Happy National Static Electricity Day !!

"It may be a little shocking, but National Static Electricity Day is January 9.

Static electricity is different from the electrical current carried by wires through a building or transmitted by the electric companies. Static electricity is produced when the positive and negative charges of an atom are out of balance. The atoms of some materials hold their electrons tightly. These materials, such as plastic, cloth or glass, are insulators. The electrons of these substances do not move very freely. The electrons of other materials, such metal, move more freely and are called conductors. By rubbing two insulators together, we transfer electrons causing positive and negative charges. Opposites do attract. Atoms with a positive charge become attracted to atoms with a negative charge. We can see the evidence if we rub a balloon head.  When the balloon is pulled away, the hair clings to the balloon. Remove the balloon, and the hair may stand on end. In this circumstance, the hair has the same charge (either positive or negative). Items with the same charge repel each other. At some point, these charges need to be put back in balance, and the static electricity is discharged. The release or the resulting shock occurs when an insulator comes in contact with a conductor, such as a piece of metal."

See more from National Day Calendar HERE:


Rare January Tornado in Ohio on Tuesday

Thanks to the @NWSCLE and the Bazetta Township Road Department for the picture below. This is a look at a rare January tornado that touched down in Cortland, OH around 10:30AM Tuesday.

EF1 Tornado Confirmed in Trumbull County Ohio
Thanks to @GaryNWS, who is the Meteorologist in Charge at the National Weather Service in at the Cleveland, OH for the video below. This tornado was responsible for EF1 tornado damage with max winds of 97mph near Cortland, OH.

Rare January Severe Thunderstorm Warning in Ohio on Tuesday

Wow - take a look at this screen grab from GR2Analyst on Tuesday morning from just south of Cleveland, OH, where a severe thunderstorm warning was issued by the National Weather Service. Definitely a fairly rare site on a January morning, where winds of 60mph and quarter size hail were possible.


Rare Snow in Santorini, Greece

Thanks to @ActiveWxCams for the image below, which shows some rare snow that fell in Santorini, Greece!! Keep in mind that average January temps in these areas are in the 50s!


Weather Outlook Wednesday

High temps on Wednesday will be quite chilly across the region with readings only warming into the single digits across far northern Minnesota and teens across southern MN. Note that these readings will be nearly -10F to -15F below average.
Lowest Wind Chill Wednesday
Wind chill values on Wednesday morning will be quite cold across the state with most locations in the sub-zero range. Wind chills could dip into the -20s to -30s range across far northern MN through the morning - Bundle up!
A Look Back At Our "January Thaw"
According to the MN DNR: "January Thaws" are part of Minnesota's climate. Nearly every year, the mercury climbs above freezing sometime in January, bringing a brief respite to a Minnesota Winter. A January Thaw is defined as two or more consecutive days where the maximum temperature is above 32 degrees. For the Twin Cities this happens about 93% of the time. A White Christmas in the Twin Cities (one inch or more of snow cover on Christmas Day) happens about 72% of the time, thus it more likely to have a "January Thaw" than a White Christmas."
Here are the high temps over the last several days and note that since Thursday, 4 out of the last 6 days (which includes Tuesday's high temps of 38F) made it into the 40s. Interestingly, 2 of those days were record highs (47F) on Friday and Saturday. 
MN DNR Warning of Dangerous Ice Conditions
A recent tweet from @mndnr suggested that due to warmer weather as of late, ice conditions have deteriorated in some locations. PLEASE BE CAREFUL if you plan on venturing out on area lakes/ponds!!
Recent 'Warmer' Weather Making Ice Conditions Unsafe in Some Areas
Recent mild December weather has made for fairly unsafe ice condtions across parts of the state. 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!

