Friday, March 31, 2017

Friday Evening Update: Snow Forecast Miraculously On Track, But....

Road conditions looked terrible in high elevation Mount
Holly, in south-central  Vermont as of 5:30 p.m. Tricky
road conditions will spread to the valleys overnight. 
Amazingly, the late season winter storm blowing into New England now has been behaving pretty much as expected, but it's still early in the event.

I say "amazingly" because this is one storm forecast that was guaranteed to have wild inaccuracies.

That's still true, though so far so good on many of the forecasts. However, there are already changes afoot that could easily change how much snow any given area gets.

One minor thing that's change so far: Far northern parts of New York, northern Vermont and northern New Hampshire has had almost no precipitation so far.

Just a trace of mixed rain and snow sprinkles so far at my house in St. Albans, Vermont as of 5:15 p.m., and just 0.05 melted in Burlington, Vermont.

That's about to change as the main body of precipitation was moving north as of 5:15 p.m. It looked like steady precipitation was just about to begin outside my house as of 5:20 p.m.

In most, but not all areas of New England, the overall philosphy of who will get what by the time with this is over hasn't changed all that much since yesterday.

It still looks like the "biggest loser" - if you like snow that is - would be New York's St. Lawrence Valley and the northern Champlain Valley of New York and Vermont.

There, only two to four inches of snow is expected, but again, this might be a bust. Could be much more could be much less, as temperatures are marginal. The Champlain Valley could easily end up being the storm's biggest surprise area, with either much more or much less snow than current forecasts.

Weak sun heat coming through the clouds has kept it a rain/snow mix so far. in the valleys.

Here's why it's complicated. Warm air is trying to move in aloft, with suggests it would be mostly rain for the first part of tonight for valleys in New England, including Vermont.

On the other hand, heavier precipitation is moving in. Heavy precipitation tends to cool the air a bit, which suggests more snow would come.

Which one wins out? I don't think we'll know until the storm is pretty much over Saturday

I'm still confident that middle and higher elevations in most of Vermont, the Adirondacks of New York, most of New Hampshre, northern Massachusetts and southwestern Maine are going to get clobbered.

This is a very wet storm, and the wettest part will be across central and southern New England. I'm sure we'll get quite a few reports of a foot to 18 inches of snow in many of these areas.

One major change in the forecast involves Massachusetts. It looks like colder air will hang tough in central and eastern Massachusetts, so they're going to get more than four inches of wet snow. Possibly up to 10 or 12 inches.

A winter weather advisory for the Boston area, for example, has been upgraded to a winter storm warning for up to eight inches  of snow.

Areas near the southeastern Vermont/southern New Hampshire/far northern Massachusetts area look at this point to be the hardest hit, with an expected 12 to 18 inches of snow with the consistency of wet cement.

In other words, heart attack snow. Don't shovel unless you're totally, totally fit.

Also in many parts of central and southern New England, including southern Vermont, there could be a period of very heavy sleet tonight.

Some areas could also get a dangerous period of freezing rain in a few parts of central and southern New England. Teasing out precisely which towns might get this is still tough.


As I said this morning, anybody who gets a lot of wet snow and sleet is prone to power failures tonight and Saturday, so be ready for that.

I checked the Vermont Outage Map at 5:20 p.m. today and there's no major power problems. That would come later tonight.

Also, road will all be crappy region wide Saturday morning, so postpone trips until later in the day.

Regionwide, precipitation will taper off during the day Saturday and temperatures will rise to a little above freezing, so road conditions will improve in the afternoon.

More "good" news. Another storm, very similar to tonight's,  is possible Tuesday in New England. However, that storm looks slightly warmer than the current one, so there will probably be more cold rain and less snow and sleet in the valleys than tonight's  storm contains

Still On For A Messy Snow Storm Today Into Saturday. Some Mix, Too

The snow is finally showing signs of thinning in my
St. Albans, Vermont yard, so of course we are going to
get a new installment of fresh snow.
Usually in the hours before a snowfall, forecasters have a good handle on how much snow is going to  fall. 

I think this time, there will be more surprises than usual. But I'm not sure which way they will go.  We're sure some places are going to get a lot of snow. Some valleys might not. We shall see. It all depends on temperatures.

I guess we have to stick with what forecasters are saying and hope they're close.  The storm slowly moving in today has plenty of moisture to work with, so there's going to be plenty of precipitation of one sort or another.

As it stands now, the target zone for the deepest, heaviest snow is the eastern half of Vermont, most of New Hampshire, part of southwestern Maine, parts of northern Massachusetts and the Adirondacks, where winter storm warnings are up.

There, a good, six to 10 inches or more of heavy, wet snow will likely fall by midday Saturday. I can see why forecasters are pretty confident there's going to be a lot of snow in most of those areas, especially in the higher elevations.

The timing, the temperature and the rate of precipitation falling all favor a lot of snow there, especially tonight.

Far southern New England is in for a drenching, with many areas getting perhaps two inches of rain. Although that might cause some local flooding, the rain isn't all bad. There is still soome lingering drought conditions there, believe it or not, and the rain would help.

Another question is sleet. Some computer models mix in a lot of sleet with this storm, others do not. Again, we'll see.

The trickiest forecast is in the Champlain Valley of New York and Vermont. For sure, there will be some snow there.

But will temperatures warm up enough this afternoon an early evening to produce a cold rain instead of snow in the valley floor? The current thinking is yes, but I still worry about a chilly Friday afternoon snow surprise. We'll see.

We know it will eventually get cold enough tonight so any rain that might be falling will turn to snow. But exactly when? If it's already snowing by early evening, or changes over to snow early tonight, the expected two to five inches on new snow on the Champlain Valley floor might end up closer to six inches or more.

On the other hand, if it somehow stays warmer later into the night, there will be less snow in the Champlain Valley.

Sorry, folks, it's anybody's guess.

We do know, as mentioned yesterday, any snow that falls anywhere in New England will be wet and heavy, so plan on some broken tree limbs and power failures tonight and Saturday, especially where the snow really comes down.

On the bright side, this is the best late season skiing the North Country has had in years. The ski slopes are pretty much guaranteed to get at least six inches of snow on top of some pretty decent bases already there.

Snow and rain will taper off west to east Saturday, but snow showers will linger, mostly in the mountains, into Saturday night. Some sun will break out Sunday to start another attempt of melting snow so we could actually have spring.

However, it looks like we might have another marginal rain/snow type storm around Tuesday. At this point, the valleys of New England look rainier in that storm than the one we're dealing with for the next 24 hours.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Slushy Messy Winter Storm Still Due In New England Friday

Latest guess from the National Weather Service in
South Burlington, Vermont as to how much snow
we'll get in the next storm. Click on the image
to make it bigger and easier to see. 
A variety of winter weather warnings, watches and advisories are in effect across much of New England and parts of New York Friday as a winter storm-in-spring still seems like a good bet.

