Senior meteorologist on extended USA cold blast to last past Groundhog day: 'WOW F..ing WOW'

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Normally quiet and reserved WeatherBell senior forecaster Joe D’Aleo (co-founder of the Weather Channel with John Coleman) almost never writes (email subject lines) like this. When he does, it gets my attention. A new forecast shows the cold blast in the eastern half of the USA extending well past Groundhog Day, Feb 2nd, according to their models. WeatherBell has had an excellent track record this winter so far. He says he hasn’t seen anything like it since 1918 when the big flu pandemic hit the USA. Have a look:

D’Aleo writes in a follow up email about the forecast graphic below.

This is the GFS model depiction of the mean anomaly (in degrees C) for the 16 day period through 12z on February 6th.

16-day-conus-temp

It covers the coldest period of the winter season climatologically in most areas. The other global models agree through at least 10 days. This is the most severe run thus far. We have been alerting clients to it for weeks. Here is the day by day anomaly for the mean of the GFS ensemble runs which agree on the steadiness and generally the severity of the cold.

cold-model-runs

The mainstream media blames it on global warming of course.http://news.yahoo.com/global-warming-freezing-104500272–politics.html

UCAR downplayed the last brutal cold as being brief unlike the cold of the 1970s and 1980s.http://www2.ucar.edu/atmosnews/opinion/10928/cold-but-brief

Lets revisit their insightful analysis after the next few weeks.

1917/18 and 1993/94 were winters Joe Bastardi and I have been looking at. See the similarity of the SSTA in the Pacific in Jan/Feb 1918 to this year.

January 1918:

SSTA-Jan-1918

January 2014:

SSTA-Jan-2014

That warm pool in the Gulf of Alaska drives the persistent Alaska and western ridge and downstream cold vortex.  That year had an extremely cold January.

1918-CONUS-temps

==========================================================

Powerful stuff. readers may recall that 1918 saw the great flu pandemic in the USA.

WeatherBell models expert Dr. Ryan Maue adds:

Meanwhile, weather, not climate, is hitting the US government hard:

Federal Government Shuts Down for Snow Storm Offices in Washington, D.C., are closed for the second time this winter.

Snow falling in Washington area; 4 to 7 inches expected, as flights canceled across US

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And on Feb 10, NOAA is going to tell us that January 2014 was the hottest January ever recorded.

For the 35 years I have lived in his meteorological shadow, Joe has always been way ahead of the weather. One more TD for my All Star.

Richard of NZ

Umm, readers might remember that 1918 saw a global influenza pandemic. The spread was probably highlighted by the return home of millions of men from the Great War, many in cramped and somewhat insanitary conditions, already weakened by their experiences over the preceding 4 years.
If an example must be used to show the effects of a particular weather situation, please use a valid one.

Todd

I don’t remember 1993/94 but I sure do remember Jan/Feb 1996, which did break or tie state records in my neck of the woods. Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin.
Are we talking that level of cold, yet, anywhere?

albertalad

That pretty much lines up with Canadian forecast for the Canadian portion impacted by this system.

Bob Koss

During this time period on Feb 2nd I here there will be some kind of outdoor event played in New Jersey. Foosball maybe?

Really, Joe is THAT old? Wow!
“Joe D’Aleo … says he hasn’t seen anything like it since 1918 when the big flu pandemic hit the USA.”
Sorry! Just could not resist…

Latitude

…and when this was happening in Europe
They were claiming global warming here

Al Marinaro

Your discussing Influenza Outbreaks, I was experimenting with Arctic Oscillation Numbers Since 1948, It seems Arctic blocking trends don’t only matter over the Winter, but the long term 2 Year AO Average matches up well with Flu outbreaks. It would be valid to say maybe we should be looking at +TNH/-EPO patterns that overide the +AO pattern as well as a mode to test with Influenza. (As that is the mode we have seen most as of late) See Graphic: http://pbs.twimg.com/media/BZLBxS_CUAAwoJJ.jpg:large

MaxLD

albertalad says:
January 21, 2014 at 12:18 pm
That pretty much lines up with Canadian forecast for the Canadian portion impacted by this system.

