Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Outlook: leftovers

I've just been handed the latest forecast: turkey will accumulate 1-3" on area plates, some salting may be necessary. Be on the lookout for massive mashed potato drifts, showers of scalding gravy; cranberry sauce will leave some side dishes slippery. Expect thunderous growls - of indigestion. A Tums Watch has been issued for the entire area, expect sporadic napping after 5 pm, with a 45% probability of a football game. I stand by this forecast, there's even a chance I'll get it right.

Add weather to a long list of things to be thankful for this year, the maps continue to look more like late October than late November, no major travel-busting snow or ice storms showing up anywhere. Yesterday's cold rain is pushing east into the Great Lakes, the arrival of chilling air arriving a few hours too late for any accumulating snow across most of Minnesota. You'll notice a long-lost sting in the air today, daytime temperatures stuck in the 30s with a morning wind chill dipping into the teens. But the sun will come out, dry weather prevailing into Saturday across the Upper Midwest. Good timing. Friday still looks like the mildest day in sight, with highs poking into well into the 40s as winds shift around to the south. Sunshine starts to fade a bit Saturday, the arrival of cooler air setting off a few flurries Sunday (mainly over the northern half of Minnesota). We warm up again early next week before a colder front knocks temperatures back down to average the latter half of next week. A southern storm forecast to track toward the Great Lakes may brush parts of Minnesota with a little light snow next Thursday and Friday, but at this point in time I don't see any major storms in sight through the first week to 10 days of December.

* So far the first 26 days of November the average temperature in the Twin Cities (factoring highs and lows) is 44.55 degrees F, that's 10.5 degrees warmer than average. The first 26 days of November have been WARMER THAN ALL OF OCTOBER, when the average temperature was a brisk 43.2 F. Amazing.

A Minor Correction. Yes, temperatures are cooling a bit, but considering that the average high is now close to freezing, the mercury will continue to trend 5-10 degrees above average through much of next week.

Remarkably Snow-Free. Remember how unusual our snow drought is: November is (on average) the THIRD snowiest month of the year, with an average of 8-10" of snow by the end of the month. The GFS model is hinting at a couple of inches of snow for the Appalachian Mts. and interior New England - otherwise precious little accumulating east of the Rockies. Snowmobilers and skiers: be patient. Our time will come.

There's little doubt that December will start out without any hint of Indian Summer - for now the 50s and 60s are behind us, we'll be lucky to salvage af few more 40-degree days over the next 2 weeks. That said, November has been a meteorological bargain: NO SNOW (we should have seen 8" as of November 6, we've picked up zero accumulating snow so far). In spite of the return of cooler, more seasonable weather, November temperatures are averaging 10.4 degrees above normal. That's very significant statistically, more than making up for a chilly October. Will the warmth hang on the entire winter? Will El Nino save us? I'm still banking on a "slightly milder" than average winter, based on recent trends and the growing stain of warmer water in the equatorial Pacific. Would I bet the farm on that prediction?

Absolutely not.

November so far in the Twin Cities. Here is is, day by day, courtesy of the National Weather Service in Chanhassen. Factoring in daily highs and lows November temperatures are 10.5 degrees above average. Only .25" of rain has fallen, 1.37" less than normal, to date. No official snowfall for the month as of November 26? Amazing.

Paul's Outlook for the Twin Cities

Today: Cool breeze, patchy clouds early, then partly sunny and brisk. Winds: NW 10-15. High: 38

Tonight: Mostly clear, frosty. Low: 26

"Black Friday". Fine weather for cooling off your credit cards: plenty of sun, breezy & milder. High: 47

Saturday: Fading sun, still dry - good travel conditions. High: 44

Sunday: More clouds, a few passing flurries (best chance over northern MN). High: 38

Monday: Mix of clouds and sun - chilly again. High: 34

Tuesday: Breezy and milder, fading sun. High: near 42

Wednesday: Gusty and colder with flurries in the air. High: 34

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