While almost every state in the CONUS goes below 60F, Florida stays at 80F.




I wish it was only 80. LOL. 91 yesterday guys with a 97 heat index.
Quoting 7. JrWeathermanFL:

We ask for rain and we get a cloudy, humid, and hot week. 82 is the high today here.

If anyone wants to complain about the cold, just slip into The sauna known as Florida


You guys are cool compared to Orlando.
The heat is unbearable down here. 83 deg today. We are thinking of spending the winter up north in Palm Beach where it is only 82.

Quoting 21. Patrap:

Mr. P give us your thoughts on this cold snap?


Im cold.

No Sir, I dont like it.









Glancing (at best) blow from the weekend cold blast here in DC. The front was dramatic with a fall from 66F to 52F in about five minutes and 45F in an hour. (after an overnight rise from 39F to 60F prior which in turn was preceeded by a treacherous and very disruptive coating of glaze), but these temperatures are not brutal by any stretch of the imagination. The first blast was worse with all day low to mid 20s under full sun thursday and clouds Friday. Low 20s for a high here is remarkable and happens only a few days most winters.

I'm not complaining. It's relentless heat that saps my will and strength.
Anyone notice that persistent patch of blizzard that started in Idaho a few days ago and is still around in Montana?


Quoting 25. Grothar:

The heat is unbearable down here. 83 deg today. We are thinking of spending the winter up north in Palm Beach where it is only 82.




Try a summer sojurn in western MD (perhaps Deep Creek Lake). That's a true getaway from the heat.. always relish going through there in summer. 10F cooler than DC.
Quoting 22. StormTrackerScott:

85 with a 74 dewpoint at 12pm is what I have but look at the 79 dewpoint up in the villages. Yikes.

Dewpoints not temperatures folks. If we hit 90 again then the heat index could tag 100 today so be careful if you are on vacation and visiting the Orlando area as it is extremely hot outside.




Perhaps you'd find living in midlatitudes more invigorating/refreshing/stimulating/interesting :-)
Forecasted to be in mid 70's here for Chrismas weekend, in the 60s by wednesday. I can endure the cold for couple days, or should I say, out of respect for most of the Nation, endure the chill, currently in the low 40s. Burrrr
BREAKING NEWS: Russian ambassador to Turkey dies in Ankara shooting
Hey Florida, I will trade temps from there to here in Texas!! 31 for the 80's anyday!! Last night was 15 and yesterday's high was 33 and a low of 9 degrees so quit complaining already.
The Washington Post confirms this breaking news and indicates gunman shouted: "Do not forget Aleppo! Do not forget Syria! As long as our lands are not safe, you will not be safe!"

Quoting 31. KEEPEROFTHEGATE:

BREAKING NEWS: Russian ambassador to TurkeydiesinAnkara shooting
(quote of 14 removed as I see original is now off the page.)
Sorry. Plussed when I meant to flag. No matter who's posting political comments, they're getting flagged, by me anyway.

Ps. What about comment 17, mods?
Just went to reload this page and got Rainbowed, and not even on the same tab, it opened in a new one and I thought nothing of it till I saw page 3 of comments and went back to the first page(#34) and saw the Rainbow at the top of the article. Too Funny. Low this morning in Jurupa Valley was 52.7@7:40 normal is 66/42(KRAL)
Quoting 35. Barefootontherocks:

(quote of 14 removed as I see original is now off the page.)
Sorry. Plussed when I meant to flag. No matter who's posting political comments, they're getting flagged, by me anyway.

Ps. What about comment 17, mods?


And 18, and 32, and 37, and 38.
A final report from the hills of south Salem in the mid Willamette Valley. The temperature is up in the low 40s and it's raining. Still a lot of snow around but the well traveled roads are down to bare pavement. I expect most of the snow will be gone tomorrow if the rain keeps falling.
20. isothunder67
11:49 AM EST on December 19, 2016

My neighbor is going to Florida for that exact same reason (80 degree temps) because she hates the cold.A lot of older people up here often leave during the fall and come back in the Spring after spending a few months in Florida.I talked to one older couple and they said their joints just can't take the cold and they get bad arthritis.Not to mention the snow and ice problems that we can get here in the mid-Atlantic.
Quoting 42. washingtonian115:

20. isothunder67
11:49 AM EST on December 19, 2016

My neighbor is going to Florida for that exact same reason (80 degree temps) because she hates the cold.A lot of older people up here often leave during the fall and come back in the Spring after spending a few months in Florida.I talked to one older couple and they said their joints just can't take the cold and they get bad arthritis.Not to mention the snow and ice problems that we can get here in the mid-Atlantic.


