21 F. average high on January 13.
13 F. high on January 13, 2015.
4/10ths of an inch of snow fell at KSTC yesterday.
15.8" snow has fallen in St. Cloud so far this winter season.
22.5" of snow normally falls by January 13.
January 14, 1981: Over 24,000 Canada Geese are present at Silver Lake in Rochester.
January 14, 1952: A sleet and freezing rain storm develops across Minnesota from St Cloud south into Iowa. 1,100 Northwestern Bell telephone wires are knocked down. The Buffalo Ridge in the Pipestone area is the hardest hit with ¾ inches of solid ice on Northern State Power wires with icicles to 3 inches. Northwestern Bell reported ice up to 1 ½ inches on their wires in the same area. Thunder and a shower of ice pellets accompanied the storm in New Ulm and Mankato. Minneapolis General Hospital treated 81 people, victims of falls on icy streets.
Polar Vortex Light: 50-60 Hours Below Zero?
"You live in Minnesota?" Yep. "That's where they test batteries and plug in their cars right?" Yes and no. But after breaking my ankle on ice I have a better understanding of why so many people flee to Ft. Myers and Scottsdale.
Yes, the cold is annoying. Like the eccentric uncle who shouts and uses all-caps in his e-mails. But it's the threat of debilitating injury from falling that spooks so many people.
According to CDC 1 in 3 older Americans fall every year. 1 in 5 falls lead to serious injury. $34 billion in fall-related mishaps annually. It's not the cold, it's the ice! I get it now.
A brief, concentrated surge of polar air keeps us below zero from roughly midnight Friday into Monday morning; 50-60 hours of negative numbers. Wind chills may dip to -35F Sunday. Take it easy out there.
Today will feel like a bad vacation as the mercury approaches 30F; the approach of battery-draining air may set off a whopping inch of snow tomorrow. After a numbing weekend we return to "average"
most of next week with a welcome thaw the last week of January.
Hang in there - this too shall pass.
* 12z Sunday ECMWF surface temperature forecast: WeatherBell.
More Fun With Negative Numbers. Here is European guidance, showing temperatures consistently below zero from around midnight Friday night into late morning Monday, possibly 50-60 consecutive hours of negative numbers. The harshest wind chills will probably come Sunday. Source: WeatherSpark.
Lowering the Risk of Slips and Falls. Although none of us can lower the risk to zero, there are some things you can do to manage the risk and lower the potential for a painful and dangerous fall on ice. Check your medications, consider exercises to help you with strength and balance (yoga?) and check with your doctor on preventative steps you can take. Here's an excerpt from The National Safety Council with some good advice: "...Falls are preventable and aging, itself, does not cause falls. Some of the underlying causes of older-adult falls, such as muscle weakness, medications that cause dizziness, improper footwear, impaired vision, slick floors, poor lighting, loose rugs, clutter and uneven surfaces, can be improved. While falls can happen anywhere, they most often occur at home. What can you do to make your home or the home of someone you love safer?
- Remove clutter, small furniture, pet gear, electrical cords, throw rugs and anything else that might cause someone to trip
- Arrange or remove furniture so there is plenty of room for walking
- Secure carpets to the floor
- Wipe up spills immediately
- Make sure outdoor areas are well lit and walkways are smooth and free from ice..."
Here We Go Again. Although surface temperatures in the metro probably won't drop below 0F until midnight Friday night, our internal models sent out the text alert (above) warning of subzero windchills by 7 PM Friday evening. Source: Aeris Enterprise Mobile.
Graphic credit above: "Spring tornado and hail forecasts for the south-central U.S." Credit: John Allen.
February Preview. Most NOAA climate models show a warm bias returning next month, with the warmest temperature anomalies over central and eastern Canada and the northern tier of the USA. Temperature anomalies averaged over all of February in celsius. Map: WeatherBell.
Spring Break? We'll see if the long-range models are on the right track, but the same CFSv2 (Climate Forecast System) model shows a warmer bias for Canada and the northern USA into March as the El Nino signal lingers, slowly fading by late spring or early summer.
Photo credit: "A pileup involving as many as 50 vehicles shut down part of U.S. Highway 131 near Grand Rapids, Michigan last December after small snow event." (Courtesy of Fox 17)
America's Unusually Hot Year. An article at Pacific Standard points out that every state in the USA experienced temperatures in 2015 warmer than the 20th century average; here's an excerpt: "It's official: On average, 2015 was the second warmest year on record. In fact, every state in the United States experienced above-average annual temperatures last year, marking the 19th consecutive year in which average annual temperatures were higher than those of the 20th century. The annual average temperature this year was 54.4°F—just shy of 55.3°F, the average for 2012, the warmest year on record, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Centers for Environmental Information annual summary. Several states, including Montana, Washington, Oregon, and Florida all experienced their warmest years since 1895, the year in which record-keeping for temperature and precipitation began..."
Don't Blame All These Rains and Floods on El Nino. It's a complicated jumble of factors, argues a story at WIRED; here's an excerpt: "...El Niño is not weather. Weather is short-term stuff: hurricanes, rainstorms, droughts. El Niño is none of those things, but it influences them all. By the numbers, the phenomena is pretty boring: warmer than average surface ocean temperatures in the normally cool Eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean. That warm water makes the normally dry air humid. Result: huge rainstorms and rapidly rising air that ripples around the world. “It’s like dropping a rock in a pond,” says Martin Hoerling, research meteorologist for NOAA’s Earth Systems Research Laboratory in Boulder. As those ripples spread towards the poles and eastward (because of Earth’s rotation), they cause the jet stream to undulate. So low pressure systems form in weird places..." (Image credit: NASA JPL).
