Jet stream causing abnormal weather pattern

December 18, 2010 — An unusual bout of weather is sweeping over parts of northern Canada and Europe all thanks to the jet stream.

The jet stream is helping to generate record breaking temperatures across parts of Canada’s north and bringing cold conditions to countries in Europe.

“A huge ridge in the jet is bringing warm weather to places like Nunavut,” explains Patrick Cool a meteorologist from The Weather Network. On Friday, Coral Harbour Airport recorded a record high of 3.3°C. The last time the mercury came close to this was in 1963 when the thermometer climbed to 1.7°C.

Places like Kugaaruk Airport, Resolute Airport, Rowley Island and Shepherd Bay Island also climbed to new record highs.

Newfoundland and Labrador are also feeling the effects of the ridge. Rocky Harbour was the hot spot across the country on Friday when the daytime high soared to 10.1°C. Badger (8.5°C) and Carwright (6°C) were among several communities that shattered temperature records.

The warm conditions are expected to persist for Newfoundland throughout the weekend. “A retrograding low is bringing in a backdoor warm front. This helps usher in warm temperatures as it retrogrades south…” explains Dayna Vettese, a meteorologist at The Weather Network.
“The trough in the jet is also responsible for the significant lake effect snow that has persisted for the last two weeks across southern Ontario,” notes Cool.

Meanwhile, the jet stream is having an opposite effect on parts of Europe. “The Greenland high is creating a deep trough in the jet. This is leaving an opening for Arctic air to flow across Europe resulting in colder weather and snow, ” says Cool.

Winter has tightened its grip on countries like the United Kingdom, Germany and Italy causing everything from flight cancellations to vehicle accidents due to icy roads.

“This pattern in the jet stream is expected to last over the next few days and then it will start to break down,” explains Vettese.

California sees 4th day of rain, evacuations urged

Southern California authorities strongly urged residents of endangered foothill homes to obey evacuation orders Thursday as the week’s fourth Pacific storm blew into the region and flash flood watches were expanded to numerous urban areas including downtown Los Angeles.

The siege of storms has led to several deaths statewide and flooding in urban areas and on freeways.

Officials appeared concerned the lack of massive debris flows from wildfire burn areas was misleading for residents.

“It’s time to roll, it’s time to evacuate,” said Los AngelesCounty Public Works Director Gail Farber.

In the upper reaches of suburban La Canada Flintridge, where mountainsides rise sharply from the backyards of homes, authorities put pink ribbons on the mailboxes of residents who stayed behind so they would know where to search in the event of a catastrophe.

One person who didn’t leave was Delos Tucker, a retired geologist who has lived in the community since the homes were built in 1962.

“I’m just gambling it’s not going to happen,” he said. “Let’s hope I’m right.”

The county’s extensive flood-control system was working, but many of the basins designed to catch debris-laden runoff from fire-scarred mountains were full and evacuations remained necessary, Farber said.

“The Los Angeles County Fire Department is anticipating that a significant mud flow and debris flow is likely today,” said Chief DeputyJohn Tripp, announcing that fire departments in a five-county region had been put on alert that urban search and rescue teams might be needed.

The arrival of the new storm system shut down Interstate 5 in the snowy Tehachapi Mountains north of Los Angeles for the second day in a row, interrupting travel on one of state’s major arteries.

The storm was expected to drop 2 inches to 4 inches of rain in the already drenched foothills and mountains, with potentially strong downpours and intense rain rates, said National Weather Service meteorologist Eric Boldt.

Rain was expected to taper off by night, followed by showers on Friday and a dry weekend.

The major area of concern has been foothill communities along the perimeter of the San Gabriel Mountains, where a summer wildfire denuded 250 square miles of steep slopes northeast of Los Angeles.

The number of homes under evacuation orders has grown to more than 1,200 since the beginning of the week. Estimates of compliance have ranged up to 75 percent in some jurisdictions but down to 40 percent elsewhere.

As an overnight lull gave way to more rain at midmorning, public works crews shoveled mud from yards, driveways and gutters along Ocean View Boulevard in La Canada Flintridge. The neighborhood was otherwise all but deserted, with newspaper and mail deliveries cut off.

