Thursday, December 24, 2015

ICE AGE NOW: Snoqualmie Pass, Washington Buried In Snow - 85 Inches On The Ground!

© Cliff Mass Weather Blog

December 24, 2015 - WASHINGTON, UNITED STATES - Last year, Snoqualmie Pass had very little snow and the ski areas remained shut for most of the winter.

This year Snoqualmie is being BURIED IN SNOW.

Every day at 6 AM, Washington Department of Transportation measures snow depth in the pass. Here are the latest numbers: 26 inches of snow between 6 AM Monday and 6 AM Tuesday, with 85 inches on the ground. An increase of 50 inches in 5 days. To quote Darth Vader: Impressive, Most Impressive.

The Wednesday report shows another 11 inches of new snow, but compaction resulted in only a 1 inch increase in depth.


The pass has been closed several times during the past few days, with chains often required. So far this year over 12 feet of snow has fallen in Snoqualmie, eclipsing the total snowfall of the entire last year.

But it is not over. Last night, another frontal system moved through, bringing a surge of heavy snow. Here is the forecast of 72-hour snow total for the region (a circle indicates the location of Snoqualmie Pass). Another 2-3 feet!

The freezing level is quite low now and during the next few days, with the associated snow level dipping to around 1000 ft, with mixed snow getting down to 500-1000 ft at times. Don't be surprised to see a few flakes at sea level, particularly over N.W. Washington.

© Cliff Mass Weather Blog

But why so much snow?

The reason is that the atmospheric has been stuck in a configuration that has been ideal for central Cascade snow (and very favorable for heavy rain over Oregon). Here is the upper level (500 hPa) forecast for Tuesday at 7 PM. The lines are height (like pressure) and winds are strongest when the lines are close together (that is where the jet stream is located). The jet stream is oriented NW-SE with the axis crossing Oregon and northern CA. We are on the north (cold) side of the jet stream and there is a trough just offshore.

© Cliff Mass Weather Blog

So we are cool, with disturbances rippling along the northern side of the jet stream. Good for Cascade snow. - Cliff Mass Weather Blog.

ANIMAL BEHAVIOR: Disaster Precursors - Shark Attacks Diver Off Fernando de Noronha, Brazil?!

December 24, 2015 - BRAZIL - A shark ripped off a Brazilian diver's forearm as he swam off the tropical archipelago of Fernando de Noronha, the first such attack to hit the UNESCO world heritage site, authorities said Tuesday.

The 33-year-old scuba enthusiast was vacationing in the protected marine reserve off Brazil's northeastern coast when the shark attacked him Monday during a diving excursion gone horribly wrong.

He will undergo surgery Tuesday at a hospital in Recife, on the mainland, and is currently in stable condition, the hospital said.

It was the first shark attack ever recorded in Fernando de Noronha, a pristine national park famous for its turquoise water and rich marine life.

Authorities have closed the beach where the attack occurred, on the archipelago's southeastern coast.

A marine biologist and a shark expert were authorized to carry out a dive to try to establish which species of shark attacked the man, according to news portal G1.

Pernambuco state, which the archipelago belongs to, has seen 60 shark attacks since 1992, including 24 deadly ones, according to Brazil's Shark Attack Monitoring Center.

Hammerhead sharks were the species that attacked most frequently. - Yahoo.

RATTLE & HUM: "Strange Noise,... So Many Went Into A Panic,..." - Mysteriously Eerie Underground Noises Recorded In Mexican Town?! [VIDEO]

Haunted: The people in this Mexican town are worried about eerie noises. © Newsflare

December 24, 2015 - MEXICO - These are the eerie noises that have sparked a panic in Mexico as citizens fear a supernatural phenomenon is taking over a town.

In the footage, captured from an apartment in the city of Acatzingo, long booming sounds echo through a residential neighbourhood.

According to local reports, scientists have recorded underground movements, which might explain the noises, but have reassured local residents that they are not at any risk.

The strange sounds were coming from the ground state of Puebla, Mexico and caused panic on the streets with many believing the city is haunted.

WATCH: Listen to eerie underground noises sparking panic in Mexican town.

A woman who calls herself Melody uploaded footage and audio to the internet. She said: "In my parent's house, and other parts of the city, I could hear this strange nose, so many went into a panic, but I decided to record it, as in the video shown, call my parents.

"I decided to share this video to show that there are still things we do not know." - Daily Mirror.

ANIMAL BEHAVIOR: Migratory Patterns And Disaster Precursors - Dead Humpback Whale Washes Ashore In Sandford, Canada; And Dead Humpback Whale Towed From Gig Harbor To Tacoma, Washington?!

Dead whale washes ashore in Sandford

December 24, 2015 - EARTH - The following constitutes the latest reports of unusual and symbolic animal behavior, mass die-offs, beaching and stranding of mammals, and the appearance of rare creatures.

