Nemo: Oh, The Humanity! Snow, in Winter, in New England

So on the news they are announcing road closures ahead of the storm. Massachusetts (if I heard the news right, or it might have been Connecticut or both) has announced total closure of the State roads. And it isn’t even sticking on the ground yet… Gov. Cuomo in New York has declared a state of emergency too. Wonder if we will start being regaled with how many more disasters have been declared lately…

The Weather Channel is all over itself with how HORRIBLE!! this will be. Why, 2 to 4 whole INCHES of snow now, and maybe up to a foot, with some rare places at 18 inches, tomorrow!!!!

Imagine the human tragedy and drama: Snow, in New England, In Winter….


OK, so call me unimpressed. I’ve been known to go skiing. If it isn’t measured in feet (several) it isn’t interesting. I have chains for all my cars. Any time I go to the mountains (or the beach – sand you know) they go in the trunk. I’ve driven on 4 inches of pack ice while the snow was coming down and without chains on ( exciting and a bit of a challenge – rather like high speed on gravel).

I’m just not seeing the problem. Yeah, a PITA. Yeah, the snow ploughs will be busy. But hardly out of the ordinary.

Can you imagine what these yokels would be thinking if we had weather like that which lead up to “1800 and froze to death” or “the year without a summer” when it snowed in mid summer?

After a warm start to June, the month quickly turned stormy. A strong Nor’easter developed along the east coast on the 6th with rain mixed with snow in Quebec City and light snow observed over the highlands of New York and most of Northern New England. As this winter type storm moved into the Canadian Maritimes on the 7th, the storm dumped 6 to 12 inches of snow over most of Northern New England with reports of 2 foot drifts in Quebec City. Strong high pressure followed the storm from the 8th through the 10th with frost every morning and reports of trees blackened or scorched across most of New England. By the end of the month the weather became more typical of June with even a heat wave from the 22nd through the 24th.
So what caused this unusual weather during the summer of 1816? Some believe it was caused by sinners while some even blamed it on Benjamin Franklin’s lightning rod experiments. However, climate data obtained from trees, ice cores, marine sediment and historical documents indicate 1816 was part of a mini ice age that lasted from 1400 to around 1860. During this time lower solar output produced harsh winters, shorter growing seasons and drier climates which were blamed for a host of human suffering and crop failures such as the Irish Potato Famine. Another possible cause was the eruption of the Tambora volcano on the island of Soembawa in Indonesia on April 15th 1815. The eruption lasted one week and rumbled for 3 months. The mountain elevation dropped from 14,000 feet to 9000 feet, killed close to 10,000 people on the island and another 80,000 people would eventually die from starvation and diseases related to the eruption. Tambora was one of the largest recorded eruptions with estimates of 1.7 million tons of dust put into the air equaling 6 million atomic bombs. The theory is that the dust reached the Northern Hemisphere during 1816 reducing solar output.

Gee, an honest article that says it was part of a pattern of cold, largely tied to low solar output, with the volcano providing punctuation to it all.

So now the sun goes into a funk, output is dropping (especially the UV that warms the oceans) and we are having more or less normal winter weather, but of a kind not seen in about 30 years since we’ve been in a high solar activity, low tidal mixing of the oceans, phase.

So a bunch of folks with the memory span of a goldfish are all having fits over snow, in New England, in Winter. Someone needs to remind them about the weather of the 1700s and 1800s. They aint seen nothin’ yet.

1978 New Little Ice Age Scare

During the ’70s, NOAA / NASA was busy (Hansen, yeah, same guy…) promoting the Scare of a New Little Ice Age. Never mind that it was just the normal turn of the PDO to a cold cycle. Something that happens about every 56-60 years.

So what was happening then? Well, for starters, in the mid-60s and early 70s it had snowed on the valley floor of The Great Valley (Central Valley) of California. A rare event. I remember it well, as the first time I was about 10 years old and asked the “old folks” in our small farm town (we had a family restaurant so I knew most folks) about it. Some of them were in their ’80s then, so a long record. They allowed that it was odd, but had happened before, back when they were young… (They also told me about the ’30s being incredibly hot, to a degree never seen since, and that they were thankful it was nice “now”.) So I was paying attention to the weather even then.

New England got walloped by some very large storms. Storms that make this one look, well, ordinary…

Feb 8, 1978:
New England digs out after blizzard

A classic “Nor’easter” storm
that brought a severe blizzard to New England finally subsides on this day in 1978, and the region begins to dig out from under several feet of snow. Over the previous 72 hours, some areas of Rhode Island and Massachusetts had received as many as 55 inches of snow.

