Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A Year Without Spring - Record Number Of Days At Zero Or Below In Chicago, The Coldest Winter Ever; Lake Michigan 90% Covered In Ice, Highest Ever Recorded; Washington D.C. Sets 141-Year Record Low Temperature; New Orleans Endures One Of The Coldest Mardi Gras Ever; Low Temperature From 1884 Among Shattered State Record In Iowa; And Atlantic City, New Jersey Registers Coldest March Temperature Since 1874!

UNITED STATES - Based on the following stories, 2014 is on track to be the coldest winter ever in the United States. Low temperatures have not been measured since the 1800s. In January, Chicago registered 37 hours of uninterrupted subzero temperatures and nearly a week of school closures. Is subzero temperatures the new normal? It certainly feels that way.
Record Number Of Days At Zero Or Below In Chicago, The Coldest Winter Ever
Ice forms along the shore of Lake Michigan as temperatures hovered around -10 degrees on January 28, 2014
in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The unrelenting, bitter winter of 2013-14 is by one measure the coldest season in the history of Chicago.

This winter, there have been 26 days in which the low temperature was zero or below.

There were 25 subzero days in 1884-85, but no days at zero. In 2013-14, the low has dipped below zero 23 times, including 16 below on Jan 6, which set a record for that day.

The total below zero days ranks No. 4 all-time. There were two seasons–1935-36 and 1962-63–that had 24 below zero days.

The chances of seeing another day below zero in the next seven days is unlikely.

There have been a few days in mid- to late-March that have been sub-zero, but historically they are rare.

The average temperature for this season is near 19 degrees, the third coldest since records have been kept, starting in the 1800s.

The record is 18.3 degrees set in 1904.

A total of 90 percent of Lake Michigan is covered in ice, equaling the highest level ever. - CBS Chicago.

Lake Michigan 90% Covered In Ice, Highest Ever Recorded
(Credit: NOAA)

After having a meltdown early last week, Lake Michigan is now just over 90 percent covered in ice, which equals the highest levels ever recorded.

The lake was also just over 90 percent frozen in 1976, 1979 and 1994, according to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration. 

The unyielding cold weather has caused the ice on Lake Michigan to continue to expand the last several days.

(Credit: NOAA)

The below high-resolution visible satellite image from March 2 shows widespread ice cover over central Lake Michigan.

A small area of open water remained on the eastern side of the lake, well away from the Michigan shore.

After reaching 80 percent coverage in mid-February, the lake melted during the brief warm up two weeks ago and was down to 40 percent as seen in this Feb. 26 image:

Satellite image of ice coverage on Lake Michigan on Feb. 26, 2014. (Credit: NOAA)

Last week, forecasters predicted the past several days of cold weather would increase coverage by around 15 percent.

Instead, it was more like 50 percent.

The record ice coverage for all five lakes was set in 1979 at nearly 95 percent.

In mid-February, the Great Lakes were nearly 90 percent covered in ice.

Last year, Lake Michigan was only 20 percent covered.

The average ice coverage is around 40 percent. 

CBS Chicago.

Washington D.C. Sets 141-Year Record Low Temperature

The seemingly endless winter dumped a half a foot snow on the ground in parts of the South, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, and many areas Tuesday morning saw something even more unusual in March: a blast of arctic air that sent temperatures plummeting into the single digits.

Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport broke a 141-year-old record low temperature, reaching 4 degrees. The National Weather Service said the low reached early Tuesday broke a 5-degree record set on the day in 1873. It was also a record low for the month of March. Dulles International Airport - also outside Washington - tied a 1993 record for the month at -1 degree.

Both airports broke record lows two days in a row.

Schools and government offices along the East Coast were closed Tuesday or delayed opening. Virginia State Police said slickened roads were factors in three traffic deaths. And authorities in Maryland's Prince George's County said a 60-year-old woman died after shoveling snow there.

Blame it on a return of the "polar vortex."

"That is the buzzword this winter, the polar vortex. That cold air just kind of migrates around the poles and the extreme northern latitudes all the time," said Jim Lee, meteorologist in charge at the National Weather Service in Sterling, Va. "The jet stream enables that colder air to move down the East Coast."

