February 2, 1988: The temperature bottoms out at -43 at Embarrass.
February 2, 1927: Spring-like temperatures are felt on Groundhog Day. Tracy is 57 and Fairmont reaches 56.
Chilled Groundhogs - 6 More Weeks of Winter? Yep
"It's almost as if the atmosphere has forgotten HOW to snow" a friend lamented the other day. Once again it's awfully brown out there for early February. A trend or an atmospheric fluke?
The last above average winter for snow was 70 inches in 2013-14, the year the 'polar vortex' set up shop just to our north. It was consistently cold enough for snow most of the winter. This year? Not so much.
Big snowstorms require cold air AND a fire hose of southern moisture. But this winter temperatures have been too warm aloft; big storms have dumped more rain and ice than snow. Winter temperatures have warmed over 5F at MSP since 1970 according to Climate Central, so we shouldn't be terribly surprised by the changes we're seeing.
A snowy coating is possible Saturday - models still hinting at a plowable snow next Tuesday, followed by a couple of subzero nights.
Any arctic fling will be brief. Mild, Pacific air may dominate our weather pattern much of February, adding insult to injury for snow lovers.
No matter what the groundhog sees or doesn't see - 6 more weeks of winter seems like a good bet at this latitude.
* January was mild and gray across Minnesota...
* February is a relatively dry month across Minnesota and many northern states...
Hard to Believe: Another Storm for California and West Coast. The conga-line of storms stacked up thicker than 737s over Midway continues - more heavy rain, high winds and mountain snows push into the west coast today, while lake effect snows continue downwind of the Great Lakes - a few light rain showers over the south, where a premature spring is in full swing. 84-hour NAM: NOAA and Tropicaltidbits.com.
Photo credit: "January storms in the Sierra Nevadas reduced California's deficit in stored snow water by about 37 percent." Credit: Flickr user Perfect Zero, CC BY 2.0.
Map credit: "These maps show how much water was stored in the Sierra snowpack on Jan. 6 (left) and Jan. 24 (center), 2017. Darker colors indicate more water. The inset bar graph in the center figure shows the annual snowpack water storage relative to the pre-drought average as well as the cumulative snow-water deficit. The map on right shows snowpack water storage on Jan. 24 as a percentage of pre-drought average snowpack water storage at its greatest. Areas in green are over 100 percent of average." Credit: CU/NASA.
In stark contrast:
Flowers Already In Bloom. Plants, flowers and trees are in bloom close to the Gulf Coast, a good 15-20 days ahead of schedule.
Photo credit: "Daniel Baggett will forever have a reminder of that incredible force in the form of a grade school drawing." (Photo source: WLOX)
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.
- Housing — rental prices for a one-bedroom apartment, rounded to nearest dollar.
- Percentage of retirees — in the local population as of April 1, 2010.
- Walkability — scores ranging from 25 for Montgomery, Ala., to 65 for Allentown, Pa.
- Safety factors — scores ranging from 6 for Rochester, N.Y., and Louisville, Ky., to 30 for Boise, Idaho.
TODAY: Partly sunny and brisk. Wind chill near 0. Winds: W 10-15. High: 18
THURSDAY NIGHT: Clear and chilly. Low: 6
FRIDAY: Plenty of sun, still nippy. Winds: W 8-13. High: 24
SATURDAY: Coating of light snow. Slick spots? Winds: S 10-20. Wake-up: 15. High: near 30
SUNDAY: Mostly cloudy, cooler breeze. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 20. High: 27
MONDAY: Overcast, good travel weather. Winds: SE 10-15. Wake-up: 17. High: 32
TUESDAY: Chance of a plowable snowfall. Winds: NE 10-15. Wake-up: 26. High: 29
WEDNESDAY: Flurries taper, gusty winds - turning colder. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 13. high: 18
Global Warming Threatens Winter Sports. Climate Central reports: "...The number of days below 32°F in the U.S. has been declining. This trend is projected to continue, threatening many of the winter activities that rely on cold conditions, including skiing, snowmobiling, ice fishing, and outdoor ice hockey. These winter recreational activities are an integral part of the economy in many states. Data from 2009-10 show that the ski, snowboard, and snowmobiling industries were directly and indirectly responsible for employing 211,900 people and adding an estimated $12.2 billion in economic value to the U.S. economy. As winter loses its chill, these winter tourism activities will be impacted and with them, people’s livelihoods..."
Photo credit: "
"Beyond the Extreme": Scientists Marvel at 'Increasingly Non-Natural' Arctic Warmth. Are we close to a tipping point - or has the arctic already tipped over into a new state? Here's an excerpt from Jason Samenow at Capital Weather Gang: "...2016 was the warmest year on record in the Arctic, and 2017 has picked up right where it left off. “Arctic extreme (relative) warmth continues,” Ryan Maue, a meteorologist with WeatherBell Analytics, tweeted on Wednesday, referring to January’s temperatures. Veteran Arctic climate scientists are stunned. “[A]fter studying the Arctic and its climate for three and a half decades, I have concluded that what has happened over the last year goes beyond even the extreme,” wrote Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo., in an essay for Earth magazine. At the North Pole, the mercury has rocketed to near the melting point twice since November, and another huge flux of warmth is projected by models next week. Their simulations predict some places in the high Arctic will rise over 50 degrees above normal..."
Photo credit: "Navigation channel amongst eroding wetlands in Coastal Louisiana southeast of Houma." IAN Image and Video Library.
File photo: Matt Brown, AP.