Fueled by billions of tons of greenhouse pollution, a surge of record warmth has flooded the United States, shattering records from southern California to North Dakota. “Temperatures have reached up to 40 degrees above early January averages in North Dakota,” the Weather Channel reports. Cities are seeing late-April temperatures at the start of January — Minot, ND hit 61 degrees, Aberdeen, SD hit 63 degrees, and Williston, ND hit 58 degrees, all-time record highs for the month of January.
Daily record highs have been set in Des Moines, Iowa (65 degrees), Rapid City, S.D. (73 degrees), International Falls, Minn. (46 degrees), St. Louis, Mo. (66 degrees) and Fargo, N.D. (55 degrees), to name a few locations. Although the record warmth subsides on Friday for the Plains, the mild air mass will bully its way eastward. We’re talking temperatures in cities such as Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Chicago, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Detroit and Cincinnati enjoying highs on the order of 10-to-20 degrees above average. High temperatures around 5-to-15 degrees above average will make it all the way to the East Coast including New York City, Washington, D.C. and Charlotte, N.C.
“There has never been a 60 degree temperature recorded during the first week of January in Minnesota’s modern climate record.” Southwestern Minnesota reached the lower 60s.
In Southern California, decades-old records were snapped with 80- and even 90-degree weather, sending surfers to the beaches. Long Beach hit 88 degrees, UCLA hit 89 degrees, San Diego hit 83 degrees, and San Gabriel reached 91.
Although this heat is welcome to schoolchildren, this breakdown of normal seasons threatens serious economic disruption. The total lack of snowcover in the Dakotas means that wildland fires are much more likely. The seasonally cold air following this surge of heat will severely damage the winter crops that are usually protected by at least 3 inches of snow at this time of year.