A Midwinter Night's Dream of Hot Fronts To Come
Sorry, I can't hear you above the hum of my A/C unit. It can't keep up with the humidity as I wipe the sweat off my forehead. The window is open a crack - I hear a faint rumble of thunder in the distance.
I check my phone. SEVERE STORM WATCH. Wait, already? Drippy dew points are pushing a steamy 70F - a high later today forecast to nudge 90 degrees. A heat advisory? I'm already plotting a dip in the lake, maybe an extra scoop of Rocky Road on the drive home.
Sorry. I'm running a fever. It may be a symptom of standing too close to the Doppler for 30 years. Remember, in 4 months we'll all be complaining about the heat and humidity.
Not today though. Teens will feel like a relative bargain with 20s Monday and Tuesday with a couple inches of snow possible. More blue triangles showing up on the weather map. Another Yukon slap arrives by late week; a subzero Friday possible before 20s return a week from today. Long-range models still show milder, Pacific air sweeping into Minnesota after the 20th with a streak of 30s; maybe a few slushy encounters.
We've earned our January Thaw.
The Science Behind Why People Buy Bread When Snow Is In The Forecast. Here's an excerpt of a good explanation from Dr. Marshall Shepherd at Forbes: "...In the article The Psychology of Stockpiling, Laurie Dove actually explored aspects of this question too. She quoted Psychologist Lisa Brateman who pointed out, "the thought to get milk before a storm is followed by the action or compulsion to go out and stockpile it. In one way or another, we spend a lot of time and energy trying to feel in control, and buying things you might throw out still gives the person a sense of control in an uncontrollable situation." I interpret from Dove's logic that buying perishable items may convey that there is a sense of "temporary inconvenience" that can be endured as opposed to buying more durable items like canned goods that would signify a more traumatic situation. This argument suggests that psychological coping or control of some sort is at play..."
Snowy Streak. NASA imagery shows the stripe of snow from Friday's storm that dropped snow and ice from Birmingham to Atlanta (where precipitation fell as mostly freezing rain - glaze ice).
Major Flooding Expected Truckee and Carson Rivers. Reno Gazette-Journal has the details.
Extreme Precipitation Amounts. GFS guidance prints out about 2-4" rain for most of the Bay Area by Monday night, but another wave of heavy rain moves in late next week - I wouldn't be surprised to see 2 week totals in excess of 5-8", with 10-15" of precipitation translating into 10-15 foot snows for the highest peaks of the Sierra Nevada. Amazing. Loop: Tropicaltidbits.com.
84-Hour Surface Map. The 12 KM NAM data includes isobars and future radar, showing the steady stream of tropical moisture fueling flooding rains and (ridiculous) mountain snows for California and ice for Portland, Oregon. Light snow spreads across the Upper Mississippi Valley Monday and Tuesday, the atmosphere warm enough for rain south of Chicago and Detroit.
Brisk Start. These were 9 AM surface temperatures Saturday morning; still well below zero across the northwestern half of Minnesota and much of the Dakotas. Map: Aeris Map Platform (AMP).
New Obama Reports Warns of Changing "Threat Environment" for the Electricity Grid. The Washington Post reports: "...The agency urged policymakers to grant regulators new emergency powers should threats become imminent, among other recommendations. The document notes the sprawling scale of U.S. electric infrastructure: The nation has 7,700 power plants (ranging from coal-fired to nuclear) and 55,800 substations. Some 707,000 miles of high-voltage transmission lines link the two, and then 6.5 million additional miles of local lines spread out from the substations. Dramatic change is sweeping over the sector. For instance, so-called smart meters are being added to bring more online control to the electrical grid. And more and more households are adding solar systems to their rooftops, providing new connecting points. A “rapidly evolving system” is in major need of modernization and upgrades to keep pace, the report says..." (Map credit: FEMA).
Photo credit: "The PowerRay, an underwater drone, is designed to detect and take footage of fish. The device can be controlled b VR goggles." Photograph: John Locher - AP.
MONDAY: Light snow or flurries expected. Winds: SE 5-10. High: 22
TUESDAY: Chance of snow, then windy, colder. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 18. High: 27
WEDNESDAY: Lot's of clouds. Feels like -10F. Winds: NE 7-12. PM flurries. Wake-up: 6. High: 14
THURSDAY: Flurries taper, arctic wind kicks in. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 4. High: 10 (feels like -20F)
FRIDAY: Bright sun, please send hot cocoa! Winds: NW 5-10. Wake-up: -9. High: 1
SATURDAY: Chilled sunshine. No thaw yet. Winds: E 5-10. Wake-up: -6. High: 8
Photo credit: "A large rift in Antarctica's Larsen C ice shelf, photographed by NASA's IceBridge mission on Nov. 10, 2016. The rift surged ahead by about 10 miles in late December." Credit: NASA/John Sonntag