Extreme Temperatures

Snowflake Cold

Updated: Heavy snow, high winds wreak havoc on Calgary roads, highways

© Lorraine Hjalte,/Calgary Herald November 16, 2013 - Police were advising people to stay at home if they can as a winter storm blew into Calgary early Saturday morning making for low visibility.
Winter weather brought frigid temperatures to Calgary on Saturday, with a little more snow expected to fall before the end of the night.

As blustery conditions dropped another layer of the white stuff on the city, police reported about 133 vehicle accidents by 7 p.m., six of which involving minor injuries, said Const. Stephen Vaney.

Outside of the city, meanwhile, the winter blast wreaked havoc on roads and highways, causing crashes and pileups.

A winter storm warning remained in effect for the Red Deer area, though Environment Canada ended its snow fall warning for Calgary, forecasting that about two centimetres would hit the city before the late evening. Temperatures dropped to nearly -13C, or -22 with the wind chill.

Earlier Saturday, havoc on roads and highways outside of Calgary kept emergency crews busy.

A 30-vehicle pileup near Crossfield on QE2 was caused after a semi-truck jackknifed and another crash closed lanes to travel for hours.

Stranded motorists were removed from the scene and some were taken to a Crossfield church to stay warm, police say.

Snowflake Cold

First snow of the 2013 season breaks records in Valdez, Alaska

© Valdez Star photoThe 29.3 inches of snow โ€“ with record rain mixed in โ€“ was too heavy for this spruce tree which was growing out of the mountain ledge along Mile 8 of the Richardson Highway.

Sunday marked the first measurable snow day in Valdez and it was a record breaker according to the National Weather Service.

A respectable 24.4 inches of snow fell Sunday, beating the old November 10 record of 19.1 inches set in 1994.

But before the Valdez Buccaneer Ski team trades in water skis for snow skis, it is worth mentioning that Sunday also broke the record for precipitation on that date, with the weather service reporting 2.10 inches of rain mixing with that record snow.

"The old record precipitation from November 10 was 1.77 inches from 1976," the weather service website said. "This brings the total precipitation for the year to 86.94 inches...which is the third highest annual total."


Weather forecasts predict four inches of snow as Britain prepares for the 2013 big freeze

© PAA woman struggles to walk on the ice and battles against gale force winds
The mercury is set to plunge below -10C (14F) in parts with wintry showers poised to hit huge swathes of the UK.

Forecasters warned that a mass of bitterly cold air from the Arctic is set to smother the country.

Up to four inches of snow will carpet parts of the North while the first flurries are expected in central and southern regions.

The bleak news comes as long-range forecasters warn that Britain could be crippled by a "record-breaking and historical" big freeze this winter. Prolonged cold weather and relentless heavy snowfall threaten to grind the country to a halt until the beginning of spring.

Remote parts of the North - including the Cairngorm mountains in Scotland - could see the mercury plummet as low as -15C next Tuesday.

Jonathan Powell, forecaster for Vantage Weather Services, said the worst weather is due to hit during the middle of next week.

He warned that a ferocious "Polar plunge" of bitterly cold winds could see overnight temperatures dive to -10C with windchill in the North while the South will shiver in lows of -5C.

Snowflake Cold

Athens, Georgia breaks century-old record low

Athens broke a record low temperature Thursday that previously stood for over 100 years.

The temperature dropped to 23 degrees at 5:48 a.m. Wednesday morning in Athens which broke the record low of 24 degrees previously set in 1911.

The cold temperatures are a result of an arctic airmass that moved southward into the U.S. from Canada.

Atlanta did not break a record Wednesday, but did see its coldest temperature, 28, since March.

Ice Cube

Iceberg the size of Singapore could threaten shipping lanes as researchers race to track it

An iceberg the size of Singapore is drifting away from Antarctica and may enter shipping lanes as researchers race to track its progress.

© ReutersThe Pine Island Glacier ice shelf in Antarctica
An iceberg which is estimated to be around the size of Manhattan or Singapore could threaten shipping if it drifts into busy international lanes.

UK researchers have now been given an emergency grant to track the iceberg which is approximately 270 square miles in size.

The giant block of ice broke away from the Pine Island Glacier in July but it was iced-in due to the freezing winter temperatures in Antarctica.

While the iceberg could move eastwards along the Antarctic coast, it could also drift into the South Atlantic Ocean where it could potentially pose a hazard to ships if it crosses into international shipping lanes

Now the ยฃ50,000 research grant will fund a six month project which will predict the movements of the iceberg through the Southern Ocean.

