2007: A Bizarre Weather Year
OK, you know by now I celebrated my 20th year on the air here at WSAZ this November. Twenty good years, if I may add!
Thru the years, I have watched and tried to accurately forecast it all. The Great Blizzard of ’93, the Flood of ’97, the Brutal Cold of ’89 and most recently the passage of the remnants of two hurricanes (Ivan and Frances) in ten days in 2004 . All these events impacted our lives in one way or another.
Tonight, I am here to tell you my top five events of 2007, a true year of extremes. I will not post which one was the MOST BIZZARE until just before we ring out 2007, just in case something more freaky happens!
(5). Number 5 on the list was the intense and prolonged cold of late January and February. After a mild and wet start to the new year, cold set in mid January and held on thru President’s Day Weekend. By my calculation, that was the coldest 4 week period in my 20 year stint at WSAZ. How cold was it? Well, even I ,the consummate winter weather lover, became tired of the cold and snow.
It snowed on 20 of 30 days in the period (many days had a dusting or coat) and ice and snow piles kept sidewalks slippery for the longest time.
Only one decent snow happened in that period, a sure sign that the southern storm track that snow lovers crave in winter was inactive.
(4.) The fourth great memory I have for the weather in 2007 would make our discoverer, Christopher Columbus proud.
During his maiden trip across the Atlantic to the New World, Columbus encountered many a hot day at sea. But in early October, when we celebrated Columbus Day the summer heat wave had long since worn its welcome out. Still, the temperature on that National Holiday crested in the mid 90s. This was the hottest such day in Huntington for so late in the season in more than 100 years. UNBELIEVABLE, 93 IN OCTOBER!.
(3.) Here's the treat of my top 5 weather memories. It's not unusual for the fall foliage season to extend thru Halloween during warm falls. the oaks in particular can often hold their color into November.
In 2005, splashes of fall color lasted thru Veteran's Day weekend in the warm, dry conditions. But this year, the abnormally long and strong fall warmth slowed the changing of the fall colors down by a full month. Snowshoe and Canaan Valley didn't hit peak until mid October in the high country.
Here in the Ohio, Big Sandy and Kanawha Valleys, the leaves hit their first peak in late October in time for Trick or Treaters. Then remarkably, a second peak began Veteran's Day weekend and lasted until just before Thanksgving.
This second peak came as the late oaks and sumac mixed it up with the waning Maples and Dogwood to give Thanksgiving weekend visitors a rare look at fall color so late in the season.
More to come as the evening unfolds!
In my book, this MAY BE A sign of a Globally Warmed planet.
(2.) When the Easter Bunny needs snowboots and a parka, you know something is amiss. So my number two top memory of the weather in 2007 was the GREAT EASTER FREEZE.
That's right, an Easter weekend cold snap produced 4 straight nights of very cold temperatures in the 20s...make that deep into the 20s. A few hollows recorded lows in the teens.
I remember that weekend as I shoveled an inch of snow off my sidewalk while the Marshall Invitational Golf Tourney was cut short by the arctic blusters.
At church where I usher, people were dressed in overcoats with gloves and scarves. I don't think I saw even one bonnet.
What made this so remarkable was it came on the heels of a warm March. Trees came to life, buds swelled then sprouted. First the Forsythia, then the Bradford Pear and Crab Apples Finally the Dogwood.
When the cold arrived, it cut the beauty of our spring short. John Marra predicted the buds would get nipped. Here we were in early April and the trees were fading.
Commercial fruit growers also took a major blow. Apples, Peaches, Plums and Pears were all hit hard. The Richard Brothers from Jackson Ohio feared the fruit kill would be the worst in 40 years.
(1.) The longest lived and most impacting event of the year focused on the Great Drought and Summer Long Heat Wave. Since heat and drought go hand in hand, I consider this one event.
The heat started early (May Day hit 90) and lasted into October as mentioned above. Along the way, the temperature crested at 90 or higher on 50 some odd days (15 in normal). Remarkably, the heat was not accompanied by sweltering humidity. There was simply no rain to produce high humidity.
When assessing the impacts of the heat and drought we start with the obvious, many crops either failed or yielded poorly. Your favorite community or neighborhood pool did beacoup business. Our home cooling bills were high (but not as high as they could have been had we had more rain and higher humidity).
In early August, the temperature soared to 104 in Charleston and 103 in Huntington, tied for the hottest day in more than 50 years. On that day, the same day of the recount for the Kanawha table games referendum, our weather was identical to that of Vegas. Some might say that was symbolic?
The Hurricane Resevoir dried up for the first time since the last great drought in 1988. Thanks to an oasis of rain in July, we managed to avoid widespread water restrictions.
By September so hot was the daytime air, that high school football games were rescheduled an hour later to allow for cooler night time conditions. Our lawns and landscapes remained an ugly brown.
Ask any retailer and you will hear how the slow down in department store business came in part because at local tailgates, we were seen wearing bermuda shorts and tank tops, not sweaters and hooded jackets. Nobody needed fall and winter clothes!
I could go on and on, but you get the idea, clearly any event that lasts for such a long tome must earn MY AWARD FOR THE TOP WEATHER EVENT OF THE YEAR.