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Tyrone

Texas freeze with an Australian perspective.

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Xerarch

Exactly, I've said it before, other places in the world at the same latitude, elevation, proximity to the coast, just don't get that cold.  Houston is near the coast and is at the same latitude as Coffs Harbour and still managed to record -11C.  Not mentioned in the article but Corpus Christi is coastal and similar in latitude to Brisbane/Gold coast and South Padre Island is lower in latitude than the Sunshine Coast.  All of these areas in Texas suffered hard freezes that would be unthinkable elsewhere.

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AnTonY
55 minutes ago, Xerarch said:

Exactly, I've said it before, other places in the world at the same latitude, elevation, proximity to the coast, just don't get that cold.  Houston is near the coast and is at the same latitude as Coffs Harbour and still managed to record -11C.  Not mentioned in the article but Corpus Christi is coastal and similar in latitude to Brisbane/Gold coast and South Padre Island is lower in latitude than the Sunshine Coast.  All of these areas in Texas suffered hard freezes that would be unthinkable elsewhere.

This was something I never realized until reading forums like this. The reason is because a lot of geography textbooks in US classes never explain this nuance. Neither does the wiki page for humid subtropical. Also, when I was 10, I looked up Buenos Aires, and saw that they had a snowfall in 2007 - so, that just lead me to assume that subtropical climates were mostly warm w/ some cold snaps from time to time, just never to the extent of places farther poleward.

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greysrigging

Australia has the distinct advantage ( re Polar outbreaks ) of having the Southern Ocean between us and Antarctica. So we never get a Polar Express travelling over a land mass and reaching deep into the tropics ( even South America does to a lesser extent than North America. )
Having said that, a 1 in a hundred year event back in July 1965 produced widespread light snowfalls over the Central Highlands of Queensland, including a documented fall at Eungella, inland ( and at altitude 690m asl ) from the coast near Mackay ( lat 21.13S ). This was the most northerly snowfall in Australias recorded history.
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-07-17/when-snow-fell-in-tropical-queensland/12407184

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Tyrone

Albany had snow on the beach in the 90s. Strange to see triangle palms covered in light snow. I never want that ever here. 

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sandgroper

I'll never whinge about winter again!

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AnTonY
14 hours ago, AnTonY said:

This was something I never realized until reading forums like this. The reason is because a lot of geography textbooks in US classes never explain this nuance. Neither does the wiki page for humid subtropical. Also, when I was 10, I looked up Buenos Aires, and saw that they had a snowfall in 2007 - so, that just lead me to assume that subtropical climates were mostly warm w/ some cold snaps from time to time, just never to the extent of places farther poleward.

Basically, just to clarify - the concept of the long-term "non-tropical, freeze-free" climate was completely foreign to me. When I was younger, I'd always viewed climates as a sort of a hard-and-fast gradient - the poles are cold, then frequency of freezes and cold/snow always decrease heading equatorward until you reached the frostless tropics. With places like India, New Zealand, even (almost!) entire continents like South America and Africa, I just viewed them as completely tropical - the reason was a lot of media, textbooks, childrens books, etc I read just portrayed it as such.

Finally, I did my own research, online and with real informative books, starting at age 8 - I built knowledge in ecology, weather/climate, and figured out all the nuances. It was mind blowing to learn how poleward New Zealand was compared to my location, or that parts of India, Brazil, Africa, etc were right at my parallel, or even farther poleward! These sorts of nuances are rarely emphasized in the classic school curriculum from what I saw.

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NBTX11

Here is a fact for you.  It was 85 degrees (nearly 30C) or so in Texas the week before the cold snap, and will be close to 80 degrees (27C) again next week.  And this is not uncommon at all, in fact it is very common.  Texas may get colder than similar latitudes, but it also gets much hotter, faster.

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HtownPalms

As a native Texan it is a bit frustrating to see people significantly further away from the tropics be able to grow things we could only dream about here. Although the more I learn the more I find out we are simply a geographic anomaly. Lucky us! 

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AnTonY
On 2/20/2021 at 8:38 PM, NBTX11 said:

Here is a fact for you.  It was 85 degrees (nearly 30C) or so in Texas the week before the cold snap, and will be close to 80 degrees (27C) again next week.  And this is not uncommon at all, in fact it is very common.  Texas may get colder than similar latitudes, but it also gets much hotter, faster.

