Record Cold and Snow Grip Western U.S.
A severe Arctic outbreak descending deep into the CONUS has delivered record-breaking lows to the Pacific Northwest and unprecedented December snows to the mountains of California and Nevada — freezing air and binding snow continues to close highways, delay flights, and shut state offices across multiple states.
Emergency warming shelters were opened throughout Oregon and western Washington, among other places, as polar cold drove the mercury down into the teens–and beyond, with forecasters warning the blast could have more than week left to run.
The holiday snow blew into the Pacific Northwest from the Gulf of Alaska, dumping 6 inches (15.2cm) across the Seattle area.
More than a foot (30+cm) was reported near Port Angeles across the Puget Sound on the Olympic Peninsula.
Portland, Oregon, also received unusually large accumulations, forcing state officials to declare an emergency. In Multnomah County –home to Portland– six severe weather shelters are open with plans to open additional sites. Seattle city leaders also opened at least six severe weather shelters starting Saturday through at least Wednesday.
“They’re talking right now like it’s going to be, you know, four or five days before we get above freezing again,” said Keith Hughes, of West Seattle American Legion Hall Post 160, where a warming center was set up. “This is not a short event.”
Among the many low temperature records set over the past few days, NW Seattle’s 22F (-5.6C) on Dec 26 broke the city’s previous record from way back in 1924, according to the National Weather Service; while nearby Bellingham’s 9F (-12.8C) was a full three degrees colder than its previous record from 1971:
Record lows were also recorded in Ketchikan, Alaska over the Christmas weekend, according to Ben Linstid, a meteorologist with the NWS in Juneau: “Zero degrees (-17.8C) was the new record set on both days … the old records were 6F (-14.4C) in 1964 on Saturday, and 5F (-15C) all the way back in 1917 on Sunday,” Linstid told krbd.org, adding that even colder temperatures are expected by the new year.
Returning to the CONUS, unprecedented snows over the mountains of California and Nevada closed key highways.
At Donner Pass in the Sierra, officials with the University of California, Berkeley’s Central Sierra Snow Laboratory, said Monday that recent snowfall has smashed the snowiest December record of 179 inches set back in 1970.
The record is now 193.7 inches (almost 5 meters), with yet more snow on the cards:
The Northstar California Resort in Truckee closed its mountain operations on Monday amid blizzard conditions. The ski resort has received more than 6 feet (almost 2 meters) of snow over the last 48 hours, according to the resort on Facebook:
Despite AGW Party claims of a never-ending CO2-induced drought, the snowpack in the Sierra is now standing at between 145% and 161% of normal across the range, according the state Department of Water Resources on Monday, with more snow –as well as widespread record-breaking cold– expected as we enter 2022:
Canada Suffers First -50C (-58F) In December Since 1998
Environment Canada has said all of Alberta and most of British Columbia and Saskatchewan, along with parts of Manitoba and Ontario, have been placed under extreme cold weather warnings.
The wind chill is ranging between -40C and -55C (-40F and -67F) in Edmonton and Calgary, the agency said — many of the ski hills in and around Edmonton and Calgary, as well as in the Rocky Mountains, have been closed due to the extreme cold.
Environment Canada said brutal Arctic air remains entrenched over western and central Saskatchewan, with extreme cold expected to persist into next week.
Historic lows have been registered in multiple locales, including in both Rabbit Kettle and Deadmen Valley, NT, where sub -50C readings were logged–the first time Canada has suffered temps below the -50C mark in December since 1998:
Many cities in Western Canada have already opened emergency shelters and warming centers, including Vancouver. While in Edmonton, officials there have suspended non-essential snow clearing due to the extreme cold, noting that it was too risky.
Historic Snowfall Hits Western Japan…
Heavy snow continued to hit locales along the Sea of Japan coast on Monday, with many vehicles stranded, air and railway traffic disrupted and many cities in western Japan registering record snowfall.
Hikone in Shiga Prefecture received 68cm (2.23ft), while Asago in Hyogo Prefecture saw 71cm (2.33ft) in a 24-hour period through early Monday — both are the highest-ever accumulations in Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) record books, which date back to 1893.
“It has been a while since I’ve seen this much snow,” said one local.
The JMA warned that heavy snowfall as well as icy roads and high waves could continue throughout the week, and also cautioned against possible lightning and strong wind gusts due to extremely unstable atmospheric conditions.
Elsewhere, and as reported by Sayaka Mori on Twitter (see below), snow totals hit 213cm (7ft) in Sukayu, while all-time December snow records also fell in Obama, Noheji, Maizuru and Chizu.
They were also measuring accumulations in meters across the cities of Kyoto, Nagoya and Hiroshima, reports kyodonews.net.
Traffic jams due to record-busting wintry weather have been noted up and down Japan, and have stranded many people in the snow, including one man in Toyosato: “I have not moved for four hours,” he lamented.
Other jams, including one on a section of the National Route 8 in Hikone, stretched further still — to some 2km (1.24 miles):
Flights in and out of the Sea of Japan coastline and the northern island of Hokkaido were also canceled, continues the kyodonews.net article, with train services also disrupted.
…and South Korea
Extreme cold and heavy snowfall has also been hitting large parts of Korea, where temperatures have dropped to as low as -25.4C (-13.7F) in some regions, namely in Cheorwon, Gangwon Province.
The mercury began falling Saturday, and by Sunday, the city of Seoul registered -16C (3.2F) — the capital’s coldest December temperature in 41 years (since the -16.2C (-2.8F) set back on Dec 29, 1980).
The Korea Meteorological Administration issued cold wave alerts across the majority of the over the weekend.
Swathes of Korea were also blanketed by heavy snowfall. On Saturday, Gangwon Province received 55.9cm. While Hallasan, on Jeju Island, experienced a rare 16.6cm (6.5 inches), which closed the runway at Jeju International Airport Sunday morning.
The COLD TIMES are returning, the mid-latitudes are REFREEZING in line with historically low solar activity, cloud-nucleating Cosmic Rays, and a meridional jet stream flow (among many other forcings, including the impending release of the Beaufort Gyre).
Prepare accordingly — learn the facts, relocate if need be and grow your own.
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