72° in New York City; Avalanche rips Colorado highway

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 8:12 PM GMT on January 06, 2007

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The heat is on in New York City! The temperature soared to 72° at New York's Central Park Saturday, tying their all-time warmest January temperature ever. New York City has hit 70 degrees in January only twice before since record keeping began in 1869--on January 4, 1932 (70°), and on January 26, 1950 (72°). The 72° reading is a full 34° above their normal high of 38. Records were smashed all over the Northeast today. Philadelphia reached 73° and Newark hit 72°. The all time record for January warmth was 74 °in both cities, set on January 26, 1950. Hartford, Connecticut hit 72,° besting their warmest January temperature ever--70, °set on January 14, 1932. How unusual is this winter? La Guardia airport broke their all-time record for the date (59) °at 6am this morning, when the minimum temperature is usually measured! La Guardia went on to post their warmest January temperature ever, 72°. New York City has not seen a single flake of snow this winter, surpassing the winter of 1877-1878 for the longest stretch without snow (a trace of snow was finally measured on January 4, 1878 that winter). New York City averages 22.4 inches of snow per year. While the current weather forecast does show some colder air moving into New York and most of the U.S. over the next week, no snow is forecast for New York City for at least another week.

The reason for the warmth? A moderate El Nino event is adding a tremendous amount of heat to the globe this winter, and has helped displace the jet stream farther to the north than usual. Global warming is also partly to blame, along with natural variability in the Earth's weather. I also believe that the on-going melting of the Arctic Ice Cap may have contributed to this winter's warmth, although it is difficult to know how much so without doing detailed model studies. Record low levels of sea ice in the Arctic in November and December have exposed much larger areas of open water than usual. The open ocean water provides a tremendous source of heat to the atmosphere, and the extra moisture from the open ocean areas creates cloud cover that insulates the surface. This has allowed less cold Arctic air than usual to form over the Northern Hemisphere. However, now that we are well into the coldest part of winter, the Arctic sea ice has frozen up more. This, combined with the natural cooling due to the 24-hour darkness that continues over the pole, is allowing a large area of cold air to form over the pole. The latest runs of the GFS computer model show that this Arctic air will plunge southwards over North America during the next two weeks, bringing near-normal winter conditions to the U.S. and Canada during the second and third weeks of January. However, exceptionally warm conditions will continue over most of Europe and Asia during this period.

Colorado's tough winter continues: huge avalanche buries cars
Denver's third major snowstorm of the winter brought up to 8 inches of snow to the Denver area today. The heavy snow triggered a major avalanche 60 miles west of Denver that buried a 200-foot wide section of U.S. Highway 40 to a depth of 15 feet. Two cars plunged over the edge, but all eight people inside were rescued. The avalanche occurred near 11,307-foot-high Berthoud Pass. Colorado has had a lot snow, thanks to a kink in the jet stream that has put the predominant storm track over the state. However, the weather has not been very cold--the average temperature in Denver during December was 1.4° above normal, thanks to warm weather that moved into the region before and after each major storm. About 95% of the U.S. had above-normal temperatures in December.

2007 to be warmest year on record?
There is a 60% chance that 2007 will be the warmest year on record, according to a forecast issued by the United Kingdom Meteorological Office on January 4. The forecasters cited the combined influence of the continuing global warming trend, and the presence of a moderate El Nino event. "Even a moderate (El Nino) warming event is enough to push the global temperatures over the top," said Phil Jones, director of the Climatic Research unit at the University of East Anglia. The warmest years on record were 2005 and 1998, when the global average temperature was 1.2°F higher than the long-term average of 57°F. Given the remarkable warmth across not only North America this January, but also Europe and Asia, I think that a 40% chance of a warmest year ever is a reasonable forecast, but 60% might be too high. Not all El Nino events create a big increase in global temperatures.

I'll talk more about the amazing warmth of this winter on Tuesday afternoon, when the National Climatic Data Center releases their U.S. statistics for December of 2006.

