Sunday, December 22, 2013

Windchill Advisories & Warnings (another plowable snow Christmas Eve)

19 F. high Sunday at KMSP.
25 F. average high on December 22.
29 F. high on December 22, 2012.

1/2" snow fell at Twin Cities International yesterday.
6" snow on the ground in the Twin Cities.

Minnesota Weather History on December 22. Data courtesy of the Twin Cities National Weather Service:
1996: Heavy snow fell across much of central Minnesota. The heaviest snow of 6 to 10 inches fell in central and eastern sections of area while snow amounts were in the 4 to 6 inch range in the north. Other snowfall totals included 6 to 8 inches across the Twin Cities metro area, 10 inches in Jordan, 8 inches at Cambridge, Forest Lake, Hutchinson and Montevideo, and 6 inches at St. Cloud, Glenwood and Redwood Falls. Counties affected include: Sherburne, Sibley, Stearns, Steele, Stevens, Swift, Todd, Waseca, Washington, Watonwan, Wright, and Yellow Medicine.
1983: The Twin Cities had a high of 17 degrees below zero.
1833: Warm spell at Ft. Snelling. Temperature reached 45 degrees.

Frozen Jingle Bells

The snow-globe vision outside my window is right out of a Norman Rockwell painting. So why does I-394 merging into I-94 in Minneapolis look like the trailer for a Steven King horror flick? Simple. It's too cold for MnDOT chemicals to work effectively. Black ice is a much bigger threat at 5-10F than it is at 20-25F

We're studying the economic feasibility of a retractable dome over the MSP metro area; until then all we can do is slow down - and leave more time to get around town.

I'm forecasting the whitest Christmas since we woke up to a whopping 19 inches of snow on December 25, 2010. If you're keeping score: 5 Christmases since 2001 have had an inch of snow or less.

When it's this cold air puffs up between snowflakes, like feathers in a down comforter. Easy to get off your sidewalk, but prone to being compressed by traffic into glaze ice.

Today will bring our your inner survivalist: single digit "highs", a chill factor near -15F. Double digit negative numbers early tomorrow, then a period of snow Christmas Eve. Expect 2-3 inches, heavier amounts east of St. Paul, maybe 4-6" for Wisconsin.

People keep asking me when we'll pull out of this Deep Freeze. That's an easy one.


Snow On The Ground December 25 in the Twin Cities:
2012: 1"
2011: 0
2010: 19"
2009: 12"
2008: 8"
2007: 6"
2006: Trace
2005: 3"
2004: 1"
2003: 4"
2002: 1"
2001: 3"

Snow For Santa. Yes, I still believe. And I believe we're about to see another potentially plowable snowfall late Christmas Eve, possibly 2-4" of fluff by Christmas morning, with much heavier amounts predicted by NOAA's NAM  model just east of the St. Croix River. The heaviest snow will probably come during the afternoon and evening hours tomorrow. Map: Ham Weather.

Snow For Christmas. At the rate we're going we may wind up with 10" or more of snow by Christmas Day; another 2-4" possible late tomorrow and tomorrow night.

Future Radar. NAM model guidance shows the storm that crippled much of the central USA with heavy snow and ice pushing into eastern Canada, a brief break today before the next clipper-like system pushes moisture up and over the arctic dome over Minnesota, resulting in a burst of snow late Tuesday. Loop: NOAA and Ham Weather.

Windchill Advisories And Warnings. Take the cold seriously over the next 24 hours. Advisories have been upgraded to warnings over much of west central and southwestern Minnesota, where it may feel like -40F at times. Serious cold. Map: Twin Cities National Weather Service; details here.

Cold Enough. Guidance suggests double-digit lows Tuesday morning, as cold as -10F (air temperature) in the immediate Twin Cities metro, -15F in the suburbs and -20 from St. Cloud to Brainerd. 6 am NAM predicted temperature Tuesday courtesy of NOAA and Ham Weather.

Jet Stream Explainer. The Twin Cities National Weather Service created the graphic above, showing the location of the jet stream via a "cross-section" in 3-D. The greater the north-south temperature gradient, the faster winds aloft have to blow to keep the atmosphere in equilibrium. When the core of the jet is directly overhead one manifestation is a higher risk of turbulence for aviation.

