Sunday, December 12, 2010

Weather Observing & More on the Way

Todd's Conservation MN Forecast for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:

AM MONDAY: Clear and frigid. Wind Chill Advisory until 6am, wind chill values as low as -30. Low: -12

MONDAY: Welcome to Siberia. Blue sky, subzero "high" with wind chill values -10 to -25 through the day. High: 4

MONDAY NIGHT: Increasing clouds, keeping temperatures slightly warmer, still COLD. Low: -9

TUESDAY: Bitter start. Mix of clouds and sun. High: 10

WEDNESDAY: A little light snow, inch or 2 possible. High: 15

THURSDAY: Leftover flakes, as "mild" as it's going to get through next week. High: 21

FRIDAY: More clouds than sun - still (relatively) comfortable. How far we've fallen... High:  19

SATURDAY: More clouds than sun, colder. High: 17
SUNDAY: Partly sunny. 8 tiny reindeer begin preparing for the big flight. High: 16
WOW! What a storm!! I think I'm still a little tired/delirious from working so many hours this weekend. What you may not know about me is that I am a part time weather observer at the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport and have been doing it since college. I don't work at the aiport that often and do it more to keep my weather habit going, but I happened to be scheduled on what would be the snowiest December day on record for the Twin Cities in a storm that would produce 17.1" total, the 5th largest storm in Twin Cities history!! Go figure.
Instead of a traditional blog entry, I'll do more of a video blog entry with the entries being from Saturday while working at the airport... kind of a blow by blow, from my point of view, to show you what a weather observer has to go through. What the videos won't show is the measuring snow part. That was conducted hourly, but very difficult due to blowing and drifting. Along with measuring snow, there was a snow to water ratio conversion used (confirmed by the National Weather Service) to help aid in the measuring process. Our instruments are able to capture precipitation hourly and spit out an hourly liquid precipitation amount. Knowing what the accumulated hourly liquid precipitation, we can then apply a conversion or snow to water ratio based on temperature, which on average, was around 20F... This estimate of hourly snowfall based on liquid precipitation and temperature can help to measure the snow greatly when blowing and drifting is an issue... Snow drifts in our designated measuring area ranged from 5" to nearly 50" by Sunday, which you can see from the image below:

Early AM Saturday, Around 6" Total So Far

Mid AM Saturday Update, Around 8 Total So Far

Saturday Afternoon Update, 15.5" Total So Far
Sunday Post Storm Update, 17.1" Storm Total

More Snow on the Way

A fast moving clipper system rolling through mid-week will have enough moisture to produce some light fluffy accumulations through parts of the state... Stay tuned!

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