We Should Set a New February Snowfall Record Today

Old Man Winter is having an 'End of Winter Clearance Sale' and EVERYTHING MUST GO! Buy one snowstorm, get the second one FREE! When it rains, it pours. When it snows it...dumps? Not sure. I need
to work on my synonyms.

All we need is 4 inches of snow to set a new all-time snowfall record for February. We should have that by lunchtime. Heaviest snows fall morning and midday hours, with 6-10 inches for most spots. Definitely plowable.

In fact this may be the most snow from a single storm this winter. 6.3 inches fell on February 6-7. We may top that today.

The sun peeks out as we dig out Thursday, before the next shot of light snow late Friday. Models spin up another significant storm over the weekend, but ECMWF keeps the heaviest snow bands over southeast Minnesota and Wisconsin Saturday night. A few more inches may fall in the metro area, cementing our new February snow record.

Whatever cold-crystalline-magic is in your yard today will still be there 1-2 weeks from now. No big sloppy thaws are brewing yet.

And yes, we'll definitely earn our spring this year. 

Snowfall Totals as of 11 AM. Amounts courtesy of IEMBOT at the Iowa State University.

Map credit above: Praedictix and AerisWeather.

Model Spread. NOAA's models show a range of 4-8" with a median snowfall amount around 6" by tonight in the Twin Cities. The risk for (heavy) snow Saturday night seems to be diminishing over time as the track shifts farther south and east.

February Snowfall Records. Thanks to Praedictix (and NOAA) for updated numbers. Rochester has already set a new February snowfall record with 21.8", breaking the old record in 2007. But wait, there's more!

Slow-Slow Recovery. No blasts of warm air are imminent, but if a warm ridge over Alaska breaks down the flow aloft may become more zonal, allowing a few 30s to return to Minnesota by mid-March. That would be nice.

Praedictix Briefing: Issued Tuesday, February 19th, 2019:

  • With a storm system moving across the country through the middle of the week, we will be tracking the potential of snow and ice from Oklahoma into the upper Midwest and the Northeast as well. Some areas like the Twin Cities could see over a half a foot of snow through Wednesday, with Washington D.C. seeing snow and ice before the precipitation changes over to rain. Numerous winter weather alerts are in place for this snow and ice potential.
  • This same system will be responsible for heavy rain across parts of the Southern United States, with the potential of at least 2-4” of rain through Wednesday from the ArkLaTex into the Ohio Valley. This heavy rain will bring the potential of flooding along with it. More heavy rain is likely over the same areas Friday into Saturday.

Tracking A Winter Storm. As we go through the middle of the week, a widespread area of wintry precipitation is possible in association with a storm system tracking across the country. Snow and ice could fall from Oklahoma through the upper Midwest and into the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, with heavy rain across parts of the south. Breaking down wintry precipitation timing for some select cities:

  • Oklahoma City: Wintry precipitation, including a mix of snow, sleet, and freezing rain, is expected to start during the midday hours today, wrapping up tonight. The afternoon commute could be rough later today.
  • Minneapolis: Snow will start during the late night hours tonight, becoming heavy by the morning commute Wednesday. Moderate to heavy snow will continue to be possible throughout the day Wednesday before tapering off Wednesday evening. Both the Wednesday morning and afternoon commutes could be impacted.
  • Washington D.C.: Snow will start today, lasting through the midday hours Wednesday before transitioning to sleet and freezing rain. That will continue through Wednesday evening before enough warm air works in to change it over to rain around Midnight Wednesday night. Both the Wednesday morning and afternoon commutes could be impacted.

Winter Weather Alerts. A widespread area of the country is under winter weather alerts for the expected wintry precipitation over the next few days, including the following locations:

