Well That’s A Problem

Snow Weather USA 26 Nov 2019

Snow Weather USA 26 Nov 2019

Looks to me like pretty much everything “Out West” gets hammered with snow and wind and rain and Oh My! I’ve bolded some bits in the below quote.


Short Range Forecast Discussion
NWS Weather Prediction Center College Park MD
257 AM EST Tue Nov 26 2019

Valid 12Z Tue Nov 26 2019 – 12Z Thu Nov 28 2019

…Weather becoming increasingly unsettled from the West Coast to the Midwest …

The overall weather pattern over the central and western U.S. has become much more active as two major storm systems make weather headlines.
The first system will be an amplifying upper level trough over the Rockies and northern Plains that will support an intensifying surface low across the central Plains and then the Midwest by Tuesday night. Upslope flow and cold temperatures north of the low will support a broad swath of moderate to heavy snowfall, extending from the Colorado and Wyoming Rockies to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where winter storm warnings are currently in effect. Given the tight pressure gradient with this low pressure system, very windy conditions are likely across much of the Plains, and high wind warnings are in effect from eastern New Mexico to southern Kansas, where winds could gust in excess of 55 mph at times. High wind watches are in effect for portions of the Midwest and Ohio Valley as the storm approaches that region by Wednesday.

An even stronger storm is expected to develop over the eastern Pacific and reach the West Coast by Tuesday night. This low pressure system will likely undergo bombogenesis
(pressure drop of at least 24mb in 24 hours) by late Tuesday afternoon, at which point it will likely become a sub-980 mb low with hurricane force winds over the offshore waters! It should reach land near the California/Oregon border early Tuesday night, with the potential for November low pressure records, and then begin to gradually weaken as it moves inland. The mountains of southern Oregon and northern California are likely to get hammered with blizzard conditions, and battering surf and high winds for coastal areas. Winter storm watches and warnings are already in effect for many of these areas, and the cold nature of the event will result in lower than usual snow levels. Snowfall accumulations on the order of 1 to 3 feet appears likely for many of the California mountain ranges, and winter storm watches are in effect farther to the east to include northern Arizona. Thanksgiving travel in these regions could be severely affected, and local forecast offices have additional information pertaining to this.

Elsewhere across the nation, showers and thunderstorms are forecast to develop from the central Gulf Coast to the Ohio Valley in the warm sector of the developing storm system over the Plains, with rainfall amounts approaching one inch in some locations. Some severe storms will also be possible with a Slight Risk from the Storm Prediction Center on Tuesday. In contrast, the weather should remain relatively uneventful along most of the East Coast through midweek.


Don’t like the sound of “bombogenisis”… and winter storms with hurricane force winds.

I think we’re about to get a “taster” of what is in store in the Grand Solar Minimum we are entering.

Global Warming, this isn’t.

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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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56 Responses to Well That’s A Problem

  1. seabrznsun says:

    The good news is the screeching little climate activists won’t be out and about getting on the nerves of sensible people.

  2. p.g.sharrow says:

    Yes, I am watching the storm approach. Thanksgiving will be a private party for me and the cat. My lady will be in Chico with her son at their apartment. I and the cat will likely be snowed in for most of the week as of late tonight. As we are at 2,000ft 1-2 feet of Sierra Cement is in our future and may not down until warmer rain by weekend…pg

  3. YMMV says:

    Here’s your illustrated guide to this particular bombogenesis.
    from the Cliff Mass Weather and Climate Blog

    “In the field, this is known as the “poisonous tale of the bent-back occlusion.” Repeat that to your friends…they will be impressed.”

  4. Larry Ledwick says:

    That sounds a lot like the discriptions given of the 1888 snow storm that hit New York and was called a white hurricane by some.

    Hmmm new feature on windy(dot)com (also try the national radar)
    Nice well defined swirl up off the north pacific coast.

    Image from this link:

  5. Larry Ledwick says:

    Airport closures in Denver as usual for this kind of storm during the holiday season.


  6. Larry Ledwick says:

    Just finished digging out the car (first pass more later) Had knee deep drifts around the car, temps will go down into the single digits over night tonight so wanted to break the snow plow berm he rolled up behind the car in the parking lot before it froze rock hard.

    Don’t have to go anywhere, but have the worst of it dug out, so if I need to I can get the car out of the parking space without a lot of hassle. Snow has basically stopped here now.

  7. E.M.Smith says:

    Larry L:

    Yeah, a lot easier to shovel fluff and new plough leavings than the re-frozen cement after it is packed down…

    FWIW, the ONE airline I refused to fly again was United and the one Airport I’ll not use is Denver. On a flight from East Coast to West Coast had headwinds. Lots of turbulence. United came on the speaker and said not to worry, they would hold all the connecting flights. Well, long story short, at the counter I was informed they DID hold the connecting flight… just until we had wheels down… then it left before we got to the gate to unload. I was offered the benches with “no sleeping” armrests…

    After just a bit if tirade and being told they were not responsible for Acts Of God and that “it is always like that when the wind comes over the mountains and makes turbulence”; I was offered a flight to a different airport in the S.F.Bay Area. And an OJ run to the plane…

    I then got to rent a car to get home, and the next morning take it back to the other side of the bay (where my car was in parking and my luggage was sent…) to retrieve both. But at least I got to sleep at home.

    So I drive to Denver, but don’t fly there… (Coast to coast I run through Las Vegas or Salt Lake City or Houston / Dallas if I have to fly. Occasionally LAX if I must.) Have not flown United since then (about 1982? 84?).


    Having driven your road, and found it “engaging” even in a 4 x 4 with good clearance and not too wide: I’d not want to try that run with 2 feet of snow over the dirt…

    Minor Sidbar On Camp Stove:

    Some year+ back I bought a cheap $10 Chinese Camp Stove that goes on butane canisters. Story here:

    Well, I decided to use up the Big 16 ounce Coleman Butane canister and test the stove. That was some weeks (months?) ago. I’ve been regularly making coffee and occasionally things like boil hot dogs or water for a Ramen Cup. This morning I fried 3 eggs in a 6 inch or so frying pan.

