Winter Storm Watch PM Wednesday to PM Thursday
 
"Confidence is high there will be a large swath of 8 to 13 inches across northern, central, and western Minnesota through early Friday. There will also be a sharp accumulation gradient from southwest to east central MN and northwest WI where the snow will turn to rain Wednesday night. 2 to 3 inches are possible east of that gradient before the transition to rain occurs."
 
"...MAJOR WINTER STORM POSSIBLE WEDNESDAY EVENING THROUGH THURSDAY NIGHT... .A Winter Storm Watch is in effect for areas along and west of a line from Redwood Falls to Cambridge Wednesday evening through Thursday night. Snow will begin advancing into western Minnesota Wednesday afternoon with intensity increasing by evening. Snow, heavy at times, will continue through Thursday before intensity tapers off Thursday evening. Occasional light snow and freezing drizzle are possible Thursday night. Total snow accumulations of 8 to 13 inches are possible across much of western and portions of central Minnesota, mostly northwest of a line from Redwood Falls to Mora. Along and east of that line, warm air aloft will surge northward late Wednesday night and Thursday which will turn the snow to rain until Thursday evening. There is still some question as to where that sharp cut off from snow to rain will set up, so the Winter Storm Watch includes a few counties along that line."
 
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Storm Finally Moving Over U.S. Soil !!
 
Well, well, well !! Looky there! The storm (by Tuesday) will finally be over U.S. soil. Why is that important? Well, prior to AM Tuesday NWS weather balloons launched every morning and evening were not sampling this storm because it was still centered over the Pacific Ocean. Now that those weather balloon will be sampling the storm at all levels of the atmosphere, we'll start getting some of that information pumped into weather models and the local weather picture will start getting more clear with each model run over the coming hours and days! The good news is that specific details will start getting ironed out for your local area! As the storm track gets pinned down, you'll finally know whether or not you'll be getting all rain - or a rain/snow mix - or all snow! Keep in mind that this storm WILL have travel implications across the region and those who get the heaviest snow will be shoveling!
 
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Weather Outlook
 
Here's the weather outlook from Wednesday to Friday, which looks quite incliment across much of the region. Again, the exact track will determine what type of precipitation will fall in your local area and how much snow will fall. Regardless, this will have big travel implications across the region will some travel becoming very treacherous if not impossible for some where the heaviestest of the snow and strongest of the winds unfold. Pay attention to latest weather information if you have travel plans later this week!
 

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Snowfall Potential

Here are the latest GFS and ECMWF model outputs for snowfall through the end of the week. Both models show the heaviest band setting up northwest of the Twin Cities with some 12"+ tallies possible across Central MN. Note that these models also suggest that the Twin Cities will largely get missed by the heaviest stuff, especially the south metro. However, if the storm tracks just a bit farther south, this heavy snow band could shift a little farther south as well and put the metro in the bullseye!



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"Historical Chances of a White Christmas?"
 
"Minnesota. Maine. Upstate New York. The Allegheny Mountains of Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Practically anywhere in Idaho. And of course, the Rockies or the Sierra Nevada Mountains. These are the parts of the Lower 48* where weather history suggests you want to be if you're looking for the best chance of a white Christmas. The map at right shows the historic probability of there being at least 1 inch of snow on the ground in the Lower 48 states on December 25 based on the latest (1981-2010) U.S. Climate Normals from NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). The background map shows interpolated values for all locations. (Interpolating means estimating unknown values using known values and physical relationships, such as the way temperature is known to change with altitude.) You can also click and zoom in to specific stations used for the interpolation."
 
 
 
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"Historical Chances of a White Christmas in Minnesota"
 
"Will we have a white Christmas? It's an age-old question that occurs to almost everyone this time of year. The chances of having a white Christmas vary even here in Minnesota. Having a white Christmas is loosely defined as having 1 inch of snow on the ground on Christmas Day. The snow depth at most sites is measured once a day, usually in the morning. The best chances of having a white Christmas is almost guaranteed in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and a good part of the Arrowhead. The chances decrease to the south and west and the best chance for a "brown" Christmas is in far southwest Minnesota where chances are a little better than 60%. Northern Minnesota is one of the few non-alpine climates in the US where a white Christmas is almost a sure bet (U.S. White Christmas Probabilities )."

