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Why so cold?


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#1 gsytch

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 05:38 PM

Perhaps someone can shed some light. I've been here long enough to see quick cold snaps, but this year has me confused. There is little snow cover up north, and the land is relatively warm. The Gulf is warmish and yet tonight I am not getting any influence. The AO is not negative, yet this looks as cold as anything we had last year. I knew this arctic air was sitting in Alaska weeks ago, and I always worry when it gets that cold there...but how did this dip occur? It looked cold last week, but not this! I never went above 47F this afternoon and the wind was awful. Anyone chime in? How did this happen? Thanks! :drool:
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#2 Palmə häl′ik

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 01:56 AM

Canadian Arctic Air Mass.

~Ray.
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#3 displaced_floridian

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 10:29 AM

Even with a positive AO, we can get some shots of cold air, but they don't persist like in Jan or Dec '10.
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#4 Ray Tampa

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 12:00 PM

We can get deep troughs without a negative AO and NAO. The difference is they sweep in and move right out when the AO and NAO teleconnections are positive. The NAO looks to stay neutral/moderately positive but the AO may be tanking. Accuweather already has mid 30's forecast for parts of central Florida around the 16th of this month.

Before last year, I thought La Nina and El Nino were the major players in controlling North American weather. Then, the experts told us that the Arctic and North Atlantic Oscillations could override those. Now, Accuweather is all about "Stratospheric Warming" that overrides the AO and NAO. Once we understand this new phenomenon, they'll pull something new out of their hats that will override Stratospheric Warming and cause more cold. No matter how warm it's supposed to be, some new weather phenomenon will doom us to more and more cold. How does "Ionospheric Massaging" grab ya?
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#5 gsytch

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 06:32 PM

It just seems like this cold plunged without much moderating. It is already 36F in my cold back yard, warmer out front where there is tree cover. Calm. I'm sure of frost, unlike last night. Lack of snow cover is another story, so perhaps that is not that much of a player as thought. I do not even want to THINK about another cold snap.
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#6 TropicalDude

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 03:52 AM

Actually this one hasn't been quick to move out (from my perspective, which might differ from other people)

Orlando area, first night of cold snap around 35, second night 32, third night I'm seeing on wx underground around 6am temps all over the place..(???) but still most around freezing still (most in the low 30s with a few upper 20s and one or two low 40s)

I swear when I looked at the TV forecast for Orlando, Channel 9 in late December for the extended forecast I don't remember anything below 50s for lows except for one or two nights of 40s. Pretty much the same for weather.com then.

But only a few days later here we are with suddenly 3 freezing nights for what was supposed to be only one, with this morning's lows forecast as easily warmer than last night.. (clearly not the case at least in the Orlando area).

The climate is still as unpredictable as ever and like Ray said, the experts always keep coming up with a new explanation.

Edited by TropicalDude, 05 January 2012 - 03:59 AM.

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#7 Dakotafl

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 04:01 AM

Their so dramatic when it comes to reporting the weather, anyone else hate the weather site or person when they report a freeze? :lol:

31 here in inland palm bay, low/mid 40s on the immediate coast and barrier islands.
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#8 PalmatierMeg

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 01:25 PM

So far this winter seems "typical" of FL winters before 2009/10: average highs/lows punctuated by occasional arctic fronts powering down from Canada for a couple days. That results in the usual sturm and drang and hairpulling that so amuses visitors. Before I got into palms all the sky is falling hysteria amused me too.
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#9 Dakotafl

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 05:35 PM

So far this winter seems "typical" of FL winters before 2009/10: average highs/lows punctuated by occasional arctic fronts powering down from Canada for a couple days. That results in the usual sturm and drang and hairpulling that so amuses visitors. Before I got into palms all the sky is falling hysteria amused me too.



Seems pretty normal to me also, "the sky is falling" LOL! Thats usually me when 30s come around :lol:

Hey, it could be 95 degrees with 80% humidity and it will come summer, so i love winter besides the occasional arctic blast.
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#10 Ray Tampa

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 01:53 PM

When you've got to move 800+ potted plants for a freeze, the sky might as well be falling.

A two day cold snap is fast in meteoroligical terms. It's back in the 50's for morning lows already. A prolonged cold snap has 2 or 3 days in the 20's/30's with multiple days in the 40's before and after.
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#11 Moose

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Posted 07 January 2012 - 01:16 AM

When you've got to move 800+ potted plants for a freeze, the sky might as well be falling.

