Shorter Cold Snaps?
"After the hottest decade on record, it's clear that all seasons are feeling the warming effects of climate change. Winter cold snaps have been getting shorter across the U.S. After last week's release of global temperature data placing 2019 as Earth's second hottest year and the 2010s the hottest decade on record, news of record-breaking temperatures doesn't seem to be going anywhere. It's been unseasonably warm throughout the eastern United States, with all-time record high January temperatures registered in places as far flung as Boston, Mass. to Naples, Fla. Rising temperatures sometimes seem most noticeable during periods of extreme heat such as summer heat waves. However, for much of the U.S., winter is the fastest warming season. Cold weather still occurs in a warming climate but, on average, winters are not as cold as they used to be and cold snaps that do happen are becoming shorter and less frequent."
Thanks to @DKayserWX for the picture below from Hill City, MN, where there's a good 10" to 12" of snow on the ground.
Here's a look at the snow depth across the region from Sunday, January 31st. The Twin Cities still had 7" on the ground, but there was more than 1ft. on the ground across parts of northern Minnesota, Wisconsin and into the U.P. of Michigan.
Quiet & Mild Through Midweek
Here's the weather outlook from AM Monday to AM Wednesday, which shows very quiet conditions in place as a bubble of high pressure slides across the region.
Monday Weather Outlook for Minneapolis
Here's the weather outlook for Monday, which shows somewhat sublime weather in place for the first day of February. Temps will warm to slightly above average levels with some sunshine. Enjoy it because we're expecting a big temperature drop later in the week.
Monday Meteograms for Minneapolis
Here's a look at the Meteograms for Monday. Temps will warm into the mid/upper 20s by the afternoon with light WNW winds throughout much of the day.
Monday Weather Outlook
Here's a look at weather conditions across the region on Monday, which shows mild temps in place for the first day of February. Temps will warm into the 20s and 30s, which will be nearly +5F to +15F above average. There will be a mix of clouds and sun, which will make for a quiet first day of February.
Extended Temperature Outlook For Minneapolis
Here's the extended outlook over the next 5 to 7 days for Minneapolis. Note that temperatures will be quite mild over the next several days with temps warming into the 30s through midweek. There's a chance of snow later next week with a fairly potent cold front sweeping through late week. Temps next weekend could be very cold with sub-zero readings possible.
Extended Temperature Outlook For Minneapolis
The extended temperature outlook into the early part of February. It appears that readings will be quite mild through much of the week ahead, however, a fairly significant swipe of colder air appears to be imminent by the first weekend of February. It could be our first real Arctic air mass of the season with temps going sub-zero. Stay tuned...
Minneapolis January Summary So Far
Here's a look at the January numbers and it certainly has been a mild month. We're nearly +6F above average, which is the 14th warmest January on record. Also note that MSP is currently sitting at its 15th warmest Meteorological Winter on record (December 1st - January 30th). We've also had 7.8" of snow, which is nearly -4" below average for the month.
Lake Superior Ice Coverage 2021 vs 2020
As of January 31st, Lake Superior was only 11% covered in ice. Interestingly, only 2% was covered at this time last year.
Below Average Ice Coverage on Lake Superior
As of January 31st, nearly 11% of Lake Superior was covered with ice. Note that the long-term average (1973-2020) is around 25% ice coverage by the 1st day of February.
Great Lakes Ice Coverage 2021 vs 2020
As of January 30th, 2021, only 15.6% of the Great Lakes was covered in ice. However last year, only 6.7% was covered in ice.
National Snow Depth
As of January 31st, 46.3% of the nation was covered by snow. At this time last year, nearly 40.6% of the nation was covered.
Snowfall So Far This January
January has been a month of below average snowfall for many across the region. Many locations are running deficits with Duluth running more than 1ft. below average and Marquette, MI nearly 2ft. below average.
Snowfall So Far This Season
Here's a look at the snowfall so far this season, which shows some of the heaviest tallies from the Twin Cities to Duluth and toward the U.P. of Michigan. With that being said, there is a narrow corridor from the Twin Cities to Duluth that is carrying a small seasonal surplus, Meanwhile, much of the rest of the region is well below average seasonal snowfall with the greatest deficit near Marquette, MI, which is more than 3ft. below average snowfall.
