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New Round of Snow and Ice for the U.S.; Extreme Warmth in Alaska

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:42 PM GMT on December 09, 2013

The calendar says we’re still a month and a half away from the peak of winter, but the winter weather gripping most of the U.S. is more typical of mid-January, as a significant outbreak of Arctic air continues to bring temperatures 10 - 30 degrees below normal to much of the nation. Following last Friday’s major winter storm that brought heavy snows and significant icing from Texas to Maine (“Cleon”), a new winter storm dubbed “Dion” followed a similar track on Sunday. The storm brought the first snow of winter to Washington D.C., New York City, and Philadelphia (the average date of the first measurable snow ranges from Dec. 14 in Baltimore to Dec. 18 in Philadelphia and Washington.) The 8.6” of snow that fell on Philadelphia surpassed the snowfall total for the entire 2012-2013 season (8.3”.) Snow and blowing snow hit four NFL games on Sunday—Lions at Eagles, Vikings at Ravens, Chiefs at Redskins, and Dolphins at Steelers—so obscuring the yard markers, that it was almost impossible for fans to tell exactly where the ball was at all four stadiums. The snow caused multiple traffic accidents that shut portions of I-95 in Philadelphia, and all planes were grounded at the airport during the afternoon. Farther west in Pennsylvania, heavy snow caused a 56-car pile up on the westbound lanes of the Pennsylvania Turnpike from Downingtown to Morgantown, after a motorist got out of his car after a minor accident and was hit and killed. One other person was injured. I-78 in Pennsylvania was also closed by traffic accidents on Sunday. More that 1/4” of ice accumulated due to freezing rains in portions of Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, Maryland, and West Virginia.


Figure 1. Pregame festivities at Sunday’s Lions-Eagles game in Philadelphia looked like a scene out of “Frozen.” Image credit: CNBC's Jim Cramer (@jimcramer)

Severe cold wave due to an unusually extreme jet stream kink
As we’ve so many times over the past few years, the jet stream is stuck in an unusually wavy configuration that is bringing remarkable hot and cold weather extremes to the entire continent. A sharp trough of low pressure over the center of North America is allowing frigid Arctic air to barrel unusually far south, setting hundreds of daily records over the past few days. Temperatures in Northern Montana were as much as 50 degrees below normal, and in portions of Oregon, the cold blast brought the coldest temperatures since 1972. One station even set an all-time cold record: Lakeview, Oregon hit -27° on December 8, breaking the old all-time cold record of -24° set on Jan. 15, 1888. Temperature records there began in 1884.

Unusually extreme ridges of high pressure set up over Alaska and the Southeast United States to compensate for the big dip in the jet stream over the center of North America. One ridge of high pressure pushed to the north of Alaska and over the Arctic Ocean, allowing warm Pacific air to bring rain and temperatures in the upper 30s to Alaska’s North Slope on Sunday—an unprecedented occurrence in December. Keep in mind that this is an area that has been in perpetual 24-hour darkness for several weeks. According to wunderground’s weather historian Christopher C. Burt, it appears that Sunday’s 39° at Deadhorse (Prudhoe Bay) is the warmest December temperature ever measured at any site on the Alaskan Arctic Ocean shoreline region. Weather records for Alaska’s North Slope go back as far as 1921 at Point Barrow. A very sharp ridge of high pressure also set up over the Southeast U.S.—Tallahasse, Florida hit 84° on Saturday, matching their highest temperature ever recorded in the month of December.


Figure 2. Jet stream winds over North America on Sunday, December 8, showed a sharp trough of low pressure over the center of the continent, allowing cold Arctic air to spill southwards into the U.S. Sharp ridges of high pressure were over Alaska and the Southeast U.S.

