An Early January for parts of the US (why the temperature of falling snow is more important than “how many inches”)
Some days the weather column just writes itself. Like today. Until further notice I will refrain from using the word “bitter”, after the note I received from Steve Hepokoksi in Maple Grove, MN.
“Bitter is a state of mind, and if you keep using the word, soon we all will be. I challenge you to not use the word through the entire month of January. Feel free to start now. Fortifying, challenging, piercing, tear-inducing, bracing, stinging, OMGing, cryogenic, invigorating – it doesn’t have to be a happy word. Just not “bitter”. Please?” Steve implored.
O.K. Good point, Steve. I’ve banned the word from my lexicon, for the rest of December and all of January. It’s the least I can do to help out. We’re already in a fragile state, mentally. I don’t want to pile on.
December is on life-support; the maps looks like late January, and no real improvement in our (“severe chilly”) conditions are likely until late next week. The thaw keeps getting pushed back, but it’s coming.
I may head to Deadhorse, Alaska to warm up. According to Christopher Burt at Weather Underground a recent high of 39F (with rain) was the warmest December temperature ever observed on Alaska’s arctic shoreline. Good for them.
No big storms are brewing, just a machine-gun volley of clippers, each one dragging reinforcing jolts of cryogenic chill into Minnesota.
Hey, just don’t call it bitter, OK?
* photo above courtesy of Steve Burns.
Like Something Out Of Late January. The weather maps don’t look like mid-December, but rather something out of the latter half of January, when temperatures nationwide usually bottom out. Will December wind up being the coldest month of the winter? Possible, but statistically January is the coldest month. NOAA’s 12km NAM shows the freezing line dipping as far south as the Florida Panhandle, subzero air pinwheeling across the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes over the next 84 hours. Loop: Ham Weather
Winter Driving Tips – How Can Alaska Be Warmer Than Oklahoma? In yesterday’s Climate Matters we take a look at Sunday’s 30-car pile-up in southeastern Wisconsin. All it takes is one aggressive driver, moving too fast for conditions. It was a reminder that the temperature of a snowstorm is critical – the colder the storm, the greater the potential for snow compaction and glaze ice. Nothing short of a tank will provide reliable traction when there’s freezing rain on the highways: “WeatherNationTV Chief Meteorologist Paul Douglas goes over the recent cold snap and the conditions that went into a major 30 car pileup in Milwaukee. Where are the warm spots in the US? How is Alaska warmer than the Panhandle of Texas?”
Snowfall Amounts From Tuesday’s Burst. A ripple of low pressure riding up along the leading edge of very cold air squeeed out more accumulating snow yesterday. D.C. missed out on the fun (this time), but there was a narrow band of 2-6″ from western Maryland and southern Pennsylvania into the suburbs of New York City. Source: NOAA.
A Celestial Wonder. I can count on Steve Burns to provide me with (incredible) imagery of both weather and astronomical events – he has a great eye, and passed along these photos taken over the weekend. One advantage of arctic air: skies are often crystal clear, making it easier to take in an aurora. He writes: “Went up around Pine City (Chengwatana SF) to take some aurora pics last night. The thermometer in my car read -22 but I got some good shots! I’m working on a time-lapse and if it’s worthwhile I’ll send your way. Enjoy!”
Severe 2012 Solar Storm Narrowly Missed Earth. Hey, I didn’t bury the good news! If you doubt that (everything) is hanging by a slender, delicate thread, check out this press release and article from The University of Colorado, Boulder; here’s a clip: “A massive ejection of material from the sun initially traveling at over 7 million miles per hour that narrowly missed Earth last year is an event solar scientists hope will open the eyes of policymakers regarding the impacts and mitigation of severe space weather, says a University of Colorado Boulder professor. The coronal mass ejection, or CME, event was likely more powerful than the famous Carrington storm of 1859, whent he sun blasted Earth’s atmosphere hard enough twice to light up the sky from the North Pole to Central America and allowed New Englanders to read their newspapers at night by aurora light, said CU-Boulder Professor Daniel Baker. had it hit Earth, the July 2012 event likely would have created a technological disaster by short-circuiting satellites, power grids, ground communication equipment and even threatening the health of astronomers and aircraft crews, he said….”
Coldest Temperature Ever Recorded On Earth In Antarctica: -94.7C (-135.8F). The Guardian has details; here’s an excerpt: “Newly analysed NASA satellite data from eastAntarctica shows Earth has set a new record for coldest temperature ever recorded: -94.7C (-135.8F). It happened in August 2010 when it hit -94.7C (-135.8F). Then on 31 July of this year, it came close again: -92.9C (-135.3F). The old record had been -89.2C (-128.6F). Ice scientist Ted Scambos at the National Snow and Ice Data Centre announced the cold facts at the American Geophysical Union scientific meeting in San Francisco on Monday...”
Photo credit above: “NASA satellite data revealed that Earth set a new record for coldest temperature recorded in east Antarctica.” Photograph: Atsuhiro Muto/AP.