According to the US Drought Monitor, drought conditions have continued over the last few months with nearly 100% of the state considered to be in abnormally dry, while almost 24% is considered to be in a moderate drought. Through the first 3 weeks of the year, many locations are running below average precipitation.
8-14 Day Precipitation Outlook
According to NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, there maybe an increase in precipitation chances across the eastern half of the US and Great Lakes Region from the end of January to the beginning of February.
8-14 Day Temperature Outlook
According to NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, colder than average temperatures will return to the western half of the nation during the beginning of February.
Quiet Start to February. Arctic Blast Ahead
By Todd Nelson, filling in for Douglas.
It's February already? Good grief!
You've just enjoyed the 15th warmest first two months of Meteorological Winter on record in the Twin Cities, how does it feel?
A recent article released by Climate Central suggested that winter is the fastest warming season. Cold snaps are becoming shorter and less frequent across the nation. Since 1970, Minneapolis has seen nearly 4 fewer days of consecutive winter days below average.
We rely on extreme cold to limit pest populations, including the emerald ash border. The U.S. Forest Service estimated that 60 to 70 percent of their larvae was wiped out during the Polar Vortex winter of 2013-2014!
I'm happy to report that chances of swatting any skeeters out there today is low. Quiet weather lingers through midweek before an Arctic front arrives on Thursday with wind-whipped flakes and plummeting temps. Extended temperature forecasts are hinting at sub-zero highs across parts of the state this weekend. Brr!
It's Groundhog Day tomorrow. I'm hedging my bets that it'll be an early spring!
MONDAY: Quiet start to February. Winds: NNW 5. High: 30.
MONDAY NIGHT: Mostly cloudy and quiet. Winds: NW 5. Low: 13.
TUESDAY: Filtered sunshine through high clouds. Winds: SSE 5-10. High: 30.
WEDNESDAY: Mild temps. More afternoon clouds. Winds: SSE 5-10. Wake-up: 17. High: 35.
THURSDAY: Artic front arrives. Windy with snow. Winds: NNW 15-30. Wake-up: 22. High: 27.
FRIDAY: Even colder. More snow overnight. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 5. High: 14.
SATURDAY: Lingering flurries and icy winds. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 0. High: 10.
SUNDAY: Coldest day of the winter? Winds: WNW 5-10. Wake-up: -5 High: 0.
This Day in Weather History
1931: A 'heat wave' develops across southern Minnesota. St. Peter hits 60.
Average High/Low for Minneapolis
Average High: 25F (Record: 54F set in 1934)
Average Low: 9F (Record: -28F set in 1951)
Record Rainfall: 0.89" set in 1922
Record Snowfall: 6.7" set in 2004
Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
Hours of Daylight: ~9 hours & 49 minutes
Daylight GAINED since yesterday: ~ 2 minutes & 35 seconds
Daylight GAINED since Winter Solstice (December 21st): ~ 1 hour & 3 minutes
Moon Phase for February 1st at Midnight
2.4 Days Before Last Quarter
What's in the Night Sky?
"Tonight, if you can find the Big Dipper in the northern sky, you can find the North Star, Polaris. The Big Dipper is low in the northeast sky at nightfall, but it'll climb upward during the evening hours, to reach its high point for the night in the wee hours after midnight. A well-known trick for finding Polaris, the legendary North Star, is that the two outermost stars in the bowl of the Big Dipper point to it. Those stars are Dubhe and Merak. They are well known among amateur astronomers as The Pointers. Can't find the Big Dipper? Yes, you can! It really does look like a dipper, and it's pretty bright. You just have to look for it at a time when it's visible. And that'll be tonight, and for many nights to come over the coming weeks and months … in the north in mid-evening. Once you find the Big Dipper, use the pointer stars to find Polaris, the North Star. The Big Dipper isn't a constellation, by the way. Instead, it's an asterism, just a recognizable pattern of stars on the sky's dome. It's part of the constellation Ursa Major, the Greater Bear."
