Paul Douglas is a nationally respected meteorologist with 33 years of television and radio experience. A serial entrepreneur, Douglas is Senior Meteorologist for WeatherNation TV, a new, national 24/7 weather channel with studios in Denver and Minneapolis. Founder of Media Logic Group, Douglas and a team of meteorologists provide weather services for media at Broadcast Weather, and high-tech alerting and briefing services for companies via Alerts Broadcaster. His speaking engagements take him around the Midwest with a message of continuous experimentation and reinvention, no matter what business you’re in. He is the public face of “SAVE”, Suicide Awareness, Voices of Education, based in Bloomington. | Send Paul a question.
By Todd Nelson
March in Minnesota is typically a transition month; bouts of cooler air and shots of wintry precipitation are not uncommon, but come on... this is ridiculous!
The winter hangover continues. Mother Nature doesn't seem to be responding to the increase daylight just yet and certainly not close to home. Brisk wind chills over the past couple of days have, perhaps, brought back unpleasant memories. Look on the bright side, at least you're getting extra mileage out of that trendy winter coat you bought last year, it still looks good.
As of midday Wednesday, there was still 8" of snow on the ground 'officially' at the MSP Airport. Interestingly, the last time we had an 'official' snowpack on the Vernal Equinox was in 2006! The concern; the longer the cold air and deep snowpack stick around, the greater the threat for a rapid snow melt and flooding. We're hoping that when the warmer air finally decides to return, it doesn't furnace blast in like it did last year.
In the meantime, another winter storm is developing, but it'll sail mainly south of us. Shovelable snow could make a return to Kansas City to Chicago over the weekend, we get a few flurries.
Todd's Star Tribune Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:
WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy and cold! Low: 4. Winds: NW 5-10.
THURSDAY: Jacket needed. High: 24. Winds: NW 5-10.
THURSDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy, still cool. Low: 8.
FRIDAY: Hazy sun, light snow in western MN late. High: 31.
SATURDAY: Clouds thicken, light snow late? Low: 16. High: 35.
SUNDAY: Bulk of storm looks to sail south. Light snow/flurries possible for us. Low: 23. High: 35.
MONDAY: Mostly cloudy, passing flake? Low: 22. High: 36.
TUESDAY: A pesky flake, nothing rough. Low: 23. High: 36.
WEDNESDAY: A little light at the end of the tunnel? Slightly warmer. Low: 24. High: 38.
Welcome to warmer temps, melting snow, budding trees and flowers. We're getting word that the cherry blossoms are starting to bloom in Washington D.C. - now that's a sure sign of Spring! By the way the National Cherry Blossom Festival starts March 20th and runs through April 14th. Peak bloom prediction this year is April 3rd-6th...
Thanks to the National Mall and Memorial Parks FB Page for the picture and information below.
"The Autumn Flowering Cherry - Prunus subhirtella var. autumnalis – Has started to bloom in the park around the Washington Monument. Autumn Cherry trees bloom in the spring, fall, and during warm winters. Known to be among the longest living, most cold, heat, and stress tolerant of the ornamental cherry trees."
Is That A Bear Cub?
Even the bears are awake! Thanks to the WA Dept of Fish and Wildlife for the picture below. Question: Why do bears wear socks? Answer: Because they have bear feet!
Another Sign of Spring...?
For those who live around the Great Lakes Region, the resumption of shipping traffic means that Spring is here! Thanks to Wanda Brandt for the picture below from Duluth, MN. The Mesabi Miner was the first ship to leave the Duluth port this season. It left Wednesday morning and was headed to Marquette, MI with a load of coal.
This is another cool bookmark for you. It's a link to LIVE shipping traffic across the Great Lakes.
Cold Start to Spring
Here's the webcam from downtown Duluth as the Mesabi Miner was leaving port. The morning low temperature (over the hill) was 3F with a wind chill by mid morning still at -10F! Even though the calendar says Spring, it sure doesn't feel like it.
Duluth 2012 vs. 2013
What a difference a year makes. March 20th, 2012 it was 62F in Duluth. March 20th, 2013 the forecast high was for 17F! Average high by the way is 35F.
Twin Cities 2012 vs. 2013
Here's another big swing. March 20th, 2012 we hit 65F. The forecast for March 20th, 2013 was 20F. Average high is 43F.
Twin Cities 2012 vs. 2013
The picture below is SO GOOD that I had to share it again today... Thanks to photojournalist Deb Lyngdal via KARE 11 for the picture below. Look at how different it looked in the Twin Cities on March 18th, 2012 vs. March 18th, 2013.
Snow Depth 2012 vs. 2013
For the first day of Spring 2013, there was nearly 30% of the country covered by snow with an average snow depth of 5.1" -- Last year on the 20th of March, nearly 20% of the country was covered with an average depth of 3.7". Note that most of the eastern half of the country last year was NOT covered in snow, this year we still have a fairly decent snow pack across the northern tier of the nation.
Twin Cities Snow Depth
I thought this was interesting. As of March 20th, 2013 there was still 8" of snow on the ground 'officially' at the MSP Airport. You have to go all the way back to 2006 to see snow on the ground on the date of a Vernal Equinox.
MN Severe Weather in March 2012?
Thanks to my good friend Bill Doms (www.wxmnchaser.com) for the picture below also out of Minnesota. These two pictures were taken on March 19th. The top one is from 2013 and the bottom one is from 2012. Note that this year, we still have quite a wintry landscape and even ice over Minnesota lakes. Last year on the 19th, Bill captured a line of thunderstorms near the same area, that's a shelf cloud or the leading edge of a line of thunderstorms... it looks like it was heading right toward him!
2012 MN March Tornado
Crazy to think that at this point last year, Minnesota has already seen it's first tornado. It was an EF0 that occurred in Elysian.
Jet Stream in 2012
This is what the jet stream looked like on March 20th, 2012. A huge ridge in the eastern part of the country (which persisted for days) helped to bring many temperature records to the table.
Jet Stream in 2013
The jet stream for March 20th, 2013 looks quite a bit different doesn't it? Note that it is almost the complete opposite. This time the cold air is in the east and the warmer air is out west.
Wednesday Departure From Average
The departure from average across the Nation on Wednesday was nearly -10F to -30F below average on the first day of Spring.
Thursday Highs From Normal
Temperatures on Thursday are expected to be several degrees below normal too. In fact, it appears that more of the country will be cooler than Wednesday.
The extended temperature outlook by the end of the month is still expected to be well below normal across the eastern half of the country.
Weekend Snow Potential?