Three major weather systems all converged near the Atlantic Coast on February 5, and New York City was the first to be hit with a snowstorm. As the storm moved northeast, it stalled over Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts, catching many of the region’s residents by surprise. It is estimated that 3,500 cars were abandoned on Massachusetts streets and highways and several people died in their vehicles on Interstate 93 when they became trapped. A college hockey playoff was played at the Boston Garden despite the weather, and many of the spectators were unable to return home.

So there is your ‘benchmark’. 1.4 METERS of snow. 4 feet 7 inches. Short people and children not visible.

For preservation, the rest of the article:

On February 6, the blizzard whipped up powerful sustained winds of up to 50 miles per hour with gusts of nearly 100 mph. Fifty-foot waves on the Massachusetts coast wiped out seaside homes, while further north, in Maine, waves destroyed three lighthouses and an amusement pier.

One of the hardest-hit communities in New England was Providence, Rhode Island, where travel became nearly impossible and Governor Joseph Garrahy ordered all businesses except grocery stores closed. Few of these stores had any food in stock, and eventually, supplies had to be airlifted in to Providence College. Similar conditions were found in areas of Boston, and looting broke out in some spots. Governor Michael Dukakis banned all cars from the roads because stuck vehicles were making it impossible for snow plows to clear the streets.

In the end, 56 deaths between February 5 and February 8 were attributed to the blizzard. Thousands more people were left homeless. In one tragic incident, a young child died after becoming lost in the snow–although he was only yards from his home, he could not be located. This was the worst blizzard to hit New England since 1888.

It might be interesting to lookup “The blizzard of 1888”, but I’m more interested in a cup of hot tea right now… so perhaps someone else can pick a nice reference. (hint hint…)

Now what do you think would happen if 50 foot waves come ashore now? Hmmm??

FWIW, in about 1990, I was interviewing in Rhode Island and looking at houses. Having a sense of history, I asked the realtor about that storm, and what it meant for the homes she was showing me ‘with an ocean view’… We then looked at homes a few miles inland and up slope…

“Those who forget history are doomed to be cold, wet, and flooded out. -E.M.Smith” ;-)

Preservation Corner

As that first article is on a NOAA site, and both Wiki and NOAA / NASA have been politicized and delete articles shown to be unfavorable to the Warming Mantra, I am quoting the entire article here to preserve it against vandals. (Even the ones with Titles and Position…)

1816 – The Year Without Summer

By: Lee Foster, Meteorologist

As we all know living in New England means enduring long winters and savoring the short summers. However, in 1816, the summer season was shorter than normal and is commonly referred to as “The Year Without Summer”. I first heard about this infamous summer from my grandfather who lived his entire life in Northern New Hampshire. He was not alive in 1816 but stories of that summer were passed down from generation to generation. His stories about that summer peaked my interest in the actual conditions in 1816 and after some research I discovered that indeed the summer of 1816 was not your typical summer.

The indications of a possible cool summer were evident during the spring time. The middle of May brought unseasonably cool temperatures to the region with light snow reported in Quebec Province with frost as far south as Virginia. Mild and sunny conditions returned to the Northeast by the last week of May before a strong cold front crossed New England on the 28th with light snow again reported in Quebec and frost as far south as Pennsylvania. Reports of fruit trees being set back and acres of corn killed in Maine were common.

After a warm start to June, the month quickly turned stormy. A strong Nor’easter developed along the east coast on the 6th with rain mixed with snow in Quebec City and light snow observed over the highlands of New York and most of Northern New England. As this winter type storm moved into the Canadian Maritimes on the 7th, the storm dumped 6 to 12 inches of snow over most of Northern New England with reports of 2 foot drifts in Quebec City. Strong high pressure followed the storm from the 8th through the 10th with frost every morning and reports of trees blackened or scorched across most of New England. By the end of the month the weather became more typical of June with even a heat wave from the 22nd through the 24th.

If June was bad enough, July started out no better. A strong Canadian cold front crossed New England killing corn, beans, cucumbers and squash and the first talk of famine started. However, by the middle of the month, thoughts of a famine were almost forgotten as the hardy grains such as wheat and rye along with potatoes were doing quite well.

The fine weather continued into the middle of August when another frost occurred over interior New York and all of New England damaging many crops. Then on the 20th a strong cold front crossed the Northeast with violent thunderstorms. Reports of temperatures falling 30 degrees after frontal passage were not uncommon. Frost was reported the next day as far south as Massachusetts with snow reported on Mt Moosilouke in New Hampshire. Corn was destroyed from Albany to Boston. If that cold spell wasn’t enough, it all came to an end on the 28th when another strong cold front crossed the Northeast with severe frost that ended the growing season in most of Northern New England.

