Ice and fire: extremes grip North America

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 7:16 PM GMT on January 16, 2009

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The lowest temperature ever recorded in the state of Maine occurred this morning, according to preliminary data from the National Weather Service. The temperature at Big Black River in northern Maine on the Canadian border bottomed out at -50F, besting the old record of -48°F. Here's the scoop from NWS:

At 0730 am EST this morning a USGS gage at Big Black River recorded a low temperature of -50F. This exceeds the current statewide record low temperature of -48F set on January 19th...1925 at Van Buren. This report is considered unofficial until a review of the equipment and data by the state climate extremes committee as to the validity of this report. If the committee ascertains that this is indeed a valid report...a separate public information statement will be issued at that time.


Figure 1. Temperature trace from the Big Black River, Maine USGS river gauge station, ending January 16, 2009. A record minimum of -50°F (-45.3°C) occurred. Image credit: USGS.

Figure 2. Minimum temperatures this morning for Maine. Image credit: National Weather Service, Caribou, Maine.


All-time state records are difficult to break. The last time a state record low was set was January 5, 1999, when Congerville, Illinois recorded -36°F. Only one state record high temperature has been set in the past the decade--the 120°F temperature measured in Usta, South Dakota on July 15, 2006.

This week's North American cold spell has been a notable one, with daily minimum temperature records falling in seventeen states, Sunday through Friday. A record low for the month of January was set Friday morning in Caribou, Maine, which recorded -37°F. This is the second coldest temperature ever recorded in Caribou, next to the -41°F recorded on February 1, 1962. Mason City, Iowa had it's lowest January temperature on record Friday morning, -31°F, and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, had its all-time lowest temperature for any month Thursday morning, a frigid -29°F. Bismark, North Dakota had its second coldest temperature ever, -44°F, on Thursday morning. This was only 1° from the all time low of -45° on January 13, 1916 and again on February 16, 1936. Bismark is also on pace for their snowiest season on record (61.2" so far).

Record heat in Alaska and California
The temperature swings this week in Alaska have been astounding. At Nenana, in central Alaska, the high was -42°F on Monday, with a low of -52°F. On Thursday morning, the temperature shot up 106°F from Monday, topping out at a positively tropical 54°F--the warmest January temperature ever measured in Nenana. Several other Alaska stations also set record highs for the month of January this week. Record highs for the month of January were also set at four California airports:

San Jose 75°F January 12
Sacramento 70°F January 12
San Francisco 72°F January 13
Red Bluff 78°F January 13, 15, 16

More record highs than lows have been set at the 381 major airports across the U.S. so far this week, through Friday. You can look up all the records at the National Climatic Data Center's excellent U.S. Records web site. Records for this week:

Jan 16
------
9 maximum high temperature records (CA, OR, WA, WY)
20 minimum low temperature records (GA, IA, IL, IN, MI, ME, MN, NH, PA, VT, WI)

Jan 15
------
11 maximum high temperature records (CA, WA, NV)
11 minimum low temperature records (IA, ND, IN, ME, NE, NY, SD)

Jan 14
-------
14 maximum high temperature records (AK, CA, OR, NV)
8 minimum low temperature records (IA, MI, MN, ND, TX)

Jan 13:
-------
13 maximum high temperature records (CA, OR, AK, FL)
9 minimum low temperature records (IA, MI, MN, ND)

Jan 12:
-------
9 maximum high temperature records (CA, OR, WA)
2 minimum low temperature records (AK, ND)

Jan 11:
-------
7 maximum high temperature records (CA, OR, WA)
1 minimum low temperature record (CA)

What's causing all this wild weather?
As usual, a sharp kink in the jet stream is responsible for the wild weather we're having. A ridge of high pressure over Alaska is forcing the jet to bow northwards into northern Alaska, allowing warm air from the Hawaii area to stream northwards over the region. Whenever the jet contorts into such a pattern, there must be a return flow of cold air from the pole that develops. That is occurring over the eastern half of the U.S., bringing us our Arctic air blast. The -17°F at my house in Michigan yesterday morning was the coldest it's been since 1994, brrr!