Dead humpback whale washes ashore in Sandford, Canada

A dead male humpback whale, about 30 feet long, was discovered washed ashore in Sandford on Wednesday.

At low tide around 4 p.m. the body was located, upside down, several hundred feet from shore, about half a kilometre south of the Sandford wharf.

Andrew Reid, a response coordinator with the Marine Animal Response Society (MARS), says typically, when whales die, they tend to float upside down because of decomposition gases and the expansion of their throat.

"It's difficult to say what caused the animal's death without examining it," he said.

WATCH: Dead humpback whale washes ashore in Sandford

Because of the timing of the incident and the likelihood of it being washed back out to sea, Reid could not confirm that representatives from the society would be able to examine the animal, but the photos that were supplied to him by the Vanguard could prove helpful.

Because dead cetaceans and seals can provide valuable information to scientists about the animal's behaviour and cause of death, reporting the sighting of dead whales can be extremely useful in improving scientific knowledge. - The Vanguard.

Dead humpback whale towed from Gig Harbor to Tacoma, Washington

A team from Highline College’s Marine Science and Technology Center prepares Wednesday to tow a yearling humpback whale off the beach just north of Gig Harbor.
© Peter Haley

A dead yearling humpback whale that washed ashore in Gig Harbor last week was hitched to the stern of a boat Wednesday and towed across the Tacoma Narrows to the Thea Foss Waterway.

Once in Tacoma, the 23-foot long whale was to be placed on a flatbed tow truck and carted back across the Tacoma Narrows — this time via the bridge — to a farm in Gig Harbor.

On Saturday, the Cascadia Research Collective will do a necropsy to determine the animal's cause of death. Then a crew of volunteers will help cut up the whale and bury it under a heap of horse manure on the farm to help it decompose.

By summer, the volunteers will return to exhume the whale and clean its skeleton before bringing it back to the Thea Foss Waterway.

Its final resting place will be the Foss Waterway Seaport. That's where the skeleton will be articulated and placed on display for visitors to see as a part of the seaport's marine education program.

Wesley Wenhardt, executive director of the seaport, said via email Wednesday that the organization is "really excited to work on this project."

Volunteers with Highline College's Marine Science and Technology Center helped organize Wednesday's effort. Authorities with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association had contacted the center at the start of the week about the dead whale.

The female yearling was reported to authorities Dec. 18 on a section of beach north of the opening into Gig Harbor. The beach is accessible only during low tide. - The News Tribune.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Seismic Unrest - Over 30 Earthquakes Rattle Area Around Reno, Nevada!

December 24, 2015 - NEVADA, UNITED STATES - A series of more than 30 earthquakes that rattled the Reno area over the past two days occurred on the most significant fault structure in the area, and scientists are monitoring for potentially bigger shock waves to follow, experts said Wednesday.

The quakes began Tuesday evening and continued into Wednesday morning. The largest — a magnitude-4.4. late Tuesday — shook homes and businesses in a 300-square-mile area near the Nevada-California line.

No significant damage was reported.

Graham Kent, director of the Nevada Seismological Lab at the University of Nevada, Reno, was at home when the biggest quake hit and described it as "quite a jolt."

"I was basically right on top of it," he told The Associated Press. "In scientific terms, it was a 4.4. But for us, it was one heck of a kick in south Reno."

Scientists are paying close attention because it happened near a fault structure that has the potential for the largest earthquakes in the Truckee Meadows, along the Sierra Nevada's eastern front.

"We are monitoring it as we speak to see if it slows down or kicks back up," Kent said.

The largest temblor's epicenter was about 7 miles south of downtown Reno, the lab reported. It was felt as far as 50 miles east, near Silver Springs; 80 miles northeast in Quincy, California; and 100 miles southwest in Grass Valley, California.

Two magnitude-3.1 quakes bookended that quake.

"No, it's not the wind," the National Weather Service in Reno tweeted at about 11 p.m. Tuesday. "There have been 3 earthquakes this evening all centered on the south side of Reno."

Crews were on scene Wednesday at Galena High School about 3.5 miles from the epicenter but found no obvious damage, Washoe County school officials said. Police had no reports of significant problems, and the Truckee Meadows Water Authority said there was no sign of any harm caused to water mains.

"It was right on the borderline of where you'd be expecting to see some damage — just underneath the level where you start cracking a lot of plaster work and things start moving," Kent said.

The fault structure links five individual fault lines that begin at Lake Tahoe, about 40 miles southwest of Reno.

"In 2005 we had just shy of a magnitude-5," Kent said. Since then, the same fault structure produced a magnitude-4.2 in Spanish Springs in 2013, and one as large as 4.9 in Mogul in 2008 that caused an estimated $1 million in damage.

