Tag Archives: Freezing

Thirteen Below

Anchorage this Morning
Anchorage this Morning at -13

I opened my browser minutes ago and my home page opened up.  It’s the Borealis Webcam Multiview of their web cams scattered about Anchorage, Alaska.  The current temperature at 3:53 a.m. local time just happened to be -13 F, which is also the coldest temperature I have had the pleasure to enjoy.

Enjoy?  Well sure.  I was a teenager and it was a great adventure.  You may disagree if you have lived where it’s regularly colder.  Especially if you’ve had to endure plugging in your car to keep the oil a semi liquid, or shoveling snow for an hour just so you can get out of the driveway only to have the snowplow come by and block your drive again.  That does sound frustrating.

But my story is different.  I was 16 years old and we took a Winter road trip to Grandpa Jones’ ranch in John Day, Oregon.  Shoveling snow was not part of my life.  We were visiting from the Willamette Valley were the rare snow doesn’t stick around long and temperatures rarely fall below the teens above zero.

It was already cold when we left Canby.  In the 20s maybe and so my brothers and sisters and I were dressed warmly as we piled into the van.  It was an evening/night drive to eastern Oregon.  My first clue that this trip was going to be different was when we got into the mountains and ice started forming on the inside of the van windows!  Yes, Dad had the heat on, but it was near zero outside.  We stopped to go to the bathroom in the woods (you can do that in Oregon.  Lots of trees :-) and the wind blew through my jeans like I wasn’t wearing any!  First lesson.  Wear thermals when it’s nothing degrees outside.

We arrived in John Day and went to bed.  The next morning it was get out of bed and feed the cows.  No shower or breakfast first.  The cows get fed at daybreak, which also happens to be the coldest time of the day, even in John Day.  It was perfectly calm and clear and thermometer read -13 F.  A personal best for me that stands to this day.

I bundled up the best I could and I was made to wear a handkerchief over my mouth and nose so I wouldn’t “frost my lungs.”  I doubted then (and now) that that was a real danger at that temperature, but I don’t remember arguing.  Maybe I rolled my eyes.  You know how teenagers are.

I stepped outside into the squeaky snow and man it was cold!  I just gotten up, so there was not much blood circulating in my body yet.  Thankfully it was perfectly still so the wind chill was also -13 (unless you started walking fast).

We got to work.  We loaded the trailer with hay and Grandpa drove the tractor while we peeled flakes off for the cows to enjoy.  The cold was making my nose run and as I inhaled my snot (sorry about the visual) froze in my nose!  It’s like someone crammed cardboard up there!  The condensation from my breath turned the handkerchief into ice.  It was also forcing moisture to exit near my eyes and one of my eyes actually froze shut!  I had to take off a glove and melt the ice off of my eyelashes so I could open my eye again.  (I knew that handkerchief was a silly idea)  Crazy.

We were done before I knew it.  The cows were fed and we went inside to warm up and have a hearty breakfast our own selves.  That afternoon it got up to a toasty 10 degrees.  With sunshine icicles were growing and we went sledding and sliding into, and through, one of the frozen ditches.  FUN!  The whole visit was fun.  Later that Winter I got to return and my Uncle and I hiked up into the John Day Mountains and surprised a bunch of deer.  We also almost got lost in a snow squall, but that’s another story.

I love cold and snow.  Always have.  It’s beautiful and fun.  Of course, I’ve never had to plug in my car or shovel my way to work either…

How Cold is it?


New record low of 18 this morning which is also tied for the second coldest ever for a February Tucson morning.  There’s a chance we tied the all-time record February low of 17.  We won’t find out for sure for a few hours.  If we didn’t reach it, no worries.  We have an even better chance tomorrow morning!

This could be the coldest February chill in Tucson’s history.  I go through all of that plus take a look at the cold, snow and freezing rain forecast for Texas in this morning’s “Coffee and a Forecast”

Video streaming by Ustream
Here is a comprehensive look at the cold start originally posted on my TucsonWeather.us site.