Definitely true, and I think this might help some of the freeze damaged palms to recover nicely (assuming that any other complications don't come through). The heat can really get cranking when you have low pressure systems centered in northeasterly directions relative to the state - the downsloping flow w/ compressional warming creates some solid heat, as does dryline advancement.

 

3 hours ago, HtownPalms said:

As a native Texan it is a bit frustrating to see people significantly further away from the tropics be able to grow things we could only dream about here. Although the more I learn the more I find out we are simply a geographic anomaly. Lucky us! 

Overall, I agree with you here. Much of Eastern North America in general, beyond just Texas.

Having that said, one silver-lining is that freak events like the past week really accelerated knowledge w/ regards to meteorology. I've learned a lot about the best weather models to use w/ regards to actually seeing the patterns play out in the short range (i.e. 3km NAM), versus those to really just use for entertainment, nothing more than a general look at weather patterns to expect in the future (*cough* GFS *cough*). Also, for whatever reason, it feels great learning the technicalities w/ regards to which weather patterns allow Texas/Eastern US to be milder than normal, or which patterns are responsible for mild snow events (i.e. Dec 2017) versus nastier deep freezing, ice, snow events (i.e. Feb 2021).

And, for palm growing in general - with harsh weather events, it comes with interesting revelations regarding the limits of the species. The cold that the plants can take, and to what duration, degree, any associated precip, as well as importance regarding the meteorological timing of any weather systems involved. It just truly puts it all to the test.

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Sabal_Louisiana

The southern plains of the US are optimally setup for cold air invasion in relation to the heat provided by low latitude, sufficient insolation and close proximity to the Gulf of Mexico. The sharp potential contrast between cold and hot in this region is why such severe storms, including tornadoes, reach a level unseen anywhere else in the World.

As explained before, you can sort of blame the Rockies. A very high, continuous barrier vertically aligned that largely blocks milder Pacific air from spreading eastward. Simulation models show the central and eastern parts of America would have more even precipitation, and much warmer and less severe winters if the Rockies were low or nonexistent. (Australia has a Great Dividing Range but its on the eastern side of the continent and not nearly as high). Not only that, the Rockies actually help to amplify deep troughing, enhancing the southward movement of polar air masses.

Additionally, there are no mountain ranges oriented west-east most anywhere in North America. What we do have is flat land galore from the Gulf of Mexico to the Arctic. Frigid air pours out of Canada into the United States like water spilling on a table when conditions are favorable.

 

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palmsOrl

I am kind of surprised Orlando hasn't (in well more than 150 years of documented history) had a widespread snow event where the whole city got 1-3".  I know parts of the greater metro area reportedly did in January of 1977, but this was apparently not generalized to the whole area.  It seems like we get cold and wet enough in very rare cases for it to happen.  I am sure it has (areawide) sometime in the past 500 years.

Find a photo of Orlando coated in snow.  They just don't exist.  There is a photo from Goldenrod (in the Orlando area) of a coating of snow on a car from 1977).

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GottmitAlex
16 hours ago, palmsOrl said:

I am kind of surprised Orlando hasn't (in well more than 150 years of documented history) had a widespread snow event where the whole city got 1-3".  I know parts of the greater metro area reportedly did in January of 1977, but this was apparently not generalized to the whole area.  It seems like we get cold and wet enough in very rare cases for it to happen.  I am sure it has (areawide) sometime in the past 500 years.

Find a photo of Orlando coated in snow.  They just don't exist.  There is a photo from Goldenrod (in the Orlando area) of a coating of snow on a car from 1977).

Dont jinx it Mike. 

:crying:

 

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Silas_Sancona
41 minutes ago, GottmitAlex said:

Dont jinx it Mike. 

:crying:

 

-Mightbe in the clear.. For now at least.

 

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Sabal_Louisiana

Love the Australia Bureau of Meteorology website. 

The US National Weather Service's website is..meh.  And their new radar format sucks.

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Silas_Sancona
16 hours ago, Sabal_Louisiana said:

 

The US National Weather Service's website is..meh.  And their new radar format sucks.

It is, and it does.. I use the MRM S Radar ( listed in the far right hand side of our office's main page, next to the Phoenix/ Yuma radars. ) whenever tracking storms.  Much more accurate than the " normal " radar as far as when it is actually raining / how intensely it is raining over the house.  Also use Cira / the RAMMB slider for tracking Lightning. 

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