Stark weather contrasts across the USA

While the UK continues to see fairly typical winter weather, over the other side of the Atlantic the US is experiencing some stark contrasts.

While some parts in the west are seeing warm and dry conditions, eastern areas are seeing very cold weather.

This week will see a continuation of warmer-than-average conditions in western parts of the USA, with little or no rainfall in the forecast.

Map showing air temperatures across the US, with white (-24C) and blue (below 0C) showing cold air and yellows and oranges showing warm air. From the Met Office's Global Model for 1200HRS GMT on 20 February 2015

Map showing air temperatures across the US, with white (-24C) and blue (below 0C) showing cold air and yellows and oranges showing warm air. From the Met Office’s Global Model for 1200HRS GMT on 20 February 2015

Despite some welcome rainfall at the start of February, California remains in drought, with a large swathe in exceptional drought – which is the highest category that the US Drought Monitor report.

In San Francisco, no rain fell at the downtown observation station or the airport during the whole of January 2015. This is the first January without rainfall since records began in 1850. Normally January is the wettest month of the year, with an average 119mm.

The dry conditions have also resulted in the Sierra Nevada snow pack being at less than 50% of where it should be as we head towards the end of winter.

Meanwhile, the very cold spell of weather is expected to continue across a large part of eastern and northeastern USA, with air originating from the Arctic keeping things icy.

There will be some snow at times, although not as significant as some recent events, though localised heavy ‘lake effect’ snow is likely this week off the Great Lakes.

However, the most noteworthy element will be the extreme cold. Another arctic front will arrive across the East Coast, bringing exceptionally cold conditions.

Places from the Carolinas to the Mid-Atlantic may see some of the coldest weather since the mid-1990s, with numerous record low temperatures expected.

In fact this cold air is expected to reach as far south as Florida, with even the Caribbean expecting well below average temperatures throughout the rest of this week.

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3 Responses to Stark weather contrasts across the USA

  1. There’s a great cartoon of two deer one with a series of concentric rings on its back in the shape of a target.

    The one without the marks says to the other “a bummer of a birthmark”.

    So, it is all too easy to go for the obvious target of “children won’t know what snow is” (wasn’t that a statement about the removal of real science from the curriculum?). I won’t mention the low solar activity. Nor will I mention the stushy about upjusting temperatures in the US.

    Instead I’ll just ask a simple question. If the Met Office believe so strongly in feedbacks and insist these should raise temperatures more than expected. Have you ever considered that the same logic would necessarily mean that if we started experiencing colder global temperatures, then the same feedback would precipitate us into a catastrophic global cooling event?

    Toward a new theory of ice-ages

  2. Bob Smith says:

    “Have you ever considered that the same logic would necessarily mean that if we started experiencing colder global temperatures, then the same feedback would precipitate us into a catastrophic global cooling event?”

    Something would have to cause cooler temperatures. Currently, despite low solar activity, negative PDO and La Ninas the Earth is very hot and getting warmer with each passing decade.

  3. G Stewart says:

    There’s no belief about it, SS. Feedbacks are known and allowed for, although there is some uncertainty about precise numbers. Moreover they can act to help make it hotter or colder; your question seems to be suggesting that global temps will decrease, which is against all scientific knowledge and expecation.

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