A two day cold snap is fast in meteoroligical terms. It's back in the 50's for morning lows already. A prolonged cold snap has 2 or 3 days in the 20's/30's with multiple days in the 40's before and after.



800+ plants, holey moley Ray. :blink:

Your green house & garage must get packed to the gills. :o

I could help relieve you from the burden of your extensive croton collection. ;)

I'm here for ya Buddy. :lol:
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#12 gsytch

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Posted 07 January 2012 - 07:29 AM

I agree about the extended forecast. I originally saw maybe upper 30's then POW! freeze warnings. It was rather slow to move out considering St Louis was already beating out our highs as of Thursday. Don't get me wrong, it moderated, but looking at the country as a whole, the north was not that much colder COMPARED to how much colder than average this cold shot was. The next cold shot has only 63/43 ish right now for next Thur/Fri as far as I can see. I just want late Feb to get here so spring will arrive....or some rain. Anyone noticed how extremely dry it has been the past 3 months? Very litte rain here. Dec saw less than 1/2" total and November was about the same.
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#13 TropicalDude

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Posted 07 January 2012 - 02:07 PM

I noticed the same thing Gsytch. On the third night of the freeze, the northern coast line up to about North Carolina was only a few degrees colder than us and even further inland, relatively speaking. It seemed that jetstream was like a dagger shot straight down at us, then moved up taking some of our warmth back to the north. No expert on how the jetstream works lol but it sure seemed that way based on the temps.

After most of December being warm, we got a few cold nights at the end here in Orlando (helped get the plants ready for the freezes). Two or three warmer nights and then the cold front which brought three straight days of lows that ranged from almost freezing the first night to upper 20s to upper 30s the next two nights. Two straight days with highs in the 40s which is rare here (other than last year's anomaly of one cold front after another)

For such a warm winter this mild freeze/cold front stuck around long enough, here in Orlando at least.

While I've seen only little random damage, I left a plastic with water on the open yard and the top did freeze solid. So just because plants didn't really take a big hit doesn't mean it didn't freeze. I saw Eric reported only mid 30s at Leu Gardens, but that place is big and they have colder (lower) spots there too. I've noticed some of their plants get whacked really bad despite being close together and near canopy, that don't get that damaged at my location. There's a small Bouganvillea in my front yard that was left unprotected and still has flowers and most of the leaves.
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#14 Ray Tampa

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Posted 07 January 2012 - 07:44 PM

Ron, my garage, greenhouse and 2 portable domes are all packed to the gills. It's 3 days of work when all said and done.
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#15 Rusty on Pine Is.

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Posted 08 January 2012 - 02:29 PM

When you've got to move 800+ potted plants for a freeze, the sky might as well be falling.

A two day cold snap is fast in meteoroligical terms. It's back in the 50's for morning lows already. A prolonged cold snap has 2 or 3 days in the 20's/30's with multiple days in the 40's before and after.

..and doesn't my heart go out to you :( (seriously)....i am fortunate and cursed to work where we have thousands of bromeliads spread out over 40,000 square feet under cloth or other cover, not to mention many acres with gardens, all of which need to be protected....
...we are in a cold pocket of South Fort Myers, so the protocol is cover if the forecast is 37 or below....
....not fun.


Needless to say that nothing here at The Flatts gets protected since i leave for work at 0430 and get home @1730 hrs.....fortunately my losses here are minimal. :)

I plan for at least one event per year..i call it a burp..... A brief event, a pain in the ass, a regular albeit brief occurrence....fact is, pain in the butt as it is, i will take a burp over what occurred over the past couple of years.

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#16 Eric in Orlando

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 07:30 AM

I noticed the same thing Gsytch. On the third night of the freeze, the northern coast line up to about North Carolina was only a few degrees colder than us and even further inland, relatively speaking. It seemed that jetstream was like a dagger shot straight down at us, then moved up taking some of our warmth back to the north. No expert on how the jetstream works lol but it sure seemed that way based on the temps.

After most of December being warm, we got a few cold nights at the end here in Orlando (helped get the plants ready for the freezes). Two or three warmer nights and then the cold front which brought three straight days of lows that ranged from almost freezing the first night to upper 20s to upper 30s the next two nights. Two straight days with highs in the 40s which is rare here (other than last year's anomaly of one cold front after another)

For such a warm winter this mild freeze/cold front stuck around long enough, here in Orlando at least.



.