Cloud Lightning

NOAA images show wind farms distort weather radar data, affecting their primary mission of forecasting and safety

"Chaotic wind velocities associated with the rotating turbine blades triggers the doppler radar mesocyclone detection algorithm"

Note: this essay was written by the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Burlington, Vermont and tipped to me by a reader. Vermont's wind farm acreage pales in comparison to places like the Texas and Oklahoma, where there are literally thousands of acres of wind farms right in the middle of tornado alley. I've been there and seen them firsthand.
wind farm doppler
Certified Consulting Meteorologist Mike Smith writes:

"While driving to Norman, OK recently I saw the newest "wind farm" to the west of Interstate 35 southwest of Tonkawa. Wind farms show up as bright ground clutter on weather radars and here it is."
One has to wonder just how much trouble wind farms are causing the nation's doppler radar warning system. It looks like a classic case of the law of unintended consequences at work. - Anthony

National Weather Service WSR-88D Radar and Wind Farm Impacts


The most valuable tool used by the National Weather Service (NWS) to detect precipitation is the radar. Radar stands for Radio, Detection, and Ranging, and has been used to detect precipitation since the 1940โ€ฒs, with most of the technology coming from the military.


Record snowfall blankets Havre, Montana

What the winter will bring is still unclear

A second snowstorm hit north-central Montana over the weekend, bringing enough white stuff to tie a National Weather Service record for Havre on Nov. 10 set at 4 inches in 1916 and bringing some slippery driving conditions to the area.

Once again, the winter conditions are not expected to last, with temperatures expected to be in the 20s to 30s, depending on the forecaster, today and back into the 40s or even 50s later in the week.

The forecast calls for mostly sunny skies through the weekends with temperatures expected to drop some by Saturday or Sunday.

The long-range forecast still is up in the air, with The Farmers' Almanac predicting the region including Montana will be piercingly cold with about-normal snowfall, while the Old Farmers' Almanac predicts colder-than-normal winter temperatures here, with lower-than-normal precipitation and snowfall.

Blue Planet

SOTT Focus: Preparation for the coming storm

Our current collective condition has never been more precarious - at least not in our lifetime. Worldwide economic collapse seems certain, only the timing and severity can be debated. The planet seems to be convulsing through all kinds of changes, from weather extremes to increased earthquake/volcanic activity, to mass animal die-offs, to greatly increased bolide/fireball events.
© sott.netRecent US fireball reports (including sound and fragmentation)
Some of these changes are reflected in changes we can see occurring on other planets in our solar system, and may be related to the bizarre behavior of our sun and/or the nature of space around our solar system. Respected meteorologists and atmospheric scientists are warning of an impending ice age - the beginning of which could occur rapidly and with little warning. Secondary concerns have been widely expressed regarding worldwide food supply, not to mention rising prices and environmental instability.

The point here is not to stimulate panic. The point is to focus on what we can do as individuals and groups to prepare a living environment that is mindful of potential threats - an environment we can create with the means at our disposal. Just thinking and planning around this is preparation itself.


Best of the Web: German scientists: Solar cycle 24 points to Dalton or Maunder-like minimum, boding ill for a climate cooling

In October 2013 there was a considerable rise in solar activity as the sunspot number (SSN) climbed to 85.6. That's 77% of the mean value reached at this time into a solar cycle since 1750. The following diagram shows the current situation:

© NoTricksZoneSSN versus months since the start of the cycle.
October 2013 deviates significantly from solar cycle number 5.

However we continue to believe that SC 24 will be similar to SC 5. Just how large the uncertainties of the correct description of the 5th cycle is shown by a recently published paper by Rainer Arlt of the Leibniz Institute Potsdam and Ilya Usoskin of the Finnish University of Oulo, who after examining the solar cycles between 1750 und 1850 reached the conclusion that the sunspot count should be lowered by 20%. SC 24 shown by the blue curve is, however, still very much below average, let alone well below the large cycles of the solar maximums from 1940 - 1990.


Record snowfall recorded in Spokane, Washington

man shoveling car
© Colin Mulvany
Spokane International Airport received 1.9 inches of snow Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service. The total was enough to snap a 66-year-old daily record by the slimmest of margins.

Before Tuesday, the most snow Spokane had officially received on Nov. 5 was 1.8 inches in 1947, according to National Weather Service records. The snowfall, which was timed perfectly to make the morning commute miserable for many motorists, tapered off around 2 p.m.

Forecasters expect temperatures to remain high enough to keep flakes away for the rest of the week, though chances for rain remain through Sunday. Showers on Thursday could grow heavy at times, with between a quarter- to half-inch of rain expected throughout the day.

Temperatures through Sunday should be in the mid- to upper-40s for highs and near freezing at night, forecasters say.