What The Hell, February
Posted on February 3, 2016 Posted by John Scalzi 54 Comments
At the moment it’s 51 degrees here in Bradford, and expected to hit 54 as a high, which, I would note, is twenty degrees higher than the average temperature here for February 3rd. And while we again remind ourselves that weather is not climate, plus El Nino, I am nevertheless reminded that we had no snow in December and only a few genuinely cold days in January, and that while we might get to freezing daytime temperatures tomorrow, after that it’s all 40s until well into next week. February is generally one of our snowiest months around here, but this year, snow-wise, it looks like it will be a real bust.
Which, again, as someone who spent his childhood in Los Angeles, is fine with me! I went outside and took this picture in a t-shirt and bare feet! How awesome is that! And yet, the description I’d use for the winter is uncanny. There ought to be snow in February in Bradford, Ohio, or at least cold. 51 is not cold. It’s barely cool. On one level I like it. On another it’s unsettling. And it does make me wonder what the rest of 2016 is going to be like, weatherwise. I guess I’ll find out soon enough.
I’m afraid of the mosquitoes come summer
Here in Western NY, near the famous snow capital of Buffalo, it’s 55 degrees right now. I’m with you – I LOVE this warm weather, but it’s also . . . creepy. I keep thinking I hear the ominous music starting to swell up in the background.
Likewise in Connecticut. I didn’t need a coat for my walk at lunch yesterday, and today it’s pouring rain with no risk of freezing.
One of the side problems this causes is the ticks don’t die off/go dormant for the winter…
The weather dweebs say snow coming on Monday for you. http://www.wunderground.com/cgi-bin/findweather/getForecast?query=Bradford%2C+Ohio .High/low tomorrow 32/22F. And 26/13 next Wednesday.
Don’t put away your winter clothes yet.
We’ve had precipitation, and we’ve had cold, but for the most part, they haven’t intersected, and we’ve had only a little snow. That’s probably fortunate because some of those rains would have been fairly spectacular as snow.
It’s actually been this way for a while, now. I remember thinking repeatedly over the past decade that winter and spring temperatures were far warmer from time to time than I could ever recall from my childhood. Last winter, I went down to the coast in January as I like to do, since the beaches are really uncrowded then, and the first day of the three-day weekend was so warm I was out in a short-sleeved Hawaiian shirt taking pictures. The next day was cold and rainy, and the next day was bitter, bitter cold. We had temperatures in the twenties through much of the early part of the winter last year, and then it got warm, then cold again. This was not the ‘normal’ January thaw, either – just the ‘new normal’ of very unsettled and strange weather. Thing is, we tend to forget the context, and remember best what it suits our fancy to remember. I’m sure Inhofe only remembers cold days. My kids are likely to remember huge storms as something that happen almost every year instead of something you only get once or twice a decade.
Rest assured that over here in New Mexico it is quite wintery. It’s all of 22° right now (after -2° this a.m.) which will likely be the warmest it gets today. We’re supposed to have 50° temperatures next week, but that’s normal for here. We almost always get a couple weeks of lovely spring-like weather at the end of January or early February, and then we get winter again.
We got hammered by the blizzard here in Philly (still have snow on the ground!), and it’s currently 62 degrees outside.
Which, yes, my PECO bill will appreciate. But I agree, the weather is all kinds of weird this winter.
Do you need rain? We’re having a special on rain today in DC. Just glad it’s not snow or we’d have another foot or more….
It has been an unusually warm, wet, and windy winter weather here in the UK too. The rain and gales I could do without, but I’m finding it hard to be too critical about the lack of cold. My finger joints being unable to move due to the cold is something I’m not missing, and I’m enjoying being able to have feeling in my toes before March too come to that.
Gotta go with El Nino for this one. Arizona’s freezing this week.
(Whether climate change is modulating the El Nino/La Nina cycle is of course a separate question.)
I think Colorado is slowly returning to the Cretaceous.
I live across the North Sea, in Belgium. We had exactly two days of freezing temperatures, one tiny splash of wet snowflakes, and that was it. Temperatures are at least 5 to 10 degrees Celsius higher than ‘normal’ (a redefinition of ‘normal’ seems to be in order). Plenty of rain, though. Not as much as the UK, but enough for my boots to go ‘squelch’ whenever I step into the garden. As it happens, our garden lies on a gentle downhill slope. So squelching boots are rather exceptional.