This is a very straightforward situation for the weather models to handle. A big longwave pattern over North America with the upper ridge anchored over the west and huge very cold trough in the east. A pattern that is not going anywhere in any haste.

jorgekafkazar

Richard of NZ says: “Umm, readers might remember that 1918 saw a global influenza pandemic. The spread was probably highlighted by the return home of millions of men from the Great War, many in cramped and somewhat insanitary conditions, already weakened by their experiences over the preceding 4 years.”
My mother lived through that period. She (a nurse) recalled that people who insisted on staying active and going to work had the highest mortality. She never mentioned servicemen as particularly vulnerable. Her brother was in France at the time.

The mention of the flu outbreak seems like a non sequitur, unless there’s actually some evidence of a direct relationship (which I’m open to). Just seems like sensationalism otherwise.
As for the closing of D.C.; we should have a constant snow storm there, then maybe our economy could actually heal. (Though I realize it would take something much more than that to keep the meddlers at bay.)

JaneHM

What drives the warm pool near Alaska and is there any correlation with changes in the upwelling (associated with the global thermohaline circulation) that occurs in the northern Pacific?

Jimbo

They’ll still blame global warming ‘climate change’. Now if this was unusually mild weather they would still blame global warming ‘climate change’. No matter what happens it’s global warming or climate change. Heck, even I blame climate change – the naturally occurring kind.

Jimbo

strike fail! I’ll try again.
They’ll still blame global warming ‘climate change’. Now if this was unusually mild weather they would still blame global warming ‘climate change’. No matter what happens it’s global warming or climate change. Heck, even I blame climate change – the naturally occuring kind.

timetochooseagain

1918 was between one of the strongest La Nina years (1917) and the strongest El Nino years (1919) in the observational record. Given that, it seems likely to me that we are seeing a precursor to transition from ENSO neutral conditions to a significant El Nino. At the moment it looks like forecast models are in agreement with this:
http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/CFSv2/imagesInd3/nino34Mon.gif
I would note that I independently Identified a connection between the warm anomaly in the North Pacific and the US weather pattern then extant back in December; at the time, Florida was actually relatively warm, in spite of everywhere else being cold, so I identified other years where that was true for the whole month of December:
http://devoidofnulls.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/decemberscolduswarmflorida48on.png
Later that warm anomaly moved closer to the West Coast of the US/Canada, which pushed the cold anomalies East, which eventually caused even Florida to cool down. It looks like this process has continued and will continue for a while yet.
Of course, if we get an El Nino, we could probably get cold weather persisting in the Southeast, including *next* winter as well.

Richard of NZ says: “Umm, readers might remember that 1918 saw a global influenza pandemic….
It is now know that most of those fatalities were actually the result of aspirin toxicity. Medicos were dispensing the stuff by the half-handful hourly. Once toxic symptoms showed, back off a bit. Look it up.

jeanparisot

If this keeps up the Government could be closed until March and the economy might recover.

herkimer

I think the ENSO neutral phase may have someting to do why we are having the cold weather so far south regularly this winter in addition to the polar vortex issue. Weak westerlies allow cold Arctic air to penetrate far south .. A blocking high along US west coast does not allow westerlies to sweep the cold air away either. On the Canadian side, 13 out the last 20 Neutral winters were very cold .on the National level [coast to coast]. In United States , 15 Januaries in 20 Neutral winters were extra cold. This moderated after 1998 somewhat , but now the pattern is reappearing

Eric

Don’t forget that the Farmer’s Almanac predicted this back in August for the Super Bowl….
http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/9599339/farmers-almanac-predicts-super-bowl-storm

James at 48

Can a Rex Block end an interglacial?

@Richard of NZ:
While that was part of the issue (soldiers) there were other circumstances as well… Not the least of which was the H1N1 type of the virus. It causes the immune system to go to overdrive and attack the person. That’s why the most healthy and the young were most likely to die from it. Lots of “20 somethings” with great immune systems…
Oddly, the flu this year is also H1N1 as (finally) enough folks with H1N1 antibodies have died off that that particular ‘remix’ can have a go again… One can only hope that vaccination and the availability of cytocine suppressing drugs can thwart it this time.
Oh, and lots of cold did put all those folks inside in close proximity. The pandemic WAS global, not just among waring nations… So could a better example be found? Maybe. But this one isn’t all that bad…

PaulH

Powerful stuff. readers may recall that 1918 saw the great flu pandemic in the USA.
If I recall my history, in 1918 there was still some question about the role viruses played in illnesses. The concept of viral infection was a relatively new idea at the time, let alone how to deal with same. Someone with a better understanding of early 20th century medicine and theory may be able to correct me or offer a better overview.

