Back from FloridaJanuary 31st, 2012 at 12:25 am by Bill Steffen under Bill's Blog, Weather
Just a quick note…got back from Florida at 12:15 AM early Tues. AM. Most unusual to fly from Orlando to Michigan in January and have it be clear all the way home. Quite an interesting night here in W. Michigan. At midnight it was 15 and calm in Big Rapids and 47 with a wind gusting to over 30 mph at Muskegon! The wind, sky cover and snow cover making a big difference overnight. We had 3 days of perfect weather Saturday to Monday (swam in the outdoor pool). Interesting note…I got recognized nearly a dozen times at Disney. Only part of one day I had on a Bill’s Blog T-Shirt. I was recognized by someone who lives outside the viewing area who reads the blog (cool) – also Brian VanderArk and family were down there – and I had some guy from Boston recognize the shirt from the G.R. Lipdub. I had a nice conversation with the bus driver taking us back to our hotel from Disney (I wind up talking to everybody!). He was an African-American gentleman who was in his 70s (but looked 20 years younger than that). He said he would get bored if he ever retired for good, so when he retired from his regular job, he came down to Orlando for the weather and since had had been driving buses on the side for years, decided to do that here. He was a faithful listener to the RBC ministries program from Grand Rapids. We did the Animal Park one day and the Magic Kingdom the next. We were there before the park opened and were about the last to leave. Guess it snowed here while we were gone! Thanks to whomever cleared my driveway! Season Snowfall: 32.2″ G.R., 39.5″ MKG, 43.6″ Kalamazoo, 26.6″ LAN. Unseasonably warm air over much of the Lower 48 U.S. Look at these high temps. from Monday: 65 Des Moines (warmer than Jacksonville FL), 70 McCook Nebraska (warmer than Brownsville TX). It was 50 way up at Calgary, Alberta. On the other hand, it continues to be bitter cold and snowy across Alaska. Bettles reached a record -60F both Saturday and Sunday. Fort Yukon bottomed out at -62F. Circle Hot Springs had a high of -49 on Sunday. Yakutat picked up 61.4″ of snow in the last week, with another 9″ in Juneau. Alyeska, AK is up to 462″ since Oct. 1. If you look at the NCEP temperature departure from average…you can see the warm air relative to average over the central U.S. and NE Canada. Much of Europe, Asia, S. America and Australia are relatively cool right now. We could see a little light rain or drizzle later on today into early Weds. AM, but the overall pattern this week will continue to be warm with below normal precipitation and the snow we have will melt. UPDATE: Looks like the coldest January ever for much of Northern Alaska. Fairbanks has had more mornings of 40 below and colder (16) than any year since 1971, and since winter is only 9 days past the halfway point for temperature, the record (21) could easily fall. AND – Extreme cold and heavy snow has hit eastern Europe, leaving at least 60 cold fatalities. Fatalities are reported in Poland, the Ukraine, Serbia and Bulgaria, where snowdrifts reached nearly 7 feet. Istanbul had their coldest temperatures in 30 years and readings in Serbia were as cold as -37. The extreme cold is pushing west into Western Europe, where it could snow along the Mediterranean shore. The Arctic Oscillation, which has been consistently positive since early November has now gone negative. The North Atlantic Oscillation, which has also been positive for most all of the fall/winter is going closer to neutral. This combination should bring us colder air not this week, but at some point next week. The European model out around Feb. 8 has a cooler pattern for the Great Lakes and Northeast. The GFS has a brief cold shot around the 13th, but continues the overall warm pattern. Here’s current conditions, with temperatures today in the 50s at the lakeshore (where the wind is gusting to 30-40 mph) and pushing close to 50 over what’s left of the snow cover inland. We’ve been in the right spot to see some sunshine today.