The consequences of this season were harsh. Only a third to a fourth of the hay was cut with only 10 percent of the crop harvested in some areas. Orchard yields ranged from barren to moderate but enough grains, wheat, and potatoes were harvested to prevent a famine but hardships did occur. There were reports of people eating raccoons, pigeons, and mackerel. Corn prices rose from $1.00 a bushel to nearly $3.00 a bushel. With crop failure and the shortage of hay, farmers turned to selling their cows and pigs which drove the price of meat down. With so much meat on the market beef prices dropped from $15.50 to $7.50 a barrel with pork falling from $16 to $4 a barrel.

So what caused this unusual weather during the summer of 1816? Some believe it was caused by sinners while some even blamed it on Benjamin Franklin’s lightning rod experiments. However, climate data obtained from trees, ice cores, marine sediment and historical documents indicate 1816 was part of a mini ice age that lasted from 1400 to around 1860. During this time lower solar output produced harsh winters, shorter growing seasons and drier climates which were blamed for a host of human suffering and crop failures such as the Irish Potato Famine. Another possible cause was the eruption of the Tambora volcano on the island of Soembawa in Indonesia on April 15th 1815. The eruption lasted one week and rumbled for 3 months. The mountain elevation dropped from 14,000 feet to 9000 feet, killed close to 10,000 people on the island and another 80,000 people would eventually die from starvation and diseases related to the eruption. Tambora was one of the largest recorded eruptions with estimates of 1.7 million tons of dust put into the air equaling 6 million atomic bombs. The theory is that the dust reached the Northern Hemisphere during 1816 reducing solar output.

Whatever the cause, the next year saw the first general migration from the Northeast to the Midwest and 1816 also became know as the Poverty Year. The following poem from Eileen Marguet summed up the year:

It didn’t matter whether your farm was large or small.
It didn’t matter if you had a farm at all.
Cause everyone was affected when water didn’t run.
The snow and frost continued without the warming sun.
One day in June it got real hot and leaves began to show.
But after that it snowed again and wind and cold did blow.
The cows and horses had no grass, no grain to feed the chicks.
No hay to put aside that time, just dry and shriveled sticks.
The sheep were cold and hungry and many starved to death,
Still waiting for the warming sun to save their labored breath.
The kids were disappointed, no swimming, such a shame.
It was in 1816 that summer never came.

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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30 Responses to Nemo: Oh, The Humanity! Snow, in Winter, in New England

  1. philjourdan says:

    I am sure you have heard the joke about “Everything is big in Texas”. Well, the only thing big in New England are the drama queens. I quit listening to those little boys crying wolf long ago.

  2. John Robertson says:

    Nice sarc on NASA and disappearing history, I have noticed Environment Canada does the same.
    I suspect the panic from our, wailing about the weather, crew has lead to this blame all weather on mann stupidity. As a hot button this is a sure loser, we have folklore and grandparents that see right thro that scam.Its as old as humanity and worn right out.
    Shame we no longer have that strategic reserve of grain, I guess the experts are sure that worldwide crop failures are impossible or they are new age cannibals.
    Seems we are about due for a major volcano, its been quite a while without a world shaking kaaboom.
    Its annoying having these authoritarian nitwits forbidding us from enjoying the weather, cause its an emergency. To them; maybe they should be sent home without pay for their incompetence and inability to learn from history.
    This hysteria over winter is as pathetic as the voice over on Ice Road Truckers, “We are driving on ice and its dangerous”. So dangerous that friends of mine used to race across those lakes with loaded semi’s, trying to create the fictitious wave.

  3. E.M.Smith says:

    @John Robertson:

    Dad had 2nd hand stories ( he was only 13 or so at the time) of folks loading up cars in Canada and hauling booze over the frozen border waters… Somewhere N. of Chicago… during prohibition… If you had a car, truck, or whatever, and studded tires, you could make a bundle hauling on ice…

    Oh, and just because it’s so appropriate, from the wayback times, when we had Global Warming:

  4. adolfogiurfa says:

    Children are happy, we too….let´s buy more popcorn! (though it won´t be easy for those who recently had troubles with “Sandy”)

  5. Don Matias says:

    In France at only 950 meters AMSL (3’117 ft.) more than seven meters (~ 23 ft.) of snow – and counting. – So, please, hold your breath. AND DO NOT EXHALE ANY CARBONDIOXIDE!

  6. Terry Jackson says:

    The bizzard of 1888 dropped up to 50″ snow and the wind piled it into drifts up to 50′ Also see

    As a youth I distinctly remember this storm: My dad had to crawl out a window, the doors were blocked. He finally got to the creaky garage for a round point shovel. By the time he dug out the back door the snow was piled to the roof line on both sides of the door.

    He was in the Guard, and they came to get him in a tank. He was gone for several days. I was 6 and could not see over the snow in many places as we got trails and paths opened, and not because the snow was piled there. Most trails were made by Dad just walking/struggling the same route several times. Say an average depth of 30″ to 36″, about 20 miles east of Cleveland and a mile from Lake Erie.

