26 F. average high on December 18.
37 F. high on December 18, 2013.
1" snow on the ground at KMSP.
December 18, 1983: Record lows were set across central Minnesota with temperatures ranging from fifty degrees below zero to the upper twenties below zero. Mora set their record with a low of 52 below, with 42 below at Little Falls, 41 below at Jordan, St. Cloud, and Cambridge, and 39 below at Long Prairie, Milaca, and Stillwater.
December 18, 1922: Heat wave across Minnesota. Temperatures climb into the 60's at New Ulm.
When I talk to older Minnesotans it's not the snow or biting wind chill that makes them nervous. It's ice. Falling on ice can spark debilitating injuries for young and old alike; hitting your head on icy ground can trigger concussion, even death.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention an older American is treated in a hospital emergency room for injuries related to a fall every 15 seconds. Falls are the leading cause of injury for adults older than 65, accounting for 95 percent of hip fractures. Every winter 1 in 3 Americans over the age of 65 will fall down.
Why do some Minnesotans become snowbirds and flee south for the winter? It probably has more to do with fear of ice than fear of the cold. Adequate footwear, exercises to maintain balance, and monitoring any medications that might spark dizziness can help lower the overall risk.
A weekend thaw melts much of the ice out there right now. A coating of snow is possible before Christmas, but this year Santa may show up in a red SUV.
A touch of arctic air is on tap for late December and early January, but the pattern appears "progressive".
Translation: no sign of subzero air stalling for weeks on end.
* Photo credit: Steve Burns.
Graphic credit above: "NASA GRACE satellite data reveal the severity of California’s drought on water resources across the state. This map shows the trend in water storage between September 2011 and September 2014." Image Credit: NASA JPL.
TODAY: Mostly cloudy, a bit milder. Winds: SE 5-10. High: 32
FRIDAY NIGHT: Cloudy, not as cold. Low: 29
SATURDAY: Thawing out. Clouds and fog linger. High: 34
SUNDAY: Clouds, fog, drizzle possible. Wake-up: 31. High: 36
MONDAY: Mix changes to wet snow. Slushy? Wake-up: 32. High: 37
TUESDAY: Light snow tapers. Coating possible. Wake-up: 31. High: 33
CHRISTMAS EVE: Colder wind, few flurries. Wake-up: 27. High: 29
CHRISTMAS DAY: Cloudy Christmas Day, chilly. Wake-up: 22. High: 27
Research Eyes Global Warming - Extreme Weather Links. Here's a clip from a story at Summit County Citizens Voice: "...But decision makers need to appreciate the influence of global warming on extreme climate and weather events. “If we look over the last decade in the United States, there have been more than 70 events that have each caused at least $1 billion in damage, and a number of those have been considerably more costly,” said Diffenbaugh. “Understanding whether the probability of those high-impact events has changed can help us to plan for future extreme events, and to value the costs and benefits of avoiding future global warming.”
Most Americans Are Clueless About How Climate Change Will Affect Their Health. Here's a snippet from a Grist article that made me do a double-take: "...Even many respondents who recognized that climate change poses health threats didn’t understand which threats were likely to affect American communities in the next 10 years. For example:
- Allergies? Correct answer: yes. Percent who said yes: 38%
- Asthma? Correct answer: yes. Percent who said yes: 37%
- Heat stroke? Correct answer: yes. Percent who said yes: 36%
- The flu? Correct answer: no. Percent who said yes: 29%
- Depression? Correct answer: yes. Percent who said yes: 26%
- Ebola? Correct answer: no. Percent who said yes: 22%