It was a Festivus Miracle... A gift from Mother Nature! It was officially, a "White Christmas" and we got snow just in the nick of time. The MSP Airport reported 8" of snow on the ground on Christmas morning, which ties the record for the 18th "Whitest" Christmas in recorded history. The deepest snow pack on any Christmas Day was 20" back in 1983. Last year we had 6" of snow on the ground and just a Trace in 2018, which was our last Brown Christmas.
December 23rd Blizzard Summary
"On Wednesday December 23rd, blizzard conditions were observed across much of MN as an intense weather system moved from west to east through the region. It produced multiple inches of snow with rates as high as 1-2 inches per hour at times, with a bit of rain falling ahead of the snow which led to ice covered roadways. Temperatures plummeted with strong winds gusting as high as 50-65mph out of the northwest behind the low pressure system. Temperatures reached as high as the mid 40s during the morning before bottoming out in the single digits above zero to near zero by midnight. A robust mid to upper level trough approaching the region continued to strengthen before closing off, with a surface response in the form of a deepening low pressure system. This combined with incredible mid level lapse rates produced significant lift and widespread precipitation, with an intense pressure gradient resulting in strong winds as the system moved eastwards. Winds intensified alongside bands of heavy snow during the afternoon, which resulted in widespread blizzard conditions as visibilities dropped below 1/4 mile across the region and remained low for several hours. Snowfall diminished during the evening and into early Thursday morning but winds remained strong enough to support blizzard conditions into the mid morning on Thursday in some spots. Impacts included significant slowdowns to air travel at airports across the region including MSP, ice and snow covered roads that led to no travel orders and closed highways, and even National Guard rescues at the Governor's request. This was exacerbated due to the timing of the system falling on December 23rd, which is one of the busiest overall travel days of the year before the holidays."
Clipper Arrives Sunday
A fast moving clipper system will push through the region on Sunday with a chance of light snow accumulations across the northern half of the state. Accumulations will be light, but roads could become slippery once again.
Minor Coating of Snow Sunday
Here's the snowfall potential on Sunday. Note that an 1" or 2" could be possible across the northern half of the state with a minor coating possible in the Twin Cities.
Another Snow Storm Next Week?
A much larger storm system could develop around midweek next week with another round of heavy snow and wind. It is too early to get specific, but this certainly could potentially be another high impact storm system for parts of the Upper Midwest, including the Twin Cities. Stay tuned...
Snowfall Potential Through 7PM Tuesday
Here's the early snowfall preview. Again, it's way too early to get specific, but we'll have to watch how this develops. Some locations could see plowable snow once again by midweek.
Ice Safety Guidelines
We've had several nights sub-freezing across the state and with that, ice is forming on area lakes and ponds. Keep in mind that many lakes around that state are still not safe to venture out on as of yet! Note that ice is never 100% safe, but you need at least 4" of ice to safely walk on. Stay safe out there!!
Minneapolis December Summary So Far
Here's a look at the December number so far this month and note that MSP is nearly +8 degrees above average, which is tied for the 12th warmest December on record. Up until recently, MSP had only had 0.6" of snow, which was in the running for the 3rd least snow December on record. We picked up record snowfall earlier this week, so now we are sitting at 9.3" of snow on the month, which is pretty much average for December.
Snow Depth As of December 24th
Thanks to our snow storm earlier this week, many locations across MN and NW WI have deep snow in place. As of December 24th, there was 8" of snow on the ground at MSP and 6" of snow on the ground in Duluth.
National Snow Depth
As of December 25th, 26.5% of the nation was covered by snow. At this time last year, nearly 28% 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. The Twin Cities is pretty close to near normal snowfall for the month, 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.
Saturday Weather Outlook for Minneapolis
Here's the weather outlook for Saturday, which shows warmer temps moving in. Highs should rebound into the mid 20s, which perfectly average for this time of the year. It also won't be quite as cold in the morning either.
Saturday Meteograms for Minneapolis
Here's a look at the Meteograms for Saturday. It looks like it'll be another sunny day with warmer temperatures than what we had over the last few days. Winds should also be pretty light out of the WNW throughout the day.
