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A trace of snow fell at O'Hare this afternoon, the first time any snow has fallen on Oct. 22 at the city's official weather station since 1937.

If we're into weather anecdotes, I can match (and raise) that one: the warmest temperature in Canada yesterday (Monday, Oct 21) was at Fort Liard, Northwest Territories (19 C= 66 F). If that strikes you as a bit odd, it should: the normal high temperature for Ft. Liard is 0 C (32 F). This is not an isolated fluke. Temperatures anomalies of about +20 C (+36 F) were seen across a wide swath of western Canada right up to the Arctic coast, where Inuvik recorded a high of 10 C (compared to the normal high of -7 C). This region is free of snow cover, right to the Arctic ocean -- which is *extremely* unusual for late October. It's so warm that the sea ice in the Beaufort Sea is actually retreating -- at a time when it's normally advancing rapidly.

The reason is a persistent blocking pattern that has held sway for the past 2 weeks or so (although it is now finally breaking down). These blocking patterns have become all too familiar recently, and are responsible for a lot of weird and sometimes deadly and damaging weather. The cause remains unclear, but AGW must be considered a suspect (perhaps indirectly due to reduced Arctic summer sea ice). The weak sun has also been implicated.

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