27 F. average high for February 7 at KMSP.
23 F. high temperature one year ago, on February 7, 2011.
-29 F. today's record low in the Twin Cities (most recently in 1991).
+ 13.4 F. Temperatures during the first week of February are running more than 13 degrees above average.
+ 18.8 F. Duluth temperatures are running nearly 19 degrees above average since February 1.
+ 20 F. Temperatures at International Falls since February 1 averaging 20 degrees above normal.
$2 million. The amount of money that the City of Minneapolis has saved on snow removal so far this winter.
4th warmest January on record for the lower 48 states. USA Today has details below.
Driest winter on record for much of the Red River Valley. Source: inforum.com.
Record cold January for much of Alaska. Check out the details from KTVA-TV here.
300. As many as 300 tornadoes/year may touch down on Europe, according to estimates from local meteorologists. By comparison the USA sees an average of 1,000 tornadoes/year - most in the world.
February 8, 1835: A severe cold wave gripped the southeastern U.S. The mercury dipped to 8 above at Jacksonville FL, and to zero at Savannah GA. Orange trees were killed to the roots.
"If you count all your assets, you always show a profit." - Robert Quillen
Global Weirding. "Some of this research shows that sea ice loss may favor winters with predominately negative phases of the Arctic Oscillation. One potential result of global warming, referred to as the “Arctic Paradox,” is that sea ice loss can help warm the Arctic during the winter, while setting in motion a chain reaction of events that make winters colder than they otherwise would be in Europe and the U.S." - from an article below on how changes in the Arctic (and stratosphere) may be impacting global weather circulations.
Photo credit above: "The scene in Tripoli, Libya, on February 6, 2012, after a rare snowstorm. Image credit: libyall.com." An estimated 40,000 Libyan troops have been deployed to clear streets and help the sick.
National Snowcover as of February 7 (lower 48 states of the USA). Source: NOAA.
- The average contiguous U.S. temperature in January was 36.3 degrees F, 5.5 degrees F above the 1901-2000 long-term average — the fourth warmest January on record, and the warmest since 2006. Precipitation, averaged across the nation, was 1.85 inches. This was 0.37 inch below the long-term average, with variability between regions. This monthly analysis is based on records dating back to 1895.
- Warmer-than-average temperatures were widespread across the contiguous United States during January. Nine states — Arizona, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Wyoming — had January temperatures ranking among their ten warmest. Florida and Washington were the only states with temperatures near average, and no state was cooler than average.
- Many locations across the Northern Plains exceeded all-time warm January maximum temperature records during the month, including Minot, North Dakota, which reached 61 degrees F on January 5th. This surpassed the previous record of 59 degrees F for the city, set on January 28th, 1906.
Ditto. The Same. No Change. I feel like Bill Murray in the movie "Groundhog Day", forever sentenced to repeating the same day (until I get it right). Seems like I keep recyling the same snowfall prediction map. One more time: the GFS shows an utter lack of accumulating snow into midday Saturday across the Upper Midwest, the only snow showing up downwind of the Great Lakes (lake effect snow). Again, the maps look like something out of late October or early November.
Fleeting Goosebumps. No, it won't get as cold as it did back in January, when MSP experienced 4 nights at or below zero (Jan. 18-21). That was the low point, the nadir, the depth of winter, the bottoming-out point. The urban heat island (more homes, industry, asphalt, etc) may keep immediate metro temperatures just above zero Saturday morning, but I expect the suburbs to dip below zero (for only the 4th time all winter). Temperatures reach the mid 30s tomorrow before tumbling Thursday night and Friday, and then climb back up above freezing by Monday and Tuesday.
Theories about, including the possibility that melting arctic ice is triggering a domino effect, displacing the coldest air away from the pole. This winter the jet buckled over Europe, not North America, which may just be random atmospheric variability. Another theory: stratospheric winds. When winds 15-25 miles above the ground ease winds in the troposphere (where all the weather occurs) can also ease, increasing the potential for bitter air to plunge southward. Further complicating matters: global warming may be warming the stratosphere, with uncertain consequences. It's the ultimate puzzle, and although we're learning more every year - there is still much we don't understand about complex circulations in the stratosphere, and how changes in the Arctic are impacting weather patterns worldwide. We'll see more cold fronts, but I'm still fairly convinced that the coldest temperatures of winter are now behind us. Famous last words.