Jeff Masters

Where is Winter? (CarmelHillHopson)
Daffodils coming up, temperatures 30 degrees above normal, and spring like thunder showers. Not bad for the 15th day of winter.
Where is Winter?
Where is Winter? (CarmelHillHopson)
Daffodils coming up, temperatures 30 degrees above normal, and spring like thunder showers. Not bad for the 15th day of winter.
Where is Winter?
January daffodils (wsmorris)
I know some daffodils bloom early, but I've never seen them bloom outdoors on January 7!
January daffodils

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244. Wishcasterboy
3:12 AM GMT on January 08, 2007
Damn, I got you good Pottery, no worry, LOL!. Get some sleep man!
243. HurricaneMyles
3:08 AM GMT on January 08, 2007
Yea, ussully as you get older you become less idealist. At least thats how it worked with me.
Member Since: January 12, 2006 Posts: 5 Comments: 827
242. pottery
3:07 AM GMT on January 08, 2007
LISTEN>> idealism is the RESPONSIBILITY of youth. You simply are not ALLOWED to abdicate that responsibility just so ! Cant be done. Sorry...
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24881
241. pottery
3:04 AM GMT on January 08, 2007
WAIT>>>>>>>>>> to young to be an idealist ????? I cant let that pass.
Well then who the ### is going to carry the dream ?
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24881
239. Wishcasterboy
3:04 AM GMT on January 08, 2007
Good night, Pottery. Stay cool in more ways than one.
238. Wishcasterboy
3:03 AM GMT on January 08, 2007
Up and down is the what drives this world forward, Pottery. That's true in almost everything.
237. pottery
3:02 AM GMT on January 08, 2007
And its 11 oclock at night !!!! This old man has to get up in the morning to work and stuff. Have a great one, and keep safe in the coming snow !
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24881
236. Wishcasterboy
3:00 AM GMT on January 08, 2007
I'm not that scared of climate change anymore. I'm just too young to be an idealist.
235. pottery
2:58 AM GMT on January 08, 2007
It is an old mans saying hahahah
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24881
234. pottery
2:57 AM GMT on January 08, 2007
Agreed. But ominous from the aspect of climate change ? And the effect on the fishees and those dear little polyps !
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24881
233. Wishcasterboy
2:54 AM GMT on January 08, 2007
and I take time to absorb these things. Its a generation thing.

Sounds like an old mans saying, LOL!

232. Wishcasterboy
2:52 AM GMT on January 08, 2007
I wouldn't recommend weighing all your fears on STTs. Take into account the strength of trade winds, Sahara dust, and the amount of tropical waves etc.
231. pottery
2:51 AM GMT on January 08, 2007
and I take time to absorb these things. Its a generation thing...........
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24881
230. pottery
2:49 AM GMT on January 08, 2007
Yah, the scroll anoyed me.....
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24881
229. Wishcasterboy
2:47 AM GMT on January 08, 2007
Are you on the can or something?
228. pottery
2:47 AM GMT on January 08, 2007
OK. Here we hover around 80 all year round. 90 " rain per year most of which falls june- dec. Now is real nice , things are green and its not humid and the breeze is cooling. But the ocean temps are bothering me. Looks a little ominous.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24881
227. Wishcasterboy
2:47 AM GMT on January 08, 2007
No retort from Pottery, darn!
226. Wishcasterboy
2:43 AM GMT on January 08, 2007
I made it in a scroll just for you because I knew it would be harder to read, LOL!
225. Wishcasterboy
2:41 AM GMT on January 08, 2007
The eyes are quite heavy, Pottery.
224. Wishcasterboy
2:40 AM GMT on January 08, 2007
Portland OR,

JANUARY
FEBRUARY
MARCH
APRIL
MAY
JUNE

High
46F (8C)
51F (10C)
56F (13C)
61F (16C)
68F (20C)
74F (23C)

Low
34F (1C)
37F (3C)
39F (4C)
42F (5C)
47F (8C)
53F (12C)

Rainfall
5.35"
3.85"
3.56"
2.39"
2.06"
1.48"


JULY
AUGUST
SEPTEMBER
OCTOBER
NOVEMBER
DECEMBER

High
80F (27C)
81F (27C)
75F (24C)
64F (18C)
53F (12C)
46F (8C)

Low
57F (14C)
57F (14C)
52F (11C)
45F (7C)
40F (5C)
35F (2C)

Rainfall
.63"
1.09"
1.75"
2.67"
5.34"
6.13"

