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Media overuse of "arctic" outbreak terminology

Back on Tuesday one of the better Dallas area TV weathercasts was heralding this latest cold blast as saying it was going to be an "arctic" air mass, straight from over the polar regions, and was going to drop our temperatures tremendously over the weekend. I've been noticing a lot more of this "arctic" song and dance going on in recent years so I decided to check it out.

Well, here it is, Saturday. Our high today has been a tolerable 46. The surface maps in Minnesota and the Dakotas show mostly 20s. And the lows expected tonight in the DFW area are only a little lower than what we saw last Sunday.

Looking back at official NWS forecasts 4 days ago, I don't see anything particularly noteworthy:
Code:
TXZ119-080330-

DALLAS-

416 AM CST TUE FEB 7 2006

.FRIDAY NIGHT AND SATURDAY...PARTLY CLOUDY. LOWS IN THE LOWER

30S. HIGHS IN THE UPPER 40S. 

.SATURDAY NIGHT THROUGH SUNDAY NIGHT...MOSTLY CLEAR. LOWS IN THE UPPER 20S. HIGHS IN THE LOWER 50S.

Please, guys, save the "arctic" tag for when we actually have highs below freezing. Realistically, even, this should be a day when highs are in the teens in both Oklahoma and north Texas. That, my friends, is a true arctic outbreak through and through. Not a windy day and a hard freeze at night.

On a related, separate note, one of my other pet peeves is weathercasters who toss up the extended outlook and talk in ominous tones about the cold overnight low of 27 coming up later in the week, when the low just yesterday was 27! I've seen this a lot over the years, especially in the OKC market. I want to call this "freeze amnesia" or something similar.

(end of Andy Rooney style rant)
andyrooney2.jpg
 
BRRR! It's between 25 and about 32F in the upper Mississippi Valley at the moment. No doubt we have an arctic outbreak on our hands :)

Your point is well taken.

Pat
 
Ya call that an Arctic front?

About ten days ago, we dipped to an overnight low of around -32C (-25F).

Now, THAT'S an Arctic front. (Why did I feel like "Crocodile Dundee" when I said that?)
 
In West Michigan, I consider a arctic outbreak with high temperatures
in the low teens and single digits and states like Wisconsin and Minnesota with
highs in the single digits and below zero temperatures.

A article that may be of interest:
Composite 500-mb Arctic Outbreak Patterns
Richard L. Van Ess
Weather Service Forecast Office
Bismarck, North Dakota
http://www.crh.noaa.gov/crh/?n=ta97-04

Mike
 
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