Paul Douglas is a nationally respected meteorologist with 35 years of television and radio experience. A serial entrepreneur, Douglas is Senior Meteorologist and Founder of Media Logic Group. Douglas and a team of meteorologists, engineers and developers provide weather services for various media at Broadcast Weather, high-tech alerting and briefing services for companies via Alerts Broadcaster and weather data, apps and API’s from Aeris Weather. His speaking engagements take him around the Midwest with a message of continuous experimentation and reinvention, no matter what business you’re in. He is the public face of “SAVE”, Suicide Awareness, Voices of Education, based in Bloomington. | Send Paul a question.
"...But the fact is that all 15 years since the year 2000 have been among the top 20 warmest years ever recorded. The odds of this happening randomly, or as a part of natural variability? About 1.5 quadrillion to one..." - from a story at Forbes, details below.
Atmospheric Speed Bump
After a freak case of severe clear air turbulence over the Pacific 20 years ago my wife developed a formidable fear of flying. She'd grip the arm rest, close her eyes and grit her teeth. "Think of this as potholes in the sky" I whispered, trying to be helpful. I know, what a dork. "You don't scream when you hit a pothole do you?"
Pilots are smart enough to detour around thunderstorms and avoid icing when possible. Want to live a long life? Don't push the weather.
Variations in jet stream winds can create pockets of extreme turbulence, capable of severe injuries for people unlucky enough to be out of their seats or unbuckled. Airlines and universities are teaming up on promising technologies to pinpoint areas where conditions are most ripe for turbulence.
A scrawny Alberta Clipper may paint a few driveways white today and tonight; the pattern still not ripe for significant snow. If you're keeping score MSP is running a 10-inch snowfall deficit, to date.
The Great Lakes and New England bear the brunt of arctic air the next 2 weeks. Mild Pacific air penetrates inland, keeping our temperatures from falling off a cliff.
Old Man Winter pulling his punch? No, this won't be a rerun of 2014.
Nagging Snow Drought Central Minnesota. Latest data from NOAA NOHRSC shows an inch or so of snow on the ground from the far northern suburbs to St. Cloud, Brainerd, Wadena, Alexandria and Morris; virtually no snow on the ground near Marshall and Canby. Yes, this is a bit unusual for late January.
Nervous Farmers. I don't blame them, with some of the wild swings in moisture and temperature we've seen in recent years. Weather has always been volatile, but the frequency and intensity of some of these extremes appear to be on the increase. Here's an excerpt of an e-mail that came in yesterday from Greg Larson in Excelsior: "A couple of photos taken Sunday out in Meeker County where the snow cover has melted exposing the barren fields to severe wind erosion. The first picture is a drainage ditch running into the South Fork of the Crow River. All that black stuff (topsoil) will be washing downstream come spring melt into our lakes and rivers. The second photo shows the amount of soil blown off a neighbors field from the storm early this month. Usually the severest erosion happens in early spring. If there’s a drought in the near future and unless farmers start practicing soil stewardship we might be in for another dustbowl. These photos could have been taken anywhere in the plains states. Thought you’d be interested in seeing what’s happening in farm country and the impact of open fields, no snow and high winds."
Greg Larson, Excelsior
Where's The Snow? The national snowcover map is a bit of a disconnect. On December 19, 2014 snow was covering 41.7% of the lower 48 states. As of yesterday, just one month later, that was down to 27% Map and data courtesy of NOAA.
Minor Clipping. The next swirl of low pressure racing southeast pushes a couple inches of snow across the Dakotas into central and southern Minnesota, brushing MSP with a coating to as much as an inch of slushy accumulation. With temperatures close to freezing many roads and freeways will be wet. 60-hour accumulated snowfall: NOAA NAM and Aeris Weather.
Snowfall Potential. A few towns near the Minnesota River may wind up with an inch or two of snow over the next 18 hours; closer to a coating to half an inch for the Twin Cities. Dribs and drabs. Remember when it really snowed? Source: Twin Cities National Weather Service.
Above Average. European guidance shows temperatures averaging about 10F warmer than normal into the first half of next week; readings topping freezing the rule, rather than the exception. A coating to 1/2" of snow may fall today (a little more south/west of the Twin Cities) with another chance of a nuisance snow Saturday night into Sunday. The outlook for the next 1-2 weeks shows a parade of clippers, but no major snowfalls. Source: Weatherspark.
