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.
85.3" snow so far this winter in the Twin Cities.
Winter Weather Advisory posted for the Twin Cities.
Winter Storm Watch in effect for far southeastern Minnesota
1-3" predicted for the metro area by midday Wednesday. 4+" possible southern/eastern suburbs of St. Paul.
5-10" snow anticipated for far southeastern Minnesota, closer to Rochester, Winona and Lake City.
Heaviest snow expected from 6 pm this evening through 2 or 3 am Wednesday morning.
Freeways/interstates stay mostly wet, but some accumulation is likely on secondary roads and bridges by Wed. AM.
1.2" record snowfall for today (set on April 19, 1982).
1.8" record snowfall for tomorrow (set on April 20, 1982).
* I doubt we'll see the 3.7" additional snow necessary for this to become the 3rd snowiest winter on record, but we may come close.
* This should be the last "plowable" snowfall for the Twin Cities metro area this winter season. We may see more flurries, but I doubt we'll see another storm capable of "a few inches." I can't believe I'm actually typing this on April 19.
April Slush. Snow is on the way, a little rain/snow mix developing this afternoon (spreading in from the south), changing to all snow after 6 pm or so, but with temperatures above 32 F. roads should stay wet up until 8 or 9 pm. Snow will first start to stick on lawns and fields, some side streets and secondary roads will become slushy by 10 or 11 pm tonight. I think we'll wake up to 1-3" snow across much of the metro area, maybe a few 3-4" amounts over the far southern and eastern suburbs, over 10" for far southeastern MN by Wednesday. Whatever falls will melt (quickly), possibly by the end of the day Wednesday. The sun returns Thursday, we should top 60 Sunday. No worries - this too shall pass.
Snowy Scenario. There is still considerable disagrement between models (GFS, which has a "southward bias", takes the heaviest snow bands well south of MSP - while the NAM, which tends to be a little more reliable in general, brings the heavier snow bands a little closer to the southern and eastern suburbs of the Twin Cities). More from the local NWS office here.
Southward Detour. The ideal storm track for heavy snow in the Twin Cities is roughly Omaha to Des Moines, Lacrosse and Wausau. Today's storm will track about 200 miles farther south/east, meaning a glancing blow of light to moderate snow for us from late afternoon through Wednesday morning - the heaviest snow bands clipping far southeastern MN.
Closest To Reality? Why should the two main models agree (on anything?) The GFS solution keeps significant snow well south/east of MSP, with only an inch or two for the Twin Cities, but some 4-8" amounts over far southeastern MN and much of central Wisconsin. The GFS has been consistently whisking the storm well south/east of MSP. It seems that the NAM is trending closer to the GFS solution, meaning a little less snow for MSP than earlier thought. It's looking like the GFS solution will verify, with an inch or two for much of the metro, maybe 3" far southern 'burbs.
Winter Weather Advisory Metro - Winter Storm Watch Far Southeast MN. The NWS has downgraded the Winter Storm Watch to a Winter Weather Advisory (GFS hinting that the heaviest snow will stay south/east of the metro area). A Winter Storm Watch is still in effect for Rochester, Winona and all of far southeastern MN. More from the NWS on the watch here:
URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TWIN CITIES/CHANHASSEN MN 409 AM CDT MON APR 18 2011 ...A LATE WINTER STORM BEARING DOWN ON THE UPPER MIDWEST BY TUESDAY AFTERNOON... .THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HAS ISSUED A WINTER STORM WATCH FOR PARTS OF SOUTH CENTRAL AND EAST CENTRAL MINNESOTA AND WEST CENTRAL WISCONSIN FOR TUESDAY EVENING THROUGH NOON WEDNESDAY. THE WATCH WAS LOCATED MAINLY SOUTH AND EAST OF A LINE FROM SLEEPY EYE...GAYLORD...MINNEAPOLIS TO CENTER CITY IN MINNESOTA...AND LUCK AND RICE LAKE IN WISCONSIN. A LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM OVER THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST...WILL TRACK EAST OVER THE CENTRAL ROCKIES LATER TODAY...THEN MOVE EAST AND STRENGTHEN OVER THE UPPER MIDWEST ON TUESDAY. ACCUMULATING SNOWS ARE LIKELY OVER PARTS OF SOUTH CENTRAL AND EAST CENTRAL MINNESOTA AND WEST CENTRAL WISCONSIN. THERE IS THE POTENTIAL FOR HEAVY WET SNOW WITH TOTAL SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF SIX INCHES OR MORE OVER PARTS OF SOUTHEAST MINNESOTA AND WESTERN WISCONSIN BY WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON. THERE COULD BE A BRIEF PERIOD OF SLEET BEFORE MIDNIGHT TUESDAY. THERE REMAINS SOME UNCERTAINTY IN THE TRACK AND INTENSITY OF THIS STORM SYSTEM... SO CONTINUE TO MONITOR THE LATEST FORECASTS AND STATEMENTS FROM THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE.
How Much? The trends seem undeniable at this point: the heaviest snow amounts setting up well south/east of the Twin Cities from tonight into Wednesday morning. As much as 8-12" may fall near Rochester and La Crosse, but we should wind up with closer to 1-2" for most of the metro area.
Timing The Changeover To Snow. The latest Bufkit package hints at a possible cold rain during the afternoon today, rapidly changing to wet snow after 4 or 5 pm. With air (and ground) temperatures above 32 F. I expect roads to be wet into the evening hours today, but snow may start to stick after 8 or 9 pm, especially on side streets, bridges and secondary roads.
A Snowy "Sounding". The NAM model predicts temperatures throughout the lowest mile of the atmosphere will be (well) below freezing by midnight tonight, implying all snow from 6 or 7 pm through the morning hours Wednesday. You'd expect to see this kind of a temperature profile in mid March, not mid April. But that's the kind of winter season we're having...
Another Factor To Consider. If anyone asks the soil temperature just west of MSP is a balmy 46 F. Who cares? Ground temperatures are still relatively mild, and for a few hours Tuesday evening snow will melt on contact with a relatively warm ground. It will take a few hours for soil temperatures to cool down to 32, and for the snow to STICK. That's why I'm going 2-3", and not 5 or 6", which is what .39" of liquid would equate to (with a rough 13:1 snow:rain ratio). If you're bored beyond recognition and want to check out soil temperatures click here, data courtesy of the MN Dept. of Agriculture.
A Reluctant Spring. Whether it's a lingering La Nina pattern or something else at work, I still don't see any sustained warmth looking out 2 weeks or so, no prolonged 60s or 70s. Yes, it's annoying, this "backwards spring", but there is one big silver lining: it delays tornado season in Minnesota. Snow or tornadoes? Good grief - what a choice.
15 State Tornado Outbreak Deadliest Since 2008. Yahoo News and AP have an update on the extensive swarm of tornadoes that swept across the south and east, from Oklahoma, Mississippi and Alabama to North Carolina last weekend: "The devastation is stunning — homes and lives shattered as the deadliest swarm of twisters in three years battered up to 15 states. Ultimately, this could turn out to be among the top 10 three-day outbreaks for number of tornadoes, though experts can't be sure until all the reports are sorted, said Greg Carbin of the federal Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla. While tornadoes occur regularly, their power always shocks. This time it was storms battering their way from Oklahoma to North Carolina, claiming at least 44 lives, almost half of those in North Carolina. It was the deadliest since Feb. 5, 2008, when 57 died in the "Super Tuesday" election day tornadoes in the Southeast. And that was the highest tornado death toll since 76 died in 1985. "A major storm system like this is going to happen every few years, usually in April or May," said Carbin. While May is the nation's busiest month for twisters, they surge sharply in April, and most early spring tornadoes strike the Southeast and South Central states. Indeed, the biggest tornado outbreak on record occurred April 3-4, 1974 when 147 confirmed twisters touched down in 13 states, claiming 310 lives in the United States and 8 in Canada. For about the past 30 years, the United States has averaged 135 tornadoes in April, the highest number being 266 in 1974, according to Jake Crouch of the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. In these latest storms, the National Weather Service is investigating 267 preliminary tornado reports — including 97 in North Carolina on Saturday. But many of those will turn out to be duplicates, Carbin said in a telephone interview."
* Unlike tornado outbreaks of the past, the National Weather Service reports that nearly 90 percent of the past weekend's reported storms occurred in areas where tornado warnings were in effect. In central North Carolina, 97 percent of the tornadoes were in areas where warnings had been issued, with an average lead time of almost 26 minutes.
Kansas-Size Outbreak. An aerial photo shows some of the approximately 30 houses severely damaged or destroyed by a tornado in the St. Andrews neighborhood just south of Sanford, N.C., Sunday, April 17, 2011. (AP Photo/The News & Observer, Thomas Babb).