    It has worked really well for all of it. There is a bit of a hot spot in the middle that’s only an issue when NOT doing water based cooking, so the center of the eggs cooked a bit faster than the edges. You get about 4 inches of even heat, so great for small camping cook kits.

    I’m REALLY happy with the built in piezo igniter. Turns the whole “Where is the damn sparker” or “what do you mean this is my last match?” into just a “click and go”. I’ll not buy any new gas stoves without a built in sparker.

    The 16 ounce (really something like 15.5 ounce) canister seems to last forever. Now I know why most places only sell the smaller 4 and 8 ounce ones (200 gram?). As an emergency stove in a road kit, this in the dinky plastic carrier and a small fuel tank is more than enough for a weekend of cooking and hot beverages. Now I’ve not been using this for 3 full meals a day, usually just one 16 oz cup of coffee, but I can’t remember how many weeks ago I started using it… Seems like forever.

    I’m going to place this stove and the small fuel can in my Car Kit as soon as the big canister is done.

    As an In-The-Home stove when the power is out, I really like the “Asian Style” single burner stoves that use the Butane canister (that looks like a can of whipped cream or hair spray – about $2 to $3 each at Smart & Final) The much larger burner lets you do a much more even cook and holds larger pots with less / no tipping issues.

    In between is the 1 or 2 burner propane stoves that run on the regular propane cylinders. Works very well and cheapest of the lot for fuel, but can be a bit ‘tippy’ for the tall 1 burner (on top of the canister) or covers a bit of area for the flat 2 burner.

    I was very surprised that I really liked that Asian style stove (commonly used for hot pot dishes on the dining table in Asian families). It also has a built in clicker. The low flat profile and low surface covered on the counter matched with a large burner really matter. It cost me something like $20 (a few years back) at the local Asian Grocery store and stows nicely in a plastic carry case. I bought it as something “easy for the spouse” to set up and use (unlike my Unleaded Gasoline Coleman or the dinky camping stoves where tipping is an issue…) and found that I really like it too ;-)

    So the Coleman gasoline / white gas stoves are now relegated to “in EOTWAWKI use”, the bigger propane are for camping with a group / car camping. The Asian stove is the “power out want to cook” and / or “make coffee while cursing PG&E” stove ;-) Then the small camp stove / canister is the emergency car stove and / or single camping.

    Yeah, I get to checking fuel and stoves and candles and lanterns and such when “bombogenisis” and “snow hurricane” are potentials ;-) I’ll be pre-positioning a few candles and flashlights in convenient places “just in case”…

  8. Taz says:

    > seabrznsun

    Thumbs up

  9. philjourdan says:

    Bombogenisis! That’w what they are calling it. KInd of like the Mouse that roared and the Q bomb.

    At least that was entertaining.

  10. Steven Fraser says:

    @EM: Mammoth Mountain Summit Webcam, at your service:

    Visibility: 10 feet.


  11. Steven Fraser says:

    … Lifts are open, and people are skiing the lower altitudes…


  12. E.M.Smith says:

    Skiing before Thanksgiving isn’t unheard of here, but not common.

  13. Larry Ledwick says:

    We have talked about this several times but just a note here on digging I have been doing on where would I move if I wanted to warm things up a couple degrees (on the assumption cold cycle will happen over a period of years not months)

    So as a first order process of elimination (actually more a case of defining the problem) I first looked at plant hardiness zones. they stretch across 10 degrees of temperature change and do not have very fine resolution. They also consider length of growing season and other climate factors. But seem to be a bit too coarse for my intended use (although helpful)

    So my next consideration is to look at lists of annual average temperatures and average annual low temperatures in various locations. As most of you know I have spent my whole life living near the Denver metro area with one brief period living in south east Colorado in the Rocky Ford / La Junta areas. So I thought it would be useful to compare contrast those averages with my seat of the pants experience in those areas. I discovered that micro climate effects on average low temperatures are not as intuitive as I thought they would be with places I expected to have similar annual average low temperatures to be identical some had significant shifts.

    I also found that the country warms up quite rapidly as you move south of a line that runs roughly from St Louis to Dalhart Texas. Presumably a combination of both altitude and proximity to the gulf combined to influence winter weather and as an after thought the maximum reach southward of the really cold Alberta clipper cold waves mostly not getting far beyond that line for really severe cold.

    climate data cities

    City average av low
    Craig Co 43.05 °F 28.50 °F
    Limon Co 46.50 °F 30.30 °F
    Cortez Co 49.95 °F 35.30 °F
    Denver Co 50.15 °F 36.30 °F
    Kit Carson Co 50.55 °F 33.70 °F
    Denver Co 50.70 °F 36.40 °F
    Burlington Co 50.70 °F 36.40 °F
    Wray Co 50.75 °F 36.90 °F
    Sterling Co 51.00 °F 36.40 °F
    Julesburg Co 51.30 °F 36.80 °F
    Ordway Co 51.40 °F 34.00 °F
    boulder Co 51.55 °F 37.80 °F
    Springfield Co 51.55 °F 35.70 °F
    Trinidad Co 51.75 °F 36.50 °F
    Eads Co 51.85 °F 37.20 °F
    Lamar Co 53.20 °F 37.60 °F
    Dalhart tx 53.20 °F 37.20 °F
    Kim Co 53.30 °F 38.80 °F
    Pueblo Co 53.70 °F 38.50 °F
    Walsh Co 53.75 °F 39.20 °F
    La Junta Co 53.80 °F 38.80 °F
    Rocky Ford Co 54.00 °F 36.70 °F

    Stratford tx 54.75 °F 39.90 °F

    Boise city Ok 55.60 °F 40.20 °F

    Dumas tx 56.10 °F 42.40 °F
    St Louis Mo 56.10 °F 46.70 °F
    Kansas City Mo 56.70 °F 47.40 °F

    Amarillo tx 57.30 °F 43.70 °F
    Plainview tx 58.75 °F 46.00 °F
    Lubbock tx 60.65 °F 47.00 °F
    childress tx 62.35 °F 49.20 °F
    wichita falls tx 63.50 °F 50.80 °F

    Atlanta Ga 62.55 °F 53.20 °F

    Pensacola Fl 67.90 °F 59.10 °F
    Orlando Fl 73.35 °F 64.30 °F
    Miami Fl 77.05 °F 69.90 °F

  14. Larry Ledwick says:

    Mike Jagger
    30 minutes ago
    Mike Jagger Retweeted SolarDrivenClimate
    Professor Valentina Zharkova predicts significant crop failures 2028-2032

    @drwaheeduddin ARIMA model predicts Cooling now to 2050

    NASA predicts SC25 will be weakest in over 200 Years

    Perhaps it’s Time

  15. E.M.Smith says:

    @Larry L:

    The Sunset Garden Book uses a much more fine grained system of growing bands and the maps are detailed enough to pick parts of big cities and hills. They have both regional and a national book. It is my bible for picking places worth living. Looks like on sale at $18 at the moment…

    Well worth it.

