Saturday, February 28, 2015

Despite U.S. Senate Snowball, Global Warming Might Be Ready To Intensify

U.S. Sen. James Inhofe, with a snow ball,  which was taking
its chances in hell, also known as the U.S. Senate Chamber.  
I've been focusing on the extreme winter weather in the Northeast, but there's news, as there always seems to be on the global warming front.

I'll dispense with the frivolous first. On the Senate floor in the U.S. Capitol Thursday, U.S. Sen. James Inhofe, R-Oklahoma tossed a snowball.   

That was all to prove his contention that global warming is a hoax, apparently.

It snowed in Washington Thursday. I know.  Imagine! Snow in Washington DC. In February!  Washington is obviously the center of Inhofe's universe. If it's the center of his universe, and it's cold there on a particular day, then global warming doesn't exist.

By Inhofe's logic, if his home state of Oklahoma has a day that gets up to 100 degrees this July, then global warming must be raging out of control. Of course I doubt Inhofe will say that on some torrid summer afternoon.

Of course one chilly day in Washington and one steamy day in Oklahoma say absolutely nothing about global warming, but that's totally besides the fact. Washington DC, as we all well know, doesn't run on logic.

I'm sure that Inhofe really doesn't believe he was disproving global climate change with his snowball. He was just having a bit of fun, and trolling people who are worried about climate change.

This past week, some scientists said we have new reasons to worry about climate change. The pace of it might be getting ready to increase.

Climate change deniers have said repeatedly that the world stopped warming at around 1998, so the whole thing is a hoax, according to them. Global warming, say the contrarians, has paused.

Actually, the world has kept warming since 1998. Most climate watchers say the hottest year in modern record was just last year - 2014. Some climate scientists I read regard the so-called global warming pause as the "faux pause."

However, there's absolutely no mistaking that the pace at which global temperatures have risen definitely slowed in the past 15 years or so.

Scienfic American and other publications, citing the journal Science, reported in the past week on research indicating the slow down in the rate of temperature change has to do with natural cycles in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

The ocean cycles are called the Pacifc mulidecadel oscillation and the Atlantic multidecadal oscillation.  

These are a mouthful, but basically in the past decade or so, the Pacific Ocean has been cooling somewhat, due to these natural cycles. The Atlantic Ocean, in its cycle, has been warming, but the Pacific cooling outweighs the Atlantic's efforts, if you will.

The Pacific cooling acts as a drag on the rate at which the world overall warms. Perhaps had there been no man-made global climate change, the Earth would have been cooling somewhat over the past 15 years or so.

Cycles, by definition, eventually end. At some point, the Pacific multidecadel oscillation will shift into its warming phase. With or without human-caused climate change, when the Pacific goes into its warm phase, the Earth overall warms up slightly.

The concern among the scientists is, when the Pacific goes into its warm phase, it will team up with what us humans are doing and introduce a period of rapid warming across the globe

That kind of happened in the period from the 1970s to the late 1990s when the Pacific was in its warm phase. Previously, in the 1950s and 1960s, when the Pacific was in its cool phase, global temperatures barely warmed.

So when will the current cool Pacific phase end? The answer is pretty soon, we think.

Scientific American says Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State Univeristy, believes we're close to shifting into the warm phase in the Pacific, meaning the pace of global warming could accelerate in the next few years.

Researchers have not said precisely when the warm phase will begin, but since the phases last very roughly 20 years or so, the consensus seems to be the shift will come sometime between now and five years from now.

The reason for the lack of clarity over when things will shift is scientists still don't really fully understand what drives the phases, why they shift, and what triggers shifts.

Bob Henson at Weather Underground said signs in 2014 seemed to indicate the Pacific was shifting toward its warm phase, but that still could be a blip in the overall cool phase. Time will tell.


Friday, February 27, 2015

Beyond New England, Lots Of Other Worldwide Weather Weirdness This Month

Bad weather around the world this month, not
just in New England. Here, destruction from Cyclone
Marcia in Yeppoon, Australia. Photo
from Australia News Bureau  
New England's winter weather has been a nightmare for many people, to say the least, but  things haven't been all that peachy in other areas of the world over the past month, either.

Here's a roundup of how things are going bad with conditions elsewhere in the world over the past few weeks  that you might have missed for all this snow news in the United States.


Earlier this month, two cyclones, named Lam and Marcia, hit Australia on the same day. (Hurricanes are called cyclones in Australia.)  

Damaging cyclones hit Australia from time to time, but this is the first time two have hit the nation on the same day, National Geographic quoted the Australian Bureau of Meteorology as saying.

Lam hit near Darwin, but the area it went through was somewhat lightly populated so it wasn't excessively destructive.

Marcia hit near the cities of Yeppoon and Rockhampton and damaged at least 1,500 homes. No deaths were immediatley reported. But Marcia, Marcia, Marcia! It hit an area more to the south than most strong cyclones strike.


I've been mentioning southeastern Canada fairly frequently in the past few weeks because those storms that have been battering eastern New England move on to the Maritime Provinces in our neighbor to the north.
A road in Kesington, Prince Edward Island,
Canada after the blizzards earlier this month
Photo from Susan Gorham.  

The storms have buried parts of southeastern Canada in spectacular amounts of snow.

Since a lot of these storms have been heading due north from New England and Canada juts out to the east, sometimes, the extreme eastern parts of Canada have gotten into the warm sides of some of these big tempests.

Such was the case this weekend in Halifax, Nova Scotia over the weekend. It had snowed a lot in that city in the past few weeks, but yesterday's storm brought a bunch of rain.

Since the city's storm drains were blocked by snowbanks and ice, the city's streets flooded big time, says the CBC. 

Oddly, the more north you go, the warmer it gets in eastern Canada. Way up in St. John's, Newfoundland, the mean temperature so far this month is 23.7 degrees Fahrenheit (4.6 Celcius) according to Environment Canada data.

Compare that to Burlington, Vermont, much further south, where the mean temperature for February through Wednesday was 7.7 degrees Fahrenheit.


After a fairly mild winter, huge snowstorms swept through northern Afghanistan in the past week, triggering avalanches that have probably killed more than 200 people, says Al Jazeera. 

Avalanches are common in Afghanistan, but this was one of the worst in terms of death tolls. Rescuers have had trouble reaching remote villages affected by the disaster because of deep snow and continued bad weather.


In the Middle East, huge sandstorms struck early in the month reducing visibilities to pretty dangerously low levels.

Sandstorms happen from time to time in the Middle East, of course, but this was the worst one in decades, by some accounts.

Here's a really dramatic video of a sand storm approaching Aswan, Egypt during this storminess:

The dust was so thick that Israel's Environmetal Protection Ministry said air pollution levels there were the worst in five years. People were told to stay indoors until the dust settled.

