Long-Duration Snow Event Coming;
Potential grows for 5-8" amounts close to home
Alert the TSA, call out the National Guard, schedule a sick day for Tuesday - because a wet, sloppy, long-duration "storm" is shaping up for much of Minnesota. You remember snow, right? Yes, we are overdue for a gasp-worthy, white-knuckle commute, school closings ticking away at the bottom of the TV screen and flustered meteorologists comparing favorite weather models.
On our patented scale of nuisance-plowable-crippling this should be a long-duration (plowable) snow event as a storm tracks southeast of MSP, keeping us on the cold side of the system. Snow arrives during the PM hours Monday; tapering to flurries Wednesday morning. By then much of the metro may pick up 3-6 inches of slush; a band of 5-8 inches setting up very close to home.
This, in spite of a mild El Nino pattern which is forecast to linger through the winter. NOAA data shows Twin Cities temperatures since September 1 have been the second warmest ever recorded. The mercury tops 40F by late week so plan a midweek romp in the snow.
It's been a long slog for Minnesota snow-lovers but patience may soon pay off. Let it snow!
A Very Significant Pile of Slush? Confidence levels are slowly increasing that the upcoming storm will produce significant amounts of snow. Temperatures will be close to freezing, meaning a heavy, wet, slushy snowfall, which increases the risk of heart attacks, but I don't envision much blowing and drifting with this system. It may be more like a March snow; high water content, tough to get off driveways and sidewalks, but freeways may remain wet and slushy for much of this long-duration snow event. NOAA's 00z NAM model prints out 1" liquid, which would translate into roughly 10" of slushy accumulation (if it verifies).
Winter Storm Watch. NOAA has already issued a Winter Storm Watch, effective Monday and Tuesday, calling for a potential of 6" or more of snowfall. Details from the Twin Cities National Weather Service:
...WINTER STORM WATCH IN EFFECT FROM MONDAY MORNING THROUGH TUESDAY AFTERNOON... THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN TWIN CITIES/CHANHASSEN HAS ISSUED A WINTER STORM WATCH...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM MONDAY MORNING THROUGH TUESDAY AFTERNOON. * SNOW IS POSSIBLE FROM MONDAY MORNING THROUGH TUESDAY AFTERNOON. * SIGNIFICANT REDUCTIONS IN VISIBILITY ARE POSSIBLE. * TOTAL SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF 7 TO 10 INCHES ARE POSSIBLE. * THE POTENTIAL EXISTS FOR DIFFICULT DRIVING CONDITIONS... INCLUDING DURING THE EVENING COMMUTE ON MONDAY. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS... A WINTER STORM WATCH MEANS THERE IS A POTENTIAL FOR SIGNIFICANT SNOW...SLEET...OR ICE ACCUMULATIONS THAT MAY IMPACT TRAVEL. CONTINUE TO MONITOR THE LATEST FORECASTS.
Very Plowable. The model solutions are all over the map, which is pretty typical with the system still 24 hours away. The latest NAM model from NOAA shows the heaviest amounts over central Minnesota, where over 10-12" may fall. My confidence level is still low with all the model flip-flopping. It's still early to pin down variations in snowfall, but there's little doubt that this will wind up being a (very) plowable snowfall for most of the state.
Looks Like Snow. I'm still not convinced the upcoming snowstorm will be the exception or the rule, but we certainly kick off December on a snowy, slushy note - models hinting at 7+" of snow before te flakes begin to taper late Tuesday. Source: Aeris Enterprise.
Mild Bias Continues. No arctic plunges are brewing, at least looking out 2 weeks or so. In fact GFS guidance has metro highs in the mid 40s two Saturdays from now as a mild, El-Nino enhanced Pacific signal returns.
Mild Bias into mid-December, With a Side of Slush? The GFS 500 mb upper level wind forecast valid Saturday evening, December 12, shows a deep cut-off low over the south central USA, with relatively mild air across most of the USA. Frankly this looks more like mid-October than mid-December. The southerly branch of the jet is becoming more active and Minnesota and Wisconsin may be brushed by some of this (El Nino-enhanced) moisture.
This Map Shows What People Are Most Thankful For in Each State. Minnesotans are most thankful for "fall"; Wisconsin residents most thankful for "thunderstorms". Really? Mother Jones drills down: "Earlier this week, Facebook's data team crunched the numbers on what users say they are most "thankful" for. The top two overall results were predictably "friends" and "family," which is heartwarming but sort of a snooze..."
What's The Best Gift You've Ever Received? Chances are it wasn't a gadget - it was something much more important. 40 leaders in various industries talk about their best gifts ever at Quartz; here's a clip: "Most gifts follow a certain arc: initial excitement, followed by a gradual fading of utility until the gift is worn out, lost, or a memory. But great gifts are the ones that increase in value over time, the ones that break through the noise of an ephemeral age. The gift that stands out for me is the gift of education. It took my father seven years to make it through a state school, and by the time I was able to go to college at Duke, my dad told me he was going to find a way to pay for it, despite already stretching the limits of a generous financial aid package..."
