In the Northern Hemisphere we’re in the middle of winter and what a winter it’s been so far! The Northeast is getting hit hard again today with moderate to heavy snow as a low pressure system moves northeastward along the East Coast. Widespread accumulations of 3-6” can be expected from the Mid-Atlantic States into the Northeast. Heavier swaths of snow will be possible from West Virginia into Massachusetts with isolated amounts up to 8-12”. Yesterday, models were keeping the low closer to the coast indicating snow accumulations of up to 18”, but since the low is now tracking further offshore total accumulations will be less. For the latest information on today’s Nor’easter, you can view the video here.
Let’s take a break from the cold weather for just a bit and head south to the Southern Hemisphere. While it’s cold and snowy across the Northeast today, it’ll be a warm summer day in New Zealand and Australia. Keep in mind the time difference between here and Australia too; it’s currently night there (actually, as I’m writing this it’s about 4am EDT on Thursday morning in Sydney). The weather has been very active across Australia the past several weeks. If you’re an avid reader of YourWeatherBlog, you’ve probably read some of our postings on the flooding that has occurred. Check out this view from space showing the extent of the floodwaters on January 9th near the Queensland coast. Not only have they had to deal with the flooding this month but now there are two tropical systems in the vicinity. One is along the west coast of Australia and another northeast of New Zealand.
Tropical Cyclone Wilma is located approximately 555 nautical miles east of Noumea, New Caledonia and is moving west-southwest at 11 knots. Maximum sustained winds are near 115 knots with gusts up to 140 knots. Wilma has a well-defined eye and is expected to track in a general southwest direction over the next few days, and then curve to the south on Friday. It could reach northern New Zealand late Friday (local time) or early Saturday as an extra-topical low with heavy rains and gusty winds possible for North Island over the weekend. Over the next 48 hours, Wilma is expected to weaken due to strong westerly winds and cooler sea surface temperatures.
Elsewhere, Tropical Cyclone Bianca is located about 225 nautical miles northeast of Learmonth, Australia and it’s moving westward at 14 knots. Maximum sustained winds are near 60 knots with gusts to 70 knots. Bianca is forecast to move southwest along the Western Australia coastline over the next two days. Periods of heavy rain will be possible for portions of coastal Western Australia, which could lead to an increased flooding threat for some coastal locations. On Friday, Bianca is forecast to curve to the south and move a bit further away from Australia for a few days. Over the next 48 hours, Bianca is expected to become extra-tropical (like Wilma) as it encounters strong westerly winds and cooler sea surface temperatures.
What’s next? Longer-term, the hemispheres will switch places – not literally – and it will get cold again Down Under and once again I’ll be reminded that SE Texas really is just north of the Tropics. But that’s not for a while yet and winter 2010-2011 evidently still has a lot to say. After all, we still haven’t even heard from Punxsutawney Phil yet.