28 F. average high for February 11.
32 F. high temperature a year ago in the Twin Cities, on February 11, 2011.
Trace of snow so far this month at KMSP.
3" snow should have fallen during the first 10 days of February. Source: NOAA.
11" snow on the ground last year at this time in the metro area.
15" snow on the ground on February 11, 2010.
-32 F. coldest wind chill in Minnesota Friday morning (Appleton). The complete list from the local NWS here.
+1 F. low in the metro Saturday morning. That means we've only experienced 3 subzero nights so far this winter. Average is 28. Although subzero lows are possible into the first half of March I have a hunch we may have seen our last subzero readings of what is turning into the tamest winter in 134 years.
Snow on the ground 1 year ago today:
11" Twin Cities
* all 3 metro areas reported 0" on the ground as of Friday morning.
+1 F. low temperature reported at KMSP Saturday morning. The combination of no snow, the urban heat island, a light breeze (and a higher sun angle) kept the mercury above zero at Twin Cities International Airport, where the offical temperature records are kept. That means only 3 subzero nights so far this winter, the second fewest since 1872.
2 subzero nights the Winter of 2001-2002. Fewest on record since 1872.
0 number of additional subzero nights expected looking out the next 2 weeks, through the end of February.
"When in a drought don't predict rain....or snow." - old proverb attributed to farmers. How true.
* "meteorological winter" is defined as the 90 coldest days of the year, on average, running from December 1 through March 1.
Miami Sunrise. Yep, a few days in Miami Beach (or Dubuque for that matter) would cure me. Thanks to Bay Scroggins, who lives in Miami and studies tropical weather patterns for a living. Must be nice huh?
Latest USA Snowcover. According toNOAA 28.4% of the USA is covered in snow, compared to last year, when 64.9% of America was snowcovered. Average snow depth now: 3" (nationwide). Average snow depth a year ago: 8.3"
Winter Snowfall Amounts (courtesy of Mark Seeley):
MSP 14.9 inches (2nd lowest total behind 1930-1931 when 14.2 inches fell)
Austin 13.2 inches (lowest since winter of 1976-1977)
Zumbrota 12.8 inches (lowest since winter of 1962-1963)
St Cloud 16.2 inches (lowest since 1967-1968)
Farmers Likely To Plant Record Acreage, Analysts Say. The story from Bloomberg News and amarillo.com: "Farmers will plant the most acres in a generation this year, led by the biggest corn crop since World War II, taking advantage of the highest agricultural prices in at least four decades. They will sow corn, soybeans and wheat on 226.9 million acres, the most since 1984, a Bloomberg survey of 36 farmers, bankers and analysts showed. The 2.5 percent gain means an expansion the size of New Jersey, as growers target fields left fallow last year and land freed up from conservation programs."
Photo credit above: "Analysts predict farmers will plant the most acres in a generation this year, led by the biggest corn crop since World War II. Illustrates PLANTING (category f), by Jeff Wilson and Whitney McFerron (c) 2012, Bloomberg News. Moved Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012. (Bloomberg News photo by Daniel Acker)."
U.S. Farm Facts. I thought this was interesting, courtesy of americasfarmers.com:
- To keep up with population growth more food will have to be produced in the next 50 years as the past 10,000 years combined.
- Today, the average U.S. farmer feeds 155 people. In 1960, a farmer fed just 26 people.
- Today’s farmer grows twice as much food as his parents did – using less land, energy, water and fewer emissions.
- American farmers ship more than $100 billion of their crops and products to many nations.
- U.S. farmers produce about 40 percent of the world's corn, using only 20 percent of the total area harvested in the world.
O.K. Your question hits a sensitive nerve, because EVERYONE was pretty much predicting a colder, snowier winter (based on La Nina lingering through the winter). I went out on a smal limb and - in October - predicted colder and drier, thinking the drought would continue, neutralizing any impact of La Nina. I think everyone, including NOAA's CPC (Climate Prediction Center) has been humbled by the level of warmth, nationwide, this winter. La Nina events correlate with colder, snowier weather over the northern tier states, but this is shaping up to be one of the 10 warmest winters the USA has experienced since the mid 1800s - more like a strong El Nino winter (1998 comes to mind). Mea culpa - it shows the inherent perils in predicting the weather for an entire season. We can look at what's happening in the Pacific and current/predicted blocking patterns (like the AO and NAO, even look for signs of impending arctic air (like sudden stratospheric warming), but in the end it's all hanging by a threat. Think of a 3-6 month weather forecast much the way you would a horoscope. Fun to look at, but the science is sketchy - don't bet the farm based on a 1-6 month outlook!
Paul's Conservation Minnesota Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:
TODAY: Bright sun, average again. Winds: W 8-13. High: 26
SUNDAY NIGHT: Clouds increase. Low: 15
* temperatures may reach the low to mid 40s next Sunday.
Photo credit above: "The sun shines above the field of mirrors that make up the National Solar Thermal Test Facility at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, N.M., on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2012. Energy Secretary Steven Chu toured the facility on Thursday before hosting a town hall with university students. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan)."
Photo credit above: "HMS Foxglove was a British minesweeper that patrolled the South Pacific from 1915 to 1945. Image: Illustration by Mark Weaver. National Archives, England (ship and logbook)."