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Warm Winter Weather


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Has anyone been noticing the very warm weather we are having? Sounds like the highs will be close or even in the 70s again today and tomorrow. This weather reminds me of winters when I lived in Boca Raton but now we have them here in Charlotte. Even the New Year's day "Polar Dip" (where people jump into Lake Norman) and BBQ wasn't really that polar as the water is in the 50s.

Looks like so far that we might not see any real snow that sticks to the ground this winter because if we are going to have it, then this is the time of the year that it should be occurring.

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Just noticed the high in NYC this weekend will be nearing 70 degrees :blink:

However, on the longer range models, winter is not far away. According to the latest NOAA models we should see a significant cool down for latter January. They are showing a shift in the Jet stream ushering in a wetter period with below normal readings.

This is when we would likely get snow. However, I am a bit stunned at how warm it has been thus far. Not only for us, but also for much colder cities like Chicago and Minneapolis. Their winter is shaping up to be one of the more mild ones in history.

On the flip side the west has been dramatically colder with Denver seeing record Snows. Two Blizzards in two weeks.

I am still a believer that we will see some winter, I am just shocked at how long it is taking to get here.


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As a bit of a weather geek, I've been following the story of just how incredibly mild it has been since mid-December. Most experts agree that it's a combination of the El Nino we're currently experiencing (El Nino winters are typically milder in most of the US), combined with the effects of global warming. Across the US, the jet stream typically ripples up and down like a snake during the winter, going up into Canada and then diving back down into the lower 48, bringing cold air with it. This causes the typical up-and-down fluctuations we usually see in the winter around here -- cold for a few days, mild for a day or two, then cold for a few days, etc. For most of the last month, however, the jet stream has been blowing hard in a straight west to east direction across the US-Canadian border, basically acting as a wall to keep cold air shots from coming our way. If it doesn't bend up into Canada and then dive south, there's nothing to steer any cold air this direction. Not only are we not getting any cold air directed to the Carolinas, our air flow has been zipping straight up from the southeastern Pacific Ocean, across Mexico, into the Gulf and into the southeastern US. Obviously no cold air from THAT source!

While there are some indications that a pattern change will bring colder weather back to the eastern half of the US within the next couple of weeks, it's basically just going to be ushering in "normal" winter weather -- nothing bitterly cold. For instance, Charlotte's normal high this time of year is right around 50. Tomorrow's forecast high is 70. So while a 20-degree drop in high temperatures sounds like a cold blast, that would really only be bringing the high temp down to normal! As far as true cold air, no long-range forecast I've seen shows any of it coming into the Southeast US at all....and even the cool shots of air out of Canada that they're talking about later in the month appear more to be temporary glancing blows and not something more long-lasting. Of course, once you get more than about a week into the future, weather forecasts become notoriously tricky. So at this point, who really knows what will happen?

Okay, while I'm shamelessly exposing my weather geekiness, let me throw out some interesting facts about this recent warm spell:

*New York City, Philadelphia, Detroit, Chicago and Washington, DC have had 24 unbroken days in a row of above-normal temperatures.

*The temperature in New York's Central Park hasn't fallen to freezing or below since December 9.

*New York City has recorded not one flake of snow so far this season -- the first time this has happened since they started keeping weather records there in the mid-1800's.

*While people point to Denver's recent snowfalls, Denver's average temperature over the last month hasn't been unusually cold. On the contrary, they've been within 1-degree of just plain normal.

Winter weather can be wild and wacky, even in a normal year. Throw in an El Nino and global warming and it just gets wackier. Who knows? We could end up with a foot of snow in February or March. Stay tuned! :)

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Well, this may just be the Florida native in me, but I'm really enjoying this weather as of late. I just bought my new car and I'm lovin bein able to drive around with the windows and sunroof open right now (aside from the rain today.)

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Another interesting weather fact that exemplifies just how unusually warm we are at the moment. This morning's low temperature in Charlotte was 60. That's 9 degrees warmer than the normal HIGH! It also set a record for the highest minimum temp for the date. In other words, the low for this date has never been that warm since records started in the 1880's!

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