Many US cities and towns were at the mercy of a deadly record-breaking ‘winter’ storm last weekend — with winter still more than a week away.
Debilitating snowfall swept through southern and eastern states in a little more than a day, causing hundreds of crashes, hundreds-of-thousands of power outages and at least three confirmed deaths, officials said.
The biggest snow accumulation was the 34 inches that buried Busick, North Carolina, according to the NWS. The 11.1 inches that fell in Asheville made it the city’s third-biggest December snowstorm on record. And in Roanoke, Virginia, the 15 inches that whitened the city made Sunday the city’s snowiest December day ever recorded.
In Wilkes County, five families ― about 20 people, including small children — were stranded in their homes. The families had been without power for three days and could not get out after their neighbourhoods were buried, said Lt. Col. Matt Devivo of the North Carolina National Guard.
A team of guardsmen rescued the families, who have since been taken to a shelter to recover.
The monster winter storm battered many parts of the Southeast, including North and South Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia.
For the full article from the WP, click here.
Low Solar Activity Disrupting the Jet Stream to blame
Research shows blocking persistence increases when solar activity is low, causing weather patterns to become locked in place at high and intermediate latitudes for prolonged periods of time.
During a solar minimum, the jet stream’s usual Zonal Flow (a west–east direction) reverts to more of a Meridional Flow (a north-south direction).
This is exaggerated further during a Grand Solar Minimum, like the one we’re likely entering now, and explains why regions become unseasonably hot or cold and others unusually dry or rainy, with the extremes lasting for an extended period of time.
Mikhaël Schwander, et al, 2017 — “The zonal flow characteristic of westerly types is reduced under low solar activity as the continental flow for easterly and northerly types is enhanced. This is also confirmed by the higher blocking frequency over Scandinavia under low solar activity.”
And the paper goes further:
“The 247-year-long analysis of the 11-year solar cycle impact on late winter European weather patterns suggests a reduction in the occurrence of westerly flow types linked to a reduced mean zonal flow under low solar activity. Based on this observational evidence, we estimate the probability to have cold conditions in winter over Europe to be higher under low solar activity than under high activity.”— Mikhaël Schwander, et al, 2017
Last winter, a blocking high over Scandinavia lead to bitterly cold air funnelling in over the UK from eastern Europe — the ‘Beast from the East’ — which lasted for months and led to record snow in Ireland and Britain.
And in North America, the fall of 2018 has already seen record-breaking winter storms and low temperatures dip abnormally far south for the time of year.
With solar output on course to reach record low levels these next few years (solar minimum of cycle 24), we can expect the NH winter temperatures to follow suit.
The cold times are here.
History is repeating.