    Here is a summary for Seattle:

    The TV Meteorologist in Cleveland, Dick Goddard, was heard to say that a bad day was when the forecast for partly cloudy produced six inches of white shovel ready snow.

  7. E.M.Smith says:

    @Don Matias:

    Mon Dieu! Quelle neige!

    Man that Global Warming is a cold hearted beast…

    @Terry Jackson:

    Thanks! Good Stuff!

  8. Ralph B says:

    Grew up in Gloucester MA. Remember the blizzard of ’78 quite well, was out of school for almost 2 weeks. We had a lot of snow on the ground before that hit. I have pictures from when my friends and I went drifting down the Annisquam on icebergs looking at the wrecked summer cottages. I also remember in ’69 when the Army came down our little backroad with bulldozers to dig us out. Guess it was cold but don’t remember complaining…heck we couldn’t wait until the ponds froze so we could play hockey. Never fretted about no stinkin’ wind chill

  9. omanuel says:

    The current insanity of society may reflect the post-WWII split of science and spirituality into the personality traits of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

    Integration (convergence) of these traits may be required to restore society to:
    _ a.) Sanity,
    _ b.) Stability, and the
    _ c.) Next stage of evolution.

  10. Chuck Bradley says:

    I moved to a town near Boston in January 1978. A few days later we had a record breaking snow storm. Then it warmed up, and then it got cold again. Then a few days later we had the even bigger storm of 1978 that the current storm is being compared to. Much of the problem with the second storm was caused by the frozen snow banks from the first storm. Plows could not move the new snow because of the old snow banks. Finally, equipment that could move the snow vertically got the roads cleared. Snow piles lingered well into May.

  11. John F. Hultquist says:

    I sent this (below the dashed line) to some family and friends tonight about 9 PM PST. I will not bother to change it now. I will add that the link to the 4 HP snow roller was from Ric Werme on a WUWT post by Bob Tisdale, and Ric also mentioned the 1888 storm. I believe the upper mid-west storm at that time is the one described in “Dancing at the Rascal Fair” by Ivan Doig but I’ve loaned out my copy and so can not check.

    This weekend is supposed to bring a serious snow storm to the US east coast. The potential is there in the atmosphere but slight changes in movements and speed can still greatly affect the outcome, although it is now (Friday evening) snowing. Forecasters have already shifted the expected greatest snow depths a little to the east and the western edge no longer extends into NE Ohio. They still show Rhode Island and eastern Massachusetts in the 24+ inches band. Really interesting though are the strong winds and thunder. Not being common these will get mentioned much but also indicate the ingredients for the storm are sweeping to the northeast very rapidly. Thus, snow depths as great as forecast may not show up. We’ll know by Monday morning. Still, it is unlikely to match the storm of 1888. Here is a good report about ‘America’s Greatest Snow Disaster’
    with interesting photos. The eastern storm was preceded by intense cold in the west as mentioned under the first photo. The region is a reservation
    of the Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes. The claimed -56.8o F. is sufficient to bring about what, in Siberia, The Reindeer People call the Whisper of the Stars.
    When someone mentioned the blizzard of 1888 on a blog John likes to read another person commented that it must have been difficult dealing with all the snow without power equipment. Another person responded thusly,
    “They did have power equipment. Here’s a 4 HP snow roller –
    Snow rollers predated snow plows and were used to pack the snow so 1 and 2 HP sleighs could pass readily.”
    Another article is here, with a similar photo (centered), and underneath and to the right is a photo of the resulting traffic.

    Click to access 020105.snow.removal.pdf

  12. John F. Hultquist says:

    @ Terry Jackson says:
    Re: TV Meteorologist in Cleveland, Dick Goddard,

    Dick has had a knee replaced recently and has been off the air. The station gave updates and he expects to return. My sister (in Parma) claims he is the only weather guy in the area that anyone listens to.
    Look here and scroll down:
    He is in the slide show.

  13. GAI says:

    As A kid in the 1950′s just south of Syracuse NY, I can remember climbing up the snow drift to stand on the roof of the garage and stepping OVER the telephone lines to go play in the field across the street. I spent the winters on cross country skis because I was so short I would sink in over my head if I tried to go outside in just boots. I remember the winter of 1978 too. Back on skis again this time in the Rochester NY area. We also had a doozy of a snow storm in South Carolina in the winter of 1972/73.

    I have a picture of my VW in April with a yardstick stuck in the snow next to it showing 31 inches of new snow. This picture was taken just north of Lawrence MA. It was taken in the mid 1980′s.

    A blizzard in February in New England? So what the heck is the big deal?

    Do these people suffer from complete memory loss or something?