Warmer Weather Outlook
According to NOAA's CPC, the 8 to 14 day temperature outlook from January 15th - 21st suggests warmer than average temps moving back in across much of the Upper Midwest. Interestingly, mid January is typically the coldest time of the year for us closer to home.
Temperature Trend
Here's a look at the temperature trend from Monday, January 14th to Thursday, January 17th, which shows waves of warmer than average weather moving through the Upper Midwest. If you're not a fan of sub-zero wind chills, it looks like we'll have another winter reprieve continuing through mid-month!
Extended Temperature Outlook
Take a look at the extended temperature outlook as we head through January 23rd. Note that temps will take a bit of a hit as we approach midweek, but the cold air doesn't appear to last too long as 20s and 30s move in pretty quickly later this week! In fact, it looks like warmer than average weather sticks around through much of next week with a hint of chillier weather returning by the beginning of the 3rd full week of the month.
A Look Ahead...
According to the ECMWF (European model), there may be a couple of chances of light snow over the next 10 days or so, but at this point, it doesn't appear to be all that substantial. More importantly, the pink line, which represents the high temperature, goes back above freezing as we head into next week!
Snowfall Potential
Here's the ECMWF snowfall potential through AM Sunday, which suggests very little snow potential across the state through the weekend.
Snow So Far This Season
Note that the Twin Cities has only seen 11" of snow so far this season, which is more than 13" below average! Interestingly, Rochester has seen more than 15" of snow this season, International Falls has seen nearly 24" of snow this season and Duluth has seen nearly 35" of snow this season. Also note that there is only one climate location that are only reporting above average snowfall for the season (Marquette, MI). Other than that, every location is reporting below average snowfall for the season.
Current Snow Depth
The current snow depth across the region shows pretty minimal amounts across the Twin Cities and into the southeastern part of the state. However, locations across the northern half of Minnesota shows a decent snow pack, especially along the MN North Shore, where more than a foot is being reported.
"How To Tell If Your Symptoms Are The Flu Or Just A Cold"
"The flu and the common cold are nasty respiratory illnesses with some similar symptoms. Here’s how to tell the difference. In the winter literally everyone seems to be getting sick. Your coworker won’t stop coughing and your kid keeps coming home from school a snotty mess, and a box of tissues barely lasts you one day. Contrary to popular belief, cold weather does not make you sick — but respiratory viruses (namely, influenza) do tend to peak during the fall and winter. In the US, flu season typically lasts from October to March. However, a nasty case of sniffles and aches during the winter doesn’t always mean you have the flu. Often, it’s just a cold, which you can get any time of the year. The common cold and flu are both contagious respiratory illnesses that can make you feel miserable, but they are caused by different viruses. Some flu symptoms may mimic a cold, but the flu tends to be much more serious and deadly — so it’s important to know the difference between these two illnesses. Obviously, only a doctor can diagnose you, but knowing how to recognize symptoms is always helpful. So how can you tell if your symptoms mean you have a cold or the flu, and what is the best treatment? We spoke to Dr. Tania Elliott, an allergist and immunologist at NYU Langone Health in New York City, to find out."
Cold and Flu Forecast - Minneapolis
According to Pollen.com, the Cold and Flu forecast suggests that we will be running at medium to medium-high levels over the next few days. Wash your hands!!
"14 Ways to Avoid Colds and Flu"
"Are you avoiding your co-worker with that hacking cough, cold, or flu in the cubicle next to you? Do you draw your hand back from every doorknob? Have cold-and-flu phobia? Get a grip before the grippe gets you. Weve consulted dozens of medical experts to bring you 14 ways to avoid colds and flu this season. Every time you shake someones hand, wash yours: But dont stop there. Wash them as much as possible, says Mark Mengel, MD, chair of community and family medicine at Saint Louis University School of Medicine. Running lots of water over your hands will dilute any germs and send them down the drain. Keep your hands off: Touching your nose and your eyes may hurt you, Mengel says. Those are the most common places for germs to get in."

"Here's how to get rid of a cold fast"

"It's the time of year when colds are commonplace. As the weather gets colder, and you're more inclined to spend more time indoors with others, the combination of confined spaces, weakened immune systems and recirculated air means that, at some point or another, you're likely to become victim to one of the 200 viruses that cause the common cold. It's likely then, that knowing how to get rid of a cold fast is a priority this winter - no-one wants to feel miserable, sickly and extra tired over the festive period. This year, let's put a halt to that streaming nose and feeling like the Walking Dead because actually, you don’t have to suffer and sniffle in silence. Simply bookmark this cold-busting guide, now."

See more from Bazar HERE:

Mild Bias Into Next Week: Payback for November?
By Paul Douglas

The federal government shutdown is impacting the quantity and quality of weather data flowing into U.S. weather models, specifically the GFS; NOAA's Global Forecast System. There's growing evidence that model accuracy is degrading over time.

Junk in - junk out. If the data that fuels a weather model is inferior, forecasts will be more inaccurate.

NOAA, including The National Weather Service, is "providing critical forecast, watch, and warning information to protect life and property throughout the shutdown". But some forecasters aren't getting paid & weather models aren't being maintained or improved.

Big, beefy storms continue to track from California to Texas and then right up the East Coast, leaving Minnesota drier and milder than average much of January.

This is as chilly as it gets looking out a week, but at least the sun will be shining (we've picked up 14 minutes of daylight since December 21).