New York City, Philadelphia, Atlantic City Break Temperature Records During December Heat Wave. I saw 70F at Dulles International Airport outside Washington D.C. Saturday. Here's an excerpt from Huffington Post: "...The National Weather Service says the temperature in Central Park hit a record-setting 65 degrees Saturday. The previous record was 62, set in 2011 and 1923. Philadelphia and Atlantic City, N.J., reached 67 degrees on Saturday afternoon. That broke Atlantic City's previous mark of 63 degrees, set in 2011, and bested Philadelphia's previous high of 66 degrees, set in 1895..."

Graphic credit:

"Alien Clouds" Swirl Over The Alaskan Aleutian Islands. This entry caught my eye at the NBC News PhotoBlog; here's an excerpt: "Spooky clouds that swirl over Alaska's Aleutian Islands look as if they came from Jupiter — and it turns out that the same phenomenon is at work on both planets. This satellite view, captured by Landsat 7 in 2002, shows the pattern of atmospheric eddies that's characteristic of a "Karman vortex street." On Earth, these powerful chains of swirls arise when air flows over and around objects in its path. The Landsat 7 image is color-coded to indicate temperature variations and the size of raindrops in low-altitude clouds as they sweep over the Aleutians. On Jupiter, such vortices are generated by turbulence in the bands of clouds whipping around the giant planet..."

Photo credit above: NASA / USGS via Abrams. "Clouds swirl over the Aleutian Islands in a pattern known as a Karman vortex street, as seen in a Landsat 7 satellite image from July 4, 2002."

Navy Sailors Giving Aid To Japan After Tsunami Poisoned By Nuclear Fallout. Why haven't I heard more about this in the popular media? Here's an excerpt from "Navy sailors that were on a humanitarian mission in Japan which provided aid proceeding the March 11, 2011 tsunami, were poisoned by the nuclear fallout contained in the waters while aboard the aircraft carrier, the USS Ronald Reagan.  The storm blew toward them from Fukushima, whose nuclear power plant was melting down after an earthquake caused a tsunami that flooded the plant and ultimately took the lives of 19,000.  When the storm’s path crossed that of the ship, crew member Lindsay Cooper “felt this warm gust of air, and suddenly it was snowing.” The sailors on board weren’t aware that the snow falling down on them was a mixture of cold ocean air and radioactive steam, which was emitted from the nuclear reactor that melted down after power failures caused by the tsunami caused cooling equipment to fail..."

The Case Against Multivitamins Grows Stronger. Here's a clip from a story at NPR: "...Evidence continues to mount that vitamin supplements don't help most people and can actually cause diseases that people are taking them to prevent, like cancer. Three studies published Monday add to multivitamins' bad rap. One review found no benefit in , heart disease or cancer. Another found that taking multivitamins did nothing to stave off with aging. A third found that didn't help people who had had one heart attack avoid another. "Enough is enough," declares an accompanying the studies in Annals of Internal Medicine. "Stop wasting money on vitamin and mineral supplements..."

Eco-Friendly Holiday Tips: Surprising Ways To Make Your Family Time More Sustainable. A few good ideas can be found in this story at Huffington Post; here's the intro: "For many people, the holiday season is about more than just religion. It is a time to contemplate the morals we value as a society. These concepts are explored through actions, by swapping gifts, giving donations and making sure to spend time with friends and family. Yet a major component of the holiday mindset is showing gratitude for the world around us. One of the best ways we can do this is by not only showing compassion and appreciation for our loved ones, but by making sure our holiday is as sustainable as possible..."

TODAY: Windchill Advisory. Icy with flurries giving way to sunny peeks. Feels like -15 to -20F. High: 6
MONDAY NIGHT: Mostly clear. Cold enough. Low: -12
CHRISTMAS EVE: Brisk. Another 2-4" snow falls during the PM hours. High: 13
CHRISTMAS DAY: Light Chistmas snow, coating - 1" Wake-up: 11. High: 23
THURSDAY: Another temperature relapse. Bright sun. Wake-up: 0. High: 8
FRIDAY: Cold start, milder breeze PM. Wake-up: -4. High: 26
SATURDAY: Clouding up, light snow arrives. Wake-up: 23. High: 31 (falling later in the day)
SUNDAY: Mostly cloudy, colder again. Wake-up: 10. High: 12

Climate Stories...
"The atmosphere and oceans are storing the energy of 4 Hiroshima bombs every second, 400,000 every day."