Theodore White

This is just a taste of what living under the new regime of global cooling that I’ve forecasted will be here officially by mid-December 2017 will be like.
We are now in the transition period between solar-forced global warming (good for the Earth) and solar-forced global cooling, which is bad for the Earth.
This anomalous winter of 2014 shows how the circumpolar vortex forces itself south, deeper into the northern hemisphere, and it will even affect the southern hemisphere and those trade winds in the future.
Prepare yourselves accordingly, as my calculations have global cooling lasting for approximately 36 years (2017-2053) with the deepest cold, wet conditions along with bouts of drought, that also features brutal sub-zero temperatures during winter seasons to peak in the mid-2030s.
All those who claimed that ‘global warming’ was ‘bad’ for the Earth will pray and wish for global warming to return as they burn all the carbon they can get their hands to stay warm and keep from freezing to death.
Global cooling IS on the way people, that’s a fact.
– Theodore White, astrometeorologist.Sci

yust a little lefse

Weatherspark has a continuous temperature graph. I just did a quick peek and it looks like my town in southern Wisconsin has only been above freezing for about 60 hours since 12:01 am on Dec 5th.

This is going to be serious for a lot of people. Over the past few decades I think we have allowed a lot of our infrastructure to slip. We are going to see some serious problems with people being able to stay warm in places like IN, OH, WV and PA. Ohio already declared an “energy emergency” yesterday and suspended all rules concerning driver hours for energy delivery vehicles. Propane and heating oil is in short supply and the roads are bad. Distribution is suffering. Once the lakes freeze over, things could get even colder. The lakes are a significant moderating force in the weather in the surrounding areas. Once they freeze over, not so much.

rabbit

The Great Lakes have an excellent chance to freeze over completely, from Duluth to Kingston. Bout half way there now.
Canadian Ice Service

So, if it does stay cold will global warming be blamed or will credit be taken for carbon reductions over the past 5-6 years?

Kenny

Are there any predictions farther out? Just curious…..Europe had a pretty wild March last year. Any chance we may see something along those lines here?

We have been for quite a while highlighting the return of extreme cold the rest of the month but are questioning the GFS 11-15 day a bit. The GFS probably is overdone in that time frame. JB believes at least the cold core could shift west a bit. In 1918, February warmed in the southeast but it stayed cold northeast and in the west and March was warmer for the CONUS. When I composited all the Gulf of Alaska warm pool years it stayed cold in the same places (though less so) in February then the cold shifted west and south and Canada warmed. Interesting challenges ahead. Next few weeks should be wild at least. Even if it turned out like 1918, the cold north warm south should make it stormy in between in February like late last winter and spring. 1994 has also been a good analog although it may have been in Pinatubo and in part weak El Nino.

Richard of NZ says: “Umm, readers might remember that 1918 saw a global influenza pandemic. The spread was probably highlighted by the return home of millions of men from the Great War, many in cramped and somewhat insanitary conditions, already weakened by their experiences over the preceding 4 years.”
US soldiers returning from the Great War didn’t have a 4 year experience, and soldiers in the trenches were healthier than just about anyone else alive at that time. They were hardly physically “weakened” by the war. more likely just the opposite. Nor were any of the
“unsanitary conditions” of relevance to contraction of the flu virus, which in fact hit the youngest (and healthiest) the hardest. Nor were “cramped conditions” a requirement for getting the highly contagious flu virus. Nor did D Aleo make any claims of a connection between the weather and the pandemic. He simply noted another well known event during that time period.
Other than that …

O. Olson

Robert Bissett says:
January 21, 2014 at 12:44 pm …
Naw… I agree with
jorgekafkazar says:
January 21, 2014 at 12:36 pm
My grandparents lived through this on a homestead near Saco Montana. What they told agreed perfectly with what jorgekafkazar said. They said that the flu hit some people quite hard and knocked them right off their feet so to speak. They usually lived. For others it was more of a low grade chronic thing and they usually died. They never mentioned mortality having anything to do with being in the war or not, although those returning from service would have of course played a part in spreading the disease. By the way… Saco was’t a very good place to try to grow wheat at that time… climate change I guess 🙂 .