More Zonal Than Polar. Here is the GFS forecast of 500 mb winds (about 18,000 feet) for the evening of February 1, 2015. Prevailing winds aloft are howling from the west, implying moderate to mild temperatures across much of the USA and southern Canada. Map credit: GrADS:COLA/IGES.
Not Exactly Polar. Minnesota will be grazed by puffs of arctic air, but the thrust of any cold waves will be aimed at the Great Lakes and New England - just a glancing blow of numb close to home. GFS extended data shows a brief hiccup of chilly weather for Groundhog Day on February 2, otherwise temperatures at or above average.
2014: Earth's Warmest Year On Record. Here's an excerpt of a long post at NOAA providing more detail on last week's news:
Explainer: How Do Scientists Measure Global Temperature? Carbon Brief has a good explanation of how NOAA, NASA and JMA (Japan Meteorological Agency) all came to the conclusion that 2014 was the warmest year, globally, on record: "...To get a complete picture of Earth's temperature, scientists combine measurements from the air above land and the ocean surface collected by ships, buoys and sometimes satellites, too. The temperature at each land and ocean station is compared daily to what is 'normal' for that location and time, typically the long-term average over a 30-year period. The differences are called an 'anomalies' and they help scientists evaluate how temperature is changing over time. A 'positive' anomaly means the temperature is warmer than the long-term average, a 'negative' anomaly means it's cooler..."
Ocean Life Faces Mass Extinction, Broad Study Says. O.K. Almost interesting, but please pass the sports section and hand me the remote control to change the channel. Alarmist? I hope so. Here's the intro to a story at The New York Times: "A team of scientists, in a groundbreaking analysis of data from hundreds of sources, has concluded that humans are on the verge of causing unprecedented damage to the oceans and the animals living in them. “We may be sitting on a precipice of a major extinction event,” said Douglas J. McCauley, an ecologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and an author of the new research, which was published on Thursday in the journal Science. But there is still time to avert catastrophe, Dr. McCauley and his colleagues also found..." (File photo: NOAA).
AI Has Arrived, And That Really Worries The World's Leading Minds. Beware smart robots, especially those that don't have the latest ethics-chip upgrade. Here's an excerpt from WIRED: "...Pledging not to build the Terminator is but one step. AI companies such as Google must think about the safety and legal liability of their self-driving cars, whether robots will put humans out of a job, and the unintended consequences of algorithms that would seem unfair to humans. Is it, for example, ethical for Amazon to sell products at one price to one community, while charging a different price to a second community? What safeguards are in place to prevent a trading algorithm from crashing the commodities markets? What will happen to the people who work as bus drivers in the age of self-driving vehicles?..."
Humanity Keeps Discovering Brilliant New Ways To Destroy Itself. Here's an excerpt from a sobering story at Quartz: "It is not just nuclear weapons that threaten humanity. The Bulletin has in the past decade formally expanded its remit to include new threats to civilization, namely climate change and biological warfare. The magazine also informally looks at other threats, such as cyberwar that could spark real world confrontation; synthetic biology that could create new pandemics; and lethal autonomous weapons (or “killer robots”) that can target and fire without human intervention. The Bulletin also is beginning to look at artificial intelligence..."
Forget Myers-Briggs: To Build A Great Team Focus on "Factor C". Here's a clip from an interesting post at LinkedIn: "...Good players mesh. This observation may be a cliché, but it’s nevertheless important to keep in mind: personalities—not merely abilities—matter. In this regard, most people’s intuition, at least in Western cultures, would lead us to two conclusions. First, some personality types are far better than others (Bill Russell and Magic Johnson, as opposed to the early Michael Jordan). Second, successful groups have a good mixture of personality types..."
Cities On Earth Evolve In The Same Way As Galaxies In Space. Quartz has another fascinating article; here's an excerpt: "...Scientists now think they have found the source for these scaling laws out in space. Henry Lin and Abraham Loeb at the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics have used models for showing how galaxies evolve based on matter density to propose a unifying theory for scaling laws of human populations..." (Image: NASA, Flickr).
37 F. high in the Twin Cities Monday.
24 F. average high on January 19.
39 F. high on January 19, 2014.
2" snow on the ground at MSP International Airport.