Metro area temperatures rise above 32F from Friday into Wednesday of next week; 40s possibly again the middle of next week.

Payback for a lousy autumn and a numb November?_____________________________________________

Extended Forecast

WEDNESDAY: Chilled sunlight. Winds: NW 10-15. High: 16.

WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Mostly cloudy and cold. Winds: NNW 5-10. Low: 10.

THURSDAY: Clouds increase, closer to average. Winds: SE 7-12. High: 23.

FRIDAY: Mostly cloudy. Quiet for January. Winds: SE 7-12. Wake-up: 18. High: 32.

SATURDAY: Gray, but milder than average. Winds: E 7-12.  Wake-up: 25. High: 32.

SUNDAY: Partly sunny and pleasant. Winds: SW 7-12. Wake-up: 24. High: 36.

MONDAY: Intervals of sunshine. Still dry. Winds: SW 7-12. Wake-up: 25. High: 37.

TUESDAY: Touch of March. Where's winter? Winds: S 10-15. Wake-up: 28. High: 43.

This Day in Weather History
January 9th

1982: Both January 9th and 10th would have some of the coldest windchills ever seen in Minnesota. Temperatures of -30 and winds of 40 mph were reported in Northern Minnesota. This would translate to windchills of -71 with the new windchill formula, and -100 with the old formula.

1934: A sleet and ice storm hits southwest Minnesota. Hardest hit locations were Slayton, Tracy and Pipestone. The thickest ice was just east of Pipestone with ice measuring 6 to 8 inches in diameter. At Holland in Pipestone County three strands of #6 wire measured 4.5 inches in diameter and weighed 33 ounces per foot. The ice was described as: 'Very peculiar information being practically round on three sides, the lower side being ragged projectiles like icicles: in other words pointed. The frost and ice were wet, not flaky like frost usually is. In handling this, it could be squeezed into a ball and did not crumble.'

Average High/Low for Minneapolis
January 9th

Average High: 23F (Record: 49F set in 2012)
Average Low: 7F (Record: -32F set in 1977)

Record Rainfall: 0.31" set in 1924
Record Snowfall: 3.8" set in 1924

Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
January 9th

Sunrise: 7:50am
Sunset: 4:50pm

Hours of Daylight: ~9 hours & 00 minutes

Daylight GAINED since yesterday: ~ 1 minute & 24 seconds
Daylight GAINED since winter solstice (December 21st): ~ 14 minutes

Moon Phase for January 8th at Midnight
4.0 Days Before First 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: 

"Tonight, you’ll need a very dark sky in order to see Eridanus the River. You won’t see this one from the city, or even the suburbs. Eridanus the River begins near the star Rigel in the constellation Orion the Hunter – and wells up in a great loop before ambling back down toward the southern horizon. Eridanus is one of the longest and faintest constellations. It’s variously said to represent the Nile in Egypt, Euphrates in western Asia, or the River Po in Italy. Eridanus is also sometimes called the River of Orion, or River of Ocean. In Homer’s day in ancient Greece, it was thought that the River of Ocean encircled a flat Earth. A planisphere is virtually indispensable for beginning stargazers. Order your EarthSky Planisphere today! Why search for such a faint constellation? Only because it’s very beautiful. And seeing Eridanus – understanding its association with a river in the minds of the early stargazers – can give you a kinship with those stargazers from centuries ago. From most of the U.S., the River disappears below the southern horizon. But if you live at a very southerly latitude in the U.S., you can see a special sight: the star that represents the end of the River. This star is named Achernar."

National High Temps - Wednesday, January 9th
High temps across the country on Wednesday will still be warmer than aveage across much of the nation, with the exception of the Upper Midwest and the Central US, where readings will be nearly -5F to -10F below average.

National Weather Outlook

Here's a look at weather conditions as we head through the next few days, which shows another storm moving through the Northeast with areas of rain along and near the coast, while areas of heavy snow and gusty winds will be found in the higher elevations and in the Eastern Great Lakes. Meanwhile, another Pacific storm will continue in the Northwest with heavier rain along the coast and snow in the higher elevations.


7 Day Precipitation Potential

According to NOAA's WPC, the 7 day precipitation potential suggests heavy precipitation continuing in the Western US with several inches of liquid possible along the coast and in the higher elevations! There also appears to be more heavy precipitation across parts of the Southern US, where several inches of rain will be possible near the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. 

