Emerging from hibernation can be awkward. "Let me be the 100th person to ask if we're having a white Christmas" my neighbor, Teri, asked me yesterday. Not looking good, I answered. It could be the first brown Christmas in 3 years. "Can you explain that to 7 family members driving up from Texas? One of them has never seen snow. He will be crushed" she sighed.
Snow for Christmas is no longer a sure thing. Winters are becoming ever-weirder. More volatile. According to Dr. Mark Seeley Minnesota has seen a 4X increase in mid-winter rain and ice since 2000.
Exhibit A: today. Expect moderate rain as temperatures fall through the 40s. An inch or two of slushy snow piles up tonight at the tail-end of the storm - the same storm that clobbered California with flooding rains, mudslides, even a small tornado in the skies above L.A. Friday.
Here's what I believe: we'll see our fair share of cold fronts and snowstorms this winter. But El Nino will take the edge off the coldest air. I would wager a (stale) bagel that this winter won't be as persistently bitter as last.
After cooling off to average this week with a rare sunshine sighting expect another thaw just in time for Christmas.
TODAY: Periods of rain ends as temperatures fall. NE 10-20. High: 48 early, reaching upper 30s by late afternoon.
MONDAY NIGHT: Wet snow, an inch or two possible. Getting slippery. Low: 26
TUESDAY: Slick start. Mostly cloudy with a colder wind. Feels like 15F. HIgh: 27
WEDNESDAY: More clouds than sun, chilly. Wake-up: 14. High: 23
THURSDAY: Risk of spying the sun. Still brisk. Wake-up: 13. High: 25
FRIDAY: Sunny peeks, good travel weather. Wake-up: 15. High: 28
SATURDAY: Light winds, average temps. Wake-up: 18. High: 30
SUNDAY: Still gray, quiet for late December. Wake-up: 19. High: 31
* File photo: Robert F. Bukaty, AP.
Graph credit above: "Global average temperature trend, 1998-present." Source: Stefan Rahmstorf/RealClimate.
Weather Bombs, Polar Vortex: Global Warming's Influence on Extreme Weather. No, it's probably not your imagination. Here's an excerpt from Stanford and Science 2.0: "...The media are often focused on whether global warming caused a particular event," says Diffenbaugh, who is a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. "The more useful question for real-world decisions is: 'Is the probability of a particular event statistically different now compared with a climate without human influence?'" His belief is based on three elements of varying rigor: climate observations, climate computer simulations which estimate variations in climate and statistics to reconcile the first two..."
Graphic credit above: "Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI) for 2080-2099 with business-as-usual warming. By comparison, during the 1930s Dust Bowl, the PDSI in the Great Plains rarely exceeded -3 (see here)." Source: Cook et al. and Climate Progress.