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.
32 F. high in the Twin Cities Tuesday.
27 F. average high for February 7 at KMSP.
23 F. high temperature one year ago, on February 7, 2011.
-29 F. today's record low in the Twin Cities (most recently in 1991).
+ 13.4 F. Temperatures during the first week of February are running more than 13 degrees above average.
+ 18.8 F. Duluth temperatures are running nearly 19 degrees above average since February 1.
+ 20 F. Temperatures at International Falls since February 1 averaging 20 degrees above normal.
+5.5 F. January temperatures across the lower 48 states were 5.5 F. warmer than the 1901-2000 averages. Source: NCDC.
$2 million. The amount of money that the City of Minneapolis has saved on snow removal so far this winter.
4th warmest January on record. USA Today has details below.
Driest winter on record for much of the Red River Valley. Source: inforum.com.
1 million square miles of snow cover in January. "According to data from the Rutgers Global Snow Lab, the average snow cover in January was 1 million square miles, which was 329,000 square miles below average. This marked the 3rd-smallest January snow cover extent in the 46-year period of record." - from a USA Today article on January climate below.
Record cold January for much of Alaska. Check out the details from KTVA-TV here.
300. As many as 300 tornadoes/year may touch down on Europe, according to estimates from local meteorologists. By comparison the USA sees an average of 1,000 tornadoes/year - most in the world.
February 8, 1835: A severe cold wave gripped the southeastern U.S. The mercury dipped to 8 above at Jacksonville FL, and to zero at Savannah GA. Orange trees were killed to the roots.
"If you count all your assets, you always show a profit." - Robert Quillen
Snow Moon. "A jet is silhouetted on the full moon in St. Petersburg, Russia, early Thursday, April 29, 2010. This month’s full moon is known as a ‘milk moon’ in English-speaking countries. Photo: Dmitry Lovetsky/AP.
158.5. "The three New Madrid 8.0 earthquakes were 158.5 times bigger than the 5.8 (Virginia) quake in August (2011) and almost 2000 times stronger in terms of total energy released." - from a Capital Weather Gang article about the growing potential for a devastating earthquake on the New Madrid fault, impacting St. Louis and Memphis. Details below.
1991. The current cold wave and heavy snow is the most severe to hit Europe and northern Africa since February, 1991. Source: Wunderblog. Photo above courtesy of AP/Jens Meyer.
Global Weirding. "Some of this research shows that sea ice loss may favor winters with predominately negative phases of the Arctic Oscillation. One potential result of global warming, referred to as the “Arctic Paradox,” is that sea ice loss can help warm the Arctic during the winter, while setting in motion a chain reaction of events that make winters colder than they otherwise would be in Europe and the U.S." - from an article below on how changes in the Arctic (and stratosphere) may be impacting global weather circulations.
Palm Trees...And Snow? Germany's Tagesschau.com has some amazing photos of the snow and bitter cold gripping all of Europe. Photo above courtesy of Reuters.
Frozen Canals In Venice. I can't remember the last time I saw this - the gondoliers have to be pretty irritated (along with everyone else in Europe and northern Africa). Details: "A view of the north lagoon, partially iced because of unusually low temperatures, in Venice, Italy, Monday, Feb. 6, 2012. Schools will be closed in Rome on Tuesday, as Italy copes with unusually heavy snow for the Mediterranean country. So far, ten deaths have been linked to winter weather, including two people who were crushed under a collapsed roof south of Rome, and a 91-year-old woman in the northeast port of Trieste who was knocked down by strong winds. In the north, rescuers had to pluck people from their homes, as piles of snow reached 3 meters (10 feet) in some areas. In Milan, Italy's fashion and financial capital, temperatures fell to minus 12 Celsius (10 Fahrenheit) on Monday, and the authorities opened a section of the city subway to shelter some 100 homeless people. (AP Photo/Luigi Costantini)."
Harsh Winter Weather Continues In Europe; Rare Snowstorm Hits Libya. Dr. Jeff Masters has a good recap of the wild and wintry weather gripping Asia, Europe, even northern Africa in his weekly Wunderblog:
"Europe's winter onslaught continues unabated this week, with very cold temperatures and heavy snows over much of the continent. Yesterday, a rare snow storm hit North Africa, bringing 2 - 3 inches of snow to Tripoli, Libya. It was the first snow in Tripoli since at least 2005, and may be the heaviest snow the Libyan capital has seen since February 6, 1956. Across Europe, at least 250 deaths have been blamed on the winter weather since the cold spell began on January 26. Hardest hit has been Ukraine, with 135 deaths--mostly of homeless people. According to weather records researcher Maximiliano Herrera, the current cold snap is the most severe for Europe since February 1991."
Photo credit above: "The scene in Tripoli, Libya, on February 6, 2012, after a rare snowstorm. Image credit: libyall.com."
* An estimated 40,000 Libyan troops have been deployed to clear streets and help the sick.
Wild Gyrations. Check out the 500mb wind flow across Europe, upper level winds have buckled dramatically, plunging bitter air as far south as Africa, a vast upper level low temporarily stalled over Italy. This holding pattern has kept a steady flow of numbing air pouring southward across the British Isles into France, Germany and Italy, a blocking pattern preventing the cold low from moving out anytime soon. More records will fall in the days ahead. Map courtesy of the 21st Operational Weather Squadron.
Brushed By Arctic Air. This map, courtesy of policlimate.com, shows the coldest air temperature expected over the next 8 days, the zero-line running from Fargo to St. Cloud into western Wisconsin....parts of upstate New York and northern New England may dip just below zero by the weekend. Not as cold as last month, but chilly enough to get your attention.
The Snow-Less Big Apple. Check out the stats from the New York office of the National Weather Service. So far only 7.2" snow has fallen on New York City, in stark contrast to the 57.7" that had fallen as of last year. More details from the NYC Weather Service Facebook page: "The following graph shows total snowfall for the climate sites since October 1st (10/1/2011-2/6/2012) and compares it to normal for this time period as well as the same time period the previous year (10/1/2010-2/6/2011)."
February 7, 2012 February 7, 2011
National Snowcover as of February 7 (lower 48 states of the USA). Source: NOAA.
Lack Of Ice On Great Lakes. The Wilmington, Ohio office of the National Weather Service has a good recap of the state of ice on the Great Lakes this winter. The maps look like early November, not early February: "These striking satellite images of the Great Lakes from February 4-6 came from NASA polar orbiting satellies equipped with special observing instrumentation known as MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer). One can see only a little ice cover over the northern and western bays and inlets of Lake Superior. Lake Michigan currently exhibits only patchy ice cover in Green Bay, and Lake Huron has only a small area of ice visible in Saginaw Bay and very little in its typically ice-covered northern areas. While ice usually forms over the northeastern fringes of Lake Ontario by this time of year, none can be easily seen at this time. And while much of Lake Erie is ordinarilly covered by ice this time of year due to its relatively shallow depth, only a small amount of ice can be seen over the western portion."
Since December 1: 6-11 Degrees Above Average. Check out the temperature anomalies since December 1 across the Great Lakes and Upper Midwest, courtesty of the Midwestern Regional Climate Center at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
January Was USA's 4th Warmest On Record. The details from USA Today: "The warmth last month wasn't a mirage: January 2012 was the USA's 4th-warmest January on record, federal climate scientists announced on Tuesday. The national average temperature in January was 36.3 degrees F, which is 5.5 degrees F above the long-term average and the warmest since 2006, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Climatic Data Center. The other warmer Januarys were in 1990 and 1953. The data is based on records dating back to 1895."
January Climate Highlights. Last month was 5.5 F. warmer than the 1901-2000 average, according to NCDC, the National Climatic Data Center, a division of NOAA . Here are a few highlights:
Minnesota January Temperature Trends. With an average temperature of 19.1 F. only 2006 was warmer, statewide. 1944 was another unusually mild January. More details from NCDC here.
Ditto. The Same. No Change. I feel like Bill Murray in the movie "Groundhog Day", forever sentenced to repeating the same day (until I get it right). Seems like I keep recyling the same snowfall prediction map. One more time: the GFS shows an utter lack of accumulating snow into midday Saturday across the Upper Midwest, the only snow showing up downwind of the Great Lakes (lake effect snow). Again, the maps look like something out of late October or early November.
Fleeting Goosebumps. No, it won't get as cold as it did back in January, when MSP experienced 4 nights at or below zero (Jan. 18-21). That was the low point, the nadir, the depth of winter, the bottoming-out point. The urban heat island (more homes, industry, asphalt, etc) may keep immediate metro temperatures just above zero Saturday morning, but I expect the suburbs to dip below zero (for only the 4th time all winter). Temperatures reach the mid 30s tomorrow before tumbling Thursday night and Friday, and then climb back up above freezing by Monday and Tuesday.
Trending Milder Again? Both the AO (Arctic Oscillation) and NAO (North Atlantic Oscillation) show indices at or above zero by mid February, implying stronger westerly winds aloft - a tendency for the coldest Canadian air to remain locked up in central and northern Canada. More from CPC here. When both the AO and NAO are strongly negative, the odds of severe cold (and significant snow) seem to rise across the lower 48 states. Although the AO went negative in late January and early February the NAO has been neutral to slightly positive.
Theories about, including the possibility that melting arctic ice is triggering a domino effect, displacing the coldest air away from the pole. This winter the jet buckled over Europe, not North America, which may just be random atmospheric variability. Another theory: stratospheric winds. When winds 15-25 miles above the ground ease winds in the troposphere (where all the weather occurs) can also ease, increasing the potential for bitter air to plunge southward. Further complicating matters: global warming may be warming the stratosphere, with uncertain consequences. It's the ultimate puzzle, and although we're learning more every year - there is still much we don't understand about complex circulations in the stratosphere, and how changes in the Arctic are impacting weather patterns worldwide. We'll see more cold fronts, but I'm still fairly convinced that the coldest temperatures of winter are now behind us. Famous last words.
Peering Out Over The Horizon. The 384 GFS outlook for steering winds aloft (500 mb) show a series of clipper impacting Minnesota, temperatures still trending at or slightly above average the last week of February. The map above is valid February 23. I have a hunch the pattern will favor significant snow for the northeast, but there's no sign our dry spell will let up anytime soon.
Paul, Will It Snow (In My Lifetime)? The short answer is yes, but nothing I'd be bold enough to label a "storm" is brewing. The GFS model prints out a whopping .14" liquid around February 22, which may (or may not) translate into a sloppy inch of snow. Wow. It's come to this. Highs from Feb. 15 to Feb. 23 reach the 30s fairly consistently; I wouldn't be surprised to see a few days above 40.
"Winter is not a season, it's an occupation." - Sinclair Lewis
Frozen Web. Now that's one persistent spider. Thanks to failblog.org for passing this one along.
Red River Flows Well Above Average Despite Driest Winter On Record. Fargo's inforum.com has the details: "The Red River’s volume of water is flowing at more than twice its long-term average this winter despite months of abnormally dry weather. But the flows are less than a third of last winter’s gushing volume as of Feb. 1, as the area experiences its driest winter on record to date. The above-normal flows on the Red River, Missouri River and many other rivers in the region are a lingering effect of last year’s record water volumes. “2011 was the biggest flood year that we’ve seen in the area and the region,” Greg Gust, a National Weather Service meteorologist, said Monday. “It was a record year for North Dakota. It was a record year for much of the northern Plains.” Live Fargo webcam above courtesy of USGS.
Florida Soaking. Much of south Florida picked up 1 to 3.5" of rain in the last 3 days, nearly a month's worth of rain in less than 72 hours. Source: NOAA.
Severe Flooding Down Under. NASA's Earth Observatory has more details on widespread flooding across Australia: "Severe flooding affected multiple communities along Australia’s Queensland-New South Wales border in early February 2012. On February 5, 2012, the Australian Associated Press reported that several thousand residents were isolated from the outside world by a “virtual inland sea.” The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured the top image on February 6, 2012. For comparison, the bottom image shows the same region a month earlier, on January 3, 2012. These images use a combination of visible and infrared light to better distinguish between water and land. Water varies in color from electric blue to navy. Vegetation is bright green. Bare ground is earth-toned. Clouds are pale blue-green."