This storm is going to be particularly hard to forecast in terms of how much snow will accumulate.

Snow forecasts are always tricky anyway, no matter what time of year, because just a subtle shift in the path of a storm can change how much snow falls in a particular area.

It's even dicier now.

It's spring, the temperature is marginal between rain and snow, so a degree or two difference in temperature can mean a big change in whether you get a huge thump of snow, or just a slushy coating.

Generally speaking, for most of us, the mountains are sure to get much more snow than the valleys. The hill towns usually get more snow in any given storm anyway, but this time, many valleys will be warm enough for the snow to mix with or even change to rain for a time.

That's particulary true during the day Friday. The storm will have us under a thick cloud cover, as most storms do, but this time of year, the sun is strong enough so that a little of the sun's heat can get through some of the thickest clouds.

That means valleys could warm up enough to bring on rain. Or the snow will largely melt as it hits.

After sunset is when the bulk of the snow accumulation will come, because the sun isn't around to contribute any heat.

It's still looking like the heaviest precipitation will come down in central and southern New England, with somewhat lighter amounts closer to the Canadian border.

The best guess for accumulations through Saturday morning, is as follows, and it's subject to change:

Two to four inches: The Champlain Valley of Vermont and New York, the valleys of western Rutland and Bennington counties, Vermont and right along and just north of the Canadian border. Also the low and middle elevations of cental and western Massachusetts

Three to seven inches: All of central and northern Vermont except the Champlain Valley and the immediate Canadian border, northern New Hampshire, the Lake George/Saratoga area of New York, higher elevations in central Massachusetts

Six to twelve inches: High elevations of central and southern Vermont, much of southern New Hampshire away from the coast, pieces of inland southwestern Maine and mid and high elevations of the Adirondacks.

Remember, there's a high bust potential in these preliminary forecasts. As noted, a slight shift in temperature by a degree or two, up or down, will make an enormous difference in how much snow you get at your house.

All of this snow is going to be wet and heavy. Places that get a lot of it have a very good chance of seeing trees, branches and power lines break, so be prepared to lose your electricity, just in case.

The snow and a little rain will taper off Saturday. The sun will probably break out Sunday, which will melt a little bit of the new snow. But between the new snow and what already exists, it's going to be a long process, especially since I don't see signs of any super warm spring air coming into the Northeast over the next couple of weeks.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Series of Severe Storms, Tornadoes In South; One Of Those To Spin Up New England Snow

Three storm chasers died in this horrific collision at
a remote intersection near Spur, Texas Tuesday.

A winter storm watch is now in effect for Rutland, Addison and Windsor, Bennington and Windham  counties in southern Vermont.

Winter storm watches are up as well for parts of southern New Hampshire and northern Massachusetts Friday night and Saturday.


The watches go into effect late Thursday and early Friday and continue into Saturday.

The areas under the watch look - at this point at least - will be in a "sweet spot" where it will be cold enough for precipitation to come down as mostly snow. Areas south of the winter storm watch are more apt to get mostly rain.

Places north of the winter storm watches face lighter precipitation than those areas within the watches.

As always, note that this forecast could change, with the expected heaviest snow zones shifting north or south, based on the latest information.

It's pretty much a given that whoever gets snow will find that it will be quite wet and heavy. That raises the spectre of tree and power line damage.

This one is going to messy. Stay tuned, folks!

PREVIOUS DISCUSSION 10 a.m. Wednesday:

The southern United States is in the midst of a multi-day severe weather outbreak as a series of storm systems moves generally west to east across the country.

One of those systems looks like it will probably produce yet another late season snowfall here in New England.

More on that after we get through unpacking this big severe weather outbreak first.

The bottom line is this severe weather outbreak is very likely going to get worse today and tomorrow, mostly because the severe storms will move into more highly populated areas.

There were at least 14 reports of tornadoes, mostly in western and northern Texas yesterday, and dozens of reports of damaging winds and hail.

The most tragic part of Tuesday's tornadoes - by far - was the death of three storm chasers near Spur, Texas, east of Lubbock.

They weren't actually caught in a tornado, but one of storm chasers ran a stop sign at a remote intersection, and collided with another storm chaser.

Media reports say a Sububan driven by Kelley Williamson, 57, of Cassville, Missouri, collided with a Jeep driven by Corbin Jaeger, 25,  of Peoria, Arizona.  Both drivers died at the scene, as did Delane Yarnell, 55, also of Cassville, Missouri, who was a passenger in Williamson's Suburban.

I wasn't there, so I don't know precisely what was going on at the time, but I have to wonder if the adrenaline shot of getting a chance to see a tornado distracted any of the storm chasers from more seemingly pedestrian concerns, like stop signs.

No matter, this was a terrible incident, and let's hope nothing like this happens again.

None of Tuesday's tornadoes hit populated areas, but winds gusted to 95 mph near El Reno Oklahoma. Those winds toppled tractor trailers  on nearby highways. Winds gusted to 83 mph in Fort Worth, Texas, and softball-sized hail pummled areas near Wichita Falls, Texas.

One tornado did hit Rockwell, Texas, damaging or destroying several homes.

A tornado near Stamford, Texas Tuesday. Photo via
Twitter from Basehunters Chasing.
Today, the epicenter of the severe weather threat is shifting to much of Missouri, pretty much all of Arkansas and much of Louisiana. This area includes such population centers as Shreveport, Louisiana and Little Rock, Arkansas.

Tornadoes, hail and damaging winds are all threats in this region today.

If anything, things get worse on Thursday.

Even more populated areas than today's target area are under risk Thursday in the Ohio, Tennessee and lower Mississippi valleys. This includes cities like Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee, Louisville, Kentucky and Tupelo, Mississippi.

Even more menacing, atmospheric conditions are expected to change somewhat to favor more of a risk of strong, long-lasting tornadoes. We'll keep on eye on this.

Beyond that, there are tornado risks through early next week in varying areas of the South, from Texas to the Southeast.


The strong storm that is creating the tornado risks today and Thursday in the south will move toward the Northeast Friday and then reconfigure itself as a nor'easter off the East Coast.

Big snowstorms can occur in New England in April, so if this nor'easter drops a lot of snow, it won't be unprecedented. But it would be a cruel April Fool's joke if a snowstorm develops.

The forecast for this one is wicked tricky. Temperatures throughout New England will be marginal for rain versus snow. Sometimes, there's still a ready supply of very cold air over Quebec that would guarantee snow with this type of system.

But this time, the cold air supply isn't super duper strong.