    FWIW I’m planning to set up some indoor hydroponics in the coming years specifically to bypass weather as an issue. The outdoor has convinced me it is a great stategic gain. I still have green bean, choy, and celery despite zero tending in the last few months… With care it does very well. Float system has worked best for me. Kratky OK but fussy. Aerated tub evaporates a whole lot more. I’m going to try a pumped channel thin film next. If is likely the best for automating. Can be built without the racks as self supporting pipes. While I’ve done OK using pool strips to check pH and guessing on nutrient additions, the meters are cheap enough I’m going to go ahead and do if right.

    Look up thd story of Walden Pond. He grew beans and nof much else… you can eat the leaves too. A modest indoor grow of beans, potatoes, and yams (leaves also edible) gets you a long way ouf of starvation. Add some fast summer squash like the 8 Ball and just one big pot is more than you can eat. Round it out with beets / chard you may be bored, but healthy.

    My first guess is about 12 linear feet of “bread racks” of trays will be enough. At 6 trays high and 2 ft. deep that’s 2 x 12 x 6 = 144 sq. ft. of very high production. Given the at least double speed growth, it’s basically like a 12 x 24 ft. garden growing year round. Just need reliable water and power with a big bag of stored nutrient. Oh, and a LOT of stored salad dressing and butter ;-)

    Would easily fit in a garage, or a spare bedroom. And is both out of weather and sight…

    Probably start the build in 2021. For now I’m just going to test one tray indoors with an old high pressure sodium light I already have. Turns out HPS has a decent spectrum for plants, and in winter the heat is a feature… then I’ll spend some months learning what LED light is best. I’ve already seen that the hard red blue mix is not ideal. Plants want a bit of white in it too. There’s some newer lights that are very efficient now. Even better than just a couple of years ago.

  16. E.M.Smith says:

    Looks like they have some teaser maps on line along with example zone descriptions:

    Maps a lot smaller than in the book (that’s a whole lot more pages too and with detail maps not just the overview map of the whole area) but then again, Colorado and the high plateau aren’t as textured at California (see the inset of California).

    But at least you can get an idea how they do things.

    IIRC I’m in a zone 16 in California. Or maybe it’s 15. Hard to tell from this small map. Basically can grow anything more or less year round growing and not subject to as much chilling as the hills around me… There’s some huge number of zones up in the 30s to 40s…

    ZONE 16: Central and Northern California Coast thermal belts

    This benign climate exists in patches and strips along the Coast Ranges from western Santa Barbara County north to northern Marin County. It’s one of Northern California’s finest horticultural climates. It consists of thermal belts (slopes from which cold air drains) in the coastal climate area, which is dominated by ocean weather about 85 percent of the time and by inland weather about 15 percent. Typical lows in Zone 16 over a 20-year period ranged from 32 to 19°F (0 to –7°C). The lowest recorded temperatures range from 25 to 18°F (–4 to –8°C). This zone gets more heat in summer than Zone 17, which is dominated by maritime air, and has warmer winters than Zone 15. That’s a happy combination for gardening. A summer afternoon wind is an integral part of this climate. Plant trees and shrubs on the windward side of your garden to help disperse it.


    ZONE 1A: Coldest mountain and intermountain areas of the contiguous states and Southwestern British Columbia

    Marked by a short growing season and relatively mild summer temperatures, Zone 1A includes the coldest regions west of the Rockies, excluding Alaska, and a few patches of cold country east of the Great Divide. The mild days and chilly nights during the growing season extend the bloom of summer perennials like columbines and Shasta daisies. If your garden gets reliable snow cover (which insulates plants), you’ll be able to grow perennials listed for some of the milder zones. In years when snow comes late or leaves early, protect plants with a 5- or 6-inch layer of organic mulch. Along with hardy evergreen conifers, tough deciduous trees and shrubs form the garden’s backbone. Gardeners can plant warm-season vegetables as long as they are short-season varieties. To further assure success, grow vegetables from seedlings you start yourself or buy from a nursery or garden center. Winter lows average in the 0 to 11°F (–18 to –12°C) range; extremes range from –25 to –50°F (–32 to –46°C). The growing season is 50 to 100 days.

    ZONE 1B: Coldest Eastern Rockies and plains climate of Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, and Southern Alberta

    Centered over the plains of Wyoming and Montana, this zone sees January temperatures from 0 to 12°F (–18 to –11°C),with extremes between –30 and –50°F (–34 to –46°C). Zone 1b lies east of the Great Divide, where the continental climate reigns supreme. Arctic cold fronts sweep through 6 to 12 times a year, sometimes dropping temperatures by 30 or 40°F in 24 hours. The summer growing season tends to be warm and generous at 110 to 140 days long; but constant winds—12 miles per hour average, year-round in many places—call for windbreaks and shade trees, like hackberries and cottonwoods, whose leaves are animated by the wind.

    Few shrubs are better loved here than lilacs, and few plants are better adapted than native ornamental grasses and prairie flowers. With protection, annual vegetables and flowers thrive, as do wind tolerant perennials such as buckwheats, grasses, and penstemons. Where hail is a problem, gardeners favor small-leafed plants; where winters are dry and snow cover light, they compensate with mulch and extra water.

