There is no doubt the east coast has been battered this winter with heavy snow and high winds at times but some forecasters are taking a “sky is falling” type approach to their forecasts. Terms like “snowpocalypse” and “snowmageddon” have been bantered about in an effort to hype storms and grab attention by some east coast forecasters. The latest term used to describe a particularly fierce storm that affected the New England area at the end of last week stirred up some controversy. The term was “snowicane” and it seemed to imply a snowstorm with the strength of a hurricane. Hurricanes officially must have sustained winds (not just gusts) of 74 mph. That did not occur over land although there were some gusts over 90 mph in the Atlantic off the coast.
Back at home, our forecast calls for some of the warmest weather in nearly three months by the end of this weekend. We may see three days in a row with highs of 40 or above. The last time we managed that was at the end of November and the start of December last year.
It’s a heat wave!
Sorry about the hype….
Walt Kelly (1913-1973), creator of the comic strip Pogo, once remarked, “What’s good about March? Well, for one thing, it keeps February and April apart.”
Kelly understood that March, more than any other month, can manifest the temperature characteristics of both winter and summer. This year, Chicago’s March is off to a decidedly wintry start, but big changes are on the way. Daytime highs, six degrees below normal today, will climb to a rainy eight degrees above normal by Sunday.
Meteorological spring begins today
Today marks the start of meteorological spring, the three-month period from March 1 through May 31.
For meteorologists, a season is considered to be a division of the year according to some regularly recurrent weather phenomena. In the mid-latitudes, seasons are based upon the annual cycle of heat and cold; in the tropics (which lack significant temperature fluctuations through the year), seasons are often described in terms of the annual cycle of rain.
– Richard Koeneman, WGN-TV Meteorologist
The humidity is often very high in the winter here in Chicago, yet we always hear how dry the air is and that it is desirable to add moisture to the air in our houses. Can you explain this contradiction?
– Billy Kleiman
Averaged through the year, Chicago’s relative humidity is 71 percent but, surprisingly, it runs a little higher during the winter (73 percent) than during the summer (68 percent).
The explanation for higher winter humidity levels is that very cold air contains minimal moisture, even when saturated (100 percent relative humidity). It therefore takes little moisture to elevate the humidity of frigid air. Far more moisture is required to bring hot air to saturation. It takes only 0.001 ounce of water to saturate one cubic foot of air at 0 degrees, but 0.022 ounce (22 times as much) to saturate air at 80 degrees.
This is a list of measured Tsunami activity in the Pacific Ocean on Saturday and Sunday. The listing is in chronological order using U.S Central Standard Time (Chicago).
7.7′ Talcahuano, Chile 12:53 AM 2/27
1.1′ Easter Island, Chile 6:05 AM 2/27
5.9′ Hiva Oa, Marquesas Is. 11:41 AM 2/27 (French Polynesia)
0.5′ Papeete, Tahiti 12:11PM 2/27
1.2′ Cabo San Lucas, Mexico 12:33 PM 2/27
2.0′ Acalpulco, Mexico 1:31 PM 2/27
0.5′ Lottin Point, New Zealand 1:34 PM 2/27
3.2′ Pago Pago (US) 2:27PM 2/27 (American Samoa)
0.4′ San Diego, CA 2:36 PM 2/27
1.4′ Santa Monica, CA 2:36 PM 2/27
3.2′ Kahului, HI (Maui) 3:47 PM 2/27
0.8′ Honolulu, HI 4:00PM 2/27
0.3′ Sitka, Alaska 7:11PM 2/27
0.8′ Midway Attol (US) 7:37PM 2/27
1.4′ Kodiak, Alaska 8:21 PM 2/27
1.2′ Adak, Alaska 10:37PM 2/27
2.7′ Hanasaki, Hokkaido, Japan 12:37AM 2/28
4.0′ Kuji, Japan 12:49AM 2/28
1.3′ Omaezaki, Honshu, Japan 12:59 AM 2/28