As regular readers of SOTT are aware, we collect weather reports from around the world which often point to weird weather occurring in locations experiencing unseasonable weather. This week there has been an especially weird spike in reports of sudden cold and snow affecting many areas of North America and Europe! We think this dramatically illustrates the alarming speed with which the weather can change from stable, warm and dry conditions to turbulent, cold and wet conditions. Global news networks are churning out endless reports on the UK election, the financial shockwaves hitting Europe and the Times Square hysteria over some fireworks left in a car. What is not being reported prominently are the unprecedented freak weather events happening around across the northern hemisphere: hail, sleet and snow slamming southern California, deluges devastating the central cities of Nashville in the US and Hunan in China, the Korean Peninsula shivering with a record-low spring chill and reports of snow in Mexico and France.

Are these just unseasonal conditions, an immediate knock-on effect from the recent volcanic eruption in Iceland perhaps? Or are we on the brink of entering an ice age as SOTT has been predicting for a number of years? Was the sudden flip this week - "as though a switch had been thrown" - a taster of the Ice Age to come? Is this 'mini Winter rebound' pointing out how suddenly glacial rebound can develop? When will we approach the tipping point as more volcanoes erupt and magma comes up from the ocean floor? Laura Knight-Jadczyk explains the mechanism that can precipitate sudden climate change towards an Ice Age:

That's the hard science. There's going to be the day. It's already happening. The magnetic field is degenerating. That means magma is going to start welling up under the oceans. It's already happening because it's heating the oceans up.

When the oceans start heating up, that means more evaporation. When that happens at the same time that the planet is being clouded by volcanic eruptions, which is cooling the atmosphere, you have precipitation that comes down as snow.

The geological record shows that the onset of every ice-age was so sudden as to be unbelievable. In other words, next winter could be the winter when a lot of undersea volcanoes begin to erupt and dump magma into the oceans. A lot of evaporation takes place.

If it happens in the winter time that means that snow can fall in amounts that are beyond your wildest imagining. It's happened! It's geologically a fact. It's happened repeatedly. Can you imagine 9 stories of snow in a single day?
We have interspersed local weather reports with eyewitness comments in blue from some of our forum members situated in diverse locations across Europe and North America.

The first shocker this week came with reports of snow in the south of France. Snow anywhere in Europe in May is unusual, but near the Mediterranean coast? In May?!

Comment: "Here in the south of France, we had about a week of warm and sunny weather with one day reaching 30C - then we woke up to 4C this morning with heavy wind and a forecast predicting the total average of May's rainfall within the next week!"

"Update: Snowing and hailing in southern France now. It's considered abnormal and is downright yucky weather here!"

We couldn't quite believe that it was snowing in the south of France - along valley floors and thus near sea level - so we checked it out for ourselves...

It's snowing in southern France... in May!

... Yep, it's been snowing in southern France! The locals say they've never seen anything like it. One forum member there reported something interesting about the texture of snow:

Comment: "Snowing here too (Spanish-French border)... looks like 10 inches (I just went and measured it) - 10cm so far and has not stopped since last night.

Update: It's still still coming down this evening (though it did get warmer (5 degrees Celsius by mid afternoon). Interesting thing is that the snow seems to have more moisture in it. Moving it with a shovel seemed like it was heavier, like wet cement. Usually the snow here has been pretty dry."

"The wave of the century"

While snow and hail was falling further inland, waves from 6 to 10 meters were reported all along the French Mediterranean coastline:

Cannes struggles to prepare for film festival as unseasonal wind, 10 meter high waves, hail and snow batter France's Cote d'Azur
"We are lost for words. [The waves] came very quickly. It was calm and then suddenly it started and we didn't have time to prepare."

Locals agreed that the waves were the biggest seen on the Côte d'Azur for years, if not decades, and were unusual at this time of year. [...]

René Colomban, president of the Promenade des Anglais beach attendants' union, said he had not seen anything like it since 1959. [...]

Yesterday, to the amazement of the south-western town's residents, snow fell in Carcassonne.

The ferocity of the storm in southern France produced gales of up to 130 km per hour and dumped up to 20 cm of snow (9 inches) on the lower valleys of the Pyrenées.

Another member reports on the sudden turn in the weather in Spain:

Comment: "Here in Spain there has also been odd weather. After a week of 20 and 30 degrees Celsius, in some areas it went down to 8 degrees. Today we have strong winds and showers. Definitively very unsettled weather."

What about further north?

Comment: "Same here in Belgium. Last week, it felt like summer. This week it's really cold!"