    ZONE 2A: Cold mountain and intermountain areas

    Another snowy winter climate, Zone 2A covers several regions that are considered mild compared with surrounding climates. You’ll find this zone stretched over Colorado’s northeastern plains, a bit of it along the Western Slope and Front Range of the Rockies, as well as mild parts of river drainages like those of the Snake, Okanogan, and the Columbia. It also shows up in western Montana and Nevada and in mountain areas of the Southwest. This is the coldest zone in which sweet cherries and many apples grow. Winter temperatures here usually hover between 10 and 20°F (–12 to –7°C) at night, with drops between –20 and –30°F (–29 and –34°C) every few years.When temperatures drop below that, orchardists can lose even their trees. The growing season is 100 to 150 days.

    ZONE 2B: Warmer-summer intermountain climate

    This is a zone that offers a good balance of long, warm summers and chilly winters, making it an excellent climate zone for commercial fruit growing. That’s why you’ll find orchards in this zone in almost every state in the West.You’ll also find this warm-summer, snowy-winter climate along Colorado’s Western Slope and mild parts of the Front Range; in Nevada from Reno to Fallon, then north to Lovelock; in large areas of northern Arizona and New Mexico; and in mild parts of the Columbia and Snake River basins. Winter temperatures are milder than in neighboring Zone 2a, minimums averaging from 12 to 22°F (–11 to –6°C),with extremes in the –10 to –20°F (–23 to –29°C) range. The growing season here in Zone 2b runs from 115 days in higher elevations and more northerly areas to more than 160 days in southeastern Colorado.

    ZONE 3A: Mild areas of mountain and intermountain climates

    East of the Sierra and Cascade ranges, you can hardly find a better gardening climate than Zone 3a.Winter minimum temperatures average from 15 to 25°F (–9 to –4°C), with extremes between –8 and –18°F (–22 and –28°C). Its frost-free growing season runs from 150 to 186 days. The zone tends to occur at lower elevations in the northern states (eastern Oregon and Washington as well as Idaho), but at higher elevations as you move south crossing Utah’s Great Salt Lake and into northern New Mexico and Arizona. Fruits and vegetables that thrive in long,warm summers, such as melons, gourds, and corn, tend to do well here. This is another great zone for all kinds of deciduous fruit trees and ornamental trees and shrubs. Just keep them well watered.

    ZONE 3B: Mildest areas of intermountain climates

    Zone 3b is much like Zone 3a, but with slightly milder winter averages of 19 to 29°F (–7 to –2°C) and extremes that usually bottom out between –2 and –15°F (–19 to –26°C). Summer temperatures are a bit higher than in Zone 3a—mostly in the high 80s and low- to mid-90s. Zone 3b offers one of the longest growing seasons of the intermountain climates. Gardeners here count on 180 to 210 frost-free days with plenty of heat. However, it’s one of the smallest zones. Most of it lies in the warmest parts of eastern Washington’s Columbia Basin,with bits in Lewiston, Idaho, and parts of the Southwest. This is fabulous country for annual vegetables and flowers and a long list of perennials, trees, shrubs, and vines.

    ZONE 10: High desert areas of Arizona and New Mexico

    This zone consists mostly of the 3,300- to 5,000-foot elevations in parts of Arizona and New Mexico. It also includes parts of southern Utah and Nevada, and adjacent California desert. Zone 10 has a definite winter season—75 to more than 100 nights below 32°F (0°C).That favors deciduous fruits, though late frosts can work against apricot crops. In Albuquerque,New Mexico, and Benson and Kingman, Arizona, average winter minimums range from 32 to 23°F (0 to –5°C). Lows of 25 to 22°F (–4 to –6°C) often come in.The cold winter season calls for spring planting. Growing seasons are very long—up to 225 days. More rain falls in the east than in the west, and the Pecos River drainage receives more precipitation in summer than in winter.

    This climate zone shares similarities with its neighbors—the cold-winter Zones 1, 2, and 3, and the subtropical low desert, Zone 13. Like Zones 1 to 3, Zone 11 has cold winters, and like Zone 13, it has hot summers. Hot summer days are followed by mild nights; near-freezing winter nights are followed by daytime temperatures near 60°F (16°C). On average, there are 110 summer days above 90°F (32°C),with the highest temperatures recorded between 111 and 117°F (44 to 47°C).About 85 nights have temperatures below 32°F (0°C),with lows between 11 and 0°F (–12 to –18°C). If soil moisture is inadequate, the characteristic winds and bright sunlight may combine to dry out normally hardy evergreen plants, killing or badly injuring them.

    ZONE 11: Medium to high desert of California and southern Nevada

    This climate zone shares similarities with its neighbors—the cold-winter Zones 1, 2, and 3, and the subtropical low desert, Zone 13. Like Zones 1 to 3, Zone 11 has cold winters, and like Zone 13, it has hot summers. Hot summer days are followed by mild nights; near-freezing winter nights are followed by daytime temperatures near 60°F (16°C).On average, there are 110 summer days above 90°F (32°C),with the highest temperatures recorded between 111 and 117°F (44 to 47°C). About 85 nights have temperatures below 32°F (0°C),with lows between 11 and 0°F (–12 to –18°C). If soil moisture is inadequate, the characteristic winds and bright sunlight may combine to dry out normally hardy evergreen plants, killing or badly injuring them.

    ZONE 12: Arizona

    The crucial difference between Arizona’s intermediate desert (Zone 12) and the low desert (Zone 13) is winter cold. But though the intermediate desert averages only 5 more freezing nights than the low desert (20 in Tucson compared with 15 in Phoenix and El Centro), it has harder frosts spread over a longer cold season. Zone 12 averages about 8 months between freezes, 9 months between killing frosts of 28°F (–2°C) or lower. Zone 13, on the other hand, averages more than 11 months between killing frosts, when it gets them at all. Extreme low temperatures of 6°F (–14°C) have been recorded in Zone 12.

    The mean maximums in July and August are 5 or 6°F cooler than the highs of Zone 13. Many subtropicals that do well in Zone 13 aren’t reliably hardy here, but succeed with protection against the extreme winters. Although winter temperatures are lower than in Zone 13, the total hours of cold are not enough to provide sufficient winter chilling for some deciduous fruits. From March to May, strong winds (to 40 miles per hour) can damage young tender growth. Windbreaks help. Here, as in Zone 13 and the eastern parts of Zone 10, summer rains are to be expected and can be more dependable than winter rains.And as in Zone 13, the best season for cool-season crops (salad greens, root vegetables, cabbage family members) starts in September or October.

    ZONE 13: Low or subtropical desert areas

    Ranging from below sea level in the Imperial Valley and Death Valley to 1,100 feet around Phoenix, Zone 13 is a subtropical desert. Average summer high is 107°F (42°C); the world’s second highest temperature—a scorching 134°F (56°C)—was recorded in Death Valley on July 10, 1913. Winters are short and mild,with brief frosts occurring up to 15 nights per year. Average winter minimums range from 36 to 42°F (2 to 6°C), with extreme lows from 27 to 15°F (–3 to –9°C). The gardening year begins in fall for most vegetables and annual flowers, although crops like corn and melons are planted in late winter. Fall-planted crops grow slowly in winter, pick up speed in mid-February, and race through the increasing temperatures of March and April. Spring winds can set back plants, but summer storms cool down gardens, shield plants from the sun, and supply a little extra water.


    So you can see how detailed they get…



    Sunset’s Climate Zones consider temperature as well as other important factors:

    Generally, the farther an area is from the equator, the longer and colder are its winters. Closer to the poles, the number of daylight hours increases in summer and decreases in winter.

    Gardens high above sea level get longer and colder winters, often with intense sunlight, and lower night temperatures all year.

    Ocean influence
    Weather that blows in off the oceans and the Great Lakes tends to be mild and laden with moisture in the cool season.

    Continental air influence
    The North American continent generates its own weather, which ― compared with coastal climates ― is colder in winter, hotter in summer, and more likely to get precipitation any time of year. The farther inland you live, the stronger this continental influence. Wind also becomes a major factor in open interior climates.

    Mountains, hills, and valleys
    In the West, the Coast Ranges take some marine influence out of the air that passes eastward over them. The Sierra-Cascades and Southern California’s interior mountains further weaken marine influence.

    From the Rocky Mountains to the Appalachians, continental and arctic air dominate, with moist air from the Gulf pushing north during the warm season.

    During winter, Arctic outbreaks are most intense between the Rockies and the Appalachians. Both ranges act as barriers that limit the influence of the cold beyond them.

    Local terrain can sharply modify the climate within any zone. South-facing slopes get more solar heat than flat land and north-facing slopes. Slope also affects airflow: warm air rises, cold air sinks.

    Because hillsides are never as cold in winter as the hilltops above them or the ground below them, they’re called thermal belts. Lowland areas into which cold air flows are called cold-air basins.

    Microclimates also exist within every garden. All else being equal, garden beds on the south side of an east-west wall, for example, will be much warmer than garden beds on the north side of the same wall.

  17. Steven Fraser says:

    @ Larry L: WRT the ‘Dalhart/St. Louis Line’… seems to me a wind direction analysis would show the connection.

  18. cdquarles says:

    Also, don’t forget sun zenith angle. Insolation really drops off the lower it is. Where I am, noon sun is still a bit more than 50% of maximum. Plus, daylight length, on the shortest days, is near 10 hours. That also drops off the further north you go (away from the equator). Chicago gets about 10% less sun at noon than I do plus around two hours less of it. The longer optical path, during winter, has its effects, too.

    Average nighttime lows here are 35F, highs 55F; but, since it is winter, the variance is quite high; and ranges from near 0F to 60sF for the lows and the highs from 10sF to mid 70s. The big cold surge near the end of October just missed providing a killing frost. That happened a day later. Average first killing frost, here, is mid-November; though mid-October dates do happen. A mild year may have no killing frosts at all; though the fruit trees suffer if the total hours under 50F don’t get past the threshold. Last killing frost here is early April, though early May ones have happened, too.

    I still remember the wild spring of 74 here. Yeah, the year of the big tornado outbreak. March saw mid to upper 80s in the middle of the month. April and May both had cold surges; with the near freezing low of 34 happening a week before Memorial Day.

  19. cdquarles says:

    @Steven F,
    Indeed. Where I am, when the winds are southerly and especially strong southerly, I can see 20 to 30F increases in the lows and highs (from freezing to 50s for the lows and 50s to 70s for the highs) over the course of 24 to 36 hours. Shift that wind to northerly, we can get similar drops over a similar time period.

  20. Larry Ledwick says:

    EM already have the The Sunset Garden Book per your prior recommendation – just exploring other ways of breaking things down. I am also looking for other things beside pure climate. Like you I am pondering a move to a final retirement location. Per the Sunset Books and the high resolution USDA plant hardiness zones map.

    I already live in about the ideal location in Colorado climate wise near Denver.
    A similar sweet spot exists south of me near Colorado Springs and Pueblo and extends eastward south of the Arkansas river to the south east corner of the state. Including the Rocky Ford / La Junta area.

    The bad news is that the Bent, Prowers and Baca Counties in the south east corner of the state are also the start of the 1930’s dust bowl areas. Some of the iconic pictures of dust storms moving in were made in that area. If dry times return during the coming cooling this is not where you want to live.

  21. Larry Ledwick says:

    An item with simple description of what the plant hardiness maps are really based on.


    It would be really nice if they had a precipitation map to over lay on the plant hardiness map to see the combined influence of moisture and temperatures.

    Here is an interesting series of maps – you have to play with the settings by month (which in some cases is nice – but annual totals would also be useful)


    For the great cooling of the 2020’s might want to focus on January for cold temperature profiles, and the key growing season months for precipitation profiles.

    Here are temperatures by month in numeric tables for January and July


    April precipitation by city

    Precipitation maps by month

  22. Larry Ledwick says:

    Wiki has a nice national average precip map

  23. E.M.Smith says:

    That precipitation map is very useful.

    Does let you see why Califonia depends on water systems moving water to the desert half where all the people live. Also how Texas is split between desert and wet.

    The place to be looks like the bottom half eastern half to me. Not frozen, with water and sun. And a lot of coastline for fishing ;-)

  24. E.M.Smith says:

    Growing degree day norms in fine detail. Notice the red speckles. City urban heat islands? From

    32 F cut:

    Warmer 50 F cut:

  25. Larry Ledwick says:

    Hmmm nice maps but they are vertically squashed for some reason (proabably view from space with no correction for axis tilt of the earth.