Monday's snowstorm followed a pattern that's become routine. Schools and government offices were closed. Federal workers stayed home - the fourth weather-related shutdown this season. Young adults gathered on the sloppy, slushy National Mall for a semi-organized, afternoon snowball fight.

Tourists, who flock to the nation's capital 365 days a year, were seeking out whatever activities they could find.

The National Air and Space Museum was the only Smithsonian institution open, and it drew a crowd. Among the visitors were Russ Watters, 60, of St. Louis, and his 14-year-old son, Seth, who was touring Washington with his 8th-grade class.

"We're trying to find stuff that's open, so this is open," Watters said.

The storm had a major effect south of the Mason-Dixon line. Governors declared states of emergency in Virginia and Tennessee, where there were hundreds of traffic accidents and tens of thousands of power outages. Nearly 3,000 flights were canceled Monday.

In Falls Church, Va., daredevils took advantage of another snow day by sledding down a steep hill behind an elementary school. Maya Luera, 11, said she wouldn't be so happy in June, when the school year will be extended because there's been so much snow.

"I'm more of a summer person, so I'd rather have more free time in the summer than the winter," she said. - MyFoxDC.

New Orleans Endures One Of The Coldest Mardi Gras Ever

It was a cold, wet day for Mardi Gras participants in New Orleans Tuesday.

The high temperature hit 40 degrees for the Big Easy, more than 20 degrees below the date's average temperature of 69 degrees. It rests one degree above the coldest high temperature on record for a Mardi Gras, which was 39 degrees on Feb. 14, 1899.

In past years when Fat Tuesday fell on March 4, the temperature was typically in the 60s or even high 70s. The previous coldest high for the celebrations on this date was 56 degrees in 1939.

After a cold front brought a few showers and colder weather to New Orleans on Monday, rain made a quick return just in time for Mardi Gras celebrations.

Rain moved throughout the area Tuesday, starting off as some morning showers followed by a steadier rain in the afternoon.

This rain will continue into the evening before tapering off overnight, making for a wet day.

Not only did people in New Orleans have to endure the rainy weather, but also the chilly weather brought by the passage of Monday's cold front.

The rain looks to clear the area on Wednesday for those heading home or staying to celebrate an extra day with temperatures rebounding to near 60. - AccuWeather.

Low Temperature From 1884 Among Shattered State Record In Iowa
The temperature may not have dropped as low as the minus-12 degrees predicted Monday morning, but it fell far enough to break records set in 1884. Des Moines recorded a low of minus-7 early Monday, just barely beating the previous record low of minus-6 degrees, set on March 3, 1884.

Some other Iowa cities didn’t cut it so close. Waterloo plummeted to minus-19 degrees, down from a 1978 low of minus-6. Ottumwa hit minus-9 degrees. Its previous record low was minus-4, set in 2002.

Temperatures quickly started ticking up after the record-setting morning, and Des Moines is expected to be on the upper end of a 45-degree swing in temperature by Friday, according to the National Weather Service.

Des Moines is expected to hit 28 degrees today, although wind chill values could drop as low as 0.

Central Iowa could also see snow late this afternoon and into the evening. Des Moines is expected to get less than one-half inch but other areas, including Mason City and Waterloo, could see up to 2 inches. - DesMoinesRegister.

Atlantic City, New Jersey Registers Coldest March Temperature Since 1874
The low temperature of 2 degrees above zero (-16.7c) at 1133 pm Monday evening March 3rd was a record not only for the date but also the entire month of March.

The previous record low for March 3 was 5 above zero (-15c) in 2009.

The previous all time low for the month of March was 3 above set on March 4 2009.

Official records for the Atlantic City area date back to 1874.

Also a record low daily minimum for Wilmington, Delaware…

The low temperature of 8 degrees (-13.3c)at 1120 pm Monday evening March 3rd was a new record for March 3rd.

The previous record for that date was 9 in 2009 and 1925.

Official records date back to 1894. 

Ice Age Now.

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