Not by Fire but by Ice


     Email Robert      l     Reviews     l      Order Not by Fire     l     Order Magnetic Reversals      l      Dissenters      l       Recent articles 

Discover What Killed the Dinosaurs . . . and Why it Could Soon Kill Us


Seattle could match record winter of 1949/50

After warmest Nov 4th on record


                       page delimiter

5 Nov10 - The temperature in Seattle hit 74 degrees yesterday, tying Seattle's record for all-time warmest November day, a record set more than 60 years ago on November 4, 1949. 

Does this mean that Seattle - and the Northwest - can rest easy about this coming winter? I don't think so.

That November day in 1949 was "the start of the harshest winter in Sea-Tac Airport history," says meteorologist Scott Sistek of KOMO 4 TV.  "As the calendar turned to 1950, region became gripped in a 6-week arctic blast that wiped out nearly every cold temperature record we have -- and almost all of those records stand today as we have yet to have even come close to approaching them since.

"The 34-day period between Jan. 1 and Feb. 3 had four incredible arctic blasts that crippled the city with several inches of snow and days upon days of bone-chilling temperatures that dropped to single digits overnight," says Sistek.

"In fact, 18 of the 34 low temperature records from that time are from 1950 --12 of them in single digits, including the Holy Grail of our cold records, the 0 degree reading on Jan. 31. That stands as the coldest day ever recorded at any official Seattle reading, be it Sea-Tac Airport or the Downtown Federal Building, which kept records from 1891 through 1972.

"Then, one of the greatest snow storms to strike Seattle hit on the 13th, with 20" of snow amid a high of 19 and a low of 11. says spray from Elliott Bay froze instantly on whatever it landed on the Seattle waterfront.

"By the 24th, it's back into the ice box with highs in the mid 20s and lows of 10 and 7 for the 24th and 25th, respectively; both records.

The 26th was greeted with another mega snow event -- 10" in Seattle, but surprisingly, not a record low as it "only" cooled to 21. Snow tapered off on the 27th as lows dropped to 19.

And then, as if Seattle hadn't suffered enough that month, came the mini-ice age: A brutal seven-day stretch of single digit lows between Jan. 28 and Feb. 3 (7, 6, 7, 0, 1, 8, 8.

Will this coming winter be just as harsh?

After all, the 1949/50 winter was a similar scenario to where we are now, says Sistek. That was a moderate to strong La Nina winter,  and we're now again headed into a La Nina winter.

"BUT past performance does not guarantee this winter will be the same," says Sistek

I agree. Past performance does not always guarantee the future, but I think we'd be crazy to ignore it.

See entire article, entitled "Just how bad was the winter of 1949-1950?"



Order Book I Q & A I Book Reviews I Plant Hardiness Zone Maps I Radio Interviews I Table of Contents I Excerpts I Author Photo I Pacemaker of the Ice Ages I Extent of Previous Glaciation I Crane Buried in Antarctic Ice Sheet I Ice Ages and Magnetic Reversals I It's Ocean Warming I E-Mail Robert at l Expanding Glaciers