Tucker acknowledged that with catch basins filled with mud, water and debris, things could become difficult. But he said he had seen regrowth in the fire-scarred hills and believed it would hold soil in place.

At one point he left to bring his wife back from a visit to their daughter and defied a deputy who threatened to arrest him if he returned to his house. The deputy didn’t follow through on the threat, and Tucker was not upset by the incident.

“They have to play it super safe,” he said. “Obviously there is danger of a major mudflow coming down from the canyon.”

Despite the statewide extent of the storms, the number of deaths remained low. Two people were killed by falling trees, and police in Newman were searching for the body of a man who tried to drive across a flooded road.

In San Jose, a man died after falling 30 feet from the side of a freeway after he got out of a car that spun out in the rain and then jumped out of the path of an out-of-control car.

In San Diego, the Border Patrol said three people were rescued and treated for hypothermia after being swept away while trying to cross the storm-swollen Tijuana River from Mexico.

California State University, Long Beach, remained closed after some buildings flooded Wednesday.

Air travel through Phoenix was expected to be disrupted by severe weather as the storms moved eastward through Arizona.

Arctic freeze and snow wreak havoc across the planet

Arctic air and record snow falls gripped the northern hemisphere yesterday, inflicting hardship and havoc from China, across Russia to Western Europe and over the US plains.

There were few precedents for the global sweep of extreme cold and ice that killed dozens in India, paralysed life in Beijing and threatened the Florida orange crop. Chicagoans sheltered from a potentially killer freeze, Paris endured sunny Siberian cold, Italy dug itself out of snowdrifts and Poland counted at least 13 deaths in record low temperatures of about minus 25C (-13F).

The heaviest snow yesterday hit northeastern Asia, which is suffering its worst winter weather for 60 years. More than 25 centimetres (10in) of snow covered Seoul, the South Korean capital — the heaviest fall since records began in 1937.

In China, Beijing and the nearby port city of Tianjin had the deepest snow since 1951, with falls of up to 8in and temperatures of minus 10C. In the far north of China, the temperature fell to minus 32C. More than two million Beijing and Tianjin pupils were sent home and 1,200 flights were delayed or cancelled at Beijing’s international airport.

The same far-eastern weather system took its toll of Sakhalin, the Russian island off Siberia, which was hit by blizzards and avalanches. Farther west, in northern and eastern India, more than 60 people, mainly homeless, died of exposure. Thousands of schools were closed. In Uttar Pradesh, the state neighbouring Nepal, the authorities spent £1.3 million on blankets and firewood for needy households.

Western Russia suffered a deep freeze as snow swept across the Baltic and north-central Europe, leaving the worst devastation in Poland, where 13 people died, bringing the toll from the cold this winter to 122.

Up to ten skiers died or were missing in avalanches. The worst incident was in the Diemtig Valley in Switzerland on Sunday, when avalanches hit a group of skiers and then the rescuers who went to their aid. Eight people were pulled from the snow alive, but four died, including an emergency doctor, and three more were missing.

In Italy, emergency services struggled with rare cold and ice. Motorways in the northeast were closed and military helicopters were sent to Sicily with medical aid.

In the United States, heavy snow fell again on the northeast.

In Burlington, Vermont, a record 33in of snow fell in a weekend storm. The previous record in a three-day period was set in 1969. Residents of the Northern Plains were warned to expect lethally cold temperatures of about minus 30C.

The icy conditions of Western Europe, which broke records in half a dozen countries in December, are expected to last for at least another week.

Guo Hu, the head of the Beijing Meteorological Bureau, linked this week’s conditions to unusual atmospheric patterns caused by global warming.

Meteorologists were also trying to find a pattern in the heavy rains that have hit equatorial regions and the southern hemisphere in the past week.

At least 20 people have been killed in flash floods in Kenya after torrential rains made thousands homeless.

In Australia, the authorities declared a natural disaster along the Castlereagh River as it peaked after torrential rain, forcing 1,200 residents to abandon their homes for high ground.

In Brazil, the death toll from flooding and mudslides over the past four days rose above 80.

Closer to home, forecasters have warned Britons to brace themselves for a freezing cold, bleak new year — this winter is set to be the coldest for more than 30 years.

One in five takes a Snow Day. Now another massive blizzard is set to strand the ones who DID make it in

Commuters were facing a battle to get home today after braving the biggest snowfall in almost two decades on their way to work.

