March 11, 1878: Lake Minnetonka becomes ice-free due to one of the warmest winters on record.
Sunday Snow Potential but Springy Next Weekend
Our oldest son moved to Seattle with his new bride, taking a job at Cray, the supercomputer company that powers weather models at NOAA and ECMWF . He was hoping to take a badly-needed break from the merciless cold and snow of a Minnesota winter. Looked good on paper.
Seattle is enduring the coldest winter since 1985 - the city saw over 7 inches of snow in February, compared with .3 inches at MSP. "It's been fairly mild and quiet" I explained. "Just a couple of tornadoes".
New England is shivering through record cold; the biggest snowstorm of the winter season may hit the northeast on Tuesday with 1-2 foot amounts and blizzard conditions just inland. So much for the early bloom of cherry blossoms in Washington D.C.
Today is the better travel day in Minnesota with mid-20s and a generous smear of clouds. Sunday's clipper looks more impressive, probably "plowable". A band of 2-5 inches of snow may set up close to the metro Sunday PM into Monday AM. A Winter Storm Watch is posted for Sunday. Don't write off winter just yet.
40s return late next week - 50s again next weekend as spring regains its bounce!
84-hour 12 KM NAM Future Radar product: NOAA and Tropicaltidbits.com.
Significant Clipping. This won't just be a minor trim, but a full-frontal Alberta Clipping capable of plowable snowfall amounts Sunday into early Monday. Clippers are notoriously fickle (all storms are, come to think of it) and a zig or zag of 50 miles in the storm track will make a big difference in final snowfall totals. But 2-5" in the Twin Cities isn't out of the question by Monday morning, maybe a couple inches for Des Moines, Madison and Milwaukee.
Meanwhile: Blizzard Potential Northeastern USA Next Week. Sunday's Upper Midwest clipper will be small potatoes compared to what may unfold Tuesday into Wednesday from the Mid Atlantic into New England. Although a mix of ice and rain may keep amounts down near the Atlantic coast as much as 1-2 feet of snow is forecast to pile up from near Washington D.C. to Lancaster, Philadelphia the Poconos and north Jersey into interior New England. Plowable snows are likely for New York City and Boston, but GFS guidance (above) hints at the axis of heaviest snow setting up west of I-95. Stay tuned.
GFS Agrees. It's nice to see agreement between the "Euro" and NOAA models, which also show a steady warming trend next week. Once snow cover melts the sun's energy can go into heating the air vs. melting snow, and that increases the odds of 50s by next Sunday. Graphic: AerisWeather.
Summary. While snowfall accumulations of 2-5”+ can be expected across parts of the Northeast today, including New York City and Boston, we have our eyes on the potential of a major snowstorm as we head into early next week. We’ll have an eye on a deepening low off the coast that could then move along New England, which could bring the likelihood of heavy snow from Washington D.C. to Boston. This system is still four to five days out, and as we get closer we’ll have a better idea where the heaviest snow will likely fall, but the pattern is in place for the potential of heavy snow in New England next week.
D.J. Kayser, Meteorologist, AerisWeather
46 Confirmed Tornadoes in March 6-7 Outbreak. U.S. Tornadoes confirms 63 reports, 90 warnings and 6 watches. Here's an excerpt from a post detailing the biggest tornado outbreaks of 2017, nationally, to date: "...Another in a late-winter and early-spring volley of storm systems, this one was the farthest west outbreak so far this year. While many of the tornadoes were QLCS-type, spinning up within lines and broken lines, several supercells dropped tornadoes as well. The Kansas City area was particularly hard hit as an EF3 struck east of town. Fortunately, no one was killed despite relatively high impact..."
Tornado Count. These numbers are from the Minnesota State Climate Office, not NOAA SPC. For the record "average" number of tornadoes, statewide, since 1950 is 36.
More information on VORTEX - SOUTHEAST is available here.
Photo credit: " David Kent Star-Telegram.