The forecast could change VERY radically from what the current thinking is, but here's what forecasters are hinting at right now:

It looks like the heaviest precipitation would fall over central and southern New England. Northern Vermont, New York and New Hampshire would be far enough away to get only moderate amounts of precipitation.
An early guess at weekend snow accumulations
from the National Weather Service in South Burlington,
Vermont. Click on the image to make it bigger
and easier to see. Also keep in mind this
forecast will surely change as we draw closer
to the event. 

There's a very good chance that all of northern and central and parts of southern New England will get accumulating snows Friday night and early Saturday.

In valleys, snow could easily be mixed with rain, even in northern areas, which might hold down accumulations somewhat.

The mountains of central New England - say the southern Green Mountains, the Berkshires and the Monadnocks of southern New Hampshire could get clobbered with a LOT of heavy, wet snow, which of course would cause a lot of power failures.

Often, heavy precipitation cools the air somewhat. If that's the case, what would have been rain could change to snow in the areas that I just described.

Again, this forecast has a huge bust potential. Don't count on anything yet, but pay attention to forecasts as we get closer to the end of the week, as there could be some nasty effects from this in some areas.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Two Bad Storms: One In Peru, One In Australia

Devastating mudslides and floods have been htting Peru
in recent weeks. Photo by Ernesto Benavides/Getty Images
Every once in awhile, I like to take you on a tour of weather elsewhere in the world, so here we go.

Last week, Peru was hit by one of the worst storms on record to hit that South American nation.

According to the always reliable and informative Weather Underground blog by Bob Hanson and Jeff Masters, the world's costliest disaster so far in 2017 has been going on or the past several days in Peru.

Torrential rain has fallen on normally dry terrain in Peru in recent weeks, causing flooding that has killed at least 80 people and displaced about 110,000 others.

Reuters reports large swaths of Peru, including the capital cit of Lima, schools have suspended classes and running water has been restricted because treatment plants are all screwed up by mudslides. Food shortages are developing in some towns because roads are so damaged by floods and mudslides that trucks can't move goods around.

The trouble in Lima, Henson and Masters say, developed despite the fact that little rain has fallen in most  of the lower elevation parts of the city.

The climate there is normally such that the city gets high humidity and fog fairly frequently, but the cool Pacific Ocean water just off the coast of South America helps prevent the kinds of updrafts that can trigger storms and heavy rain.

The flooding this year is in elevations above Lima, but even there, it is normally very dry, so what happened in the past couple of months to change that?

It's complicated and a bit weird, climatologically, but here we go. El Nino, that periodic warming of eastern Pacific waters, messes up weather patterns all around the world. It can really cause problems in Peru, which of course is right next to the eastern Pacific.

The water in the eastern Pacific gets warm, so you get more of those updrafts and storms that can cause heavy rain in Peru. That situation caused severe flooding in Peru in 1997 and 1998.

There was another very strong El Nino in 2014 through early 2016, but oddly, there wasn't all that much flooding in Peru then.  That puzzled scientists.

Now, El Nino is gone, so you'd think Peru would be safe from any big floods caused by this oceanic and atmospheric phenomenon. However, for some reason, the water temperature just off the coast of Peru skyrocketed in the past few months.

Scientists are even more puzzled by that.

This warm patch off the coast of Peru could lead to a more widepread El Nino, but so far that hasn't happened.

But the warm water lingers in the waters off Peru, so more flooding is a threat.


Meanwhile, in Australia, Cyclone Debbie has hit the northeast part of the nation with devastating force.

Cyclones in that part of the world are another name for hurricanes.
Satellite view of Cyclone Debbie in northeastern Australia.

And Debbie is a biggie. It just hit land overnight our time on the U.S. East Coast, which is during the day Tuesday in Australia.  Winds were reported as high as 165 mph.

Since the storm was ongoing as I write this, details from the disaster zone are sketchy.

Early reports and video emerging from near where the cyclone made landfall indicate major damage, with roofs blown from homes, storm surges and other damage. We don't know yet if there have been any deaths, but injuries have been reported, according to The Guardian. 

Debbie made landfall at a series of very nice islands and coastal locations popular with tourists.

One tourist stuck there during the cyclone said the streets are littered with metal roofing and golf carts that have been flung around by the winds. In hotels, people stayed away from windows as the panes flexed in and out amid the destructive winds, The Guardian said. 

The tourist, named Peter Langtree, said the noise from Debbie was incredibly loud and scary. "The noise is like nothing I've ever heard before I guess if you had to explain it, it would be similar to standing next to a 747 at take off."

Cyclones hit Australia from time to time, almost always on the northern coasts of the nation, but this one was much stronger than usual. It was the worst cycline since at least 2007. It might turn out to be one of the worst cyclones in Australian history.

Some videos:

This video shows damage and strong winds from Debbie in Airlie, Australia:

This rather loud video shows Debbie at peak force. Looks scary to me!

Kinda Close To Average In Vermont, For A Change

Enough snow has melted in my St. Albans, Vermont yard
so I can sort of see my raised beds again. But there's
still plenty more snow to melt. 
The snow in northern Vermont - at least in the valleys - is finally showing signs of melting away.

There's still plenty left, to be sure, but it's declining.

For once, with weather not too far from average for this time of year, the melt will continue.

Unless we get a nasty surprise Friday night. More on that in a moment.

A cold front will arrive today, accompanied by more showers. Nothing terribly heavy.

Tonight, colder air filters in, with yes, more snow. Most places won't get much of anything tonight and tomorrow morning, but the western slopes of the Green Mountains and the northern Champlain Valley could pick up one to three inches of wet snow. There might be even a little more than that way up in the mountains.

Any new snow in the valleys will begin to melt in the afternoon Wednesday as temperatures get to near 40. That's a bit chilly for this time of year, but not terrible.

Sugarers, look out for a great run on Thursday. The day will start cold, but sunshine will boost temperatures well up into the 40s by afternoon.

Then.....Friday. There's some sort of storm coming, but details are sketchy on how heavy the precipitation will be and in what form.

At this point the best chances of several inches of snow are, of course, up in the mountains. However, the temperature is looking marginal Friday night for rain or snow in the valleys.

There's a good bet there will be some snow in the valleys Friday night, but will it be just a few wet snowflakes mixed with the rain, or many inches of heavy wet snow, or something in between?

I have no idea. Neither does anybody else. Stay tuned on that one

Monday, March 27, 2017

Quick Monday A.M. Update: As Expected, Freezing Rain East

Drizzle, a muddy driveway and very slowly melting
snowbanks this morning at my house in St. Albans, Vermont.
Further east in Vermont, however, it's freezing rain.
Be careful out there! 
The forecast issued yesterday for this morning worked out just as expected.

There's lots of patchy rain, drizzle, freezing rain and freezing drizzle across the North Country this morning.

Almost all of the Champlain Valley of Vermont and New York is above 32 degrees, so freezing rain isn't a problem there.

There is freezing rain, however, in parts of the Adirondacks, in  Vermont from the Green Mountains eastward and in much of central and northern New Hampshire and on into Maine.

