The Eric Factor: Maybe we shouldn’t hope for more of this nice weather

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Yesterday, the weather was gorgeous. Today, the weather is gorgeous. Tomorrow, the weather will be gorgeous. But just because it’s gorgeous, doesn’t mean that it’s good.

Being a television Meteorologist, it’s my job to describe the weather to our audience. Each half hour of our morning show, I’m given a total of five minutes to prepare folks for what lies ahead. Lately, that has me conflicted. Kids are waiting for the buses in short-sleeves. We’re beginning the holiday season in a few weeks when we still have ripening tomatoes in backyard gardens. Quite honestly, this is how the weather should be in Tyler, Texas, where I lived twelve years ago, not here where I live now.

While our weather sure is easy to live with, we can’t lose sight of the fact that it’s not normal. And because it’s not normal, it shouldn’t be celebrated.
According to the National Weather Service, the Quad Cities has only seen 70 degree temperatures a few dozen times this late in the season…ever. Today’s projected high of 69 degrees is only two degrees off a record for the warmest November 10th we’ve ever experienced. And by saying “we,” I’m including us, our parents, grandparents, and great grandparents. That’s how far our records go back.

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And looking back, the weather wasn’t like it is when our parents, grandparents, and great grandparents were alive. Today’s record of 71 degrees was set only four years ago. In December of 2015, less than a year ago, the official reporting station at the Quad City International Airport recorded seven record highs with no record lows recorded.

And it’s not just us. The entire North American continent has seen warmer-than-normal temperatures this month (and for many months).

This incredible warmth does have positives and negatives. It sure is easier to live with these temperatures. We’re paying a lot less for energy and heat. With less need coal-fired power, we are not spewing as much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. That’s a good thing! In addition, this unbelievably warm weather is also easier for the less-fortunate who don’t have homes and warm clothes. So I’m not completely pessimistic.

I just think we all need to take a moment to think about the context of this incredible weather. Instead of raving at how wonderful it is, we really should be pointing out how abnormal it is. And by identifying that, we need to pay attention to how often it occurs, that’s all.

-Meteorologist Eric Sorensen