It's not nice to fool Mother Nature, but she's fooling us

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Gina Duwe
Wednesday, January 30, 2013

— Dear Mother Nature,

What is going on, here?

Do we need to send you a calendar?

We're not complaining, mind you, about Tuesday's unofficial record high of 61 in Janesville. You really squashed the 1988 record of 54, didn't you?

This morning we're waking up to rain that meteorologist Mark Gehring said should turn to snow and continue all day. It should be fun getting to work—thanks.

Here in Rock County, we're under a winter weather advisory until tonight because the wind is going to pick up this afternoon and blow around the expected 3 to 6 inches of snow. Gehring was thinking we'd get about 4 inches in Janesville, but you could dump 6 or more inches northwest of us.

You're keeping Gehring, who works at the National Weather Service in Sullivan, really busy. He said he's enjoying coming up with fun forecasts that include flooding, fog and winter storm advisories within hours of each other.

We also have to watch out for small stream and urban flooding because of you, Mother Nature. You opened the spigot enough to douse Janesville with 0.55 inches of rain overnight Monday into Tuesday, according to the city's wastewater treatment plant gauge.

Apparently, you didn't think that was enough, because Gehring was guessing we'll end up with up to 1.5 inches of more rain before it turns to snow this morning. You've given us the potential for street flooding because the rain isn't soaking into the ground, which is still frozen solid.

“It's just running right off,” Gehring said. “That's why we're a little concerned about that.”

That flood advisory should expire at 6 a.m. today, when the winter weather advisory will take over.

We should be thankful the Rock River won't flood this time, but we'll be too busy bundling up for temperatures expected to swing 60 degrees in 24 hours.

Could you get a little more extreme?

We'll be headed to a low of about 4 degrees with a wind chill between zero and minus 10 degrees tonight. Thursday night will be the worst, and those weather guys might have to put us under a wind chill advisory. The arctic air will make it feel anywhere from minus 15 to minus 22 across the area.

By the way, you impressed the weather guy with that extreme temperature change.

“It is an amazing swing,” Gehring said. “It is remarkable.”

You must be giving us a break this weekend, when you should send us warmer air in the 20s.

So what did we do to deserve all this? Record-high temps, rain, thunder, lightning, fog, flooding, snow and bitter cold all in a 48-hour span?

Is this global warming?

Gehring couldn't say this specific storm is, but extreme weather in general can be attributed to climate change, he said.

“We can't say any one storm is because of climate change,” he said. “But when you look at all the extreme weather, which has increased really over the last few decades, that is attributable to climate change.”

For now, you've just kept a persistent period of southwestern flow of the jet stream, which brought that warm air to southern Wisconsin. Thanks.

Yours truly,

Don't know what clothes to wear

Last updated: 8:04 am Monday, April 29, 2013

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