Sunday, April 30, 2017

Mother Nature Makes Her Point Clear During Saturday's Climate Marches

Thousands marched in Washington DC against the Trump
administration's policies on climate change. The march
went on amid record early season  heat
Demonstrations protesting President Trump's and many GOP members' climate denial took place as scheduled in hundreds of cities Saturday and the weather cooperated.

I'm not saying the weather was nice. It just helped drive demonstrators' point home.

The main march was in Washington DC, where temperatures soared to a record-tying 91 degrees. That weather was combined with stifling humidity.

Nothing like that kind of weather to drive home the point that global warming is an issue, no?

I sometimes like to refer to global warming as "global weirding" because a lot of what is happening with the climate is not only warmth, but weather extremes.

Things like bigger storms, floods, droughts, wildly swinging temperatures and the like.

The weather this weekend across the nation demonstrated that point perfectly.

It's true that an individual weather event on one day in any given city or country, even one as big as the United States, neither proves nor disproves climate change.

But the Washington DC heat, and the totally off the rails weather in much of the United States Saturday certainly has all the hallmarks of global climate change.

The East Coast heat is only the most obvious one.

But, as noted, climate change most likely creates more extreme weather and boy, we've had that this weekend.

The most dangerous piece of this is the widespread flash flooding going on in Missouri, Oklahoma and on into the places like Illinois and Indiana.

Places like Springfield, Missouri and other areas of that state were under a flash flood emergency as ten or more inches of rain poured down in persistent thunderstorms. Some areas had record flooding.

Again, you can't say that one weather event is global warming, but extreme rainfall and extreme floods have become more common in recent years and decades.

It seems like every month, or even every week, features a new, devastating local flood.

The storm - and this weekend's weather is absolutely bonkers in another respect, too. As April closes and May begins, a blizzard warning was in effect for northwestern Kansas. Yes. A blizzard warning in mid-spring.

Temperature contrasts were wild, too, on Saturday.

Depending on where you were in Texas Saturday, the high temperature in different parts of the state ranged from 35 to 110 degrees.

It seems like Mother Nature was participating in Saturday's climate marches, too.

The Trump EPA can scrub climate change off its web site, but it can't make "global weirding" go away.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Burlington, Vermont's Hottest April Night On Record

Some early season Lake Champlain beach goers in April, 2011.
I didn't go to the beach yesterday, but I bet I would have found
similar scenes amid summer like weather.
If Thursday night and very early Friday morning seemed a bit like a stuffy summer night to you, that's because it was.

The low temperature Friday in Burlington, Vermont. (12:01 a.m. to 12 p.m.) was 64 degrees. That was the warmest low temperature for any April day ever, since 1884.

Montpelier and St. Johnsbury set records for highest low temperature for the date but not for the entire month Friday. with lows of 58 and 60 degrees, respectively.

We did miss the record high for the date, since it reach "just" 81 degrees on Friday. The record high Friday was 90 degrees, set in 1990.

I have to say the warm weather really had an effect on the landscape. The Green Mountains of Vermont are definitely turning green now.

Don't get too used to this summer like weather. True, it's pretty warm today with lots of 70s being reported.

However, next week will be wetter, and turn colder, especially toward the end of the week. Tomorrow- Sunday - looks comparatively chilly as well, with mostly 50s expected for highs.

Summer will return, though.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Progressive Insurance's Hail Advice Is Dangerous

Like most competent insurance companies, Progressive sends out  "what to do" press releases informing consumers what to do if, say, they've had a house fire, a car accident or what have you.
Cars blocking a highway beneath an overpass during a
hailstorm. Don't do this, despite what Progressive says

Recently, Progressive put out a statement on what to do if you encounter a hail storm when driving.  

One of their suggestions was downright dangerous. They said, "Stop under an overpass, and don't forget to pull out of traffic lanes and onto a shoulder Avoid ditches due to possible high rising water. "

The parts about avoiding ditches is great. Pulling over to the shoulder is good, too 

Here's the problem: Very commonly, a bunch of people stop under an overpass during hail. Even if people are somewhat pulled over, oncoming cars can encounter the building traffic jam at the overpass.

Visibility is poor during severe thunderstorms. The rain and the hail make the roads slippery. The hail sure is distracting when you're driving. Stopping under overpasses is a great way to cause a very messy pileup.

Stopping beneath overpasses is very dangerous in another respect: Sometimes, a tornado is attached to the supercell thunderstorm producing the hail. 

Typically, the hail core of a tornadic thunderstorm passes over an area first. Then the tornado follows.  People under the overpass are sitting ducks for the oncoming tornado. Plus, tornadic winds funnel through the overpass, making the wind even stronger and more dangerous. 

And by stopping beneath the overpass, you've blocked traffic behind you on the highway, and now all those motorists can't get out of the way from the approaching tornado. 

If it is hailing badly, it's probably best to pull over while driving, onto a shoulder and outside of traffic. But please don't gum up the overpasses and block traffic.

You might be killing people in an effort to prevent your car from getting dinged. Is it worth it?

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Variety Of Bad, Dangerous Weather Still Coming To The Middle Of America

This storm damage from Wednesday in Arkansas is a small
foretaste of what is to come to Arkansas and a wide area
in the middle of the country over the next few days. Tornadoes
and severe flooding are the biggest threats.
Photo by Taylor Kendrick.
America on Wedesday got a taste of the bad weather it is going to get over the next few days.

There was flooding in Missouri, severe weather in the Midwest, snow in the Rockies, and wildfires in the Desert Southwest.

As I mentioned the other day, this extreme weather situation is about to ramp up, and there could be a lot of death and destruction, especially in the middle of the country Friday and through the weekend.

A wide area of the country from Oklahoma to Indiana is in for a severe weather outbreak Friday. This includes strong winds, giant hail and tornadoes.

On Saturday, the risk of tornadoes and hail and damaging winds remains strong, especially in east Texas, Arkansas and surrounding areas.

We're entering the peak of tornado season, so it's not surprising that such an outbreak of severe weather is coming.  We get something like this almost every year.

However, the predicted tornadoes and severe storms might not be the worst part of this weekend storminess.

Extreme rains - up to 10 inches of it - is predicted in eastern Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri. This will be falling on saturated groud from previous heavy rains, so that area can expect some very dangerous floods.

The National Weather Service office in Tulsa, Oklahoma is already saying this is a particularly dangerous situation.   Several rivers might experience major flooding. This is not your typical severe weather event. The floods look like they could end up being pretty bad., to say the least.

Not as dangerous but still not good is the snowstorm forecast in Colorado, Wyoming and nearby areas.

Like most bad storm episodes, the basic cause of this one is wild temperature contrasts combined with an intense moisture feed.