223. pottery
2:39 AM GMT on January 08, 2007
I wondered why there was no instant smart-ass retort ! LOL
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24881
222. pottery
2:36 AM GMT on January 08, 2007
Sounds great. Whats the annual rainfall there. I think its wet ?
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24881
221. Wishcasterboy
2:35 AM GMT on January 08, 2007
You're a lucky one! I didn't take notice.
220. Wishcasterboy
2:34 AM GMT on January 08, 2007
The summers can be crazy though, on the coast, it can be freezing, and at the same time inland areas can be a scorching hot!
219. pottery
2:33 AM GMT on January 08, 2007
.er, I mean her husband is a caterpillar tractor engineer. But you must have figured that out yourself...
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24881
218. Wishcasterboy
2:31 AM GMT on January 08, 2007
Once again, hence the name.
217. Wishcasterboy
2:30 AM GMT on January 08, 2007
There's a big difference from San Fran and Portland. If you ever visit the Northwest, come during the summer. Stop by Saint Helens, windsail in the Columbia Gorge, and spend a night in Florence. It will take your breath away!
216. pottery
2:29 AM GMT on January 08, 2007
My sister lived in Peoria (dread ) for a while. Her husband is a Caterpillar. Now she lives in Arizona (nice ).. In toronto I was exhibiting my pots
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24881
215. pottery
2:24 AM GMT on January 08, 2007
...also 10 days in San Francisco. So I've been near you !
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24881
214. Wishcasterboy
2:23 AM GMT on January 08, 2007
What brings a calm islander like yourself to Illinois and Toronto, family?
213. Wishcasterboy
2:21 AM GMT on January 08, 2007
The cold coming after the snow could be epic. The low Thursday night could be as low as the single digits.

212. pottery
2:20 AM GMT on January 08, 2007
Yeah, spent a winter in Illinois, and a Feb. in Toronto. Both times were heavy snow. Nice. Would not be able to live it though !
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24881
211. Wishcasterboy
2:19 AM GMT on January 08, 2007
We only had a trace in 05.
210. Wishcasterboy
2:16 AM GMT on January 08, 2007
March of 06. The only real snow we ever got that year.
209. Wishcasterboy
2:15 AM GMT on January 08, 2007
Have you ever seen snow, Pottery? There's something mellow dramatic about it, just can't put my finger on it.

If you've never seen Austustana, you're really missing out.
208. pottery
2:14 AM GMT on January 08, 2007
Yes, snow in the valley for you? When last did that happen ?
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24881
207. pottery
2:11 AM GMT on January 08, 2007
True , Wish, true. Maybe thats why I dont need to see sanctity on the tube. I'm surrounded by it here.......
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24881
206. Wishcasterboy
2:10 AM GMT on January 08, 2007
That sounds so very different from my own experience, Pottery.
205. Wishcasterboy
2:09 AM GMT on January 08, 2007
Welp, i'm dealing with the aspect of snow come Wednesday.
204. pottery
2:06 AM GMT on January 08, 2007
Hey Wish, Ive been on planes with that nose camera. I find it a little disconcerting because I always have to look to make sure there isnt a 747 coming at me at 1000 mph.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24881
203. Wishcasterboy
2:03 AM GMT on January 08, 2007
I though you were too old to be figuring out lifes mysteries, Pottery, LOL!
202. Wishcasterboy
2:01 AM GMT on January 08, 2007
One can only find Sanctity from witnessing it.

Good night, Kman.
201. pottery
2:00 AM GMT on January 08, 2007
Yeah I understand that. Its why I go into the hills here in the hot times (3000 ft makes a difference ) And I understand that the ocean is absorbing radiation as well, and storing that. But it seems to me that an awful lot of very cold water just got dumped into the far north Atlantic with the melting ice, and the sea is still warming out of proportion to the air etc. I cant figure it out . Why?
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24881
200. Wishcasterboy
1:56 AM GMT on January 08, 2007
That's a shame Pottery. I guess I can't really help you.

Kman, never seen that before but it sounds cool.
199. kmanislander
1:57 AM GMT on January 08, 2007
well I have to call it a night now
great to see you all back on
Will catch up with you later

gnite
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197. kmanislander
1:51 AM GMT on January 08, 2007
In fact some planes have a nose cam where you can see the take off and landing as if you were perched on the nose wheel !
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196. pottery
9:45 PM AST on January 07, 2007
Wish, I cant access U tube, unfortunately. I'm just a simple man....
Sanctity ??
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24881
195. Wishcasterboy
1:50 AM GMT on January 08, 2007
Have you ever been in a plane with a screen showing speed over ground, outside temp etc ?

I have, it's actually quite nice.
194. kmanislander
1:44 AM GMT on January 08, 2007
Pottery,

I suspect it has something to do with the fact that as air rises and cools the air temp drops very quickly. Have you ever been in a plane with a screen showing speed over ground, outside temp etc ?
As you climb out after take off the temp plummets very quickly. At about 38000 feet it is about 45 below outside the aircraft even though it may be 95 degrees on the ground below!. Thats why a decompression at cruise altitude is so serious.
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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