After Violent Storms, A Widespread Path of Death And Damage. A good summary of Saturday's record tornado outbreak in North Carolina from the New York Times here: "The terrified look in one of her employee’s eyes was the first clue Terri Rodriguez had that something was terribly wrong Saturday afternoon. The worker had been washing kitchen equipment behind Golden Corral, a popular restaurant in Sanford, N.C., when he spotted a giant black funnel cloud bearing down. It was one of more than 90 tornadoes — what one meteorologist described as a “family” of them — that hit the state on Saturday. He ran to Ms. Rodriguez, who walked out the back door. She dodged a piece of flying wood, and then she saw it: a dark funnel cloud thick with wood and metal only a couple of blocks away. About 140 people were eating in her restaurant, many of them in front of the thick plate-glass windows that run the length of the place. “All I could think is that I have to get them away from the glass because I knew it would just cut them in half,” she said in an interview on Sunday. “I thought, where can I put them? Then I yelled: ‘Tornado! Everyone to my kitchen!’ ”
Tornadoes Kill At Least 43 In North Carolina And Elsewhere. The NY Times has the details: "At least 22 people were killed after violent tornadoes roared through the city of Raleigh and across the heart of North Carolina Saturday afternoon and evening, state officials said Sunday. The storms also severely injured 130 other people and leveled or damaged hundreds of homes, demolished a big-box store and a trailer park, plucked trees out of the earth, and left more than 84,000 people without power....The North Carolina toll would have been far higher had it not been for a canny manager of a Lowe’s home improvement store in Sanford, 40 miles southwest of Raleigh. Patty McQuillan, a public information officer for the state’s Division of Emergency Management, said the manager, who was not immediately identified, hustled more than 100 customers and workers into the more fortified rear of the store into offices before the front of the cavernous store collapsed. Witnesses said much of the store had been flattened, with jagged beams and siding poking out of the rubble, though no one was seriously injured. “It was really just a bad scene,” Jeff Blocker, a Lowe’s regional vice president, told The Associated Press. “You’re just amazed that no one was injured."
Tornado Swarm Deals Death, But Also Miracles. We all know how fickle tornadoes can be: one home leveled, while across the street sits a home largely undisturbed. The New York Times has an article highlighting these oddities, and minor miracles: "ASKEWVILLE, N.C. — For all the deaths and broken bones and flattened houses, there were still some miracles packed into the 10 minutes it took for the last of a great roar of tornadoes to chew through this rural corner of the state. There was Glen White, 24, who found the strength to push up a wall that had fallen on five residents of a group home. There was the married couple who were thrown into their backyard as the storm exploded their home. They landed close enough, battered and bruised, to hold hands. And there was Molly, a graying donkey who for years has starred in the town Christmas pageant. People say they saw her lifted into the funnel cloud when the storm hit Saturday night. They thought she was a goner. But Sunday morning, her owner, Jake Dunlow, 75, found her on her back in a ditch about 300 feet away. A day later, she was grazing in her own pasture, oblivious to the splinters of seven mobile homes all around her."
Interactive Tornado Count. Someone put together a pretty slick interface, using Google Maps, that shows every tornado touchdown from last Friday through Sunday, based on damage reports submitted to SPC.
Fact-Checking The North Carolina Tornado Outbreak. In the heat of battle, the "fog of war", tracking EF-3 tornadoes and trying to make sense of what has happened, bad information often gets out. Accu Weather takes a look at what has been reported, and what is true/factual in this interesting post:
Was the number of tornado reports a record breaker and how does that relate to the number of actual tornadoes? This is a point of contention, and it depends on who you ask. Although officially there were 240 tornado reports during the 2-day outbreak, this number will be reduced considerably when the twister paths are investigated. As storm reports are easier to file with the National Weather Service due to better technology, the number of people seeing the same twister increases greatly. You can read our news story on this for more information. It will be at least a week before we know how this outbreak compares to other major events. It's possible that this system could eclipse the worst outbreak in the states history, which took place on March 28, 1984. During that storm, 22 tornadoes killed 42 people in North Carolina. UPDATE: CNN is reporting "97 confirmed tornadoes" though I find it hard to believe that the NWS would have had time to calculate that number yet.
Was the Raleigh tornado the widest ever in U.S. history? No. This was a typo in the NWS's initial storm survey report which listed the width as "3." This was later reissued CORRECTED FOR MAXIMUM PATH WIDTH of "0.3 miles." The widest tornado on record occurred in Nebraska in 2004, and was 2.5 miles in length.
Was where the tornadoes struck remarkable, in number, time of year or location? I don't believe so, but I'll have more information on this available later today.
Why did this happen? We are working on a story on what meteorological factors led to this outbreak, in this area, this time of year. It's unlikely, in my opinion, that long-term climatological factors, such as Global Warming or Cooling, had anything to do with this event, and pending answers to the questions above, it may not have been unprecedented.
Busier Than Last Year. La Nina winters are often followed by unusually severe springs across the USA, an energized (and more powerful) jet stream capable of whipping up the extremes in wind aloft necessary to turn an ordinary thunderstorm into a tornadic "supercell" capable of large hail and twisters. From the Iowa Environmental Mesonet: "This past weekend saw yet another severe weather outbreak with numerous tornadoes reported over the deep south. The featured map (click for a better view) shows the difference in number of severe and tornado warnings this year versus last year. Only counties shown in dark blue have seen a decrease. The deep south certainly stands out with Alabama having all counties with higher totals than last year. The total count in this plot is 4,779 warnings for 2010 and 14,517 warnings for 2011. The total count for 2011 is the largest on record for the period prior to 18 April."
Tornadoes "Unpredictable"? Hardly. The site "Meteorological Musings" examines the question: if there was so much warning and lead time with Saturday's North Carolina tornado outbreak, why did a couple dozen people still have to die? The answer seems to center on the tricky, sticky topic of mobile homes. An estimated 30-40% of all tornado deaths in the USA occur in mobile home parks - people simply have inadequate protection from tornadoes unless they can reach an underground shelter within a minute or two: "So, why did people die? Given the sheer number of tornadoes and the strength of the tornadoes combined with the population density of the affected areas, some deaths were inevitable. I'm told that most communities in North Carolina do not have tornado sirens, which might be a factor. It is too soon to know if everyone received the warnings in time (i.e., in the 2007 Greensburg, KS tornado, everyone but a trucker from California received the warning as far as can be determined). The NWS will likely make these determinations via their damage surveys. Based on early news reports, at least half of the deaths in North Carolina were associated with mobile homes. A helicopter shot I saw clearly showed at least some nearby mobile homes were not tied down. It is my opinion, based on years of study and research, that an untied mobile home is completely unsafe in a tornado. We are getting to the point in America that the issue is not so much whether there will be an advance warning but making sure that everyone who needs to receive the warning gets it."
(Screen capture above is from WRAL-TV helicopter video showing the mobile home pad (upper left) and the stripped mobile home chassis moved off the pad. The mobile home may have tumbled as it moved.)"
WJLA-TV (Washington D.C.) Responds To "Jeopardy" Fans Upset About Severe Storm Interruptions. I feel their pain. I can't tell you the number of people who called to complain about live tornado coverage on WCCO-TV when there were tornadoes on the ground. "Don't care, not my county. Get off the air! This is an especially good episode of Oprah!" I kid you not. I could tell you stories that would curl your hair. Would these viewers feel any different if an EF-3 tornado was heading toward their neighborhoods? Probably. True, TV is limited by over-the-air technology - it does seem somewhat ridiculous (very 1990s) to warn 88 counties for a tornado impacting 10% of ONE county experiencing a tornado threat. New (mobile) innovations will soon make this problem a thing of the past - the ability to alert only the people in the direct path of a tornado or hailstorm, turning on their cell phones, telling them how many miles away the threat is from their current GPS location. That capability is coming, but not soon enough. Here is the story from mediabistro.com: "As a herd of tornadoes rumbled through much of the southeast this weekend, some viewers in D.C. blasted WJLA for interrupting “Jeopardy!” with severe weather updates. Now the ABC-affiliate is responding to its Alex Trebek-loving critics. In a new post on the station’s weather blog, WJLA’s John Metcalfe includes a handful of viewer comments (sample: “why ruin the show for thousands of devoted viewers so your weather guy and the computer graphics department can have a Saturday night ego trip?”) and sarcastically writes: This hailstorm of peevishness raises all sorts of mind-bending trains of thought. Do Jeopardy! viewers live in concrete bunkers immune from damaging weather? Does Alex Trebek command such power over his viewers that they don’t care whether they live or die, as long as his beaming face is the last thing they see? Would cutting into the show with tornado news be O.K. if it wasn’t during the ever-so-important double-Jeopardy! round?"
Another Tornado Outbreak Today? According to SPC there is a moderate risk of tornadoes from St. Louis and Memphis to Louisille and Indianapolis. Winds aloft are unusually strong, another atmospheric scuffle brewing between tropical air from the Gulf of Mexico and cooler, drier air over the Great Lakes capable of creating supercell storms later today.
A Perfect Storm For Wildfires. NASA's Earth Observatory has an update on the massive fires engulfing much of the Lonestar state, the result of severe drought, tinder-dry humidity levels and high winds: "Since April 6, more than a million acres have burned throughout the state of the Texas, according to the Texas Forest Service. This image, taken by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite, shows conditions on April 15, 2011. Wind whipped both smoke and dust southeast across the state. The fires detected by MODIS are marked in red. The image illustrates one of the primary reasons fire danger is extremely high in Texas: strong winds. Warm temperatures, dry vegetation, and low humidity are also contributing to hazardous fire conditions. Normally a rainy month, March 2011 was the driest March on record, said the Texas Forest Service. Plentiful rains in 2010 spurred grass and shrubs to grow. The recent lack of rain, warm temperatures and low humidity has turned all of that vegetation into dry tinder, creating unprecedented fire danger. As of April 18, at least 23 large wildfires were burning in Texas. Seven of the largest are labeled in the image."