Earth's Rate Of Global Warming Is 400,000 Hiroshima Bombs A Day. A temperatures "pause" or "hiatus"? Not so much. It's hard to wrap your brain around this number but the metaphor captures the amount of warmth being retained in the atmosphere and oceans by a steady buildup of greenhouse gases; here's an excerpt of an explanation at ThinkProgress: "...How can one convey the Earth’s staggering rate of heat build up from human-caused global warming — 250 trillion Watts (Joules per second)? The analogy to the energy released by the Hiroshima bomb has been used in recent years by a number of scientists, such as NOAA oceanographer John Lyman, and Mike Sandiford, Director of the Melbourne Energy Institute. In his TED talk Climatologist James Hansen explained the current rate of increase in global warming is:
“… equivalent to exploding 400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs per day, 365 days per year. That’s how much extra energy Earth is gaining each day.”
That comes out to more than four Hiroshima bombs a second, which is a metric Skeptical Science has turned into a widget. I prefer the 400,000 Hiroshimas per day metric simply because the heat imbalance is occurring over a very large area, which four Hiroshimas don’t do justice to. The deniers don’t like the metaphor because, they assert, it is inexact and sensationalistic. But the deniers don’t like the literal facts because they think those are inexact and sensationalistic, too, so we can safely ignore them..."

File photos above: Wikipedia.

Not Just The Koch Brothers: New Drexel Study Reveals Funders Behind The Climate Change Denial Effort. Here's an excerpt of a press release from Drexel University: "...The climate change countermovement is a well-funded and organized effort to undermine public faith in climate science and block action by the U.S. government to regulate emissions. This countermovement involves a large number of organizations, including conservative think tanks, advocacy groups, trade associations and conservative foundations, with strong links to sympathetic media outlets and conservative politicians. “The climate change countermovement has had a real political and ecological impact on the failure of the world to act on the issue of global warming,” said Brulle. “Like a play on Broadway, the countermovement has stars in the spotlight – often prominent contrarian scientists or conservative politicians – but behind the stars is an organizational structure of directors, script writers and producers, in the form of conservative foundations. If you want to understand what’s driving this movement, you have to look at what’s going on behind the scenes...”

Green Power Locater. Click on an interactive map from EPA to see incentives available, state by state.

Op-Ed: Events Show Utah Must Address Climate Change. Here's the intro to an Op-Ed at The Salt Lake Tribune: "As the planet warms, its atmosphere becomes more turbulent. We see changed weather patterns. Extreme events, for example severe droughts, wildfires, deadly storms, and floods, become more likely. Sad to say, such possibilities are right at hand. Jump back to Sept. 4, when a deadly wildfire scorched Yosemite, our treasured national park, and rained toxic ash on San Francisco’s water supply. "Experts," the New York Times reported, "say this is just a foretaste of major fires to come." In Colorado, two weeks later, torrential rain, on mountains scarred by recent fires, sent walls of water down the slopes, cut whole towns off, and left seven people dead. In Boulder alone, 6 inches fell in just 12 hours. Days later, with more than 800 Boulder and Larimer county residents still unaccounted for, a second storm grounded the rescue helicopters..."

Americans Have Little Faith In Scientists, Science Journalists: Poll. Huffington Post has the results of a troubling poll; here's a clip: "How much faith do Americans have in scientists and science journalists? Not a whole lot, a new survey finds. In a new HuffPost/YouGov poll, only 36 percent of Americans reported having "a lot" of trust that information they get from scientists is accurate and reliable. Fifty-one percent said they trust that information only a little, and another 6 percent said they don't trust it at all. Science journalists fared even worse in the poll. Only 12 percent of respondents said they had a lot of trust in journalists to get the facts right in their stories about scientific studies. Fifty-seven percent said they have a little bit of trust, while 26 percent said they don't trust journalists at all to accurately report on scientific studies..."

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