John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
The West has broiled with incredible heat, while the East Coast looks forward to more snow.
By now Easterners are probably aware they’re suffering through a fifth season called springter—the unwanted child of winter that loves sowing snow and teeth-chattering cold long into what should be light-windbreaker weather.
But here’s a solution to avoid the deathly chills: Hop on a plane and head west, where temperatures have been more than 100 degrees warmer than places in the East. (For what it’s worth, scientists have predicted this kind of East/West temperature inequality will become more pronounced with climate change.)
Yesterday’s lowest temperatures in the U.S. measured -10 degrees in Estcourt Station, Maine, and -4 degrees on the rime-encrusted (but beautiful!) ice-hell of Mount Washington, New Hampshire. Meanwhile, a compressed heat wave pushed the mercury to 101 degrees in the aptly named community of Thermal, California. In more populated areas the temperature gulch was also extreme—for instance, 99 degrees in Boulder Creek, California, versus record-breaking lows like 11 degrees in Concord, New Hampshire, and 13 degrees in Bangor, Maine.
Record Event Report
|Location||Max Temp.(F)||Previous Record|
|Oakland Museum||91||86 in 1989|
|Oakland Airport||82||80 in 1962|
|Gilroy||93||91 in 1989|
|Monterey||91||90 in 1989|
|San Rafael||87||(Tied) 87 in 1989|
Data: NWS SF Bay Area/Monterey
For Wednesday’s shriveling heat—seriously, Oakland’s 91-degree high obliterated the old record of 86 in 1989—Californians can thank a “warm air mass and offshore flow,” according to CBS SF. Meanwhile, Northeasterners trying to work feeling back into their fingertips should blame a “lobe” of the polar vortex that escaped into the Lower 48 this weekend, writes Weather Underground’s Steve Gregory. Arctic cold is expected to roar back in the coming days, with yet-more April snow possible on Saturday in the Northeast down to Washington, D.C.
Some good news: California’s heat spike will subside today, with rain possible through the weekend from a line of incoming storms. And Easterners can take heart that warmer times could arrive by the middle of the month, as shown in this probability forecast of above-average temperatures from the Climate Prediction Center: