"15 New Year's Good Luck Traditions From Around the World to Borrow for Your Celebration"

"We could all use a little more luck in 2021. So, no matter how you choose to celebrate New Year's Eve, be it with a lavish New Year's Eve dinner that spans two years, a quiet quarantine New Year's Eve at home, a cozy night watching New Year's movies or a plan for an achievable resolution, see if you can take some time to squeeze in one of these New Year's good-luck traditions as well. Every culture has its own ways to ring in a lucky new year. In some countries, what you're wearing when the clock strikes midnight is so important, it'll affect your luck, wealth, health and love life for the next 12 months, so plan that outfit wisely. In other cultures, it's not what you're wearing, but what you're doing when the clock strikes midnight that's matters — get ready to jump off a chair, break some crockery or hit the waves. And, of course, food traditions are always a favorite. Whether you like beans, pomegranates, fish or grapes, there are ways to incorporate these and other good-luck foods into your December 31. Hopefully, these all mean that there are plenty of good things in store!"

Have Hoppin' John for New Year's Day Dinner
Or Make a Fish Dish
Wear White
Jump Seven Waves
Smash a Plate
Eat 12 Grapes
Smooch a Loved One
Jump Into 2021
Pack Light
Smash the Peppermint Pig
Keep the Windows Open. Doors too!
Choose Your Underwear Carefully
Throw Water out the Window
Buy a New Lucky Charm
Save a Wish for Next Year

See more from Good Housekeeping HERE:

"NOVA's top 5 science stories of 2020"

"Asteroid samples and strange space molecules wowed us—while past epidemics taught us valuable lessons. Uneventful but eventful, stagnant yet progressive: 2020 has been a year of contrasts for society as well as for science, medicine, and technology. Despite facing coronavirus-related setbacks, researchers made profound discoveries and helped people understand some startling realities. NASA's OSIRIS-REx probe grabbed a piece of an asteroid, and the Japan Space Agency's Hayabusa2 spacecraft returned samples of another asteroid to Earth. Scientists found signatures of water on the moon and nearby space rocks, and an obscure gas on our celestial neighbor, Venus. Meanwhile, other scientific endeavors—like climate change research at the poles—faced a freeze as the pandemic brought "normal" life here on Earth to a halt. COVID-19 had a devastating, disproportionate impact on people of color in the U.S., bringing new attention to racial disparities in health and medicine. And as widespread protests triggered a societal reckoning with police brutality and systemic racism, many in the scientific community celebrated Black scientists and trailblazers in STEM fields. 1. COVID-19 pandemic strikes; scientists race to understand and contain the virus."

See more from PBS & NOVA HERE:

"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:

Quiet Weather Continues Into Early 2021

No weather worries close to home anytime soon. However, if your travels take you south Friday & Saturday, a storm system with rain, snow & ice will pass through St. Louis, MO to Chicago, IL and into the Northeast. Our next best chance of precipitation and snowfall won't arrive until sometime mid/late next week.

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 23rd 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 31st

Thanks to our snow storm last week, many locations across MN and NW WI have deep snow in place. As of December 31st, there was 9" of snow on the ground at MSP, which was the 17th deepest snowpack at MSP on any New Year's Eve in recorded history. 10" of snow on the ground in Duluth ties for the 37th deepest snowpack in recorded history there.

National Snow Depth

As of December 31st, 42.4% of the nation was covered by snow. At this time last year, nearly 38.9% 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 -17" 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, including Marquette, MI, which is nearly -15" below average snowfall so far this season.

Friday Weather Outlook for Minneapolis

Here's the weather outlook for Friday, which shows quiet weather in place once again with high temperatures close to where we should be for the first day of the year. Winds will be light out of the south.

Friday Meteograms for Minneapolis

Here's a look at the Meteograms for Friday, which shows quiet weather in place throughout the day. Temps will warm from the 10s in the morning to the mid 20s in the afternoon, which will be pretty close to average for this time of the year. Winds will be fairly light throughout the day as well.

Friday Weather Outlook

High temps across the region on Friday will warm into the 20s across much of the state, which will be nearly +5F to +10F above average for the first day of the year.