Clouds, Clouds Burning Bright. NASA has the first composite photo of rare noctilucent clouds over the South Pole. A possible connection exists betweent the frequency of these high-altitude, luminous clouds, and climate change: "High up in the sky near the poles some 50 miles above the ground, silvery blue clouds sometimes appear, shining brightly in the night. First noticed in 1885, these clouds are known as noctilucent, or "night shining," clouds. Their discovery spawned over a century of research into what conditions causes them to form and vary – questions that still tantalize scientists to this day. Since 2007, a NASA mission called Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere (AIM) has shown that the cloud formation is changing year to year, a process they believe is intimately tied to the weather and climate of the whole globe. "The formation of the clouds requires both water and incredibly low temperatures," says Charles Jackman, an atmospheric scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., who is NASA's project scientist for AIM. "The temperatures turn out to be one of the prime driving factors for when the clouds appear." So the appearance of the noctilucent clouds, also known as polar mesospheric clouds or PMCs since they occur in a layer of the atmosphere called the mesosphere, can provide information about the temperature and other characteristics of the atmosphere. This in turn, helps researchers understand more about Earth's low altitude weather systems, and they've discovered that events in one hemisphere can have a sizable effect in another."
A Native Son Revitalizes His Paper. In case you missed this story in the New York Times by David Carr, some encouraging trends at the Star Tribune (and it didn't happen by accident): "In 2008, when I last saw Michael Klingensmith, he was sitting in a corner office on the 34th floor of the Time Warner building, one of three powerful executives who controlled Time Inc., the biggest magazine publisher in the world. It was the only company that Mr. Klingensmith, an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago, had ever worked for. After three decades, including stops at Sports Illustrated and Time, he was on the short list to become the next chief executive. When the job went to Ann Moore, he hung in for a while as executive vice president in charge of strategy and acquisitions. “It was a real job, it just wasn’t a very fun one,” he said. So in 2008 at the age of 55, he took early retirement. He could have gone to work at any publisher in Manhattan, but instead, after a short time as a consultant, he moved to Minneapolis to become the publisher of The Star Tribune. It wasn’t a move to Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. The newspaper had been through years of upheaval, churning through bankruptcy, publishers and lots of layoffs. But what could have been a quixotic last fling has turned into something far more impressive: The Star Tribune is adding readers — the Sunday circulation grew 5.7 percent in the last audit and will most likely be up again a bit in the audit that will be out in few weeks — the business is making money and, get this, distributing money from its profit-sharing plan to its employees."
An "Unvarnished" Peek Into Microsoft's History. Did you see the 60 Minutes piece on Paul Allen? Fascinating; the parallels with Howard Hughes are unmistakable (as pointed out by Leslie Stahl). Here is a New York Times summary of Allen's new book documenting his rough ride with Bill Gates. Fascinating stuff for any true techno-geek: "In his autobiography, Paul G. Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft, portrays his role during the company’s early years as the visionary and technology strategist, while Bill Gates is presented as a brilliant business tactician. At one point in the book, which will be published on Tuesday, Mr. Allen describes Mr. Gates as a partner “who could take my ideas and magnify them.” At another point, Mr. Allen writes, “Our great string of successes had married my vision to his unmatched aptitude for business.” Nevertheless, Mr. Allen denied, in an interview on Friday, that the book was an effort to swing the pendulum of history in his direction, to claim more of the credit for critical decisions at the birth of the personal computer industry. “I just think this is my side of the story told in an unvarnished, warts-and-all way,” Mr. Allen said. Fiery confrontations between Mr. Allen and Mr. Gates drew considerable attention last month after an excerpt of the book was published in the May issue of Vanity Fair and on the magazine’s Web site. The clashes came over product decisions, hiring plans and their shares in the young company."
Kyocera Echo Dual Touchscreen Smartphone Released On Sprint. I'm suddenly feeling very inadequate with my single touch-screen iPhone 4. Definite smartphone-envy. A post from gizmag.com: "Kyocera's dual-touchscreen Echo smartphone is now available through Sprint in the U.S. The standout feature of the Echo is the extra screen real estate provided by the two 3.5-inch WVGA touchscreen displays connected by a pivot hinge that allows the device to be used in the traditional single screen configuration or folded out so each display can be used independently, side-by-side or combined to form a 800 x 960 pixel 4.7-inch display – albeit divided by a black bar formed by the frame."
The Future According To Google Search Results. Someone has entirely too much free time, but the results are interesting. Click here (to waste more time).
The T-Mobile Royal Wedding. O.K. This 2:13 YouTube clip has gone viral, nearly 5 million views, and it is funny. I have to give T-Mobile credit for poking fun at the "Royals", and creating a little more interest in the brand as well. This is what I'd LIKE to see this upcoming weekend on CNN, but I have a hunch the real deal will be considerably more restrained: "Watch the wedding entrance dance to top all wedding entrance dances. T-Mobile's Royal Wedding Dance celebrates the marriage of William and Kate with the help of a host of royal look alikes and music from East 17! T-Mobile wishes William and Kate a long and happy marriage. Join our Facebook group http://www.facebook.com/tmobileuk."
Calm Before The (Slush). Under a gray sky the mercury only reached 32 at Grand Marais, 37 in Duluth, 48 in St. Cloud and 50 in the Twin Cities. Statewide Monday temperatures were 10-15 degrees cooler than average with a trace of rain in Redwood Falls, .01" at International Falls.
Could Be Worse. NO, we will not see this much snow anytime soon. 1-3", give or take. No big deal.
Paul's Star Tribune Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:
TODAY: Winter Weather Advisory. Cold rain develops this afternoon, mixing with snow by the dinner hour. Winds: E 10-20. High: 42
TUESDAY NIGHT: Winter Weather Advisory. Wet snow likely, heaviest south/east of the Twin Cities. Low: 32
WEDNESDAY: Snow tapers to flurries, 1-3" for the metro. 6-12" predicted for far southeastern MN, closer to Rochester and La Crosse, closer to the storm track. High: 43
THURSDAY: Sun returns, snow quickly disappears. Low: 34. High: 52
FRIDAY: Warm enough aloft for rain. Low: 37. High: near 50
SATURDAY: Damp start, slow PM clearing. Low: 39. High: 54
SUNDAY: Nicer day, feels like spring again! Low: 40. High: 63
MONDAY: PM showers, thunder? Low: 44. High: 62
Only Siberia has more weather extremes than Minnesota and the Dakotas. Then why do we stay? Denial. "Hey, the climate is warming, it's all good!" That, and amnesia. I think we're all hard-wired to forget the atmospheric trials & tribulations. The weather unites us, gives us something to talk about, other than Joe Mauer's flu, tax reform or a new Vikings stadium.
Exhibit A: April snow. "You're telling me my GREEN lawn is about to get shellacked with snow?!!" Yes, but it won't be that bad. Air temperatures close to freezing should keep freeways mostly-wet Wednesday morning. Some of the snow will melt on contact (soil temperatures are in the low 40s, if anyone asks).
Models suggest that the heaviest snow bands will set up south/east of MSP, with some 5-8" amounts possible for Rochester, but the immeidate metro area should wind up with closer to 2-3" by Wednesday; maybe 3-5" over the far southern and eastern suburbs (on lawns, fields and slow-moving robins). Whatever falls will melt within 24 hours. I promise. And I never promise anything (except sunrise and sunset).
Rain returns Friday; Sunday the sunnier day of the weekend. 60s pop up next week, before another big storm the middle of next week (probably rain).
Within 72 hours we'll look back & wonder, "Did it really snow?" Um, what snow?
NASA Study Predicts More Severe Storms With Global Warming. I thought it might be timely to call up an MSNBC article from 2007. Climate scientists have been predicting this for some time now: "NASA scientists have developed a new climate model that indicates that the most violent severe storms and tornadoes may become more common as Earth’s climate warms. "Previous climate model studies have shown that heavy rainstorms will be more common in a warmer climate, but few global models have attempted to simulate the strength of updrafts in these storms. The model developed at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies by researchers Tony Del Genio, Mao-Sung Yao, and Jeff Jonas is the first to successfully simulate the observed difference in strength between land and ocean storms and is the first to estimate how the strength will change in a warming climate, including “severe thunderstorms” that also occur with significant wind shear and produce damaging winds at the ground. This information can be derived from the temperatures and humidities predicted by a climate computer model, according to the new study published on August 17 in the American Geophysical Union’s Geophysical Research Letters. It predicts that in a warmer climate, stronger and more severe storms can be expected, but with fewer storms overall."
Why The Spike In Tornadoes? MSNBC has a video focusing on the sharp increase in not only the number of tornadoes observed so far in 2011, but the intensity - far more EF-3 and EF-4 tornadoes than usual. A coincidence? Maybe. But I wouldn't take that bet. Again, no one storm, outbreak or even season can be linked to climate change. The reality: an increase in atmosphere temperature has evaporated more water into the air. More water vapor overhead may be "loading the dice" in favor of more numerous extreme weather events. Top image of a "multi-vortex tornado" from Tushka, Oklahoma, bottom image of a "wedge tornado" from Jackson, Mississippi.
Hurricanes Worsen: Is A Warmer Earth To Blame? The Philadelphia Enquirer examines a growing debate in the meteorological community: the number of hurricanes does not seem to be increasing, but the hurricane that do develop seem to be getting more intense over time. A fluke, or a trend? "The simmering issue of whether a warmer world brews more-destructive hurricanes is a powerful one, not just for coastal interests but for every U.S. taxpayer from Philadelphia to Honolulu. Look for the debate to heat up this year, as the latest outlooks are calling for another busy and potentially destructive hurricane season, which will begin June 1. Without question, hurricanes have become more devastating as the world has become warmer during the last 30 years. But are the trends related? Human activity indisputably is a factor - for evidence, see all that nature-taunting coastal building. The greenhouse case, however, remains arguable. A word on the warming: It's been real. Global temperatures have been above long-term averages every month since February 1985, according to National Climate Data Center records dating to 1880. They are just under a degree Fahrenheit higher now than they were when the trend started. As for the hurricanes, a warming trend also has taken hold in the storm-inciting waters of the tropics, and a 2008 study found rather convincingly that peak winds of the strongest hurricanes have intensified since 1981.
