Chicago has been having some fairly remarkable weather lately, even by their standards. On the 25th of January there was more than an inch of snowfall recorded for the first time in 335 days, a new record. Then a surge of warm air from the south brought a temperature of 63 degrees at O'Hare airport on January 29th, a new record for that date, exactly one week after a temperature of 9 degrees was recorded (which, combined with the 35mph winds on that date, produced a windchill factor of about -20f). The current forecast (at time of posting this) calls for a high of only 14f on Friday (Feb. 1st), another significant temperature swing within a few days.
Ninety years ago today, the all-time weather temperature record (58° C, 136.4° F) was recorded at Al Azizia, Libya. Today, that record has been officially thrown out following research by extreme weather specialist, Christopher Burt. The video of how it all un-happened. [more inside]
When a TV meteorologist says "temperatures will be ten degrees above normal", the word "normal" has a specific meaning. Every 10 years NOAA re-calculates the "normal" temps for the USA based on the prior 30-year averages. The new normals have just been released, based on the 30 year period 1980-2010. Hotter is the new normal. With hotter weather comes more extreme weather. Extreme Weather and Climate Change, 3-part series from Scientific America .. and map of extreme weather events 1995-present.
Texas is burning. Despite it being only April, due to severe drought conditions, over 1.8 million acres have already burned throughout the state, which could soon surpass the two million acre record set in 2006. Here are the 10 largest current wildfires as seen from orbit. [more inside]