In my last post, I showed a 10 mb map that led me to speculate about whether it was a signal for a change to persistent cold:
|The vortex was displaced from the North Pole and was quite elongated. I wondered if this was a sign that the vortex would soon weaken. However, that idea was wrong. Tuesday morning’s map showed the vortex was back near the North Pole and much less elongated:|
|This suggests the Midwest and Northeast are not likely to have a blocking pattern that favors snow and cold for the major East Coast cities. This nothing new so far in 2020. While there have been cold shots, temperatures have run well above long-term averages, as shown by this map:|
|The current upper air pattern at 500 mb shows the main vortex centered well north in Canada. A series of storms from the Pacific will move through the Southwest, draw in Gulf moisture and spread precipitation across the Ohio Valley and Northeast. With no blocking in place, low pressure areas often migrate toward the main vortex to the north.|
|Ahead of the next storm, it will be just moderately cold. But as the center of low pressure passes north of a line from Lake Erie to Massachusetts, rain will be the main product (except in northern New England). Temperatures will go toward or past 50 in Philadelphia Thursday. The storm will exit the New England coast by Friday. Air following the storm will be much colder than what moved in behind the storm that affected the Northeast early this week. It may be below freezing in Philly Friday afternoon.|
|Today’s GFS model suggested that a storm moving into the Ohio Valley and Northeast next Tuesday could be similar to the system that affected the same area at the start of this week.|
After a winter storm that has been traveling through the southern part of the country hit the southern Rocky mountains and Texas panhandle, many roads across the region have been left in dicey conditions.
The Tuesday morning commute had a few bumps in the road for Denver, Colorado, after authorities had to close several highway lanes due to icy conditions.
The Denver Post reports that, because of the ice and snow that appeared overnight, traffic speed was very slow on Tuesday morning.
AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dave Bowers said Denver received two to four inches of snow on Monday night.
|Snow obscures writing on the side of the mountains above Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, as seen from El Paso, Texas, on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020. A few inches of snow led to slow starts at schools in El Paso and caused hour-long delays on local roads. (AP Photo/Cedar Attanasio)|
Even though the snowfall amount was not unusual for the area, the National Weather Service in Boulder, Colorado, put the entire area under winter weather advisory.
„Even though snowfall amounts will be below advisory criteria, [we] will issue an advisory because the snowfall will begin around the evening commute,” the advisory read. „Temperatures will also fall from the upper 20s to around 20 degree[s] between 5 pm and 7 pm. This may cause roads to rapidly become icy.”
The advisory was issued at 3:40 a.m. MST on Monday, Feb. 10, giving residents ample time to prepare for the wintry conditions.
The Denver Police Department took to Twitter to warn the community of the possible dangers of driving in icy conditions.
„30 minutes into AM rush hour and we’ve only had 6 traffic crash reports and 0 reports of vehicles stolen while running unattended,” they said in one of their many tweets.
However, less than two hours later, they sent out an update saying that there has been 46 accident reports since their initial tweet praising Colorado drivers for their cautious driving. They said they „have spoken too soon.”
„It’s still cold and many roads remain snow packed & icy in some areas. Slow things down and allow for extra stopping distance- you’ll be glad you did,” they warned drivers via Twitter.
The reported accidents are now causing even more road closures and delays.
The snow had ended in much of Colorado by Tuesday afternoon, but it was replaced by frigid air with AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures dipping as low as minus 13 F in Denver.
The Texas panhandle was also hit with snow from the same system, which Bowers said accumulated around one to three inches.
As a precaution for the wintry weather, many schools, daycares, senior centers, churches and other public spaces and local businesses were closed or delayed, Everything Lubbock reported.
The Oklahoma Department of Transportation is also warning drivers of slick spots throughout the region.
„While conditions are improving, continue to use caution and drive for the conditions,” they reminded drivers on Twitter.
WINTER WEATHER: @OKDOT crews are treating slick spots and reporting some snow that is clearing on highways in in the panhandle, including Cimarron and Texas Co. While conditions are improving, continue to use caution and drive for the conditions. #okwx http://ow.ly/xyfJ50yjzUN
KFDA-TV News reported that crews are working on plowing the area and laying down salt to help remove slick spots.
