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Paul Douglas on Weather

Fake Spring into Wednesday - Potentially Significant Snowstorm Thursday Night into Friday

Flooding Rains in February? Welcome to Fake Spring

A rough, back-of-the-napkin calculation suggests we've been cheated out of near 2 feet of snow this winter. Two of our biggest storms, yesterday and Christmas Day, fell as a soaking rain. Had it been consistently cold enough for snow most of this (alleged) winter, like it was a generation ago, we'd have 50 inches, instead of 27. And there might still be snow on the ground.

Is that too much to ask for in February?

Hey, I'm enjoying the freakishly premature outbreak of spring like everyone else. It's a symptom of Minnesota's warming winters. The 60-degree wow factor comes with a downside: stress and dislocation for Minnesotans who make a living from cold and snow. Have you bumped into any happy snowmobilers or cross country skiers lately? More ticks and mosquitoes surviving through the winter. Stress on fruit trees, and a longer pollen season. 60s in February is a mixed blessing.

Snowy redemption on Friday? Don't bet on it. A few slushy inches may fall, but the heaviest snow band sets up south/east of the Twin Cities, where plowable amounts are likely.

Old Man Winter is very much on life-support, but don't retire the coat (or snow shovel) just yet.

Record Territory Today and Wednesday. Today's all-time record in the Twin Cities is 59F in 1930. We'll come very close. The local National Weather Service office has more details.

A Temperature Adjustment On The Way. ECMWF guidance suggests highs close to 60F again today and Wednesday (assuming a few hours of midday and afternoon sunshine), then colder Thursday into Saturday as the next storm pulls Canadian air back into Minnesota. Although not as dramatic as our recent taste of April daytime thaws are likely next week. Graphic: WeatherBell.

84-Hour Future Radar. Here is NOAA's 12 KM NAM model, showing moisture slowly diminishing for the west coast by late Wednesday and Thursday, an interesting-looking storm pinwheeling across the Gulf off Mexico into Florida (tropical depression potential?) and a late week storm pushing show, ice and rain into the Midwest. Animation:

Another Near-Miss? It's still way too early to fixate on how many inches of slush may pile up later in the week, but the 00z NAM keeps the heaviest snow band south of the Twin Cities; the best chance of a few inches of snow from Denver to Sioux City and Waterloo to Rochester, La Crosse and Tomah.

GFS Prints Out Big Snows. The GFS has been over-inflating snowfall amounts all winter, so please take the (forecast) above with a cautious grain of salt. Blizzard conditions can't be ruled out Friday, especially south and east of the Twin Cities, but there's still a chance of a (very) plowable snowfall for the Twin Cities.

Going - Going - Gone. In the immediate much of the frost is already out of the ground, well ahead of schedule, according to the University of Minnesota.

Cold Start to March Northern USA. There will be payback for this stretch of remarkable, April-like warmth across much of the nation. But cold waves in March just don't pack the punch of January; a higher sun angle and less snow upwind limits how cold it can get. That said, don't pack away the coats and parkas just yet.

California Braces For More Rain. How Bad Can It Get? Here's an excerpt from a story at The New York Times: "...This latest storm is what’s called an “atmospheric river” — a weather event more commonly known as the “pineapple express.” It is moist tropical air from the central Pacific trapped in a band between different pressure systems, Mr. Kurth said. When it hits California, it unleashes a high amount of rain. “It’s like a fire hose of moisture when we get these atmospheric rivers,” he said. An atmospheric river is not especially unusual. “We usually get a couple every year,” he said. “On average we get maybe three to five or so. This year we’ve gotten quite a few more.” How many more? “More than a dozen prior to this one,” he said..."

Photo credit: "Flood water crossed over Interstate 5 in Williams, Calif., about 60 miles north of Sacramento on Saturday." Credit Randy Pench/The Sacramento Bee, via Associated Press.

"Flood Emergency" - Historic Flooding for California? Meteorologist Eric Holthaus is (very) concerned about the scenario unfolding across central and northern California. Personally, I see more extensive flooding, but probably not the level of dislocation that Eric is referencing. I hope I'm right. Here's an excerpt of a recent post: "...Here's what is causing so much concern: If the atmospheric river stalls, there could be up to a foot of rain in a span of about 36 hours over places that are already flooding—that's a rainfall intensity that isn't expected more than once a century, or even more rare. At risk is the vast network of levees and dams and diversions that literally make modern California what it is, and protect hundreds of thousands of people. If this system is compromised, the scale of disaster would be among the worst in U.S. history. A dire 2011 New York Times magazine piece outlines the scenario. It's not pretty...."