Even in our more open colder areas at Leu Gardens, the only damage so far seems to be to tender annuals; coleus ha tip damage, etc. I thought some tender shrubs like lantana and jatropha might get some burn but none.
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#17 edbrown_III

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 09:55 AM

No matter how warm it's supposed to be, some new weather phenomenon will doom us to more and more cold. How does "Ionospheric Massaging" grab ya?


No happy ending huh?
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#18 TropicalDude

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 02:06 AM

trying to delete this post but don't see a "delete" button anywhere sorry

Edited by TropicalDude, 10 January 2012 - 02:13 AM.

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#19 TropicalDude

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 02:10 AM


I noticed the same thing Gsytch. On the third night of the freeze, the northern coast line up to about North Carolina was only a few degrees colder than us and even further inland, relatively speaking. It seemed that jetstream was like a dagger shot straight down at us, then moved up taking some of our warmth back to the north. No expert on how the jetstream works lol but it sure seemed that way based on the temps.

After most of December being warm, we got a few cold nights at the end here in Orlando (helped get the plants ready for the freezes). Two or three warmer nights and then the cold front which brought three straight days of lows that ranged from almost freezing the first night to upper 20s to upper 30s the next two nights. Two straight days with highs in the 40s which is rare here (other than last year's anomaly of one cold front after another)

For such a warm winter this mild freeze/cold front stuck around long enough, here in Orlando at least.



.




Even in our more open colder areas at Leu Gardens, the only damage so far seems to be to tender annuals; coleus ha tip damage, etc. I thought some tender shrubs like lantana and jatropha might get some burn but none.



Good to hear Eric, it looks like the 10 day forecast isn't too bad although I see a couple of forties for next weekend.. hopefully those don't turn into mid to low 30s... Would be so great to finally go a winter here without significant damage! I still remember good 'ol winters where it never got below 39 or so.
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#20 Ray Tampa

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 04:58 AM

Would be so great to finally go a winter here without significant damage!

Merely uttering those words could sway old man winter's disposition and doom us.

The next 4 weeks are when most freezes occur. The worst historical freezes were in mid/late December but the next few weeks have the greatest frequency of cold snaps.
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#21 TropicalDude

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 12:24 PM

Hopefully I didn't jinx it :lol:

Here it seems we get it almost religiously during the first week of January (except last year) and then around the 20th. Only damaging event in recent memory i can recall after that was Feb 5-6 1996
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#22 palmsOrl

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 03:48 PM

TropicalDude, I also recall January 24, 2003 when the high was here 42F and the low was a windy 27F. I slipped and split open my leg open on ice that morning on my back deck, really strange. I think it is worth noting that, what I have heard as the "worst cold wave of the 20th century" occurred on January 21-22, 1985, when the temperature in Orlando dipped to 19F. Also, surprisingly, the famous 1899 cold wave actually occurred in mid-February (February 12-13). I would assume the worst freezes/cold waves over the long-term would tend to coincide with the period during which there was the greatest frequency of cold/freeze events.

-Michael
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#23 Ray Tampa

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 07:38 PM

1985 (21F in Tampa) was bad but 1962 (18F) and 1983 (19F) as well as the 1989 freeze were all in December. Of course, the Florida snow days were in mid/late January 1977 in what was one of the coldest ever Florida winters. The minimum temps for that cold snap were not record breaking however. Surprisingly Micheal, the part of winter with the greatest number of freezes does not coincide with the highest concentration of record breaking cold.
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#24 koolthing78

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 01:32 PM

1985 (21F in Tampa) was bad but 1962 (18F) and 1983 (19F) as well as the 1989 freeze were all in December. Of course, the Florida snow days were in mid/late January 1977 in what was one of the coldest ever Florida winters. The minimum temps for that cold snap were not record breaking however. Surprisingly Micheal, the part of winter with the greatest number of freezes does not coincide with the highest concentration of record breaking cold.


I've noticed that, too, and found it kind of odd. The only explanation I could think of is that the nights aren't as long during late January freezes, giving the temperature less time to plummet after sunset before daylight starts heating the air again. But I have no scientific data to back that up, and I would have thought the colder ocean temperatures would more than offset (or at least equally offset) that phenomenon, at least close to the coast. :indifferent:
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#25 TropicalDude

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Posted 13 January 2012 - 02:53 AM

Michael that hurts just reading it ..ouch

The Feb 96 hard freeze was so cold that the coldest morning i woke up to find a small bird bath on the ground frozen solid. The temperature read 25.6 at Orlando International airport. Then I saw a Florida map with Tampa at 23! -airport?. That was back then when the weather channel was cool and the local conditions always showed up at the bottom of the screen. I was going to school in the morning either the first or second day of the freeze (it was also windy). The weather channel said it actually felt like 5 degrees Fahrenheit! (crazy)

The difference in Dec. having colder snaps in Tampa could be because its is further west than Orlando, maybe a jetstream in December tends to dip from further west and hit Tampa harder. In Orlando the scary month is usually January, although late Dec. has brought bad freezes, but very rarely. There has been hard freezes in central Florida as late as March. THAT would be terrible to see again... except with today's much more built up heat island effect II can't see 19f or even the (23f?) of 1989 in urban Orlando again. ..hoping I don't' jinx it :drool:

Edited by TropicalDude, 13 January 2012 - 03:02 AM.