Robert Bissett says: January 21, 2014 at 12:44 pm “It is now know that most of those fatalities were actually the result of aspirin toxicity. Medicos were dispensing the stuff by the half-handful hourly. Once toxic symptoms showed, back off a bit. Look it up.”
D’you mean like here? Karen M. Starko (2009). “Salicylates and Pandemic Influenza Mortality, 1918–1919, Pharmacology, Pathology, and Historic Evidence”. Clinical Infectious Diseases 49 (9): 1405–1410. doi:10.1086/606060 – http://cid.oxfordjournals.org/content/49/9/1405.full.pdf+html

taxed

Over the next week there will be a lot of cold air from the arctic flooding down across the NH because of the weather patterns. Not only is there a strong arctic blast down across eastern USA. But there is also likely to be a huge shallow area of low pressure setting up over northern Russia. Which will draw a lot of air across the arctic circle and then send this chilled air flooding down across western Russia.

At suggestion of a moderate ‘lukewarmer’ climate scientist, I have assembled enough data to show that the Northern Hemisphere climate is directly responding (with somewhat surprising double bite) to the solar activity. If its projection comes to reality then January 2024 will be more like January 1814 rather than the one of 1914.

Richard of NZ says:
January 21, 2014 at 12:13 pm
Umm, readers might remember that 1918 saw a global influenza pandemic. The spread was probably highlighted by the return home of millions of men from the Great War, many in cramped and somewhat insanitary conditions, already weakened by their experiences over the preceding 4 years.
If an example must be used to show the effects of a particular weather situation, please use a valid one.
==============================================
Sever cold impacts hugely the body’s ability to fight and recover from infection.
Next?

isbobc

Thanks arthur4563, I was running something like that through my mind – I don’t need to bother now.

Mike Maguire

You want cold? I’ll show you cold!
The winter of 1976/77 that everybody 50 or older remembers well.
Go to the link below, which will allow you to access reanalysis data(weather maps) from NOAA going back to 1948. There are 4 panels.
Look how many times the “circumpolar vortex” is forced south in December/January.
You will see it dropping south into Canada numerousl times in December 1976, then at the end of December, into the United States. Again in mid January 1977 it drops into the United States and a 3rd time at the end of January 1977 is in the US.
Put in a starting date of (year)1976 (month)11 (day)26 (cycle) 00 or a date earlier
Put in an ending date of 1977 02 02 or any date later than that
Advance the maps a day at a time using the +. or go back with the –
http://www.hpc.ncep.noaa.gov/ncepreanal/

Another Mark.

Eric says:
January 21, 2014 at 12:52 pm
Don’t forget that the Farmer’s Almanac predicted this back in August for the Super Bowl….
The comments at the beginning of the thread in that link are priceless, best laugh of the day.

Resourceguy

How would you know if the federal government is working or not, what with EPA employees on sabbatical with other agencies (not) and IRS union workers not really working because they didn’t get their usual massive requested budget increase, and all others in DC on 4-day work weeks with work from home status on the other day?

timetochooseagain says:
January 21, 2014 at 12:44 pm
I would note that I independently Identified a connection between the warm anomaly in the North Pacific and the US weather pattern then extant back in December;…..
—————————————————————————————
Several weeks ago, I made an unusually poor comment regarding solar changes and changes in the Pacific NW where I live. Mainly, I did not finish my thought with the reasons which initiated it, and I meant to ask a question instead of making a statement in regards to the thought.
What started all of this was the warming right at the end of November. There was a warm flow through the Bering Strait into the Arctic, which slowed down the rapidly growing sea ice. At the same time, nighttime temperatures in No California, where I live, rose 20F. The daytime warmed gradually and lately it has been spring during the day, although the nights are chilling down again. So both the Arctic warming and the warm regional temp develop shortly after the increased solar activity in November. That is why I made a comment several weeks which Alan Robertson responded to firmly, as in what the heck are you talking about.
Here is the question I meant to ask ” Is it possible for a rapid increase in solar change to translate to a rapid change in any of Earth,s regions? Could the Pacific Ocean react to the increased solar activity within a short time frame, and is that why I felt such change as I live about 70 miles inland from the Pacific. The atmospherics around here are strongly influenced by the Pacific, and I have always sensed nature, deeply.

