"Are you dreaming of a white Christmas?"
 
"Minnesota. Maine. Upstate New York. The Allegheny Mountains of Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Practically anywhere in Idaho. And of course, the Rockies or the Sierra Nevada Mountains. These are the parts of the Lower 48* where weather history suggests you want to be if you're looking for the best chance of a white Christmas. The map at right shows the historic probability of there being at least 1 inch of snow on the ground in the Lower 48 states on December 25 based on the latest (1981-2010) U.S. Climate Normals from NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). The background map shows interpolated values for all locations. (Interpolating means estimating unknown values using known values and physical relationships, such as the way temperature is known to change with altitude.) You can also click and zoom in to specific stations used for the interpolation."
 
 
 

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"Historical Chances of a White Christmas"
 
"Will we have a white Christmas? It's an age-old question that occurs to almost everyone this time of year. The chances of having a white Christmas vary even here in Minnesota. Having a white Christmas is loosely defined as having 1 inch of snow on the ground on Christmas Day. The snow depth at most sites is measured once a day, usually in the morning. The best chances of having a white Christmas is almost guaranteed in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and a good part of the Arrowhead. The chances decrease to the south and west and the best chance for a "brown" Christmas is in far southwest Minnesota where chances are a little better than 60%. Northern Minnesota is one of the few non-alpine climates in the US where a white Christmas is almost a sure bet (U.S. White Christmas Probabilities )."

"In 118 years of snow depth measurements in Twin Cities, a white Christmas happens about 72% of the time. From 1899 to 2017 there have been 34 years with either a "zero" or a "trace." The last time the Twin Cities has seen a brown Christmas was 2015. 2014 was also a "brown Christmas." The deepest snow cover on December 25th was in 1983 with a hefty 20 inches. It was also a very cold Christmas in 1983, with the high temperature of one (1) degree F. It was not the coldest Christmas Day in the Twin Cities. That dubious award goes to 1996 with a "high" temperature of 9 below zero F. The warmest Christmas Day in the Twin Cities was 51 degrees in 1922. There was not a white Christmas that year. In fact, the Minneapolis Weather Bureau log book for that day states that the day felt "spring-like."

See more from MN DNR HERE:

 
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Snow Depth

Here's the latest snow depth report across the region and note that the MSP Airport is still reporting 4" of snow on the ground. Marquette, MI takes the cake with more than a foot of snow on the ground thanks to multiple rounds of lake effect snow there.
 
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Weather Outlook For Saturday, December 15th

High temps across the state on Saturday will be VERY warm for mid-December. In fact, temps will warm into the upper 30s and low/mid 40s across the state, which will be nearly 10F to 20F above average. Areas of fog will be likely during the morning hours thanks to an abundance of moisture in the lower part of the atmosphere due to melting snow.
 
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Temperature Outlook
 
Winter will continue its hiatus over the next several days as temps consistently warm into the 30s to near 40F. Our measly snowpack will continue to dwindle as we approach Christmas Day on the 25th. Looking ahead over the next 7 to 10 days, I don't see much in terms of any heavy snow makers or Arctic outbreaks. In the meantime, the wrath of Old Man Winter will remain negligible.
 
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6 to 10 Day Temperature Outlook

According to NOAA's CPC, the extended temperature outlook from December 19th to the 23rd suggests that temperatures will be warmer than average across much of the nation.

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"How To Tell If Your Symptoms Are The Flu Or Just A Cold"

"The flu and the common cold are nasty respiratory illnesses with some similar symptoms. Here’s how to tell the difference. In the winter literally everyone seems to be getting sick. Your coworker won’t stop coughing and your kid keeps coming home from school a snotty mess, and a box of tissues barely lasts you one day. Contrary to popular belief, cold weather does not make you sick — but respiratory viruses (namely, influenza) do tend to peak during the fall and winter. In the US, flu season typically lasts from October to March. However, a nasty case of sniffles and aches during the winter doesn’t always mean you have the flu. Often, it’s just a cold, which you can get any time of the year. The common cold and flu are both contagious respiratory illnesses that can make you feel miserable, but they are caused by different viruses. Some flu symptoms may mimic a cold, but the flu tends to be much more serious and deadly — so it’s important to know the difference between these two illnesses. Obviously, only a doctor can diagnose you, but knowing how to recognize symptoms is always helpful. So how can you tell if your symptoms mean you have a cold or the flu, and what is the best treatment? We spoke to Dr. Tania Elliott, an allergist and immunologist at NYU Langone Health in New York City, to find out."
 
 
 
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Cold and Flu Forecast - Minneapolis
 
According to Pollen.com, the Cold and Flu forecast suggests that we will be running at medium-high levels over the next few days. Wash your hands!!
 