Jeff Masters

Icy Ferns (verlos)
Ice outside my window
Icy Ferns
January Sauna (pjpix)
Sunny bright at 12:30 P.M. and minus 7 degrees F. Some geese and mallards "enjoy" a January sauna in East Dundee, IL. The Fox River is about 38 degrees right now ... relatively warm when compared with today's frigid air temperature.
January Sauna
Very Cold Morning (Melagoo)
-18C or -1F in Burlington, ON ... and a beautiful sun-rise too!
Very Cold Morning

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393. KEHCharleston
4:32 PM GMT on January 19, 2009
Good Morning,

Will StormJunkie (and Orca) get their wish?
Charleston; Tuesday:
Mostly cloudy with a chance of snow showers. A chance of rain and snow showers in the afternoon. Much cooler with highs in the lower 40s. Little or no snow accumulation. Northwest winds 15 to 20 mph. Chance of precipitation 50 percent.

melwerle - How did the regatta/regretta go?
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 2490
392. Skyepony (Mod)
12:39 PM GMT on January 19, 2009
Fanele is ramping up here T# 3.1 raw 3.7
Eric's T# 2.5 raw 3. It's struggling being so close to land. It's kissing the coast.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 161 Comments: 37327
391. MissNadia
11:52 AM GMT on January 19, 2009
Morning
Now that is a BIG ramp!!!!LOL
Member Since: July 27, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 3002
390. beell
11:43 AM GMT on January 19, 2009
MissNadia,
BTW, lol, the ramp at Amarillo International is still windy and cold! Enjoy your 50F's!
Member Since: September 11, 2007 Posts: 141 Comments: 16201
389. MissNadia
11:04 AM GMT on January 19, 2009
No one up today... must be the holiday.
ILM is 35 with dense FOG....Forecast to be a nice day .. temps. up to 52!
Member Since: July 27, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 3002
388. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
7:38 AM GMT on January 19, 2009
An undersea earthquake of magnitude 6.8 has occurred at 02:35 PM EDT on Monday

19 January 2009 near LOYALTY ISLANDS REGION.


THERE IS NO TSUNAMI THREAT TO THE AUSTRALIAN MAINLAND, ISLANDS OR TERRITORIES.


No further updates will be issued unless the situation changes.
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 50 Comments: 44710
387. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
7:07 AM GMT on January 19, 2009
Seychelles Meteorological Services
Tropical Cyclone Warning Number SEVEN
TEMPETE TROPICALE MODEREE ERIC (06-20082009)
10:00 AM Réunion January 19 2009
======================================

At 6:00 AM UTC, Moderate Tropical Storm Eric (997 hPa) located at 17.9S 49.5E has 10 minute sustained winds of 35 knots with gusts of 50 knots. The storm is reported as moving southwest at 8 knots.

Dvorak Intensity: T2.5

Gale-Force Winds
==================
15 NM from the center

Near Gale-Force Winds
====================
30 NM from the center extending up to 70 NM in the northeastern quadrant and up to 80 NM in the southeastern quadrant

Forecast and Intensity
=======================
12 HRS: 20.3S 48.7E - 30 knots (DEPRESSION TROPICALE)
24 HRS: 22.5S 49.1E - 35 knots (Tempête Tropicale Moderée)
48 HRS: 27.1S 50.8E - 30 knots (Devenant Extratropical)
72 HRS: 33.5S 59.5E - (Extratropical)

Additional Information
========================
Tropical Storm Eric is a very small size. Wind/pressure relationship not respected. Scatterometric data (QUIKSCAT Data at 0322z shows some no contaminated 35 knot winds in the eastern semi-circle) and satellite imagery allows a DT at 2.5+. However convection is warmer since 2030z probably due to the proximity of landmass.

System has maintained its southwestern track and should skirt the eastern Malagasy coast for the next 12 hours. on this track vertical wind shear will be weak but the system should not intensify due to interaction with land.

Winds structure is dissymetric (greater winds extension in the eastern semi-circle).

NWP models are in good agreement and the forecast track is a consensus.

Seychelles Meteorological Services
Tropical Cyclone Warning Number FIVE
TEMPETE TROPICALE MODEREE FANELE (07-20082009)
10:00 AM Réunion January 19 2009
======================================

At 6:00 AM UTC, Moderate Tropical Storm Fanele (995 hPa) located at 21.5S 40.7E has 10 minute sustained winds of 35 knots with gusts of 50 knots. The storm is reported as quasi-stationary.