January 19, 1982: Just over 17 inches of snow fell in the Twin Cities. Amazingly, it was to be outdone two days later.
January 19, 1917: 16 inches of snow falls in the Twin Cities.
TODAY: Coating of light snow and flurries. Winds: NE 8+ High: 33
TUESDAY NIGHT: Flurries (heavier snow south/west of MSP). Low: 23
WEDNESDAY: Flurries taper, above average temps. High: 31
THURSDAY: Mostly cloudy and quiet. Cooler. Wake-up: 19. High: 27
FRIDAY: Another sloppy thaw. Mild breeze. Wake-up: 21. High: 37
SATURDAY: Leftover clouds, relatively mild. Wake-up: 28. High: 34
SUNDAY: Early coating, then colder. Wake-up: 25. High: 27
MONDAY: Clouds increase, few flurries. Wake-up: 14. High: 28
2014 Breaks Heat Record, Challenging Global Warming Skeptics. In case you missed the formal announcement late last week here's an excerpt of a Justin Gillis article at The New York Times: "...Extreme heat blanketed Alaska and much of the western United States last year. Records were set across large areas of every inhabited continent. And the ocean surface was unusually warm virtually everywhere except near Antarctica, the scientists said, providing the energy that fueled damaging Pacific storms. In the annals of climatology, 2014 surpassed 2010 as the warmest year. The 10 warmest years have all occurred since 1997, a reflection of the relentless planetary warming that scientists say is a consequence of human activity and poses profound long-term risks to civilization and nature..."
Map credit: NOAA, NASA, New York Times.
Global Warming Made 2014 A Record Hot Year. Here's more perspective on last year's warmth, which is significant in light of the absence of a significant El Nino. An excerpt courtesy of The Guardian: "...But what’s really remarkable is that 2014 set this record without the aid of an El Niño event. El Niño events create conditions in which sea surface and hence global surface temperatures are anomalously hot. We call this part of the Earth’s “internal variability” because these events just temporarily shift heat around between the ocean surface and its depths. As this graphic shows (click here for an animated version), the last five record hot years of 2010, 2005, 1998, 1997, and 1995 were all assisted by El Niño events..."
Animation credit: Skeptical Science.
It's Official: 2014 Was The Hottest Year On Record. Bloomberg has a remarkable animation that puts the recent warming into stark perspective: "Deny this. The animation below shows the Earth’s warming climate, recorded in monthly measurements from land and sea over 135 years. Temperatures are displayed in degrees above or below the 20th-century average. Thirteen of the 14 hottest years are in the 21st century."
Scientists: Human Activity Has Pushed Earth Beyond Four of Nine "Planetary Boundaries". The Washington Post has the grim details; here's a clip: "At the rate things are going, the Earth in the coming decades could cease to be a “safe operating space” for human beings. That is the conclusion of a new paper published Thursday in the journal Science by 18 researchers trying to gauge the breaking points in the natural world. The paper contends that we have already crossed four “planetary boundaries.” They are the extinction rate; deforestation; the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere; and the flow of nitrogen and phosphorous (used on land as fertilizer) into the ocean..."
Scientists Drill Through 2,400 Feet Of Antarctic Ice For Climate Clues. How quickly will glaciers continue to melt, in light of rising air and sea temperatures? Here's an excerpt of an interesting article at Scientific American: "Scientists have drilled into one of the most isolated depths in all of the world’s oceans: a hidden shore of Antarctica that sits under 740 meters of ice, hundreds of kilometers in from the sea edge of a major Antarctic ice shelf. Humans have never glimpsed this place; reaching it required seven years of planning and 450 tonnes of fuel and gear. But understanding what is happening down there, so far from human view, will be crucial for predicting the future fate of Antarctica’s ice sheets amid rising temperatures..."
Image credit above: "Pebbles just discovered under 730 meters of ice in Antarctica, where the bottoms of glaciers first touch the sea, could reveal clues as to how fast those glaciers could slide into the ocean, raising sea level." Credit: Whillans Ice Stream Subglacial Access Research Drilling Project.
