Entries in Cold (6)


Cold Temps, Snow: Just How Harsh Was this Winter?

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Between the extreme cold temperatures and a set of punishing snowstorms that repeatedly brought havoc to a good chunk of the eastern United States, it was a tough winter for some.

Take Nowata, Oklahoma, for example, where temperatures in February dropped to a record 31 degrees below zero.  When December lows dipped to just 31 degrees above zero, Sarasota, Florida broke a cold-temperature record that had stood for 82 years.  And in February, an Arctic blast drove Laramie, Wyoming temperatures down to a bone-chilling minus 61 degrees.

In terms of long-term temperature trends, however, just how much did winter's wrath hit this time?  Apparently, not so much.

"The last two winters being a bit colder than normal has generated a lot of headlines.  But in the longer historical perspective, they're really not very exceptional," said James Hurrell, a senior climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado.

Hurrell has just completed a new temperature analysis that shows the winter of 2010-2011 was, on average, warmer than you might think -- it ranked as only the 39th-coldest winter in the U.S. since 1895.

"It was colder than normal," in some places, Hurrell said.  "But those cold regions were balanced by some very warm regions in other parts of the country."

Areas of the southwestern U.S., for example, along with parts of Alaska recorded warmer-than-average winter temperatures, according to the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, North Carolina.

A vast majority of climate scientists say that -- despite natural short-term weather events that can bring wild swings of cold and warm -- long-term climate trends continue to show a gradual warming currently taking place globally, consistent with human-caused climate change.

"We are in a warming climate," said Richard Somerville, a climate scientist and distinguished professor emeritus at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography who also has served as a lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.  "The long-term trend is about a third of a degree Fahrenheit increase per decade."

Perceptions that the past winter was colder than normal were driven partly by the fact that record amounts of troublemaking snowfall were recorded across parts of the Midwest and Northeast.  New York City, for example, was hit by eight snowstorms that dumped at least 36 record-breaking inches of snow.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Winter Weather Sees Record Lows for California

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- It could be a quick walk down the red carpet for Hollywood's hottest celebrities at Sunday’s Academy Awards, as record low temperatures are expected for the weekend across California.

An arctic blast up and down the West Coast has seen the mercury plummet as low as 39 degrees in Los Angeles and snow fall for the first time in 35 years in the San Francisco area.

Though precipitation in the city has not been heavy enough to cause any accumulation in San Francisco, the snow still has area residents stocking up on supplies.

Sierra County, Calif., which lays inland of San Francisco on the Nevada border, was hit the hardest, with some having to cancel travel plans due to heavy snow.

Meanwhile heavy rains in the Santa Cruz Mountains have officials concerned about safety as well.

In Oakland, extremely high winds have tossed tree limbs around neighborhoods, with one crashing through the windows of a baby's bedroom. The child was not hurt.

About 350 miles south, the iconic sign that looms over Hollywood could be dusted in a light snow for the Academy Awards. Producers of the hotly-anticipated Oscar ceremony have covered the Kodak Theatre's outdoor set decorations and iconic red carpet in tarp. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Record Snow, Cold Hits the South

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(ATLANTA) -- It was so cold in parts of the south Thursday that farmers in Arkansas woke up early to check that their newborn calves weren't sticking to the ground. Some cows actually had icicles growing down their backs. In Fayetteville, Arkansas temperatures dropped to a record-low -11 degrees.

It was  a rough commute all over the south as two feet of snow fell on parts of Arkansas and Oklahoma.  As snow fell in Little Rock, Arkansas, cars started sliding and couldn't stop. One after another, after another slipped down hills with drivers losing control, crashing into each other.

Across the region, the accidents are piling up.  North of Dallas, a collision involving six 18-wheelers and five cars on U.S. 75 shut down lanes in both directors for more than four hours.
In Fayetteville, a tractor trailer jackknifed soon after another truck slammed into it.  White out conditions in far eastern Oklahoma left many motorists stranded. Tulsa broke the record for the snowiest winter ever with 26.1 inches, making road conditions treacherous.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Lowest Temperatures in Years Strike Midwest, Northeast

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Extreme snowfall has hit many parts of the country throughout this winter season, and now low temperatures that haven’t been felt in years are coming to cities around the nation.

The National Weather Service says the coldest temperatures in seven years will hit cities in the Northeast by Monday morning accompanied by wind chills that will dip the needle even lower. In the Midwest this weekend, temperatures are expected to be 10 to 20 degrees below normal.

Boston is expected to have its lowest temperatures in seven years, New York a low not seen in five years, and Philadelphia will have its coldest weather in two years. All three cities are expected to have temperatures around five degrees or colder.

Even on the coast of North Carolina, snowfall of up to seven inches has been reported.

Not everywhere is quite as cold, though. Strong winds in California will raise temperatures into the 80s in the southern part of the state.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Winter Snowstorm Gives Way to Freezing Temperatures

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The brunt of a powerful snowstorm that battered the Northeast Sunday and Monday has moved on, but its lingering impact has left airports struggling to open, thousands of travelers scrambling to reach their destinations and municipalities hustling to clean up.

From North Carolina to Maine, people are digging out from more than two feet of snow in some places.  New York City received nearly two feet of snow along with 60-mile-per-hour winds.  More than 18 inches fell in Boston.

Freezing temperatures that have moved in along the East Coast are expected to remain there through the week.  A freeze warning has been issued for parts of Florida, where temperatures could reach below freezing.

Elsewhere in the country, the West Coast is bracing for snow and rain.

Forecasters predict a blast of winter weather to roll into the Northwest Tuesday night.  Chris Collins, a forecaster at the National Weather Service in Portland, Ore., said there could be heavy snow in the mountains of Oregon and Washington.

Eleven states from California to North Dakota are under a flood and-or weather warning or advisory.  Southern California, which was pounded by heavy rain last week, is expected to receive wet weather again Wednesday. 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Winter-Like Weather Grips Much of the Nation

Photo Courtesy - WTVD-TV Raleigh-Durham, N.C.(NEW YORK) -- Much of the nation is feeling a touch of winter, leaving parts of the Midwest blanketed with snow before autumn has officially ended.

A fierce winter storm plowed through at least 12 states, spreading snow, sleet and slush from the Dakotas to as far south as North Carolina.

The storm created havoc with the nation’s air traffic control. More than 300 flights were canceled at Chicago’s O’Hare airport.

Winter is still days away, but even the southeast is feeling the effects of this winter blast, with Raleigh and Asheville, N.C., getting several inches.

At least a foot of snow has fallen in Minneapolis, while parts of the Ohio Valley have seen up to nine inches. Chicago clocked in at five inches.

A deep freeze is settling in across the entire half of the country as a cold front dips down from Canada, bringing with it temperatures 20 degrees below normal from the Mississippi, east.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio