Extreme Temperature Diary- Thursday December 17th, 2020/ Main Topic: A Historic Eastern U.S. Arctic Blast (Named Alpha) For Christmas Day?

The main purpose of this ongoing blog will be to track United States extreme or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials).😉

Main Topic: A Historic Eastern U.S. Arctic Blast (Named Alpha) For Christmas Day?

Dear Diary. As I keep writing, the average temperature of the planet has not gotten so warm yet that we can rule out record cold blasts from the Arctic. One looks like it will coincide with Christmas Day, although one week out from this special holiday, just how cold remains for forecast models to iron out.

This morning’s GFS forecasts a very deep, cold trough digging from the Midwest into the Southeast:

At the surface we see extremely 1000-500 millibar thickness values getting below 516 decameters Christmas morning in the Deep South:

Such values should send temperatures at the surface to near 10°F in my hometown of Atlanta, for example. The record is 0°F set in 1983 in Atlanta when I was in college, that I remember well, so overall we may not see that many reports from this outbreak. Also, if the above panel were to verify, the atmosphere would squeeze out snow flurries as far south as Atlanta, which would put folks around my hometown in a holiday spirit.

Still, we will be seeing at least CAT3 level life threatening dangerous cold, so let’s dub this beast Cold Wave Alpha since it looks like there won’t be an associated winter storm for the event. For much more on my cold wave naming criteria please read:

One unfortunate thing to remember about this potential Cold Wave Alpha is that it will also coincide with the height of the COVID19 outbreak. No matter how much officials beg and plead, many families will choose to hold big gatherings during the holidays without social distancing or wearing masks. Very cold weather will also tend to keep revelers in the cozy indoors, acting to spread the disease much like prior winter cold has historically spread the flu.

This is one area in which further global warming might help, but as we know, sea level rise and a threat to world food security aren’t worth this warming cost. I’ll be adding more information in Cold Wave Alpha as we approach Christmas.

Speaking of cold events, here are snowfall reports from deadly Winter Storm Gail:


Here is more climate and weather news from Thursday:

(As usual, this will be a fluid post in which more information gets added during the day as it crosses my radar, crediting all who have put it on-line. Items will be archived on this site for posterity. In most instances click on the pictures of each tweet to see each article. The most noteworthy items will be listed first.)

Now here are some of today’s articles and notes on the horrid COVID-19 pandemic:

(If you like these posts and my work please contribute via the PayPal widget, which has recently been added to this site. Thanks in advance for any support.) 

Guy Walton “The Climate Guy”

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