 
 

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"14 Ways to Avoid Colds and Flu"
 
"Are you avoiding your co-worker with that hacking cough, cold, or flu in the cubicle next to you? Do you draw your hand back from every doorknob? Have cold-and-flu phobia? Get a grip before the grippe gets you. Weve consulted dozens of medical experts to bring you 14 ways to avoid colds and flu this season. Every time you shake someones hand, wash yours: But dont stop there. Wash them as much as possible, says Mark Mengel, MD, chair of community and family medicine at Saint Louis University School of Medicine. Running lots of water over your hands will dilute any germs and send them down the drain. Keep your hands off: Touching your nose and your eyes may hurt you, Mengel says. Those are the most common places for germs to get in."
 
 
 
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"Ice conditions around state called tricky by conservation officers"

A sustained period of freezing temperatures jump-started Minnesota’s ice fishing season this year, but the weekend deaths of two fishermen northwest of Little Falls underscored observations from around the state that ice conditions are tricky. “You really still have to be cautious,’’ Tim Sonenstahl of Wayzata Bait & Tackle said. He said Tuesday that Lake Minnetonka’s deepest areas are now frozen, but ice thickness across some of those large surfaces is inconsistent and too thin in some areas to travel by foot. Some areas have only recently hardened after being kept open by flocks of ducks. Covered with snow, they now look no different than ice that is safe to walk on, he said. Sonenstahl said Minnetonka’s ice is 7 to 8 inches thick on small bays like Black Lake and Seton Lake. Carson Bay, larger and popular for fishing, was covered Tuesday by 4 to 7 inches, he said. The good news for anglers is that the ice is getting thicker by the day, he said."

See more from StarTribune HERE:


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Recent Cold Weather Making Ice on Area Lakes and Ponds
 
Ok folks - I know there A LOT of eager anglers excited that the recent cold blast has been making ice on area lakes and ponds, BUT please make sure you aren't putting yourself in danger on newly formed ice! The MN DNR has some basic guidelines on how thick the ice should be before you even think about stepping out onto the ice! Also remember that ice is NEVER 100% SAFE!
 
 
 
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Mostly Quiet Weather Ahead

Quiet weather conditions will continue through the weekend and into early next week. In fact, I don't see much precipitation potential through much of next week either! Commuters will be happy, but snow lovers and meteorologists alike are quite bored... 
 
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GFS (American Model) Snowfall Forecast
 
Here's the latest snowfall forecast through the middle part of next week. Note that much of the state looks to remain high and dry with only a little snow potential across the international border.
 

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A Mild Dry Bias Should Linger Into Christmas
By Paul Douglas
 
 
True confession: meteorologists don't make the weather. We're just crazy enough to try and predict it. Most mere mortals realize we're helpless observers, like everyone else. But a small minority of people (who drive and vote) ardently believe we're pushing buttons and pulling levers behind the curtain (imagine Oz, but with a Doppler) MAKING it rain or snow. "Paul, can't you do something?" No. 
 
On rare occasions, we can give Mother Nature a gentle nudge; seeding clouds with silver iodide to enhancing snowfall rates over western mountains and clearing ice fog from runways. Despite colorful conspiracy theories from Uncle Ned, we can't create weather, or "kill a storm". The amount of energy required to pull off such a feat is staggering.
 
No big storms between now and Christmas, in fact a few puffs of Pacific air push well inland. That should mean 40F this weekend and possibly Tuesday. Flurries are possible Wednesday night; maybe a dusting of flakes early Saturday with a clipper, but nothing remotely resembling a "storm".
 
Excuse my  while I change into my cape and kick the Doppler.
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Extended Forecast

SATURDAY: Partly sunny and mild. Winds: S 7-12. High: 40.

SATURDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy and quiet. Winds: SSE 5-10. Low: 26.

SUNDAY: Blue sky. Winter on hold. Winds: W 8-13. High: 42.

MONDAY: Blue sky. No complaints. Winds: SE 5-10. Wake-up: 21. High: 34. 

TUESDAY: Partly sunny. A pacific breeze. Winds: S 8-13. Wake-up: 24. High: 41.

WEDNESDAY: Clouds increase. Late flurries?  Winds: SW 8-13. Wake-up: 29. High: 38.

THURSDAY: Early flakes. Cooler breeze kicks in. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 28. High: 34.

