Maine Local Weather Forecast: Cold rain and wet snow Tuesday!

download (5)Author: Todd Gutner

We’ll have more clouds than sun, with highs in the 50s today. It will be warmest in central and northern Maine, coolest in southern and coastal Maine, with a breeze coming in off the ocean.

Rain moves in tonight. It’ll be cold enough in the mountains of western Maine for wet snow to fall, and accumulate. 1 to 3 inches of snow is likely in the mountains. As heavier precipitation moves in Tuesday morning, it’s possible the cold rain flips to wet snow even closer to the coastline. Coatings are possible in spots. Tuesday will remain chilly with periods of rain and highs only in the low 40s.

Clouds linger Wednesday with a few showers. Highs in the upper 40s to low 50s.

We’ll see a return to some sun and highs around 60 Thursday.

Have a nice day.

Todd

Top climbers Jess Roskelley, Hansjörg Auer and David Lama die in Canadian avalanche

Jess Roskelley, Hansjörg Auer and David Lama on what is believed to be the summit of Howse Peak on Tuesday, April 16, 2019, a day before they were reported missingFrom left: Jess Roskelley, Hansjörg Auer and David Lama on what is believed to be the summit of Howse Peak last Tuesday a day before they were reported missing

Three professional mountaineers have been found dead after an avalanche at Canada’s Banff National Park.

Austrian climbers David Lama, 28, and Hansjörg Auer, 35, and US citizen Jess Roskelley, 36, had been attempting to climb the east face of Howse Peake.

The group were reported missing last Wednesday and later presumed dead, but recovery efforts were hampered by weather conditions.

The men were part of a team sponsored by outdoor clothing line North Face.

Canadian authorities said air rescuers had seen “signs of multiple avalanches” where they were found.

In a statement, Parks Canada said it “[extended its] sincere condolences to [the men’s] families, friends and loved ones”.

“We would also like to acknowledge the impact that this has had on the tight-knit, local and international climbing communities,” it added.

During their expedition, the group had been taking a route up Howse Peake, known as M16, which has only been climbed once before.

Howse PeakHowse Peak, Banff National Park

Family members of the climbers told Parks Canada they believe the trio did summit the mountain, and that they descended Howse Peak along a similar route.

Rescue efforts were delayed by the weather, and the three climbers were not wearing avalanche beacons when they were found.

“In this case the outcome wouldn’t have changed, but it would have expedited the search and recovery,” said Parks Canada incident manager Shelley Humphries.

It took 28 staff members about five days to recover the bodies, which were located using a specially-trained avalanche dog attached to a long line from a helicopter.

The bodies were located with the help of a specially-trained avalanche dogThe bodies were located with the help of a specially-trained avalanche dog

Brian Webster, safety manager for Parks Canada, said the three men were undoubtedly skilled enough to make the climb, but that an avalanche of that magnitude would be difficult to recover from.

Parks Canada believes it was a level-3 avalanche, which is strong enough to knock over trees, bury vehicles or demolish small wooden buildings.

All three were renowned within the mountaineering community.

Mr Lama was part of a duo that carried out the first free ascent of Cerro Torre’s Compressor route in Southern Patagonia.

Recently, Mr Auer had also completed a solo ascent of Lupghar Sar West, a 23,559ft (7,181m) peak in Pakistan’s Karakorum range.

Jess Roskelley with his wife Alli in January 2019Jess Roskelley with his wife Alli in January 2019

In 2003, Mr Roskelly became the youngest American to climb Mount Everest – the world’s highest peak – aged 20 at the time.

His father, John, was also a mountaineer and climbed Howse Peak via a different route in the 1970s.

“It’s just one of those routes where you have to have the right conditions or it turns into a nightmare,” he said in an interview last week with The Spokesman-Review newspaper.

“This is one of those trips where it turned into a nightmare.”

US warms up to flood threat after polar vortex

The US prepares for flooding as bitterly cold weather is replaced by a spell of mild weather leading to a rapid thaw.

The United States has started to thaw out after a week of extremely cold weather.

The fast-rising temperature, however, may not be all good news, meteorologists have warned.

They indicated that the thaw may cause a new set of risks, including flooding on streets and in homes, ice jams in lakes, and slippery sidewalks and driveways.

The national lowest temperature was measured at -48.9 degrees Celsius in Chicago, Illinois during the cold streak.

According to the World Meteorological Organization, the harsh weather was caused by the influence of the polar vortex, which is a large area of low pressure and cold air surrounding the North Pole and is normally trapped by strong counterclockwise winds.

As temperatures rose, schools reopened, businesses resumed and people came back on the streets that had been empty for days in Chicago.

“I like the warmer weather a lot. I stayed inside when it was cold. It’s wonderful that it’s warmer and I hope it lasts a long time,” said a local resident.