Guaranteed White Christmas

Overton Hotel in Lubbock, Looking West
Overton Hotel in Lubbock, Looking West

Thanx to the internets!  There is a Christmas Blizzard brewing right now pretty much over Lubbock, Texas’ head.  The storm started as rain in California, but brought snow to some areas south of Tucson.  The storm sank further southward than originally expected and the forecast for Lubbock changed from rain and some snow to some rain and more snow!  Right now the Hub City is covered with about 6″ and it’s coming down sideways.  The 7am observation at LBB is:  “Snow, Freezing Fog, Blowing Snow and Windy, 26.”  I’m jealous, especially since I should have been there had I had a few extra $$s.  Thankfully, there is the internets.

This gathering storm is now plowing east.  The kids and grandkids north of Dallas are under a Winter Storm Warning and they could see rain changing to snow by this afternoon and maybe an inch or three just in time for Christmas!

Add this snow to what is already on the ground and a large chuck of the U.S. is fixin’ ta have a White Christmas.  If you aren’t, then just surf some web cams, put on some Bing Crosby and dare to dream!

Snow Cover early AM the 24th.

Tucson’s First “Official” Freeze


At least at the airport.  I would have mentioned this yesterday, but I was quite busy!  Anyway, the National Weather Service says the freeze happened yesterday morning at 6:30.  While this first freeze comes almost two weeks later than average, much of southeastern Arizona experienced a freeze this year nearly three weeks earlier than average when we had a cold snap at the end of October.

We have a Freeze Warning in effect for this morning until 9 for much of southeast Arizona.  Some places that haven’t frozen yet may have overnight and this morning.  That doesn’t appear to be the case here at my apartment.  I have an indoor/outdoor thermometer that is supposed to be accurate within two degrees and it is 30 feet off the ground on my third story deck.  Keeping all of those qualifiers in mind, I have yet to see freezing temperatures here at the apartment.  I brought the rubber tree plant inside last night just in case, but it’s only 38 out there right now after dipping to 37 last hour.  My rubber tree plant lives!  And my deck awaits it’s first freeze…

Tucson Weather – Calm Before the Storm

Ski Valley getting ready after a big December storm in '07
Ski Valley getting ready after a big December storm in '07

Tucson Weather: Sunny today with a high near 65.  Partly cloudy tonight with a low near 38.  Mostly sunny on Sunday with a high near 64.

Great news from the National Weather Service.  Our typical December weather is fixin’ ta give way to valley rain and “significant mountain snow” by Monday night and Tuesday!  By significant, the National Weather Service office in Tucson is estimating 6-12 inches between 6,000 and 7,000 feet with snow totals 12-18 inches possible above 7,000.  Great news indeed if it comes true.  This might be enough to jump start the ski season at Ski Valley on the top of Mt. Lemmon.  If that doesn’t, then there is a chance for more “significant mountain snow” Thursday/Friday time frame.

Of course I am hopeful that Mt. Lemmon can get the maximum from each storm.  If that is the case, we could be looking at over 3 feet of snow up there by next weekend!  Even if there is less than a third of that, there will be plenty of snow to sled on and build snowmen with.

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch above 6,000 feet for much of southeastern Arizona for Monday night and Tuesday.  That’s on top of this morning’s Freeze Warning that expires at 9am.

So, what is happening?  You can read about it in this morning’s Forecast Discussion from the National Weather Service.  (note:  the link will take you to the latest discussion, so if you click it this afternoon it will be an updated discussion.  If you click it next July you will read about heat and maybe Monsoon :-)

Currently, southeastern Arizona is on the western edge of a cold Canadian airmass.  Cold dry air is giving us freezing temperatures this morning.  The quiet weather this weekend will give way to a storm that is expected to drop south out of Canada along the California coast and into the Great Basin.  The trough of low pressure that forms will allow moisture, and an upper level low in the pacific, to be pulled into Arizona.  That should bring us this good chance of rain and mountain snow by Monday night.

