February 2019 Has Been a Doozy
Yes, we've all had enough. Even the hardiest of Minnesotans are starting to complain. We surrender! I don't have anymore room to put all this February snow - good grief!
"February 2019 is Setting Records for Snowfall - Updated February 25th"
"This month has been so snowy that it is setting records for daily and monthly totals. On February 12th, Eau Claire, Wisconsin set a record for their snowiest February on record, and they continue to demolish this record total with each additional storm. The Twin Cities and St. Cloud also broke their February snowfall record as of February 20th, and continue to add to the record total. In addition, Eau Claire has had the all-time snowiest month on record this February with 48.3" as of February 25th. This shattered the previous monthly snowfall record from January of 1929 when 35.3" fell. Eau Claire has also broken the record for the most snow during meteorological winter (December through February). As of February 25th, Eau Claire has received 67.6" of snow. The previous record was 61.6" during the winter months of 1996-1997."
Weather Outlook Wednesday
High temps on Wednesday will only warm into the single digits and teens across the state, which will be nearly -15F to -25F below the average for late February. Keep in mind that our average high in the Twin Cities now is +33F.
Here is the temperature outlook as we head through the rest of the month and into the first 13 days of March. Temps on Wednesday will still be quite a bit colder than average as our high in the Twin Cities approaches +15F. We do warm up a touch as we head through the rest of the week, but keep in mind that our average high is +33F, so we will still be well below average. It appears that we take another hit in the temp department late weekend and early next week with high temps back in the single digits and lows in the sub-zero range.
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."
According to NOAA's GLERL, Lake Superior is nearly 75% covered in ice, which is greater than it was at this time last year and also in 2017. The last several weeks have really helped with significant ice growth over the Great Lakes region. Interestingly, the entire great lakes (as of February 25th) was sitting at nearly 56% ice coverage, which is just slightly above the long-term average of 55%.
Here's a look at the temperature anomaly aross North America on Tuesday, which showed cooler than average temps across much of the Upper Midwest and Western Canada.
"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!"
Ice Safety Reminder
Can We Talk About Anything But The Weather?
By Paul Douglas
This is getting out of hand. Russian trolls mock me on Twitter. Polite conversation stops when I walk into a room. Dear friends don't return my calls. Even my dog looks up at me with contempt. You do realize I'm just the messenger, right?
February is the cruelest month, and 2019 is Exhibit A. Nearly 3 month's worth of snow has fallen this month. Winter snowfall at MSP just passed 54 inches, which is average for an entire winter. And who knows what slushy abominations March may bring? NOAA predicts colder weather into mid-March, which seems right.
Consider this: we've picked up 2 hours, 16 minutes of daylight since December 21 - 3 extra minutes of daylight daily. A higher sun angle will soon thaw us out, melt snow; turning landscapes green and lush. Probably in a meteorological blink of an eye.
Skies clear today with a quiet Thursday on tap. Another plowable snow is possible PM hours on Friday (shocking) but a push of colder air keeps weekend storms confined to our south. I see a few 30s the second week of March. This too shall pass. Really!
WEDNESDAY:Icy start, some clearing. Winds: NW 8-13 High: 12.
WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy and cold. Winds: SSW 5. Low: -2.
THURSDAY: Sunny spells, fairly quiet. Winds: SW 7-12. High: 18.
FRIDAY: Few more inches PM hours. Winds: E 8-13. Wake-up: 9. High: 23.
SATURDAY: Mostly cloudy with a colder wind. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 12. High: 16.
SUNDAY: Plenty of sun, feels like -20F. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: -4. High: 3.
MONDAY: Still waiting for March. Blustery. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: -9 High: 6.
TUESDAY: Cold sunlight. Hey, it's not snowing! Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: -13. High: 15.
This Day in Weather History
1981: Thunderstorms move across Minnesota, dumping 1.61 inches of rain at Montevideo. Many places were glazed over with ice.
1948: A severe ice storm occurs over central Minnesota. At the St. Cloud Weather Office 1/2 inch of clear ice was measured. 65 telephone poles were down in St. Cloud.
Average High/Low for Minneapolis
Average High: 33F (Record: 57F set in 2016)
Average Low: 18F (Record: -22F set in 1879)
Record Rainfall: 1.01" set in 1981
Record Snowfall: 5.5" set in 1983
Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
Hours of Daylight: ~11 hours & 3 minutes
Daylight GAINED since yesterday: ~ 3 minutes & 4 seconds
Daylight GAINED since winter solstice (December 21st): ~2 hour and 17 minutes
Moon Phase for February 27th at Midnight
1.8 Days After Last Quarter Moon
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:
"Are you a morning person? If so, and you’re blessed with clear skies, the next several mornings are for you. Just look east, the direction of sunrise. You’ll find the moon sliding by three bright morning planets. From top to bottom, this planetary lineup showcases Jupiter, Saturn and Venus. Wake up no later than one hour before sunrise to see the spectacle. Think photo opportunity! On the morning of February 27, 2019, the waning crescent moon closely couples up with the brilliant planet Jupiter as viewed from North America. Elsewhere around the world, the moon is not as close. From the world’s Eastern Hemisphere – Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand – the moon shines to the west of Jupiter on February 27. For all of us, Jupiter and our companion moon will appear very bright and close enough to make waking up early more than worthwhile."
7 Day Precipitation Potential
According to NOAA's WPC, the 7 day precipitation forecast shows heavy precipitation across the Western US once again, especially across the northern half of California. There will also be several inches of rain across the Gulf Coast States into the Mid-Atlantic, where additional flooding can't be ruled out.
"The untold story of June Bacon-Bercey, the 1st American woman to become a TV meteorologist"
"On Nov. 9, 1965, a massive power outage struck the Northeast in the heart of the evening rush hour, leaving more than 30 million people without electricity for up to 13 hours. June Bacon-Bercey was commuting home from her meteorology job at the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, where she studied the fallout patterns caused by nuclear detonation. She also was a single mom with two girls under 10 who were safe at home with a nanny in Flushing, New York, roughly 12 miles away from her Rockefeller Center office. Her No. 7 subway train was now powerless; Bacon-Bercey was not. She walked home, checking on her girls in the wee hours to make sure they were safe. Then she showered, changed and walked right back to the office, hoping to get there by 8 a.m. She arrived at 7 and worked a full day. “When her boss showed up, he was stunned to see her,” Bacon-Bercey’s daughter Dail St. Claire told AccuWeather in a telephone interview. “But that’s who she is; she was a working mom and the weather doesn’t shut down. She had important responsibilities and she was going to get them done."
"Carbon Emissions Are Now 10x Higher Than When The Arctic Had Crocodiles And Palm Trees"
"By the time our great-grandchildren have children of their own, we humans will likely have broken a climate record that has stood unchallenged for 56 million years. New research has found that humans are pumping nearly 10 times more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than what was emitted during Earth's last major warming event, called the Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM). If carbon emissions continue to rise in the future, mathematical models predict that within the next few hundred years, we could be facing another PETM-like event. In other words, in the near future, Earth could resemble its distant past: a time when the Arctic was free of ice, inhabited by crocodiles and dotted by palm trees. "You and I won't be here in 2159, but that's only about four generations away, "warns palaeoclimate researcher Philip Gingerich from the University of Michigan."