"People ask me if there is going to be another one," Kent said. "In our own decadal history here, Spanish Springs didn't have another one, but Mogul had a larger one after the initial force. So we're basically batting .500 right now. After this, we will either be batting .333 or .667."

Laced with faults, Nevada is the third most seismically active state, behind California and Alaska. A magnitude-6.0 temblor near the northeast Nevada town of Wells in 2008 was the biggest in the state in four decades, causing nearly $10 million in damage. - Yahoo.

EXTREME WEATHER: "Large & Extremely Dangerous" - 7 People Dead After 21 Tornadoes Sweep Through U.S. South And Midwest! [PHOTOS + VIDEOS]

December 24, 2015 - UNITED STATES - At least seven people, including a child, were killed after at least 21 tornadoes swept through the South and Midwest of the United States. Forty others were injured by the powerful twisters, with two people still missing.

There were at least 21 reports of tornadoes and confirmed twisters in Mississippi, Tennessee and Indiana on Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). Those reports included a “large and extremely dangerous” tornado near Oxford, Mississippi.Most of the fatalities occurred in Mississippi, which was hit by at least 15 tornadoes.

WATCH: Tornadoes rip through U.S. South and Midwest.

One particular twister did most of the damage, starting in Mississippi and ending in western Tennessee. According to the National Weather Service, it may have been on the ground for 150 miles (241km).

A seven-year-old boy and another person were found dead in Holly Springs, Mississippi, Mayor Kelvin Buck told ABC News. At least 15 others were injured in the town. Two people were found dead and two others missing in Benton County.

Here are some tornado damage pictures from Holly Springs, Mississippi. The photos were taken by Jeff Reed.
Twitter: Collin Gross

Here are some tornado damage pictures from Holly Springs, Mississippi. The photos were taken by Jeff Reed.
Twitter: Collin Gross

Here are some tornado damage pictures from Holly Springs, Mississippi. The photos were taken by Jeff Reed.
Twitter: Collin Gross

Tornado as it moved through Walnut, MS.
Twitter: Ron Childers

Holly Springs tornado facing the south on Hwy 7 at O'Reilly's.
Twitter: Ron Childers

Holly Springs tornado
Twitter: Ron Childers

This is Oxford
Twitter: Ron Childers

Hwy 315, Hwy 51, and Frontage Rd
Twitter: Ron Childers

At least 40 people were injured across the state, and at least six counties reported damage from the twisters.

A reported tornado in Bellevue, Mississippi damaged 10-15 houses, at least seven of which were destroyed, according to Caohoma County Emergency Management.

Tennessee experienced two fatalities in Perry County, and there were several injuries and reports of damage in Wayne County.

WATCH: Severe weather in U.S. South and Midwest.

An 18-year-old woman in Atkins, Arkansas was killed when a large tree uprooted and fell on to her house. An 18-month-old toddler was rescued from the home and transported to a nearby hospital.

Several other states, including Alabama, Illinois, Georgia, Louisiana, North and South Carolina received heavy rains from the storm system. Flood advisories have been issued for large sections of Georgia and the Carolinas.

Some 68 million people were in the path of the storm system on Wednesday night. The storms prompted the national Storm Prediction Center to issue a “particularly dangerous situation” alert for the first time since June 2014, when two massive twisters devastated a rural Nebraska town, killing two people. - RT.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: New Activity At Guatemala's Pacaya Volcano - Intense Spattering From Vent Inside Mackenney Crater!

Spattering from the active vent at the top of the intra-crater cinder cone

December 24, 2015 - GUATEMALA - During our visit at the volcano this morning, the first direct observation of the crater was possible following a period of 5 days of bad weather.

When we climbed the crater rim, we observed violent, continuous lava spattering from the central vent on an intra-crater cinder cone inside Mackenney crater.

Activity was fairly regular in intensity, but went through alternating periods of stronger and weaker overall strength, lasting 10-20 minutes each.

During the strongest phases, some stronger spattering events, resembling strombolian explosions (except that this activity was continuous), lava bombs were ejected to heights of 150-200 m, i.e. well above the crater rim, but mostly fell back inside.

View into Pacaya's Mackenney crater this morning (December 22, 2015)

Only few fresh (days to few weeks old) bombs were seen on or near the (eastern) crater rim.

Around the main vent at the bottom of the the approx. 100 m deep crater, a small intra-crater cinder cone, about 15 m tall, has formed, obviously containing a small boiling lava lake in its main vent.

A small secondary vent is located at the eastern side of the cone and also showed spattering occasionally, mainly during phases of elevated activity at the main vent.

Parts of the crater floor have been covered by presumably fresh lava flows. - Volcano Discovery.

MASS FISH DIE-OFF: Thousands Of Dead Fish Wash Up To The Surface Of A Lake Near Jakarta In Indonesia - Leaving Scientists And Officials Baffled?! [PHOTOS]

Staggering: Thousands of fish lie floating on the top of the water near the Citra Lake in Jakarta, -Indonesia

December 24, 2015 - JAKARTA, INDONESIA - Fishermen have been left struggling in Indonesia after thousands of fish died near the Citra Lake, leaving scientists and officials baffled by the cause of their dramatic deaths.

Hundreds of tons of dead fish were found floating in waters near Jakarta with torrential rains around the area being blamed for their deaths. The department of fishery have suggested that the heavy rainfall may have caused a sudden rise in the water temperature.

The change in conditions is thought to have been behind the decimation of the fish population in the local water, leaving fishermen and local volunteers forced to clean up the waters in order to ward off further deaths.

Devastating loss of life: One fisherman holds up one of the larger fish which died in the water recently

Mysterious circumstance: It is unclear what caused the fish deaths, with the department of fishery suggesting it could be due to a change in the temperature of the water

Helping hand: One helper uses a basic net to slowly fish the animals out of the water in a bid to clear the lake of the dead fish

Needing plenty of help: A small team of volunteers dressed in matching orange tops begin to remove some of the dead fish

Shocking scenes: Some of the boats struggle against the sheer volume of dead animals in the water near Citra Lake

Worrying: One Greenpeace campaigner said the deaths were related to a rise in water from contaminated rivers

Dirty work: Wearing a pair of wellington boats, the workers have been wading through the sticky mud and removing the dead fish

Tough work on the water: One of the boats struggles to manage the vast quantity of dead fish flowing in the water near Citra Lake

Tragedy down by the lake: A sample of the dead fish are bagged up

A long day ahead: The workers have been struggling to deal with the vast amount of fish which have died in the water

A lack of oxygen for the fish may have caused the massacre and experts are taking samples of the dead fish to determine their cause of death.

'In the morning, I found just a few dozen dead fish [floating on the water] but as hours went by, the number grew to hundreds and it created a foul stench,' Bambang, a 47-year-old fisherman at Muara Angke port told the Jakarta Globe.

'It is not unusual that many fish die, like this. But this year, there has been an increase both in the frequency and the volume,' he said. - Daily Mail.

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: Massive Methane Leak Forces Relocation Of 2,500 California Families - Estimated 62 MILLION CUBIC FEET Of Methane Plume Pouring Into The Atmosphere EACH DAY! [VIDEO]

December 24, 2015 - CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES - A court ordered SoCal Gas Company to provide temporary housing for thousands of Porter Ranch, Los Angeles, residents made sick from fumes from a massive gas leak. An infrared camera captured the size of the gas plume that's been leaking for two months.

The court order issued on Wednesday will come as a relief to more than 2,500 families in Porter Ranch, a northwest San Fernando Valley community, who have been waiting to be relocated by SoCal Gas since the leak began spewing methane into their homes and schools on October 23.

As of Tuesday, the company had paid for temporary housing for more than 2,000 other households, according to the Los Angeles Times. There are 30,000 residents who live in Porter Ranch, an upscale bedroom community of gated developments where the average 4,000-square-foot home is sold for $1 million.

Judge Emilie Elias directed the gas company to relocate the remaining residents within 24 to 72 hours. The court order follows a restraining order sought by the Los Angeles city attorney that would have required the company to relocate residents within 48 hours of their request, and called for a “special master” to oversee the moves.

The gas company is having increasing difficulty finding alternative housing nearby, because most of the available hotel, motel rooms and rental homes have already been snapped up by relocated Porter Ranch families.The shortage is also sending home rental prices as high as $8,500 a month as landlords, who prefer leases of a year or longer, seek compensation for renting properties for much shorter terms than the three to four months SoCalGas said it needs to cap the damaged well.

WATCH: First Aerial Footage of Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Leak.

New aerial footage of the leak was also released on Wednesday by the Environmental Defense Fund, which captured the intensity of the leak by infrared camera. The video footage shows a steady, thick plume pouring into the air over a densely packed residential area. It is hard to judge the width of the plume from the video, but EDF said it is pumping out 62 million cubic feet of methane into the atmosphere each day. Methane packs 80 times the 20-year warming power of carbon dioxide.

“What you can’t see is easy to ignore. That’s why communities that suffer from pollution from oil and gas development are often dismissed by industry and regulators,” said Earthworks spokesman Alan Septoff in a statement. “Making invisible pollution visible shows the world what people in Porter Ranch have been living with every day for months.”

Trouble began at SoCal gas’ Aliso Canyon, a gas storage field, on October 23, when gas company employees noticed a leak out of the ground near a well called SS-25. Efforts to fix the leak were unsuccessful as gas billowed downhill into Porter Ranch, and customers a mile away began to complain about the smell.

Since then, thousands of complaints of headaches, nausea and nosebleeds have been made to the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

At entrance of @socalgas gas facility, protesting against massive methane leak
Twitter: Bill Kilby

LA Weekly reported that the well was drilled in 1953 and was designed with a sub-surface safety valve 8,451 feet underground. That valve broke and was removed in 1979, but was never replaced. The company says it will take until March for them to drill a relief well to resolve the problem and cap the current well.

“I hate seeing SoCalGas’ pollution billowing over my home and community. Knowing this gas leak has been polluting us since October and won’t stop until March, if then, makes it clear there’s only one way to keep us healthy and safe now and in the future,” said Matt Pakucko, president of Save Porter Ranch in a statement. “[California] Governor [Jerry] Brown needs to shut down the Aliso Canyon facility.”The Los Angeles Times reported earlier this month that the LA city attorney sued SoCalGas, alleging that the utility failed to prevent the leak and then exacerbated “the effects of that failure by allowing the acute odor and health problems faced by the community to persist for more than one month, to say nothing about the indefinite time it will persist into the future,” according to court papers.

Infrared video shows leak 
Twitter: Wendy L Schultz

Gas officials could be deposed in that case as soon as January 7, according to the city attorney. The city wants to determine the cause of the leak, the amount of gas released, and the effectiveness of the air infiltration systems being provided by the company, the newspaper reported.

“Events of this size are rare, but major leakage across the oil and gas supply chain is not. There are plenty of mini-Aliso Canyons that add up to a big climate problem – not just in California, but across the country,” said Tim O’Connor, director of Environmental Defense Fund’s California Oil & Gas Program in a statement. “Regardless of what the future holds for the Aliso Canyon storage field, this is one reason why strong rules are needed to require that oil and gas companies closely monitor for and manage methane leaks.” - RT.

MONUMENTAL WEATHER ANOMALIES: "Warm As July" - The Warmest Christmas Eve ON RECORD To Unfold Across Eastern United States; RECORDS SHATTERED; New Yorkers Seen Wearing Sandals, Shorts During FREAK HEATWAVE; Orlando To Reach 86°, Toppling 1924 RECORD; Upside-Down Weather Pattern Linked To EL NINO!

December 24, 2015 - UNITED STATES - Any hopes of a white Christmas that the weekend chill brought will be dashed in the eastern United States, with this Christmas Eve shaping up to be the warmest on record in many communities.

Warmest Christmas Eve on record to unfold across eastern US

According to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Tom Kines, "On Christmas Eve, parts of the mid-Atlantic and New England could be just as warm as they were on the Fourth of July."

Record high temperatures, including some record warm minimum temperatures, are likely to be set from Florida to Maine.

According to AccuWeather Chief Long Range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok, "On Christmas Eve, daily record highs may be broken in the morning, followed by monthly record highs in the afternoon."

Records in the major cities of the Eastern states date back to the middle 1800s.

Another northward bulge in the jet stream will be responsible for the warmth in the East this week.

The jet stream is a strong river of air high in the atmosphere that guides weather systems and separates warm air to the south from cold air to the north.

Christmas Eve will feel more like Easter with highs ranging from the 50s in Maine to the 70s in the mid-Atlantic and the lower 80s in parts of the Southeast. That equates to highs that are 15 to 35 degrees Fahrenheit above normal.

"Temperatures could touch 80 as far north as the mid-Atlantic states," Pastelok said.

Widespread record highs will not only be challenged but also shattered in many towns and cities. The potential exists for records to be topped by more than 10 degrees from Atlanta to Washington, D.C., to Philadelphia to New York City and to Burlington, Vermont.

"It appears high temperatures will be in the 70s on Christmas Eve in New York City, which is about 35 degrees above normal for the date," AccuWeather Meteorologist Bill Deger said. "It was also unusually warm last Christmas Eve in 2014, when Central Park reached 58 F for a high."

Subtropical air will be drawn northward along with the warmth and will make it feel humid to some people.

Along with erasing any hopes for a white Christmas, the warmth will mean residents can leave the heavy winter jackets, hats or mittens at home when heading out for last-minute shopping or to Christmas Eve services.

The only chance of a white Christmas will be in the Tug Hill region of New York state, east of Lake Ontario, and northern Maine, where old snow may remain on the ground.

The warmth will come despite some clouds and a couple of showers in the area. Those wanting to take advantage of the warmth by caroling, taking a walk, firing up the grill or engaging in any other outdoor activity should plan to keep an umbrella handy.

The passage of a cold front will ease the extreme warmth in the Northeast for Christmas Day, but temperatures will still be well above normal for the holiday. In the Southeast, Friday will likely be a repeat of Thursday.

