Weather Blog

Solstice Smackdown -- How the rest of the world fared

Solstice Smackdown -- How the rest of the world fared
Snow covers the sides and sphinx of the Luxor Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2008.

Western Washington wasn't the only place dealing with a two-week long plunge into the arctic...

I'll be working on a recap blog of everything that happened here and in Portland and Spokane over the last two weeks -- look for it to be published sometime between Monday and the Vancouver Olympics (there's a lot of data to research! :) )

But in the meantime,  Mark Albright, a research meteorologist with the UW Atmospheric Sciences department, has compiled a list of other records and events that occurred around the globe during the past two weeks. Just goes to show how weather is connected.

To start off, we had an interesting discovery on December 11th that the first 11 days of December were warmer in the upper atmosphere than the first 11 days of June.

Little did we know that we wouldn't have to worry about the last 11 days of December being warmer than, well, pick any other month in the last decade...

 


Here is a rundown of all the events that Mark found. His comments are highlighted in blue, while the block text are products issued by the National Weather Service.

 

Dec. 14:

As the convergence zone played tag with the Puget Sound area, an arctic front blew through Tulsa, Oklahoma, knocking then down from a record mid 70s in the early afternoon to the mid 20s with freezing rain by evening.
http://www.komonews.com/weather/blog/36184264.html

Here's what the cold air did on its way there:

RECORD EVENT REPORT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DENVER CO
616 PM MST SUN DEC 14 2008
...NEW RECORD LOW TEMPERATURE IN DENVER FOR DECEMBER 14TH...
THE TEMPERATURE AT DENVER INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT PLUNGED TO -15
DEGREES AT 552 PM. THIS IS A NEW RECORD LOW FOR THIS DAY...BREAKING
THE OLD RECORD OF -14 DEGREES SET IN 1901.
RECORD EVENT REPORT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE GREAT FALLS MT
1010 PM MST SUN DEC 14 2008
...RECORD LOW TEMPERATURES FOR DEC 14 IN NORTH CENTRAL AND
SOUTHWEST MONTANA...
LOCATION             NEW RECORD       OLD RECORD       YEAR SET
BOULDER                -20   (TIED)      -20             1967
DILLON AIRPORT         -16               -15             1967
FORT BENTON            -23   (TIED)      -23             1948
GREAT FALLS AIRPORT    -25   (TIED)      -25             1922
GOLD BUTTE 7 N         -33               -23             1922
HAVRE AIRPORT          -32               -24             1975
LEWISTOWN AIRPORT      -29               -24             1951
MARTINSDALE 3 NNW      -23               -18             1901
SIMPSON 6 NW           -24   (TIED)      -24             1975
TOWNSEND               -15               -12             1967
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS  -29               -17             1922

Dec. 15:

RECORD EVENT REPORT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NORMAN OK
625 PM CDT MON DEC 15 2008
...RECORD COLD MAXIMUM TEMPERATURE BROKEN AT OKLAHOMA CITY...
THE HIGH TEMPERATURE TODAY AT WILL ROGERS WORLD AIRPORT ONLY ROSE TO
18 DEGREES. THIS BREAKS THE RECORD FOR THE COLDEST MAXIMUM
TEMPERATURE SET FOR THIS DATE. THE PREVIOUS RECORD WAS 19 DEGREES...
SET BACK IN 1901.   
WEATHER RECORDS FOR OKLAHOMA CITY DATE BACK TO 1890.
RECORD EVENT REPORT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DENVER CO
813 PM MST MON DEC 15 2008
...NEW RECORD LOW TEMPERATURES IN DENVER FOR DECEMBER 14TH AND 15TH...
THE LOW TEMPERATURE AT DENVER INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT ON DECEMBER 14TH
DROPPED TO -18 AT 635 PM AND NEVER DROPPED BELOW -18 PRIOR TO
MIDNIGHT. SO THAT ESTABLISHES A NEW RECORD LOW TEMPERATURE FOR
DECEMBER 14TH BREAKING THE OLD RECORD OF -14 DEGREES SET IN 1901.
THEN ON DECEMBER 15TH...THE TEMPERATURE BOTTOMED OUT AT -19 DEGREES
AT 231 AM.  THIS IS A NEW RECORD LOW TEMPERATURE FOR DECEMBER 15TH
BREAKING THE OLD RECORD OF -6 SET IN 1951. 
...NEW RECORD LOW MAXIMUM TEMPERATURE IN DENVER FOR DECEMBER 15TH...
THE HIGH TEMPERATURE TODAY AT THE DENVER INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT ONLY
MANAGED TO REACH 2 DEGREES. THIS ESTABLISHES A NEW RECORD LOW
MAXIMUM TEMPERATURE FOR DECEMBER 15TH...BREAKING THE OLD RECORD OF
19 DEGREES SET BACK IN 1914.