Scientist Want Climate Early-Warning System. Reuters has the story: "A better monitoring network for greenhouses gases is needed to warn of significant changes and to keep countries that have agreed to cut their emissions honest, scientists said in papers published Monday. "What we're hoping to do is see if the warming is feeding the warming, particularly in the Arctic," said Euan Nisbet, a specialist in methane emissions at the University of London. "Our monitoring network is very, very limited. We feel more observation is needed." Such measurement could warn of possible climate tipping points, scientists said in papers published by Britain's science academy, the Royal Society. The data also could be used to verify countries' reporting of greenhouse gas emissions against targets under the present Kyoto Protocol and a possible successor after 2012. The Earth's climate in the past has changed in a relatively short period of time, warming rapidly about 12,000 years ago at the end of the most recent glacial period. Scientists are not sure why that happened, and have warned of possible climate tipping points from manmade emissions."
On Climate Change The GOP Is Lost In Never-Never Land. A timely editorial in the Washington Post: "The climate change denialism is a newer part of the catechism. Just a few years ago, leading Republicans — John McCain, Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Tim Pawlenty among them — not only accepted global warming as real but supported some kind of market-based mechanism to raise the cost of burning fossil fuels. Now polls show declining numbers of Republicans believing in climate change, and a minority of those believing humans are at fault, so the candidates are scrambling to disavow their past positions. Palin, who as Alaska governor supported efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions, in 2009 wrote in The Post, “But while we recognize the occurrence of these natural, cyclical environmental trends, we can’t say with assurance that man’s activities cause weather changes.” Pawlenty similarly acknowledged on “Meet the Press” last year that “the climate is changing,” but added that “the more interesting question is how much of that is man-made versus natural causes.” When I asked last week how Pawlenty would answer that “interesting question,” his spokesman responded by e-mail: “We don’t know [the] cause of climate change.” Climate science is complex, and much remains to be learned. But if you asked 1,000 scientists, 998 of them would say that climate change is real and that human activity — the burning of oil, gas and coal — is a significant contributor. But Pawlenty’s supposed uncertainty is convenient, because if we don’t know the cause, then there’s little point in looking for a cure. And any cure is going to cost money, or votes, or both."
The Science Of Why We Don't Believe Science. Chris Mooney at Mother Jones has an eye-opening article about why we accept some scientific data as "truth", while denying other scientifically-accepted information. It all comes down to how our brains are hard-wired: "The theory of motivated reasoning builds on a key insight of modern neuroscience (PDF): Reasoning is actually suffused with emotion (or what researchers often call "affect"). Not only are the two inseparable, but our positive or negative feelings about people, things, and ideas arise much more rapidly than our conscious thoughts, in a matter of milliseconds—fast enough to detect with an EEG device, but long before we're aware of it. That shouldn't be surprising: Evolution required us to react very quickly to stimuli in our environment. It's a "basic human survival skill," explains political scientist Arthur Lupia of the University of Michigan. We push threatening information away; we pull friendly information close. We apply fight-or-flight reflexes not only to predators, but to data itself. We're not driven only by emotions, of course—we also reason, deliberate. But reasoning comes later, works slower—and even then, it doesn't take place in an emotional vacuum. Rather, our quick-fire emotions can set us on a course of thinking that's highly biased, especially on topics we care a great deal about. (Bottom Line: We apply fight-or-flight reflexes not only to predators, but to data itself.)"
NOAA Joins International Effort To Track Black Carbon In The Arctic. The concern? Black carbon lowers the albedo of Arctic ice, accelerating melting, which further warms the air, sparking more warming - an example of "positive feedback" that is increasing the rate of ice melt up north. NOAA has the details: "Six nations are participating in a study that looks at the potential role of black carbon, or soot, on the rapidly changing Arctic climate. NOAA is using two small unmanned aircraft the size of a large suitcase outfitted with sensors to sniff and sample the air. The Arctic climate is changing faster than some scientists expected. A continuing decline in summer sea ice, warmer temperatures, changes in vegetation, and other indicators signal polar changes that affect the rest of the globe. Black carbon is contributing to this warming. Scientists say much of the black carbon in the Arctic comes from biomass and fossil fuel burning in North America and Eurasia. “Carbon is dark in color and absorbs solar radiation, much like wearing a black shirt on a sunny day. If you want to be cooler, you would wear a light-colored shirt that would reflect the sun’s warmth,” said Tim Bates, a research chemist at NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL) in Seattle and co-lead of the U.S. component of the study. “When black carbon covers snow and ice, the radiation is absorbed, much like that black shirt, instead of being reflected back into the atmosphere.” Also participating in the Coordinated Investigation of Climate-Cryosphere Interactions (CICCI) project are scientists from Norway, Russia, Germany, Italy and China. The goal is to coordinate more than a dozen research activities so they are done concurrently providing, for the first time, a vertical profile of black carbon’s movement through the atmosphere, its deposition on snow and ice surfaces, and its affect on warming in the Arctic."
Climage Change Retreating Arctic Coastline By Half A Meter Every Year. Here's a story from dnaindia.com: "Climate change and increased erosion are retreating the Arctic coastline by half a metre every year, according to a new study by more than 30 scientists from 10 countries. This implies substantial changes for Arctic ecosystems near the coast and the population living there. The researchers investigated over 100,000 km and thus a fourth of all Arctic coasts and have published their results for the first time. The changes are particularly dramatic in the Laptev, East Siberian and Beaufort Seas, where coastal erosion rates reach more than 8 metres a year in some cases. Since around a third of the world's coasts are located in the Arctic permafrost, coastal erosion may affect enormous areas in future. Up to now they have been protected against the eroding force of the waves by large sea ice areas. Due to the continuous decline in sea ice, this protection is jeopardised."
Budget Fight Hurts U.S. Climate Effort. We're only interested in protecting the environment and responsible development when the economy is in good shape? Really? An update from the New York Times: "AUSTIN, TEXAS — The recent budget wrangling in Washington will take a toll on the administration’s efforts to combat climate change. The budget of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was cut $1.6 billion — 16 percent — for the rest of this fiscal year, under the bill that President Barack Obama signed Friday. Other programs, like international forest-protection efforts, will also get less financing than their advocates had hoped. But with Republicans determined to rein in the E.P.A., environmentalists say, things could have been worse. Bigger clashes may be coming, as Congress draws battle lines over the budget for the next fiscal year. The largest cuts to the E.P.A., which is the main environmental regulator in the U.S. government, will affect local programs, like the money the agency disperses to states to improve their wastewater treatment and drinking water facilities. But some cuts will affect climate-related programs. S. William Becker, the executive director of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies, which represents state and local government regulators, said that states would receive $25 million less than the Obama administration had sought for the remainder of this fiscal year to implement the administration’s greenhouse gas programs. The E.P.A. began to regulate emissions of the gases in a limited way in January, and it plans to phase in additional requirements over time."
Physics Trumps Right Wing Ideology. For the record (not that anyone really cares), I've voted as a Republican for just about my entire adult life, but lately I've been embarrassed by the growing willingness of many of my right-wing friends and colleagues to deny climate science and look the other way. If 97% of doctors gave you the same diagnosis - chances are you'd listen to them and take action, but that apparently doesn't apply to climate scientists. The political process has become increasingly corrupted by energy lobbyists and fat campaign contributions to the point where my party is unrecognizable (at least to me). It makes me sad, it makes me angry. Our kids and grandkids are going to be pretty upset; they'll want to know what we knew - when - and what we did about it. Here's a post that sums up my current level of frustration about climate denial as a political art-form: "Global warming deniers know as much about climate science as they do about brain surgery. Would you let them tell your doctor what to do about that tumor? Why do I–a professional physicist and lifetime member of the American Physical Society–accept the reality of human-caused global warming? Because I accept the following top-ten list of physics facts, which have never been disputed in the scientific literature. This is also why the American Physical Society of 47,000 physicists says “The evidence is incontrovertible: Global warming is occurring”.
PHYSICS FACT #1: The atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration has increased rapidly since the beginning of the industrial revolution, after being nearly constant for thousands of years.
PHYSICS FACT #2: The surplus carbon dioxide has an isotope composition that can only come from fossil fuels. The increase in concentration is not natural; it comes from human activities.
PHYSICS FACT #3: The radiative properties of carbon dioxide have been measured by physicists in the laboratory: It absorbs thermal infrared (heat) radiation.
PHYSICS FACT #4: Because carbon dioxide has this heat-absorbing physical property, the increase in its concentration has increased the infrared opacity of the Earth’s atmosphere and blocks the outward radiation of heat."
Europe's Largest Ecological Catamaran Takes Sail. Here's an interesting article from gizmag.com: "It may be 24 meters (79 feet) long, 10.5 meters (34.5 feet) wide and be able to carry up to 150 passengers, but the Eco Slim seagoing catamaran produces less of a carbon footprint than vessels much smaller than itself. There are two main reasons for this – its electric motors, which are powered by several onboard renewable sources, and its lightweight, streamlined hull, that allows it to move through the water using a minimum amount of energy. Created by Spain's Drassanes Dalmau shipbuilders and launched on March 31st, it's officially Europe's largest "green" catamaran."
