How screwed up is the weather where you are?

When I was growing up you could count on the weather. We knew when summer started and how long it was going to last. We knew when winter started and how long that was going to last. In summer we had hot days with late afternoon thunder showers almost like clockwork. And in Cape Town where we went on holidays it NEVER rained in summer. It ALWAYS rained in winter. Weather seemed a lot more predictable. Certainly not day to day, but over a few weeks and definately season to season.

And now.

We’re in March. We’ve been having a heatwave. It’s been between 30 & 35 degrees (Celsius) for the last few weeks with not a drop of rain. Winter should be around the corner but it looks a far way off. Last year we hardly had winter, it was hot most of the time. We’re pretty much experiencing a drought, yet about a 1000 km away Mozambique is flooded.

Besides all the major weather events we hear about (like hurricanes and tornadoes) what have you noticed has changed where you stay? How different is the weather now from when you were a kid? Is it significant or subtle changes?

Four seasons here… unlike Chicago where there is no Spring (straight from Winter to Summer most often imho).

It gets really hot in the summer, into the 100s F. Sometimes that’s coupled with humidity, which makes it very easy to stay indoors and spend $150/month on air conditioning.

Winters are mild… hasn’t snowed in the last 4 years or so. Sometimes, “we” get ice storms which can knock out electricity for weeks, but we have been lucky, that’s never happened to us.

Springs and Autumns are simply beautiful. 70 degrees, T-shirt and shorts, in the pool by late April and until October.

edit: I’ve actually been wearing tshirts and shorts on selective days since January, and as late as November. We’ve had a deliciously mild winter. Then again, being “from” Chicago (born here but lived there most), I tend to crave cool temps.

Totally screwed up. Daffodils and crocuses are blooming in February - my garden is full of flowers now - hedgehogs coming out of hibernation early and starving to death. Hottest summer since records began last year; 2003 was the hottest prior to that. Drought during the summer (in rainy England). Flooding everywhere during the winter. And hurricane-strength storms. It’s not what I recall from when I was younger, and the meteorological records back this up.

It’s a lot warmer now than it used to be. The Meadows in Edinburgh is filled with crocuses and daffodils in bloom and they have been for a few weeks. I always remembered February in the UK as being bitterly cold, but there’s been a few warm days (i.e. warm enough for people to be seen with t-shirts on) lately.

This winter has been very different from usual. We haven’t had a proper ground frost at all. Usually the ground is hard for weeks at a time. Little things are noticeable - some local pathways that usually you would take care on because they don’t get any sun and are icy for much of the winter haven’t been this year.

Pretty screwed up.

I don’t know how much of it is false memory though, because the Bureau of Meteorology is saying it’s screwed up but not as screwed up as I think it is.

Australia has always had some pretty wild years for weather, but we seem to be getting more of them now. When I was a kid, you would get a cool winter with crisp sunny days, interspersed with a fortnight of solid rain once or twice in the season. Then in sumer, it’d be warm with a fortnight or two of heatwave conditions, again interspersed throughout the season. Autumn might get one of those rainy fortnights, and spring would be windy. There’d be dry years now and then.

Now, we’re (maybe) starting to come out of years of drought caused by an El Nino event. Most of the big cities are on serious (Stage three or four) water restrictions. There are inspectors driving around the suburbs fining people for using sprinkler systems instead of a handheld hose (and then only on allowed days during allowed hours), or washing their car with a hose, etc. The dams are dangerously low. Some towns have already run out of water and are having it trucked in. This summer was a total stinker for incredible, unrelenting heat. As a kid, a hot summer day would bring welcome relief in the form of a “Southerly Buster”. This was an afternoon cool change (Southern cold front) that would hit so suddenly, all the doors would slam. Then there might be an evening storm, followed by a cool night. Now the heat seems to go 24 hours - no cool southerly change, and no respite. If we get storms, they go all night. I am going to move south if this keeps up.

Whatever your thoughts on global warming, recent years here seem to be going along those lines - hotter, drier, stormier, wilder.

Yep, the UK’s weather has been pretty screwy for some time now. I take more than a passing interest in the weather, and a lot of people in the industry feel that there was something of a step change in the British climate in around 1988/89, towards a much warmer set-up. Some people feel that this has accelerated again in the past few years.

Certainly the UK climate is breaking records for warmth with alarming regularity. The 12-month period from March 2006 to Feb 2007 was the hottest 12-month spell since records began in 1659! July 2006 was the hottest month ever recorded. September 2006 was the equal-hottest September ever. The autumn quarter was the hottest ever by more than a clear degree Celsius. And subject to confirmation, the winter (Dec/Jan/Feb) may just be the first ever to have all three months averaging >6ºC.

Back in 2003, of course, 100ºF was recorded in the UK for the first time ever, which caused quite a bit of media attention. (We use Celsius as a rule, but summer heatwaves still get measured in Fahrenheit because it sounds hotter!)

This graph gives a pretty stark picture of the sudden warming since the 1980s. We’re now running around 1ºC (1.8ºF) warmer than the long-term mean, with only one below average year out of the past 20. Of course it could be a temporary blip, but I wouldn’t like to bet on it.

Ironically, this winter has actually given my part of the world two decent (by southern English standards) snowfalls. Settling snow is very rare in Central London, but this year we had 2+ inches on two separate occasions within a fortnight, and more in rural areas.

I think a lot of people from other countries have an image of England as being snowy in winter, but it has never been common. Nowadays, it’s very rare indeed, more’s the pity.

Here in WI, we used to get snow in mid Nov and it wouldn’t melt until mid-March.

Now it’s rare to have a white Christmas - it’s rare to have snow for the entire winter. Last December it was in the mid to upper 40’s F.

The most screwed up thing about the weather happened last week. Snow and thunder! That’s right - it was blizzard conditions then the entire sky lit up with lightining and then there was thunder. That just aint right.

Winter started off mild - we were pretty excited. Then it plummeted and it got really, really cold. On the one had it sucked pretty bad to have -45 with the windchill, on the other hand we had a lot of wasps last summer/fall because the previous winter was too mild.

I am hoping it translates into a hot summer - but then we get clouds of mosquitoes - so it’s a bit of a mixed bag.

This is very funny to me…I grew up in California and after moving to Chicago, I fell in love with the four seasons weather. I adore spring in Chicago, when the daffodils start blooming and the tables and chairs begin to reappear on restaurant patios. I’m not sure how you could miss it!

Anyway, winter here was practically nonexistent…it only snowed a few times, and never stuck. Really lame. Cold enough to make being outside unpleasant, but not cold enough to have get a nice snow. I don’t know what that says about weather patterns in general though, as I hear that winter last year was very long and cold.

I used to think things were screwed up here too.

But when I actually did some research I found that, in fact, my memory was playing tricks on me. My recollection of extremely consistent seasons was in fact wrong; things have always been like this, where winter sometimes started really late, or we had cold spells in July, or warm spells in February. (Reversed seasons as opposed to you, obviously.)

What I REMEMBER is that it snowed like hell in early December and there were mounds of snow everywhere with well subzero temperatures until March and then it all melted and the flowers bloomed in April. But in fact that simply has never been the case at any time in my entire life. **brewha ** mentions remembering they used to always have a white Christmas in Wisconsin, but a Web search shows me that in fact, Milwaukee, WI historically has had a white Christmas only sixty percent of the time. (Granted, brewha may live further north, but I figured I’d play the odds. In Marquette, it’s a white Christmas every year.)

Things ARE getting warmer, but the truth is that in most places, if you could take a time machine and travel back and forth from now to 30 years ago, you couldn’t notice it; the difference is a margin of like 1 to 2 degrees, not really enough for a person to notice a big change, and in-season variance isn’t much different than it ever was.

Our memories tend to simplify the past in this regard.

Pretty normal. Maybe a little more snow on the plains and less in the mountains, but comparing it to the past 100 years, it’s not strikingly odd.

The climate is a little off, but the weather’s not unusual.

Houston’s about normal. Cold snap in late February, which is a little later than usual, but not by much.

We had the warmest December and January in our recorded history. Since then it turned unusually cold and snow ,while not in huge amounts, has been relentless. Four inches last night. Typically we are warming up by now.
The farther yopu move from the Detroit area the more snow you get. Much of Michigan has has huge and steady snows this year.

My memory may be playing tricks on me. How did you find the weather history?

Milwaukee may not be a good template for WI weather since it is right on lake Michigan and tends to be a little warmer because of this.

We’re going on four weeks now of sub-zero and single-digit temps, and people are getting edgy. It should be in the 30s by now. Big high pressure ridges are not unusual in winter here, but it usually happens in January.

I grew up in Milwaukee (1970-1995) and remember only one time from my childhood being able to go sledding on Thanksgiving (probably like 1977??)
I remember every year following that looking for a lot of snow on Thanksgiving. I never saw it again. And while I do remember snow on Chrsitmas’, it never seemed like it was a lot.
My childhood birthdays, Feb. 5, are another story. Always snow, cold, crappy weather. Birthday party sledding was a common activity.

Weird here. I am sure someone who’s lived on Vancouver Island longer than I can elaborate, but it’s been… weird.

We’re a rainy island, but now we have water restrictions in the summer. Every summer.

We’re a mild island, but we have been getting unusual snow.

We’ve been getting windstorms that have taken down old, old trees.

We get funny little false springs in the middle of winter.

In the interior of BC, where I grew up, we always had a good, proper “winter” with lots of snow. Now winters seems to be mild, with very little snow.

I heard on NPR on the way to work yesterday that Alp ski resorts have been told to prepare to get into another line of work. There won’t BE skiing in the alps in a while…

And where are the honeybees? And the missing crust?

I am worried.

Well, just to settle your mind on a couple of points - I have the missing crust, it’s where I’m forcing the bees to make honey for my mead factory.

Oddly enough, the weather were I live (about 120 miles northeast of where **Bobo ** keeps his bees) is less screwed up than it has been for awhile. We actually had hellacious winter storms with more snow and cold than we’ve had in years, and the experts say we’re gonna’ get more snow and cold before spring really gets here. The weather in eastern Colorado is more like it was when I was a kid, and if I hadn’t been forced to travel halfway across the damned continent at Christmas, I probably would have gotten a huge kick out of the holidays.

Of course, springtime is just around the corner, and that’s tornado season, so anything can happen.