So many of the homes in my neighborhood are Winter homes. They usually come down some time in October and go back up north around April or May. One of my best friends lives across the street and he is from Michigan. He's also a seasonal resident from October to May. They love the weather down here during the Winter and they play a lot of golf.

We're having record heat right now across parts of Florida, but this is not normal. By later in the week, temperatures are supposed to cool down to the low 80s or so. Usually temperatures are in the 70s this time of the year and the weather is just perfect.


Somewhere, beyond the sea . . . Somewhere waiting for me . . . My lover stands on golden sands . . . where would that be?

Source
Im gonna go wit, er..dis un.


Monday December 19th 2016..

or now known forever as..

The Electoral College Solstice.


: P


Grothar's new Hat is really a Big Hit this year.






This is dreadful! Please cool off soon my gosh. This literally is the hottest I've ever seen it this late in December by far.

44 - daddyjames - thanks for the soundtrack to your post :D
Actual temps. BTW it is so damm good to hear people say Merry Christmas again after so many years of being politically correct!!!

Quoting 46. StormTrackerScott:

This is dreadful! Please cool off soon my gosh. This literally is the hottest I've ever seen it this late in December by far.


Just keep telling yourself that Global Warming is a hoax invented by the Chinese. :-)
Quoting 22. StormTrackerScott:

85 with a 74 dewpoint at 12pm is what I have but look at the 79 dewpoint up in the villages. Yikes.

Dewpoints not temperatures folks. If we hit 90 again then the heat index could tag 100 today so be careful if you are on vacation and visiting the Orlando area as it is extremely hot outside.




Your link auto updates but IMO you can throw the Villages DP in the trash bin. Up to 82 now while surrounding areas are in the upper 60's/low 70's. Still extremely muggy by December standards but that PWS needs calibration.

Here's a static link as of my time of posting.

Who ever told any numbskull not to say Merry Xmas?

LoL

The programming of some is so obvious..its almost not funny.

: )


Quoting 49. CaneFreeCR:

Just keep telling yourself that Global Warming is a hoax invented by the Chinese. :-)


LOL! What?? You might have me confused with someone else.
Atmospheric CO2

November 2016

403.64
parts per million (ppm)

Quoting 51. Patrap:

Who ever told any numbskull not to say Merry Xmas?

LoL

The programming of some is so obvious..its almost not funny.

: )





Really? Under Obama it seems Christmas has come under attack.
Quoting 51. Patrap:

Who ever told any numbskull not to say Merry Xmas?

LoL

The programming of some is so obvious..its almost not funny.

: )


Hey, there was an actual war on Christmas. Heard it on Fox, and their credentials are impeccable.

26 and mostly sunny here in beautiful Utah
Quoting 54. StormTrackerScott:



Really? Under Obama it seems Christmas has come under attack.


See # 51,..thanx.

Happy Kwanza, Hanukkah, And Skoal breaux.

: )

Quoting 51. Patrap:

Who ever told any numbskull not to say Merry Xmas?

LoL

The programming of some is so obvious..its almost not funny.

: )






Some of the older members will know that STS is referring to the war on Saturnalia.
A belated happy Milad un Nabi to everyone, too!

Edit: Maybe I should say merry Milad un Nabi to be politically correct.
Quoting 37. PensacolaDoug:

What a load! But you and your ten friends can hope!

I have 65,818,412 friends.
Quoting 54. StormTrackerScott:



Really? Under Obama it seems Christmas has come under attack.