Temperatures are expected to reach 11-12C in Chicago on Sunday and Monday.

This warm weather looks set to be short-lived with a maximum of around -1C on Tuesday, which brings the threat of the thaw turning back to the ice.

BBC: Polar vortex death toll rises to 21 as US cold snap continues

 

Chicago skyline with lake frozenChicago’s frozen shoreline

At least 21 people have died in one of the worst cold snaps to hit the US Midwest in decades.

Ninety million people – a third of the US – have seen temperatures of -17C (0F) or below. Some 250 million Americans overall have experienced the “polar vortex” conditions.

Hospitals have been treating patients reporting frostbite as parts of the country ground to a halt.

Temperatures are expected to swing to above average over the weekend.

Who are the victims?

Homeless people have been particularly at risk, with warming shelters set up across cities.

But some still braved the freezing conditions and one woman, aged 60, was found dead in an abandoned house in Lorain, Ohio.

A hospital in Chicago has already treated 50 patients for frostbite, and some may end up losing a limb, CNN reports. Half of those patients were homeless individuals , while others had jobs that required them to be outdoors.

Some people were found dead a short walk from their homes:

  • A Michigan man who froze to death in his neighbourhood had been “inadequately dressed for the weather”, officials said
  • In a wind chill of -46C (-51F) an 18-year-old student was found unresponsive a short walk from his dorm on Wednesday and later died in hospital
  • On Tuesday, a man froze to death in a garage in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, having “apparently collapsed after shovelling snow”, according to a medical examiner

Dangerous roads have also been a factor in the deaths. A man was fatally struck by a snow plough near Chicago on Monday and in northern Indiana, a 22-year-old police officer and his wife died after a collision on icy roads.

What’s the forecast?

The icy cold is expected to loosen its grip on Friday.

By the end of the weekend, Chicago could see temperatures as high as 10C (50F).

“It’s going to be at least a 60-degree swing for Chicago,” David Hamrick, a National Weather Service forecaster, told Reuters news agency.

map

The sudden weather change coming this weekend may be the fastest warm-up on record, meteorologists say.

But as the temperatures abruptly turn warmer, US emergency officials warn of flooding and utility risks.

Pipes can burst with such temperature fluctuations, and rapidly melting snow and ice could cause flooding, the Federal Emergency Management Agency cautioned.

How cold did it get?

More than 30 record lows were broken across the Midwest.

Cotton, Minnesota, was the coldest place in the US on Thursday with a low of -48C (-56F) based on preliminary data.

Chicago passed the record low for 31 January, while Mount Carroll has probably beaten the Illinois record with a morning temperature of -39C (-38F).

Chicago is using fire to melt snow on the railway and keep the trains running

Cities across Iowa have also broken temperature records.

The chill drifted eastward on Thursday, bringing sub-zero temperatures to north-eastern cities such as Boston.

Much of Chicago River has frozen over

With wind chill factored in, temperatures of -40C (-40F) in the Midwest and Great Lakes have felt closer to -53C (-63F), which is enough to cause frostbite in less than five minutes.

Snow plough in Buffalo, New YorkSnow plough in Buffalo, New York

How is the cold snap affecting daily life?

The Arctic weather could cost the US billions of dollars. In 2014, a similar polar freeze cost the country an estimated $5bn (£3.8bn), CBS News reports.

In Minnesota and Michigan, residents were asked by gas companies to turn down their home thermostats to help handle heating demands.

Consumers Energy, a natural gas provider in Michigan, had a fire on Wednesday morning that damaged equipment and temporarily affected how much gas could be sent out to customers.

Native American tribes in the northern Midwest states helped their members obtain heating supplies as many live in poor-quality housing, the Associated Press reports.

Andrea Cusack, a pharmacist in Michigan, began using her snowmobile to deliver essential prescriptions to snowed-in residents, according to the Lansing State Journal.

More than 2,300 flights have been cancelled and another 3,500 delayed due to the polar vortex.

Social media has been full of photos and memes showcasing just how shockingly cold the Midwest became.

A person takes a selfie beside on the US side of Niagara Falls as seen from Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada on January 31, 2019Niagara falls covered with snow

What about Canada?

Areas across the provinces of Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan, and in the north, remain under extreme cold warnings.

But many parts of the country are moving towards more seasonable temperatures on Friday and over the weekend.

In Toronto, wind chills near -30C (-22F) were expected to continue early Friday before beginning to warm.

There were also winter storm and blizzards warnings active across the country from the east to the west coast.

Environment Canada was urging residents to limit their exposure to cold and keep pets indoors.

Canada did not experience a spate of deaths linked to the polar vortex like the US.