  • Oklahoma City, OK: Winter Weather Advisory until Midnight tonight for snow up to 4” and ice of up to 0.15”.
  • Kansas City, MO: Winter Weather Advisory from 4 PM today to 9 AM Wednesday for 1-4” of snow and up to a tenth of an inch of ice.
  • St. Louis, MO: Winter Weather Advisory from 5 PM today to 6 AM Wednesday for up to 2” of snow and up to a tenth of an inch of ice.
  • Omaha, NE: Winter Storm Warning from 6 PM tonight to 9 AM Wednesday for 6-9” of snow.
  • Des Moines, IA: Winter Storm Warning from 6 PM tonight to Noon Wednesday for 6-9” of snow.
  • Minneapolis, MN: Winter Storm Warning from Midnight tonight to 6 PM Wednesday for 6-9” of snow.
  • Milwaukee, WI: Winter Weather Advisory from 3 AM Wednesday to 3 PM Wednesday for 1-3” of snow and up to a tenth of an inch of ice.
  • Chicago, IL: Winter Weather Advisory from 3 AM Wednesday to 3 PM Wednesday for 1-2” of snow and up to a tenth of an inch of ice.
  • Indianapolis, IN: Winter Weather Advisory from 10 PM tonight to 10 AM Wednesday for 1-3” of snow and a glaze of ice.
  • Cincinnati, OH: Winter Weather Advisory from 10 PM tonight to 10 AM Wednesday for 1-2” of snow and a glaze of ice.
  • Pittsburgh, PA: Winter Weather Advisory from 1 AM Wednesday to Noon Wednesday for 1-3” of snow and up to two-tenths of an inch of ice.
  • Roanoke, VA: Winter Storm Warning from 6 PM tonight to 8 PM Wednesday for 1-3” of snow and 0.1-0.3” of ice.
  • Washington, D.C.: Winter Storm Warning from 1 AM Wednesday to 7 PM Wednesday for 4-6” of snow and up to a tenth of an inch of ice.
  • Baltimore, MD: Winter Storm Warning from 4 AM Wednesday to 7 PM Wednesday for 4-6” of snow and up to a tenth of an inch of ice.
  • Philadelphia, PA: Winter Storm Watch from Wednesday morning through late Wednesday Night for 3-5” of snow and a glaze of ice.

South Central Snow And Ice. Parts of Oklahoma and Kansas, including Oklahoma City, are expected to see at least an inch of snow today and tonight, with the heaviest totals expected in northern Kansas. Meanwhile, ice totals of mainly up to a tenth of an inch are also expected from northern Texas into Kansas.

North Central Snowfall Potential. A band of at least 6” of snow is expected to fall from parts of northeastern Kansas across Iowa into the U.P. of Michigan from late today through Thursday morning. This would include locations like Omaha, Des Moines, the Twin Cities, and Marquette. In some areas, snowfall totals are expected to approach 9” over this time period.

North Central Ice Potential. This system will also bring some ice south of where the heaviest snow is expected to fall from Kansas and Oklahoma to Michigan and Ohio. In these areas, ice totals of up to a tenth of an inch are generally expected, with some isolated heavier pockets possible.

Northeast Snowfall Potential. Snowfall totals will be heaviest west of D.C. where some areas could pick up over a half a foot of snow. In Washington D.C., snowfall totals of 3-6” are possible before precipitation changes over to all rain Wednesday Night. In Philadelphia, snowfall totals of 2-5” are expected.

Northeast Ice Potential. Ice totals of a tenth to a quarter inch will be possible from western North Carolina into at least central Pennsylvania over the next few days with this system, including in areas like Washington D.C. This ice could impact travel across the region through the middle of the week.

Midweek Heavy Rain Event. This same system will bring a heavy rain event to portions of the Southeast and Mid-South starting today and lasting through Wednesday. During this timeframe, rainfall amounts of 2-4” continue to look likely with the potential of locally higher (5”+) totals.

Flooding Potential. Due to that heavy rain potential across the region for the middle of the week, the Weather Prediction Center continues to have a Moderate Risk of excessive rain that could lead to flash flooding both Tuesday and Wednesday. On Tuesday, the threat exists from the ArkLaTex to Southern Kentucky, where rainfall amounts of 3-4” on average are expected through tonight. Rainfall amounts Wednesday are expected to be mainly less than 2”, but due to the overlap of heavy rain today and tomorrow across northern Alabama a Moderate Risk has been issued as less rain would be needed to cause flash flooding.

Flood Watches. Due to the potential of heavy rain leading to flooding, numerous Flood Watches and Flash Flood Watches have been issued for the middle of the week from Arkansas and Louisiana to West Virginia and southwestern Pennsylvania.