Puntzi Mountain Airfield (71WPU) north of Vancouver BC reported -39 F this morning after a high temperature yesterday of 0 F.  You can google map this lat/lon to check out the location:  "52.1167 -124.1333"

Dec. 16:
Subzero cold extends from Montana:

...RECORD LOW TEMPERATURES FOR DEC 16 IN NORTH CENTRAL AND
   SOUTHWEST MONTANA...
LOCATION             NEW RECORD       OLD RECORD       YEAR SET
SIMPSON                -39               -30              1971
TOWNSEND               -25               -25              1964
HARLEM                 -35               -34              1897

to northern California where Alturas (KAAT) dropped to -14 F this morning.

The coldest temperature on 16 Dec I noted in western WA and OR was the 9 F reported at both Shelton WA and Corvallis OR.


This morning's -8 F recorded at Pendleton OR broke a daily temperature record which had stood for 117 years.   Denver with -8 F tied a 111 year old record low temperature.   At Burns OR the temperature this evening has already plunged to -18 F after a high of 12 F.


RECORD EVENT REPORT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE PENDLETON OR
1040 AM PST TUE DEC 16 2008
...NEW DAILY RECORD LOW TEMPERATURES FOR DECEMBER 16TH...
NOTE: STATIONS MARKED WITH * INDICATE THAT THE STATION REPORTS ONCE
PER DAY. FOR CONSISTENCY...THESE VALUES ARE CONSIDERED TO HAVE
OCCURRED ON THE DAY THE OBSERVATION WAS TAKEN BUT MAY HAVE ACTUALLY
OCCURRED (ESPECIALLY FOR MAX TEMPERATURE) ON THE PREVIOUS DAY.
STATION                  PREVIOUS        NEW        RECORDS
                         RECORD/YEAR     RECORD     BEGAN
*BEND(CITY), OR          -2 / 1967       -4         1928
*CONDON, OR               5 / 1931       -5         1928
*ELGIN, OR               -8 / 1964      -12         1948
*HERMISTON 2NW, OR       -1 / 1964      -10         1928
*MADRAS 2N, OR           10 / 2005       -4         1952
*MITCHELL, OR             1 / 1964        1 (TIED)  1949
*PENDLETON(CITY), OR     -5 / 1964       -8         1890
*PRINEVILLE, OR           0 / 1967       -4         1928
REDMOND, OR             -10 / 1964      -12         1949 :SINCE MID
*GOLDENDALE, WA          -8 / 1964       -8 (TIED)  1931
RECORD EVENT REPORT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DENVER CO
907 AM MST TUE DEC 16 2008
...111 YEAR OLD DENVER LOW TEMPERATURE RECORD TIED FOR DECEMBER
16TH...
THE LOW TEMPERATURE AT THE DENVER INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT THIS MORNING
BOTTOMED OUT AT -8 DEGREES.  THIS TIES A 111 YEAR OLD DENVER LOW
TEMPERATURE RECORD FOR DECEMBER 16TH.  THIS TIED RECORD WAS
ORIGINALLY SET WAY BACK IN 1897.

