January 14, 1952: A sleet and freezing rain storm develops across Minnesota from St Cloud south into Iowa. 1,100 Northwestern Bell telephone wires are knocked down. The Buffalo Ridge in the Pipestone area is the hardest hit with ¾ inches of solid ice on Northern State Power wires with icicles to 3 inches. Northwestern Bell reported ice up to 1 ½ inches on their wires in the same area. Thunder and a shower of ice pellets accompanied the storm in New Ulm and Mankato. Minneapolis General Hospital treated 81 people, victims of falls on icy streets.
Hot Off The Wire: Temperature Inflation Coming
Yes, Friday morning's low temperature forecast for the metro area was a bust. It ONLY got down to -7F at MSP International Airport. Patchy clouds moved in, trapping warmth, preventing the mercury from tumbling even farther. Under crystal clear skies just north of the cities temperatures fell to shriek-worthy levels: -42F air temperature at Embarrass early Friday; a wind chill of -55F near Birchdale, Minnesota! Big ouch.
Fresh snow, terrain, cloud cover and proximity from metro areas can all impact how cold it gets. The urban heat island can keep close-in suburbs 5-10 degrees warmer, especially when winds are light.
The much-advertised January Thaw is still coming. We creep above 32F by Monday - ECMWF guidance hints at 8 days in a row in the 30s. To which Minnesotans raise their arms and shout a collective EUREKA!
A sloppy southern storm spreads a mix of wintry precipitation into town Monday and Tuesday; temperatures aloft just warm enough for a little rain and sleet. We cool off a bit by late January but a higher sun angle makes it harder to get sustained subzero weather in February.
384-hour GFS 2-meter temperature forecast: NOAA and Tropicaltidbits.com.
Minnesota: Coldest Spot in the USA This Week. On at least 3 separate days, according to Mark Seeley. Here's a snippet from this week's Minnesota WeatherTalk: "...With the snow, came an invasion of polar air which made temperatures tumble to below zero F readings around the state. Minnesota reported the nation’s coldest temperature three times this week. On January 8th Cotton (St Louis County) reported a minimum temperature of -34°F. This was not only the coldest reading in Minnesota that day, but the coldest in the nation as well. Then on January 12 Hibbing reported -31°F, Embarrass reported -32°F and Cotton reported -35°F, coldest in the nation. Finally on January 13th, International Falls and Embarrass reported a morning low of -39°F and Cotton reported -42°F, coldest in the nation again. Fortunately moderating temperatures are seen for the coming weekend, with a more dramatic warm up starting by the middle of next week..."
Friday Numbers. As cold as -42F at Embarrass with a wind chill of -55F at Birchdale, yesterday was definitely character-building. Graphics: Aeris Weather.
Icy Possibilities. The west coast gets a badly needed break - generally dry thru Wednesday of next week. Meanwhile a very significant accumulation of glaze ice is expected from the central Plains into the Ohio Valley over the weekend with travel disruptions likely; even a few power outages. Another storm lifts across the Plains into the Midwest Sunday and Monday, pushing another smear of rain, ice and snow northward.
Photo credit: "A flooded vineyard in Forestville, in Sonoma County, where the Russian River breached its banks." Eric Risberg / Associated Press.
Holy Snow Drift! It sounds counterintuitive, but there is TOO MUCH snow at some of these ski resorts, increasing the risk of avalanches (and people not being able to reach the resort). What a difference a year makes. Graphic: Sacramento National Weather Service.
Photo credit: "Jeremy Burton of San Jose, takes a picture of the high waters on the Los Gatos Creek Trail in Los Gatos Tuesday." (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group).
Photo credit: "Flooding Scene at Yosemite National Park, early WED, Jan 11th 2016."
* A major ice storm that’ll go through the weekend is underway this morning with freezing rain already falling from Oklahoma to Indiana.
* Ice Storm Warnings have been issued from northern Texas to southern Illinois for the potential of a half an inch or more of ice. Ice accumulations of this magnitude would cause significant travel issues, with many roads likely becoming impossible to travel on. This significant icing would accumulate and weigh down/snap tree branches and power lines, leading to power outages.
* Sleet and freezing rain will also be possible as far east as Washington D.C. tonight and into the weekend. Ice accumulations up to a tenth of an inch are possible in D.C. through Saturday night.
* The icing threat will shift north as we go through the weekend and into early next week. Winter Storm Watches are in effect from east-central Colorado across northwest Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa and central Illinois for this threat later in the weekend as well as some snow.
- Wichita: Ice Storm Warning in effect from 6 PM tonight through Noon Sunday, with freezing rain likely from this evening until midday on Sunday. There might be a few hours Saturday afternoon where the temperature warms up enough for plain rain, but it would become freezing rain once again Saturday evening. Up to a half an inch of ice is possible. The heaviest is expected to fall Saturday and Saturday Night.
