Friday's Arctic Sunshine

Take a look at this NASA satellite image below, which was taken Friday, February 8th over Lake Michigan and Lake Superior. Cold temps and a WNW wind created streaks of lake effect snow bands across both lakes, which seem to stretch for miles and miles! Also note how white the ground is over Wisconsin and Minnesota after last weeks recent rounds of snow. Can you see the frozen and snow covered MN lakes? Lake Mille Lacs, Leech, Upper & Lower Red, and Lake of the Woods can all be seen!! Very neat!

Great Lakes Ice Coverage

According to NOAA's GLERL, Lake Superior is nearly 67% covered in ice, which is greater than it was at this time last year and also in 2017. The last couple of 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 51% ice coverage, which is just slightly below the long-term average of 55%.


Winter Weather Advisory 6AM to 6PM Sunday


"A Winter Weather Advisory has been issued for portions of southern Minnesota, and west central Wisconsin from 6 AM Sunday morning, to 6 PM Sunday evening. The advisory is mainly south of a line from New Ulm, to Prior Lake, and Cottage Grove in Minnesota, and from River Falls to Bloomer, and southward in Wisconsin." 

"Snow is expected to develop along the Iowa border toward sunrise Sunday, and spread rapidly northeast across far southern Minnesota by noon. It will also spread into west central Wisconsin by the early afternoon. Although the snow is not expected to be heavy, the best time for accumulating snowfall will occur between the late morning, through the mid afternoon hours. As the snow ends by Sunday evening, areas in the advisory will receive 3 to 4 inches of snow, with locally higher amounts possible. Not much wind will accompany this storm, but some drifting is likely in open country." 

"The main hazard will be snow covered roads with slippery conditions developing."


* WHAT...Snow expected. Total snow accumulations of 3 to 4 inches, with locally higher amounts possible.

* WHERE...Portions of west central Wisconsin and east central, south central and southeast Minnesota.

* WHEN...From 6 AM to 6 PM CST Sunday. * ADDITIONAL DETAILS...Plan on slippery road conditions.


Snowy Sunday Ahead!

Well, you may have heard the rumors about more snow on the way and you're right! It appears that we could have 2 more rounds, the first of which moves through Sunday and the second will be here Tuesday. Here's the weather outlook for Sunday, which shows areas of light snow moving through the southern half of the state. This will be another light fluffy snow event, which will make roadways slippery once again. Latest thinking is 1" to 4" across the southern half of the state with the heaviest amounts setting up south of the Twin Cities.


Sunday Snow Potential

According to NOAA's NDFD, there appears to be a fairly decent swath of 1" to 4" across the southern half of the state with the greatest in the southeastern part of the state.


Another Round of (Heavier) Snow Tuesday?

Here's a look at the 2nd round of possibly even heavier snow expected to move through the region late Monday and Tuesday. The storm will track from northern Missouri to the Great Lakes with heavier snow on it's northern side. Models have been pretty consistent on the track and placement of snow each run. Confidence continues to grow in what could be another sour commute Tuesday and Wednesday - ugh!


Round #2 of Snow Tuesday

Here's the latest thinking from the NWS Twin Cities regarding our next system. There is still some uncertainty on the track and amounts, but confidence is growing on a potential high-impact system. Stay tuned!

"The forecast is still on track for potentially another high-impact winter storm Monday night through Tuesday. The heaviest snowfall looks to be across southern & eastern Minnesota through western Wisconsin. Blowing snow also looks to occur in southwest Minnesota during the day on Tuesday."


Current Snow Depth

The latest snow depth report from the MSP Airport suggested 9" of snow on the ground as of Friday morning. Interestingly, this is the most snow we've had on the ground in the Twin Cities since the April Blizzard of last year. On April 15th & 16th, 2018 there was nearly 10 to 11 inches of snow on the ground. It looks like we'll be adding to this snow pack over the next several days as a couple more rounds of snow move through the region. 
Snowfall This Season
Here's a look at how much snow has fallen across the region this winter season (since July 1st, 2018). Interestingly, even after adding 10.4" of snow at the MSP Airport this last week, the Twin Cities is still nearly 8" below average for the season!
Weather Outlook Sunday
Sunday will be a snowy day across the southern half of the state with accumulations likely by the evening. Note that temperatures will also be quite running anywhere from -10F to near -20F below average.
Mild Weekend Ahead

Saturday was a pretty chilly day with temps early in the morning well below 0F. In fact, some locations across far northern MN dropped into the -30s! The good news is that we won't be quite as cold over the next few days as temperatures continue to gradually warm. Temps will rebound into the 10s to near 20F today and into the upper 20s tomorrow! Keep in mind that our average high is in the upper 20s now, so the extended outlook looks chillier than average as we head into much of next week and beyond.


