Snow Storm Up North
 
Thanks to Jakki Myers from Parkers Prairie, MN for the picture below! Jakki said snow fell much of the day Thursday and was blowing around quite a bit making visibility quite low. All winter weather headlines will end by midday Friday, but blowing snow will still cause traveling issues across the state. MN DOT is also reporting poor road conditions across much of the state as well. If you have to travel today, use caution. Note that travel conditions will improve slowly through the weekend. 
 
 
Snowfall Analysis
 
I was actually quite impressed with the weather models as they did a fair job highlighting this storm several days in advance. It doesn't happen very often that day after day weather models will be as consistent as they were with this storm so far in advance. In the end, the Twin Cities got missed by the snow jackpot, which fell across the northeastern part of the state. Folks near the head of Lake Superior and along the north shore are boasting some foot and a half tallies!
 
 
Snowfall Reports
 
Here are the top snowfall reports from across the region, where some 12" to 18"+ tallies where found, mainly across the MN the North Shore.
 
 
 
Road Conditions As of 8AM Friday
 
According to MN DOT, much of the state was reporting very poor travel conditions with most roadways completely covered with snow and blowing snow. Roads from the Twin Cities and southeastern MN are now being reported as partially covered with snow and ice. 
 
 
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Weather Outlook
 
The storm system will continue to wrap up across the region and as of early Friday, most of the heavy snow will have ended. Any additional snow accumulations should be light, but breezy winds will still cause areas of blowing snow and poor traveling. If you do have travel plans, roadways will slowly improve as we head through the weekend.
 
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Next Chance of Snow New Years Eve
 
Weather conditions will remain quiet through the weekend with the next best chance of snow on New Years Eve. Here's a look at the weather from AM Monday to AM Tuesday. Areas of snow will likely fall much of the day.
 
 
Snowfall Potential on New Years Eve
 
Here's the GFS solution for the snowfall potential on Monday. Note that a couple to a few inches of snow will be possible. Stay tuned.

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Weather Outlook For Friday, December 28th

High temps across the state on Friday will be quite a bit colder on Friday, especially across the northwestern part of the state, where readings will only warm into the single digits. Keep in mind that wind chills values will be quite a bit colder with readings dipping into the -20s to near -30 for feels like temps.
 
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Extended Temperature Outlook
 
Take a look at the extended temperature outlook through the early part of January. Note that reading will still be running above average on Friday, but we take a big hit on Saturday and once again on New Years Day. In fact, New Years Day looks like it could be the coldest day we've had since January of last year!
 
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Weather Outlook for New Years Day
 
Here's the weather outlook for New Years Day, which is next Tuesday. Note that highs will only be in the single digits above and below 0F, which will be the coldest high temps since mid January 2018, nearly 1 year ago!
 
 
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6 to 10 Day Temperature Outlook

According to NOAA's CPC, the extended temperature outlook from January 1st to January 5th suggests cooler than average temps working back into much of the Central US and especially across the Southern US.


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"How To Tell If Your Symptoms Are The Flu Or Just A Cold"

"The flu and the common cold are nasty respiratory illnesses with some similar symptoms. Here’s how to tell the difference. In the winter literally everyone seems to be getting sick. Your coworker won’t stop coughing and your kid keeps coming home from school a snotty mess, and a box of tissues barely lasts you one day. Contrary to popular belief, cold weather does not make you sick — but respiratory viruses (namely, influenza) do tend to peak during the fall and winter. In the US, flu season typically lasts from October to March. However, a nasty case of sniffles and aches during the winter doesn’t always mean you have the flu. Often, it’s just a cold, which you can get any time of the year. The common cold and flu are both contagious respiratory illnesses that can make you feel miserable, but they are caused by different viruses. Some flu symptoms may mimic a cold, but the flu tends to be much more serious and deadly — so it’s important to know the difference between these two illnesses. Obviously, only a doctor can diagnose you, but knowing how to recognize symptoms is always helpful. So how can you tell if your symptoms mean you have a cold or the flu, and what is the best treatment? We spoke to Dr. Tania Elliott, an allergist and immunologist at NYU Langone Health in New York City, to find out."
 
 
 
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Cold and Flu Forecast - Minneapolis
 
According to Pollen.com, the Cold and Flu forecast suggests that we will be running at medium-high levels over the next few days. Wash your hands!!
 
 
 
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"14 Ways to Avoid Colds and Flu"
 
"Are you avoiding your co-worker with that hacking cough, cold, or flu in the cubicle next to you? Do you draw your hand back from every doorknob? Have cold-and-flu phobia? Get a grip before the grippe gets you. Weve consulted dozens of medical experts to bring you 14 ways to avoid colds and flu this season. Every time you shake someones hand, wash yours: But dont stop there. Wash them as much as possible, says Mark Mengel, MD, chair of community and family medicine at Saint Louis University School of Medicine. Running lots of water over your hands will dilute any germs and send them down the drain. Keep your hands off: Touching your nose and your eyes may hurt you, Mengel says. Those are the most common places for germs to get in."
 
 
 
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"Here's how to get rid of a cold fast"

"It's the time of year when colds are commonplace. As the weather gets colder, and you're more inclined to spend more time indoors with others, the combination of confined spaces, weakened immune systems and recirculated air means that, at some point or another, you're likely to become victim to one of the 200 viruses that cause the common cold. It's likely then, that knowing how to get rid of a cold fast is a priority this winter - no-one wants to feel miserable, sickly and extra tired over the festive period. This year, let's put a halt to that streaming nose and feeling like the Walking Dead because actually, you don’t have to suffer and sniffle in silence. Simply bookmark this cold-busting guide, now."

See more from Bazar HERE:

 
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Recent 'Warmer' Weather Making Ice Conditions Unsafe in Some Areas

Recent mild December weather has made for fairly unsafe ice condtions across parts of the state. The MN DNR has some basic guidelines on how thick the ice should be before you even think about stepping out onto the ice! Also remember that ice is NEVER 100% SAFE!
 
 
 
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A Real Storm Up North. More Like March in Metro
By Paul Douglas

Oh, the indignity of it all. The Red River Valley is experiencing a blizzard; much of western and central Minnesota digging out from a cool foot of snow. Meanwhile in the Twin Cities it looked more like March out there at the height of the storm, with sheets of rain and a colorful assortment of puddles. Metro snow lovers are not amused.

According to Climate Central, the cities with the biggest decline in winter precipitation falling as snow are Denver, El Paso, Salt Lake City, Harrisburg and the Twin Cities of Minnesota.

It still snows here at MSP, just not as consistently as it did a generation ago.

Light snow tapers today, with slowly improving travel conditions, although it'll take a day or two to dig out some towns up north.

Chilled sunshine Saturday gives way to a quick thaw Sunday. Models consistently print out a couple inches of powder for New Year's Eve. Make sure your Uber driver has AWD.

A couple glancing shots of arctic air arrive later next week; maybe two days in single digits - but it won't last.

A milder, Pacific flow returns the 2nd week of January.
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Extended Forecast

FRIDAY: Light snow tapers. Gusty. Winds: NW 15-30. High: 27.

FRIDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy and cold. Winds: NW 5-10. Low: 3.

SATURDAY: Partly sunny with less wind. Winds: SW 7-12. High: 16.

SUNDAY: Cloudier, breezier and milder. Winds: SW 10-20. Wake-up: 12.  High: 32.

NEW YEARS EVE: Couple of inches of snow. Icy roads Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 25. High: 30. 

NEW YEARS DAY: A sunny new year. Cold! Winds: NW 7-12. Wake-up: 3. High: 8.

WEDNESDAY: Numbing start. Risk of flurries. Winds: S 8-13. Wake-up: -10. High: 22.

THURSDAY: Pacific breeze. Risk of a thaw. Winds: SW 10-15. Wake-up: 19 High: 32.
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This Day in Weather History
December 28th

2000: Central and southeast Minnesota receive 6 to 10 inches of snow. Some notable snow amounts include: Chanhassen NWS Forecast Office with 7.8 inches, St Cloud with 7.5 inches, and Hutchinson, Willmar, Albany, Red Wing, and Long Prairie with 7.0 inches.

1979: Balmy weather enables the city park crew in Duluth to rake leaves.

1927: A cold snap results in sharp temperature drops across Minnesota. The temperature would fall from 41 to -15 at Farmington.
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Average High/Low for Minneapolis
December 28th

Average High: 24F (Record: 47F set in 2013)
Average Low: 9F (Record: -27F set in 1880)

Record Rainfall: 1.09" set in 1982
Record Snowfall: 12.0" set in 1982
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Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
December 28th

Sunrise: 7:50am
Sunset: 4:39pm

Hours of Daylight: ~8 hours & 48 minutes

Daylight GAINED since yesterday: ~ 30 seconds
Daylight GAINED since winter solstice (December 21st): ~ 2 minutes
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Moon Phase for December 28th at Midnight
0.1 Days Before Last Quarter Moon

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What's in the Night Sky?

According to EarthSky.org this is what will be visible in the night sky over the next several nights: 

"These next few mornings – December 29 and 30, 2018 – people around the world will see the moon in the vicinity of Spica, the constellation Virgo’s one and only 1st-magnitude star. As seen from around the world, the moon will be at or near its last quarter phase on the morning of December 29. At last quarter, the moon appears half-illuminated in sunshine and half-immersed in the moon’s own shadow. The lit side of the waning moon always points eastward – or in the direction of sunrise. Relative to the backdrop stars of the zodiac, the moon travels its own angular diameter of about one-half degree eastward per hour, or approximately 13 degrees eastward per day. For that reason the moon will be closer to Spica on December 30 than it’ll be on December 29."

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National High Temps - Friday, December 28th
 
High temps across the country on Friday will still be quite warm across the Eastern US with readings running nearly +10F to +20F above average. Meanwhile, temps behind the storm system will running quite a bit below average with readings nearly -10F to -25F below average.
 
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National Weather Outlook

The potent storm system in the Central US that has been responsible for heavy snow and blizzard conditions as well as strong to severe storms and flooding rains will continue to slide east on Friday. The storm should finally moves east of the US by Saturday with much colder air in place behind it.


