Recap of the Historic El Nino Mega storm

By Joseph D’Aleo, CCM, AMS Fellow


NASA Satellite shows clouds off the coast and heavy snow on land

Often in El Ninos, the winter gets off to a gentle start. December was that including record warm Christmas day. El Ninos like this one turn mean instead of green starting in late January, especially in the Mid Atlantic states.

Remember last year in a weaker El Nino, the green mild start ended abruptly with a big snow the last week of the month and 100 inches fell in the following 39 days. February was the coldest and snowiest on record here. January to March was the coldest ever for the northeast states since records began in 1895 according to NOAA. It followed what had been the 11th coldest winter in the northeast and 2nd coldest March on record here in this part of New England.

This year, arctic air invaded the central and east last week and met up with a classic El Nino storm moving through the south. Snow and ice developed in Arkansas east to Georgia and then the storm turned north. 36 hours of heavy snows set all time records in places. In most cities, more snow fell in one storm than usually occur in the entire season.

Central Park NYC recorded 26.8“, 2nd behind 26.9” in 2006. JFK airport had a record 30.5 inches. Philadelphia reported 22.4″, which was the 6th heaviest in a two-day period in records back to the 1870s.

Screen Shot 2016-01-31 at 5.39.42 AM

In the DC area, Reagan Airport had an unofficial (the snow board and ruler was lost in the snow) 19.4″ inches. second most behind the Knickerbocker storm of 1922 (which collapsed the Knickerbocker theatre).


Inside of the Knickerbocker Theatre after the collapse

The White House had 22 inches. Baltimore had 29.2″ the most ever for a single storm and Dulles had 29.3

The Wall Street Journal estimated the storm might produce $16Billion in lost output to the economy.

Predictably, there is talk this is the result of climate change, formerly known as global warming. They forget the UN, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) (Environmentalists) that now control most universities in the northeast and NOAA in their reports for the EPA had all predicted snow are becoming increasingly rare in the major metropolitan areas. See this fact check by 14 PhD U.S and Canadian scientists on the UCS claims.

Instead, the major cities have been blitzed with heavy snows last few decades, especially the last 10 years. NOAA tracks major metropolitan snow events in the east since the 1950s. The last decade through last winter has amazed with 25 high impact storms (we obviously added a new one this year…and more are likely to follow).



The correlation between heavy snow winters and colder than normal temperatures is very high.

This December was warm and SNOWLESS. It turned much colder this month and the mega storm followed. In many El Ninos, the snows have a very sharp northern edge and indeed we had no snow even as areas to the south were hit hard. That may happen a few times but chances are we will see one or two events that impact us too.

But aren’t we dealing with the warmest year ever for the earth? No both surface based data and satellites showed no warming for over 18 years. This inconvenient fact sent scientists scurrying into panels at the annual professional society meetings the last two years, trying to explain why. If their theories fail, the $10s of billions in grant money could dry up. Though we have shown in peer review papers how natural variations in the oceans, solar and volcanic activity can explain all the bumps and changes the last 120 years, they don’t want to open up that Pandora’s box.

The solution instead was to have NOAA and NASA adjust the surface data they control, by adjusting old years colder.


They then called into question the independently derived satellite global temperatures, which both NOAA and NASA a decade ago said clearly were the most trustworthy. That is because the satellite and weather balloon data were exposing their models’ and theory’s obvious failures and their politically driven adjustments to land surface data.


Why don’t we hear that in the media? Environmental reporters in the media have an agenda, and their Society of Environmental Journalism even has a handbook that tells them to not tell you the whole story and how to attack and discredit any scientists who don’t agree with their view. It is a primer on global warming advocacy journalism.

Having been an environmentalist and conservationist myself, I attended their annual meeting in 2007 and was appalled at what I heard and saw. Dr. Patrick Moore, Ph.D ecologist and co-founder of Greenpeace reacted the same way to radical activists that hijacked his organization. He left the organization. See a brief video here by Patrick Moore Nobel laureate Ivar Giaeve presents here

At Weatherbell, our 4300 clients include weather enthusiasts, energy and agriculture traders, winter weather related businesses, retail and transportation pay us to give them accurate short and long-term forecasts and don’t care what we believe about climate or politics (which these days are intertwined). Eisenhower warned about the risk of this kind of political control over science in his farewell address to the nation remembered for his military industrial complex concerns:

“The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded.”

We at Weatherbell correctly warned the 2013/14 winter would be historic near the Great Lakes 7 months in advance when the government forecasts even at the end of November were for a warm winter. Last year we warned the coldest and snowiest weather would shift to the northeast, where again the government forecast warmth. Mild weather will give way to cold again next week. We don’t expect a repeat of last year for extreme snow or cold here in the northeast, but more real winter is likely to return especially to our south.


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