Stephen Hwang, an associate professor with the University of Toronto’s department of medicine, suggested that Canadian cities and public health authorities probably had more experience dealing with the deep cold.

Most homeless shelters also already had protocols in place for when the extreme cold hits.

But he said it was still “fortunate” that cities like Toronto, where homeless shelters have been stretched for resources in recent months, did not see any cold-related deaths among its most vulnerable citizens.

BBC: US to shiver in ‘once-in-a-generation’ polar vortex

Workers de-ice a Southwest Airline's aircraft at Midway Airport

Workers remove ice from an aeroplane in Chicago, which is expected to be one of the worst affected cities

The US will shiver this week in a once-in-a-generation deep freeze, forecasters warn.

The most extreme arctic blasts, caused by a spinning pool of cold air known as the polar vortex, could bring temperatures as low as -53C (-64F).

Weather officials in the state of Iowa have warned people to “avoid taking deep breaths, and to minimise talking” if they go outside.

At least 55 million people are forecast to experience sub-zero temperatures.

A state of emergency has been declared in the Midwestern states of Wisconsin, Michigan and Illinois as well as in the normally more clement southern states of Alabama and Mississippi.

John Gagan, a National Weather Service (NWS) meteorologist, said: “The intensity of this cold air, I would say, is once in a generation.”

The NWS is warning that frostbite is possible within just 10 minutes of being outside in such extreme temperatures.

The coldest temperatures are expected to hit from Tuesday to Thursday, with forecasters predicting that Chicago will be colder than Antarctica.

The Illinois city could experience a low of -27F, with freezing winds making that feel closer to -50F, officials say.

As much as 2ft (60cm) of snow is forecast in Wisconsin, and 6in is expected in Illinois.

Alabama and another southern state, Georgia, are expecting snow, too.

A person with a walker goes over snow as they cross Canfield Avenue on January 29, 2019 in Detroit, MichiganA state of emergency has been declared in a number of states including Michigan

How did President Trump inject controversy?

President Donald Trump, who has questioned whether humans are responsible for climate change, tweeted about the conditions.

“What the hell is going on with Global Warming?” he said. “Please come back fast, we need you!”

Presentational white spaceBut one of the US government’s own meteorological agencies, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, posted what was widely interpreted as a rebuttal to the president.

Forecasters are attributing this cold snap to a sudden warming above the North Pole, caused by a blast of hot air from Morocco last month.

This weather system split the polar vortex and caused it to drift south, Judah Cohen, a winter storm expert for Atmospheric Environmental Research, told AP news agency.

The world’s leading scientists have said that climate change is primarily human-induced and can lead to harsher winters.

What impact is the weather having?

Chicago police say people are being robbed at gunpoint of their coats.

Those wearing Canada Goose jackets, which can cost as much as £900 ($1,100), have been targeted, local media report.

Tickets to see the award-winning musical Hamilton are reportedly selling for $70, half their usual value, as theatre-goers avoid venturing out in the extreme conditions.

A tow truck pushes a car up the ramp in DenverMotorists have been told to pack extra supplies and to take extra care when travelling

And the city’s Brookfield Zoo will be shut on Wednesday and Thursday for only the fourth time in 85 years.

More than 1,100 flights were cancelled into or out of the US on Tuesday, including some to Atlanta, Georgia, where the Super Bowl will take place on Sunday.

Predominantly in the Midwest, thousands of schools and businesses have been closed as have a number of government agencies.

Dozens of so-called warming centres – emergency shelters for those with nowhere to go – have been opened in US cities.

A graph showing the risk of frostbite increasing with wind chill
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Maine: Storm starts to slow down in the south and on the coast

Snow, ice, very cold air making for tough travel

download (5)

Sleet is encompassing most of central and southern Maine now. Heavy snow is confined to the mountains and far north.

This is thanks to a layer of warm air that moved in aloft, around 6,000 feet. As snowflakes fall into this layer, they melt, then refreeze into ice pellets (sleet) as the fall into the very cold layer of air near the ground.

Temperatures are in the single digits for most. Don’t underestimate the sleet. It’s made a mess of the roads. Regular road treatments aren’t effective at these temperatures either. Most roads look like this.

As of 2 p.m., the back edge of the precipitation is moving through Vermont. This means western Maine has a couple more hours of steady precipitation to go, a lot of it in the form of sleet, but it may switch back to snow as colder air wraps in aloft.

In central and northern Maine, it’ll keep snowing into the early evening.

Plans for the Pats game? Drive safely. With temperatures falling even more, and in some cases snow/sleet blowing back on to the roads, I expect travel to remain tricky.

Tomorrow is all about the cold and wind. Morning wind chills will be -15 to -30 in most of the state. In the mountains, expect blowing and drifting of the powdery snow to continue.