Deadly Avalanche Hits France
Recent spring snow over Europe’s higher elevations has triggered many a deadly avalanche, from Norway to Italy.
Over the weekend, an avalanche near Mount Blanc in southeastern France killed six people — two mountain guides and four tourists. The cascading snow hit the Armancette glacier and covered an area of 1,000 meters by 500 meters.
Helicopters were dispatched to the scene, but rescue efforts were hindered by the threat of further avalanches.
Anchorage Breaks April Snow Record
It’s not just the Lower 48 that’s receiving a snowy pounding this season — Alaska is, too.
Additional rounds of snow were dumped on south-central Alaska this past weekend, with almost 10 inches (25.4 cm) settling in the Anchorage area. That drove this year’s winter total above 100 inches (2.54 m) — a record so late into the season.
National Weather Service meteorologist Brian Brettschneider confirmed the record snowpack.
“Even before [the weekend] we were already at record snow depth for this late in the season … a monthly record. So we’ve never had this much snow on the ground anytime in the month of April, much less, you know, a third of the way through the month,” said Brettschneider.
The cold is also proving noteworthy.
“Typically, April snow occurs right around the freezing mark. And so it’s usually pretty wet, sloppy snow. This snow that Anchorage received the last few days occurred mostly with temperatures in the teens,” Brettschneider continued.
“This is really a historic cold snap. Nome recorded their lowest April temperature on record, in any year. Kotzebue has set four or five record daily lows. McGrath has, too. Bethel, King Salmon and Anchorage have set record low high temperature, so coldest high temperatures — and day after day.
“It’s been really remarkable the intensity and the duration. For some of these locations, this is the coldest start to any April on record. And these are some long periods of record.”
Looking ahead, Brettschneider isn’t expecting a warm-up anytime soon.
“We’re going to be cooler than normal really for the foreseeable future. And given that it’s April 10, and we’re expecting cool weather for the next few weeks, I would be surprised if we don’t have snow on the ground as late as say April 24-25. And if things come together just right, if there’s maybe some new snow or it’s even colder than expected, we could run out to the end of April potentially.”
March Across The U.S. Was -2.91F Below Average
March 2023 across the United States (Lower 48) held exceptionally cold.
The CONUS finished with an average temperature of 40.66F — a substantial 2.91F below the multidecadal norm. It was extremely cold in the West, according to NOAA data, which comfortably offset any anomalous warmth to the East.
Not only has it been holding unusually cold, but NOAA’s latest monthly climate report also states that during the first quarter of 2023, “the U.S. did not incur any billion-dollar weather and climate disasters.” This must be doubly-frustrating for the AGW Party: ‘disasters’ are a key metric by which the ‘global warming ambulance chasers’ measure the ‘climate crisis’ (as they are able to willfully ignore that expansion/development and indeed inflation play the major roles in such measurements, not CO2 emissions — which makes the lack of disasters even more noteworthy).
America’s record cold has now extended into April, too.
NOAA’s climate data tools reveal that during the first 5 days of April (the latest data point), the U.S. set a total of 186 new monthly low temperature records vs. just the 3 for record warmth. Moreover, during the year-to-date (also to April 5), the country busted 15 all-time low temperature records vs. the big fat zero for heat.
This lingering chill, this ‘year without a spring’ is now impacting crop progress.
Sugarbeet planting–for example–across the northern tier of the U.S. will be delayed in 2023, as fields remained snow covered. But exactly how delayed will depend on how quickly the snow melts, whether more falls in the next couple of weeks and if spring rain exacerbates the wet conditions.
After a historically cold and snowy March–which resulted in more snow on the ground at the end of the month than at the beginning–temperatures have held below average through the first third of April, and all. This has kept the snow firmly in the fields, which is still holding at between a few inches to several feet in depth.
Mike Metzger, vice president of agriculture and research at Minn-Dak Farmers Co-op in Wahpeton said he has “absolutely no clue” when sugarbeet seeds will be going into the ground this year. Metzger said some fields in the cooperative’s growing area still were covered by 2 feet of snow. With May 12 being the cut-off sowing date for optimal yields, things are looking tight.
