Paul Douglas is a nationally respected meteorologist with 35 years of television and radio experience. A serial entrepreneur, Douglas is Senior Meteorologist and Founder of Media Logic Group. Douglas and a team of meteorologists, engineers and developers provide weather services for various media at Broadcast Weather, high-tech alerting and briefing services for companies via Alerts Broadcaster and weather data, apps and API’s from Aeris Weather. 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.

50 Degrees Warmer Than Last Year - Was Northeast Blizzard Forecast a Bust?

Posted by: Paul Douglas under Lions, Super Bowl Updated: January 27, 2015 - 11:49 PM

The Grand Illusion

With apologies to the rock band Styx - I'm talking about a different illusion here. Recent years have brought a meteorological arms race: new weather models, higher resolution, more petaflops! Here is what I hear all the time:

"Paul, you blinking meathead, you have access to supercomputer and Doppler radar. You SHOULD be able to tell me exactly how many inches of snow will fall in my yard!"

In theory, yes. In reality, not even close.

Private and government (NOAA) forecasters in New York and Boston are under siege for overestimating Monday night's snowfall amounts. In their defense even the ECMWF (European) model busted. Total amounts ranged from 8 inches at Central Park to 21 at Sayville, Long Island, only 50 miles due east. I'm not sure weather models will ever able to effectively pinpoint such extremes over such a small geographical area.

Weather isn't an exact science, like economics or foreign policy.

After brushing 40F today we cool off Thursday; weekend snow passing south of Minnesota. A whiff of subzero air is expected on Groundhog Day, an even colder slap by the end of next week.

But no sign of polar air stalling nearby. Another Pacific thaw is shaping up for the second week of February.


20-30" snow for metro Boston. The forecast verified for Bean Town; details from CBS Boston. Photo credit: "Cars are buried by drifted snow along Marlborough Street, Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015, in Boston. A howling blizzard with wind gusts over 70 mph heaped snow on Boston along with other stretches of lower New England." (AP Photo/Dwayne Desaulniers).


Snowstorm's Forecast Was Mostly Right, Even If It Felt Wrong In New York. Manhattan was on the western edge of the heaviest snow bands; 40 miles made the difference between 8" and 21". Here's an excerpt from The New York Times: "...One of the difficulties with forecasting major storms, Dr. Sobel said, is that a small error in predicting the path of the storm can cause a much larger error in impact. “The bigger the event, the bigger the bust potential,” he said. In this storm, the predicted snowfall gradients — charts showing how much would accumulate where — were very steep. “So a little bit of track error means a big snowfall error,” he said..."

Photo credit above: "Snow swirls into the air as Ted Diamond operates a snow blower to clear out his driveway on Greenvale Drive in East Northport on Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015, in New York. Long Island was one of several areas throughout the state to be hit by a blizzard overnight into this morning." (AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek).


Partly Wrong With A Chance of Being Right: Weather Forecast. Why do weather models fail? In light of the Big Bust out east I wanted to include a link to a storyy at ScienceDaily; here's an excerpt: "...For example, they found that in the eastern Mediterranean, particles in the atmosphere were the most important cause of forecast fallacies, followed by land cover change. They also found topography to be the most influential factor affecting weather around the world. "The only tool the weather forecaster has is his model, and the only choice he or she has is to look at different models, each of which has strengths and weaknesses," said Prof. Alpert..."


What Exactly Is A Nor'easter? Newsweek has a good description; here's an excerpt: "...A classic nor’easter results when an existing low-pressure system moves across the country from west to east and then spawns a new storm off the East Coast, usually between the Carolinas and New Jersey, explains Keith Seitter, executive director of the American Meteorological Society. The initial storm may not have produced a huge amount of precipitation as it moved over land, but the new storm goes through an “explosive development,” says Seitter, and becomes a “monster storm” that absorbs the original one..."

Image credit above: "A winter storm approaches the eastern United States in a satellite image released January 26, 2015. The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning for New York City and surrounding areas between coastal New Jersey and Connecticut, beginning 1 p.m. EST on Monday. The storm will worsen overnight into Tuesday morning." .


Snow Scary. The New Yorker has a terrific article that helps to explain why the USA is a nation of extreme-weather junkies; here's a clip: "...Edgework” is precisely what extreme weather is. A winter storm—or any storm, really—approximates this thrill. It’s powerful, and even dangerous. But safely ensconced inside, and in front of our computer screens, we don’t think that it will really hurt us. The power might go out, but then we would be able to share a picture of a car buried in a snowdrift. And then, soon, it will be over. You will have had the thrill, and you might have gained control over it by capturing a moment of “danger,” but, in all, it seems a relatively minor risk. We satisfy our inner risk-seeker without going into dangerous territory..."