Another storm will develop across the middle part of the country late week/weekend. The heaviest snow appears to be falling south of the Twin Cities Saturday and Sunday. It's still a developing storm, but the heaviest now looks to fall from near Kansas City, MO to Chicago, IL. The image below is the GFS (American model) solution by Saturday night. Strong thunderstorms will also be possible across the deep south. Stay tuned for more...
Thanks for checking in, have a great rest of your week!
Don't forget to follow me on Twitter @TNelsonWNTV
By Todd Nelson
An Irish proverb states that "A good laugh and a long sleep are the best two cures"... At this point, I think it's almost healthy to laugh about our nagging winter season. I guess I know now why bears sleep the whole winter!
Sunday funday weather will remain quiet. Winds pick up by late afternoon as the highly advertised storm moves in to the Dakotas. Unfortunately, the storm will move in overnight with quick 2" to 4" of snow. Perfect timing, right? Just what we need, another white-knuckle commute. If it's any consolation, this won't be the "SnowNami" potential that you may have heard about a few days ago. The bulk of the heavy snow will fall across far northern Minnesota and Canada. Cold and blustery winds get your attention by Monday afternoon. This will create blowing and drifting problems, so roads may still be a bit problematic by the evening commute.
Although the calendar will say Spring on Wednesday, it'll be a bit of a seasonal time warp for us as we struggle to get to 20F both Tuesday and Wednesday. Average highs are now in the low 40s, which we may not see until next weekend? Last year on this day, we hit 80F; our earliest 80F in March ever!
Todd's Star Tribune Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:
SUNDAY: Getting breezy by afternoon. Sun fades and snow develops overnight. High : 28. Winds: SE 10-20
SUNDAY NIGHT: Snow develops. 1" to 3" by daybreak. Low: 21
MONDAY: White-knuckle AM commute. Snow lingers, total storm accumulation of 2" to 4" by midday Monday. Windy with blowing and drifting snow through the afternoon. High: 28. Winds: WNW 15-30
TUESDAY: Feels like winter again. Low: 5. High: 20.
WEDNESDAY : Hello Spring! Where are you? Low: 3. High: 20.
THURSDAY: Less wind, doesn't feel as raw Low: 7. High: 25.
FRIDAY: Cool breeze. Partly sunny. Low: 12. High: 31.
SATURDAY: Partly sunny, a bit warmer. Low: 18. High: 38.
Happy St. Patrick's Day!
I think one of my favorite sights on St. Patrick's Day is the green river in Chicago! Thanks to my good friend, Matt Funk, who made the trip down to Chicago this year for the festivities!
Thanks to @FishinNiagara for the picture below. Neat look at still a wintry landscape.
Winter Weather Headlines
The National Weather Service has issued several winter weather headlines for a number of locations in the Midwest. Updates to this map will likely be needed as the storm nears.
Thanks to Aaron Rigsby for the picture below out of Ohio. Comet Pan-STARRS continues to shine in the evening sky. Don't forget to look west after sunset (weather permitting of course).
Have you ever heard of Astro Bob? He's from Duluth Minnesota and runs an incredible blog on "Celestial happenings you can see in your own backyard".
"Use this map to find Comet PANSTARRS now through March 31. It depicts the sky facing west-northwest 30 minutes after sunset. The comet’s height remains fairly steady at about 10-14 degrees but it moves steadily northward (to the right). The yellow circles represent the sun’s position every 3 days. It also moves northward but more slowly. One fist equals about 10 degrees of sky. Created with Chris Marriott’s SkyMap software"
Will The Sky Turn Green on St. Patty's Day?
Why not! Just in time for St. Patty's day, dwellers in the northern latitudes might be able to see some green in the sky!
"A magnetic filament snaking around sunspot AR1692 erupted on March 15th at about 0600 UT. The slow explosion, which took hours to unfold, produced an M1-class solar flare and a bright CME. SOHO (the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory) photographed the expanding cloud, which is heading directly toward Earth:"
"The CME left the sun traveling some 900 km/s (2 million mph). Three-dimensional computer models based on observations from SOHO and NASA's twin STEREO probes predict the CME will cross the void between sun and Earth in two days or less. NOAA forecasters estimate a 70% chance of polar geomagnetic storms when the cloud arrives on March 17th. This means the sky could turn green on St. Patrick's Day! High latitude (and possibly even middle latitude) sky watchers should be alert for auroras this weekend."
The National Weather Service out of Alaska shared this on their Facebook page on Saturday. It was early morning northern lights captured by Youtube user Splecaknet! Pretty awesome!!
Thanks for checking in, have a great rest of your weekend!
Don't forget to follow me on Twitter @TNelsonWNTV
"Paul, where should I turn: local TV meteorologists, computer models, or plowing companies, who seem to have some of the best information?" All of the above.
Take all the snowfall predictions and divide by 2. That will be closer to reality.
Beware of models; they're only as good as the physics involved, and the quality of weather data feeding these simulations. The art is knowing which model to believe, and when. I've discovered (the hard way) that it's better to be conservative with snowfall predictions. Because Mother Nature always finds a new and creative way to trip you up.
Travel won't be a problem today; a surge of snow pushes in from the south late tonight. Rush hour tomorrow may be anything but with some 2-5 inch amounts possible (over 6" parts of southern MN).
As I've mentioned in the past - the air temperature during a storm is as important as "how many inches?" I expect 20-25 F tomorrow, a colder snow. Wheel tracking glazing, from traffic compacting snow, may result in glaze ice, especially Friday AM.
The storm next Tuesday doesn't look quite as impressive; a couple inches of slushier snow?
This may be one of the best weekends of winter to get out and PLAY in that snow!
Dueling Models. Here is the GFS solution, courtesy of Ham Weather, showing the heaviest amounts (3-5") over southeastern Minnesota. Some 4-8" snowfall amounts are likely over Iowa, with 15-20" amounts centered on southern Nebraska and Kansas.
NAM: Slightly More Aggressive With Snow Totals. Both ECMWF and NNAM are predicting just over .30" liquid. If the air temperature was 30-32 that would equate into about 3" of slushy snow. With temperatures tomorrow forecast to be in the low to mid 20s, there will be more air between the flakes, a slightly drier, more powdery snowfall, so we could still see 5" from this system, even though most of the moisture and energy will pass south of MSP.
* State of Emergency declared in Kansas City; snow falling at the rate of 2"/hour with thunder/lightning. Details.
A Tale Of Two Snowfalls. The predicted rain/snow ratio Friday is forecast to be 1:15 to 1:17, meaning 15" of snow for every inch of liquid precipitation. The latest NAM prints out about .37", which equates to 4-5", give or take. The best chance of 4-5" will probably come over the south metro. Another (wetter, slushier) snowfall is possible Tuesday of next week.