The high winds that brought all that dust also stirred up the Mediterranean Sea, says Huffington Post.  So while people were choking on the dust in places like Lebanon, high surf was causing flooding and structural damage.

More recently, in the past couple of days, the problem became flooding. Serious flooding has hit parts of Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and the West Bank, closing major highways and causing damage throughout the region.

Earlier in the week, heavy snows hit the region, especially in higher elevations.


In Sao Paulo, Brazil, the drought and water crisis I mentioned a while back is getting worse.

According to the Guardian, Brazil's second biggest city is in its third year of drought, and things are getting dire. There's already water rationing, and water might be cut off to people five days a week, and there's no sign things will get better soon.

Reservoirs are only 5 to 15 percent of capacity.

"Simple calculations indicate that given the current level of consumption versus the predicted raining patterns, there is only enough water on the system to last four to six months. That means the water dould run out before the next rainy season starts in November.

As I noted previously, too much deforestation in the Amazon, and possibly global climate change are ingredients that have gone into the Sao Paulo water emergency.


Also from The Guardian, deforestation contributed to quite an opposite problem in Albania earlier this month. The Balkan coutry was hit by terrible floods.

Says the Guardian:

"Over the last two decades, many Albanian trees close to powerful rivers such as the Vjosa, Osum and Shkumbin have been chopped down by poor villages desperate for wood, and by entrepreneurs clearing the way for buildings and dams in a construction boom that has largely benefitted foreign firms.

The trees had held soil in place for centuries - acting as a sponge during rainfalls - but without them, soil erosion has accelerated flood damage."

The Albania flooding was regarded as among the worst in that country's history.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Explaining Why The Hell Winter Has Been So Arctic In New England

From Science 2.0. This general jet
stream pattern has kept the West Coast warm
and the eastern United States cold more
often than not for the past two years.  
You hear it all the time here in snowbound, subzero New England: Will it ever end?  

The answer of course is yes, but in the short term anyway, the cold and the snow is only grudgingly starting to relax. The long slog toward spring looks like it's going to be a slow one this year.  

You also hear people asking if this long stretch of storms and frigid air with practically no breaks is unusual and the answer is and emphatic, "Very."

Big snowstorms and temperatures way below zero are routine in a New England February, but such weather is usually interrupted by spells of relatively mild weather and sunshine.

The jet stream, that strong river of fast flowing air high above us that controls the path of storms, usually wiggles and shifts and changes frequently, so the weather changes.

A storm blows through, the jet stream changes and sends a big blast of cold air south from Canada. The jet stream changes again, and you get a thaw.

Rinse, repeat.


Lately, as you might have heard, the jet stream has been "stuck." There's a big northward bulge in the jet stream that has people in western North America wondering whatever happened to winter. In Vancouver, British Columbia, cherry blossoms are now blooming, more than a month and a half early.

This same jet stream has sent one Arctic air mass from the North Pole after another into the northeastern United States. That big northward bulge in the West is counterbalanced by a big dip in the jet stream to the east, which opens the door for those cold waves to plunge southward.

The jet stream then turns north again just off the New England, allowing storms to form in part by picking up moisture from the warm Gulf Stream, letting it interact with the cold air from Canada, and you get snowstorms.

The stuck pattern lets storms form in rapid fire fashion, basically with each shot of cold air from Canada, or almost every other day.

"It's like reloading a gun. It just shoots one after another at us," Alan Dunham, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Taunton, Massachusetts told New Bedford, Massachusetts-based South Coast Today.   

Again, this configuration of the jet stream happens almost every winter. But it doesn't normally get stuck in one orientation for five weeks without a break.

In fact, this general jet stream pattern has more or less been intact since at least late 2013,  and occasionally before that. Sure, it has broken down occasionally, sometimes allowing wet and cool weather in the West and warm and dry in the East. But it seems like it quickly reverts back to this "stuck" pattern.

That's why California has had such a terrible drought for four years now. The northward bulge in the jet stream, dubbed the "Ridiculously Resilient Ridge" has steered rainstorms away from the West Coast and caused lots of heat. Last year was the warmest on record in California. Dry weather and high temperatures equals drought.

On the flip side, the big dip in the jet stream, named by some the Terribly Tenacious Trough, has more or less held in place for a year and a half now. (With those occasional, aforementioned breaks)

That's why the so-called Polar Vortex cold wave last winter was so intense. It's also why the Midwest had a rather cool summer last year. It's also why a stripe from about Illinois to Louisiana had one of its top 10 coolest years in 2014, when overall for the globe, 2014 was the warmest on record

This jet stream stickiness is why winter has been so extreme in the Northeast so far this year.


The snows of New England had in some sense their origins way out in the Pacific Ocean

As always with weather and climate, the answer is complicated. Nobody is really 100 percent sure. It probably has to do with a mix of things, ranging from natural cycles in the Pacific, air pollution in Asia, and of course, the biggest villain of all,  human-induced climate change.

If there's a lot of storminess in the eastern and central Pacific, that tends to help build up the western ridge and eastern United States trough.

According to Mashable, something called the Madden-Julian Oscillation heated the atmosphere and changed upper altitude winds in the the northern Pacific Ocean, said Michael Ventrice of WSI Corporation in Andover, Massachusetts. 

A typhone named Higos also formed in early February in the eastern Pacific, and it might have been the strongest one on record for so early in the season.

That helped really bolster the jet stream pattern that has brought so much winter misery to New England, says Mashable:

"The ripple effects were like setting a Slinky on a march down a staircase - downstream waves formed troughs and ridges that contorted the jet stream that encouraged air to venture south from the Arctic."

OK, but why all the storminess in the Pacific to set this jet stream weirdness in motion?


Let's blame China!

Actually, there's potentially some science to back up my wild accusation against China.

A recent article by James West in Mother Jones says heavy pollution coming from the factories of China, that soot that keeps causing dangerous air pollution in Beijing, might be contributing to the rough weather we've had this winter.

Says Mother Jones:

"Over the past few years, a team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the California Institute of Technology has found that aerosols - or airborne particles - emitted from the cities fueling Asia's booming economies are making storm activity stronger in the Northwest Pacific Ocean. These storms wreak havoc on the polar jet stream, a major driver of North America's weather. The result: U.S. winters with heavier snowfall and more intense cold periods.

Pollution billowing from Asia's big cities, they found, is essentially 'seeding' the clouds with sulfur, carbon grit and metals. This leads to thicker, taller and more energetic clouds, with heavier precipitation. These so called 'extratropical' cyclones in the Northwest Pacific have become 10 percent stronger over the past 30 years, the scientists say."

We know the pollution in China is killing people there. Maybe the fatalities in this winter's disasters in the United States could indirectly lead back to China, too.


It turns out global warming might cause at temporary areas of cooling in some regions, too.