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7 Day Precipitation Potential

According to NOAA's WPC, the 7 day precipitation potential suggests heavy precipitation continuing in the Eastern parts of the country, especially in the Gulf Coast States, where Flash Flood Watches have been issued.

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"The Recurring Myth of the Mini Ice Age"

"In September, a website called Space Weather Archive interviewed Martin Mlynczak of NASA’s Langley Research Center. Mlynczak noted that because the sun is currently in a relatively inactive period, the thermosphere (one of the highest layers of Earth’s atmosphere, more than 300 miles above the surface) could reach its coldest temperatures since records began in the 1940s. The interview didn’t mention Earth’s surface temperatures, where the past five years have been the five hottest since records began in the late-1800s. However, the British newspaper Metro then ran a story falsely claiming that: “It’s feared this could herald the arrival of a uniquely grim ‘mini Ice Age.’ ” Like a bad game of Telephone, this inaccurate reporting then spreadthroughout the conservative media, including Fox News, the Drudge Report, Rush Limbaugh, and Sarah Palin’s Twitter page. The story was debunked by the climate scientists at Climate Feedback, and Metro subsequently issued a correction, but the damage had been done."

See more from The Bulletin HERE:

 
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"Earth Loses Hundreds of Tons of Atmosphere to Space Every Day"

"Scientists have known for some time that Earth's atmosphere loses several hundred tons of oxygen each day. They understand how this oxygen loss happens on Earth's night side, but they're not sure how it happens on the day side. They do know one thing though; they happen during auroras. According to a press release from NASA's Earth Observatory, no two oxygen outflow events are exactly the same, which makes understanding them a challenge. They call the events 'fountains of gas' that escape the Earth during auroral activity, and the Earth Observatory has a mission dedicated to understanding them. The mission is part of the NASA's Earth Observatory program called VISIONS-2 (Visualizing Ion Outflow via Neutral Atom Sensing-2), and it requires certain conditions."

See more from Science Alert HERE:

 
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"Past Global Flood Shows Antarctica’s Ice Is More Fragile Than We Thought"

"Between 116,000 and 129,000 years ago, sea levels were 20 to 30 feet higher than they are today, inundating much of what is the modern day coastline and flooding entire islands. Exactly why the waters rose so high during that time, the Eemian period, however, has been a mystery. But new research indicates that warming temperatures caused the West Antarctic Ice Sheet to collapse, a scenario that concerns scientists under today’s conditions. Researchers long thought that the high water during the Eemian period was caused by the collapse of the Greenland’s ice sheet. Paul Voosen at Science reports that recent geological evidence shows that Greenland’s ice was intact and grinding along during the period, relieving it of blame for sea rise. The next most likely culprit, then, was the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, a massive, unstable crust of ice on the southern continent."

See more from Smithsonian HERE:

 
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"European Union Nations Unanimously Agree to Ban Single-Use Plastics By 2021"
 
"The European Union (EU) is playing no games with its waste. All 28 countries within the union agreed Wednesday to phase out single-use items like plastic straws and cutlery, as well as polystyrene drink and food containers, by 2021. The 10 items covered in the ban make up 70 percent of Europe’s marine litter, per the EU. A couple U.S. cities and even California have taken similar actions, but this is the largest move the world to eliminate single-use plastics the world has seen thus far. Countries like Australia and India have banned plastic bags, but none have yet to outlaw the sale of straws, forks, and knives. Now, we’ve got a whole coalition of nations that’s decided our pollution problem is so dire that drastic action is necessary. The ban is no surprise—the European Commission announced plans for the move back in May. The ball is just finally rolling! The European Parliament and Council must now approve this measure, and then member states will have two years to fully implement it. This ban should avoid the emission of more than 3 million tons of carbon dioxide and save the union 22 billion euros (25 billion USD) in environmental damage by 2030. Consumers will save money, too: an estimated 6.5 billion euros (7.5 billion USD)."
 
 
 
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"One of El Niño's key ingredients is missing"
 
"El Niño, the climate cycle in the tropical Pacific Ocean that can reconfigure weather patterns, is slowly but steadily building for 2019 — but there is a component of it that is still missing in action. Why it matters: El Niño events are one of the most consequential forces that can tip the odds in favor of particular weather patterns. But they require both unusually warm ocean temperatures in the tropical Pacific and changes in the atmosphere — and so far, the atmosphere hasn't changed. The big picture: El Niño events can make or break a ski season in the Western U.S. by directing storms across the southern tier of the country, and they tend to favor milder-than-average conditions in the Midwest and Pacific Northwest. They can also boost global average temperatures, adding to the influence of human-caused global warming, which acts on far longer timescales. During the past two decades, scientists have become adept at forecasting the onset and intensity of El Niño events. A telltale sign of El Niño's arrival is a sharp increase in equatorial tropical Pacific Ocean temperatures. Part of its definition is now being met, as sea surface temperatures in part of the Pacific have reached 1°C, or 1.8°F, above average for this time of year."
 
 
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Thanks for checking in and don't forget to follow me on Twitter @TNelsonWX

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