Track: A Bit Too Far South/East. A perfect storm track for significant snow at MSP runs from DSM (Des Moines) to La Crosse to EAU (Eau Claire). The predicted track with tomorrow's storm will be about 150 miles to far south east for the heaviest snow bands to set up right over the metro, but I still believe we'll be brushed by a few inches, probably enough to shovel/plow.
Grazed. The serious snows pile up over the Central Plains; this next pulse of moisture/energy weakening a bit as it pushes north late tonight and Friday. It'll still be a few inches, but no cause for panic. That said, it doesn't take much snow to gum up the freeways, and rush hour Friday morning will be rougher than usual.
Next Week's Storm: Few Inches (Probably Not A Major Storm). Thhe latest ECMWF (European) model pushes the track of the next storm a little too far south/east of MSP (again) for heavy snow. We may pick up a few inches of sloppy, slushy snow, temperatures closer to freezing may keep freeways mostly wet. Too early to tell.
Ski Scottsdale. O.K. It would have been rough, but possible Wednesday, at least in theory. Sleet and Arizona is not a good combination. From Lorinda Mishek: "While I was out today by our old townhouse a storm came up and within 20 minutes we had 2 inches of sleet. People stopped in the iddle of the freeway trying to clean off the cars and one young driver got out of her car, crying, not knowing what to do. Blocked traffic for miles!"
More Blizzards, Yet Less Snow Overall? I know it sounds like a disconnect, but it's the same trend we're seeing during the summer month: storms spaced farther apart, more time in-between rain events, but when it does decide to rain it comes down in buckets, torrents - tropical deluges. According to the Minnesota Climate Office southern Minnesota has experienced 3 separate 1-in-1,000 flash floods just since 2004. I could see one, but three? These trends are now spilling over into winter months, the result of a warmer atmosphere above to hold more water vapor. Basic physics. Here are more climate science details in today's 2.30 WeatherNation Update.
$188 Billion Price Tag From U.S. Severe Weather From 2011 To 2012. Climate Progress and beforeitsnews.com have the story; here's an excerpt: "The United States was subjected to many severe climate-related extreme weather over the past two years. In 2011 there were 14 extreme weather events — floods, drought, storms, and wildfires — that each caused at least $1 billion in damage. There were another 11 such disasters in 2012. Most of these extreme weather events reflect part of the unpaid bill from climate change — a tab that will only grow over time...."
Budget Cuts Threaten Weather Forecasts, NOAA Warns. Here's a clip of a story from Climate Central and Huffington Post that made me do a double-take: "Automatic budget cuts set to take effect March 1 could add to the woes of the federal government’s troubled weather satellite programs, jeopardizing future forecasts, a top official said Friday. “It’s not going to be pretty,” outgoing National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration chief Jane Lubchenco said of the package of across-the-board spending cuts known as “sequestration.” “The sequester has the potential to wreak havoc with so many different things, and satellites loom large within that,” she told reporters at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. “There’s just so much uncertainty. Nobody knows how long it might last, and it’s very difficult to plan for that...”
Photo credit above: "The VIIRS sensor on the NOAA/NASA Suomi NPP satellite passed over the central eye of Hurricane Sandy on Oct. 25, 2012. Without the satellite data, NOAA’s weather forecasts would become less reliable." Credit: JPSS/NOAA/NASA
Weather Satellites Could Miss The Next Hurricane Sandy. There may be a serious gap in coverage with the POES (polar orbiting) weather satellites; data which is fed into computer models, data which made a tangible difference forecasting major winter storms (and Sandy) during recent years. Here's a portion of a Yahoo Finance article that caught my eye: "...Since the 1970′s, America had two sets of polar-orbiting weather satellites, one operated by the government’s weather researchers, and the other by military. In 1994, it was decided that combining them into one operation would save a lot of money. After 16 years of unsuccessful attempts to do that, the government threw up its hands and decided to split the task, giving the weather agency the late afternoon orbit and the military the early morning, with the mid-day orbit shared with the European space agency. But even these separate plans have been plagued by delays, and the GAO warns that the gap in afternoon coverage by the weather researchers could last from 17 to 53 months. The defense department, meanwhile has decided to launch previously mothballed satellites. which may not have the technology to perform the kinds of observation needed for weather forecasting..."
More Images From The New England Storm. Here's an excerpt of a fascinating story at NASA's Earth Observatory: "Marshall Shepherd, current president of the American Meteorological Society and director of the atmospheric science program at the University of Georgia, tweeted out this annotated version of a Terra MODIS satellite image of the storm aftermath. It seems that the monumental snowfall highlighted some land features of New England, including its longest river, one of the largest manmade reservoirs in the United States (Quabbin), and the scar of a vicious tornado..."
Impact-Based Severe Storm Warnings. NOAA is testing new wording (to get consumers to take action, to actually get up off their couches) in Kansas and Missouri. Here's an excerpt of a story (and video) from WICS-TV: "From now on, severe weather events will include “impact-based” warnings. The idea has been tested in Missouri and Kansas already. The focus is to include statements that indicate how much damage will come with a storm, to give the public a better idea of a storm’s severity. The NWS works with local television and radio stations, as well as emergency management agencies, to disseminate storm information to the public through broadcasts and sirens. Generally, the Logan County Emergency Management Agency uses three factors to determine when they activate their outdoor sirens..."
In America Weather Forecasters Get A Yugo While Climate Modelers Gets A Ferrari. Here's a portion of a post from Eric Berger at The San Francisco Chronicle: "Cliff Mass, a professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington, recently posted some eye-opening graphics about computers used by national forecasters. The post came after a forecast model run by the European forecast center (ECMWF) kicked the tail of the U.S. model (Global Forecast System) in regard to both Hurricane Sandy and the recent blizzard that struck the northeastern United States. In both cases the European model showed a clear severe storm threat to the northeastern United States five days out where the American model did not. “Disappointing,” Mass concludes. If you’re interested, I also recently interviewed one of the top European modelers about some of reasons why they’ve become so successful..."
Researchers Prove Air Pollution Causes Heart Attacks. Forbes has the eye-opening article; here's the intro: "Air pollution causes heart attacks and death. Especially when the pollutants include ozone and particulate matter. And more often in the summer time, when ozone levels are higher. These are the conclusions of researchers at Rice University who studied the 11,677 cases of cardiac arrest logged by emergency services personnel in Houston, Tx. between 2004 and 2011. They found that during periods of peak pollution, the heart attack risk to Houston residents increases as much as 4.6%..." (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan).
* America's 20 Dirtiest Cities? 7 of them are in California. Forbes has the details here.
