LATEST TWEET

This Is A Custom Widget

This Sliding Bar can be switched on or off in theme options, and can take any widget you throw at it or even fill it with your custom HTML Code. Its perfect for grabbing the attention of your viewers. Choose between 1, 2, 3 or 4 columns, set the background color, widget divider color, activate transparency, a top border or fully disable it on desktop and mobile.
/Blog
 

The crucifixion of a sports journalist doing his job

One of the earliest pieces of advice I got in the journalism business is this: “Doing what’s right is not always going to be what’s popular.”

It’s an adage that could apply to any walk of life, of course, but it seems to especially apply to journalism. If your pledge is to “tell the truth and nothing but,” there are going to be times when you’re going to catch so much flack for honoring your journalistic creed that you feel like finding a hole to crawl into for about a week.

Knoxville sports prognosticator Jimmy Hyams probably feels like heading underground today, after being raked across the coals of Twitter by a head-hunting mass of Vols fans angry about his report on injured Tennessee player Todd Kelly Jr.

Kelly was treated at a hospital for apparently minor injuries after falling more than 30 feet after an altercation with his girlfriend. According to multiple sources, including the Knoxville News Sentinel, the girlfriend told police that Kelly threatened to kill himself. Law enforcement officers who arrived on scene were responding to a report of a suicide attempt.

It isn’t as if the suicide attempt was just conjecture that Hyams pulled out of thin air. He was doing his job, as a journalist, to tell the story.

But don’t bother telling Vol Twitter that. The condemnation was swift and harsh. More than one tweet encouraged Hyams to jump from the Henley Street Bridge. Others called for him to be fired. Still others called for sponsors to boycott the Sports Animal, Hyams’ employer. “Journalists” from competing outlets piled on. It wasn’t pretty.

Most of those ostracizing Hyams claimed that he acted unprofessionally and without integrity, adding that “nothing good” comes from publicizing a suicide attempt.

Actually, nothing could be further from the truth.

First of all, suicide is a taboo subject in America. There is a lot of embarrassment associated with suicide. And most of us — journalists included, sometimes — tend to just not talk about it, because that’s the easy way out.

I’ll admit that, as a newspaper editor, if someone dies by suicide, it isn’t going to warrant a news story — so long as it wasn’t a murder-suicide and the victim was an ordinary citizen.

However, in situations where the victim is a public figure, things change.

And that’s the first part that must be understood. Athletes, even at the college level, are public figures. This is especially true at big-time college football programs, like Tennessee, where huge fan bases occupy significant spaces on social media and analyze every single detail involving the program and its players. Whether it’s fair or unfair, issues that might not be newsworthy if they involved you or I are absolutely newsworthy if they involve a college football player.

To understand the newsworthiness of the Kelly story, check out the first page of a thread dedicated to Kelly’s injury on VolNation, the internet’s largest fan message board devoted to Tennessee football. On the first page of the thread, a user says, “Would love a update when available.” Another says, “Something is weird about this.” Still another says, “I hope we get some solid info soon on what happened and how he’s really doing.” Then there are others speculating about the nature of the incident — was it a car wreck? A fight?

If you think the situation involving Kelly wasn’t newsworthy, you don’t understand the thought process of college football fans.

To gloss over the nature of what happened to Kelly is to actually begin weaving a tangled web that will not end well when the truth actually does come out. And, because there was a police report, the truth was always going to come out, regardless of whether Hyams’ story was published.

Think back to September, when Tennessee defensive lineman Shy Tuttle was injured. Butch Jones, in an effort to hide what truly happened (Tuttle was injured amid a fight with a  teammate), told reporters that Tuttle — who fractured his orbital socket — fell and hit his head on a helmet and was not injured by a teammate. Jones was subjected to an unprecedented amount of media scorn, and rightfully so. He should’ve told the truth.

