SATURDAY NIGHT: Patchy clouds, few flurries. Low: -3
* Computer models are hinting at a run of upper 20s to mid 30s for the last few days of January. With temperatures warmer than 32 F. predicted throughout the lowest mile of the atmosphere, it might even be warm enough for a little light rain after the 23rd. We'll see. I know - you'll believe it when you see it.
* From Mark Seeley's popular "Minnesota Weather Talk" blog: "Through the first two weeks of January, Minnesota has reported the lowest temperature in the 48 contiguous states on seven days. The colder than normal trend in temperatures established across the state in December has continued into January. Since the 1st of December daily temperatures have climbed to the freezing mark (32 F) only 4-5 times around the state and most observers have yet to see a temperature of 30 degrees F this month."
Expected Snowfall by Monday. The latest NAM model is hinting at 1-2" Monday, best chance of 2"+ north/east of the Twin Cities metro area.
Why The Wild Winter Weather? I thought this was a timely article (helping to answer the question, "how can it be so cold and snowy if the global climate is, in fact, warming up over time?) "Winter weather has been especially harsh this year, as it was last year. Scientists have long predicted that weather across the Northern Hemisphere could get colder with global warming. How might this work? Some commentators have invoked changes in atmospheric circulation over Siberia to explain the severe winter weather besieging Europe and parts of the U.S. But there is another part of this puzzle lying closer to our own shores. Warming may be leading to cooling via melting Arctic ice. For the past 16 months a climate phenomenon known as the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) has been locked in one mode; a negative phase, an unusually long stretch with unusually high atmospheric pressures over the Arctic, and low pressure to the south. Highs persist over cold areas, for cold air is heavy and sinks. Lows, meanwhile, form over warm regions, for hot air rises. And winds and weather fronts flow "downhill," as it were, from highs to lows. So why might a High pressure system be locked in over the North Atlantic?"
From an article at CNN.com: "A graphic outlining sea temperature anomalies the first week in January shows drops in the Pacific as air temperatures rise between the U.S. and Europe (continents in gray). La Niña and the North Atlantic Oscillation are to blame, an expert says. The catastrophic weather events taking place across the globe – from Brazil’s and Australia’s flooding to the Eastern United States’ heavy snowfall – have two likely explanations. Tony Barnston, lead forecaster at Columbia University’s International Research Institute for Climate and Society, said two phenomena – La Niña and the North Atlantic Oscillation – are likely responsible for the patterns we’re seeing. Though La Niña is different every time, it can be simply defined as a drop in water temperature in the eastern and central tropical Pacific Ocean. This particular La Niña appeared in July, Barnston said, and will last through spring."
- In the contiguous United States, 2010 was the 14th consecutive year with an annual temperature above the long-term average. Since 1895, the temperature across the nation has increased at an average rate of approximately 0.12 F per decade.
- Precipitation across the contiguous United States in 2010 was 1.02 inches (2.59 cm) above the long-term average. Like temperature, precipitation patterns are influenced by climate processes such as ENSO. A persistent storm track brought prolific summer rain to the northern Plains and upper Midwest. Wisconsin had its wettest summer on record, and many surrounding states had much above-normal precipitation. Since the start of records in the U.S. in 1895, precipitation across the United States is increasing at an average rate of approximately 0.18 inches per decade.
"Two bull sharks, renown for their aggression, were spotted swimming through the flooded streets of a small town in the inundated Australian state of Queensland, the Queensland Times reported Friday. The amazing sightings were made in Goodna, a center of around 8,000 people which lies between the state capital Brisbane and the nearby southeast city of Ipswich. One of the sharks was spotted by local butcher Steve Bateman swimming in floodwaters near his shop Thursday while another one was seen in water covering the town's main street."
Australian Flooding Tied To La Nina. The floods that have killed over 2 dozen people in Queensland, inundating more than 20,000 homes and 5,000 businesses, seemed to peek on Thursday, but the damage in Brisbane, the capital of Queensland, has been devastating. And now (some) scientists are linking the prolonged flooding to La Nina, the strong cooling of Pacific Ocean water that has a domino effect from Australia to the USA. From a recent story: In Australia's third largest city, Brisbane, there have been dozens of dramatic rescues from fast moving flash floodwaters . As many as 35,000 homes have been destroyed. Dozens of people have died and even more are still missing. "As we look across Queensland and see 3/4 of our state having experienced the devastation of raging flood waters, we now face a reconstruction task of post-war proportions," said Anna Bligh, Queensland Premier. Some are now tying the flooding rains to La Niña , a phenomenon where the water in the eastern Pacific Ocean cools and drastically changes long-term weather patterns. Northern Australia typically sees more rain during a La Niña event. December 2010 was the wettest on record for Queensland, Australia."
YOUR REAL HOROSCOPEAstrology buffs should be using these dates, reflecting where the stars currently are aligned: Capricorn: Jan. 20-Feb. 16. Aquarius: Feb. 16-March 11. Pisces: March 11-April 18. Aries: April 18-May 13. Taurus: May 13-June 21. Gemini: June 21-July 20. Cancer: July 20-Aug. 10. Leo: Aug. 10-Sept. 16. Virgo: Sept. 16-Oct. 30. Libra: Oct. 30-Nov. 23. Scorpio: Nov. 23-29. Ophiuchus:* Nov. 29-Dec. 17. Sagittarius: Dec. 17-Jan. 20.
Snow-Weary. Hey, I love snow - just not on I-494 at rush hour. It took me close to 2 hours getting from Excelsior to MSP International Friday late afternoon - way too much snow on the freeway, and glaze ice. Not sure if the budget crisis in St. Paul is impacting the number of plows on the highway, but that's the perception that a lot of people are having right now. The truth may be more complicated: the TIMING of the snow (came during the height of rush hour) coupled with the air temperature: mid teens, which makes it much tougher to melt snow and keep roads wet/slushy. 1.8" snow fell on the Twin Cities, with 1.6" at St. Cloud, .7" Rochester and 3.5" on Duluth. For the record we're up to 51.7" for the winter, to date, at MSP.