- Dodge City: Ice Storm Warning in effect from 6 PM tonight through 6 AM Monday morning. While there is a slight chance of some freezing rain tonight, the chances ramp up during the day Saturday, lasting through the end of the weekend. Up to three quarters of an inch of ice is possible. The heaviest is expected to fall Saturday Night and Sunday.
- Kansas City: Ice Storm Warning in effect from Noon today through Midnight Sunday Night. Freezing rain will spread across the region today, particularly after the noon hour, and chances will continue through about midday Sunday, when temperatures warm enough for plain rain to fall. Up to a half an inch of ice is possible. The heaviest is expected to fall Saturday Night into Sunday.
- St. Louis: Ice Storm Warning in effect through Noon Sunday, with freezing rain moving in during the morning hours today and lasting through midday on Sunday. There might be a few hours Saturday afternoon where the temperature warms up enough for plain rain, but it would become freezing rain once again Saturday evening. Up to a half an inch of ice is possible.
Summary: A crippling ice storm is underway already this morning from Oklahoma to Indiana, with reports of a light glazing of ice in spots. We’ll continue to see waves of freezing rain across these areas into the weekend, with ice totals of a half to three quarters of an inch or more likely across parts of Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri. This type of significant ice accumulations is concerning as it would lead to difficult (if not impossible) travel as well as the potential of major power outages due to weighed down/snapped power lines and tree branches falling. Ice Storm Warnings and Freezing Rain Advisories are in effect across the region due to the ice threat. This system will move north as we head through the weekend, bringing (potentially significant) accumulating ice to end the weekend and begin next week across portion of Nebraska, Iowa and central Illinois. Winter Storm Watches are in effect across these areas.
D.J. Kayser, Meteorologist, AerisWeather
Climatology of Freezing Rain. Minnesota sees about 3-5 days a year with freezing rain (glaze ice). But the greatest frequency is found in New England. Here's an excerpt from Midwestern Regional Climate Center: "The Midwest and Northeast are prime areas for freezing rain events. Note the high frequency areas in western Minnesota and western Iowa, and the band from central Illinois eastward through northern Indiana, Ohio, and eastward. In the high frequency band in the Midwest, an average of 12 to 15 hours of freezing rain occurs annually. While freezing rain can occur anytime between November and April, most freezing rain events occur during December and January...."
Excessive Salt Use is Hurting Minnesota Lakes, State Officials Warn. Here's an excerpt from Lake Minnetonka Patch: "...There are currently 47 waterbodies in Minnesota that tested above the water quality standard for chloride, with 39 in the metro. An additional 39 surface waters in the metro are near the chloride standard and many others are unknown. The data show that salt concentrations are continuing to increase in both surface waters and groundwater across the state. Currently, there are no environmentally safe, effective and inexpensive alternatives to salt. However, officials say residents can reduce salt at the source through smart salting application strategies..."
Press release from Cadillac is here.
SUNDAY: Clouds increase, above average temperatures. Winds; S 5-10. High: 27
MONDAY: Icy mix, most roads wet/slushy. Winds: SE 7-12. Wake-up: 18. High: 31
TUESDAY: Light mix slowly tapers off. Winds: NW 7-12. Wake-up: 29. High: 32
WEDNESDAY: Mostly cloudy, relatively mild. Winds: SW 5-10. Wake-up: 23. High: 34
THURSDAY: Peeks of sun, hints of March. Winds: S 7-12. Wake-up: 24. High: 38
FRIDAY: More clouds than sun, grilling weather. Winds: S 8-13. Wake-up: 29. High: 42
PLOS has the study recap and highlights here.
Climate Change is the World's Biggest Risk, in 3 Charts. Climate Central reports: "The rise of the machines isn’t the biggest threat to humanity. It’s climate change, extreme weather and other environmental factors. The World Economic Forum surveyed 750 experts on what the most likely and impactful risks facing humanity are in 2017. In a report released Thursday, they ranked extreme weather as the most likely risk and the second-most impactful, trailing only the use of weapons of mass destruction. Climate change is responsible for driving an increase in the likelihood and intensity of extreme weather events, notably heat waves...."
Graphic credit: "A matrix outlining the most likely and most impactful risks facing the world in 2017." Credit: World Economic Forum.
Photo credit: "Mack Faamausili of Northeast Portland headed into work on bike, only to return home after learning it was closed for the day due to the winter storm. In Northeast Portland, residents wandered through the streets and in the snow in the early morning hours. Several inches of snow blanketed Portland, January 11, 2017." Beth Nakamura/Staff.
File photo: Water Environment Federation.