After that, the jet stream becomes more “zonal” or east to west across Arizona.  That should bring us an unsettled weather week with another storm moving in perhaps as early as Thursday with more rain and snow!

I love El Nino Winters in the southwest.  Looks like the AccuWeather Winter forecast is on track.  At least so far!

December – Cold Start

Hands and Feet Inside the Ride
Hands and Feet Inside the Ride

It’s been a roller coaster ride temperature-wise here in Tucson and here at the apartment in Oro Valley.  May had a hot spell in the middle of the month and ended up warmer than normal.  Then June into July was cooler than normal.  October had a really unusual cold spell the third week of the month and now November has ended as the 3rd warmest on record.

Keeping with the pattern, December is starting out cool and getting colder.  Even though many places in and around Tucson experienced their first freeze in October, almost a month earlier than average, the Tucson International Airport has yet to freeze this season.  That is about to change.  Cold air from Canada, eh, is already invading the South Plains of Eastern New Mexico and Texas and some of that cold air is going to spread westward to Arizona.  Friday looks cold (by Tucson standards) despite full sunshine.  A north breeze will make the upper 50s feel even colder in the shade, although I guess if you can find a sunny, wind sheltered, spot it won’t be nearly as bad.

Friday night/Saturday morning will be the coldest so far this season.  Winds will die down after sunset and clear skies will allow for good radiational cooling.  It should be no problem for temps to fall from the 50s into the 20s to near 30… even at the Tucson International Airport.

Next weeks weather pattern looks good for our dry conditions.  Cool unsettled weather looks to be on the way with valley rain showers and mountain snows possible off and on much of the week.  I hope so.  I really like the rain in the desert and I really am ready to head up to Mt. Lemmon to see some snow!

Meanwhile, AccuWeather is highlighting the expanding December cold with snow expected from the Pacific Northwest to Arizona to Eastern New Mexico to Louisiana to the Great Lakes and East Coast

Will it freeze by morning in Tucson?

I’m thinkin’ maybe :-)

I was disappointed this morning.  NO freezing temperatures at the apartment in Oro Valley.  No official freezing temperatures at the Tucson International airport.  That would have tied the record and all that.  Sports has it’s records, well so does weather!  Usually not recognized as quite as exciting, but exciting to us weather freaks just the same.

Where was I?  Yes.  Freezing by morning.  Well, we were close this morning.  37 is the lowest I saw on my little indoor/outdoor thermometer (and we know how accurate those are!)  Some of the Mesonet sites around town had some right at freezing temps this morning, so there is hope.  The National Weather Service is repeating their Freeze Warning from 1am – 9am for Chocise, Graham, Santa Cruz and Eastern Pinal and Eastern Pima Counties.

It’s a similar setup tonight as last night.  Cold air (for this time of year) is in place.  Winds are dying down.  Dewpoint is low (12 degrees).  Clear skies.  It’s 50 right now at 8:06pm, so were talking 18 degrees in 11 hours or so.  I’m sticking with my first answer.  Maybe….

Tucson Weather: October 29, 2009

Forecast: Sunny but cool.  Today’s high only near 60.  Not as windy as yesterday with winds 5-15 mph.  Freeze Warning tonight with temperatures in Tucson near freezing (makes sense).  Colder in Cochise County and some of the outlying areas around town.

It’s 6:30am as I am writing this and my thermometer is reading 38.  How disappointing!  I’m like a kid on Christmas when it comes to snow.  Less so on a possible early freeze, but still I did anxiously check the thermometer first thing when I got up and the disappointment is real.

There is still hope!  The temperature is still falling.  Although I don’t think we’ll drop 6 degrees in the next hour.  Also, tomorrow morning should be just as cold or maybe colder.  To me the cold is invigorating!  And while I don’t like to be cold, I like to be in the cold.  Also… freezing temperatures kill those pesky bugs!

More on this morning’s temps a little later.