Friday, January 24, 2014

Unseasonably Warm Weather Wreaks Havoc All Across Alaska

January 24, 2014

Walking to the mailbox has become quite a treacherous journey with ice covering my driveway and road. It seems I could almost start putting plants in my garden outside, since all the snow is practically gone.  But it looks like I’m not the only one affected by this weather. Headlines are everywhere, with warm weather wreaking havoc all over the state:

Alyeska Ski Resort is forced to close for the third time this winter; Schools closed in Glennallen and Fairbanksbecause it’s 40 degrees ABOVE zero; Unseasonably warm weather closes Denali to snowmachines; Warm winter weather may hurt Alaska peony farmers; Big Lake sled dog race cancelled due to unfavorable weather and trail conditions.

According to Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy, "On January 20, the high temperature at the Homer Airport was 50°F (10°C). Not only was this a daily record high, but it is just one degree from the all-time record high for January of 51°F (11°C) last set on January 31, 1994."

And that’s not the only weird part- friends down in the lower 48 are doing nothing but talking about the cold temperatures and never ending snow storms! What’s going on here??

"So far this month, weather stations in the Lower 48 have broken or tied more than 2,600 records for cold, while Alaskan weather stations have broken or tied more than 20 daily temperature records for warmth," according to USA Today’s Doyle Rice.

It’s obvious that there has been some sort of flip flop in weather patterns.

According to Alex Sosnowski, Expert Senior Meteorologist for AccuWeather, "The topsy-turvy weather pattern has been produced by a high amplitude jet stream pattern. The jet stream is a fast-moving river of air high in the atmosphere that guides weather systems along and often marks the boundary between cold air to its north and warm air to its south."

Sosnowski explains further, "The jet stream often becomes distorted from its average January position.However, this pattern, in recent weeks, has become quite extreme. It has allowed warmth to push well to the north along the Pacific coast of North America and at the same time has sent frigid air well to the south over the middle of the continent to portions of the Atlantic coast."

I don’t know about you, but because of this backwards jet stream pattern, my ice fishing plans for the weekend certainly have gotten placed on hold. I guess I’ll put my sunglasses and Xtra Tufs on for some puddle jumping instead! 
 
How is the warm weather affecting you in your town? 

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