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#26 Ray Tampa

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Posted 13 January 2012 - 04:17 AM

Hi Mario,

Tampa Airport's low in Feb 1996 was 25F.

In the level of cold listed below, you can kiss the heat island goodbye. The heat island and microclimates help considerably in light freezes. That said, deep freezes can only be escaped indoors. I remember defoliated Australian pines on St. Pete Beach in the 1980's.

KMCO's December all time lows.
1894 - 18F
1909 - 21F
1934 - 22F
1935 - 24F
1962 - 20F
1983 - 20F, 21F
1989 - 22F, 24F
2010 - 24F
KMCO in December

KMCO's January all time lows.
1898 - 23F, 23F
1905 - 21F, 24F, 24F
1928 - 24F
1966 - 24F
1977 - 20F, 24F
1981 - 20F, 23F
1982 - 23F
1985 - 19F, 20F
KMCO in January


If you take 1985 out, December's lows are slightly more extreme than January. It wouldn't seem like much but a degree or two translates into a few more hours below freezing. Those "few" extra hours are exponentially more devastating.
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#27 Exotic Life

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Posted 13 January 2012 - 04:29 AM

Still no real winter in sight here in The Netherlands. Possible I going to get my first real frost this weekend, but it's all depending on how much clouds there are during the night. December was much above average and also January is a lot above average so far.

Really mild winter so far, but we deserve it after three very harsh winters where many palms and other exotics died.
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#28 Trópico

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 12:45 AM

Where's everybody? I am just hitting 31.6°F and did not protect anything! They promised it would hold steady, but it's dropping!
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#29 TropicalDude

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 02:59 AM

Ray I'm not sure what station they were using but they had Tampa Jacksonville and Miami when they showed the whole US and they had Tampa at 23 that morning. According to this site (see page 6 for February records) SRQ was at 24. http://www.srh.noaa....rdColdFeb21.pdf

What I don't understand is I'm seeing on wx underground that Sanford Intl reported low of 27 on Feb 5, 96 but Orlando Executive and International airports reported 23... I find it odd Executive (one of the warmer stations) reported lower than Sanford.

Tropico, what part of Orlando? Channel 9 had 39 forecasted but around 5:30 a number of locations were reporting just above or below freezing (!!!)

Went outside at 6am and there's frost on the windshield... we'll see if anything shows damage in a few days
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#30 gsytch

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 04:10 AM

The high cloud deck cleared out here after dark and the temp fell real fast! It struggled to 54F yesterday under milky skies, and was 40F at midnight. Now it is 36F. Luckily, I protected the most sensitive stuff (mostly some orchids. Brrrr it looks like the last cold for at least a week. :drool:
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#31 PalmatierMeg

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 10:12 AM

Low was 41.2 under the front (north facing) awning. Was predicted to be 42 so forecasters were spot. Fortunately, I rolled in the lipsticks and dwarf Areca on Friday. One more night in the 40s then some relief.
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#32 Trópico

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 11:10 AM

Ray I'm not sure what station they were using but they had Tampa Jacksonville and Miami when they showed the whole US and they had Tampa at 23 that morning. According to this site (see page 6 for February records) SRQ was at 24. http://www.srh.noaa....rdColdFeb21.pdf

What I don't understand is I'm seeing on wx underground that Sanford Intl reported low of 27 on Feb 5, 96 but Orlando Executive and International airports reported 23... I find it odd Executive (one of the warmer stations) reported lower than Sanford.

Tropico, what part of Orlando? Channel 9 had 39 forecasted but around 5:30 a number of locations were reporting just above or below freezing (!!!)

Went outside at 6am and there's frost on the windshield... we'll see if anything shows damage in a few days


I am not far to this station in Lockhart. My thermometer is always spot on with this station. My low this morning was 30.2°F. I woke up at exactly 3:30 AM and my thermometer was sitting at 32°F. So I went outside and saw frost damage on some palm leaves: Livistona, Coccothrinax, Roystonea, Syagrus. It was the reversible type: spotting, or stripes that looked like variegation. All the spotting/striping was gone by mid morning!