Jeff Masters


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

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573. Jedkins01
9:07 PM GMT on December 10, 2013
.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
572. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
4:23 PM GMT on December 10, 2013
JeffMasters has created a new entry.
571. LargoFl
4:23 PM GMT on December 10, 2013
Quoting 554. ricderr:
I am GLAD southern Florida is not doing winter... more than two days of cold and I run out of long pants to wear.. :)

shorts are my pant of choice regardless the weather
LOL..For wintert i have to break out the long pants and full tee shirts lol..10 months of shorts Maybe 2 months with breaks inbetween long pants...man i LOVE florida
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
570. ricderr
4:23 PM GMT on December 10, 2013
GFS 12 Z HR 126



gfs aint got no love for el paso


Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
569. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
4:20 PM GMT on December 10, 2013
GFS 12 Z HR 126

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
568. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
4:19 PM GMT on December 10, 2013
GFS 12 Z HR 120

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
567. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
4:19 PM GMT on December 10, 2013
GFS 12 Z HR 114

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
566. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
4:19 PM GMT on December 10, 2013
GFS 12 Z HR 108

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
565. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
4:18 PM GMT on December 10, 2013
GFS 12 Z HR 102

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
564. Pipejazz
4:18 PM GMT on December 10, 2013
Quoting 545. Skyepony:


Fascinating satellite picture showing the tilt of the earth and the night-day line! I am in awe of what we can envision from our adventure in space. Astronomers have described the tilt, but now we can SEE it.
(Ok, I may be late to the game, but this pic grabbed me).
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
563. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
4:18 PM GMT on December 10, 2013
next system sohows at hr 96 as per 12z gfs


GFS 12 Z HR 96

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
562. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
4:03 PM GMT on December 10, 2013
can also discolour within the longer it sits if there is discolour discard
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
561. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
4:01 PM GMT on December 10, 2013
Quoting 560. PalmBeachWeather:
What scares me are the canned veggies that say on the top of the can "Best Used By October 2018" What the heck is keeping it fresh?
lack of air till over time the can will let some seep in
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
560. PalmBeachWeather
3:59 PM GMT on December 10, 2013
Quoting 557. KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
I also prefer my frozen grapefruit juice and orange juice in a can not frozen on the tree first

but hey if that's what ya want well
What scares me are the canned veggies that say on the top of the can "Best If Used By October 2018" What the heck is keeping it fresh?
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
559. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
3:59 PM GMT on December 10, 2013
time to give up the snow wash its done for ya now

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
558. ricderr
3:58 PM GMT on December 10, 2013
Call me a skeptic......


call you a realist....i'll read the whole article but just your excerpt is enough to make me say bull.....the turbines would not operate during a hurricane event
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
557. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
3:56 PM GMT on December 10, 2013
Quoting 552. indianrivguy:


Kind of like the sign in the pasture along U-95... "Used Cows for Sale"

I am GLAD southern Florida is not doing winter... more than two days of cold and I run out of long pants to wear.. :)
I also prefer my frozen grapefruit juice and orange juice in a can not frozen on the tree first

but hey if that's what ya want well
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
556. nrtiwlnvragn
3:54 PM GMT on December 10, 2013
Call me a skeptic......


Offshore Wind Farms Could Protect Cities from Hurricanes

Excerpt:

They concluced that the wind turbines could have sapped Katrina of so much energy that wind speeds would have been reduced by up to 50 percent at landfall and the hurricane's storm surge could have been reduced by about 72 percent, Jacobson said. It also would have generated 0.45 terawatts of wind power.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
555. PalmBeachWeather
3:52 PM GMT on December 10, 2013
Quoting 552. indianrivguy:


Kind of like the sign in the pasture along U-95... "Used Cows for Sale"

I am GLAD southern Florida is not doing winter... more than two days of cold and I run out of long pants to wear.. :)
I remember seeing a sign a few years ago in Calabash NC on one of the few steakhouses in The Seafood Capital of NC...I still laugh to this day... "Special of the day, COW"
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
554. ricderr
3:52 PM GMT on December 10, 2013
I am GLAD southern Florida is not doing winter... more than two days of cold and I run out of long pants to wear.. :)

shorts are my pant of choice regardless the weather
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
553. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
3:49 PM GMT on December 10, 2013
Quoting 539. LargoFl:
I had thought winter hasnt started yet..officially lol


nope still 11 days to go at 12:11EST 21 dec 2013
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
552. indianrivguy
3:46 PM GMT on December 10, 2013
Quoting 551. PalmBeachWeather:
When I lived in Ohio and Alaska I would make up a sign and stick it in the front yard. It said "UNASSEMBLED SNOWMAN FOR SALE". Not too many takers , but it only takes one.