Since temperatures will be so high during the overnight hours on Thursday, record highs for Christmas day may be set before dawn in a number of locations.

According to AccuWeather Meteorologist Ed Vallee, the return of persistent cold will not be the theme for the remainder of 2015.

"The extreme warmth of late will certainly be muted after Christmas Day, but above-average temperatures continuing through the end of the month will set the stage for December monthly temperature records to be broken in some areas of the East," he said. - AccuWeather.

Scores of eastern U.S. cities to shatter Christmas Eve warm weather records

Temperature difference from normal 7 a.m. on Christmas Eve. (

The warm air surging up the East Coast on Christmas Eve will prove nothing short of historic. Dozens of records will fall, some by very large margins.

Temperatures at or above 70 degrees will span from Florida all the way into southern New England covering some 1,200 miles and 20 percent of the Lower 48.

In many places in the East, temperatures will run some 30-40 degrees above normal.

The warmth in a few locations will be so anomalous that low temperatures will challenge existing records highs.

The map below shows all of the locations where records highs are in jeopardy, from Florida to Maine.

Forecast high temperatures from NWS on Christmas Eve. Circled locations are forecast to be within a degree of record highs. (

Here are a few highlights:

* The temperature in Buffalo is forecast to be near 60 degrees at midnight, the start of Christmas Eve, breaking its record high for the date in the middle of the night.

* Boston is also forecast to break its record high the moment the clock strikes midnight.
* The forecast low in New York City (Central Park) on Christmas Eve in the low 60s would match its record high of 63 from 1996. By the afternoon, it should reach the low 70s, shattering the record by ten degrees.

* Washington, D.C. may challenge records highs not only Christmas Eve, but also on Christmas Day, and Dec. 27.

* Much of Florida will see record-breaking temperatures well into the 80s.The anomalous warmth forecast Christmas Eve fits right into a December that will rank as warmest on record for much of the northeastern U.S. into the Mid-Atlantic.
The warmth is indirectly linked to the very strong El Nino event in which heat from abnormally warm waters in the tropical Pacific is infused into weather patterns over North America. In this case, the flow of air around high pressure centered over Bermuda is pumping deep tropical air straight up the East Coast.

The El Nino event along with sustained climate warming from greenhouse gas emissions will result in 2015 becoming the warmest on record globally by a large margin. - Washington Post.

New Yorkers seen wearing sandals, shorts during freak heatwave... ice cream sales up in Times Square

It is officially winter now, but in the meadow we can’t build a snowman, and we’d be stuck dashing through the rain in a one-horse open sleigh.  As CBS2’s Vanessa Murdock reported, the warm weather just two days ahead of Christmas has had people doing things differently. They’ve been wearing sandals and shorts as part of their winter wardrobe.  Indeed, this December is one for the record books – and by a large margin.

The warmest December on record before this year was in 2001, where the temperature averaged 44 degrees, but this month, it is over 50.  “It’s actually kind of weird,” said Maria Lupianez of Bayonne, New Jersey. “I feel like it’s not Christmas.” 

No, to paraphrase the 1951 classic penned by Meredith Willson and sung famously by Perry Como, it’s not beginning to a look a lot like Christmas. It’s not looking particularly like Christmas – anywhere you go.  Many who spoke to CBS2 said the springlike warmth isn’t festive. 

“Well, not Christmas shopping, for sure,” said Cary Hooper of Hell’s Kitchen.  Even Christmas tree sales seem to have been slow. 

“I don’t know if the weather has affected it or not, but it’s been pretty slow,” said Shalyn McClintock of Mr. Lumberjack.  But it seems ice cream is the hot ticket on wish lists. 

“It’s crazy,” said James Healey, owner of the Ben & Jerry’s franchise in Times Square.

“This warm weather is, you know, a dream come true.”  Healey owns two Ben & Jerry’s locations, and said business is up 26 percent over last December. He has bumped up supplies and staffing.  “Typically in the winter, we cut hours back, but this winter, we’ve had a lot of employees very happy that they’re getting a lot more hours,” Healey said.  Tomas Hidalgo said he would normally be in Florida at this time of year, but the bicycle business is booming too.  “Because of the weather I stay, because we’re making better money than last year,” said Hidalgo, owner of Liberty Bicycles.  Dave Werner, golf superintendent of Overpeck Golf Course, has also been kept busier than usual.  He said he has to mow “about every other day.

Typically this time of year, we just don’t have to mow at all.”  Werner said it has been a blockbuster month. For Christmas Eve on Friday, the course was already fully booked – likely because record warmth is expected.  “It’s been great; it’s been awesome weather. I love it,” said Sid Advani of Ridgewood, New Jersey, who said he has played golf several times this month.  “Generally, I have my snowpants,” added golfer Deepak Rana of Ridgewood, New Jersey. 

But while snow may be annoying after a long winter in February or March, some people would rather see it in late December.  “I’m just kind of sad that there won’t be snow,” said Terron Moore of the Upper West Side.  The forecast calls for temperatures over 70 on Christmas Eve. - CBS.

Orlando to reach 86°, topple 1924 record...

People who are spending the holidays in Central Florida are getting ready to see possible record-breaking high temperatures over Christmas Day, according to the News 6 Pinpoint Weather Team.

The forecasted high on Christmas Day is expected to be 86 degrees, which would break the record of 85 degrees set in 1924.

"This is the warmest it's been," said Mason Navitt, who visits Orlando for Christmas every year. "It's usually sunny but 10 degrees colder."

isitors to Orlando's International Drive flocked to the water parks that were open Wednesday as temperatures hovered in the low 80s with high humidity.

"It's hot. It's humid. It's sticky," said Mary Kaye, who decided to take her dog for a walk around Lake Eola.

She said it doesn't feel like Christmas, and she wasn't alone in feeling that way.

"It's too hot. Too humid," said Marie Hubner. "I, at least, want some cooler weather around the holidays."

Utility companies tell News 6 they're experiencing increased demand with the higher temperatures.

A spokesman for Duke Energy said temperatures for November were up 6 percent, but the average bill was up 15 percent.

He expects the amounts on bills to rise as more people run their air conditioners over the Christmas holidays, rather than their heaters. - Click Orlando.

Upside-down weather pattern across US linked to El Nino

 A car still topped by snow drives down an onramp and past trucks stopped to remove chains after making the drive across Snoqualmie Pass, Wash., Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2015.
A weather pattern that could be associated with El Nino has turned winter upside-down across the U.S. during a week of heavy holiday travel, bringing spring-like warmth
to the Northeast, a risk of tornadoes in the South and so much snow in parts of the West that there are concerns about avalanches.
On Christmas Day, it could be warmer in New York City than Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Astrid Rau just baked 16 kinds of Christmas cookies, including a batch in the shape of snowflakes. But she's nevertheless having trouble getting in the holiday spirit, thanks to forecasts that have the temperature in her hometown of Perkasie, Pennsylvania, hitting 72 degrees on Thursday.

"I associate cold with Christmas," the 55-year-old says. "And if it's warm it just doesn't feel quite right to me."

A weather pattern partly linked with El Nino has turned winter upside-down across the U.S. during a week of heavy holiday travel, bringing spring-like warmth to the Northeast, a risk of tornadoes in the South and so much snow across the West that even skiing slopes have been overwhelmed.

In a reversal of a typical Christmas, forecasters expect New York to be in the mid-60s on the holiday — several degrees higher than Los Angeles.

The mild conditions have helped golf courses in New England do brisk business, but the pattern comes at a steep cost for ski resorts that have closed and for backcountry skiers who confront avalanche risks. And like Rau, many Americans complain that it just doesn't feel like the holidays without a chill in the air.

"It's been a great snow season so far from the Rockies to the higher elevations in the Cascades and the northern Sierras, and it's been the total opposite on the East Coast," said Bob Oravec, lead forecaster with the National Weather Service.

Big parts of the county are basking in above-average temperatures, especially east of the Mississippi and across the Northern Plains. Record warmth was expected on Christmas Eve along the East Coast, Oravec said.

He laid the credit — or blame — with a strong El Nino pattern, the warming of surface waters in the Pacific Ocean near the equator. That's helped drive warm air west to east across the Lower 48 and kept colder air from the Arctic at bay, he said.

In the Pacific Northwest and California, the effects of El Nino haven't really hit yet. They're typically seen in January through March, and the heavy rains and snows in the region are probably not linked to the phenomenon, said Washington State Climatologist Nick Bond.

The winter in the Pacific Northwest is still predicted to be drier than normal, so the series of storms that dumped feet of snow in the Cascades this month and piled the snowpack back above normal, were helpful, he said.

Come summer, farmers and salmon alike will rely on that melting snow.

 A tow driver attempts to retrieve a stalled car at a flooded park and ride lot on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2015, in Mill Valley, Calif. A weather pattern that could be associated with
El Nino has turned winter upside-down across the U.S. during a week of heavy holiday travel, bringing spring-like warmth to the Northeast, a risk of tornadoes in the South
and so much snow in parts of the West that there are concerns about avalanches. (Robert Tong/Marin Independent Journal via AP)

In Washington, authorities have closed the state's main east-west route, Interstate 90, over the Cascade Mountains repeatedly this week due to heavy snows and avalanche danger. Officials closed a sledding hill near Snoqualmie Pass on Tuesday because the storm kept the state Transportation Department from plowing the parking lot. On Sunday, a heavy storm closed Oregon's Mount Ashland Ski Area when it knocked out power.

