25 F. average high for January 31 in the Twin Cities.
21 F. high temperature a year ago, on January 31, 2011.
4.6" snow in January, 2012
12.1" average snowfall for January (snowiest month of the year, on average).
17" fell on the metro area during January, 2011.
14.9" snow has fallen this winter season at KMSP.
60.4" snow had fallen as of January 31, 2011.
55 F. high at Islip, New York, a new record.
63 F. record high reported at Georgetown, Delaware
-65 F. reported at Galena, Alaska, in the state's bitter interior, last Saturday morning. The old record was -56 in 1947.
Winter On Hold. Unseasonable, almost April-like warmth blanketed most of America yesterday. Here's more from NOAA's Environmental Visualization Laboratory: "On the last day of January, many people throughout the U.S. are enjoying unusually warm temperatures. Shown in this image, using data from today's NOAA Rapid Update Cycle model, are the high temperatures across the U.S. Many areas are experiencing temperatures well above 50 or 60 degrees Fahrenheit, even in far northern locales. "
* 2006 is the only year I could find in the last 30 years that had less snow on the ground than we're seeing in 2012.
Photo credit above: "Doug Csongei chips to the first green at Big Met golf course in Fairview Park, Ohio Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2012. Ohio is in the thick of an unusual winter that has brought the state warm temperatures and little snow, with the long-range forecast calling for more winter warmth. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)."
Photo credit above: "Runners in warm weather gear pass by a sign, marketing warm winter accessories, located outside The Museum Store in the 200 block of William Street in downtown Fredericksburg, Va. on Friday afternoon, Jan. 27, 2012. The store is part of the Area Museum and Cultural Center. (AP Photo/The Free Lance-Star, Robert A. Martin)."
Trending Well Above Average. Although the GFS is hinting at a significant (but brief) cool-down in mid February, the models are all highly erratic. As you can see, temperatures are forecast to trend well above average levels (in dashes) through February 14 or so. Graph courtesy of Ham Weather. Plug in your local zip code to get a personalized extended outlook for home.
Don't Write Winter Off Just Yet. Although temperatures will probably trend well above average through mid February, there will be cold fronts. The 500 mb outlook above (GFS) is valid February 16. Disclaimer: jet stream winds are blowing much faster than usual, even for this of year, when wind speeds peak. That makes the pattern unstable, and a long range forecast much more difficult. Models have been highly erratic, but (if) this forecast verifies we could expect another spell of single digits and teens for highs, and subzero nights around Feb. 17-18. We'll see.
Another Close Call. This is a 5-day precipitation forecast from NOAA. For the last few months Minnesota, the Dakotas and much of Wisconsin have been in something of a meteorological no-man's land. Big sloppy storms detouring south, a family of clippers sailing off to our north, with very little snow (or rain) close to home. The QPF (quantitative precipitation forecast) prints out some very heavy amounts of rain and snow for the central Plains, but the weekend storm should pass just south of Minnesota....again.
January Tornadoes Across America:
Photo credit above: "The roof is missing over this classroom at Center Point Elementary School in Center Point, Ala., Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012. A series of tornadoes struck Alabama Monday (Jan. 23), killing two people and destroying over 400 homes. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)."
215 months. The last time a specific month was colder than the 1951-1980 average was February, 1994. (NASA).
- Pole saws or pruners can help clear away dead or damaged limbs near your home or building or on your driveway. Make sure you always keep a firm footing on the ground when using such equipment. Do not use a ladder, and stay away from electrical conductors.
- A chain saw can help clear away trees and more massive limbs, but first read and understand the instruction manual and ensure equipment is in good condition. Do not work around power lines, since they can be the biggest threat to safety.
- Power generators can keep the lights on, refrigerators running and water flowing in an emergency. Do not operate power generators, however, in enclosed areas. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that can become concentrated in enclosed areas and cause serious injury or death."