7 Chilling Stories Of Snow Storms Throughout American History. TIME Magazine takes a numbing walk down memory lane; here's a clip: "...It was Jan. 31, 1977, when this poor freezing man appeared on the cover of TIME. The story inside, which detailed the effects on the United States of what the publisher’s letter called “the bitterest cold spell in memory.” The first-ever reported snow fall in West Palm Beat, Fla., had shocked residents. Buffalo had been buried under more than 120 in. of the white stuff that season. And, ironically, areas that needed snow — the ski resorts of Idaho, for example — had to rely on snow-making machines despite the cold temperatures...

Photo credit: Bill Koch, North Dakota State Highway Department. Credit: Collection of Fr. Herbert Kroehl, NGDC.

"Snowstorms Then And Now". McSweeney's Internet Tendency has a look at how adults have ruined snowstorms. It's a worthy (and funny) read.


Cold Start to February - Not Polar Yet. I keep waiting for the other shoe (boot) to drop, and it may the end of next week; ECMWF guidance hinting at subzero weather in about 8-10 days. We'll see - we've had a few false alarms in the last few weeks so confidence levels are low about any kind of sustained cold waves. Highs may brush 40F today before cooling off tomorrow; the mercury nicking freezing again Saturday and Wednesday of next week. Big storms? Get serious. Graphic: Weatherspark.


GFS Numbers. GFS guidance also confirms that the first week of February may be colder than average with a few nights dipping below zero. Most models show another puff of Pacific air sparking another thaw by the second week of February.


Why So Many Global Temperature Records? NASA Earth Observatory has a good explainer focused on 2014 being the warmest year ever observed, as well as providing perspective of recent trends; here's a clip: "...But let’s get back to the original question: why are there so many temperature records? One of the hallmarks of good science is that observations should be independently confirmed by separate research groups using separate methods when possible. And in the case of global temperatures, that’s exactly what is happening. Despite some differences in the year-to-year rankings, the trends observed by all the groups are roughly the same. They all show warming. They all find the most recent decade to be warmer than previous decades..."


Millions of GMO Insects Could Be Released in Florida Keys. The Associated Press has the story - here's the introduction: "Millions of genetically modified mosquitoes could be released in the Florida Keys if British researchers win approval to use the bugs against two extremely painful viral diseases. Never before have insects with modified DNA come so close to being set loose in a residential U.S. neighborhood..."


Patriots Say Study Proves Ball Deflation "Not Human Caused". Where have you heard this before? Here's the intro to a tongue-in-cheek look from Daily Kos: "The New England Patriots pointed to a study released today which they say shows that the alleged deflation of footballs in recent games was not due to human causes. "It's just natural variation," explains the executive summary of the study. "Footballs have had different inflation pressures for thousands of years." The study was released today by the Edelman research firm, which usually focuses on swatting away the damaging efforts of environmentalists to impede progress..."


Is It OK To Eat Snow? I know this has been on your mind; here's an answer from Popular Science: "...Once the snow is on the ground, it stays clean until other things land on top of it. Everyone knows you shouldn’t eat yellow snow. Brown snow is off limits, too. That’s because as snow sits around, it goes through a process called dry deposition, in which dust and dirt particles stick to the snow. And Nolin says to steer clear of watermelon snow: It might look pretty and very pink, but it’s filled with algae that don’t do great things for digestion..."


36 F. high in the Twin Cities Tuesday.

24 F. average high on January 27.

-6 F. high on January 27, 2014.

-16 F. morning low on January 27, 2014.

Trace of snow on the ground in the Twin Cities.

January 27, 1914: A very rare thunderstorm observed at Maple Plain during the evening. Heavy thunder and vivid lightning was observed.

January 27, 1846: Not too shabby for a January day. The high in the Twin Cities was 50, which is the normal high for the beginning of March.


“You can easily judge the character of others by how they treat those who can do nothing for them or to them.” – Malcolm Forbes“You can easily judge the character of others by how they treat those who can do nothing for them or to them.” – Malcolm Forbes


TODAY: Mostly cloudy and mild. Winds: Southeast 10. High: 40

WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Clouds, still unseasonably mild for late January. Low: 30

THURSDAY: Windy, turning cooler with more clouds than sun. High: 33

FRIDAY: Fading sun, average temperatures. Wake-up: 18. High: 27

SATURDAY: Gray with flurries possible south. Heavier snow should stay south of MN. Wake-up: 19. High: 30

SUNDAY: Brisk Super Bowl Sunday. Dry with plenty of sun. Wake-up: 15. High: 18

MONDAY: Blue sky. Groundhog's shadow may freeze off. Wake-up: 3. High: 12

TUESDAY: Not as cold, flurries possible. Wake-up: 10. High: 25


Climate Stories...

