Welcome to 2013!
By Todd Nelson
And just like that, we close the books on the warmest year in recorded history for the U.S. and one of the warmest years on record for the Twin Cities. We'll join the ranks of that in 1931 when the average yearly temp for the Twin Cities was almost 5F above average!
The massive hot dome across the nation for much of the spring and summer had a big impact on the lack of severe weather and tornadoes across the country. According to the Storm Prediction Center, there was a record low in the number of tornado and severe weather watches issued for 2012. Since moving into their Norman, OK office in 1997, there has never been as few watches as this year's 697. 2012 will also finish with nearly 400 less tornado reports than the 7 year average. According to NOAA's NCDC, 2012 will finish nearly 140 less than the 1991-2010 average.
To the record Minnesota warmth and record Duluth flood, 2012 will be remembered mostly for it's warm and dry characteristics. Other than October, every month finished with above average temperatures in the Twin Cities. As of today, nearly 83% of the state is still in a severe drought or worse. Here's hoping for a more normal 2013! -Todd Nelson
Todd's Star Tribune Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:
NEW YEAR'S DAY: Cold start to 2013! Bright sun. Wind Chills: -10 to -20. High: 13. Winds: SW 5-10.
Tuesday Night: Not as cold. Clouds thicken by daybreak. Low: 6.
WEDNESDAY: Clipper arrives, light coating of snow possible. High: 24.
THURSDAY: AM flurry. PM clearing trend. Low: 8. High: 16.
FRIDAY: Bright sun, quiet. Low: 6. High: 25.
SATURDAY: Good outdoor rink day. Low: 12. High: 25.
SUNDAY: Weather maps look quiet Low: 13. High: 28.
MONDAY: January thaw?. Low: 16. High: 33.
A True Minnesotan
Thanks to @Brentyyyyyyyy for the picture below out of Minneapolis, MN. Now this is my definition of a perfect day! Can't beat an outdoor rink day.
Cold into the New Year
Take a look at the map below from the NWS. It shows the apparent temperature (feels like or wind chill) around 9am CST. Wind chills are still expected to be in the sub-zero range through the late morning hours. Other that some of the Mountain West locations, these will be some of the coldest readings across the entire Lower 48.
2012 Warmest Year on Record for U.S.
You're living weather history... Can you believe that we just endured the warmest year on record for the U.S.? Temperatures didn't just break the record, but it SMASHED the record!
"By taking the top spot as the hottest year in the U.S., 2012 pushes 1998 into second place, followed by 2006, 1934 and 1999. In line with the global warming trend spurred by steadily rising carbon emissions, seven of the top 10 warmest years in the 48 states have occurred in the past 15 years.
Like so much recent record-breaking weather, 2012 isn’t just going to break the previous record, 2012 is looking to smash it, by more than 1°F. Climate Central projects the 2012 average temperature for the continental U.S. at 55.34°F compared to the previous record set in 1998 of 54.32°F. For perspective, 1°F is one quarter of the difference between the coldest and warmest years ever recorded in the continental U.S."
Extreme Heat Hampered 2012 Tornado Production
Interestingly, the extreme heat played a role in the amount of tornadoes across the nation this year. Because it got so hot so fast this spring, we didn't really see any extended tornado risks. According to the Storm Prediction Center, the 2012 tornado count will finish nearly 400 reports less than the 7year average.
2012's Biggest Tornado Day
2012's biggest tornado day was on March 2nd. There were 132 tornadoes from the Ohio valley to the Gulf Coast. March tornadoes also claimed the lives of 41 this year; (68 total fatalities for the year).
Average Tornadoes by Month Across the Nation (1991-2010)
According to NOAA's NCDC, the graph below suggest the average number of tornadoes across the nation by month. Note that our most active month is May with 276. Our most active month this year was April with 233 tornado reports, followed closely by March at 225. Both of these months ran above average because of the rapid warm up we had so early in the season, which can also be attributed on the lack of snow pack during last winter. 2012's 1,114 tornado reports are also below the average 1,253/year shown below.
Record Christmas Day Tornado Outbreak
There have been AT LEAST 27 confirmed tornadoes from the Christmas Day tornado outbreak last week. This will go down in history as the most tornadoes ever recorded on Christmas Day.
Extensive Damage and Fatalities
Cleanup from the strong Christmas Day tornadoes will take weeks and months. Here are some of the damage pictures from the National Weather Service out of Mobile, AL where EF-2 was reported.
2012's Biggest Severe Weather Day
Because of the excessive heat across the middle part of the nation this summer, we had several days that produced long-lived straight line wind producing storms. July 1st, 2012 produced over 700 severe weather reports (mostly damaging wind reports). These storms lasted several hours and crossed many states.
2012 Sees Fewest Severe Watches Since 1997
I knew the severe weather was fairly quiet this year, but I didn't know it was this quiet!
"The year will finish without any severe storms forecast during the next several days, so we offer this trivia tidbit regarding SPC watches. Did you know that 2012 will have the fewest number of tornado and severe thunderstorm watches issued by SPC since moving to Norman in 1997? Just 697 watches were issued this year (two numbers were inadvertently skipped which is why the last watch issued was #699). This breaks the previous record low (since SPC has been located in Norman) of 727 in 1999. The average number of watches per year for 1997-2012: 844. The greatest number of watches in a year during that time span: 983 in 2003."
A moisture-starved clipper system will drop into the Lower 48 with scattered light snow showers. I don't see much accumulation potential with this; a light coating is all.
Snow Potential Through Midday Thursday
Here's the snow forecast with next clipper system. Again, it doesn't look like much here. Hardly enough to fire up the snowblower unless you're downwind of the Great Lakes.
Thanks for checking in, have a great 2013 ahead!
Don't forget to follow me on Twitter @TNelsonWNTV