Is Meteorology Turning Into Computer Science? Here's an intriguing blog from meteorologist AJ Jain's blog, "Fresh AJ". From personal experience I can tell you that we're always on the lookout for meteorologists who can either a). present the weather professionally on-camera, or b). use computer skills to help us develop new software for visualization, the energy markets, and creating more accurate, hyper-local forecasts: "After attending the student conference at the AMS career fair, I spoke to each private employer that was hiring meteorologists. Some of the employers I spoke to at the booths were, “Unisys, Climate Corporation, Wunderground, Accuweather, Impact weather, among others. And here’s what was very intriguing: a majority of these employers are looking for meteorology developers (ie people who are excellent at programming but also understand meteorology). Meteorology programmers are a growing trend in today’s meteorology job world. Whether it is programming using Python, C++, Objective C, or PHP, the “new” graduate in meteorology in today’s economic climate should probably have these skills under their belt. When I spoke to a few of them…they mentioned if someone is a MS or PHD with programming skills, they would like to talk with them. Some of them even mentioned they were prepared to throw ridiculous amounts of cash if you met those qualifications…so if you’re interested in learning more, let me know!"
January Recap. What a month: a meager 4.6" of snow, 16 days at or above freezing, 8 days at or above 40 and 1 day above 50. Click here for a closer look, courtesy of the Minnesota State Climate Office.
Looking Ahead To February. This month the average high rises from 25 on the 1st to a whopping 34 by the 28th. Average snowfall is 8.2" (less because of fewer days in the month). The Minnesota State Climate Office has the climate calendar for February here.
Open Your Eyes Paul. That was me, back in 1979, when I was a senior at Penn State. Pretty natural in front of the camera, huh? My wife has aged far more gracefully than I have. Getting old sucks.
Shades Of Late March. The high in the Twin Cities yesterday was 45. That's the average high for March 24. What happened to "average". A coating of snow (and ice) fell on International Falls from another meager clipper. Statewide highs ranged from 28 at INL to 41 St. Cloud, 44 Rochester, 45 in the Twin Cities and 46 at Redwood Falls.
Paul's Conservation Minnesota Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:
TODAY: Patchy clouds, more like mid March. Few flurries central MN? Winds: SW 7-12. High: 42
WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Partly to mostly cloudy, still milder than average. Low: 27
Chicago's Warm Winter Weather And Global Warming. The story from Whet Moser over at Chicagomag.com. Here's an excerpt: "The last time I wrote about Chicago's warm winter (and what it might have to do with SPACE WEATHER), someone asked me on Facebook whether it had anything to do with global warming. The best I could do was basically "that's not exactly how to think about it":
Perception = Reality. From a post at Think Progress: "In line with projections by climate scientists, the 2000s were significantly hotter than the 1990s, which were hotter than the 1980s, reflecting the steady rise in carbon dioxide emissions. This consistent increase in average temperature is partially masked by natural variability on short time spans. Johnson’s nonsensical claim rests on that deliberate misinterpretation of temperature data, as this infographic from Skeptical Science (above) shows."
NASA: Global Warming Caused Mostly By Humans. Here's an excerpt from a story at USA Today: "....This provides unequivocal evidence that the sun is not the dominant driver of global warming," said James Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, who led the research released Monday. On the Wall Street Journal's opinion page, 16 scientists recently said there's no need for drastic action to "decarbonize" the world's economy. "Perhaps the most inconvenient fact is the lack of global warming for well over 10 years now," they wrote without providing data. Not so, according to U.S. government records. In December, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that all 11 years of the 21st century so far (2001–2011) rank among the 13 warmest in the 132-year period of record."
Setting The Record Straight On Climate Change: Experts Respond. Here is an Op-Ed that appears on WSJ.com, a rebuttal to an Op-Ed from a group of climate skeptics a few days ago. This Op-Ed also appears on the blog, Climate Communication: "Do you consult your dentist on your heart condition? In science, as in any area, reputations are based on knowledge and expertise in a field, and on published, peer-reviewed work. If you need surgery, you want a highly experienced expert in the field who has done a large number of the proposed operations. On January 27, the Wall Street Journal published an op-ed on climate change by the climate science equivalent of dentists practicing cardiology. While accomplished in their own fields, most of these authors have no expertise in climate science. The few authors who have such expertise are known to have extreme views that are out of step with nearly every other climate expert. This happens in nearly every field of science. For example, there is a retrovirus expert who does not accept that HIV causes AIDS. And it is instructive to recall that a few scientists continued to state that smoking did not cause cancer, long after that was settled science. Climate experts know that the long-term warming trend has not abated in the past decade. In fact, it was the warmest decade on record. Observations show unequivocally that our planet is getting hotter."