Extended Temperature Outlook For Minneapolis

Here's the extended temperature outlook for the Twin Cities, which shows temps running near average on New Year's Day Friday, but we'll be nearly +10F above average by Monday as we climb above the freezing mark. It appears that our next best chance of snow will be on Wednesday, but that chance doesn't appear to be that heavy. Stay tuned!

Extended Temperature Outlook For Minneapolis

The extended temperature outlook through mid January shows fairly mild temperatures for this time of the year. There doesn't appear to be any significant Arctic outbreaks moving in anytime soon. Note that our average coldest time of the year is from January 6th through the 18th.

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 -9.66" below average and is considered to be the 11th driest year on record. Meanwhile, Sioux Falls, SD is at their 6th driest year on record. Bismarck, ND is nearly 9.5" below average precipitation for the year and at their 4th driest year 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 central part of the nation from January 8th to the 14th. 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 northern tier of the nation, while cooler than average temps will be found in the Southwest.

Happy New Year 2021 Predictions
By Paul Douglas

It's 2021! Where's my flipping flying car. The future isn't quite what I expected. I'd settle for a vaccine, when it's my turn.

Predictions: things will slowly improve this year. Some sense of normalcy will return by summer or early fall, according to health experts. Weather? Winter will turn out milder than average, with a few big snowstorms as we slide into spring. Within 5 months thunderstorms will rumble and neighbors will whine about the humidity. Count on it.

Meteorologists still have no explanation for the January Thaw, but I see a few days at or above freezing next week. No Arctic air is imminent - nothing subzero into mid-January. Keep in mind our coldest weather, historically, comes the second or third week of January. Maybe this year the Polar Vortex will come in June?

Nothing resembling a storm is imminent; a little slush is possible next Wednesday, as once again a storm slides off to our south.

Time to exhale. I'm welcoming dry, mild, rather quiet start to a very hopeful New Year.

Extended Forecast

New Year's Day: Some sun, light winds. Winds: S 3-8. High: 26.

New Year's Day Night: Mostly cloudy and quiet. Winds: Calm. Low: 11.

SATURDAY: Blue sky. Temperatures near normal. Winds: S 3-8. High: 28.

SUNDAY: Mix of clouds and sun. Quiet. Winds: SW 8-13. Wake-up: 14. High: 27.

MONDAY: More clouds and wind. Flurries north. Winds: NW 15-25. Wake-up: 20. High: 36.

TUESDAY: Intervals of sunshine. Winds: E 5-10. Wake-up: 17. High: 30.

WEDNESDAY: Cloudy. Flurries possible. Winds: E 10-15. Wake-up: 27. High: 31.

THURSDAY: Storm probably passes south, slow clearing. Winds: NE 8-13. Wake-up: 19. High: 26.

This Day in Weather History

January 1st

2003: On this date there is an inch or less of snow on the ground from Duluth to the Iowa border. In the Twin Cities there isn't even a dirty snowbank to be found.

1997: Freezing rain causes numerous accidents along the North Shore. In Lake County, vehicles could not get up hills and were blocking roads. Highway 61 was closed for several hours from Two Harbors to Silver Bay.

1864: Extremely cold air moves into Minnesota. The Twin Cities have a high of 25 degrees below zero.

Average High/Low for Minneapolis

January 1st

Average High: 24F (Record: 48F set in 1897)

Average Low: 8F (Record: -30F set in 1974)

Record Rainfall: 0.47" set in 1891

Record Snowfall: 4.0" set in 1914

Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis

January 1st

Sunrise: 7:51am

Sunset: 4:43pm

Hours of Daylight: ~8 hours & 51 minutes

Daylight GAINED since yesterday: ~51 seconds

Daylight GAINED since Winter Solstice (December 21st): ~ 5 minutes

Moon Phase for January 1st at Midnight

4.1 Days Before Last Quarter Moon

See more from Space.com HERE:

What's in the Night Sky?

"Our planet Earth will reach its closest point to the sun for 2021 on January 2, at 13:51 UTC. In United States time zones, that's January 2 at 8:51 a.m. Eastern Time, 7:51 a.m. Central Time, 6:51 a.m. Mountain Time, 5:51 a.m. Pacific Time, 4:51 a.m. Alaskan Time and 3:51 a.m. Hawaiian Time. Translate UTC to your time. Astronomers call this celebrated point in Earth's elliptical orbit around the sun perihelion, from the Greek roots peri meaning near and helios meaning sun. Best New Year's gift ever! EarthSky moon calendar for 2021 At its closest point, Earth swings to within 91,399,453 miles (147,093,162 km) of the sun. That's in contrast to six months from now, when the Earth reaches aphelion – its most distant point – on July 5, 2021. Then we'll be 94,510,889 miles (152,100,533 km) from the sun."

See more from Earth Sky HERE:

National High Temps Friday

Here's a look at high temps across the nation on Friday. Note that highs in the Southeast will be quite warm with highs warming to near +15F above average near Atlanta, GA. Meanwhile, folks in Dallas, will be dealing with near -15F below average temps post storm system on the first day of 2021.

National Forecast Map For Friday

The weather map on Friday shows a sizeable storm system moving through the eastern US with areas of strong to severe storms and heavy rainfall across the southeastern US, with areas of snow and ice across the far north.

National Weather Outlook

Here's the weather map through the weekend, which shows active weather continuing along and east of the Rockies. Strong to severe storms and heavy rainfall will be found in the Southeastern US with areas of snow and ice continuing from the middle Mississippi Valley to the Northeast.

Severe Weather Outlook on Friday & Saturday

FRIDAY - Thunderstorms associated with isolated severe wind gusts and a marginal tornado threat will be possible on Friday from the Florida Panhandle northward to the Ohio Valley and northeastward into South Carolina.

SATURDAY - Thunderstorms associated with marginally severe wind gusts will be possible on Saturday from parts of the eastern Gulf Coast to the southern Atlantic Seaboard.

7 Day Precipitation Outlook

Here's the precipitation potential over the next 7 days. Areas of heavy precipitation will be possible from the Southeastern US to the Northeast, while areas of heavy precipitation will be found along the West Coast and high elevations.

7 Day Snowfall Potential

The extended snowfall forecast shows areas of snow Texas to the Northeast over the next several days. Also note that several feet of snow maybe possible in the Western Mountains.

Climate Stories

"2020 in review: Extreme weather seen around the world as climate warms"

THE year began with extreme weather in Australia. Bushfires in the nation, made possible by a severe drought, produced apocalyptic scenes of ships rescuing people from beaches, dry thunderstorm clouds and wildlife fleeing beneath orange skies. The fires pumped three times the amount of smoke into the stratosphere as anything seen before, and they burned an unprecedented 58,000 square kilometres of forest in New South Wales and Victoria. While partly due to natural cycles, the weather conditions that enabled the …

See more from New Scientist HERE:

"NASA approves two missions to better understand space weather"

The agency has set aside around $55 million for each project. NASA will take part in two heliophysics missions that could give us the data needed to better understand solar winds and explosions, or space weather as a whole. The agency has officially announced its participation in the Extreme Ultraviolet High-Throughput Spectroscopic Telescope Epsilon Mission (EUVST) and the Electrojet Zeeman Imaging Explorer (EZIE) program. They were two of the three space weather-related proposals NASA selected in September 2019 to receive $400,000 for a nine-month mission concept study. EUVST is a solar telescope project that will look more closely into how the sun's atmosphere releases solar winds and spews out solar materials, which affect space radiation levels. The project, which is scheduled for launch in 2026, is led by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), but NASA will pour $55 million into the mission. Its contributions include hardware like UV detectors, support electronics, spectrograph components and a guide telescope.

See more from Engadget HERE:

"The 10 biggest space discoveries and stories of 2020"

"The coronavirus pandemic affected many sectors of astronomy and spaceflight. For many reasons, 2020 may be a watershed year for society and science. Astronomers and space agencies spent the year managing the repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic. They also made breakthroughs in new technologies and bid farewell to several important projects. This year saw a new age of sample-retrieval missions, protests against a telescope, an incredible visit from a dazzling comet and the ''great conjunction'' of Saturn and Jupiter. Here's our look back at the 10 biggest space stories of 2020. Coronavirus affects space science: The coronavirus pandemic affected many sectors of astronomy and spaceflight. Universities, space agencies and ongoing projects adapted to cope with the new reality as countries worldwide took measures to prevent the spread of the respiratory disease COVID-19. Classrooms turned virtual, astronomical conferences changed format and higher-learning institutions braced for financial troubles caused by the virus' effect on the economy."

See more from Space.com HERE:

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