Kind of like the sign in the pasture along U-95... "Used Cows for Sale"

I am GLAD southern Florida is not doing winter... more than two days of cold and I run out of long pants to wear.. :)
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
551. PalmBeachWeather
3:37 PM GMT on December 10, 2013
Quoting 509. KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
or there outside shoveling
When I lived in Ohio and Alaska I would make up a sign and stick it in the front yard. It said "UNASSEMBLED SNOWMAN FOR SALE". Not too many takers , but it only takes one.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
550. ricderr
3:34 PM GMT on December 10, 2013
It was 71 when I got up at 5am and it is now 60 and dropping fast. That last band of showers took the warm air with them. The sun came out but it's not helping the temps.



the party's over for northern fl
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
549. Kristina40
3:27 PM GMT on December 10, 2013
It was 71 when I got up at 5am and it is now 60 and dropping fast. That last band of showers took the warm air with them. The sun came out but it's not helping the temps.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
548. ricderr
3:22 PM GMT on December 10, 2013
today has a slim chance of severe weather through the fl panhandle and northern fl....day 2 and 3....well....it just aint happening


Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
547. air360
3:21 PM GMT on December 10, 2013
Florida refuses to participate in the month of December.
Quoting 530. CybrTeddy:
Florida refuses to participate in the month of December.


Yeah...neither does most of eastern NC. It has been t-short and shorts weather. I am sick and tired of being in the Warm sector of these storms while our friends just to the west and north get all the winter!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
546. 69Viking
3:20 PM GMT on December 10, 2013
Quoting 541. ncstorm:


well we had snow in November here..so we saw Winter make an appearance and now its on vacation..


It's 50 right now in NW Florida with heavy rain moving through the area. Early this morning before the Sun came up it was 69 but the temperature has been dropping since! I'd say this cold front has reached NW Florida!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
545. Skyepony (Mod)
3:20 PM GMT on December 10, 2013
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
544. AGWcreationists
3:18 PM GMT on December 10, 2013
Quoting 520. floridaT:
the key here is "making extreme events more likely "
Brilliant! Devise a strategy that allows AGW proponents to incorporate regional short-term weather conditions as "proof" of AGW while denouncing skeptics who do the same with regional weather.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
543. ricderr
3:18 PM GMT on December 10, 2013
the latest system that will impact the southwest



Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
542. ricderr
3:16 PM GMT on December 10, 2013
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
541. ncstorm
3:13 PM GMT on December 10, 2013
Quoting 539. LargoFl:
I had thought winter hasnt started yet..officially lol


well we had snow in November here..so we saw Winter make an appearance and now its on vacation..
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
540. PalmBeachWeather
3:11 PM GMT on December 10, 2013
Quoting 539. LargoFl:
I had thought winter hasnt started yet..officially lol
Sweating on my morning walk at 5:30 A.M. Geez
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
539. LargoFl
3:09 PM GMT on December 10, 2013
Quoting 537. ncstorm:


we got up to 75 yesterday..we are in the same camp as florida..
I had thought winter hasnt started yet..officially lol
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
538. LargoFl
3:09 PM GMT on December 10, 2013
ST. PETERSBURG --
The Bay area's string of days reaching 80 degrees or higher will soon come to an end.

According to Bay News 9 Meteorologist Juli Marquez, after today, a cold front will drop high temperatures into the 70s for the next few days, starting Wednesday.

"We've been in the 80s since last week," Marquez said. "The cold front coming through tonight will create slightly cooler temperatures and a chance of a few afternoon showers."

High temperatures Tuesday are expected to reach 81 degrees, with lows tonight in the low 60s. Skies will be partly sunny with a chance of a few afternoon and evening showers.

Rain chances lessen the rest of the work week, and temperatures will peak in the mid to upper 70s.