Record high temperatures are forecast in the southeastern United States over the next few days. Unusual cold for this time of year covers the west. In between, there's a strong, strong moisture feed from the Gulf of Mexico.

It's a toxic weather setup, so you can see why forecasters are nervous.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

All Those Gloomy Spring Days We've Had Are Good News

OK, folks, I've heard some of you complaining we've had maybe a bit more than our share of gloomy days here in New England so far this spring.

Yellow and orange areas on this map are still dry
or in drought. It's a lot less than it was a few months ago

Buck up! The timing of this precipitation was perfect to really ease the drought we were in last fall.

I had been worried that it would remain dry, and the drought would intensify this spring and summer, leading to more well failures, water shortages, crop problems and the like.

But at least here in the Champlain Valley of Vermont, precipitation has been above normal since February.

The U.S. Drought Monitor comes out every Thursday, and it will be interesting to see if there will be even more improvement in the Northeast in the past week when we get new data tomorrow.

As of last week, just over 22 percent of  the Northeast region, which extends from West Virginia to Maine, was in drought or at least abnormally dry.  . That compares to 70 percent of the region being dry at the end of December.

Severe drought in southern New England has gone away completely.

Here in Vermont, drought conditions are hanging tough in a small area in the mid-Connecticut River valley in and near White River Junction, but the rest of the state is fine.

Droughts are easier to break when leaves are not on the trees yet. Leafed out trees suck up a lot of water from the ground, all other things being equal.

During last night's mild showers, I noticed the trees in the Champlain Valley really started to show signs of green.

No worries, though. If rainfall remains near normal for the rest of the spring and summer, we'll have no trouble with drought.

In the short term, the next week or two, the weather pattern looks active, so chances are good we'll get more spring showers.

Even if eventually does turn dry again, at least we won't start out in the hole in terms of water supplies. Though I hope some steady drenchings keep hitting the White River Junction area.

So enjoy the sunny days, but rejoice in the rain, too. We still could use it. and it's good for all of us.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Wild Weather Nationwide Over The Next Several Days

A guy had to be rescued from this North Carolina truck
Monday. He's OK
Springtime weather can be volatile across much of the United States and this week, and possibly next are proving that point.

Flooding, tornadoes, wind, severe weather and snowstorms are all on the agenda for varying parts of the nation over the next several days. Starting now.

Let's break it down:

FLOODING: 

That coastal storm has caused widespread flooding in the Carolinas since yesterday. Several water rescues were reported in eastern Tennessee and in the Carolinas. Downtown Charleston, South Carolina was under water and several people had to be rescued from cars there.

The flooding continued this morning, with widespread flooding noted in North Carolina, where some places have received more than six inches of rain.

The big city of Raleigh, North Carolina was especially in trouble with flooding this morning. The National Weather Service there declared a flash flood emergency and a "particularly dangerous situation." You usually don't get such strong wording from the NWS, so you know things are bad in that region.

The rain is spreading up the coast toward New England, but flooding further north should not be nearly as extensive as it was in the Carolinas.  Still, the combination of high tides, strong east winds and heavy rains could cause some high water issues along the coast all the way into New England.

Later in the week, we're going to have to watch parts of the mid-Mississippi river valley, especially around Arkansas and Missouri for more possible big time flooding. The high water there will be part of a severe weather outbreak, which is in the next secton.

TORNADO OUTBREAK?

What could be the most extensive tornado and severe weather outbreak of the season looks like a real possibility in the southern Plains, especially around Friday.

An initial round of severe weather, including possible tornadoes looks to get going Wednesday in through Arkansas, Missouri and surrounding states.

That will only be a warm-up for Friday when a stronger storm sets the stage for possible strong and numerous tornadoes Friday and maybe Saturday.

Forecasts could change a bit but right now the Friday target area seems like it will be centered in and around Oklahoma with activity spreading east and south by Saturday. Again, more details will emerge with this forecast, but people in this area ought to be ready for some very bad weather at the end of the week.

DID SOMEONE SAY SNOW?

On the colder northwest side of the storm that is expected to cause all that severe weather I've been chattering about, it looks like a snowstorm might be looming Friday and Saturday for Colorado and Wyoming, and maybe some surrounding areas.

This snowstorm, if it materializes, could hit Denver pretty hard, and other Colorado cities such as Boulder, Colorado Springs and Pueblo.

That'll be a harsh slap in the face after a mild spring out there.

It's possible the snow could spread into the northern Plains and all the way to Minnesota after Friday.

Before that even happens, there's a winter storm watch out for the Arrowhead area of Minnesota, including the Duluth area, for mixed precipitation tonight, Wednesday and into Thursday morning.

WHAT'S IN IT FOR US?

So far, at least, it doesn't look like all this wild weather is going to really screw us up too badly here in Vermont.

That coastal storm will make us wet and damp later today and tonight, especially over the southeastern half of Vermont.

The storminess in the Plains is going to pump some nice warm air up our way. It'll peak Thursday with highs in the lows 70s to around 80. It'll remain fairly mild through the weekend.

Showers are a risk, though, especially later Sunday.

It looks like a strong cold front Monday could bring heavy bursts of rain, gusty winds and maybe some thunderstorms to Vermont, so stay tuned!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Follow The Bouncing Temperatures: It's Spring After All

Spring continues to progress nicely, despite
the usual swings in temperatures
Up here in Vermont and the rest of the Northeast, spring always means that temperatures almost always, well, spring from one extreme to the other. 

We saw that over the weekend, and we're seeing that for the rest of the week. Skies are certainly changeable, too. 

This past Saturday and Sunday sure had two personalities, didn't they?

Saturday was damp and chilly, the kind of day you curl up on the couch with a hot chocolate, and maybe a nice purring cat or happy dog.

Sunday was glorious, as temperatures soared into the 60s under sunshine and blue skies. If you didn't get outside Sunday, you missed out.

I do know the daffodils in my yard loved Sunday's weather and went into bloom mode accordingly.

Now we're into the work week. And we're still going to be following the bouncing temperatures.

Today's weather depend upon which part of the state you're in. In northern Vermont, today started pretty cloudy and chilly.

The clouds will gradually melt away this morning, but it won't be nearly as warm as Sunday. Low to mid 50s should do it.

This is all due to a weak cold front that settled south through the region early this morning. In southern Vermont and southern New England, the cold front will have even less oomph, so look for more 60 degree readings down there today.

Tomorrow will have the opposite regime, with temperatures turning cooler the more south and east you go, with somewhat warmer temperatures north and west.

A coastal storm is gathering over the southeastern United States. It's being boosted by this weird storminess that by my reading actually has some tropical characteristics. It was off the Florida coast this morning, and will combine with the coastal storm somewhere near North Carolina tonight.

