5 meters of snow in California and temperatures of 20 ° C in Alaska: the “strange” winter of extreme weather in North America
BBC News World
Meters of snow in California and summer heat in Alaska.
The northern hemisphere of America experiences a strange December, with tornadoes, snowfalls in places where there are usually pleasant temperatures around these dates and heat where there is usually snow.
Alaska, the coldest U.S. state, had the hottest December day in recorded history on Sunday, with a temperature of 19,4 °C registered on Kodiak Island.
While in Seattle, in the state of Washington, the same day a temperature of -6.7 ° C was reported, which broke a record set in 1948, according to the US National Weather Service.
But you didn’t have to go that far, in Alaska itself, in the southeastern city of Ketchikan, temperatures dropped to -18 ° C on December 25, which was considered one of the coldest Christmas days in the city in the last century.
In the Sierra Nevada, California, nearly five meters of snow has fallen this week, making this month the snowiest December at that location and the third snowiest month overall, scientists say.
As temperatures experience extremes, the Federal Storm Prediction Center on Wednesday warned of the likelihood of severe storms, strong winds and tornadoes in several states in the southeastern US in the coming days, unusual phenomena in this area. time of the year.
The new forecasts come just weeks after intense tornadoes tore through parts of Nebraska and Kansas, leaving at least five dead and 438,000 homes and businesses without power.
Weather extremes have prompted warnings of a potential “Icemageddon” in places like Alaska, as torrents of rain and snow have left the ice as hard as concrete that lines the roads.
“Ice is extremely difficult to remove once it has adhered to the road surface. Although the air temperatures were warm, the roads were at sub-zero temperatures, which caused the ice to adhere to the surface. “the Alaska Department of Weather explained on Twitter.
Experts say the warm air from Hawaii has made the air in Alaska, usually cold and dry during December, more humid.
This has meant that heavy rains and snow storms are more likely in inland regions, away from coastal areas.
Heavy snowfall has caused widespread power outages and road closures across the US and Canada.
In the latter country, the Environment Canada meteorological agency issued extreme weather warnings for most of British Columbia (west) and warned that the “historic cold” wave will likely continue until the end of the week.
According to experts, this is one of the coldest periods Canada has experienced in the last half century.
“If you are under 50, this could be the longest cold snap I’ve ever experienced in southern British Columbia,” tweeted Tyler Hamilton, a meteorologist for the Canada Weather Network.
Further south in the United States, winter storms have also affected parts of Nevada and have even led to the closing of ski resorts, but although they have been abundant in the west, there has been little snow in the east of the country.
Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak ordered non-essential state workers, in addition to correctional and public safety personnel, to stay home due to the storm.
Elsewhere in the south, such as Dallas, record high temperatures have been reported for the time.
Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport hit 27.2 ° C on Sunday, breaking the record for Christmas Day in North Texas, according to the National Weather Service.
Climate scientist Rick Thoman of the Alaska Center for Climate Policy and Assessment told the BBC that these abrupt temperature differences have become more marked over the past two decades and he believes they are a sign of climate change.
“In a warming world, we are going to have more of these unprecedented events, that’s what we hope for,” he said.
“2021 really seems to be the year that these extreme events have really come to the fore,” he told the BBC.
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