Writing in Science 2.0, Jennifer Francis, a Research Professor in the Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences at Rutgers University, said there is evidence that global warming is messing around with the jet stream, which in turn might help explain the kind of stuck weather patterns that victimized New England this winter.

She writes:

"Our own new work, published last month in Environmental Research Letters, uses a variety of metrics to show that the jet stream is becoming wavier and that rapid Arctic warming is playing a role. If these results are confirmed, then we'll see our weather patterns become more persistent."

In other words, stuck weather patterns might become the new normal.

Of course that's bad, because if the same weather keeps hitting the same area for weeks, you get disasters like the New England snows, the California drought, or other huge droughts, floods, heat waves or cold waves.

Despite the eastern United States cold, waters in the Atlantic Ocean a few hundred miles off the New England coast were unusually warm this winter. Storms gain energy, and tend to produce more precipitation when they feed off warmer waters.

Some of the nor'easters this winter did just that. When all that moisture lifted off the warm Atlantic Ocean was flung into the cold air over New England, that wetness fell as snow. Lots of it.

Writing in the Boston Herald, Weather Channel Meteorologist and Storm Chaser Jim Cantore said that warm water way off the coast should take at least some of the blame for the unprecedented New England snow blitz this winter.

This next bit will be cold comfort (ha!) to people in New England, but despite what happened this winter, the amount of cold air circulating around the North Pole has shrunk to record and near record lows in recent years.

According to the Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang:

"In what may see like a paradox, the amount of wintertime cold air circulating around the Northern Hemisphere is shrinking to record low levels. This winter (2014-2015, is on track to see the most depleted cold air supply ever measured."

Yeah, and too bad it seems like most of that depleted cold air supply has been sitting right over my house in Vermont for the past month.


The stuck weather pattern continues, but it is finally shifting around a little bit. It's not going away just yet, but New England might not be quite so extreme in the next few weeks.

The whole Ridiculously Resilient Ridge and Terribly Tenacious Trough arrangement is all shifting a little to the west this week.

That means the core of the cold waves is now plunging into the middle of the country, going all the way to near the Gulf Coast. That's what's setting off a series of snowstorms across the South in the past ten days or so.

The slight westward shift in the pattern means the Northeast will stay cold and stormy, but not as cold. And the storms might include rain, not just snow.

On top of that, there are some uncertain signs that heading into mid-March, the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge and the Terribly Tenacious Trough might weaken somewhat, at least temporarily.

If that happens, temperatures across the country might not end up as extremely cold in the East or extremely hot in the West.

But to all those people in New England stuck with the winter weather, keep those snow shovels and warm winter coats handy for the next few weeks at least. You're going to need them.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Incredible Extreme Cold And Snow Records Are Shattering In This Winter Of Discontent.

Someone in Indianapolis took advantage of a
a cold, snowy February to creat an army
of Minions made of the snow. Maybe
the Minions are ready to combat winter?  
Today dawned with a winter storm happening or at least ready to happen in a broad stripe across the South from Arkansas to the Carolinas and Virginia.

There's even a rare freezing fog advisory in parts of Georgia just ahead of the snow, so we know things are strange in Dixie.

Up here in Vermont and the rest of the Northeast, we're bracing for our next Arctic cold front, due to come through later today to drop temperatures below zero again.

Ahead of the cold front, we're basking in "warmth."  As dawn broke on Burlington, Vermont this morning, the temperature was 34 degrees warmer than it was at the same time Tuesday. Still, it was only 15 degrees, which is exactly normal for early morning this time of year.

Of course, the weather has been anything but normal this month. With the next cold shot coming in, some cities in the Northeast will have their coldest February on record, or even their coldest overal month on record.

People are coming out with mindblowing statistics.  The National Weather Service around New York City said the Big Apple's average temperature for February was 24.2 degrees, which is exactly the same as Anchorage, Alaska for the same period.

All cities in the New York City region will very likely have one of their top five coldest Februaries on record, if not the coldest.

The rogues gallery of Northeast cities poised to have their coldest Februaries on record include Buffalo, Rochester, Binghampton and Massena, New York; Montpelier, Vermont, Hartford, Connecticut, Concord, New Hampshire and Caribou and Bangor, Maine.

Bangor is really an epicenter of this extreme weather pattern. As of February 23, they were easily on pace to make February, 2015 the coldest month on record. Bangor was running two degrees colder than the previous coldest month, January, 1994, and another subzero Arctic blast is set to hit Bangor the rest of this week.

Bangor also had its snowiest 31 day period on record, ending on February 23. During that period, 67.9 inches of snow fell there. It's probably safe to say most residents of Bangor are probably sick of winter at this point.

I live near Burlington, Vermont, where February is only going to be maybe third coldest. So I can bask in the relative warmth here, I guess. Still, the cold has come on fast and strong. Burlington's first subzero morning of this winter didn't come until January 7. But since then, we've piled up 25 mornings that were zero or colder.

Bridgeport, Connecticut is also poised to have its coldest month on record. That city has not had a warmer than normal day since January 25. And if Bridgeport continues to have at least 10 inches of snow on the ground on Sunday, it will be the longest such streak on record with that much snow.

We can't get through this without talking about snow, can we? It snowed again in Boston last night. Just under two inches of it. That brought their seasonal snowfall to 101.5 inches, only the second time in the city's records that a winter's snow exceeded 100 inches.

If Boston just under six inches of snow between now and spring they'll have their snowiest winter on record. I'm almost willling to bet my next paycheck that the Boston record will indeed be broken.

Eric Fisher of CBS Boston  compiled a list that shows how Boston's February weather record books are almost being completely rewritten. Boston has had its snowiest five, seven, ten, 20, 30 and 40 days stretches on records. February is the snowiest month on record. It will be the coldest or second coldest February on record. Boston will have the most days in a February that failed to reached 32 degrees or higher.

Also, Boston had the most consecutive days with measureable snowfall, six of them. Also the sixth and seventh biggest snowstorms in Boston's history hit during this February.

Fisher there is more snow on the ground in Massachusetts than in Donner Pass, California. Donner Pass is usually buried in snow this time of year, but not now. There's a drought, and they've had record heat to counter New England's cold.

It's been warm in the west, that's for sure. Salt Lake City finally had a cooler than average day on February 22, ending an incredible 49 consecutive days of warmer than normal temperatures.

Records are made to be broken. Weather is always chaotic, so you have to expect records to fall every once in awhile. But this bizarre weather in the Northeast is really changing the record books. This is as extreme as it gets.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Winter Grinds On With New Slew Of Record Lows, Snow, Ice

I bet a lot of people in the Northeast are
thinking this right now. (From  

Just a couple other thoughts on the extreme weather we've been getting this week.