As an aside, it's awfully early to keep getting these tropical storm wannabes this early in the season. We had Tropical Storm Arlene in the North Atlantic last week, and now this.

I sincerely doubt today's system will turn into a tropical storm, but it is weird.

In any event, this storm will dump quite a lot of rain in the mid-Atlantic states today. Flood watches and warnings are already up for the Carolinas and parts of Virginia.

There has already been quite of flooding in downtown Charleston, South Carolina this morning. Flooding has also been reported in eastern Tennessee.

Up here in New England, the storm will create a raw east wind. Water temperatures are normally the lowest of the season off the Northeast coast, so east winds this time of year create chilly weather, fog, drizzle and rain. Especially the closer to the coast you get.

Most of the eastern half of New England will stay in the 40s Tuesday. That includes the southeastern half of Vermont.

Northwestern Vermont will be further away from the coast, so it will be a bit milder -- 50s should do it.

It will probably rain region wide Tuesday, but the steadiest rain will be toward the southeast. Rain to the northwest will be lighter and more showery.

Next, we follow the bouncing temperatures again, this time upward. The coastal storm will depart, and we'll get an air flow from the southwest starting Wednesday and continuing Thursday.

By Thursday afternoon, temperatures will get well into the 70s. I wouldn't be surprised if we get a few spots near 80 degrees.

Friday, a cold front comes in, so temperatures will start to dip toward the weekend, but it won't get all that cold.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

The Best Of The March For Science On Earth Day

One of the signs at one of the Marches for Science on Saturday
I get it. The marches for science around the world on Saturday, Earth Day, were not all about climate.

This is a weather and climate blog, so I'm co-opting things a little bit from the scientists.

However, we can't escape the fact that much of the energy from the Marches for Science was a rebellion against science denial, and specifcially, denial of climate change.

Turnout, as expected was great. There were marches in all 50 states and in more than 600 cities around the world.

I'll (mostly) let people smarter than me decide whether these marches will advance activism on climate change, or change people's minds about the issue.

I've heard concerns that marches like  Saturday's are making science political. After all, it seems lately that liberals are tending to go for the fact based stuff and the extreme right (not the moderate GOP) seem to think that any fact that doesn't fit their world view is "fake news."

The climate deniers are the worst offenders with this. I heard somebody quoted this way and it make sense: Science has indeed become political but it's bipartisan. In other words, only the extreme wackos call scientific facts "fake news"

The debate now in climate change and other issues concerning science is do we find conservative or liberal or centrist solutions? These are obvioiusly debates worth having.

I guess I'll just devote the rest of this column to a somewhat more shallow look at the the marches: That means, the most entertaining moments, the weirdest, the most meaningful snapshots.

This was a very common sign at the Marches for Science.
After all, if you're going to engage people in any issue, you want to draw them in. Make them enthusiastic about what's going on.

People think science and scientists are  boring.  They're not. The Marches for Science Saturday I think was the coming out party for knowledge.

Of course, if it's a science march, things change a little bit from traditional demonstrations.

The usual chant at protests is: "What do we want?" "X" "When do we want it? "Now"

This time, the chant was "What do we want?   "Evidence-based science!" 
"When do we want it?!?"   "After peer review!"

As always, people got creative with signs during the marches.

One of my favorite signs was "Science is a cure for bullshit."

One of the saddest signs I saw was "I can't believe I'm marching for facts." Yeah, that is depressing isn't it?

The second-saddest sign I saw was, "Society should worry when geeks have to demonstrate."

Still, people want to stay optimistic. So one sign read, "Think like a proton: Stay positive"

Specifically to climate change: one popular sign captured the urgency of climate change: "Rise up before the oceans do."

Many people carried signs the read "Make Earth Cool Again," in reference to our already climatic-driven overheated plantet.

Another sign referenced President Donald Trump's climate denial and his shyness about revealing his finances: "Climate change is real. Donald'$ Net Worth is Not."  (The dollar sign is not a typo.)

And this gem: "Sticking your head in the sand is not a solution to global warming.  Your ass will still get very hot."

Animals were well represented in the marches. Which is effective. Everybody loves animals. Most people want to protect them. So this is great marketing.

A sled dog at one march carried a sign that read, "Climate change is melting my home."

As with all protest marches, it remains to be seen whether the Marches for Science have any real effect. But at least it puts politicians on notice that people who believe in a fact-based world are a very large constituency.

And they vote.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Europe Gets A Last Big Blast Of Winter

Tulips in southern Germany this week. Photo by Angelika
Warmth/Getty Images
I know, I know, you don't want to think about winter this time of year, but sometimes, winter has enough strength to push aside spring, if only for a moment.

Not here, thank goodness.

However, parts of Europe got a weird late season blast this week as snow fell across much of the central and eastern part of the continent. 

Nearly a foot of snow fell in eastern Ukraine, and six inches fell in parts of Switzerland. Accumulating snow this week also hit Germay, Poland, Slovakia ad Romania.

Trees in the region are starting to bloom and leaf out, so the weight of the snow, combined with the leaves that can catch the snow, caused branches to break. Which in turn caused power failures.

The unseasonable snow was enough to cause a 40-car pileup on a highway in Slovakia.

Heavy snow in Munich, German this week. Photo by
Tobias Hase/Getty Images
The snow was accompanied by unusual cold for this time of year, threatening crops in wide areas of Europe.

Apple crops are in trouble in Germany, Bosnia and Ukraine, and grapes for wine could might have gotten nipped in France.

Crop losses have already been reported.  

Closer to home, northern Maine can't seem to escape winter, either.

Four or five inches of snow fell up there in the past few days, and winter weather advisories were in effect for the rooftop of Maine this morning.

Don't worry, fellow Vermonters. There might have been a few wet snow flakes up in the mountains early this morning, but that's it in the forecast for winter weather.

Today will be somewhat damp and cool, but sunshine Sunday should boost afternoon temperatures to a seasonable 60 degrees or so.







Friday, April 21, 2017

We Actually Managed To Get Tropical Storm Arlene Out In The Atlantic

The swirls clouds in the center of this satellite photo of a
lot of clouds in the North Atlantic is Tropical Storm Arlene,
which was expected to get absorbed into the rest of the
clouds and dissipate later Friday. 
The other day, I told you about a subtropical storm trying to get going way out in the Atlantic Ocean.

It did, and did something I told you was highly unlikely: It turned into a pure tropical storm.

Yep, Tropical Storm Arlene was spinning way out in the Atlantic Ocean early Friday morning, way northwest of the Azores and way northeast of Bermuda.  It had sustained winds of 50 mph.

It joins Ana in 2003 as the only tropical storms known to have formed in the Atlantic in April.

Arlene is also the furthest north a tropical storm was found in the Atlantic this early in the season.

