High temperatures obliterate records

Posted March 22, 2012, at 7:58 p.m.

For more than a week, dozens of places in the Midwest, Great Lakes and Northeast have obliterated warm weather records.

In some cases, record highs have been destroyed by more than 30 degrees, and even morning low temperatures have bested previous record highs.

In Marquette, Mich., Wednesday’s record-crushing high was 81 compared to the old record of 49, which even the morning low of 52 topped. The same day Grand Rapids, Mich., scored its all-time record temperature departure soaring to 87, 47 degrees above normal.

“When low temperatures are the same as previous record highs, that’s incredible — to me, that’s just mind-boggling,” Mike Halpert, deputy director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center told OurAmazingPlanet.

Chicago hit 80 for the eighth time in nine days on Thursday and set its ninth record high in as many days.

Compared to 3,550 warm weather records set in the United States March 12-18, there were a piddling 18 cold weather records, according to the National Climatic Data Center.

This overall extreme weather pattern is a result of an abnormally huge ridge in the jet stream over eastern North America which has remained stationary for days.

With so many records being broken by such large margins and for so long, is there any connection to global warming?

University of Utah’s Jim Steenburgh is convinced global warming has a role in this. The Weather Channel’s Stu Ostro shares a similar view, while Accuweather’s meteorologists are somewhat more reluctant to connect the dots.

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