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Extreme weather caps off the year 2006

End of Year Observations
December, 2006

This year of weather extremes, from incessant rain in the Northwest to chronic drought in the heartland and wildfires in the West, could go down as the second-warmest on record when it ends. The first 11 months of 2006 already were the second-warmest January-to-November since national record-keeping began in 1895. "The warmth has been incredible." Last January was so warm that North America had the second-lowest amount of snow on the ground for that month. Only January 1981 had less. Several major cities broke records this year: •Seattle had the most rainfall in a single month in November, topping its 73-year-old record with 15.63 inches — about three times the city's average for the month. •New York broke a 59-year-old record when 26.9 inches of snow blanketed the city Feb. 11-12. •Phoenix had a record 143 straight days without measurable rain before a March 11 downpour. The wet weather in Washington and Oregon is UNUSUAL because an El Niño climate pattern now in place normally would make it drier. "This El Niño we've got going right now is ONE OF THE WEIRDEST ONES THAT I'VE SEEN. We should not be having the weather we're having."
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