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Harris-Mann Climatology Article Archive

Title: Weather Extremes Continues in Early 2018

Author: Meteorologist Randy Mann
Published: 1/8/2018

Around the country and the world, the new year, 2018, is barely two weeks old and we’re already talking about more wide weather extremes.

In early January one of the most extreme coldwaves left the U.S., especially east of the Rockies shivering in record-breaking cold temperatures. During this big chill, there were 40 states under official winter alerts for bitter cold and snow.

Some of the most frigid weather was felt in the nation’s midsection. Omaha, Nebraska and Des Moines, Iowa went all the way down to -20 degrees. Aberdeen, South Dakota went to -33 degrees. Both of those locations broke records that stood for about 100 years.

The Southeast and Gulf Coastal regions had lows drop into the teens and 20s. The Northeast got pounded by a huge storm that brought 70-mile per hour winds that led to massive coastal flooding that reached “historic levels”. The coastal areas of southeastern Georgia saw rare 6-inch snowfalls. Freezing rain was reported around the Atlanta area turning roadways into skating rinks.

And, if you think that’s cold, Mount Washington in New Hampshire had an air temperature of -38 degrees Fahrenheit on January 6. The wind chill temperature went all the way down to -97 degrees. Parts of Niagara Falls have frozen over as well.

The extreme cold weather has not been confined to the U.S. In Europe, a very strong winter storm packed 100-mile per hour winds, according to the New York Times. Many areas across the United Kingdom had floods due to the heavy rainfall during the first week of this month.

In New Zealand, after a dry summer, heavy rains and strong winds of up to 90 miles per were reported in early January. Much of central and eastern China was coping with blizzard conditions resulting in downed power lines and loss of power to millions of people.

During this cycle of wide weather “extremes,” where you have extreme cold on one side, you’ll likely see extreme heat on the other. On January 7, Sydney, Australia, where that part of the world is in its summer season, the mercury soared to a record 117.1 degrees Fahrenheit, just a degree short of its all-time record of 118 degrees set back in 1939. Some of the outlying areas of that big Australian city had temperatures around 120 degrees. It was so hot that bats were literally dropping out of the sky.

Back in the U.S., California has once again gone from drought and fires to mudslides. Up to 4 inches of rain fell across the entire state earlier this month. Although, this greatly helped the fire situation, the devastating mudslides in Southern California killed 20 people. More storms are expected across much of California for the rest of the month.