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Thanksgiving Travel Weather – Very Cold Start to December For Much of USA

21 Nov 2016, 6:26 pm

Trending Colder, Stormier and Snowier Northern Half of USA

Job security. Hey, if the weather didn’t change every once in awhile I wouldn’t have a business, and we wouldn’t have anything to chat about. Murphy’s little know 4th corollary states that “storms, given a choice, PREFER to come on major holidays.”

Uncanny but true. For the same reason it rains (hard) on Saturdays and thunders during outdoor wedding ceremonies. Mother Nature has a very wicked sense of humor.

A series of relatively weak systems track across the USA this week; cold enough for a few inches of slushy snow for the Upper Midwest and Ohio Valley, but continued quiet for the southern USA. A veritable parade of sloppy fronts push bands of heavy rain into the Pacific Northwest, with excessive mountain snows likely. Good news for 2017’s water supply.

Next week is looking more interesting, especially over the Plains and Midwest. Computer models  (GFS and ECMWF) spin up a major storm capable of more heavy rain for the northern Plains and Midwest, even a severe thunderstorm outbreak for the Mid South by Tuesday or Wednesday of next week.

There’s every indication that December will start off on a numbing note across much of the USA as the jet stream (finally) sags southward, allowing Canadian air to spurt south of the border.

Old Man Winter is definitely back and possibly making up for lost time. But check out the extended climate models for December, January and February below, courtesy of NOAA CFSv2. It’s only a forecast, but if it verifies it could make a mockery of La Nina, and the colder-than-normal winter it’s supposed to bring across the northern USA.

For WeatherNation: Meteorologist Paul Douglas

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of WeatherNation.

GFS Predicted Snowfall into midday Saturday above courtesy of NOAA and AerisWeather.

Predicted Snowfall by Midday Saturday

Residents of the south can only gawk in wonder, but the snowfall treadmill is picking up in speed and intensity from the higher elevations of the Pacific Northwest to the Upper Midwest and New England, where the most impressive (10-18″) amounts will pile up in the coming days.

Cold Start To December

A broad, closed area of low pressure temporarily stalled over southern Canada will rotate cold air into the USA during late November and the first week of December. Not exactly Nanook, but colder than average over the northern half of the USA.

What is La Nina?

I’m not buying it (yet) but NOAA’s Climate Forecast System (CFSv2) model is still predicting a warmer than average December for much of the west and Upper Midwest;  colder from New England to the Gulf Coast.

Source: WeatherBell

January: Warm Anomaly Increases

The size and intensity of the (predicted) warm temperature anomaly increases in January, according to NOAA’s CFSv2 climate model. It may be wishful thinking, but just  staring at the +12F temperature departure for the Dakotas and Minnesota is warming me up.

February Temperature Anomaly – Wow

Again, buyer beware – climate models are interesting to look at, sometimes they’re even right. I’m looking at the trends month to month. In spite of a (weak) La Nina cool phase in the Pacific temperatures are forecast to run significantly warmer than average i n February, especially across the Upper Midwest. Interesting data point – check back in a few months to see if it verifies.

What’s It Like To Fly Into The Eye of a Hurricane?

Here’s an excerpt of a fascinating chronology of a Hurricane Hunter flight into “Matthew”, courtesy of NOAA AOML: “…We started bouncing up and down at a much faster rate, much like a very intense wooden roller coaster, as I tried to contain my stomach from getting too upset. As we pounded through the eyewall and made it into the eye, what I saw and experienced was truly breathtaking; thick white clouds above and below as far as the eye could see as blue skies and ocean attempted to pierce through, the turbulence experienced just moments prior was quickly winding down, and a sense of calmness surrounded us as we entered the eye of Hurricane Matthew. I was so taken aback by the magnitude of what I was seeing that I almost forgot to do my job and immediately started taking pictures and videos of the eye…”

Photo credit: “The eyewall of Hurricane Matthew as the aircraft was making a pass through.” Image credit: NOAA.

Beaver Creek World Cup Races Canceled Due To Lack of Snow

The Denver Post reports: “Men’s World Cup ski races set for Beaver Creek Dec. 2-4 have been cancelled because unseasonably warm temperatures delayed snow-making efforts. Organizers made the announcement Thursday even as the high country was being pounded by a snowstorm that caused Interstate 70 to be closed at times. “Although we have now seen a positive change in the weather and forecast, there is not enough time between today and the first training runs to prepare and fine-tune a full downhill course and finish area,” said Doug Lovell, chief operating officer of Beaver Creek resort...”

Photo credit: Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post. “Victor Muffat-Jeandet of France races in the first run of the giant slalom FIS World Cup Birds of Prey race in Beaver Creek on Dec. 6, 2015.”

The Heat Is On

It’s been the warmest year on record, to date, for the Carolinas; 4th warmest since 1872 for Minnesota and New York; 6th warmest for Colorado and Wisconsin. It was also a record warm start to November for much of the USA, reports WXshift: “…And the warmth is continuing into November. According to the Southeast Regional Climate Center, several locations in the Northern Plains, Northern Rockies, and West Coast are having their warmest November on record so far. This includes cities as diverse Milwaukee; Bismarck, N.D.; Rapid City, S.D.; Salt Lake City; Boise, Idaho; Seattle; Los Angeles, and San Diego. Many locations had long-held records fall this week. On Nov. 16 alone, Oklahoma saw its latest 90°F reading (the previous record had been Nov. 8), Lincoln, Neb., had its latest 80°F day on record, and Fort Collins, Colo., hit 79°F, tying its all-time record high for November. On the same day, the temperature in Reno, Nev., fell below freezing for the first time this season — that was the latest first freeze of the fall on record. The previous record was Nov. 4…”