Basically, if you're headed to or from places like Montpelier, St. Johnsbury, White River Junction or Springfield, Vermont this morning, watch out for plenty of slick spots. The state highway trucks are salting the roads, but there is only so much they can do.

It's telling that the Vermont highway truck drivers are having to put chains on their tires this  morning, meaning it's very slick.

If you can postpone driving in central and eastern Vermont and other freezing rain areas until late morning, you'd be better off.

By noon if not sooner, everybody should have gone over to plain rain. It'll be a rainy, damp, chilly day with rain around and highs not getting much above 40 degrees, but it at least we won't be adding more to the deep snow pack.

The forecast is still on track for a slightly cooler than normal, but not frigid work week. The mountains could pick up a couple of inches of snow Tuesday night and Wednesday, but there won't be much, if anything for snow in the valleys.

It looks like some sort of storm will come along Friday and Friday night, and we'll have to watch that one. Temperatures will be close to cold enough for snow. The early bet is rain in the valleys, with soime snow possible there Friday night, with more accumulating snow in the mountains.

That's just an early guess, so stay tuned on that one.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

"Super Bloom" Is A Glorious End Product Of Generous California Rains

As I've written about this winter frequently, California finally had a wet winter after years of drought.

Although there was a lot of damage from floods, mudslides and the like, a multi-year punishing drought has largely be erased, although not completely in southern California.

California deserts are not exactly places you go if you want to see multitudes of flowers. Except at the tail end of a wet winter.

Seeds left behind by plants in previous years finally got a chance to sprout with this winter's rain, and the result has been a breathtaking explosion of color in the normally beige deserts.

The bloom has been so intense that there was a big traffic jam on Interstate 15 near Lake Elsinore as people stopped to take in the beauty and snap pictures, according to the Press-Enterprise in Riverside, California.

Photos of the bloom in this post are by Watchara Phomicinda of the Press-Enterprise.

Of course, stopping on Interstate highways is discouraged and illegal except in emergencies, but something this beautiful almost qualifies as an emergency.

Some of the flower seeds probably lay dormant in the desert for years or even decades. Heavy rains will wash off a protective covering on the seeds, prompting them to germinate and bloom.

Riverside, California City Manager Grant Yates told the Press-Enterprise, "With the drought, we haven't seen that (wildflower bloom) for many years."

Pretty much nobody in Riverside was complaining about the beauty, or the influx of tourists spending money in the town.

One More Bout of Winter, Then It Turns Spring-ish In The North Country

A mid-winter scene in the spring in my St. Albans, Vermont
yard Saturday evening, with 14 inches of dense snow on the
ground. Some of this snow will finally disappear with thawing
over the next week or so. 
Up here in Vermont, winter drags on, for a little while longer, at least.

Skies cleared up last evening, and with the unseasonably deep snow cover helping to refrigerate things, it got wicked cold again.  

Nearly a week into spring, it was 1 below this morning in Saranac Lake, New York, and near or below zero in a smattering of cold hollows in northern Vermont.

It didn't get quite that cold here at my hacienda in St. Albans, Vermont, but there was 14 inches of snow on the ground as of last evening. (There was "only" 7 inches left down in Burlington, which largely missed out on Friday's heavier snow.)

Next up: Freezing rain.

The sun will fade behind increasing clouds here in the North Country for the rest of the day. However, there will be enough sun to get us above freezing for awhile this afternoon. Temperatures will get to 40 or a little more in most spots, so we'll lose a bit of this pesky snow cover. Not much, but a little.

It's a gorgeous day to hit the ski slopes, though, and the skiing conditions are awesome, so you might want to consider that.

Then the next storm comes in this evening and overnight. This time, it doesn't look like there will be much in the way of snow, but freezing rain is going to be a problem.

Freezing rain advisories are up for the eastern half of Vermont, Bennington County, and the central and souther Adirondacks, and parts of southwestern New Hampshire and northern Massachusetts.

Northern New Hampshire and western Maine will probably start out as snow tonight and then quickly go over to sleet and freezing rain. Winter weather advisories are on for those spots.

There won't be enough freezing rain to bring down much in the way of trees and power lines, but there will be icy roads through the Monday morning commute. The worst travel conditions will be on secondary roads. You'll need to watch out on the main highways, too, but they'll be treating those roads, so that will help.

If you're on foot, those sidewalks are going to be horrible. Break out those Yak Trax!

In Vermont's Champlain Valley, temperatures tonight and early Monday will stay near or just a smidge above 32 degrees. There will be spotty freezing rain for the morning commute in a few spots, but forecasters at this point don't thing that ice will be terribly widespread near Lake Champlain.

For those who are really weary of deep winter in spring, I've got some marginally good news. It's going to turn less wintry, starting Monday afternoon.

Rest assured we won't have any gloriously warm, sunny days in the near future. The weather will be unsettled for the next few days, for sure. But not blizzardy or frigid.

Rain and gloom will continue through the day on Monday, as temperatures climb into the low 40s. Another round of showers comes in Tuesday, but temperatures will rise into the 40s to near 50.

At this point, it doesn't look like there will be enough snow melt with this rain and thaw to cause any significant flooding. But some storm drains are clogged with snow and ice, so I imagine there will be some spotty street flooding in places that still have a lot of snow on the ground.

Speaking of snow, it's going to snow again! Scared you, didn't I?

This time, though, it's not that big a deal. Snow showers will dust the mountains Tuesday night through Thursday. There might even be some slushy accumulations in the valleys of northern New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

But afternoon readings will get to 40 degree or so Wednesday through Friday - still kind of chilly for late March but nothing like the frigid weather we're coming out of.

Beyond Friday, I have no clue what the weather will be like going into next weekend. The computer forecasting models are all over the place. My forecast for next weekend as of today is this: There will be precipitation unless there isn't. The wind will come out of a direction. There will also be temperatures.

Specific enough for you?

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Ugh, That Was A LOT Of Snow And Slush Friday

A very snowy, foggy scene this Saturday morning in my
St. Albans, Vermont yard. We got another 5.3 inches of wet
snow over the past 24 hours, and the total snow cover
remains well over a foot.
In the weather department here in Vermont, it was a very easy winter, but it's a very tough spring so far. 

It was another wintry day Friday in some parts of the North Country, even snowier and slushier than even some pessimistic forecasters thought.

The snow and sleet did mix with or change to rain in some valley locations, especially from Burlington south, but still, we contended once again with slippery roads, shoveling snow, the kinds of things we don't like to do this late in the season.

While places like Burlington are still slowly losing snow cover, with a few interruptions, places in the northern Champlain Valley and away from the lake keep getting replacement snow to maintain the deep covering left by last week's epic snowstorm.

