26 F. average high on December 20.
41 F. high on December 20, 2015.
December 21, 1993: Strong northwest winds gust to 35 miles an hour, causing near whiteout conditions over a wide area of southwest Minnesota from the late afternoon on the 21st into the early morning of the 22nd. Several car accidents occurred. A 30 year old man was killed when he lost control of his truck and slid into a ditch in the near blizzard like conditions. Counties affected include: Blue Earth, Brown, Chippewa, Faribault, Lac Qui Parle, Redwood, Renville, Watonwan, and Yellow Medicine.
December 21, 1939: This is the latest date on record for Lake Minnewaska to freeze over at Glenwood.
Welcome Winter Solstice! A Rainy Christmas Day
It isn't the cold, or even the snow and ice that depresses so many people this time of year. It's a dire lack of daylight, sunshine, all-natural vitamin D, that makes so many of us want to curl up into a fetal position.
According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) include depression, hopelessness, low energy, irritability, oversleeping, craving carbohydrates and weight gain.
Sitting in front of a "light box" that mimics the sun for 30 minutes can help. So can melatonin. You don't have to suffer - see a doctor to find the right solution for you.
It turns out decorating evergreen trees, yule logs and mistletoe are vestiges of ancient pagan celebrations of the Winter Solstice.
Relatively mild weather lingers all week with a light mix Friday. No travel problems on Christmas Eve, but a big storm taking a western track will pull enough mild air into Minnesota for mostly-rain Christmas Day, after a very icy start.
Today at 4:44 AM the sun's rays hit the Tropic of Capricorn, in the southern hemisphere. Daylight tomorrow will be 3 seconds longer!
Image credit above: NASA JPL.
Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder. Here's an excerpt from The Mayo Clinic focused on symptoms of "SAD", which can result in both physical and mental: "Symptoms specific to winter-onset SAD, sometimes called winter depression, may include:
- Tiredness or low energy
- Problems getting along with other people
- Hypersensitivity to rejection
- Heavy, "leaden" feeling in the arms or legs
- Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates
- Weight gain
It's A Good Thing Santa Has Rain-Deer. I know, I know, the typo is intentional - just trying to make a point. GFS Future Radar (above) is color-coded; areas of rain in green, snow in blue. A major storm spins up over the Plains and tracks toward the Upper Midwest Christmas Day, pulling enough warm air into its circulation for a cold rain for much of the Midwest. Get out and play in the snow - by Monday it may be slushy, mushy and icy. Animation credit: Tropicaltidbits.com
10-Day Snowfall Potential. Sunday's storm may dump 1-2 feet of snow on eastern North Dakota and the Red River Valley of northwestern Minnesota. Otherwise it will be too warm for heavy snow Christmas Day. Minor accumulations are possible downwind of the Great Lakes after Christmas.
Early January: Cold and Stormy East, Relatively Mild Western USA. Looking out roughly 2 weeks GFS guidance shows a longwave trough over the Great Lakes and New England, increasing the potential for significant snows, even a few Nor'easters? Meanwhile relatively dry, mild weather prevails over the western half of the USA.
January 2017 Preview: Milder for Much of USA? This is a low-confidence outlook, but recent runs on NOAA's CFSv2 climate model have been trending milder for the USA and Canada as Polar Vortex winds are forecast to strengthen, keeping the coldest air bottled up over northern Canada. This is more of a curiosity than an actual forecast, but we'll keep peering over the horizon to see if long-range forecasts are consistent (or just plain flaky). Map: WeatherBell.
Freakish Warmth Continues In The Arctic - 50F Warmer Than Average by Thursday. Here's an excerpt from Jason Samenow at Capital Weather Gang: "It’s not normal, and it’s happening again. For the second year in a row in late December and for the second time in as many months, temperatures in the high Arctic will be freakishly high compared to normal. Computer models project that on Thursday, three days before Christmas, the temperature near the North Pole will be an astronomical 40-50 degrees warmer-than-normal and approaching 32 degrees, the melting point..." (Map: Climate Reanalyzer).
- The November temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.31°F above the 20th century average of 55.2°F. This was the fifth highest for November in the 1880–2016 record, 0.41°F cooler than the record warmth of November 2015 when El Niño conditions were strong.
- The November globally averaged land surface temperature was 1.71°F above the 20th century average of 42.6°F. This value was the 12th highest November land global temperature in the 1880–2016 record....
Map credit "Researchers at The Ohio State University, University of Michigan and Texas A&M have developed a computer model to forecast power outages caused by hurricanes. The model uses NASA's Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite to pinpoint where trees are more likely to contact power lines during severe weather." Credit: Courtesy of The Ohio State University.