FRIDAY: Peeks of sun. Still quiet out there. Winds: SE 3-8. Wake-up: 21. High: 33.
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This Day in Weather History
December 15th

1971: A snowstorm hits Duluth with 10 inches.
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Average High/Low for Minneapolis
December 15th

Average High: 27F (Record: 51F set in 2014)
Average Low: 12F (Record: -21F set in 1901)

Record Rainfall: 0.71" set in 1902
Record Snowfall: 7.0" set in 1902
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Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
December 15th

Sunrise: 7:44am
Sunset: 4:32pm

Hours of Daylight: ~8 hours & 48 minutes

Daylight LOST since yesterday: ~32 seconds
Daylight LOST since summer solstice (June 21st): 6 hours and 35 Minutes
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Moon Phase for December 15th at Midnight
0.8 Days Since First Quarter Moon

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What's in the Night Sky?

According to EarthSky.org this is what will be visible in the night sky over the next several nights: 

"Now – mid-December 2018 – it’s time to get outside in the early morning and try to spot our sun’s innermost planet, Mercury. Look east, the sunrise direction. You can’t miss super-bright Venus. Mercury is below it, near the sunrise point. If you look extra hard with the unaided eye or binoculars, you might spot bright Jupiter near the horizon, too, on a line with Venus and Mercury. Mercury shines more brightly than a 1st-magnitude star now; in other words, it’s as bright as the brightest stars in our sky (but not nearly as brilliant as Venus). Bring along binoculars, if you have them, though. With daylight coming up fast, you could easily lose Mercury in the morning twilight."

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Northern Minnesota Phenology Report - December 11th, 2018
 
I've always been interested the outdoors and how the change of seasons impacts the birds, plants and animals. I did a little research and found this great weekly segment by John Latimer (Phenologist), who reports on KAXE Radio out of Grand Rapids, MN. Great stuff John - keep up the good work!!
 
This week: "Phenology Talkbacks and Student Reports: December 11, 2018"
 
 

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National High Temps - Tuesday, December 11th
 
High temps across the country look to be well above average in most locations with the exception of those in the Southern US. It looks like much of the country will stay much above average over the next several days with no Arctic outbreaks in sight anytime soon.
 
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National Weather Outlook

Weather conditions in the Southern and Eastern US will continue to remain active as a fairly potent storm system slides across the region. The good news is that temps won't be quite as cold as it was last weekend, so snow and ice concerns will remain limited. However, areas of heavy rain and a few strong to severe storms will still be possible into Saturday. Meanwhile, another push of Pacific moisture will work into the Northwest with areas of heavy coastal rain and heavy mountain snow. The rest of the country looks to remain quiet. 

7 Day Precipitation Potential

According to NOAA's WPC, the 7 day precipitation potential suggests heavy precipitation continuing in the eastern part of the country with isolated flood concerns possible through the weekend. Meanwhile, several inches of liquid will be possible along the West Coast with isolated flood concerns along the coast and areas of heavy snow likely in the mountains. 

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"Climate change is 'shrinking winter'"

"Snowy mountain winters are being "squeezed" by climate change, according to scientists in California. Researchers who studied the winter snowfall in the mountains there revealed that rising temperatures are reducing the period during which snow is on the ground in the mountains - snow that millions rely on for their fresh water. They presented their findings at the American Geophysical Union meeting - the world's largest gathering of Earth and space scientists. "Our winters are getting sick and we know why," said Prof Amato Evan, from the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego, who carried out the investigation. "It's climate change; it's rising temperatures."

See more from BBC HERE:

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"Will we ever be able to control gravity?"

"The only hope of tailoring gravity to our needs lies with quantum vacuum effects, in which energy and particles and anti-particles appear out of nowhere. These are predicted to have anti-gravitational properties, and may already be propelling the expansion of the Universe in the form of ‘dark energy’. But as yet no-one has any idea how to generate and manipulate such effects to order."

See more Science Focus HERE:

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"Warming in Arctic raises fears of ‘rapid unraveling’ of the region"

"Persistent warming in the Arctic is pushing the region into “uncharted territory” and increasingly affecting the continental United States, scientists said Tuesday. “We’re seeing this continued increase of warmth pervading across the entire Arctic system,” said Emily Osborne, an official with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, who presented the agency’s annual assessment of the state of the region, the “Arctic Report Card.” The Arctic has been warmer over the last five years than at any time since records began in 1900, the report found, and the region is warming at twice the rate as the rest of the planet. Osborne, the lead editor of the report and manager of NOAA’s Arctic Research Program, said the Arctic was undergoing its “most unprecedented transition in human history.”

See more from Seattle Times HERE:

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Thanks for checking in and don't forget to follow me on Twitter @TNelsonWX

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Milder Pacific Breeze Into Next Week - Growing Chance of a Brown Christmas - 90% Probability of Winter El Nino Event

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Record Highs In Northern Minnesota Saturday - Warm Weather Trend Continues