This far through the winter, it's pretty obvious that much of the United States (certainly the East) has had a lack of snow, while Europe has suffered a harsh cold wave. But in meteorology, it's always important to quantify these things and compare them to history, because people's memories are short and localized. These recent maps and graphs show that these events are, in fact, extreme.
The image above shows the extreme cold in Europe between Jan. 25 and Feb. 1, via a NASA article about the Europe cold wave. Some of these areas are nearly off the chart, with the coldest areas centered around the Black Sea.
It's worth noting that the cold continued for another week after that map, so we took it one step further to show the departures between Jan. 25 and Feb. 14. Our news story says: "The average reading of 0.7 degrees below zero F took Rivne to 20 degrees below normal... The three weeks in Russia averaged almost 25 degrees below normal in Yashkul, near the Caspian Sea. At least one all-time record low temperature may have been set when Astrakhan, Russia, hit 29 degrees below zero F early in February." That large of an area of temperatures below 10 to 20 degrees is rarely seen worldwide.
Flipping the globe, we take look at the U.S. -- extremely warm during the Jan. 25 - Feb. 1 period, except Alaska, which was even colder compared to normal than Europe! This came on the heels of an already warm and snowless winter, which the map below confirms was a nationwide problem - not just limited to the Northeastern states. I don't know which image is more pitiful -- the one in December where almost no one was getting above-normal snowfall, or the February map where a larger portion of the nation was in a snow drought.
The warmth in the U.S. and Canada has led to extremely low ice levels -- the second least amount of ice cover since 1981. This will lead to unusually late lake-effect snow, something New York state schools should have considered before "giving back" snow days.
Snow was reported in Pennsylvania and New York on May 24, as viewers looked forward to temperatures in the 20s on Memorial Day Weekend.
The damage from the Moore, Okla., tornado of May 20, 2013, is incredible. These radar loops show the immensity of the tragic storm.
When I saw that Google had created a 30-year satellite time-lapse of Earth, I knew where the most impressive weather-related animations would be.
Whatever you call them -- "Ice Needling," "Ice Surges," or "Ice Shoves," or "Ice Heaves" -- a phenomenon that I first blogged about in 2009 is back -- with a vengeance!
17 years ago on this date, while I was taking my freshman exams at UNCA, a "cut-off" low was rumored to dump 57" of snow at nearby Mount Pisgah... but is that reading reliable?
Tornado reports and warnings are down for 2013 so far, and the last 12 months, but what about severe-thunderstorm-warned areas and lightning strikes?