Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Call It What You Want: The Weather Is Sure Weird This Year

        Good Day Humboldt County!

 I’ve lived in Humboldt County since 1979 and have never seen a drier winter. Our local Channel 3 weatherman, Bill Bernard, has made a few comments about this dry spell but hasn’t been giving out any statistics to compare with other years.

I’m pretty sure this will be, and is, a record breaking year for weather here in Humboldt County…and the rest of the world! No shit! Just look at what’s happening nationally:


                                               Weird winter weather: Want snow? Head south

Where's winter? If you're in the lower 48 states you might try Midland, Texas. At some 20 inches so far this season -- more than half of that dumped on Monday alone -- it's got more snow than most U.S. cities much farther north.

Take Minneapolis, Minn., at just 10.3 inches of snow so far this season (the norm: 24.9 inches), according to weather.com. Or Chicago, Ill., at just 1.9 inches, when by this time last winter it already had seen nearly 17 inches. Or Buffalo, N.Y., at just 5.5 inches, not the normal 44.4 inches. La Nina was also expected to bring a strong winter to the northern part of the U.S., forecasters predicted last fall. What gives?

Minnesota Public Radio meteorologist Paul Huttner says it's complicated."There may not be one specific reason," he said in a Q&A on the MPR website. "The jet stream has stayed unusually far north in Canada so far this winter. One reason is the so called Arctic Oscillation. It's been in a strong 'positive phase' this year which means stronger westerlies and Pacific air masses for Minnesota" instead of the colder air coming down from the Arctic.

Alaska on alert: towns low on fuel; 95 mph gusts forecast

It's not just the towns of Nome and Cordova struggling through what's been a wicked winter in Alaska; at least two more towns are running low on fuel, and parts of the state face blizzard warnings on Tuesday, with gusts up to 95 mph predicted in the Anchorage area.

A seafaring fuel convoy has been trying to reach Nome but two smaller villages are even closer to running out, the Alaska Daily News reported Tuesday.

"We're running pretty low," said Kobuk Mayor Edward Gooden Jr. The town of some 100 residents was trying to clear its airstrip in hopes that a fuel plane could arrive shortly.

In Anchorage, a blizzard warning was issued Tuesday for the outskirts of Alaska's largest city. Up to 28 inches of snow were predicted through late Tuesday, along with winds from 55 to 70 mph. Anchorage has already seen some 81 inches of snow this season -- double the norm. And it's not just Anchorage.

"Many areas of Alaska are under severe-weather warnings this morning, with blizzard conditions and heavy snow from western Alaska and portions of the Interior all the way to Haines in Southeast," the Anchorage Daily News reported. As accustomed to harsh winters as Alaskans are, this one seems to be taking a toll.

"Is this the winter of Mother Nature's discontent?" asked AlaskaDispatch.com. "Those living in Alaska have to wonder. It's like the poor old gal has gone schizophrenic. There really is no other explanation for the weather extremes witnessed in the north this year."

Time to walk on down the road…

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