Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy (Nippy) New Year !!

* Football Warning in effect, risk of a nap later. Good luck out there.

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

NEW YEAR'S DAY: Flurries, wind chill near -20. Little additional accumulation. Winds: W 15-25. High: 9 (wind will make it feel like -10 to -20 at times).

SATURDAY NIGHT: Still windy and bitterly cold with off 'n on flurries. Low: -3

SUNDAY: Peeks of sun, less wind. Nanook! High: 8

MONDAY: Clipper arrives, coating - 1" possible. High: 13

TUESDAY: Sun returns, better travel. High: 15

WEDNESDAY: Next clipper approaches, PM flurries possible. High: 18

THURSDAY: Flurries taper, turning colder. High: 15

FRIDAY: Coating of flurries, still numbing. High: 17

Final Amounts. Well over a foot of snow was predicted to pile up on the Red River Valley, a healthy 5-8" for Brainerd and the Alexandria area, 2-4" for St. Cloud, with 1-2" across the Twin Cities metro area (greatest amounts far northern/western suburbs).

Snow Amounts. For the latest snowfall totals from the National Weather Service (around the entire state) click here.

Why Flying And Snow Don't Mix. Here's an excerpt from Patrick Smith, an airline pilot, for "Low visibilities, strong crosswinds, slick runways, potential icing -- all of these things spell trouble for pilots and cause horrendous air-traffic backlogs. But, as a rule, they aren't phenomena that airplanes or their crews can't handle. Generally, it's not the in-the-air aspects of a snowstorm that cause chaos, it's the on-the-ground aspects. Runways and taxiways need to be plowed and treated, while tarmac logistics go to hell as snow and ice accumulate. Luggage and cargo handling, fueling -- everything slows to a crawl as personnel and ground equipment get bogged down in the slush."

New Year's Eve Tornado Outbreak. From 1950 - 2009 there have been only 21 New Year's Eve tornadoes. So far, at least 26 tornadoes have been reported on December 31, 2010, a truly historic outbreak. Click here to see a YouTube clip of a tornado that swept across Rolla, Missouri (rated PG for nasty language - probably the same words I'd be muttering if an EF-2 tornado came within 1/2 mile of my place).

2010 Weather Highlights and Low-Lights. Jesse Ferrell from Accu-Weather does a very nice job highlighting some of America's more unusual weather stories, including the (record) hailstone (above) that fell on South Dakota. Worth a look.

Is Bad Weather Just Bad Luck? From a story at "Winter arrived with a vengeance this month. First, torrential rains and hail battered the Middle East, cutting power and even collapsing buildings in the previously drought-stricken region. Then deep snow and treacherous ice crippled transportation across Northern Europe. Finally, one of the fiercest winter storms in recent memory clobbered the East Coast of the United States, shutting down buses, trains and planes in New York City and leaving thousands of passengers stranded over the holidays. Bad luck? Undoubtedly. But many scientists believe there’s more to the story. Last year, the official U.S. Global Climate Change Research Program warned that extreme weather events “have become more frequent and intense during the past 40 to 50 years” as the globe has warmed."

One Odd New Year's Eve. We got the ice, a little snow, a lot of wind (late in the day) - even reports of thunder south/east of St. Paul. Highs ranged from 9 at Alexandria to 28 at Rochester.

Is it really 2011?

Eskimo have over 60 words for snow. I can think of a few choice words of my own. It's hard to keep snowmobilers, cross-country skiers and commuters happy simultaneously. I like the snow, especially when I'm sprawled on the couch, dozing off to ESPN.

A fresh 8-12" snow is on the ground over western MN; I-94 west of Alexandria should reopen later today, travel conditions slowly improving today.

Yesterday was a bit surreal: at the same time blizzard conditions were gripping Windom, Lakeville was reporting 14 degrees, with ice (and thunder)! 4-wheel drive helps in snow, but NOTHING will make a difference when it's freezing rain, glaze ice. All it takes is a 100 meter layer of air > 32 F thousands of feet aloft to melt snow into rain, creating an icy scenario on the ground below.

Bundle up out there; a cruel 20 mph. wind makes it feel like -15 F. at times. No problems getting home tomorrow; "nuisance" snows possible Monday and Friday. Welcome to the coldest, snowiest month of the year.

No more January Thaws in sight. Our cold weather "tax" shows no sign of easing. Finally, it's 2011. 2-0-1-1 AD. OK. All I want to know is: where's my "flying car"? I'll try and be patient.

Crisis Feared As U.S. Water Supplies Dry Up. The one silver lining to all the western storms? They've helped to replenish snow pack - which will help to provide thirsty cities from L.A. to Las Vegas to Phoenix with much-needed fresh water into 2011. But nationwide the trends are rather alarming, suggesting that water, not oil, may become the most resource of the 21st century. An excerpt from a story at "Across America, the picture is critically clear — the nation’s freshwater supplies can no longer quench its thirst. The government projects that at least 36 states will face water shortages within five years because of a combination of rising temperatures, drought, population growth, urban sprawl, waste and excess. “Is it a crisis? If we don’t do some decent water planning, it could be,” said Jack Hoffbuhr, executive director of the Denver-based American Water Works Association."

Climate Change Cost-Benefit: What's The Upside To Global Warming? An interesting story from the Christian Science Monitor - one that explores some of the advantages of a warmer (stormier) world.  "For a review of the many benefits of global warming, I recommend Thomas Gale Moore's book "Global warming: a boon to humans and other animals" which is available online here. He doesn't really prove that the benefits are greater than costs, but the other side hasn't proven the opposite either. An honest discussion would try to weigh them against each other in a cost-benefit analysis."

Extreme Patterns Speak of Climate Change. For a different perspective (or, perhaps more of the same), here's an excerpt from a story at China's Yep, they're part of the climate cover-up/conspiracy too. "The number of extreme weather events in China has been increasing since 2000. These include extremely high and low temperatures, rainstorms and typhoons. The country witnessed the most number of such events and suffered the most serious consequences in 2010, China Meteorological Administration (CMA) said at a news conference on Thursday. This summer, the average highest temperature across China was the highest since 1961, with an average 9.7 days with the highest temperature at or above 35 C, 3.5 days more than in previous years."

No comments:

Post a Comment