SUNDAY NIGHT: Partial clearing, noticeably colder again. Low: -6
MONDAY: Blue sky, another cold swipe. High: 5 (feels like -15 to -20 at times)
TUESDAY: Sunny. No-drama commutes. Wake-up: -9. High: 8
WEDNESDAY: Mostly cloudy, a little better. Wake-up: 2. High: 22
THURSDAY: First thaw since January 3. Gray and mild. Wake-up: 12. High: 33
FRIDAY: Mostly cloudy, few complaints. Wake-up: 17. High: 33
SATURDAY: Clouds linger, few flurries. Wake-up: 15. High: 30
Comedian Carl Reiner finds snow to be an unnecessary freezing of water, but many Minnesotans beg to differ. A reliable winter blanket of white is part of our heritage, our identity. We tromp, ski, skate, slip, slide and drill our way through these dark days by fixating on fresh moonscapes of snow and ice.
"Up north this weekend, near Pelican, and amazed how little snow we saw on the way up" a friend e-mailed. I called up the latest snowcover map, surprised to see so little snow for so much of central Minnesota. Subzero with brown ground from Brainerd and Wadena to Morris. What gives?
The 18.6 inches of snow so far in the Twin Cities this winter is almost 7 inches less than normal. An active southerly branch of the jet stream, possibly pumped up by El Nino, is whisking the wettest storms well south of Minnesota, keeping us in a No man's land of dry, relatively quiet weather, with swings from subzero to 30s. No bitter blocking pattern setting up similar to last winter.
Expect storm-free weather into next weekend as temperatures mellow. Highs reach the 30s Thursday into at least the first few days of next week. By January standards in Minnesota that's probably a warm front.
Image credit above: "Visualization of the jet stream on Jan. 8, 2015, showing a swath of 200 knot winds blowing across the North Atlantic, affecting flights." Image: http://earth.nullschool.net.
Photo credit above: "Brighter Future: A Study on Solar in U.S. Schools. The Bolles School in Jacksonville, Florida has a 15 million BTU/day solar pool heating installation." Photo: Solar Source.
Image credit above: "Glaciers around the world are retreating as the climate warms. NASA tracked a retreat of 3 kilometers (2 miles) of Argentina's Upsala glacier, in Patagonia, between 2001 and 2013. A new anaysis of global temperature data from the Japan Meteorological Agency found that 2014 was the warmest year on record." Credit: NASA.
Image credit above: "The DC-8 airborne laboratory is one of several NASA aircraft that will fly in support the five new Earth Venture class missions to launch this year." (Photo: NASA).