Blizzard Conditions Sunday

"Whiteout conditions will develop Saturday night and Sunday as winds increase to 40 or even 50 mph leading to widespread blowing snow. Please stay off the roads. If you must travel, bring a charged cell phone, warm clothes, and tell someone where you are going and when you arrive."

 
Strong Winter Storm - Sunday

Here's the latest information from the National Weather Service regarding Sunday's Winter Storm:

...DANGEROUS WINTER STORM EXPECTED THROUGH SUNDAY...

"A strong system is expected through Sunday when accumulating snow plus blowing snow will impact travel, including blizzard conditions for much of southern and western Minnesota. "

"A Blizzard Warning is in effect through Sunday afternoon for most locations in Minnesota and Wisconsin south of I-94. This includes southern portions of the Twin Cities metro, away from more suburban areas. Within the Blizzard Warning, snow accumulations will range from 1 to 3 inches in the west near the South Dakota border to 6 to 8 inches along Interstate 35 and east. The snow is expected from late Saturday afternoon through the early morning hours Sunday, followed by strong winds of 25 to 35 mph with gusts to near 50 mph for most of the day Sunday. This could lead to whiteout conditions, making travel very difficult or impossible in the open areas of western, central, and southern Minnesota, and far western Wisconsin. "

"A Winter Storm Warning is in effect through Sunday afternoon for St Croix, Barron, Rusk, Chippewa, and Eau Claire counties. Within the Winter Storm Warning, snow accumulations of 6 to 9 inches can be expected with localized higher amounts possible. The snow is expected Saturday evening through Sunday morning, followed by strong winds of 20 to 30 mph with gusts to 40 mph for most of the day Sunday. This may produce areas of blowing and drifting snow, making travel difficult for portions of far southeastern Minnesota into west central Wisconsin. "

 
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Weather Outlook Sunday

Here's a look at our latest winter storm, which will wrap up across the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes Region through early Monday morning. Keep in mind that the heaviest snow will fall south and east of the Twin Cities metro, but that heaviest snow band will be responsible for a narrow band of 6" to 12"+ totals across northeastern Iowa, southeastern MN and into central Wisconsin. Snow amounts will drop off dramatically on the northwestern side of the storm, so within a 2 to 3 county wide span, snowfall amounts could range from just a couple/few inches to as much as 12"+ !! The other component to this storm is going to be the winds! Note in the weather loop below how tightly packed the blacks lines are. Those lines are called isobars and the closer those are together, the stronger the wind blows. This is an extremely intense storm, so winds will be very strong surrounding the center of this storm.

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Snowfall Potential

Here's the snowfall potential through Sunday, which shows a very narrow band of heavy snow across southeastern MN and into central Wisconsin. There will likely be 6" to 12"+ amounts within this band with snowfall amounts dropping off dramatically on the northwest side. The Twin Cities metro will be right on this sharp gradient, so amounts could range from 1" on the northwest side of the metro to as much as 6"+ on the southeast side of the metro!

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Wind Gusts Sunday

Take a look at wind gusts across the region as we head into Sunday. This will be a very intense storm that will likely produce frequent wind gusts in the 30 to 45mph (or higher) range, which will then lead to widespread blowing and drifting snow. Keep in mind that will as much snow as we have around the region, widespread whiteout conditions can't be ruled out, especially outside of the Twin Cities metro!

Wind Outlook For Minneapolis on Sunday

Here's a look at the hour by hour wind forecast for Minneapolis on Sunday. The "pink" colors indicate sustained winds, which look to be in the 20-30mph range much of the day with frequent wind gusts (blue colors) in the 30-45mph range! Keep in mind that with as much snow as we have on the ground now, there will be A LOT of blowing and drifting snow, which will create poor visibility and driving conditions for much of the day Sunday, especially outside of the core of the Twin Cities metro and in more rural across across the southern half of Minnesota and into Wisconsin.

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Sunday Weather Outlook

Here's a look at our Sunday weather and temperature outlook across the state. Note that high temps will range from the single digits across the northwestern part of the stateh to the 10s and 20s across the eastern part of the state. Note that these readings will be nearly -10F to -20F below average.

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Temperature Outlook

Here is the temperature outlook as we head through the rest of the month and into the first full week of March. Note that after a 'milder' Saturday, temps will take a BIG hit early next week. Highs on Monday will only warm into the single digits with overnight lows dropping into the sub-zero range once again! Keep in mind that our average high in the Twin Cities is now at the freezing mark (+32F), so we are going to be well below average. We may get back to near +20F again next weekend, but there appears to be another cold blast as we head into the first full week of March. Stay tuned!

