Friday, January 16, 2009

Cold Blast!

Some of the coldest air in years invaded parts of the United States over the past few days. Temperatures have dipped down to near -50°F in some parts of the Plains and Upper Midwest. Even in the extreme south, temperatures dropped to near zero in parts of Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee this morning. Thankfully for us here in East Texas, the air mass took a south easterly path sending the bitterly cold air a few hundred miles to our east. It would be a much different story around here if this air mass would have plunged south. We would have easily seen the coldest air since December of 1989 when a massive arctic air mass moved across the South Central Plains into the Southeast. During that outbreak of arctic air, Tyler saw low temperatures down to 0°F and highs in the upper teens for a couple of days. But as we have seen all season long, these air masses have been riding the northern edge of the jetstream, a river of air which separates the cold air north from the warm air south. This is what has caused our weather to be so variable over the past few weeks. The jetstream has been set up just to our northeast all winter so we just see a glancing blow, cooling us down for a day or two and then rapidly warming us up on the back side of these arctic highs. This same set up will take shape again starting tonight as we start to see a return flow around the western edge of the cold high pressure bringing Gulf warmth into East Texas this weekend. So say good bye to cold weather and hello to some late winter warmth for the next seven days. It could have been MUCH worse. Take a look at some lows over the past few days across the country.

Tok, AK -63°F
Babbitt, MN -48°F
Pollock, SD -47°F
Moline, IL -27°F (New all time January low)
Dubuque, IA -30°F (New all time January low)
Cedar Rapids, IA -28°F (New all time record low)
Huntsville, AL 9°F
Monte Sano, AL 2°F
Eidson, TN -5°F

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