Jenn Oates

And here in Northern CA we’re wearing shorts with so little precip that Folsom Lake looks like the river it was before the dam.

pat

22 Jan: West Australian: Passengers rescued from Russian ship stuck in Antarctic ice arrive in Hobart on Aurora Australis
The Russian ship became stuck in thick sea ice at Commonwealth Bay on Christmas Eve…
The passengers will spend the next few hours clearing quarantine.
The expedition leader of the Russian ship, Professor Chris Turney, and the Aurora’s captain will address the media later this morning.
Scientists on board the Russian ship had planned research projects as they retraced the voyage of Sir Douglas Mawson to the frozen continent a century ago…
The Russian ship’s rescue has delayed Australia’s research program and the Antarctic Division says it will attempt to recoup costs.
Professor Turney has been forced to defend himself from criticism that he was too inexperienced to take the ship into Antarctica’s Commonwealth Bay.
http://au.news.yahoo.com/technology/a/20929234/52-tourists-and-researchers-rescued-from-antarctic-ice-return-to-hobart-this-morning-on-the-aurora-australis/

Resourceguy

I have a special request for extra cold at the official (MA) residence of Edward Markey. What is the absolute freezing point anyway?

ace

A couple of comments regarding the spread of the so-called Spanish Flu in 1918.
First, the epidemic began to peak in Eastern North America in November and December 1918, not the end of the previous winter at the start of 1918.
Second, this influenza was known as the Spanish flu because it was first identified as a pandemic when it spread through troops in Europe, and subsequently crossed the Atlantic with returning Canadian and American troops.
Regarding the vaccine issue: A wonderful resource about the history and development of vaccines is here:
http://www.historyofvaccines.org/

snow

With this pattern is there any chance of moister for the west coast? No rainy season at all for the west coast so far. They could sure use the rain and mountain snow.

Cool Lank

pat (January 21, 2014 at 1:44 pm) said “Passengers rescued from Russian ship stuck in Antarctic ice arrive in Hobart on Aurora Australis” but didn’t mention that Professor Chris Turney returns to an award for his achievements… http://blogs.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/timblair/index.php/dailytelegraph/comments/and_the_award_for_best_global_warming_prediction_goes_to/

pat

22 Jan: SMH: Nicky Phillips/Colin Cosier: Antarctic field trip a factor in ship becoming trapped in sea ice on Christmas Eve
A four-hour delay on a passenger field trip in Antarctica may have contributed to the Akademik Shokalskiy becoming trapped in sea ice on Christmas Eve….
“The captain and his staff up on the [ship’s] bridge did not look happy,” said one passenger, who asked to remain anonymous.
By the time the ship departed the ice edge after 6pm, shifting sea ice had already blocked the escape route. The Akademik Shokalskiy was stuck by 3am…
In addition to the field-trip delay, the director of the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre, Tony Press, said the satellite images his organisation provided to the AAE before it entered the sea ice-prone area ”showed where the sea ice was located and the weather forecast predicted increasing winds, which would tell you that the sea ice could move”.
From midday on December 23 passengers were transported from the ship on snow vehicles over five nautical miles of ice to the Hodgeman Islands.
“Everyone on board was keen to make the journey across the fast ice to the Hodgeman Islands,” said one passenger.
A weather forecast predicted 25-35 knot winds reaching 40 knots late in the day.
“Despite the wind and extreme cold, the scenery on the journey was spectacular – it seemed unreal, as though we were on a movie set,” said the same passenger.
About 2.30pm the weather deteriorated. At the same time Captain Kiselev saw slabs of sea ice moving into the open water channel from which the ship had entered the area. He called for everyone to return.
A passenger standing near Professor Turney overheard the voyage leader, Greg Mortimer, telling him over the radio to bring passengers back to the ship so it can leave.
But minutes later, Turney drove six more passengers into the field.
The overloaded vehicle had no space to collect returning passengers.
Turney, Dr Fogwill and Mr Mortimer all declined to answer questions about the events of December 23.
http://www.smh.com.au/national/antarctic-field-trip-a-factor-in-ship-becoming-trapped-in-sea-ice-on-christmas-eve-20140121-316xp.html

BioBob

Resourceguy January 21, 2014 at 1:45 pm
===================
0 Kelvin or so

Robert W Turner

Richard of NZ says:
January 21, 2014 at 12:13 pm
Umm, readers might remember that 1918 saw a global influenza pandemic. The spread was probably highlighted by the return home of millions of men from the Great War, many in cramped and somewhat insanitary conditions, already weakened by their experiences over the preceding 4 years.
If an example must be used to show the effects of a particular weather situation, please use a valid one.
The first case in the U.S. was reported January 1918 in Kansas while the troops were leaving for France, not coming back. The first U.S troops didn’t even go to battle until the spring of 1918. Give it a second and let that soak in.