Looks at Feels Like Winter...

I had a chance to get up north over the weekend and wow is there a lot of snow in Central Minnesota. People that love outdoor winter sports are sure enjoying their time now!

More Snow on the Way Sunday
Another snow event will impact parts of southern MN on Sunday, mainly along and south of the Minnesota River Valley. Winter Weather Advisories have been issued from 9PM Saturday to midnight Sunday night for the potential of 3" to 6" of snow. 
Accumulating snow is expected tonight through Sunday evening for southwestern and southern Minnesota. Total snow accumulations of 3 to 6 inches can be expected along and south of a line from Appleton to Redwood Falls to New Ulm to Owatonna, with the highest amounts around the Interstate 90 corridor. A Winter Weather Advisory in effect for these areas. Plan on hazardous travel conditions, including slippery roads and low visibilities. Use extra caution while traveling.
* WHAT...Snow expected. Total snow accumulations of 3 to 6 inches expected, highest around the Interstate 90 corridor.
* WHERE...Portions of south central, southwest and west central Minnesota.
* WHEN...From 9 PM this evening to midnight CST Sunday night. * ADDITIONAL DETAILS...Plan on slippery road conditions.
Sunday Weather Outlook
Here's the weather outlook from late Saturday night to early AM Monday. Note that areas of snow will spread across southern MN through much of the day Sunday with a few lingering flurries Monday morning.
Sunday Snowfall Potential
Here's the snowfall potential through early AM Monday, which suggests anywhere from 1" to 6" across the southern half of the state. Note that the Twin Cities will likely see very little, but folks along and south of the Minnesota River Valley could see a plowable 3" to 6" swath there.

Sunday Weather Outlook

Here's a look at high temps across the state on Sunday, which suggests temps running nearly -5F to -15F below with readings in the 10s and 20s. Sunday will also be a snowy day across the southern half of the state, especially along and south of the Minnesota River Valley.


 4th Snowiest February on Record (So Far...)

Prior to Sunday's snow, the official February snowfall at the MSP Airport was 22.2", which is good enough for the 4th snowiest February on record! Note that the top spot is 26.5" (set in 1962), so if we pick up a little more than 4" of additional snow this month, we'll have a new record!
Current Snow Depth
Here's the snow depth across the region from Wednesday, February 15th, which suggested that there was still about a foot or more of snow on the ground across much of the region. Note that in Duluth and around the shores of Lake Superior, there is more than 2ft. of snow on the ground! By the way, there was 14" of snow depth at the Twin Cities airport earlier this, which was officially the greatest amount of snow on the ground since March of 2014, nearly 5 years ago. I had several questions regarding the April Blizzard of 2018 and how much snow we had on the ground then. Well, the greatest MSP SNOW DEPTH (snow on the ground) during that event was 11". 
Snowfall Season To Date (Since July 1st, 2018)
Here's how much snow we've had this season across the region and thanks to a very active February (so far), we've now gotten back to above average snow levels in most locations, including the Twin Cities, which is nearly 2" above average. 
Temperature Outlook
Here's the temperature outlook through the end of February and into early March, which suggests temperatures hovering in the 10s and 20s through most of next week. Keep in mind that the average high at the end of February is around 34F, so with temps as cool as they could be, it appears that we will still be running below average in the temp department. There may be a brief thaw for a few days around next weekend, but the extended outlook as we approach early March shows below normal temps again.

Great Lakes Ice Coverage

According to NOAA's GLERL, Lake Superior is nearly 65% covered in ice, which is greater than it was at this time last year and also in 2017. The last few weeks have really helped with significant ice growth over the Great Lakes region. Interestingly, the entire great lakes (as of February 8th) was sitting at nearly 49% ice coverage, which is just slightly below the long-term average of 55%.


"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. "

Temperature Anomalies

Here's a look at the temperature anomaly aross North America on Saturday, which showed cooler than average temps across much of the Central and Western US and across the western half of Canada. However, warmer than average temps will still be found acros southern Texas and the Southeastern US.


Temperature Outlook
Here's the temp anomaly outlook from across the nation as we head through the first half of next week. This model suggests much colder than average temps continuing across the Western half of the country and also across the Upper Midwest. Meanwhile, warmer than average temps will still lingering across the Southeatern US. 
Temperature Outlook
According to NOAA's CPC, the temperature outlook from February 23rd - March 1st suggests colder than average temperatures continuing across much of the central and western half of the country. Meanwhile, folks in the southeastern part of the country will continue warmer than average temps. 

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.

Ice Safety Reminder

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!

Snowy Sunday in Southern Minnesota
By Todd Nelson, filling in for Douglas

Happy Sunday and happy National Random Acts of Kindness Day. Yes, there's a day for that! I'm glad it may snow again today, so I can pay it forward to whichever one of my shovel-happy neighbors bailed me out the other day. Thank you!

