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Cold snap in W. Washington is ‘kind of the way it is’

The highs in Western Washington haven't been all that high compared to recent winters. (National Weather Service)

Wild fluctuations in weather patterns have only stirred the global warming debate more in recent years, but National Weather Service Meteorologist Nick Bond says not to jump to conclusions about Western Washington’s most recent cold snap.

“There’s a lot of variability and randomness in the weather in general,” he told KIRO Radio’s Ron and Don. “That is a lot of what’s been going on.

Related: Why forecasting failures unintentionally hurt global warming credibility

“We’ve been kind of spoiled in a way here because the last couple of winters have been so warm,” he continued. “And so when we get events like this it seems like, oh, we have to explain this. Well, this is just kind of the way it is.”

What is rare about the recent cold snap, caused by Canadian air coming down from the northeast, is how long it has lasted, Bond says. Western Washington has experienced bitter cold — at least compared to recent winters — since the start of the year.

“You have to go back a few years to see a cold snap of this duration,” Bond said.

Temperatures have consistently dipped into the 20s over the last several days. The National Weather Service reports that, around Seattle, the region has experienced temperatures as low as 21 degrees. The high over the first four days of January was recorded Jan. 1 when Seattle hit a whopping 37 degrees.

The normal, average, low during the first four days of January is 36 degrees. The normal high is 46 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

Can we name this cold snap?

With that in mind, is there any name we can associate this latest cold snap with?

Bond says not really. Sometimes people refer to what we’re experiencing as “arctic blasts.” Even though it feels cold outside — and it is — our cold snap isn’t that dramatic, Bond says.

“It’s not that strong,” he added. “We’re not setting any record or anything.”

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