Jones, as the head coach in charge of the football team, was uncomfortable talking about Tuttle’s fight with a teammate. All of us would be uncomfortable talking about a player’s apparent suicide attempt. I can guarantee you that I would’ve lost sleep if I had been in Hyams’ shoes and had been faced with the responsibility of filing that report. But I hope I would’ve handled it the same way Hyams handled it. Because he did the right thing — the professional thing — even though it wasn’t the popular thing.

What if the Kelly incident had been swept under a rug, and the nature of his injury hadn’t been discussed. What happens, then, when Hyams’ readers ask him about the injury? Does he pretend that it didn’t happen? Journalists like Hyams have only one thing going for them, and that’s their credibility. They only have credibility if their readers trust them. And readers wouldn’t trust Hyams if he had taken the Butch Jones approach to answering the question.

Sometimes the truth is inconvenient. But in Hyams’ business, the truth is all you’ve got.

Amid claims that Hyams is heartless and uncaring because he reported what he reported, all should be reminded that news reporting cannot concern itself with emotions. It can only concern itself with facts and truth. It’s perfectly okay for the news to invoke an emotional response; that’s to be expected. It’s certainly not okay for the news to be influenced by an emotional response.

Amid claims that Hyams acted without integrity, let’s pose this question: When it comes to integrity, would you rather be the journalist who reported the gritty details of the police report without flinching, or would you rather be the journalist who reported as fact that Kelly “slipped and fell,” without mention of the police report and the girlfriend’s statement? One of those writers is acting with journalistic integrity, and it certainly isn’t the latter.

This is the dilemma of journalism, and it’s eventually felt by every journalist worth his salt. I’ve experienced sleepless nights because I’ve had to report on stories that placed friends of mine in an embarrassing light. It’s not fun. But if you are going to operate by the journalistic creed that you should value, it must be done, the consequences be damned. Sweeping a potential story under the proverbial rug is the easy way out, and it definitely feels better in the short term. But in the long term it’s a practice that leaves you without credibility. And a journalist without credibility isn’t worth spit.

If you’re a real journalist, you’ll do what’s right, even when what’s right isn’t what’s popular. Jimmy Hyams did that today.

Finally, a note about suicide in general: It’s such a tough subject to broach in the news industry because of the embarrassment that it inflicts on the subjects who are directly involved. But that embarrassment only exists because of the stigma that is placed on suicide by society. There is a strong argument to be made that we can only slow the ever-growing rate of suicides (more Tennesseans committed suicide last year than in any year on record) by raising awareness — which means destroying that stigma.

My first time covering suicide (besides a few of murder-suicide cases, which I had dealt with over the years) was actually relatively recently. And it forever changed my thought process on dealing with this topic as a journalist.

A young teenage boy in our community committed suicide by shooting himself. In keeping with our policy, there was no news story. Our paper published the teen’s obituary, but there was no mention of suicide, of course.

Then one day the boy’s mother showed up in my office. To say I was uncomfortable would have been an understatement.

Through tears, she told me she actually wanted a story written about her son — about how loving and caring he was, about how he chose to end his own life . . . and about how she completely missed the warning signs. By sharing her family’s tragic story, she hoped, she could help other parents prevent their children who might be contemplating suicide.

As she talked, she spoke of the stigma attached to suicide, and the need to remove it. Then she pulled out an obituary, from a northern newspaper whose name I’ve forgotten, where the family actually chose to wrote in the obituary that their daughter had taken her own life. If that family had the courage to confront the uncomfortable truth, she said, she should too.

What resulted was one of the most uncomfortable stories I’ve ever written. But I had little choice. If that mother had the courage to confront her family’s darkest moment with details that our society would prefer remain untold, how could I not serve as the mouthpiece to help her tell that story?

It was in writing that story that I realized a truth that a growing number of Americans are espousing: sweeping details of suicide under the rug are only contributing to the stigma our society attaches to suicide. And in the long run, that stigma is costing lives.

