While the last two weeks have been relatively quiet weather-wise in Atlanta, that certainly hasn’t been the case elsewhere in the country. a massive storm earlier this week brought snow, then ice, then more snow to a wide area from Arkansas to Pennsylvania, with Kentucky perhaps suffering the most. State officials there are calling the power outage caused by the ice storm the worst in the state’s history. Chicago has had six or more inches of snow on the ground for the last 20 days, a top ten record, and as of yesterday is recording its third coldest January on record, with a mean temperature of 15.8 degrees, more than six degrees below normal.
Despite a general impression of a cold January in Atlanta, it’s actually been warmer than normal. At Hartsfield, the mean temperature through today is 44 degrees, 1.3 above normal. It’s been a bit cooler here in Lawrenceville, with a mean of 42.5 degrees, but that’s to be expected. The January mean temperature in 2008 was actually over a degree cooler than this year, although 2007 and 2006 were both above normal.
After this weekend, which could be quite pleasant, we have the threat of the worst storm of the winter season. The eyes of the weather world are focusing on Monday and Tuesday, when a powerful storm will start in the southeast and move north, bringing a chance of snow to North Georgia, and likely a doozy of a storm to the mid-Atlantic states.
Most of the country’s weather this winter has been affected by the northern branch of the jet stream. In essence, the northern branch divides cold Canadian air from the (slighly warmer) air to the south. It can dive south, as we saw mid-month when we got the coldest temperatures of the season. For the first time this winter, the southern branch is also active as well. The southern branch divides warmer, tropical air to the south and the colder air to the north. When these two branches join back up, you have a good possibility of wintry weather.
The forecast models have been changing from run to run on the position of the two jet streams, and where the snow will fall, but there is a definite possibility that Atlanta could see some wintry weather on Monday or Monday night. In the worst-case scenario, we could see something like what happened in March, 1993, when the Atlanta area got over a foot of snow. Or, we could get just rain, and not much rainfall at that. Keep your eyes on the forecast over the weekend to get updates.
The History of the Global Warming Argument
The founder of the Weather Channel, John Coleman, has published a blog entry describing the history of the global warming (or climate change, to use the current PC term) debate. Coleman says there is no basis for the climate change threat, which he argues was blown way out of proportion because a researcher was looking for more government funding.