25 F. average high on January 29.
34 F. high on January 29, 2014.
Trace of snow on the ground in the Twin Cities.
January 29, 1994: Duluth has a record low of -35.
January 29, 1893: Blizzard hits the state with temperatures falling 40 degrees in five hours at Park Rapids.
My future in-laws live in Newton, Massachusetts, just west of Boston. They sent me a nice photo of the 21 inches of new snow in their yard. In one blizzard the Boston area picked up more snow than the Twin Cities has seen all winter. I don't know whether to be jealous or grateful. Or baffled.
A few months ago some meteorologists were beating the Polar Vortex gong, convinced this winter would rival last year's polar pain. It isn't quite work out that way.
Based on heating degree days we've used 2 percent less energy to heat our homes this winter. Last year was 7 percent colder. So far 13 subzero nights, compared with 29 nights of negative fun as of January 30, 2014.
20.4 inches of snow at MSP is 13 inches less than average, to date. A TRACE on the ground? Bizarre for late January.
Models show a parade of clippers the next 2 weeks, any big storms (with names) snubbing Minnesota, sailing off to our south. Old Man Winter administers a light spanking next week; a couple of nights dipping below zero. But not as cold as the first 10 days of January. And a thaw returns by late next week.
Six more weeks of winter seems like a pretty sure bet at this northerly latitude, but I'm banking on an early spring this year. Nothing like the past 2 springs with snow in May. Place your bets.
Photo credit above: "Bruce Raymond shovels snow from the roof of his Chaplin, Conn. home on Jan. 28, 2015, after yesterday's storm that brought more than 20-inches to parts of the state. More snow and freezing temperatures are forecast for most of next week." (Mark Mirko/Hartford Courant/TNS).
Central American Fires May Intensify U.S. Tornadoes. Really? Science News has an overview on how smoke can amplify conditions necessary for tornadoes, which I found to be non-obvious; here's a clip: "...Smoke wafting across the Gulf of Mexico from Central America can help spawn intense twisters in and around North America’s Tornado Alley, new research suggests. Reconstructing the extreme April 27, 2011 tornado outbreak, which sired 122 twisters across the Southeastern United States, researchers found that smoke particles in the atmosphere further enhanced conditions already favorable for intense tornado formation..."
More of an observation…I was out for a noon-time walk on Tuesday, Jan 27, near Rice Creek Parkway in Shoreview, when I spotted this little fellow walking alongside me. Air temp was about 35 F, and he was definitely moving (albeit very slowly).
I don’t recall ever seeing a live caterpillar in the middle of winter before.
- Jason Torgerson
TODAY: Partly sunny, close to average. Winds: S 8. High: 26
FRIDAY NIGHT: A few clouds, no drama. Low: 20
SATURDAY: Mostly cloudy, turning colder late. High: 27
SUNDAY: Chilly Super Sunday. Clearing. Wake-up: 9. High: 15
MONDAY: Clouds increase, nighttime coating? Wake-up: 5. High: near 20
TUESDAY: Stronger clipper, few inches possible. Wake-up: 17. High: 21
WEDNESDAY: Blue sky. Nippy. Wind chill: -20. Wake-up: -2. High: 9
THURSDAY: Crunchy extremities. Fading sun. Wake-up: -10. High: 6
* ECMWF guidance is hinting at another thaw by the end of next week.
File photo credit: AP Photo/Scott Heppell.