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Pat Shingleton: "Mistake on the Lake and Greenland Block..."

3 years 4 months 4 weeks ago Thursday, January 21 2021 Jan 21, 2021 January 21, 2021 9:00 AM January 21, 2021 in Pat Shingleton Column
By: Pat Shingleton:

During my stay at Gannon University in Erie, PA, students would refer to it as the "Mistake on the Lake," possibly due in part that it caught on fire due to pollution. At times, the lake would freeze over, great for ice fishing or a walk into Presque Isle Bay. During the winters of '93-'94, most of the Great Lake's surface was solid. In '79, all of the Great Lakes were frozen. On Memorial Day, '96, picnickers along Lake Superior's shoreline, cooled their drinks with chunks of ice floating in the lake. Here, we use sand on bridges during episodes of freezing weather. Kentucky used more than 140,000 tons of salt during the winter of 2020 for their roadway and Chicago has reported numerous episodes where piles snow along the Chicago River elevate to a height of 100 feet. Did you ever hear of a snow fence? Snow fences are placed near highways to prevent snow from drifting onto the roadway. The fence reduces wind speed and increases turbulence, causing the snow to pile downwind of the fence. Occasionally, episodes of winter weather in the country are attributed to the “Greenland Block.” This feature is a buckle in the jet stream, a river of air between 25,000 and 35,000 feet, positioned above Greenland. The “block” traditionally shows up a few times each winter, lasting for a couple of weeks. There have been winters when it hasn’t been recognized. Its position drives cold air into the eastern United States from central Canada and blocks big storms from sliding up the coast. A shift in the “block” has actually created an avenue to permit winter storms to blast New England then returning to its traditional location when the storms depart. It won't occur from now into the weekend but we can expect additional episodes of cold, rainy weather well into February.

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