Here at my house at St. Albans, Vermont, well north of Burlington, I got 5.3 inches of wet snow and sleet.  I admit the wet snow clinging to all the tree branches around my place this foggy morning is beautiful, but I really don't want it to last.

Yeah, I'm showing my springtime bias. Deal with it.

Early reports are that there was a general three to five inch snowfall over northern Vermont Friday. There were a few spot reports of six inches or a little more than that.

Down in Burlington, Friday's installment of snow brought the month's total to 34.3 inches, the third snowiest March on record. (We almost certainly won't get to the Number 1 spot in snowiest Marches, which was 47.6 inches in 2001)

It's not going to warm up too much too fast, so all this snow is still going to linger into April, I'm afraid.

Big, fat wet snowflakes descend on Burlington's Intervale
during Friday afternoon's snowfall.
I'm getting paranoid that the next storms - Sunday night and Monday and again Tuesday - will plaster us with more snow, though the National Weather Service in South Burlington and other forecasters are calling for mostly rain.
However, it's looking bad for areas in eastern Vermont into New Hampshire Sunday night and early Monday, as those places at this point look like they might be in for a fair amount of freezing rain and some sleet. 

Temperatures Sunday night and early Monday will be marginal, so an unexpected slip of a degree or two in the temperature could really mess things up.

I do have room for optimism if you're sick of the snow, and pessimism if you want to keep skiing forever.

There have been plenty of snowstorms in the North Country in April and May. However, it will be getting harder and harder to actually get a big snow now that spring is (allegedly!) taking hold. It's hard for winter to resist the forces of spring once April approaches.

Temperatures will remain near to mostly below normal through this coming week, but even below normal temperatures will bring some thawing. High temperatures in the low 40s isn't toasty, but it's enough to slowly melt a bit of the snow.

Let's just hope we don't keep getting this "replacement snow" to maintain our mid-winter snowy landscape. If it wants to snow a bunch more on the ski areas, fine. Let's just allow us valley dwellers to escape this restrictive snowy prison.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Cold And Wet, Or Snowy And Slushy For The Next Week

Dark clouds over snow covered Burlington, Vermont just
before it started snowing hard, yet again. Spring isn't here
yet, despite what the calendar says
As I've noted the past few days, we're not in for any glorious spring days here in Vermont and the rest of the North Country, not by a long shot.

We started yesterday with many places below zero in New York and northern New England. We're starting to get to the point where it's hard to get below zero, but there you go. 

It was a whopping 20 below in Saranac Lake, New York Thursday morning, and 11 below at Island Pond, Vermont.

I'm pleased to report that temperatures will not again get anywhere near zero in the near future, but that doesn't mean we're out of winter. Not by a long shot.

A weather front is going to get hung up in a west-to east orientation from the Great Lakes into the Northeast for the next week or so.

It'll waver to the north, then to the south and back again during this time, and it's position will determine whether precipitation is falling at any given time, and if so, what kind.

Weather disturbances will ride roughty west to east along this front, causing bursts of precipitation here and there across Vermont and the rest of New England.

As it stands now, the best chances of precipitation are today and early tonight. Then somewhat of a break Saturday before more precipitation comes in Sunday and Monday, then another wave of ickiness Tuesday and Wednesday.

The trick during all these bouts of precipitation will be figuring out in advance what exactly will come out of the sky.  The first burst that moved into Vermont was snow, and it was coming down at a pretty good clip in the Champlain Valley as of 8:30 a.m. today.

It might go over to rain later today in the warmer valleys, but likely stay snow in the north central and northeastern parts of Vermont, and in the mountains.

Fronts like the nearly stalled boundary coming up for the next week are a classic battleground between seasons. To the south, spring reigns supreme. To the north, a cold high pressure system stalled in Quebec will want to feed cold air south.

We here in Vermont and the rest of northern New England and northern Vermont are caught in the battle zone between the two seasons.

Temperatures will remain right on the cusp between rain and snow, so subtle shifts in where the front is, and how much cold air is feeding in, will determine what type of precipitation will be falling at any given time.

It's really hard to tell in advance

But you can give an overall picture. First of all, snow is more likely in northern New York, Vermont and New Hampshire than further south in those states. The best chances of snow would be in the eastern half of Vermont, then into New Hampshire and Maine.

Today, precipitation will start off as snow everywhere, and then probably change to rain south and in much of the Champlain Valley. Expect a dusting to two inches of slush there, and two to four inches of snow far northern Champlain Valley and the eastern half of Vermont by tonight.

Today's precipitation, and the stuff that will fall over the course of the next week, will be determined by the time of day, too.

The spring sun is strengthening so even on cloudy days some of its heat gets through. Which means we'll get into a scenario where often, it will snow some at night, then change to rain during the day, then back to snow the next night.

Depending on exactly where the front is set up at any given time, some areas might stay a cold rain at night, or mix in some sleet and/or freezing rain.

I'll also note - and this is important- that the forecasts on each of the next seven days or so at least - have a BIG bust risk. The forecast has a greater than average chance of being wrong, because the slightest change in temperature could change a lot of rain to a lot of snow, or vice versa.

Still, I don't expect any mega huge accumulations of snow anywhere in the next week, except maybe in the mountains, extreme northeast Vermont and parts of northern New Hamphire and Maine

In any event, expect a dank, damp, slushy mess for the next week, considering all the mixed precipitation, cold rain and existing snow cover that we have.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

More Random, Really Cool Weather Images

Satellite view taken Monday of most of New England
shrouded in snow cover.
In my continuing hunt for cool weather media, I'll share a few more finds from recent weather events that I think are really cool.

In any of the photos you see in this post, click on them to make them bigger and easier to see.

The first one is a real color satellite image taken amid clear skies this past, of New England, eastern New York and a bit of southern Quebec after that big snowstorm we got a little over a week ago.

In it, all but southeastern New England is encased in snow. The warm March sun had caused the thinner snow cover in and around Cape Cod to begin retreating northward.]

You can see the large dark spot on the northwestern edge of Vermont. That's the still open, ice-free water of Lake Champlain.

The snow also allows you to see the land features and land uses better. Notice much of the Champlain Valley and southeastern Quebec look whiter than other areas.

That's because there's more open fields in these locations. The spine of the Green Mountains and the Adirondacks are darker, because of all the trees and lack of open spaces.
A dense March 14 snow squall over Lake Michigan and Chicago

Smaller, frozen lakes also show up as bright white.

It's a pretty stunning post-snowstorm image, isn't it?

The next photo was taken March 14 from downtown Chicago.

Chicago can get lake effect snows off of Lake Michigan, especially if the wind is coming from the northeast, off the water.

The photo, taken from a high rise, shows the waters of Lake Michigan abruptly being hidden by a thick curtain of snow from a squall.

After going through January and February with no snow on the ground, winter finally hit Chicago in mid-March with a series of snowy and cold days.