Peering Out Over The Horizon. The 384 GFS outlook for steering winds aloft (500 mb) show a series of clipper impacting Minnesota, temperatures still trending at or slightly above average the last week of February. The map above is valid February 23. I have a hunch the pattern will favor significant snow for the northeast, but there's no sign our dry spell will let up anytime soon.
Paul, Will It Snow (In My Lifetime)? The short answer is yes, but nothing I'd be bold enough to label a "storm" is brewing. The GFS model prints out a whopping .14" liquid around February 22, which may (or may not) translate into a sloppy inch of snow. Wow. It's come to this. Highs from Feb. 15 to Feb. 23 reach the 30s fairly consistently; I wouldn't be surprised to see a few days above 40.
Lessons From The Tuscaloosa Tornado. Here's an interesting article from The Red And Black on what first responders and city authorities learned from last spring's devastating tornado in Tuscaloosa, Alabama: "The tornado that struck Tuscaloosa, Ala. in April 2011 was among the most damaging storms of the past year. It significantly destroyed the community and put considerable strain on the University of Alabama’s Office of Emergency Prepardness as they dealt with a the kind of disaster many institutions hope they never have to see. Donald Keith, the director of the University of Alabama Emergency Preparedness, gave a lecture at the Tate Student Center that focused on what his university had learned from the storm — and what the University here can do in case of devastating weather."
Falcon-Cam. Viewers of WWL-TV (New Orleans) had quite a surprise when they tuned in Tuesday morning: "A surprise on our skywatch camera this morning - a falcon! He (or she) sat on the platform for our camera for almost an hour. Wonder if he knew all of Southeast Louisiana was watching!" Check it out on their Facebook page.
"App Economy" Has Created Nearly Half A Million Jobs Since 2007. Mashable.com has the details: "That app you use to play Words with Friends on your phone or book a reservation using Open Table might be giving the American economy a nice boost, at least according to a new survey by TechNet. The new “app economy” has created about 466,000 jobs in the United States since 2007, according to the survey. “America’s App Economy – which had zero jobs just 5 years ago before the iPhone was introduced – demonstrates that we can quickly create economic value and jobs through cutting-edge innovation,” Rey Ramsey, President and CEO of TechNet, said on the company’s blog. “Today, the App Economy is creating jobs in every part of America, employing hundreds of thousands of U.S. workers today and even more in the years to come.”
A November Without End. I can't tell you how much the weather maps look like early November, not early February. Tuesday highs ranged from 19 at International Falls to 25 St. Cloud, 30 in the Twin Cities. Duluth is reporting 1" snow on the ground, but all the webcams I see show a very brown Duluth. The most snow at any reporting station? International Falls is reporting a whopping 6".
Paul's Conservation Minnesota Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:
WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Patchy clouds, seasonably cool. Low: 19
* Photo above courtesy of the AP.
Arctic Oscillation And The Winter Of Global Weirding. A good explanation of a baffling weather pattern from Climate Denial Crock Of The Week: "Weirdly warm and snowless in the US. Brutally cold and icy in Europe. What’s going on? Note in the satellite map above, how cold air is shifted out of the arctic and on to the European land mass – while large polar areas are warmer than usual. Climate Central: The weather pattern responsible for bringing the frigid air to Europe and Eurasia, and locking it in place, is being driven in part by a naturally-occurring pattern of climate variability known as the Arctic Oscillation. The Arctic Oscillation, or AO, is is a climate index that describes the characteristics of the atmospheric circulation over the Arctic, and a related index describes the circulation over the North Atlantic. Depending on whether it’s in a “positive” or “negative” phase, the Arctic Oscillation can bring warmer or cooler than average wintertime conditions to the U.S. and Europe. Right now the Arctic Oscillation is in a negative phase, which tends to favor colder than average weather in Europe and the U.S. Scientists don’t fully understand what causes the Arctic Oscillation to switch from one phase to the other, which limits their ability to forecast these changes ahead of time beyond a week in advance."