Has it snowed in all 50 states?
All 50 states, including Hawaii and Florida, have recorded snow. Most states get snowfall every winter as part of their normal cold-season weather, especially in the higher elevations of the warmer states. In Florida, some snow occurs at least every couple of years across the far north, but even southern portions of mainland Florida have experienced flurries on rare occasions, though snow has never been reported in the Keys. During an exceptionally strong arctic outbreak in January 1977, snow fell at Homestead, Fla., south of Miami. In Hawaii snowfall is usually confined to the highest elevations of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea on the Big Island and Haleakala on Maui, but it has fallen on some of the other islands as low as the 4,000 foot level during cold snaps.
Here are two photos taken in northern Wisconsin on Wednesday by John H. Kloch, who notes that the tree colors there are starting to change a little. Thanks John for the great photos!
Autumn weather around here tends toward two extremes: relatively long periods of stagnant and unchanging weather on the one hand and turbulent, abruptly changing weather on the other. Chicagoans wondering if hazy days and foggy nights have become a new reality in the city’s climate — it’s been that way for upwards of three weeks — will have their answer by this weekend. Higher temperature punctuated by rainy spells sweep into the area Friday afternoon through Saturday into Sunday. A blustery 20-degree temperature drop follows on Monday, then windy and sharply higher readings arrive by next Wednesday.
Dust storm smothers Australia
It’s received little attention here, but Australia continues to suffer through a multi-year, desiccating drought. And now, the worst dust storm in seven decades is compounding the nation’s misery. High winds buffeted much of central and southeast Australia, especially New South Wales, on Tuesday and Wednesday, raising gigantic clouds of dust that played havoc with transportation and most aspects of normal life. The storm prompted the Sydney Morning Herald to comment that it was “the day the country blew into town.” Winds subsided and skies cleared Thursday, leaving Australians to ponder to widespread wind erosion damage to the rural landscape.
In a January article you wrote that on perihelion day the Earth is 93.1 million miles from the sun and “the Earth actually passes closer to the sun during winter and swings further from it during summer.” Is this correct? Text material at my son’s school says the opposite: “The summer sun is closer and the winter sun is further.”
The school text material that you have quoted is incorrect. Triton College astronomer Dan Joyce tells us perihelion, the point of the Earth’s closest passage to the sun, occurs on or about Jan. 3 and aphelion, the Earth’s farthest passage, occurs on or about July 4. Those are winter and summer dates in the Northern Hemisphere.
The average Earth-sun distance, 93.0 million miles, diminishes to 91.3 million miles at perihelion and increases to 94.4 million miles at aphelion.
The colorful autumn season is getting underway across the Chicago area as evidenced by these shots taken in Centennial Park in Orland Park by Lynne Hanes.
Chicago weather historian Frank Wachowski informs us that the city logged 84 percent of possible sunshine during the first 19 days of September — among the sunniest periods ever to occur at this time of the year — but an abrupt pattern change has delivered cloudy, hazy and foggy weather since then. The city has experienced only 28 percent of possible sun since Sept. 20. Chicago’s first cool surge of the autumn season is set to arrive in the city on Monday (Sept. 28), and it promises to bring the chilliest readings in the 16 weeks since back-to-back high temperatures of 60 and 61 degrees were recorded here on June 2-3. Computer models indicate Chicago’s next rain might occur in two stages: late Friday into Saturday and another Sunday night preceding the arrival of Monday’s chill.
Desert conditions in coastal California
Easterly winds blowing into the Los Angeles Basin, warming and drying as the air descends from the interior highlands of southern California, have generated desert-like conditions across metropolitan Los Angeles. At 3 p.m. on Wednesday, the temperature at Long Beach hit 101 degrees with a relative humidity of 8 percent, and in downtown Los Angeles it was 100 degrees with a humidity of 10 percent.