Heaviest Snow Bands Shift East of Town

"And another storm is on the way!" Network reporters covering big weather stories often end their TV reports with such an admonition. This month, here in Minnesota, that lazy trope rings true.

As of Monday 16.3 inches had fallen so far this month - already the 10th snowiest February on record in the Twin Cities.

It's also no secret that meteorologists, as a profession, tend to over-predict snow. Why? Because, other than being on the golf course when a major tornado strikes, there is no greater sin than forecasting flurries, only to wake up to a foot of flurries. So we tend to err on the side of (too much).

Preamble aside, today's snow scenario doesn't look as impressive. The track has shifted east; parts of  Wisconsin may pick up 8 inches or more, but I expect 3-6 inches in the immediate metro area - more south and east of MSP, and temperatures in the 20s could mean mainly wet/slushy freeways later this morning. The impacts aren't nearly as bad when the mercury is within 10F of freezing or so.

No more hunks of polar air, but we'll get slapped around by generic cold fronts over the next 2 weeks. 

NOAA NAM snowfall prediction above courtesy of Praedictix and AerisWeather.

Updated Snowfall Totals. This is as of 8 am or so, courtesy of IEMBot at the University of Iowa.

Slow Moderation in Late February. Within a couple of weeks we'll start to see more 30s popping up on the weather map close to home as the flow becomes a bit more zonal (with deep, embedded full latitude troughs capable of significant storms). When Alaska is bitterly cold Minnesota tends to warm up, with appears to be the case by the end of the month.

Praedictix Briefing: Issued Monday, February 11th, 2019:

  • Another round of snow is on the way for Seattle today into the evening hours as a system impacts the region. Snow totals have been decreased for the Seattle metro as it now appears precipitation will change over to rain tonight, lasting into Tuesday. However, this snow will still impact travel across the region as we go throughout the day.
  • Meanwhile, a developing winter storm will bring snow and ice impacts across the upper Midwest, Great Lakes, and Northeast over the next few days. The heaviest snow will be from northeastern Iowa into northern Michigan, and across parts of northern New England, where snow totals of at least a half a foot are possible. South of the heavy snow band we will also have to watch the icing potential, up to a couple of tenths of an inch in spots.

Seattle To Receive More Snow. While there are a few lingering snow showers in the Seattle area this morning, more snow is expected to impact the region later today as a developing warm front moves north. While the precipitation will start off as snow in Seattle this morning and afternoon, that warm front will push north, changing the precipitation over to rain later tonight. Before this happens, however, 1-4” of snow may fall in the Seattle area.

Winter Weather Advisory In Seattle. Due to the expected lower snow amounts, a Winter Weather Advisory has been issued for Seattle instead of a Winter Storm Warning. In Seattle, this advisory is in effect from 11 AM to 6 PM today. Winter Storm Warnings are in effect north and east of Seattle for the potential of heavier snow amounts.

Seattle Expected Snow. Even though snowfall amounts have decreased in the Seattle metro, up to a couple inches of snow could still fall today in the region. This will still have the potential to impact travel. Heavier totals are expected toward Everett and Bellingham.

Monday Morning Radar In The Upper Midwest And Mid-Atlantic. Some wintry and icy precipitation is falling this morning in both the Kansas City and Washington D.C. areas. Columbia, MD, had reported 0.7” of snow and 0.05” of ice earlier this morning, with snow totals of 1-3” around Pittsburgh.

Timing The Precipitation. As a center of low pressure develops in the central United States and a warm front extends eastward from it, wintry weather will continue to be possible from the upper Midwest into the northern Mid-Atlantic today, working its way into New York City by Tuesday morning. Snow will work its way into New England Tuesday as the system continues to move eastward, with snow lingering in parts of the Northeast into Wednesday.