The Majority of Republicans Believe In Regulating Carbon Emissions. Set a price on excessive carbon pollution, as you would for any other pollutant, and let the markets come up with cost-effective solutions. Here's a clip from Pacific Standard: "...By polling a wide range of Republicans—liberal leaning, moderate, conservative, and Tea Party members—researchers have shown that, overall, 56 percent of Republicans support regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant. Predictably, the subdivided percentages reflect how far right each group leans: 71 percent of liberal Republicans and 74 percent of moderate Republicans believe carbon dioxide should be regulated, while only 54 percent of conservatives and 36 percent of Tea Party Republicans do..."
The End Of The Partisan Divide Over Climate Change. I want to be optimistic, but with the amount of money in play, the valuable carbon reserves still in the ground, I'm expecting more confusion, denial and rationalization for a fossil-fuels-as-usual economy. Here's a clip from a story at Forbes: "...That’s precisely what the American Petroleum Institute did when it released its annual State of American Energy Report two weeks ago. Amid its bullish assessment of the nation’s ongoing boom in shale oil and gas, the leading fossil fuel trade group clearly and unequivocally acknowledged the threat of global warming, and highlighted — at some length — the steady rise of solar power as an encouraging sign..."
U.F. Professor Ties Global Warming to Wheat Decline. The Orlando Sentinel has the story - here's the introduction: "Wheat crops could suffer badly as global temperature rise this century, according a new study led by a University of Florida scientist. Steering an international team of 50 scientists, UF professor Senthold Asseng determined that a global temperature rise of nearly 2 degrees will cause a 6 percent failure in world wheat production, according to a university announcement of the study Wednesday..."
Pope on Climate Change: Man Has "Slapped Nature In The Face". Here's a clip from a story at AP and ABC News: "...I don't know if it (human activity) is the only cause, but mostly, in great part, it is man who has slapped nature in the face," he said. "We have in a sense taken over nature." "I think we have exploited nature too much," Francis said, citing deforestation and monoculture. "Thanks be to God that today there are voices, so many people who are speaking out about it." Francis, who pledged on the day of his installation as pope to make the environment a priority, said he expected his encyclical on ecology to be released by June or July. He said he wanted it out in plenty of time to be read and absorbed before the next round of climate change negotiations opens in Paris in November after the last round in Lima, Peru, failed to reach an agreement..."
The Logic of Divestment: Why We Have To Kiss Off Big Carbon Now. Here's a clip from RollingStone that got my attention: "...A 2013 study by the bank HSBC warned that between 40 and 60 percent of the market value of European fossil-fuel companies, like BP and Royal Dutch Shell, could be wiped out in a carbon-constrained world. This past October, the head of England's central bank, Mark Carney, declared that "the vast majority of reserves are unburnable." Carney warned that fossil-fuel investors, focused on short-term profits, were not pricing in this reality – a phenomenon he called a "tragedy of horizons..."
By Todd Nelson
I am happy to report that we are well on our way to slightly warmer and longer days. Not only have we gained nearly 30 minutes of daylight since the shortest day of the year (Winter Solstice), but our average high has now finally climbed above the climatological bottom of 23F!
Monday marks the date at which, our average high begins it's climb back to warmer temps. In fact, in a little more than 1 month, our average high will be near the freezing mark! By the end of January, there will be nearly 1 hour more daylight since the Winter Solstice! Sure, it's baby steps right now, but it helps to know that the some of the coldest and darkest days of the year are now behind us.
Mother Nature will be kind to us over the next few days as Arctic day remains north of the international border. I actually don't see much in the way of extremely, face numbing cold in our future anytime soon! The warmer weather will help to pull fast moving clipper system through our neck of the woods this week, so chances of light snow will be fairly frequent. In the meantime, your snow blower will continue feeling neglected... I hope mine still starts!
SUNDAY NIGHT: Clouds thicken. Low: 22. WNW 5.
MONDAY: Mix of clouds and sun. Drippy. Light snow develops in northern MN. High: 35. Winds: Turning SSW 5.
MONDAY NIGHT: Mostly cloudy, chance of light snow. Low: 25.
TUESDAY: Light snow early. High: 31
WEDNESDAY: Another clipper, few flakes. Wake-up: 22. High: 28
THURSDAY: Cooler, sunny breaks.. Wake-up: 15. High: 22.
FRIDAY: Partly sunny, light mix late? Wake-up: 18. High: 28.
SATURDAY: Cool breeze, some sun. Wake-up: 20. High: 28.