Why Bigger Snowstorms Come With Global Warming. Warmer air and ocean water is increasing water vapor, more fuel for flash floods in the summer months, and extreme snow events in the winter. In fact 5 of New York City's biggest blizzards on record have all occurred in the last 12 years. Here's an excerpt from a timely story at InsideClimate News: "...As the oceans warm due to the burning of fossil fuels, the atmosphere above can hold more moisture, which in turn fuels the creation of the most intense precipitation events. The mid-Atlantic is currently 2 degrees Fahrenheit above normal. In the spring, summer and fall, that translates into more of the most intense rainstorms. In the winter, when that moisture-rich air hits cold temperatures on the continent, heavier snowfall results. The amount of rain and snow falling in the heaviest precipitation events in the Northeast has jumped 71 percent in the last half-century, according to the 2014 National Climate Assessment...."


Is Climate Change To Blame For The Northeast Snow Storm? The short answer is no, the storm would have formed, with or without warmer air and sea surface temperatures. Did significantly warmer water in the Gulf Stream just east of New Jersey help to spike some of the winds and snowfall amounts? Probably. Here's an excerpt from Huffington Post: "...Kevin Trenberth, a senior scientist in the climate analysis section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, said that in winter, temperatures are generally colder on land than over the oceans. Climate change is raising ocean temperatures, however, and current sea surface temperatures are more the 2 degrees Fahrenheit higher than normal over much of the area off the East Coast of the United States, he explained to The Huffington Post. Trenberth also said that water vapor in the atmosphere is about 10 percent higher than normal, and about half of this change can be attributed to climate change..."

Photo credit: "A snow-entombed car in Cambridge, Mass., Jan 27, 2015. The first major storm of the winter blasted across eastern New England on Tuesday, unleashing whiteout conditions driven by gale-force winds." (Katherine Taylor/The New York Times).


Climate Change Expected To Bring More Extreme La Ninas. Here's an excerpt from a story at CBS News: "...A new study concludes that extreme La Nina events like this will become twice as likely in the future due to climate change. The study in Nature Climate Change found that the La Nina extreme weather -- which happens about once every 23 years -- will occur every 13 years by the end of this century, based on an analysis of 21 climate models. Three-quarters of those increased La Nina events would follow extreme El Nino events "thus projecting more frequent swings between opposite extremes from year to the next..."


The United States of Denial. Which states send the most climate-science-deniers to Washington D.C.? Here's an excerpt of a story and interactive graphic from onEarth: "...An analysis by the Center for American Progress, a public policy think tank, found that 53 percent of Republicans in the House and 70 percent in the Senate deny humanity’s role in climate change. (As the map shows, deniers also tend to receive a pretty penny from the fossil fuel industry.)..."


Climate-Change Consensus Is Reached Everywhere But In Washington. Here's a snippet from an Op-Ed that resonated at The Globe and Mail: "...This is less like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic than looking over the railing and debating whether the giant white thing is an iceberg or a marshmallow. The consensus has been reached, gentlemen, everywhere but in Washington. Even the plutocrats at Davos are sweating through their Zegna suits: The World Economic Forum spent a day debating climate change and its disruptive effects, and listed climate-related chaos among the greatest threats facing the planet..."

More March than January - Freeze/Thaw Cycle Creating Problems

Posted by: Paul Douglas under Lions Updated: January 26, 2015 - 8:39 PM

Creeping Shorelines

A baffling, super-sized January Thaw is doing more than frustrating snow lovers. Huge swings in temperature either side of 32F are creating tremor-size cracks in parking lots. The premature freeze-thaw cycle is rearranging shorelines on lakes up north.

A friend, Jim Tucker, lives in Pequot Lakes. He showed me massive berms of sand and rock pushed toward shore. Every new dip below freezing causes expansion of water, sand & mud, creating new lakeshore headaches. One of Jim's photos is above - he hasn't seen anything like this in January before.

The freeze-thaw cycle comes in March, not January, but someone forgot to tell Old Man Winter.

Talk about a disconnect: an historic blizzard has shut down much of the Northeast; it's the rough equivalent of a tropical storm, but with snow and subzero wind chills. While I receive increasingly frantic notes from snow fans. For the record: I haven't given up on snow, but El Nino will continue to divert MOST sloppy storms well south and east of Minnesota. 40s into Wednesday, then a chance of light snow Saturday. We catch a cold early next week (2 days of wind chill) but models show a predominately Pacific flow, with one mild front after another, into much of February.

Feels a little like 2012.


