+4.8 F. Temperatures for the first 8 days of November are running nearly 5 degrees warmer than average.
First snow flurries for Chicago. 1:50 pm Wednesday: snow flurries were spotted at O'Hare Airport in Chicago, according to WGN's Chief Meteorologist Tom Skilling.
3.7" snow in Des Moines Wednesday; 5th highest snowfall so early in the season.
943 mb: Alaskan super-storm had a central pressure of 27.85" of mercury midday Wednesday, lower than some Category 4 hurricanes.
The Amazing Winter of 2010-2011. 86.6" snow in the Twin Cities last winter, the 4th greatest amount on record. The southern suburbs of the Twin Cities saw the most snow, over 80", with considerably less over the far northern suburbs to St. Cloud to the Mille Lacs area. Over 100" fell on the Iron Range. Map courtesy of NOAA.
Average Snowfall. So here's a question: if you have one foot in ice water and the other foot in boiling water, do you feel average? It seems like that's often the story in Minnesota, we zig and zag fro one extreme to another. The term "average" is irrelevant in some respects. "Average snowfall" at MSP is about 54", which is higher than it was 20-30 years ago. We're seeing more snow across Minnesota, but milder winter temperatures mean it's melting faster, it's not the reliable snowcover we experienced a generation ago.
This is Winter Hazard Awareness Week in Minnesota. Here are some timely reminders:
Winter Weather Preparations
- Keep ahead of the winter storm by listening for the latest weather statements, watches and warnings.
- Your vehicle should also be ready. Get it winterized, before the onset of winter weather.
- Be equipped for the worst. Carry a winter survival kit in your car, especially when traveling in rural or open areas. Try to travel with others.
- Yield to snowplows, and give them plenty of room to operate.
- If your vehicle becomes stranded, stay with it until help arrives.
- Do not try to walk for help during a blizzard, you could easily become lost in the whiteout conditions.
- If you will be outside during storms or extreme cold, dress in layered clothing and avoid overexertion.
- Do not kill yourself shoveling snow. Shoveling is very hard work and may induce a heart attack.
- If you will be snowmobiling, avoid alcohol. Most snowmobile deaths are alcohol related. Take a snowmobile course offered by the DNR or check with your snowmobile dealer.
- Every year, there are fatalities in Minnesota when people fall through thin ice.
- Heating fires are a major cause of residential fires in Minnesota. Turn off portable heating devices when you are away from home or retire for the evening. Have your fireplace and chimney professionally inspected before winter.
- Carbon Monoxide is most likely to accumulate inside homes during winter. Check your heating systems and ensure your home has proper ventilation. Install a UL listed Carbon Monoxide detector that sounds an alarm.
Warnings. From the National Weather Service Facebook site: "Even though skies may be partially clearing on the back side of this dangerous storm, additional coastal flooding is still expected and/or is still occurring. You can find updated warnings/statements as well as the latest forecasts by visiting http://www.arh.noaa.gov/."
Studying Hurricanes' Impact. The University of Virginia's Cavalier Daily has the story: "Natural disasters have damaged areas across the United States, and even before Hurricane Irene tracked up and reshaped the Atlantic coast, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found weather-related losses topping $35 billion. Coastal landscapes often are altered drastically in response to storms like Hurricane Irene, which raise sustainability issues with respect to development. Students and professors across the University’s engineering, architectural and liberal arts colleges are studying coastal processes, their effects and sustainability. University members also are at risk of being affected by these natural events. In August, Engineering graduate student Kristen Cannatelli said she returned home to Rehoboth Beach, Del., for a friend’s wedding, only to find it postponed because of Hurricane Irene. “As far as damages go, more were caused by the tornadoes that came through, than the hurricane and flooding,” Cannatelli said. Hurricane Irene spawned more than 10 tornadoes in Delaware, tearing through 17 homes."
Brushed By A Storm. La Crosse saw about 3-4 hours of wet snow this morning, the heaviest snow bands setting up farther east, across central Wisconsin. The sun was out over central and northern Minnesota, highs ranging from 39 at International Falls to 47 at St. Cloud, 50 in the Twin Cities.
Paul's Conservation Minnesota Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:
TODAY: Mix of clouds and sun, brisk. Winds: NW 10-20. High: 42
THURSDAY NIGHT: Clear to partly cloudy. Low: 30
Bering Sea Storm: Has Global Warming Made Alaska More Vulnerable? The Christian Science Monitor has the story: "A powerful fall storm – the strongest since a mid-November storm in 1974 – is pounding Alaska's west coast with hurricane-force winds and a storm surge that in many places is expected to top eight feet above the high-tide line. Although Alaska's coast is sparsely populated compared with other coastal regions in the US, low-lying areas host a number of native Alaskan villages, as well as the city of Nome. Concerns for flooding and coastal erosion are compounded by a lack of coastal sea ice, which typically extends from the shoreline out toward the open ocean and is building at this time of year. "There's not a lot of shore-fast ice yet," says Scott Berg, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service forecast office in Fairbanks. "This year it hasn't developed quite as extensively as it normally does." This shore-fast ice, which builds in bays along the coast north of Nome, typically represents a first line of defense against coastal flooding when storms plow into the state's coastline. It reduces storm surge. With this storm, however, less-extensive shore-fast ice leaves it vulnerable to the storm surge, Mr. Berg says. The surge likely would carry any available sheets of ice inland to act as a frigid battering ram against structures in its path."
IBM Yellowstone Supercomputer To Study Climate Change. Information Week has the details: "IBM will build a 1.6-petaflop high-performance computer for the National Center for Atmospheric Research to inaugurate a new supercomputing facility and help the center engage in atmospheric and climate-change research. The system, called Yellowstone, will run on an IBM iDataPlex and should be finished by early next year, according to agency. Researchers will test Yellowstone before it becomes available for research next summer, according to NCAR. The Wall Street Journal said IBM beat three other vendors for the contract, which is valued between $25 million and $35 million. The system will run on Intel Sandy Bridge EP processors and includes a Mellanox high-speed InfiniBand network. In additional to its peak computational rate of 1.6 petaflops, Yellowstone also will have 149.2 TB of memory and 74,592 processor cores. Additionally, its central file system will have 17 PB of usable disk space, which is 12 times more than what's available to NCAR researchers today, according to NCAR."