13th January - Today's News: US Midwest Finally Gets Some Snow

In the US, storm ends snow drought for much of Midwest - a cold spell was indeed predicted this week for the US by our old friend Piers Corbyn though more specifically for the NE. And in Chicago the snow warning cancelled early as it dies out sooner than expected (did Piers say anything about amounts being less than standard meteorology predicted? Did he hell ...) But, give him his due, he wasn't entirely wrong on this occasion.

Meanwhile, another storm blankets Alaska with snow, as weary residents dig out

Piers also predicted that some time between the 11th and 13th January 'a torpedo low' would bring stormy conditions to Britain, specifically "The weather will be just as disruptive, if not worse, between January 11 and 13 as it was during the first week of the month. England will probably be more affected than Scotland with winds of over 80mph in parts" as quoted in the Scottish Sun (and not denied when asked whether this was a genuine quote - I understand it's more or less what he had previously said in his pay-to-view forecast).

He verified his forecast by showing that gales were indeed forecast by the MetO in sea areas in the North Sea though admitted the low did not track quite so far south as he predicted. In fact, a minor sub low did track eastwards across the Faeroes to Norway - rather very much further north than he said it would. The Fax Chart for 00z on the 12th shows the situation well - no 'torpedo low' to be seen!

Associated with this was a cold front which brought gusty winds to parts of northern England on Thursday morning - but whilst winds batter Yorkshire - and it's getting colder this is hardly the storm Piers predicted (the conditions were so bad, I couldn't find any story about it at all on the BBC website). And the MetO, if anything, over-estimated the strength of the winds associated with the cold front, given they warned of 70mph gusts whereas with a couple of exceptions in exposed, high level, locations, they were all less than that. Nor has Piers made any mention of high pressure settling over Britain this weekend to bring some cold, but settled, weather for the first time this year (I think he was expecting snow - or more likely, thundersnow).

And in the light of this latest failing, Piers would do well to note that South African weather forecasters who get it wrong face imprisonment - this new legislation appears to be aimed specifically at people like Piers who make sensational predictions that rarely if ever verify. Piers does not, however, issue forecasts for SA. Mores the pity. Though there may be a rethink on weather bill over concerns it goes too far.

Tornado injures at least 15 in North Carolina

In WA, part of shelter collapses as Heidi shuts Port Hedland

Gale force winds hit Wellington in NZ, where they're really not having a very good summer at all. I have a silly little theory that our weather often follows the trend set by the antipodes (last winter was quite mild and they had little snow until late in the season) and if so, it doesn't bode well for summer 2012. Though to be fair I have another inkling that we'll not have too bad a summer this year, maybe not exceptionally hot, but at least not so cool or wet as recent years.

Meanwhile, our mild winter turns natural world on its head

European mountain vegetation shows effects of warmer climate

New cores from glacier in Eastern European Alps may yield climate clues

New climate-cooling molecule found

Nothing new (I've been saying it for years), but good to see this recieving more publicity: to slow climate change, cut down on soot, ozone.

US teachers offered support for climate change lesson, as they are for teacing the disgraceful blasphemy that is evolution.

Earthquake hits Stoke-on-Trent - but no-one notices

Exact colour of Milky Way found - and it's white

In what's becoming almost weekly news now, astronomers find three smallest planets outside solar system and also discover that planets with double suns are common. I think we can safely conclude that planets are very common indeed and amongst them there are sure to be quite a few not too dissimilar to Earth and capable of supporting similar lifeforms. Still waiting to hear of an Earth-like planet around Epsilon Eridani - which as well as being the location of the Vulcan homeworld in Star Trek, is also a star I (think I) read about having a solar system similar to ours when I was in my early teens - and immediately afterwards was unable to find where I had read it. A mystery I've never solved. (It was around the same time that, whilst sitting in the bath, I had my eureka moment and came up with the idea that there was a super massive black hole at the centre of each galaxy - something I only saw hypothesised by astronomers many years later, and which today is a recognised theory). Spooky, eh?

And finally another silly season story as Met Office bonuses rise by third after icy winter of discontent - I do wonder whether any of the morons at the Telegraph even know what the MetO do? And do they think Tesco sells only sausages? And the fact that journalists made up a forecast using data they didn't understand (and thus got it totally wrong) does not mean that the MetO got it wrong! There's probably scope for libel there. But the Telegraph has never forgiven the MetO for causing cancer, Noah's flood and starting WWI and WWII. So we expect stories like that.


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