-10 F. at 9 am Thursday, as cold in the Twin Cities as Barrow, Alaska
26 F. high temperature on Wednesday in the Twin Cities.
23 F. average high on January 18.
19 F. high temperature a year ago, on January 18, 2011.
-34 F. this morning's record low at MSP (1970).
* Tied record for the latest subzero temperatures in the Twin Cities. Old record was January 18, 2002. The mercury fell below zero ONE HOUR before midnight last night!
-30 F. wind chills this morning will dip into the -25 to -30 range in the metro, as cold as -40 over western Minnesota.
March 2, 2011: last time the mercury dipped below zero in the metro (-3 F.)
1-3" powdery snow Friday (best chance of 3" south metro). With temperatures in single digits I'm expecting a fluffy, powdery snow, quick to accumulate, capable of turning into black ice. Roads may be in tough shape for a time Friday.
20s return by Sunday and Monday, highs close to 30 the latter half of next week. 40 F. is not out of the question by the last weekend of January, the 28th and 29th.
1-3" snow possible Friday; Albert Lea, Winona and La Crosse may pick up as much as 3-5" of powdery snow. Travel conditions will worsen the farther south you drive, away from the metro, on Friday. When it's this cold MnDOT chemicals don't work nearly as effectively, and repeated traffic can "compress" the snow into a thin film of glaze ice, the black ice we all know (and dread). I'd plan extra time for Friday commutes.
118 mph wind gust on the summit of Mt. Washington, New Hampshire Wednesday. Source: Weather Underground. Photo courtesy of the Mt. Washington Observatory.
46 states experienced weather-related catastrophes in 2011, according to The Red Cross.
Extreme Cold Warning Until Noon. Welcome to what will probably wind up being the coldest day of winter. Morning wind chills dip to -25 in the metro, as cold as -40 over central and western Minnesota. More details from the local office of the National Weather Service: "An Extreme Cold Warning has been issued for areas northwest of a line from near Redwood Falls to Elk River to Cambridge. The dangerous wind chills will persiste through Thursday morning as overnight low temperatures dip to the 10 to 15 below range."
Friday: Another Near-Miss? It's amazing the number of ways we've missed out on snow this winter, the vast majority of storms detouring south/east of MSP. The latest NAM model prints out some 3-5" amounts over far southern Minnesota on Friday, maybe 1-3" in the metro, possibly 3" over far southern suburbs like Northfield and Credit River. The north metro may see under an inch or so.
"The future, according to some scientists, will be exactly like the past, only far more expensive." - John Sladek. Graphic courtesy of funnychix.com.
A (Fleeting) Arctic Blast. Today will be a subtle (yet blunt) reminder that it can still get plenty cold in late January. In fact, today may wind up being the coldest day of winter, a rather tame winter at that. The local National Weather Service explains on Facebook: "An arctic cold front will move across the region today. This front will bring some snow to central and eastern areas of Minnesota and Wisconsin...but it will also usher in the coldest air of the winter season so far. It will become windy across west central through south central Minnesota, in the wake of the front, with northwest winds at 25 to 35 mph. This will be coupled with plummeting temperatures. By Thursday morning, most of the region will have temperatures below zero. Wind chills across the region Wednesday night and early Thursday will be in the 25 below to 40 below zero range."
Mild End To January. The models are consistent: we should end January in the 30s, a 40 degree high not out of the question the last weekend of the month. The GFS is hinting at a (brief) chill around February 2, maybe 1 or 2 nights dipping below zero, before temperatures recover.
A Few Minor Snow Events. We just can't buy a real storm this winter. I keep waiting for the pattern to shift. We're going to have to wait awhile longer. Up to 1-3" may fall from a fast-moving clipper Friday, another (slushy) inch possible Sunday (considerably more east of the metro into Wisconsin), another coating next Wednesday. Pretty exciting stuff, huh? At this rate we may wind up with a 30" winter. For the sake of farmers and anyone with a lawn or garden - I hope I'm wrong.
Seattle Snow-Blitz. So this is what snow looks like? It's rather odd that Seattle has picked up 6-10 times more snow than the Twin Cities so far in January. What's wrong (or right) with that picture? Photo is from Crystal and Darin Harris. They say: "11″ and counting Granite Falls, Washington."
Severe Storms, Possible Tornado Lash Kentucky. USA Today has an update: "LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) – Powerful spring-like storms lashed portions of Kentucky with fierce winds Tuesday, uprooting trees and yanking down power lines that clogged roads and left thousands without electricity.....The National Weather Service was assessing "strong evidence" of a tornado touchdown in a section of eastern Jefferson County, said hydrologist Mike Callahan. Television aerial footage in that area showed a path of damage including downed trees that covered roads and landed on roofs." Photo credit: Matt Stone, AP.
Photo Of The Day. Digital Globe has a remarkable high-resolution image of the partially-sunk Costa Concordia cruise ship floundering off the waters of Giglio Island, Italy.
Hurricanes, Tornadoes, Blizzards, Wildfires And More: Tax Relief For Those Who Suffered Losses. The story from AP and the Washington Post: "WASHINGTON — Tornadoes and hurricanes. Wildfires and floods. Earthquakes and blizzards. There were a record number of billion-dollar natural disasters in the United States in 2011, and taxpayers who suffered losses might be able to get some relief when they file their income tax returns.