"In 118 years of snow depth measurements in Twin Cities, a white Christmas happens about 72% of the time. From 1899 to 2017 there have been 34 years with either a "zero" or a "trace." The last time the Twin Cities has seen a brown Christmas was 2015. 2014 was also a "brown Christmas." The deepest snow cover on December 25th was in 1983 with a hefty 20 inches. It was also a very cold Christmas in 1983, with the high temperature of one (1) degree F. It was not the coldest Christmas Day in the Twin Cities. That dubious award goes to 1996 with a "high" temperature of 9 below zero F. The warmest Christmas Day in the Twin Cities was 51 degrees in 1922. There was not a white Christmas that year. In fact, the Minneapolis Weather Bureau log book for that day states that the day felt "spring-like."

See more from MN DNR HERE:

 
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2019 - Officially a "Brown" Christmas at MSP

Here's the latest snow depth report across the region and note that the MSP Airport is reporting just a trace of snow on the ground. Note that in order to be a "white" Christmas, there has to be at least 1" of snow on the ground. Unfortunately, for folks hoping for a white Christmas in the Twin Cities won't get it this year.
 

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Weather Outlook For Tuesday, December 25th - Christmas Day

High temps across the state on Tuesday - Christmas Day - will still be running a little bit above average across much of the southern half of the state. Highs will warm into the lower 30s across the southern part of the state, while folks in northern Minnesota will only warm into the teens, which is a little closer to normal for mid/late December.
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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 downas 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 29th through January 2nd 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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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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Sloppy Mix Thursday May Keep Metro Amounts Lower
By Paul Douglas
 
"Dear Santa. Please forgive me for being consistently naughty for many years now. Just saying. I love my shiny new Doppler but what I REALLY want for Christmas is an old fashioned "snow storm". Um, without an obligatory changeover to ice or rain. Without wading through dozens of weather models, false alarms & social media hype. Just make it snow. You know, like back in the 1970s?
 
Another snow scenario is looming, but the bloom is off the rose as the storm gets closer. Enough warm air may wrap into Minnesota for a mix of slush, ice and rain by Thursday; keeping snowfall totals lower from the Twin Cities on south and east. Precipitation starts as wet snow and ice Wednesday night, and after mixing with rain Thursday a changeover back to snow is possible Thursday night and much of Friday. Some 6 to 12 inch amounts are still possible over southwest, central and northeast Minnesota, and northern and western suburbs of MSP could still wind up with over 5-6 inches of slush by Friday.
 
Highs in the teens and 20s should greet us the first week of 2019. Merry Christmas to you and yours!
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Extended Forecast

CHRISTMAS DAY:Grey. Few flakes. Winds: NE 5-10.High: 29.

TUESDAY NIGHT: Mostly cloudy and quiet. Winds: NNE 5-10. Low: 23.

WEDNESDAY: Light snow or icy mix PM hours. Winds: E 8-13.High: 32.

THURSDAY: Snow mixes with rain and ice. Winds: E 15-25. Wake-up: 23. High: 35.

FRIDAY: Colder. Few inches of snow. Winds: N 10-20. Wake-up: 26. High: 28.

SATURDAY: Partly sunny. Better travel day. Winds: NW 7-12. Wake-up:5. High: 15.

SUNDAY: Cloudy. Windy and milder. Winds: S 10=20. Wake-up: 7.  High: 26.

NEW YEARS EVE: Patchy clouds. Few flurries. Winds: W 10-20. Wake-up: 18. High: 30. 
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This Day in Weather History
December 25th

1999: Strong winds resulted in a one hundred thirty foot radio tower to collapse in Milaca. No wind measurements were available in the city of Milaca. However, Princeton airport (Mille Lacs county), had a gust to 45 mph at 10:35 pm CST. St. Cloud airport (Stearns County), had a gust to 44 mph at 8:52 pm CST. Mora (Kanabec county) had a gust to 55 mph at 9:35 pm CST, and a gust to 47 mph at 10:35 pm CST.

1996: A strong low pressure system which deposited heavy snow over much of Minnesota on the 23rd, pulled extremely cold Canadian air southward over Minnesota. The cold remained entrenched through the 26th. Temperatures fell to 15 to 35 degrees below zero Christmas Day morning. The Twin Cities and St. Cloud set new record low temperatures both days. In addition, the high temperature on Christmas Day in the Twin Cities was only 9 degrees below zero. Combined with the record low temperature that morning of 22 below, the mean temperature for Christmas Day was 16 degrees below zero. This Christmas Day set a new record for being the coldest day on record for the Twin Cities metro area, going back to the year 1890 when modern day records began.