National High Temps Monday
Here's a look at weather conditions across the nation on Monday. Note that temps along and east of the Mississippi River will be running nearly -5F to -15F below average in the wake of a potent storm system that will continue to dump heavy snow across parts of the Northeast on Monday. Meanwhile, folks in the western half of the nation will be warmer than average with readings nearly +15F above average along the Front Range.
National Forecast Map For Monday
The weather map for Monday shows a powerful storm system moving into the Northeastern US with areas of heavy snow and gusty winds. An area of high pressure with settle in across the Central US with quiet weather in place through midweek. More rain and mountain snow will be found along the West Coast as our next storm system moves in.
National Weather Outlook
Here's the weather map as through early next week. Note the strong storm system sliding into the Northeast with areas of heavy snowfall and strong winds. Meanwhile, active weather continues in the Northwest as our next Pacific storm system begins to move into the region.
7 Day Precipitation Outlook
The precipitation potential over the next 7 days shows heavier precipitation across the Eastern US with several inches of liquid possible. Another surge of heavier precipitation will be possible in the Western US with isolated flood concerns along the coast and heavy snow in the mountains.
7 Day Snowfall Potential
The extended snowfall forecast through the week ahead shows areas of heavy snow from the Ohio Valley into the Northeast. Meanwhile, more heavy snow will be possible in the Mountains in the Western US.
"Earth is about to lose its second moon, forever"
"Earth's second moon will make a close approach to the planet next week before drifting off into space, never to be seen again. "What second moon," you ask? Astronomers call it 2020 SO — a small object that dropped into Earth's orbit about halfway between our planet and the moon in September 2020. Temporary satellites like these are known as minimoons, though calling it a moon is a bit deceptive in this case; in December 2020, NASA researchers learned that the object isn't a space rock at all, but rather the remains of a 1960s rocket booster involved in the American Surveyor moon missions. This non-moon minimoon made its closest approach to Earth on Dec. 1 (the day before NASA identified it as the long-lost booster), but it's coming back for one more victory lap, according to EarthSky.org. Minimoon 2020 SO will make a final close approach to Earth on Tuesday (Feb. 2) at roughly 140,000 miles (220,000 kilometers) from Earth, or 58% of the way between Earth and the moon."
"THE MYSTERY OF EARTH'S HABITABILITY, EXPLAINED BY 2 THEORIES"
"IT TOOK EVOLUTION 3 OR 4 BILLION YEARS to produce Homo sapiens. If the climate had completely failed just once in that time, then evolution would have come to a crashing halt, and we would not be here now. So to understand how we came to exist on planet Earth, we'll need to know how Earth managed to stay fit for life for billions of years. This is not a trivial problem. Current global warming shows us that the climate can change considerably over the course of even a few centuries. Over geological timescales, it is even easier to change the climate. Calculations show that there is the potential for Earth's climate to deteriorate to temperatures below freezing or above boiling in just a few million years. We also know that the Sun has become 30% more luminous since life first evolved. In theory, this should have caused the oceans to boil away by now, given that they were not generally frozen on the early Earth – this is known as the "faint young Sun paradox". Yet, somehow, this habitability puzzle was solved. Scientists have come up with two main theories. The first is that the Earth could possess something like a thermostat – a feedback mechanism (or mechanisms) that prevents the climate from ever wandering to fatal temperatures."
"'Landfall' Looks at Post-Maria Puerto Rico, but It's Far from Disaster Porn"
"Director Cecilia Aldarondo ("Memories of a Penitent Heart") was working on a different project when Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in September 2017. The catastrophe evidenced once more the troubled relationship between the neglected territory and the United States. As a diasporic Puerto Rican, with family still living on the island, she decided to travel there with the support of Field of Vision and carry out "emergency filmmaking." The result is her latest feature "Landfall." "There's a very big difference in the experience for Puerto Ricans who experienced Maria there and Puerto Ricans in the diaspora who were sort of watching this horror show in the media unfold and not knowing what was happening with our families. And that was where I was coming from. There's a sort of desperation and impotence that comes from that and I think we were all scrambling to try and figure out what we could do. I'm a documentary filmmaker and I felt one of the things I could do was make a film," explained Aldarondo during a virtual Q&A as part of the International Documentary Association's annual screening series."