Cold Temperatures Continue to Batter United States

Published August 1, 2008

Cooling temperatures sent the United States into a deep freeze during the first half of 2008, resulting in some extraordinary weather events.

On June 10, snow blanketed the campus of Washington State University at Pullman, Washington, calling to mind the infamous “Year Without a Summer” in 1816, when occasional snow hit the United States well into summer, resulting in major crop failures.

Aspen, Colorado decided to reopen its ski resort slopes in mid-June, reporting a snow base up to three feet deep well after the resort normally closes for the season.

A mid-June snowstorm also hit the suburbs of Seattle, with snowfall reported at elevations as low as 3,000 feet.

“Seattle just experienced the coldest first week of June, according to climate records dating to 1891,” the Seattle Times reported on June 9. “Just wait until tomorrow,” when the temperatures would be even colder, the Times quoted a local meteorologist as saying.

Persistent Cold Across Nation

The unusual snow and cold in Pullman, Aspen, and Seattle were part of a pattern of atypical snow and cold that has persisted throughout 2008.

Meteorologist Joe D’Aleo, executive director of the International Climate and Environmental Change Assessment Project (ICECAP), reports the nation’s March through May spring temperatures were the 36th coldest since records began back in the 1800s.

The cold spring followed an even colder winter, during which January and February temperatures were more than half a degree Celsius colder than in the same time period in 2007. Over the 100 years of the twentieth century, global temperatures rose only 0.6 degrees Celsius.

James M. Taylor ([email protected]) is a senior fellow for The Heartland Institute and managing editor of Environment & Climate News.