19 F. high yesterday at KMSP.
32 F. average high on February 23.
17 F. high on February 23, 2014.
February 23, 1835: Temperature at Ft. Snelling falls 26 degrees in only three hours.
A Baffling Pattern
It may sound trite and cliche but I'm not above that. What a difference a year makes in the heavy snow department! February 2014 was 12.3F colder than average as spokes of the dreaded polar vortex rotated overhead. But it snowed with 18.4 inches in February, 2014.
A year ago today we had 20 inches on the ground! This year: a dirty inch in the Twin Cities; no snow at all for southwest Minnesota. 25 inches so far this winter in the Twin Cities, compared with 57 inches a year ago.
What changed? A subtle shift in a remarkably persistent ridge of warm, dry high pressure blanketing the western USA. Last winter the ridge axis was further west; every new invasion of bitter air able to tap moisture from the Gulf of Mexico. That resulted in real snow, not this winter's diet of scrawny Alberta Clippers. Unless jet stream winds are blowing from the southwest it's hard to get a big storm into Minnesota.
A couple inches of snow may fall Saturday night into early Sunday as yet another storm slides south but no buzz-worthy storms are brewing.
The coldest subzero readings are behind us, but a cold bias lingers into next week. 30s sweep in the second week of March - late but very welcome!
* Monday visible image above courtesy of NASA MODIS and the University of Wisconsin.
Skin Patch May Protect Against Life-Threatening Peanut Allergy. The Today Show has an interesting story which may provide hope for peanut allergy sufferers; here's a clip: "In the second phase of a drug trial, half of participants wearing the highest dose “peanut patches” for a year were able to consume the equivalent of four peanuts without reacting, researchers reported Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. It means that “they are not going to have to worry about traces of peanut in a package that came from a plant where peanuts were used or minor contamination of food in a restaurant,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Hugh Sampson, a professor of pediatrics at the Icahn School of Medicine and director of the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at Mount Sinai..."
Photo credit above: "Neil Patrick Harris, center, host of the 87th Academy Awards, at the Governors Ball in Los Angeles, Feb. 22, 2015." (Noel West/The New York Times).
TODAY: Mild start with early flurries, then clearing and windy. Winds: NW 20+ High: 30 (early)
TUESDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy and colder. Low: 5
WEDNESDAY: Partly sunny and chilly. High: 15
THURSDAY: Sunny, less wind. Still too cold. Wake-up: 0. High: 12
FRIDAY: Blue sky, still snow-free. Wake-up: -2. High: 17
SATURDAY: Clouds increase, snow at night. Wake-up: 6. High: 25
SUNDAY: Couple inches early? PM clearing. Wake-up: 23. High: 28
MONDAY: Sunny, brisk start to March. Wake-up: 4. High: 21
Photo credit above: "Pedestrians walk single file through snow banks on a Beacon Street sidewalk in Boston, Friday, Feb. 20, 2015. Midway through an epic winter that's shattered records and buried Boston in more than 8 feet of snow, locals and outsiders alike could be forgiven for wondering why a world-class city that's accustomed to heavy snowfall — and prides itself on being a global center of technology and innovation — can't seem to dig out and move on." (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)