* No travel problems (weather-related) through the afternoon - clouds increase/thicken as the day goes on.
* Winter Storm Warning for tonight: snow arrives between 4 pm and 7 pm, gets heavier/steadier tonight. Even freeways and interstates will probably become snow-covered with air temperatures close to 20.
* Potential for 3-6" powdery snow by late morning Saturday (average across the metro, the downtowns and close-in suburbs). Less than 2" may fall north of Ham Lake, Hugo and Taylors Falls, but the southern/westernsuburbs (Shakopee, Prior Lake, Chaska, Delano and Waconia) may pick up as much as 5-8" snow.
* Travel conditions slowly improve Saturday afternoon.
* Saturday winds: north at 10-15, meaning minimal blowing and drifting after the storm. Conditions will be ideal for winter weather enthusiasts this weekend.
Serious Lake Effect. NWS Doppler out of Buffalo Thursday night showed persistent bands of moderate/heavy snow sweeping off Lake Erie, the heaviest (2-4 FOOT) accumulations south of the city. The air temperature is 15 degrees colder than water tempereatures - creating extreme instability. Add an "orographic" effect of moist, unstable air rising up and over the hills of western New York, and you can wind up with extreme upward motion and persistent snow "squalls", capable of dumping 2-4"/hour, complete with thunder and lightning. There is nothing quite as awe-inspiring (at least in the winter) as seeing these mini-blizzards sweeping off the Great Lakes.
What Month Is This Again? The calendar insisted that it was December 2, then why did it FEEL like January 2? high temperatures were 10-15 degrees below average for early December, ranging from a brisk 13 at Alexandria to 15 in St. Cloud to 20 in the Twin Cities, a balmy 22 at Eau Claire.
Paul's Conservation Minnesota Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:
FRIDAY NIGHT: Winter Storm Warning. Moderate snow - travel becomes very tricky. Low: 19
Weather's Perils, Fiscally Considered. Here is an interesting article from the New York Times. It tracks the adventures of PHd meteorologist Megan Linkin, who is an "atmospheric perils specialist." She must have her hands very full these days. From the article: "Making models: My job is not to predict the weather; it’s using research to come up with a risk landscape that helps our underwriters figure out rates for the future based on climatic hazards. My focus now is on a model for hurricanes, so I use research dating from 1851 to 2009. Previously I did a model for tornadoes and hail. Learning the business: The job is very different than I thought in that I’m learning so much about business and finance. I guess the prevailing opinion is that it’s easier to hire the scientist and teach them business than hire a business person and try to teach them the science. Weather derivatives, catastrophe bonds, alternative risk transfer products: This is not a static field."
* Global Experts: Warming Could Double Food Prices. From a recent AP article: "Change apparently already is under way. Returning from northern India, agricultural scientist Andrew Jarvis said wheat farmers there were finding warming was maturing their crops too quickly. "The temperatures are high and they're getting reduced yields," Jarvis, of the Colombia-based International Center for Tropical Agriculture, told reporters last month. For most farmers around the world, trying to adapt to these changes "will pose major challenges," Wednesday's IFPRI report said.Research points to future climate disruption for agricultural zones in much of sub-Saharan Africa, south Asia and parts of Latin America, including Mexico. In one combination of climate models and scenarios, "the corn belt in the United States could actually see a significant reduction in productivity potential," Nelson told reporters here."