I'm not sure if Mother Nature is being kind or cruel this month, but outdoor winter enthusiasts are sure having fun! A cool foot of snow on the ground across the Twin Cities has sledders, skiers and snowmobilers in a February frenzy!

MSP has seen 22.2 inches of snow this month (4th snowiest February on record ) and we're a little more than 4 inches away from the snowiest spot (26.5 inches set in 1962). Not sure about you, but I'm rooting for a record, why not?

A storm system will slide across southern MN today with 3 to 6 inch totals possible by tonight. The metro may get another light coating, but nothing major. Our weather pattern remains active with another snow chance midweek across southern Minnesota.

Now, shovels at the ready and remember to swish and flick. Ready? 'Wingardium Leviosa!'

Extended Forecast

SUNDAY: Coating of snow, heavier south. Winds: NNE 5-10. High: 22.

SUNDAY NIGHT: Lingering light snow. Winds: NNE 5-10. Low: 10.

MONDAY: Mostly cloudy. Passing flurry? Winds: NNW 5-10. High: 20.

TUESDAY: Brighter skies. Snow chance overnight. Winds: SW 5. Wake-up: -1. High: 15.

WEDNESDAY: A few inches of snow in southern MN. Winds: SSE 5-10. Wake-up: 6. High: 25.

THURSDAY: Thinning clouds. Quieter. Winds: WSW 5-10. Wake-up: 11. High: 25.

FRIDAY: Light PM snow chance. Winds: SSE 5-10. Wake-up: 10. High: 28.

SATURDAY: Snow mix with rain in southern MN. Winds: ENE 10-20. Wake-up: 18. High: 33.

This Day in Weather History
February 17th

1981: Warm weather continues across Minnesota with a record high of 55 in the Twin Cities. Crocuses were blooming.

1894: The Minneapolis Weather Bureau journal notes: 'Sleighing is very poor, about half of the vehicles are on wheels'.

Average High/Low for Minneapolis
February 17th

Average High: 30F (Record: 63F set in 2017)
Average Low: 14F (Record: -20F set in 1936)

Record Rainfall: 0.32" set in 2014
Record Snowfall: 4.9" set in 2014

Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
February 17th

Sunrise: 7:11am
Sunset: 5:44pm

Hours of Daylight: ~10 hours & 33 minutes

Daylight GAINED since yesterday: ~ 2 minutes & 57 seconds
Daylight GAINED since winter solstice (December 21st): ~1 hour and 47 minutes

Moon Phase for February 17th at Midnight
1.4 Days Until Full "Snow" Moon

"Feb. 19: Full Snow Moon 9:54 a.m. CST. Usually the heaviest snows fall in this month. Hunting becomes very difficult, and hence to some tribes this was known as the Full Hunger Moon.The moon will also arrive at perigee, the closest point to Earth in its orbit, less than 7 hours earlier at 4 a.m. EST at a distance of 221,681 miles (356,761 kilometers) from Earth. So this is the largest full moon of 2019. (A full moon that takes place during perigee is sometimes known as a supermoon.) Very high ocean tides can be expected during the next two or three days, thanks to the coincidence of perigee with the full 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: 

"Around mid-February 2019, get up before sunrise to view the dazzling planet Venus and much fainter planet Saturn near each other in the east before sunup. February 18 is the date of their actual conjunction, but they’re noticeable already, low in the dawn sky. Also, they lie beneath another planet, very bright Jupiter. Want to know more precisely when dawn’s first light (or the beginning of astronomical twilight) comes for your location? Click here and remember to check on the astronomical twilight box. At their conjunction on Monday, the 18th, Venus will pass 1.1 degrees north of Saturn (about the width of your little finger at an arm’s length). Have binoculars or a low-powered telescope? These two worlds are so close together on the sky’s dome that they’ll fit inside a single field of view."

National High Temps Sunday
High temps across the country on Sunday will be colder than average across much of the nation with the exception of southeast, where temps will warm into the 70s and 80s.
Weather Outlook
Here's the weather oulook across the naiton as we head into early next week. Note that we look to stay pretty active with a storm system moving across the Central US, which will brush the southern half of Minnesota with snow accumulations. 

7 Day Precipitation Potential

According to NOAA's WPC, the 7 day precipitation forecast shows heavy precipitation across the Tenessee Valley and Gulf Coast States, which will likely lead to areas of flooding. There will also be areas of heavy precipitation that will develop in the Southwest.

