Sunday, March 15, 2015

New England Still Wintry, But Heat Is On Elsewhere

Dude, where's my garden? My back yard in
St. Albans, Vermont doesn't look too springlike
today. While winter continues in
New England, much of the nation
is experiencing record warmth this weekend.  
As has been the case much of this winter, while New England shivers, a lot of other places are warm.

It's snowing in much of New England this Sunday, with Maine once again expected to take the brunt of it.

The winter storm is expected to dump a total of 8 to 12 inches of new snow there before it all ends tonight.

As of yesterday, Bangor, Maine was up to 123 inches snow for the season. That's more that five feet above what they should have gotten by now, at least on average.

Despite my harping on New England, because that's where I live, the real weather story this weekend has been the early season heat in much of the rest of the United States.

Most of California is experiencing record heat this weekend. Records Saturday include 93 in downtown Los Angeles, and 84 degrees in San Francisco, Sacramento and Stockton, California, notes the Los Angeles Times.

The heat has sent people to the beaches, forced an earlier start to the Los Angeles Marathon today to avoid the worst of the heat.

Speaking of worst, some fires were reported amid the hot, dry conditions around Malibu and in Ventura County in California.

That's very odd for this time of year, but the extreme drought continues, and worsens amid the heat. Hot temperatures make water evaporation more efficient than when it is cooler, so what little water there is in California is going fast.  
Meanwhile, as this Sunday webcam image shows,
all the snow is gone and the ice has long
disappeared from the Missouri River in
my relatives' hometown of Yankton, South Dakota
as temperatures climb to record highs of near 80 today. 

Plus, the tiny bit of snow in the Sierra Nevada mountains is melting prematurely amid the record heat.

By some estimates, California could run out of water in its reservoirs for public consumption with a year, says the Los Angeles Times and many other media outlets

Not much rain is in the forecast, and what is normally California's wet season ends in just the next few weeks.

That drought calamity makes me almost relieved it's snowing today outside my Vermont window.  At least I'm not going to run out of water anytime soon.

Record heat is continuing to back the Plains of the United States, too.  For instance, my relatives in Yankton, South Dakota are experiencing an unbelievable March.

It was a summery 79 degrees in Yankton Friday.  A record highs of 82 degrees is expected today, with 80 degrees on Monday.   It was cooler in Yankton when I was out there visiting last June.

Widespread 80 degree weather is expected in much of Nebraska and Kansas, and parts of Iowa and Missouri today and tomorrow. That's pretty unbelievable for March.  Record hot spells occur from time to time but this early season warmth is off the chain.

The only comparable March heat wave I can think of was in March, 2012, which was more widespread than the current heatwave. The March, 2012 warmth, which spread 80 degree heat from California to Vermont and Nova Scotia, was pretty much thought impossible until it happened.

This weekend's heat wave in the middle of the country is just a half step less incredible that March 2012.

The Plains heat is causing some of the same problems that California is having. In addition to the heat, the humidity is very low and it's windy. That means there's a very high risk of rangeland fires from Oklahoma all the way to the Dakotas today. 

There have been some destructive fires in the Plains in recent years that have burned a number of houses, so let's hope we don't get a repeat.

Additionally, the hot, dry conditions across pretty much all of the Plains seems to be trying to plunge the region into a drought. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, the Plains dryness so far isn't too, too extreme in most regions, but it will rapidly worsen if this kind of early season heat, wind and dryness continue.

It will cool down quite a bit in the Plains next week, probably reaching readings that are pretty close to average for this time of year. But no nice rainstorms are in the offing out there, so the drought worries will continue.

There has also been record heat in Florida in recent days, though temperatures there will edge down just a tiny bit over the next few days.

As I wrote this blog post late this morning, the snow flurries outside my window in St. Albans, Vermont turned into a pretty heavy snowfall. The road in front of my house suddenly iced up, and there's an inch of new snow already.

The forecast is grim for the next two weeks in New England for warm weather lovers, as winter will pretty much maintain its grip.

Yes, I'm jealous of the warm weather in much of the rest of the nation, but it's also good it has so far not been getting too warm, too fast in New England. That would set off ice jam flooding. But we could be just kicking the can down the road and setting ourselves up for flood trouble in April.

We'll see.

Spring here will arrive eventually. It'll be just our luck that summer will be New England's turn to experience the record heat everybody else has been getting lately.   I want it to be warm, yes, but not 100 degrees.  (My cocker spaniel Jackson with his thick black fur HATES hot, humid weather, too.)

Let's hope for a nice, normal spring and summer this year.

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