DriveTexas shows ice and snow patches are present on many roads in the upper panhandle, while areas lower on the panhandle near Lubbock, Texas, report to have „heavy snow accumulation” in some spots. Additionally, travel is discouraged in other spots completely due to the icy conditions.
In New Mexico, the icy roads and delays continue, and KRQE-TV News reports over 200 closings in the Albuquerque area on Tuesday morning.
Bowers said there was about 10 inches of snow just to the east of the city where elevation is higher.
Winter storm warnings remain in effect in the area through Thursday.
Keep checking back on AccuWeather.com and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.
Residents of Baghdad rushed to have snowball fights or take photographs Tuesday as the Iraqi capital woke carpeted in white by only its second snowfall in a century.
The last recorded snowfall in the city was in 2008, but it was a quick and mostly slushy affair — and prior to that, it had been a century since Baghdad saw any flakes.
Iraqis young and old said it was the first time they had ever seen snow falling in Baghdad.
The city’s iconic palm trees were daintily outlined in white, and the tarpaulins of the long-running anti-government protest camp in Tahrir Square in the city centre were sprinkled with snow.
People on their way to work stopped their cars to snap pictures or break out into impromptu snowball fights.
„Snowfall may continue until Wednesday given the very cold weather,” said Amer al-Jaberi, media head of the Iraqi Meteorological Centre.
„This cold wave came from Europe,” he told AFP.
The people of Baghdad are more used to heat than cold.
The highest temperature recorded in the capital was a searing 51 degrees Celsius (124 degrees Fahrenheit), a record it has neared several times in recent years.
South of the capital, snow also carpeted the Shiite holy city of Karbala, which draws pilgrims from round the world to its famed shrines, the golden-domed mausoleums of Abbas and Imam Hussein.
Snowfall is more common in northern Iraq, where snow covered the war-battered city of Mosul, but in the centre and south there is rarely enough precipitation.
Iraq has been hit by a succession of extreme weather events in recent years.
In 2018, chronic water shortages sparked a health crisis in the centre and south but the following year, heavy rains caused deadly flooding and heavy damage to homes and crops.
Blistering temperatures then hit the north triggering wild fires and scorching crops.
Experts say Iraq lacks the funding or infrastructure to cope with climate change and the desertification of once productive land.
A rare winter storm coated Baghdad in snow Tuesday morning for only the second time in the Iraqi capital in the past century.
Though snow is common in the mountainous northern region of Iraq, it’s very rare in Baghdad.
The last time the city saw snow was in 2008, but that was a quick, slushy snow. Tuesday’s snow was the first that stuck since 1914.
City dwellers took selfies, and children played in parks, lobbing snowballs before the fluffy flakes disappeared and the white cover dissolved into gray puddles.
Cold temperatures are unusual in Baghdad as winter is typically on the mild side. The average high temperature in the city is 66 degrees in February, and the average low is 42, according to the World Meteorological Organization.
In the summer, searing heat is what Baghdad is known for as the city’s average daily high temperature is more than 100 degrees from June through August.
Iraqis young and old said it was the first time they had seen snow falling in Baghdad, according to Agence France-Presse.
„I woke up at dawn, and I was surprised to see the snow covering the whole garden and my car, then I woke up my wife and two children who dashed to see the incredible view,” Rawad Hassan, 35, told the Xinhua News Agency.
Hassan said the event was a relief from the national unrest of the past few months, according to Xinhua News.
In Tahrir Square, a stronghold for Baghdad’s demonstrators, young men and women threw snowballs and drew anti-government slogans across the ground, according to The Washington Post. It was “just like the movies,” Ghaith Ali, 24, told the Post.
“It felt as if something great was happening, and we stayed outside even though it was freezing,” he said. “It was worth it.”
Temperatures in Baghdad were near freezing Tuesday morning but warmed to the low-40s by the afternoon, melting most of the snow, the Weather Underground said.
More snow was possible, forecasters said, as the cold wave was not quite over.
„Snowfall may continue until Wednesday, given the very cold weather,” Amer al-Jaberi, media head of the Iraqi Meteorological Centre, told AFP. „This cold wave came from Europe,” he explained.
Contributing: The Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Baghdad sees substantial snow for second time in century
Iraqis in the capital Baghdad woke up to snow for the first time in more than a decade, with the rare event giving residents a welcome respite from the country’s political unrest.