Global warming, anyone?
I’m traveling from Florida to central Iowa in a couple of weeks and would love the mild weather to continue. I hate driving on snow and ice. But, the grandchildren need me.
I sure am glad I live in California. 53 would be a cold day here. Our high this weekend is expected to reach 70.
I would like a little snow once a year or so.
This morning it was 59 degrees on my drive to work in Cleveland. Weird.
Yesterday I saw the “grackle river,” which is what I call the migration of these birds: 40-50 birds across, and a solid band from horizon to horizon. They’re spaced out from side to side, so it’s not eerie looking – just impressive. IIRC it’s a sure sign of spring, so they’re in agreement with the robins & great blue herons which are also back.
I’m not so worried about insects, as I think the repeated freezes / thaws will have had an impact there.
What does concern me is the lack of snow: just 9 inches when we’ve usually had 35 at this point. What will that do to the water table? I’ve never lived on a farm, but I always think of the farmers and weather’s impact on our food supply. Hopefully we’ll get some nice (pleasant) rain in the spring.
We’ve had snow on the ground since mid-December and today’s high will be 34f (1.1c), and 2″ of fresh snow fell yesterday. Albuquerque
I’m also in Cleveland. (Hey, Old Aggie! I saw a grackle river this morning, too. :) ) It is freaking 60 degrees. You realize that this means we’re going to get some freak blizzard near the close of April, right?
We got over 6″ of snow yesterday and last night here in the Twin Cities. But it’s fluffy stuff. Today it is 25 degrees. Used to be below zero much of Jan/Feb. I like the mild winters.
Somewhere out there, Jeff Sessions is desperately Trying to find a snowball.
Here in South Carolina, we had one cold week – with snow (which melted immediately), Since then, it’s been what I’d call unseasonably warm. Yes, this is the deep south. The place where an employee of a garden shop assured me it would be okay to plant tulips in the fall (I was looking at one variety that needed cold weather to bloom), because it had gotten as cold as 19F once. But 75 in January? And 77 in February? I keep wondering what summer will be like. It is also true that enough of the natural world is responding to these temperatures that my allergies are going full bore already. As oh two days ago, I am on my summer allergy meds. And it’s raining…. again.
Clevelanders, I call shenanigans on the concept of a blizzard in April being unusual. It was a rare year growing up when we didn’t have a snowstorm sometime in April, usually the first half. When those stop being a semi-regular occurrence, then I will be concerned.
It was 70+ degrees here in Chattanooga a couple of days ago. Unsettling indeed, and I worry that we’re in for a real scorcher of a summer. Eesh.
Honestly its been a similar story here in Connecticut. Warm days up until about 3 weeks ago when mother nature really started to kick in. And now again, here in February, there’s a warm spell popping up. It just goes to show the drastic effects humans are having on our climate, which is already in a warming period.
(Yes, I know warming has been downgraded to climate change) As I say to my frozen fellow Canadians, “Thank God for global warming.”
“And it does make me wonder what the rest of 2016 is going to be like, weatherwise.”
I’m expecting earthquakes, volcanos, human sacrifice, cats and dogs living together… mass hysteria, in other words.
Anyway I see you just posted a picture which hopefully shows none of those things… OH MY GOD
The magnolia out front is starting to pop blooms already.
Getting weird out there.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the world we are having a most peculiar summer. We broke heat records in December and this side of Christmas we have been breaking rainfall records (and this is the dry part of the country, not the part that usually gers rain in summer)…
Bradford, OH is getting the temperatures we had here in south-central Indiana Sunday, Monday, and yesterday (although not quite as warm, we also had lots of heavy rain yesterday). Sunday afternoon I swapped out a broken lower taillight assembly on my wife’s Volvo in the driveway with the back of the car facing south and I was actually SWEATING! OUTSIDE! ON THE LAST DAY OF JANUARY!
I’ve said it before and will say it again: I grew up in Nebraska as a kid, then Indiana since school, and at age 59 I’ve seen enough “pretty snows” to last the rest of this lifetime and the next! I do not mind a few weeks of supercold temperatures in January and February to kill off some of the bug population but some wiseman once said, “Probably Just Made of Bugs,” so there is that.
And yet here in NoCal, about an hour and a half north of your beloved Fresno, were are at 130% of normal precipitation and haven’t seen a completely sunny day in a month or so. Not that anyone here is complaining. We need the rain :)
I’m from Michigan — basically straight north of you just across the border — and I’m getting freaked out by this winter, too. I’m starting to itch for a blasting snowstorm, and I HATE winter. o.o
I’m from Michigan — basically straight north of you, just across the Ohio border — and I gotta agree with you, this winter is *uncanny* and weird. I’m starting to itch for a massive snowstorm, and I hate winter. D’ya know, we had a thunderstorm last night? February 2, a thunderstorm in Michigan. Blows my mind.
Your sky looks like our sky. I’m in Perth, Western Australia, where it’s *summer*. This is probably not a good thing.
Incidentally, we’re having a relatively cool-ish and damp summer down here – freak storms mean some towns in the South-West and the lower West have wound up getting a pretty good start on the annual rainfall as a result. Gnowangerup got flooded out, which they’re sort of in two minds about – on the one hand, water in the dams; on the other hand, they need state government disaster funding to fix all the roads that got washed away. At least the rainfall put out the last of the Waroona/Yarloop fire, and didn’t start another one.
The cyclone season this year started *very* late (we just had the first cyclone for the season cross the coast over the weekend; Stan, a Category 2 cyclone when it hit the coast, quickly downgraded to a tropical low), and from what I can tell, the folks in the north are pretty much welcoming it as evidence they are going to get a “wet” this year. Things were bad enough some of the graziers were thinking about agisting cattle further south.
In the meantime, I’m enjoying the days where I don’t have to switch on the air-conditioning (because it’s a nice bonus for my budget and means a lower power bill).
 First “G” is silent, “o” as in “know”, “a” as in “hang”, “e” as in “per”, “u” as in “up”.
 “A” as in “war”, “oo” as in “moo”, “a” as in “ah”.
 “A” as in “tar”, “oo” as in “hoop”. (For proper Strine, nasalise the “a”).
“Yes, I know warming has been downgraded to climate change”
No. It hasn’t. Climatologists have been using both terms since the mid-1950s. Global warming refers to one specific aspect of climate change (the change in temperature). Climate change refers to all aspects of the changes in climate, both natural and anthropogenic; these include things such as changes in precipitation patterns (which is why part of Antarctica is gaining ice, just as predicted in the 1990s), changes in plant growth (just as predicted in 1896), and changes in disease vectors (just as predicted in the late 1980s).
Sorry to be cranky about this, but as a scientist in a related field (planetology) it always grinds my gears to hear someone dismiss more than 150 years of research with blithe misunderstanding.
FWIW, the weird weather we’ve all been having is mostly due to el Nino. The long-term climate signal makes things warmer on a scale of decades. El Nino works on a scale of months and is well-known to have these sorts of effects. See:
I predict 2016 is going to be the hottest year ever, according to NASA and NOAA. Soon children just won’t know what snow is and the only breeding pairs of humans left on earth will be in Antarctica and north of the Arctic Circle.
Yeah, for the last half-decade or so I’ve been feeling like we’re all appearing in one of those disaster-of-the-week TV movies from the 70s. You know, the bits of scene-setting at the beginning, where they cut between a half-dozen or so people (some extras, some stars) doing ordinary things, while odd stuff begins to happen around them in the build-up to whatever the disaster will be. Then, when everything really gets rolling, we get to watch all of the extras kick the bucket until only the stars are left to carry on. Unfortunately, I suspect we’re all extras, these days….
Hmmm, since I’m just down the road from Bradford by an hour or so, thinking that you may want to check out the extended forecast. Here, a balmy 58 at 3 pm today, with chance of snow everyday next week, starting with Monday — wait, wait, the forecast has changed again, chance of snow but, now 51 for a high on Wednesday. Nevermind. All subject to change without notice. I need a sump pump for the yard after last night’s 2.25 inches of rain. And a shower for the dogs on the way back in the door.
While it can be difficult to wear/pack the proper clothing for 3 different climates (i.e. spring, hotflash, winter) per day , it sure must beat the hell out of being the weather forecaster these days.