  14. tckev says:

    As colder weather sweeps in to the US the media will no doubt ignore any other parts of the world that have colder that usual weather –

    Is it me or are news agencies keeping population within a tiny bubble of local and near local news only? This is especially prevalent with weather news – unless it’s unduly hot.

  15. Gail Combs says:

    tckev says: @ 9 February 2013 at 1:29 pm
    Is it me or are news agencies keeping population within a tiny bubble of local and near local news only? This is especially prevalent with weather news – unless it’s unduly hot.
    If the news media actually reported all the cold weather people would stop believing CAGW and that would certainly not do at all.

    30 Jun 2010: Australians shiver through coldest winter morning in 30 years, Sydney was blanketed in frost on Wednesday as the city shivered through the coldest June morning in nearly 30 years, with temperatures at just 4C (39F).

    June 20, 2012: Sydney wakes to bitterly cold morning, Some places have experienced their coldest morning in several years…

    Record cold summer in Sydney: Sydney is experiencing its coldest summer on record thanks to cloud and rain associated with the La Nina weather cycle.

    Then you can add in the record breaking cold and snow in Armenia, Romania, Slovakia, Afghanistan, India Pakistan, Russia and China and other NH places: Ice Age Now has a listing.

    If all those events hit the news in the USA especially in November and December, how can Hansen and his buddies make Americans and others believe him when he says this has been the HOTTEST year EVAH!

    This links to a new paper (in press) Sudden climate transitions during the Quaternary

    “The time span of the past few million years has been punctuated by many rapid climate transitions, most of them on time scales of centuries to decades or even less.

    “Until a few decades ago it was generally thought that all large-scale global and regional climate changes occurred gradually over a timescale of many centuries or millennia, scarcely perceptible during a human lifetime. The tendency of climate to change relatively suddenly has been one of the most suprising outcomes of the study of earth history, specifically the last 150,000 years….

    That is not something I want to hear especially when the scientists and politicians are too busy playing games to actually look at what is happening to the climate and the idiots in Congress decided to get rid of the US strategic grain stores so their buddies could make a killing when the weather turned bad.

  16. Judy F says:

    I am under a blizzard warning beginning at 5pm tonight. In Colorado. You probably hadn’t heard that there is another storm in the country. It is in flyover country, so not the center of the universe. The prediction is for 6-8 inches of snow, so not a whole lot of snow, but on the Plains we can get some incredible drifts.

    We get most of our blizzards in the spring. The last really bad blizzard was in March of 1977, when it snowed and blew for 4 days, leaving us with 20 foot drifts in the farmyard and without power for a week. It took a day just to dig the tractor out by hand, so we could then dig our way out. I say we, but I was not able to help much being 8 months pregnant. I had fallen trying to get my husband out the window of the house, when he was trying to check on livestock, since all the doors were snowed shut. My mother in law was so worried about me that she had our closest neighbor walk 1 1/2 miles after the storm was over, to make sure I was okay. I was fine, although the baby I was pregnant with, had the hiccups for 3 days after I fell.

    There is always blizzard prep to do, and I have most of my “chores” done. I have hauled in wood for the stove and in a few hours, before the winds really start, I will make sure that I have jugs of water for drinking, the washing machine is filled with water for flushing or bathing, and that I have some hamburger cooked up for some easy to fix meals in case we lose power. It sure is a lot easier now that I don’t have 5 kids at home to feed, keep warm and entertain! Since I live over 20 miles away from the grocery store, my pantry is always well stocked, but a trip to the grocery store a couple of days ago filled in a few gaps in the staples. I also stocked up with new books from the library, filled up the car with gas and have the candles and lanterns in easy reach. I can already see the grey storm clouds in the west and the wind is starting to pick up, although the sun is still out right now.

    The last few storms have not been near what have been predicted, but I suspect one of these days we will have a storm like we did in the “good ole days”, and I don’t want to be caught off guard. Two of my sons are on the volunteer fire department, and they get tired of pulliing people out of the barrow ditches when their cars go off the road in a storm. If you can’t see your hand in front of your face because it is snowing and blowing so hard, they can’t figure out why people think they need to be out on the roads. Partly I blame the weather people who hype the storms and they often aren’t as bad as what is hyped. People get lulled into thinking that because the storms haven’t been so bad, they are safe to drive and go places. A storm in a city, although it messes up the roads and makes life miserable, is not as dangerous as a blizzard in open country where there are no services for miles and no places to take shelter.

  17. Terry Jackson says:

    @John F. Hultquist says:
    9 February 2013 at 7:39 am
    Dick Goddard IS the woolybear festival. That thing got more air time, and Goddard discussing the meaning of stripes..;>)

    Over at WUWT Willis is discussing Slow Drift in Thermoregulated Emergent Systems. He does not seem to have much of a role for the sun. Don’t I recall some extensive discussions of that here? Help me out. I’m not finding anything with my primitive search skills.

  18. Chuck L says:

    Chiefio, to be fair, 35-40″ of snow fell in parts of CT with many stations north and east of NYC receiving 20″+ and hurricane-force wind gusts along the coast. In North Jersey, where I live, I measured 12.6″. However, I agree with your premise, the Media forgets, or refuses to remember, equally or more severe winter storms before 1980, when apparently, meteorological history began. Oh and lastly, please don’t use the Weather Channel’s stupid winter storm names, it gives them credibility that they do not deserve!

  19. E.M.Smith says:

    @Chuck L:

    You might notice I used the name in a disparaging context ;-) They do use goofy names though. I’ve already forgotten what it was, but the one in the Rockys right now is just silly… Orick or some such…

    Yes, it was a big storm. A big ordinary storm…

    @Judy F:

    Hope all finds you well (and still “on the air”!) in the storm. I noticed on the weather map that it looked like “your storm” extended all the way into Arizona near Phoenix. Snow in Phoenix would be an interesting story to write up!

    Dad was from Iowa from a farm, so we always did storm prep, even though living in California and the store was one block away. I think he just wanted us to know what to do if we ever moved back to Iowa….

    @Terry Jackson:

    A couple of suggested searches (you will need to look through the results):

    There is some overlap. If you can say what, in particular, about the role of the sun is of interest, I can likely narrow the search… For example, this gives a different set:

    with more history and less orbital mechanics…

    @Gail Combs & Tckev:

    Good point, and good list. I’ve actually not done many “cold weather” stories simply because there are so many. And, frankly, I figured with that many folks IN the cold, they ought to be ‘getting it’ by now that it’s just now warming. I’m certain Russia does, and China will ‘play the game to get money’ but knows they have a frost kill food problem… so with whole chunks of continent ‘dropping out’, I’ve started being lazy about cold weather. Maybe i ought not…


    There are a lot of “Goldfish People” who don’t even remember the weather last year. Then there are a lot of folks under 30 who have never experienced anything but warm cycle mild weather and who think history began when they were born.

    The Weather Channel is bleating about all the places where this is a ‘record storm’ and bigger than ‘anything recorded’. Not bothering to go back into history that WAS recorded but not instrumented… so even they are history blind to anything beyond about 1900…

    @John F. Hultquist:

    Love the horse rollers and sleighs. Would work a lot better than rubber tires…

    Wooly Bears? Who knew… ( visions of Doc Holiday dancing in my head ;-)

    @Ralph B:

    We made a raft and went down the local river for 24 hours… shooting rapids in the dark. Making repairs on an island in the middle. Kids and rivers, natural playground. Doesn’t matter if it is frozen, flooded, or whatever. I watch TV shows showing folks all covered in rescue gear pulling someone from “raging waters” and it is less dramatic water than we would search out to go ‘tubing’.

    We would regularly get dumped out of the tubes and need to swim to shore as a friend would snag it and we’d match up again. It was important to go ‘feet first’ so your feet would whack into any tall rocks first ;-) (Only the occasional bruised bum ;-) We would search out the rapids to make it more fun, and crossing the bulk of the river to get to the sandbar islands in the middle was SOP.

    We ‘keep the snow in the mountains’ out here in California; but I have various odd memories of driving up to ‘many feed deep’ to go romp around in it. Including hiking a mile or three back into the woods. We’d end up damn near hypothermic, and peal off wet layers back at the car. Usually we’d stop shivering by the time we were a few hours of car heat down the road ;-)

    I know folks genetics haven’t changed, but something is different about folks today. Afraid of everything outside of 72 F and sunny (even then slathering on sun screen, that we never did) and sure that going in the water or snow will kill you. Sigh. At least my kids grew up knowing how to ski and swimming like fish… they don’t like hiking in the wood though… camping / being there yes; walking for miles not so much…

    @Chuck Bradley:

    Hadn’t known about the ‘double tap’ aspect. Yeah, once the lower layer freezes, it’s water based concrete…

  20. adolfogiurfa says:

    @Omanuel: Such “split” is taking place, also, between the north and the south, and, like in cellular mitosis the world will divide in two separated and parallel worlds….so they say…., then fly south if you do not want to live with your masters.

  21. John F. Hultquist says:

    Your response to Chuck Bradley about the ‘double tap’ sent my brain on a tangent – namely, that I’d had a senior moment and read right over an off-topic comment. I’m okay now.
    Terry Jackson asks about a role for the sun. I’ve struggled with this. Many years ago I bought an old book about our Sun. The first thing inside (an epigraph, I think) was a quote that went about like this: Great minds have been studying the sun for 100 years and have come to opposite conclusions.

    I’m not happy with any of the suggested connections I’m familiar with (some I don’t have much of a clue, so rely on comments of others).
    Here’s why:
    I’m quite aware of two other issues that were controversial, namely the channeled scablands of Washington State:
    The man that proposed that this landscape was formed from catastrophic floods was vilified because it went against the idea of uniformitarianism, then in vogue, and because he did not explain where that much water could come from, that is a mechanism. Eventually it was shown that he was correct.
    The second example is that of the floating continents or continental drift. Shapes thereof sort of fit together, many other aspects suggest there was something reasonable about it,
    . . . but, again, how could the continents move? Nothing known was powerful enough to move the masses around. Now, under the heading of plate tectonics we get a mechanism.

    So, back to the sun and Earth’s short term climate changes. There seem to be lots of short term correlations (sun spots and European wheat prices!) but none seem to hold up under intense scrutiny. There are dozens of “cycles” as have been covered on this site – Lunar nodes, Saros cycle, and many others. Then we have things like the Heinrich events. All covered on this site. But if anyone knows what is going on they haven’t made a successful case for their ideas that other folks agree to. Something is missing. If it was simple, I think it would have been found by now. I hope it all comes together and I hope I live long enough to read about it.

  22. E.M.Smith says:

    @John F. Hultquist:

    Well, FWIW, I think I’ve reached a ‘close enough’ point on how it all fits. The Lunar Tidal cycle drives it mostly, Solar UV and GCR cloud modulation to a small extent as an enhancement.

    explains why some polar regions have a 4 x Saros pulse while tropical / temperate areas have a 3 x Saros pulse.

    Longer term, longer shifts of lunar / solar relative position to the earth stir ocean mixing (and absolute depth as tides change depth in places) on cycles of 1800 to 5000 years:

    That gives the bulk of it all. There are some smaller impacts from things like Solar UV changing atmospheric height and depth of ocean heating ( giving us our present cold turn) and GCR modulation of clouds changing albedo. As all these happen in concert (since orbital resonance coordinates lunar tidal motion and solar angular momentum changes) the exact percentage contribution of each will be hard to disentangle. But does that really matter?

    Orbital mechanics from planetary gravitational patterns call the tune, the moon and sun dance, and swing our oceans and air too and fro, changing ocean mixing / heating and precipitation patterns. So we get a variety of weather and longer term climate cycles. All else is detail and elaboration.

  23. John F. Hultquist says:

    Nice summary you just gave from the late January postings. Those posts take more than a few minutes to read, follow links, read, . . . but I did that and my comment then was
    “It took awhile but the bottom line for me is that this lunar concept is very complicated but I am more inclined to think such things happen than I am to think CO2 is a significant climate force. Someday a team of good people with the right skills will work on this and test where it takes them. Such and effort would be more worth funding than the next UN-IPCC report or COP in an exotic location.”

    Since then I have learned of the Federal Advisory Committee Draft Climate Assessment Report (total cost unavailable). This is a 1,146 page fantasy “attributed” to a 60-person team of folks representing agencies, NGOs, and companies to be enriched when the recommendations they make are followed. They are quoted as thinking “the next ice age has been delayed indefinitely.” That was in response to a question about the cooling of the 40s to mid-1970s and something about the Milankovitch cycles. This is such a muddle it is hard to know where to begin trying to explain all that is wrong with it. It is all GHG based and their A2 scenario has the temperature going up 5 to 10 F. degrees by the end of the century, now 87 years away.

    You write “That gives the bulk of it all. . . . All else is detail and elaboration.”
    With the President and his new team (Sally Jewell @ Interior, Christine Gregoire @ somewhere? // both Washington State greens), there is scant attention going to be given to research from Federal and State agencies to investigate or do anything except what they say the science is. Even if, in 4 years, the entire green government is swept away the grants, contracts, and bureaucrats will still be there. There is no stopping the waste and inefficiencies being perpetrated. If finally, it is accepted that the GHG thing isn’t working, there is still a long hard way to go to refocus on other possibilities. The good life scenario says I may live long enough to see the results of new science.

  24. Tim Clark says:

    I’ve been through probably 10 blizzards worse than this in my lifetime in NE CO. Once, we had to get in the attic and take out the window at the end out so we could climb out on the drift. That was two days after the storm had started, and it went on another. We were concerned the chimney might plug, since we were using wood in the basement on the old Ben Franklin. You could also cook on it. I won’t live anywhere it can get that bad and the local idiots ban wood burning. Like the smoke is going to cause lung problems in a fifty mph howling wind. Wood fires and a pantry full of canned goods have always brought up nostalgic calm feelings and a sense of eternal security in colder climates. Don’t quite know how to explain it. Plus, I like to get out and cut it. The cows were in the secure barnyard prior to the event and we had to feed them hay by hand since the tractors couldn’t get around. We didn’t get to town for 10 days.
    Some of these folks won’t survive when it gets BADDD, probably for the better.