That doesn't mean it never happened before. Arlene was a tiny little thing embedded in a big area of storminess in the North Atlantic.

Before, say, 1970, when satellites really started taking pictures of the Earth's clouds from above, little tropical storms like this would almost surely have gone undetected.

Who knows? There might have been many April tropical storms that we never knew about.

Subtropical storms, as I mentioned the other day, are hybrids between storms with warm cores, and regular storms, that have cold upper level cores along with cold and warm fronts.

Arlene managed to transition to a warm core storm, but a lame one.

That's because it's core is indeed warmer than its surroundings, but its surroundings are cold. Water temperatures beneath Arlene are a little under 70 degrees. Usually you need water temperatures several degrees warmer than that at least to sustain a tropical storm. '

In any event, Arlene will get sucked up into the other storminess around it today and cease to exist. It poses no threat to any land areas.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

California Ski Resort Has Had About 65 FEET Of Snow This Season

Uncovering a ski resort shack recently at Squaw Alpine
near Lake Tahoe, California. 
Here in Vermont, ski season is winding down, after a weird winter, that ultimately ended up OK with a fair amount of snow for winter sports enthusiasts.

A few die-hard resorts are open in the North Country, but as things green up and warm up, that will end soon, too.

Out in California, maybe not as soon as here. Several ski resorts have had 700 inches or more of snow this stormy snow season, and one resort is flirting with 800 inches.

According to the Weather Channel, the Sugar Bowl Resort in the northern Sierra Nevada mountains has had 777 inches of snow so far, and more might be on the way. That's nearly 65 FEET of snow.

Imagine shoveling that out of your driveway.  Then again, you wouldn't even be able to find your house, so there's that.

Of course, there was never 65 feet of snow on the ground at Sugar Bowl Resort because some snow compacted and melted over the course of the season. But still, there's a LOT of snow out ther.e

Believe it or not, the deep snow at Sugar Bowl isn't even close to the record for the most snow in one season at a place in the United States.

That honor goes to Mount Baker Ski Area in Washington State, which had 1,140 inches of snow during the winter of 1998-99. That would be 95 feet of snow.

This year, all that snow stored up in the Sierra Nevada mountains is a good thing, since it will melt over the course of spring and summer and feed reservoirs needed for drinking water and agriculture.

Melting snow from the Sierra Nevada normally supplies about one third of California's drinking and irrigation water supplies.

The melt from the Sierra Nevada hasn't started in earnest yet. In fact, they might get a little more snow in the next couple of days.

The one drawback to all this reservoir-replenishing snow in the California mountains is what happens if it melts too fast?

Snowpack in the Sierra was 164 percent of average as of April 1, which is normally near the peak of the snow depth in those mountains. That's the most since 2011 and the seventh most since 1950, says the Los Angeles Times.

If any strong heat waves develop over California, the rapid snow melt could overrun rivers, especially in the San Joaquin Valley, which already had its share of flooding during the winter storms earlier this year.

The bottom line: California is loving all this water coming off the mountains, but they don't want it all at once. A little at a time, please.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Worldwide, March Was The Second Hottest On Record, With An Ominous Asterisk

Most of the world was hotter than normal in March, 2017,
according to NOAA. It was the second warmest March
on record for the globe, only behind 2016
NOAA's National Centers For Environmental Information just released their monthly report on the world's climate, and hot times certainly continue.

March, 2017, on a global basis was the second hottest March on record, behind only 2016.

Here's the weird part, and it takes a bit of explanation:

Global temperatures rise when there's an El Nino. That's why the world set so many hot temperature records in 2015 and 2016. Global warming, combined with an El Nino, boosted temperatures, leading to those all-time records.

El Nino is long gone, though forecasters think it might re-emerge later this year. Things should have cooled off in 2017, and they really haven't.

The weird thing is this: March, 2017 was the first month on record that was at least one degree warmer than average at a time when no El Nino was happening. Records go back to the 1880s

As always in even very warm worldwide months, there were relative cool spots in March, mainly Alaska, much of Canada and New England, and to a lesser extent southeast Asia.

But many areas were mega-warm. Siberia was off-the-charts hot for March. Germany had its warmest March on record. Central Australia and the south-central United States also had a record warm March this year.

The first three months of 2017 combined were also the second hottest on record, bested only by the first three months of 2016.

The United States itself is going through a prolonged, unprecedented heat wave,

According to the Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang:

"The latest one, two, three, four and five year periods - ending in March - ranked as the warmest in 122 years of record keeping for the Lower 48 states, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration."

The Washington Post lists a series of freakishly hot spells in different regions of the country during this five year period. They include the 70 degree readings here in Vermont on Christmas Eve, 2015.

We here in Vermont have definitely been sharing in these bizarre warm spells. That includes the 72 degree temperatures in Burlington, Vermont in late February that shattered high temperature records for the month.

The year 2016 in Burlington had the most days of any year dating back to the 1880s with temperatures getting up to 80 degrees or higher.

If the climate in the United States were remaining near normal - which it clearly has not given the NOAA information from the Washington Post - the number of record highs and record lows in a given month or year would be roughly equal.

Just to cherry pick an example, February, 2017 in the United States logged 7,137 record highs and oly 173 record lows. Instead of a 1-1 ratio between highs and lows, it was a 41-1 ratio. Bizarre.

All this data is a boatload of new evidence, as if we needed it, that the climate is really off the rails locally, in the nation, and in the world.

Rare April Subtropical Storm Might Be Forming In Atlantic Ocean

A rare - for this time of year anyway - subtropical storm might be forming way out over the Atlantic Ocean today. 
This swirl of clouds way out over the Atlantic Ocean
could become a subtropical storm today. If it does,
it would be named Arlene.

Subtropical storms are hybrids between pure tropical storms and hurricanes, which have warm cores.

Most other kinds of storms have cold air at their cores, and have cold and warm fronts attached to them. 

Subtropical storms have elements of regular storms, such as a cold pocket of air within them. 

However, like tropical storms, subtropical storms have no cold or warm fronts, and thunderstorms spinning around an often cloud-free center. 

Subtropical storms are given names, just like tropical storms, and would show up on a list of any year's tropical storms or hurricanes if they form. 

Tropical or subtropical storms in the Atlantic Ocean are very rare in April, when ocean tempeatures tend to be coolest. Most of these storms need warm water to survive. 


The possible subtropical storm now is forming way out there in an expanse of ocean between Bermuda and the Azores. The National Hurricane Center gives it a 70 percent chance of becoming a subtropical storm. 

If it does form, it will be named Arlene. 

Deciding whether a storm like this one is subtropical or not is pretty subjective. I've seen some pretty spirited arguments on Twitter today from weather geeks as to whether this one qualifies or not. 

If it's decided a subtropical storm forms today, it won't last long. Forecasters expect it to be swallowed up by a larger regular storm on Thursday. 