60.4" so far this winter in the Twin Cities.
Trace of snow fell on Tuesday.
14" snow on the ground at KMSP.
Short and Sweet (if you don't have time to muddle through the blog): today will be the coldest day of the week (but the sun will be out - that should help, a little). We warm up rapidly, a brief thaw possible Thursday (maybe a coating to 1" late Friday). The weekend looks quiet, highs in the 20s, maybe a few inches of additional snow late Sunday into Monday morning ahead of the next cold jab. Before you despair: long-range models are hinting at an extended streak of 20s and 30s after Feb. 10. Yes, that higher sun angle should start to make a real difference by the second and third week of February. There is hope in the extended outlook.
Satellite Shows Winter Megastorm Painting U.S. White. A great photo from NASA, courtesy of wired.com: "A NASA photograph of the Midwest megastorm gives profound visual truth to what it means for a snowstorm to blanket the United States. The image was captured from space Jan. 31 by the GOES 13 satellite, which regularly photographs the Eastern half of the planet from a geosynchronous altitude of about 22,000 miles. Cold air from the north is diving southward and colliding with moist tropical air, covering one-third of the United States in clouds. The storm is expected to flow east and depart New England on Wednesday night. Forecasters expect the storm will break snowfall records in the Great Plains and central Midwest. In the East, it may deliver ice storms that could cause $1 billion in damage. It’s the latest in a string of storms fitting a pattern predicted by climate scientists. Rising temperatures allow air to hold more moisture, loading storm systems with precipitation that’s ultimately dumped back on Earth."
The Great Groundhog Day Storm of 2011. Infrared satellite image courtesy of NOAA. From space storms look like "comma clouds", or giant atmospherically-shaped question marks, which seems somehow appropriate.
Serious Drifts. Thanks to Nick Harley from severestudios.com for reminding us what 10 foot drifts look like. This photo was taken in Elkton, South Dakota.
Growing Risk of (Warranted) Weather Hype. O.K. The hyperbole and hand-waving has reached new, unthinkable levels in the last 48 hours. I wanted to include this Sally Forth comic by Steve Alaniz & Francesco Marciuliano; drawn by Craig MacIntosh. H/T Steve Tracton
Chicago: Definition of "Snowmageddon." Meteorologists get a lot of grief (some of it justified) for hyping the weather, but not an ounce of hype was needed Tuesday night in Chicago. Horizontal snow, white-out conditions, winds gusting to 58 mph (!) with thunder and lightning! It must have looked like a snowy End Of The World. Lakeshore Drive was impassable, closed, in its entirety, due to abandoned vehicles. It was the very definition of a blizzard. Final amounts? 18-22", but good luck measuring - some 6-8 foot drifts are likely by midday today. (I saw a live shot on CNN last night when it thundered as the reporter-on-the-scene was trying to remain upright - I thought he was going to faint, loud, booming thunder with near-zero visibilities. Amazing).
Peak Wind Gusts (up until 9 pm Tuesday). Data courtesy of EarthNetworks.
Chicago Lakefront: 67 mph
Chicago Ohare: 61 mph
Aurora: 59 mph
West Chicago: 54 mph
Joliet: 52 mph
Dekalb: 52 mph
* From Jeff Masters and his Wunderblog: "The storm will probably be Chicago's biggest blizzard since January 2 - 4 1999, when a storm dumped 21.6" of snow. With tonight's snowstorm expected to have very unstable air aloft, "thundersnow" with snowfall rates of 4 inches/hour is possible, and there is a chance today's blizzard could rival Chicago's greatest snow storm of all time, the blizzard of January 26 - 27, 1967. That immense storm dumped 23 inches of snow on Chicago, stranding thousands of people and leaving an estimated 800 Chicago Transit Authority buses and 50,000 automobiles abandoned on the city streets and expressways."
Storm Damage. Tuesday night part of the roof of Wrigley Field was torn off by the blizzard. This is a screen-grab from the Weatherbug camera located across the street at the Cubby Bear. Courtesy: EarthNetworks.
Storm For The Ages. All-time snowfall record from a single storm in Chicago? 23" on January 35-26,1967. There was so much snow that roads were closed for days after the storm, in some cases WEEKS. 60 deaths were attributed to the storm (many from heart attacks). Keith Heidorn, the "Weather Doctor" has a terrific write-up on the storm to end all storms here. (photo credit: Chicago's Outer Drive, from 12th to 16th Street, courtesy of Keith Heidorn).
Lit Up Like A Christmas Tree. 9 states under Blizzard Warnings, 20 states impacted by Winter Storm Warnings, tornado watches and warnings for the Deep South, a slew of Windchill Warnings and Advisories (including much of Minnesota). Oh to be in south central Oregon, where the biggest concern is an Air Stagnation Advisory. Click here for the latest warnings from NOAA.
NASA Satellites Capture Images Of Monster Storm Affecting 30 States. From our friends at NASA: "One of the largest winter storms since the 1950s is affecting 30 U.S. states today with snow, sleet, freezing rain and rain. NASA satellites have gathering data on the storm that stretches from Texas and the Rockies to the New England states. NASA's Aqua and Terra satellites have been providing visible, infrared and microwave looks at the storm system's clouds, precipitation, temperatures and extent." More details here.
. In meteorological circles a "bomb" is an explosive storm, one that's intensifying rapidly. Tuesday's storm fit the definition: 8 foot drifts in Oklahoma, interstates closed across Missouri, 5" of snow in 90 minutes, hundreds of motorists stranded in their vehicles, 20"+ for parts of Oklahoma and Missouri, the first-ever "hard freeze warning" for the Dallas area, the first blizzard warning in recent memory for St. Cloud - here's a great
of the storm from the Capital Weather Gang. (map courtesy of GRearth)
Bottoming Out. Today will be the coldest day of the week, morning wind chills in the -15 to -25 F range in the Twin Cities, but as cold as -40 over western Minnesota, where Wind Chill Advisories have been upgraded to Warnings.
URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TWIN CITIES/CHANHASSEN MN
...DANGEROUS WIND CHILL READINGS WEDNESDAY MORNING...
..A WIND CHILL WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR WEDNESDAY MORNING FOR AREAS OF WEST CENTRAL...CENTRAL AND SOUTH CENTRAL MINNESOTA. THE WIND CHILL WARNING AREA IS GENERALLY ALONG AND WEST OF A LINE FROM STAPLES TO LITCHFIELD TO FAIRMONT. A WIND CHILL ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR TONIGHT AND WEDNESDAY MORNING FOR AREAS OF EAST CENTRAL AND SOUTHEAST MINNESOTA...INCLUDING THE TWIN CITIES METROPOLITAN AREA. THE COMBINATION OF COLD TEMPERATURES TONIGHT AND WIND SPEEDS HOLDING IN THE 10 TO 20 MPH RANGE...WILL DRIVE WIND CHILL READINGS DOWN TO THE 30 BELOW TO 40 BELOW ZERO RANGE IN THE WIND CHILL WARNING AREA
A Memorable Swath Of Snow. The latest NAM model prints out over 20" (total) for parts of Missouri, Illinois and Lower Michigan, the heaviest snows passing north of New York and Boston. This will be the biggest snowstorm in well over a decade for parts of the Midwest and Great Lakes.
Historic Winter Storm? All hype and superlatives aside, this storm is a pretty big deal: impacting at least a third of the nation. 8 states under Blizzard Warnings - 30 states under Winter Storm Warnings. As many as 100 million Americans are being impacted by heavy snow, severe ice and bitter wind chills - possibly the most disruptive winter storm in at least a decade. More from the Huffington Post:
"A monster winter storm took aim at a third of the nation Monday, threatening to lay a potentially deadly path of heavy snow and ice from the Rockies to New England, followed by a wave of bitter, bone-rattling cold that could affect tens of millions of people. Cities including St. Louis, Kansas City and Milwaukee could be hardest hit, with expected midweek snowfalls of up to 2 feet and drifts piled 5 to 10 feet. Even hardy Chicago could be in for its third-worst blizzard since record-keeping began. "I wouldn't want to be on the road in open areas tomorrow night," said forecaster Tom Skilling of Chicago television station WGN. "I don't think I'd want to be driving in the city either. The fact is people die in these things. They skid off the road and go wandering around in whiteout conditions." Warmer areas were not safe, either. The system could spawn tornadoes in parts of the South. While record snowfalls have pounded the Northeast in one of that region's most brutal winters, the Midwest has been comparatively unscathed, until now."
8 Foot Drifts In Oklahoma. From our partners at EarthNetwork (formally WeatherBug): "Conditions have deteriorated to no visibility and up to 8 foot drifts on the interstates. National Guard is working with OHP (Oklahoma Highway Patrol) to rescue stranded motorists. White out conditions exist at this time. No travel through area recommended." YouTube footage of the blizzard in Tulsa is here.
Aviation Gridlock. 6, 887 flight cancellations in the USA as of 9:30 Tuesday evening, according to flightaware.com. American Airlines got the Golden Sleeping Bag Award. Sign me up for Caribbean Airlines - only 1 flight (maybe the only flight?) disrupted by Tuesday's super-storm.
Ski Oklahoma. Jason Parkin included a great photo of the aftermath of the blizzard in Oklahoma. Looks more like North Dakota. Check out more photos and storm-nuggets at his excellent blog, dsmweather.com.
