The Tightening Grip Of Winter

Deep snow, frigid cold and howling blizzard winds are expected across the continental U.S. as the first weekend of 2008 approaches. From the Adirondacks of upstate New York to northern New England, recent record setting snowfalls will help to produce bitterly cold temperatures. The calendar year of 2007 produced a record 131.6″ of snow at Burlington, VT, while Concord, NH measured a record 44.5″ of snow in December alone. With a couple feet of snow on the ground, temperatures tonight from Saranac Lake, NY to northeast Vermont, northern New Hampshire and western Maine are expected to bottom-out around 10-20 below zero with wind chills of 30-40 below zero. High pressure over Missouri is helping to push the arctic air into the deep south with hard freeze warnings posted for the citrus growing areas of central Florida. As of late Wednesday evening, freezing temperatures had pushed to just north of Tampa, Orlando and Daytona Beach. Record lows will be possible for much of central and northern Florida by dawn on Thursday. As the winds turn to a northeasterly direction, moisture off the ocean will move toward the beaches around Daytona and “ocean enhanced snow flurries” will be possible north of Cape Canaveral. Out west, all eyes are on a powerful Pacific storm south of the Aleutians which is expected to reach the Sierra Nevada mountains of northern California Friday. Blizzard warnings have been posted for the Sierras from 4am Friday through Saturday morning. This storm is forecast to bring 1 to 2 feet of snow to the Lake Tahoe basin with up to 5 feet of snow at elevations above 7000 feet. In addition to the snow, winds are expected to gust to 70 mph with peak gusts up to 140 mph over the Sierra ridges. In comparison to these extreme conditions our sample of winter weather, with winds gusting to 30 mph and temperatures dropping into the teens, seems rather tolerable. Bundle up!

Tom Tasselmyer

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