Shrinking Early February Cold Wave. Temperatures continue to trend well above average into Saturday before cooling down, although it doesn't look nearly as arctic as it did just a few days ago, maybe 2-3 days in the teens? Shocking news: no significant snowfalls are in sight, thanks to a predominately mild and dry west/northwest wind flow aloft from the Pacific. Gulf moisture can't flood northward, limiting how much snow can fall.


An Early March? GFS guidance, valid Tuesday, February 10, shows a massive ridge of warm high pressure from the Rockies into the Great Lakes, which may translate into 40s, even a few 50s close to home. Another wet cycle for California helps to put another small dent in a long-term drought. With the exception of northern New England most of the USA is abnormally mild. Map: WSI Corporation.


Alerts Broadcaster Briefing: Issued Monday morning, January 26, 2015.

* What may become a Top 10 Snowstorm from New York City to Boston continues to intensify; blizzard conditions likely from this evening into Tuesday, extending into Wednesday morning in the Boston area.

* 1 to 3 foot snowfall amounts still likely from New York City and Long Island to Hartford, Providence, Boston and Portland. By Tuesday night and Wednesday there may be reports of 4-6 foot drifts as virtually all traffic, land and air, grinds to a halt for the better part of 48 hours.

* With winds gusting over 50 mph into Tuesday the risk of power outages will be high. Resources to track power outages, state by state, below.

* Significant risk of coastal flooding and beach erosion, especially at high tide over the next 24 hours.


Hype-Worthy Storm. A fresh injection of upper level energy, coupled with unusually warm Gulf Stream water off the East Coast, is setting the stage for a potentially historic blizzard for coastal New England. The storm stalls, temporarily, prolonging a fire hose of Atlantic moisture from Long Island to Cape Cod and Boston, resulting in some extreme snowfall totals. Throw in wind gusts of 40-50 mph. tonight and Tuesday and you have all the ingredients for a crippling snowstorm.


Blizzard Warnings In Effect. A Blizzard Warning means that treacherous/impassable travel conditions are imminent. Warnings are posted from Atlantic City and New York To Hartford, Providence and Boston for white-out conditions tonight into early Wednesday. Map: Aeris Weather.

Models are in fairly good agreement:


A Convergence of Factors. Latest guidance prints out 2.6" liquid for New York City. Since this will fall as all snow that translates into at least 2 feet of snow, possibly 3 feet since temperatures will fall into the teens tomorrow, making this a light, fluffy, powdery snow, prone to blowing and drifting. Map: Aeris Weather.


Another Solution - Just As Extreme. All the models we study before making a forecast are in fairly good agreement. The only question: will it wind up being a foot, or closer to 2-3 feet by Tuesday night and Wednesday morning? On our scale from nuisance to plowable and crippling there's little doubt this will be a crippling storm, probably the most snow in New York City since 20" fell in 2010.


Why We're Still Concerned About Power Outages. Model output above from WeatherBell show winds at 10-meters above the ground gusting to near hurricane force on Tuesday. Although surface gusts won't be quite that high I could easily see 40-60 mph wind gusts, capable of bringing down trees and power lines. Extended power outages can't be ruled out, especially near the coast. Here are additional resources to track potential power failuress on the grid:

New York ---

New Jersey ---

Connecticut ---

Delaware ---

Rhode Island ---

Massachusetts ---

New Hampshire ---

Maine ---


Timing The Blizzard. Blizzard conditions (sustained winds over 35 mph with visibility under 1/4 mile) reach Long Island and Martha's Vineyard this evening, expanding into metro New York City and Boston during the wee hours of the morning Tuesday. Source: Aeris Weather.


Blizzard Increases In Coverage Tuesday. By 7 am Tuesday blizzard conditions are likely from Atlantic City to New York, Long Island, Providence and Boston.


Blizzard Shifts to Boston Late Tuesday and Tuesday night. By tomorrow afternoon the heaviest snows will being to push out of metro New York City into Providence and Boston. I expect blizzard conditions to spill over into much of Wednesday in the Boston and Portland area.


Another Factor To Consider: Coastal Flooding. Models show a 5 foot storm surge at The Battery, in Lower Manhattan, shortly after midnight tonight. High waves will be superimposed on top of this surge, resulting in moderate to major lowland flooding in the Tri-State area. This will be comparable to a moderate tropical storm impacting the region. Source: NOAA.


Boston Surge: 8 Feet. An even more extreme storm surge is forecast for Boston Harbor, 8 feet above mean sea level by 5 am Tuesday, which whould be the most extreme high tide. Additional flooding is possible around 5 pm tomorrow.


