South Africa Endures Record-Breaking Polar Blast; September Snow Clips Colorado Peaks; Las Leñas, Argentina Receives 3.3 Feet In 24hrs; Cool Month For New Caledonia; + Surprise CME

South Africa Enduring Record-Breaking Polar Blast

“Snow, snow and more snow in large parts of South Africa!”, reads a recent The South African headline.

“Snow doesn’t fall every day and South Africans are certainly feeling the cold as temperatures continue to plunge across the country,” reads the article’s opening lines.

The South African Weather Service (SAWS) has issued snowfall warnings across many regions, namely for dangerous road conditions. Snow has been reported in the Northern Cape, Western Cape, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal mountain ranges.

Sutherland is one Northern Cape locale dealing with ‘heavy, low-level snow’, so reports

While in the Western Cape, low-lying areas such as Swellendam, Greyont, Barrydale, George, and Matroosberg Reserve are also copping anomalous spring conditions.

The SA government has advised Mzansi to “be more cautious” in these unusually treacherous conditions.

“It will be an icy cold morning as the front is moving in,” so said VoxWeather’s Annette Botha.

GFS 2m Temperature Anomalies (C) Sept 12 [].

The cold is forecast to extend throughout the week, according to SAWS meteorologist Ishmael Moyo — a second cold front is expected to crash into the south of the country, one that could see thermometers drop to -5C (23F).

September Snow Clips Colorado Peaks

Following a September cold wave that swept through the state, a string of Colorado peaks–mostly above 10,000ft–have picked up their first measurable snow of the season.

Pikes Peak opened the week with measurable, early-September snow — unusually high accumulations for the time of year, in fact, which saw workers forced into a little early-season shoveling.

Trail Ridge road, located farther north, also copped a dusting of ice and snow.

While roads at Rainbow Curve and Milner Pass had to be temporarily closed due to inclement conditions.

Las Leñas, Argentina Receives 3.3 Feet In 24hrs

In just 24 hours, at least 1 meter (3.3 feet) of snow has pounded the Argentinian resort of Las Leñas.

I say ‘at least’ because the exact totals from the monstrous 24-hour storm cycle have yet to be confirmed because it’s been too treacherous–the snow has been too deep–for staff to step outside and measure it.

What is known, however–as reported by–is that the avalanche danger in Las Leñas is “extreme, with the probability of a slide considered to be certain”. For safety, a number of Las Leñas’ slopes were closed Monday and Tuesday.

The plan moving forward is for ski patrol crews to mitigate the avalanche risk as the snow stabilizes.

This impressive dumping comes barely two weeks after Las Leñas was hit by a “mega storm” which delivered 12 feet of snow in 4 days to the mountain’s mid station. “This will certainly a storm to remember,” stated Snow Brains at the time.

Cool Month For New Caledonia

August 2023 in New Caledonia finished with an average temperature of 19.6C (67.3F), which is a substantial 0.9C below the multidecadal norm.

August continued the South Pacific island chain’s cool 2023 which, thus far, has delivered record low temperatures in July and a string of colder-than-average months, including an anomalous March of –0.3C.

Surprise CME

An unexpected coronal mass ejection (CME) walloped Earth’s magnetic field on Sept 12 (12:37 UT), sparking a G2-class geomagnetic storm:

Bright auroras danced around the Arctic Circle.

Skies over Iceland–for example–were illuminated by dramatics swirls of red and green.

“It was a wonderful night with more Northern Lights than I expected,” said photographer Jónína Óskarsdóttir, who needed only a 5-second exposure to fill her camera’s frame with uninterrupted color:

Jónína Óskarsdóttir, Sept 13, Fáskrúðsfjörður, Iceland.

As the night progressed, and as the storm was subsiding, Dan Bush in Albany, Missouri, captured the faint red afterglow.

“The display was brief, but detectable by my camera,” said Bush.

“Our latitude here is +40.2N.”

Dan Bush, Sept 12, Albany, Missouri

But where did the CME come from?

Dr Tony Phillips of postulates that it likely originated one of the many CMEs to lescape the sun on Sept 8:

Activity on the Sun has stepped up in recent days. The solar disk is currently sending so many CMEs flying in so many directions that it can be hard for analysts to disentangle the overlapping storm clouds.

It is probable, contends Dr Phillips, that in the chaotic activity of Sept 8, an Earth-directed CME was missed.

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