"Top Five Weather Events of 2020 in Minnesota"

"Here are the results of voting for the top five weather events of 2020 from the Minnesota State Climatology Office. Votes were cast from various weather enthusiasts including the National Weather Service, the University of Minnesota, State agencies and Facebook followers. Please visit us on Facebook (link is external) and post your own top five weather events for Minnesota."

"#5 Easter Sunday Winter Storm: April 12, 2020"

"For the third year in a row, mid-April brought a major winter weather event to southern Minnesota. Although not as potent as the storms in 2018 and 2019, this one did produce accumulations of up to 10 inches, including 6.6 inches In the Twin Cities. In southern Minnesota, mid-April snows exceeding four inches generally only occur 5-10% of the time, or every 10-20 years on average. This marked the first time on record (back to the 1870s) that the Twin Cities had experienced such a storm in three consecutive Aprils."

See more from the MN DNR State Climatology Office HERE:

Snowfall Analysis From Tuesday, December 29th

Tuesday's snowfall padded the December stats across the region. Note that the Twin Cities didn't get a ton with the system earlier this week, but there were pockets of heavier snow across parts of central and northern Minnesota, but the heaviest fell from Iowa into NW Illinois and into far southern Wisconsin. The official total at the MSP Airport was only 2.4"

Here is a list of reports from the NWS Twin Cities:

Quiet Weather Next Several Days

Weather conditions close to home will be rather quiet over the next several days. However, there will be another surge of heavier precipitation that fall south of us from the Central US to the Great Lakes. Areas of heavy snow and ice will be as close to us as Iowa, Illinois and southern Wisconsin once again.

Ice Safety Guidelines

We're starting to see more folks venture out on frozen lakes and ponds, but keep in mind that that ice is never 100% safe!! You need at least 4" of ice to safely walk and close to a foot (12") to drive a small car on the ice. Stay safe out there!!

See more Ice Safety Guidelines from the MN DNR HERE:

Minneapolis December Summary So Far

Here's a look at the December number so far this month and note that MSP is nearly +6.0 degrees above average, which is the 21st warmest December on record. Minneapolis has now seen more than 12" of snow, which is a little bit average average for December. Note that December is typically our 2nd snowiest month of the season, averaging nearly 12" of snow at MSP.

Snow Depth As of December 29th

Thanks to our snow storm last week, many locations across MN and NW WI have deep snow in place. As of December 29th, there was 8" of snow on the ground at MSP and 5" of snow on the ground in Duluth.

National Snow Depth

As of December 30th, 40.0% of the nation was covered by snow. At this time last year, nearly 38.2% of the nation was covered,

Snowfall So Far This December

Up until recently, it had been a pretty snowless December. However, heavy snow fell from near the Twin Cities to Duluth and into Northwest Wisconsin last week and we picked up more snow on Tuesday, which helped make up for some of the growing monthly snowfall deficits. With that being said, the Twin Cities is pretty close to near normal snowfall for the month now, but you can see that many locations are still below average snowfall, especially Marquette, MI, which is nearly -20" below average snowfall this month.

Snowfall So Far This Season

Interestingly, the Twin Cities and Duluth is running quite a bit above average snowfall for the season. However, most locations across the region are dealing with snowfall deficits for the season thus far.

Thursday Weather Outlook for Minneapolis

Here's the weather outlook for Thursday, which shows near normal temps in place for the last day of 2020. It'll be a bit chilly to start, but with sunshine and somewhat light winds, Thursday should be a pretty enjoyable day for this time of the year.

Thursday Meteograms for Minneapolis

Here's a look at the Meteograms for Thursday. There won't be any weather worries on Thursday. Sunny skies and temps in the mid 20s by the afternoon will make for a pretty decent late December day. Southerly winds may gust up close to 15mph at times during the day.

Thursday Weather Outlook

High temps on Thursday will be pretty close to average in the Twin Cities, but folks west and north of the metro will warm to above average levels by nearly +5 to +10F above average.

Extended Temperature Outlook For Minneapolis

Here's the extended temperature outlook for the Twin Cities, which shows temps running near average on Thursday and Friday. Temps by late weekend and early next week could warm into the 30s, which will be quite a bit above average for the early part of January. Note that the next several days will be quiet. Our next best chance of snow looks to move in around Wednesday of next week.

Extended Temperature Outlook For Minneapolis

The extended temperature outlook through mid January shows fairly mild temperatures for this time of the year. Note that there doesn't appear to be any significant Arctic outbreaks moving in anytime soon. Stay tuned!

Drought Update

According to the US Drought Monitor, drought conditions have increased slightly over the last few weeks with nearly 98% of the state considered to be in abnormally dry, while almost 23% is considered to be in a moderate drought. Precipitation in Duluth is nearly -10" below average and is considered to be the 11th driest (January 1st - December 29th) on record. Meanwhile, Sioux Falls, SD is at their 6th driest such period on record.

8-14 Day Precipitation Outlook

According to NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, wetter than average weather looks to return to much of the nation from January 6th to the 12th. We'll see what happens, but the weather could be a little more active over the coming weeks. Stay tuned...

8-14 Day Temperature Outlook

According to NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, warmer than average temperatures will continue across much of the eastern US.

A Better Way to Anticipate Winter Storms?
By Paul Douglas

In my mind I'm 6 foot 8 inches, 225 pounds and Kirk Cousin's favorite receiver. Sadly the data suggests otherwise. In reality I'm 5 feet 10 (and a half) inches, but let's round up to 5' 11".

Americans are preoccupied with inches, especially when it comes to expected snow in their yards from winter storms. It may be an unhealthy obsession, one science can't live up to.

My favorite college professor (John Cahir) suggested the nuisance-plowable-crippling scale, which I've borrowed liberally since 1980.

There may, in fact, be a better way to set expectations with storm impacts. NOAA's WSSI (Winter Storm Severity Index) factors snow, ice, wind, timing and geography to provide more clarity on what a specific storm may do. A "Category 4" winter storm may be in our long-range outlook.

That said, no weather drama or fun-with-inches challenges are imminent. The pattern is devoid of major storms; maybe some slush the middle of next week.

Romp in perfect snow soon because a January Thaw arrives next week.

Extended Forecast

THURSDAY: Sunny, not bad. Winds: S 8-13 High: 24.

THURSDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy and quiet. Winds: SSE 5. Low: 13.

FRIDAY: Happy New Year! Calm, blue sky. Winds: SW 3-8. High: 28.

SATURDAY: Mix of clouds and sunshine. Winds: S 3-8. Wake-up: 11. High: 26.

SUNDAY: Plenty of sunshine. Still quiet. Winds: SW 5-10. Wake-up: 9. High: 28.

MONDAY: Some sun and breezy with a PM thaw. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 15 High: 37.

TUESDAY: Mostly cloudy and a bit cooler. Winds: E 5-10. Wake-up: 20. High: 29.

WEDNESDAY: Potential for slushy snow. Winds: NE 10-20. Wake-up: 26. High: 33.

This Day in Weather History

December 31st

1999: It's a balmy end to the 2nd millennium over Minnesota, with temperatures in the 30s over central and southern Minnesota near midnight.

1937: Damage is done by a flood at Grand Marais, while 18 inches of snow is dumped on Grand Portage.

1913: New Ulm has its fortieth consecutive day without precipitation.

Average High/Low for Minneapolis

December 31st

Average High: 24F (Record: 50F set in 1904)

Average Low: 9F (Record: -24F set in 1973)

Record Rainfall: 0.98" set in 2006

Record Snowfall: 7.2" set in 1977

Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis

December 31st

Sunrise: 7:51am

Sunset: 4:42pm

Hours of Daylight: ~8 hours & 50 minutes

Daylight GAINED since yesterday: ~47 seconds

Daylight GAINED since Winter Solstice (December 21st): ~ 4 minutes

Moon Phase for December 31st at Midnight

2.1 Days Until Full "Cold" Moon

Dec. 29: Full Cold Moon - 9:28 p.m. CST - December is usually considered the month that the winter cold begins to fasten its grip in the Northern Hemisphere. This month's full moon is also called the Long Night Moon since nights are at their longest and darkest. The term Long Night Moon is a doubly appropriate name because the midwinter night is indeed long, and the moon is above the horizon a long time. The midwinter full moon takes a high trajectory across the sky because it is opposite to the low sun.

See more from Space.com HERE:

What's in the Night Sky?

"Want to surprise and impress your friends on New Year's Eve? Show them Sirius, the brightest star in the sky. It's sometimes called the Dog Star because it's part of the constellation Canis Major the Greater Dog. Sirius might also be called the New Year's star. It'll celebrate the birth of 2021 by reaching its highest point in the sky around the stroke of midnight. That's the case this year, and every year. How can you find Sirius? It's easy because this star is the brightest one we see from Earth. Its name means sparkling or scorching. If you look for the sky's brightest star, and are still not sure, here's a sure-fire way to identify it. Just look for the prominent Belt stars of the constellation Orion. Orion's Belt always points to Sirius."