You can be honest about suicide — and suicide attempts — and still be empathetic. You can confront the reality of situations like Todd Kelly Jr.’s and still hope that he bounces back stronger than ever. In fact, I dare say that now most fans know what Kelly is going through, they’re rooting for him harder than ever, hoping he’ll make it onto the field healthy for a fantastic 2018 senior season.

Journalism doesn’t always afford its practitioners the luxury of empathy. But sometimes you can be brutally honest and still report with dignity. Which is probably why Hyams’ report began, “Sometimes, unfortunate things happen to good people…”

By | January 12th, 2018|0 Comments

Global warming alarmists are the boy who cried wolf

I’m not a climate change denier. A skeptic, certainly. But not a denier.

Let’s assume, though, that climate change is real. Worse still, let’s assume that anthropogenic global warming is real. According to a Gallup poll conducted in March 2017, only 45% of Americans are concerned about climate change, and only 42% believe it will pose a serious risk within their lifetime.

If global warming is, in fact, occurring, and if we’re headed for dire consequences, shouldn’t scientists concern themselves with convincing Americans that we need to sit up and take notice of the change that’s occurring to our climate?

Here’s one way to not do that: engage in hyperbole at every turn and hype every significant weather event as an example of the global warming’s impact. That is the equivalent of the boy who cried wolf. It convinces no one, and turns believers into skeptics, while hardening skeptics into deniers.

This is a real and growing problem. Beginning with Superstorm Sandy in 2012 (and, really, before then, but that’s when it seemed to especially hit the mainstream), every serious weather event in the world — flood or drought, heat wave or cold snap — is somehow caused by climate change.

When cold weather blankets much of America (as is happening this week), the skeptics will naturally begin to scoff. “Gimme some of that global warming!” they might say. And the climate change alarmists are quick to yell, “WEATHER IS NOT CLIMATE CHANGE!”

I’d agree with them, actually. You can’t cherry-pick episodes of extreme weather to make the case for or against climate change.

Yet, when a hurricane slams the Gulf Coast, the very same climate change alarmists are even quicker to yell, “GLOBAL WARMING!!!”

Now they’re taking it a step further. And, again, this hyperbole didn’t start this week; this week is simply the latest example of it. Now the climate change alarmists are blaming the cold on global warming.

Former Vice President Al Gorge, the world’s leading proponent of global warming theories, said yesterday that climate change is to blame for the record-setting cold that’s blanketing the central and eastern portions of the U.S. In fact, Gore tweeted that extreme cold is exactly what we should expect from climate change.

But, as Climate Depot points out, Gore was saying as recently as eight years ago that the lack of cold and snow is an indication of climate change. Now he’s saying that too much cold and snow are an indication of climate change.

Isn’t that convenient? (No pun intended.) It’s hard to be wrong when you adopt this methodology. If it snows, climate change. If it doesn’t snow, climate change. Cold? Climate change. Warm? Climate change.

It’s hard to be wrong, but it’s also hard to win believers to your cause, because they see right through the shallow inconsistencies.

We’ve been here before. As I wrote in August, climate change alarmists were quick to tell us back in 2005 that major hurricanes were going to be commonplace in the U.S. because of global warming. That was an easy prediction to make in 2005. Three major (class 3 or stronger) hurricanes made landfall along the U.S. coastline that year. Then we went 11 years and 11 months without a major hurricane making landfall in the U.S. before category 4 Harvey slammed Texas.

Naturally, the alarmists pounced on Harvey — just as they do every episode of extreme weather — as an example of climate change. Never mind that there hadn’t been a major hurricane in the U.S. in almost 12 years. This, they told us, is proof that catastrophic cyclones are becoming more common in this age of global warming.

I wrote then that blaming every weather event on global warming cheapens the argument and creates skeptics because the average American sees through the schtick. But the mainstream media is doing itself no favors by latching on to the alarmists’ narrative. Several leading outlets — such as Time and the New York Times — are guilty. CNN definitely declared that, “Yes, climate change made Harvey worse.” It was a story that was presented not as opinion but as straight news.