Dvorak Intensity: T2.5

Near-Gale Force Winds
======================
20 NM from the center extending up to 50 NM in the southeastern semi-circle

Forecast and Intensity
=======================
12 HRS: 21.1S 40.7E - 40 knots (Tempête Tropicale Moderée)
24 HRS: 20.1S 41.3E - 50 knots (Forte Tempête Tropicale)
48 HRS: 20.2S 42.8E - 65 knots (Tropical Cyclone)
72 HRS: 22.1S 44.9E - DEPRESSION sur terre)

Additional Information
========================
This system is named Fanele by the Malagasy weather service. Fanele is beneath very favorable environmental conditions under the upper level ridge with a good low level inflow equatorward and a strengthening poleward one, relate to the rebuilding high pressure in the southwest. So system is expected to strengthen regularly. However, a dry air intrusion in the 48 hours could limit this intensification. Most of the available NWP models show an eastern turn toward the western coast of Madagascar but they are still some spread in both track and speed. Current forecast is based on a general consensus.

Interested areas along the southwestern coast of Madagascar should closely monitor the progress of this system.
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 50 Comments: 44710
386. melwerle
5:50 AM GMT on January 19, 2009
ok - as much as i hate hurricane season, i am actually waiting for it to come back. So tired of global warming although the conversation about fishnets and Press are pretty good...
:)

Love you press.. xxxooo ;)
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 12 Comments: 1837
385. Skyepony (Mod)
5:23 AM GMT on January 19, 2009
All4hurricanes ~ a fujiwara of sorts is forcasted. Eric is suppose to move around to the south pretty quick along the coast, 09S is suppose to move to the north a good bit slower. They've been disrupting each other & are forecasted to move even closer together.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 161 Comments: 37327
384. Patrap
4:07 AM GMT on January 19, 2009







Link


Emergency alert weather radios can be lifesavers when severe weather threatens your area! During an emergency, emergency alert weather radios activate to provide you with immediate information about the life-threatening event.

Weather radios from Oregon Scientific, Midland, First Alert, Reecom and WeatherOne are available in varying price ranges and incorporate features such as sirens, flashing strobe lights, warning messages and alert tones. Weather radios are available in portable or desktop models and many include SAME (Specific Area Message Encoding) technology allowing you to filter our distant warning broadcasts and instead monitor only your local area! Link

What is the special-needs NOAA Weather Radio? Link

The special-needs NOAA Weather Radio was designed to adapt to the needs of the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. The Radio can warn deaf and hard-of-hearing persons of hazardous conditions, giving them around-the-clock, up-to-the-minute weather information. The Radio is a weather alerting system that can be a lifesaver, much as the now commonly-used smoke detector with flashing light, for deaf and hard-of-hearing persons.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 420 Comments: 127536
383. pottery
4:04 AM GMT on January 19, 2009
Looks like you have the stage, Pat.

Thanks for the Laffs, you freaks.....
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24018
382. all4hurricanes
4:04 AM GMT on January 19, 2009
Could Eric and 09 have a Fujiwara effect on top of Madagascar?
Member Since: March 29, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2346
381. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
4:02 AM GMT on January 19, 2009
night surf later iam out as well later to all
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
380. Patrap
4:01 AM GMT on January 19, 2009
Party Like a Rock Star..LOL

01/07/09 GOM SST Color Comp Link


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 420 Comments: 127536
379. Orcasystems
4:01 AM GMT on January 19, 2009
I am out for the night also.. have fun all
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
378. pottery
3:59 AM GMT on January 19, 2009
Yeah, I'm out too. Its Midnight. I turn into a pumpkin at midnight................

Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24018
377. surfmom
3:58 AM GMT on January 19, 2009
Pottery understands the value of Pirate Girls!!!! - Halos just don't cut it.