Rainfall Needed To Ease Drought. Much of Minnesota is running a 6-9" rainfall deficit, but the drought is much worst from New Orleans to Panama City and Savanah, where 12-15" needs to fall to erase a growing drought. Map: NOAA.
Lessons From The Tuscaloosa Tornado. Here's an interesting article from The Red And Black on what first responders and city authorities learned from last spring's devastating tornado in Tuscaloosa, Alabama: "The tornado that struck Tuscaloosa, Ala. in April 2011 was among the most damaging storms of the past year. It significantly destroyed the community and put considerable strain on the University of Alabama’s Office of Emergency Prepardness as they dealt with a the kind of disaster many institutions hope they never have to see. Donald Keith, the director of the University of Alabama Emergency Preparedness, gave a lecture at the Tate Student Center that focused on what his university had learned from the storm — and what the University here can do in case of devastating weather."
Photo Of The Day. This is one of the most amazing (and peculiar) photos I've ever seen, passed along by Panhandle Helicopter in Panama City and Rob Marciano over at CNN (via yfrog.com). The air along the Gulf Coast was close to saturation (temperature close to the dew point). Humid air rising up and over the condos triggered just enough upward motion for condensation to occur; clouds forming on the ground (fog). A remarkable sight.
"Dixie Alley" The most tornadoes last year...Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma? Not even close. It was Alabama, with a record 145 tornadoes (roughly the same number Minnesota experienced in 2010, our wettest year on record). The big different. Last year those Alabama tornadoes hit heavily populated areas, like Tuscaloosa and Birmingham. More from NOAA here.
Bicentennial Of The New Madrid Earthquake Sequence: Can It Happen Again? The Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang has the story. God forbid the New Madrid earthquake fault ever comes to life again - St. Louis and Memphis could experience widespread devastation: "This winter is the bicentennial (200th) anniversary of the New Madrid, Missouri earthquakes, a series of the most powerful earthquakes to strike the eastern U.S. in recorded history. Three of the quakes in the series are estimated to have reached a magnitude between 7.0 and 8.0. The first earthquake occurred on December 16, 1811, the second on January 23, 1812, and the third on February 7, 1812 - exactly 200 years ago to date. New Madrid was the closest settlement to the epicenters of the immense tremors. According to eyewitness accounts it was totally destroyed. At the time, most of the region, including many of the larger cities such as St. Louis were only sparsely populated with few permanent structures. Consequently, deaths and damages were limited. Should a comparable sequence of earthquakes occur now, it would have consequences above and beyond any natural disaster the U.S. has ever experienced (and not in a sci-fi movie!)." Image above courtesy of geology.com.
Feeling Better About Minnesota's Cold Fronts. Here is an earthquake hazard map, showing fault locations and overall earthquake risk for the USA. The risk of a major tremor is just as great in Memphis and St. Louis as it is along the well-publicized San Andreas fault in California. Source: USGS.
How NASA Makes Those Incredible High-Res Images Of Earth. Wired Science has a fascinating article about those high-res, up to 250 meter resolution images we all tend to take for granted: "In recent weeks, a pair of high-resolution images of the Earth has captivated the public. Taken by the Suomi NPP satellite, these pictures portray our planet’s incredible beauty with 8,000- by 8,000-pixel and 11,500- by 11,500-pixel detail. How were these highly detailed images created? The satellite flies 512 miles above the Earth, but the images appear as if they were taken from a much higher perspective: an altitude of 1,242 for the first image and 7,918 miles for the second. This little trick was accomplished by stitching together data from several orbits, creating an image that appears to be “pulled back.” NASA launched the 4,600-pound Suomi in October to remotely sense variations in the Earth’s oceans, continents, and atmosphere and get a better understanding of climate change. It passes directly from pole to pole 14 times a day, imaging 1,865-mile swaths of our planet with each trip."
Falcon-Cam. Viewers of WWL-TV (New Orleans) had quite a surprise when they tuned in Tuesday morning: "A surprise on our skywatch camera this morning - a falcon! He (or she) sat on the platform for our camera for almost an hour. Wonder if he knew all of Southeast Louisiana was watching!" Check it out on their Facebook page.
Welcome Snow Moon. Why Does It Appear So Much Larger On The Horizon? WJLA-TV's Bob Ryan has a good explanation about this optical illusion. The truth: the moon is the same size near the horizon as it is at the zenith, directly overhead. But our brains perceive the moon as larger near the horizon, because we assume it's closer to our location. Confused? Here's an explanation: "Moonrise is at 5:44 p.m. this evening. A perfect time of the year (not too early . . .not too late) to see one of the great tricks there is. How big do you think the rising Full Moon is? Why is it so huge when it rises tonight but then looks smaller high in the sky around midnight? After all, the Full Moon is really 4000 miles closer to us (the earth's radius) at midnight than at moonrise. Shouldn't it look larger overhead when it is closer than on the horizon? Yes it is but no it doesn't. OK enough of trickery by me. A little explanation here." Moonrise photo courtesy of NASA.
Tornadoes Not A Uniquely American Phenomenon; Europe Gets Its Share, Too. Stars and Stripes has the details: "The sudden, violent and awe-inspiring nature of tornadoes has made them common fodder for legends. For example, Pecos Bill is said to have lassoed a tornado, leaped onto its back and rode it across the Texas plain until it had calmed itself. Here’s another one: Europe has no tornadoes. That, too, is a tall tale of Bunyanesque proportions. Europe has plenty of tornadoes, perhaps 300 or more a year, according to a study by Nikolai Dotzek, a scientist with the Institute of Atmospheric Physics — in Wessling, Germany. That figure includes roughly 170 observed tornadoes in 25 countries and an educated guess that about 130 others were not reported because they dropped from the sky too briefly to be observed or landed unseen in unpopulated areas of the continent." Photo above shows a tornado/waterspout that touched down on northern France in 1961, courtesy of Skywarn Germany.
"App Economy" Has Created Nearly Half A Million Jobs Since 2007. Mashable.com has the details: "That app you use to play Words with Friends on your phone or book a reservation using Open Table might be giving the American economy a nice boost, at least according to a new survey by TechNet. The new “app economy” has created about 466,000 jobs in the United States since 2007, according to the survey. “America’s App Economy – which had zero jobs just 5 years ago before the iPhone was introduced – demonstrates that we can quickly create economic value and jobs through cutting-edge innovation,” Rey Ramsey, President and CEO of TechNet, said on the company’s blog. “Today, the App Economy is creating jobs in every part of America, employing hundreds of thousands of U.S. workers today and even more in the years to come.”
Superbowl Ads Vs. Campaign Ads. I liked John Rash's take on the (much hyped/much-debated) Clint Eastwood Chrysler spot during the Superbowl, in Tuesday's Star Tribune: "The best political ad of 2012 may have already aired -- during Sunday's Super Bowl. Only it wasn't for a candidate, or a cause, but a car company: Chrysler. "It's Halftime in America" defined the themes of the election better than the candidates have. "It's halftime," narrator Clint Eastwood begins. "Both teams are in their locker room discussing what they can do to win the game in the second half. It's halftime in America, too. People are out of work, and they're hurting. And they're all wondering what they're going to do to make a comeback. And we're all scared, because this isn't a game."
"Supergiant" Shrimp-like Beasts Found In Deep Seas. (Bad) sushi anyone? Good grief. National Geographic has more details: "Marine scientists have hoisted up a mysterious new species of "supergiant" amphipods from one of the deepest ocean trenches in the world, scientists announced Thursday Seven of the pinkish, shrimp-like animals crawled into a trap left in the Kermadec Trench, an abysmal rift in the seafloor off the northern coast of New Zealand that sinks down 6.2 miles (10 kilometers). The largest amphipod measured in at 11 inches long (28 centimeters)—nearly three times larger than the previous record-holder—and was captured at a depth of about 4.35 miles (7 kilometers). It's not yet clear whether the newfound giants represent a new species or just especially big supergiant amphipods."
KNOP-TV Airs Will Ferrell Superbowl Ad; GM Calls It Odd. Will Ferrell odd? I prefer "quirky". It's worth a look, if you haven't seen it yet. TVSpy.com has the details: "KNOP in North Platte, Nebraska has a unique distinction: it was the only station in the country to air an Old Milwaukee commercial featuring Will Ferrell during Sunday’s Super Bowl. After airing on KNOP, in the second-smallest market in the country, the ad went viral on Monday, edging out actual Super Bowl ads as the topic of watercooler conversation. Back in North Platte, KNOP general manger Lewys Carlini thinks the whole thing is a bit strange."
Pureflame Let's You Hang A Fireplace On Your Wall. What will they think of next? Kind of a cool concept, I guess. Gizmag.com has more information: "At this time of year, many of us living in the upper reaches of the Northern Hemisphere start wishing that we had a fireplace in our home. Unfortunately, installing a fireplace and chimney in a house that doesn't already have them is quite an involved and expensive process. Here's a solution in the form of a functioning fireplace that you simply hang on the wall like a picture - it's made by a company called Pureflame."
A November Without End. I can't tell you how much the weather maps look like early November, not early February. Tuesday highs ranged from 19 at International Falls to 25 St. Cloud, 30 in the Twin Cities. Duluth is reporting 1" snow on the ground, but all the webcams I see show a very brown Duluth. The most snow at any reporting station? International Falls is reporting a whopping 6".
"The antidote for fifty enemies is one friend." - Aristotle. Photo courtesy of wikipedia.
Paul's Star Tribune Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:
TODAY: Bright sun, seasonably cool. Winds: W 10-15. High: 29
WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Patchy clouds, seasonably cool. Low: 19
THURSDAY: Still mild. Clouds increase. High: 35
FRIDAY: Brisk! Feels like winter. W.C. -10. Low: 7. High: 15
SATURDAY: Subzero start in the suburbs. Bright sun. Low: 2 (MSP International). High: 18
SUNDAY: Fading sun, not as cold. Low: 6. High: 28
MONDAY: Coating of light snow possible. Turning milder. Low: 11. High: 32
TUESDAY: Slow clearing, March-like again. Low: 17. High: 33
A "Useless Winter"
Old Man Winter is pulling his punch. I can't tell you the number of (snow lovers) who have come up to me and said some variation of "Paul, what good is winter if you can't have snow? It's surreal staring out at brown ground in early February! I'm depressed." Older Minnesotans seem relieved, but younger people who EXPECT snowcover in mid winter are baffled. Welcome to the club. Lately I've been more of a therapist than a meteorologist.
The ying and yang of weather: cold spells are usually followed by warm bips. Dry weather gives way to wet periods. Weather, like life, is cyclical. Ups and downs.
That's what makes this winter so extraordinary: how STUCK our pattern has been. La Nina, La Schmeena! Blocking patterns? Nothing I know of adequately describes how persistent this mild, dry pattern has been.
Our late week cold front will be a pale imitation of January's chill. The mercury bottoms out Saturday morning, dipping below zero in the suburbs, for the 4th time all winter. A typical winter brings 28 nights below zero. What happened to "typical"?
When in a drought, don't predict rain (or snow). Amen to that.
Repeat after me: "no big storms (of any flavor) are in sight."
* Photo above courtesy of the AP.
Arctic Oscillation And The Winter Of Global Weirding. A good explanation of a baffling weather pattern from Climate Denial Crock Of The Week: "Weirdly warm and snowless in the US. Brutally cold and icy in Europe. What’s going on? Note in the satellite map above, how cold air is shifted out of the arctic and on to the European land mass – while large polar areas are warmer than usual. Climate Central: The weather pattern responsible for bringing the frigid air to Europe and Eurasia, and locking it in place, is being driven in part by a naturally-occurring pattern of climate variability known as the Arctic Oscillation. The Arctic Oscillation, or AO, is is a climate index that describes the characteristics of the atmospheric circulation over the Arctic, and a related index describes the circulation over the North Atlantic. Depending on whether it’s in a “positive” or “negative” phase, the Arctic Oscillation can bring warmer or cooler than average wintertime conditions to the U.S. and Europe. Right now the Arctic Oscillation is in a negative phase, which tends to favor colder than average weather in Europe and the U.S. Scientists don’t fully understand what causes the Arctic Oscillation to switch from one phase to the other, which limits their ability to forecast these changes ahead of time beyond a week in advance."