"The Master in the Art of Living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education, his love, and his religion. He simply pursues his vision of excellence in everything he does, leaving others to determine whether he is at work or at play."
- Zen Wisdom
19 F. high in the Twin Cities Wednesday. 5" snow on the ground at MSP.
31 F. average high for February 20.
44 F. high on February 20, 2012. 0" snow on the ground at MSP.
Paul's Star Tribune Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:
TODAY: Clouds increase. No travel problems during the day. Winds: E 10-15. High: 22
THURSDAY NIGHT: Weather Advisory. Dry evening. Snow arrives during the wee hours of the morning. Low: 19
FRIDAY: Weather Advisory. Snow. 2-5" metro (best chance of 4-5" south metro). Roads will be icy, especially AM commute. High: 25
SATURDAY: Mostly cloudy, better travel conditions. Wake-up: 15. High: 23
SUNDAY: Patchy clouds, a little sun - milder. Wake-up: 11. High: near 30
MONDAY: Mostly cloudy, mix possible at night. Wake-up: 23. High: 32
TUESDAY: Wet slushy snow. Couple inches? Wake-up: 29. High: 33
WEDNESDAY: Flurries taper, clouds linger. Wake-up: 23. High: near 30
Bill McKibben visted The University of Minnesota last night, talking about climate change's impact on Minnesota, and what will happen if the Keystone XL Pipeline is approved (he was arrested protesting the pipeline last week in Washington D.C.). His all volunteer organization, 350.org, is global in scope, thousands of people concerned about the implications of a warmer, stormier world. He's skiing the Birkie this weekend (in his free time - which he has precious little of these days).
Climate Change Series: Global Warming A Threat To National Security. I know Admiral David Titley of the Navy; he's a friend and a former classmate. He was also a climate skeptic, before seeing the effects of a changing climate in his role at the Navy. Here is an excerpt of an interview at wbur.org: "It’s all about the water. Okay, it’s partly about food and energy, too. But from a national security perspective, climate change is all about the water: where it is or isn’t, how much or how little there is, how quickly it changes from one state (e.g., solid ice to liquid water) to another. Because of the effects of climate change in the Arctic, for the first time in 500 years we’re opening a new ocean to navigation. The last guy who did that was Christopher Columbus. Until 2005, the Arctic Polar ice cap consisted mostly of multi-year ice — ice that had formed two or more years before the date of measurement and was generally 2 to 4 meters (6.6 to 13 feet) thick and much harder to break through than first-year ice. Since 2007, most Arctic ice is now less than a year old and less than one meter thick. Climate scientists now expect that by 2030 much of the Arctic Ocean will be free of ice several months a year, opening it for commercial navigation just as the Baltic Sea is now...."
Photo credit above: "In this Aug. 20, 2009 photo, released by the USGS, the Coast Guard Cutter Healy breaks ice ahead of the Canadian Coast Guard Ship, in the Arctic Ocean. The ship is taking part in a multi-year, multi-agency Arctic survey that will help define the Arctic continental shelf." (Patrick Kelley/AP)
Weather Warning: Study Examines Climate Change As National Security Issue. What does the CIA know that we don't know? Plentty, including the implications of shifting climates and the potential for changes in drought frequency and access to clean water to be a tipping point for minor things like...revolutions, uprisings and civil wars. Here's an excerpt of a very interesting story from The Harvard Gazette: "...One of the recommendations in our report is the need for a serious investment in measurement and observation. It’s really important to keep doing that, otherwise we’re going to be flying blind.” “The bottom line is that our national security depends on our ability to sustain and augment our scientific and technical capacity to monitor unfolding events and forewarn of important changes,” Baker said. “The imminent increase in extreme events will affect water availability, energy use, food distribution, and critical infrastructure — all elements of both domestic and international security.”
We Need Climate CHANGE. CNBC has some interesting numbers in this Op-Ed; here's an excerpt: "...Moreover, the National Academy of Sciences reported in 2010 that 97 percent of 1,372 climate researchers agree that these fundamental changes in our climate are human-caused. By contrast, Republican Senator Rubio's skepticism may be based on a very different set of numbers, such as 146 million. That's the number of dollars spent in recent years by the Virginia-based Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund to cast doubt on the causes of climate change. This money is more than double the contributions made to similar denial groups by the more widely publicized Koch brothers and seven times the funding provided by ExxonMobil during a similar period. It total, these funds can buy a lot of doubt about the overwhelming scientific consensus and the weather patterns that are changing before our eyes..."
Even Deadly Meteors And Asteroids May Not Unite The Human Race. David Horsey has a cartoon (and message) that resonates in the L.A. Times; here's an excerpt: "...Similarly, many of the same people refuse to accept the settled scientific facts that indicate the changing global climate is bringing more destructive storms, drought and rising seas. They cannot honestly refute the science, so they willfully ignore it. They have a vested interest in the status quo and so choose short-term political and economic gain over the long-term welfare of the human race. It is oh-so-much easier to blame the president, blame a conspiracy of international scientists or talk about God’s wrath than it is to tell the oil and coal companies and the polluting industries that provide large donations at election time that they cannot do business as they have in the past...."
Cartoon credit above: "Russian meteor would not convince science skeptics of anything." (David Horsey / Los Angeles Times / February 18, 2013)
Forecasting Climate With A Chance Of Backlash. My friend, Jim Gandy, is a seasoned TV meteorologist in Columbia, South Carolina, a (very) red state. He's been including regular segments on climate change in his television weathercasts, tying it into the changes South Carolinians are already witnessing all around them. Jim's efforts are featured in this NPR story, where I'm briefly quoted. Here's an excerpt: "When it comes to climate change, Americans place great trust in their local TV weathercaster, which has led climate experts to see huge potential for public education. The only problem? Polls show most weather presenters don't know much about climate science, and many who do are fearful of talking about something so polarizing. In fact, if you have heard a weathercaster speak on climate change, it's likely been to deny it. John Coleman in San Diego and Anthony Watts of Watts Up With That? are among a group of vocal die-hards, cranking out blog posts and videos countering climate science. But even many meteorologists who don't think it's all a hoax still profoundly distrust climate models. "They get reminded each and every day anytime their models don't prove to be correct," says Ed Maibach, who directs the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University, and has carried out several surveys of TV weathercasters. "For them, the whole notion of projecting what the climate will be 30, 50, a hundred years from now, they've got a fairly high degree of skepticism"....
Is It Time For A National Climate Summit? The short answer is yes. Here's an excerpt of a story at The Summit County Citizens Voice: "Citing damage from intense storms like Sandy, more intense and frequent wildfires and prolonged droughts, a coalition of national groups, including the American Meteorological Society and the American Fisheries Society, are calling for a national, science-based climate summit. In a Feb. 8 letter to President Bararck Obama, the groups said the summit “would be designed to identify policies and actions that can be taken by each Federal agency and by state and local governments to address the causes and effects of climate change.” Other groups signing on to the letter include: Society for Conservation Biology, Society for Ecological Restoration, The Wildlife Society and the Ecological Society of America..."
China To Introduce Carbon Tax: Official. Now I've seen everything. Here's a clip from the China's official news agency, Xinhua: "BEIJING, Feb. 19 (Xinhua) -- China will proactively introduce a set of new taxation policies designed to preserve the environment, including a tax on carbon dioxide emissions, according to a senior official with the Ministry of Finance (MOF). The government will collect the environmental protection tax instead of pollutant discharge fees, as well as levy a tax on carbon dioxide emissions, Jia Chen, head of the ministry's tax policy division, wrote in an article published on the MOF's website. It will be the local taxation authority, rather than the environmental protection department, that will collect the taxes..."
Volcanic CO2 Caused Ancient Episodes Of Global Warming. Keep in mind that (today), volcanoes spew greenhouse about the same amount of greenhouse gases, including CO2, as the state of Florida. It wasn't always this way - tens and hundreds of millions of years ago volcanoes were erupting (simultaneously) around the world, pumping enormous amounts of carbon into the atmosphere, leading to dramatic warming. Climate Central has the details; here's a clip: "The main effect of volcanoes in the modern world is to cool the planet by throwing particles of sulfur dioxide high into the stratosphere, where they temporarily block the Sun. In the distant past, however, paleo-climatologists have long believed that volcanic activity was a major cause of global warming. Massive eruptions - far more powerful than anything going on today - can pump large amoounts of heat-trapping carbon dioxide into the air. The problem with that theory is that those events don't last long enough to explain periods of warmer climate that have lasted tens of millions of years..."
Photo credit above: "The new idea is that it's a more sustainted series of eruptions from volcanoes in strategic locations along the edge of continents that cause these long periods of warmth." Credit: flickr/NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center.
Chilly. Cold. Bitter. Polar. "It only hurts when I breathe" a friend snorted. "This is why bears hibernate" another shrugged. Look at the bright side: when it's this Nanook the crime rate plummets. And your garbage doesn't stink.
What baffles me every January: how did our great, great, GREAT grandparents survive a Minnesota winter - before central heating, cable and heated car seats? We were settled by a supernaturally-hardy species of supermen and superwomen.
No need to take that Yukon vacation; a taste of the Great White North is coming to you. Subzero temperatures are likely from tonight into midday Tuesday; 36-48 hours of negative numbers. Monday wind chills dip to -35 in the metro, -45 up north.
It would be even colder if not for brown ground and a lack of snow, which acts as an insulator. If you've had problems with frozen pipes in years past you'll want to pay attention.
Inspect your kids before sending them off to the bus stop Monday. The "no exposed skin" rule is in full effect. In my case it's in effect pretty much yearround.
Welcome to the coldest week of winter; a coating of snow Thursday - a thaw returns a week from tomorrow.
Historically, January is the coldest, snowiest month of the year. OK, we're batting .500.
Peak Saturday Wind Gusts:
61 mph. Jordan
56 mph. Alexandria
55 mph. MSP International Airport
54 mph. Montevideo
54 mph. Glenwood
Windchill Watch. Underscoring how dangerous the current and predicted chill factors will be, here's the latest from the Twin Cities National Weather Service:
URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TWIN CITIES/CHANHASSEN MN 811 PM CST SAT JAN 19 2013 ...LOW WIND CHILLS TONIGHT...BUT DANGEROUS WIND CHILLS POSSIBLE SUNDAY NIGHT INTO MONDAY... .THE COMBINATION OF GUSTY NORTHWEST WINDS AND TEMPERATURES DROPPING INTO THE SINGLE DIGITS BELOW ZERO WILL CAUSE HAZARDOUS WIND CHILLS AROUND 25 BELOW OVER PORTIONS OF CENTRAL MINNESOTA INTO WEST CENTRAL WISCONSIN LATE TONIGHT INTO SUNDAY MORNING. ANOTHER ARCTIC FRONT WILL SURGE SOUTHEAST SUNDAY WITH EVEN COLDER AIR ARRIVING SUNDAY EVENING. LOW TEMPERATURES SUNDAY NIGHT WILL RANGE FROM 10 TO 15 BELOW NEAR THE IOWA BORDER...TO 20 TO 25 BELOW ACROSS CENTRAL MINNESOTA. THESE BITTERLY COLD TEMPERATURES COMBINED WITH A NORTHWEST WIND OF 10 TO 15 MPH WILL CREATE WIND CHILLS OF 35 TO 45 BELOW ZERO THROUGH MONDAY MORNING...WITH THE COLDEST READINGS OVER CENTRAL MINNESOTA. ONLY A SLIGHT MODERATION OF TEMPERATURES IS EXPECTED DURING THE DAY MONDAY WITH HIGHS EXPECTED TO RANGE FROM 1 BELOW TO 11 BELOW. ANOTHER BITTERLY COLD NIGHT IS ANTICIPATED MONDAY NIGHT WITH LOWS OF 12 TO 25 BELOW BUT LIGHTER WINDS LEAVE ENOUGH UNCERTAINTY OF SUB 35 BELOW WIND CHILLS FOR A WIND CHILL WATCH AT THIS TIME. ...WIND CHILL ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 11 AM CST SUNDAY... ...WIND CHILL WATCH IN EFFECT FROM SUNDAY EVENING THROUGH MONDAY AFTERNOON... THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN TWIN CITIES/CHANHASSEN HAS ISSUED A WIND CHILL WATCH...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM SUNDAY EVENING THROUGH MONDAY AFTERNOON. * WIND CHILL VALUES...AROUND 25 BELOW TONIGHT AND SUNDAY MORNING...AND AROUND 45 BELOW SUNDAY NIGHT AND MONDAY MORNING. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS... A WIND CHILL ADVISORY MEANS THAT VERY COLD AIR AND STRONG WINDS WILL COMBINE TO GENERATE LOW WIND CHILLS. THIS WILL RESULT IN FROST BITE AND LEAD TO HYPOTHERMIA IF PRECAUTIONS ARE NOT TAKEN. IF YOU MUST VENTURE OUTDOORS...MAKE SURE YOU WEAR A HAT AND GLOVES. A WIND CHILL WATCH MEANS THERE IS THE POTENTIAL FOR A COMBINATION OF VERY COLD AIR AND STRONG WINDS TO CREATE DANGEROUSLY LOW WIND CHILL VALUES. MONITOR THE LATEST FORECASTS AND WARNINGS FOR UPDATES ON THIS SITUATION.
Coldest Week Of Winter. If there was any doubt in my mind (or yours), this graphic should erase it altogether. I expect 40-44 hours of air temperatures below zero, from this evening thru midday Tuesday; highs Tuesday will barely rise above zero. A reinforcing shot of cold air arrives late in the week, subzero again Saturday morning before we finally pull out of the Deep Freeze.
Serious Wind Chills. We've heard the drills (although not so much in recent years). Multiple layers, no exposed skin, warm hat (covering the ears). Warm footwear. Make sure your kids (or lazy spouse) dresses for the elements, especially Monday morning, when wind chills in the metro reach their lowest values; around -30 to -32 F. Exposed skin can become frostbitten in less than 5 minutes.
It's been 4 years since we've had to shiver like this; January of 2009 was fairly harsh with 15 subzero nights and 3 subzero days. Plenty cold. This time around won't be quite that severe, but for most Minnesotans....cold enough. Monday will be the first subzero day in 4 years, a morning wind chill of -30 to -33 F. at the bus stop. Frostbite weather. Slight moderation is expected later in the week (although I wouldn't characterize it as a "warm front") before another relapse late in the week. A thaw is likely a week from tomorrow, thank God. Snow? Long-range models (which I sure wouldn't bet the farm on) are hinting at a major snowfall the very end of January. I'm skeptical, but we're due for a real storm. So far we've seen just over an inch of snow, during this, the snowiest month of the year. On paper.
Fun With Negative Numbers. The ECMWF predicted highs above are in Celsius, showing the coldest temperatures Monday and Tuesday, another slug of bitter air by the end of the week. No significant snow is on tap (too cold - the storm track has been shoved way south). A coating is possible Thursday and Friday, little more.
Late January Snowstorm? It's way too early to get excited, but the GFS model spins up an impressive storm over the Upper Midwest around January 30th, a Wednesday. Please circle your calendar. I'm skeptical ("when in a drought don't predict rain....or snow") but in the spirit of full disclosure, computer model warts and all, here goes. Place your bets.
What A Week. 2,871 temperature records, nationwide, in the span of a week. Record warmth east of the Mississippi, record chill west of the Rockies, and now the coldest air of winter is pushing south out of Canada. For an interactive map from Ham Weather showing details for each (dot) click here.
Absence Of Below Zero F. High Temperatures. In this week's Weathertalk Newsletter Dr. Mark Seeley has a good summary of the streak of above zero daytime highs here in the Twin Cities, but the warm bias is even showing up in the city famous for (among other things) testing car batteries, International Falls: "...For Twin Cities residents we may be seeing a remarkable record weather streak come to an end by Martin Luther King Day (Monday, Jan 21st). The Twin Cities have not reported a daytime high temperature below 0 F since January 15, 2009 (high of -6 F). By Monday, this streak will be 1466 days long, the longest such streak in the Twin Cities climate record back to 1873. In addition the National Weather Service reports a remarkable absence of below 0 F minimum temperatures for the Twin Cities in recent winters as well, with only 3 such days last winter, and 1 so far this winter. This trend, but to a lesser extent is obvious in the recent data for International Falls as well. There the average number of days when the high temperature remains below 0 F is about 10 per winter. Over the past three winters it has just been 3 days. In addition, overnight minimum temperatures at International Falls fall below 0 F slightly 60-61 days per winter on average. Last winter brought only 35 such days, and there have been only 26 such days so far this winter, well below average...
File photo above: AP. The local NWS office has more on our streak of days with daytime highs above zero here.
Days With One Inch Or More In The Twin Cities. So far this winter the Twin Cities have experienced 3 days with 1" or more of snow falling in a 24 hour period. As you can see from the graph above the Twin Cities pick up an average of 17 days/winter season with 1" or more of snow, on average. Oh, to be average again. Graph courtesy of the Twin Cities National Weather Service.
Primetime Wintertime. It's a bit strange to be getting intense cold - without the snow. If you're looking for serious snowfall amounts fly to London, or Paris, or the south of France. Details on the latest installment video of Climate Matters: "As the Midwest prepares for an arctic blast, snow is crippling travel in other parts of the world. Meteorologist Paul Douglas looks at some of the global temperature extremes and winter conditions around the globe."
Equation Of Time Solves Problem Of Gray Mornings. As of today sunset is 30 minutes later than it was on December 21, yet sunrise is only 3 minutes earlier. Why isn't it equal? This is a question I get often, and (sadly) there is no easy answer, but this New York Times article does the best job I've ever seen explaining the disconnect; here's an excerpt: "...Earth’s tilt means that every day during the fall, the angle at which we view the Sun changes. It appears farther south and travels a shorter arc across the sky, affecting sunrise and sunset equally, and making the day shorter. The changes in the solar time follow a different cycle. In the early 1600s, Kepler discovered that planets move faster at the part of their orbit that is closest to the sun, the perihelion. For Earth, perihelion comes a little after the winter solstice, so from November on, Earth is accelerating. That increased speed means we reach the Sun’s maximum a little earlier each day, which pushes solar noon backward against clock time. That shift is amplified because the Sun is traveling a little south each day, while clocks only count its east to west traverse. Add it all together and you get sunrise and sunset times that are not symmetrical..."
What's Causing Australia's Heat Wave? Here's an excerpt of a fascinating article at Australia's The Conversation, focusing on the factors converging to create historic heat across the country: "...And it’s not like these sorts of days occur that often. The records set last week sit between two and three standard deviations above the long-term January mean of 35°C. Perhaps more unusually, the Australian mean temperature (representing the average of the daytime maximum and night-time minimum) set record high values on both days at 32.22 (January 7) and 32.32°C (January 8), that were well above the previous high of 31.86°C, set in 1972. However, it is really the duration of this extreme heat wave that makes it so unusual, and so significant in terms of impacts..."
Graphic credit above: "Highest daily maximum temperature during the first two weeks of January." Australian Bureau of Meteorology.
Keeping The Boats Moving Along A Mississippi Dwindled By Drought. Things look a little better for navigation on the Mississippi, but officials are still concerned about 2013 conditions, with drought conditions upstream. The New York Times has the story; here's an excerpt" "...The fact that the river has remained open for business along the critical “Middle Miss” — the 200 miles between the Mississippi’s last dam-and-locks structure, above St. Louis, down to Cairo, Ill., where the plentiful Ohio River flows in — stems from a remarkable feat of engineering that involved months of nonstop dredging, blasting and scraping away of rock obstructions along the riverbed, effectively lowering the bottom of the channel by two feet. It has also involved exacting use of reservoirs along the vast river system that were initially designed by engineers using slide rules nearly 100 years ago to try to manage both flood and drought, as well as rock structures placed in recent years along the bank to direct water and speed it up, a bit like a thumb over the end of a garden hose..."