Top 10 Snowfall for New York City. If the forecasts verify this could easily wind up being a Top 5 snowfall for New York, certainly the biggest since 20.9" fell in February of 2010.


Boston Records. This should wind up being a Top 5 or Top 10 snowfall for Boston, the most snow since 2 feet feel in February 2013.

Summary: The media coverage is probably warranted this time around. The most significant blizzard to strike New York City and Boston in at least a decade is winding up. What makes this storm especially dangerous and impactful is a combination of factors:

* 1-3 feet of snow NYC to BOS, but cold surface temperatures will mean a dry, powdery snow, prone to blowing and drifting. Some spots will wind up with 4-6 foot drifts, meaning impacts much of this week. Things may not get back to normal (whatever that is) by the end of the week.

* High winds, gusting over 50 mph tonight into Tuesday, increasing the risk of power outages. I could see emergency warming centeres, even some evacuations of people from their homes, late tonight into early Wednesday.

* Coastal flooding. High tide will bring lowland and coastal flooding from midnight tonight into the afternoon hours tomorrow.

* Bitter temperatures. Readings falling into the teens tomorrow with a subzero windchill will increase the risk of frostbite and hypothermia, for people caught outdoors, and people indoors lacking electricity.

We'll have another update Tuesday morning. Good luck, hunker down, and don't push the weather!

Paul Douglas - Senior Meteorologist - Alerts Broadcaster


Millions of GMO Insects Could Be Released in Florida Keys. The Associated Press has the story - here's the introduction: "Millions of genetically modified mosquitoes could be released in the Florida Keys if British researchers win approval to use the bugs against two extremely painful viral diseases. Never before have insects with modified DNA come so close to being set loose in a residential U.S. neighborhood..."


Patriots Say Study Proves Ball Deflation "Not Human Caused". Where have you heard this before? Here's the intro to a tongue-in-cheek look from Daily Kos: "The New England Patriots pointed to a study released today which they say shows that the alleged deflation of footballs in recent games was not due to human causes. "It's just natural variation," explains the executive summary of the study. "Footballs have had different inflation pressures for thousands of years." The study was released today by the Edelman research firm, which usually focuses on swatting away the damaging efforts of environmentalists to impede progress..."


45 F. high in the Twin Cities Monday.

24 F. average high on January 26.

18 F. high on January 26, 2014.

1" snow on the ground at MSP International Airport.

January 26, 2006: A record high temperature of 50 degrees is set at the Eau Claire Regional Airport.


TODAY: Peeks of mild sun. Too easy. Winds: South 5. High: 38

TUESDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy, relatively mild. Low: 28

WEDNESDAY: What January? Thaw lingers with some sun. High: 42

THURSDAY: Flurries, cooler breeze late. Wake-up: 30. High: 35

FRIDAY: Cool sunshine, closer to average for late January. Wake-up: 20. High: 27

SATURDAY: Slight chance of light snow. Wake-up: 21. High: near 30

SUNDAY: Sunny intervals, turning colder. Wake-up: 8. High: 15

MONDAY: Sunny, cold Groundhog Day. Wake-up: 6. High: 16


Climate Stories...

Climate Change Expected To Bring More Extreme La Ninas. Here's an excerpt from a story at CBS News: "...A new study concludes that extreme La Nina events like this will become twice as likely in the future due to climate change. The study in Nature Climate Change found that the La Nina extreme weather -- which happens about once every 23 years -- will occur every 13 years by the end of this century, based on an analysis of 21 climate models. Three-quarters of those increased La Nina events would follow extreme El Nino events "thus projecting more frequent swings between opposite extremes from year to the next..."


The United States of Denial. Which states send the most climate-science-deniers to Washington D.C.? Here's an excerpt of a story and interactive graphic from onEarth: "...An analysis by the Center for American Progress, a public policy think tank, found that 53 percent of Republicans in the House and 70 percent in the Senate deny humanity’s role in climate change. (As the map shows, deniers also tend to receive a pretty penny from the fossil fuel industry.)..."


Climate-Change Consensus Is Reached Everywhere But In Washington. Here's a snippet from an Op-Ed that resonated at The Globe and Mail: "...This is less like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic than looking over the railing and debating whether the giant white thing is an iceberg or a marshmallow. The consensus has been reached, gentlemen, everywhere but in Washington. Even the plutocrats at Davos are sweating through their Zegna suits: The World Economic Forum spent a day debating climate change and its disruptive effects, and listed climate-related chaos among the greatest threats facing the planet..."


