Friday, March 3, 2017

Weather Whiplash Writ Large: Record Heat To Deep Mid-Winter Turning Us Into Wimps

No! Go back. Daffodil shoots just began poking
up in my yard in St. Albans, Vermont  this week, nearly
a month earlier than normal. They're not going
to like the subzero cold this weekend. 
Oh, I know, I know, it's going to be uncomfortably cold here in the Great Not-So-White North here in Vermont this weekend.

But you know the bizarre warmth during the Winter of '17 has turned you all into a bunch of wimps.

A sharp cold wave is really going to feel like an icy punch in the gut. We're all going to hibernate this weekend I can tell.

Weather whiplash has struck again. It seems we always go from one extreme to another.

Last Saturday, we had a mind-boggling record high of 72 degrees in Burlington. This Saturday, the Queen City will be lucky to make it to 15 degrees.

I suppose if you average high temperature of the two Saturdays you get a reading in the low 40s. See? Not so far from normal this time of year if you average it out.

This will be the strongest cold wave in northern New England since mid-December.

Wind chill advisories are already up for much of the North Country late tonight and the first half of Saturday. Gusty northwest winds will make it feel like its in the 20s below zero.

It could easily go below zero in the Champlain Valley tonight and Saturday night, which would be the first time since December 16 it's done that.

Subzero readings are common any time during the winter in Vermont, but it's pretty incredible that there were no sub-zero readings in January and February in Burlington, but might be some in March.

For perspective, the cold wave we're entering does feature temperatures far below normal for this time of year, but it's not terribly wacko for early March.  High temperatures will be at least 20 degrees below normal for the next couple of days (normal is in the 30s) so this cold snap does have some oomph.

These high temperatures will be near the lowest high temperatures on record this time of year. Quite a switch from greatly exceeding record high temperatures last week, huh?

However, record low temperatures in the Champlain Valley this time of year are in the teens to low 20s below zero, and in the 20s to near 30 below in the colder valleys away from Lake Champlain.

We won't get anywhere close to those levels.

As unwelcome as the frigid air is for many, there are some good aspects about it. The maple sugaring season was running way earlier than normal, and the continued very warm days threatened to put an early end to the season.

The deep freeze will recharge the maples, and put a halt to any attempt at early budding.

However, the weather whiplash, that bipolar one extreme to the next regime is going to continue. By Tuesday, temperatures will be right up there in the 50s, which is well above normal for early March.

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