Image credit: "Google Earth's time-lapse videos show see how the planet's surface has changed over time — like the evaporation of the Aral Sea (above)." YouTube/Screenshot by NPR
Republicans and Democrats Alike Want More Clean Energy. Dr. John Abraham at The University of St. Thomas reports for The Guardian: "...A fascinating study was just released by Yale and George Mason Universities that involved a national survey of American opinions. What this survey found was astonishing. Almost 70% of registered voters in the U.S. believe that their country should participate in international agreements to limit global warming. Only 1 in 8 registered voters believe the U.S. should not participate in such agreements. Similarly, 70% of respondents support limits on carbon dioxide, the most important human-emitted heat trapping gas. Moreover, they agree to limits even if that means electricity costs will increase (although they won’t). What this means is that 7 in 10 registered voters agree with President Obama’s signature climate accomplishment, the Clean Power Plan..." (File photo: MN.gov).
Las Vegas's City Government Is Now Powered by 100% Renewable Energy, And More Cities Will Follow. Quartz has the story: "Ten years of effort finally paid off for Las Vegas this week when officials announced the city government will now be powered entirely by renewable energy. After a large solar array, Boulder Solar 1, came online on Dec. 12, the city was able to buy enough carbon-free electricity to power its 140 buildings, streetlights and other facilities. The power flows from a mix of solar panels and hydroelectric turbines including the Hoover Dam. The renewables, plus energy efficiency savings, are estimated to save the city roughly $5 million per year, reports the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Las Vegas is one of many cities pushing ahead with aggressive efforts to leave fossil fuels behind..."
Photo credit: "How Las Vegas wants to power its neon." (Jason Reed / Reuters)
ISU Study Finds Wind Turbines Have Some Impact on Crop Fields. Radio Iowa has the story; here's an excerpt: "...One result of the changes could be less dew forming on the plants. “Which would be generally a good thing because dew promotes growth of fungus and mold and some pathogens that crops are generally affected by,” Takle says. He says they found the turbines slowed the wind over the fields. “And this in meteorological terms that leads to a surface convergence. And that means that by laws of physics that there must be an upward motion over the windfarm,” Takle says. “..and it could have significance in that it could affect fog and cloudiness or rainfall if it is on a large enough scale.” The research was done behind a couple of rows of turbines. “We have not gone to look at the regional scale say of 150 or 200 turbines, the impact that might have,” Takle says. “But that is an very interesting question and one that we are pursuing, because it could have some significance...” (File photo: AP).
TODAY: More clouds, flurries. Winds: SW 8-13. High: 35
WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Flurries taper. Low: 20
THURSDAY: Partly sunny - almost pleasant. Winds: SW 7-12. High: 34
FRIDAY: Chance of a light mix, wet roads. Winds: S 10-15. Wake-up: 24. High: 36
CHRISTMAS EVE: Mostly cloudy, dry for Santa's arrival. Winds: E 5-10. Wake-up: 23. High: 31
CHRISTMAS DAY: Icy start, then rain - heavy at times. Possible T-storms. Winds: SE 15-25. Wake-up: 26. High: 46
MONDAY: Blustery, colder - few flurries. Temperatures tumble. Winds: NW 20-40. Wake-up: 33. High: 34
TUESDAY: Partly sunny, seasonably chilly again. Winds: W 7-12. Wake-up: 20. High: 25
Image credit: NASA and UW - Madison CIMSS.
El Nino on a Warming Planet May Have Sparked the Zika Epidemic, Scientists Say. Alarmist hype or is there a causal connection? Here's a clip from The Washington Post: "In a world characterized by rising temperatures, deforestation and other human influences on the environment, the spread of infectious disease is a hot topic. Many recent studies suggest that environmental changes can affect the transmission of everything from malaria to the Zika virus — and it’s increasingly important to understand these links, scientists say. This week, a new study has provided new evidence that environmental changes can increase the threat of disease. It concludes that unusually warm temperatures caused by 2015’s severe El Niño event — probably compounded by ongoing climate change — may have aided in the rapid spread of the Zika virus in South America that year. And while there are many complex factors at play in the spread of mosquito-borne diseases, the study may help scientists better prepare for the kinds of future effects we might see in our warming world..."
Photo credit: "
Image credit: "This natural-color image mosaic, provided by NASA, taken in Aug. 2015, based on data collected during two orbital passes of the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) shows typhoons in the western North Pacific. A new scientific report finds man-made climate change played some kind of role in two dozen extreme weather events around the world in 2015." (NASA via AP)
Map credit: The Real Deal has a high-resolution version of the map showing condominiums at greatest risk in the Miami area.