See more from Earth Sky HERE:

National High Temps Thursday

Here's a look at high temps across the nation on Thursday, which shows temps warming to above average levels by nearly +5F to +10F across much of the Eastern US. Meanwhile, temps in Dallas, TX will be nearly -15F below average.

National Forecast Map For Thursday

The weather map on Thursday will be quite active in the southern US with widespread showers and storms along the Gulf Coast. Some of the storms will strong to severe with the potential of heavy rainfall and flash flooding. Meanwhile, areas of snow and ice will possible from Texas to the Ohio Valley.

National Weather Outlook

Here's the weather map through Friday, which shows a fairly potent storm system with widespread showers and storms in the Southern US. Some of the storms could be strong to severe with heavy rain and flash flooding. Areas of snow and ice will continue north toward the Great Lakes through the end of the week.

Severe Weather Outlook on Thursday

Severe thunderstorms — including potential for tornadoes — are expected Thursday and Thursday night from southeast Texas into the lower Mississippi Valley and central Gulf Coast States.

Severe Weather Outlook for Friday

Thunderstorms associated with marginally severe wind gusts will be possible on Friday into Friday night from northern Florida to southern North Carolina.

7 Day Precipitation Outlook

Here's the precipitation potential over the next 7 days. Note that areas of heavier precipitation will be possible in the Central and Eastern US with several inches of precipitation possible. Also note the heavier precipitation across parts of the Western US, including parts of Southern California.

7 Day Snowfall Potential

The extended snowfall forecast shows another round of heavy snowfall as a large storm system crosses the nation. Note that areas of snow will be found across parts of the Southwestern US to the Upper Midwest and into the Great Lakes.

Climate Stories

"A change in the weather: new demand for TV presenters to include climate in forecasts"

"The ABC's Graham Creed says new climate change research could 'fill a big gap' in public understanding. Graham Creed has spent 30 years with his head in synoptic charts, and for the past 20 he's been on television letting Australians know if it's going to be hot, cold, wet or dry. But for the past two years, usually at the end of months with heatwaves and extreme temperatures, Creed has been adding extra information to his weather segments. He's started talking about climate change. "I'll look at what's been happening particularly with temperature and the general trends in a warming climate," says Creed, who does more than a dozen live weather bulletins a day on ABC television and radio in New South Wales and on the national broadcaster's rolling news channel. Given the rarified and often polarised nature of Australia's national conversation on climate change, you might think introducing climate change into weather bulletins would see a flood of negative feedback. "I'm surprised by how little there's been," says Creed, who says some people tell him on social media that it's "about time" they heard about the changing climate from a weather presenter."

See more from The Guardian HERE:

"Spectacular fireball explodes over China's Yushu City, the largest fireball event since December 2018"

"A spectacular fireball exploded over northwestern China's Yushu City, Qinghai Province at around 23:23 UTC on December 22, 2020 (07:23 LT, December 23). The event lasted up to 20 seconds. Many locals reported hearing a series of loud bangs."

  • "The event was recorded by CNEOS at coordinates 31.9N / 96.2E and an altitude of 35.5 km (22 miles)."
  • "This is by far the largest recorded fireball event of the year, the largest since December 18, 2018, and the 15th largest on record."
  • "For China, this is the largest fireball since 1988."

"China Earthquake Networks Center confirmed their Qinghai Seismic Network recorded impact at 23:25:44 UTC at coordinates 32.36N /96.59E. This places it near the border between the counties of Nangqian and Yushu."

See more from The Watchers HERE:

"Major Sudden Stratospheric Warming (SSW) event expected as we enter 2021"

"A major Sudden Stratospheric Warming (SSW) event is predicted to occur as we start the new year. If the models are correct, we can expect prolonged extremely cold temperatures to affect parts of the northern hemisphere by mid-January. SSW refers to a rapid rise in temperatures between 10 and 50 km (6.2 - 31 miles) above the surface of our planet. Several weeks later, we see knock-on effects on the jet stream, which can significantly affect weather in the troposphere — bringing prolonged extremely cold temperatures such as witnessed in 2018 with an extreme event dubbed 'Beast from the East.' "The stratospheric sudden warming can sometimes cause the jet stream to 'snake' more, and this tends to create a large area of blocking high pressure," the UK Met Office meteorologists explained."

See more from The Watchers HERE:

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