26 F. average high on December 20.
20 F. high on December 20, 2013.
1" snow on the ground.
December 20, 1993: Strong northwest winds gusted to 35 miles an hour and caused near whiteout conditions over a wide area of southwest Minnesota during the late afternoon on the 21st into the early morning of the 22nd. Several car accidents occurred. A 30 year old man was killed when he lost control of his truck and slid into a ditch in the near blizzard like conditions. Counties affected include: Blue Earth, Brown, Chippewa, Faribault, Lac Qui Parle, Redwood, Renville, Watonwan, and Yellow Medicine.
December 20, 1939: Latest date for Lake Minnewaska to freeze over at Glenwood.
I'm taking a break from the Bob Dylan-Spam-Tidy Bowl on ESPN 7 to ponder the Winter Solstice, the start of the sun's inevitable comeback. Today brings the shortest daylight of the year: 8 hours and 46 minutes of meager sunlight. That compares with 15 hours, 37 minutes of daylight on June 21.
I have a hunch my distant ancestors hibernated from November thru March. And pioneers hunkering down at Fort Snelling endured a parade of blizzards, disease, filth and boredom, but somehow they managed. No electronic distractions, just books, games, cards & whiskey. Not necessarily in that order.
Last year 9 inches of snow was on the ground on Christmas Day. This year we'll be lucky to wind up with an inch of slush, after an extended thaw from today into Wednesday morning. The atmosphere should be mild enough aloft for rain tomorrow; a coating to an inch or two of slush Tuesday before flurries taper Christmas Eve. The sun peeks out Christmas Day with highs in the 20s; Friday's snow chance has diminished. Sorry for the false alarm.
That's the thing about El Nino winters: they tend to be milder, cloudier and foggier, with fewer storms overall.
Not as much polar-vortex-babble in the media, either.
Photo credit above: "Flooding on San Francisco's Embarcadero during the 2012 King Tide." Credit: Sergio Ruiz/Flickr.
Photo credit above: AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko, File.
TODAY: Fog and drizzle. Very gray. Winds: South 10. High: 36
SUNDAY NIGHT: Foggy and damp, light mix or drizzle. Low: 33
MONDAY: Periods of rain. Wet roads. High: 38
TUESDAY: A chance of wet snow, coating of slush? Wake-up: 32. High: 34
CHRISTMAS EVE: Flurries taper. Santa sightings late. Wake-up: 30. High: 32
CHRISTMAS DAY: Some Assembly Required. Some sunshine too. Wake-up: 22. High: 29
FRIDAY: Chance of snow far south. Wake-up: 19. High: 26
SATURDAY: Mostly cloudy, chilly. Good travel. Wake-up: 8. High: 22
Image credit above: "Global atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations from Oct. 1 through Nov. 11, as recorded by NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2. Brighter colors show high CO2 concentrations." Image: NASA JPL.
Graphic above: Union of Concerned Scientists.