"5 Signs of Frostnip (Which Actually Happens Before Frostbite)"
"You might have experienced signs of frostnip without even knowing that this phenomenon existed. Frostnip happens when the top layer of your skin becomes slightly injured due to ridiculously cold weather. Luckily, it’s not a serious condition. Here’s what you need to know, including signs of frostnip and what to do if you think you have it. Frostnip is a mild form of frostbite. “Frostnip is early, reversible cold weather damage to the skin,” Joshua Zeichner, M.D., a New York City–based board-certified dermatologist and director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center, tells SELF. When your body is exposed to extremely cold weather, your blood vessels constrict, diverting blood away from your skin to maintain your core body temperature, Dr. Zeichner explains. The surface of your skin gets colder, which is what puts you at risk of developing frostnip."
"Air pollution may be affecting how happy you are"
"For decades now, GDP has been the standard measure of a nation’s well-being. But it is becoming clear that an economic boost may not be accompanied by a rise in individual happiness. While there are many reasons for this, one important factor is that as nations become richer, environmental features such as green space and air quality often come under increasing threat. The mental health benefits of access to parks or waterfronts, for instance, have long been recognised but more recently researchers have also started to look at the role air pollution can play in our general mental health and happiness. With more tangible outcomes such as health, cognitive performance or labour productivity, the adverse effects of poor air are significant and well-established. The link to infant mortality and respiratory disease is well known, and the World Health Organisation estimates that around 7m deaths are attributable to air pollution each year."

"Arctic permafrost is thawing as the Earth warms due to climate change. In some cases, scientists predict that this thawing soil will release increasing amounts of methane—a potent greenhouse gas—that is known to trap more heat in our planet’s atmosphere. The rainfall warms up the bog and promotes the growth of plants and methane-producing microbes. The team shows that early precipitation in 2016 warmed the bog about three weeks earlier than usual, and increased the bog’s methane emissions by 30 percent compared to previous years. These results appear in Geophysical Research Letters. “In general, the chance of generating methane goes up with increased rainfall because soils get waterlogged. But what we see here is different,” says corresponding author Rebecca Neumann, an associate professor in the University of Washington department of civil and environmental engineering."


"This is how climate change will impact wine"
"Look at a wine label or chat with a wine connoisseur, and you will find that wine has always been intimately connected to location and climate. Grapes taste different from region to region, and even grapes from the same vineyard taste different from year to year, depending on the weather each season. So it is no surprise that drastically changing weather patterns have a huge and confusing impact on the wine industry. Increasing temperatures and climate volatility not only impact the flavor profiles for wine enthusiasts, but the unreliability also has a negative impact on wine farmers. Climate scientists argue that growers need to start implementing adaptation measures and experiment with lesser-known varieties of grapes, but these solutions come with risks and expenses that are often too costly for farmers. The last four years have been the hottest on record, a drastic change for grapes that generally thrive in cool, temperate climates. Unpredictable weather, such as droughts, heatwaves and hail can devastate farmers of all kinds, but grapes are a particularly sensitive and vulnerable crop. In Sonoma County, a region in California known for wine production, a record-breaking wildfire devastated the county in 2017, followed by an even more devastating, record-breaking fire in 2018."

"Why cold winter weather cancels roughly 60,000 flights a year in the US"
"Each year, about 60,000 flights get canceled because of bad winter weather, which costs airlines and airports an estimated $3 billion. But it's not the freezing cold temperatures that cause problems for planes. After all, commercial jets fly 10 kilometers up, where temperatures hover around -50 degrees Celsius. In fact, planes excel in cold weather, since cold air is denser and leads to better thrust. So clearly, the real problem isn't what's going on up there. It's what happens on the ground. When a nasty polar vortex struck the Midwestern US in January 2019, temperatures dropped to -40 degrees Celsius and airline canceled 3,000 flights nationwide. In these situations, when temperatures start dropping, everything slows down. Cargo doors can freeze up, along with the nozzles that pump fuel into planes, which delays the refueling process. Even the plane itself can freeze over. Just a quarter-inch-thick layer of ice on a plane can disrupt the way air flows over its wings."
"Highly Unusual Upward Trends in Rapidly Intensifying Atlantic Hurricanes Blamed on Global Warming"
"Atlantic hurricanes showed “highly unusual” upward trends in rapid intensification during the period 1982 – 2009 that can only be explained by including human-caused climate change as a contributing cause, according to research published last week in Nature Communications. The study, led by NOAA/GFDL hurricane scientist Kieran Bhatia, was titled, Recent increases in tropical cyclone intensification rates. The paper used two different data sets to study historical tropical cyclone intensification rates: a relatively coarse-resolution satellite data set (HURSAT), and a higher-resolution “best track” data set (IBTrACS) that included all available data, including satellite and hurricane hunter data. Both data sets found that for the Atlantic, there was a significant increase in the proportion of 24-hour intensification rates greater than 30 knots (35 mph) between 1982 and 2009. The greatest change was seen for the strongest 5% of storms, whose intensification rates increased by 3 – 4 knots per decade. For tropical cyclones across the entire globe, the two data sets disagreed. The “best track” data set showed a significant increase in 24-hour intensification rates, while the satellite-only data set did not. The authors theorized that the satellite-only data set was faulty, likely because of well-documented problems judging tropical cyclone intensities during formation of the eye. Due to this discrepancy in the two data sets, the authors were unable to make conclusions on how tropical cyclone intensification rates might be changing globally."

See more from Wunderground HERE:


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Paul Douglas: Winter Storm Warning, more snow this weekend