It's pretty sad to think that here in Vermont, it's at least 30 degrees warmer than it was a dawn today and the temperature is only in the low teens.

That's 20 degrees below normal for this time of day and this time of year.  Which means, if we wanted to get to normal today, the temperature would have had to rise by 50 degrees this morning.

If we were dreaming and wanted record high temperatures today, which run in the upper 50s, this time of year, the temperature would have had to rise by about 80 degrees from this morning's lows.


There's a few updates scattered below about the cold weather damage in New England today. A rising number of towns and cities in Vermont are dealing with frozen water mains. I don't think I've seen this since at least the late 1970s.

The frost has gotten so deep into the ground that water mains are freezing.  In most winters, the ground might shift a little bit from the frost and cause a water main break. But this is different. The frost is just penetrating way, way down there.

At least we're dealing with things in the North Country better than down south. A good swath of the south from Texas to the Carolinas are going to get two to as much as seven inches of snow tomorrow.

The governor of Alabama has already declared a state of emergency because of the expected snow. Birmingham, Alabama might get something like four inches of snow out of this.

That doesn't sound like much, but it would be the most Birmingham has gotten out of one storm since the Superstorm of March, 1993.

Atlanta, Georgia is expecting about three inches of snow tomorrow. Again, for us northerners, that's tiny. But for them. Rut Roh, Rorge.


It's going to be quite a mud season when and if the spring thaw arrives. It's already quite a frost heave and pot hole season on the roads and it's only going to get worse before it gets better.

I like to say that where I live in Vermont, no good weather goes unpunished.

What I mean is, if you catch a break and get a nice day in the Green Mountain State, you'll soon be punished with weather even worse than expected.

My adage proved itself again. We had a relatively "nice" day Sunday, with temperatures actually getting up to near normal levels in the low 30s and there was some sunshine.

We knew the cold would return right away on Monday and it did. And this morning, our punishment for the weather on Sunday is low temperatures that were even colder than forecast.

In fact, record cold.


Burlington, Vermont reached 19 below, eclipsing by one degree the record for the date set 101 years ago. I thought it would get into the low teens below zero, and then rise a bit toward dawn as clouds arrived and a southerly breeze that I expected to pick up.

But winds stayed light, and skies stayed clear all the way to this morning, allowing the cold to deepen.

Montpelier, Vermont had a record low of 23 below this morning, breaking the old record set in 1968 by 11 degrees.

Morning lows including minus 37 at East Berkshire and Canaan, Vermont, minus 36 at Island Pond, Vermont, -35 at Sutton, Vermont,  33 below in Whitefield, New Hampshire and 32 below at Gallup Mills, Vermont.

Most of Vermont was in the minus 20s. That level of widespread cold is very unusual for late February.

To demonstrate how topsy-turvy this weather is, while Danville and Whitefield were 33 below, Barrow, on the northern tip of Alaska was 4 above or 37 degrees warmer than those two New Engand towns.

Southern New England was cold, too. Norwood, Mass., southwest of Boston, got down to 17 below.

Matt Noyes at NECN had a very interesting statistic: At 5 a.m. this morning, the average temperature in New England was 14.7 below. That is incredibly impressive.

Other record lows this morning include -8 at Hartford, Connecticut, 6 at LaGuardia Airport in New York, 3 above in Islip, Long Island, 4 above at Newark, New Jersey, minus 9 at Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, 21 below at Concord, New Hampshire and 21 below at Massena, New York.


In northern New England, this constant Arctic cold is taking a big toll. In a way, it's a slow moving mini-disaster, not on par with the Boston snow nightmare, but still a problem.

People are going through heating fuel left and right, and delivery companies are having trouble keeping up. Car mechanics are way behind in fixing vehicles that didn't start in the cold.

Even worse, pipes are freezing. Back in January, there was very little snow on the ground in Vermont. That allowed frost to penetrate deep into the ground.

Then the record cold of February hit. It's going to be the one of the top three coldest Februaries in northern New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.  This means frost heaves on the roads are getting ridiculous. And much worse, water pipes are bursting like crazy.

In Winooski, Vermont, water mains in the city have frozen and burst, and some residents have not had water for days. Winooski's residents have been told to let faucets drip constantly until April, so that water flowing through the pipes will be less likely to freeze.

St. Albans, Vermont, where I live, is under a boil water order today because of frozen municipal pipes. The city is asking residents to keep water flowing from faucets today so other municipal water mains don't freeze.

(Luckily, I'm not on the city's water system. I rely on a well, and so far, knock on wood, my pipes haven't frozen.)

The town of Randolph, Vermont is also having trouble, because the frost has gotten so deep into the ground that municipal water lines are freezing.

Construction crews working in bitter cold amid flooded streets has become a common sight in many towns and cities in Vermont.

On a larger scale, if you take in the snow in the Northeast over the past month, the record cold over much of the eastern half of the nation during the past ten days, and the recent winter storms in the South, this stuck weather pattern is likely a disaster costing easily more than a billion dollars in damage.
Ice cover extent on the Great Lakes is near record
high levels due to the persistent blasts of Arctic air.  

That's especially true if you take into account the businesses that stayed shuttered because of snow and cold, the people who stayed home rather than going out, the higher heating bills. Economically, this is a drag.


Now, we're going to get into another weather adage I have. In the Champlain Valley, it warms up cold in the winter.

What I mean by that is, when a strong Arctic high pressure system like the one we just had starts to move off the east, southerly winds quickly take over in the Champlain Valley of Vermont and New York.

That's happening today, so during the morning and early afternoon, temperatures will rocket upward into the teens. That's not warm, but it's still a lot balmier than this morning's lows.

The trouble is, when these southerly winds start, they funnel into the valley and get pretty strong. We'll have frequent gusts to 30 mph or more today.  So while actually temperatures rise dramatically, the wind chill will stay frigid.

See? It warms up cold.

This forever style winter cold is going to largely continue, STILL, for the foreseeable future. Not just in Vermont but in most of the eastern two thirds of the nation.

It's already hitting hard in parts of the nation far from the New England ice box.

One storm system scooted along the lower edge of the cold air mass across the South. It's still producing a mess of snow, sleet and freezing rain in Georgia and the Carolinas.

Atlanta, Georgia, especially its northern suburbs, were a mess this morning. Motorists around Charleston, South Carolina were told to be careful because of freezing rain, or better yet, not drive at all.

Dallas, Texas was hit by thundersleet yesterday. That's heavy sleet accompanied by thunder and lightning. Yuck. The ice caused lots of crashes there.

Now, a new storm is getting ready to ride along the southern end of the Arctic cold, and Dallas is under the gun again for ice and snow. So is a broad band through much of Texas, Arkansas Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and, again, Georgia and the Carolinas for the next couple of days.

The storminess could clip eastern Massachusetts on Wednesday, and they could pick up a couple or few inches of snow Normally, one to five inches of snow in eastern Massachusetts is no big deal.