The Great Carbon Bubble. Here's a post from Bill McKibbon, courtesy of TomDispatch and Huffington Post: "If we could see the world with a particularly illuminating set of spectacles, one of its most prominent features at the moment would be a giant carbon bubble, whose bursting someday will make the housing bubble of 2007 look like a lark. As yet -- as we shall see -- it’s unfortunately largely invisible to us. In compensation, though, we have some truly beautiful images made possible by new technology. Last month, for instance, NASA updated the most iconic photograph in our civilization’s gallery: “Blue Marble,” originally taken from Apollo 17 in 1972. The spectacular new high-def image shows a picture of the Americas on January 4th, a good day for snapping photos because there weren’t many clouds."
Carbon Emissions Rise Despite Climate Change Policies. More from The Telegraph: "The latest figures from the Department of Energy and Climate change show emissions rose by more than 3 per cent in 2010, the first increase since 2003. The rise in carbon dioxide and other gases comes despite a swathe of Government policies to cut emissions, such as building wind farms and installing solar panels. Ed Davey, the new Energy and Climate Change Secretary, said it was just a blip in the long term goal to halve emissions by 2025."
36 F. high temperature in the cities on Saturday. Fog gradually gave way to peeks of blue sky.
26 F. average high for February 4.
34 F. high temperature a year ago, on February 4, 2011.
0" snow depth at KMSP.
14.9" snowfall so far this winter in the Twin Cities (MSP International Airport).
60.4" snowfall as of February 4, 2011.
2,890 daily high temperature records were broken or tied in January across the USA. That's 4 times the number of record highs reached or surpassed last year. Source: NOAA.
Happy National Weatherperson's Day! What...you didn't know? Neither did I. Tantalizing details below.
“A true conservationist is a man who knows that the world is not given by his fathers, but borrowed from his children.” - John James Audubon, Wildlife Artist/Author
"Hoar Frost" and "Advection Frost" reported across much of Minnesota. Details below.
Superbowl Forecast for Indianapolis: mostly sunny, high of 45 F.
Andy Gabrielson: 1987-2012. I'm so sorry to have to pass along news of the death of Andy Gabrielson, one of America's most prolific and passionate storm chasers. He was involved in a fatal traffic accident (drunk driver traveling the wrong way on I-44 in Oklahoma), resulting in this tragedy. Andy had a knack for being in the right place at the right time - during a typical severe season he would capture scores of tornadoes. He even won a Regional Emmy in 2011. But Andy did more than just capture amazing videos - he tended to tornado survivors; often he was the first person on the scene. He cared about weather, but more important, Andy cared about people. He had a huge heart, he was a terrific human being, and he will be missed by everyone that knew him and appreciated his many talents. More from Kory Hartman from Severe Studios: "Some very sad news to report tonight: my good friend and storm chaser Andy Gabrielson was killed on I-44 in Oklahoma (Saturday) afternoon....My thoughts and prayers are with the Gabrielson family and our extended storm chaser family as well. God bless and Godspeed Andy."
An Unusual (but fitting) Tribute. Late Saturday a group of Kansas storm chasers positioned themselves to spell out Andy Gabrrielson's initials on a state map; a fitting tribute to a man who spent much of his life on the road, in search of nature's most violent wind.
Hints of a Real Storm? It's early, and the long-range models have been especially erratic and unreliable in recent weeks, especially the GFS model. The 500mb map above is valid February 20. If this verifies (a huge if) it could translate into the first plowable snowfall for Minnesota and Wisconsin since early December. My confidence level is low; I want to see a few more runs before I get too excited. The last thing I want to do is get (tormented) snow lover's hopes up - but at least there's a shot in about 2 weeks. We'll see. More details below.
15.9" snow at Denver over 3 days, a new record. Photo courtesy of Laura Walter in Hampden Heights, Colorado.
50.5" snow reported at Pinecliffe, Colorado. That's without the drifts.
22.7" fell at Boulder, Colorado.
16% savings in heating bills, nationwide, so far this winter. Source: Weather Derivatives, WSJ.
.5" snow has fallen at Kansas City so far this winter. Last winter Kansas City had already picked up 30" snow.
Record Snows Hit Denver. Officially it was 15.9" over 3 days, a new 3-day record for the Mile High City. Thanks to Daisy Bailey, who lives in Lakewood, Colorado.
Minnesota Snow Lovers Are In Mourning. Yes, I have my black armband on too. I can rationalize the lack of subzero weather - I don't miss that one bit. But no snow, on the 5th day of February? That's just...unnatural. It's starting to look like Tulsa (with lakes) out there. Not good. Details on the photo above: "A man digs his car out of the snow on Friday, Feb. 3, 2012, after a snow storm hit Denver with 10 inches of snow overnight. A powerful winter storm swept across Colorado on Friday as it headed east, bringing blizzard warnings to eastern Colorado and western Kansas, and winter storm warnings for southeast Wyoming and western Nebraska.(AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)."
Denver Records: more details on what will undoubtedly be the biggest snowstorm of the winter for the Denver area, courtesy of the Denver office of the National Weather Service: "12.5 inches of snow fell at Denver International Airport on February 3rd. This snowfall established a daily snowfall record for the date. The old record was 7.5 inches set back in 1932. The 12.5 inches that fell also established a daily snowfall record for the month of February. The previous daily snowfall record was 9.5 inches on February 22nd 1909 and February 19th 1953. In addition, from the evening of the 2nd through the morning of the 4th, 15.9 inches of snow fell at Denver International Airport. This establishes a new three day snowfall total for the month of February. The old record of 14.2 inches occurred back in 1912 from February 23rd through the 25th." Experimental graphic above courtesy of NOAA.
Des Moines Snow. Yes, it was that close. Anywhere from 4-6" snow accumulated in Des Moines, Iowa, enough to shovel, plow and generally gum up area highways. Photo courtesy of Heather Burnside.
1,522 Records In The Past Week. All those red dots are record highs, yellow dots are record warm nighttime lows, green dots record 24 hour rainfall amounts. Click here to see an interactive map, courtesy of Ham Weather and NOAA. Check out the new Aeris platform from Ham Weather - nothing like it out there. Then again I'm a little biased.
February 4 or April 4? The latest high-res snowcover map for Minnesota (courtesy of NOAA) shows a total lack of snow south/west of the Minnesota River, a trace to 1/2" snow on the ground around the metro area, about 2-3" for Brainerd and Duluth, with a whopping 12-24" from the Boundary Waters to Grand Marais. I can't remember the last time there was so little snow on the ground in early February. 2006 was bleak for snow lovers, so was 2000, but this winter is breaking new ground...brown ground at that.
Latest USA Snowcover. According to NOAA, 25.5% of the USA (lower 48 states) was covered by snow, as of Saturday. That's up 4% since January 4.
One Year Ago. According to NOAA's NOHRSC (National Operational Hydrological Remote Sensing Center) 56.9% of the USA was snowcovered on February 4, 2011.
The Joys of "Hoar Frost". Yesterday was a ghostly, beautiful sight to behold. Thick fog coating every surface with a thin coating of frost, what meteorologists (tentatively) refer to as "hoar frost". Here's the definition from Wikipedia: "white frost or rime is the tiny solid deposition of water vapor from saturated air which occurs when the temperature of the surfaces is below freezing point. It occurs generally with clear skies." The name hoar comes from Old English and can be used as an adjective for showing signs of old age in reference to the frost which makes trees and bushes look like elderly white hair. It may also have association with hawthorn when covered in its characteristic white spring blossom."
* Note the spindly build-up of ice crystals on my mailbox - an odd sight, but beautiful nonetheless. I think this was an example of "advection frost, which "refers to tiny ice spikes forming when there is a very cold wind blowing over branches of trees, poles and other surfaces. It looks like rimming the edge of flowers and leaves and usually it forms against the direction of the wind. It can occur at any hour of day and night."
Prime Time For Tornadoes. Tornadoes are quite common along the Gulf Coast during February. This small EF-1 tornado touched down 3 miles south of DeRidder, Louisiana on Saturday. More details from the Lake Charles, Louisiana NWS office.
Houston Flooding. The epic Texas drought is finally showing signs of easing. Dallas is no longer in drought, and heavy rain triggered significant flash flooding in the Houston area in recent days.
Superbowl Weather Since 1967. What, you can't read this? Neither can I. Click here to see a pdf of Superbowl weather through the ages, courtesy of NOAA's Southeast Regional Climate Center.
Maps Look Like Mid March. Check out this map from policlimate.com, showing the coolest temperatures expected over the next 8 days. I do expect a change the latter half of next week, but the next few days will feel more like early March than early February.
Rare Snows In North Africa. AccuWeather.com reports on the first significant snowfall for Algeria (Africa!) in 7 years: "A rare accumulating snowfall is in progress in Algiers, the capital city of Algeria. Cold air associated with a storm system currently moving into the region from the north is providing for some decent accumulations of snow in the north African country. According to Accuweather Meteorologist Eric Wanenchak, most reports say the last time Algiers saw this kind of accumulation was at least seven years ago in 2005. He said Algiers must fight a combination of limiting factors in order to see snowfall. First, the city is near the Mediterranean Sea, which is still quite warm, currently in the low 50s."
The Facts Behind The National Flood Insurance Program. Here's an excerpt of FEMA's recent press release: "Federal Emergency Management Agency officials are clearing up some misconceptions about the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which offers federally-backed flood insurance to property owners and renters in communities that participate in the program. “The NFIP is a critical component to help homeowners and businesses recover from flood damage,” said FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer Stephen M. De Blasio, Sr. “The more that people know about it and utilize it, the easier it will be for them to rebuild their homes and communities.” More than 20,000 communities participate in the NFIP nationwide, which is administered by FEMA but whose policies are sold through private insurance agents and companies throughout the country. More than 25 percent of claims paid are from areas at medium or low risk of flooding. In these areas, NFIP flood insurance can be purchased for as little as $129 a year to insure a building and its contents, or $49 for contents only. Homes can be insured against flood damage for up to $250,000 and commercial buildings insured for up to $500,000."
Today Is National Weatherperson's Day. Proving everyone and everything has at least one day dedicated to making them feel special. Right. Details from the central Illinois office of the National Weather Service: "Today, Feb. 5, is National Weatherperson's Day, commemorating the birth of John Jeffries in 1774. Jeffries, one of America's first weather observers, began taking daily weather observations in Boston in 1774 and he took the first balloon observations in 1784. This is a day to recognize the men and women who collectively provide Americans with the best weather, water and climate forecasts and warning services of any nation. Weather observations in central Illinois date back to the early 1800s. Visit our weather history page for more details."
Why Viewers Could Soon Control Superbowl Ads. MIT's Technology Review has the story: "During this Sunday's Super Bowl, a record five million viewers are expected to tweet or make other social media comments—not just about the game, but also about the many beer, snack, and car ads that are integral to the annual sports and entertainment ritual. This activity—up from 900,000 people making Super Bowl posts during last year's game—is now happening at such a vast scale that executives in television, broadcast news, and advertising expect analytics of the comments to start shaping advertising choices—and even the direction of news coverage—in near real-time."
Murky Saturday. The fog gradually lifted yesterday, revealing a few peeks of blue sky. Ice fog in early February is unusual (typical February KMSP only sees an average of 1.4 days of fog with visibility under 1/4 mile...the entire month). We just had 3 days/row of fog. Saturday highs ranged from 27 at Alexandria to 36 Twin Cities, 39 St. Cloud (where the fog lifted faster with more sun) to 41 at Eau Claire.
Paul's Star Tribune Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:
TODAY: Clouds and og should give way to peeks of mild sun by afternoon. Winds: W 8. High: 39
SUNDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy, still mild for early February. Low: 24
MONDAY: Mildest day. Feels like March. Partly sunny skies after a foggy start. High: 41
TUESDAY: Clearing, breezy and colder. Low: 13. High: 27
WEDNESDAY: Partly sunny, close to average for this time of year. Low: 7. High: 26
THURSDAY: Clouds increase, colder late PM. Low: 16. High: 31
FRIDAY: Feels like winter again. Cold sunshine. Low: 2. High: 18
SATURDAY: Few flurries? Not as cold. Low: 0. High: 24
"Ice Bowl" Memories
I'm old enough to remember the infamous "Ice Bowl", the first Superbowl played in 1967. The Packers narrowly defeated the Cowboys, in weather conditions that defy description. The temperature was -15 F at gametime, with a wind chill of -50. Players complained of frostbitten fingers and toes. A metal whistle froze onto the lips of the referee. It was the coldest NFL game on record; probably the worst Superbowl weather ever.