SUNDAY: More clouds, light wintry mix? Wake-up: 14. High: 28
This Day in Weather History
1994: The cold continued from the previous day with -47 at Brainerd and, despite the heat island effect, the Twin Cities' airport hit -27.
Average High/Low for Minneapolis
Average High: 24F (Record: 49F Set in 1921)
Average Low: 7F (Record: -34F Set in 1970)
Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
Moon Phase for January 19th at Midnight
0.3 Days Before New Moon
Minneapolis Temperature Trend
Due to temperatures being so cold earlier this month, January temperatures are still running nearly 5.5F below average through the first 18 days of the month. The good news is that nothing Arctic seems to be in the offing anytime soon. In fact, through the early half of next week, temperatures will still be nearly 5F to 10F above average. Extended model runs are still suggesting a fairly decent cool down possible by the end of the month/start of February.
Monday Weather Outlook
Ahhh... the weather as of late certainly has been nice, hasn't it? After such cold weather during the early part of the month, readings nearly 10F above average feel amazing! Sunday almost felt like a spring day! Highs on Monday will likely sneak back into the 40s across southwest Minnesota. However, readings across the northern part of the state will stay in the sub-freezing range.
Catch 22. Sunny weather in the depths of winter tend to come by way of cold, Arctic air masses. Those are the ones that sting your face when you walk outside. Warmer weather in the winter is typically accompanied by more clouds and precipitation potential. Monday's weather will bring a chance of light snow, mainly across the northern half of the state, while folks in the southwestern part of the state will see more sunshine and very mild, spring-like temps!
National Weather Outlook
Active weather in the Pacific Northwest will create fairly active weather conditions for folks in the Upper Midwest/Great Lakes region. Keep in mind that most of the precipitation will get rung out west of the Rockies. The remnant moisture will find itself in the Upper Midwest early this week with light snow accumulations possible across the far northern tier of the nation.
5 Day Precipitation Outlook
Here's the snowfall potential through midweek. Note that we are still significant snowfall free! Other than some heavier snow across the Rockies and a little light snow across parts of the Midwest, there doesn't appear to be any major systems blowing through the country.
National Snow Melt
The image below is actually kind of interesting... it shows the 24 hour snow melt from parts of the weekend in orange. Thanks to the recent mild weather, quite a bit of snow melt occurred across parts of the Midwest and Ohio Valley.
2015 Snow Coverage
According to NOAA's NOHRSC, as of January 18th, 31% of the nation was covered in snow.
2014 Snow Coverage
Interestingly, there was about as much snow coverage at this time last year as there is this year!
Here's an interesting look at an incredibly long comet tail from Comet Love joy..
"Standing under the stars in the countryside, people are looking up and seeing the green head of Comet Lovejoy not far from the Pleiades star cluster. There's also a hint of a tail, faint but long. Note to sky watchers: It's even longer than you think. Astrophotographers doing long exposures of the comet find that the tail extends an incredible 15o to 20o across the night sky. Alan Dyer, author of "How to Shoot Nightscapes and Timelapses", sends this picture from City of Rocks State Park, New Mexico:"
Thanks for checking in and have a great week ahead! Don't forget to follow me on Twitter @TNelsonWX
No Arctic Invasions
By Todd Nelson
"Polar Vortex" could have, quite literally, been the buzz word of 2014. While the term often found itself in the midst of controversy within the weather and scientific community as being used incorrectly or not, It caught on like wildfire throughout the media and spread to water coolers near you. The infectious phrase rolled out of the mouths of many as a way to try to describe the cold weather that burrowed into the eastern U.S. for much of 2014.
A recent report released by NOAA's NCDC said that globally, 2014 was the warmest year on record! There were only a few locations that had below average temperatures and one of those locations was the eastern half of the U.S.
Despite the recent mild weather over the past couple of days, January temperatures in Minneapolis are running nearly 5F below average. Keep in mind that this is, on average, the coldest time of the entire year! I am happy to report that we may sneak out of this climatological minimum with temperatures running slightly above average.
Enjoy it; extended model runs are suggesting another potential cold blast by the end of the month. Hang in there... Meteorological winter is already half over!
SATURDAY NIGHT: Breezy. Decreasing clouds. Low: 24. Winds: WNW 15-30mph, easing after midnight.
SUNDAY: More sun southern MN, still above average. High: 32. Winds: W 5-10
SUNDAY NIGHT: Clouds thicken. Low: 23.
