Is Our Cold Snap “Hot” Enough For You?

by on April 6, 2011

The Oatmeal has lampooned the Seattle resident’s reaction to normal Northwest weather, but considering that it was snowing in Everett and northward this morning, it’s safe to say our current cold snap isn’t normal and is worthy of some salty talk, as in the above video.

Factor in the paranoia that your cheeks aren’t glowing because of the cold, but because of radioactivity from Japan, and it’s definitely weird around these parts.

Granite Falls got a half to three-quarters of an inch of snow this morning, while other areas saw hail showers. Here in Seattle, around 8:30 a.m., the “real feel” was supposed to be 29 degrees.

UW meteorologist Cliff Mass confirms that it’s not all in your head: “The recent two weeks has been much cooler than normal with few days reaching the normal highs and precipitation several inches above normal.”

Iodine-131 spike as measured by the University of Washington

He also points you to a UW site that’s been tracking radioactivity released by the nuclear reactors in Fukushima, Japan, carried in the air to Washington. Not only is the measurable amount tiny (“at least thousands of times below EPA limits”), but the most noticeable spike was some 7-10 days after the earthquake. Any measurable radioactivity has tailed off significantly since then.

Mass adds that, “Regarding milk, screening samples taken March 25 at Spokane, WA detected 0.8 pCi/L of iodine-131, which is more than 5,000 times lower than the intervention level set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.”

Again, even the spikes are more of an indication of the sensitivity of the instruments than spikes practically speaking. We won’t even see cumulative build-up of radiation from what’s occurred so far, given that these were one-time spikes.

Filed under News, Science, Weather

4 thoughts on “Is Our Cold Snap “Hot” Enough For You?

    • I’m going to stand by the statement that our current cold snap is not normal, because when you look at the norm for April, recent temperatures are below it. As for your reference link, pointing to mid-April snow *in the passes* is not the same thing as lowland snow. Is a little lowland snow now *highly* unusual? Probably not. Should your head explode because people talk about it? Probably not.

      • What is “the norm for April?” Do you mean average temperatures? Because that, as your buddy Cliff Mass likes to point out, is just an average. Eg, you get a 40 degree day one year and a 60 degree day one year, and your average is 50. So what’s normal then?

        • Sorry, the past two weeks is really 1 week April, and 1 week March, so it’s not really the norm for April I’m talking about. Yes, any given day could be a record-breaking low or high, but over the past two weeks, we have not been reaching even average highs, which means it is colder than normal.