    If you copy image and then resize it Horizontal 100% x Vertical 140% the shapes of the states are much closer to a normal Mercator projection map we are used to seeing.

  26. Larry Ledwick says:

    Been having fun playing with that degree day map, tried setting the low limit to 50 degrees and the time span from Nov 1 to Dec 31 and some other similar combinations.

    If you fiddle with the settings you can find warm and cold islands in your area that are not obvious in other maps.

    At the risk of exceeding max links – I found these maps which are also interesting.
    I cannot find how to get to them inside the web site but if you change the state in the link they all seem to be populated.

    What it shows is there are several bands where max cold winter temperatures suddenly plunge when you get north of those bands.

    The entire Colorado plains, Nebraska and most of norther Kansas are capable of hitting -30 deg F temps.
    The approximate line I mentioned – south of it you are in the -20 range for a couple hundred miles then suddenly record low temps climb substantially. It appears this is a combination of terrain / altitude and how much energy severe cold outbreaks typically have. The really cold air simply does not have the mass or energy to plunge much south of the Oklahoma Panhandle and rarely penetrates very far into Texas and South East Oklahoma.



    There is also a significant warm shift as you move from the North Florida area (Pensecola to Miami, and also a clear difference from the gulf side on the north end of Florida/Mississippi and the southern Atlantic side of Florida.

  27. Larry Ledwick says:

    Poking around on iceagefarmer on twitter ( https://twitter.com/IceAgeFarmer ) I found this – looks like the eastern half of the country is going to get blasted with cold air this coming week.


  28. Larry Ledwick says:

    This also is forecasting cold for the north central US and we have not even passed the winter solstice yet.


  29. E.M.Smith says:

    We have returned to the cold pattern of earlier times. Not just the 60s, but back toward the 1800s (Dalton). It will take time for folks to recognize that and one can only hope that the Hype about “Global Warming” doesn’t slow that too much.

    There’s a good history in farm areas of what was grown in the past, what Grampa had to say about trying to grow corn in the Dakotas. Only the big Agribusiness combines will be blind to that. They are happy to just collect the crop insurance / subsidy and move on; but you can’t eat an insurance payment…

    Over time, farmers will adapt. Mostly it will be undoing the changes of the last 30 years. The corn belt will move back southerly like it was when I was a kid. A lot of the increased yield of corn has come from breeding varieties with a very long maturity, giving them more time to grow bigger ears and fill out, then dry and harvest. So to fix that some changes will (eventually) come.

    1) Faster maturing varieties. I’ve already seen one farm article where the farmer talked about planting an older faster variety of corn. A 90% yield of something you can get harvested beats a 100% of something that rots in the field. There’s also faster crops, like buckwheat and barley. Some mature as fast as 45 days.

    2) Different varieties. Oats sprout in 32 F wet fields. Barley also grows in the cold. Cattle love to eat turnips and sugar beets (even frozen ones…) and the Mangle Beet was an Amish staple for cattle fodder, now mostly forgotten. So you could not get the hay baled? Where’s your field of mangle beets? The farmer who could not harvest 1/2 his sugar beets because they got frosted could provide them to a local cattle rancher… but will take the crop insurance payment instead. Buckwheat pancakes are very good. Barley, well, hick! I’ll always take barley… For soup, yeah, that’s it, for soup!

    3) Legal changes. Right now to get crop insurance you can NOT replant a catch crop after a crop failure. This is to prevent folks claiming a loss when they didn’t really do the first planting. Change that to a verification of the first planting failure, we have the satellite surveillance to assure that. So now, if you have a very wet late spring and you KNOW your corn will not mature, you plant it anyway for the crop insurance. You do NOT plant a catch drop of buckwheat instead as that has less profit and you can’t get your crop insurance payment. Change that. Essentially the law and subsidy prevents using the land to still grow some food in bad spring weather.

    4) Land use changes. Many of the places that were heavily flooded are near rivers. Other places a bit more uphill had no problems. Drainage matters. So the folks with bad drainage need to get some. Florida has “retention ponds” all over the place. Basically you dig a hole in a corner of the property and pile the dirt in the rest of it. Now part is dry and the other fills up with water in a deluge. You can do that in Ohio too… Then, you could always grow a water crop in the retention pond. From fish to cranberries to aquatic fodder. Similarly, places that didn’t flood but were just too cold can start adding greenhouse operations. Australians with too much drought can move to hydroponic greenhouses production that uses less water. (Yeah, I know, it isn’t wheat. Start with a corner of the property and grow 90% wheat, 10% produce. Over time, adjust as the need pushes. At least you are getting some crop off.) Dry places can also start growing more millet and sorghum that don’t need consistent water.

    Those are the big lumps (there are a few others too, like NOT growing all your seeds in one damn valley…. hedge your bets, damn it.) and it will eventually happen, one way or another.

    Personally, I’m planning an indoor produce wall. Not in a big hurry about it. Why? Because 90% or so of the nation’s produce crops come from California and a lot from Mexico. The area hit by cold and wet is the grain / corn / soy belt. I’m not growing grain / corn / soy. But spuds, yeah, that’s gonna happen. Reaching back to my Irish heritage (about 1/4) but in a high tech way ;-) And beans. Dry bean seed producers took a big hit in that one valley… (so go buy your bag of beans now…)

    Then there’s just the fact that 1/3 of corn production gets burned in cars. Just stupid. WHEN meat prices get high enough to hurt, and folks are pounding on Congress Critters doors, maybe they will let that grain be fed to pigs and chickens instead.

    I’m also planning a move to a warm place with lots of water (California had, in the deeper past, a 900 year drought… while I am pretty sure that’s not going to happen, why chance it? The L.I.A. had the worst flooding in the Central Valley, but that was prior to our system of dams. Biggest problem, really, is just our nutty government and moves to ration water already codified in law.) Hopefully I’ll also get about an acre or so in the move. More than enough space for a big greenhouse…

    Who is really going to suffer in any repeating crop failures?

    China. They are already having a big food issue and buying all they can. That will work just until Americans are hungry. Similarly other food importing regions like the Middle East / Africa.

