Weather Blogs

February 28, 2017

As I write this, winter 2017 has been mild across nearly all of the country, with above-normal temperatures and below-normal snowfall being the rule in most locations. This is generally in agreement with The Old Farmer’s Almanac’s long-range forecast for this winter with the most significant exception being the heavy precipitation that fell across all of California. While we did forecast rainfall to be above normal across northern California, we forecast below-normal rain in the central and... more

February 22, 2017

When you look at the parades and parties of Mardi Gras, it’s hard to believe that it started with long hard winters and acts of charity. Most people know Mardi Gras as the last extravagant day before Lent. Even the name, Mardi Gras, translates to Fat Tuesday suggesting the last feast of rich food before the self-denial some Christians observe before Easter. However, before it was a day for parties, Mardi Gras started out as hungry day near the end of winter, when people needed charity. In the... more

February 6, 2017

With our forecast of a blizzard in many spots this February, it might be interesting to look at a few of the worst blizzards in history. Let’s stick to recent history—blizzards we remember! Worst Blizzards in (Recent) History Does anyone remember the blizzard of February of 1972?  I was near Ithaca, New York, where it snowed heavily between around 9:00 a.m. until about 1:00 p.m., leaving an accumulation of 29 inches during the 5 hours or so that it snowed. Helping to push cars that were stuck... more

January 24, 2017

For winter 2017, the Almanac has predicted colder-than-normal temperatures for most of the United States. Here’s a weather update. By November and December, temperatures at and around the North Pole were rising above freezing, while Siberia shivered through record cold. The north polar region has been experiencing temperatures some 30 to 50 degrees F above normal, which has kept sea ice formation at record low levels. Meanwhile, temperatures in Siberia have plummeted to –30° to –50° F,... more

January 22, 2017

Have you ever wondered why we can smell the rain coming?  My grandfather could even track squirrels with his sense of smell. What he was best known for, however, was his incredible nose for weather. He could tell a storm was approaching before anyone else in the county. One of my father’s earliest memories was running to warn neighbors that bad storms were coming so that they could get things covered. Most of us have smelt approaching storms. Source: Wikipedia Most of us have probably... more

January 9, 2017

Ever noticed that our important family holidays are during the absolute worst travel weather?  Well, it partly centers on our agricultural history. Both European and American culture is created, in part, from agricultural roots. You do not travel and celebrate in spring; you need to plant your crops. You don’t do that in summer; the crops need to be tended. Fall is harvest time. That only leaves winter. The Cows Are Slaughtered, The Corn Looks Good, Lets Drink Some Beer In the 17th and 18th... more

January 6, 2017

While the year brought flooding and other extreme events, 2016 was one of the quietest years for tornadoes. This certainly does not mean 2017 will be the same. The question is: What creates a quiet tornado season? Look to our warm oceans. The Tropical Pacific was unusually warm during the 2016 season. For tornadoes, this is a good thing. Warm currents and air suppresses tornado activity. Think of the ocean like a giant bath tub with water sloshing or oscillating back and forth. Not to... more

December 22, 2016

A new year is always ripe with possibilities. Though we have our forecasts, we also enjoy the tradition of looking to winter weather folklore. New Year’s Weather Folklore In particular, weather folklore often looks to the wind. Try this. Step outside as the sun sets on New Year’s Eve. Feel the wind and recite: If New Year’s Eve the wind blows south It betokens warmth and growth. If west, much milk and fish in the sea. If north, cold and storms there will be. If east, the trees will... more

December 12, 2016

It’s December—time for the longest night of the year. With so little warming sunlight, it will be the coldest day of the year. Right? It depends where live! California, your coldest days are in December! Massachusetts, your coldest days are in January!  See the map below showing when coldest weather usually hits different parts of the USA. Notice a pattern?  Winter cold sneaks up on the West right away. It usually waits until January to hit most of the East. Up around the Great Lakes,... more

December 5, 2016

Why does the U.S. get hit with Arctic air? The media calls it the “polar vortex.” Here’s everything you need to know—in one short page. The Arctic Oscillation (AO) is the blasting polar jet stream that circles the Arctic air mass. If it is strong, it keeps all that cold where it belongs—up in the Arctic Circle, making life interesting for the Canadians and Siberians. If it is weak, it lets all the frigid air escape south, and we get hit with a blast of winter misery.  ♫ When the wind breaks... more

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