Now we have climate-controlled, hermetically-sealed stadiums where players can focus on the game, not surviving the elements.
The last few days have been a bust with thick fog and stratus; highly unusual for February, when windblown cold fronts should be scrubbing our skies with arctic sunlight.
We see an average of 1.4 foggy days/month in February. So yes, this is a bit odd. Jet stream winds are blowing in from the Pacific. It's been mild enough for significant snowmelt, moistening the lowest layers of the atmosphere. Light winds and a low sun angle made it hard to burn away lazy clouds (fog).
With reluctant sun we should hit 40 today, mid 40s Monday, colder next week, then a shot at 50 the 3rd week of February. No snow - maybe rain by Feb. 14? Really. And in spite of a chance of a (real) snowstorm around February 20 I'm not getting too excited just yet. The long-range models have been especially erratic and untrustworthy as of late...I want to see a few more computer runs before I brush the cobwebs off my snow shovel. That said...we're due.
* Ice Bowl photo above courtesy of dsmweather.com.
Superbowl Tackles Climate Change. Discovery News reports: "The field won't be the only thing green about Super Bowl XLVI. The NFL has a plan in their playbook to tackle the carbon dioxide emissions caused by energy use at the six major Super Bowl facilities. Renewable energy certificates will pass 15,000 megawatt hours of clean energy to the NFL's environmental receivers. At the slick new Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis even the lights shining on the New York Giants and New England Patriots will be accounted for by renewable energy certificates provided by Green Mountain Energy Company."
Climate Change Predicted To Escalate Tropical Cyclone Damage Costs For U.S. And China. Indybay.org has the details: "A new study looking at the economic costs of tropical cyclone damage taking into account climate change, forecasts that tropical cyclones will cause $109 billion in damages by 2100. Increased vulnerability of populations and growing economic wealth is expected to double the costs from $26 billion per year to $56 billion by 2100. Climate change is predicted to add some $53 Billion in damages. Two countries are responsible for incurring 75% of the extra damage from climate change associated with tropical cyclones: the United States and China. But tropical island nations will incur the highest damage per GDP - up to 37%."
Extreme Rainfall In Central India In Past 50 Years. Zeenews.com has the story: "Meteorologists have observed a very high rise in the "extreme events of rainfall" in the country in the last 50 years, particularly in Central India region in a climate change that can be attributed to global warming. The finding is noted by the scientists at the city-based Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) which is engaged in various research projects relating to the monsoon behaviour in the country. "We feel that the rise in extreme events of rainfall which has almost doubled in the past 50 years in Central India (excluding mountainous region) has a relation with global warming," B N Goswami, Director, IITM said in a talk with PTI."
33 F. high on Friday in the Twin Cities.
26 F. average high for February 3.
19 F. high temperature a year ago, on February 3, 2011.
67 minutes of additional daylight for the Twin Cities since December 21.
1.4 average number of days with "heavy fog" in the Twin Cities during an average February (visibiility under 1/4 mile).
6.9 average number of nights below zero in February at KMSP. So far this month we've had no subzero nights.
2010 last year we had a February with no subzero nights in the Twin Cities.
January 21. The last time average temperatures in the metro area were below average.
40 F. highs possible today and likely Sunday (assuming the sun stays out). Mid 40s are possible Monday, nearly 20 degrees above average.
45 F. predicted high in Indianapolis for Sunday's Super Bowl.
Season's biggest snowfall in Denver (1-2 foot snows were reported in the metro area). Twitter photo courtesy of Joseph Labrecque in Denver and topsy.com.
48" snow reported at Black Hawke, Colorado from Friday's storm. That's without the drifts!
First significant snow in Rome, Italy in 26 years.
A January To Remember. Twin Cities temperatures last month were 7.7 F. warmer than average, the 8th warmest in modern-day records. Details below.
"Football: you have to play this game like somebody just hit your mother with a two-by-four." - Dan Birdwell
Bad Day To Fly Through Denver. As of early afternoon Friday flightaware.com was reporting over 500 cancellations at KDEN, the result of white-out conditions, whipping 10-14" snow into 3-4 foot drifts.
Winter The Way It Was Meant To Be? Denver probably saw its biggest snowfall of the winter season, anywhere from 1-2 feet across most of the metro area, with near blizzard-conditions reported at times.
Photo credit above: "Lana Hill and her brother Paul Licari work to clear the snow from their car after an overnight snowfall in Arvada, Colo. on Friday, Feb. 3, 2012. A powerful winter storm swept across Colorado on Friday as it headed east, bringing blizzard warnings to eastern Colorado and western Kansas, and winter storm warnings for southeast Wyoming and western Nebraska. (AP Photo/The Denver Post, Joe Amon)."
Denver Snow Blitz. Thanks to Matt Herrmann for reminding snow-starved Minnesotans what a real storm looks like; a cool 11-15" in the immediate Denver metro area, but Black Hawke reported 48" (without the drifts!) NOAA is reporting 4-5 foot drifts in the Denver area, where kids had the day off from school, more than 500 flights were cancelled at KDEN, and a huge stretch of I-70 had to be closed due to treacherous conditions.
So Close... Snow-lovers are in mourning. Perpetual mourning. The video coming out of Denver isn't helping matters. The NAM model prints out over a foot of snow for eastern Nebraska, as much as 8-12" for Omaha and Sioux City, maybe an inch or two for Des Moines. Minnesota? Zilch. Nyet. Nada. Nothing. Same old story in the weather department.
February Starts Warm And Foggy. Dr. Mark Seeley has a good overview of recent weather trends in his weekly WeatherTalk blog: "Following the trend of previous months, February started very warm this week with temperatures ranging from 15 to 25 degrees F warmer than average. Some observers in western Minnesota reported new record highs for February 1st including: 50 F at Morris; 51 F at Benson; 52 F at Ortonville and St James; 55 F at Marshall; and 56 F at Minneota. On February 2nd afternoon temperatures again reached the 40s and 50s F in some places, as Rochester reported a new record high of 48 degrees F. It was the warmest first two days of February since 1931."
Photo credit above: "In this photo taken on Friday, February 3, 2012, the snowmobile trail in Wauconda, Ill., along Ivanhoe Road near Lakewood Forst Preserve is all mud thanks to the lack of lasting snowfalls this winter. The mild temperatures in January and February have kept the snowmobiles inside. (AP Photo/Daily Herald, Paul Valade)."
January Recap. The warmest temperatures in January were observed over the Red River Valley (as much as 8-11 F. warmer than normal). Data courtesy of the Midwestern Regional Climate Center at the U. of Illinois. Last month was the 7th warmest on record for St. Cloud, the 14th warmest for Eau Claire, Wisconsin. More details from the local NWS office here.
No End In Sight To The Warm Winter. The L.A. Times reports: "Birds were singing. Insects were buzzing. And a large skunk suddenly appeared in the road in front of meteorologist Paul Pastelok as he drove to work in rural Pennsylvania. Pastelok missed the skunk, but the close encounter this week was a reminder of how freakishly warm the winter has been from the Plains to the East Coast, and how the higher temperatures have upended everything from wildlife to resorts whose life cycles are dictated by snow. In New York City, where "unseasonably mild" and "balmy" have been the forecasts of late, temperatures this week have been at least 10 to 20 degrees warmer than the usual average high of 39, a pattern seen across much of the eastern half of the country."
Photo credit above: "New Yorkers and visitors are enjoying a mild winter in 2012, with January temperatures in the low 60's drawing a crowd to Central Park. New York City, which last year was staggering beneath 36 inches of snow by February 1, has seen just four inches fall so far this winter, and the remnants of the last storm melted away long ago. Similarly mild weather is widespread in the U.S. this winter. (Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times/MCT)."
Groundhog Day In A Year Without A Winter. Andrew Freedman over at Climate Central has the story: "The groundhog Punxsutawney Phil may have seen his shadow today, but the prospect of six more weeks of the mild winter of 2011/12 doesn't seem so terrible. In fact, now that we're past the typical coldest period of the year, the days are already getting longer, and the typical average temperatures are warming up day by day across the country. In many areas, this tame winter has been unusual but not unheard of. For example, in the Northeast, the winter has been one of the warmest and least snowy on record, but it has been warmer during past winters. While winter temperatures have been increasing, on average, due to global warming, the mild winter this year is likely mainly due to natural climate variability, including a La Niña event in the Pacific Ocean and the orientation of the upper air jet stream. Temperatures in the Northeast have averaged at least 5°F above average since December, with very little snow cover, according to Art DeGaetano, a Cornell University climatologist and the director of the Northeast Regional Climate Center."
Snow Lovers Support Group. Thanks to the Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang for passing this along - check out more on their Facebook page.
Snow In Rome. Here's an amazing photo and post, courtesy of Earth Networks: "In the past 26 years, it's only snowed 8 times in Rome. Temperatures dropped overnight -30C (-22°F) as the city experienced its heaviest snowfall (40 cm...about 15 inches) in the northern outskirts by midday) since February 11, 1986. From @isabellawitter on Twitter – Snow on the Roman Forum."
Snow Falls In Rome For First Time In 26 Years, Death Toll Rises To 150. The U.K. Daily Mail has great information (and some spectacular photos): "Snow fell in Rome today (Friday) for the first time in 26 years as freezing temperatures took the death toll across Europe to more than 150. The Italian capital is usually blessed by a moderate climate, but the snowfall prompted authorities to stop visitors from entering the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill, the former home of Rome's ancient emperors. The last substantial snowfalls in Rome were in 1985 and 1986, though there have been other cases of lighter snow since then, including in 2010."
Photo credit above: "Boys throw snowballs in front of the Colosseum as snow falls in downtown Rome on Friday, Feb. 3, 2012. Snow is a rare occurrence for a capital usually blessed by a temperate climate. The snowfall prompted authorities to stop visitors from entering the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill, the former home of Rome's ancient emperors. (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)."
Snow In Unlikely Places. Much of America can't buy a snowflake, while Europe is getting hammered by heavy snow and unsually cold weather. Details: "Snow covers Vittorio Emanuele Bridge on the Tiber river as snow falls in downtown Rome on Friday, Feb. 3, 2012. Snowfall is a rare occurrence for a capital usually blessed by a temperate climate. The snowfall prompted authorities to stop visitors from entering the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill, the former home of Rome's ancient emperors. (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)."
Where Does The Deepest Snow On Earth Accumulate? Dr. Jeff Masters has the answer in his always-fascinating Wunderblog. Here's an excerpt: "Impressive as the depths recorded in North America might seem, the deepest snow on earth accumulates in the Japanese Alps of Honshu Island around the 2,000-6,000’ level. The average annual snowfall is estimated to be in the 1200-1500” range (see The Climate of Japan by E. Fukui p. 171). On Feb. 14, 1927 a snow depth of 465.4” was measured on Mt. Ibuki at 5,000 feet. In fact, these amazing snow depths are a singular tourist attraction since a highway that transects the mountains is kept open all winter. It is known as the Yuki-no-Otani Snow Canyon."
Still Waiting For A Real Cold Front. Not that I'm complaining or anything. I miss the snow, but not the negative numbers. Earlier Friday runs of the GFS were hinting at a harsher cold frontal passage around Feb. 18, but the latest run keeps the coldest air north/east of Minnesota, a continuation of a modified Pacific flow for Minnesota. 500 mb map above valid February 19.
Conflicting Signals. The AO (Arctic Oscillation) is trending negative, implying weaker westerly jet stream winds over North America, in theory, hinting at a growing chance of bitter air penetrating southward into the lower 48 states. yet the NAO (North Atlantic Oscillation) is still neutral to slightly positive after Feb. 12 or so. If both the AO and NAO were strongly negative I'd be far more confident about impending arctic air, but as it stands now I still don't see anything subzero through the third week of February. Could the subzero air (all 3 nights of it) already be behind us? Not willing to go that far...yet, but with each passing day the odds of subzero weather drop off fairly significantly.
One More Time: What Winter? Check out the GFS predicted temperatures from Feb. 11-19. Highs reach the 30s and 40s - I wouldn't be shocked to see a 50-degre high around Feb. 16-17. Our lack of snow means temperatures can rise 5-15 degree higher than they would otherwise. This looks more like late March than the third week of February.