Subtropical storms can grow and change into purely tropical storms, with totally warm cores and no cold air anywhere near them. 

The only time this has been known to happen was with the already-mentioned Ana in 1993. 

If a subtropical storm forms today, it is very unlikely to become purely tropical. 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Southeast Texas Floods Tuesday Also Brought A Gator Hazard

A huge, menacing alligator parked himself on this
Houston area street this morning after flash flooding
got the guy to move into areas populated by humans. 
Slow moving thunderstorms this morning dropped up to ten inches of rain on parts of southeastern Texas near Houston.

That kind of rain occasionally hits that part of the country, and as usual, the resulting flash floods damaged some homes and businesses and blocked quite a few roads.  

You never get a simple flood in southeastern Texas like that though. You always get another big complication.

This morning, it was alligators. It's mating season and male gators are looking for mates. The floodwaters disrupted their search for love, so they ended up in places like roads, driveways and people's front porches, notes Weather Underground. 

One large gator parked himself on the front stoop of a home occupied by two women.

Surprise! The two women in the house were not terribly enthusiastic about leaving their home until animal control officers arrived and took the gator away.

And you thought mopping up a wet basement after a flood was a chore!

New Climate Change Term: "River Piracy" As Retreating Glacier Steals River

Here's a term I've never heard before in weather or climate circles but now suddenly it's a thing.

It's called "river piracy."  
Geoscientists stands in what used to be the Slims River in the
Yukon, which disappeared within four days last year
when a glacier melted back, diverting the water elsewhere.
Photo by Jim West/University of Illiinois via CBC

A waterway called the Slims River used to flow out of the Kaskawulsh Glacier in the Yukon.

The water in the Slims would flow north and eventually empty out into the Bering Sea, says the Canadian Broadcasting Corp or CBC. 

But the glacier has retreated so much that the water has found a newer, easier way to escape the melting glacier. It now flows south toward the Kaskawuish River and into the Gulf of Alaska, part of the Pacific Ocean.

The Slims River had flowed like it had for hundreds of years. It disappeared within four days last year - a millisecond in geological time.

This all was discovered last summer, when scientists headed north to study the glacier and the Slims River, only to discover there was no longer a Slims River.  In its place was just fine, sendiment, blowing around in the wind and causing a local dust storm.

Water always finds the easiest path to flow, so as the glacier retreated, it was able to find a steeper slope that took it out of the glacier and pushed it south into the Kaskawuish River.

The CBC said the scientists had never observed something like this before, at least in a way caused by a rapidly melting glacier. It can happen if, for instance, a large earthquake makes an area of land rise or fall abruptly, reversing the course of rivers in the earthquake zone.

This sort of thing might have happened the last time the world warmed up many thousands of years ago. But this time, climate change is believed to be a major factor in the disappearance of the Slims River.

For us down where lots of people live, the death of the Slims River in and of itself is not a big deal. However, glaciers are rapidly melting worldwide, and that causes sea level rises, which obviously affects shorelines all over the globe.






Monday, April 17, 2017

More April Showers In The Offing As Quiet Weather Continues

Sun, bursts of warmth and frequent showers over the past
 week has made my St. Albans, Vermont perennial gardens start
showing signs of life this week. 
Weather fans got a little bit of everything Sunday up here in Vermont: Warm sunshine, some gusty showers and thunderstorms, humidity, cool breezes, sunshine and dark clouds.

Typical April, really, except for the warmth. It got up to 80 degrees in Burlington, Vermont Sunday, the third time this month that's happened. This when normal highs are in the 50s.

No more 80 degree weather is in the forecast, but more showers are. Just not right away.

As you noticed, it's a LOT cooler today. Nothing extraordinary, but definitely jacket weather. Expect frost tonight. Don't worry, it won't get cold enough to nip the chill-resistant early spring perennials that have popped up.

Expect a nice day Tuesday afternoon, with seasonable temperatures and highs in the 50s.

Then we get into a series of weather disturbances that bring us a strong risk of showers Wednesday through Friday. Again, this is all pretty typical for April.

For a rare week, at least, there's not a lot of wild weather to talk about at the moment. I guess we were all ready for a breather.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Lake Champlain In Vermont, New York and Quebec Is Approaching Flood Stage, And That's Not A Bad Thing

Record flooding on Lake Champlain in May, 2011 devastate
these camps in Colchester, Vermont. The lake is now
approaching flood stage, but the flooding won't be anything
close to the destruction of 2011.
Lake Champlain, on the Vermont, New York and Quebec is now approaching flood stage.

Given the rather rainy forecast for the next week, it will probably reach the flood stage of 100 feet above sea level in about a week or so. At least that's my guess.

Right now, it's a little over five inches below flood stage.  

Don't worry, barely above flood stage is still far below the record high of 103.27 feet above sea level on May 6, 2011. 

Three feet of water between barely flood stage and the record high level for Lake Champlain might not seem like a big difference, but it is.

Especially if you combine the record high lake level with strong winds which induce waves, you're going to get a lot of damage, like we did in 2011. 

However, if the lake is a few inches above 100 feet above sea level, as appears likely this spring, that's not so bad at all.

Sure, when the water gets this high, a few low-lying roads near the lake might flood. Perkins Pier in Burlington gets very wet underfood. And if you own a lakeshore home or camp, you might suffer some erosion damage, especially if we get some very windy days that generate big waves.

In fact, today, Sunday, the lake level is still a few inches below flood stage, but strong south winds will probably cause some splashover issues on south facing shorelines on the northern end of the lake.

However, annual minor spring flood cycles on Lake Champlain help maintain ecosystem patterns in the lake. The drawback for the ecosystem, though is some of the floods wash pollutants caused by us humans into the lake.

Once Lake Champlain starts getting above 101 feet above sea level, damage begins to get more significant.

However, so far, it looks like the lake won't get that high. True, March and April have been wetter than normal, which has raised the lake level. And more moderate rain storms seem likely this weekend, Wednesday and maybe again Friday as we remain in a relatively active weather pattern.

In 2011, we had record rainfall during the spring. In April and May combine, there was about 16.5 inches of rain in April and May, compared to a normal of a little over six inches. I'm quite sure we won't get 16.5 inches of rain in these two spring months this year.

So, high water it is on Lake Champlain this spring, but unless something extremely surprising happens there won't be a whole lot of damage.


Saturday, April 15, 2017

Storm Chasers Gaga Over Texas Tornadoes, Supercell

A few times each spring and early summer, storm chasers converge on almost "perfect" supercell thunderstorms and tornadoes.   
An immense tornado near Dimmitt, Texas Friday evening
The supercell storm created at least six tornadoes.
This image via Twitter @Stasischasing

Each of thes supercells produce multiple tornadoes, plus giant hail, violent winds, flood-producing rains, vivid lightning and spectacular cloud features.