Saturday Weather Outlook
High temps on Saturday will be pretty close to average across the eastern half of the state, but the western half of the state will see temps slightly above average for the end of December.
Extended Temperature Outlook For Minneapolis
Here's the extended temperature outlook for the Twin Cities, which shows temps warming into the mid 20s this weekend, which will be closer to average for this time of the year. A clipper system will slide southeast of the region late Sunday, which will allow another puff of cool Canadian air to settle in on Monday, where temps will be nearly -15F below average. Another storm system will move into the region around midweek with the potential of heavier snowfall. Stay tuned...
Extended Temperature Outlook For Minneapolis
The extended temperature outlook through the early part of January shows a few puffs of cooler air moving in over the next couple of weeks. The good news is that it doesn't appear to be too cold and it doesn't appear to last too long.
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 10th driest (January 1st - December 24th) 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, drier weather looks to return across much of the nation during the early part of January.
8-14 Day Temperature Outlook
According to NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, warmer than average temperatures will continue the northern tier of the nation with a few pockets of cooler weather across the Southwest and the Southeast.
Settling Into a Snowier Weather PatternSanta is exhausted. All those narrow chimneysand disposable masks this year? He didn't touch the cookies - I don't blame him.<p>The highligh tof our Christmas was a family Skype|PART2:video call across 14 time zones; 4 generations from the Middle East to China to the USA. My 90-year old dad is deaf, but Skype has closed captioning, which is pretty slick.<p>2020 has|PART3:put reunions, trips and plans on hold, but there are other ways to come together while apart.<p>Our weather has snapped back into a snowier pattern. After a relatively mellow Saturday,|PART4:a quick inch of snow is possible Sunday, just to freshen things up. Much more significant snow is brewing Tuesday through Thursday from a long-duration event. This time a "Texas Hooker"|PART5:may hook north towards Wisconsin, dropping significant snow for 48-60 hours. The timing, amounts and impacts are still a mystery. The truth? Science doesn't support the level of detail &|PART6:specificity we all want to know 3-5 days in advance. But for the time being I'd keep a shovel handy.
SATURDAY: Sunny and pleasant. Winds: SE 5-10. Wake-up: 13. High: 30.
SATURDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy and breezy. Winds: NW 15-25. Low: 16.
SUNDAY: Coating to an inch of snow possible. Winds: N 10-20. High: 24.
MONDAY: Sunny and a bit chilly. Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 7 High: 17.
TUESDAY: Snow develops late PM hours. Winds: SE 8-13. Wake-up: -3. High: 18.
WEDNESDAY: Snow maybe heavy at times. Winds: N 8-13. Wake-up: 14 High: 24.
THURSDAY: Snow lingers. Travel maybe tricky. Winds: NW 15-25. Wake-up: 20. High: 22.
FRIDAY: Partial clearing. Better travel. Winds: S 5-10. Wake-up: 15. High: 20.
This Day in Weather History
1990: Much of central Minnesota sets record low temperatures near 30 degrees below zero, while others had lows in the teens below zero. Cambridge had the coldest temperature with 31 below. Mora was close behind, with a low of 30 below. Other notably cold lows were at St. Cloud, with 29 below, and Melrose and Menomonie, WI with 27 below.
Average High/Low for Minneapolis
Average High: 25F (Record: 52F set in 2011)
Average Low: 9F (Record: -27F set in 1996)
Record Rainfall: 0.60" set in 1880
Record Snowfall: 5.1" set in 1988
Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
Hours of Daylight: ~8 hours & 47 minutes
Daylight GAINED since yesterday: ~23 seconds
Daylight GAINED since Winter Solstice (December 21st): ~ 1 minute
Moon Phase for December 26th at Midnight
2.9 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.
What's in the Night Sky?