The First "Snow-Optional" Sled? Now here's a great idea, perfect for our meager winter. Check out the web site here (hanczar.com). More details from treehugger.com: "Right now, Polish designer Szymon Hanczar could probably use a regular sled, but earlier in the year he thought there might be a bit of a problem. "Not so long ago people in Poland used to take their sledges from the basements and take over all possible city hills. At that time snow still existed. As we are suffering from greenhouse effect and something like snow simply does not exist anymore, we are offering a brand- new, attractive and minimalist sledge, possible to use on all types of flat surfaces, sloping though."
West Coast Chill Lays Claim To The Title Of "World's First Self-Chilling Beverage." Now THIS is progress! Gizmag.com has the details: "Miller Beer may have announced its plans to do so several years ago, but now someone else is actually going through with it ... releasing a beverage in a self-chilling can, that is. At the end of the first quarter of this year, Joseph Company International will be launching its West Coast Chill all-natural energy drink, which will come in the company's patented Chill Can. When buyers press a tab on the can, the temperature of the liquid inside will decrease by 30ºF within three minutes."
Americans Will Devour 1.25 BILLION Chicken Wings During Super Bowl. I'm getting heartburn just typing this. Come to think of it, I'm hungry again. Western Farm Press has the tasty details: "Whether you are an avid football fan who can’t wait until kickoff or you’re part of the 40 percent going to a Super Bowl party just for the food, there’s a good chance you will be as close to chicken wings as the television on Sunday. In fact, the National Chicken Council estimates that Americans will consume nearly 1.25 billion wings during this year’s Super Bowl."
Another Day - Another Bust. Yes, skies did (finally) clear by late afternoon, too late to impact temperatures. The fog and stratus cloudcover lingered longer than we thought, keeping temperatures cooler. Highs ranged from 30 at Alexandria to 32 St. Cloud, 33 in the Twin Cities and 35 at Eau Claire.
"You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist." - this quote is attributed to both Indira Gandhi and Golda Meir. Source: quotegarden.com
Paul's Star Tribune Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:
TODAY: Foggy start. Partly sunny and mild. Winds: NW 5-10. High: near 40
SATURDAY NIGHT: Clear to partly cloudy. Low: 23
SUNDAY: More sun, hints of March in the air. Winds: W 5-10. High: 41
MONDAY: Fading sun, mildest day in sight. Low:26. High: 45
TUESDAY: Clearing, turning breezy and colder. Low: 20. High: 28
WEDNESDAY: Bright sun, comfortably cool. Low: 13. High: 31
THURSDAY: Clouds increase, turning milder. Low: 21. High: 33
FRIDAY: Plenty of sun, brisk. Low: 19. High: 27
(Amazingly) Quiet Holding Pattern
Alaska is enduring one of the coldest, snowiest winters in state history. Europe and Asia have been bludgeoned by numbing cold and 8 foot drifts, but here in Minne-snowless we're still waiting, wondering, twiddling our thumbs, waxing our skies, tuning our sleds, waiting for the Winter Games to begin.
Talk about infrastructure: the new (invisible) Snow Dome high above Minnesota is doing a good job deflecting storms to our north and south. What else to account for dribs and drabs of snow; a FIFTH as much as we enjoyed last winter at this time.
The storm that pasted the Denver area with 1-2 feet of snow slides south of Minnesota today, the next chance of a lousy inch or two of slushy snow Feb. 14-15.
At this rate local TV stations will be leading their newscasts with cookie recipes and pothole alerts. We've lost our Winter Mojo, but weather (like life) is cyclical. There's always next winter. And in spite of highs mostly in the 30sand 40s through mid February it would be wildly premature to entirely write off winter just yet.
Jet stream winds continue to blow (persistently) from the Pacific, not the Yukon. Friday morning it looked like we might experience a real cold front after Feb. 18, but later runs keep the coldest air well north in Canada. I still don't see anything subzero looking out 2 weeks. Beyond that the crystal ball gets murky in a hurry, but I'm beginning to think CPC's prediction of a (much) warmer than average February for most of America east of the Rockies is right on the money. Welcome to what will probably turn out to be one of the 10 warmest winters on record for the USA.
"We should all be concerned about the future because we will have to spend the rest of our lives there." - Charles F. Kettering
Global Warming? Phooey! Here's a post from The Times And Democrat: "Pennsylvania’s Punxsutawney Phil had the gall to predict six MORE weeks of winter after allegedly seeing his shadow Thursday. Where has the stupid groundhog been, anyway? How can we have six more weeks of winter when we haven’t had enough cold weather to even call it winter? I think the mild temperatures this winter are part of a conspiracy staged by those global warming fanatics to try to fake us out. Just because flowers and trees are blooming like it’s the middle of spring and glaciers are melting and polar bears are rapidly running out of habitat because it’s melting, we certainly can’t jump to the conclusion that we’re responsible because we’re burning more and more fossil fuels and raising levels of greenhouses gases. How ridiculous is that! After all, God wouldn’t have given us all these natural resources unless he intended for us to use them all up, now would he?"
Photo credit above: "In this Feb. 1, 2012 photo, University of Tennessee-Chattanooga sophomore Sydney Lamb walks past blooming daffodils in Chattanooga, Tenn. Above average temperatures and rainfall have prompted an "early" spring in the region. (AP Photo/Chattanooga Times Free Press, Angela Lewis)."
Global Warming Or Not, This Winter Is Strange. The story from thesouthern.com (serving southern Illinois): "Streams of unconsciousness from the outdoors world:
- The globe is warmer: Whether or not you subscribe to global warming theories, you have to admit this has been a crazy warm winter.
It's so warm nature is confused. The maple tree in my yard is budding. I have crocus in bloom, daffodils ready to pop open and a planter at the end of my driveway full of blooming pansies. This is just screwed up. The pansies should have frozen and died sometime in later November or early December. The crocus should bloom when pitchers and catchers report for spring training - in about two weeks. And, I associate blooming daffodils with the Missouri Valley Conference basketball tournament - in about a month."
So Why Are The Plant Zones Changing? I know, now the USDA is in on "the conspiracy". Here's an excerpt of an Op Ed in The Washington Post: "The interesting front-page story about the shifts in the Agriculture Department’s plant hardiness zone maps since 1990 [“New plant map shifts area to warmer zone,” Jan. 26] included this headline on the continuing page: “Plant map doesn’t measure climate change.” However, nothing in the article discusses the relationship of the zone changes to climate change, whether global, national or regional. The nearly uniformly northward shifting zones reflect increases in “average winter low temperatures between 1976 and 2005 at 8,000 weather stations.” While this doesn’t fully measure all the changes in climate, if this nationwide pattern is not attributable to global climate change — specifically to the global warming that scientists have concluded is unequivocal — what, pray tell, is responsible? The failure of The Post, not only to make the connection with global climate change but also to seemingly disavow it, is most puzzling."
Global Warming: German Researchers Find More Evidence For Links Between Arctic Sea Ice Decline And European Weather. The story from the Summit County Citizens Voice: "SUMMIT COUNTY — German scientists say they’ve found more evidence showing links between declining Arctic sea ice and shifting weather patterns, with cold, snowy winters more likely in Europe following summers when Arctic sea ice is low. The researchers from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research say shrinking summertime sea ice cover changes the air pressure zones in the Arctic atmosphere, slowing westerly winds that usually transport relatively warm and moist air toward Europe. If there is a particularly large-scale melt of Arctic sea ice in summer, as observed in recent years, two important effects are intensified. Firstly, the retreat of the ice leaves a darker ocean to warm up more in summer from solar radiation."
Storm Over Climate Change Among Weather Forecasters. The story from Reuters and The Chicago Tribune: "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. But weather forecasters, many of whom see climate change as a natural, cyclical phenomenon, are split over whether they have a responsibility to educate their viewers on the link between human activity and the change in the Earth's climates. Only 19 percent of U.S. meteorologists saw human influences as the sole driver of climate change in a 2011 survey. And some, like the Weather Channel's founder John Coleman are vocal in their opposition. "It is the greatest scam in history," wrote Coleman, one of the first meteorologists to publicly express doubts about climate change, on his blog in 2007. "I am amazed, appalled and highly offended by it. Global Warming; it is a SCAM."
36 F. high temperature Thursday in the Twin Cities (lingering clouds/fog kept temperatures 4-8 degrees cooler than they would have been otherwise).
25 F. average high for February 2.
12 F. high temperature a year ago, February 2, 2011.
14.9" snow so far this winter at KMSP.
60.4" snowfall last winter as of February 2.
1-2 FEET of snow possible in Denver by Saturday morning, probably the biggest snowstorm of winter. Denver public schools are cancelled today.
Winter Storm Watch: posted for southwestern Iowa.
"The trouble with weather forecasting is that it's right too often for us to ignore it and wrong too often for us to rely on it." - Patrick Young. File photo is from 1993, when I covered the "Storm of the Century" for KARE-11. Good memories.
Super Bowl Forecast for Indianapolis: flurries, highs near 37. Check out a live webcam from Earth Networks (formerly WeatherBug) here.
$45 billion: estimated cost of extreme flooding across Thailand in 2011. Source: World Bank.
"Bismarck, N.D., has had one-fifth its normal snow, Boston a third. Buffalo is three feet below normal for snowfall this year. Midland, Texas, has had more snow this season than Minneapolis or Chicago." - from an MSNBC.com article on a lack of real winter weather across the USA.
"January 2012 is in the weather record books as the 3rd least-snowy January for the contiguous U.S. since snow records began in 1966, the Rutgers Snow Lab reported yesterday, and December 2011 ranked as the 11th least snowy December on record.... the winter of 2011 - 2012 has a chance to end up as the second least snowy winter in U.S. history." - Dr. Jeff Masters in his latest Wunderblog. Details below.
"The winter of 2011-2012 is already among the top 20 warmest in historical memory, and is likely to earn a third- or fourth-place record in parts of New York and New Jersey, said Art DeGaetano, a climatologist and professor of Earth and atmospheric sciences at Cornell University. That conforms to the trend of the past decade, which has seen three of the four warmest winters since meteorological data collection began, he said." - from a Scientific American article below.
"The National Flood Insurance Program has written 5.5 million policies in more than 21,000 communities covering $1.2 trillion worth of property (in the USA). As for the vaunted private market, for-profit insurance companies write between 180,000 and 200,000 policies in a given year. In other words, that is less than 5% of all flood insurance in the United States. This federally subsidized program underwrites the other 95%. Without such insurance, it’s not complicated: many waterlogged victims of 2011, whether from record Midwestern floods or Hurricane Irene, would simply have no money to rebuild." - from an article in Le Monde. Details below.
Amazing new iPad app for tracking severe weather. Details on "iDamage" below.
A Bad Winter To Be A Snowman. Thanks to Twin Cities meteorologist Tony Perkins for reminding us how hard it is to be a snowman this winter.
Daffodil Alert. Thanks to topsy.com and "epilnivek", who used Instagram to snap this photo of his daffodils sprouting in the suburbs of Memphis. I know - it's too early to even think about spring fever, but I just can't help myself.
Early Spring? Exhibit A. Thanks to my dear sister, Joan, who lives in Lancaster, PA (about 70 miles west of Philadephia) for sharing these photos of tulips and daffodils sprouting in her yard. In fact the daffodils came up in early January!
From Winter Fest to "Slush Fest". When in Rome...do the best you can with you've got, right? A dire lack of snow is forcing city leaders to be very creative these days. MLive.com has the details: "The Boyne Area Chamber of Commerce planned its annual Winter Fest for the usual February timing, when mounds of snow and frozen Lake Charlevoix make for great ice fishing, skiing and other winter sports. In fact, here's what Chamber Executive Director Jim Baumann told the Petoskey News on Jan. 27: "A new part of the festival we're really excited about is the skiing and snowshoeing." That was before the 46-degree temperatures on Tuesday pretty much blew any hope for sufficient snow."
Watches And Warnings. Dense fog remains a problem from the eastern Dakotas across much of central Minnesota to Madison and the Chicago area, while Blizzard Warnings are posted from the Denver area into western Kansas and Nebraska, a Winter Storm Watch stretching into southwestern Iowa. Map courtesy of NOAA - click here for the latest information.