    Cattle / poultry / hogs. You can survive on a much smaller amount of corn and soy if you don’t run it through a critter first. Now I’m NOT planning on being a vegetarian (been there, done that, like my KFC…) but it is a useful strategy in an Aw Shit. One pound of Grain Fed Beef takes 10 lbs of grain. That’s 10 to 20 days of human food depending on ration size. When meat prices get too high, folks will “extend” their meals with more direct use of grain products. We’re already seeing some of this with the cattle culling due to feed shortages.

    So unlike Ice Age Farmer (and some others) I’m not seeing this as a horrible catastrophic end of food as we know it. More a price crisis… You may need to eat more rice (instead of French Fries) with dinner and have chicken instead of beef. Boo Hoo. I’m just interested in making it as comfortable as possible in the process… and keep the transition smooth.

  30. Larry Ledwick says:

    Yes as a former emergency planner I find his (Iceagenow) breathless drama presentation annoying, but I like the info he presents, and my main interest is in capturing documentation for the symptoms he is describing.

    As you have noted many times there are work arounds for most of the problems that will crop up, but that does not necessarily mean those work arounds will be rolled out on time and in the proper locations. There are lots of folks in the flat lands in the dakotas who are going to lose everything and be financially wiped out.

    Already happening in bits and pieces. The blizzard in the Dakotas a few years ago. (Oct 2013) took out about 5% of the cattle herds.


    Now we have a year of low land flooding through out the Dakotas and Nebraska north central plains, and poor crops in other areas pushing marginal farmers to the edge.
    Those financial insults will have a toll and a few back to back years of this sort of thing, will depopulate that region for decades.

    Same thing happened in the great lakes region in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s bad economic conditions and several record breaking storms caused a massive surge of people moving to other parts of the country in the late 1980’s when they got fed up with bad times and no prospects.

    I tend to focus on what “can happen”, if you make reasonable preparations toward what can happen you are almost always well situated for what is likely to happen, and when that black swan does arrive (and we know that eventually he will) you will be one of the lucky few who are not seriously impacted.

  31. E.M.Smith says:

    Just had a minor sample of that with the stove and power. No house stove? No problem, use the hot plate and electric skillet…power out mid cook? No problem, shift to the gas portable… light the candles… pour some wine :-)

    Firmly from the “hope for the best plan for the worst” camp. Just seasoned with a salting of skepticism… I like defense in depth, too.

  32. Larry Ledwick says:

    USDA climate summary and crop conditions for previous week.

    Click to access wwcb.pdf

    Article from Nov 13 on crop conditions

  33. Larry Ledwick says:

    Interesting read on south American glaciers over the last 1500 years – seems scientists are beginning to investigate the influences of a variable sun on our climate.

    Solar modulation of Little Ice Age climate in the tropical Andes

  34. Larry Ledwick says:

    Another interesting bit here on solar modulation of the AMO, showing a positive correlation between the change in SSTs and the combined effects of solar and volcanic forcings since 1775.

    The change appears to be the combined nearly immediate effect of solar intensity on the atmosphere and a delayed response by the ocean SST with a lag of about 5 years for full adjustment of SST’s to the forcing changes.


  35. Larry Ledwick says:

    Interesting comment on twitter about the late harvest and trying to dry grain in cold weather.

  36. p.g.sharrow says:

    As a one time Grain Farmer I can see that this is the start of really hard times for farmers and their communities.
    Trump has another big problem to deal with, I hope his intel is better than
    the governments BS’ers

  37. Larry Ledwick says:

    This sort of high participation pattern makes it easy to see why the ice age ice sheets developed in the great lakes region.

    The wet autumn extended the year’s soggy stretch, as the U.S. continued its wettest year to date (January through November) on record, with a precipitation total of 32.14 inches (4.55 inches above average).

  38. Larry Ledwick says:

    Meanwhile back at the pork crisis in China from the African Swine Fever outbreak, looks like their demand for Protein/Pork will be elevated for 5-10 years depending on how fast the pig herds recover.

  39. Larry Ledwick says:

  40. cdquarles says:

    Locally, though, the water year runs from Oct. 1 of this year through Sep. 30th of the next. Not that it matters that much. This water year, to date, we have had between 5 and 10 inches of precipitation, which is within one standard deviation of the average. For the calendar year, to date; that’s also the case, despite the hot and dry spell we had at the end of last year’s water year. The average amount is 4.5 feet, standard deviation about 0.5 feet; overall. That means most years will record between 4 and 5 feet of precipitation, and almost all of them between 3.and 6 feet.

  41. Larry Ledwick says:

    National rain fall (Precip) patterns are interesting, what I was commenting on is the ice sheets formed where you had the perfect conditions for them to occur. In the Lake Superior and Lake Michigan areas you have both heavy annual precipitation totals and potential for very cold intercontinental temperatures in the winter.

    With 30 – 40 inches of water in the form of snow you have 6x – 10x that depth in snow depending if it is light fluffy snow like we have most of the time out west to the heavy wet cement snows you see in areas with higher humidity conditions. All you need is one winter where the 100 – 200 inches of snow fall does not completely melt in the summer time, then you start the process of year to year accumulation as local albedo keeps things cool enough that summer temperatures do not melt it all off.

    Obviously it would take a few thousand years of that pattern persisting enough to slowly accumulate a wide area snow field development.

    Ever since I was in grade school I wondered why the ice sheet did not extend into the western Rockies and the precipitation pattern makes it clear once you understand that glaciers form due to both cold and precip conditions. Both are required to form a glacier.

  42. E.M.Smith says:

    Pig recovery will depend greatly on IF resistant animals exist. IFF there is not an increase in resistance , this persistant disease will repeatedly return. IF there are resistant animals, the herd can recover very rapidly. A pig litter can be 10 to 12 and you get 2 to 3 per year. Call it 30 piglets. Half are female, who are fertile the next year. By year 2, you can be at 15 x 15 breeders, or 225 breeders. (Yes, I know you must do the exponential per litter and this is only an estimate).

    At a 15+ fan out per year, it is a rapid exponential. Note that you only need one (very happy :-) boar so you still get pork production along the way via the male piglets.

    OTOH, if ASF is persistant and recurs, all bets are off.

    Per grain drying:

    Note that a rail strike is preventing propane shipments to driers in Canada (and farmers are pissed – dumping grain on politicians steps). In the USA, demand for propane is way high due to the cold, so shortages forcing driers to refuse grain.