It obviously helps immensely when the tornadoes in question avoid towns and cities and stay out over open country.

Such was the case Friday evening, when a giant supercell fired up near the town of Dimmitt, population about 4,800 in the Texas panhandle southwest of Amarillo.

This supercell was almost stationary for several hours, meaning the tornadoes were slow moving, or even sat over the same spot for a long time - about three hours - which is also obviously dangerous.

This also must have kept the residents of Dimmitt alarmed for a a long time, because unlike most tornadoes and severe storms, this one wasn't moving on. Would a tornado break free and plow through the town?

One of Friday night's Dimmitt, Texas tornadoes via
stormchasing.com.au 
Dimmitt itself wasn't too badly damaged, even though the storm produced at least six significant tornadoes

The slow or non-existent movement of the supercell also meant incredible amounts of rain and hail fell, leading to serious flash flooding. Up to 12 inches of rain was reported in some areas around Dimmitt.

You'll see in the videos below how the tornadoes blossom, beome big, then "rope out" meaning they get skinnier and skinnier until they dissipate. Then a new one forms.

It was even fascinating for me to watch the tornadoes unfold on radar, viewing it on my laptop fromo the safety of Vermont, where the sky was clear and the wind was calm.  

You'd sometimes see three simultaneous tornado circulations on radar image, which is pretty impressive for a single storm.

As is the case most of the time in April, there's a threat of severe weather and possible tornadoes almost daily for the foreseeable future in various spots in the middle and southern parts of the United States.

This has so far been quite a year for severe weather. The Weather Channel says there have so far been more than 5,000 reports of tornadoes, thunderstorm wind damage and large hail in 2017, double the average.

There have even been unprecedented early tornadoes in February as far north as Massachusetts and Minnesota.

So far in 2017, only seven states, including Vermont, that have not reported any damage from severe thunderstorms.

We'll see if the trends continue.

Here's some video of the Dimmitt storms.

Through much of this video, one of the tornadoes near Dimmitt appears to want to "rope out" but maintains its strength, looking like a drill bit as it crosses the Texas prairie:


In this video, it looks like the storm chaser was a little too close to one of the Dimmitt tornadoes when it was a powerful wedged-shaped monster:





More video of the twisters:

Friday, April 14, 2017

Flotilla Of Icebergs Causing Problems For North Atlantic Ships

A North Atlantic iceberg a few years ago. This year, an
armada of them have disrupted shipping off the coast
 of Newfoundland, Canada
An unusually large number of icebergs have appeared off the coast of Newfoundland this month, causingn lots of problems - and dangers - for ships crossing the Atlantic Ocean.

Icebergs normally do float down from Greenland to the waters off the coast of Newfoundland in the spring and early summer.

But this year, there was a very abrupt, very big invading army of icebergs in the North Atlantic.

This is the area where the Titanic sank after hitting an iceberg in 1912.

On one day about a week ago there were about 450 icebergs in the Grand Banks waters, far more than there usually are this time of year - or any time of year for that matter, according to the Guardian. 

On average, there are about 80 icebergs lurking out there during April.

That means ships have been taking long detours to avoid the icebergs, which adds a day or more to a transatlantic crossing. And burns up more fuel, making the trip much more expensive. 

Many other cargo ships want to dock at St. John's Newfoundland, but have to slow to a crawl to avoid hitting icebergs. That also increases costs and dangers.

The number of icebergs in the North Atlantic usually peaks in May or June. The early and fast start to iceberg season raises worries the ocean off Newfoundland will really be clogged by these things in a few weeks.

Nobody knows for sure.

An "extreme ice season" is when more than 600 icebergs are spotted in a single season. It looks like this will be the fourth consecutive such season. They've kept track of these since around 1900.

The biggest recent year was 2014, when about 1,500 icebergs were spotted, the sixth highest number in a single year since 1900.

Most of the icebergs come from glaciers calving - their ends breaking off as the reach the ocean in Greenland.

This has always happened, of course, but there seems to be uptick in North Atlantic icenbergs in recent years.

Global warming could be making more icebergs calve in Greenland, sending the ice out into the North Atlantic.  There's mixed science on that: There's not a lot of good data yet on whether the icebergs from Greenland are really increasing or is this just unsual wind patterns bringing the bergs to Newfoundland? 

You need specific wind patterns to bring the icebergs into the North Atlantic. Some years, winds keep most of the icebergs away from shipping lanes.

Which means it's possible things will settle down out there in the North Atlantic.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Typical Spring Up Here In Vermont, Temperatures Bounce, Showers Come And Go

More daffodils: This is coming very soon, trust me! 
We've entered a weather pattern that features pretty typical conditions for a New England April. The temperature is yo-yo-in from warm to cool and back again. Showers come, showers go.

All getting us ready for the big greenup coming in the next few weeks.

The wild temperature gyrations of the past couple of days will moderate a bit, but we are still in for an up and down ride.

We managed to squeak out a couple of record highs Monday, like in Montpelier. Burlington  had its first summerlike 80 degree reading of the year Monday, so the forces of spring have finally gotten a good start.

Tuesday was fascinating, with a sharp temperature gradient across the area. At one point Tuesday afternoon, it was 43 degrees in Montreal and 83 in Bennington, Vermont. Quite a contrast!

It won't be that ridiculous for the next few days. It'll be cool-ish today with highs in the upper 40s and 50s - which is right around normal for this time of year.  It'll keep gradually getting sunnier and sunnier as we go through the day.

Friday looks to be a beauty, with sunshine and temperatures well into the 50s, maybe flirting with 60.

But we always need those April showers and the weather gods will deliver. A warm front will make a run at New England Saturday, with a nice package of gusty showers.

We'll get a brief warm blurt on Easter Sunday between the showers as temperatures heat up into the 70s. Might be a spot 80 degree or two that day if enough sun comes out. It all depends upon the time timing of more showers as the warm front departs Sunday morning and a cold front approaches later Sunday.

Then it's back to chilly weather early next week, with high temperatures in the 40s to around 50. That''s a little cool for this time of year but it's nothing out of the ordinary.

We really are getting a break from wht has been an active weather year so far here in Vermont.


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Nobody Is Quite Sure What Trump Is Trying To Accomplish With Climate Change Attack

Trump loves coal, and thinks climate change is hoax, but
the rest of the world is already moving away from
his line of thinking
As you probably heard on the news, President Trump signed an executive order a couple weeks back  intended to roll back his predecessor's actions on climate change

I suppose Trump's climate executive order is meant to be marketed as a pro-business, pro-job move, but it's hard to imagine how it will help businesses or job growth all that much.