The worst snow in Britain for 18 years saw the country’s transport network grind to a halt and prompted one in five workers to stay at home, according to a snap poll.

Those who did make it in were facing yet more chaos on the way home as forecasters predicted a second heavy weather front would hit this afternoon.

With roads blocked, much of the city’s bus service still out of action and all but one underground line suspended, it is feared some may end up stranded.

Helen Chivers, from the Met Office, said more snow would arrive from France this lunchtime, hitting Kent first and then the capital.

‘There are a lot of showers still coming in from the North Sea. It’s winter for a change,’ she said, adding: ‘We don’t get this very often.’

The last time Britain saw such widespread snowfall was in February 1991. The Met Office says up to 30cm could fall in some areas, with others seeing five to 10cm.

It has issued severe weather warnings for much of Scotland and north east England, and is still warning of a high risk of extreme weather throughout the rest of the country.

Temperatures are set to plunge below freezing tonight, meaning conditions could become even more treacherous as snow turns to ice.

The weather is not due to improve until the end of the week, although the snow will gradually lessen and turn to sleet.

Two people are already known to have died in the freezing conditions. The brothers, who have not yet been named, were caught on Mount Snowdon last night.

Their bodies were found this morning after they apparently fell around 300m. It is believed they may not have had the right equipment with them.

Elsewhere, the weather caused more havoc and injuries:

  • A 36-year-old man had his arm amputated after his car crashed into a field in County Durham at 6am.
  • A 17-year-old boy was treated for hypothermia after falling into a lake in Worcestershire and spending 15 minutes in the water.
  • Thousands of residents near Dartford, Kent, were without power as bad weather damaged a power cable.
  • Hundreds of ‘non-urgent’ operations were cancelled after many NHS staff failed to make it into work.

London Ambulance Service warned it would only answer ‘life-threatening’ 999 calls because of blocked roads and staff shortages.

Roads were still blocked, airports closed, train services stopped and almost 3,000 schools closed this afternoon due to the massive snowfall overnight.

Drivers, who were told to only travel if absolutely necessary, faced huge tailbacks as cars struggled in the drifts. On the M25 this morning, one queue stretched 54 miles.

In London, there was chaos as the entire bus service was cancelled for the first time in living memory and only one underground line was running a good service.

A very reduced service finally started in the early afternoon, but only three routes were operating fully and another nine on a smaller schedule.

Not even the Blitz stopped the buses and there was anger that gritters had not been able to clear the roads before the morning rush hour.

‘London looks beautiful but I’m really angry the transport system has collapsed,’ said Michael Topper, 24, as he walked to work.

‘They’ve known about the snow since yesterday. The later I get into work the more money we will lose and it’s a really worrying time.’

Colleague Emily Marshall added: ‘I bet the economy loses millions because everyone’s late into work.’

Wicked: Coldest Temps In Over A Decade

The typical exercise of bundling up for winter won’t cut it on Thursday.

It’s time to break out the long underwear and the electric gloves, for what is expected to go down as the coldest day in more than a decade.

The National Weather Service has issued a wind chill warning until noon Friday. The forecast high for Thursday is expected to linger in the negative range at -2, dropping to -15 overnight. Strong northwest winds are producing wind chill factors of -25 to -40.

CBS 2’s Ed Curran says as of 5 a.m., it was -7 at O’Hare International Airport and -5 at Midway Airport. In Waukegan it was -9, in Joliet it was -11, and in Aurora, the mercury was reading -20.

But with winds of 14 mph at O’Hare wind chills were far more brutal, at a reading of -28 at O’Hare, -26 in Joliet, -33 in DeKalb, and -42 in Aurora.

As CBS 2’s Joanie Lum reports, the temperatures could result in frostbite or hypothermia and may even lead to death if precautions are not taken.

The last time the low was colder than -10 was Jan. 5, 1999, when it was a bone-chilling -16. Highs Thursday afternoon may also remain just below zero. If the high fails to reach zero, it would be the first time since Feb. 3, 1996, when the high was -5.

On Wednesday night, CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot tagged along with city Department of Family Support Services Commissioner Mary Ellen Caron, who took to the streets Wednesday night. She wanted to persuade people to come in for the night – at least until Friday.