After Senate Climate Votes, Dems See Rift In GOP. Will climate change become a significant issue for the 2016 presidential campaign? Can an on-the-record climate denier be nominated to represent Republicans? Here's an excerpt from Politico: "...In the end, only a modest measure stating that climate change is real and not a hoax passed the chamber, winning even the backing Sen. Jim Inhofe, the author of a book decrying the man-made climate change. But the 15 Republicans — including seven from red states as well as one likely presidential contender, Sen. Ran Paul — went further, agreeing climate change was affected by human activity..."


Republicans Evolve on Climate Change. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed at Bloomberg View: "...For years, Republicans have skirted the issue. Less noted, but equally important, is that they're also evolving on it. Within the party, the fight has moved on from whether climate change is real to whether human activity is causing it, as the scientific evidence overwhelmingly indicates. Republicans have been reluctant to accept the evidence, because that would require doing something about it, which would lead to -- and this is crux of the issue -- new laws and regulations that interfere with the free market..."


What Are Republicans Going To Do About Climate Change? The Christian Science Monitor speculates; here's a clip: "...Why does the climate vote matter? Global warming will likely be part of the conversation in the 2016 presidential race, which could include sitting Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida, Rand Paul of Kentucky, and Ted Cruz of Texas. Voters will want to know if they believe it’s an issue, and if so, how they’ll tackle it..."


Planet Keeps Getting Hotter, But Hope Could Be On Horizon. Here's a link to an Op-Ed from minister and EEN (Evangelical Environmental Network) President Mitch Hescox. Full disclosure: I'm on their board of directors. YDr.com in York, PA has the post; here's an excerpt: "...Using sleight-of-hand statistical mumbo-jumbo, deniers have tried to pull one over on the American people about the recent pace of global warming. Don't be fooled. Global temperatures have continued their century's long march upward, with 2014 being the latest exclamation point and 2015 projected to do the same. And with the heat comes extreme weather like the California drought, flooding and mudslides in Washington that killed 43, and the fact that Anchorage, Alaska was above freezing all of 2014..."


How Much Is Climate Change Going To Cost Us? Those with the least will be first to feel the impacts of climate volatility, in fact it's already happening. Here's a snippet of a long but excellent article looking at various scenarios from David Roberts at Grist: "...In a sense, this restates what we already know: Rich countries could do all right with slow mitigation because they are relatively robust in the face of climate impacts, but it would be devastating to poor countries. Aggressive mitigation is justified because of the threat to poor countries. (This tells you a lot about the politics of the issue.) OK, that’s what you need to know: that there is good reason, outside contested questions of “raw moralism,” to think that the models we use to assess the social cost of carbon are considerably understating it..."
 

Dwindling Snowpack; East Coast Crippling Blizzard

Posted by: Paul Douglas under Super Bowl Updated: January 25, 2015 - 6:09 PM

Dwindling Snowpack

I stepped outside on Sunday and was struck by the lack of snow on the ground in my yard. There sure are a lot of bare spots out there, especially since it's still January! There was 1" of snow on the ground (officially) at the Minneapolis Airport on Sunday morning. At this time last year, there was 13" of snow on the ground! Interestingly, there was no snow on the ground (officially) on January 26th, 2013.

Hype-Worthy Storm
By Paul Douglas

Here's a poorly guarded secret. Meteorologists tend to hype storms. Why? Well, it makes us feel important - and it gives us something to point to on our colorful maps. And (most) people are more forgiving if there's less snow than predicted. God help you if you predict a dusting and the town wakes up to a foot of flurries. That's the original meteorological sin. Sadly, if you added up all the PREDICTED snow over the years we'd be tunneling out from under another ice age by now.

14 of the 15 warmest years on record have been observed since 2000. An estimated 93 percent of the extra warmth is going into the world's oceans. Gulf stream water east of New Jersey is 10-15F warmer than normal for late January, adding fuel to an historic blizzard winding up from New York to Boston. 1-3 feet of snow, 50 mph winds, 5 to 10 foot drifts, power outages and coastal flooding; this will be an epic storm.

While we stare out at brown lawns and dripping icicles: 40s into midweek, then 30 degrees colder Super Bowl Sunday. But mild, Pacific air dominates into early February.

The last time we saw 40s in January? 2012. That was the year flowers were blooming by late March. Will history repeat?

============

SUNDAY NIGHT: Clouds thicken again, light snow chance late. Low: 21. Winds: Turning S 5-10.

MONDAY: Light wintry mix early. Mostly cloudy, mild again. High: 41. Winds: SSW 10-15.

MONDAY NIGHT: Mostly cloudy. Low: 27. Winds: NW 5-10.

TUESDAY: Partly sunny, feels like March. High: 42

WEDNESDAY: What January? Mild spike. Late day rain shower possible Wake-up: 29. High: 43

THURSDAY: Passing flurries, turning colder. Wake-up: 28. High: 33

FRIDAY: Fading sun, closer to average. Wake-up: 21. High: 28

SATURDAY: Arctic winds, sharply colder! Wake-up: 16. High: 18.

