Wishy-Washy Weather

snowAs Georgians, we all know how crazy this state’s weather can be. One day it could be windy and below freezing, and the next is sunny and 75. Though we have drastic changes in the weather, most winters we get at least a few inches of snow around mid to late January. According to the National Weather Service, in January 2014, Atlanta had three days with a maximum of thirty-two degrees or below. Unfortunately, that has not happened this year quite yet. After such a crazy experience with the snow last year, the citizens of Georgia are prepared for another wild ride.

Last year, Georgia was thrown for a loop when two inches of snow fell on January 28, 2014. This “Snowpacalypse” became a national story. The National Weather Service states that there was one day that Atlanta had one inch of snow in January, but there were also five days with one tenth of an inch and eight days with one hundredth of an inch. The city went into complete panic. People rushed out of work and school, which created the traffic jam of the century. Children were at their schools overnight because their parents could not get to their school in time. Cars were running out of gas in the middle of the streets, hungry stomachs grumbled in pain, and tires were skidding across cold slippery ice. BT sophomore, Hampton Jeu de Vine had a long commute home that day. “My ride home is normally about twenty-five minutes. That day, it took about three hours. It was horrible,” she said.

Some stories surrounding the Snowpocalypse include a man going out for milk and getting home literally the next morning. He left work at about four o’clock and as he was pulling out, his wife called and asked him to make a run to the grocery store in case they were going to be closed for the next few days. What usually was a ten-minute drive to the grocery store, turned into an hour. He grabbed milk, cereal, and bread along with other staple items for his family. The next leg of his journey was tiresome. After being on the road for five hours, his wife called and told him just to pull over at a fire station or police station and spend the night there. He was determined to get home that night so he continued driving until he was about two miles from his house and at that point, it was dangerous to be driving because the ice had gotten so slippery. He hopped out of his car and walked all the way home, not even walking through the door until one in the morning.

Along with many weather professionals, BT senior Zachary Lyda, is trying to predict the weather to try to keep people ready for any crazy upcoming weather. Zach sees snow in the near future, despite the large amount of rain we have had so far. “As for my predictions, I do predict snow this year. We are having a very wild winter of up and down temperatures and of times of none to other times of extreme moisture, this year, mostly, in the form of rain, so far. We are going to continue seeing these very strange patterns throughout winter,” he said.

After the Snowpocalypse of 2014, he thinks the snow that is to come will be more than the two inches last year. “As for the amount of snow I think we will see, I believe we could see as much or more when in comparison to last year. I want to say around 5″ total, but this will depend on many factors that are currently VERY hard to predict,” he said.

There are numerous things  a meteorologist looks for when informaing on the weather. “As for how meteorologists make these predictions, we look at many different factors. One of these factors is the El Niño, which has to do with ocean temperatures around South America, and the jet stream oscillation,” said Zachy. According to the University of Illinois website: “El Niño is initially referred to a weak, warm current appearing annually around Christmas time along the coast of Ecuador and Peru and lasting only a few weeks to a month or more. Every three to seven years, an El Niño event may last for many months, having significant economic and atmospheric consequences worldwide.”

Overall, Georgia has thrown us for many loops the past few years when it comes to snow. After the most influential snowstorm Georgia has ever seen, it looks like it might be “round two” of the Snowpocalypse, or not!