Harvey’s impact was blamed on global warming because hurricanes typically pack lots of rain or lots of wind, but typically not both. Harvey presented both, and the result was catastrophic in Texas. As I wrote in August, alarmists pointed out that warmer air holds water better, which explained Harvey’s significant flooding. But they glossed over the fact that much of the flooding was because Harvey didn’t get swept up by the jet stream and was able to meander along at a snail’s pace — an almost unheard-of two miles an hour — and dump copious amounts of rain. That was just bad timing and misfortune for Texas, and had little to do with global warming.

Keep in mind that scientists also told us back in 2005 that hurricanes in general were going to become more frequent because of global warming. That hasn’t happened. Since 2005, we’ve averaged 6.7 hurricanes per year in the Atlantic basin. Contrast that with 1950-1962 (a time period I chose because hurricanes were believed to be becoming more frequent then), when we averaged 6.8 hurricanes per year in the Atlantic basin.

So they then told us that while the number of hurricanes might not increase, the strength of the hurricanes certainly would. But this is proven only by using math from unusually busy hurricane seasons, like 2005. After three category 5 hurricanes that year, and two more in 2007, there were none in the Atlantic basin for nine full years, before Matthew formed in 2016.

It’s hard to believe climate change advocates when it comes to hurricane activity, and it’s hard to believe them when it comes to outbreaks of arctic cold. It’s those of us who don’t align with either the talking points of either the left or the right who are left with nowhere to turn. Could global warming be occurring? Certainly. There’s no denying that the earth is warmer today than it was 20 years ago. Is that warmth cyclical or permanent? Good luck finding the answer to that. The truth might be had, but the debate has turned into a political quagmire.

By | January 5th, 2018|0 Comments

ESPN continues political assault as ratings free-fall continues

Disney-owned ESPN is in trouble. And the circumstances that have landed the sports giant in this mess are complex, not owed to any one cause. But not the least among ESPN’s woes are the political fights it chooses to pick. Like the latest: having one of its cohosts slam MLB’s Houston Astros for visiting the White House.

In a nutshell, ESPN’s self-inflicted political problem is this: most of its viewers are conservative, while the network itself is decidedly left-leaning and is choosing to carry the liberal political banner on a wide (and increasing) range of political issues that have almost nothing to do with sports.

So when you saw news that ESPN First Take cohost Max Kellerman was ripping the Astros for visiting the White House, how could you not shake your head and say, “Here we go again…”?

The Astros received a White House invite after winning the World Series in October. The MLB champion is invited to the White House every year, as are the NBA, NFL and NHL champs, along with multiple college national championship winners.

When the Patriots won the Super Bowl last winter, most of the team visited the White House. Some didn’t. Then President Donald Trump made headlines by pulling an invite from the Golden State Warriors after they won the NBA Finals (with coach Steve Kerr and superstar Stephen Curry blasting the president, it’s very likely none of the Warriors would’ve visited anyway).

But now Kellerman is acting as if it is a moral imperative to refuse a White House invite, calling the Astros’ decision to accept the invite “a grave error.” Invoking images of the 1960s Civil Rights battle, he claimed that the Astros are “on the wrong side of history.”

Kellerman claims that his view has nothing to do with Republicans or Democrats, but is about the Trump administration being “abnormal,” adding that it “must not be normalized.” Consider me skeptical of the sincerity of his justification.

For what it’s worth, Kellerman’s fellow cohosts Will Cain and Stephen A. Smith (who is black, as shameful as it is that we have to actually point out that distinction, but that’s where we’re at in the current political climate, amid claims that Trump is a racist) disagreed and defended the Astros’ decision.

But it’s astounding that the ESPN panel would delve off into this topic to begin with. However much you may disagree with Trump’s behavior or his policies — and I strongly disagree, not necessarily with his policies but certainly his behavior, which is disgraceful and often despicable — it is an honor to be invited to the White House. Accepting that invitation is not “normalizing” anything. It’s continuing a great American sports tradition. Astros president Reid Ryan was absolutely right when he said many people don’t get more than one chance to visit the White House. I’m 38 and I’ve never been inside the White House. If a president sends me a personal invitation, I’m going…and I don’t care whether he’s a Republican, a Democrat or Rand Paul.