New U.S. solar installations nearly doubled last year, but slowing demand for both residential and large-scale systems, falling panel prices and concerns about looming federal tax reform are still dampening investor appetite for the sector. Solar installations soared 97 percent to 14.8 gigawatts in 2016, according to a report released on Thursday by Wood Mackenzie and the Solar Energy Industries Association. The technology is cheaper than ever, with panel prices dropping 40 percent last year, and many utilities procuring solar on the basis of cost alone. But the dramatic drop in panel prices has hampered solar manufacturers' profits and ramped up competition for utility-scale contracts among developers, companies said in recent weeks while reporting fourth-quarter results..." (File photo credit: Apple).
How to Clear a Path Through 60 Feet of Snow, Japanese Style. I can't help but feel a little jealous, although some of the ski resorts in the Sierra Nevada range in California may be telling similar snowy tales. Here's an excerpt from Atlas Obscura: "...The height of the canyon’s snow walls can reach a staggering 66 feet. Using another New York City analogy, that would leave your average five-story East Village walkup apartment building buried head to toe in snow. “The amount of snow that falls here is just exceptional,” says Yoshihide Tanikawa, Vice President of the Toyama Prefectural Road Public Corporation, which is in charge of snow plowing across many parts of Toyama Prefecture, including the Snow Canyon. The reason behind the tremendous snowfall is a confluence of geography and meteorology. “Toyama is on the coast with an elevation of zero,” explains Tanikawa, and just 20 miles from the ocean is Mt. Tateyama. “So the altitude rises from sea-level to 3,000 meters [9,843 feet] in a very short distance...”
Photo credit: "The towering snow walls of Tateyama." Pietro Zanarini/CC BY 2.0
SUNDAY: Winter Storm Watch. PM snow likely; 2-5" possible (more south/west of the metro). Late-day travel may be difficult. Winds: E 8-13. High: 28
MONDAY: Slushy/icy start. Flurries taper, clouds linger. Winds: N 8-13. Wake-up: 21. High: 29
TUESDAY: Sun comes out, rapid snow melt. Wake-up: 15. High: 29
WEDNESDAY: Bright sun, feels like March again. Winds: S 5-10. Wake-up: 13. High: 34
THURSDAY: Partly sunny, milder breeze. Winds: S 10-15. Wake-up: 26. High: 46
FRIDAY: Unsettled, few rain showers. Gusty winds. Winds: NW 15-25. Wake-up: 33. High: 45
File photo: Barry Wilmore, NASA ISS.
Map credit: "February temperature anomalies over North America. ECMWF analysis compared to ERA-interim 1981-2010."
What Keeps Global Security Academics Awake at Night? Here's an excerpt from The Interpreter: "...By a factor of three, the key threat to global security identified was climate change. For many, climate change constituted the most fundamental existential threat, especially if our focus is the global rather than the national. As one respondent put it, ‘the globe can survive most other things’. At second place was poverty and inequality. Respondents noted the ongoing devastating effects of poverty and the effects of growing inequality on both life choices and the surge of destructive ideologies. On this score, nationalism finished a close third, with respondents pointing to the dangers of a world of states turning inward even while global action to address global problems (like climate change) seems more necessary than ever..."
File photo: AFP.
Chronology of Military and Intelligence Concerns About Climate Change. Here's an excerpt of a story at The Center for Climate & Security: "...This concern didn’t happen overnight, or under a single administration. Rather, it’s the culmination of decades of assessments stretching back to the end of the Cold War. In popular discourse, it’s often assumed that climate change is a brand new issue for the national security world – an interloping latecomer. The truth is that it’s not. The U.S. military has been concerned about climate change since the George W. Bush Administration, at the latest, but military institutions such as the Naval War College have been warning policy-makers since 1990, during the first Bush Administration. The intelligence community has also been in the game since the early 1990s, with the establishment of the MEDEA program – a structured collaboration between climate scientists and U.S. intelligence agencies – and has been releasing intelligence estimates on the national security implications of climate change since 2008, under the direction of then Chairman of the National Intelligence Council, Dr. Thomas Fingar..."
Image credit: "Scientist-hackers are saving data from NASA, NOAA, and EPA. (MIT Lincoln Laboratory)."
Illustration credit: Yann Kebbi.