California is in its driest four-year span on record, and experts anticipate a possible fifth year of drought. Weather forecasters say a strong El Nino weather system could drench the state, but one good, wet winter won't be enough to rehydrate the parched land. A fresh round of chilly rain was expected to hit San Francisco late this week. The same system was expected to drop some 4 feet of snow in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

While ski resorts celebrated a deluge that threatened to drop almost 2 feet of snow in parts of Colorado's mountains, forecasters warned of serious avalanche risks.

An avalanche near the Montana-Wyoming state line on Sunday buried three snowmobilers, killing a 33-year-old North Dakota man. Another avalanche partially buried a ski patrol employee at the Snowbasin resort, about 45 miles north of Salt Lake City, and two snowboarders were caught in a backcountry slide southwest of Breckenridge Ski Area on Saturday. They escaped serious injury.

"We're giving our generally weak snowpack a very large and rapid load, and it's unlikely to be able to hold up," said Brian Lazar, deputy director of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. Warnings and advisories were posted for much of Colorado's high country, with an emphasis on the risk of large, dangerous slides in steep terrain.

Meanwhile, the National Weather Service said the most recent storm had raised the level of Lake Tahoe by about 2 inches since midnight Monday. Officials calculated that that's nearly 6.4 billion gallons of water.

Elsewhere, severe thunderstorms and possible tornadoes were forecast for Wednesday in northern Alabama, northern Mississippi, Arkansas and western Tennessee. Tornadoes are not unheard-of in the region in late December, but the extreme weather, driven by warm temperatures and large amounts of moisture in the atmosphere, was nonetheless striking, said Jeff Masters, director of meteorology at Weather Underground.

 Heavy fog blankets a wooded area, Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2015, in Sandersville, Miss. A weather pattern that could be associated with El Nino has turned winter upside-down
across the U.S. during a week of heavy holiday travel, bringing spring-like warmth to the Northeast, a risk of tornadoes in the South and so much snow in parts of the West
that there are concerns about avalanches. On Christmas Day, it could be warmer in New York City than Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

In addition to El Nino, a weather pattern called the North Atlantic Oscillation is also helping keep cold air bottled up in the Arctic. Combine that with warm temperatures around the planet from man-made global warming, he said, and you have a recipe for intense weather: "There are a couple of natural patterns at work, and then there's this human-caused component too."

With such balmy temperatures in the Northeast, Pine Oaks Golf Club in Easton, Massachusetts, is probably having its busiest December since it was built more than 50 years ago — a bonus for a club that doesn't count on much winter revenue.

"We've got 65 degrees coming up on Christmas Eve," said Scott Ibbitson, a golf specialist at the course. "It'll be our busiest December day ever."  - AP News.

FIRE IN THE SKY: Huge Comets May Pose "Inevitable" Danger To Earth - Astronomers!

© NASA / Reuters

December 24, 2015 - SPACE - The recent discovery of hundreds of giant comets in our outer solar system has prompted astronomers to sound high alert. They says the space bodies move on unstable orbits and can flood inner solar system making impacts of comet debris with Earth “inevitable.”

Researchers from Armagh Observatory and the University of Buckingham have warned on Tuesday that discovery of hundreds of giant comets in the outer planetary system over the last two decades raises the risk that life on our planet could be wiped out by comet debris, rather than an asteroid.

The research published in the December issue of Astronomy & Geophysics (A&G), the journal of the Royal Astronomical Society, says that hundreds of giant comets – from 50 to 100 kilometers across, or larger – move on unstable elliptical orbits crossing the paths of the massive outer planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.

The planet’s gravitational fields have the potential to push the space bodies, also called centaurs, from their orbit to Earth.

“Whilst in near-Earth space they are expected to disintegrate into dust and larger fragments, flooding the inner solar system with cometary debris and making impacts on our planet inevitable,” the research team said.

© Royal Astronomical Society

A single centaur contains more mass that the entire population of Earth-crossing asteroids discovered to date, the team added.

"In the last three decades we have invested a lot of effort in tracking and analyzing the risk of a collision between the Earth and an asteroid,” said Professors Bill Napier of the University of Buckingham.

“Our work suggests we need to look beyond our immediate neighborhood too, and look out beyond the orbit of Jupiter to find centaurs. If we are right, then these distant comets could be a serious hazard, and it’s time to understand them better."

Astronomers’ calculations suggest that such a scenario could happen once every 40,000 to 100,000 years.

“Some of the greatest mass extinctions in the distant past, for example the death of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, may similarly be associated with this giant comet hypothesis,” the team said after comparing specific episodes from our past identified by geologists and paleontologists. - RT.