AerisWeather Briefing: Issued Monday, February 20th, 2017

* Another atmospheric river system is impacting parts of California this morning, bringing heavy rain with it to areas like San Francisco and Sacramento.

* Rainfall amounts of 1-5” will be possible across northern California through Tuesday, with most of that falling today. This heavy rain will lead to widespread flash flooding across the region.

* Damaging winds will also be possible, especially as we head toward the evening hours. Wind gusts of 40-60+ mph will be possible.

Morning Radar. Rain is already impacting areas like San Francisco and Sacramento this morning, with totals over three-quarters of an inch since midnight reported in San Francisco, Napa and Santa Rosa.

Heavy Rain Continues Today. Rain will continue throughout the day across California, with the heaviest falling across northern portions of the state. Rainfall rates of 0.50”-1.00” per hour will be possible in some of the heaviest rain. Showers will start to taper off during the day Tuesday.

Rain Through Tuesday. This high impact event impacting California will bring the potential of 1-5”+ across northern portions of the state through Tuesday. The heaviest of the rain will fall during today into this evening with rainfall rates of 0.50”-1.00” per hour possible. With wet soils and moderate to heavy rain expected, life-threatening flooding will likely be an issue over the next 24-36 hours. Map: Aeris AMP.

Flash Flood Watches In Effect. Due to the heavy rain, life-threatening flooding will be possible as we head through the next 24-36 hours. Flash Flood Watches have been issued for this threat. The San Francisco office of the National Weather Service said in a statement this morning that, "If you have experienced flooding at any time this winter season, either near your home or on your daily commute, the potential exists for additional flooding in these areas during the next 12 to 18 hours.” In mountainous areas, we will see high snow levels, therefore heavy rain will be falling on top of snowpack, enhancing melting and runoff into rivers and streams.

Excessive Rainfall Monday. With the heavy rain expected today across northern California, the Weather Prediction Center has outlined an area around San Francisco and Sacramento under a “moderate” threat of excessive rainfall.

River Flooding Expected. This heavy rain and melting snow will put a strain on local rivers and streams over the next several days, with numerous rivers expected to reach flood stage.

Damaging Winds Expected. Not only are we watching the potential of heavy rain today, but also strong, damaging winds. Wind gusts are expected to be in the 40-60 mph range later this afternoon across the Bay Area and up toward Sacramento.

Wind Concerns. High Wind Warnings and Wind Advisories have been issued across California for the potential of at least 40+ mph wind gusts today. These strong winds could lead to numerous downed trees and power outages across the region.

Summary: Heavy rain is once again impacting parts of California into early Tuesday, with potential rainfall amounts of 1-5” in northern California expected. This includes both San Francisco and Sacramento. This heavy rain – potentially falling at 1” per hour throughout the day – will lead to widespread flash flooding across the region, and high rivers over the next several days. Wind gusts will also be on the increase, with gusts of 40-60+ mph likely later today, causing power outages and downed trees. The good news is that drier conditions will start to move in during the second half of the week, with only some periods of light rain expected.

D.J. Kayser, Meteorologist, AerisWeather

Atmospheric Rivers Bring High Winds Too. Some surprising new research highlighted at NPR: "...Waliser studied two decades of storms around the globe at mid-latitudes — that is, outside the tropics. When he focused on the very windiest — the top 2 percent — he found that "atmospheric rivers are typically associated with 30 and even up to 50 percent of those very extreme cases." Atmospheric rivers were also responsible for almost that percentage of the very wettest storms, too. But the windiness was surprising. Waliser found that winds during an atmospheric river are typically twice the speed of the average storm. He says emergency responders need to know that. "Not only do [atmospheric rivers] come with this potential for flooding hazards," he says, "they also come with potential for high impact winds and extremes that can produce hazardous conditions..."

Animation credit: NOAA/ESRL/PSD.

EF-1 Rated Tornado Sweeps Across San Antonio Sunday Night. Here's an excerpt from Texas Public Radio: "The National Weather Service has confirmed a, EF-1 rated tornado did hit north central San Antonio Sunday night in the area of Highway 281 and the Quarry. At least 150 homes and structures were damaged across San Antonio and Bexar County. The tornado traveled for about 4.5 miles and winds reached speeds of up to 105 miles per hour. National Weather Service meteorologist Bob Fogerty says survey crews were able to determine it was a tornado by the direction of the damage and debris..."