But with all the snow already there, even a dusting is problematic. Boston only needs 0.1 inches of snow to go over 100 inches for the season.

Another blast of Arctic air is screaming down from the North Pole this week, so more record or near record temperatures are a good bet in the Midwest Thursday and Friday.

I noted yesterday that the ridge of high pressure along the West Coast and the deep dip in the jet stream bringing the Arctic cold and winter storms along the East Coast is showing signs of backing up a little to the west.

That still seems to be happening, which would put the core of the coldest air heading into March over the Midwest.

It would still be cold and stormy in the Northeast if this pattern comes true, but not quite as cold as it's been lately. These storms would also bring more mixes of snow, ice and cold rain to New England.

That wouldn't exactly be an improvement, and might make things worse with roof collapses, snow removal problems and possible flooding later in the spring. Again, I don't have specifics about storms beyond Wednesday, but it's something we have to watch.  Whatever happens, it's going to continue to be a very active weather pattern.

And not terribly spring like. I wish I had better news. Someday, I will. At least I hope so.

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Best Weather Forecaster In Any Media Is The Hillbillly

The Hillbilly Weatherman in New Hampshire
forecasting more snow as only he can. 
Hat tip to my fellow weather geek Ellen Cronin for finding this one:

We've discovered, by far, the best weather forecaster that I've ever seen.

I can't vouch for his accuracy, but the Hillbilly Weatherman out of New Hampshire is the ultimate in meteorological awesomeness.

His schtick in a thick New Hampshah accent is definitely NSFW. A few people might find his way with words rather sexist.

But I so wish some of the cookie-cutter smiling TV meteorologists out there would take a page from this guy's playbook and tell like it really is.

As everybody at this point well knows, New England has been pretty battered by winter this year. Hillbilly Weatherman is the perfect way to get your frustrations out on this;

Here's one video he put out earlier this month. I love the reference to snow "asshole deep to a ten-foot Indian:

Like I said, the video is definitely NSFW but do find a chance to watch. There's a million F-bombs, but it's worth it in this forecast from last Friday. You can tell he's getting sick of winter. As Hillbilly Weatherman notes, it's so cold "Fuckin' penguins are getting blue balls."

Here it is:

Then we have this one:

The Cold Snap Of February, 2015 In Video

There's nothing like a visual to show how cold it's been in much of the eastern part of the United States lately.

So, I bring you a couple of videos to demonstrate the situation.

First, let's go to Niagara Falls. Here's a great view of the falls heavily encased in ice during the frigid spell. This was filmed last Monday:

Speaking of rivers and water, here's a cool time lapse video taken over a couple of days late last week as record cold weather descended on the Midwest, including Ohio.

Here, we see ice forming on the Ohio River at Cincinnati, and, occasionally, barges trying to clear the ice out:

It's really hazardous when you're trying to shovel snow or otherwise deal with winter in these icy conditions. Some people fall and get hurt. Some slip and try valiantly not to fall over.

Watch this guy's hilarious and lengthy effort to stay on his feet after he stepped on a patch of ice while shoveling:

Sunday, February 22, 2015

A Tiny Break From Winter Siege For Some, But Misery Spreads And Break Ends Fast

The snow banks around my house in St. Albans,
Vermont are getting fairly high now, but
at least I was able to get out and shovel
the driveway today without instantaneously
freezing to death.  
It's amazing, when you're under a record breaking siege of cold and snow, what a slight relaxation in the misery can do for one's mind.  

I live in St. Albans, Vermont. I'm complaining a lot about this winter, but my area hasn't been hit nearly as hard this month with incredible winter weather as many other places.

Snowfall here in St. Albans has been heavier than normal this winter, but it's nothing like Boston and Maine.

But January was quite a bit colder than normal, and February will easily end up being one of the top three coldest on record in Vermont.

Yesterday, we had perhaps three inches of snow, and wind gusts over 40 mph took that snow, and the snow already on the ground, and heaped it into huge drifts on my driveway. Ugh.

But this morning, the sun came out, winds were light, and temperatures "soared" way into the 20s.

Never mind that high temperatures this time of year should be in the low 30s here this time of year, never mind that biting, subzero cold and winds will return tonight for an extended say (AGAIN!)

It was just a sense of relief to go out and shovel snow in the driveway and not in a grand rush because I'm freezing my tush off in subzero cold.

With temperatures in the 20s, I was able to carve away snow that was kind of in the way that I had left from previous storms because I didn't want to brave the elements.  I took off my hat and outer jacket midway through the shoveling,  because for once today I was getting warm from the exertion.

I let the dogs out, and instead of hurriedly doing their business and racing back to the door, they frolicked in the snow, rolled in the powder, chased snow balls, and playfully flicked pawfulls of powdery snow at each other.

The welcome break extends up and down the East Coast this Sunday after a rough Saturday of snow, ice, terrible roads, crashes and general misery. As of late morning, temperatures were above freezing all the way up to Boston.

It's unclear if Burlington, Vermont will make it above freezing this afternoon, which would snap a 27-day consecutive streak of subfreezing weather.

Of course, this is only a very temporary reprieve, and not much of one, quite frankly given how it's so brief, and temperatures aren't really above normal. As I said, we'll take anything we can get.

The weather isn't exactly gorgeous in the East everywhere, either. JFK Airport closed for a time this morning after early morning snow squalls swept through New York. It's above freezing there now and the were clearing the runways as of late morning, and delays are expected to continue all day.

In West Virginia, the brief spell of above freezing weather is prompting flood alerts, because water from melting snow and ice is sitting on roadways. The storm drains are clogged with ice.

The next Arctic blast was already in the Plains and Midwest late Sunday morning and is heading quick. Winter storms of snow and ice are blossoming along the perifery of the cold air. ]]

(Luckily for New England, the expectation, or a least hope, is that the cold front tonight will drop just flurries, and another Arctic front on Wednesday will just leave behind light snow and not spin up another nor'easter. It looks like no nor'easter Wednesday, but there's still a few questions about that.)

Today, winter storm warnings and watches, freezing rain advisories and winter weather advisories are up for a broad stretch from Colorado, through most of Texas, parts of Oklahoma and Arkansas and on into Mississippi.

The icy scene in Monterey, Tennessee yesterday.
Photo from Putnam County (Tenn.) EMS. Add caption
In Dallas Sunday morning, it was raining and temperatures were falling through the 40s. By tonight, sleet and freezing rain will plaster the Dallas area, and winter storm warnings are up as a result.

The roads will be almost impassable, and power failures are quite likely, especially just north of Dallas.

Just ask Tennessee how bad an ice storm can get. Parts of that state got two rounds of freezing rain in the past week, and some entire towns lost electricity as trees and power lines collapsed under the weight of heavy ice.  

To make matters worse, it finally got above freezing in much of Tennessee Saturday amid heavy rain.

The rain, the melting snow and ice, and the frozen ground not allowing anything to soak in all contributed to flooding in Tennessee and surrounding states.

It looks like the next winter storm building over Texas will largely miss Tennessee, but it will be extremely cold there this week, along with much of the rest of the eastern United States.

The overall weather pattern, with the big warm ridge in the western United States and the big frigid dip in the East appears like it's going to continue well into March, so expect lots more Arctic weather and bad winter storms for awhile.
This radio station transmitting tower collapsed
under the weight of ice during freezing rain
Saturday in Tennessee.  

There are some signs that the whole ridge-dip arrangement wants to shift a bit to the west. That's still a bit uncertain, and how it will affect actual conditions on the ground also have uncertainties.

The shift will mean the core of the coldest weather would shift a little bit away from the East Coast and toward the Midwest and Plains, though the East will probably remain cold going into March.

This little readjustment could also mean the storms on the East Coast might come closer to the coast, or even inland.

Again, no firm forecasts here, but this little shift could mean rain (and possible flooding) in eastern New England. It could also mean heavier snows in interior New England, including Vermont. (Most of the snow storms have given Vermont only glancing blows over the past month.)

Still, take heart. Even if the worst of the weather pattern keeps going for several more weeks, the sting of this awful weather will become a little less painful.

Spring is on our side. The chances of above freezing temperatures between cold snaps will continue to increase as the February and March sun grows stronger and stronger.

For instance, take this worst-case scenario. Last year, Burlington, Vermont had its coldest March on record, but the temperature still managed to get above freezing on 19 days that month.

That's not impressive, but it's better than how things are going now.  And we can always hope this March won't be as cold as last.

As we keep heading toward spring, the chances that rain, not more snow, could fall with storms as we go through March will also increase.  And if it does snow, at least it will start to melt almost right away after the storm is done, instead of just sitting there for weeks on end.

Early spring this year looks like it wil approach with frustrating reluctance. But as today's semi-OK weather on the East Coast, and here in St. Albans demonstrates, we'll all take hint of spring we can grab.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Winter From Hell Continues In Eastern United States

MODIS real color satellite images
of southern and central New England
and the New York City area. Top image
taken last July 19. Bottom image taken
Friday. Looks like two different planets.Add caption
I don't even have to get into the details of the forecast for everywhere this Saturday. Extreme winter weather is continuing unabated in the eastern United States.

It's almost as if we broke the weather, and now things are stuck in one position and we can't change it.

Let's hope conditions someday, somehow snap back to normal, but I don't see signs of it happening yet.

The cold this week was unprecedented in parts of the Midwest and East. As Dr. Jeff Masters points out in his blog, some of the major records include:

--Erie, Pennsylvania tying its alltime coldest temperature of 18 below on Moday. The record was first set on January 18, 1994.

--On  Tuesday, Jamestown, in southwestern New York reached an incredible 31 below zero, its coldest reading on record. The old record of 30 below was tied the day before.

--Lynchburg, Virginia reached 11 below on Friday, breaking its all time record low of 10 below in January, 1985 and February, 1996

--Flint, Michigan tied its all time record low of 25 below, first set in January, 1976.

In New England, in addition to the incredible snows in the eastern half ot half of that region, all time records for the coldest month of February are being challenged, especially up toward Maine in cities like Bangor and Caribou.

But the month will likely end up in the Top 5 coldest in a wide expanse from Burlington, Vermont to Boston and beyond.

As of Saturday morning, a vast area of the Tennessee and Ohio River valley regions remained under a winter storm warning for four to eight inches of snow in most of these areas, along with large areas of freezing rain.

A total mess there.
Closer view of southern New England Friday, real
color MODIS satellite image. Click on the image
to make details more readily viewed. A lot of sea ice
very rare for the region, is visible near
Cape Cod and the Islands and in Long Island Sound
If you look closely, you can see a thin white west to
east line in western and central Massachusetts.
That's the path of a large tornado that removed trees
visible nearly four years after the tornado struck on
June 1, 2011.  

The storm is heading into New England, where all storms seem to go lately. Most of the region is under a winter weather advisory for three to six inches of snow, followed by mixed precipitation, especially in the southern half of New England.

This will be a heavier, wetter snow than some of the past storms. Plus the powdery snow can absorb any rain that falls and not have the water run off. (The terminology for this situation is the current snow cover isn't "ripe") This all has  the National Weather Service in the Boston area nervous.

From their forecast discussion:

"The warmer nature of this event means that any precip that falls will have a higher water content than previous storms. The snowpack across the region is not at all ripe, so it can hand a fair amount of is not so good regarding roofs. 

Any precip. that falls, as much as one or slightly more inches of water near the south coast, is going to add significant weight in the form of extra water or ice. 

We encourage cleaning roofs if able before the precipitation begins this afternoon."

In addition, all the storm drains are clogged so rainwater will collect in streets, so flooding will be a problem. And ice, when the temperature crashes to Arctic levels again Sunday night.

Dense fog could add to the misery in southern New England too. Yes, it's really bad there.

Stop to think how awful parts of New England are. We shake our heads in wonder but, as E.J. Graff, a senior fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University noted in the New York Times, this is a bonafide major natural disaster for the nation:

"For those of us living here, it's not a pretty picture. We are being devastated by a slow motion natural disaster of historic proportions. The disasters is eerily quiet. There are no floating bodies or vistas of destroyed homes. But there's no denying that this is a catastrophe."

Graff notes how public transportation is spotty at best in the snow, so people can't get to work. Everybody is spending extra money on snow removal, car and home repairs and heating in the record cold.  
Lots of ice surrounds lower Manhattan Friday
after one of the most frigid Februaries on record.  

Businesses are suffering. Who's going to go out to restaurants and shopping in the snowbound nightmare which is the Boston region?  Goverments are spending way more on winter snow removal than budgeted. Where will that money come from, Graff wonders.

Graff paints a dark picture of the winter whiteness:

"Where are the federal disaster funds, the presidential visit, Andersoon Cooper interviewing victims, volunteers flying in, goods and services donated after hurricanes and tornadoes? The pictures may be pretty, but we need help now."

Graff is right. The disaster isn't as visually dramatic as a huge tornado. But it's causing at least as much damage as one of those big tornadoes and hurricanes.

It's not over, either. The cold and threats of snow remain. This next storm will have some rain with it. Eventually, storms will carry much warmer spring time air and heavy rains. That sets eastern New England up for a big flood threat, eventually.

Meanwhile, the severe storms and extreme cold continue. And it's spreading.

Before dawn this morning, temperatures in the Dallas-Fort Worth area were nice and mild, in the mid and upper 60s. But the way this winter, things have to change dramatically, right.

