22 F. average high on December 28.
24 F. high on December 28, 2014.
December 29, 1999: Minneapolis soars to a high temperature of 53 degrees.
Instant Winter: Another 1-2"
Psychology of Snow
Every storm is different; every scenario uniquely, frustratingly complex. In the 70s there was one weather model (LFM). Today there are scores of simulations. We are literally drowning in a sea of competing visions of what the future should bring.
Like a financial analyst the challenge is what to believe - when. No one model has a perpetual lock on the truth; they all have their strengths and weaknesses.
Over the last 40 years I've noticed it's better to over-predict than under-predict snow. If you say 8" and you wind up with 5" most people shrug. "Close enough for a weatherman". But God help you if you predict 2 inches and a foot falls. There is no absolution or forgiveness for that sin. As a result meteorologists inflate snowfall forecasts. I know, shocking! What makes it really tough is when a city (like St. Cloud, for example) is teetering on the edge of a major snowstorm. Exhibit A: last night.
The gradient with last night's snowy burst was sharp, setting up just south and east of St. Cloud, which will see very little snow from this system. 30 miles made all the difference between "plowable" and "nadda". Snow lovers: sorry for the near-miss. This is the kind of storm that gives meteorologists ulcers and migraines. If it's cold consolation your commute will be far better than what motorists are facing in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
A lingering lobe of "vorticity" aloft squeezes out up to an inch of snow today but travel conditions slowly improve. Temperatures run close to average as we kick off '16 but a big chill may be shaping up within 2 weeks or so.
* The latest Minnesota observed snowfall reports are here, courtesy of NOAA.
Have a Nippy New Year. Models show wind chill values close to or even below zero at midnight Thursday night. I suggest going as a couple and staying close to your significant other to preserve body heat.
Photo credit above: "
Image source: Climate Reanalyzer.
Photo credit above: "Members of the Mountain Rescue team wade through floodwater in Skeldergate, York. England, Monday, Dec. 28, 2015. British Prime Minister David Cameron sent hundreds more troops into northern England on Sunday to help exhausted residents and emergency workers fight back rising river waters that have inundated towns and cities after weeks of heavy rain." (Anna Gowthorpe/PA via AP).
* Flood threat on the Lower Mississippi River could rival 2008 and 2001, potentially impacting thousands of people. Details here.
TODAY: Light snow and flurries, coating to 1"; heaviest amounts stay south/east of St. Cloud. Winds: N 8-13. High: 27
TUESDAY NIGHT: Flurries, slick roads. Low: 18
WEDNESDAY: Flurries linger, watch for ice. High: 24
NEW YEAR'S EVE: Mostly cloudy, feels like 10F. Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 15. High: 21
NEW YEAR'S DAY: Sunny spurts, temps. close to average. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 12. High: 25
SATURDAY: Puddles of blue sky, a bit milder. Winds: SW 10-15. Wake-up: 14. High: near 30
SUNDAY: Mix of clouds and sun. Good travel conditions. Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 17. High: 29
MONDAY: Intervals of sun, not bad at all. Wake-up: 16. High: 33
Man-Made Warming Blamed for Exceptional Weather Conditions. Is the ongoing warming, especially of the world's oceans, a significant contributing factor? How much can be attributed to this vs. El Nino? Here's an excerpt from Financial Times: "Record December warmth is affecting large areas of the northern hemisphere, including most of Europe and the eastern US, while severe flooding hits places from Paraguay to the north of England. Climate scientists pin responsibility for the exceptional weather on man-made warming, combined with random variability and El Niño, the natural heating of the tropical Pacific Ocean that occurs every few years. David Rooke, an expert on flooding and deputy chief executive of the UK Environment Agency, said on Monday that flood preparations required a “complete rethink” as a result of climate change. “We are in a period of known extremes and we are moving into a period of unknown extremes,” he told BBC Radio..."
Photo credit above: "Damage left after Saturday's tornado in Garland, Texas." Associated Press.
Republicans Split on Attacking Science. Playing to their base, or some of their biggest campaign contributors, or both? As evidence of climate volatility accumulates many, even within the GOP, argue that a position of outright denial will become more unsustainable over time. Here's an excerpt from TheHill: "...Freshman Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.), who leads a loose coalition of 11 House Republicans who say they believe that human activity is changing the climate, went even further. He said efforts such as Cruz’s climate denial hearing and Smith’s investigation into climate research at a federal agency are a waste of time. “I think it’s likely a poor investment,” he said. “We should instead invest resources and time into coming up with conservative, market-driven solutions for the challenges posed by climate change.” Mike McKenna, a Republican energy industry consultant, said most Republicans don’t want to concede the science on climate change, because they fear it will inevitably lead to policies that make fossil fuels more expensive..."
Fighting Climate Change With One of the World's Largest Solar Plants. Here's an excerpt from The New York Times: "...Mr. Stillings’s primary goal as an artist was to put forth a vision of the way things might improve, with clean energy technology, ingenuity and collective action. Given how much information exists about the potential for cataclysm, he wanted to focus on positive change. “I have a lot of concerns,” he said. “I would like to not think I am going to leave a legacy for my children, and other people’s children, that is fraught with danger and with unintended consequences of our selfishness, our greed and our neglect...”
Anyone Else Worried About a Snowless December? Not here in Minnesota, but much of the east coast has experienced a no-snow December with green lawns and flowers in bloom. How much of this is El Nino vs. planetary warming? Great question, but it's warming up, and the symptoms are becoming harder to deny. It all depends on your point of view, according to an interesting essay at The Good Men Project; here's an excerpt: "...The answer, I suspect, is that we’ve reached a point where even our own experiences can’t overcome our partisan biases. If you’re a global warming denier, an unprecedented series of natural disasters won’t make you budge, so it’s unlikely that uncharacteristically pleasant late December weather would have that effect. If you support the scientific evidence, you don’t need a snowless December to persuade you. As for the people who don’t know or care about this issue, the chances are that they’ll recognize the debate as so polarizing that they’ll just retain their studied indifference for the sake of convenience. The net effect is a social climate as dangerous as its meteorological counterpart. We live in the era of anti-proof, in which people can rationalize away facts that literally surround them because “proof” doesn’t count for much anymore..."