More Rounds Of Rain Through Next Weekend. Additional rounds of heavy rain will be possible through the end of the week into the weekend - particularly Friday into Saturday – across this region. This will lead to the potential of at least 7” of rain across portions of the lower Mississippi and Tennesse Valleys. With this additional heavy rain expected, the flood risk will continue into the weekend across the region.

Praedictix meteorologist D.J. Kayser.

Atmospheric Rivers Get an Intensity Scale - Like Hurricanes. WIRED.com has an interesting post; here's a clip: "...Ralph’s team unveiled their AR Cat scale earlier this month, in an article published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. The key feature it uses to assess the severity of such storms is the amount of water vapor flowing horizontally in the air. Called integrated vapor transport, or IVT, this number tells you how much fuel is feeding the system. It’s not an easy number to calculate. To do it well requires taking multiple wind and water vapor measurements across miles of atmosphere. In the same way that terrestrial rivers flow at different rates at different depths, the water vapor molecules in atmospheric rivers travel at different speeds in the air column..."

FV3: The Next Step to NOAA's Global Forecast Modeling. Here's an excerpt of a good explainer on how NOAA is proceeding with a next-gen version of its GFS model: "NOAA is developing its next generation global prediction system, and at its heart is the Finite­ Volume Cubed-Sphere dynamical core (FV3) modernizing the National Weather Service’s approach to weather modelling. A dynamical core takes equations describing movement in the atmosphere, such as moisture traveling through the water cycle, and translates them into computer-solvable language. It’s the engine of a weather forecast model , tracking how the Earth’s atmosphere is changing and what weather might develop as a result, but it doesn’t have all the parts needed to make a forecast. Every model needs three fundamental pieces: a dynamical core, a set of physics equations representing weather processes, and data about the real atmospheric conditions before forecasting..."

Image credit: "A comparison between the current GFS and FV3 modelling annual mean rainfall across South America. The results from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) show what actual values were. FV3 can resolve small-scale features without the dot-like distortion current GFS shows, which represents false storms."

Amazon Deal With Rivian Signals Faith in Electric Trucks. Automotive News has the story: "The last revolution in the pickup market came just a few years ago with the aluminum-body Ford F-150. Amazon is betting that the next one is already under way. The retail and technology conglomerate is leading a $700 million round of investment in electric-vehicle startup Rivian, which plans to launch a lineup of all-electric utility vehicles by 2025, starting with a pickup in late 2020. The investment pulls Amazon a little bit deeper into the auto industry, following close on the heels of a foray into self-driving vehicle technology..."

Implications of New Solar Mandate in California. CNBC has perspective: "Starting next year, every new home built in California will have something extra on top. Recently, California became the first state in the nation to make solar mandatory for new houses. Beginning in 2020, newly constructed homes must have solar panels, which could be costly for homeowners: According to California's Energy Commission (CEC), that mandate will add between $8,000 and $10,000 to the cost of a new home. CEC estimates suggest that the solar addition will increase the average monthly mortgage payment by $40, but new homeowners will save an average of $80 a month on their heating, cooling and lighting bills..."

Photo credit: De Young Properties. "A home within De Young Properties' Envision at Loma Vista community outside Fresno, California."

Farm Belt Bankruptcies Are Soaring. The Wall Street Journal reports: "A wave of bankruptcies is sweeping the U.S. Farm Belt as trade disputes add pain to the low commodity prices that have been grinding down American farmers for years. Throughout much of the Midwest, U.S. farmers are filing for chapter 12 bankruptcy protection at levels not seen for at least a decade, a Wall Street Journal review of federal data shows. Bankruptcies in three regions covering major farm states last year rose to the highest level in at least 10 years. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin, had double the bankruptcies in 2018 compared with 2008. In the Eighth Circuit, which includes states from North Dakota to Arkansas, bankruptcies swelled 96%. The 10th Circuit, which covers Kansas and other states, last year had 59% more bankruptcies than a decade earlier..."

Image credit: "Nebraska farmer Kirk Duensing filed for bankruptcy after several years of low corn and soybean prices meant too many bills he couldn’t pay." Terry A. Ratzlaff for The Wall Street Journal.