"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 aveage readings across much of the Lower 48 and especially across the northern tier of the nation and Western Canada. However, warmer than average temps continued across parts of the Mid-Atlantic and into Florida.


Temperature Outlook
Colder than average temps will continue to linger in the Western US, which at times will slide into the Upper Midwest over the coming days. However, note the large blob of warmer than average temps that looks to conitnue across the Southern and Southeastern part of the country as we head into next week. This sharp temperature contrast could lead to strong/severe thunderstorm development in the Lower Mississippi Valley Monday. Stay tuned!
Temperature Outlook
According to NOAA's CPC, the temperature outlook from February 16th - 22nd suggests colder than average temperatures continuing across much of the northern and western half of the country. Meanwhile, folks in the southern and 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!

The Pattern Looks Just Right for Snow
By Paul Douglas

Doctors have the Hippocratic Oath, which roughly translates into "First, do no harm." Meteorologists take a similar vow. "First, go out of your way to annoy the general public."

Forecasters have an uncanny ability to make you feel worse than you thought possible. Wind chill. Heat index. Hassle Factor. Now there's a Snow & Cold Index. The Minnesota DNR evaluates temperature, snowfall and snow cover to come up with a value. Right now we're enjoying a moderate winter, much like last year. 2013-2014 was severe, but the last 'very severe' winters were back in the 80s.

1-3 inches of snow may slow things down a bit Sunday, but the main event comes Tuesday, as a juicy storm tracks south/east of Minnesota. A plowable snowfall is likely, totals may reach 4-8 inches.

Talk about a true Goldilocks Pattern for snow lovers. The combination of northern cold and southern moisture looks JUST RIGHT into next week, with highs in the teens and 20s. At this rate February may be our snowiest month, which rather quite rare.

Whatever happened to El Nino? Right.

Extended Forecast

SUNDAY: 1" to 3" snow. slick roads again. Winds: NE 7-12. High: 19.

SUNDAY NIGHT: Mostly cloudy. Light snow ends. Winds: ENE 5. Low: 14.

MONDAY: Cloudy. Snow arrives at night. Winds: E 10-15. High: 26.

TUESDAY: Plowable snowfall. 4" to 8" possible. Winds: N 10-20. Wake-up: 21. High: 24.

WEDNESDAY: Mostly cloudy, better travel weather. Winds: W 5-10. Wake-up: 11. High: 20.

THURSDAY: Coating of flakes. Colder wind. Winds: N 10-15. Wake-up: 14. High: 22.

FRIDAY: Partly sunny and brisk. Winds: NW 7-12. Wake-up: 5. High: 18.

SATURDAY: Clouds increase. Late flurries? Winds: NE 7-12. Wake-up: 3. High: 17.

This Day in Weather History
February 10th

1965: A snowstorm dumps 15 inches of snow at Duluth over two days.

1861: An ice storm impacts Elk River. Coatings of 1/2 inch of ice are reported. The ice broke off many large branches and saplings were bent to the ground.

1857: Extreme cold at Fort Ripley. E.J. Baily, Assistant Surgeon notes: 'Spirit thermometer -50 at 6am. Mercury frozen in charcoal cup. Spirit thermometer at Little Falls 16 miles from the fort -56 at 6am. The lowest degree of cold on record in the territory'.

Average High/Low for Minneapolis
February 10th

Average High: 27F (Record: 49F set in 1877)
Average Low: 11F (Record: -24F set in 1885)

Record Rainfall: 0.62" set in 2013
Record Snowfall: 4.3" set in 1953

Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
February 10th

Sunrise: 7:21am
Sunset: 5:34pm

Hours of Daylight: ~10 hours & 13 minutes

Daylight GAINED since yesterday: ~ 2 minutes & 49 seconds
Daylight GAINED since winter solstice (December 21st): ~1 hour and 27 minutes

Moon Phase for February 10th at Midnight
1.6 Days Before First Quarter Moon


What's in the Night Sky?

