Lubbock advances to final round of Toughest Weather City contest - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Lubbock advances to final round of Toughest Weather City contest

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Lubbock has upset the 2011 Toughest Weather City Champion, Fargo, N.D. in the Final Four round of The Weather Channel's America's Toughest Weather City. Lubbock will face Fairbanks, Alaska in the Championship round.

Digital Meteorologist Jonathan Erdman with The Weather Channel says Lubbock was not exactly one of the expected front-runners in this competition.

"That is probably a bit unfair because you guys see plenty of sunshine and in fact, the last couple of years you've been dealing with the drought. So you can say, 'Well outside of the drought, and the area culture concerns, what's so tough about our weather?'" said Erdman.

Nevertheless, Erdman says as a meteorologist himself, Lubbock is one of his favorite places to watch weather.

"It's not just for the supercell thunderstorms and tornadoes, it's the dust storms, it's the incredible Blue Northern cold fronts that you get that can send temperatures crashing by 20 to 30 degrees in a matter of hours," Erdman said.  

Over the years, Lubbock has endured wind, snow, a legendary F5 tornado in 1970 and 85 days of 90+ heat.    

But winning the title will not be easy because Lubbock is up against Fairbanks, Alaska. The city is known for its extremely cold and snowy weather.  Fairbanks brings to the table 114 days of subzero cold, 65" of snow, and 90+ heat only once every two years.   

"Lubbock's all time high is 114 degrees. Fairbanks all time low is -66 degrees. So that's 180 degrees of separation," said Erdman.

Despite the bitter cold odds against Lubbock, Erdman says it could go either way.

"I think with the buzz that's surrounding Lubbock, what I've seen with social media, that could carry you guys to victory. But certainly the Alaska brand-name is going to stand pretty strong in terms of our voters.  So honestly I gotta call this a tossup. I have no idea whose gonna prevail out of this," he said.

It all started on March 19, 2013 with 64 cities in the running. The Weather Channel divided the cities up into four regions and matched them up like the NCAA basketball tournament, Erdman said. 

There is a Northeast Region, a South Region, a Midwest Region and a West Region and Lubbock has won the South Region.

Lubbock beat out San Antonio, Outer banks, N.C., New Orleans, and then knocked out Dallas in the Final Four.

"Isn't that fun? I mean, it really is fun," said Alona Beesinger, Chairwoman Elect of the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce.

"We may say, ‘The toughest weather' but you gotta be tough to live out here!" she said.

"I think any recognition that Lubbock gets is pretty awesome. We do have some bad weather days, bad storms, but the best thing about the Lubbock weather is that it's over the next day, Beesinger said.  

The moderators of the online contest attribute Lubbock's success to social media "buzz."

"We noticed several tweets and Facebook posts saying 'Vote for Lubbock.' I think this buzz carried Lubbock to this rather unexpected rout of the 2011 champion, Fargo," the site said Thursday. "The West Texas city now goes head to head with Fairbanks, Alaska in what couldn't be a greater contrast of cities."

Voting for the championship will continue through 3 a.m. Friday at weather.com.

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