Amazon Will Pay a Whopping $0 in Federal Taxes on $11.2 Billion in Profits. Check out the story at Fortune: "Those wondering how many zeros Amazon, which is valued at nearly $800 billion, has to pay in federal taxes might be surprised to learn that its check to the IRS will read exactly $0.00. According to a report published by the Institute on Taxation and Economic (ITEP) policy Wednesday, the e-tail/retail/tech/entertainment/everything giant won’t have to pay a cent in federal taxes for the second year in a row. This tax-free break comes even though Amazon almost doubled its U.S. profits from $5.6 billion to $11.2 billion between 2017 and 2018. To top it off, Amazon actually reported a $129 million 2018 federal income tax rebate—making its tax rate -1%..."

Image credit: The Next Web.

Republicans Need to Save Capitalism. Peggy Noonan weighs in with an Op-Ed at The Wall Street Journal; here's an excerpt: "...Americans have long sort of accepted a kind of deal regarding leadership by various elites and establishments. The agreement was that if the elites more or less play by the rules, protect the integrity of the system, and care about the people, they can have their mansions. But when you begin to perceive that the great and mighty are not necessarily on your side, when they show no particular sense of responsibility to their fellow citizens, all bets are off. The compact is broken: They no longer get to have their mansions. They no longer get to be “the rich.” For most of the 20th century the poor in America didn’t hate the rich for their mansions; they wanted a mansion and thought they could get one if things turned their way. When you think the system’s rigged, your attitude changes..."

Photo credit: "Herbert Hoover shakes President Franklin Roosevelt’s hand in Washington, D.C., March 4, 1933." Photo: Bettmann Archive

Barry Diller Warns Studios: "Those Who Chase Netflix are Fools". Here's a clip from a story at Hollywood Reporter: "Onetime film and television CEO Barry Diller offered an apocalyptic vision of the entertainment business during a podcast interview released Friday, arguing that in the face of Netflix and Amazon, "Hollywood is now irrelevant," yet "those who chase Netflix are fools." The current IAC and Expedia Group chairman discussed how the traditional entertainment business has been caught in the headlights of streamers' new and successful business model during an interview with Kara Swisher on the latest episode of her podcast, Recode Decode. Taking Amazon at an example, Diller said, "Amazon’s business model has nothing to do with anything anybody who’s been in the entertainment business has lived with their whole lives, which is, we have one job. We entertain the folks..."

Photo credit: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP.

10" snow on the ground in the Twin Cities as of Tuesday evening.

22 F. high in the Twin Cities Tuesday.

30 F. average high on February 19.

27 F. high on February 19, 2018.

February 20, 1981: Due to the long spell of warm weather in the 60s, a farmer near Le Center is plowing some alfalfa ground.

WEDNESDAY: Winter Storm Warning. 6-10 inches of snow. Winds: E 5-10. High: 27

WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Flurries taper. Low: 16

THURSDAY: Sunny breaks, less painful commutes. Winds: W 5-10. High: 24

FRIDAY: PM flurries or light snow. Winds E 5-10. Wake-up: 16. High: near 30

SATURDAY: Potential for more wet snow late. Winds: NE 10-20. Wake-up: 24. High: 34

SUNDAY: Snow quickly tapers to flurries. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 24. High: 28

MONDAY: Colder, more flurries possible late. Winds: N 5-10. Wake-up: 6. High: 18

TUESDAY: Light snow or flurries. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 9. High: 18

Climate Stories...

U.S Coastal Businesses Hit By Everyday Impact of Climate Change, Study Shows. Here's an excerpt on a story focused on impacts of coastal "nuisance flooding" at The Guardian: "...One study showed seas rose up to five inches, an inch per year, in places between North Carolina and Florida from 2011 to 2015. Sea level rise threatens 300,000 US coastal homes. Higher elevation properties are becoming worth more in Miami, as people who can afford it move inland, according to research from Harvard. Globally, seas were three inches higher than the 1993 average by 2017, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and they continue to rise one-eighth of an inch each year. An analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists finds that flood-prone areas in Annapolis, where the US Naval Academy is located, could be almost constantly under water by 2070. The roughly 50 floods a year could reach 400 floods a year by 2050. The so-called “nuisance flood” days have increased 925% in 50 years, according to the NOAA..."

