Sunday, February 22, 2015

Windchill Advisory - Extended Thaw In Sight

-9 F. morning low on Sunday.
0 F. high temperature yesterday in the Twin Cities.
31 F. average high on February 22.
14 F. high on February 22, 2014.

February 22, 1981: Warmth returns to Minnesota with a high at Pipestone of 55 and a high of 52 at Luverne.

The Longest Month?

Nagging about the weather is highly subjective; everyone has their opinions, anecdotes & horror stories. There's no one right answer.

So forgive me while I lament the month of February, my least favorite month of the year.

Think about it. November brings the novelty of snow and Thanksgiving. December features Santa and good tidings of credit, NFL playoffs in January, March holds the promise of spring break and muddy 30s as Old Man Winter begins to lose interest. But February? Aching cold - spits of snow - greasy freeways. Like an annoying uncle who doesn't know when to leave.

Sorry for the rant. Tracking a parade of anorexic clippers is making me nutty. Towns from Kentucky to Virginia have seen more snow than MSP so far this winter; New England as much as 4 to 6 times more snow. And I still don't see a "shovel-able" snowfall into at least the second week of March.

A southern storm brushes us with light snow next Sunday morning. At this point I'll be surprised if we pick up a grand total of 35 to 40 inches by May 1. A bust for snow lovers.

But if you love wind chill you're in luck! The mercury hits 30F Tuesday before the next Canadian cold slap - keep your warmest parka handy.

Arctic Burps. Canada exports more chilling air into the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes by midweek, but first the mercury pushes into the 20s later today, brushing freezing Tuesday morning before tumbling once again. NOAA NAM 2-meter temperature forecast via Ham Weather.

A Cold Finish to February. I still see a cold bias into the end of next week; growing evidence that we'll finally thaw out the second week of March. A southern storm brushes Minnesota with a light accumulation next Saturday night and Sunday morning - it's early but a couple inches could fall. Probably nothing more.

Dripping Icicles. There's a hardy cardinal that sings a happy tune every morning outside my window. Hardy and a little stupid, but I appreciate the effort. GFS guidance shows 30s pushing into Minnesota (finally) by March 5 or March 6. Circle your calendar.

Snow Drought. Parts of eastern Kentucky and western Virginia have picked up more snow than the Twin Cities so far this winter. Some coastal communities in New England have received as much as 3 to 5 times more snow than MSP. Here's an excerpt from meteorologist D.J. Kayser's weather blog: "...Minneapolis sits at only 24.1″ of snow so far this winter, 14.9″ below average for this time of year. Meanwhile, places further south have gotten more snow than us. Jackson, KY, only averages 17.8″ of snow through February 19th – they’ve seen 24.7″. And 20.8″ of that has fallen this month – over 15″ of that within the past five days..."

Thrilled By Chills? Take A Look At The World's Coldest City. NPR had a story over the weekend that made me temporarily forget about the latest cold front. Keep me out of Yakutsk, Russia, please. I'm feeling better about the Twin Cities. Here's an excerpt: "...Maybe you've heard of Yakutsk from the board game Risk, which you might have played in the comfort of your warm home. Out here, the average winter temperature is brutal: -30 degrees Fahrenheit. "The first impression I had was being physically gripped by [the cold]," Chapple says. "It was literally like something had wrapped around my legs..."

Photo credit above: "Yakutsk, Russia is the world's coldest city: average winter temperatures hit -30 degrees. It's also the largest city built on permafrost. Amos Chapple

Jeremy Jackson On Sea Level Rise. This YouTube video will not be endorsed by the Chamber of Commerce of Miami, New Orleans or New York City anytime soon. Jeremy Jackson addressed the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island on February 5. The presentation goes over an hour - if you have friends in south Florida, Louisiana or the Big Apple you might want to take a peek.

Tornado In A Bottle. How many fans does it take to create a miniature tornado in a laboratory? Fewer than you might think, according to an interesting story and video at Slate; here's a clip: "...We can create a 5-meter-wide tornado inside the chamber. A tornado is a combination of rotation and suction. By angling the airflow from the fans around the lower chamber, we control the rotation of a tornado vortex, and we create the suction by running the six huge fans in reverse. The beauty of our tornado is that we can move it along the ground at 2 meters per second..."

Apple Wants To Start Producing Cars As Soon As 2020. Will they buy Tesla to jump-start their development efforts? It's no longer about digital devices, soon it will be a digital lifestyle, including new transportation options. Here's a clip from a story at Bloomberg Business: "...Tesla’s success in creating a startup car company has shown that the traditional barriers of entry into the auto industry aren’t as difficult to overcome as originally thought, said one person, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. At the same time, automakers have struggled to bring technical leaps to car development, something that Silicon Valley is also seeking to accomplish. For example, Google Inc. has invested in developing an autonomous vehicle since 2010..." (Image courtesy of iJailbreak).

7 Cities That Are Starting To Go Car-Free. I found this story at fascinating - wondering if the trend will come to the Twin Cities; here's an excerpt: "...Traffic in London today moves slower than an average cyclist (or a horse-drawn carriage). Commuters in L.A. spend 90 hours a year stuck in traffic. A U.K. study found that drivers spend 106 days of their lives looking for parking spots. Now a growing number of cities are getting rid of cars in certain neighborhoods through fines, better design, new apps, and, in the case of Milan, even paying commuters to leave their car parked at home and take the train instead..." (If anyone spots the woman in the convertible above please call 911 immediately).

TODAY: Cold start. Turning windy with fading sun. Wind chill: -25 early. Winds: SW 15-25. High: 24
MONDAY NIGHT: Mostly cloudy, rising temperatures. Low: 23
TUESDAY: Mild start, few flakes in the air. High: 31
WEDNESDAY: More clouds than sun, chilly. Wake-up: 6. High: 15
THURSDAY: Blue sky. Sunscreen optional. Wake-up: -4. High: 12
FRIDAY: Plenty of sun. Another wintry hug. Wake-up: -2. High: 18
SATURDAY: Clouds increase, light snow late? Wake-up: 9. High: 26
SUNDAY: Snow tapers. Couple inches early? Wake-up: 18. High: 27

Climate Stories....

Deeper Ties To Corporate Cash For A Doubtful Climate Scientist. Except that he's not a climate scientist; he's an aerospace engineer. His papers over the years have cast doubt on man-made warming; linking any changes in temperature to the sun. And you'll never believe who is major funders are. The New York Times has the story; here's an excerpt: "...Historians and sociologists of science say that since the tobacco wars of the 1960s, corporations trying to block legislation that hurts their interests have employed a strategy of creating the appearance of scientific doubt, usually with the help of ostensibly independent researchers who accept industry funding. Fossil-fuel interests have followed this approach for years, but the mechanics of their activities remained largely hidden..."

Senator Edward Markey To Investigate Energy Companies on Climate Science Funding. Here's a clip from The Boston Globe: "...The Massachusetts Democrat will send letters to fossil fuel companies, trade organizations, and others with a stake in carbon fuels, aiming to reveal other climate-change-skeptical scientists whose work has been subsidized by those parties, a Markey spokesman said via e-mail. “For years, fossil fuel interests and front groups have attacked climate scientists and legislation to cut carbon pollution using junk science and debunked arguments,” Markey said in a statement. “The American public deserve an honest debate that isn’t polluted by the best junk science fossil fuel interests can buy. That’s why I will be launching this investigation to see how widespread this denial-for-hire scheme stretches within the anti-climate action cabal...”

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