30 F. high in the Twin Cities Saturday.
34 F. average high on November 28.
24 F. high on November 28, 2014.
November 29, 1991: Parts of central Minnesota receive heavy snow including a record 16 inches of snow in New Ulm.
November 29, 1835: A low of 11 below zero is reported at Ft. Snelling.
TODAY: Mostly cloudy, good travel conditions. Winds: SE 3-8. High: 35
SUNDAY NIGHT: Overcast, no weather-drama yet. Low: 25
MONDAY: Winter Storm Watch. Snow develops, tough PM rush hour. Winds: E 5-10. High: 35
TUESDAY: Wet, slushy snow; plowable amounts; over 5" expected, as much as 8-10" in a few areas. Winds: N 10-20. Wake-up: 30. High: 34
WEDNESDAY: Flurries taper, slow clearing with slowly improving travel. Wake-up: 26. High: 37
THURSDAY: Plenty of sun, turning milder. Wake-up: 23. High: 39
FRIDAY: Patchy fog, rapid melting of snow. Winds: S 10-15. Wake-up: 27. High: near 40
SATURDAY: Mild, more clouds and fog. Winds: S 10-15. Wake-up: 29. High: 41
Paris Climate Summit: The Climate Circus Comes to Town. The Guardian has an amazing behind-the-scenes look at the last summit in Copenhagen. Will December's conference in Paris yield more promising results? We want to be hopeful, but the marriage of climate science and political expediency means perpetual uncertainty - getting the nations of the world to agree (on anything) is fraught with peril. Here's an excerpt: "...Since 1992, negotiators have gathered every year to turn that weak promise into concrete action, meeting in cities including Berlin, Kyoto, Buenos Aires, Marrakesh, New Delhi, Milan, back to Buenos Aires, Montreal, Nairobi, Bali, Copenhagen, Doha, and Lima. The annual gatherings have grown from roughly 500 participants at the first official climate negotiations in Berlin in 1995 to sprawling jamborees – gargantuan rotating festivals of anything remotely associated with environmental causes or, increasingly, profit-making “green” enterprises. The talks are conducted in English. Inside dimly lit halls, negotiators have spent two weeks at a stretch gazing at text blown-up into headline size by overhead projectors, doing battle over “shall” or “should”, “commitment” or “contribution”..."
Bill Gates Expected to Create Billion-Dollar Fund for Clean Energy. The New York Times has more details; here's an excerpt: "... Bill Gates will announce the creation of a multibillion-dollar clean energy fund on Monday at the opening of a Paris summit meeting intended to forge a global accord to cut planet-warming emissions, according to people with knowledge of the plans. The fund, which one of the people described as the largest such effort in history, is meant to pay for research and development of new clean-energy technologies. It will include contributions from other billionaires and philanthropies, as well as a commitment by the United States and other participating nations to double their budget for clean energy research and development, according to the people with knowledge of the plans, who asked not to be identified because they were not authorized to discuss the fund..."
A "Climate of Insecurity": Global Warming as a "Threat Multiplier". Is a warming (drying) climate in the Middle East and northern Africa increasing the potential for destabilization? Here's an excerpt of an article at Worldcrunch: "...Drawing a link between security and climate change inspired mockery from some quarters. But this link is a certainty, and a sufficiently unpleasant one that we systematically forget it, only to see it raise its ugly head over and over again. In March 2008, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy forwarded an unambiguous report to member states on this very issue. Seven years after it was written, it clearly served as an eerily accurate warning. The text said that global warming acts as a "threat multiplier" in areas already suffering from social, political, religious or ethnic tensions. "In the future, climate change is likely to affect the social and political stability in the Middle East and North Africa," the report read, pointing to "tensions related to the management of water resources in the Jordan Valley and the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, which are becoming scarce" and the worsening tensions caused by rising temperatures..." (File image credit: NASA).
The New Atomic Age We Need. The world is moving toward a low-carbon future, but not fast enough - and cleaner, smaller, ultimately safer forms of nuclear energy may be the only forms of non-carbon energy that scale fast enough, worldwide. Peter Thiel makes a fairly compelling case at The New York Times; here's a clip: "...The single most important action we can take is thawing a nuclear energy policy that keeps our technology frozen in time. If we are serious about replacing fossil fuels, we are going to need nuclear power, so the choice is stark: We can keep on merely talking about a carbon-free world, or we can go ahead and create one. We already know that today’s energy sources cannot sustain a future we want to live in. This is most obvious in poor countries, where billions dream of living like Americans. The easiest way to satisfy this demand for a better life has been to burn more coal: In the past decade alone, China added more coal-burning capacity than America has ever had. But even though average Indians and Chinese use less than 30 percent as much electricity as Americans, the air they breathe is far worse. They deserve a third option besides dire poverty or dirty skies..."