Rare February Blizzard. The NAM model prints out 12-18" snow from the suburbs of Denver across much of Nebraska, some 6-10" amounts possible in the Omaha area, a "plowable" snowfall for far southwestern Iowa. Map courtesy of WeatherCaster.
Marchlike Weekend - Cooling Trend Next Week. Although I still don't see any more subzero nights, temperatures will return to "average" levels by the middle of next week, highs in the low to mid 20s by the end of next week. A quick rebound is likely, highs rebounding into the 30s by the third week of February.
Extended Outlook: No Arctic Air In Sight. Is it possible we've seen our last subzero nights of winter? We've only picked up 3 nights of negative numbers (all in January), and I don't see any numbing air through Feb. 18. Highs reach the 30s (consistently) the third week of February.
What Winter? AP and MSNBC.com have more details on the Wimpy Winter of '12: "WASHINGTON — Snow has been missing in action for much of the U.S. the last couple months. But it's not just snow. It's practically the season that's gone AWOL. "What winter?" asked Mike Halpert, deputy director of the National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center. For the Lower 48, January was the third-least snowy on record, according to the Global Snow Lab at Rutgers University. Records for the amount of ground covered by snow go back to 1967. Last year, more than half the nation was covered in snow as a Groundhog Day blizzard barreled across the country, killing 36 people and causing $1.8 billion in damage. This year, less than a fifth of the country outside of Alaska has snow on the ground."
Photo credit above: Kiichiro Sato/AP. "A year ago on Feb. 2, 2011, hundreds of cars were stranded on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, Ill., seen at left. The same stretch is seen on Wednesday."
"6 More Weeks Of Non-Winter". Dr. Jeff Masters has an interesting evaluation of our current "winter", trying to put things into perspective. Here's an excerpt from his excellent Wunderground Blog: "This January's remarkable warmth and lack of snow contrasts starkly with what happened during the previous two winters. January 2011 was the 5th snowiest and 35th coldest in U.S. history, and January 2010 was the 7th snowiest and 55th coldest. Wunderground meteorologist Angela Fritz had this to say in her blog post yesterday about what's been going on this winter: In December, we were reporting that the lower-48's unseasonably warm weather and lack of snow was due to a particularly positive Arctic Oscillation (AO) index. The Arctic Oscillation is a measure of the jet stream's strength. A positive AO is a stronger than average jet stream, and it tends to keep cold air bottled up in the Arctic. During a positive AO, the Arctic is colder than average, and the mid-latitudes are warmer than average. In December and early January, the AO was positive. In mid-January, the AO went negative, which we expect to have the opposite impact. A weak jet steam means cold, Arctic air can escape to the south, and that's what we've been seeing in Europe this week."
Image credit above: "Winter temperatures in the contiguous U.S. during the period 1895 - 2011 increased at a rate of about 1.6°F per century. The warmest winter was 1999 - 2000, and the coldest was 1978 - 1979." Image credit: Weather Underground and NOAA/NCDC.
WGN TV's Tim McGill: "Meteorologists Dread Groundhog Day." More from TVSpy: “I wanted to take this opportunity to launch a preemptive strike by whacking the weasel with some facts about his forecasts,” McGill wrote on the WGN weather blog. “Most meteorologists dread Groundhog Day.” McGill, who has been a meteorologist for 26 years, says the groundhog is accurate in his prediction just 39% of the time. “Punxutawney Phil is a punk when it comes to weather forecasting,” McGill wrote. “We may as well ask a giraffe for stock picks, he could probably be just as accurate.”
Predicting Temperatures: NOAA Vs. Punxsutawney Phil. NOAA has a recap of recent predictions from the furry prognosticator in Pennsylvania, and how he stacked up against NOAA's supercomputers outside Washington D.C.: "The table (above) gives a snapshot by year since 1988 whether Phil saw his shadow or not along with the corresponding monthly national average temperature departures for both February and March. The table shows no predictive skill for the groundhog during the most recent years of this analysis. Since 1993, the U.S. national temperature has been above normal 10 times in February, 11 times in March, below normal 6 times in February, 3 times in March, and near normal 3 times in February and 5 times in March."
Two FEET Of Snow For The Mile High City? NOAA's NCEP models are predicting anywhere from 1-2 feet of snow for Denver over the next 36-48 hours - I have a hunch KDEN will see delays, even some cancellations. If your travels take you into Denver through Friday night you may want to consider a Plan B.
Biggest Snowstorm Of The Winter For Denver? More details on the imminent snow blitz from The Denver Post: "Denver's biggest snowstorm this year could dump a month's worth a snow by the weekend, according to the latest National Weather Service forecast. The city is expected to receive at least 6 inches of snow, which would be more than February's 30-year average of 5.7 inches for the month. TV weather forecasters and weather enthusiasts on Twitter tonight are interpreting models to say Denver could get a foot or more by the time the storm moves out late Friday or sometime Saturday."
Snowpocalypse In Italy. Giorgio Cappelli sent us these photos from central Italy. He reports 200-250 centimeters of snow from the current system. That's anywhere from 75-100" of snow. Entire towns in Tuscany have been buried under 6-10 foot drifts. Check out his photo album here, courtesy of meteonetwork.it.
Brrrrrr. While we search for a real winter, jet stream winds have buckled over Europe, plunging bitter air southward from Siberia and Scandanavia. "A warm covered pug dog strolls on a street in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, on a cold winter Thursday, Feb. 2, 2012. Germany faces freezing temperatures coming from Russia down to minus 15 degrees Celsius (5 degrees Fahrenheit). (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)."
A Four-Wheel Drive Ferrari? I think the new FXX may be all-wheel drive, but the home of Ferrari (Maranello, Italy) has been buried under 3 foot snowfall amounts. More details: "An employee leaves the Ferrari headquarters in Maranello, central Italy, Thursday, Feb. 2, 2012. Ferrari has canceled Friday's official launch of its new Formula One car because of the adverse weather conditions affecting the north of Italy. Heavy snow has been falling since Tuesday afternoon and Ferrari has now decided to cancel the ceremony and will simply publish pictures and technical details online. (AP Photo/Marco Vasini)."
Record-Breaking Territory. CoolWx.com has a terrific site, one that displays U.S. and global maps showing which towns are approaching or surpassing all-time record highs, lows, precipitation, snowfall, etc. Note how all the current records are clustered in Europe, reflecting the recent surge of arctic air and record snowfalls.
Photo Of The Day: "Stopcicle". A raging ice storm triggered a very strange effect on a stop sign in Ontario, Canada. Neatorama has the details: "This picture was taken yesterday in Mirabel, Quebec. There was some discussion of its location at reddit, where we are assured that in France, stop signs say “Stop” instead of “Arret.” Link -via reddit (Image credit: benim ergani)."
"No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn." - Hal Borland
Drought-Free Dallas? According to the latest NOAA Drought Monitor the immediate Dallas/Ft. Worth metro area is drought-free for the first time since July 5, 2011. That said, most of the rest of Texas is experiencing extreme to exceptional drought conditions, but at least there has been some relief over far northeastern counties.
Minnesota Drought Outlook: "Persistence" Over Minnesota. NOAA is reflecting my (gut feel): that Minnesota's drought may get worse before things (hopefully) improve later this year. No question we're stuck in a dry rut, one that may impact agriculture and lake water levels if we don't pick up a few significant storms in the next 60 days.
Sorry Phil. CPC, NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, is predicting (much) warmer than average conditions over the eastern 2/3rds of America, the result of a persistent La Nina and winds aloft blowing from the Pacific vs. the Yukon. Place your bets. 6 more weeks of winter? Don't bet on it.
App Of The Day. If you're a weather geek (uh...weather enthusiast) this is one app you should add to your iCollection: iDamage. You can see severe weather reports in real-time for Minnesota, or anywhere in the USA. You get visual and audio alerts as well, and these are customizable, so you can only hear alerts for specific states or cities you're interested in. It's the best $1.99 I've spent recently, and if you download it on your iPad it auto-downloads to your iPhone as well. "iDamage pushes storm damage reports originating from trained spotters, emergency responders, and members of the public to your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad (in native resolution). If you chase tornados, hail, or high winds for a living, or volunteer to assist your community during severe weather events, or just want to improve your situational awareness on days when storms might pop up, iDamage is the app for you."
Seinfeld Acura NSX Spot. I'm a jaded skeptic (from standing too close to the Doppler over the years) but this is a very funny commercial for the (breathtaking) upcoming hybrid Acura NSX (model year 2014 or 2015, I believe). Check out the YouTube Clip (with a cameo appearance by Jay Leno). "Jerry Seinfeld is so excited about the new Acura NSX that he will stop at nothing to acquire the very first one. Check out the extended version of Acura's big game commercial. See what else Jerry would do for the first new NSX at www.acura.com. NSX projected debut in next three years."
The Foggy February Blues. Trying to predict when a (rare) February fog will lift is problematic. Light winds, a strong inversion (warm air aloft, colder air near the ground), and a low sun angle makes it difficult for fog to dissipate. The canopy of crud kept temperatures stuck in the 30s over central Minnesota; highs ranging from 32 at St. Cloud to 36 in the Twin Cities, 41 at Alexandria and 48 at Rochester.
"No matter how rich you become, how famous or powerful, when you die the size of your funeral will still pretty much depend on the weather." - Michael Pritchard
WeatherNation. Coming (soon) to Minnesota. Stay tuned for launch details on America's newest all-weather channel.
Paul's Star Tribune Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:
TODAY: More fog, patchy clouds. Skies may brighten from time to time. Winds: NE 7-12. High: 38
FRIDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy, still milder than average. Low: 25
SATURDAY: Partly sunny. Storm stays south, over Iowa. High: 39
SUNDAY: More sun, still very pleasant. Low: 24. High: 37
MONDAY: Intervals of sun, March-like. Low: 26. High: 41
TUESDAY: Clearing, turning breezy and colder. Low: 16. High: 28
WEDNESDAY: Plenty of sunshine, milder than average. Low: 15. High: 31
THURSDAY: Another (colder) front arrives. Low: 18. High: 33
* significantly colder by the end of next week - highs next Friday in the teens (north) to low to mid 20s (south).
Yes, that furry little vermin, Punxsutawney Phil, did in fact see his shadow, dooming us to 6 more weeks of winter. To which I ask, "what winter"? The USA is on track to experience the second least snowiest winter since 1895. According to Scientific American this winter will easily wind up in the "Top 20 Warmest"; my hunch is we'll wind up the Top 10.
Since 2000 America has experienced 3 of the 4 warmest winters on record. Wunderblog's Dr. Jeff Masters reports, "The five warmest U.S. winters since record keeping began in 1895 have all occurred since 1992." Oh no, Paul is launching into one of his climate change diatribes again. Spare me. But here's the thing: weather and climate are flip sides of the same coin. You can't talk about one without acknowledging the other.
La Nina has hijacked our jet stream, keeping winds blowing from the Pacific, while those same high-altitude winds have buckled over Europe, spawning record 90+ inch snows as far south as Italy! I've never seen anything like it.
Denver picks up 1-2 feet of snow; the storm passes south of Minnesota. No significant snow for our zip code thru mid February, highs mostly in the 30s. Our endless November drags on.
"The five warmest U.S. winters since record keeping began in 1895 have all occurred since 1992, with the winter of 1999 - 2000 holding the record for warmest winter. Winter average temperature in the contiguous U.S. has been increasing by about 1.6°F per century since 1895." - Dr. Jeff Masters, from his most recent Wunderblog post.
Climate Change Is Putting Punxsutawney Phil Out Of A Job. The Atlantic has the story; here's an excerpt: "With the non-winter we've had here on the East Coast, this year, Punxsutawney Phil could not have done his job right no matter what the little guy predicted. "This is the most philosophically perplexing Groundhog Day ever," noted CNBC's John Carney. This year, our furry meteorologist "saw his shadow," meaning six more weeks of winter. But, what does that mean when the winter hasn't happened? We can't have six more weeks of something we haven't had. Perhaps six more weeks of non-winter is ahead. "Six more weeks of winter would imply there has been one in the first place," adds @globeandmail. Groundhog Day has become a paradox. Phil can't have the right answer, making his job basically obsolete."
