Denver, Seattle, & Others Break Century-Old Low Temp Records
Arctic air masses continued to smash long-standing low temperature records ACROSS the central and western United States Wednesday, a bitter follow-up to the foot+ of snow received in some locales — lows sank to as much as 30 degrees below zero.
During what is already Denver’s snowiest start to a year on record, the city is also now breaking a string of historic low temperature benchmarks: A record low-max of 8F was logged Tuesday, smashing the previous record of 13F from Feb 22, 1913 (solar minimum of cycle 14, during the Centennial Minimum); and then on Wednesday, a low of -7F was registered, breaking the -4F set in 1899 (the Centennial Minimum), according to the NWS in Boulder:
Likewise, to the northwest, Seattle also toppled a noteworthy record this week.
At 7 AM Wednesday, temperatures at the Seattle-Tacoma Airport dropped to 23F, breaking the previous low for the date of 24F, from 2018. And looking ahead, a further benchmark will be threatened Thursday — the min-high of 36F is under threat.
Wednesday morning also brought new low temperatures to the surrounding areas, including Olympia:
“The calmer wind and clearing sky overnight has allowed morning temperatures to bottom out in the teens and low 20’s — within record territory,” said KOMO News Meteorologist Kristin Clark, speaking to the Seattle area’s chill. “And daytime temperatures will be awfully close to minimum high temperature records for the date.” The snow also isn’t done, continued Clark, who warned of tricky driving conditions.
The Denver and Seattle regions are far from unique when it comes to record-busting cold. Towns and cities across Wyoming have also been double-checking their thermometers this week. In Casper, for example, the mercury topped out at just -2F on Tuesday, annihilating the city’s previous lowest-high for Feb 22 of 16 degrees; and likewise in central Wyoming, maxes in Buffalo struggled to -4F, some 14F below the previous record; while the cities of Rock Springs, Riverton, Worland, Big Piney and Greybull also experienced record cold, reports the NWS.
In fact, hundreds upon hundreds of low temperature benchmarks have fallen this week across the U.S., with an impressive number tumbling over the past 24 hours alone (10:00 UTC Feb 23 – 09:00 UTC Feb 24):
Also worth noting is the thin strip of record warmth which ran up the East Coast–you know, the one the MSM is raving about — but note that this region is about to flip from record warmth to record cold in just a matter of hours (shown below), a development serving as another example of the swings between extremes prevalent during times of low solar activity (such as we’re experiencing now).
A record 24-hour temperature swing has already occurred in Austin, Texas. The city’s main weather station at Camp Mabry went from 88F at 3:15 PM Tuesday to 32F at 3:15PM Wednesday — a plunge of 56F which bested the previous largest 24-hour swing of 51F which, according to the NWS, happened on three separate occasions: in 1990, in 1994, and in 1955.
And now a second major winter storm –which has already dropped record snow on the West (more on that below)– is consolidating across the CONUS, threatening to bring similar swings between extremes to the Eastern Seaboard. In fact, blizzard conditions and and ice storms threaten major travel troubles from the Midwest to New England Thursday and Friday, with thick icing capable of bringing down trees and power lines.
“Significant ice accumulations greater than 0.25″ are likely from the Red River Valley of Texas through the Ozarks and southeast Missouri. Locally, damaging ice of 0.5″ or more is possible which could lead to scattered power outages, tree damage, and dangerous travel,” the Weather Prediction Center (WPC) tweeted.
The south-central U.S. is the bull’s-eye for ice accumulation, looking at possible totals of up to an inch across areas of northeast Arkansas Thursday, creating hazardous conditions: “Travel could be nearly impossible,” the NWS in Little Rock cautioned. While south-central Pennsylvania and western Maryland could also be looking at ice accumulations of up to a quarter of an inch.
As it stands, some 500 counties in 14 states are currently under a wind chill advisory or warning as polar air extends from Washington State in the West to Washington, D.C. in the East, and from Minnesota in the North to the Texas Panhandle in the South — as discussed in previous posts, this is proving to be a continent-spanning Arctic blast, one that is far from over:
Snow Falls At Low Elevations In California
Southern California residents woke up to a blanket of snow Wednesday morning, after the aforementioned storm brought anomalously cold temperatures into the region.