  25. Tim Clark says:

    Judy F says:
    9 February 2013 at 5:04 pm

    I noticed a previous post you had and didn’t respond. You must live close to where I was raised in Logan County.

  26. PhilJourdan says:

    @E.M. – Re: Second hand accounts.

    My Grandmom had some accounts of Bootlegging (Moonshining – They were the drivers) as well – after her father and grandfather were both busted for running the shine in the hills of Georgia. The University of Georgia indexed all of their old newspaper stories, so you can actually search on “Boots Williams” and read his story.

    The other half of that side of the family were all Baptist preachers. ;-)

  27. PhilJourdan says:

    Further south, we had the Valentine’s blizzard of 83. I remember it quite well. My wife was pregnant with our first child (born a month later). We got 24″. I do not think it is a record, but has not been equaled since.

    We got as much as New England did and the only thing that happened was that it shut DC down for 3 days (Hallelujah!)

  28. Judy F says:

    @Tim Clark,

    I hesitate to pinpoint where I live, any closer than in NE Colorado, or use my name, because of an ex who still regularly castigates me ( by mail, fortunately) on what I think. I am not in any physical danger, but I get tired of the mental games, so I try to keep a low profile. I hope you understand.

    Once again, the last storm was waaaay over-hyped. The initial forecast was for 2-4 inches of snow, with 35-50 mph winds. Then the snow totals went to 6-8 inches, then up to 12 inches of snow. We didn’t get snow, and we didn’t get snow, and by the 10 pm news, the snow totals were down to 1-2 inches. We maybe got 1/2 inch of snow, which all blew into the fence rows and ditches, leaving the ground bare. The forecasters did get the wind correct; they are hardly ever wrong about the wind.

  29. E.M.Smith says:

    @Judy F:

    It’s hard to predict that weather stuff… Almost as hard as predicting that climate stuff ;-)

    Glad you didn’t get snowed in and have an easy ‘dig out’…


    Dad’s family was Irish (drinkers) and Amish (no-way!)… Guess opposites do attract ;-)

    It will be interesting to see if the “Folks Stories of long ago” are able to overcome the “Panic News Hype Mongers”.

    I’m also expecting that we will be back to ‘multiyear ice’ at the pole in about 3 years. So if we can ‘hang on’ till then against the onslaught of panicked Rent Seekers and True Believers, I think we can have “clearly cold water AND snow” at that time and then it’s all over.

    Or so I hope…

    @Tim Clark:

    We have “smoke police” out here. On “spare the air” days, they drive around looking for smoking chimneys… The good thing is that if you live in snow / blizzard country, they will not be able drive around when you really need to run the stove ;-)

    @John F. Hultquist:

    It is going to take a generation to change it. There are folks graduating from college now who are 100% indoctrinated and they are mandating that the AGW mantra go into grammar school requirements. Only when we are hard frozen and cold ( my guess is about a decade more) can we even start to reverse that. THEN it will take waiting for a lot of those folks to grow old and die before the changed understanding will dominate. Oddly, just about in time for the next PDO swap to warm again ;-)

    The Best Hope is just keeping the damage limited. That will depend on what happens at the next election. If the Dims keep running things for even just one term post Obama, the damage will be completed and not reversible. Learn to speak Russian or Chinese… (they are blowing off the whole warming thing, so will have technology being built instead of destroyed.)

    We dearly need some way to better communicate with “the average folks” just how wrong AGW is, and how normal the weather is. Watching the sporadic CNN / Weather Channel it is very clear that a full court press of propaganda is underway. Heck, on a dozen other unrelated channels too. The folks who own those media are pushing it hard. ( IIRC all media is dominated by just a half dozen companies, so not hard to get more than 1/2 of them ‘pushing the dope’… ) “They” are trying very hard to dominate and shape the message.

    Then again, on “our side” we have the innate sloth and disinterest of the Average Person. Never underestimate the power of sloth ;-) So I expect a lot of folks will just not pay any attention at all to the propaganda noise. It will just become another PSA about brushing your teeth or not eating fats. “Nag nag nag” and ignored…

    I’m still waiting for some Person Of Note to stand up and say “Hey, it is SNOW. It is COLD. I think you folks are full of it.” There was a time when Johnny Carson and the Tonight show would start poking fun at a fad and you just new that was the thing was over. It would be very nice to see Jay Lenno do that…

    And I’m still hoping that the Average Person is so fed up with Nanny Nagging Government that they just tell them to stuff it in any case. But I’ve been waiting a long time…

  30. Speed says:

    Speaking of snow, readers may enjoy the videos here …

    In the long video of the BNSF blower I half expected that someone would end up doing a Fargo into the blade.

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