Tuesday, February 23, 2010

More (temporary) fun with negative numbers

"Hey Paul, cold 'nuf 'fer 'ya?" Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!

No, frankly, it's not. I prefer an ambient temperature much closer to the current surface temperature of Pluto. Preferably closer to absolute zero, where all molecular activity ceases altogether. Yes, it's a bit nippy out there right now, but it's NOT the spirit-crushing, battery-draining, hair-freezing temperatures we endured the first 9 days of January. Consider it a minor relapse, a blunt reminder that spring comes only reluctantly at this latitude. The good news: it won't stay numbing for long, in fact I think we probably bottomed out Wednesday morning - subzero north and west of the Twin Cities, negative numbers greeting most residents of central and northern Minnesota. Factor in a 10 mph breeze and it feels like -10 to -25 F out there, make sure the kids (and assorted spouses) have a few extra layers on before venturing out the door. Another character-building day on the tundra.

Another snowy dumping. The latest GFS model prints out some 6-12" snowfall amounts for the Mid Atlantic states, as much as 1-2 feet of snow may pile up over the higher elevations of interior New England and upstate New York.

February recap. The last time we saw enough snow to gripe about was Feb. 14, when a whopping 1.6" fell, .7" fell on the 15th. Since then it's been a few dribs and drabs of flurries. Yes, the snow is looking pretty crusty and dirty out there right about now.

I'm impressed (a bit dazed?) by our current snow drought. It's been 11 days since we've had a "plowable" snowfall in the metro area (1.6" back on the 14th). Almost all our 14" of snow fell during the first half of the month - it's been amazingly quiet ever since, and I still don't see a storm on the southern or western horizon looking out through the first week of March. The GFS model brings an inch or two of slush into town the first weekend of March, but right now it doesn't look like a big deal. Residents of Baltimore, D.C. and Philadelphia would probably laugh at the amount of snow we've seen so far this winter. Many Mid Atlantic cities have seen nearly TWICE as much snow as we have so far this winter, and more is on the way. A classic nor'easter will work its way up the east coast, sparking near blizzard conditions for DC, Baltimore and Philly late Thursday into Friday morning, along with another half foot or more of snow. Amazing. El Nino? Possibly, although proving cause and effect with the atmosphere is problematic. Parts of central Texas picked up 3-6" of snow Tuesday, the heaviest amounts staying SOUTH of Dallas, near Waco and Lufkin. That same storm will gain strength as it pushes east, tapping moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic, dropping some 1-2 FOOT amounts over interior New England. Rain will mix in for New York and Boston, but just 50-100 miles inland they may be counting snow by the foot, not the inch.

24 hour temperature trend. Note the 10 to 20 degree F. temperature drops over the Upper Midwest. No kidding!

Temperatures moderate statewide as the week goes on, a string of 30s next week as we thaw out one more time. Daytime highs should be near or above freezing almost every day next week. No more arctic swipes are in sight through mid March. This year March will definitely come in like a lamb. That means it will go out like a chipmunk, right? In like a yak, out like an aardvark. Never was good with animals....

Minnesota? Try again. How 'bout Lubbock, Texas, where 2-4" of snow fell Tuesday. Yes, I have an uncontrollable urge to ski Texas. I should get that checked out.

Paul's Conservation MN Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:

Today: Bright sun, numbing breeze. Winds: NW 5-15. High: 14

Wednesday night: Clear, still plenty cold. Low: 2 (subzero in the suburbs).

Thursday: Lot's of sun, not as cold. High: 22

Friday: Partly sunny, feeling a little better out there. Low: 5. High: 25

Saturday: Mix of clouds and sun, good travel conditions. Low: 9. High: 27

Sunday: Good weather to play in the snow. Intervals of sun. Low: 10. High: 28

Monday: Fading sun behind increasing clouds, closer to average. Low: 15. High: 30

Tuesday: Mostly cloudy, flurries or drizzle as we finally thaw out. Low: 19. High: 33

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