Spring is returning to Chicago, however. The forecast high temperature on Friday there is 74 degrees.

Next, we turn to Hutchinson, Kansas, scene of widespread wild fires earlier this month. The winter in the central and southern Plains was dry, and that region has been subjected to repeated bouts of record warmth, super dry air and high winds all winter and early spring.

Aerial view of home near
Hutchinson, Kanasas spared
from a huge wildfire 
The result was the worst wildfires on record. Kansasans are calling the wildfires "our Katrina," referencing the 2005 hurricane calamity in New Orleans.

The wild fires earlier this month killed seven people and thousands of cattle caught in the fast moving flames. Many other cows were badly injured in the fires and ranchers had the heartbreaking task of taking out their rifles and shooting them to put the animals out of their severe misery and pain.

The photo in this post depicts one of the lucky ones. It shows a house that survived the wildfires near Hutchinson, Kansas, even as everything for miles around burned to a crisp

After a break, the wildfire threat has returned this week. Hundreds of Boulder, Colorado residents had to be evacuated due to a wildfire Sunday, which was fortunately contained.

Today, there's an extreme risk of dangerous wildfires in eastern New Mexico, the Texas panhandle and southeastern Colorado.

Let's hope they get some rain soon.

Also, here in the United States, we're ramping up into tornado season, too. There've already been some deadly outbreaks over the winter, so things are not off to a good start.

March 9 tornado in Germany 
Starting today, and continuing daily for the next week or so in different parts of the Plains, Midwest and South, there will be a threat of severe storms as we've entered a weather pattern that features such weather.

Of course, tornadoes don't only happen in the United States. They can happen almost anywhere. On March 9, there was a particularly picturesque tornado in, of all places, Wurzburg, Bavaria, Germany.

The tornado damaged the roofs of up to 80 homes. 

Tornadoes do take place from time to time in Germany and other parts of Europe. It's quite unusual to get one this far north in Europe this early in the season, however.

The tornado, as you can see in the photo, was really striking, lit up white by the late afternoon sun against dark clouds, with a rainbow crossing above it.

Elsewhere, a small tornado passed through the Brisbane, Australia airport, causing a scare but not causing much damage.

Here's the video, below. Note the tail end of the video is not that exciting, just a local weather report. But the tornado is cool:

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Earth Was Surprisingly Warm In February, Various Measurements Show

Parts of eastern Europe, northwestern Siberia and
Alaska were especially warm in February, 2017
The Earth's climate change fever continued in February, as the month turned out to be the second hottest February on record for the globe.

It was also the fourth warmest month of any on record, if you look at it in terms of how far above normal the temperatures were.  

January, 2017 was extraordinarily warm, too.

The year is young, but so far it's not going to plan.

This year - 2017 was - and in most quarters is - expected to break a trend of recent super hot years by being slightly cooler than the previous year or years.

The year 2014 was the world's hottest on record. That is until 2015, with beat that record. Whoops! No, 2016 beat the the previous year for warmest on record. That's three years in a row that broke the world's heat record.

Virtually all climate scientists expcct 2017 to be abnormally warm, due to climate change. However, a big El Nino from previous years has ended. El Ninos tend to heat the atmosphere of the Earth, making hot times hotter.

This year began with a weak El Nina, which tends to cool the atmosphere a tiny bit. So 207 was widely expected to cool off a tiny little bit.  Yet, we're still remaining hot.

And now, some experts think a new heat-boosting El Nino might be brewing later this year.

Long-range forecasters caution that the possibility of an El Nino is still very uncertain for later this year. It's particularly hard to predict these things this time of year.

However, if an El Nino does develop, it would give a boost to global temperatures, which would give 2017 a shot at being another record hot year.

Very iffy at this point, but within the realm of possibility.

As I noted the other day, this climate change news comes amid a United States government that is totally hostile to the science.

The United States can't go it alone in battling climate change, obviously, but we need to be part of the effort.

The Earth's climate keeps showing signs of really being off the rails. Time for the United States to once again be the leader in protecting the world's security.

In this case, nuclear missiles aren't the problem. It's the stuff coming out of our car tailpipes.

Bill Mahar said it best in his monologue Friday. The Trump administration is like a person whose car is breaking down and "solves" the problem by putting black tape over the Check Engine light.

Hope You Like Winter, New Englander! It's Hanging On

Back to winter weather driving this morning, as seen here
in St. Albans, Vermont.
Once again, I awoke to some fresh snow outside my house in St. Albans, Vermont this morning, as winter continues to drag on this year into spring.
True, the new snow only amounted to about an inch, not the two and a half feet we got a week ago.

But it's still dispiriting this time of year, when I, and many others, are anxious to get out there and do spring outdoor work.  

That ain't happening any time soon.

Though much of last week's deep snow has settled and partly melted, there's still a lot left. The Arctic cold front that swept through before dawn isn't exactly going to help that melting process along.

Today's high temperatures - in the low 30s - happened just after midnight and it's all downhill from there.

Afternoon temperatures will be in the teens and a strong north wind will bring subzero wind chills. That's way, way colder than normal for late March.

Tonight will be frigid, too, with pretty much everybody going under 10 degrees and some colder spots below zero once again. Brrr!!

I suppose Thursday will feel better with lighter winds, sunshine and temperatures in the upper 20s, but that's still pretty darn cold for late March here in Vermont.

Then on Friday, a warm front will try to make a run at us.
This is one of a few cars that slid off Interstate 89 in
Georgia, Vermont this morning after another Arctic
front blasted through New England.
Good news, right? Warm front? Mild air?

Um, no. Not this time.

The warm front's progress will be blocked by another cold high pressure area over Quebec. So Friday at this point looks like we'll get some snow and sleet, likely changing to a cold rain the valleys.

That will be good for another one to three inches of sloppy snow and ice and slush in much of the North Country.

That high pressure in Quebec will push that weather front back south Saturday but it might make another run at us Monday.

The forecast beyond the weekend is very, very uncertain. Take anything you hear at this point with a grain of salt. However, it does not look like there will be any kind of great, big warmup heading into next week. And more mixed precipitation is possible next week, too.

At least the skiers and riders are getting some late season joy out of this, so not everybody's bumming about our winter in spring, right?

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Southeast Freeze Might Be $1 Billion Disaster. Hope You Won't Miss The Peaches

Destroyed, frost bitten peach blooms in South Carolina means
no peach crop this year. Photo by Cindy Kubovic/Aiken Standard
Farmers in the Southeast are reeling from last week's freeze that might have caused up to $1 billion in damage to crops.

We knew ahead of time there would be serious damage and that came to fruition, as there's not a heck of a lot you can do to stop the damage from a widespread freeze.

In South Carolina, 90 percent of the peach crop was wiped out, according to television station WISTV in Columbia, South Carolina.

State officials said they hoped to get federal aid to farmers, as some could face bankruptcy over this without help.

South Carolina is normally the second biggest peach producing state after California. The South Carolina crop is usually worth $90 million, says the Aiken (South Carolina) Standard. 

Wheat, strawberries, blueberries and corn in South Carolina, Georgia, North Carolina and other states were also severely damaged, the Associated Press reportsd.

The freeze was at least as bad as an epic 2007 freeze that caused about $1 billion in crop losses, the AP says. 

This freeze was so damaging because a record warm February caused plants to grow and bloom prematurely across the Southeast.

Then, that nor'easter that dumped three feet of snow on us here in Vermont last week pumped lots of Arctic air into the Southeast, causing record low temperatures.

It got down to 25 degrees all the way down to Gainesville, Florida, which is the coldest on record there for so late in the season. 
Dead, frost-bitten cherry blossoms in Washington DC
this week. Photo by Kevin Ambrose via Washington Post

In Washington DC, the annual cherry blossom bloom is badly damaged.

Blossoms that had opened have turned brown because of the subfreezing temperatures, though many blossoms that had not yet opened probably survived and will bloom normally.

Perhaps half of Washington DC's cherry blossoms might not bloom, so the season is going to be subdued

Another blast of Arctic air is coming down from Canada this week, which could cause a little more damage to cherry blossoms in Washington.

Still, people in Washington are hoping any remaining buds might bloom and hide most of the dead, brown blossoms. Still, the whole thing is depressing. I haven't seen this cherry blossom frost destruction happen in Washington in my lifetime and few other people have, either.

However, unlike the freeze last week, the cold air will not punch down into the southeastern United States, so this won't cause any additional frost damage there.

In the Northeast, the cold will be deep and mid-wintry Wednesday and Thursday, but plants haven't come far enough along to have them get nipped by the freeze.

I'm pretty sure that everybody east of the Mississippi River is SO ready for spring, despite the super mild winter that just ended.

Random Images And Videos Of Really Cool Weather Phenomenon

Kelvin-Helmholtz clouds over Churchchrist, New Zealand.
I often run across images and videos on social media about weather that doesn't exactly fit what I want to tell you about, but are cool nonetheless.

So why not share them anyway?

The first image is of a rather rare cloud formation and one of my favorites: Kelvin-Helmholtz clouds. The photo was taken at an unspecified date over Christchurch, New Zealand.

The clouds, as you can see, look like breaking ocean waves. They are named for Lord Kelvin and Hermann von Helmholtz, who studies the physics of the atmospheric instability that creates the clouds.

The clouds form when two different layers of the atmosphere move at different speeds. The upper layer of air is moving faster than the lower levels of the air when these clouds form. The higher winds in the upper layr will sometimes scoop the top of the cloud layer and form these wave-like clouds.

A gorgeous thunderstorm over Grenada, Spain
Kelvin-Helmholtz clouds are not dangerous, and don't produce severe weather. But they are a sign that the air is very unstable, and aircraft flying through areas with these clouds can get in trouble.

I've never personally witnessed Kelving-Helmholtz clouds, and being a weather geek, seeing the clouds is definitely on my bucket list.

The next photo in this post is not a terribly unusual weather phenomenon, but it's a gorgeous photo of a thunderstorm over Granada, a Spanish city in the foothills of that country's Sierra Nevada mountains.  

The Alhambra Palace, a luxury hotel, is in the foreground. Between that building and those dramatic clouds, it makes for just a gorgeous photo.

A dramatic looking but non-lethal avalanche in Juneau, Alaska recently
It was taken by Jose Luis Hens Terron.

The next photo was taken on March 3 in Juneau, Alaska.

Amid cold, blue skies, an avalanche descended from the steep mountains surrounding the city. The avalanche caused no deaths or injuries, and damage was minimal.

Pretty cool image of such a snow slide.

Finally, we have some cool images of severe thunderstorms developing in Nebraska about a week and a half ago.

The satellite feed here is mesmerizing, if you are a weather geek like me.

I'll have more images in future posts, because they're piling up left and right, but here's that Nebraska storm outbreak video:

Monday, March 20, 2017

Spring Arrives In New England In Uncertain Fashion. Typical

Snow settling in the March sun last Friday in the woods
near my St. Albans, Vermont house created interesting
light and shadow patterns. Snow will continue to slowly
melt - with a couple frigid interruptions - over the next
few weeks.
Astronomical spring arrived this morning at around 6:30 here in New England, while the temperature at my St. Albans, Vermont house was 8 degrees, and there was still more than a foot of snow on the ground.

The old adage is true: The first day of spring and the first spring day are usually not the same thing here in New England.

On the bright side, just like yesterday, temperatures are getting up to 40 degrees or so this afternoon here in northern Vermont.

 The slow melting process will continue, and the maple sugarers will continue - -today and tomorrow at least - to enjoy a freeze/thaw cycle that they like to keep the sap running.

All this snow will be slowly disappearing over the next couple of weeks, in fits and starts, of course.

Spring is always tentative and uncertain in northern New England, and this year is no exception. The weather pattern that brought us some Arctic cold blasts and snow is changing again, which holds out the prospect that we will get a few spring like days in the coming couple of weeks.

But not always.

Before the weather pattern finishes its transition to a somewhat more spring-like one, another HUGE Arctic blast is heading toward the North Country.

A sharp Arctic front will come through Tuesday night, and the bottom will drop out of the temperatures.

Just as we have twice already this month, daytime highs Wednesday will be near record low levels. Highs just in the teens, when it should be at least in the low 40s this time of year.  Record lows are possible Wednesday night as temperatures bottom out near or below zero.

Cold waves like this don't last long this time of year, and it'll start to warm up Thursday afternoon. It'll still be frigid for this time of year in Vermont, with highs in the 20s, but it will be better.

The warmup will continue so that near seasonable temperatures (low 40s-ish) come in Friday and Saturday.

Beyond that, the weather will see-saw, with colder weather possible around Sunday then maybe warmer weather again a couple days after that. (Long-range forecasts like this are always iffy, especially in the spring.)

The overall weather pattern change starting this week and continuing into April will mean a greater risk of occasional tornadoes and severe weather in the Plains, Midwest and South starting Thursday and Friday.

The pattern change would also seem to increase the chances of storminess at times in Vermont and the rest of the Northeast. As we're heading into April, the chances of the storms being rain and not snow are definitely increasing.

However, even in April, you never know. Stay tuned.

Spring is stuttering, but it's getting here!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Best TV Weather Segment Ever Includes Forecasts Of Farts And Toots

A little kid named Houston crashed a Mississippi television
meteorologist''s segment to forecast "farts and toots."
Residents in and near Jackson, Mississippi were probably startled, and maybe delighted, that their televisied weather forecast included the chance of farts.

