As we continue to shovel 6" of partly cloudy off our lawns, we found a place where winter is in full force: Norway!
OK, that's akin to a Seattleite saying "Hey, guess what I found on my street corner? You'll never believe it! It's... an espresso stand!" But it's been rather wintry there even by their hearty standards.
According to resident Francesco Pausata, who used to live in Seattle but now lives in Bergen along Norway's western shores, 2010 has been the longest winter on record -- at least as far as snow cover is concerned.
The city has had snow on the ground every day since Dec. 18, 2009 -- 77 days (and counting) and shattering the record of 62 days. (While a 62-day snowy ground streak might seem short for Norway, Bergen has a little milder climate thanks to being near the water, with average highs in winter around 38 degrees F.)
How can it be so snowy? Persistent cold air. Pausata says the average temperature for January was 25.5F -- 9 degrees below normal. (Compare to Seattle's 47.0 -- a full 7 degrees above normal) and February has been nearly as cold -- a full 6 degrees F below normal. (Seattle? +3.5F) So you can see how there are correlations in global patterns when one spot is stuck in a big warm rut, there's likely another spot that's stuck in a cold rut.
But Francesco says the winter has actually been quite sunny overall -- there have been just 24 days since Dec. 18 where they city experienced measurable snow, but there have been 6 major storms with 4"+ of accumulation sprinkled in amidst the sunny streaks
They are within shouting distance of breaking their record for most snow on the ground at any one point, which stands at 75 cm (29.5"), they got as close as 65 cm but are now at 55 cm (21.6") he says, with another snow event coming later this week, but Francesco says they don't think this storm will be enough to break it.
Those of you longing for snow, he sent some beautiful photos of the city decked out in white. I've pasted some others below. While we certainly don't see anything like this in the Seattle area anytime soon, at least the mountains should start getting a fresher coat next week as some colder air moves in. Maybe that means Norwegians will finally get to thaw out :)