Winter Storm Concerns From The Upper Midwest To Northeast. Due to the widespread wintry precipitation expected with this system, numerous watches, warnings, and advisories are in place. Some locations under alerts this morning include:

  • Omaha, NE: Winter Weather Advisory until Midnight tonight for 1-3” of snow and up to a tenth of an inch of ice.
  • Des Moines, IA: Winter Weather Advisory from 9 AM to 3 PM today, then a Winter Storm Warning from 3 PM today to 6 PM Tuesday. Patching freezing drizzle and snow possible during the advisory period with up to an inch of snow and a light glaze of ice. Heavier snowfall expected through the Winter Storm Warning period with snow accumulations of 4-6” possible.
  • Minneapolis, MN: Winter Storm Watch from this evening to Tuesday afternoon for 4-6” of snow.
  • Chicago, IL: Winter Weather Advisory from 6 PM tonight to 9 AM Tuesday for 1-3” of snow with up to a quarter inch of ice in Lee, DeKalb, and Kane counties.
  • Milwaukee, WI: Winter Weather Advisory from 9 PM tonight to Midnight Tuesday Night for 3-6” of snow.
  • Green Bay, WI: Winter Storm Warning from Midnight tonight to Midnight Tuesday Night for 7-10” of snow.
  • Detroit, MI: Winter Storm Watch from Midnight tonight to Wednesday morning for 1-3” of snow and up to a quarter inch of ice.
  • Philadelphia, PA: Winter Weather Advisory until Noon Tuesday for 1-3” of snow and a light glaze of ice.
  • Scranton, PA: Winter Storm Watch from late tonight to Wednesday morning for 3-7” of snow and up to two-tenths of an inch of ice.
  • Buffalo, NY: Winter Weather Advisory from 3 AM Tuesday to 10 PM Tuesday for 3-6” of snow and up to a tenth of an inch of ice.
  • New York, NY: Winter Weather Advisory from 6 AM Tuesday to Midnight Tuesday Night for 2-4” of snow and up to a glaze of ice.
  • Boston, MA: Winter Storm Watch from Tuesday afternoon to late Tuesday night for 4-6” of snow and up to two-tenths of an inch of ice.
  • Portland, ME: Winter Storm Watch from Tuesday afternoon to Wednesday afternoon for 7-11” of snow and ice to one-tenth of an inch.

North Central Snow And Ice Potential. In the snowfall department, the heaviest snow (6”+) will fall from northeastern Iowa across Wisconsin into northern Michigan. In some areas, snowfall totals could be in the double-digit range. The heaviest ice is expected from parts of northern Illinois into southern Michigan later tonight into Tuesday, with the potential of up to a quarter inch in spots. This snow and ice will cause travel troubles across the region.

Northeast Snow And Ice Potential. Heavy snowfall totals are expected across parts of New England, where totals up to a foot in spots will be possible. The Boston area could see 4-6” of snow, with totals closer to 3-4” in New York City and 1-3” in Philadelphia. Some icing will also be possible across parts of the Northeast through Wednesday, with up to two-tenths of an inch possible in spots. Snow and ice will also cause travel issues across the Northeast, especially Tuesday into Wednesday.

D.J. Kayser, Meteorologist, Praedictix.

14 Billion-Dollar Weather/Climate Disasters in 2018. Details via Climate Central: "Hurricanes hit the U.S. especially hard, leading 2018’s near-record list of 14 billion-dollar weather and climate disasters. Hurricanes Michael and Florence combined for at least $49 billion in damages — over half of the total from the year’s included events (cost estimates will be updated over time). In addition, the Western wildfire season was the most expensive ever, with total damages of at least $24 billion. Even the sheer number of billion-dollar events is telling — only 2011, 2016, and 2017 have had more. Unless we rapidly reduce our climate-warming emissions, these costly climate disasters will only get worse."

NOAA NCEI has more details here.

Germany to Close All 84 Coal-Fired Power Plants, Will Rely Primarily on Renewable Energy. The L.A. Times reports: "Germany, one of the world’s biggest consumers of coal, will shut down all 84 of its coal-fired power plants over the next 19 years to meet its international commitments in the fight against climate change, a government commission said Saturday. The announcement marked a significant shift for Europe’s largest country — a nation that had long been a leader on cutting CO2 emissions before turning into a laggard in recent years and badly missing its reduction targets. Coal plants account for 40% of Germany’s electricity, itself a reduction from recent years when coal dominated power production..."

Photo credit: "In this Jan.6, 2019, file photo water vapor rises from the cooling towers of the Joenschwalde lignite-fired power plant of Lausitz Energie Bergbau AG in Brandenburg, Germany." (Patrick Pleul / AP).