Some people do not like the idea of going to a shelter, but Caron was able to convince some of them that the weather was dangerous.

“We are very concerned about the cold right now, and just getting people into warm places for tonight,” Caron said, “and so that’s is our main purpose for being down here, and for hopefully moving people into shelters.”

“Everybody homeless should go and try to get themselves together, and it’s cold out here tonight, and I hope everybody gets a shelter tonight,” said Fonta Wright, who is homeless. “I hope everybody goes inside tonight, because it’s going to be too cold to be hanging out.”

Wright himself went to a shelter Wednesday night, and said he would probably do the same on Thursday night.

Caron said the shelters will not close in the morning as they usually do.

Additionally, several schools are closed throughout the Chicago area, although Chicago Public Schools remain open.

Meanwhile, city health officials are also issuing reminders of the warning signs of frostbite and hypothermia.

When exposed to the extreme cold, your body begins to lose heat faster than it can be produced. That’s when hypothermia can set in.

“People should notice the change in their mental status – confused, disoriented, almost like they’re drunk – but they haven’t had anything to drink,” said Cmsr. Dr. Terry Mason, Chicago Department of Public Health.

Some other warning signs of hypothermia are drowsiness, confusion and memory loss.

“The main thing we want to make sure is that seniors, children – the extremes of ages are the ones that are very, very vulnerable to this – so, we want to make sure that they are well-protected and supervised,” Mason said.

Warning signs for hypothermia in an infant are bright red, cold skin and a child with very low energy. Anyone with a temperature below 95 degrees should get medical help right away because a body temperature that low is an emergency situation.

While this will likely be the coldest day in more than a decade, it is not close to setting a record. On Jan. 18, 1994, the low for the day in Chicago was -21, and the high was only -11.

In December 1983, a brutal cold snap culminated in a frigid Christmas holiday where the temperature did not crack 0 from Dec. 22 until Dec. 26. The low that year was -24 on Christmas Eve and -17 on Christmas Day, and in a CBS 2 weather forecast at the time, meteorologist Harry Volkman was warning of overnight wind chills of -75 and air temperatures of -30 in the western suburbs.

But the coldest day ever in Chicago came on Jan. 20, 1985, when the mercury bottomed out at -27.

Madrid travel snarled by deepest snow in years

*Let it snow.*

MADRID (Reuters) – One of the heaviest snowfalls in decades closed Madrid airport and brought traffic in the Spanish capital to a standstill on Friday. Airports operator AENA said all flights were halted at Barajas airport from 11:50 a.m. (5:50 am. EST), adding to the misery of passengers already suffering weeks of delays and cancellations due to industrial action by Iberia pilots.

Iberia operates 600 flights a day in and out of the four-runway airport, which handles more than 50 million passengers a year.

Madrid’s regional government convened a meeting of its crisis committee and raised its warning level to orange — the second highest — as snow fell through the day and settled on the capital’s streets for the first time since February 2005.

A transport department spokesman said all Madrid’s major highways were jammed as a result of the bad weather.

The National Meteorology Institute said 10 cm (4 inches) was expected to fall in Madrid on Friday and further snow would fall over much of the country during the weekend.

The high north and central Spanish plateau sees deep snow every winter, but although Madrid sits at 650 meters above sea level, the city’s heat makes snow a rarity.

Television pictures showed a lone cross-country skier in San Sebastian taking advantage of the wintery conditions across the country, using the northern town’s main beach as a trail.

2009…in preparation for 2012?

Already, it has been an interesting week.

We have monsters killing children, causing a horrible crisis that people cannot even respond to without being killed or villified…

The media prepping us for a huge solar event that will knock out our communications and electric grids (that will culminate in a huge solar storm in 2012.)

A huge “noise” coming from space, that science cannot figure out.

Earthquakes increasing, Yellowstone heating up.

Very cold weather, very bad winter (Ragnarok?)

Already a few flooding events.

Wildfire in Colorado?

The world economy in a shambles.

2009 has already been a bit TOO interesting. Keep an eye out. Watch your dreams, they hold the key.

2012 IS COMING… keep in mind things are going to be very confusing until that point. Things will be hairy, but if you keep your wits, you will be fine 🙂