Think of the 7-Day as good incentive to bulk up to your winter weight. Go for that extra slice of pumpkin pie! What I lack in warmth & sunlight I plan to make up for in sugar and cool calories.
Welcome to the 11th day in a row below freezing; typical for January - a bit unusual for November. No match for 1874-75, when the Twin Cities enjoyed 83 days in a row colder than 32F. Ouch.
A few friends are freaking out, huddled in their weather bunkers, expecting another winter identical to last year. It may be more prayer than prediction but I still think we'll see more variability, more swings in temperature.
El Nino appears to be strengthening in the Pacific, increasing the odds of milder air pushing into the western half of the USA from time to time, reducing the odds of another perpetual polar vortex blocking pattern similar to last winter.
Place your bets.
We finally thaw out Saturday. Rain stays to our east on Sunday - a snowy coating Monday. The risk of snow on Thanksgiving has dropped off a bit; there may be too much cold air pushing the storm track well south of Minnesota. A cold smack late next week gives way to 30s, even a few 40s the first week of December.
Get ready for some BIG ups and downs over the next 3+ months.
Snowstorm Again Pounds Western New York. Here's an excerpt of an update from The New York Times: "...The snow fell so fast that it quickly packed into a solid mass, making plowing impossible. The only option is to use heavy machinery to pick up snow and haul it away, a slow, grinding effort. But unlike a typical winter storm, the snow caused by the “lake effect” — in which cold, dry winds sweep across bodies of warmer lake water — was not felt equally across the region. The divide was so stark that someone on a tall building in downtown Buffalo had clear skies overheard but could see a menacing gray wall of moisture and snow swept up off the lake and driven south..."
Unraveling The Mysteries of Deadly "Firehose" Lake Effect Snow Events. Every lake effect snow event is different, but what are the ingredients that go into historic snowfalls? Are lake effect snows downwind of Erie and Ontario some of the heaviest on earth? Andrew Freedman has a fascinating story at Mashable; here's an excerpt: "...Jim Steenburgh, a meteorology professor at the University of Utah, said the Buffalo storm's first round confirms some of what he and his colleagues observed in high-resolution last year. These storms can have a “structure that’s really incredible… a structure that you sometimes see with severe thunderstorms,” he told Mashable. From Tuesday through Wednesday, the narrow band of heavy snow that targeted towns such as West Seneca, New York, on Tuesday night, was barely 15 miles wide but more than 100 miles long. In chilling photographs, it resembled a wall of snow more closely akin to a broiling dust storm than a snow squall..."
* graphic above from a 2003 paper by Burnett, et all available via PDF here.
Freezing On East Coast? Blame a Super Typhoon and Maybe Global Warming. Ex-Typhoon Nuri helped to energize the jet stream as it curved to the north last week, speeding up and amplifying jet stream steering winds, building a massive, record-setting (5.5 sigma) ridge of warm high pressure over Alaska and the Arctic; this buckling of the jet stream plunging polar air southward into the USA. Here's a clip from a story at NBC News: "...The cold front this month, however, appears to have a different birth. The events "started with exceptionally warm sea temperatures in the Pacific that led to the super Typhoon Nuri," says Kevin Trenberth, an atmospheric scientist at NCAR. On Nov. 8, the typhoon became "incredibly intense … advanced to the north and brought very warm air up into Alaska and into the Arctic." "The cold air had to go somewhere else and it did: down across the U.S.," says Trenberth. "By Nov. 12 the very cold air over North America was matched by very warm air over Alaska and the Arctic..."
Temperature anomalies (departure from average) for November 20 obtained using Climate Reanalyzer (http://cci-reanalyzer.org), Climate Change Institute, University of Maine, USA.
How To Protect Your Phone In Cold Weather. Here's an excerpt of a CNN story that made me do a double-take: "...Some smartphones list the optimum range of temperatures in their technical specs. For example, when it's turned off, the iPhone 5S can withstand temperatures between -4° and 113° Fahrenheit. When it's turned on, the range is much more narrow. Apple suggests 32° Fahrenheit as the lowest operating ambient temperature. Other phones are rated for much lower temperatures, and some can go as low as -4° Fahrenheit while in operation..."
Are Our Buildings Prepared For Natural Disasters Bigger Than Hurricane Sandy? Technically Sandy wasn't even a hurricane when it hit coastal New Jersey on October 29, 2012, rather a massive mash-up of nor'easter and ex-hurricane. Is New York City better prepared? Here's an excerpt of a story at The Guardian: "...What if you have Sandy, but it’s an actual hurricane, with hurricane-level winds? The first generation of skyscrapers was not designed for windloads. So would we see facades being pulled off in Midtown Manhattan? That’s something we don’t understand yet. We recommended the city study this, and legislation passed – the results of their study is due on October 2, 2015. Also, in a modern city, everyone’s reliant on power – and all the more so in a vertical city. We’ve facilitated a change that makes it easier to install backup generators, but what happens if we get two weeks without power next time instead of a week?..." (Image above: NOAA).
America's Toughest Commutes, Charted. I love Quartz's information-dense maps - here's an excerpt of a story focused on commute times across the USA: "...But it turns out that of the 20 counties with the longest commutes, nine are among the 100 wealthiest counties in the US. And where are all the well-off commuters going? Washington, DC. When we only look at the 100 wealthiest US counties, 13 of the 20 longest median commutes are in the Washington area. The remainder of the list is comprised of counties in the New York, Chicago, Denver, and San Francisco areas..."
Map credit above: Quartz. Data: 2013 American Community Survey.
18 F. high in St. Cloud Thursday.
36 F. average high on November 20.
46 F. high on November 20, 2013.
November 20, 1980: On this date, around 28 thousand Canadian geese spent their nights on Silver Lake in Rochester.
TODAY: Clouds increase, not as cold. Winds: S 15. High: 28
FRIDAY NIGHT: Mostly cloudy, not as chilly as recent nights. Low: 25
SATURDAY: First thaw in 12 days. Gray skies - not as numb. High: 37
SUNDAY: Cloudy, chance of drizzle. Wake-up: 30. High: 38
MONDAY: Coating of flurries, light snow. Wake-up: 26. High: 31 (falling)
TUESDAY: Clearing skies, chilly again. Wake-up: 12. High: 19
WEDNESDAY: Inch or so of snow showers? Wake-up: 9. High: 24
THANKSGIVING: Feels like January again. Mostly cloudy. Wake-up: 1. High: 14
States Can Bring Clean Energy to 21st Century. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed at The Hill that resonated. Many of the new, disruptive energy alternatives are also zero-carbon, and they're scaling up faster than predicted: "...The U.S. electric power system is facing serious challenges today, with innovations disrupting old ways of doing business, infrastructure showing its age and customers looking for new forms of service. Fortunately, we have the tools to address these challenges: demand response to maintain reliability at times of peak load; combined cycle natural gas to provide flexible electricity generation; solar power and wind power for zero emission generation with no fuel cost; more efficient lighting, appliances and industrial motors that use less energy and reduce demand; and smart meters to provide better data and more control for consumers. In short, we have more ways to make, manage and use electricity than ever before — and many of these technologies also reduce carbon emissions..."
Photo credit above: "Robert Kenner’s documentary Merchants of Doubt looks at professionals working for the fossil fuel industry to sow doubt in the US climate change debate." Photograph: Sony Pictures Classics.
Graphic credit above: Washington Post-ABC News poll - Click for details