Photographs and videos show people enjoying the unusual weather conditions on Tuesday, throwing snowballs and skating down the streets.
The country has been rocked by months of anti-government protests and soaring tensions with the US, following the assassination of a top Iranian general in Baghdad in early January.
More than 500 people have been killed since protests erupted in October, according to the Iraqi Human Rights Commission.
In the city’s Tahrir Square, the centre of the protest movement, the protester’s sit-in tents were covered in snow on Tuesday morning.
Snowfall last recorded in the Iraqi capital back in 2008.
Elsewhere in the country, snow carpeted Mosul, the city liberated from ISIS in 2017. Snow is much more common in the north of the country than in the capital.
But Katharina Ritz, the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) delegation in Iraq, tweeted her concern on Tuesday for displaced families living in tents and other non-permanent structures.
She wrote: “Being Swiss, I felt home when I smelled snow this morning. But it quickly reminded me of the many displaced #Iraq families in tents and unfinished shelters who are exposed to the cold temperatures and who have no means to stay warm.”
Most of the snow in Baghdad melted by midday on Tuesday.
Additional reporting from AP
The NASCAR season will roar to life this weekend with the 62nd running of the Daytona 500, and fans traveling to Florida can expect nearly ideal weather for the ‘Great American Race.’
Every aspect of the weather can impact a NASCAR race. Even a change from sunny to cloudy conditions can affect the way that the cars handle when motoring around Daytona International Speedway at speeds over 200 mph.
Daytona festivities kicked off this past Sunday, Feb. 9, with the Busch Clash, an exhibition race featuring the top drivers in the sport. Drivers and fans were greeted with clear skies and temperatures in the lower 70s, but the race had many interruptions due to crash-induced cautions.
Thursday will be the hottest day of the week when temperatures reach record-challenging levels. The mercury will approach 86 F on Thursday afternoon, which is the current record high for the date dating back to 1935.
Temperatures will fall into the upper 70s by the evening when drivers take to the 2.5-mile track for the Bluegreen Vacations Duels, a set of qualifying races that will decide the starting order for Sunday’s Daytona 500.
The first duel is set to start at 7 p.m. EST with the second scheduled for 8:45 p.m. EST.
„The weather will be largely dry during [the duels] on Thursday evening, although a brief shower cannot be ruled out, especially toward the end of [the second duel],” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Carl Erickson said.
Fans heading to the speedway may want to pack a poncho to help stay dry if a shower does move through during the duels.
|William Byron (24) and Alex Bowman (88) lead the field at the start of a NASCAR Daytona 500 auto race Sunday, Feb. 17, 2019, at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)|
A front passing through on Thursday night will bring slightly cooler weather for Friday with high temperatures in the mid- to upper 60s F with the chance for a brief shower or thunderstorm. This could potentially impact practice sessions throughout the day and the Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series race in the evening, but a complete washout is not expected.
Dry weather is expected to make a full return for the start of the weekend across the Daytona area, just in time for Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race. The green flag is set to fly at 2:30 p.m. EST with temperatures right around the 70-degree mark.
The picture-perfect weather will continue right through Sunday for the main event with the Great American Race set to start at 2:30 p.m. EST.
„For the big race on Sunday, fans can expect a mix of clouds and sun overhead with temperatures in the middle 70s for the start of the race,” Erickson said.
„Fans will want to make sure they have sunglasses and sunscreen on hand,” Erickson added.
If the Daytona 500 goes into overtime and carries over into the evening hours, the thousands in the grandstands can expect temperatures to settle in the 60s F under mainly clear skies.
While fans may be comfortable in the 70-degree weather, drivers will endure temperatures over 100 F for several hours in their cars as the sun beats down through the windshield.
„It’s usually about 30 to 40 degrees [Fahrenheit] hotter inside the car than the outside ambient temperature,” David Ragan, a former driver in NASCAR’s premier division, told AccuWeather in 2018. „We don’t have air conditioners inside our race cars.”
The dry weather will roll right into the start of next week as fans head home and teams begin their cross-country track to Las Vegas, the site of the second race of the 2020 NASCAR season.
Keep checking back on AccuWeather.com and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.