Of course they do.

In northern Texas, including the Dallas-Fort Worth area, winter storm watches are up Sunday and Monday as the Arctic cold front will reach that region, moisture will go up and over the cold air, whih will result in a bunch of sleet and freezing rain.

Large sections of the Rockies, including most of Colorado, are under winter storm warnings today for heavy snow.

After the East Coast storm rolls on out Sunday night, another blast of extreme Arctic air is settling in over the Midwest and East.

Several more waves of Arctic air are due between now and the second week of March. It's hard to pick out when and how the series of winter storms will play out over the next three weeks, but there's certain to be more areas of heavy snow, dangerous ice, and bitter cold in the coming three weeks.

Yes, this is a rather dark, depressing post. I get that. But it's reality.

I imagine the weather pattern will break eventually, and at some point we will be talking about bright, warm spring weather. This extreme cold and extreme snow will be a fading memory.

Weather events have been getting more extreme in recent years and decades. Extremes cause real inconvenience, and worse, real suffering.

So let's all be careful out there, OK?

Friday, February 20, 2015

Extreme Cold, Snow, Weather Weirdness Continues On And On In The U.S

In Greenville, North Carolina this week, somebody
parked a Jeep during Monday's ice storm. They
then drove away, leaving this Jeep ice sculpture
of sorts behind. The ice had been attached to the grill
of the vehicle, but stayed behind when the driver pulled away.  
The strange, extreme weather in the United States rolls on today.

Mother Nature also seems intent on bullying the same places she's hit over and over again.

Case in point:  On Monday, a large chunk of the Tennessee and Ohio valleys was hit by a huge winter storm of damaging ice that cut power to tens of thousands, and dropped more than a foot of snow in some areas

In the past couple of days, as record cold settled into the eastern part of the nation, the area that had the most intense cold in terms of how far below normal readings were, came to that exact same spotl

Now, again in the Tennessee and Ohio valleys new winter storm warnings are up for a lot more ice and snow tonight and tomorrow. Up to a foot of snow could fall in the mountains of West Virginia.

In and around Nashville, an ice storm warning is up for a quarter to a half inch of ice tonight. Trees are already laden with ice and ready to collapse from the last storm Monday, so this isn't good.

To make matters worse, the ice is forecast to change to plain rain in much of Tennessee Saturday and will come down hard. The heavy rain, the melting ice and the frozen ground which can't absorb water means flooding is a threat as well.

There might even be a severe thunderstorm or two in northern Louisiana, southern Arkansas and western Mississippi with this on Saturdayt.

The storm will be followed by another  Arctic air mass that again make the region the core of the cold wave.

Of course, New England has been the big story, what with all the snow they got over the past month.

The storm in the Tennessee Valley will work its way up to New England for more hassles on Sunday.

Luckily, the snow won't be extreme up there. Maybe two to six inches. Which will make things difficult as people try to find places to put the snow. But at least it's not going to be a two foot dump of white.

However, in most of New England, that snow will change to a period of ice, freezing rain and rain Sunday. That will continue making travel a hassle. Plus, as I noted yesterday, the added snow, plus the rain soaking into it, will add weight to roofs straining under the accumulation that's already it.

There will be more roof collapses in New England.

The snow keeps piling up because no real thaws have happened and none are in sight. Yeah, it''ll probably get above freezing for a few hours Sunday in New England, but it won't last nearly long enough to get rid of much snow.

The Arctic air will rush back in Sunday night for an extended stay, and there are several chances for more snow and ice storms in New England going into early March.

The winter weather is spreading, too. Colorado has been largely left out of extreme cold and snow this season, but now a winter storm watch for possible heavy snow is up for a good chunk of Colorado later today into Saturday.


All kinds of weird tidbits have been coming from this extreme weather pattern.
Ryan Miller at ABC7 noted shortly after 5 p.m. Thursday that Barrow, Alaska, is 2,247 miles closer to the North Pole than Washington DC, but both cities had exactly the same temperature, 17 degrees.

According to Eric Holthaus in Slate, Cape Girardeau, Missouri set its all time record low Thursday with a reading of 19 below. Paducah, Kentucky reache 10 below, breaking the daily record by 11 degrees and establishing a record low for the third day in a row.  
The snow piles taken from the streets of Portland, Maine
got so tall near the airport that the FAA put a stop to
it, saying the height of the pile could interfere
with flights. Image from WCSH.  

Florida is now sharing in the chill. Record lows were falling all across the Florida peninsula early Friday morning.

Record lows had been tied in Orlando (33), Naples (39) and Miami (42) as of around 4 or 5 a.m. and those temperatures were expected to fall a couple more degrees by dawn.

In Portland, Maine, city officials had to stop piling up snow in a snow dump near the airport and start another one, the Portland Press Herald reported.

The city has been taking snow off its streets and putting it in a snow dump near the airport. The pile near the airport was getting so tall that it threatened to interfere with flights. The Federal Aviation Administration said the snow pile was getting so tall it was nearing mandated height  limits.

The city has found another site in Portland to dump more snow.

I'm sure we'll hear about more extremes and outrageousness in the weather department over the eastern United States over the next few weeks as the weather pattern is still stuck in one that would pump extreme cold and storms into a lot of places east of the Misssissippi River

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Globally, January Was Second Hottest On Record

Hot times were had by almost all around the world in January, 2015.  
The trend line in global January temperatures
since about the 1880s. From NCDC.  

The third in a series of global climate assessments came out today. The closely-watched National Climatic Data Center report on January, 2015 shows the month was the second hottest on record for the Earth as a whole.

Yes, yes, I know it was chilly in New England in January and even more brutally cold in parts of the United States in February, but we're not talking about a tiny corner of the world here. We're talking about the whole thing.

The data center said January, 2015 was the second hottest on record, at least since the 1880s. Only January, 2007 was warmer. 

Says the NCDC:

"During January, 2015, record warmth was observed in parts of the Gulf of Alaska, the eastern Pacific off the coastal United States, regions of the equatorial western Pacific and the Pacific waters to the east of Australia, large areas of the western Atlantic and some isolated regions of the eastern Atlantic near the southwestern African coast."

As I noted earlier this week, NASA and the Japan Meteorological Agency figured January, 2015 was the first or second hottest on record for the globe.

Also as I said earlier this week, there's no reason to think February, 2015 is going to be chilly for the Earth as a whole, despite the worst cold wave in decades now hitting the eastern half of the United States.   
Temperatures across the globe
relative to normal on Thursday. Eastern U.S and part of
southern Canada is very cold most of the rest
of the world quite warm.  

As you can see on the map, part of the United States is indeed extremely cold relative to average this week, but vast parts of the world are warmer than normal, more than making up for the U.S. chill. 