Photo credit: "Power lines are bent and toppled by a storm near Urh Lane and Higgins Road on the Northeast Side late Sunday night bringing with it heavy rain and one confirmed tornado." CPS Energy

The Other "Big One". California's Pending Megaflood. Science fiction? Let's hope so, but waterlogged residents of California could endure something far worse. Here's an excerpt from Curbed San Francisco: "...The results are similar to a hurricane, except they can last for weeks. USGS tapped 117 “scientists, engineers, public-policy experts, [and] insurance experts” to suss out what it would look like:

The Central Valley experiences flooding 300 miles long and 20 or more miles wide.

Serious flooding also occurs in Orange County, Los Angeles County, San Diego, and the San Francisco Bay Area. Wind speeds reach 125 miles per hour. [...] Hundreds of landslides damage roads, highways, and homes. Property damage exceeds $300 billion, most from flooding.

[...] Agricultural losses and other costs to repair lifelines, dewater (drain) flooded islands, and repair damage from landslides, brings the total direct property loss to nearly $400 billion. Flooding evacuation could involve 1.5 million residents.

In all, 25 percent of the state could end up submerged. And the total cost could surge as high as $725 billion—more than three times the estimate of a mega-earthquake. $1.17 billion of that would be in San Francisco alone..."
Map credit: "A plausible flooding scenario in an ARK-level storm." USGS

Coastal Cities Could Flood 3 Times a Week by 2045. Here's an excerpt from Climate Central: "...Washington and Annapolis, Md. could see more than 120 high tide floods every year by 2045, or one flood every three days, according to the study, published last week in the journal PLOS ONE. That’s up from once-a-month flooding in mid-Atlantic regions now, which blocks roads and damages homes. “The flooding would generally cluster around the new and full moons,” said Erika Spanger-Siegfried, a Union of Concerned Scientists analysts who helped produce the new study. “Many tide cycles in a row would bring flooding, this would peter out, and would then be followed by a string of tides without flooding.” The analysis echoed findings from previous studies, though it stood out in part because of its focus on impacts that are expected within a generation — instead of, say, by the end of the century..."

Countries With The Best and Worst Air Quality in the World. Business Tech had an interesting post that caught my eye; here's an excerpt: "...Neighbouring oil-rich countries, including Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), dominate the top 10 most toxic countries in the world, and have some of the lowest renewable energy production despite having an ideal climate – low rainfall and prolonged daylight hours – for solar energy. The research also shows that countries in the Middle East have some of the highest number of deaths attributable to air pollution: Turkmenistan witnesses 108 deaths per 100,000 every year. Surprisingly, the Nordic countries are the biggest energy guzzlers, despite their progressive attitude towards sustainability and renewable energy. Iceland has the highest energy consumption in the world, with Norway, Finland and Sweden all ranking in the top 10..."

Los Angeles: The World's Most Traffic-Clogged City? So says a new report highlighted at ABC News: "Low fuel prices and economic stability are straining the country's roadways, leading to congestion that cost U.S. drivers nearly $300 billion in wasted gas and time last year, according to a new report released today. Los Angeles had the worst traffic in the world among 1,064 cities studied by traffic analytics firm INRIX. L.A. also topped the Kirkland, Washington, firm’s list the year before. On average, Los Angeles motorists spent about 104 hours stuck in traffic during the peak commuting hours of 2016, contributing to a loss of $2,408 per driver, or about $9.7 billion collectively, in wasted fuel and productivity, according to the firm’s Global Traffic Scorecard report..." (Image credit: INRIX Global)

Wind Briefly Sets Record as Source for Electricity in the U.S. A sign of things to come? Climate Central reports: "Wind briefly powered more than 50 percent of electric demand on Feb. 12, the 14-state Southwest Power Pool (SPP) said, for the first time on any North American power grid.  SPP coordinates the flow of electricity on the high voltage power lines from Montana and North Dakota to New Mexico, Texas and Louisiana..."

A Warning from Bill Gates, Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking. It may not be an actual robot, but automation and AI will replace not only blue-collar manufacturing jobs but many white-collar jobs as well. It's already happening and America needs a plan to keep people gainfully employed. Here's an excerpt from Medium: "...There’s a rising chorus of concern about how quickly robots are taking away human jobs. Here’s Elon Musk on Thursday at the the World Government Summit in Dubai:

“What to do about mass unemployment? This is going to be a massive social challenge. There will be fewer and fewer jobs that a robot cannot do better [than a human]. These are not things that I wish will happen. These are simply things that I think probably will happen.” — Elon Musk

What is Killing the American Dream: NAFTA or Automation? CNN Money takes a look at Michigan, where there is an ongoing debate about the virtues of robotics and automation.

