Wednesday, November 18, 2009

An end to our weather honeymoon?

The weather has been nothing short of phenomenal - amazing - wondrous - awe inspiring. I've run out of pithy adjectives. Unless you've been cooped up in a cave you realize how memorable November has been, normally a time of gray, windblown flakes, day after day of wind chill and long faces. So let me get this straight: 4th chilliest October on record? Check. Immediately followed by the second warmest November on record? Check. It just gets more interesting with time, doesn't it? But here's the thing: when it stays this nice, for this long, I start to get very, very nervous. Why? The atmosphere strives for equilibrium; that's why a spell of unusually warm weather is usually followed by a stretch of unusually cold weather. And vice versa. So here we are, basking some 8-10 degrees above average for the month (yes, November is running warmer than all of October!) Go figure. At some point, fairly soon, there WILL be payback. Temperatures begin to cool back down to "normal" next week, the atmosphere (finally) chilly enough for snow by Thanksgiving - but a dire lack of significant moisture should prevent significant snow/ice in time for holiday travel plans.

It's still early, but the long-range (GFS) computer model is strongly hinting at the first true outbreak of numbing, Canadian air for the first week of December. The model is even printing out a little liquid precipitation, which could (in theory) translate into some slush by December 2-5. I won't be at all shocked if we don't have patches of snow on the ground within 2 weeks, especially up north. But I'm happy to report the atmosphere will behave itself through most of next week and the weekend immediately following Thanksgiving. Keep the heavy jackets and coats handy - highs hold in the 30s early next week, nighttime temperatures dipping into the teens and 20s. It will warm back up again the end of next week, in time for crazed "Black Friday" power-shopping and getting home the following weekend. But in the meantime, just the notion that we're still ranting and raving (or waxing eloquent, depending on your choice of words) the THIRD WEEK OF NOVEMBER is pretty phenomenal! For the 10th November in a row we have a Minnesota November mild enough to play golf. According to Professor Mark Seeley, at the U. of Minnesota, that is unprecedented, historically.

The same storm that unleashed 2-3" of rain on St. Louis is pinwheeling northeast, toward the Great Lakes, capable of brushing Minnesota with patchy clouds, even a little drizzle or a few sprinkles/showers today. The best chance of rain will stay east of the St. Croix, across Wisconsin. Even if it does rain, any precipitation will be very light and spotty, probably not enough to complicate after-school activities or evening plans. It won't be as picturesque as recent days, but the sun should poke a few holes through stale clouds tomorrow, enough fleeting sun for low 50s on Saturday. Long-range guidance is even hinting at 50 NEXT Saturday, the 28th day of November. And THAT may just be the last 50+ reading we see for some time. Like 4 months, give or take a few days.

Soak it up!

Western Fireball. A remarkable midnight fireball that "turned night into day" over parts of the western United States last night was not a Leonid. Infrasound measurements suggest a sporadic asteroid not associated with the Leonid debris stream. The space rock exploded in the atmosphere with an energy equivalent to 0.5 - 1 kilotons of TNT. Approximately 6 hours later, observers in Utah and Colorado witnessed a twisting, irridescent-blue cloud in the dawn sky. Debris from the fireball should have dissipated by that time, but the cloud remains unexplained; we cannot yet rule out a connection to the fireball event. (source:

NOVEMBER 19TH, 1981-An unusually early snowstorm struck the Twin Cities of Minnesota, with as much as a foot of snow reported. The weight of the heavy snow caused the newly inflated fabric dome of the Hubert Humphrey Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis to collapse and rip.

Almanac for Wednesday in the Twin Cities. High: 50. Low: 28. (Normals: 38/24). November temperature departure: +8.6 F.

Paul's Outlook for the Twin Cities

Today: More clouds than sun, nothing more than a sprinkle or two. The sun should be out part of the day. Winds: Light, under 5 mph. High: 47

Tonight: Patchy clouds, mild for late November. Low: 34

Friday: A mix of clouds and sun, still milder than average. High: 48

Saturday: Milder with fading sun. More wind kicks in by afternoon. High: 51

Saturday: Mostly cloudy, a few light rain showers possible. High: 47

Monday: Mostly cloudy, gusty and cooler - a few passing sprinkles, even a flurry. High: 43

Tuesday: More clouds than sun, sprinkles or flurries around town. High: 39

Wednesday: Leftover clouds, a stray flurry or two - chilly. High: 37

Thanksgiving Day: Mostly cloudy - few flakes, mainly over the MN Arrowhead. Probably dry in and near the metro area. High: near 40

Friday: Partly sunny, brighter, nicer. High: 46

Saturday (Nov. 28). Dry, intervals of sun, still amazingly mild for the end of November. High: near 50

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