What's So Significant About Oil Prices at $30 per Barrel? The Washington Post provides analysis; here's a clip: "...“The starting point is the oversupply in the world market and the battle for market share among the exporters,” says Daniel Yergin, a longtime energy expert and the vice chairman of IHS. “But the oil price is also being pounded down by the geopolitical rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran in the Middle East, and the imminent return of Iranian oil under the nuclear agreement, and at the same time, by the increasingly big worries about the Chinese economy...”
Photo credit above: "
Solar and Wind Comprises 61% of 2015 Capacity Additions, Gas Contributes 35%. Utility Dive has a link to some interesting (and encouraging) trends: "...A combination of wind, solar and natural gas made up the overwhelming majority of new capacity additions last year: Some 96%, according to SNL's data. Coal and oil combined for less than 1%. Those figures are similar to what EIA noted last year: that renewable power made up 70% of new generation in the first half of 2015. But SNL's data appears to show gas additions made up some ground, ultimately consisting of more than a third of additions last year..."
Disruptive Change is Coming. Eco-Business has an article with a slightly different take on AI; here's an excerpt: "...A key conclusion: “The age of centralized, command-and-control, extraction-resource-based energy sources (oil, gas, coal and nuclear) will not end because we run out of petroleum, natural gas, coal, or uranium. It will end because these energy sources, the business models they employ, and the products that sustain them will be disrupted by superior technologies, product architectures, and business models.” But there is bad news, too. The fourth book was James Barrat’s , published several years back—arguing that Artificial Intelligence will bring an end to the human era as we are forced to compete with “a rival more cunning, more powerful and more alien than we can imagine...”
Can Chocolate Milk Lower the Risk of Concussion? I know it sounds ridiculous, but is there really a link? Here's a clip from Quartz: "Chocolate milk is delicious, refreshing, and a great way to get calcium and sugar in one big gulp. But can it protect from concussions? Some US schools are spending tens of thousands of dollars on a Maryland-based company’s chocolate milk that it suggests can do just that. In December, the University of Maryland put out a press release announcing, “Concussion-Related Measures Improved in High School Football Players Who Drank New Chocolate Milk, UMD Study Shows...”
Photo credit above: "Nothing a little chocolate milk can't fix." (AP Photo/Matt Strasen)
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TODAY: Milder, wet snow north - few flurries or light mix possible metro. Winds: SE 7-12. High: 29
THURSDAY NIGHT: Light snow late. Low: 19
FRIDAY: Coating - 1" of snow, then turning colder. Winds: NW 10-20. High: 23 (early)
SATURDAY: Mostly cloudy, feels like -25. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: -6. High: -2
SUNDAY: More sun, still numb. WC: -35. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: -12. High: -3
MONDAY: Bitter start. Blue sky - less wind. Winds: W 8-13. Wake-up: -15. High: 7
TUESDAY: Period of snow possible. Wake-up: 3. High: 24
WEDNESDAY: Mostly cloudy. Glad to be "average" again. Wake-up: 21. High: 28
I'm looking forward to facilitating a discussion with Minnesota business leaders on how resilience, sustainability and innovation can turn a potential negative into a positive, for shareholders, investors and all Minnesotans as we transition to a clean-energy economy while preserving the Minnesota we've come to know and love for our kids and future generations.
From protecting precious water resources to the growing impact on Minnesota's agricultural economy to tribal preparation to communication challenges and emergency management, there's something at this conference for everyone. Attached you'll find the draft agenda, which hopefully will assist you in making your decision to attend. Please follow this link to register for the conference!
Scientists Say Greenhouse Gas Emissions Have Canceled the Next Ice Age. Well here's some truly good news, courtesy of The Washington Post: "...Moreover, the study says, massive human greenhouse gas emissions since that time have likely “postponed” what might otherwise be another ice age “by at least 100,000 years.” The new research is based on the idea that there are two key factors that shape whether the Earth goes into an ice age (or glacial period) or not. There’s one that humans can influence, as well as one they really can’t. The factor out of our control is the Earth’s Milankovitch cycles, which describe the erratic way in which the planet orbits the sun and spins on its axis over vast time periods..."
Image credit: Williams College.
Republicans Might Actually Be Willing To Do Something About Climate Change. Here's a snippet of an interesting Washington Post story: "...At this make-or-break moment for curbing emissions, we need to accept an inconvenient truth: It’s impossible to solve the climate crisis without winning conservatives to the cause. Believe it or not, this shouldn’t be reason for despair. There’s evidence that conservative views on climate are evolving. According to a recent poll commissioned by a top GOP donor and conducted by three respected Republican pollsters, a majority of Republicans — including 54 percent of self-identified conservatives — not only believe in human-induced climate change but would support a carbon tax if the money were rebated or paired with an accompanying tax cut..."
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Global Warming Threatens the Backyard Rink. If nothing else the outdoor skating season will be shortened - in fact it already is. Here's an excerpt from CBC News: "A Canadian tradition, the backyard rink, may be in trouble in the coming years in much of the country, including P.E.I. That's the conclusion of a group of geographers at Wilfred Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, which has been studying ice conditions in rinks since 2012. They're the founders of Rink Watch, a website that allows people to pin their rinks on a map, and then update ice conditions all winter. They've just crunched the first two years of data, along with global climate models, and they say the number of skating days will drop by 20 to 30 per cent in Toronto, Montreal and Calgary by the end of the century..."
Photo credit above: "Volunteers send in ice conditions from backyard rinks across the country to Rink Watch." (Submitted by Donna Cassell).