Photo credit above: "Barges work on dredging the Mississippi River near Thebes, Ill., Jan. 8, 2013. Despite withering drought that has caused record-breaking low water levels that threaten to shut down traffic on the Mississippi River, it remains open for business thanks to an engineering feat that lowered the bottom of the channel by two feet." (Tyler Bissmeyer/The New York Times)
"Hurricane Hunters" Kept Relentless Watch On 2012 Storms. Did you know that the Air Force flies their planes into (major) winter storms, to gather more accurate data for NOAA's computer models? Here's an excerpt of an article from the U.S. Air Force: "As the nation rebounds from 19 named storms and 11 major hurricanes in 2012, a small but hardy military organization keeps relentless watch to track and prepare for such disasters. Located at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, dubbed the "Hurricane Hunters" of the Air Force Reserve, is the Defense Department's sole organization dedicated to flying into tropical storms and hurricanes. The unit has performed the mission since 1944. In a "DOD Live" bloggers roundtable today, Lt. Col. Jon Talbot, 53rd WRS chief meteorologist, and Capt. John Brady, a meteorologist with the squadron, said collecting winter storm, hurricane and tropical cyclone data for the National Weather Service is critical in mitigating loss of life and property. Typically, a winter storm mission begins only if the weather system will have a large, societal impact somewhere in the United States, Talbot explained. "Winter storms kill more people than hurricanes do," Talbot said, noting his team's specialty in analyzing data over water, where information is sparse. "If the National Weather Service is seeing a lot of uncertainty in their [data], they'll contact our liaison team."
39 F. high in the Twin Cities Saturday (midday). Temperatures fell to 10 F. by 7 pm.
24 F. average high for January 19. That's up 1 degree from January 18, the first time average temperatures have risen in 6 months.
4 F. high on January 19, 2012.
One Very Misleading Thaw. Yesterday was a prime example of the benefits of weather balloon launches, hourly airport reports and computer modeling. Had you wandered out around midday, enjoying highs near 40 F. you might have thought the entire day would be almost March-like. Not quite. A fierce Arctic front arrived by afternoon, a sharp drop in air temperature whipping up 30-50 mph winds, creating white-outs and ground-blizzards over the Red River Valley. Since there's only a trace of snow (officially) in the Twin Cities there was precious little snow to blow around. Before the front arrived highs peaked at 35 Alexandria, 37 St. Cloud, 39 in the Twin Cities and 41 at Eau Claire.
Paul's Star Tribune Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:
TODAY: Biting breeze, flurries. Windchill -15 to -20. Winds: NW 15. High: 7
SUNDAY NIGHT: One of the coldest nights of winter. Flurries give way to partial clearing. Low: -13
MONDAY: Bitter sun. Coldest day in 4 years. Windchill: -30 to -35. High: -4
TUESDAY: Still Arctic, light winds. Wake-up: -15. High: 2
WEDNESDAY: Reinforcing cold shot. Help. Wake-up: -4. High: 7
THURSDAY: Coating of light snow possible. Wake-up: -7. High: 9
FRIDAY: Partly sunny, still too cold. Wake-up: 1. High: 6
SATURDAY: Dim sun, not quite as harsh. Wake-up: -5. High: 11
* 20s are likely a week from today (above zero). A thaw is likely next Monday, January 28. Grilling weather.
Heatwave, Storms, Flooding: Climate Change To Profoundly Affect U.S. Midwest In Coming Decades. Here's the intro to a story at Science Digest: "In the coming decades, climate change will lead to more frequent and more intense Midwest heat waves while degrading air and water quality and threatening public health. Intense rainstorms and floods will become more common, and existing risks to the Great Lakes will be exacerbated. Those are some of the conclusions contained in the Midwest chapter of a draft report released last week by the federal government that assesses the key impacts of climate change on every region in the country and analyzes its likely effects on human health, water, energy, transportation, agriculture, forests, ecosystems and biodiversity..."
Photo credit above: "A flooded urban street". (Credit: Don Becker, USGS)
Regardless Of Why, Climate Change Will Be Changing US In S.D. Here's an excerpt of an article at The Rapid City Journal that got my attention: "...Earlier this month, the U.S. Global Change Research Program issued the latest version of the national climate assessment. You can find it online at globalchange.gov.....The five key messages in the Great Plains chapter discuss:
Global Warming Brings Earlier Spring Flowers. Here's an excerpt of a story at Discovery.com: "...They found that as temperatures warmed over the last 161 years, the date of first blooms of the season crept forward, too — about 10 days earlier than when Thoreau first visited the site. During the record-breaking years of 2010 and 2012, flowering happened a full 20 to 21 days earlier. The average spring temperature at Walden Pond has increased about 6 degrees Fahrenheit (3.4 degrees Celsius) since Thoreau's time..."
Photo credit above: "In incredibly detailed notebooks, Thoreau documented the flowering times of species such as the wild columbine." TBoard | Flickr.com.
How Climate Change Is Damaging The Great Lakes, With Implications For The Environment And The Economy. The Center for American Progress and Think Progress have the story; here's an excerpt: "Great Lakes Michigan and Huron set a new record low water level for the month of December, and in the coming weeks they could experience their lowest water levels ever. It’s becoming certain that, like the rest of the country, the Great Lakes are feeling the effects of climate change. Last year was officially the warmest year on record for the lower-48 states. The hot summer air has been causing the surface water of the Great Lakes to increase in temperature. One might think this causes more precipitation around the lakes, but the warmer winter air is causing a shorter duration of ice cover. In fact, the amount of ice covering the lakes has declined about 71 percent over the past 40 years. Last year, only 5 percent of the lakes froze over –- compared to 1979 when ice coverage was as much as 94 percent...."
Limping into winter
By Todd Nelson
There were several reports of flip flops coming into the weather department yesterday... not sure if there was even a flip flop warning out at the time, but who would have ever thought it was even possible in Minnesota in the month of December? Good grief!
Midday Monday temperatures warmed into the 50s ahead of a cold front that brought a few sprinkles and light rain showers. I looked back at the data and found only 4 other occurrences of a +50F degree high temp in the month of December since 2000. The most recent was last year 52F the day after Christmas; the warmest was 63F on December 5th, 2001. By any measure, this is quite rare, even in more recent history.
The same Pacific storm responsible for flooding rains and feet of mountain snow out west was responsible for nearly +400 national record highs tied/broken over the last 7 days.