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Winter Severity Index

Wondering if this has been a bad winter or not? Well, let's consult the MNDNR State Climatology Office who has a running tally on how "severe" the winter has been thus far. Here's how it is measured:

"The Twin Cities Snow and Cold Index (SCI) is an attempt to weigh the relative severity of winter when compared with winters of the past. The SCI assigns single points for daily counts of maximum temperatures 10 degrees F or colder, and daily minimums of 0 degrees F or colder. If the minimum temperature drops to -20 degrees or colder greater, eight points are attributed to that day. Snowfall totals of one inch or greater in a day receive one point. Four-inch snowfalls generate four points for the day, an eight-inch snowfall receives a whopping 16 points. To quantify the duration of winter, one point is tallied for every day with a snow depth of 12 inches or greater."

Based on this information (thru February 12th), the Twin Cities has accumulated 103 points, which is considered to be a "moderate" winter. Keep in mind that these numbers haven't been updated since our record breaking February snow earlier this week, so the number will certainly be higher when the updated information comes out. By comparison:

"The SCI for the winter of 2013-14 in Twin Cities was 207 points, or in the high end of the "severe winter" category.  This was the 9th most severe winter on record based on SCI points. The lowest SCI score was the winter of 2011-2012 with 16 points. The most severe winter is 1916-1917 with 305 SCI points."

See more from the MNDNR State Climate Office HERE:

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Snowiest February on Record - AND Counting!

The total snowfall at the MSP Airport (thru Friday, February 22nd) was 31.7", which smashed the previous snowiest February on record by more than 5" !! With additional snow on Saturday and Sunday, this number will be even higher when the official numbers come in. If that's not enough, it appears that there's another snow chance by Tuesday of next week!
 
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10th Snowiest Month in MSP History!!
 
It turns out that MSP has now had their 10th snowiest month ever on record! Again, we could move up in the rankings after the official numbers come in from the weekend storm system. At this point, the top spot of 46.9" set in November 1991 looks out of reach, but could we crack 40" by the end of the day Thursday?? At the rate this February is going, it would surprise me. Stay tuned...
 
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Current Snow Depth
 
Here's the snow depth across the region from Friday, February 23rd, which suggested that there was still more than a foot of snow on the ground across much of the Twin Cities, while in Duluth and the shores of Lake Superior are enjoying more than 2ft. of snow on the ground! By the way, with 15" of snow depth at the Twin Cities airport earlier this, which was 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, including the Twin Cities, which is nearly 10" above average. 
 
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Great Lakes Ice Coverage

According to NOAA's GLERL, Lake Superior is nearly 80% covered in ice, which is greater than it was at this time last year and also in 2017. The last few weeks have really helped with significant ice growth over the Great Lakes region. Interestingly, the entire great lakes (as of February 22nd) was sitting at nearly 60% ice coverage, which is just slightly above 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 Saturday, which showed cooler than average temps across much of the Western half of the country, while folks in the eastern half of the country were still enjoying warmer than average conditions.

 

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Temperature Outlook
 
Here's the temp anomaly outlook from across the nation as we head into the last few days of February. Note that cooler than average temps look to linger across the northern tier of the nation with bouts of warming taking place across the Southern US.
 
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Temperature Outlook
 
Oh the humanity... According to NOAA's CPC, the temperature outlook from March 2nd - 8th suggests colder han average temperatures continuing across much of the country once again. However, folks in the southwestern part of the country could see 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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"Phenology Report: February 12, 2019"

If you're interested in nature and how it relates to climate, you might like this. John Latimer is a Phenologist in central/northern Minnesota and has a weekly phenology report on KAXE. Here's what he has been observing.

"Phenology is the biological nature of events as they relate to climate.  Every Tuesday morning, our resident Phenologist John Latimer gathers his phenological data and reports his findings in the weekly Phenology Report.  In this week's report, return of gold finches,deep snow and an increase in sunlight resulting in changes in the colors of many trees including the speckled alder!"

Listen to his report on KAXE HERE:

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Ice Safety Reminder

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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Blizzard Conditions Across Southern & Western MN
By Todd Nelson, filling in for Douglas

UNCLE! OK, Mother Nature. I give up, you win! I said I'd be happy with a new February snowfall record and you delivered on that. This, on the other hand, is entirely too much!

Folks in Southeastern MN are waking up to another 6 to 10 inches (or more) of plowable snow this morning thanks to a powerful winter storm that will continue to intensify over the Great Lakes Region today. This impressive storm has a very large and intense wind field that stretches hundreds of miles from its core. Unfortunately for travelers, this is not good news.