"On December 26, 27 and 28, 2020, look for the bright waxing gibbous moon to shine in front of the constellation Taurus the Bull. On December 28, as seen from North America, the moon appears almost to clip the top of Orion's upraised club. Still, officially, the moon is near the border of Taurus then. It'll be difficult to see the entire starlit figure of the Bull on these moonlit nights, but – despite the lunar glare – you should be able to glimpse the two major signposts in Taurus: the bright star Aldebaran and the Pleiades star cluster, otherwise known as the Seven Sisters. During the moon's trek through Taurus in December 2020, it passes to the south of the Pleiades and then to the north of Aldebaran."
National High Temps Saturday
Here's a look at high temps across the nation on Saturday will be warmer than average across much of the western half of the nation with readings warming to nearly +5F to +15F above average.
National Forecast Map For Saturday
The weather map on Saturday will be somewhat active across the northern tier of the nation with another storm system moving in across the Northwest, which will impact the Upper Midwest by Sunday
National Weather Outlook
The weather maps through the early and middle part of the week is somewhat active across the northern tier of the nation.
Heavy Precipitation in the Western US
Here's the precipitation potential over the next 7 days. Note that areas of heavier precipitation will be possible in the Eastern US and also across the Western US.
7 Day Snowfall Potential
"Australian Robots Are Exploring the Deep Sea to Study Marine Snow"
"Where I live, it's too warm out for a white Christmas. But in the deep ocean, it's always snowing. I'm talking about marine snow, or flakes of biological debris like dirt, dead phytoplankton and algae, and even bits of fecal matter that shower down from higher waters. So festive! As off-putting as this snow may sound, it serves an important purpose in regulating the climate and providing nutrients that life on the seafloor needs to thrive. To get a better grip on the detritus, 20 Australian scientists from the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies and several universities are sending ocean robots into the Southern Ocean to learn more about this bizarre but crucial process. The dead stuff marine snow is made of is largely carbon-based, and when it falls to the bottom of the ocean, it essentially sequesters carbon that would otherwise be in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. Data show that the material traps hundreds of millions of tons of the globe-warming compound every year. Marine snow is also a huge source of nutrients that otherwise wouldn't be available on the bottom of the sea. Without it, life on the land and the seafloor would look a lot different."
"The world's most suspenseful iceberg is breaking apart"
Last week, iceberg A-68a was larger than Rhode Island. By Dec. 23, satellite footage showed the berg had broken apart into several (though still massive) chunks of ice. Earth scientists have followed this enormous iceberg since July 2017, when it snapped off an ice shelf (the end of a glacier that floats over the ocean) in Antarctica. But over the last month, the berg stirred fresh intrigue. While drifting through the Southern Atlantic Ocean, A-68a was on course to potentially run aground off of similarly-sized South Georgia Island, a biologically rich, remote British territory about 800 miles east of the Falkland Islands. That could threaten wildlife and the marine environment around the penguin-populated island. "It's a fascinating berg, given the size and trajectory," Stef Lhermitte, an assistant professor in the department of geoscience and remote sensing at the Netherlands' Delft University of Technology, told Mashable last week. Now, after bumping into the shallow sea floor off the island and snapping off a chunk of ice, the berg has continued rupturing apart. The U.S. National Ice Center pointed out the resulting new icebergs, A-68e and A-68f on Monday.
"Scientists Confirm the Negative Health Effects of Humans Traveling to Space"
"Human space colonies may be further away than we think, unfortunately. Scientists have long been researching the health effects of space travel on humans, and new discoveries indicate the health effects can be detrimental.As explained by ScienceAlert, we've known that space travel is dangerous for a long time - after all, we've been doing it for over 50 years now. But, if our plan is to colonize Mars in the future, it's important we understand just what is at stake. According to discoveries made as part of NASA's Twin Study, extended time in space can affect blood flow to the brain, alter the ratio of bacteria in your gut microbiome, and cause temporary visual impairments, among other effects, due to the microgravity found outside Earth.The issues begin during liftoff when astronauts are subjected to G forces almost three times what we experience on Earth. After exiting our atmosphere, space radiation becomes an issue and something that scientists are still looking to understand. "Going forward, our goal is to get a better idea of underlying mechanisms, of what's going on during long-duration space flight in the human body, and how it varies between people," said Susan Bailey, a biologist from Colorado State University. "Not everybody responds the same way.""