Map credit: NOAA

102 Million Dead California Trees “Unprecedented In Our Modern History” Officials Say

Here’s the intro to a sobering story at the L.A. Times: “The number of dead trees in California’s drought-stricken forests has risen dramatically to more than 102 million in what officials described as an unparalleled ecological disaster that heightens the danger of massive wildfires and damaging erosion. Officials said they were alarmed by the increase in dead trees, which they estimated to have risen by 36 million since the government’s last survey in May. The U.S. Forest Service, which performs such surveys of forest land, said Friday that 62 million trees have died this year alone…”

Photo credit: U.S. Forest Service. “Dead pine trees dominate a hillside in the Los Padres National Forest, north of Frazier Park.”

Earthquakes: Reckoning With The Big One in California – And It Just Got Bigger

Here’s a good summary of a recent study at The Wall Street Journal: “…For years, scientists believed the mighty San Andreas—the 800-mile-long fault running the length of California where the Pacific and North American plates meet—could only rupture in isolated sections. But a recent study by federal, state and academic researchers showed that much of the fault could unzip all at once, unleashing a rare, singular catastrophe. Now, insurers have used that research to come up with a new analysis of the damage that could be caused by statewide break of the San Andreas…”

Photo credit above: “A 6.7-magnitude earthquake struck the Northridge suburb of Los Angeles in 1994, causing 57 deaths and $20 billion in property damage. Researchers say a statewide quake above 8.0 could cause $289 billion in damage just to homes alone.” Photo: AP

A Golden Age For Television Series – But Can It Last?

Here’s a snippet of an interesting story at The Washington Post: “…But the wild spending is stoking fears about whether or when TV’s financial bubble might burst. The glut of scripted dramas and comedies has dramatically boosted budgets, but it has not solved the industry’s most dire dilemma: The lack of a functioning business model for a new TV era. “The overall television ecosystem can’t sustain this,” said Eric Schrier, president of original programming for FX Networks, home of Emmy winners such as “The Americans” and “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story.” “There are networks [investing] in original programming and scripted TV that are trying to justify their existence by being in that business,” Schrier added. “And as the consumer can’t consume all this content, the strong will survive and the weak will not be able to exist...”

We Really Need To Figure Out How To Stop a Killer Asteroid, Scientists Say

Here’s a clip from The Washington Post: “…NASA has discovered some 17,000 potentially hazardous near-Earth objects, but none of them is projected to come close to Earth in the next hundred years. No human that we know of has been killed by a meteorite or the effects of an impact, and the likelihood that this could happen to any of us is very, very slim. The chance of an impact big enough to destroy our planet is even smaller. Remember that Earth has suffered only one mass extinction-inducing impact that we know of in its 4.6 billion-year history, and even that asteroid didn’t end life entirely. Our planet is pretty resilient. Still, plenty of researchers don’t want to simply wait around and see what happens…”

Image credit: “Last month, NASA performed a simulation of what might happen if an asteroid was on a collision course with Earth.” (NASA).

Dancing in a Hurricane

Thomas Friedman explains our collective angst and paranoia in an Op-Ed at The New York Times: “…So no wonder many in the West feel unmoored. The two things that anchored them in the world — their community and their job — are feeling destabilized. They go to the grocery store and someone there speaks to them in a different language or is wearing a head covering. They go into the men’s room and there is someone next to them who looks to be of a different gender. They go to work and there’s now a robot sitting next to them who seems to be studying their job. I celebrate this diversity of people and ideas — but for many others they’ve come faster than they can adapt...”

Image: GE Reports

Climate Stories

The Rockefeller Family Fund vs. Exxon

Here’s an excerpt of a long, fascinating and troubling story at The New York Review of Books: “Earlier this year our organization, the Rockefeller Family Fund (RFF), announced that it would divest its holdings in fossil fuel companies. We mean to do this gradually, but in a public statement we singled out ExxonMobil for immediate divestment because of its “morally reprehensible conduct.”1 For over a quarter-century the company tried to deceive policymakers and the public about the realities of climate change, protecting its profits at the cost of immense damage to life on this planet. Our criticism carries a certain historical irony. John D. Rockefeller founded Standard Oil, and ExxonMobil is Standard Oil’s largest direct descendant. In a sense we were turning against the company where most of the Rockefeller family’s wealth was created…”

Photo credit: Pascal Sittler/REA/Redux. “Rex Tillerson, CEO of ExxonMobil, at the World Gas Conference, Paris, June 2015.”

Global Sea Ice

We appear to be in uncharted waters (literally) when it comes to the global sea ice area trends in recent months, based on data from The National Snow and Ice Data Center. Graph courtesy of Wipneus.


America’s TV Meteorologists: Symptoms of Climate Change Are Rampant, Undeniable

Here’s an excerpt of an Op-Ed I wrote for the Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang: “…One snapshot in time doesn’t prove anything, but string these snapshots together into a longer-running movie and you start to see the outline of something larger in play. Imagine your favorite college football team running out onto the field, but all the players have a case of the flu. They suited up, but now they’re slow, groggy and sluggish, running the wrong routes, more prone to confusion and injury. Our atmosphere and oceans have a mild case of the flu — and symptoms are now showing up in the weather. I interviewed 11 of America’s premiere broadcast TV meteorologists, to hear their thoughts and stories of how a rapidly changing climate is affecting local weather patterns…”

For WeatherNation: Meteorologist Paul Douglas

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of WeatherNation

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