Pecan Pie Vending Machine. What a great country we live in. Here are a couple of excerpts from Atlas Obscura: "If you find yourself driving down Highway 71 though Texas, you’re probably going to want to keep an eye out for signs directing you toward the giant squirrel statue holding a pecan. Because next to this peculiar roadside statue is something that should absolutely not be missed: a vending machine stocked with full-sized homemade pecan pies...The pecan pie machine—thought to be the only one of its kind in the United States (thank you Texas)—is located out front at the Berdoll Pecan Candy & Gift Company shop..."

Photo credit: Berdoll Pecan Farm.

.61" rain fell at Twin Cities International Airport on Monday.

54 F. high temperature yesterday.

31 F. average high on February 20.

43 F. maximum temperature on February 20, 2016.

February 21, 1965: Strong winds occur, reaching speeds of up to 45 mph in the Twin Cities.

TODAY: Peeks of mild sun. Winds: SW 10-15. High: near 60 (record is 59 in 1930)

TUESDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy. Low: 43

WEDNESDAY: Last mild day, showers up north. Winds: W 7-12. High: near 60 (record is 57 in 1930)

THURSDAY: Mostly cloudy and cooler. Dry. Winds: N/NE 8-13. Wake-up: 31. High: 41

FRIDAY: Couple inches of snow? More south/east. Winds: N 10-15. Wake-up: 30. High: 34

SATURDAY: Partly sunny and brisk. Winds: NW 5-10. Wake-up: 20. High: 33

SUNDAY: Mix of clouds and sun. No drama. Winds: W 7-12. Wake-up: 19. High: near 40

MONDAY: Milder front arrives. Passing shower. Winds: SE 8-13. Wake-up: 24. High: 43

Climate Stories....

The Problems with Winter Warming. I'm enjoying the extended streak of spring fever in February (!) as much as everyone else, but at the risk of being Debby Downer there are some downsides to spring coming extra-early. Here's a post from Climate Central: "The decrease in winter cold effectively makes the winter shorter. While that might sound good at first, it comes with consequences for recreation, farming, and the environment. In colder climates, winter-based recreational activities, like skiing, ice fishing, and snowmobiling will become less prevalent. More disease-carrying insects, like mosquitoes and ticks, will survive through a milder winter. Declining snow pack leads to lower reservoir levels, providing less water for irrigation of crops. Fruit trees, which need to become dormant in the winter to blossom in the spring, may produce smaller yields. Pollen counts will rise, which can trigger respiratory illnesses for allergy sufferers."

Humans Changing Climate 170 Times Faster than Natural Forces. Yale Environment360 has a summary of new research: "Humans are changing the climate 170 times faster than natural forces, according to a new study published in the peer-reviewed journal The Anthropocene Review. The research is the first mathematical equation to compare the impact of human activity on current climate to naturally occurring changes. For 4 billion-plus years, astronomical and geophysical factors, such as solar heat output and volcanic eruptions, were the dominating influences on Earth’s climate, argue study authors Owen Gaffney and Will Steffan, climate scientists at Stockholm University and Australian National University, respectively. But over the past six decades, human activities like the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation “have driven exceptionally rapid rates of change,” the study says..."

On Climate Change (and Everything Else), We're on the Side of Facts. So writes National Geographic: "...Covering our climate—where we keep setting records for the hottest year—is one of the most important things we can do. It’s especially crucial in an era when some people claim that there are no “facts” and basic science is loudly questioned without embarrassment. At National Geographic we are proudly nonpartisan. But there are a few matters on which we do take sides:

• We are on the side of facts.

• We are on the side of science.

• We are on the side of the planet.

We promise that we will continue to report—factually and fairly—on how climate change is altering the Earth..."

Rare February rumbles Monday. More record warmth

Thunder Threat Monday
Here's the thunderstorm outlook from NOAA's SPC, which suggests that general thunderstorms may be possible on Monday as the next storm system rolls through the Upper Midwest.
Here's the discussion from NOAA's SPC: 
"A plume of seasonably rich low-level moisture (dewpoints in the mid 50s) over IA/MO will advect northward into MN during the day. Showers and isolated thunderstorms will likely develop during the morning to midday hours within a warm air advection regime. The antecedent clouds will delay stronger surface heating ahead of the front. Only very weak buoyancy is expected, and forecast soundings show a few hundred J/kg MUCAPE. Although a strong storm cannot be ruled out, organized severe weather is not anticipated."
Widely Scattered Showers and Rumbles of Thunder Monday
Here's the weather outlook from AM Monday to AM Tuesday. Note that widely scattered showers and even a few rumbles of thunder roll through the region on Monday, which could help to produce heavy pockets of rain. It's a fairly fast mover, so dry weather, sunshine and mild temperatures return by Tuesday. Interestingly, the 30 year average for the Twin Cities suggests that February averages less than 1 day of thunderstorms (0.1 days) during the month.
Precipitation Potential Thru Wednesday
Our next storm system will move through the Upper Midwest on Monday and will have the potential of dropping 0.25" to 0.50" liquid from mainly the Mississippi River Valley and places east. Some of the heaviest rains will be aided by thunderstorm activity.


Sunday Sunrise in Duluth

Thanks to my good friend Donna Maxie for this gorgeous sunrise photo from downtown Duluth in Canal Park. Duluth will also continue to see well above average temperatures through Wednesday.

Sunday Sunrise in the Twin Cities

After a beautiful sun pillar sunset on Saturday, the sunrise on Sunday was also pretty spectacular. I had to get to the hockey rink, so I just missed the best color, but it was still pretty stunning!

Visibile Satellite on Sunday

Here's the visible satellite loop from Sunday, which showed increasing clouds through the days. Note the high clouds streaming into the area from the southwest ahead of our next weather maker set to bring widespread showers and rumbles of thunder to the region on Monday. 

Halo in Sunday's Skies

Have you ever heard the phrase "Ring around the moon or sun, then rain or snow will surely come"? There's some validity there. High clouds typically preceed weather events, which are made of ice crystals. These ice crystals reflect sunlight into a ring, which is known as a halo. Interestingly, this halo captured on Sunday afternoon is in advance of showers and storms that are expected on Monday.


Record Highs on Sunday

Here were all the high temperatures that neared or broke records on Sunday! Note how widespread and how far north these record highs were across the eastern two-thirds of the nation.

Officials Warn of Thinning Ice Around Area Lakes

I feel cheated. I love winters in Minnesota and everything that comes along with it. Call me crazy, but I like the snows, I like the extreme cold temps and I love the winter sports. Unfortunately, this winter has been stunted. The coldest 3 months (on average) for the northern hemisphere, which is also known as Meteorological winter has been running well above average in the temperature department. Month by month here it is for the Twin Cities:

December: +1.2F above average
January: +5.3F above average
February (thru the 17th): +7.7F above average

Because of that, official are warning of thin ice on area lakes. There have been several cars that have already gone through lakes, so angler should stay aware of their situation before heading out. 

For more ice safety information from the MN DNR, see HERE:

How Rare are 50F+ in February in the Twin Cities?

Take a look at the red lines below, this tells us how many times the Twin Cities has seen 50F or warmer since the late 1800s. Note that we've only had a maximum of 6 days and has happened only 3 times, in the 1930s and again in 1981. Note that the next 6 days are forecast to be at or greater than 50F!

 Extended Temperature Outlook for Minneapolis

Here's the temperature outlook through February 28th, which shows well above average temperatures continuing through the middle part of next week. Note that Friday's record high temperature of 63F was the first time we've 50F and 60F in the Twin Cities since November 28th (55F) and November 16th (61F). This week will continue to feel very much like April with highs in the 50s to near 60 degrees! Unreal! Note the cool down late week as a potential snow event blows through the region. 

Record Warmth Continues...

Thanks to the National Weather Service for the numbers below, which tell us how high the record highs are from 2/16 to 2/22 in Minneapolis, St. Cloud and in Eau Claire. Note that several of these records have a chance at being beaten in the days to come. If you're a fan of this warmer weather during meteorological winter, enjoy!
Here are some number from the National Weather Service:

What is the record for consecutive days with highs of 50 degrees or warmer in February?

Twin Cities: 6 days (1930 and 1981)

St. Cloud: 5 days (1981)

Eau Claire: 7 days (1930)

How often does the temperature reach 60 degrees or warmer in February?

Twin Cities:

There have only been 4 days on record (back to 1873) when the temperature has reached 60 degrees or warmer in February (64 on 2/26/1896, 63 on 2/15/1921, 60 on 2/16/1981, 61 on 2/29/2000).  
The earliest 60 degree reading on record is February 15th (1921).  

St. Cloud:

There have been no days on record with a temperature of 60 degrees or warmer in February since temperature records began in St. Cloud in 1893.
The earliest 60 degree reading on record is March 3rd (1905). 

Eau Claire: 

There have only been 5 days on record (back to 1893) when the temperature has reached 60 degrees or warmer in February (60 on 2/19/1930, 60 on 2/21/1930, 61 on 2/24/1931, 63 on 2/29/2000, 61 on 2/27/2016).
The earliest 60 degree reading on record is February 19th (1930). ​

What is the record for the number of days in a row with temperatures above freezing in February?  