Another cold front over the weekend will boost rain chances and bring cooler air early next week.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
537. ncstorm
3:08 PM GMT on December 10, 2013
Quoting 530. CybrTeddy:
Florida refuses to participate in the month of December.


we got up to 75 yesterday..we are in the same camp as florida..
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
536. Jedkins01
3:05 PM GMT on December 10, 2013
Quoting 532. Neapolitan:
I'd say not only do we not stand a chance of being only average, it's a certainty that this, month, like every one of the last 330 or so, will be above the long-term average:

globe

...and just to see what it looked like yesterday:

globe

With the exception of Antarctica, the US is virtually the only spot on the planet experiencing profound cold; everywhere is else is at or above normal.


People quickly forget a climate trend doesn't mean a weather pattern over their country for a month. It's a global mean over the course of years.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
535. LargoFl
3:04 PM GMT on December 10, 2013
Wash DC closings..just about everything is shut down today....Link
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
534. ricderr
3:04 PM GMT on December 10, 2013
Our records are cold dominated, the Antarctic is cold dominated, Do we stand a chance of average global temperatures THIS month?




i don't think there's anyone here willing to do the work necessary to figure that one out......it's much easier to mention one cold or one warm area which unfortunately means nothing on a global scale....we'll have to wait til those with more patience and money accumulate the data and even then the outcome will be argued dependent upon which side you fall
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
533. Jedkins01
3:03 PM GMT on December 10, 2013
Quoting 524. floridaT:
meanwhile China continues to pump out co2 .



Shhhh be careful, you must remain politically correct and blame only the U.S. for polluting the atmosphere (even though healthy people can barely breathe in China from extreme pollution).

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
532. Neapolitan
3:01 PM GMT on December 10, 2013
Quoting 528. biff4ugo:
Our records are cold dominated, the Antarctic is cold dominated, Do we stand a chance of average global temperatures THIS month?
I'd say not only do we not stand a chance of being only average, it's a certainty that this, month, like every one of the last 330 or so, will be above the long-term average:

globe

...and just to see what it looked like yesterday:

globe

With the exception of Antarctica, the US is virtually the only spot on the planet experiencing profound cold; everywhere is else is at or above normal.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
531. LargoFl
3:00 PM GMT on December 10, 2013
everything is shutting down around the midlantic states due to the winter storm today......................
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WINCHESTER SCHOOLS

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Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
530. CybrTeddy
2:59 PM GMT on December 10, 2013
Florida refuses to participate in the month of December.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
529. whitewabit
2:58 PM GMT on December 10, 2013
Quoting 527. hurricanes2018:
its snowing outside at my house in east haven,conn


looks like the snow shovel needs to be closer to the house !!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
528. biff4ugo
2:52 PM GMT on December 10, 2013
Our records are cold dominated, the Antarctic is cold dominated, Do we stand a chance of average global temperatures THIS month?
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
527. hurricanes2018
2:52 PM GMT on December 10, 2013
its snowing outside at my house in east haven,conn
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
526. biff4ugo
2:51 PM GMT on December 10, 2013
Riah has risen to EPIC geek status with her use of both a Batleth and a Celine Dion song in the same weather report.

As for the temp records. What is amazing to me is that THIS IS THE END OF SPRING and BEGINNING OF SUMMER!!!!! in Antarctica. The sun must be up close to 20 hours a day and the Temp is still -135.8???
How is that even possible?

It hurts to breath at -18F, It doesn't take a scientist to tell it would hurt at -135. There needs to be some other kind of temperature reference at that level. Not just skin freezing, how long would it take a can of coke to freeze solid?
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
525. hydrus
2:47 PM GMT on December 10, 2013
Quoting 482. KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
it will change up the kicker is coming for the weekend sat/sun
Winter Storm Kicker.?..Sounds better than Cleon..Good morning Keep.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
524. floridaT
2:45 PM GMT on December 10, 2013
meanwhile China continues to pump out co2 .
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:

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Cat 6 lead authors: WU cofounder Dr. Jeff Masters (right), who flew w/NOAA Hurricane Hunters 1986-1990, & WU meteorologist Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

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