Weather Around The World (WAR), 1/27/15: Blizzard And Record Warmth; Tropical Cyclone And Super Sunday

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Home / Weather Around The World (WAR), 1/27/15: Blizzard And Record Warmth; Tropical Cyclone And Super Sunday
This map says it all: Winter storm warning (pink); blizzard warning (bright orange; storm warning (purple; hurricane-force wind warning (not-so-bright orange). Graphic courtesy of NOAA.

This map says it all: Winter storm warning (pink); blizzard warning (bright orange); storm warning (purple); hurricane-force wind warning (not-so-bright orange). Graphic courtesy of NOAA.

Naturally the big news this Tuesday is the massive snowstorm in the northeast United States — Winter Storm Garbanzo Bean.

But the west is balmy and tranquil. In addition, there’s a tropical cyclone in the Indian Ocean, a continuing drought in California, and a favorable forecast for the Super Bowl.

Let’s go Around the World.

Juno (AKA Garbanzo Bean) Will Long Be Remembered For Wind, Snow, And Cold

Winter Storm Garbanzo Bean is nearly a perfect storm.

All the periodicities of the atmosphere have contrived to create a massive whirlpool a couple of hundred miles off the Atlantic coast. Here are some of the features of Garbanzo Bean:

  • As the pressure drops, the wind will increase to near hurricane force.
  • The after-effect of the previous storm was a mass of very cold air which came south as the storm raced into Canada. High pressure building to the north is keeping the cold air in place, so that all areas will receive snow.
  • As the storm occludes (the cold front catches up with the warm front, forcing the warm air to rise), it will become vertically structured with low pressure at all levels. When a storm reaches this stage, it moves slowly, so the snow will fall for a long time.
  • An inch of rain is about equivalent to a foot of snow, with variations that depend on temperature. The Atlantic Ocean is an unlimited pool of moisture, and three inches would not be considered an excessive amount of rain. Yet this much rain would produce three feet of snow.
  • With temperatures so cold, the snow is lighter than normal and may pile up at a rate of 15  inches to an inch of melted water.
  • With winds commonly gusting over 40 miles per hour, snow will be driven into drifts that can be many feet high. Plowed roadways may fill up quickly with blowing snow.
  • Salt loses effectiveness in melting snow as the temperature drops. Especially as Garbanzo Bean passes and winds shift to the north, no longer traveling over warm (relatively) water, the temperature will drop and the water-salt mixture on roads could re-freeze.

Coastal Flooding Will Not Be As Severe As It Could Have Been

Tides along the Massachusetts coast will be about average today and tomorrow. If the storm had occurred last week, tides would have been running one to two feet higher. Some coastal areas will flood, but probably not extensively.

The outer beaches of Cape Cod will see significant changes. In particular, Chatham and Nauset inlets may move as sand covers the existing openings and gouges out new ones.

It Isn’t Cold And Stormy Everywhere

When the jet stream contorts to produce a storm in one place, it probably compensates somewhere else:

  • Many cities in Washington, including Olympia and Seattle, have reported high temperature records the last three days.
  • Buffalo, Wyoming broke its high temperature record yesterday — a record which stood for 111 years — with a balmy 67.
  • A reading of 60 degrees at South Lake Tahoe, California Monday broke the old record set 101 years earlier.
  • Redmond, Oregon had a new high temperature record Monday.
  • Wichita, Kansas reached 73 on Monday, a new record for the date.
  • In all, high temperature records were broken in at least ten states.
Tropical Cyclone 08S is spinning harmlessly in the Indian Ocean. Another storm could form farther west and eventually threaten Madagascar. Satellite photo courtesy of US Navy.

Tropical Cyclone 08S is spinning harmlessly in the Indian Ocean. Another storm could form farther west and eventually threaten Madagascar. Satellite photo courtesy of US Navy.

New Tropical Cyclone In The Indian Ocean

A tropical cyclone has formed in the Indian Ocean. So far it only has the unimaginative name 08S. Most likely it will acquire a more distinctive name today, reach strong tropical storm strength on Wednesday, and then peter out in the cold water of the south Indian Ocean.

It may briefly affect the ongoing search for the missing Malaysian airliner MH370 with some moderate waves off the coast of Australia.

Another area of disturbed weather west of 08S could develop into a tropical cyclone during the week and eventually head for Madagascar.

The Polar Vortex Settles In Over Eastern Canada

The overall weather pattern resembles that of winter 2013-14 except that the polar vortex is farther east, allowing the warm dry weather to settle over the intermountain west, while the east coast suffers extreme cold and storminess. The midwest gets a break, feeling some of the western warmth between periods of cold, but no extreme weather.

Extreme drought conditions continue in much of California. Graphic courtesy of NOAA.

Extreme drought conditions continue in much of California. Graphic courtesy of NOAA.

Drought Continues In California

Despite the heavy rains of November, southern and central California are still in extreme drought. A return to the dry pattern that has persisted through the past several years promises no relief.

Modest El Niño conditions still prevail in the tropical Pacific, but nascent El Niño Eggplant is having trouble growing a root system and producing any fruit. The water temperature anomaly (much warmer than normal) in the Gulf of Alaska still is the dominant force in the weather of the west coast of the United States.

Super Weather For Super Sunday

There could be some showers in Glendale, Arizona Thursday through Saturday, but the weather should clear by Sunday and temperatures at game time will be in the 60s, perfect for football.

Decoded Science went 2-0 with predictions for the conference championships. Intrepid we remain, and boldly and confidently forecast a Repeat for the Seahawks, as Brady is unable to handle the properly inflated balls or Richard Sherman and the Legion of Boom. Seattle 19, New England 10.

Latest Reports On Garbanzo Bean

New York seems to have ‘escaped’ with only a foot of snow, as Garbanzo’s snow shield moved past more rapidly than expected. Twenty-inch depths are reported on Long Island, and Boston is sure to surpass two feet. A historic storm for sure. But a legacy of global warming? Only a definite probability.

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