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January 2014

I Luv Ya Jim Cantore, But ... The DirectTV-Weather Channel Kerfuffle

Theweatherchannel DirectvThis month (Jan. 2014) DirectTV stopped carrying The Weather Channel due to a financial dispute between the two companies about carriage fees.  This meant that 20 million homes that subscribe to DirectTV no longer received the station.  This has resulted in all sorts of alarmist talk by The Weather Channel about how the public's welfare is in jeopardy.  Oh, puleez!  There are so many other sources available for weather forecast information nowadays, e.g. local TV stations, alerts on smartphones, radio broadcasts, online, that no one is going to be surprised by bad weather.  

 

The Weather Channel is great if you want to know what's going on across the country.  But the fact that some viewers in Wyoming won't be able to see Jim Cantore knee-deep in snow in Milwaukee or getting tossed about by hurricane winds in South Carolina isn't going to threaten their well being where they live.  If people want to be apprised of their local weather they can still tune to one of their local stations, all of which have a "Storm Team" or "Severe Weather Experts" who tout their latest razzle dazzle radar equipment.  And, like The Weather Channel, they all send their reporters out into the field to brave the elements on camera.  

 

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Of course, employees of The Weather Channel can be expected to come to its defense.  Except that there's not much of an argument to make.  Viewers  still know when it's going to snow in their city or when a severe thunderstorm is about to rake the neighborhood by watching any number of local telegenic forecasters.  (And since The Weather Channel has put more emphasis on lifestyle and science oriented programs in the past ten years chances are good viewers won't see a detailed local forecast information when they tune in.)

 

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Of course, employees of The Weather Channel can be expected to come to its defense.  Except that there's not much of an argument to make.  Viewers  still know when it's going to snow in their city or when a severe thunderstorm is about to rake the neighborhood by watching any number of local telegenic forecasters.  (And since The Weather Channel has put more emphasis on lifestyle and science oriented programs in the past ten years chances are good viewers won't see a detailed local forecast information when they tune in.)

Bottom line, with the proliferation in weather forecasting media, no one's life is in danger if they can't view Jim, Al, and now Sam Champion, on The Weather Channel.

 

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January Isn't Always the Coldest, July Isn't Always the Hottest

February

 

A reader recently asked if there have ever been any winters in which February was colder than January.  While it's not the norm, it happens occasionally.  Actually, more often than occasionally - 57 times, or nearly 40% of all years since 1869 (and it happened last winter).  In fact, New York's all time coldest month occurred in February 1934.  Perhaps of greater interest is the fact that there have been 17 winters in which December was the coldest month, the most recent being December 2005.  But the biggest anomaly of all occurred in the winter of 1960, when March was the coldest month!

For the most part, when February and August were colder/warmer than January or July it was when January was milder and July cooler than average.  However, there were six winters when both months were colder than normal (the most recent being in 1978).  And there have been four summers in which both months had above average temperatures (most recently in 2005).

 

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An Outdoor Super Bowl in the Northeast - How Cold & Snowy Might it Be?

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Super Bowl XLVIII will be played in northern New Jersey on Feb. 2 (2014) in a stadium, seven miles west of NYC, that's not covered by a dome.  So rather than a climate controlled, 72-degree environment, chances are good that fans and players will experience wintertime temperatures below 40 degrees (before wind chill is factored in).  Since 1970 the high/low on Feb. 2 has averaged 42/28.  Last year on this date temperatures were well below average, with a high of 29/low of 19 - New York's coldest Groundhog Day since 1996. 

 

Although evening temperatures on Feb. 2 since 1970 have been as cold as the low teens (twice), on a few occasions they've been as mild as the mid-50s.  In all those years there has been just one significant snowfall on that date (4.3" in 1985).  However, that might mean we're overdue for another.  Significant rainfall happens about once every six years. 

 

Close to half of the Feb. 2's have had temperatures colder than 40°; once every five or six years the temperature has remained below freezing all day.  Just 15% of the years saw highs in the 50s. 

 

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Spectators and players aren't the only ones who will have to contend with the outside elements - there are the halftime performers.  In 2007 Prince valiantly performed in a steady rain during Super Bowl XVI played in Miami.  This year Bruno Mars has the honors of shivering his ass off before 100 million viewers.

 

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But let's not lose sight of the fact that cold and inclement weather is not a novelty to the NFL.  In fact, games are often made more interesting (at least for TV viewers) when there's a driving rain or the field is covered with snow.  And if fans/players can survive sub-zero conditions as they did in Green Bay last week, they'll make it through whatever is thrown at them come Feb. 2.

 

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 Feb 2 Weather (2004-2013)