Further north, farmers who grow sugarbeets for American Crystal Sugar Co. typically get started between April 11, said Joe Hastings, the cooperative’s general agronomist. The average long-term planting date is May 5. After that, yield loss begins to occur.
While at Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Co-op in Renville it looks highly unlikely that farmers will get into the field by April 25 — the average planting date there. “We will probably get into the ground early May,” said Tom Geselius, Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Co-op vice president of agriculture, meaning significant losses are probable.
In the northwestern United States, the sugarbeet areas of Idaho, as in North Dakota and Minnesota, were extremely cold, and record amounts of March snow clipped the state. Growers for Amalgamated Sugar Co., based in Boise, Idaho, had barely planted 1,000 acres as of April 6, 2023. They typically have 20,000 acres in by now, pointed out Jessica Anderson. Amalgamated Sugar public affairs manager: “We’re probably a week to 10 days behind schedule,” she said. “The soil temperature is not where we need it to be.”
Doug Evans, Snake River Sugarbeet Growers Association president, paints a similarly concerning picture: “We had an unusually cold winter, and it stayed cold a lot longer than it normally does,” he said.
These initial reports have seen the USDA peg its total 2023 U.S. sugarbeet acreage at 1.1 million — 4% less than in 2022. That number would be the lowest acreage since 2008 (solar minimum of cycle 23). But the USDA’s job is steady markets, not necessarily impart the truth — i.e., expect further reductions in the coming weeks and months.
Looking at individual states, the concerning numbers are more apparent: This year, North Dakota sugarbeet acreage is estimated at 214,000 acres, down 37,000 or 15% from 2022. With Montana pegged at 24,000, which is 29% down from last year.
Dismal USDA Crop Planting Report
The concern isn’t just with sugarbeets, of course — we can survive without beets; corn and wheat, on the other hand…
In this week’s Crop Progress & Condition report, USDA shows cold and snowy conditions are hampering the nationwide planting progress of corn, cotton, sorghum, and wheat–to name just four–with almost all of America’s key growing regions negatively impacted.
Corn planting progress nationwide is at a scant 3% complete, up just 1% from last week, with the USDA attributing the lower than expected numbers (market expectations called for 5%) to the same old story of “cold temperatures and snow cover.”
Grain sorghum planting remains stuck at 13% complete across the U.S., unchanged from last week.
By now, U.S. farmers would typically have 15% of their crop put in the ground. Texas has 48% in, which is below the norm and barely a 2% increase from a week ago. None of the other Plains states have been able to start planting yet.
The USDA also delivered its first spring wheat planting this week.
What it shows is that only 1% of the nation’s crop has been seeded, which compares to the five-year average of 4% by this time.
The leader is Washington state with 11% planted; however, that is well-behind its five-year average of 33%.
Idaho is reporting only 2% of its acres are planted.
And astonishingly, even a third of the way into April, no other major producing states are report any progress yet, not a jot, due to cold, wet soils and lingering snow cover which is preventing any fieldwork.
Taking a look at the condition of winter wheat, concerns are rife here, too.
The nationwide ‘good to excellent’ ratings lost another percentage point this week, taking them down to just 27% and equaling the lowest rating for this date on record set in 1996 (solar minimum of cycle 22).
The nationwide ‘poor to very poor’ rating came in at 37%, meaning over a third of the entire U.S. winter wheat crop is failing.
Kansas wheat has the worst rating of the Plains states with only 13% making the good to excellent grade.
Expect further price hikes and shortages later in the year.
For me and my family here in Central Portugal, our own corn and sorghum are now in the ground (a third of an acre for each). Soil temperatures climbed significantly in recent days which allowed me to get the seed in. However, the threat of a surprise spring frost has now crept up out of nowhere, with the forecast calling for air temperatures close to the freezing mark overnight Wednesday. Hopefully my tender shoots can survive. I’ll keep you posted.
Also, our three little piglets have arrived well and healthy. Kunekunes do indeed ‘root’, despite internet claims to the contrary, which is exactly what we were looking for.