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Frank

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with yearly freezes

#33 ThunderSRQ

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 07:01 PM

Same sh*t here -- forecast low for last night/this morning was 42 but, when I checked my thermometer this morning, it had bottomed out at 33.8! I did see it getting near 40 around 10 PM, so I went out and brought in all my extra-sensitive stuff (thinking it might end up at 37 or 38). But totally unbelievable how far off the forecast was -- all the work I did protecting stuff during the previous frost events was most likely a complete waste (since I didn't cover anything and frost was almost a certainty at that temp -- I was not up early enough to see but the evidence/damage will show soon). Absolutuely sucks...
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#34 Ray Tampa

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 05:19 AM

Mario,

The 23F you saw was probably at Vandenburg Airport outside of town. Here's the official lows at Tampa's airport.

Tampa's freeze scorecard

Here's Sarasota's. They actually did hit 24F.

Sarasota's freeze scorecard

I wish these temps weren't so etched in my brain but you become an amateur meteorologist when you grow palms in this climate.

Ray
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Tampa, Interbay Peninsula, Florida, USA
subtropical USDA Zone 10A

Bokeelia, Pine Island, Florida, USA
subtropical USDA Zone 10B

#35 spockvr6

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 05:57 AM

In Palm Harbor yesterday, it was 39F, but with a dewpoint only a few degrees below that my daughter and I made a small snowball out of the fluffy frost I scraped off of a car roof!
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Larry
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Bokeelia, FL 10b

#36 gsytch

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 11:50 AM

No frost here at all despite a 36F on Sat AM, 41F Sun AM and 43F this morning. Things have righted themselves now, as it is a nice 73F outside but this breeze is rather strong - despite weather stations reporting gusts "near" 10mph! It is a constant 10-15mph with gusts near 20mph easy. The greenhouse plastic is a flappin'...Nothing cold in the immediate future but they blew this past cold even big time. Let us hope they go the other way next time lol :drool: :drool:
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Begonias are my thing. I've been growing and selling them for three decades, nearly two in Tampa Bay. NPR is an bhour N of St Pete, coast

#37 Ray Tampa

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 11:56 AM

The AO looks to be trending negative while the NAO looks positive through months end. In step with the latter, the CPC is predicting above normal temps for most of the US through months end. Will the other shoe drop in February? One thing is for sure, we'll be here to find out.
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Tampa, Interbay Peninsula, Florida, USA
subtropical USDA Zone 10A

Bokeelia, Pine Island, Florida, USA
subtropical USDA Zone 10B

#38 spockvr6

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 12:49 PM

No frost here at all despite a 36F on Sat AM, 41F Sun AM and 43F this morning.


Greg-

It was seriously thick on car rooftops in Palm Harbor. My car was parked in my parents driveway (which is less than a mile from the Gulf) and it was thick on the top of the car!

But, I am embellishing a bit, as far as the effects, as no plants had any frost on them and no damage to anything in my fathers yard. Things like Veitchias, etc were all fine.

I dont have any tender stuff in my new yard (we moved to Palm Harbor from Tarpon Springs last month), but I drove by my old house (its only 3 miles away) and it was fine too.
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Larry
Palm Harbor, FL 9b/10a
Bokeelia, FL 10b

#39 TropicalDude

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 05:48 PM

Ray, where can I find something similar (temp/dates below 32f for Orlando?)

This past cold snap the forecast only had counties W and NW of Orange at freezing. Looks like they were well off by about 10 degrees. Many locations all around Orlando saw 32 and below.

The few small palms I have are all hardy, only a small potted coconut was protected. The only thing that shows apparent damage in my neighborhood so far is the grass from the previous light freeze earlier in the month. I can only see about 2 leaves damaged on top of the larger mango tree. Today discovered a few flower spikes coming out from a small Glenn mango which I covered then, but left uncovered this time. Also noticed it has swollen buds at the tips, indicating it's waiting to resume growth. The Peregrina plant facing west next to the wall has dropped half of its leaves but is still flowering. That plant hates the cold. A small bouganvillea has dropped some leaves too, but not the flowers.
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#40 Eric in Orlando

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 08:22 PM

we only got to 37F, Orlando Executive had 38F. North of town it was 31F at my girlfriend's house in Altamonte Springs.
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Eric
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