Dec. 17:

RECORD EVENT REPORT
 NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE LAS VEGAS NV
 956 PM PST WED DEC 17 2008
 
 ...LAS VEGAS HITS THE JACKPOT FOR SNOW IN DECEMBER...
 
 AS OF 9:50 PM PST TODAY 3.6 INCHES OF SNOW HAS FALLEN AT THE
 NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE OFFICE LOCATED ABOUT 2 MILES SOUTHWEST OF
 MCCARRAN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT. THIS BROKE THE RECORD FOR THE MOST
 SNOW EVER IN THE MONTH OF DECEMBER IN LAS VEGAS SINCE THE START OF
 OFFICIAL RECORDS IN 1937 WHICH IS 2.0 INCHES ON DECEMBER 15TH 1967.
 THIS IS NOW THE 8TH GREATEST SNOWSTORM EVER IN OFFICIAL LAS VEGAS
 WEATHER RECORDS FOR ANY MONTH.
 
 MEASURABLE SNOW HAS ONLY FALLEN ON 4 INSTANCES SINCE 1937 IN THE
 MONTH OF DECEMBER IN LAS VEGAS COUNTING TODAY...2.0 INCHES ON
 DECEMBER 15TH 1967...0.4 INCHES ON DECEMBER 5TH 1972...1.0 INCH ON
 DECEMBER 6TH 1998 AND 1.3 INCHES ON DECEMBER 30TH 2003.
 
 SNOWFALL RECORDS IN LAS VEGAS WERE RECORDED AT MCCARRAN
 INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT THROUGH JANUARY 31ST 1996 AND SINCE FEBRUARY
 1ST 1996 HAVE BEEN KEPT AT THE NWS OFFICE ON DEAN MARTIN ROAD.
 
 PRELIMINARY LOCAL STORM REPORT
 NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE LAS VEGAS NV
 1008 PM PST WED DEC 17 2008
 
 ..TIME...   ...EVENT...      ...CITY LOCATION...     ...LAT.LON...
 ..DATE...   ....MAG....      ..COUNTY LOCATION..ST.. ...SOURCE....
             ..REMARKS..
 
 1000 PM     SNOW             3 SSE HENDERSON         36.00N 114.98W
 12/17/2008  M6.0 INCH        CLARK              NV   TRAINED SPOTTER

The -22 F in Burns OR this morning (17 Dec 2008) appears to be the 3rd coldest December night ever recorded there, where records extend back to 1939.

 


 

Dec. 18:

RECORD REPORT
 NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SPOKANE WA
 1125 AM PST THU DEC 18 2008
 
 ...24-HOUR RECORD SNOWFALL BROKEN FOR COEUR D`ALENE, ID...  
 
 AS OF 730AM...AN ALL TIME 24 HOUR SNOWFALL RECORD OF 25.0 INCHES
 HAS BEEN SET AT THE OFFICIAL NWS OBSERVATION SITE IN COEUR D`ALENE.
 THIS SHATTERS THE PREVIOUS RECORD OF 16.0 INCHES SET ON FEBRUARY 26,
 1955.
RECORD REPORT
 NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SPOKANE WA
 1015 AM PST THU DEC 18 2008
 
 ...24-HOUR RECORD SNOWFALL BROKEN ONCE AGAIN IN SPOKANE...  
 
 LOCATION         SNOWFALL         PREVIOUS RECORD  PERIOD OF
                  (INCHES)         (INCHES)         RECORD
 
 SPOKANE, WA        19.4          13.0 IN 1950     127 YRS SINCE 1881
 
 
 19.4 INCHES OF SNOW HAD FALLEN AT THE SPOKANE AIRPORT OVER THE PAST
 24 HOURS AS OF 10AM. THIS AMOUNT SHATTERED THE OLD RECORD BY 6.3
 INCHES. THIS RECORD MAY BE UPDATED LATER TODAY SINCE SNOW IS
 STILL BEING REPORTED AT THE SPOKANE AIRPORT AS OF 10 AM.