Probably delighted because the scary news was delivered by a little boy who crashed an adult meteorologist's on-air weather forecast.

The WBLT-TV forecast presented by meteorologist Patrick Ellis on a recent Saturday began benignly enough.

Ellis said the area was under a threat of light showers, but that dry air over Mississippi would squelch most of the showers.

So, nothing extreme to worry about among Mississippi weather watchers.

That's when a young kid named Houston decided to spice up the ho-hum weather forecast a little bit, says Adweek's TVSpy website. 

Houston burst onto the set during Ellis' segment to warn viewers that "farts and toots" were also in the forecast. It looks like Houston demonstrated the threat of this "dangerous" weather by letting one loose himself.

You can see the delightful video at the bottom of this post.

It turns out that WLBT that local lawyers are sometimes invited onto the news set during the station's 6 p.m. Saturday broadcast. Often, these lawyers bring their kids to see how a local television news cast is run.

Usually, this doesn't cause much excitement. This time it did. "This Saturday was a little different....This Saturday our friend Houston decided he wanted to be on television."

When you watch the clip, it's great to see that Ellis just rolls with the situation until Houston's father abruptly pulls Houston off the air, pre-empting what could have been a really glorious weather forecast.

Here's the clip:

Saturday, March 18, 2017

The New EPA Chief Has No Idea How Science Works

EPA chief Scott Pruitt willfully denies the science on
climate change because he's beholden to the fossil
 fuel industry, in my opinion and that of many others.
We shouldn't be at all surprised by this of course, but there was Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt on CNBC's "Squawk Box" last week saying carbon dioxide is not responsible for climate change.


Pruitt managed to bring most of the same tired climate denying tropes out in one paragraph:

"I think that measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do and there's tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact, so no, I would not agree that it's a primary contributor to global warming that we see."

Actually, it's extremely easy to measure how much carbon dioxide is in the earth's atmosphere. It's about 405 parts per million, and rising. No matter what Scott Pruitt says.

And pretty much every scientists can tell you that an increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will increase the heating capacity of the atmosphere.

Of course, Pruitt didn't win himself a lot of fans with his comments.

"Anyone who denies over a century's worth of established science and basic facts is unqualified to be the administrator of the EPA. Now more than ever, the Senate needs to stand up to Scott Pruitt and his dangerous views,"  said Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, according to CNBC.

Good luck with that, though.

Republicans control the government, and they'll stick to the party line of denying climate change.

Since most people are not scientists, we get the following situation, as outlined in The Atlantic: 

"And yet, few minds are likely to change as a result of this debate. Many Americans will hear Pruitt's comments at the same time they hear the scientific community's response. They will assume that both groups mean well - the their new public servant isn't lying to them - and they will grasp for a false truth somewhere between the two statements. 

These Americas will come to assume there is some debate about climate change, some moderate position between those who say the world is warming and those who say otherwise. 

"These Americans will be intelligent, good-faith, savvy consumers of media - yet they will hve been successfully misled. The moderate position between the truth and a falsehold is still a falsehood."

Vox points out persuasively that the point here isn't "scienceplaining" anyway. The facts of climate change are besides the point with Pruitt's takeover at the EPA.

Vox offers this analogy:

"Imagine you're playing a basketball game. A member of the other team travels. The referee calls the travel, but the opposing player just shrugs and says, 'I don't care.'

He refused to surrender the ball and just keeps going. Then his team starts putting extra players on the court, fouling at will, and pelting your team with refuse. The referee continues to call violations, but the other team simply disregards him. They start appealing to their own referees, friends of theirs in the stands. 'Bob says there was no foul.'"

The basketball game Vox is talking about is climate science and the current political environment.

We all know the reality, the rules, as it were. But the people in authority are ignoring the referee - which is the well established climate science.

As Vox writer David Roberts says:

"Like the basketball team ignoring the referee, they have simplky chosen not to accept the results of climate science. Restating, underscoring, or even strengthening those scientific results won't solve that problem."

"Explaining the basic facts of climate science (again) is utterly futile if the intended audience rejects the authority of climate scientists and scientific institutions. We're eventually going to have to grapple with this crisis of authority."

In other words, it's long become totally besides the point to argue climate science. The argument must be purely political.

It's a matter of mobilizing anyone and everyone who believes the science of climate change is sound (it is!) so that the Powers That Be who are apologists for the fossil fuel industry will be booted out of office. Like Pruitt. Like Tillotson. Like Trump.

It starts at the local level and goes all the way up to the President.

Because things aren't going to get any better with the Trumpsters in charge. Just on Thursday, Trump's Office of Budget and Management Director Mick Mulvaney said battling climate change is "a waste of your money."

Yeah, right.

I know there will be no major changes in the political makeup in this nation for two years or more. Scientists and activists have an increasing sense of urgency over climate change. Every minute that something is not done is wasted, in that line of thinking.

They're right. The work starts now. It won't be that noticeable at first. It never is.

But we'll get there. We have to.

If someone chooses to simply reject those scientific institutions, procedures, and results, then piling on more facts is beside the point. It’s not about facts any more, it’s about the authority of the institutions.he right’s refusal to accept the authority of climate science is of a piece with its rejection of mainstream media, academia, and government, the shared institutions and norms that bind us together and contain our political disputes.
I have a longer post on that subject in the works (get excited). But for now, it’s enough to simply note that Pruitt’s comments point to something deeper and more corrosive than mere misinformation or misunderstanding. . Until then, more facts and periodic outbursts of outrage are futile.

"The planet's average surface temperature has risen about 2.0 degrees Fahrenheit (1.1 degrees Celsius) since the late 19th century, a change driven largely by increased carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions into the atmosphere," NASA and NOAA said in January.
Pruitt previously served as Oklahoma attorney general, where he rose to prominence as a leader in coordinated efforts by Republican attorneys general to challenge President Barack Obama's regulatory agenda. He sued or took part in legal actions against the EPA 14 times.
Democrats and environmentalists opposed Pruitt's nomination to lead the EPA due to his close relationship with fossil fuel companies and his history of casting doubt on climate change. Conservatives and the energy industry have cheered his efforts to push back on what they view as over-regulation under Obama.Pruitt maintained on Thursday it's possible to be pro-growth, pro-jobs and pro-environment all at once.
"This idea that if you're pro-environment you're anti-energy is just something we've got to change so that attitude is something we're working on very much," he said.
Asked whether he would seek to roll back the EPA's 2009 determination that carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases are a danger to public health, Pruitt suggested he would like to see Congress take up the issue.
"I think all those things need to be addressed as we go forward but not least of which is the response by the legislative branch with respect to the issue," he said.Pruitt also called the Paris Agreement, an international accord aimed at mitigating the impacts of climate change, "a bad deal." He said it puts the United States on a different playing field than developing countries like China and India.