Monthly Low Temperature Records Fall Across Western U.S.
2023 is off to abnormally cold starts across much of the U.S. — cold that is extending into its fourth month.
“There’s no way this winter could be considered average or something to expect by any means of the spectrum,” said Monica Traphagan, lead NWS meteorologist. “Most likely, it’s going to always be an outlier of things…”
NWS data reveal that Salt Lake City–for example–held at 6.4F below normal through March. That chill meant more valley snow instead of rain, with totals blowing away all valley and mountain expectations alike — a theme that has now extended into April.
Below is a snapshot of just a handful of the felled low temperature records from yesterday, April 5.
A myriad of new daily low temperature benchmarks were set, but monthly records have also been felled, at least 12 of them — across southern California, Utah, Colorado, Oregon, and Arizona (not all visible in the snapshot below).
The historic cold crossed the northern border, too — into Canada.
Saskatchewan–for example–broke seven low temperature records on Wednesday. These include the Elbow Area’s 23C, which broke the old record of -22C set in 1979; the Leader Area’s -25.1C, which smashed the previous benchmark of -19.4C from 1975; and the Rosetown Area’s -26.2C, which usurped the old record of -24.5C set in 1982 (in books dating back to 1913).
Looking ahead, more of the same is on the cards for the North American continent as the chill of solar minimum persists:
April Blizzards Break Historical Benchmarks
Accompanying the record cold has been historic April snow.
Casper, Wyoming broke a 40-year-old snowfall record this week.
The 26 inches that accumulated busted the previous record 24.2 inches set back in 1982, according to the NWS data.
As well-documented, all-time snowfall records have been slain left and right across the higher elevations of California and Utah et al., but this week’s storms are also helping valley communities experience their snowiest snow seasons in decades, often ever.
Salt Lake City–for example–reached 14.5 inches of snow over the first four days of April — the most snow in April since 1984 (solar minimum of cycle 21). It also catapulted the city’s snowfall total this season up to 87 inches — the first time 80 inches has been surpassed since 1996 (solar minimum of cycle 22).
Snowplows In Hawaii
Plows are working on Hawaii’s Big Island, removing snow that continues to fall atop Mauna Kea.
An April snowstorm dropped several inches this week, forcing officials to close a number of roads.
“The access road to the summit of Maunakea is CLOSED to the public at the Visitor Information Station at an elevation of 9,200 feet due to snowy conditions, below-freezing temperatures, high humidity, and wet roadways that will likely develop into icy conditions,” wrote Mauna Kea Rangers in recent update.
More snow is on the way; as a result, the NWS in Honolulu has extended a Winter Weather Advisory.
April Cold Records Slain Across Europe
Europe’s return to winter is biting hard.
For the fourth year in a row now, harsh April frosts have been tearing across the continent’s growing regions.
Taking Spain, a string of low temperature records for the month were taken out Wednesday, including the -4.5C (23.9F) Vitoria and the exceptional -6.6C (20.1F) in Burgos – never before has Spain been so cold in April.
The low elevations of Poland were also shivering, posting a low of -7C (19.4F); Italy saw -4.9C (23.3F); France, too, felled long-standing records; while in Austria, all–that’s 100%–of the country’s stations fell below 0C (32F) on Wednesday — the first time that’s happened in April since 2003.
Incredibly, meteorologists are calling for colder temperatures today (Thursday). And looking further ahead--admittedly into the unreliable time frame–latest GFS runs foresee a potentially disruptive Arctic Outbreak descending into the continent April 19, which, if it were to play out, would cause untold headaches for Europe’s farmers, and the lighting of many a ‘frost fire’.
Stay tuned for updates.
Deadly Indian Avalanche
At least seven people have died and many more are trapped after a major avalanche struck in the Indian state of Sikkim.
Following a season of heavy snow, which included a bitterly cold March, a string of deadly avalanches are now hitting India’s higher elevations. The latest hit near a road that connects Gangtok to the Nathu La pass and the nearby Changu lake, which, according to statement released by the Indian army, buried six vehicles carrying up to 30 tourists.
“By 3 p.m., 14 persons were rescued and taken to nearby Army medical facility. However, seven persons succumbed. The other seven persons were administered first aid and returned to Gangtok,” read continued the army’ ‘s statement.
In total, 380 stranded tourists and some 85 vehicles were rescued from the scene.