Winter Storm Update
 
...WINTER STORM WILL CONTINUE TO IMPACT TRAVEL ACROSS MINNESOTA AND WISCONSIN THROUGH FRIDAY MORNING...
 
A Winter Storm Warning remains in effect for areas along and north of a line from Canby to Litchfield to Cambridge through Friday morning. In the Warned area, expect steady snow, possibly mixed with rain at times. Occasional light freezing drizzle is possible but little if any ice accumulation is expected. An additional 3 to 6 inches snow accumulation is likely through Friday morning.
 
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Snow Reports So Far (Through 8AM Thursday:
 
Here are the latest snowfall reports from the National Weather Service through 8AM Thursday. While snowfall reports will continue to trickle in, the heaviest as of AM Thursday was 10" located 12 miles WNW of Silver Bay, MN, which is along MN's north shore. Most of the reports across the Twin Cities ranged from about 2" to 4".
 

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Road Conditions
 
According to MNDOT - road conditions across much of central and northern Minnesota are considered to be completely covered with ice and snow with blowing snow causing even more issues. Travel conditions will remain very difficult within these areas through Friday. If you have travel plans be VERY careful or consider waiting until conditions improve!
 
 

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Weather Outlook
 
Here's the weather outlook through PM Friday, which shows our storm system continuing much of the day Thursday with lingering light snow through Friday. The good news is that travel conditions will slowly improve as we head into the weekend, but cold temps on Saturday will likely keep many roads icy - be careful!
 
 
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Additional Snow Expected - 6AM Thursday to 6PM Friday
 
Snow will continue to fall across parts of Minnesota, but according to the NWS the heaviest will continue to fall well north and west of the Twin Cities. Additional snowfall tallies will generally be less than 1" in the Twin Cities, but an addtional 6" to 12"+ could be possible across much of northern and northeastern MN through Friday.


Additional Snow Expected Through AM Saturday

Here's the NWS NDFD data, which still suggests the heaviest snow falling across much of northern and northeastern MN. Note that some across the far northern tip of MN could still see an additional 12"+ from AM Thursday to AM Saturday!! 


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December Rain?

Meanwhile, areas of rain will continue where temps are warm enough, which will include the Twin Cities. In fact, an additional 0.25" to 0.50" of rain can't be ruled out on Thursday before temps cool down enough for a little snow on the tail end of the system late PM Thursday through Friday.


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Weather Outlook For Thursday, December 27th
 
High temps across the state on Thursday will range quite a bit depending on where you are. Note that it'll warm into the low 40s across the southeastern part of the state, which will keep much of the moisture from the storm system in the form of rain. There will be a mixture of rain and snow across the middle part of the state where temps will be closer to freezing, but those across the northern part of the state will see all snow as temps stay at or below the freezing mark.
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Temperature Outlook
 
The average temperature in the Twin Cities is running nearly +6 degrees above average this month and it looks like temps will continue at above average levels through much of the week ahead. However, we are getting indications of a bigger cool down as we approach the new year and into the early part of 2019!
 
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6 to 10 Day Temperature Outlook

According to NOAA's CPC, the extended temperature outlook from December 31st through January 4th suggests cooler than average temps working back into much of the Lower 48 with the exception of the Southeastern 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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Foot of Snow Central MN. "Snow Sandwich" for MSP
By Paul Douglas

So here we are, 6 days after the Winter Solstice, when the sun is lowest in the southern sky, staring out our windows at...rain? Swimming in an endless sea of statistics, one nugget stands out from Minnesota climate historian Mark Seeley. He told me the number of mid-winter rain and ice events in Minnesota has quadrupled since 2000.

Exhibit A: a late December snow sandwich for the Twin Cities. Starting and ending as a little snow, with a cold rain sandwiched in-between. Today's rain will melt much of the snow that fell overnight. A couple inches of snow at the tail-end of the storm Thursday night may decorate metro lawns, but the Golden Snow Shovel Award goes to west central and central Minnesota, where a ribbon of 6-12 inches may pile up. Much of northern Minnesota picks up a cool 4-8 inches. Snowmobilers, cross country skiers and kids of all ages should be happy.

A relatively quiet weekend gives way to a Monday burst of snow. By the middle of next we may wake up to subzero chill. Embrace the numb because a puff of Pacific air thaws us out by late next week.

Weather whiplash!
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Extended Forecast

THURSDAY: Mostly rain for the Metro with some icy patches. Winds: E 10-20. High: 36.

THURSDAY NIGHT: Rain/snow mix. Slushy coating possible. Winds: NNW 15-30. Low: 26.

FRIDAY: Snow tapers. Travel slowly improves. Winds: NW 15-25. High: 27.

SATURDAY: Partly sunny and brisk. Winds: S 5-10. Wake-up: 8. High: 18.

SUNDAY: Light snow farther north. Breezy and milder. Winds: SW 10-20. Wake-up: 10.  High: 33.

NEW YEARS EVE: Light snow or flurries. Couple of inches? Winds: N 10-15 Wake-up: 24. High: 29. 

NEW YEARS DAY: Bright and brittle sunshine. Winds: NW 7-12. Wake-up: 4. High: 8.