According to this is what will be visible in the night sky over the next several nights: 

"On February 9, 10 and 11, 2019, use the moon to find the red planet Mars, which still shines as brightly as a 1st-magnitude star, or one of the brightest stars in our sky. Then let Mars help you find a much fainter planet, distant Uranus. You’ll have no trouble seeing Mars, even in the glare of the waxing crescent moon. But chances are you won’t spot the planet Uranus with the eye alone; use your binoculars for this one, or a small telescope. Mars and Uranus are now quite close together on our sky’s dome. If you have binoculars, aim them at Mars to glimpse Uranus in the same binocular field. Just don’t mistake the star Omicron Piscium for Uranus. This star is brighter than Uranus. It makes a nice triangle with Mars and Uranus in a single binocular field."

National High Temps Sunday
High temps across the country on Sunday will be quite chilly across much of the nation with the coldest stuff located in the High Plains.
Weather Outlook
Here's the weather oulook across the naiton as we head through the weekend. Note that another blob of moisture will move through the mid-section of the nation with areas of snow and ice north with areas of rain to the south. Meanwhile, heavy Pacific moisture will continue in the Western US, which will lead to heavy moutain snow and heavier coastal rains. Interestingly, that batch of moisture will be our next weather maker across the Upper Midwest into next week. Stay tuned.

7 Day Precipitation Potential

According to NOAA's WPC, the 7 day precipitation potential shows heavy precipitation continuing across the Western half of the country and especially in the Sierra Nevada Range where feet of snow will pile up! Meanwhile, another surge of heavier moisture will be found across parts of the Tennessee Valley.

"Melting ice from Greenland and Antarctica could cause more extreme weather"
"If you think the weather has been crazy lately, just wait until global warming really kicks in. A scientific study released Wednesday suggests that melting ice from the world's coldest regions such as Greenland and Antarctica could bring more extreme weather and unpredictable temperature changes around the world. How will this happen? "According to our models, this melt water will cause significant disruptions to ocean currents and change levels of warming around the world,” said the study's lead author, Nick Golledge of Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. He said this increased temperature variability in both the atmosphere and the oceans could result in more frequent extreme weather events. The research predicts that in some parts of the world, hot and cold snaps will get longer and deeper, wet spells will get soggier and dry stretches will get longer, the Canadian Press reported."
"Are weather and climate the same thing? No, here’s the difference"
"There’s a lot of confusion between the terms weather and climate, what they mean and if they’re the same thing. They’re not, but they are closely related. Weather, as in a weather forecast, refers to short-term conditions in the atmosphere in a particular location or region. Climate, on the other hand, describes the average daily weather for extended periods, such as if winters are cold and snowy or if summers are hot and humid, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Basically, climate is the average weather pattern in an area over a longer period of time, and weather patterns, according to NOAA, are caused by the flow in atmosphere. “Weather is the mix of events that happen each day in our atmosphere,” NOAA reported. Although there is just one atmosphere on Earth, the weather is different around the world and changes over minutes, hours, days and weeks. A given area may experience a warm winter, or maybe a wet month or even a rainy decade, but those variance are still weather-related."

See more from AJC HERE:

"Met Office: global warming could exceed 1.5C within five years"
"Lowest Paris agreement target may temporarily be surpassed for first time between now and 2023. Global warming could temporarily hit 1.5C above pre-industrial levels for the first time between now and 2023, according to a long-term forecast by the Met Office. Meteorologists said there was a 10% chance of a year in which the average temperature rise exceeds 1.5C, which is the lowest of the two Paris agreement targets set for the end of the century. Until now, the hottest year on record was 2016, when the planet warmed 1.11C above pre-industrial levels, but the long-term trend is upward. Man-made greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are adding 0.2C of warming each decade but the incline of temperature charts is jagged due to natural variation: hotter El Niño years zig above the average, while cooler La Ninã years zag below. In the five-year forecast released on Wednesday, the Met Office highlights the first possibility of a natural El Niño combining with global warming to exceed the 1.5C mark."


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