A centerpiece of Trump's campaign last year was to promise people in coal producing zones in the United States that he would bring coal jobs back.

That was part of the motivation of Tuesday's executive order. To "keep" his campaign promise.

However, Trump knows that no matter what he does, he won't keep his promise to bring all those coal jobs back.

Basically, nobody wants to buy coal anymore.

As Vox points out:

"Even the most anti-Obama coal executive on the planet, Robert Murray of Murray Energy, knows this. He supports Trump's assault on climate policy and wants it to go further. (after all, he stands to benefit!), but he's under no illusion it will help coal miners. When he met with Trump, 'I suggested that he temper his expectations,' Murray told The Guardian."

It's true that the world went through a coal burning boom as the 21st century opened. China, India and some other developing countries went on a coal plant building binge, which of course is bad if you're worried about climate change.

Coal is pretty much the worst, most effective greenhouse gas you can get. Lots of countries are getting the message. They're increasingly afraid of climate change, which is a good thing to be afraid of.

With that in mind, it seems like the ardor for coal in these countries is starting to cool. For one thing, those big bursts of smog that China has endured in recent years, is partly due to coal plants and people are not happy about it.

This next bit from Vox is pretty stat heavy, but really worth going through. Because it's very telling about how out of step Trump is:

"Here's what happened with coal plants around the world, year on uear, from 2016 to 2017:

"Pre-construction activity (planning, permitting, etc.) was down a whopping 48 percent. In January, 2016, there was 1,090 GW (gigawatts) worth of coal capacity in pre-construction planning; as of January, 2017, it had fallen to 579 GW.

Work in ongoing coal plant construction projects was down 19 percent. In China and India alone, scattered across more than 100 sites, some 68 GW worth of coal plant construction was frozen in place. In fact, across the world, 'more construction is now frozen than entered construction in the past year.

Construction starts - new coal plants entering construction - were down by 62 percent. Meanwhile, especially in the U.S. and Europe, coal plants are retiring, to the tun of about 64 GW worth in the past two years.

It's all slowing down."

(The report referred to in this excerpt is the annual "Boom or Bust" report on the global coal pipeline from Coalswarm, the Sierra Club and Greenpeace.)

Meanwhile, investments in energy production from wind and solar continue to climb worldwide The U.S. could be a worldwide leader in these industries, but Trump is too dumb to see that.

Trump said when he signed the executive order rolling back climate change initiatives that coal miners will get their jobs back. That "clean coal" whatever the hell that is, is the future of American energy independence.

Stephen Colbert reacted this way, which is perfect: "Clean coal sounds like an oxymoron but then so does President Trump."

I've always said that the most dangerous people in the world are very stupid ones who think they are smart. That description fits Donald Trump more than any other person I've ever heard of.

One thing Trump is good at is creating alternative realities for entertainment and business purposes. But when you create these fake realities, real reality always comes back to bite you.

Hard. 




Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Storm Chaser Suffers Blistering Criticism For Driving Into Tornado

The view of stormchasers just before driving into
an oncoming tornado on this Louisiana highway
The tornado was luckily weak
Despite the deaths in recent years and the danger, some storm chasers are getting way too cocky in their bids to get the most dramatic tornado videos, for fun, viewer clicks and profits.

This has created a backlash, and one of the more blistering ones hit Bart Comstock, who drove his care into what was fortunately a relatively weak tornado near Lena, Lousiana a few days ago.

A little over a week , National Weather Service meteorologists issued alerts for the potential of particularly dangerous tornadoes in northern Louisiana. The forecasters worried some of the tornadoes that would form would be exceptionally strong and long lasting and deadly.

Needless to say, hordes of storm chasers converged on northern Louisiana.

One of them was Comstock and his crew.  They spotted what they judged (correctly, it turned out) to be a pretty weak, but still impressive tornado.

As the Washington Post Capital Weather Gang explained it:

"After spotting the tornado, video from Comstock and his crew shows the chase vehicle take off at a high speed straight for the twister - as its engine roars.

A second camera view from the same vehicle....shows the driver with one hand on the steering wheel, the other with a camera photographing the storm.

'We're in it, we're inside the tornado right now,' one of the crew says while another chaser is heard laughing in the background. 

The car is nearly blown off the road, while the chasers shout excitedly, "Whoa!"

After the encounter, one of the crew boasts, tweeting, "OMG, Just took a DIRECT HIT from a #tornado in Lena, LA. Got great footage, mult cameras.'"

Yeah, that sounds pretty reckless.

As a side note, you shouldn't be holding a camera with one hand a steering wheel with another even while driving in nice weather, never mind a tornado.

As the Washington Post notes, a lot of other chasers agreed with me.

These chasers and meteorologists took to Twitter right away to blast Comstock.

"You're doing it wrong...Takes direct hit and brags about having video," tweeted Victor Gensini a meteorology professor at the College of DuPage who leads student storm chasing tours.

"This is not a badge of honor, nor is it a good example. Bragging about it is tone deaf," said National Weather Service meteorologist who storm chases in her spare time.

"I try not to be judgmental.....but storm chasers driing INTO a tornado essentially laughing all the way. That's...not a good look," tweeted Houston meteorologist Matt Lanza.

Comstock argues that he is an experienced storm chaser and only takes calculated risks.

He had a direct message chat about it with Marshall Shepherd, a meteorologist, who among many other things, writes for Forbes magazine.

Comstock said radar indicated that if there was a tornado near Interstate 49 in Lena, it wasn't strong and didn't show signs of getting stronger. They stayed south of the storm cell, which would have meant they had an escape route if things escalated.

The storm chasers figured the tornado would weaken, as its parent storm's energy was being damaged by another nearby storm. Thus, they decided to drive into it. Had it been a stronger storm, Comstock said, they would have stayed away.

"Our choice to get closer and then transect the tornado was not made as lightly as the video may make it appear," Comstock said.

What about less experienced storm chasers who see that video, see what they think is a weak tornado and drive into it? And then the tornado strengthens, or is worse than what appears from a distance? Doesn't that risk peoples' lives?

Comstock told Shepherd:

"Simply because I do something when chasing does not mean I condone nor do I want others to copy me. Especially those who may only have limited experience with storms and chasing. Driving into tornadoes is dangerous no matter how strong they are. I took a calculated risk but not one with 100% odds that I would come out unscathed."

Of course, people like me are perhaps culpable, too. After all, I do share these videos from time to time. And I'm putting Comstock's in this post, so you can see exactly what we're talking about.  But by doing so, am I encouraging risky behavior?

I'm not sure.

On the one hand, as Shepherd notes, you want to bring the awe and excitement of science into the mainstream. On the other hand, you don't want to put people in harm's way.

No matter what, it's always going to be a matter of walking a fine line in these matters.