It defies logic why ESPN, which continues to implement one mass layoff after another in an effort to shore up its failing bottom line, would continue to turn sports news into political  debate. It should go without saying that the network needs to be bipartisan, but if you want to be really honest, the network should be nonpartisan. ESPN, as a sports network, should be apolitical. I’m more of a political junkie than most Americans, but I still want to be entertained when it’s time to be entertained — not have someone’s political leanings taint my football. It’s why I never watch ESPN unless there’s a ballgame on that I’m interested in. It’s also why I no longer watch NFL games on NBC (though I haven’t watched any NFL games this season, due to the political posturing that so many owners and players are engaging in) — because NBC has for years chosen to subject us to Bob Costas’ political lectures at halftime.

Keep politics on CNN and sports on ESPN. That shouldn’t be too difficult. Should it?

By | January 5th, 2018|0 Comments

Hey, look: A warming trend! (But it won’t last)

It’s only 10:30 a.m. on this Tuesday morning, and already the temperature has nudged up to 21 degrees in Oneida — tying yesterday’s high*, according to the National Weather Service’s data.

(*The NWS data is collected at the Oneida Water Plant, but I wouldn’t trust it too much. Most areas didn’t get out of the teens on Monday, and as of 10:30 a.m., the official temperature was still at just 9 degrees in Crossville. Even in the valley, at Oak Ridge, the temperature was just 16 at 10 a.m. Higher elevations can warm more quickly than valley locations if there’s a southerly breeze in effect, but that isn’t happening today…plus Crossville is, like Oneida, atop the Cumberland Plateau. Anyway…)

We dipped to zero this morning, officially, making it the first time the mercury has hit zero in Oneida since Feb. 19, 2015 — when we plunged all the way to -11 in the aftermath of a late-season ice storm.

The NWS is forecasting a high of just 22 today. That’s not what makes this a warming trend. What makes it a warming trend is tomorrow, when we’re expected to climb above freezing, just briefly in the afternoon, hitting 33 degrees.

If and when we do get to 33, it’ll be the first time we’ve been above freezing since Saturday. But it won’t be much of a respite, with temperatures plunging back to 11 degrees tomorrow night and getting to just 21 on Thursday as another wave of arctic air rolls in.

The Oneida Special School District has already announced a two-hour delay for the remainder of the week, due to the cold temperatures. We’re expected to be back in the single digits on Friday morning, with temps again hitting just 21 on Friday afternoon, followed by a low in the single digits once more on Saturday morning.

The real warming trend begins at the end of the weekend. The GFS forecast model is showing temps getting above freezing on Saturday, thought the NWS doesn’t agree, but everyone is in agreement that we should be well in agreement by Sunday as a southerly flow kicks in. And by Sunday night, we might not drop below freezing even during the overnight hours as a storm system impacts the region. That’s quite a change from what we’re experiencing now, when we can’t manage more than 21 or 22 degrees even under a completely sunny sky.

Again, though, the milder weather will not last. It’s looking increasingly likely that we’ll get slammed with another arctic wave next week, in the aftermath of the storm system. It won’t be as prolonged as the one we’re experiencing now, but temps are likely to crash back into the single digits at night.

The good news is it looks like we’ll rebound quickly towards the end of next week, with temperatures then routinely getting above freezing each day through the third week of the month. But there’s no sustained warm-up in sight, as the GFS forecast model is indicating a maximum temperature of 42 degrees for the next 15 days. It’s almost unheard of, even in January, for us to go an entire month without touching 50 degrees. But if something doesn’t change in the last two weeks of the month, that could very well happen, it appears.

If you like snow, you continue to find yourself out of luck. There are no bonafide snow threats on the table for now. There are storm signals around Jan. 12-13 and again around Jan. 17-18 that meteorologists will be keeping an eye on, but for now it looks like those will be rain-makers. This is a lot of cold air to not have any snow to show for it, if snow is your thing, but it’s not unprecedented. Astute weather observers might remember 2010, when nighttime lows were in the single digits for eight of the first 14 days of January (with temps in the teens five of the other six days to start the month) and it didn’t snow a single flake during that span.

By | January 2nd, 2018|0 Comments

Update: Dangerous cold outbreak looms

The National Weather Service is cautioning that the arctic cold outbreak currently in place over the eastern U.S. will intensify next week, even as snow chances continue to diminish.

The NWS’s Morristown weather forecast office issued a brief today saying that “precautions should be taken for extreme cold and long-duration sub-freezing temperatures, such as checking vehicle radiators, protecting water pipes at your house, and keeping children off frozen lakes and ponds.”

As of now, the NWS is projecting temperatures to stay below freezing from late Saturday until Wednesday afternoon. However, it is looking probable at this point that only the Tennessee Valley will warm to above freezing Wednesday afternoon.

This is significant. We often see colder temperatures than what we’ll see this next week. In fact, we got down to near zero last winter. But it isn’t often that we see such long-lived cold weather. Spending day after day below freezing without a reprieve from the sub-freezing weather is the sort of thing that causes pipes to freeze and radiators to bust.

There are two factors to consider here:

1.) After getting to 40 degrees tomorrow and Saturday, it’s looking likely that we’ll be below freezing from sometime Saturday night through at least Friday, Jan. 5. That’s more than 130 consecutive hours below freezing, which is very unusual in Tennessee.

2.) Not only will be below freezing, but it is looking increasingly possible that we won’t get above 28 degrees any day next week, through at least Thursday, which means that the entire 130 hours will be spent in a hard freeze . . . which is even more unusual in Tennessee. Model output statistics from the latest run of the GFS computer model show us getting to 26 on Sunday, 23 on Monday, 29 on Tuesday, 26 on Wednesday and 26 on Thursday, with lows of 12 on Sunday morning, 8 on Monday morning, 8 on Tuesday morning, 14 on Wednesday morning, 7 on Thursday morning and 7 on Friday morning.

This is a very impressive cold snap, not so much in terms of how cold temps will get, but how long the cold weather will last. It’s even more impressive considering there isn’t going to be snow on the ground. Usually a snowpack serves as a refrigerator to keep temperatures lower.

Exactly when this cold snap ends remains to be seen. As I mentioned in a previous post, there are signs of a sustained warm-up as we move closer to the middle of January, but as of now, models are showing the cold air lasting for at least the next 15 days. At this point, the question is when we’ll just manage to get above freezing. The midday run of the GFS model shows us just barely getting above freezing on Sunday, Jan. 7, after a solid week of sub-freezing temperatures. But the model doesn’t show the thermometer hitting 50 degrees through the end of its run on Jan. 13.

It isn’t a given that the cold air is going to relax as we get into the first weekend of January, either. The Canadian model shows bitterly cold temps holding on through the end of its run, which gets us into Jan. 8. That particular model is probably overdoing the cold; it has us getting below zero on several occasions during this cold snap. But it’s worth noting.

As for snow chances, those appear nil at the moment. It had once appeared that we would see the chance for some light snow and minor accumulations on New Year’s Eve, but that no longer seems like a possibility. The NWS has removed mention of snow from the forecast, and models are in agreement that there will be no snow anywhere south of a point between Somerset and Lexington over the weekend. The GFS doesn’t show a drop of precipitation through the end of next week. There are some storm signals a little further out but as of right now, those don’t appear to be snowmakers for the northern Cumberland Plateau region.

By | December 28th, 2017|0 Comments

Update: Cold and getting colder, but what about snow?

The cold pattern that is entrenched across the Mid-South is about to get even colder as we exit 2017 and welcome 2018, but chances for an appreciable snowfall appear to be sketchy, at best.