...OKLAHOMA... MIAMI 20.0 OWASSO 1 W 19.0 AFTON 18.0 PAWHUSKA 2 S 17.0 TULSA 9 SE 15.0 VINITA 12.0 GLENPOOL 11.0
(Snowfall reports from NOAA's NCEP division).
Groundhog Day Cancelled In Illinois. From EarthNetworks: "The snowy weather is so bad even Woodstock Willie isn’t coming out Wednesday — Groundhog Day — to forecast how much longer winter will last, organizers of the Groundhog Days festival in northwest suburban Woodstock announced Tuesday. A highlight of the annual festival is the furry critter emerging from his tree trunk home in the downtown Woodstock Square, where parts of the 1992 hit movie “Groundhog Day” were filmed. “Due to the weather conditions and with concern for safety, the Feb. 2 prognostication has been cancelled for 2011,” the Groundhog Days Committee said on its website.
January Snow In St. Cloud More Than Previous Five Januarys - Combined. A story from Dave Aeikens at the St. Cloud Times: "So much so that the 15.6 inches that fell this January, including 4.4 inches of new snow Monday, is more than fell during the five previous Januarys combined. 15.1 inches of snow fell during the Januarys of 2006-2010, according to Bob Weisman, St. Cloud State University meterologist. Guys like Keith Marthaler, president of the Sno Joes Snowmobile Club, like to see the white Januarys. “It’s been a great year for snowmobiling; a very good season. The snow has been good,” Marthaler said. “Snowmobile season is in full swing, everybody is happy. ”It snowed 16 of 31 days in January but, typical of most Januaries when the air is too cold for a prolonged snowfall, it didn’t snow more than 2 inches until Monday, Weisman said. “We had a lot of those very fluffy snowfalls,” Weisman said.
WindChill Concerns. NOAA is tracking the severe cold engulfing the nation in the wake of what may go down in the record books as one of the most disruptive winter storms in a decade or more. Wind chill values may reach -20 to -30 at time early Wednesday.
January Numbers. According to the meteorological analytics company, Planalytics, January was the 4th coldest and 6th snowiest on record. More details: "North America ended the month colder and drier than normal, although regional differences were prevalent. The U.S. had its coldest January since 2004, driest since 2009, and snowiest since 2005. Canada was colder than last January although still warmer than normal and the most precipitation since 2008. Snowfall in Canada was near normal although well above last year." (photo courtesy of the New York Times).
Tuesday's Forecast: Horrific. Snow budgets in many municipalities around the USA have already been spent, and the winter snow accumulation season is a little more than half over. The New York Times reports on the many ways Old Man Winter is adding insult to injury for many states and cities around the nation: "KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Government budgets around the nation, already busted by the bad economy, now have a new nemesis: Mother Nature. Yet another winter storm is going to heap more ice and snow across a huge section of the country this week, meaning yet another big bill, on top of a lot of other big bills, for all the towns and cities that have to dig out again. “On a weather map, some people see snowflakes, I see dollar signs,” said R. T. Rybak, the mayor of Minneapolis, as a light snowfall brightened the white mounds lining the city streets. Not that officials have any choice. The streets have to be cleared, of course, but often with fewer plows and less salt than in years past. Many cities — New York among them — have already overspent their snow budgets and many more expect this storm to push them into the red. In Minneapolis, a record-setting series of snowstorms in December pushed the city over the snow-removal budget for 2010 by $3.3 million — more than the city spends on pothole repairs for the entire year."
Nothing On The Doppler - Yet. We get a break through Thursday, this latest influx of Canadian air forcing the storm track well south of Minnesota. Models are suggesting a coating to an inch during the PM hours Friday, maybe a few more inches late Sunday and Sunday night. At the rate we're going we may have close to 70" by mid February.
The End Is Near? (To The Coldest Air Of Winter) The GFS is suggesting another cold swipe early next week, but then an extended stretch of time in the 20s and low 30s. It's the first real hint of an EXTENDED THAW I've seen yet this winter. We've picked up nearly 1 hour of additional daylight since December 21 - looks like that higher sun angle may finally make a dent in our temperature pattern by the end of next week into the third week of February. Hang in there - better days ahead.
Category 5 Cyclone Yasi. The cyclone (same thing as a hurricane) threatening Queensland continues to intensify. "Yasi" may hit as a Category 5, with sustained winds over 150 mph - a potentially devastating storm impacting the same area that was overwhelmed with flooding rains a few weeks ago.
Collision Course. Yasi is expected to hit the coast of Australia, near Cardwell, during the early morning hours (local time) Feb. 3. Track data from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.
* Australians Flee, Jam Shelters Ahead Of "Catastrophic Cyclone." The latest from Reuters on what may be a devastating hurricane for Queensland: "We are facing a storm of catastrophic proportions," Queensland state premier Anna Bligh said after Cyclone Yasi was upgraded to a maximum-strength category five storm. It is expected to hit the coast on Wednesday evening, packing winds in excess of 280 km (175 miles) per hour. The weather bureau predicted it would be the strongest ever to hit Australia, Sky TV reported. "All aspects of this cyclone are going to be terrifying and potentially very very damaging," Bligh added, noting the greatest threat to life could come from storm surges along the coast with the system due to hit when the tide is high.Mines, rail lines and coal ports have all shut down, with officials warning the storm could drive inland for hundreds of kilometres, hitting rural and mining areas still struggling to recover after months of devastating floods."
"An updated cyclone warning from Queensland disaster officials said: "Severe tropical cyclone Yasi is a large and very powerful tropical cyclone that poses an extremely serious threat to life and property. This impact is likely to be more life threatening than any experienced during recent generations."
Yasi. Here is an enhanced IR satellite loop from NOAA, showing intense Cyclone Yasi approaching Queensland.
Direct Strike. ECMWF model track of Cyclone Yasi is here.
2010: Wettest Year On Record. According to NCDC last year not only tied 2005 for the warmest year since 1880, it was also the wettest year. A 1-2 F. temperature increase in the last century has evaporated more ocean water, leading to a 4-5% increase in water vapor. That manifests itself through more extreme rainfall events - floods, while other parts of the planet are trending drier. More details in NOAA's "State of the Climate": "Global precipitation in 2010 was well above the 1961–1990 average, ranking as the wettest on record since 1900. Precipitation throughout the year was variable in many areas. Regionally, drier than average conditions were widespread across much of French Polynesia, the Solomon Islands, Hawaiian Islands, northwestern Canada, extreme northwest and northeast Brazil, and southern Peru. The wettest regions induded most of Central America, much of India, southwestern China, east Asia, Borneo, and parts of Australia."
Top 10 Weather/Climate Events of 2010. The heat wave and drought that gripped Russia last year may have claimed as many as 10,000 lives. At one point 25% of Pakistan was under water. More details on a crazy year of meteorological extremes here.
"Earth Art". Here are the Black Hills, like you've never seen them before. A visually striking article from triggerpit.com: "These images are actual pictures of the Earth, created by printing visible and infrared data in colors visible to the human eye. Band combinations and colors were chosen to optimize their dramatic appearance. The U.S. Geological Survey's Earth Resources Observation Systems (EROS) Data Center in South Dakota is the primary receiving station for Landsat 7 data, and it distributes these data to researchers around the world. This article showcases Landsat 7 images, from the collection of Landsat photographs held in the Geography and Map Division, which have been selected for aesthetic rather than scientific value."
Fog Will Not Save You From Vikings. A fascinating article from geekosystem.com : "Vikings are already famous for their beards and badassery, not the least of which springs from their sailing prowess. Spreading from Sweden and Norway, the Vikings sailed and settled Northern England, Iceland, Greenland, and were the first Europeans to arrive in North America. They also pillaged and terrorized an unready European populace with their ferocity and totally sweet boats, but a lingering question faced by historians is how they managed to sail as well as they did with such limited technology. Navigation in the far north poses several unique problems. First off, compasses don’t operate as well so close to the North Pole, and weren’t introduced to Scandinavia until after the Viking period. Secondly, for the warmest part of the year, the sun generally does not fully set, making it impossible to navigate using stars. It’s been fairly well accepted that Norse sailors used a sun-dial like device, but those would only function when the sun is visible. Fog or other weather common on the North Atlantic would have easily obscured the sun, making it extremely difficult to discern direction."
Around The World In .083 Days: One Vision Of Future Transportation. Not sure the airlines are nervous (yet), but if one visionary entrepreneur has his way, someday we'll be traveling around the planet in pneumatic tubes. What about my carry-on luggage? Gizmag has all the wide-eyed details: "Pneumatic Futurama-style transport systems were proposed as far back as the late 1800’s following the invention of pneumatic tubes for carrying mail around buildings. Swiss company Acabion sees such vacuum tube-based mass transport systems becoming a reality by 2100 and has conceived a vehicle capable of traveling at speeds of almost 12,500 mph (20,000 km/h) on such a platform. The company envisages a global network that would let users circle the globe in less than two hours and make transcontinental journeys possible in less than the time it currently takes to get across town."
The World's First 3-D Smartphone. Early adopters take note: the bar is about to be raised yet again. Yes, you can have your Android operating system, and see a 3-D display (without the dorky glasses). An article from Mashable: "LG has announced it will unveil its glasses-free 3D smartphone, the LG Optimus 3D, at the Mobile World Congress held February 14-17 in Barcelona."
The Numbing Numbers. Hey, it could have been 2 feet of snow (with thunder and lightning). We wound up with .4" (shortly after midnight), half an inch at Rochester, highs ranged from 6 at International Falls (after a low of -29 F) to 9 at Rochester, 15 at MSP International, and 17 at Grand Marais (a slightly milder breeze off Lake Superior, where water temperatures are in the mid 30s).