The Fundamental Problem with Silicon Valley's Favorite Growth Strategy. A story at Quartz caught my eye; here's an excerpt: "...Blitzscaling promises to teach techniques that are “the lightning fast path to building massively valuable companies.” Hoffman and Yeh argue that in today’s world, it’s essential to “achieve massive scale at incredible speed” in order to seize the ground before competitors do. By their definition, blitzscaling (derived from the blitzkrieg or “lightning war” strategy of Nazi general Heinz Guderian) “prioritizes speed over efficiency,” and risks “potentially disastrous defeat in order to maximize speed and surprise.” Many of these businesses depend on network effects, which means that the company that gets to scale first is likely to stay on top..."

Image credit: "Explosive growth can bring disastrous consequences." REUTERS/Pierre Ducharme.

Apple, the iPhone, and the Innovator's Dilemma. Can Apple pull another rabbit out of their hat? That remains to be seen, according to WIRED.com: "...The Innovator’s Dilemma, of course, is about the trap that successful companies fall into time and time again. They’re well managed, they’re responsive to their customers, and they’re market leaders. And yet, despite doing everything right, they fail to see the next wave of innovation coming, they get disrupted, and they ultimately fail. In the case of Apple, the company is trapped by its success, and that success is spelled “iPhone.” Take, for example, Christensen’s description of the principles of good management that inevitably lead to the downfall of successful companies: “that you should always listen to and respond to the needs of your best customers, and that you should focus investments on those innovations that promise the highest returns...”

Image credit: Apple.

Having Sex Makes You Better At Your Job. I love science. Thank you Popular Science: "This might shock you, but research shows that having sex generally improves your mood through the next day. And when you feel happier, you tend to be more productive at work and thus more successful. Now there's even more evidence that funny business can be good for business: Researchers asked 159 married people to take twice-daily surveys about their moods for two weeks and published their findings in the Journal of Management. They found that the positive boost from sexy times lasted about 24 hours, and resulted in employees reporting more satisfaction and engagement at work. The effect even lasted after controlling for overall marital satisfaction, so it wasn’t just that happy married couples were likely to have more sex and, being blissfully wed and all, just happened to also do better at work. And men and women saw the same effect..."

Polar Bear Invasion. CNN.com has the story: "Parents in a remote Russian archipelago are scared to send their children to school after a "mass invasion" of polar bears into residential areas, state news agency TASS reported. Novaya Zemlya, located off Russia's northeastern arctic coast, has been swarmed by dozens of polar bears since December. The region's largest settlement, Belushya Guba, with a population of about 2,500 people, has reported more than 50 sightings. Local administrator Alexander Minayev said bears had attacked people and entered buildings. A state of emergency was announced on Saturday, with up to 10 polar bears reportedly on the settlement's territory at any given time..."

Can You Overdose on Chocolate? Probably not in this lifetime, according to Popular Science: "...So a typical adult human who needs to eat about 75,000 milligrams to be at a toxic level. That’s roughly:

711 regular-sized Hershey’s milk chocolate bars


7,084 Hershey chocolate kisses


332 standard- sized Hershey’s dark chocolate bars. It’s not impossible, and dying from chocolate overdose would not be the most surprising thing a human was capable of, but Caldwell has never seen a case of theobromine poisoning in his career as an emergency medicine physician. Nor has he heard of any tales from his colleagues..."

11" snow on the ground at MSP International Airport.

25 F. maximum temperature on Monday.

28 F. average high on February 11.

21 F. high on February 11, 2018.

February 12, 1988: For warm weather...head west! Duluth had a temperature of 31 below zero, while Rapid City was sitting at 59.

February 12, 1872: A severe blizzard hits central Minnesota. The temperature at Litchfield was 34 degrees on the afternoon of the 12th, and fell to -20 by the morning of the 13th. At least 6 people died in Meeker County alone.

TUESDAY: Winter Weather Advisory. Windy, 3-6 inches of snow. Winds: NW 10-20+ High: 26

WEDNESDAY: More clouds than sun. Winds: W 7-12. High: 21

THURSDAY: Windy with flurries. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 12. High: 18

FRIDAY: Blue sky, less wind. Winds: NW 5-10. Wake-up: -2. High: 15

SATURDAY: Patchy clouds, flurries possible. Winds: N 7-12. Wake-up: 3. High: 17

SUNDAY: Mostly cloudy, snow blowers optional. Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 5. High: 19

MONDAY: Plenty of sunshine, still quiet. Winds: NW 5-10. Wake-up: 2. High: 15

Map credit: Praedictix and AerisWeather.