Come visit Arizona, John. Five, six feet on the ground and this morning it was -7 F in Springerville. Colder in Greer, and then there’s the mountains.
I am loving the fact that New York got over the snow storm and now we are back to warmer Temps and the snow has melted. We are suppose to get more snow this coming Tuesday. DAM those ground hogs.
It’s just after midnight and 55 degrees in my part of MA. I suppose some of it could be my fault; I did buy a new shovel and an extra bag of ice melt in the fall. I’m not complaining about not having to use them, but this is starting to seem weird, even to me.
It’ll be interesting to see what your next summer is like. :/
Except for what seems to be a freaky snowstorm, it’s been basically ranging 30’s-40’s here in Connecticut. In fact, this week, we had rain and temps in the 60’s.
Went biking in shorts and a t shirt yesterday, saw one guy out running shirtless. OK, that’s a bit nuts, it was only 56 or so and quite windy. 5 minutes later, saw some woman walking down the street with a full winter coat on. Gotta love Ohio, nobody ever knows how to dress for the weather, even when it’s normal.
Yesterday in Toronto, 60.8F. This morning, 32F with a forecasted high of 34F. No snow this winter, barely any rain. The magnolias don’t usually bloom till April/May, but right now they have fuzzy green buds. WTF, Winter?!?!?!!!
I’ve been calling it Sprinter, which seems to be catching on.
The main drawback I’ve seen is that viruses are more numerous, and spreading faster. For the last 6 years, I’ve caught one cold per year, usually while traveling. I’m on my second cold this year already, and it may well be the first cold swinging back around for another go.
I do worry for flea and tick season. Even less snowfall than usual has resulted in some increases in the critters. We haven’t had anywhere near enough cold days around Albany to kill them off.
I think you somehow traded weather with the Californians.
Some of the long range weather forecasts here are predicting a lot more, a lot worse storms come spring, summer and fall – tornadoes, etc. Sigh. Wouldn’t surprise me in the least, as one of the things I’ve read in the past about climate change is that it will cause a lot more ‘unsettled weather’ if I remember the words correctly….
Yeah, same deal here in CT. We’ve gotten one decent snowfall (~8″) and it’s melted already. Last winter started out this way (warm December, no real snowfall until late January) and then BAM, winter from hell. Not looking like it’s going to be a repeat this year. As I recall, last winter involved waaay above-normal temps out West. Now it’s flip-flopped basically?
I have a similar reaction to it – it’s not unpleasant to be able to go out in a windbreaker in February, exactly, but it’s strange. Not quite right. Especially as a native New Englander.
We’ll use less heating oil so that’s nice. Also: the kids like the snow (and so do I, though to a lesser extent because I have to shovel it/drive in it).
I can’t but help to think of my six year old son who will think that this is normal–and what he will think of the world climate in 40 years.
These are interesting times. I think of my soon-to-be 16 year old son and what world he will find himself in by 2050.
I’m with you on the feels weird bit; I have to keep switching clothing because the weather keeps changing, and this doesn’t help with the bulging wardrobe problem. It’s one of the ways I justify having lots of clothes; there are four seasons in the year and I pack away the unseasonal items, but now I can’t. Weird.
No disrespect to climate change, the environment, and the existence of humanity on earth as we know it, but the single worst consequence of the environmental movement thus far has been to turn the sentence “It’s such a nice day outside!” into BAD NEWS.
W/r/t Lifestrand’s comment about a couple of weeks of early springlike weather in New Mexico, followed by more winter: this is described by NM author John Nichols (“The Sterile Cuckoo,” “The Milagro Beanfield War,” etc.) as the annual “Ritual Death of the Fruit Tree Blossoms.”
@Alice K. – Sorry you’ve suffered through two colds this season. But this should give you something to look forward to as you age: once you’ve had a particular strain of cold virus you’re unlikely to get it again because your body has built up antibodies and developed immunity against that particular strain of the virus. Of course there are over 200 individual cold virus strains, so it’ll take a while. I’m 59 and haven’t had one in years after having suffered uncountable colds as my two children were growing up. (They swapped that nasty green nasal discharge with other kids like Pokémon cards!)