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Alaska’s chill arriving in time for Green Bay – Chicago football game

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On Christmas morning, Chicken, AK (yes, that’s the name of the place) stood frozen in time at -58 degrees. Chicken is located in far eastern interior Alaska. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), other locales nearby were almost as cold (-40 and lower). Figure 1 (from Facebook) shows some of the frigid readings.

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Greg Fishel, a TV meteorologist from Raleigh, NC, couldn’t resist the opportunity to pun, “Fowl weather indeed.”

Brian Brettschneider noted that he, “liked how the Chicken daily summary is listed as 'Chicken COOP' as is Chicken COOPerative Station. CQNA2 : CHICKEN COOP : -53 / -58 / 0.00 / 0.0/ 20

Well, while Alaska shivered, south Florida basked in seasonally tropical warmth. Just ask the pink flamingos, decked out in their holiday finery, shown here (Fig. 2).

All kidding aside, this air mass is already affecting the northern Plains and will be the first of the next in a series of brutal arctic invasions. Longer range computer and human projections indicate that temperatures from eastern Montana across the northern tier into New England are likely to be well below average for much, if not all, of the next two weeks (Fig. 3 and Fig. 4). Some of this cold air will spill southward, but not even close to the extent that our northern states and Canada will experience.

Yesterday, for example, this cold front roared through Fargo, ND. For the one-hour period around noon, the mercury tumbled 9 degrees in one hour (from 25 to 16). Winds gusted to over 40 miles an hour. For the 24-hour period ending at 7:00 a.m. C.S.T. today (Dec. 29, 2013), the temperature dropped 43 degrees (from 30 degrees to -13 degrees). Overnight, with winds still blowing around 30 miles an hour, wind chills tumbled to -42.

It isn’t until this coming Friday that the temperature is once again expected to rise above zero.

It’s even worse in International Falls, MN (the trademarked “Icebox of the Nation”). There, the mercury dropped 52 degrees in 24 hours (from 27 degrees to -25 degrees). Wind chill readings dropped below -40 degrees this morning.

Today’s attention, however, turns to the Green Bay – Chicago football game to be played in Chicago (3:25 p.m. C.S.T. kickoff time). You can check out all the statistics and matchup comparisons here. The only missing ingredient at the web site is the weather. By game time, many will wish that the weather would vanish.

Coming off of a balmy 51-degree high temperature on Saturday, the sunrise temperature this Sunday morning at O’Hare Airport (ORD) sat at 34 degrees. The NWS forecast for Chicago (paraphrased) calls for occasional light snow, mainly between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. C.S.T. with temperatures falling to around 17 by 5:00 p.m. C.S.T. Winds from the north-northwest at 15 to 20 miles per hour and gusty, will drop wind chill values to near zero by half-time. By the end of the game, it will be even colder and feel even colder…

Since both Green Bay and Chicago are cold weather teams, it would be easy to say that weather shouldn’t be an overriding factor in deciding the game. However, with weather conditions like these, weather WILL play a role somehow.

The average high and low temperatures in Chicago at this time of year are 32 and 18, respectively. Based on current forecasts, Chicago’s low 30’s this morning will not be repeated until sometime next week (Fig. 5). Overnight lows will also be some 5 to 15 degrees below average. Brrrr.

© 2013 H. Michael Mogil

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