Glad I live in California

by admin on February 4, 2011

Goin’ off-topic again…

As most of you know, this was the week of the Groundhog Day Storm, or the Blizzard of 2011, or whatever you want to call it. On Tuesday morning the newspaper headline read: “Aren’t You Glad You Live in California?” Here are some pictures to show you why. (Also to give those of you who live between the coasts something to remember the week that was.)

Here, from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction, is a map of the high temperatures for Monday, January 31.

Kind of a typical weather map, with all the temperature contours running east-west, except for that big purple bruise over the Dakotas and Montana. Purple, by the way, means highs in the single digits Fahrenheit (that’s -17.8 to -12.2 degrees Celsius). Light blue represents highs in the teens (-12.2 to -6.6 Celsius), and so on.

Now let’s step ahead to February 1, when things started getting a little bit wilder:

The purple bruise has gotten bigger and darker and moved farther south. (The deep purple regions had a high below zero, or from -23.4 to -17.8 Celsius.) Notice how nice it was in California (mostly light green — 15.6 to 21.1 Celsius).

The next day, February 2, had the coolest map of all:

Yowzah! Now that’s a weather map! The temperature contours have gotten turned on their side and they now run mostly north-south! I also like the fact that if you started in the purple area and headed north, it got warmer! Although temperatures for Canada aren’t shown, presumably it was warmer in Canada than it was in Oklahoma and Texas. The ice caps were probably melting at the North Pole. Subfreezing temperatures extended right down into Mexico; there were snow flurries in Monterrey.

Oh yes, by the way, it snowed a bit:

This is a precipitation map, which means that the inches of snow have been converted to inches of rain. So actually we see that the southeast got more precipitation than the central U.S., where all the snow was. To get an idea of where the blizzard was most intense, let’s ask our friends at the Weathermatrix Blog at

Basically the map is a dartboard with the bull’s-eye sitting right over Chicago! (Which had 20 inches of snow.) I also like the blue question mark in the southwestern corner. Not sure how to explain that one…

I have to admit I was a little bit surprised to find that there are actually blogs devoted to the weather. But I guess you can find a blog about anything, if you look. Heck, there are probably even blogs about chess …

But anyway, I leave you with one more cheerful thought: a post from another blog, which says If You Think This Week’s Weather Was Bad, Wait Until Next Week. Don’t put away those snow shovels!

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