Keep trying Patrap -- they'll get serious soon... once again Good Evening to you All.
Member Since: July 18, 2007 Posts: 30 Comments: 26536
376. Orcasystems
3:57 AM GMT on January 19, 2009
Quoting surfmom:
Okay -- Monday awaits - the bed beckons - You all have a wonderful evening.... can't remember when I have laughed soooo much -- it's so GOOD to Laugh...got this huge smile 'cross my face -- nice way to end the day... you all are GREAT


Night Surfmom :)
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
375. Orcasystems
3:57 AM GMT on January 19, 2009
Quoting pottery:
Sorry Orc.
If anyone has to chose between Can. Beer, and Moms Booty, well, youre on your own, buddy. Sorry, .


heck..I am joining her team :)
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
374. surfmom
3:55 AM GMT on January 19, 2009
Okay -- Monday awaits - the bed beckons - You all have a wonderful evening.... can't remember when I have laughed soooo much -- it's so GOOD to Laugh...got this huge smile 'cross my face -- nice way to end the day... you all are GREAT
Member Since: July 18, 2007 Posts: 30 Comments: 26536
373. pottery
3:55 AM GMT on January 19, 2009
Sorry Orc.
If anyone has to chose between Can. Beer, and Moms Booty, well, youre on your own, buddy. Sorry, .
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24018
372. Patrap
3:55 AM GMT on January 19, 2009



2009 National Hurricane Conference Link

April 6-April 10 |Austin Convention Center|Austin, TX

The nation's forum for education and professional training in hurricane preparedness!
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 420 Comments: 127536
371. Orcasystems
3:52 AM GMT on January 19, 2009
Quoting pottery:
Oh, Mom!
You are selling ammo to the Enemy.


Yup :)
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
370. pottery
3:50 AM GMT on January 19, 2009
Oh, Mom!
You are selling ammo to the Enemy.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24018
369. Orcasystems
3:50 AM GMT on January 19, 2009
Quoting surfmom:


I have booty --
you just have a halo w/dings and dents


I don't have a chance of getting press on my side now...
Canadian Beer cannot compete with Surfmom's Booty :)
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
368. surfmom
3:49 AM GMT on January 19, 2009
Quoting Orcasystems:


Ohhhhhh my.... the remarks... be good John be good.
Sweating? or is that just Global Warming making your face red
Member Since: July 18, 2007 Posts: 30 Comments: 26536
367. Patrap
3:48 AM GMT on January 19, 2009
2009 LEGISLATURE
Storm measures high on Texas lawmakers' agenda Link

AUSTIN — After one of the most crippling hurricane seasons for Texas coastal communities, the urgent task confronting state lawmakers is helping thousands of people still recovering from the remnants of Hurricane Ike — and preparing for the next big storm.

Possibilities for new legislation this year include hundreds of millions of dollars for storm-struck communities trying to rebuild, along with new rules that could make the next storm safer, easier and cheaper for residents to weather.

Ike came ashore at Galveston in September as a strong Category 2 storm, causing widespread flooding and wind damage and knocking out power to millions of residents across the region.

“People need to know that the state is taking this disaster and emergency effort seriously,” said state Rep. Sylvester Turner, D-Houston, whose hurricane committee is writing recommendations for fellow lawmakers. “If we do not in a holistic way address emergency and hurricane preparedness issues, the costs and the human tragedies will only increase.”
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 420 Comments: 127536
366. surfmom
3:48 AM GMT on January 19, 2009
Ahhh yes and in a nick of time Patrap appears to get us all back on topic...... sigh of relief -- I was starting to re-visit places of my wild youth
Member Since: July 18, 2007 Posts: 30 Comments: 26536
365. Orcasystems
3:47 AM GMT on January 19, 2009
Quoting surfmom:


I have booty --
you just have a halo w/dings and dents


Ohhhhhh my.... the remarks... be good John be good.
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
364. surfmom
3:46 AM GMT on January 19, 2009
Quoting Orcasystems:


Ohh nice shot :)
Mind you.. it was at press.. that might make him pick a side :)


I have booty --
you just have a halo w/dings and dents
Member Since: July 18, 2007 Posts: 30 Comments: 26536
363. pottery
3:45 AM GMT on January 19, 2009
I think Press's wife and daughter put him out.........
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24018
362. Patrap
3:45 AM GMT on January 19, 2009
ESL by LSU Link

MODIS True Color images for 01/16/2009 Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 420 Comments: 127536
361. surfmom
3:44 AM GMT on January 19, 2009
Yes, the Man from the island of Rum and I will have to make a plan -- I do enjoy the wildness of it all....can't wait till we all have
Spring Fever.................
Member Since: July 18, 2007 Posts: 30 Comments: 26536
360. Orcasystems
3:42 AM GMT on January 19, 2009
Quoting surfmom:
Perhaps fishnets would work.... but then Press would probably try to wear them..... hummm going to have to find just the right bait......


