25 F. average high on January 31.
41 F. high on January 31, 2016.
February 1, 1931: A 'heat wave' develops across southern Minnesota. St. Peter hits 60.
Winter Pulls Its Punch Into Much of February
"What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness" argued American author John Steinbeck. He had a point - but I'm too cold to care much.
Looking at NOAA heating degree day data we've spent 17 percent less than normal heating our homes and businesses so far this winter. January was the warmest since 2012; yesterday the 17th day in a row warmer than average.
Long-range models hint at a mild bias into February but it would be premature to daydream about spring. Both ECMWF and GFS models spin up a sloppy storm next Tuesday, followed by a subzero slap the end of next week; just a couple days of mildly acidic Yukon Air Freshener. 30s (above!) return by mid-February. No panic necessary.
In the short term we cool off into Thursday; a coating of slush on Saturday - but dry for Super Bowl Sunday parties.
Today's blog includes research suggesting you're more likely to catch the flu after a cold snap, a spike in hospital admissions for heart problems a couple days after heavy snowfalls, and a link between smog and dementia in older women. Who knew? Details below.
Tuesday Graupel. It sounds like a General Mills cereal experiment that never saw the light of day. In reality grapel, sometimes called "soft hail" or snow pellets, is precipitation that forms when supercooled droplets of water are collected and freeze on falling snowflakes, forming 2–5 mm (0.08–0.20 in) balls of rime. The term graupel comes from the German language. Maybe so, but I'm still hungry for a bowl of cereal.
Shocker: Yet Another Storm for West Coast. Today looks fairly quiet, but NOAA's 12 KM NAM shows the next tentacle of Pacific moisture slithering ashore Thursday with locally heavy rainfall amounts - maybe another foot or two of snow? Some ski resorts have picked up 10-15 FEET of snow; what's another foot or two? Animation: Tropicaltidbits.com.
Significant Snow Next Week? I know - I'll believe it when I see it. With the exception of the Rockies and west coast mountain ranges most of America is in a perpetual snow drought. But the leading edge of arctic air may spin up a more formidable storm capable of tapping moisture from the Gulf of Mexico. NOAA's GFS brings (very) plowable amounts of snow across the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes by the middle of next week. Too early to get excited - we'll have to watch and see how this unfolds.
Next Storm Winding Up in the Pacific. Visible satellite imagery from GOES showed the impressive storm off the west coast - more heavy rain and mountain snow pushes into California, Oregon and Washington by Thursday.
Flowers Already In Bloom. Plants, flowers and trees are in bloom close to the Gulf Coast, a good 15-20 days ahead of schedule.
Snowstorms May Bring Blizzard of Heart Troubles. Who knew? The result of stress from shoveling? Rougher commutes? Cold air behind the storm triggering asthmatic events? Drug.com's MedNews has the story: "Snowstorms may leave more than a big mess in their wake: New research shows a sharp spike in hospital admissions for heart trouble two days after these weather events. Hospital admissions for heart attacks, chest pain and stroke actually fell on the day of the storm, the study found, possibly because people can't get out for care. But they rebounded again within the next 48 hours. The reasons for the trends aren't clear, the researchers said..."
Air Pollution Increases Risk of Dementia Among Older Women, New Study Finds. Yale E360 has the story: "Older women who live in places with high air pollution levels are 92 percent more likely to develop dementia, including Alzheimer’s, according to a new study by scientists at the University of Southern California. The risk is heightened even more in women with the APOE4 gene, a genetic variation associated with an increased chance of developing Alzheimer’s. It is the latest in a growing number of studies linking air pollution with dementia..."
How To Stop The U.S. Flood Insurance Program From Drowning in Debt. Expect this problem to worsen over time, as the frequency and magnitude of flooding events continues to increase. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed at TheHill: "This month, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that its National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) had to borrow another $1.6 billion from the Treasury to break even on its 2016 losses. Add that to the existing debt, largely due to hurricanes Katrina and Rita and Superstorm Sandy, and the NFIP currently is almost $25 billion in debt. The NFIP is up for reauthorization later this year, and Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), who chairs the House Financial Services Committee, has already said that reforming the program will be a “major focus” for his committee this year..."
File photo credit: U.S. Coast Guard Aircrews.
Storms Preview Sea-Rise Damage to California Roads, Cities. The Washington Post reports: " Ocean rise already is worsening the floods and high tides sweeping California this stormy winter, climate experts say, and this month’s damage and deaths highlight that even a state known as a global leader in fighting climate change has yet to tackle some of the hardest work of dealing with it. The critical steps yet to come include starting to decide which low-lying cities, airports and highways, along with threatened landmarks like San Francisco’s Embarcadero, to hoist above the rising water and which to abandon — and where to start getting the many billions of dollars for those climate rescues. “People always tell us we’re ahead of the curve” on climate change, said Larry Goldzband, head of a regional San Francisco Bay commission that late last year stepped up regional efforts to identify and prioritize communities and infrastructure at risk from rising sea level. As proud as Californians are of their climate-change efforts, “I always think, ‘Man, if we are ahead of the curve, I feel sorry for the rest of the country,’” Goldzband said..."
Photo credit: "
Photo credit: "A high tide combined with a storm surge floods the Menai Straits." Credit: Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/flickr
Tesla Gives the California Power Grid a Battery Boost. Here's a clip from The New York Times: "Just off a freeway in Southern California, 396 refrigerator-size stacks of Tesla batteries, encased in white metal, have been hastily erected with a new mission: to suck up electricity from the grid during the day and feed it back into the system as needed, especially in the evening. The installation, capable of powering roughly 15,000 homes over four hours, is part of an emergency response to projected energy shortages stemming from a huge leak at a natural gas storage facility. The project, which officially comes online on Monday, is an important and surprising demonstration of how utilities can use enormous collections of batteries in place of conventional power plants..."
Photo credit: " " Credit Tesla.
Image credit: "Watt a good idea." Laurent T
Photo credit: "Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, speaks while Bill Gates looks on at Columbia University in New York, U.S., January 27, 2017." REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton.
Illustration credit: " " Illustration: Jason Schneider.
Photo credit: "Bill Parcells gets a Gatorade shower after a victory."
TODAY: Partly sunny, brisk. Winds: NW 10-15. High: 21
WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy and chilly. Low: 9
THURSDAY: Blue sky, still cooler than average. Winds: NW 10-15. High: near 20
FRIDAY: Partly sunny, less wind. Winds: W 7-12. Wake-up: 7. High: 23
SATURDAY: Coating of wet snow possible. Winds: S 10-15. Wake-up: 15. High: 29
SUNDAY: Drying out, better travel day. Winds: NW 5-10. Wake-up: 24. High: 35
MONDAY: Hints of March, still mild. Winds: E 5-10. Wake-up: 27. High: near 40
TUESDAY: Mix changes over to snow, heavy late? Falling temperatures. Winds: NE 15-25. Wake-up: 33. High: 36
Photo credit: "The 7-mile-wide crater left on top of Mount Tambora in Indonesia after its volcanic eruption in 1815." (Iwan Setiyawan/AP Photo/KOMPAS)