10 F. high temperature yesterday in the Twin Cities.
27 F. average high on December 14.
39 F. high on December 14, 2015.
December 15, 1971: A snowstorm hits Duluth with 10 inches.
Why Cold Storms Are More Dangerous On The Roads - Record Cold Possible Sunday
I like snow - especially on snowmen, trails, fields and trees limbs. But snow on the highways is an acquired taste. Rush hour is a mess on a good day. Add a few inches of snow and your commute can mutate into what Stephen King might describe as a carnival of nightmare and death.
Tomorrow's Hassle Factor should be off the scale, because cold storms are much more dangerous on the roads than milder storms near freezing. Temperatures will rise into the teens Friday, meaning a light, fluffy, powdery snowfall. Easy to shovel off the driveway, but out on the highways the result may be "wheel track glazing".
Repeated traffic compresses and warms the snow, which melts and immediately refreezes into black ice.
The worst travel comes Friday afternoon into midday Saturday, as we dig out from 5-8 inches of new snow. Flurries taper Saturday afternoon with minor blowing & drifting; by Sunday morning air temperatures fall into the -15 to -25F range with a chill factor as low as -40F.
Before you suffer heart palpitations, any pain will be brief. 20s and 30s (above zero) return next week!
File photo credit: MnDOT.
Ice dams are causing flooding on the Mississippi River near Fort Ripley, according to Brainerd Dispatch.
NAM Surface Forecast. NOAA's 84-hour NAM gives an hour-by-hour blow of the snow forecast to push across the Plains and Midwest Friday into Saturday; an icy mix forecast for Missouri and the Ohio Valley. It should be a long-duration snow event with snow ratios as high as 20:1 or 25:1, meaning plowable snow for much of the northern tier of the USA into the weekend. Map: Tropicaltidbits.com.
Near-Record Low Sunday? Both NAM and GFS guidance suggest a wake-up temperature colder than -20F in the Twin Cities, in spite of a meager urban heat island. Ironically the last record low in the Twin Cities was nearly 20 years ago; -27F on December 26, 1996. The all-time record low for Sunday morning, December 18, is -24F in 1983. We may come close.
Putting the cold into longer-term perspective:
Tracking Decembers The Last 5 Years. The winter 3 years ago was the one that was like something out of the 1970s, a harsh "polar vortex" winter. Which is an oversimplification of what really happened. Sunday may bring the coldest daytime highs and lows in 20+ years for parts of Minnesota. MSP graphics: AerisWeather meteorologist D.J. Kayser.
- About 100,000 people get their drinking water from utilities that discovered high lead but failed to treat the water to remove it. Dozens of utilities took more than a year to formulate a treatment plan and even longer to begin treatment.
- Some 4 million Americans get water from small operators who skipped required tests or did not conduct the tests properly, violating a cornerstone of federal safe drinking water laws. The testing is required because, without it, utilities, regulators and people drinking the water can't know if it's safe..." (File photo: ThinkStock).
Photo credit: "
...More than a dozen wind integration studies by US grid operators and others have found that wind energy can reliably supply at least 20%-30% of the nation’s electricity, with some studies analyzing wind providing 40% of total electricity on an annual basis. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s Renewable Energy Futures study found no reliability problems for a case in which wind and solar provide nearly 50% of total electricity. If the recent records are any indication, these levels are a real possibility in the future..." (File photo: CCL).
The Block Island Wind Farm, a 30 megawatt (or million watt) installment off the Rhode Island coast, went into regular operation Monday – marking the beginning of a bonafide new source of electricity in the United States. Although countries like Britain and China have many of them, this is the first fully operational U.S. offshore wind farm installment. It comes just after the election of Donald Trump, who has tried to stop an offshore wind farm that he said obscured the view from one of his Scottish golf courses, and even as the Trump transition team at the Department of Energy posed a controversial list of 74 questions to the agency, including the following: “What is the Department’s role with respect to the development of offshore wind?...”
Photo credit: "The Deepwater Wind project, which sits off the coast of Rhode Island’s Block Island, went into regular operation on Monday." Photo courtesy of Deepwater Wind.
FRIDAY: Winter Storm Watch. Snow increases in intensity - roads become icy. Winds: SE 10-15. High: 15
SATURDAY: Snow slowly tapers. 5-8" new powder. Winds: NW 10-20+ Wake-up: 5. High: 6 (falling)
SUNDAY: One of the coldest days of winter. Some sun, W.C. near -40F early Wake-up: -20. High: -3
MONDAY: Mostly cloudy, not as harsh. Wake-up: -8. High: near 20
TUESDAY: Patchy clouds, risk of a thaw. Wake-up: 14. High: 31
WEDNESDAY: Chance of light snow or flurries. Wake-up: 19. High: 30
Climate Change Brewing More Extreme Weather, Shifting Breaking Points. Ars Technica has the article; here's an excerpt: "...As for what's ahead, the researchers wanted to use their model to understand the environment's “breaking point”—the temperature above which the precipitation rate stops increasing and starts to decline. The concept was not well understood before, but the researchers wanted to know whether global warming may shift this breaking point. According to their model—which assumes that future weather patterns look more or less like current and past weather patterns—extreme precipitation events in the future “are projected to significantly increase in almost all North American land regions,” the authors write in their paper. That’s because climate change creates warmer and moister environments, which in turn produce more extreme precipitation events—shifting the “breaking point...”
The report from NOAA is available here.