SUNDAY: Super blue sky. Deflated temps. Wake-up: -2. High: 9

============

This Day in Weather History
January 26th

1916: Severe ice storm hits Mower County. Hundreds of birds killed.

===============

Average High/Low for Minneapolis
January 26th

Average High: 24F (Record: 47F set in 1934)
Average Low: 8F (Record: -23F set in 1950)

================

Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
January 26th

Sunrise: 7:39am
Sunset: 5:12pm

================

Moon Phase for January 26th at Midnight
First Quarter

=================

Minneapolis Temperature Trend

Weather conditions close to home will stay on the mild side over the next several days. In fact, temperatures may sneak up into the 40s a couple of times this week! We're still getting indications of a bigger cool down by the end of the week/weekend...

Monday Weather Outlook

Temperatures on Monday will be a little warmer than Sunday. Readings will get back to near 40F in the Twin Cities with a few locations in southwest MN nearing 50F! A slight breeze will make it feel a little cooler (image on right).

Monday Weather Outlook

Another clipper system will slide through the region late Sunday through Monday. The best chance of snow accumulations will be across the Arrowhead of Minnesota and into northern Wisconsin.

Another Day Another Clipper

Another fast moving clipper is set to move through the region late Sunday/Monday with a light wintry mix and a light snow accumulation. The best chance for snow accumulations would be across the Arrowhead of Minnesota and northern Wisconsin.

Clipper Snow Potential

Here's a look the snow potential through early next week... There may be some light shoveling duties across the Arrowhead and northern Wisconsin. The Twin Cities looks to miss out on anything substantial.

National Weather Outlook

The clipper system that missed us (Twin Cities) on Saturday night/early Sunday is set to become a major winter storm on the East Coast! Watch how the system transitions from a clipper to a full blown mature storm in the Northeast.

National Weather Outlook

Here's another animation of the storm system that will be rapidly intensifying near the Northern New England States.

Northeast Snowfall

The accumulating snow potential turns from a shovelable event to a crippling event as the storm curls northeast towards the Northern New England States. There's a fairly large swath of 1ft to nearly 2ft. from Long Island, NY to northern Maine!

Winter Weather Headlines

There are a number of winter weather headlines that have been issued from the Ohio Valley to the Northern New England States. Note the strip of red (blizzard warnings) that have been issued from eastern New Jersey to eastern Maine... The blizzard warning includes New York and Boston!

Blizzard Potential Index

Here's a look at the Blizzard Potential Index... It takes a look at the blizzard criteria (snow and winds of 35mph for at least 3 hours) and puts it into a color scheme. Anything that is orange/red is quite impressive. Note that these colors become more intense over Long Island to Boston to Maine... it could get pretty interesting!

BPI: Hour by Hour

Here's what the Blizzard Potential Index looks like hour by hour...

Boston: Calm Before the Storm...

This was the view from Boston Colleges' O'Neill Plaza from Sunday afternoon. This was after the 5.1" that fell (officially) in Boston on Saturday... Weather conditions will sour through the day on Monday with the worst of the upcoming winter storm heading in Monday Night/Tuesday.

Take a look at the latest LIVE webcam from Boston College HERE:

Boston Snow Potential

According to the National Weather Service out of Boston, this is the most likely snow scenario for the region. Note that many locations could see 1ft. to 3ft !

...A CRIPPLING AND POTENTIALLY HISTORIC BLIZZARD TO IMPACT THE AREA MAINLY FROM LATE MONDAY INTO TUESDAY...LINGERING INTO EARLY WEDNESDAY...

...BLIZZARD WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 7 PM MONDAY TO 1 AM EST WEDNESDAY... THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN TAUNTON HAS ISSUED A BLIZZARD WARNING...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 7 PM MONDAY TO 1 AM EST WEDNESDAY. THE BLIZZARD WATCH IS NO LONGER IN EFFECT. * LOCATIONS...EASTERN AND SOUTHEASTERN MASSACHUSETTS AS WELL AS ALL OF RHODE ISLAND. * HAZARD TYPES...HEAVY SNOW...STRONG WINDS AND BLIZZARD CONDITIONS. CONSIDERABLE BLOWING AND DRIFTING SNOW. STRONG TO DAMAGING WINDS. * ACCUMULATIONS...SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF AROUND 20 TO 30 INCHES... WITH LOCALLY HIGHER AMOUNTS. SNOWFALL RATES OF 2 TO 4 INCHES AN HOUR AT TIMES. * TIMING...WHILE THE STORM IS EXPECTED LATE MONDAY LINGERING INTO EARLY WEDNESDAY...THE WORST OF THE STORM WILL BE MONDAY NIGHT THROUGH TUESDAY AFTERNOON. * IMPACTS...HEAVY SNOW AND STRONG WINDS WILL RESULT IN WHITE-OUT / BLIZZARD CONDITIONS WITH NEAR ZERO VISIBILITY. TRAVEL WILL BE IMPOSSIBLE AND LIFE THREATENING ACROSS THE ENTIRE REGION. ALSO SNOW MAY BE WET ENOUGH TO RESULT IN DOWNED TREE LIMBS AND POWER OUTAGES IN ADDITION TO THE WINDS. * WINDS...NORTH-NORTHEAST 30 TO 40 MPH WITH GUSTS AROUND 65 TO 75 MPH. THE HEIGHT OF THE WINDS WILL BE LATE MONDAY NIGHT INTO TUESDAY. THE STRONGEST WINDS WILL BE ACROSS THE COASTAL AREAS. * VISIBILITIES...ONE QUARTER MILE OR LESS AT TIMES.

New York: Calm Before the Storm

Thanks to EarthCam.com for the picture/webcam below. Here's Lady Liberty on a late Sunday afternoon before the storm. Things could get a little wild early this week!

See the latest EarthCam webcam HERE:

NYC Snow Potential

2ft to 3ft?? According to the NWS out of New York, this is the 'most likely scenario' - YIKES!!

Here's the latest from the NWS New York:

...CRIPPLING AND POTENTIALLY HISTORIC BLIZZARD TO IMPACT THE AREA FROM LATE MONDAY INTO TUESDAY...

...BLIZZARD WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 1 PM MONDAY TO MIDNIGHT EST TUESDAY NIGHT... THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN NEW YORK HAS ISSUED A BLIZZARD WARNING...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 1 PM MONDAY TO MIDNIGHT EST TUESDAY NIGHT. THE BLIZZARD WATCH IS NO LONGER IN EFFECT. * LOCATIONS...NEW YORK CITY AND SURROUNDING IMMEDIATE SUBURBS...LONG ISLAND...AND MOST OF SOUTHERN CONNECTICUT. * HAZARD TYPES...HEAVY SNOW AND BLOWING SNOW...WITH BLIZZARD CONDITIONS. * ACCUMULATIONS...SNOW ACCUMULATION OF 20 TO 30 INCHES...WITH LOCALLY HIGHER AMOUNTS POSSIBLE. SNOWFALL RATES OF 2 TO 4 INCHES PER HOUR EXPECTED LATE MONDAY NIGHT INTO TUESDAY MORNING. * WINDS...NORTH 30 TO 40 MPH WITH GUSTS 55 TO 65 MPH...STRONGEST ACROSS EASTERN LONG ISLAND. * VISIBILITIES...ONE QUARTER MILE OR LESS AT TIMES. * TEMPERATURES...IN THE LOWER 20S. * TIMING...LIGHT SNOW WILL BEGIN MONDAY MORNING...WITH ACCUMULATIONS OF 1 TO 3 INCHES POSSIBLE BY THE EVENING RUSH. SNOW WILL PICK UP IN INTENSITY MONDAY EVENING...WITH THE HEAVIEST SNOW AND STRONGEST WINDS FROM ABOUT MIDNIGHT MONDAY NIGHT INTO TUESDAY AFTERNOON. * IMPACTS...LIFE-THREATENING CONDITIONS AND EXTREMELY DANGEROUS TRAVEL DUE TO HEAVY SNOWFALL AND STRONG WINDS...WITH WHITEOUT CONDITIONS. SECONDARY AND TERTIARY ROADS MAY BECOME IMPASSABLE. STRONG WINDS MAY DOWN POWER LINES AND TREE LIMBS.

Blizzard Potential for the Northeast Remains High!

Here's a look at what folks along the Eastern Seaboard could be dealing with late Monday/early Tuesday... At this time, the center of the storm is expected to be offshore (just south of Cape Cod). This will help to keep temperatures colder inland and likely in the form of snow. Note the lines of equal air pressure (black lines) - due to a VERY tight pressure gradient, the winds are expected to be quite extreme with some wind gusts up to 60mph! Heavy snow and strong winds will create blizzard conditions for a large area!

Significant Winds

As the storm system intensifies offshore, wind speeds will begin to increase significantly. Note that by 10am Tuesday, winds along the coast could be gusting upwards of 40mph to 60mph! With heavy snow and strong winds, blizzard conditions will be a major concern!

Thanks for checking in, have a great week ahead! Don't forget to follow me on Twitter @TnelsonWX.