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ST. LOUIS NEWS TODAY -
Strong El Niño May Bring Mild Winter to Midwest
Graphic courtesy AccuWeather.com
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), December 6, 2015 - Much of the central and eastern United States can expect mild weather often from December into January due to El Niño.
El Niño. occurs when tropical Pacific waters are warmer than normal, and the pattern can last several months to a couple of years. The warm waters can impact the weather patterns around much of the globe.
While the pattern may not be good news for cold weather enthusiasts, it will translate to savings on heating for at least part of the winter.
According to AccuWeather Chief Long Range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok, an ongoing and strengthening El Niño may succeed in keeping arctic air out of much of the United States well into the winter.
"We see impressive signals that the overall mild pattern that got rolling in the Central and Eastern states during October and November will hold through December and into January," Pastelok said.
"El Niño is contributing to a strong belt of westerly winds across Canada that will help keep the polar vortex strong but locked up near the Arctic Circle," Pastelok said.
This does not necessarily mean that every day will be mild and free of snow in the central and eastern U.S., but rather cold and snowy days will be infrequent.
As temperatures naturally trend downward into January, some storms may still produce substantial snow, especially in the northern tier, in the Appalachians and the Central states. However, the snow may not lay around very long as temperatures may not remain cold enough.
This year's El Niño is already considered to be strong and may continue to strengthen over the next couple of months. In recent years that had a strong El Niño., temperatures averaged much above normal in most of the Central and Eastern states.
However, while there are a number of factors that determine the weather pattern for the winter, a major player is associated with the strength of the El Niño
For instance, during a weak or weakening El Niño, fluctuating steering winds across the U.S. and Canada may allow the polar vortex to weaken, shift position and send frigid air well to the south.
"When El Niño starts to weaken, we do not always get an immediate change in the weather pattern," Pastelok said. "We believe that once the current El Niño peaks, there may be enough of a lag to carry the warmth through much of the winter."
Pastelok and crew foresee the potential for colder weather and a big East Coast snowstorm or two during the latter part of winter and into March.
Metro Gateway Card Testing Moves to Next Phase
Image of Gateway Card courtesy Metro
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), December 3, 2015 - Metro has moved into the next phase of testing the Gateway Card - the smart card system that will eventually replace paper Metro tickets, passes and transfers on MetroLink and MetroBus.
Initial testing focused on MetroLink only, where instead of purchasing passes or tickets, testers loaded money or passes on their Gateway Cards at Metro ticket vending machines. Testers have been tapping their Gateway Cards on station validators before boarding MetroLink trains, and fare inspectors have been using new devices to check for valid fares when they encounter test Gateway Cards.
In this next round, Gateway Card testers will now be able to use their cards on both MetroLink trains and MetroBus vehicles. This will help us determine how both systems are communicating with each other and with Metro when passengers transfer between the two modes. Later in testing, Gateway Cards will be able to be loaded online, at the MetroStore in downtown St. Louis and at select retailers.
Using feedback shared by our testers, we will make any necessary adjustments until all systems are successfully integrated. Progress made during this phase will help determine when Gateway Cards will become available to the public.
Gateway Card testers are volunteers, and are not reimbursed for their participation in the test program. They are responsible for paying for their own fares.
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