Climate Stories...

Heading North? Climate Changes is Affecting More Than Most States. The changes are happening faster in northern tier states than in the southern USA. Here's the intro to a story at West Central Tribune: "The loon could retreat into Canada, leaving Minnesota for good by 2080, if climate change continues to deteriorate the bird’s habitat in the state. Tamarac wildlife biologist Wayne Brininger says climate change has happened gradually for millions of years, and plants and animals have been able to adapt to the slow changes. The problem is, habitats are beginning to change faster as climate change happens faster, and the flora and fauna can’t keep up. Minnesota’s climate is changing faster than most, studies are showing. Rather than gradually easing into a winter freeze and easing back out into a spring thaw, like it used to, Minnesota is losing its normal winters and beginning to experience more extreme weather events, which could spell trouble for the state bird and other area wildlife..."

Photo credit: "White tail deer are expected to multiply fast as Minnesota's climate alters. Warmer winters means less snow, which means they will be able to forage for food more easily." Forum News Service file photo.

CITIES & STATES: Climate Nexus has links and headlines: "At the water’s edge, seaports are slowly bracing for rising ocean levels (Wall Street Journal $), storms trigger a surge in Boston infrastructure plans (Wall Street Journal $), how will Tampa's next mayor tackle climate change? (Tampa Bay Times), 2 big payouts may endanger New Jersey’s post-Sandy dune work (AP), storms help replenish Montana snowpack levels (AP), Oregon cities sue over stormwater rules (AP), Wisconsin board reverses ban on addressing climate change (WPR), climate change could devastate Superfund cleanup (Montana Standard), officials seek more protections for city wetlands to counter effects of climate change (Boston Globe $), despite fierce weather, Nebraska avoids climate change plan (AP), obscure Wisconsin board reverses climate change ban (AP), Whitmer, GOP lawmakers clash over environmental order (AP), Virginia wants more action on climate change--here's where residents stand on policies." (The Virginian-Pilot)

2018: 4th Warmest on Record. Climate Central has the details: "At long last, the government is open and the year-end climate reports from NOAA and NASA are out. As expected, 2018 was the fourth-hottest year on record globally, and another near-record year for U.S. weather and climate disasters. All of the years on record that were hotter or more disaster-filled came in the past decade. To bring context to the global goal of limiting warming to 2°C, we compare the global temperatures to an earlier, pre-industrial 1880-1910 baseline. 2018’s global temperatures were 1.90°F (1.06°C) above that baseline — more than halfway there. This made 2018 the second-warmest year on record without an El Niño event, behind only 2017..."

Will "Everything Be OK"? The Jury Is Out. Dislocation and disruption will be the new normal, it seems. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed at The Washington Post: "...Everything will be okay. We say it even when we don’t believe it. Maybe we should stop saying it. There is opportunity in this acceptance. Marvel thinks we need courage, not hope. We must know what’s coming, we must realize it will hurt, and we must be very strong together. Hold the problem in your mind. Freak out, but don’t put it down. Give it a quarter-turn. See it like a scientist, and as a poet. As a descendant. As an ancestor. “It is an immense privilege to be alive at this time,” Alice Major says from Edmonton. “We owe it to ourselves to try as hard as we can to understand what’s going on. And to give meaning to it. . . . Only by understanding our lives as meaningful can we hope to create meaningful change...”

Ways to Help Kids Cope With - and Help Combat - Climate Change. Here's an excerpt of a helpful post at The Washington Post: "...But the tone has shifted. The feeling is more dire. I don’t know what kids are supposed to do with the sobering fact that their planet is changing for the worse. According to Laura Kastner, a clinical psychologist and professor in the psychology department and the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Washington, the way to teach kids about environmental issues is not by overwhelming them with data or presenting them with projected outcomes they can see no way of changing. It’s by being realistic with kids and also teaching them agency and action. It’s what Kastner describes as the “both-and.” The idea of first acknowledging that, yes, climate change is happening, and there are things we can do to help..."

Image credit: "As the tone surrounding climate change becomes more dire, our conversations about it with children grow more important." (Jon Cannell/For The Washington Post).

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22" in 9 Days - Already 4th Snowiest February On Record - Old Man Winter Takes a Breath