WunderBlog Archive » Weather Extremes

Category 6 has moved! See the latest from Dr. Jeff Masters and Bob Henson here.

What a Difference a Week Makes!

By: Christopher C. Burt, 8:27 PM GMT on January 13, 2014

What a Difference a Week Makes!

A week ago, half of the eastern U.S. was in the grip of the most intense cold wave since 1996. The cold snap, however, was short lived and since then unusually mild weather has spread across virtually the entire contiguous U.S. It was 85°F (29.4°C) in Frederick, Oklahoma on Sunday January 12th. A daily record of 75°F (23.9°C) was observed in Oklahoma City. Temperatures in the Northeast shot up phenomenally fast following the 48-hour cold spell.

Wichita, Kansas saw its temperature rise from -5°F (-20.6°C) on January 6 to a record 70°F (21.1°C) on January 12th (the daily average temperature was 27°F below normal on January 6th and 20°F above normal on January 12th).

Climate data for Wichita, Kansas so far this January. NWS-Wichita.

The 85°F reading at Frederick was short of Oklahoma’s warmest January day on record (which was 92°F/33.3°C at Cloud Chief in January 1911) but astonishing given how cold the previous week was: 12°F (-11.1°C) on January 6th with a high of just 28°F (-2.2°C). Wichita Falls, Texas tied its daily high with 80°F (26.7°C) on January 12th following an 11°F (-11.7°C) reading on January 6th.

The rapid rise in temperature was pretty much a nation-wide event. Even in places that had been at the core of the bitter cold wave saw moderating temperatures. Chicago, which experienced one of its coldest days on record January 6 (official high was -2°F/-18.9°C, but that occurred at midnight, the actual midday high was only -11°F/-23.9°C) was up to 40°F (4.4°C) by January 10th, its first above freezing day since December 29th. The daily highs have been in the 40°’s since. In Maine, where the coldest temperatures were observed during the first three days of January, not during the so-called ‘polar vortex’ event, the temperature rose from a near state record low of -49°F (-45.0°C) at Van Buren on January 3rd to 45°F (7.2°C) at nearby Caribou on January 6th only to fall below zero when the cold front associated with the next cold wave passed and then back into the 40°s again currently.

The topsy-turvy month of January 2014 at Caribou, Maine. Van Buren, about 20 miles north of Caribou, fell to -49°F on January 3rd according to NCDC climate data. NWS-Caribou.

On Sunday January 12th, the lowest temperature observed anywhere in the contiguous U.S. was just -1°F (-18.3°) at Alamosa, Colorado and virtually every major weather site in the country (aside from Alaska) saw above freezing temperatures.

Meanwhile, a very significant mid-winter heat wave is developing over California this week. I’ll have an update on this and the drought situation on Wednesday.

Christopher C. Burt
Weather Historian

Extreme 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

"We warned at the start of ZetaTalk, in 1995, that unpredictable weather extremes, switching about from drought to deluge, would occur and increase on a lineal basis up until the pole shift. Where this occurred steadily, it has only recently become undeniable. ZetaTalk, and only ZetaTalk, warned of these weather changes, at that early date. Our early warnings spoke to the issue of global heating from the core outward, hardly Global Warming, a surface or atmospheric issue, but caused by consternation in the core. Affected by the approach of Planet X, which was by then starting to zoom rapidly toward the inner solar system for its periodic passage, the core was churning, melting the permafrost and glaciers and riling up volcanoes. When the passage did not occur as expected in 2003 because Planet X had stalled in the inner solar system, we explained the increasing weather irregularities in the context of the global wobble that had ensued - weather wobbles where the Earth is suddenly forced under air masses, churning them. This evolved by 2005 into a looping jet stream, loops breaking away and turning like a tornado to affect the air masses underneath. Meanwhile, on Planet Earth, droughts had become more intractable and deluges positively frightening, temperature swings bringing snow in summer in the tropics and searing heat in Artic regions, with the violence of storms increasing in number and ferocity."http://poleshift.ning.com/profiles/blogs/wild-wea ther
weatherhistorian has created a new entry.