Snow fell at unusually low elevations –as low as 1,700 feet near Hemet and 2,600 feet in Yucaipa– said NWS meteorologist Philip Gonsalves. Rare dustings of snow continued to fall across the Inland Empire through Wednesday afternoon, including in Upland and Mentone:
“This is a very cold storm,” said Gonsalves. “It’s pretty rare when we report snowfall below 4,000 feet.”
The mountains of Los Angeles County received on average 3 inches of snow, mostly above 3,000 feet, while some higher elevations noted 6 inches. Mountain motorists were urged to avoid travel, and to deploy chains if driving was essential.
The higher California mountains were registering accumulations in the feet — one foot settled on Highway 243 near Idyllwild in Riverside County; San Bernardino logged a foot; while Crestline saw half a foot.
The cold is proving equally challenging and, as it has across much of North America this week, busted records: In Riverside County, Thermal hit 58F, beating the previous record of 60F in 1953; Idyllwild saw a maximum of 29F, besting the 35F from 2007; while Big Bear suffered 23F, usurping 2018’s 27F.
This anomalous cold is forecast to linger, too: “There will be temperatures in the 20s in the Inland Empire, probably some temperatures in the 30s in the low elevations of Orange County,” said Gonsalves. “Climatology speaking, it’s an anomaly, it’s unusual even for this time of year.”
Michigan’s Upper Peninsula Buried Under Historic February Snow
As Metro Detroit prepares for more snow, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is digging out from record-breaking totals — the NWS office in Marquette reported two consecutive days with multiple historic snowfall numbers, reports detroitnews.com.
A total of 21.6 inches fell on Tuesday, slaughtering the prior Feb 22 record of 7.5 set back in 1974 (solar minimum of cycle 20). Even more impressively, though, “yesterday’s snow was the single largest snowfall amount for any day in February on record,” the NWS tweeted Wednesday, adding that other heavy hauls have been noted across the U.P. this week, with areas prone to NE wind lake-effect seeing their fair share of snow, continued the NWS tweet–referring to Lake Superior:
Looking solely at the NWS station in Marquette (pictured above), Monday notched 0.70 inches of melted snow/precipitation, which broke the record of 0.37 from 1979; the day finished with 9.7 inches of accumulated snow, which felled the date’s previous record of 6.9 from 2009.
However, and as highlighted above, it was Tuesday’s snowfall that took the biscuit. That 21.6 inches not only slaughtered the Feb 22 record of 7.5 set back in 1974, it also bested the locale’s all-time record for the month — the 19.4 inches from Feb 26, 2002.
Marquette has now received 56.3 inches of snow so far in February (with more to come). That’s 26.1 inches above the norm, and also adds to the impressive totals building across the Northern Hemisphere this season which stand at 300+ Gigatons above the 1982-2012 average:
Impressive Bering Sea Ice Extent
In 2022, the floating ice cover in the Bering Sea reached its greatest February extent since 2013.
The below map shows the extent of sea ice in the Bering Sea as of Feb 16, 2022 — ice covered more than 846,000 square kilometres (327,000 square miles), far exceeding the 1981–2010 mean.
The chart below compares each year’s sea ice extent in the Bering Sea with the 1981–2010 mean, as the percent difference from then mean. As you can see, 2022 is riding comfortably above that mean, peaking at more than 20% above it on Feb 16.
During the first two weeks of February an area of low atmospheric pressure developed over the North Pacific Ocean. This drew cold winds in from the north and from the east off Alaska, which chilled surface waters and facilitated the above-average freezing. The north winds then blew that ice south, expanding the ice pack. Unlike most other Arctic seas, the Bering is open to the ocean (except where it is hemmed in by the Aleutian Islands), allowing the ice to expand unimpeded. But across the Arctic this winter season, sea ice extent has been impressive, currently holding at its highest levels since 2008, and before that, 2004.
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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