Photo credit above: flickr/StephenZacharias
Could Climate Change Put The Groundhog Out Of Business? Scientific American has the story: "The United States' smallest meteorologist must be scratching his head about now. Each February for the past 125 years, Punxsutawney Phil -- the Pennsylvanian groundhog long considered a living symbol of Groundhog Day -- has sauntered from his burrow to cast a shadow on the weeks and months ahead. His predictions, though not always accurate, are cheered by hundreds of fans who flock to his den at Gobbler's Knob, a wooded hillock just outside the town that bears his name. The ground rules for Phil's tradition have always been clear: If the groundhog sees his shadow, six weeks of winter are yet to come; if no shadow appears, then spring is on its way."
Don't Blame Global Warming For Midwest's Mild Winter. MyFoxDetroit has the story: "SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (WJBK) - It's been a mild winter across the Midwest to say the least. Temperatures in the 50s and the limited snow storms have had people emailing FOX 2 and asking, "why?" For answers, we turned to Tom Wagner, Cryosphere Program Manager with NASA, to give us an explanation.
Q: Here's what people want to know. Is this global warming?
TW: Probably not. This is probably within the natural variability. If you look at the amount of snowfall we've had this year, it seems like it's a lot less than there's ever been. But in 2006, we actually had less at this point. That doesn't mean that the planet's not warming up. We're certainly losing ice from all the polar regions and all the icy spots around the globe."
"Hardiness Zones" Continue To Creep North. We're not seeing the volume of arctic air and subzero lows we experienced a generation ago in Minnesota. According to USDA the southern suburbs of the Twin Cities are now in Zone 5a, meaning new plants and flowers (that grew in Iowa as recently as the 70s and 80s) can now be found in parts of the metro area. Click here to see the new USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map.
Why Climate Change Will Make You Like Big Government. Just let me state (for the record) that no, I'm NOT a fan of big government. The private sector can usually do things faster, better and more efficiently. I have a number of friends who don't even want to consider the financial implications of a warmer, stormier climate. Why not? "It means bigger government, more regulations, more intrusions into the free enterprise system." I get this a lot and I understand their concerns. Who wants to pay higher taxes? I sure don't. But what happens when we have more multi-billion dollar disasters than the private sector can handle? Will private insurers be able to pick up the entire tab? I favor streamlined, efficient (ie. small) government as much as the next tax-payer, but Le Monde has an interesting take on the escalation in global weather disasters, and who will be stuck with the tab: "....Even many on the Left now regularly dismiss government as nothing but oversized, wasteful, bureaucratic, corrupt, and oppressive, without giving serious consideration to how essential it may be to our lives. But don’t expect the present “consensus” to last. Global warming and the freaky, increasingly extreme weather that will accompany it is going to change all that. After all, there is only one institution that actually has the capacity to deal with multibillion-dollar natural disasters on an increasingly routine basis. Private security firms won’t help your flooded or tornado-struck town. Private insurance companies are systematically withdrawing coverage from vulnerable coastal areas. Voluntary community groups, churches, anarchist affinity groups — each may prove helpful in limited ways, but for better or worse, only government has the capital and capacity to deal with the catastrophic implications of climate change."
What If The CO2 Ceiling Debate Were Like The Debt Ceiling Debate? Think Progress notices some striking similarities in the talking points between the debt ceiling and a ceiling on carbon emissions: "The national debt isn’t the greatest short-term problem we face. That is spurring jobs and economic growth. And the debt certainly isn’t close to the greatest long-term problem we face. That would obviously be unrestricted emissions of greenhouse gases, which threaten human civilization with multiple simultaneous catastrophes — from endless superstorms to permanent DustBowls. And yes, we could solve the first by addressing the second — but we are getting ahead of ourselves. I can understand why the Tea-Party-driven GOP has made the national debt its focus. Conservatives are using the debt debate as a stalking horse for their disdain of government to gut as many federal programs as possible, from clean energy to Medicare to EPA oversight. Since those programs are popular, the best strategy is for the GOP to attack them under the guise of their concern over some other issue."
What Amount Of Global Warming Is Human-Caused? The story from Nextgen Journal: "A growing body of research is showing that humans are likely causing more than 100% of global warming: without our influences on the climate, the planet would actually be cooling slightly. In 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published its fourth assessment report, internationally regarded as the most credible summary of climate science to date. It concluded that “most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.” A clear question remains: How much is “most”? 51%? 75%? 99%? At the time that the IPCC report was written, the answer was unclear. However, a new frontier of climate research has emerged since, and scientists are working hard to quantify the answer to this question."
40 F. high in the metro Sunday (we missed the 1990 record by only 3 degrees).
23 F. average high in the Twin Cities.
16 F. high a year ago, on January 15, 2011.
+11 F. temperature departure in January. So far the metro area is running 11 degrees warmer than average.
5 F. coldest low temperature so far this winter at MSP (December 9 and January 14)
-4 F. low predicted for Thursday morning, possibly the first subzero of winter for MSP (if so, it would set a record for the latest subzero in modern-day records. Old record for first subzero low is January 18, 2002).
Snowmobile Safety Awareness Week in Minnesota. Unless you know the ice is thick enough, play it safe and stay off that favorite lake. Conditions should improve by the end of this week with a sustained period below 32 F.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” - Martin Luther King Jr.
.9": snowfall so far in January in the cities (11.2" for the winter season, to date).
1-2" new snow possible in the Twin Cities late Monday night and Tuesday morning. With temperatures near 10 F. black ice is a real possibility - morning rush hour Tuesday may be a mess.
6-12" snow possible in Seattle by midweek. Yes, life is inherently unfair. Get over it.
7: number of careers the average American worker has during their lifetime.
"Lasting companies know how to re-invent themselves. I think the same might even be said for individuals." - from a blog post about creativity and reinvention below.
"An experience strategy is that collection of activities that an organization chooses to undertake to deliver a series of (positive, exceptional) interactions which, when taken together, constitute an (product or service) offering that is superior in some meaningful, hard-to-replicate way; that is unique, distinct & distinguishable from that available from a competitor." - from a blog post below on "experience strategies" for business.
"He said that it's not enough to have a passion — you have to have a work ethic," she says. "That's been the most life-changing advice that I got, because I had a passion for writing — and I know a lot of other people do, too — but it's not enough to just want something. You have to be able to work for it, too, and put in the hours and the time" - from an NPR article below on self-publishing phenomenon Amanda Hocking, from Austin, MN.
"Family: a social unit where the father is concerned with parking space, the children with outer space,and the mother with closet space." - Evan Esar
NAEFS - NOAA NAEFS - Environment Canada
Warm End To January - North American Ensemble Forecast System (NAEFS). Based on multiple weather models, temperatures from January 22-29 (above) will trend well above average across much of North America. We are stuck in a (relatively mild/dry) atmospheric rut that just does not want to quiet. Map upper left is from NOAA, upper right is from Environment Canada.
The Snowy Twin Cities (of Seattle and Tacoma). 2.2" of snow yesterday, and more is on the way. In fact the latest NAM model is hinting at 6-12" of snow for the Seattle area by midweek. Yes, Seattle is getting "our snow".
More Snow In Seattle Than The Twin Cities? That's just...wrong. More details: "Cars and a bus sit stuck on a hill on 24th Ave. E. during a snowstorm in Seattle, Sunday, Jan. 15, 2012. Several inches of snow fell quickly Sunday morning, snarling traffic and clogging roadways. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)."
NOAA Using Extra Measures To Decipher Potential Tuesday Snowstorm. KOMOnews.com's (Partly to Mostly Bloggin' link) in Seattle has more details on what may turn into the biggest snowstorm in recent memory for the Seattle area: "NOAA is going to take some extra measures to get a better idea of how a potential snow storm for Western Washington on Tuesday night might play out. Forecasters have been having difficulty getting a good idea of how the storm will develop because of large inconsistencies in our forecast models. A small difference in storm's track and speed can be the difference between just a few inches of snow and several inches of snow in many spots. So NOAA is sending a plane out over the Pacific Ocean to drop some weather instruments where the storm is developing in an effort to get some better weather data -- much like what they do to get better data on hurricanes when they threaten in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico."
Snowpocalypse photo courtesy of the Anchorage Daily News. Remember when it used to snow like this in the cities? I don't either.
Meanwhile - Tough Times For America's Ski Resorts. There are exceptions: the northern Great Lakes and northern New England have enough snow for skiing and snowboarding. But much of America is still brown: "Skiers ride a lift near hills with very little snow at the Canyons Ski Resort in Park City, Utah, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2012. A mild winter has left many ski resorts thirsty for snow and some have not opened all of the their terrain. (AP Photo/Jim Urquhart)."
Dribs And Drabs of Snow. The GFS model is showing meager snowfall amounts over most of the Upper Midwest through Thursday, maybe an inch or two for central and southern Minnesota. Significant lake-effect snow bands may dump 4-8" downwind of the Great Lakes; more than a foot of much-needed snow from Jackson Hole to Vail, Colorado.
Cosmetic Snowfall For KMSP. The approach of arctic air may set off a quick inch or two of (dry/powdery) snow late Monday night into Tuesday morning, another coating possible Wednesday and Friday - just enough to cover up the grit and the brown.
Status Quo: Storms Detour South/West. NOAA's QPF precipitation forecast shows some 8"+ rainfall amounts from northern California into the Portland, Oregon area. Over 1" of (mostly rain) is predicted from New Orleans to Cleveland.
January 31 Winds Aloft: Still Tracking An Abnormally Strong (and persisten) Westerly Component. 500mb (18,000 foot) winds forecast for January 31 show a northwest wind flow for Minnesota, capable of another quick cool-down as we sail into February. But it's still predominately a Pacific flow vs. a Yukon breeze, meaning temperatures trending above average the last week of January. No extended bouts of bone-chilling, subzero air are in sight looking out 2 weeks or so.
In Search Of Arctic Air. Here is the latest GFS extended out look for the last week of January; 850 mb (3,500 foot) temperatures ranging from -11 C to +3 C. That implies highs mostly in the 30s. Pipe-rupturing, battery-draining air? I just don't see it.
Dueling Teleconnections. We have some disagreements among the long-term indices that signal cold vs. mild. The AO goes negative after January 19, hinting at weaker westerly winds and a return to much colder weather, while the NAO (North Atlantic Oscillation) now stays positive - suggesting a continuation of milder than average, with a Pacific wind overwhelming the pattern over North America. I tend to believe the NAO, which is trending warmer with each model run; the most bitter air remaining bottled up over central/northern Canada. More from NOAA CPC here.
Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea: Why NOAA Shouldn't Be Moved To The Dept. Of Interior. Here's an Op-Ed from the NRDC, the National Resources Defense Council: "There may be no subject that sounds more arcane, dreary and trivial than governmental reorganization. “Just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic” is one popular line of dismissal. But in reality, how the government is organized can have enormous, tangible effects...So what would be so bad about moving NOAA into Interior? Well, it’s a lot like the EPA/DOE example. NOAA brings an independent perspective to key issues that is likely to be muted or lost in Interior. NOAA is primarily a scientific and environmental organization. Interior, historically, is primarily an agency focused on extracting raw materials, and that’s even truer when it comes to its water and oceans portfolios."
Satellites: Young And Old. Here's a story from NASA's Earth Observatory: "This photograph taken from Houston, Texas, juxtaposes Earth’s oldest satellite with one of its youngest. The Moon is thought to have been formed by the impact of a large body (perhaps Mars-sized) with the early Earth approximately 4.6 billion years ago. In contrast, the first components of the International Space Station (ISS) assumed orbit around the Earth in 1998, with assembly completed 13 years later—a significant period of time to us, but the merest fraction of a second in the history of the Moon. While the ISS appears to be fairly close to the Moon’s surface in the image, it’s a trick of perspective."
Airline Delays Down - Passenger Complaints Up In November. One (big) silver lining to the relatively dry, mild weather across most of the USA this winter - fewer delays and weather-related cancellations. USA Today reports: "Airlines had fewer flight delays and cancellations in November, yet passengers continued to complain to the government about service, the Transportation Department reported Thursday. Just two airplanes sat on the tarmac for longer than the government allows. That's a significant decrease from the 18 flights that were stranded on tarmacs in October, when an unusual fall snowstorm pummeled the East Coast."