The normal high temperature is 30 degrees and the normal low temperature is 14 degrees on February 17th in the Twin Cities. 

Location Record for number of consecutive days with temperatures above 32 degrees in February
Minneapolis/St.Paul  6 days (February 15-20, 1998)
St. Cloud  5 days (February 15-19, 1998)
Eau Claire  4 days (February 15-18, 1981)


Widespread Record February Warmth Through Early Next Week

As temperatures warm later this week, record warmth could follow. The images below show where record warmth is forecast (circles) for , Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Note that on Monday, record warmth could stretch as far north as International Falls, MN and could continue in Minneapolis through Wednesday!


Late Week Wintry Mix and Snow Chance?

Talk about weather whiplash, take a look at the storm system that long range weather models are trying to develop later this week. It is still WAY too early to talk about what exactly is going to happen here, but it's interesting that we could go from several days of record warmth in February to snowfall in just a few short days. Stay tuned.


Rare February rumbles Monday. More record warmth
By Todd Nelson, filling in for Douglas.

WOW! What a weekend. I kept pinching myself, thinking maybe I'd wake up from an early spring dream.

We've been dealing with record to near record highs across the region since Friday and it looks like it'll continue right through Wednesday. The last time we had a warm stretch like this in February was back in 1981 and so far, we've had no problem topping those numbers. Impressively, we'll still be able to sneak up close to 60 degrees Monday in the Twin Cities even with widely scattered showers and rare February thunderstorms! Note that the 30 year average suggests that we only see 0.1 thunderstorm days in February.

The sun pops back out again Tuesday with April-like mercury readings settling in by the afternoon. Wednesday is our last very warm day before a fairly potent Pacific storm blows through. Long range models are still hinting at heavy snow accumulations across parts of the Upper Midwest, but the big question is where. Still too early to tell, but stay tuned. Shovels may still be required in this odd winter.

Extended Forecast:

MONDAY: Record warmth again. Breezy with scattered showers & rumbles. Winds: SSW 10-15. High: 60.

MONDAY NIGHT: Showers and rumbles end early. Clearing trend late. Winds: W 5-10. Low: 39.

TUESDAY: Sun returns. Still feels like April. Another record high. Winds: SW 5-15. High: 60.

WEDNESDAY: Breezy. Record warmth. More PM Clouds. Winds: WNW 10-15. Wake-up: 41. High: 57.

THURSDAY: Windy. Snow develops late. Winds: NE 10-20. Wake-up: 35. High: 40.

FRIDAY: Windy. Increasing snow chance. Winds: NNW 15-25. Wake-up: 27. High: 33.

SATURDAY: Feels like February again. Lingering flakes. Winds: NW 5-10. Wake-up: 18. High: 30.

SUNDAY: Partly sunny. Lingering light snow. Winds: E 5-10. Wake-up: 18. High: 21. 

This Day in Weather History
February 20th

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

Average High/Low for Minneapolis
February 20th

Average High: 31F (Record: 57F set in 1981)
Average: Low: 15F (Record: -20F set in 1889)

*Record Snowfall: 11.8" set in 2011

Sunrise Sunset Times For Minneapolis
February 20th

Sunrise: 7:05am
Sunset: 5:49pm

*Daylight Gained Since Yesterday: ~3 minutes
*Daylight Gained Since Winter Solstice (December 21st): ~1 hour & 57 minutes


Moon Phase for February 20th at Midnight
2.5 Days After Last Quarter


Weather Outlook For Monday

High temperatuers on Monday will once again be very warm across the region with 50s and 60s across the state. Impressively, we'll be able to reach these highs even with widely scattered showers and thundershowers across the region. 

Weather Outlook For Monday

Winds will be a bit breezy on Monday as the next storm system moves through the region. South to Southeast winds ahead of the front at 10 to 15mph, while winds behind the front switch to the west and could be a little gustier across the Dakotas.

 Weather Outlook For Monday

Here's the weather outlook around midday Monday, which shows widespread rainf and thunderstorms as our next storm system moves through. Note that some of the rainfall associated with thunderstorms could be heavy at times.


Saturday's Sun Pillar Sunset

It happened fast, but did you see Saturday's sunset? The line stretching up from the sun is called a sun pillar and forms when sunlight reflects off of ice crystals from high-level clouds. 

8 to 14 Day Temperature Outlook

According to NOAA's CPC, the 8 to 14 day temperature outlook suggests warmer than average temperatures continuing across much of the Upper Midwest from February 28th - March 4th. After several days of MUCH warmer than average temperatures, readings look to finally cool down by the end of the month.


