Why So Cold? - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Why so cold?

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TOLEDO, Ohio -

*These numbers are based on data running through January 21st, 2014.*

Records continue to tumble along with our temperatures. The newest was snapped this morning, when our monthly snowfall totals climbed to 30.9 inches. That beat, you guessed it... 1978. The pattern behind the forecast isn't a rarity but it is an extreme case.

The jet streams steer most of our big weather-makers. Because temperature differences between the poles and equator are greatest this time of year, the jet streams' winds peak in winter. We've had a semi-permanent Great Lakes low based just to our north. That's allowed icy north northwest winds to slice our temperatures. With snow covering almost all of Canada and Michigan, the Arctic winds don't warm before they get here. Out to the west, a massive high pressure core is centered over the Great Basin. More marks fell this winter in southern California, from record highs to all-time record drought. You've seen the video of wild fires and Santa Ana winds in the canyons east of Los Angeles. That same system has driven lengthy fog into the Pacific Northwest. That also explains why Alaska spent most of January much warmer than Toledo. Temperatures early this morning were in the 40s... above zero on the Alaskan shoreline.
The combination of these two powerful systems has allowed bitterly cold Siberian air to cross over the Arctic Circle and funnel over the Midwest.

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