Whiplash: Polar Express Barrels into Eastern North America, Northwest Eerily Warm

February 19, 2015



Weather in eastern North America can fairly be described as “Polar”.   Minus 10°F right now as I’m posting this thing in the upper midwest.
Meanwhile,  see above, the jet stream is, like last year, kicking warmer air high into the arctic.

Andrew Freeman in Mashable:

The U.S. is experiencing one of the most unusual winters in years, with a pronounced and enduring bubble of warm, high pressure over the West, and blast after blast of frigid Arctic air and heavy snow in the eastern two-thirds of the country. The warmth is breaking all-time records, while the cold is rivaling some of the coldest weather in more than two decades.

In fact, the Arctic outbreaks outrank 2014’s polar vortex cold waves in terms of severity and duration.


Fairbanks (AK) Daily News Miner:

ANCHORAGE — The race clock for the 2015 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race will start ticking in Fairbanks, not the usual takeoff point in Willow.

Members of the trail committee’s board of directors met Tuesday and voted unanimously to change the course due to low snowfall in some of the most treacherous sections of the trail’s roughly 1,000 miles.

Similar conditions forced the race’s restart to move from Willow to Fairbanks in 2003, bypassing the Alaska Range but keeping it roughly the same distance. The move to Fairbanks was considered in snow-starved 2014, too, and after the board’s decision kept mushers on the traditional southern route, the bruised and beaten up dog drivers criticized officials for not avoiding what some of them described as a catastrophe.

Anna Berington mushes down a snow-starved section of the Iditarod Trail in the middle of the Farewell Burn during the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. This year has seen even less snow, prompting race organizers across the state to consider postponing, moving or canceling races. Photo by Bob Hallinen



Spring-like weather has moved through the Yukon this week, with temperatures 10-15 degrees above what’s normal for this time of year. Here’s a look at some of the temperatures across the territory yesterday, all of these breaking temperature records for the day!



Freeman again:

According to data from the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) in Asheville, North Carolina, there were 3,829 daily high temperature records set or tied in the U.S. during the past 30 days, as well as 3,368 record warm overnight low temperature records set or tied. This compares to just 498 records set or tied for the coldest high temperature, along with 386 daily records set or tied for the coldest low temperature.


Pretty much on track with observations of extreme Jet stream behavior that we have seen more and more frequently in recent years. The video I produced on this topic with Jeff Masters and Jennifer Francis has been hugely influential in making the mainstream media aware of this phenomena.  I’ll be talking to Jeff again soon and see what he makes of this year’s extremes.




2 Responses to “Whiplash: Polar Express Barrels into Eastern North America, Northwest Eerily Warm”

  1. Here in Trail BC (just above the border north of Spokane WA) my garlic is poking through a month early this year – no snow in town and very little on the hillsides. Even 3000ft higher on Red Mountain outside of Rossland – south facing ski runs are showing bare patches.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: