Piles of February Snow...

It certainly has been an active February thus far with piles of snow at the end of every driveway and parking lot in town. We had another burst of snow midday Friday and there's still more that could fall on Sunday.  

 
4th Snowiest February on Record (So Far...)
 
Prior to Friday's midday snow burst, the official February snowfall at the MSP Airport was 21.9", which is good enough for the 4th snowiest February on record! Note that the top spot is 26.5" (set in 1962), so if we pick up around 5" of additional snow this month, we'll have a new record!
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More Snow Sunday
 
Another weak system will push through southern Minnesota on Sunday, which could bring light shoveling duties to the area. 
 

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Snowfall Potential
 
Here's the GFS (American model) snowfall potential through early AM Monday, which shows snowfall tallies of 2" to 4" possible across the southern half of the state. 
 

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Current Snow Depth
 
Here's the snow depth across the region from Wednesday, February 13th, which suggested that there was still more than 1 foot of snow on the ground across much of the region. Note that in Duluth and around the shores of Lake Superior, there is more than 2ft. of snow on the ground! By the way, 14" of snow depth at the Twin Cities airport is officially the greatest amount of snow on the ground since March of 2014, nearly 5 years ago. I had several questions regarding the April Blizzard of 2018 and how much snow we had on the ground then. Well, the greatest MSP SNOW DEPTH (snow on the ground) during that event was 11". 
 
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Snowfall Season To Date (Since July 1st, 2018)
 
Here's how much snow we've had this season across the region and thanks to a very active February (so far), we've now gotten back to above average snow levels in most locations. 
 
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Friday Weather Outlook
 
Friday will be cold day across the state high temps only warming into the single digits and teens, which will be nearly -15F to -20F. The good news is that the winds won't be as strong as they were on Thursday. However, wind chill values will be quite cold during the first half of the day.
 
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Temperature Outlook
 
Here's the temperature outlook through the end of February, which suggests temperatures hovering in the 10s and 20s, which will be below average. Keep in mind that the average high at the end of February is around 34F, so with temps as cool as they could be, it appears that we will still be running below average in the temp department.
 

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Great Lakes Ice Coverage

According to NOAA's GLERL, Lake Superior is nearly 64% covered in ice, which is greater than it was at this time last year and also in 2017. The last couple of weeks have really helped with significant ice growth over the Great Lakes region. Interestingly, the entire great lakes (as of February 8th) was sitting at nearly 52% ice coverage, which is just slightly below the long-term average of 55%.

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"The science behind the polar vortex"
 
"The polar vortex is a large area of low pressure and cold air surrounding the Earth's North and South poles. The term vortex refers to the counter-clockwise flow of air that helps keep the colder air close to the poles (left globe). Often during winter in the Northern Hemisphere, the polar vortex will become less stable and expand, sending cold Arctic air southward over the United States with the jet stream (right globe). The polar vortex is nothing new  – in fact, it's thought that the term first appeared in an 1853 issue of E. Littell's Living Age. "
 
 
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Temperature Anomalies

Here's a look at the temperature anomaly aross North America on Thursday, which showed warmer than average temps across most of the nation, especially in the central part of the country, where temps were nearly +20F to +25F above average. However, there was a blob of colder than average weather perched across central and western Canada, moved into the High Plains on Thursday. 

 

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Temperature Outlook
 
Colder than average temps will move back into the western half of the country as we head through the next several days. Meanwhile, temps will continue to be above average across the southeastern part of the country. 
 
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Temperature Outlook
 
According to NOAA's CPC, the temperature outlook from February 21st - 27th suggests colder than average temperatures continuing across much of the central and western half of the country. Meanwhile, folks in the southeastern part of the country will continue warmer than average temps. 
 

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Spring Leaf Anomaly
 
Here's an interesting map for folks that may be sick of winter. It's the NPN Spring Leaf Anomaly map, which shows that spring has indeed sprung across the southern tier of the nation. The red colors indicate that spring leaves are actually emerging earlier than average in those areas.
 
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Ice Safety Reminder

Recent mild December weather has made for fairly unsafe ice condtions across parts of the state. 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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Below Average Temps. Sunday Snow Chance
By Todd Nelson, filling in for Douglas

Not sure about you, but Thursday's midday snow burst kinda caught me off guard. It was another gut punch from Old Man Winter and I'm hoping the right hook isn't coming anytime soon.

There's no question that we've been on the ropes this month with more than 22 inches of snow falling at the MSP Airport through Valentine's Day. Unfortunately, my SweeTARTS are still buried, but at least the chocolate covered doggy landmines are finally covered up!

If you're wondering, 26.5 inches is the snowiest February on record for the Twin Cities, which was set in 1962. At this rate, we stand a pretty good chance getting close to that record as we still have nearly 2 weeks left of the month.

It'll be a lip-numbing start to our Friday with wind chills in the -20s and -30s across the state. Winds taper this weekend with another snow chance developing on Sunday. A minor coating of snow could fall across southern Minnesota, which would pad our impressive February snow stats.

Just think, the MN Twins Home Opener is less than 6 weeks away!
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Extended Forecast

FRIDAY: Brigh, cold sunshine. Winds: NW 5-10. High: 10.

FRIDAY NIGHT: Cold and quiet. Winds: NW 5. Low: -1.

SATURDAY: Clouds increase. Flurries overnight? Winds: E 5-10. High: 20.

SUNDAY: Snow likely across southern MN. Winds: NNE 10-15. Wake-up: 13. High: 22.

MONDAY: A few peeks of sun. Winds: WNW 5-10. Wake-up: 8. High: 17.

TUESDAY: Still below average. Winds: WSW 5. Wake-up: 2. High: 15.

WEDNESDAY: Slight chance of snow. Winds: SE 5. Wake-up: 5. High: 22.

THURSDAY: A touch warmer. Nothing rough. Winds: W 7-12. Wake-up: 16. High: 25.
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This Day in Weather History
February 15th

1921: An early blast of spring weather invades Minnesota. Thunderstorms were reported across the southern portion of the state. Winona had a high of 67.
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Average High/Low for Minneapolis
February 15th

Average High: 29F (Record: 63F set in 1921)
Average Low: 13F (Record: -25F set in 1875)

Record Rainfall: 0.87" set in 1967
Record Snowfall: 8.5" set in 1967
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Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
February 15th

Sunrise: 7:14am
Sunset: 5:41pm

Hours of Daylight: ~10 hours & 27 minutes

Daylight GAINED since yesterday: ~ 2 minutes & 55 seconds
Daylight GAINED since winter solstice (December 21st): ~1 hour and 41 minutes
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Moon Phase for February 15th at Midnight
3.4 Days Until Full "Snow" Moon

"Feb. 19: Full Snow Moon 9:54 a.m. CST. Usually the heaviest snows fall in this month. Hunting becomes very difficult, and hence to some tribes this was known as the Full Hunger Moon.The moon will also arrive at perigee, the closest point to Earth in its orbit, less than 7 hours earlier at 4 a.m. EST at a distance of 221,681 miles (356,761 kilometers) from Earth. So this is the largest full moon of 2019. (A full moon that takes place during perigee is sometimes known as a supermoon.) Very high ocean tides can be expected during the next two or three days, thanks to the coincidence of perigee with the full 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: 

"At present, the waxing gibbous moon is bright enough to erase many stars from the blackboard of night. But you’ll likely still see the two bright Gemini “twins” – the stars Castor and Pollux – in the moon’s glare. Another bright star is nearby; it’s Procyon, brightest star in the constellation Canis Minor the Lesser Dog, also known as the Little Dog Star. The dark side of a waxing moon always points in the direction of its travel around Earth – eastward – in front of the backdrop stars. As Earth spins under the sky, the stars, planets and moon all appear to shift westward throughout the night. Meanwhile, the moon’s orbital motion is carrying it eastward through the constellations of the zodiac … and through Geminion these two nights. Look for the moon and constellation Gemini to reach their high point for the night somewhere around 9 to 10 p.m. local time (that’s the time on your clock, no matter where you live around the globe)."

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National High Temps Friday
 
High temps across the country on Friday will still be quite warm across the southern and eastern part of the nation. However, note the colder temps moving into the Upper Midwest, where temps will be running nearly -15F to -20F below average. The Western part of the country will also be running below average, but -5F to -10F below average.
 
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Weather Outlook
 
Here's the weather oulook across the naiton as we head into the early part of the weekend. Note that weather conditions in the Western US will still remain quite active with areas of heavy rain along the coast and heavy snow in the Moutains. Meanwhile, areas of precipitation from that West Coast storm will move into the central part of the country with wintry precipitation, which will likely cause travel concerns. 
 

7 Day Precipitation Potential

According to NOAA's WPC, the 7 day precipitation potential shows heavy precipitation continuing across the Western half of the country and especially in the Sierra Nevada Range where feet of snow will pile up! Meanwhile, another surge of heavier moisture will be found across parts of the Tennessee Valley and Gulf Coast States with several inches of rain possible, which could lead to more flooding.

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"5 Signs of Frostnip (Which Actually Happens Before Frostbite)"
 
"You might have experienced signs of frostnip without even knowing that this phenomenon existed. Frostnip happens when the top layer of your skin becomes slightly injured due to ridiculously cold weather. Luckily, it’s not a serious condition. Here’s what you need to know, including signs of frostnip and what to do if you think you have it. Frostnip is a mild form of frostbite. “Frostnip is early, reversible cold weather damage to the skin,” Joshua Zeichner, M.D., a New York City–based board-certified dermatologist and director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center, tells SELF. When your body is exposed to extremely cold weather, your blood vessels constrict, diverting blood away from your skin to maintain your core body temperature, Dr. Zeichner explains. The surface of your skin gets colder, which is what puts you at risk of developing frostnip."
 
 
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"Why cold winter weather cancels roughly 60,000 flights a year in the US"
 
"Each year, about 60,000 flights get canceled because of bad winter weather, which costs airlines and airports an estimated $3 billion. But it's not the freezing cold temperatures that cause problems for planes. After all, commercial jets fly 10 kilometers up, where temperatures hover around -50 degrees Celsius. In fact, planes excel in cold weather, since cold air is denser and leads to better thrust. So clearly, the real problem isn't what's going on up there. It's what happens on the ground. When a nasty polar vortex struck the Midwestern US in January 2019, temperatures dropped to -40 degrees Celsius and airline canceled 3,000 flights nationwide. In these situations, when temperatures start dropping, everything slows down. Cargo doors can freeze up, along with the nozzles that pump fuel into planes, which delays the refueling process. Even the plane itself can freeze over. Just a quarter-inch-thick layer of ice on a plane can disrupt the way air flows over its wings."
 
 
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"Highly Unusual Upward Trends in Rapidly Intensifying Atlantic Hurricanes Blamed on Global Warming"
 

"Atlantic hurricanes showed “highly unusual” upward trends in rapid intensification during the period 1982 – 2009 that can only be explained by including human-caused climate change as a contributing cause, according to research published last week in Nature Communications. The study, led by NOAA/GFDL hurricane scientist Kieran Bhatia, was titled, Recent increases in tropical cyclone intensification rates. The paper used two different data sets to study historical tropical cyclone intensification rates: a relatively coarse-resolution satellite data set (HURSAT), and a higher-resolution “best track” data set (IBTrACS) that included all available data, including satellite and hurricane hunter data. Both data sets found that for the Atlantic, there was a significant increase in the proportion of 24-hour intensification rates greater than 30 knots (35 mph) between 1982 and 2009. The greatest change was seen for the strongest 5% of storms, whose intensification rates increased by 3 – 4 knots per decade. For tropical cyclones across the entire globe, the two data sets disagreed. The “best track” data set showed a significant increase in 24-hour intensification rates, while the satellite-only data set did not. The authors theorized that the satellite-only data set was faulty, likely because of well-documented problems judging tropical cyclone intensities during formation of the eye. Due to this discrepancy in the two data sets, the authors were unable to make conclusions on how tropical cyclone intensification rates might be changing globally."

See more from Wunderground HERE:

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