More Harsh Weather In Store For Weston This Winter

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Fairfield County residents are likely in store for more snow this winter, meteorologists say. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, CONN. -- Fairfield County residents will be enjoying warmer temperatures next week, but meteorologists say the frigid winter weather is not yet done.

More snow is expected to hit Saturday and again Monday night going into Tuesday morning, said Mark Pacquette, a long-range forecaster for Accuweather.com. There will then be sunshine and above average temperatures Tuesday through the weekend.

“The bad news is, it’s not going to last forever,” Pacquette said.

In late February, a cold front will come in, lowering temperatures through the beginning of March and possibly longer. Storms could come up the coast, possibly leading to more snow next month, Pacquette said.

“I expect that we will see more snow,” said Bill Jacquemin, president of the Connecticut Weather Center in Danbury. “Even though there could be a relaxation in the harsh winter weather, I do not think we can say spring is around the corner.”

The constant snowstorms make it feel like a harsher winter than usual, but snowfall totals for Connecticut are actually normal this year.

"No, it's not historic, not by any stretch of the imagination," said Gary Lessor, assistant to the director of meteorological studies and the Weather Center at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury.

"It feels bad because it's been so long since we've had a true winter," he said. The last "true winter" for Connecticut came a generation ago.

For comparison, the worst winter on record for Connecticut came in 1995-96, when 75.7 inches of snow fell in Bridgeport and 115.2 inches fell at Bradley Airport, the official National Weather Service recording spots.

This winter, Bridgeport has seen about 50 inches of snow, with a bit more to be added in from Thursday's storm.

“This year would be in the Top 10, but not in the Top 5 …yet,” Jacquemin said.

Winter is about 75 percent done, Lessor said. This winter has felt particularly harsh because it has been unrelenting between the snow and the cold. "We've gone from subzero to a snowstorm back to subzero. We have not had a break from winter."

Residents suffering from cabin fever should get out next week and enjoy the warm weather, Pacquette said. But he warned that the warmer temperatures will melt the snow, leading to lots of mud and potential flooding issues.

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BClintons Johnson:

11 Facts About Global Warming

1. Global warming is the increase of Earth's average surface temperature due to greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels or from deforestation, which trap heat that would otherwise escape from Earth.
2. Greenhouse gases keep heat close to the earth’s surface making it livable for humans and animals. However, global warming is happening largely to an over-emittance of these gases and fossil fuels (natural oil, gasoline, coal).
3. With the start of industry in the 1700s, humans began emitting more fossil fuels from coal, oil, and gas to run our cars, trucks, and factories. By driving a “smarter” car, you can not only save on gas, but help prevent global warming.
4. There is more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere today than at any point in the last 800,000 years.
5. In total, the U.S. emits approximately 6 billion tons of carbon dioxide every year. 40 percent of that comes from power plant emissions alone.
6. The NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) proposed the Clean Air Act to cut power plant emissions by 26 percent in the next 7 years.
7. In the last century, sea levels rose roughly 7 inches after not having changed noticeably in the previous 2,000 years. Sea levels rising are an effect of global warming and put many states at risk of existing in the near future.
8. Consequences of global warming include drought, severe hurricanes, massive fires, and melting of the polar caps.
9. Heat waves caused by global warming present greater risk of heat-related illness and death, most frequently among patients of diabetes who are elderly or very young.
10. According to the U.S. Global Change Research Program, the temperature in the U.S. has increased by 2 degrees in the last 50 years and precipitation by 5 percent.
11. Global warming puts coral reefs in danger as warmer water increases the possibility of coral diseases and the rising sea levels makes it more difficult for coral to receive adequate sunlight..

BClintons Johnson:

Can global warming be real if it’s cold in the U.S.? Um… yes!
It's quite cold across much of the United States right now, thanks to the dread "polar vortex." Bitterly cold. Horrifically cold!

So what does this tell us about global warming? Not very much. Sorry. A single cold snap in the U.S. doesn't disprove global warming any more than the record heat waves currently hitting Australia prove that it's happening. But since a lot of people — like Donald Trump — seem confused on this point, it's worth recapping a few basics:

1) Global warming refers to the whole planet, not just the United States. The term "global warming" typically refers to the rise in the average temperature of Earth's climate system since the late 19th century, as well as predictions for future warming. A key bit there is "Earth's average temperature." It can be very cold in one part of the world and very hot in another at the exact same time. (Sometimes the exact same weather event can do both: The jet stream is currently making some parts of the U.S. unusually hot and some parts unusually cold.)

What we're interested in is whether the global average is changing over a longer period. That's impossible to judge from a single point in time in a small area — the continental United States is less than 2 percent of the Earth's surface.

2) For example: December 2013 was an unusually warm month even though it was colder in the U.S. So let's take this past December as an example. North America was colder than the average over the past decade. But Europe and Russia were much hotter than average. India was cooler than average. Australia was warmer than average. And so on:

BClintons Johnson:

Why Global Warming Can Mean Harsher Winter Weather

Dear EarthTalk: Don’t all these huge snow and ice storms across the country mean that the globe isn’t really warming? I've never seen such a winter!
-- Mark Franklin, Helena, MT

On the surface it certainly can appear that way. But just because some of us are suffering through a particularly cold and snowy winter doesn’t refute the fact that the globe is warming as we continue to pump carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the 10 warmest years on record have occurred since 1997. And the National Atmospheric and Oceanographic Administration (NOAA) reports that recent decades have been the warmest since at least around 1000 AD, and that the warming we’ve seen since the late 19th century is unprecedented over the last 1,000 years.

