SEATTLE -- Hey everyone, there's a good chance El Nino might be around for next winter!
California: "Yay! The expected heavy rains next winter should help our drought!"
Midwest and East Coast: "Yay! It likely means no more of this 'Polar Vortex' and weeks below freezing!"
Gulf Coast and Eastern Seaboard: "Yay! It typically means less hurricanes!"
Pacific Northwest: *sigh*
It's not really a tale of two cities, but more like a tale of two halves of a nation -- one basking in their warmest winter on record; the other wondering if they've become the new Antarctica.
With March signaling the end of "meteorological winter" (December 1 through Feb. 28), cities are crunching their data to find some surprising results!
We've been celebrating this week the jump in our mountain snowpack after a fairly wet February -- now up to 58-73 percent across the northern Oregon Cascades-- but new forecast data out by long range climate computer models suggests the rally in snowpack may be even more important than you might think.
Fresh data released a few days ago is now suggesting there are significantly higher chances of a warmer and drier than normal spring and summer across the West, including the Pacific Northwest.
The National Weather Service doesn't usually resort to dire language when giving forecasts for storms -- the two most famous examples I can think of are Hurricane Katrina and SuperStorm Sandy.
But NWS forecasters in the southeast are making no bones about the severity of an ice storm that is pushing into Georgia and parts of South Carolina.
These snippets are from the 3:39 a.m. forecast discussion on Feb. 12 from the National Weather Service office near Atlanta:
Arlington photographer Angela Kelly, who made waves around the Internet with her gallery of frozen bubbles featured in this blog during our last cold snap in December, was out again in the frigid mornings this week trying to add to her frozen bubble collection.
But this time, she got an added bonus for her teeth-chattering troubles: A gorgeous display of ice crystals.
Wow, talk about the fury of nature...
A time video from YouTube channel PhotoVolcanica shows an incredible display of three tornadoes in the wake of an eruption at Indonesia's Sinabung Volcano.
Tyler Mode decided he needed some fresh air -- and some sunshine -- amid the days long foggy stretch of weather we had earlier this month, so he went for a hike up Angel's Rest in the Columbia Gorge.
His reward? A few hours of warm, winter sunshine and some gorgeous photos along the way!
The planet's weather is full of complex interactions, but one web site aims to make the current weather a bit easier to visualize.
Check out this site from Earth.Nullschool.net which shows the current wind patterns around the globe at any moment.
You can click on the globe to move it around to the area you desire, scroll to zoom in, and clicking on the "Earth" button will give you other data to plot (cool!) For the wind map, the brighter the color, the faster the wind speeds.
You'd think when you register a 115 mph gust during a weather event, it'd probably be the strongest gust of your year, or... ever?
For one spot in Oregon, it's second place. Of the week.
The Crown Point Observatory on the western edge of the Columbia River Gorge outdid itself, kicking off the week Monday with a 115 mph gust and then topping it with a 122 mph gust on Friday:
The Pacific Northwest is among the most beautiful spots on the planet, but it doesn't have a monopoly.
Photographer Randall Kayfes has lived much of his life in the Northwest, but recently moved to Marana, Arizona and how has a front row seat from his home to a desert landscape that can really put on a show.
"As far as the majority of the photos go, you may find this hard to believe but that is my 'backyard,' " Kayfes told me when I asked him where his amazing portfolio was shot. "I don't own any of it but it is protected land. The mountains are the Santa Catalina's. A lot of the panoramic photos are taken from my second story window."
There's a reason the Columbia Gorge has some of the best wind surfing around but even the most brave wind surfers might have had a challenge this weekend.
The Crown Point observatory near Corbett -- noted for its extreme winds -- really outdid itself with some unofficial peak gusts of over 100 mph Monday. The official wind gauge hit 87 mph but those with hand-held wind gauges recorded gusts of 103 mph with another person -- Steve Pierce with the Oregon Chapter of the American Meteorological Society -- registering an unofficial gust of 115!
The impending cold snap into the upper Midwest that's making big news this weekend comes on the heels of NOAA announcing it has discovered what it believes is the coldest temperature ever recorded on Earth.
Now, before I give the answer, I thought I'd give a quiz where you think that spot might be: