Friday, January 16, 2009

Epic Freeze

The evening of Friday, December 12, 2008 was the beginning of the coldest period of time I remember here in Seattle. While attending a performance at Kent Meridian High School the temperatures dropped and it snowed a couple of inches in an hour’s time. In most of the country, people wouldn’t think much of seeing snow in December, but this is Seattle. We don’t get much snow around here and usually not while it’s still technically Fall.

What made this weather even more unusual was that it was cold, really cold. For us to get snow we need moisture in the air, which usually comes to the region via southern air currents. Cold weather comes from the arctic, but that air is almost always very dry. This particular weather front had both, with enough cold air to cool off the warm southern air, and enough moisture in the air to blanket the region in snow. Both the huge quantities of snow that fell, and the cold temperatures lingered for several weeks. Snow was on the ground at my house for almost 3 weeks, other places had it longer. I noticed last night that there are still patches of snow at church that have not melted yet, 5 weeks later.

So far this has been a rather typical January. It’s a few degrees cooler than usual, but still above freezing most of the time. January and November usually fight it out for the title of “Wettest Month of the Year” and this January is getting a strong head start. Combine that with the tons of melting snow and many parts of the region are seeing dangerous flooding. But if we didn’t have Al Gore’s global warming invention to protect us from the extreme cold, we would probably be frozen solid right now.

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