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Weird Weather: Heat In D.C., Tornadoes And A Heck Of A Lot Of Snow Elsewhere

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credit: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

credit: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

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WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — America’s weather is stuck on extreme.

Washington area residents are experiencing an early spring. The Cherry Blossoms are blooming earlier than expected due to the unseasonably warm temperatures, well above average for this time of year. Many people in the region feel the premature 80-degree weather is a fitting sendoff for the winter that snow forgot.

But that’s not the case in Anchorage, Alaska where nearly 11 feet of snow has fallen this winter. That’s almost a record, and it’s forcing the city to haul away at least 250,000 tons of snow. Yet not much snow has dropped on the Lower 48 this year.

The first three months of 2012 have seen twice the normal number of tornadoes. And 36 states set daily high temperature records Thursday. So far this month, the U.S. has set 1,757 daily high temperature records. That’s similar to the number during last summer’s heat wave, said Jake Crouch, a climate scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Six rare, but not unprecedented, March tornadoes struck Thursday in Michigan, which also set 26 heat records. Temperatures were in the 80s in some parts of the state.

Nationwide, there have been 132 tornadoes confirmed in January and February, with preliminary reports of more than 150 already in March.

Two different weather phenomena — La Nina and its northern cousin the Arctic Oscillation — shift storm and temperature patterns through the world, meteorologists say. Scientists say you cannot link a single weather event to global warming.

However, climate scientist Andrew Weaver of the University of Victoria says: “When you start to see the extreme events become more common, that’s when you can say that it is a consequence of global warming.”

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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