1922: People are golfing on Christmas in the Twin Cities as temperatures reach the 50s.
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Average High/Low for Minneapolis
December 25th

Average High: 25F (Record: 51F set in 1922)
Average Low: 10F (Record: -39F set in 1879)

Record Rainfall: 1.35" set in 1982
Record Snowfall: 9.6" set in 1945
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Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
December 25th

Sunrise: 7:49am
Sunset: 4:37pm

Hours of Daylight: ~8 hours & 47 minutes

Daylight GAINED since yesterday: ~ 16 seconds
Daylight GAINED since winter solstice (December 21st): ~ 1 minute
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Moon Phase for December 25th at Midnight
3.1 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 two nights – December 25 and 26, 2018 – you might see the moon and Regulus, the Royal Star, coming up above your eastern horizon before your bedtime. If not, you can always get up before daybreak to view the waning gibbous moon and Regulus much higher up in the sky. Want to know when the moon and Regulus rise into your sky? Then Click here for the moon’s rising time (remember to check the Moonrise and moonset box). An app such as Stellarium can help you find out the rising time for Regulus. EarthSky lunar calendars are cool! They make great gifts. Order now. Going fast! Regulus, the brightest star in the constellation Leo the Lion, is the only 1st-magnitude star to sit almost squarely on the ecliptic – the sun’s apparent annual path in front of the constellations of the zodiac. Of course, the sun’s apparent motion in front of the background stars is really a reflection of the Earth revolving around the sun."

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Northern Minnesota Phenology Report - December 18th, 2018
 
I've always been interested the outdoors and how the change of seasons impacts the birds, plants and animals. I did a little research and found this great weekly segment by John Latimer (Phenologist), who reports on KAXE Radio out of Grand Rapids, MN. Great stuff John - keep up the good work!!
 
This week: "Phenology Talkbacks and Student Reports: December 18, 2018"
 
 

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National High Temps - Tuesday, December 25th
 
High temps across the country will still be running above average across much of the nation with the exception of a few locations. If you're enjoying the 'milder' weather now, keep enjoying it because it looks like it'll start getting cold as we head into January.
 
 

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National Weather Outlook

All eyes are on our next storm system developing in the Western US. This storm will bring strong winds, heavy mountain snow and coastal rains to areas in the West. As the storm moves east, areas of heavy snow will develop along the Front Range of the Rockies and across the Upper Midwest during the second half of the week. There will also be strong to severe storms along with locally heavy rain in the Southern US starting as early as Wednesday.

Severe Threat Wednesday

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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"Earthrise: The stunning photo that changed how we see our planet"
 
"On Christmas Eve in 1968, the Apollo 8 astronauts captured an image that symbolized hope and inspired environmentalism. The astronauts had spun around the moon a few times already, their gaze pointed down on the gray, pockmarked lunar surface. But now as they completed another orbit of the moon on Christmas Eve 1968, Frank Borman, the commander of the Apollo 8 mission, rolled the spacecraft, and, soon, there it was. Earth, this bright, beautiful sphere, alone in the inky vastness of space, a soloist at the edge of the stage suspended in the spotlight. “Oh, my God,” exclaimed Bill Anders, the lunar module pilot. “Look at that picture over there! There’s the Earth coming up. Wow, is that pretty!” Anders knew black and white film wouldn’t do it justice. But he also knew he didn’t have a lot of time if he was going to get the shot. “Hand me a roll of color quick, will you,” he said. “Oh, man, that’s great,” said Jim Lovell, the command module pilot and navigator."
 
 
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"Sweden's ICEHOTEL opens for 2018/2019"
 
"The wintriest of winter getaways is back. As the annual Arctic deep freeze gets underway, Sweden's ICEHOTEL is opening its frosty doors. And its icy rooms are as beautiful as ever. The famous hotel regenerates every year -- and for 2018/19, some 15 new have been suites created by a 34 artists and designers from across 13 countries. Since 2016, part of the hotel has been permanent thanks to solar-powered cooling technology, allowing guests to test the cold temperatures all year round. But in a tradition spanning almost 30 years, part of the hotel remains transitory -- each year when the old ice  melts, new applications come forward and a panel of artists and ice experts choose the best of the best.
The winners travel to Sweden to help make their frozen visions a reality, aided by experienced ice artists."
 
 
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"Winters are warming faster than summers. These US cities could lose weeks of freezing days by 2050"

"Crisp white winters are beginning to turn mushy gray across the northern United States. And the longer we wait to get serious about limiting climate change, a White Christmas could become a thing of the past for many cities later this century. As part of our Weather 2050 project, we examined how average winter low temperatures are projected to shift in the 1,000 largest US cities by 2050 if we do nothing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In our latest analysis, we found that in 67 cities, the average winter low temperature could cross a critical threshold by 2050: the freezing point of water."

See more from VOX HERE:


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