Temperature Outlook

Here's the 8 to 14 day temperature outlook, which takes us into early March. Note that much warmer than average temperatures look to continue over the eastern two-thirds of the nation, while the Western U.S. looks to begin seeing cooler than average temps.

National Temp Outlook

Take a look at the temperature anomaly through Saturday, February 25th. Note that the eastern half of the country looks to stay warmer than average through early next week, but colder than average temps begin moving into the western part of the country next week.Eventually this colder weather will move into the central part of the country by the last weekend of the month.

 National Weather Outlook

Here's the national weather outlook through early next week, which continues to shows heavy precipitation continuing in the Western US, while a wave of energy moves into the Central US with widely scattered showers and storms. 

Waves of Pacific Moisture in the Western U.S. Continue

Several rounds of heavy precipitation have blasted the West Coast and we're not quite done yet. Another surge of heavy precipitation will push through the region through the early week time frame with more flooding rains and heavy mountain snow.

Video of Lake Oroville Spillway
This video, captured on Saturday, February 18, shows the immense progress that crews have made to armor the emergency spillway. With outflows down the flood control spillway reduced to 55,000 cfs, we get a glimpse of damage to the spillway after several days of running at 100,000 cfs. Current erosion on the lower part of the spillway has hit bedrock, while the integrity of the upper spillway remains intact. Lower spillway flows have eroded areas of the hillside south of the structure. Decreased volumes of outflow have allowed crews to clear debris that has piled up at the base of the spillway.
Lake Oriville Spillway
Workers look over the river where operators will dig access points to the river to allow heavy equipment access to remove the sediment at the base of the spillway. The California Department of Water Resources continues to repair the erosion below the Oroville Dam Emergency Spillway. More than 125 construction crews are working around the clock, and placing 1,200 tons of material on the spillway per hour using helicopters and heavy construction equipment at the Butte County site. Photo taken February 17, 2017. Brian Baer/ California Department of Water Resources
Radar Estimated Precipitation Past 30 Days

Take a look at how impressive the 30 day precipitation tallies are across the West Coast. Note the purple colors that indicate 12" of liquid! Some spots have quite a bit more than that and there's more precipitation on the way!

Improving California Drought

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, the California drought continues to improve. Note that over the last 3 months, we have seen major improvement in the Exceptional, Extreme and Severe drought. With the additional moisture expected this week, we should continue to see even more improvement!

Flood Concerns Continue
Another round of very heavy rainfall is on its way to parts of central and northern California. Some spots could see another 2" to 4"+ rain through the early week time frame! With the ground already saturated and some still dealing with flooding from recent heavy rains, it wont' take much addional rainfall to create more flood concerns in the area. 

Winter Weather Concerns Continue
Winter Weather Concerns continue across parts of the Western US and note that the Sierra Nevada Range is expecting another round of snow from Sunday to Tuesday. Some spots could see several FEET of snow by the time it winds down by midweek.
Why So Much Moisture?
Heavy precipitation has been falling across the Western U.S. due to rivers of Pacific moisture plowing into the region. Note the deep plumes of Pacific moisture that seems to be directed right toward the West Coast, these are the Atmospheric Rivers that are responsible for the extensive precipitation. Note the next big plume setting up just west of the region, this will be responsible for another heavy surge through the week ahead.
5 Day Precipitation Forecast

According to NOAA's WPC, the 5 day precipitation forecast suggests widespread 6" to 9"+ precipitation amounts across parts of central and northern California through the week ahead. Meanwhile a larger storm system will impacte the Upper Midwest with heavy snowfall later this week. Heavy rain will also impact the southern US


Snowfall Potential

Here's the snowfall potential through the end of next week, which shows heavy mountain snow continuing across parts of the Western U.S.. Also note the snow potential across the Midwest late next week... while it is still WAY to early to tell what's happening with that particular snow chance, it's worth watching. Stay tuned!

"Touchdown! The incredible moment Elon Musk's SpaceX rocket lands back at Cape Canaveral after delivering supplies to the International Space Station"
"New video shows the moment Falcon 9 rocket landed at Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida

The rocket blasted off at 9:38am Sunday and touched down at the space center that day
It returned after making its payload to the astronauts on the International Space Station 
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk captioned the video of the return on Instagram: 'Baby came back' 
The launch pad, which is being leased by SpaceX for six years, was used to send Neil Armstrong to the moon 
SpaceX wanted to send the rocket - packed with supplies for the space station - Saturday but there was a fault
The reusable rocket has only been landed on solid ground by SpaceX three times before
This was the first launch for the company from Florida since September, when another Falcon 9 exploded" 

See more from HERE

(Falcon 9 touched down at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral on Sunday on the launch pad that was was used to send Neil Armstrong to the moon (Flickr/SpaceX))

Bofoslof Volcano Erupts in Alaska Saturday Morning...