"China's Lunar Rover Enters Standby Mode for 'Noon Nap' as Chang'e 4 Tests Continue"
"China's Chang'e 4 lander and Yutu 2 rover have tested out payloads and systems on the far side of the moon, with the rover now taking a "noon nap" as a precaution against high temperatures. The Chang'e 4 lander made its historic landing at 177.6 degrees east longitude and 45.5 degrees south within Von Kármán Crater within the South Pole-Aitken basin at 9:26 p.m. EST Jan. 2 (0226 GMT on Jan. 3), following two weeks in lunar orbit. The rover was deployed from the lander just under 12 hours later, at 9:22 a.m. EST (1422 GMT) Jan. 3. The rover also officially received the name Yutu 2 ("Jade Rabbit 2"), following on from China's first lunar rover for the 2013 Chang'e 3 mission."
"Road to Crater Lake closed due to 'human waste buildup'"
"Crater Lake National Park remains open, but winter visitors will now need to hike a long way in, after the National Park Service closed the road into the park due to issues brought about by the federal government shutdown. On Thursday, park officials closed the southern entrance road at Oregon 62 due to a buildup human waste in the park – a disturbingly common problem at national park sites as they remain unstaffed during the shutdown, which started on December 22. “Due to conditions caused by the impact of human waste buildup on the park’s water system, the road to Crater Lake is now closed to vehicles at hwy 62 to protect public health and park resources. The road may not reopen until after the shutdown,” officials said in an alert posted to the park website. The closure effectively shuts down reasonable access to the national park, as the northern entrance road was closed earlier in the season."

See more from Oregon Live HERE:


"The Milky Way Could Crash Into Another Galaxy Billions of Years Earlier Than Predicted"

"Ah, the Milky Way, our glittering home in the cosmos. Seen in an unencumbered night sky, far from the glare of city lights, it seems magnificent and eternal in its enormity. Nothing could shift this ancient web of stars, nothing could disturb its transcendent stoicism. Except, that is, another galaxy. Galaxies orbit millions of light-years apart, but gravity, the immutable magnet of the cosmos, can pull them together, producing spectacular collisions that reshuffle stars. According to the leading theory, the Milky Way will collide with one of its closest neighbors, Andromeda, sometime between 6 billion and 8 billion years from now. But the Milky Way may face another galactic threat before that, from a different neighbor. A new study predicts our galaxy will collide with a galaxy called the Large Magellanic Cloud between 1 billion and 4 billion years from now. This is a rather surprising change in schedule, considering that the Large Magellanic Cloud, which is close enough to be seen with the naked eye, is currently moving away from the Milky Way. What gives?"

See more from The Atlantic HERE:

"Rivers in the Sky: What You Need to Know About Atmospheric River Storms"
"The rainy season is well underway in California: Roughly 90 percent of the Golden State's precipitation typically falls during the months of October through April. While drought has bedeviled the state in recent years, there’s evidence that the wet season is actually getting wetter. If you live on the West Coast, you may hear the term "atmospheric river" thrown around. These massive, fast-moving storm systems can transport more than 25 times the moisture as flows through the mouth of the Mississippi River. As you’re breaking out those rain slickers, boots and umbrellas, here’s what you need you know about atmospheric rivers, sometimes referred to as ARs."
"Pacific Depths Likely to Keep Warming for Centuries Even if We Decarbonize Now, Study Shows"
"The slow-circulating deep Pacific is still cooling almost 200 years after the Little Ice Age ended, with worrying implications for the anthropogenic age. The Little Ice Age lasted for centuries during the last millennium and cooled the surface of the oceans. No question about that. Now a paper published Thursday in Science has discovered that, as predicted by models, while the deep Atlantic is warming in keeping with the global climate trend, the black depths of the Pacific Ocean are still cooling. The model created by Geoffrey Gebbie of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Peter Huybers of Harvard University has unavoidable, long-term implications for a world in the grip of anthropogenic global warming."
"Science Explains What Would Happen if the Earth's Core Turned Cold"
"The Earth’s core is cooling down very slowly over time. One day, when the core has completely cooled and becomes solid, it will have a huge impact on the whole planet. Scientists think that when that happens, Earth might be a bit like Mars, with a very thin atmosphere and no more volcanoes or earthquakes. Then it would be very difficult for life to survive — but that won’t be a problem for several billions of years. Right now, the Earth’s core is not entirely molten. The inner core is a sphere of solid iron, while the outer core is made of molten iron thousands of kilometers thick. Scientists know this because the shock waves made by earthquakes can be recorded on the other side of the Earth — and we would not expect to see them there if the inner core was also molten."
Thanks for checking in and don't forget to follow me on Twitter @TNelsonWX

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New Minnesota State Precipitation Record in 2018