Severe weather and tornado season is ramping up toward its peak in late April, May and June. There's going to be a lot of new tornado videos coming out in the next few months. How many risks will people take to get the "money shots" of these tornadoes? And will they be worth it?

I'll repeat. I'm not sure.

For what it's worth, here's the video of Comstock and his carload of chasers excitedly driving into the Lena, Louisiana tornado.  As you can see, the tornado wasn't too dramatic, as tornadoes go, but what if it surprised them?

You decide.


Monday, April 10, 2017

Quick Spring Update: Break Out The Shorts And Sandals

While I wait for my daffodils to bloom this year (They're
coming!) here's a spring photo from my St. Albans
Vermont yard from last spring. 
If you have to go to work today, on what promises to be the most gorgeously warm day so far this year in northern New England, at least pack a lunch you can eat al fresco.

You'll want to, as temperatures rise well into the 70s in most valley locations in northern New York and across Vermont and New Hampshire.

There will be at least some sun, too. The National Weather Service is going with a partly sunny forecast for today, which looks reasonable.

A few spot 80 degree readings are possible in central and southern New England today and tomorrow.

A cold front will approach Tuesday, which means some rather mild showers and a few thundershowers are due, especially in the afternoon in New York and the northern half of Vermont.

NOAA's Storm Prediction Center has the northeastern corner of Pennsylvania, eastern New York and pretty much all of Vermont in a marginal risk zone for severe thunderstorms on Tuesday. 

Before you get too excited, I think there might be a few thunderstorms here and there that could be strong-ish, with brief downpours and gusty winds. But we won't get any kind of widespread calamity with this cold front.

We're still expecting cooler weather during the second half of the week but it won't be bad: Highs mostly in the 50s, about where they ought to be this time of year.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Real Spring Arrives Today In Vermont

Based on the forecast, I decree that spring arrives in
Vermont today, so we're going to see a lot of things
soon, like this photo taken in my St. Albans,
Vermont yard last year. 
There are many opinions on when spring really arrives.

Climatologists usually pick March 1, which what is normally the three coldest months of the year end.

(This year, March was colder in Vermont than December, January and February, so this was a rare occasion when the climatologists' definition didn't work)

Other people say spring arrives on or around March 21 on the spring equinox, when the day is more or less exactly 12 hours long - in the middle of the process when the day's lengthen toward summer's peak.

My definition of the first day of a Vermont spring is more fluid. That would be the day when we have a big warm up, and there's no immediate sign of a return to winter. The first day of spring is when the snow has finally been defeated and the big spring greenup starts.

It could come on any day in March or April. This year, the first day of spring comes today.

At least in most valleys, the snow has mostly disappeared. Sure, there was fresh snow Saturday morning but that's disappearing fast.

More importantly, we've got a sustained period of spring warmth starting today. And when it inevitably cools down later this week, it won't go back down to winter levels.

Yeah, yeah, it was 70 degrees or so in late February in parts of Vermont. But that was a very odd fluke. As we well know, winter returned in earnest during March. And during the first few days of April, frankly.

The first day of spring - today - and what will happen in the next few days will be totally obvious to the most casual observer.

Early season plants like daffodils and day lilies have poked tentatively out of the ground as of this morning. In a very few protected corners, grass has showed a hint of green.

That timid greening will turn into a stampede today and the rest of this week. No, the Green Mountains of Vermont won't actually be green by week's end, but you'll notice a LOT of progress.

Today began frosty, but the strong April sun will boost temperatures to within a few degrees either side of 60. Very nice. Some clouds will probably come in this afternoon, especially in the north, but it will still be a stunningly nice day.    
You'll be seeing these in Vermont very soon! 

Already, as I write this early Sunday morning, I can see out my office window that the ice has gone out  over the weekend in St. Albans Bay in the northern reaches of Lake Champlain.

By Monday, temperatures will reach the low 70s in many areas. The readings could even flirt with record highs in Montpelier, which happens to have a relatively low record high in place Monday for this time of year (Just 64 degrees.)

It'll be warm on Tuesday, too, as showers move in. There could even be a rumble of thunder thrown in, which is in itself a sign of spring since thunder is much more likely in the warmer times of year than in the winter.

The warmth and rain will rapidly melt snow in the higher elevations, too, so ski season is drawing to a close pretty soon. (The snow melt will keep water levels high in rivers this week, but I don't anticipate much flooding.)

As noted, cold fronts will cool us back down by the end of the week. But when I say it will be "colder" I'm not talking about winter cold. It's spring, after all, so it won't be below zero with a blizzard.

Instead, you'll need a jacket, and you might find yourself scraping ice off the car windshield by the end of the week. No biggie.

This is Vermont, so I'm sure there will be a little more snow before summer, and we've got quite a few subfreezing mornings to get through.

But today turns the chapter to spring. Rejoice.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Want Snow? Take A Gander At Gander (Newfoundland)

A road in Gander, Newfoundland this week after
record snows there. Photo by Nancy Warren
Here where I sit in Vermont, the snow is finally melting at a good clip. Just a few days ago, my property was completely snow covered.

Today, it's mostly snow free

Many of us are saying good riddance to winter and spring snow, but there are a few holdouts who love snow, no matter what.

If you're here in Vermont, we got a minor treat last night  with a quick dusting to two inches of fresh powder in the valleys and maybe a bit more than that in the mountains.

There were reports of three to six inches of snow in parts of northern Vermont this morning, with even more than than in some of the mountaiuns.

But that will very quickly melt Saturday and Sunday as the tempertures warm up again.

For those of you who want a very snowy experience, go all the way up to Newfoundland, Canada. And take a gander at the city of Gander.

This week, there was 87 inches of snow on the ground there, the most recorded in that region's history. They've had storm after storm after storm in recent weeks.

Fun fact: If you think you've heard of Gander in another subtext lately, you have. There's a hit Broadway musical called "Come From Away' about the hospitality the people of Gander gave when transcontinental planes had to land there on Sept 11, 2001, stranding nearly 7,000 people there.

As wonderful as the people of Gander clearly are, I wouldn't want to be there right now. We'll wait until the snow melts. If it does.
A house in Gander, Newfoundland buried in snow this week.

Some of the snowstorms we've had over the past few months have gone on to hit Newfoundland. So did some offshore ones that missed us. Plus, some of our recent rainstorms ended up in Newfoundland as snow.

Newfoundland has never exactly been tropical, but I bet they're really pining for spring up there.

It will come. Newfoundland is pretty far north, but it does get spring and summer. Normal high temperatures this time of year in Gander are well up in the 30s, and often reach the low 70s at least during the summer.

Let's hope they don't get much more snow. For the next few days, things are looking up in Gander. Environment Canada predicts no new snow, and daytime temperatures in the 40s for the next few days.