    So tell me this: How will the Green New Deal dry grain with windmills and sunshine in The Midwest in fall in snow? Without driving grain prices to insane levels?

  43. E.M.Smith says:

    Oh, also note in that link from Larry L. the reference to more poultry as a stop gap. That’s the same thing I was pointing at: resource substitution. Chicken for pigs and beef. Rice for potatoes. Etc.

    We still eat, just different stuff.

    Also note that a freeze can help harvest as the wet ground solidifies and tractors can drive on it. Snow makes the grain wet and is more problematic forcing more difficult drying or rotting.

  44. Power Grab says:

    @ EM:

    If you want to see a big, honking greenhouse, check out the brand new Greenhouse Learning Center at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater.


    The next time you’re trucking across country on I-40, you might want to take a one-hour trip north when you get to Oklahoma City.

  45. E.M.Smith says:

    So Stillwater, eh?

    Looks like an easy run up from I-40.

    IMHO, multi-layer plastic panels as insulation plus high efficiency LED lights are going to make greenhouse production take off big across the nation. High rise production inside cities too. The elimination of the costs of land, transportation, pesticides, and more is a huge win. Then the elimination of weather risks, as we’ve just seen, is also huge. Water efficiency is very high, so big win in dry places.

    Already, in California, most store tomatoes are greenhouse (canning, or field tomatoes are not) as is most specialty lettuce (Romaine and Iceberg are not, and Romaine has had recalls…). Berries are raised under giant row covers like open ended greenhouses.

    Here our high land costs push to intensification. That trend will spread. Saudi Arabia has a giant greenhouse fed desalinized water. Fresh salads year round.

    If I lived in Oklahoma or Texas, I’d be looking to build a greenhouse with panels sturdy to hail and grow stuff in winter. Here in California plastic sheeting is fine as insulation need is near zero. (Too much heat in spring, summer, and fall more of a concern, so ventilation a big deal as is bug intrusion if you just open it up wide…).

    This is one of the biggest Ag Wins that is largely ignored by the doomers and gloomers. Hydroponics and LEDs now make it economical to grow row crops year round anywhere. Even in the Arabian Desert. The Netherlands has a highrise pig hotel for pork production. You can do the same thing with chickens. We have hydroponic grass production for dairy. Only thing limiting now is field grains, sugar & beans. That is only due to the cost of production in open fields being so low.


    in theory that also lets you feed beef cattle and sheep with hydroponic fodder too. Removing a grazing land limit. But again, open pasture is fairly cheap still. But, if ever needed, it is there.

    The only real limit is energy supply. IMHO, that is WHY the Warmistas target it. Malthusians creating their desired disaster. Build modular MSRs coupled with desalination and hydroponic greenhouses and their Story becomes obvious trash talk and nothing more. A world of plenty without limits scares them silly.


  46. E.M.Smith says:

    Gee… I was a bit out of date… Looks like hydroponic rice has started:

    As it is the main human food grain for most of the world, that’s a big deal… even if we are just at the very first step.

  47. E.M.Smith says:

    Fascinating… guy using rice hulls as grow medium for hydroponic corn:

    Rice hulls are incredibly durable, so a disposal issue in rice country. Nice recycle there. Then hydroponic corn and a greenhouse in the background. Nice. Now add a Nubian Goat to recycle the stalks and leaves :-)

    It does look like I need to do some catching up with current practices, even if just the experimental ones. Adding rice and corn and beans to a DIY growhouse basically means food self sufficiency. Toss in a small ruminant for meat and a few chickens and call it done. Chickens love kitchen scraps and harvest “waste”. Bunnies love all sorts of leaves. Mini goats eat almost anything and make a lot of milk. Like a quart a day… so better learn to make cheese…

    Hydroponic grains not yet generally ready to replace field crops, but certainly far enough along for the home gamer on crappy dirt. Hmmm… wonder how much Florida swamp sells for? Plenty of water for a floating greenhouse :-)

  48. Larry Ledwick says:

    The idea of a swamp water hydroponics raft makes me chuckle.

    Put a mesh basket under it to keep predators out and add some fish that like bugs to poop in the water and you have a self contained ecology

  49. E.M.Smith says:

    The Chinese put pig pens over a pond and ducks too, then raise fish that eat the resultant algae…or shrimp. There’s also a shrimp system where you pile plant waste in one corner of the pond. Shrimp eat the decsying stuff and bugs.

    Only big problem is the flu cycles between pigs ducks anc people fast, mutating as it goes. Why new flu strains typically start in Asis. So I’d skip the pigs…

    Algae sucking up the nutrients is an issue in hydroponics and Florida swamps have lots of algae, so I’d have the hydoponic beds on a raft and filter the water… then add nutrients in a closed system.

    OTOH, having a crayfish bed under the raft in the swamp mud…. hmmm I like mud bugs buttered w seasoning…

  50. Larry Ledwick says:

    Status update on the Soybean crop and planting this year.

  51. Power Grab says:

    Oklahoma Gardening is a TV series that is produced by Oklahoma State University.


    It looks like the episode for 12-14-2019 includes a segment about poinsettias in the new Greenhouse Learning Center.

    There have been shows about greenhouses and cold frames that show how to use them in Oklahoma.

  52. Quail says:

    I’ve used rice hulls as litter in quail, duck, and chicken pens. It nicely encapsulates the droppings when the birds scratch around. It needs high nitrogen droppings with it to compost well, so it works best with the quail and ducks or in deep litter situations. Rabbit droppings are too low nitrogen to use with it plus the urine goes right on through, and without the nitrogen it hangs around for several years unaltered. It remains lightweight even when it is soiled because it does not really absorb moisture so even the water bowl area isn’t mucky. The local feed store carries it in large bales cheaper than straw or shavings. Love it.

  53. E.M.Smith says:


    As you point out, rice hulls are incredibly sturdy. At one time there was s minor mountain of them near my home town. Nobody could find a use for all of them and burning has issues.

    Eventually some uses were found and the mountain began to shrink. The idea of hydroponic media is a great one. Nearly free and when changing needed, just compost it or plough it in.

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