Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Early cold blast

We are in the midst of a cold outbreak here with recording breaking cold making it feel more like the middle of winter than the middle of November.  The cause of all this cold weather can be linked back to a very powerful typhoon in the pacific that morphed into one of the most powerful extra tropical storms that then hit Alaska and caused a major ripple effect on the jet stream that caused the jet stream to make a deep dive south allowing for record setting cold to pour in to the eastern 2/3 of the United States.  The cold snap is not only noteworthy for the low temperatures but also for the duration of the event.  It has already been below normal for several days and it won’t truly moderate until the weekend here.  The entire week here will feature highs just above freezing and lows in the teens.  To illustrate just how cold it is over such a large area, all 50 states had a location below freezing this morning.  A couple other stats I heard this morning to illustrate just how cold and snowy it is...this morning was the coldest morning in November in the US with an average low of just over 19 degrees and snow covers over 50% of the US...crazy for middle November!
The cold air blowing across the warmer waters of the Great Lakes has resulted in a major lake effect snow event with totals being measured in feet with snowfall rates of 3-5” per hour being reported at times.  Thankfully we will not have to deal with that!
How will the weather impact birding here?  Tough to say with certainty but the cold weather will likely freeze out lakes and ponds to our north and west which may result in waterfowl being pushed toward us (a report of ten Northern Shovelers on Lake Metacomet in Belchertown could be related to this).  The cold will also make it tough for some lingering species (especially insectivores) to make it through the long duration cold snap. 

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