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!

Snowiest February and 4th Snowiest Month on Record - AND Counting!
 
According to the National Weather Service (thru 6PM February 26th) 37.2" of snow has fallen at the MSP Airport, which not only crushes the previous snowiest February on record of 26.5" set in 1962, but it is now the 4th snowiest MONTH in recorded history at MSP! What is impressive is that we were able to achieve this in the first 26 days of the month! I don't think we'll be able to crack the top spot, but could we make it to 40" ??
 
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Record February Snowfall
 
Here's how much snow has fallen across the region so far this month. Note the "R" appended to a few of the numbers below. This means that those locations have had their snowiest February on record!
 
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"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."

See more from the NWS Twin Cities HERE:


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Snow Depth

Take a look at the snow depth report from Sunday of last weekend. Note that most locations have more than a foot of snow on the ground. There are even a few locations across central and northeastern Minnesota that have more than 2ft of snow on the ground.
 
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More Snow End of Week
 
We're not quite done with the snow chances just yet this week. In fact, there's another light snow chance that looks to scoot across the southern half of the state with more light accumulations. However, Friday is also the first day of March, so our snow February will have ended by then.
 
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Snowfall Potential
 
Here's the ECMWF snowfall potential from Tuesday to Saturday, which shows a fairly broad swath of 2" to 4" tallies across the southern half of the state. Keep in mind that the totals below will be from two different systems, the one on Tuesday and the one on Friday.
 

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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.

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Temperature Outlook

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.

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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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Great Lakes Ice Coverage

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%.

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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 Tuesday, which showed cooler than average temps across much of the Upper Midwest and Western Canada.

 

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Temperature Outlook
 
Here's the temp anomaly outlook from across the nation as we head into the last couple of days of February and into early March. Note the next blob of colder air that looks to move into the Lower 48 as we approach the weekend. 
 
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Temperature Outlook
 
Oh the humanity... According to NOAA's CPC, the temperature outlook from March 5th - 11th suggests colder than average temperatures continuing across much of the country once again.
 
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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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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!
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Extended Forecast

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.
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This Day in Weather History
February 27th

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.
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Average High/Low for Minneapolis
February 27th

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
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Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
February 27th

Sunrise: 6:54am
Sunset: 5:57pm

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
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Moon Phase for February 27th at Midnight
1.8 Days After 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: 

"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."

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National High Temps Wednesday
 
High temps across the country on Wednesday will be colder than average across the northern tier of the nation with high temps running nearly -20F to -30F below average.
 
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Weather Outlook
 
Here's the weather oulook across the nation as we head through midweek. Areas of active weather will continue moving through the Western US with areas of heavy rains and mountain snow. There will also be areas of heavy rain along the Gulf Coast, where strong to severe storms may also be possible.
 

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.


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"Newest winter storm could bring 8 feet of snow above Tahoe, 'atmospheric river' to Bay Area"
 
"Another big winter storm started blowing into the Sierra Nevada on Monday, with up to 8 feet of new snow possible in the upper elevations around Lake Tahoe over the next three days and dangerous winds in the valleys around Reno. The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for the area through Thursday morning. he forecast calls for winds gusting as high as 60 mph with gusts in excess of 140 mph  over ridgetops. "Periods of white-out conditions are likely," the service said. "Very strong winds could cause extensive tree damage." And in the Bay Area, another atmospheric river was expected to pummel down on Monday afternoon and last through Wednesday. The weather service said that part of California will see "excessive rainfall," with an increased chance of flooding, especially in the North Bay. here was much concern in Marin County's Sausalito, where last week there was a mudslide that caused a home to slide down the hill. Crews were out at work early Monday, cutting down trees, fixing power lines and preparing for heavy rain. Two to 4 feet  of snow is expected over the three days, with 4 to 8 feet possible above elevations of 7,000 feet,  including where U.S. Interstate 80 crosses the top of the Sierra at Donner Pass southwest of Truckee, California."

See more from KTVU HERE:

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"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."

See more from AccuWeather HERE:

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"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."

See more from ScienceAlert HERE:

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"Jeff Bezos: New Shepard Will Launch First People Into Space “This Year”
 
"Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos wants to send its first passengers to space as soon as this year. Bezos spoke during a private event at the Yale Club in New York City, Business Insider reports. “This year. This is the first time I’ve ever been saying, “this year.” For a few years, I’ve been saying, “next year,” Bezos told Jeff Foust, senior staff writer at Space News, during the event. The billionaire’s private space tourism company Blue Origins has been making some big strides towards that goal in recent years. Its flagship suborbital vehicle New Shepard reached the so-called Kármán line (62 miles or 100 km), widely agreed to be the edge of outer space, for the first time during a test flight in 2015. That’s a fair bit higher than Virgin Galactic’s recent efforts to reach space with its SpaceShipTwo space plane, which reached a new maximum altitude of 55.85 miles (89.9 km) yesterday."
 
 

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“Firefall” in Yosemite National Park shows the wonder of God’s creation"
 
"The special phenomenon only occurs under perfect weather conditions. Most of us will never get to see El Capitan’s waterfall in Yosemite National Park turn into a glorious “firefall” in person. But we have the next best thing: a video of the exquisite sight that happens annually between mid- and late February under perfect meteorological conditions. The event occurs at sunset when the light catches the tumbling water and turns it into a fiery cascade. Cloud coverage as well as water volume also affects the beautiful display, but when it does happen it’s more proof of just how incredible God’s creation truly is! If you’re in the California region you’ll have until the end of February to try and catch a peek of the firefall."
 
 

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"Sunscreens May Soon Become More Effective "
 
"Sunscreens will get new labeling soon, and some will be off the market, according to a proposed rule that the FDA announced today. The changes will also mean that it’s easier to find sunscreens that protect against UVA rays (the ones that cause damage but not sunburn). Some ingredients’ safety is in question Many of a sunscreen’s ingredients are similar to non-SPF products like lotions. What makes it a sunscreen are specific ingredients that either reflect or absorb ultraviolet rays. Currently, 16 ingredients are approved for this purpose and currently on the market. The FDA announced today that: Only two ingredients (zinc oxide and titanium dioxide) are “generally recognized as safe and effective.” These are physical sunscreens that reflect UV light away from your skin.  Two ingredients, PABA and trolamine salicylate, should not be considered generally recognized as safe and effective, and will not be allowed in sunscreens going forward. For the other 12 ingredients, the FDA didn’t feel they had enough evidence to make a decision one way or another. They are asking manufacturers to do more testing and submit their data."
 
 

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

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