“You can’t tell much about the climate or where it’s headed by focusing on a particularly frigid day, or season, or year, even,” writes Eoin O’Carroll of the Christian Science Monitor. “It’s all in the long-term trends,” concurs Dr. Gavin Schmidt, a climatologist at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

Most scientists agree that we need to differentiate between weather and climate. The NOAA defines climate as the average of weather over at least a 30-year period. So periodic aberrations—like the harsh winter storms ravaging the Southeast and other parts of the country this winter—do not call the science of human-induced global warming into question.

The flip side of the question, of course, is whether global warming is at least partly to blame for especially harsh winter weather. As we pointed out in a recent EarthTalk column, warmer temperatures in the winter of 2006 caused Lake Erie to not freeze for the first time in its history. This actually led to increased snowfalls because more evaporating water from the lake was available for precipitation.

But while more extreme weather events of all kinds—from snowstorms to hurricanes to droughts—are likely side effects of a climate in transition, most scientists maintain that any year-to-year variation in weather cannot be linked directly to either a warming or cooling climate.

Even most global warming skeptics agree that a specific cold snap or freak storm doesn’t have any bearing on whether or not the climate problem is real. One such skeptic, Jimmy Hogan of the Rational Environmentalist website writes, “If we are throwing out anecdotal evidence that refutes global warming we must at the same time throw out anecdotal evidence that supports it.” He cites environmental groups holding up Hurricane Katrina as proof of global warming as one example of the latter

BClintons Johnson:

Actually, this cold weather can be linked to global warming

This week's brutal "polar vortex" resembles other instances of bizarre winter climate patterns, experts say

While the ongoing cold snap is breaking records from Minnesota to Florida, it will not go down in history as the most significant Arctic outbreak in U.S. history, not even by a longshot. Scientists said the deep freeze gripping the U.S. does not indicate a halt or reversal in global warming trends, either. In fact, it may be a counterintuitive example of global warming in action.

Researchers told Climate Central that the weather pattern driving the extreme cold into the U.S. — with a weaker polar vortex moving around the Arctic like a slowing spinning top, eventually falling over and blowing open the door to the Arctic freezer — fits with other recently observed instances of unusual fall and wintertime jet stream configurations.

Such weather patterns, which can feature relatively mild conditions in the Arctic at the same time dangerously cold conditions exist in vast parts of the lower 48, may be tied to the rapid warming and loss of sea ice in the Arctic due, in part, to manmade climate change.

Arctic warming is altering the heat balance between the North Pole and the equator, which is what drives the strong current of upper level winds in the northern hemisphere commonly known as the jet stream. Some studies show that if that balance is altered then some types of extreme weather events become more likely to occur.

During the past week, while much of North America has seen frigid temperatures, weather maps show a strip of orange and red hues, indicating above-average temperatures, across parts of the Arctic, Scandinavia, Europe and Asia.

The forecast high temperature in Fairbanks, Alaska, on Monday was in the 20s Fahrenheit — warmer than many locations in Georgia and Alabama. That fits in with the so-called “Arctic Paradox” or “Warm Arctic, Cold Continents” pattern that researchers first identified several years ago. Such patterns bring comparatively mild conditions to the Arctic while places far to the south are thrown into a deep freeze.

gardenmom:

It is hard to believe that there are those among us who don't realize global warming is a fact. We've really done considerable damage to our planet with our steady diet of fossil fuels.

Right Wing Insanity:

Gardenmom
You are so right.. It seems the only ones that fail to see global warming as a fact are the uneducated right wingers

BigWllly:

I can't believe that anyone is debating that the fact of global warming is a fact

Dlrty Duck:

Global Warming Causing Harsher Winters
Millions of people in America and northern Europe are still battling snow and ice, wondering why they are being punished with bitter cold when -- officially -- spring has arrived and Earth is in the grip of global warming.

Yet some scientists, eyeing the fourth year in a row of exceptionally harsh late-winter weather in parts of Europe and North America, suggest warming is precisely the problem.

In a complex tango between ocean and atmosphere, warming is causing icy polar air to be displaced southwards, they contend.

"The linkage is becoming clearer and clearer, I think, although the science has not yet been settled," said Dim Coumou of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) near Berlin.

The theory derives from a long-studied Arctic phenomenon called a positive feedback -- in plain words, a vicious circle.

Rising temperatures are melting the Arctic's floating cap of sea ice, especially in summer.

In 1979, when satellite measurements began, summer ice covered some seven million square kilometres (2.7 million square miles), roughly equivalent to 90 percent the area of Australia.

In September 2012, summer ice hit its lowest extent on record, at just 3.4 million sq. kms (1.31 million sq. miles).

Take away reflective ice, and you have a dark sea that absorbs solar radiation, which in turn reinforces the melting, and so on.

But the theory suggests the added heat, stored over a vast area of surface water, is also gradually released into the atmosphere during the Arctic autumn.

It increases air pressure and moisture in the Arctic, reducing the temperature differential with lower latitudes.

Here's what happens next: The polar vortex, a powerful circular wind that essentially pens Arctic air to the roof of the world, begins to weaken.

Finding itself released, a mass of moist cold air spills southward, bringing snow and chill down into North America and Europe.

And it tends to stay there, because of what happens to the jet stream.

Instead of encircling the northern hemisphere in a sturdy and predictable fashion, this high-altitude wind takes a lazy looping path, zigzagging over the United States, the Atlantic and Europe. The southern parts of the loops get a bout of cold weather that becomes stalled in place.

BClintons Johnson:

Dirty Duck
Your post is correct. Now I understand

Robby.Rob:

Excellent fact filled post Dirty Duck

norealIy:

Its the uneducated that don't understand that harsh winters are actually caused by global warming.

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