WEDNESDAY: Cold start. Clouding up. Winds: S10-15. Wake-up: -2. High: 25.
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This Day in Weather History
December 27th

1982: A snowstorm starts across the state, and ultimately dumps 16 inches in the Twin Cities by the time it ends on the 28th.
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Average High/Low for Minneapolis
December 27th

Average High: 24F (Record: 46F set in 1959)
Average Low: 9F (Record: -24F set in 1886)

Record Rainfall: 0.70" set in 1959
Record Snowfall: 6.0" set in 1971
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Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
December 27th

Sunrise: 7:50am
Sunset: 4:38pm

Hours of Daylight: ~8 hours & 48 minutes

Daylight GAINED since yesterday: ~ 25 seconds
Daylight GAINED since winter solstice (December 21st): ~ 2 minutes
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Moon Phase for December 27th at Midnight
1.1 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: 

"Tonight, look for the Northern Cross. It isn’t as famous as its counterpart – the Southern Cross – visible from the Southern Hemisphere or the northern tropics. But the Northern Cross also looks like a cross, and it’s pretty easy to spot. It’s a large, noticeable star pattern. The star Deneb marks the top of the Northern Cross, and the star Albireo marks the bottom. Tonight you can find the Northern Cross shining fairly high in the west at nightfall, as seen from mid-northern latitudes. It sinks downward during the evening hours, and stands proudly over the west-northwest horizon around mid-evening."

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National High Temps - Thursday, December 27th
 
High temps across the country will still be running above average across the eastern half of the country thanks to a large storm system moving through the Central US. However, temps behind the system will fall to well below average levels.
 
 
 
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National Weather Outlook

A large storm system will continue to intensify as it moves into the Central US over the next could of days. Strong to severe storms along with heavy rain will be possible in the Southern US, while areas of heavy snow and freezing rain will be possible from the Plains to the Upper Midwest.

Severe Threat Thursday

According to NOAA's SPC, there is a SLIGHT risk of severe storms across parts of the Southern US. Keep up to date with latest forecasts here if you have travel plans then.

7 Day Precipitation Potential

According to NOAA's WPC, the 7 day precipitation potential suggests heavy precipitation continuing across the Western part of the country, but take a look at the heavy moisture moving into the Central and Southeastern part of the country as we head into the 2nd half of next week! Showers, storms and heavy snow will be possible later next week - stay tuned!

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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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"This AI Just Mapped Every Solar Panel in the United States"
 

"From rooftop configurations to utility-scale facilities, solar panels are springing up like popcorn across the United States. Putting an exact figure on the nation’s total solar power output, however, is proving to be notoriously difficult. Thankfully, it’s a problem well suited to artificial intelligence, as new research from Stanford University shows. In some states, solar energy accounts for upwards of 10 percent of total electricity generation. It’s definitely a source of power that’s on the rise, whether it be to lessen our dependence on fossil fuels, nuclear power, or the energy grid, or simply to take advantage of the low costs. This form of energy, however, is highly decentralized, so it’s tough to know how much solar energy is being extracted, where, and by whom. “Currently, there is no scalable way to build a complete national map of the adoption of solar systems, particularly rooftop PV [photovoltaics], including precise locations and panel sizes,” said Ram Rajagopal, a civil engineering professor at Stanford and the co-author of a new studypublished today in the science journal Joule. “Such maps help utilities, system operators, policymakers and tech vendors understand the adoption patterns of solar systems. We wanted to develop a methodology that could be applied in most countries in the world and required limited human intervention.”

See more from Gizmodo HERE:

 

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"2018's deadly hurricane season, visualized"
 
"Over the span of just 70 days, 22 major hurricanes struck land around the Northern Hemisphere in 2018. They began earlier, continued later, and some took unexpected paths before hitting land. Between record-breaking hurricanes in both the Atlantic and Pacific, billions of dollars in damages were seen. All told, 2018 was one of the most active hurricane seasons on record, and some studies are speculating that a warming climate may be making these storms more frequent and more intense. A number of factors, however, can determine the strength of a hurricane when it hits land. Over the course of weeks, tropical storm systems must gather strength, survive wind shear, and pass over land obstacles before striking land as a hurricane."

See more from NatGeo HERE:

 
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"Where, exactly, is the edge of space? It depends on who you ask."

"ASK SOMEONE WHERE outer space is, and they’ll probably point at the sky. It’s up, right? Simple. Except, no one really knows where “air space” ends and “outer space” begins. That might sound trivial, but defining that boundary could matter for a variety of reasons—including, but not limited to, which high-flying humans get to be designated as astronauts. Now, with Virgin Galactic seemingly on the cusp of launching paying passengers onto suborbital trajectories, many people are wondering whether those lucky space tourists will earn their astronaut wings. As of right now, they will, according to U.S. practices. Is that a problem? “No, I think it’s great!” says NASA astronaut Mike Massimino, who helped repair the Hubble Space Telescope. Here, we take a look at the ways space is currently defined, the confusion surrounding the demarcation, and what the future might bring."

See more from NatGeo HERE:

 
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"Scientists slam door on the alleged 'pause' in global warming"

"Today, climate change deniers will resurrect the tired old argument that Earth's global warming stalled sometime at the beginning of this century. The evidence for such a slowdown, however, doesn't exist. A diverse group of global researchers published two papers in the scientific journal Environmental Research Letters on Tuesday, affirming why such claims of a global warming hiatus are and always were misleading, at best. "We find there never was any statistical evidence for it," Stefan Rahmstorf, head of Earth System Analysis at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and coauthor of the research, said over email."

See more from Mashable HERE:

 
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Thanks for checking in and don't forget to follow me on Twitter @TNelsonWX

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