Bogoslof volcano erupted this morning with an ash cloud estimated by pilots to about 38,000 feet. The ash cloud was identified quickly with satellite and lightning data by meteorologists at the Alaska Aviation Weather Unit, Center Weather Service Unit and Volcanic Ash Advisory Center along with volcanologists at the Alaska Volcano Observatory. Early detection of eruptions occurring in remote locations like Bogoslof volcano gives advance warning to aviators to steer clear of destructive ash clouds. Follow our partner Alaska Volcano Observatory for more on Bogoslof's ongoing period of unrest in the Aleutians.

See more from the National Weather Service Alaska HERE:

National Snow Coverage
According to NOAA's NOHRSC, 23.1% of the nation was covered by snow on February 18th. Note at this time last year, 32.3% of the nation was covered by snow and 44.7% of the nation was covered by snow 2 years ago.
Latest Seasonal Snowfall Tallies Across the Country
According to NOAA's NOHRSC, here are the latest seasonal snowfall tallies (in map form) across the Lower 48. Note that there are heavy pockets across in Intermountain West and across the Great Lakes Region, but the heaviest is across the Northern New England States. Some spots there have seen nearly 96" of snow or more since September 30, 2016.
"Marine Ecosystems Are Preparing for Climate Change"
Coral reefs, kelp forests and other marine ecosystems may be tougher than we give them credit for, a new study suggests. While countless scientific reports have documented the ravages of climate change on oceanic life, a survey of the researchers who wrote them provides a silver lining: An overwhelming majority noticed examples of sea life withstanding climate change. “There are instances where sensitive ecosystems have shown remarkable resilience after climatic events. You can think of them as 'bright spots': They demonstrate that there are conditions under which ecosystems can persist even with major climate disturbances,” said Jennifer O'Leary, a marine conservation biologist with California Polytechnic State University and leader of the study.
(Credit: David Abercrombie Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0))


"A NASA Astronaut Just Pulled Off an Awesome Prank in Space"

NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson just pulled off a prank that's literally out of this world.  Whitson, a veteran space traveler, is one of six people living and working on the International Space Station right now. And while astronauts are usually pretty busy in space, Whitson found time Monday (Feb. 13) to surprise her Russian crewmates with a gag you could only pull off in space. As you can see here, Whitson packed herself inside a cargo bag and enlisted two partners-in-prank (NASA's Shane Kimbrough and France's Thomas Pesquet) to surprise their Russian crewmates. [Fun in Zero G: Awesome Weightless Photos] "They were quite surprised when I popped out!" Whitson wrote in a Twitter post.

(NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson pops out of a cargo bag during a prank on the International Space Station on Feb. 13, 2017. Credit: Peggy Whitson/Twitter/NASA)


"The Northern Lights is distracting drivers, Icelandic police warn"

"We are all familiar with the risks of driving under the influence of alcohol, but what about driving under the influence of the Aurora Borealis? Well, that’s becoming an increasing problem in Iceland, according to local police, who say foreign motorists are driving dangerously because they are being distracted by the Northern Lights. According to the local news site, Víkurfréttir, police stopped two motorists for driving dangerously last week; in both incidents the officers suspected the drivers were drunk, but soon realised they had a more innocent explanation for their behaviour: they had been distracted by the light show above them."

See more from the HERE:

(Motorists have reportedly been "driving under the influence of the Aurora Borealis"CREDIT: AP/FOTOLIA)


"Scientists have just detected a major change to the Earth’s oceans linked to a warming climate"

"A large research synthesis, published in one of the world’s most influential scientific journals, has detected a decline in the amount of dissolved oxygen in oceans around the world — a long-predicted result of climate change that could have severe consequences for marine organisms if it continues. The paper, published Wednesday in the journal Nature by oceanographer Sunke Schmidtko and two colleagues from the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel, Germany, found a decline of more than 2 percent in ocean oxygen content worldwide between 1960 and 2010. The loss, however, showed up in some ocean basins more than others. The largest overall volume of oxygen was lost in the largest ocean — the Pacific — but as a percentage, the decline was sharpest in the Arctic Ocean, a region facing Earth’s most stark climate change."

See more from the Washington Post HERE:

(Big waves generated by the Nazare canyon just off the coast of Nazare, central Portugal, in the Eastern Atlantic Ocean. (Francisco Leong/Agence France-Presse via Getty Images))


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