Much of the state has a foot or more of fresh snow on the ground, some of which, will become airborne as wind gusts reach 40mph or higher through the day. Blizzard warnings are in effect until this evening for much of southern and western Minnesota, where travel is not advised!

Thankfully, winds won't be as strong tomorrow, but we'll have to face another Arctic slap with temps only warning into the single digits. Hey look, more snow Tuesday. Ugh!

DOUBLE UNCLE! MONKEY'S UNCLE. PLEASE, JUST STOP!
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Extended Forecast

SUNDAY: Blizzard condition southern & western MN. Winds: WNW 25-45. High: 19 & falling.

SUNDAY NIGHT: Windy and cold with blowing snow. Winds: WNW 15-30. Low: -8. Wind Chill: -25F

MONDAY: Another Arctic slap. Less wind. Winds: NW 5-10. High: 5.

TUESDAY: Another snow chance, minor coating. Winds: ESE 5-10. Wake-up: -6. High: 13.

WEDNESDAY: AM flurries. More PM sun. Winds: WNW 7-12. Wake-up: 2. High: 14.

THURSDAY: Brighter skies. Snow develops at night. Winds: SW 5-10. Wake-up: -2. High: 19.

FRIDAY: Meterological Spring begins! More snow. Winds: SW 5-10. Wake-up: 7. High: 22.

SATURDAY: Cold winds again. Winds: NW 15-25. Wake-up: 5. High: 15.
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This Day in Weather History
February 24th

1835: The temperature at Ft. Snelling falls 26 degrees in only three hours.
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Average High/Low for Minneapolis
February 24th

Average High: 32F (Record: 59F set in 1880)
Average Low: 16F (Record: -20F set in 1967)

Record Rainfall: 1.90" set in 1930
Record Snowfall: 4.8" set in 2007
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Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
February 24th

Sunrise: 6:59am
Sunset: 5:53pm

Hours of Daylight: ~10 hours & 54 minutes

Daylight GAINED since yesterday: ~ 3 minutes & 2 seconds
Daylight GAINED since winter solstice (December 21st): ~2 hour and 8 minutes
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Moon Phase for February 18th at Midnight
1.2 Days Before Last 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: 

"Tonight, at mid-northern latitudes, look for the brilliant star Arcturus to climb over your eastern horizon around 9 to 10 p.m. local time. That’s the approximate time on your clock, regardless of your longitude. South of the equator, this northerly star rises considerably later in the evening. Click here to know when Arcturus rises into your sky. Extend the natural arc of the Big Dipper handle to verify that you’ve found Arcturus. The Big Dipper can actually be seen from as far south as the tropical and subtropical regions of the Southern Hemisphere. However, the Big Dipper doesn’t reach its high point for the night in late February until an hour or two after the midnight hour."

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National High Temps Sunday
 
High temps across the country on Sunday will be colder than average across much of the nation with the exception of the East Coast, where temps will warm into the 60s, 70s, and 80s, especially in Florida.
 
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Weather Outlook
 
Here's the weather oulook across the naiton as we head through the rest of the weekend and into early next week. The storm system responsible for severe storms and blizzard conditions will continue to wrap up over the Great Lakes and the Northeast on Sunday causing major travel concerns due to high winds and blowing snow. Meanwhile, another surge of Pacific moisture will move into the Northwest with heavier coastal rains and heavy mountain snow.
 

7 Day Precipitation Potential

According to NOAA's WPC, the 7 day precipitation forecast shows heavy precipitation across the Tenessee Valley, which will cause more areas of flooding. There will also be areas of heavy precipitation that will develop in the Western US as another Pacific storm moves in.


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"Warming Climate Implies More Flies—and Disease"
 

"A recent analysis predicts that 40 percent of the world’s insect species could go extinct within the next few decades. The highest death tolls could be among butterflies, moths, bees and dung beetles. Conspicuously absent from that list are houseflies. Because they may actually do better in a hotter world. "Under a warming scenario you'd have a larger fly population which is able to hang around for a longer period of time." Amy Greer, an epidemiologist and mathematical modeler at the University of Guelph in Ontario. Plus, she says, flies are also more active when it's warm. Meaning more chances to land on your picnic dips."

See more from Scientific American HERE:

 


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"Earth may be 140 years away from reaching carbon levels not seen in 56 million years"

"Total human carbon dioxide emissions could match those of Earth's last major greenhouse warming event in fewer than five generations, new research finds. A new study finds humans are pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere at a rate nine to 10 times higher than the greenhouse gas was emitted during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), a global warming event that occurred roughly 56 million years ago."

See more from Science Daily HERE:


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

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