While we're shivering down here, it's break out the shorts time in Alaska:

RECORD EVENT REPORT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BARROW AK

448 PM AKST THU DEC 18 2008
...DAILY HIGH FOR TODAY TIED...

THE DAILY HIGH FOR TODAY OF 29 DEGREES WAS TIED AT 216 PM AKST
THIS AFTERNOON.THE PREVIOUS HIGH OF 29 DEGREES WAS SET IN 1990.
THIS IS THE FOURTH TIME IN THE LAST WEEK THAT A DAILY RECORD WAS
EITHER TIED OR BROKEN.THE AVERAGE DAILY TEMPERATURE FOR THIS
TIME OF DECEMBER IS AROUND 11 DEGREES BELOW ZERO. 

A STRONG HIGH IN CANADA HAS CAUSED LOWS IN THE BERING SEA TO
STALL.  THIS IN TURN HAS RESULTED IN A STRONG FLOW OF WARM AIR
OUT OF THE PACIFIC INTO NORTHERN ALASKA.  TEMPERATURES IN BARROW
HAVE BEEN AVERAGING BETWEEN 10 AND 35 DEGREES ABOVE NORMAL
THIS LAST WEEK.

OTHER DAILY RECORDS BROKEN THIS LAST WEEK WERE... 29 ON THE 13TH
BREAKING THE PREVIOUS RECORD OF 26 SET IN 1932 / 30 ON THE 14TH
BREAKING THE PREVIOUS RECORD OF 28 SET IN 1932 / 26 ON THE 15TH
BREAKING THE PREVIOUS RECORD OF 24 SET IN 1984.

Palm Springs was soaked with 1.58 inches of cold rain in the past 24 hrs, nearly 1/3 of their normal annual precipitation.

Historic December snow in the Las Vegas valley with up to 8 inches in Henderson NV:

The snow has piled up to over 20 inches deep in parts of the Spokane area and it is still snowing this morning:
0724 AM     HEAVY SNOW       3 SSE SPOKANE           47.63N 117.39W
12/18/2008  M22.0 INCH       SPOKANE            WA   NWS EMPLOYEE   

Concrete WA at 375 ft elevation in the Skagit Valley 
reports 21 inches on the ground:
0751 AM     SNOW             2 WSW CONCRETE          48.53N 121.79W
12/18/2008  M21.0 INCH       SKAGIT             WA   TRAINED SPOTTER
            SPOTTER SKAGIT-14...21 INCHES TOTAL SNOW ON THE 
            GROUND...29 DEGREES.

Unusual snowstorm closed freeways around Los Angeles on Wednesday:
 
Dec. 20:

RECORD REPORT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SPOKANE WA
404 PM PST SAT DEC 20 2008
THE LOW TEMPERATURE AT WINTHROP IN THE PAST 24 HOURS ENDING AT 400 PM
WAS -21 DEGREES. THIS SETS THE RECORD FOR THE LOWEST TEMPERATURE
FOR THIS PERIOD. THE PREVIOUS RECORD OF -16 DEGREES WAS SET IN 1924.
RECORDS HAVE BEEN KEPT AT THIS SITE SINCE 1906.

The high temperature today at Princeton BC along the Similkameen River (next valley N of the Methow) was -8 F, after a low this morning of -29 F.

Latest Report from 20N of Republic WA:
Still clear blue skies in far NE Washington, but -20 was the high temp
today.  I'm glad some of our cold air is spilling through snoqualmie and
stevens passes.  Maybe something a bit warmer will replace it.  Temp
went down to -30 this morning.


NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SPOKANE WA
713 AM PST SAT DEC 20 2008
...24-HOUR RECORD LOW TEMPERATURE SET AT RITZVILLE WA...
THE LOW TEMPERATURE AT RITZVILLE IN THE PAST 24 HOURS ENDING AT 600 AM
WAS -6 DEGREES. THIS SETS THE RECORD FOR THE LOWEST TEMPERATURE
FOR THIS PERIOD. THE PREVIOUS RECORD OF -3 DEGREES WAS SET IN 1990.
RECORDS HAVE BEEN KEPT AT THIS SITE SINCE 1899.
*Near the end of the storm late yesterday the area east of Spokane in
Idaho was reporting 26-37 inches of snow on the ground:
0230 PM     HEAVY SNOW       N POST FALLS            47.71N 116.94W
12/18/2008  M29.0 INCH       KOOTENAI           ID   AMATEUR RADIO
0230 PM     HEAVY SNOW       HAUSER                  47.77N 117.01W
12/18/2008  M32.0 INCH       KOOTENAI           ID   AMATEUR RADIO
0230 PM     HEAVY SNOW       RATHDRUM                47.81N 116.89W
12/18/2008  M28.0 INCH       KOOTENAI           ID   AMATEUR RADIO
0230 PM     HEAVY SNOW       COEUR D'ALENE           47.70N 116.79W
12/18/2008  M26.0 INCH       KOOTENAI           ID   AMATEUR RADIO
            COEUR D ALENE AIRPORT.
0230 PM     HEAVY SNOW       ATHOL                   47.95N 116.71W
12/18/2008  M34.0 INCH       KOOTENAI           ID   AMATEUR RADIO
0503 PM     HEAVY SNOW       3 NNW COEUR D'ALENE     47.74N 116.81W
12/18/2008  M37.5 INCH       KOOTENAI           ID   TRAINED SPOTTER
-----

Big Bear Lake NE of Los Angeles reports its greatest December snowpack on record with 54 inches:

...HIGHEST DAILY SNOW DEPTH DURING DECEMBER...
BIG BEAR LAKE          54 INCHES    47 IN 12/17/2008   SINCE 1960
                                             
NOTE...ALL TIME RECORD SNOW DEPTH IS 58 INCHES ON FEB 3 1979.
THE 54 INCHES TIES THE SECOND ALL TIME RECORD FROM FEB 2 AND 4 1979.


Dec. 21:

RECORD REPORT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SPOKANE WA
646 PM PST SUN DEC 21 2008
THE LOW TEMPERATURE AT COLVILLE IN THE PAST 24 HOURS ENDING AT 600 PM
WAS -22 DEGREES. THIS SETS THE RECORD FOR THE LOWEST TEMPERATURE
FOR THIS PERIOD. THE PREVIOUS RECORD OF -14 DEGREES WAS SET IN 1983.
RECORDS HAVE BEEN KEPT AT THIS SITE SINCE 1899.

This news report from yesterday talks about the temperature falling to -57 in Oymyakon, which converts to -71 F, and is the same place currently reporting -72 F:

Dec. 22:

With over a week to go and more snow to come, these sites in eastern Washington and Oregon have already recorded their snowiest December on record:

RECORD EVENT REPORT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE PENDLETON OR
521 PM PST MON DEC 22 2008
...NEW MONTHLY RECORD SNOWFALL TOTALS FOR THE MONTH OF DECEMBER TO
DATE...
STATION                  PREVIOUS        NEW        RECORDS
                         RECORD/YEAR     RECORD     BEGAN
CONDON, OR               26.3 / 2003     38.8       1928
HEPPNER, OR              15.0 / 1983     17.3       1928
PENDLETON AIRPORT, OR    26.6 / 1983     27.4       1934
WHITMAN MISSION, WA      14.8 / 1996     24.2       1962


Dec. 23:
The snowiest city in Canada this morning (23 Dec) seemed to be Victoria BC with 16 inches (41 cm) of snow on the ground:

This is actually Victoria Airport which is located about 15 miles N of downtown Victoria.