Paul's Star Tribune Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:
TODAY: "Tundra-like" cold. Bright sun, possibly the coldest day of winter. Wind chill: -25 Winds: NW 10-15. High: 4
THURSDAY NIGHT: Clouds increase, still numb. Low: 0
FRIDAY: Light snow - Icy roads. 1-3" possible in the metro, 2-5" over far southern MN. High: 9
SATURDAY: Better travel day. Fading sun, not as bitter. Low: -2. High: 17
SUNDAY: Milder, PM wet snow possible, maybe an inch (more over Wisconsin). Low: 11. High: 26
MONDAY: Drier day, more clouds than sun. Low: 14. High: 25
TUESDAY: Some sun, temperatures close to average. Low: 15. High: 23
WEDNESDAY: Chance of wet snow, still a few degrees milder than average. Low: 13. High: 27
* Highs may climb close to 30 or even hit freezing by the end of next week. 40 is not out of the question the last weekend of January close to the metro area.
Coldest Of Winter?
This is why we don't have a population of 10 million. Most Americans live in mortal fear of waking up to a morning like this. "So cold body parts start falling off, right"? Yep. That's why we have world-class health care. "Really?" Uh huh. Trust me. I'm a weatherman.
We've been through this drill before. Welcome to the 1st subzero morning of winter, and a record-breaking one at that. We set a record for the latest subzero on record in the metro. A stinging breeze will make it feel like -25 at the bus stop. Dress in layers - don't forget a hat. Keep those body parts intact. Only 2 days of pain. We'll get though this...
A peculiarly persistent Pacific wind flow aloft is responsible for our ongoing snow drought. Weather models have (consistently) overestimated snowfall amounts this winter. With that caveat I'm mentioning a potential for 1-3" snow tomorrow; it may be enough to plow in parts of the metro, especially south of the Minnesota River.
Temperatures blip upward over the weekend with 20s by Sunday (which will feel amazingly good). Long-range models bring the mercury close to freezing by the end of next week; another ill- timed January thaw. I fear Volcanis may get the last laugh at the St. Paul Winter Carnival next week.
My hunch: we're waking up to the coldest morning of winter, the "Relatively Easy Winter of '12".
"Children make you want to start life over." - Muhammad Ali. Photo credit: pics24h.com.
Does Global Warming Mean More Winter Snow Storms. OBP News has a curious story: "While Northwest residents confront a winter snow blast, new research is pointing to climate change as a possible reason that harsh Arctic weather is pushing into some lower latitudes. The new study, published by Atmospheric and Environmental Research, is contradicting what current climate models tell us about winter weather patterns. It suggests warming trends in the spring, summer and fall are causing colder winters with more severe storms. The study’s lead author, Judah Cohen, says winter temperatures should be warming the most, according to climate models. But actual temperatures aren’t lining up with what those models have predicted."
Trumpeter Swans Rebound, With An Assist From Global Warming. A silver lining? Bring it on. Scientific American has the story: "ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Outside Alaska's largest city, where wildlife is more common than pigeons, locals bearing field glasses turn out every year to watch blazingly white trumpeter swans stop to feed on their way south for the winter. The swans, famed for their French horn call and immortalized by author E.B. White, were nearly hunted to extinction in much of the United States and Canada by the late 1800s for their meat, feathers, down and quills. Now, North America's largest wild fowl may be one of the few good-news stories of global warming - at least for the short term." Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
In 2012 Let's Resolve To Fight Global Warming Together. The story from Huffington Post: "2011 was disastrous -- literally. Forty-six states in the U.S. alone experienced weather-related catastrophes, according to the American Red Cross. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently reported that 2011 set a record for the number of U.S. disasters costing more than $1 billion each. Last year the 12 most costly U.S. disasters totaled approximately $52 billion and resulted in the loss of nearly 650 lives. Data from Munich Re indicate that the world economy experienced a record-breaking $265 billion in economic losses from disasters in just the first six months of 2011. These are just the consequences we can numerically count. The resulting human suffering is not quantifiable."
Marcellus Boom Threatens Climate Change Action, Study Says. The Charleson Gazette reports: "CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The boom in drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale and other similar formations will likely suppress the development of alternative energies that are urgently needed to combat global warming, according to a new study by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology. Researchers highlighted some positive aspects of the boom in drilling for "shale-gas" reserves, such as help in lowering gas prices and stimulating the economy. But they warned that a switch from coal to natural gas alone isn't nearly enough to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to the levels scientists believe are needed to curb the worst impacts of global warming."
Education Group To Defend Climate Change Science. The story from Forbes: "The National Center for Science Education (NCSE) will begin offering support to public school teachers and schools on the contentious topic of climate change. Eugenie Scott, the executive director of the organization, based in Oakland, California, has been for years an outspoken defender of the teaching of evolution in U.S. classrooms. The NCSE provides resources to teachers, schools and school boards, and has challenged the efforts of creationists to undermine the teaching of evolution in various states. As colleagues and textbook authors around the country began sharing their personal experiences and concerns about the teaching of climate science, Scott realized she needed to expand NCSE’s mandate to include the politically charged issue as well."
Photo credit above: "Eugenie Scott (Image by Euthman via Flickr)."