MONDAY: More clouds than sun. Drippy. Light snow possible overnight. High: 34
TUESDAY: Light snow early, breezy. Wake-up: 24. High: 31
WEDNESDAY: Another clipper, light snow chance. Wake-up: 20. High: 27
THURSDAY: Light snow drifts south, cooler.. Wake-up: 12. High: 20.
FRIDAY: Partly sunny, light mix north late. Wake-up: 11. High: 25.
SATURDAY: More clouds, few flakes. Wake-up: 13. High: 28.
This Day in Weather History
1996: Blizzard begins across the upper midwest. The Twin Cities Airport was spared the heavy snow, but received nearly one inch of rain. Heavy ice coatings in the northwest metro caused thousands of power outages. Windchills were as low as -88 (on the old windchill scale) at Crookston. Snowstorm totals were 18 inches at Ely, 12 inches at St. Cloud. Mail delivery was stopped for the day in Duluth and I-94 was closed all day from Rothsay and Moorhead. Flooding problems were caused in the Twin Cities due to backed up water.
1994: Governor Arne Carlson ordered all Minnesota public schools closed due to the extreme cold and severe winter weather. Morning readings were in the 30-below-zero range. The biggest problem was from high winds that came with the cold.
Average High/Low for Minneapolis
Average High: 23F (Record: 48F Set in 1891)
Avearge Low: -36F (Record: -36F Set in 1887)
Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
Moon Phase for January 18th at Midnight
1.3 Days Before New Moon
Minneapolis Temperature Trend
As of January 16th, the month temperature in Minneapolis was running nearly 6F below average. Thanks to some recent mild weather, which looks to last through much of next week, we should see that average monthly temperature get a little closer normal. Enjoy the mild weather while you can, because extended model runs are suggesting a cool down towards the end of the month... Stay tuned!
Sunday Weather Outlook
Slightly cooler temperatures are expected across the state on Sunday post front. The good news is that winds are expected to be quite a bit lower as the clipper system quickly shifts east through the Great Lakes region. Highs across the southern part of the state will once again approach 40F!
Sunday Weather Outlook
Lingering clouds and light snow showers will begin to fade as we head through the day Sunday. Sunnier skies across the southwestern part of the state will help to allow temperatures return to near the 40F mark once again. Sunday will actually be a pretty nice day for January! Just a bit sloppy... good boot weather.
According to NOAA's HPC, the 5 day precipitation forecast suggests several inches of liquid in the Pacific Northwest through the middle part of next week. Most of the moisture along the coast and lower elevations will be in the form of rain, but the higher elevations are set to pick up some decent snowfall!. The other area that could see decent precipitation amounts will be areas in the Northern New England States. However, temperatures don't look terribly cold, so significant snowfall is not expected.
A look at the snowfall potential through PM Tuesday below, there doesn't appear to be any significant snowfall events unfolding anytime soon across the Lower 48. Heavy snowfall potential will be mainly confined to the high elevation areas in the Cascade Range and the Northern Rockies!
2015 Preliminary Tornado Count
According to NOAA's SPC, there have already been 23 PRELIMINARY tornado reports across the nation so far this year. It seems a bit odd, but the 2005-2014 average suggets that through January 16th, we typically see 26!
Top Tornado Days of 2015
According to NOAA's SPC, the top tornado days of 2015 occurred earlier this month on the 3rd and 4th across the Southeastern U.S.
Interesting to note that the tornadoes that have occurred aleady this year are in the area that typically sees the best chance of tornadoes at this time of the year.
2014 Earth's Warmest Year on Record
According to NOAA, 2014 was officially the warmest year for the Globe. However, note one of the only cooler than average locations was that in the eastern U.S., while the western U.S. and California seemed to be well above average!
"2014 Earth's warmest year on record;
December 2014 record warm; Global oceans also record warm for 2014. The globally averaged temperature over land and ocean surfaces for 2014 was the highest among all years since record keeping began in 1880. The December combined global land and ocean average surface temperature was also the highest on record."
Significant Climate Anomalies and Events for 2014
HERE's and interesting look at some of the more impressive climate anomalies and events that took place during 2014: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/service/global/extremes/201413.gif
Thanks for checking in and have a great rest of your weekend! Don't forget to follow me on Twitter @TNelsonWX
Hockey Day in Minnesota!
Happy hockey day in Minnesota is probably becoming one of my favorite days of the entire year. As a resident of Minnesota my entire life, you have to find things in the winter to keep you occupied, otherwise "cabin fever" will set in! Not only are the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships going on this weekend at Lake Nokomis, but there will be several televised hockey games from high school to collegiate to the pros! I will likely be spending the first half of Saturday on the counch watching the high school hockey games that will be played at the St. Paul Holman Field airport before heading to the Gopher game at the Mariucci Arena. Hockey Day in Minnesota will conclude with the MN Wild taking on the Phoenix Coyotes at 8pm! WOW... What a day! Enjoy!
Another Puzzle Piece
By Paul Douglas
Yesterday NOAA and NASA reported that 2014 temperatures (land and ocean) were the warmest, globally, since records began in 1880. 15 of the last 17 years have been the warmest ever recorded. There will still be cold fronts but temperatures continue to rise. Who cares? Anyone living near rising sea levels - and the rest of us who like to eat. A warmer, wetter atmosphere is resulting in climate volatility, more wild weather swings between drought and flood, putting more pressure on agriculture and fresh water supplies. A "natural cycle?" Climate Central places the odds at 1 in 27 million.
This should put an end to crazy Uncle Earl ranting about conspiracy theories, temperature pauses and "no-warming-since-1998!". But it won't. Because there's trillions of dollars of coal, oil & gas left in the ground. There's just too much money at stake - and confusion is good for business.
Today's thaw will feel like a cheap vacation; temperatures trending above average into next week. A mix is possible today; nothing resembling a real storm. Colder air is brewing for the last few days of January, possibly another brief brush with zero. Is the worst behind us? I think so. Light a candle.
FRIDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy and quiet. Low: 25
SATURDAY: Light mix, windy. Welcome thaw. High: 38. Winds: Turning W 15-30
SATURDAY NIGHT: Slight chance of a wintry mix. Low: 23
SUNDAY: Some sun, still above average. High: 33
MONDAY: More clouds than sun. Drippy. Wake-up: 25. High: 35
TUESDAY: Sunny peaks, still above average Wake-up: 24. High: 32
WEDNESDAY: Ditto. Lots of clouds, quiet. Wake-up: 21. High: 30
THURSDAY: Shades of gray. Seasonably cool. Wake-up: 17. High: 28.
FRIDAY: Another gusty clipper, flurries. Wake-up: 18. High: 19.
This Day in Weather History
1996: Severe ice storm over the western and northern Twin Cities with accumulations to 1 inch. A foot of snow fell over central Minnesota.
1982: The citizens of Tower woke up to -52 degrees F.
Average High/Low for Minneapolis
Average High: 23F (Record: 44F set in 1894)
Average Low: 7F (Record: -26F set in 1967)
Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
Moon Phase for January 17th at Midnight
2.3 Days Before New Moon
Twin Cities Temperature Trend
Enjoy the mild ride while you can! In what is (climatologically-speaking) the coldest time of the year, we will be dealing with temperatures nearly 5°-15° above average through the weekend! A fast moving clipper system will be moving through the Upper Midwest/Great Lakes Region on Saturday allowing temperatures to warm out ahead of it, but temperatures will cool a bit on Sunday as the system slides southeast. The good news is that we won't be tugging down any extremely cold air anytime soon. Readings will stay at or above the average mark through much of next week!
Saturday Weather Outlook
Saturday looks like a fairly mild day across much of the Upper Midwest. Note that temperatures across central and southern Minnesota could settle in close to 40° ahead of our clipper system that will move through during the day. Winds will pick up late in the day after the cold front passes. Wind speeds could approach 30mph in the rural areas of far western Minnesota. Temperatures on Sunday look to cool a bit, but it won't be too dramatic.
Saturday Weather Outlook
As the clipper system races through the Upper Midwest/Great Lakes Region this weekend, a light wintry mix can't be ruled out where temperatures will be flirting with the freezing mark. It appears that central Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin have the best chance of some patching freezing drizzle and a light wintry mix on Saturday, which folks in far northern Minnesota have the best chance for snow and light accumulations.
Accumulating snow looks possible through the weekend/early next week across the far northern part of the state. Some folks along the international border could actually see some shovelable stuff with amounts approaching 2" to 4".
