An April nor’easter has dropped a foot and a half of snow on parts of New York and Pennsylvania, leading to more than 300,000 customers losing power Tuesday morning (with 160,000 still without as of early Wednesday morning, according to poweroutage.us).
The most snow –18 inches– fell in New York’s southern Cortland County town of Virgil; in second place, with 16.3 inches, was another Central New York spot: the village of Erieville, in Madison County; Piseco, in upstate New York, had received 14 inches by Tuesday morning, with snow still coming down; while Broome County to the south saw a foot and implemented a travel ban — all record totals for the time of year.
In Syracuse, the rapid snowfall –falling at a rate of 1 to 2 inches an hour– prompted numerous school and business closures.
In total, some 40 million Americans were under frost and freeze alerts Tuesday morning stretching from the central Plains to the mid-Atlantic as historically low solar activity continues to weaken the jet stream, reverting its usual tight ZONAL flow to a wavy MERIDIONAL one:
Temperatures 20C below the average are making it feel more like winter than late-April; and looking ahead, the freeze is expected to persist: An “abnormally chilly air-mass” in the east will remain through the week, said the NWS, meaning that further low temperature records are under threat across swathes of the Midwest, Great Lakes, and Northeast.
Likewise north of the border, historic late-season freezes and snowfalls are prevailing in Canada, too.
This week’s flurries have been one for the record books in London, Ontario.
Monday saw an astonishing 9cm (3.5 inches) of snow settle across the London region, busting the previous benchmark of 7.9cm (3.1 inches) set back in 1947, according to Environment Canada (ECCC).
“Given that it’s the record, I’d say it’s unusual to get (that much),” said –Captain Obvious– Gerald Chang, a meteorologist with the federal weather agency. The snow also prompted ECCC to issue a weather advisory as roads quickly became treacherous.
The area is forecast more snow in the coming weeks: “It’s not a good time to completely put away the shovels,” said Chang.
In fact, looking at the latest GFS run (shown below), this weekend is currently on course to deliver a truly exceptional late-April snowstorm to parts of Wyoming, Montana and North Dakota, and up into southern Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario, too.
A pair of storms will also reach Northern California this week, delivering heavy April snow to the Sierra Nevada mountains Wednesday through Friday. A winter weather advisory is already in place for the greater Lake Tahoe area, warning that 7 inches of could fall across the area’s higher elevations. While chain controls were in place Tuesday on Interstate 80 at summit level.
The Sierra saw heavy snow last week, too, boosting California’s drought conditions after what was a dry January through March. The UC Berkeley Central Sierra Snow Lab said it measured 39 inches last week alone — a historic amount for mid-April. All this April snow also neatly ‘book-ends’ the season after the state suffered its snowiest December in recorded history at the open — 202 inches accumulated in Dec 2021, breaking the prior all-time record of 179 inches set in Dec 1970.
Eyeing the GFS run below, significant snow is also on the cards for northern Quebec, Labrador and Newfoundland–even as the calendar flips to May, while Greenland can also expect a healthy spring dumping.
Snow this April has already slain hundreds of record across North America.
Enough accumulated at Bogus Basin Mountain, Idaho –for example– that the resort reopened its slopes on Saturday. After a record-snowy December and January, but a relatively snow-less February and March, Bogus Basin’s topsy-turvy season –similar to California’s– dealt another surprise last week after a mid-April blizzard dropped 4+ feet of snow across the Northern Plains.
“…with more snowfall in the last 72 hours than we saw all of February and March (20″+) and more on the way, this is a moment that we can’t pass up!” managers at the Idaho resort wrote on Facebook. The mountain received more than 38 inches of snow by Saturday, and was able to open three lifts.
In neighboring WA, April’s record-breaking chill has reportedly put many Washington farmers on edge as subfreezing temperatures this past week hit orchards, vineyards and fields: “We are definitely concerned and nervous,” said Sean Gilbert, a fruit grower in the Yakima Valley.
This comes after the news that U.S. grain farmers are suffering planting delays which is driving the price of corn to near record highs (spurred also by lower than expected output in Brazil and the Ukraine). Frigid weather is to blame for the delays, reports nasdaq.com. As of Sunday, U.S. corn planting was barely 4% complete –below the five-year average of 6%– and with further delays expected given the persistence of the spring freeze, the situation is only forecast to worsen. Wheat is also in bad shape, according to the USDA, with the agency recently rating 30% of U.S. winter wheat in good-to-excellent condition — a 26-year low.
And headed back above the border, cherry farmers in British Columbia are also struggling, with some using helicopters to force warm air over their trees as unseasonably cool temperatures threaten this year’s crop, reports comoxvalleyrecord.com.
“There were quite a number of temperature records broken across the province,” said ECCC meteorologist Dave Wray — a reality that is proving problematic for Sukhpaul Bal, president of the B.C. Cherry Growers Association: “Buds are starting to open up and blossoms are not too far down the road,” said Bal. “Around this time of year, we don’t like to see too much cold weather.”
Bal said he is grateful that B.C. cherry orchards haven’t suffered heavy snow like in some parts of the United States. But still, Canadian cherry farmers and other fruit growers have endured much recently, as the Grand Solar Minimum continues to intensify the swing between extremes in our planet’s weather patterns.
The COLD TIMES are returning, the mid-latitudes are REFREEZING in line with historically low solar activity, cloud-nucleating Cosmic Rays, and a meridional jet stream flow (among many other forcings, including the impending release of the Beaufort Gyre). Prepare accordingly — learn the facts, relocate if need be, and grow your own.
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