Ohh nice shot :)
Mind you.. it was at press.. that might make him pick a side :)
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
359. pottery
3:42 AM GMT on January 19, 2009
Press will join...
which team ?
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24018
358. surfmom
3:40 AM GMT on January 19, 2009
Perhaps fishnets would work.... but then Press would probably try to wear them..... hummm going to have to find just the right bait......
Member Since: July 18, 2007 Posts: 30 Comments: 26536
357. Orcasystems
3:36 AM GMT on January 19, 2009
Quoting pottery:
I am going to HAVE to assist Surfmom in her Retaliation.
We will have to plan something.........
The guy is Slippery.


Hmmmmm new blood :)
Next thing you know.. press will join
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
356. Orcasystems
3:35 AM GMT on January 19, 2009
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
you mean a dented shiny halo


Not really dented... but maybe a scratch or two, that can be polished out ;)
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
355. pottery
3:34 AM GMT on January 19, 2009
I am going to HAVE to assist Surfmom in her Retaliation.
We will have to plan something.........
The guy is Slippery.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24018
354. Orcasystems
3:33 AM GMT on January 19, 2009
Quoting surfmom:
I am laughing sooooo hard -- teaches me to play with some Canuck -- I'll be laying in wait dear Orca...... remember..... in the dark all cats become leopards


Press, you want to take that one....
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
353. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
3:32 AM GMT on January 19, 2009
you mean a dented shiny halo
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
352. surfmom
3:31 AM GMT on January 19, 2009
I am laughing sooooo hard -- teaches me to play with some Canuck -- I'll be laying in wait dear Orca...... remember..... in the dark all cats become leopards
Member Since: July 18, 2007 Posts: 30 Comments: 26536
351. Orcasystems
3:30 AM GMT on January 19, 2009
Quoting surfmom:


heh, heh Orca -- you are too good --- I assure you..... LOL -- I can't believe you strung that together... I can't find a way out LOL...yup I just fell in the hole... and I dug it...ROTFL


Yup... my Halo is still Shiny :)
S&I :)
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
350. Orcasystems
3:28 AM GMT on January 19, 2009
Quoting pottery:
344, thin ice! Thin ice!!
LOLLOLOLOL


My defence.. S&I
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
349. surfmom
3:28 AM GMT on January 19, 2009
Quoting Orcasystems:


Hmmmm Big Black Mama - Black Australorps - Black Swan....

Maybe press is not the only one with a fetish??


heh, heh Orca -- you are too good --- I assure you..... LOL -- I can't believe you strung that together... I can't find a way out LOL...yup I just fell in the hole... and I dug it...ROTFL
Member Since: July 18, 2007 Posts: 30 Comments: 26536
348. pottery
3:26 AM GMT on January 19, 2009
344, thin ice! Thin ice!!
LOLLOLOLOL
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24018
347. KEHCharleston
3:26 AM GMT on January 19, 2009
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
i dont even know why she said it
started by asking who press was explain then show her the piture
she said a thong would be a better draw then the bikini and people can donate to put clothes back on him starting with socks first all the way up to shirt and pants

Scary - When you think about it - it sort of makes sense. How much would be raised to put the clothes back on Press, do ya think?

Steelers? Yikes!! - Cotillion will be most displeased
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 2490
346. surfmom
3:25 AM GMT on January 19, 2009
Quoting Orcasystems:


I don't know.. but apparently they are in a bowl?>
Best keep those boys away from Glitter's bowl..... she might loose her sparkle
Member Since: July 18, 2007 Posts: 30 Comments: 26536
345. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
3:25 AM GMT on January 19, 2009
lol
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
344. Orcasystems
3:23 AM GMT on January 19, 2009
Quoting surfmom:
.... yeaa I got one --Big black Mama -- she's got BREASTS
Quoting surfmom:
Keeper ...smart wife...Keep-her!

a cruise on the Black Swan would get the TREASURE chest filled


Hmmmm Big Black Mama - Black Australorps - Black Swan....

Maybe press is not the only one with a fetish??
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
343. pottery
3:23 AM GMT on January 19, 2009
Well, I would pay big money, NOT to see Press in a thong.
So its a win-win thing. Threaten them Press.
I just cancelled my subscription.........
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24018

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About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.