The recent cold snap brought snow to the deep south, but didn’t damage crops in Florida or Texas.
Dangerous Weather Event Fennel is still producing ice, while cold and/or rain for next weekend’s football showdowns, snow in Jerusalem, a tropical cyclone and El Niño Eggplant in the Pacific Ocean also spice up this week’s weather.
Let’s go Around The World.
Dangerous Weather Event Fennel Producing Slippery Conditions On Many Streets And Sidewalks
The worst of Fennel’s freezing rain is over, with just a few icy spots today in the Carolinas. But the danger continues due to daytime melting and nighttime re-freezing.
The earth radiates in the microwave part of the electromagnetic spectrum, and this radiation is blocked by clouds, so on cloudy nights the temperature falls slowly. But when the sky is clear, temperatures near the ground can fall rapidly after sundown.
Under clear skies, snow banks at the sides of roads and sidewalks will melt in the daytime sun. Even if the temperature doesn’t rise above freezing, the heat of solar radiation can turn piled up snow and ice to liquid water. The liquid will re-freeze as soon as the sun goes down.
The result is black ice, a thin covering of transparent slipperiness that is virtually invisible on roads and sidewalks. Shoes and tires have little traction on ice; falls and car crashes are common results.
El Niño Event Eggplant Still Simmering
Last week, Decoded Science named El Niño Event Eggplant. Since then, water temperatures across the Pacific have declined slightly, and NOAA has reduced its forecast probability for El Niño to 60%.
However, some effects of El Niño Eggplant are being felt, and whether or not this event fulfills the NOAA definition of El Niño, there will be ramifications in the weather across the US and elsewhere. Decoded Science will have a full explanation tomorrow.
Weather For NFL Conference Championship Games
Football games next Sunday at the northern corners of the country will determine the Super Bowl participants. Weather looks pretty good — considering it’s mid-winter — in both Greater Boston and Seattle.
- The Indianapolis Colts are used to playing indoors, but they had no trouble dispatching the Broncos in the open air of Denver this past Sunday. They catch a break when they play the New England Patriots in Foxborough, Massachusetts next Sunday, as the temperature should be relatively mild — in the thirties — with light to moderate winds. There could be a little rain, but no deluge. Decoded Science’s prediction: Colts run out of Luck — Pats by three.
- Seattle used to play in an enclosed stadium. The new CenturyLink facility’s field-of-play is open to the elements, though a roof covers most of the spectator seats. It rains a lot in Seattle in the winter, and next Sunday will not be an exceptional day. Temperatures will be in the 40s. Decoded Science’s prediction: Seattle in a cakewalk. The Seahawks’ defense would be too good, even for a healthy Aaron Rodgers, the limping Green Bay quarterback. And the slippery field could make Russell Wilson, Seattle’s quarterback, even more elusive than he normally is.
Citrus Growers In Texas And Florida Escape With A Scare
The current cold weather that covers the eastern two-thirds of the US didn’t push quite far enough to the south to damage the citrus crops in the southern parts of Texas and Florida. Though it snowed in Jacksonville, temperatures in the southern part of the state barely dipped into the thirties. The same was true of Texas, where the northern sections experienced snow, freezing rain, and temperatures well below freezing, while the southern areas were frost-free.
Cold weather is a double-edged sword for fruit. What doesn’t kill it makes it sweeter, as the fruit produces more sugar during cold weather. Texas and Florida citrus growers should be sending the best-tasting grapefruits and oranges to market in the next few weeks.
Unusual Snowstorm In Israel Closes Schools
Decoded Science reported last week that a southern branch of the jet stream was bringing heavy snow to Turkey, especially in the mountains, which forced moist air from the Black Sea to rise to the condensation level.
On Friday, a storm in that same southern branch of the jet stream brought snow to Jerusalem and much of the rest of Israel. The snow caused school closings and traffic disruptions.
The split in the jet stream has now healed, and the weather in the Middle East will be seasonably cool for the next week with minimal precipitation.
Tropical Disturbances On Both Sides Of The Equator
The typhoon season runs all year in the western North Pacific Ocean, where the water stays warm enough even in the winter to support tropical storm formation. An area of disturbed weather south of Guam is expected to become a tropical storm in the next few days, but probably will encounter hostile conditions before it can develop into a typhoon.
In the South Indian Ocean, a powerful tropical cyclone, Bansi, is spinning a few hundred miles from Madagascar, but is heading slowly out into the open ocean.
Bansi is forecast to become the equivalent of a category five hurricane before petering out over colder water, never directly affecting any land mass bigger than a tiny island. However, waves from this storm will probably disrupt the search for MH370, the Malaysian airliner missing since last March and believed to be at the bottom of the ocean a thousand miles west of Perth, Australia.
It’s Midwinter, Which Means Spring’s A-comin’
Averaged over the globe, signs of spring come earlier each year with global warming. The solstice is nearly a month in the rear view mirror and days are getting longer.
Do you notice any harbingers of spring where you live?
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