Even without the extremely warm start to December, 2012 will likely go down as the warmest year on record for the Lower 48. Globally, 2012 is on track to becoming the 9th hottest on record!
More 'normal' December weather may return for us by the weekend with a little light snow. We'll see... don't hold your breath. -Todd Nelson
Todd's Star Tribune Outlook for the Twin CIties and all of Minnesota:
TUESDAY: Not as foggy or soggy. Cool WNW breeze. High: 40. Winds: WNW 10-15mph
TUESDAY NIGHT: Mostly clear and cooler. Low: 20.
WEDNESDAY: Jacket weather. Sunny start with fading sun late. Overnight sprinkles develop (mixed with a few west flakes up north)? High: 35
THURSDAY: Brief rain showers possible early, more clouds. Low: 31. High: 44
FRIDAY: Clouds thicken, chance of light snow late? Low: 24. High: 32
SATURDAY: Cloudy with light snow. Low: 20. High: 30.
SUNDAY: More December-like, light snow chances early. Low: 21. High: 32.
MONDAY: Clearing, turning colder. Low: 18. High: 26.
Flip Flop Warning?
To say that it has been a warm start to December across the nation is an understatement! We’ve seen SEVERAL records tied or broken in the first couple/few days of the month. There were reports of flip flop sightings in the Twin Cities Monday afternoon where temperatures warmed to +50F! Thanks to@sarahoh423, who said “I spy flip flops in December” – pretty crazy isn’t it?!?
Record Warmth to Start December
Take a look at the number of record highs either tied or broken across the nation on December 1st & 2nd. According to the HamWeather.com map below, there have been 268 records!
Record Warmth Past Week
If we look back over the past week, since November 26th, we’ve seen more than 400 new record highs!
Highs From Normal Monday
Temperatures across the country on Monday were anywhere from 15° to nearly 30° above average across the middle part of the country. Temperatures here are more typical of October & November rather than December.
Another Warm One on Tuesday
A cool front will slide through the Great Lakes Region PM Monday/AM Tuesday and cool things off a bit from the western Great Lakes to the High Plains, but note how much warmer than normal most of the nation will be post cold front!
It’s a Foggy Situation
Because temperatures are so warm, we’ve had widespread fog across the eastern half of the nation for several days. Thanks to@ambersturgis for the unique picture below out of Fort Wayne, IN – who would of thought that fog could look so pretty?
Fog Causes Travel Troubles
Unfortunately for those traveling by air to Chicago or Detroit on Monday experienced some setbacks… There were several flights cancelled or delayed due to the widespread fog. The information below from www.flightaware.com showed around 130 flight cancelled across the nation on Monday with more than half of those occurring at Chicago and Detroit.
Why So Much Fog?
A large and nearly stationary Pacific storm, churning near the Gulf of Alaska, helped to bump the jet stream or strong upper level wind north into lower Canada. The result was unseasonably warm air riding over colder air as it slowly retreated north. Because of the sluggish movement of colder air near the surface, temperature inversions persisted for several days in some of the same areas, which made for a dreary weekend/early start to the work week. A “temperature inversion” is when temperature aloft are warmer than that near the ground. Temperature inversions trap moisture and pollutants near the ground and can be especially hard to break out of during this time of the year when the sun angle is so low and solar energy is at a minimum. It would be much easier to break into sunshine and mix out of the low clouds and fog during the summer months.
Example of an Inversion
Take a look at the atmospheric sounding from Minneapolis on Sunday, note the two lines the wiggle left and right as they go up. This is a plot of the temperature and dew point in the atmosphere as you go up with height, measurements that are taken by a radiosonde attached to a weather balloon. Note the line on the right, that’s the temperature profile. Note also how the line curves to the right very quickly… that’s a CLASSIC example of a temperature inversion or temperatures that rise with height. In the case below, temperatures at the surface were in the low 40s while temperatures a few thousand feet off the ground were in the low to mid 50s!
This is what it looked like in Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN around midday Monday. The 2nd picture is what it looked like in Duluth, MN around midday Monday.
Lack of Snow
The recent mild weather has had a major impact on potential snow and any snowpack that was out there. Take a look at how much below normal snowfall we are in the Twin Cities and surrounding areas this season.
Meanwhile Out West…
The same persistent and nearly stationary Pacific storm that has been responsible for the extremely mild start to December has been responsible for wild weather out west. The Pacific coast has been under constant barrage from heavy mountain snow, flooding rain and near hurricane force wind gusts. Here are some of the interesting images from out there…
Additional Precipitation Chances
NOAA’s HPC 5 day precipitation forecast suggests another round of heavy precipitation out west. In fact, some spots through northern California could pick up an additional 5″ or more through the early weekend.
Pacific Storm Breaks Loose?
Weather models are suggesting that the same storm responsible for record setting warmth across the nation and the wild weather in the west will also be responsible for a cooling trend into the weekend/early next week across parts of the nation. The storm system is still expected to wobble around the Gulf of Alaska through the end of the week, which will keep much of the nation above average in the temperature department.
Longer range models suggest that this Pacific storm will finally move from the Gulf Alaska and head into the Lower 48, somewhere near Denver, CO by late weekend/early next week. Also note the chunk of colder air that looks to follow the storm into the Northwest corner of the nation.
FANTASYLAND FORECAST… LOL ALERT… Anything past a couple/few days can be pretty laughable, so don’t take this literally. More importantly, models are picking up on *something* by the weekend/early next week. This forecast WILL change, but if you believe the ECMWF (euro) model, it brings actual snow to the Upper Mississippi Valley!! BTW, the Twin Cities is nearly 10″ behind normal snowfall for the season, so we’re due. Keep in mind that we’re following a very dismal winter of 2011-2012 that had only 22.3″ of snow and was the 9th least snowy season on record… “When in a drought, don’t predict rain (or snow)?” We’ll see if that’s the case once again this year. Stay tuned
Super Typhoon Bopha
Thoughts and prayers going out to everyone in the Philippines as super typhoon Bopha bears down on the areas. Thousands have fled their homes near the coast as Bopha (near category 4; winds near 140mph) impacts the area. Read more from abc.net HERE:
“A powerful typhoon is sweeping towards the Philippines, prompting nearly 8,000 people to leave their homes in coastal and low-lying areas. Typhoon Bopha, packing winds of up to 210 kilometres an hour, is expected to hit the east coast of the major southern island of Mindanao overnight. It is the strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines this year. President Benigno Aquino said in a meeting with the heads of emergency services broadcast on television that the area is expected to be hit between 4:00-6:00am Tuesday (2000-2200 GMT Monday).”
Thanks for checking in, have a great rest of your week
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