28 F. average high on December 11.
5 F. high on December 11, 2013.
2004: A strong cold front pushed through Minnesota during the early morning hours. By dawn, winds turned to the northwest and increased to 25 to 40 MPH with gusts as high as 70 MPH. The windiest part of the day was from mid morning through mid afternoon when many locations suffered sustained winds in the 30 to 45 MPH range. The highest wind gusts recorded in southern Minnesota during this time included 71 MPH in Welch and 62 MPH near Albert Lea, St. James, Winthrop and Owatonna. Other notable wind gusts included 59 MPH at New Ulm, 58 MPH in Mankato, 55 MPH in St. Cloud and Morris, 54 MPH at Redwood Falls, and 52 MPH at the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport. Scattered trees were downed and a few buildings received minor roof damage across the region.
1939: December gale at north shore; winds clocked at 48 mph at Duluth. Source: MPX National Weather Service.
The Dark Side
"The sun that brief December day, rose cheerless over hills of gray..." Those are John Greenleaf Whittier's opening lines to "Snowbound" and they pretty well nail the meteorological malaise that descends on Minnesota during December.
Most of us can handle brittle wind chills, even the endless snow cones of grit. It's the darkness that throws many into a dark funk. December is the cloudiest month of the year, on average.
My friend and consulting meteorologist Dean DeHarpporte just cheered me up with this nugget: December 10 is the day the sun sets earliest (4:32 PM) of any day of the year. "The 23.4 degree tilt of the earth's axis and the varying speed of the earth in its orbit around the sun combine to make the earliest sunset before the 21st in December" he wrote. December 21 is the shortest day, but we've already had our earliest sunset. It's all uphill from here!
Yep, it's a big hill.
Unseasonably mild air chilled from below sparks lazy clouds (fog) into the weekend. 40s are expected; 30F warmer than mid-December 2013. It should feel like a bad Club Med vacation.
Rain ends as wet snow Monday but I still don't see any major snowfalls between now and Santa's grand entrance.
Mild Spell. I'm not convinced we'll see 50s in the Twin Cities with the sharp inversion hovering overhead, temperatures 20-30 degrees warmer some 3,000 to 4,000 feet above the ground, putting a lid on clouds, fog and pollutants. But we'll see 40s, which will feel like a minor miracle, and the arrival of colder air sets off a period of wet snow. A slushy accumulation is possible by Monday night - too early for details. We cool off next week, but nothing frigid is brewing, and I still don't see big storms between now and Christmas.
Prevailing Jet Stream Winds: December 17-21. NOAA guidance continues to show a modified zonal flow, winds aloft still blowing from the Pacific, which will limit just how cold it can get between now and roughly Christmas. Most of the big California storms will track well south of Minnesota, dumping heavy rain on Dallas and Atlanta.
Cooling Trend After Christmas. Long-range GFS guidance from GrADS COLA/IGES shows a more amplified pattern returning the last week of December, capable of cooling us down into the teens and 20s for highs. As long as it stays above zero any complaints will probably be muted. Nothing frigid or subzero is on the horizon, not yet.
* Fine particles may exacerbate pre-existing health conditions and may cause individuals to experience chest pain, shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing of fatigue. If you experience these symptoms, contact your physician. Source: EPA's AirNow.
Map credit above: "Graphic showing the total amount of heat energy available for Super Typhoon Haiyan to absorb, not just on the surface, but integrated through the water column. Deeper, warmer pools of water are colored purple, though any region colored from pink to purple has sufficient energy to fuel storm intensification. The dotted line represents the best-track and forecast data as of 16:00 UTC on Nov. 7." Courtesy of NOAA.
File photo credit above: "This file 2008 photo provided by NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center shows debris in Hanauma Bay, Hawaii. A new study estimates nearly 270,000 tons of plastic is floating in the world's oceans. That's enough to fill more than 38,500 garbage trucks if each truck carries 7 tons of plastic. The figure appears in a study published, Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2014, in the scientific journal PLOS ONE. Researchers say the plastic is broken up into more than 5 trillion pieces." (AP Photo/NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center, File).
- The majority of voters, 63 percent, support standards for methane emissions. After hearing a balanced debate on both sides, support increases overall to 66 percent. In particular, Republicans moved from 45 percent supporting to 53 percent supporting.
- EPA remains much more popular than Congress.
- The EPA continues to earn positive favorability ratings, at 42 percent favorable compared to 31 percent unfavorable.
- Voters' feeling toward Congress remains strongly negative with 60 percent giving it an unfavorable rating, a trend that crosses party lines..."
TODAY: Cloudy, foggy and milder. Winds: South 10. High: 39
FRIDAY NIGHT: More fog, quite dense in some areas. Low: 38
SATURDAY: Still gray. Thick fog, March-like temperatures. High: 46
SUNDAY: Fog and drizzle, still mild. Wake-up: 37. High: 48
MONDAY: Cold rain ends as wet snow. Late PM slush? Wake-up: 32. High: 36
TUESDAY: Flurries taper. Mostly cloudy skies. Wake-up: 25. High: 29
WEDNESDAY: More sun, chilly and dry. Wake-up: 19. High: 26
THURSDAY: Patchy clouds, light winds. Wake-up: 16. High: 28
Graphic credit above: "
With respect to "it's real," geologists have shown that climate change, rather than stability, is the long-term default condition. Knowing that "it's us" requires understanding how the earth carbon budget works as a coherent system. Knowing that "it's bad" requires looking back in time to former conditions reconstructed from the rock record. Knowing that "there's hope" requires nothing more than learning that Earth is not the fragile planet we've been led to imagine. Rather, it's tough and resistant to anything climate change can throw at it. It's humanity that is vulnerable..."
Photo credit: Tim McCabe, USDA.