It’s cold across East Tennessee this week. The National Weather Service at Morristown says we won’t get out of the 20s today in Oneida, and we’re headed for a low of 13 tonight. Temps will be back into the teens again tomorrow night, even as a short-lived warming trend begins.

We may see temperatures pushing 40 by Friday, but that will be just ahead of a surge of arctic air that could deliver even colder temperatures for the end of the weekend and the first few days of 2018.

As of now, the NWS is forecasting a high of just 26 degrees on New Year’s Eve, after a low of 13 Sunday morning. New Year’s Day is likely to see temps stay in the 20s as well.

The one question at this point is whether we see a storm system develop and push through the region as the cold air surges southward. The American chief of the global models, the GFS, had been indicating such a scenario, which would have resulted in a winter storm for much of the region. But it didn’t have much support from other global models, including the somewhat more reliable ECMWF.

A storm system on Sunday and Monday would be highly dependent on the timing of the trough that will deliver the cold air. If a low pressure system tries to develop to our south and the arctic air is too quick to arrive, the energy gets crushed and the storm system never materializes — at least not in our neck of the woods. And that is what the GFS is now suggesting.

That doesn’t mean we can’t see accumulating snow on Sunday and Monday; it just means the idea of a bonafide winter storm is probably off the table. Yesterday’s midday run of the GFS was showing 7-10 inches of snow for the northern Cumberland Plateau region with this storm system developing. Now it’s showing zilch.

However, even if the dynamics of a developed low pressure system aren’t on the table, there will be some moisture in the atmosphere, and the dynamics of the northwest flow that sets up as the cold air pushes in can also squeeze out snow showers, which could result in some light accumulations. Currently, the NWS is forecasting a 20% chance of snow showers on Sunday and Sunday night, followed by a high of 23 on Monday with a low of 8 degrees for Tuesday morning, Jan. 2 (and a high of only 28 that day).

Today’s early morning run of the GFS model is showing 1-2 inches of snow accumulation for the northern plateau, but the word of caution there is the midday run that followed it is showing about half that, and the overnight run that preceded it showed no accumulation at all.

Basically, there’s a chance for light snow accumulations on Sunday and Monday. At this point, that’s all it is — a chance. Anything that falls will be on the light side. However, with very cold ground temperatures in place, even a little bit could be enough to cause traffic hazards on New Year’s Eve, so it’s worth keeping an eye on.

The bigger story is the cold air. The GFS isn’t spitting out the insane numbers it was suggesting yesterday (with subzero nighttime temps) because it doesn’t have the snowpack in place that it was depicting yesterday. But the global models are in agreement that it’s going to be quite cold, hence the numbers that are popping up in the NWS’s official forecast.

This is reminiscent of the cold snap to greet the new year as January began in 2009. We were bitterly cold for about a week, even though there was no snow to show for it. We won’t be quite that cold for quite that long this go around, as the temperature pattern will probably relax a little bit next week before a fresh surge of arctic air filters in later in the week.

The question right now is what happens as that relaxation takes place. Some models are wanting to develop a storm system to the south that could result in a winter storm for our region. This morning’s run of the GFS suggested a scenario that would result in 4-6 inches of snow for our area around Sunday, Jan. 7 or Monday, Jan. 8, followed by temperatures that get as cold as -6. But that’s way out in the future — out in what legendary meteorologist James Spann calls voodoo land — so I wouldn’t count on that happening.

The bottom line: If you don’t like cold air, you’re probably going to want to go into hibernation for the next couple of weeks. It’s going to be very cold. We’ve seen colder weather in recent years than what we’ll see in the first 10 days of January, but when you consider the overall pattern between now and Jan. 12, it’s probably been a while since we’ve seen such a stretch of impressive cold weather. There are no serious indications that we’ll see much snow during this period, however, and there is good news — there are growing signs of a sustained warm-up as we head towards the middle of January.

By | December 27th, 2017|0 Comments