Monday, February 1, 2010

Gradual temperature inflation

What exactly was that cold, white, (foreign), crystalline substance falling out of a slate-gray sky on Monday? Old-timers referred to it as s-n-o-w.

I did a little research on the subject, consulted my trusty Merriam-Webster dictionary:


Pronunciation: \ˈsnō\
Function: noun
Usage: often attributive
Etymology: Middle English, from Old English snāw; akin to Old High German snēo snow, Latin niv-, nix, Greek nipha (accusative)
Date: before 12th century
1 a : precipitation in the form of small white ice crystals formed directly from the water vapor of the air at a temperature of less than 32°F (0°C).

For the record only 3.1" snow fell on the Twin Cities (officially, at MSP International) during the month of January. According to NOAA records that made snowfall in January, 2010 the NINTH LEAST since 1891 for the Twin Cities area. The least January snow ever reported: .6" in 1892 and 1898. It turns out the last few Januarys have been unusually fickle (and snowless). It was the least January snow since 2.3" in January, 2006.

One of the Top 10 Gloomiest Januarys (for Twin Cities snow-lovers). With 3.1" last month add 2010 as #9 to the list of "least snowy Januarys in the Twin Cities." Graphic courtesy of the MN State Climatology Office. For more click on this link.

:            STATION           MAX     MIN     SNOW  SNOW
STC : ST CLOUD MN ARPT : 12 / -1 / 0.9 9
MSP : MINNEAPOLIS MN ARPT : 16 / 8 / 0.8 8
DLH : DULUTH AIRPORT : 11 / -11 / 0.0 25
HIB : HIBBING ARPT : 10 / -14 M M
GNA : GRAND MARAIS MN : 20 / 0 / M M
RST : ROCHESTER MN ARPT : 19 / 6 / 1.0 11
Statewide Climate Recap. Data as of 7 pm Monday evening. St. Cloud picked up .9" Monday (as much as fell all of January!). The Twin Cities: .8" with 1" in Rochester. Final amounts may be a bit higher, especially south of the Twin Cities, where the heaviest bands from Monday's clipper set up. Note Duluth: reporting a healthy 25" of snow on the ground. Even Rochester has more snow on the ground than St. Cloud or the Twin Cities. Very odd.

Snapshot of a Clipper. Monday evening's weather map showing a cyclonic swirl of snow. The purple/red dots show IFR conditions, where cloud ceilings and visibilities are lowest (implying heavier amounts of snow). For the latest "surface map" for the Upper Midwest click here.

Encouraging Trends. The models are in close agreement about the impending warming trend through the end of the week - some divergence about the cooling trend early next week, but there's little doubt that a colder front pushes back into Minnesota by Monday.

Next "Nuisance Snow"? The GFS model is hinting at a little light snow Friday and Saturday, possibly mixed with freezing drizzle at times. Amounts should be light, under an inch or so. With afternoon highs in the upper 20s to near 30 most (major) roads may just be wet/slushy by then.

A few (random) weather headlines:

* Next week's cold push won't be as bitter (or enduring) as this latest outbreak - 2 or 3 days of highs in the teens.

* The mercury return to the mid 20s, possibly 30 again by the end of next week.

* I still don't see a major storm (snow, ice or rain) looking out 10-14 days. Beyond that time frame the crystal ball gets very, very murky. Maybe we'll ease into February after all.

Paul's Outlook for the Twin Cities

Today: Slippery start. Flurries giving way to peeks of sun. Winds: NW 8-13. High: 18

Tonight: Partly cloudy, quite cold. Low: 3

Wednesday: Becoming mostly cloudy - decent travel conditions. High: 21

Thursday: Overcast, a bit milder. High: 27

Friday: A period of light snow, possibly mixed with freezing drizzle. High: near 30

Saturday: Light snow/flurries, potential for a slushy coating to 1" High: 28

Sunday: Better travel day. More clouds than sun. High: 25

Monday: Windy, turning colder with more sunshine. High: near 20, falling into the teens.

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