Snow fell yet again today (23 Dec 2008) in Las Vegas.  North Dakota reports record December snowfall at both Williston and Bismarck.  The previous record in Bismarck was set in 1916.  Flagstaff AZ is digging out of 9 inches of new snow overnight bringing the total to 22 inches on the ground at the NWS forecast office.


RECORD EVENT REPORT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE LAS VEGAS NV
645 AM PST TUE DEC 23 2008
...YET AGAIN SNOW FALLS IN LAS VEGAS...
AT 640 AM PST...SNOW WAS OBSERVED FALLING AT THE NATIONAL WEATHER
SERVICE OFFICE ON DEAN MARTIN ROAD IN LAS VEGAS. THIS SETS A NEW
RECORD FOR SNOW FOR DECEMBER 23RD. NO SNOW HAS PREVIOUSLY BEEN
RECORDED ON THIS DATE IN LAS VEGAS SINCE THE START OF OFFICIAL
WEATHER RECORDS IN 1937.
A MIX OF RAIN AND SNOW WAS ALSO BRIEFLY REPORTED BY THE ASOS AS WELL
AS SEVERAL AIRPORT PERSONNEL AT MCCARRAN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
SHORTLY AFTER 6 AM PST.
RECORD EVENT REPORT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BISMARCK ND
452 AM CST TUE DEC 23 2008
...RECORD MAXIUMUM MONTLY SNOWFALL SET AT WILLISTON ND...
 A RECORD MAXIUMUM MONTLY SNOWFALL FOR DECEMBCER OF 21.4 INCHES WAS
SET AT WILLISTON ND TODAY. THIS BREAKS THE OLD RECORD OF 21.2 SET IN
1933.
RECORD EVENT REPORT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BISMARCK ND
330 AM CST TUE DEC 23 2008
...RECORD SNOWFALL SET AT BISMARCK...
AT 300 AM CST...BISMARCK HAD RECEIVED 22.4 INCHES OF SNOW FOR THE
MONTH OF DECEMBER. THIS EXCEEDS THE OLD RECORD DECEMBER SNOWFALL OF
21.7 INCHES SET IN 1916.


Dec. 24:

Forecasters are predicting that Canada will have its first coast-to-coast white Christmas since 1971. Heavy snow, winds and freezing temperatures blanketed much of the country as winter made its official debut on Sunday.

Beijing with -8 C yesterday had its coldest December maximum temperature since 1951:

Oymyakon dropped to -76 F overnight with the temperature expected to possibly drop below -80 F in Siberia this week:

Dec. 26:

While cold and snow are moving into Las Vegas and southern AZ, Texas and Oklahoma are basking in record warmth.  Oklahoma City is experiencing the warmest Dec 26 in at least 118 years:

RECORD EVENT REPORT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NORMAN OK
243 PM CDT FRI DEC 26 2008
...NEW RECORD HIGH TEMPERATURE AT OKLAHOMA CITY...
AT 2 PM...WILL ROGERS WORLD AIRPORT IN OKLAHOMA CITY REPORTED A
TEMPERATURE OF 76 DEGREES. THIS ALREADY BREAKS THE RECORD HIGH FOR
DECEMBER 26. THE PREVIOUS RECORD WAS 74 DEGREES...WHICH WAS SET JUST
3 YEARS AGO IN 2005.
IN ADDITION...THE LOW TEMPERATURE THIS MORNING ONLY DIPPED TO 60
DEGREES. THE WARMEST LOW TEMPERATURE FOR DECEMBER 26 IS 56
DEGREES...RECORDED BACK IN 1936. THIS RECORD WILL BE BROKEN IF THE
TEMPERATURE DOES NOT FALL TO 56 BY MIDNIGHT TONIGHT.
WEATHER RECORDS FOR OKLAHOMA CITY DATE BACK TO 1890.