Elliot Abrams

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Another January Thaw

January 8, 2014; 7:19 AM ET

Wednesday morning

Context is a central concept in our personal lives and relationships. How are we affected by our surroundings? How do our feelings and actions affect others? How can we change ourselves and influence others to help improve the wide range of life experiences? We associate with others in many different contexts. We have acquaintances, friends, relatives, those we love, those who love us... and, well, others. How we relate and behave with others defines our personalities. The context of the moment may prompt us to speak up or keep our mouths shut. We might act assertive, or condescending, or meek or complacent.

Another important aspect of context is how we relate our situation to what we see in our homes, neighborhoods, cities, regions and world. We see videos and read stories of tornado destruction or 50-car pileups on an interstate or flood waters carrying things away and countless other events, terribly tragic to warm and welcoming.

During the American Revolution, news of George Washington's courageous victories at Trenton and Princeton took weeks to reach England. The news was delivered on handwritten pages carried on foot, on horseback and by boats.

Today, you would see the same events transpiring live, followed quickly by commentary and opinions. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Vine and Instagram all make our interconnectedness instantaneous. Think how all these and other social tools have blossomed, and how quickly new things will appear and our interactions will evolve and change. In the context of the timeline of life on Earth, could we now be in the dinosaur stage of social media?

What does all of this have to do with today's weather? In the context of yesterday, today seems better in Philadelphia and New York City. However, in the context of how it felt when it was 60 degrees two mornings ago, the cold is horrendous! Temperatures will moderate during the next few days, and extreme cold is unlikely to return for at least a week.

THE January thaw is part of weather folklore and usually refers to a period of relative mildness in midwinter (especially late January). However, any time it warms up after a deep freeze in January, we can call it a generic January thaw, and hence today's title.

The video has more.

Whenever there is an extremely cold air mass over the Northeast, there is concern about whether snow or ice will occur as the cold air retreats. At the moment, the main storm prospect we see is one that would cause rain to move in on Saturday. However, there are relatively weak disturbances that could cause small amounts of snow and or ice if they hold together or strengthen even a little bit. This picture shows one such feature in the Mississippi Valley.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com


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About This Blog

Elliot Abrams
Elliot Abrams from AccuWeather.com offers this Northeast Weather Blog for the U.S. with regular updates on NE weather from a leading forecaster and meteorologist.