Paul's Star Tribune Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:
TODAY: Windchill Advisory Twin Cities metro - Wind Chill Warnings for central/western MN for a chill factor near -35 F. this morning. Coldest day of the week. W.C. -20. W 10-15. High: 9
WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Clear to partly cloudy, still cold. Low: -3
THURSDAY: Fading sun, breezy, not as cold. Low: -3. High: 18
FRIDAY: Milder, coating-1" or so of snow from late clipper? Low: 17. High: 33
SATURDAY: Cooler, clouds and flurries linger. High: 27
SUNDAY: Dry start, more light snow Sunday night - light accumulation possible Sunday night . High: 23
MONDAY: Chance of a few inches of light snow, tapering to flurries, much colder. Low: 8. High: 12
TUESDAY: What else? Cold with some sun. Low: -5. High: 7
Happy Groundhog Day
So I respectfully ask the following rhetorical question: "why isn't Groundhog Day a national holiday?" We should have the day off to celebrate and reflect, maybe consult a map to see if we really will enjoy 6 more weeks of winter? Looks like a slam-dunk to me.<p>What may wind up being a "Top 5 Snowstorm" for much of America has virtually shut down millions of square miles from Tulsa and Kansas City to Chicago to Detroit. 8 states under Blizzard Warnings today; as many as 110 million Americans impacted by snow, ice and wind.
I'm staring at one mixed up weather map: while we shiver, there is news that Arctic waters may be warmer than any time in the last 2,000 years; Greenland and eastern Canada have been 10-20 F. warmer than average. And Category 4 Cyclone (same thing as a hurricane). "Yasi" is bearing down on Queensland, Australia, the same region pounded by historic floods just a few weeks ago.
Nothing epic in our forecast, just a serious dose of wind chill today, followed by a Friday thaw. We're up to 60.4" so far, models hinting at 1" snow late Friday, a few more inches late Sunday into early Monday. I still think the "worst" of winter is behind us. Hey, 58 minutes of daylight since December 21!
Hawaii's "Big Wind" Project Stirs Up Friends, Foes. The state of Hawaii is taking aggressive steps to move toward renewable energy sources, including solar and wind. NPR reports that not everyone is happy with this trend: "In Hawaii, hearings begin Tuesday for the state's Big Wind project. The plan is for a massive wind farm of hundreds windmills to span several islands. It's the largest renewable energy project for a state racing to get off oil. Almost all of Hawaii's electricity now comes from a few massive generators, which burn oil imported on a never-ending line of tanker ships. Hawaii would rather get electricity from wind — like that produced by the new 42-story windmill at the Kahuku Wind Farm on Oahu's North Shore. "They're big but they're beautiful, they are," says Kekoa Kaluhiwa, who works for the company running this farm, First Wind. Hawaii is hoping to build up to 200 more of these windmills on the small and windy islands of Lanai and Molokai. The power produced on the islands would then be sent to heavily populated Oahu through undersea cables."
Is President Obama Avoiding The Climate Change Debate. A commentary from Yahoo News: "With the economy fragile, the housing market as soft as ever and unemployment stubbornly high, is President Barack Obama less focused on climate change as a political issue than he seemed to be during the 2008 campaign, even while the nation is battered by extreme weather this winter? In the president's State of the Union address last week, he never directly said the words "climate change" or "global warming." Obama did speak at some length about using technology to develop alternative energy sources, and he talked about the economic benefit of things such as high-speed rail, but he did not explicitly discuss the threat of climate change; and certainly did not venture anywhere near the debate concerning whether or not climate change, if it exists, is manmade or not. This is not new for Obama. In his previous two State of the Union addresses, he did not specifically mention 'climate change' either. During the 2008 campaign, candidate Obama openly discussed the threat that climate change presented, and yet seems to refuse to discuss it now. Instead, Obama seems to be repositioning the climate change challenge as an economic one; which, of course, it is in many ways. Throughout his presidency, and particularly since he has moved to the middle of the political spectrum in the weeks since the Republican electoral sweep, it seems that President Obama views the climate change conversation as one he cannot win."
Antarctic Ice Trends. It's summer in the southern hemisphere, but satellite data shows below-average ice coverage over the world's largest (snowy) desert.
Greenhouse Gas Atlas. Yale has reprinted a story focusing on a global snapshot of greenhouse gas emissions. A few highlights: "The Guardian has produced a new graphic showing the relative size of CO2 emissions by nation, with China and India experiencing significant growth in 2009, while emissions dropped in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Russia. With its CO2 emissions rising 13.3 percent from 2008 to 2009, China is by far the world’s leading emitter of CO2, producing 7.7 billion tons in 2009 — 1.7 billion more than the 5.4 billion tons emitted by the United States. India’s emissions rose 8.7 percent to 1.6 billion tons, making it the world’s third-largest emitter of CO2. Because of the economic recession and the growing role played by renewable energy, CO2 emissions in the U.S., Europe, and Russia declined by roughly 7 percent in 2009."
Skeptic Arguments And What The Science Says. For those still keeping an open mind about climate science here is some helpful information, from the skepticalscience.com web site: "Here is a summary of skeptic arguments, sorted by recent popularity vs what science says. Note that the one line responses are just a starting point - click the response for a more detailed response. You can also view them sorted by taxonomy, by popularity, in a print-friendly version, or with fixed numbers you can use for permanent references."
Icy Possibilities. Although temperatures 3,000 to 6,000 feet above Minnesota are forecast to be warm enough for rain late Wednesday night and Thursday - that rain, falling on sub-freezing surfaces (sidewalks, driveways, powerlines and tree limbs) may produce a thin layer of glaze ice, especially Thursday morning, before the breakfast hour. The best chance of icing will come north/west of the Twin Cities, closer to Willmar, St. Cloud and Little Falls.
Snowy Conditions Proving Hazardous For Nation's Idiots. Summing up the recent blizzard as only The Onion can, check this out. One of the funnier things I've seen recently (apologies to any idiots, related or unrelated, who may be offended by this attempted satire).
* Bad Weather Karma? Not sure if you caught this during last night's Vikes-Eagles game, but so far this season the Vikings have had 2 weather-related postponements. By comparison the Twins had only 1 weather-related cancellation in 2010 at the new Target Field. Tuesday's game was the first NFL football game played on a Tuesday in 64 years. Good grief....at least we got a win last night. That one felt good (and long overdue).
Eagles Are Knee Deep In Controversy After Postponement. Has there ever been such a harsh reaction to the postponement of a football game due to weather? I doubt it. From an article in the New York Times: "It is a rare moment when a snowstorm-prompted game postponement turns into a referendum on the nation’s level of “wussiness,” but such is the occasion when someone slips a radio microphone near the mouth of Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell. He unleashed his own unique kind of storm on the N.F.L. for moving his beloved Eagles’ game to Tuesday instead of playing it Sunday in a blizzard. Whether you agree with Rendell’s contention that we’ve become a “nation of wusses,” you do have to admire his rhetorical touches. “If this was in China, do you think the Chinese would have called off the game?” he railed. “People would have been marching down to the stadium, they would have walked and they would have been doing calculus on the way down.”
What do you think? Is it better to err on the side of caution - or let people determine their own level of risk, whether they want to head out into the weather? I can see both sides of this one. Sadly, the lawyers are now in control. Everything is predicated on risk and liability and "exposure". I think the good governor of Pennsylvania has a valid point, but all it would have taken is one fatal accident after the game in Philly for the (legal) Hammer of God to come down on the NFL. It's a no-win predicament.
"I Love New York (But Never Leave A Vehicle There During A Snowstorm). Is this any way to treat a Ford Explorer? New York Sanitation Workers were trying to free a front-end loader, and it just turned into something out of Candid Camera. Click here to see the entire clip (rated R for salty language).
Shifting Pattern. The jet stream, the high-speed river of air snaking its way around the Northern Hemisphere, is about to buckle, plunging more bitter air southward out of Canada. We've had a Pacific flow much of this week (low 30s today, possibly mid 30s by Thursday, more than 10 degrees above average for late December). Along the leading edge of this next Arctic Fling a series of low pressure systems will impact Minnesota, enough warm air aloft for mostly-rain Thursday, but by Friday there should be enough cold air in place for a couple inches of snow in the metro - it may be considerably MORE than a couple inches for far western/northern Minnesota. There, a plowable snowfall is likely.
On The Edge - A Cool Foot for Western Minnesota? As if so often the case, the Twin Cities metro area may wind up on the edge of any significant snowfall with Friday's system. Best bet locally based on what guidance is suggesting is something in the 2-3 or 2-4" range, best chance of 3 or 4" well west of Minneapolis, maybe only a coating to an inch or so far eastern suburbs, where more precipitation will fall as rain. But parts of central Minnesota could easily wind up with 3-6", maybe closer to 8-12" from Alexandria to Brainerd with some 12"+ amounts for the northwestern third of Minnesota. Rochester has 28" on the ground, Brainerd has less than 6". It's about time the "up north" part of Minnesota catch up a little in the snowfall department.
Ice - Rain - Snow (In That Order). If rain streaks in late Wednesday night (possible) surface temperatures may be just below the freezing mark - I could see some icy bridges and side streets early Thursday morning, but I think most roads will wind up being wet on Thursday. We get a little break before the main (secondary) storm spins up Friday, models printing out .34" liquid PM hours on New Year's Eve - plenty of cold air in place for snow. If the current track holds some 2-3" amounts are possible in the metro, amounts increasing the farther west you travel on 7, 12 and I-94.