Right...and Fox News is fair and balanced...
NOT a good time to calmly watch the weather: According to Police in Berlin 9 dead and many wounded :-(((
Berlin: truck crashes into Christmas market
Monday 19 December 2016 19.48 GMT
Let's not forget festivus
JeffMasters has created a new entry.
Quoting 54. StormTrackerScott:



Really? Under Obama it seems Christmas has come under attack.
I know, right? You can hardly go into any town or city in the country at this time of year anymore and see Christmas nativity scenes or Christmas lights or Christmas trees or Christmas decorations hanging from light poles, or shop Christmas sales at every store, or see people dressed as Santa at every Christmas display at every mall, or attend Christmas parties or Christmas concerts or Christmas reunions, or watch endless Christmas specials on TV, or hear hours and hours of Christmas songs on the radio, or see people dressed in Christmas sweaters, or see millions of little kids writing Christmas letters to Santa, or see Christmas stuff in every classroom in every school in the country.

Sigh.
Quoting 55. LAbonbon:


Hey, there was an actual war on Christmas. Heard it on Fox, and their credentials are impeccable.

26 and mostly sunny here in beautiful Utah
And a war on women too!

I heard it on msnbc, nbc, cnn, abc and cbs and npr!
Quoting 65. PensacolaDoug:

And a war on women too!

I heard it on msnbc, nbc, cnn, abc and cbs and npr!


Equates a fake "war" on a holiday with the very real problem of sexism and thinks they made a witty point.
Dumb.
68. vis0
If you do not like new thoughts or extreme thinking or what some might think is typing while downing too many egg noggs,  ignore this comment.

Singing 'bout Crescendos...
 
On NO! Grothar's simplistic word for a complex feature "Blob" might have been TEMPORARILY topped by a this:: "BioTwang"...(Sit down Willie Nelson and NASA Astronauts not either of those words. (musical nor orangey powder))
 
Read here on weird sounds thought to be from a whale::
New, complex call recorded in Mariana Trench believed to be from baleen whale | News and Research Communications | Oregon State University
 
A whale may be the source of that mysterious noise coming from the Mariana Trench | Mic ...(more on Mic, located at WTC)
 
my 2cents::
Before anyone can think aha! this is on the opposite side of world as to zip10016 so vis0 can't imagine another claim.   
Think again. For those that read my now deleted 252 blogbytes (2 or 3 remain) know my opposite side of world maps* _or *_(or search "ml-d, opposite side of world, vis0" as to my imagined device [vis0 laffs like cartoon character Snidely Whiplash.] and go CAH-Rayyyzee or just use my "pass GO and go straight to Bellevue" card.

**(UNDERSTAND in creating those crappy graphics/maps i made several errors as to the EXACT position of my imagined device influence areas onto the opposite side of the globe of zip 10016 so if you search , i suggest one download all 25 outlined maps to get a feel of the exact areas as the later the image more correct the details. Also since i deleted ~250 WxU blogs and several hundred other blogbytes if you click on a google image search odds are you'll be taken Erroneously to my only active public blogs as in my zilly blog and reset blogs and 1 or 2 of those images might be there but only 1 or 2...hey at least most are not copy n paste.
Now If a vacuum emptiness like Hz flow *as when high rate speakers are wired incorrectly) is discovered e/ene ~800 miles of Machu Picchu emitting from undeground opening maybe PART of the weird sound could be a counter balance to imagined device connecting outwardly to tap into what i call Galacsics science cals the unkown majority of what makes up this Uni-verse via equator(s) counterpart version of Polar area's Aurora Borealis.
 If the latter is discovered Don't freak out your all just partying in my brain (lots of empty space for rent) and its all just in vis0s imagination...maginaTION...ginaTION...naTION ; - P.
 
Zilly translation:: Maybe its a whale saying; "Is it warmer everywhere or is it just me"...maybe the whale needs a cool place to mate and can't find one.

or Whale could be responding to a whale "call" sound by saying "can someone pah-leeze get that phone (ringing)"

Again that Mariana Trench sound(s) TO ME seems like it might be from MORE than just 1 source as in a whale AND some complex planet sound combining into a blend.

 
weather?
shots of cold air locally (UsofA),  but globally be it slowly but surely or faster n faster its still warming
Quoting 57. OKsky:




Some of the older members will know that STS is referring to the war on Saturnalia.


Which we won by the way. No one calls this period Saturnalia any more



On more appropriate wx topics
Was (repeat WAS) going to take kids skiing some day next week when I'm taking off but a strengthening subtropical ridge may ruin that plan in Central PA