March 03, 2014

Cold? Yes, indeedy? New Ice Age? No, Texas tea partiers

I am writing this piece in anticipation of the wingnuts popping up, seeing their shadows on an unusually cold day, and immediately saying "global warming doesn't exist," ignoring that "climate change" which is warming overall is the operative phrase.

Just when it looked like spring was here by the weather, as well as other signs in nature, we get brought back to reality by another cold snap. And one that, in this corner of Texas, at least, may have broken a record daily low.

That said, I did mention “other signs.”

When I was up in Dallas, one of the surest early signs of spring was redbud trees starting to bud, along with the return of purple martins. A sign that spring was more surely established was red oaks budding out new leaves.

Heck, maybe, the way this year has been so far, we ought to figure out new signs that spring is here to stay, and not just toying with us.

At the same time, the current swings and cold snaps, Texas weather jokes aside, aren’t that much out of the norm. The government’s National Climatic Data Center says that, on a 50 percent probability, the last spring frost happens in my corner of Central Texas about March 10. That said, we’re a bit late on a hard frost; on a 50 percent probability, the last date for one of those, using 28 degrees as the baseline, is Feb. 25.

However, there’s a 10 percent chance one can occur as late as March 20. In other words, we’re on the cold side of normal, and may have been setting a record Sunday night, but we’re not quite in the Ice Age.

Indeed, further south, in Austin, temperatures like this aren't unusual — even at the tail end of Mach.

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