Upper Midwest Wintry Mess?
Active weather conditions in the Pacific Norwest is the culprit behind our wintry mess as we head into the weekend. Note the heavy moisture moving into the Pacific Northwest as impulses of energy push into the region. One of these storm systems will meander over the Rockies (lose some of it's moisture) and head in our direction this weekend. Because temperatures will be so warm, a wintry mix will be possible across parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin. The farther north you go, the colder it will be, so snow will be the main precipitation type. Some shovelable snow looks likely for some along the international border through Saturday.
This was the view from Duluth, MN on Friday morning as a little light lake effect snow was falling. With a light easterly wind cold air temperatures, moisture was being picked up off Lake Superior and deposited near the head of the lake.
Duluth Radar AM Friday
This is what the radar picture looked like near Duluth, MN on AM Friday as a little light lake effect snow was falling near the Head of the Lake.
National Weather Outlook
The simulated radar reflectivity loop below shows our clipper system moving through the Upper Midwest on Saturday with a wintry mix and some light snow accumulations across the international border. The other two areas of interest will be the heavy moisture moving into the Pacific Northwest over the weekend and the moisture developing in the Northeast.
Take a look at this interesting feature below... note the plume of moisture stretching from just west of the Hawaiian Islands to the Pacific Northwest. This feature is known as an "atmospheric river", which tends to be a big moisture producer for folks along the West Coast. This time it appears the heavy moisture will be setting up shop for folks in the Northwest with precipitation amounts approaching 3" to 6" or more through early next week!
5 Day Precipitation Outlook
According to NOAA's HPC, the 3 day precipitation forecast suggests a swatch of moisture along the northern tier of the nation as our weekend clipper scoots across the international border. Note the heavy moisture developing in the Pacific Northwest with as much as 3" to 6" + of liquid accumulating through early Monday! There also appears to be a decent swath of moisture lifting north along the Eastern Seaboard through late weekend/early next week. Keep in mind that temperatures here may be cold enough for some snow!
U.S. Drought Monitor
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, there is still quite a large area in the western U.S. with EXTREME to EXCEPTIONAL Drought conditions, which includes much of California. Interestingly, much of Minnesota is considered to be abnormally dry, including the Twin Cities.
California is still under a pretty big drought! In fact, as of this week, the U.S. Drought Monitor suggested that nearly 40% of the state is under an EXTREME Drought! However, it's better than about a month ago (December 9th) when nearly 55% of the state was under an extreme drought. Hopefully we'll continue to see moisture in the western U.S. and Calfornia!
Officials: California Headed into 4th Drought Year"
Still crossing your fingers for miracle storms to bail California out of the driest three-year stretch in the state’s recorded history?
"State and federal water officials aren’t. They announced in a conference call Wednesday that they’re preparing for a fourth drought year that will slash water deliveries for cities and farms, leave wildlife thirsting for more and test the willingness of Californians to conserve. After some promising December storms boosted the snowpack to 50 percent of normal, the latest dominant ridge of high pressure has pushed the snowpack down to 36 percent of normal — just barely above where it was last year at this time. “The situation is still virtually as dire,” said Felicia Marcus, chairwoman of the State Water Resources Control Board. “If the drought lasts a decade … you’re going to want to do everything you can to conserve water while it lasts.”
More Drought News for California
Well, the latest news from the Climate Prediction Center isn't what we'd like to hear, but their latest forecast suggests drought conditions continuing into April!
"The drought outlook valid from January 15 through April 30 is based primarily on initial conditions, the February and February-April precipitation outlooks, El Niño precipitation composites (a weak episode is possible this winter), and climatology. In California, the wet climatology for February and March (especially in the south) and a tilt of the odds toward above-normal precipitation in the monthly and seasonal outlooks across the southern half of the state should bring improvement there, but it must be emphasized that improvement is not elimination, and that most of the state will still be in drought to some degree by the end of April."
Extended Temperature Outlook
Just as we seem to be settling into our nice mild weather trend, it appears that some cooler air may be working back into the Lower 48 by the end of the month. According to NOAA's CPC, the 8 to 14 day temperature outlook (January 23-29) shows a fairly good chance of below normal temperatures across the eastern two-thirds of the nation.
Thanks again for checking in and have a great weekend ahead! Don't forget to follow me on Twitter @TNelsonWX