This weekend, we may only have ice for you

When ice falls it coats and freezes.
This winter of extremes continues and even, in some area, includes tornadoes.
The outlook for winter, courtesy of the Farmer’s Almanac.

After another unwanted temperature drop into the teens with wind chills down into single digits, we’re looking like sunshine and a high close to 60 degrees in Southwestern Virginia this Wednesday.

Enjoy it, because the forecast for this weekend show “ice to rain” and a return to frigid overnight lows that will extend through the end of January and into February.

The Farmer’s Almanac agrees. Its conclusion? “Generally, yes. Much of the country will deal with bone-chilling cold and loads of snow!”

The Almanac adds:

For Winter 2023, most of the U.S. will be colder than normal this winter, although Summer 2023 will be mostly warmer than usual.

What’s shaping the weather? Recent Solar Cycle 24 had the lowest level of solar activity in more than 100 years. We are now early in Cycle 25, which is expected to peak around July 2025 and also bring diminished activity, which historically has meant cooler temperatures, on average, across Earth. In addition to a neutral to perhaps weak El Niño, important weather influences will include a continued warm phase of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), a neutral to positive North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), and a negative Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). Oscillations are linked ocean–atmosphere patterns that can have long-term effects on the weather.

Typical winter weather? It’s been a colder-than-one so far and the long-range look doesn’t show any sign of improvement. To make matters work, the deniers of climate change are having problems explaining how we are also seeing deadly tornadoes in the middle of winter.

Winter for much of the Midwest and along the East Coast is best described as “Shivery & Snowy.” The eastern half of the U.S. should brace for potentially record-breaking cold to define the season. This frigid forecast extends to the Deep South and Texas, which could see the mercury diving as much as 8°F below normal! Specifically:

  • Winter temperatures will be colder than normal across much of the country between the East Coast and Rockies. 
  • Snowfall will be greater than normal from central New England through northern North Carolina, from the Lower Great Lakes and the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys into the southern Plains, from the northern Plains into eastern Washington, and across the higher terrain of the southern Rockies and California.
  • Freezing temperatures will also bring above-average snow totals to most areas in the eastern U.S. that typically experience snowfall.  

To make matters work, we are seeing tornadoes in the middle of winter. The tornadoes that ripped through Alabama left death and destruction while meteorologists had trouble explaining why two twisters in Iowa were an oddity that hasn’t occurred for more than 50 years.

University of Illinois atmospheric sciences professor Jeff Tripp reports:

We have, in fact, observed a shift in the geographical and seasonal occurrence over the past 40 years. We’re seeing relatively fewer tornadoes occurring in Texas and Oklahoma in spring and early summer and relatively more tornadoes occurring in autumn and winter in the Mississippi and Ohio river valleys, extending into Southeast U.S., especially Mississippi and Alabama. To be clear, tornadoes – even devastating tornadoes – still occur frequently in the Great Plains, but this is no longer the epicenter of U.S. tornado activity.

Sounds like climate change. Oh well, another myth of the denier culture shot to hell.

Bundle up. Mother Nature is not finished with us this winter.

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© 2021 Blue Ridge Muse