And in the UK?

Comment: "Scotland had another arctic blast at the end of last week and beginning of this one. Although spring weather is quite unstable, still it's more like November weather."

Comment: "Here in southeast UK, we had a very warm week last week, with lots of sunshine, and then, almost as though a switch had been thrown, the weather changed a few days ago and now it is cold and dull with low level cloud cover."


Comment: "Just to add there was hail 4 days ago here in Sweden, Gothenburg, not unheard of but quite rare this time of year. The thing is, that day had really good and warm weather before and after the hail. Sub-zero rain, that melted just as it hit the ground. Guess the atmosphere is trying to tell us something?"


Comment: "Yeh, I was shocked to see really big snowflakes here in Denmark in May today, large hailstones and one hell of a wind. I thought it may be possible for the hailstones to crack or break a window. Then an hour later, sunshine. My hands were feeling icy cold outside today."


Comment: "Yesterday, on 7th of March, we had a hailstorm here in the east of Austria. The hail kept lying on the ground. Surprisingly, in the evening hours, the sky was blue, but it was so chilly that we could see our breath condensing in the air."

Surely this is a regional phenomenon, a freak event unique to western Europe perhaps?

Apparently not, as wintry weather came to the most unlikely of regions, like southern California:

Comment: "It's snowing in California too! (In higher altitudes for the most part, but still out of the ordinary)..."

Hail, sleet and snow slams southern California

Surely it's not snowing in the deserts of Arizona?!

Comment: "It's been unseasonably wet and cool in southern Arizona this spring -- I've actually been really enjoying it, since I usually dread the onset of summer here, but we are usually stuck in the 90s (Fahrenheit) by May and so far there has been a lot of variation."

At least this atmospheric shock is pleasant for some then!

But wait, what's this..? It's snowing in northern Mexico?? In May?!

It's snowing in Mexico in May!
[...] snowfall in 18 municipalities. The snow reached 18 centimeters in Ignacio Zaragoza and 12 centimeters in Gomez Farías. [...]

In the state capital [of Chihuahua], the weather phenomenon took people by surprise, since for 32 years it did not snow in May [...]

In the capital, a light rain began between 4:00 and 5:00 am, with a temperature of 3 degrees Celsius and a wind chill of -2 degrees [...]
The Pacific Northwest this week equalled or broke the coldest recorded temperatures from this past winter (which was, remember, one of the coldest winters in memory!)

Comment: "We recently returned from Southern Arizona where we nearly froze. Couldn't believe how chilly it was, especially at night. Sure seemed abnormal for May.

Yesterday the temperature @ 18,000 ft above the Pacific NW in US was as cold as the 2nd coldest measurement taken during the past winter. Colder than any temp during January or February! There was a winter storm warning issued for the mountains nearby - in May. This following a 24 hour period with non-stop wind averaging around 25-35 mph. Totally unlike any May weather anyone around here can remember."

Canada might expect occasional late flurries of winter snow, but even residents there are struck by the sudden plunge in temperatures:

Comment: "Yep, it is snowing in Northern Alberta, Canada too. Not sure if it's unusual, since we had the same thing last year. After a period of really nice and warm weather, past several days were really windy and cold including hail-like rain. And now it's snowing (-1C outside) but should get warmer toward the end of the week."

Comment: "And it is snowing in Calgary today too; and it is sooo cold -1 degrees C. I have lived in Calgary for 28 years and what i noticed is that people usually say that it is typical Calgary weather. That is not true. We do get spring snow storms but they usually come and go quickly, and then it is sunny and warm again. This time the cold has stuck around for way too long. We have had 3 snow storms so far in 3 weeks and that is unusual. We don't get much sun around here to start with and now we don't get it at all. No wonder so many people have health problems. I take 2000IU of D3 everyday to keep myself healthy; I have been feeling like living a life of an indoor slave. I just work, pay taxes and bills then I go home where I close the door because it is just too cold to keep the door open, or to even go for a bike ride. It is really depressing to live here. Nothing is blooming, the trees don't have any leaves on yet, the birds are not chirping, and I don't think they are having any offspring either. Everything looks so gray, even the grass is barely waking up and it is already May 5. I think my worst nightmare is becoming true. We will all freeze to death. Oh, where is my far infrared sauna. I think I will just go and sit in it for an hour and will keep on dreaming about a tropical forest."

Rather than dream about what we wish the weather could or should be, let's continue to pay attention to the weather as it is! That way we might be able to see when the Ice Age Cometh and be better prepared to acclimatize, psychologically more than anything else.