Click on the map to make it bigger and easier to read.

Note the extreme warmth near Mongolia in the central North Atlantic Ocean, parts of eastern Europe, northwestern Canada and the southwestern United States. 

The, um, climate expert Donald Trump Tweeted today that it was 25 below in parts of the U.S. and New England is buried in snow, so
therefore global warming ain't happening. 

The smart aleck in me wishes he was remote parts of Mongolia, enjoying the record heat over there. 

Saving The Biggest Blasts Of Winter For The End

This Dave Granlund cartoon pretty much sums
up the state of affairs in New England.  
Normally by now, the first vague hints of spring are starting to appear in much of the nation. In the far south, a few things are turning green, there's maybe a few buds.

Up north, it's still usually hard core winter right now, but at least the sun feels warmer, the cold has relaxed a bit, and the snow melts in sunny corners just a little bit.

Not this year. Pretty much the roughest weather of the winter is hitting most of the United States right now. Weather conditions will change quite a bit in many areas as we go day to day through the weekend.

That' doesn't mean it will get better, though.

Right now, wind chill advisories and warnings extend over most of the eastern United States, from Minnesota right down to Florida, and from Missouri to Massachusetts.

A few dozen record lows were set this morning from Minnesota all the way down to the Florida panhandle.

This record cold air that came from Siberia went up and over the North Pole, then raced southward into the eastern half of the United States.

Let's break it down regionally:


Yep, the snow nightmare continues there, as it was indeed snowing over  most of that region Friday morning. In southern New England, it hasn't been all that bad, with just a few inches at most.

Western New England, including Vermont, is mostly getting light snow, with one to four inches of expected accumulation, though closer to six or seven in the state's northeast corner.

In Maine and northern New Hampshire, they're getting socked again, though. Winter storm warnings are up for all of Maine and northeastern parts of New Hampshire today.

As of 7 a.m., 11 inches of snow had already piled up in Pinkham Notch and Gorham, in northern New Hampshire, and 7 inches in Limington, Maine. Three to five inch totals were common in the region, and snow is likely to keep piling up all day.

The snow will wind down by Friday morning, but there's no rest for the weary. Another storm is due Saturday night and Sunday in New England.
Before today's snow, more than 40 inches of snow (in pink)
covered parts of Massachusetts and Maine.  

This one is tricky. It will produce a burst of snow in the region Saturday night, probably amountin gto a few inches in most areas including already hard hit areas of eastern New England.

Then, during the day Sunday, enough warm, or warm-ish air might well get dragged along with the storm to cause sleet, freezing rain or even plain rain. This mix could get as far north as much of Vermont and New Hampshire.

Of course, there's several problems with this scenario. For one, the additional snow, ice and rain will add to the weight on roofs that have not been cleared off, so more structural failures are likely.

The ice will make for a travel nightmare, too. This next piece is very important: Even if temperatures get a little above freezing and precipitation goes over to plain rain for a time Sunday, roads will still get very icy.

It's been so cold, so that even if it rains when the air temperature is, say 34 or 35 degrees, the pavement is still chilled to below freezing from the previous subzero cold. So the rain, it if occures, will freeze.

Before we get to Sunday's storm, it will get brutally cold again in New England later today, tonight, Friday and Friday night and wind chill advisories are out.

On the bright side, the cold will be only about as intense as that earlier this week, maybe even a bit less so in northern New England. Some record lows will be challenged in the Northeast for sure, but the temperature won't be quite as far below normal to end this week as it will in parts of the Midwest and Ohio Valley.


A number of cities and towns will no doubt report record low temperatures today and tomorrow. In fact, it could get down to near 20 below tonight in places like Michigan, southern Ohio, Indiana Kentucky and West Virginia says Capital Weather Gang.

Such lows are extremely rare for that part of the country. Even more so for the third week in February, when temperatures are usually starting an upswing toward spring.

All time record lows, not just the coldest for the date, or even coldest for February, but coldest of any day on record, are possible in Cincinnati, Ohio, Knoxville, Tennessee, Roanoke, Virginia and Charleston, West Virginia, says the Weather Channel

Temperatures were cold enough as it is this morning.

The Duluth (Minn.) News Tribune reported lows of 42 below in Cotton, Minnesota and 41 below in Embarrass, Minnesotal. Also, it was 36 below in Crane Lake, Minnesota, 32 below in Land o Lakes, Wisconsin and 30 below in Bemidji, Minnesota.

The frigid air engulfed places much to the south of that, as evidenced by the minus 4 reading in Indianapolis.

The cold will ease a little bit later Friday just in time for the next big winter problem. A storm system will gather in Texas and start heading toward the Northeast. (This is the storm I told you about that's supposed to hit New England Saturday night and Sunday.

Places in the Ohio and Tennessee valleys that got a nasty ice storm, (with snow a bit further north) re in for....wait for it..... another ice storm!

Not everybody in Tennessee has their power back from Monday's ice, and here we go again. This could bring down more trees and power lines, and of course the ice Friday night and Saturday will make travel impossible again.

Winter storm warnings are already up in Arkansas due to the expected mixed precipitation and ice tonight and Friday morning.

The ice will probably change to plain rain in much of the region Saturday, but cold surface temperatures will keep some roads and sidewalks very, very, icy.

Then another Arctic cold blast arrives later in the weekend and early next week to freeze everything solid again and keep the misery index way high in the Midwest and Mid-South.


This region has largely escaped the worst of this winter until now. Wind chill advisories are up for the entire area today, all the way down to the southern tip of Florida

Hard freeze warnings are up for places like Alabama, Georgia and the Florida Panhandle. Freeze warnings extend southward down the length of Florida to below Miami.
Forecasts of possible record cold in Florida tonight.   

I have a feeling we're going to hear quite a bit about crop damage in Florida over the next few days, and possibly higher food prices for the rest of us.

Just to add insult to injury, the cold, dry, windy air blasting through Florida is elevating the risk of wildfires there today.

Temperatures will warm up some over the weekend, but then get colder again in the Southeast early next week.

The chill next week in the Southeast won't be as bad as it is today, but temperatures then will still be a good 10 to 20 degrees colder than normal.

The wait for spring is going to last longer than usual for all you southern Belles, that's for sure.


Eastern Canada is not escaping this wild weather. Environment Canada has issued extreme cold warnings for sizeable chunks of Ontario, Quebec and other parts of the country.

It's snowing again today in parts of New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia today. Those areas are even more buried in drifts than Maine and Massachusetts from all these East Coast storms.

That storm system that's expected to hit the eastern United States over the weekend is expected to dump more potentially heavy snow on parts of the Atlantic Maritime provinces Sunday.

Here's a video of a recent morning a guy named Kevin McGrath in Dieppe, New Brunswick recently took of his efforts to get out of the house. Insane!