Fresh Carpet of White - Tale of Two Islands. NASA's high-res "MODIS" Terra satellite showed the fresh snow blanketing the east coast. I also found it (vaguely) interesting to see what a difference the rain/snow line makes. Nantucket, close to 60 degree Gulf Stream waters - stayed rain, while 20 miles west fresh snow coated Martha's Vineyard, MA. Click here to see the high-res image.
Blizzard Before And After Photo. The recent blizzard was a coastal affair, very little snow west of Philadelphia and Baltimore, the greatest surge of snow (and wind) focused on coastal New Jersey right up the coast to Boston and Portland. The New York Times has a great op-ed piece about the "Boxing Day Storm" that resulted in the "White Coast" here.
An Unusual Number of Top 10 Snowstorms For The Northeast. Jeff Masters in his excellent Wunderblog looks at the latest New England blizzard - his research shows a sharp spike in the most extreme snowfalls in recent years, and wonders (out loud) if it's a fluke, or yet another sign of climate change, an increase in evaporation and water vapor spiking winter storms, making them more potent than ever. Worthy of a read.
Record Rainfall...Record Snowfall. And 2010 Is One Of The Warmest Years On Record? Southern California Public Radio has a good overview of the crazy year that was 2010. An excerpt from the article: "You don’t need a degree in climatology or meteorology to observe that the weather in 2010 has been strange, downright bizarre in December with record rainfall in Southern California and a blizzard for the ages socking the East Coast. Early snow in Seattle, extreme snow and cold conditions across the northern plains… and throw in a few more massive blizzards in Europe and winter came very early in 2010. Right on cue, the World Meteorological released its analysis of the year’s temperatures showing that 2010 will probably be among the three warmest years on record, and that 2001 – 2010 will be the warmest decade on record. How does one reconcile all of the cold temperatures, snow and rainfall with the continued evidence that global warming is happening and even accelerating?"
The Blizzard of 2010. Has Global Warming Turned Americans Into Winter Wimps? An interesting article (cry in the wildnerness?) from the Christian Science Monitor. Here is an excerpt: "Maybe it was those warm, snow-bare years and the impression that global warming was in the process of turning Minneapolis into Miami, but what's with the hyperbolic national reaction to the "snowball express" winter storm of 2010?" The hand-wringing by news anchors up and down the East Coast was on Sunday compounded by the postponement – before a flake of snow had fallen – of the Philadelphia Eagles-Minnesota Vikings pro football game, causing Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell to fume: "This is football; football is played in bad weather."
Mega-SnowBall Launcher. The next time the kids gang up on your go into the garage and pull this thing out of cold storage, all of $30 from the Hammacher Schlemmer catalog. The next thing you'll hear is a lot of screaming (running) as the troops scatter. I need one of these....
Welcome Thaw. For only the third time this month the mercury rose above freezing in the Twin Cities. Yes, sadly, 34 felt pretty good (10 degrees above average for a change). Rochester is still reporting 27" snow on the ground, 16" MSP, 12" St. Cloud, less than 5" for parts of the Brainerd Lakes area - where folks are due for a real snow storm.
Paul's Star Tribune Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:
WEDNESDAY: Intervals of sun, possible thaw. Winds: S 10-15. High: 32
WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Cloudy, a little light rain or freezing rain (glaze ice) is possible late. Low: 30
THURSDAY: Periods of rain for the metro (mainly wet roads). Snowy mix far north/west MN. High: 36
NEW YEAR'S EVE: Changeover to snow - 2-3" possible metro area, more north/west of MSP. High: 28 (falling through the 20s into the teens Friday night, meaning wet/slushy roads will become icy).
NEW YEAR'S DAY: Better travel, cold wind whips up with intervals of sun. High: 11 (wind chill dips below zero).
SUNDAY: Sun helps (a little). Brrrr Low: -3. High: 14
MONDAY: Clouds increase, not as bitter. High: near 20
TUESDAY: More clouds than sun, quiet. High: 22
It could be worse. You could be trying to find your front door in Elizabeth, New Jersey, where 32" fell with 8 foot drifts. You could be foraging for food at JFK, an oasis of discomfort surrounded by a vast, snowy wilderness. It was New York City's 6th largest snowfall on record (20" at Central Park).
We have our own (minor) challenges: Minnesotans forced to play a game of vehicular chicken, inching forward at intersections, trying to see over towering piles of snow. Snow budgets are already running out in many communities, but snow lovers are on Cloud 10.
I always have to laugh how good 32 feels in midwinter. Enjoy today's thaw, because a surge of southern moisture will spark rain tomorrow; most metro roads wet/sloppy. Northern and western MN will see mostly-snow, and amounts may be significant; as much as 5-10" by Saturday morning.
A layer of relatively mild air aloft keeps freeways wet much of Thursday, but a changeover to snow is likely New Year's Eve (I know, great timing. This won't be "Snowmageddon" or a "Brrricane", but we may wind up with a few inches of snow Friday PM hours, enough to make the drive home from your New Year's Eve party potentially memorable!
Wintry Weather And Global Warming. If the planet is warming up, how can I be freezing my butt off? And what about all this snow. Andrew Revkin, in his science/climate blog at the New York Times, has an illuminating blog post focused on what appears (at first glance) to be the Mother Of All Inconsistencies. How could a slowly warming (long-term) climate be loading the dice in favor of more frequent (and early) Arctic outbreaks? It's easier to explain away the significant snowfalls - water vapor overhead has increased by 4% in recent decades due to warmer oceans and more evaporation of sea water - we're seeing the results in more spring/summer flooding and more frequent/intense winter storms and blizzards. Revkin quotes Kevin Trenberth from NCAR: "I am aware of some German work that suggests the cold outbreak pattern might somehow be stimulated by reduced Arctic Sea Ice. I have not seen the study but count me skeptical. The cold and snow in Europe was “balanced” by very warm temperatures in Greenland: classical negative NAO [ North Atlantic Oscillation]: perhaps. The was a large so-called blocking high in North Atlantic that led to the polar outbreaks into Europe and so that is where the cold air went, making it warmer in behind. Now that is more a weather or meteorological description, not a statement of cause. Coincidentally pressures have been much above normal in the far North Pacific, and that is typical with La Nina. The pressures were high enough to make the main branch of westerlies active to the south and led to the pineapple express and heavy rains in California. It is quite a strong La Nina, and that is a forcing of the atmosphere by the anomalous atmospheric heating patterns linked to SSTs [sea surface temperatures]."
Todd's Conservation Minnesota Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota
TUESDAY: Last day of fall! Didn't winter start a long time ago? Snow tapers through the day. High: 24
WEDNESDAY: Winter Solstice arrives at 5:38pm. It's OFFICIALLY winter!! More, clouds and another chance of snow. High: 23
THURSDAY: Christmas EVE EVE looking like a partly snowy travel day. Still a fairly high uncertainty level on that snow potential, stay tuned. High: 25
FRIDAY: Christmas eve. Light snow chance. Slightly warmer than it has been. High: Mid 20s
Christmas day. Turning partly cloudy and colder. High: Teens
Yes, I said storms! Our cold and snowy December continues with two chances of accumulating snow this week. The first potential snow maker will slide through early this week and the next one, still up in the air at this point, may have an impact on our holiday travel Thursday. Sandwiched in the middle is the, official, start to winter.
Winter Solstice will ring in this Wednesday at 5:38pm, but no doubt winter has already started. In fact, this December, 24.2" of snow has been observed, good enough for the 5th snowiest December on record. With two chances of accumulating snow this week, I think the snowiest December on record, which is 33.2" set in 1969, could perhaps be achievable again this year.
Cooling of the equatorial waters in the eastern Pacific Ocean, La Nina, may be partly to blame for our weather as of late. Aiding in the Arctic outbreaks and the lake effect snow events over the Great Lakes region.
Downwind of Lake Ontario, Syracuse, New York has picked up a massive 70.8" of snow, setting a new December record. They only need an additional 7.3" for the snowiest month ever on record! The La Nina forecast calls for it to continue through spring of 2011, so this winter may wind up being even snowier that it already has been.
Since the Dome collapse one week ago due to the major snowstorm, the Minnesota Vikings will be playing their first home game at an outdoor venue in the Twin Cities since the "the Old Met" days back in 1981. The TCF Bank Stadium will host the Vikes and Bears in what looks to be a snowy night under the lights. The latest forecast calls for accumulating snow starting Monday and wrapping up Tuesday. The potential exists for at least 3" to 6" of snow around parts of the state, some may get more... And don't forget about the 2nd snow chance this week, which comes in Thursday. The image below shows the best chance of accumulating snow Monday through Tuesday, which at this point, lines up right over central Minnesota. I expect to see Watches/Warnings/Advisories posted around parts of the state in the near future... stay tuned.
At this point, the bulk of the moisture, looks to stay just south, but it's still early in the game. Look for another chance of accumulating snow, somewhere, in the Upper Midwest by Christmas EVE EVE (Thursdsay). This may pose a problem if you are planning your holiday travel this day. stay tuned for updates on this as well!
Have a good Sunday - Todd Nelson
Video Of Dome Collapse
. Thanks to our friends at FOX you can watch the Metrodome collapse - possibly the most amazing
I've seen. Maybe we'll be getting that new stadium for the Vikings after all? The "L.A. Vikings" does NOT have a good ring.
Oh The Memories. I came across an amazing YouTube time lapse video of the blizzard from St. Paul. Worth a look.