19 F. high in the Twin Cities Thursday.
26 F. average high on February 5.
4 F. high on February 5, 2014, after waking up to -5 F.
2" snow on the ground at MSP International Airport.
February 5, 1994: The national low was at Tower with -41.
Farmers are the original entrepreneurs, risking their capital and know-how for an uncertain return. Weather is obviously a huge factor, the prevalence of drought; extreme heat can devastate yields. Nothing is guaranteed. And farmers tend to take nothing for granted in their quest to a). feed the world, and b). stay in business.
Wednesday Winfield (Land O'Lakes) invited me to Mankato and Brookings, South Dakota to talk about the data and the trends. Ignore either and you're out of business. Reasonable people can debate the cause, but there's little doubt weather patterns are changing and morphing: intensity of summer rain, length of the growing season, higher dew points, challenges with soil moisture and nitrogen run-off, and "weather whiplash", going from drought to flood back to drought at a rapid rate that would have been unthinkable a generation ago.
The farmers I talked with acknowledged that it's not their grandfather's weather anymore. They promised to keep an open mind, which is as much as anyone can ask for.
Minnesota is drying out; moisture from the Gulf of Mexico unable to able to push this far north, leaving us with gently-used clippers, which whip up more wind than snow.
This weekend's clipper passes well north, pulling mild 30s back into Minnesota - another welcome thaw is imminent.
NOAA predicts a 50-60 percent chance of El Nino setting up by late winter and spring. The Pacific Ocean can't seem to make up it's mind. Just like the fickle ocean of air floating above our heads.
- January monthly precipitation totals were below historical averages in nearly every Minnesota community. In many locales, a monthly precipitation totals were less than one-half of the long-term average.
- Snow depths are highly variable across Minnesota. Less than three inches of snow cover is on the ground across large sections of west central, central, and southwest Minnesota. Whereas, much of northeastern Minnesota, inland from Lake Superior, has a foot or more of snow cover. Snow depths are well below median for this time of the year in most Minnesota communities.
- The U. S. Drought Monitor indicates that Abnormally Dry conditions exist over nearly all of Minnesota, the result of a dry late summer and autumn, and a snow-sparse winter. Two small areas of west central and north central Minnesota are placed in the Moderate Drought category....
Photo credit above: "Washington Harbor encroaches on the shore in September 2003 as storm surge from Hurricane Isabel raises water levels." Credit: FEMA/Liz Roll.
Why Do Many Reasonable People Doubt Science? National Geographic has a thoughtful look, from faked moon landings to vaccines and climate change, there is manufactured doubt everywhere you look; here's a clip: "...We live in an age when all manner of scientific knowledge—from the safety of fluoride and vaccines to the reality of climate change—faces organized and often furious opposition. Empowered by their own sources of information and their own interpretations of research, doubters have declared war on the consensus of experts. There are so many of these controversies these days, you’d think a diabolical agency had put something in the water to make people argumentative..." (Image: Kennedy Space Center).
TODAY: Gray, a little freezing drizzle. Winds: SE 10. High: near 30
FRIDAY NIGHT: Cloudy, a touch of ice possible. Low: 20
SATURDAY: Cloudy, relatively mild. Plowable snow Minnesota Arrowhead. High: 33
SUNDAY: Mostly cloudy, close to average. Wake-up: 24. High: 29
MONDAY: More clouds than sun. Wake-up: 20. High: 30
TUESDAY: Another clipper? Chance of slushy snow. Wake-up: 25. High: 32
WEDNESDAY: Windy, turning colder again. Wake-up: 21. High: 23
THURSDAY: Blue sky, touch of January. Wind chills dipping to -20. Wake-up: -3. High: 13
Image credit above: " .