Taking Stock Of The 2011 Flood. An update on last year's historic North Dakota flooding from the Bismarck Tribune: "There are many rumors circulating in regard to the historic flood that we experienced in the summer of 2011. This letter is submitted to provide property owners and public officials with data to make informed judgments regarding future actions that are so important to preventing the reoccurrence of this event. First: We accept the local flood stage of the river to be 16 feet. Second: We accept that the current capacity of the river at flood stage (16 feet) is 85,000 cubic feet per second. This value is based on records obtained from the North Dakota State Water Commission. These numbers enabled me to flood-route the actual flows in the Missouri River during the 2011 flood period. It showed that had releases on April 1 been increased to 85,000 cfs, and having had the Garrison reservoir drawn down to 1,931.37, there would not have been a flood for those who are protected to river stage 16 feet." Photo credit here.
What Is That Bright Orange Line? Neatorama.com has the rather surprising answer: "That, Neatoramanauts, is the 2,065 miles-long border fence between India and Pakistan: A striking feature is the line of lights, with a distinctly orange hue, snaking across the center of the image. It appears to be more continuous and brighter than most highways in the view. This is the fenced and floodlit border zone between India and Pakistan. The fence is designed to discourage smuggling and arms trafficking. A similar fenced zone separates India’s eastern border from Bangladesh (not visible)." Photo courtesy of Neatorama and the ISS, the International Space Station.
How NPR Killed The Radio Star. The story from MIT Technology Review: "NPR's mobile app isn't just good, it's a joy to use. In a world where most content is strangled by some executive's desire to put advertisements or paywalls between you and accessing your content whenever and however you want it, NPR's alternate funding model and embrace of the web mean that their app lets me get the shows I want when I want them, in their entirety, even if they're currently playing on my radio and technically I'm kind of cheating my local NPR affiliate by skipping around in the online versions of the network's national shows. Now NPR has revealed a new partnership with Ford, which allows voice-activated control of their app through Ford's Sync system, which is part of Ford's overall "digital car" strategy, which has been covered in-depth on TR."
What Is An Experience Strategy? I stumbled upon this (excellent) thought-provoking blog post from johnnyholland.com. Here's an excerpt: "Delivering products or services, or hybrid systems of both, is a complex undertaking that involves many people executing many tasks and activities. Some of these activities are really obvious: the sales staff in your retail store; the product engineer; the call-centre staff. And some are not so obvious: like the person responsible for driving the forklift in the warehouse to move spare parts to where they’re needed; or the person responsible for the servicing of the forklift. Some activities have a much more direct impact on the end customer, but all contribute to that customer’s perception of us and our products. And if a change to an activity is required in order to deliver on your new experience, then that should be mentioned in your strategy."
5 Reasons Companies Fail At Business Model Innovation. If you're not constantly trying to reinvent yourself as a business you'll probably wind up being roadkill, right? Here's an interesting perspective from "It's Saul Connected": "Here, I think, are five important reasons that companies fail at business model innovation:
CEOs don’t really want a new business model.
The most obvious reason companies fail at business model innovation is because CEOs and their senior leadership teams don’t want to explore new business models. They are content with the current one and want everyone in the organization focused on how to improve its performance. The clearest indication that a company and its leaders aren’t interested in business model innovation is when any discussion about emerging business models and disruptive technology is viewed and treated solely as a competitive threat.
Product is king. Nothing else matters.
The lines are blurring between product and service. Business models that are exclusively focused on products are vulnerable to being disrupted by models that blend both product and service to significantly change the value proposition."
Lasting Companies Know How To Reinvent Themselves. Here's a terrific post from a blog called "creativity_unbound" which followed up on Walter Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs: "But one of my favorite lessons doesn’t come from Steve. It’s attributed to Mike Markkula. Upon his official return to Apple in 1997, Jobs fired Markkula from the board and then asked Mike to join him on one of his long walks. Jobs told the former chairman that his goal was to build a company that would endure. He asked Markkula’s advice. Markkula shared this.
“Lasting companies know how to re-invent themselves. Hewlett-Packard had done that repeatedly; it started as an instrument company, then a computer company. Apple has been sideline by Microsoft in the PC business. (by then Apple’s market share had plummeted from 16 percent to four percent). You’ve got to reinvent the company to do some other thing, like consumer products or devices. You’ve got to be like a butterfly and have a metamorphosis."
Discovery Could Lead To An "Exercise Pill". Hallelujah!! - my prayers have been answer, well almost. Pop a pill with my morning coffee and I can gorge on all the donuts I want - no consequences? Doubtful. MIT Technology Review has the tantalizing details: "Researchers have discovered a natural hormone that acts like exercise on muscle tissue—burning calories, improving insulin processing, and perhaps boosting strength. The scientists hope it could eventually be used as a treatment for obesity, diabetes, and, potentially, neuromuscular diseases like muscular dystrophy. In a paper published online today by the journal Nature, the scientists, led by Bruce Spiegelman at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, showed that the hormone occurs naturally in both mice and humans. It pushes cells to transform from white fat—globules that serve as reservoirs for excess calories—into brown fat, which generates heat."
"Giving up doesn't always mean you are weak. Sometimes it means that you are strong enough to let go." - author unknown.
A Self-Published (Minnesota) Author's $2 Million Cinderella Story. A local Minnesota gal (with no formal literary training) had joined a very elite rank of published authors; NPR has here story here: "Best-selling e-author Amanda Hocking grew up in the small town of Austin, Minn., which, she says, is known for Spam — as in the food, not the email kind. "We invented Spam," the 27-year-old novelist tells weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz. Hocking's dad was a truck driver. Her mom was a waitress. Even as a very young child, she was kind of a natural storyteller — especially when it came to fantasy stories — stories about dragons, unicorns, pirates and more."
The Power Of Being Vulnerable. Hey, it's a slow day - I can (hopefully) get away with including a few more web sites that made me slow down and actually think, not just react. Thinking is good, right? Here's an excerpt from Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog: "The heart and soul of great art is the ability for the artist to be vulnerable. Be it performing a song for the first time or walking into a massive business meeting with a big idea, the only way that great ideas take form is when the person (or people) who are creating it are willing to be vulnerable. Think about it this way: the majority of website content that we see, basically sucks. OK, maybe that's being harsh, some of it is ok to passable, but most of it is void of all spirit and heart. It is jargon-filled buzzwords that percolate from the page because it has been sanitized through iterations and different people. Through these revisions, the heart and soul are either lost (or were never there to begin with because the company wants to use big, masculine and powerful words)."
"You Have To Embrace The Suck." Yes, Paul is off on a tangent today, but I'm trying to expand my normal range of reading and authors, opening up to some new ideas and concepts. Here's an interesting quote on the utter futility of goal-setting by Leo Babauta, founder of Zenhabits, in an interview at the eye-opening blog, "In Over Your Head" (rated PG for salty language at times), but fascinating nonetheless: "As I looked deeper into what’s necessary and what’s not, I started to question the need for goals — are they really essential? What would happen if you gave them up? Are they really the driving force behind what we accomplish? I’ve found that they are unnecessary — without goals, you’ll still work on things you’re passionate about, and do fun fitness activities and other things that excite you. Goals take credit for our accomplishments, but our passion and interest is what really make things happen. Goals also add a lot of administration — goal setting, tracking, making sure you’re sticking to the goal, finding next actions, etc. Goals stress us out — if we’re not on track or don’t reach them, are we failures? Goals also fix us on a certain path, when in truth there are many possible paths and staying on one predetermined path with a fixed destination is an artificial limitation that’s completely unnecessary and unnatural."
Oops! A Forecast For "Sunday's Chargers-Lions Playoff Game"?? Deadspin.com has the remarkable story and video. "What happened to producers and editors (and fact-checkers?) "Consider how many people are involved in the production of a simple weather forecast on CNN. You have the meteorologist, for sure, but you also have the producer who loads the "wx" into the script/rundown, and the graphics techs who run the system that creates what you see on your screen. Not a single one of those people
were was able to spot such a ridiculous error as thinking that a Chargers-Lions playoff game could even exist that was not the Super Bowl, or that the Chargers did not even make the playoffs and the Lions were knocked out last week. It's all so brain-stakingly stupid, and yet there it was, at 7:11 this morning Eastern Time, on CNN. How does this happen?"
“If you hire people who are smaller than you are, we shall become a company of dwarfs. If you hire people who are bigger than you are, we shall become a company of giants. Hire big people, people who are better than you,” Ogilvy demanded. “Pay them more than yourself if necessary.” - David Ogilvy, advertising legend, from a post at Strategy + Business.
Super Sunday. 17 degrees above average? The Twin Cities missed an all-time record by only 3 degrees. Highs ranged from 35 at Eau Claire to 38 at St. Cloud to 40 in the Twin Cities and 45 at Redwood Falls. Another early taste of March.
Paul's Star Tribune Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:
TODAY: Mostly cloudy, turning breezy and colder. Winds: NW 10-20. High: 23 (falling during the day).
MONDAY NIGHT: Patchy clouds, bitter again. Low: 7
TUESDAY: 1-2" powdery snow possible - roads may be icy. Light snow tapers. High: 10
WEDNESDAY: Numbing, more flurries, another coating. Low: 2. High: 13
THURSDAY: First subzero low of winter? More sun, feels like January again. Low: -4. High: 14
FRIDAY: Light snow, 1-2" possible. Low: 9. High: 24
SATURDAY: Intervals of sun, welcome thaw. Low: 12. High: 35
SUNDAY: Some sun, March-like temperatures return. Low: 23. High: 41
Meaning Of Winter?
"When you look at your life the greatest happinesses are family happinesses" said Joyce Brothers. Last Friday Kerri Miller, host of "Midmorning" asked her radio audience what winter meant to them. I gave a rambling, inane answer about "winter being the mother of invention", bitter cold forcing us to be ingenious to survive, etc. A far better answer came from listeners. "Winter is a time to slow down, relax, reflect; more time for conversation and bonding with family members." I like that, and suspect it's true. Disconnect. Read a book, argue about politics (or the weather), finish a puzzle. Wintertime is family-time.
Welcome to what I suspect will be the coldest week of winter, a winter that has been amazingly tame. A winter that has yet to see a subzero low in the metro. And I'm not convinced we'll see zero in the Twin Cities by midweek. It's conceivable we could go through January with no subzero lows. Only January 1990 and 2006 were subzero-free at KMSP.
We cool off today; highs from 9-15 F. Tuesday thru Thursday, rebounding into the 30s and 40s next weekend.
Snow? 1-2 inches Tuesday, a couple inches Friday. The last 10 days of January may feel like early March. Wow.
How Likely Is A Runaway Greenhouse Effect On Earth? MIT Technology Review has the story: "Sometime in the last few billion years, disaster struck one of Earth's nearest neighbours. Planetary geologists think there is good evidence that Venus was the victim of a runaway greenhouse effect which turned the planet into the boiling hell we see today. A similar catastrophe is almost certain to strike Earth in about 2 billion years, as the Sun increases in luminosity. But that raises an important question: is it possible that we could trigger a runaway greenhouse effect ourselves by adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere?"
"Simple Measures" Curb Climate Change. PressTV has the details: "Led by Drew Shindell of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York City, the study provided clues to help health improvement and boost agricultural production. Scientists say cutting down CO2 emissions and controlling methane gas and soot, also known as black carbon, can diminish the speed of global warming, increase global crop yields by up to 135 million metric tons per season and prevent hundreds of thousands of premature deaths each year. While all regions of the world would benefit, many countries in Asia and the Middle East could have the largest portion of health and agricultural gains from emissions reductions. "
Marc Morano Abets E-Mailed Threats Of Violence. The deniers are resorting to increasingly desperate techniques, like publishing personal information (including e-mails) of leading climate scientists, which resulted in death threats for Dr. Kerry Emanuel and his wife. Scholars and Rogues has the story: "Marc Morano, former environmental communications director to Senator Jim Inhofe and the Republicans on the Senate Environment and Public Works committee, recently published on his Climate Depot website the email address of conservative MIT climate scientist and hurricane expert Kerry Emanuel. As a result, Emanuel was deluged with hate mail that not only threatened his life but also threatened his wife. (MotherJones has the full story.) Other climate scientists and their family members have been threatened with torture, rape, and murder in the past, so it’s likely that similar threats were involved here."