Storm-Lashed South Carolina Reassesses Global Warming's Role. Here's a snippet from a post at AP News: "...Scientists say the Earth’s warming climate means more heavy rainfall over short periods of time, and that translates to larger, more ferocious storms on the scale of 2017′s Hurricane Harvey in Texas or 2018′s Hurricane Florence in the Carolinas. Florence dumped six months’ worth of rain on the Carolinas in the course of just a few days. The growing realization that such events are going to become more common as the result of global warming is forcing Webster and other state officials to revisit how they prepare for and respond to natural disasters. Late last year, Republican Gov. Henry McMaster created the South Carolina Floodwater Commission to figure out how to better combat flooding unleashed by hurricanes, rising ocean levels and other rain systems upstream that send rivers and creeks over their banks on the way to the Atlantic Ocean..."

Hurricane Florence file image: Jonathan Drake, Reuters.

Climate Change a Threat to World Order, Munich Security Conference Hears. Deutsche Welle has the story; here's an excerpt: "...The social effects of climate change are already noticeable enough to be affecting how people react to politicians. "We're experiencing the leading edge, right now, of massive dislocations in the Earth's natural systems," said Sheldon Whitehouse. "That results in the dislocation of the human species. That causes suffering, and when people suffer, they want explanations, they want accountability and justice." "And when people look back at this time, they will say, 'Free market capitalism, and free elected democracies, conspicuously failed to prevent the harm that is now hurting me and my family,'" he added. It's not as if ordinary people aren't already feeling this anxiety. A new study released by the Pew Research Center found that climate change was the biggest fear in almost all of the 26 countries surveyed..."

Australia is Planting a Billion Trees to Fight Climate Change. Futurism has the details: "The Australian government is gearing up to plant a billion new trees, as part of a vast campaign aimed to meet the climate targets set by the Paris Agreement. The government estimates that the project, which will run until 2050, will eventually remove 18 million tons of greenhouse gases per years — an intriguing example of a less technical response to climate change. The news dovetails neatly with new research, by researchers at ETH Zurich, that found that a widespread campaign of tree-planting worldwide could make a substantial dent in the world’s net greenhouse gas emissions..."

Dems Call For Climate Emergency: Climate Nexus has headlines and links: "In a rebuke to President Trump's emergency order for a border wall, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) plans to introduce a resolution declaring climate change a national emergency, the congressman said Friday.  "What our country should be doing right now is focusing on addressing a real national emergency and one of the most pressing issues of our time: the climate crisis," Blumenauer wrote in a Dear Colleague letter to lawmakers, calling Trump's move "profoundly disturbing." Newly-elected Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) also called for an emergency declaration for climate change on Twitter." (Huffington Post, Grist, Willamette Week, The HillWashington Examiner. Commentary: USA Today, Paul Bledsoe op-ed, Forbes, Marshall Shepherd op-ed)

Time to Panic. David Wallace-Wells argues that the planet is warming in catastrophic ways - and our fear may be the only thing to save us, long term. Here's his intro at The New York Times: "The age of climate panic is here. Last summer, a heat wave baked the entire Northern Hemisphere, killing dozens from Quebec to Japan. Some of the most destructive wildfires in California history turned more than a million acres to ash, along the way melting the tires and the sneakers of those trying to escape the flames. Pacific hurricanes forced three million people in China to flee and wiped away almost all of Hawaii’s East Island. We are living today in a world that has warmed by just one degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) since the late 1800s, when records began on a global scale. We are adding planet-warming carbon dioxide to the atmosphere at a rate faster than at any point in human history since the beginning of industrialization..."

Image credit: Jules Julien.

Climate Change is Fraying our Nerves. Here's a snippet from a story at Mother Jones: "...Forty percent of Americans reported hearing about climate change in the media at least once a month in 2015, and about half said they were worried about the topic that year, making it “a powerful environmental stressor,” according to a 2016 federal report. And that’s not the only way global warming causes psychological problems: A recent report from the American Psychological Association and Washington-based nonprofit ecoAmerica details some of the effects of natural disasters on mental health, including social disruption, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and suicide. Research suggests that heat waves affect our neural regulation, weakening our ability to regulate our emotions, and that people are more aggressive and less empathetic during warm periods. As Stanford University researcher Sanjay Basu put it to me, “We kind of lose our cool..."

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Paul Douglas: Winter Storm Warning, more snow this weekend

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Paul Douglas: 31.5" in February is 10th-snowiest month on record at MSP