Tuesday, February 14, 2017

A little cooler Wednesday. A shot at 60F in Southern MN on Friday?

A Reminder of What Snow Looks Like
Thanks to one of my family members, Bob Blasby, who live on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada for the picture below. So THIS is what snow looks like, huh? Geez! According to Bob, this cold and snowy winter has been cutting into his somewhat regular golfing habits this winter. Come to Minnesota, Bob! We've got great golf weather here.

Snow-free Landscape

Most of us are staring at bare ground across much of southern Minnesota. Interestingly, the lack of snow cover is part of the reason why we've been able to warm so much over the past few days. Instead of melting snow, the solar radiation is being used to warm the atmosphere! Keep in mind that last year at this time, we had 3" of snow on the ground at the Minneapolis-International Airport, but back in 2014, we had 13" of snow on the ground!
Snow Coverage Map from the MN DNR

Here is the latest snow depth map from the MN DNR (released last Thursday, February 9th), which shows that most of Minnesota is snow free. Note that the northern half of the state still has snow on the ground, especially in the Arrowhead where some 1.5ft to 2ft tallies are still showing up! Continued mild weather as of late has had snow coverage continuing to retreat. We will see how this map changes this Thursday, February 16th... Stay tuned.


Record Warmth Ahead...

Thanks to the National Weather Service for the numbers below, which tell us how high the record highs are from 2/16 to 2/20 in Minneapolis, St. Cloud and in Eau Claire. Note that several of these records have a chance at being beaten in the days to come. If you're a fan of this warmer weather during meteorological winter, enjoy!


Weather Outlook for Through Early Next Week

Here's the weather outlook from Wednesday to Monday night of next week. Note that we stay mostly dry all the way through the weekend. Our next best chance of precipitation doesn't arrive until Monday and at that point, temperatures look to be warm enough for February rain showers. Interestingly, weather models are hinting at a little instability, which would indicate the possibility of a few rumbles of thunder across parts of the Upper Midwest if this system stays together. Interestingly, the 30 year average for the Twin Cities suggests that February averages less than 1 day of thunderstorms (0.1 days) during the month.

Slightly cooler today - 60 possible by Friday?
By Todd Nelson, filling in for Douglas.
Yes, you saw that headline right. The mercury may soar into the 60s across parts of southern Minnesota by the end of the week. Just to show you how rare it is to hit 60 degrees in the Twin Cities in the month of February, we've only done it 4 times! The most recent was on leap day in 2000 when we topped out at 61 degrees. The all-time warmest February reading was 64 degrees on the 26th back in 1896.
A lack of snow cover is a huge part of why temperature will soar to 20 to near 30 degrees above average. Instead of melting snow, solar radiation is being pumped into warming the atmosphere.
Looking at weather maps over the next several days, it's hard to believe that it is still February. Hints of April may have folks testing their spring legs on a jog outside or even taking to the garage to clean out the winter crud. Oh, that reminds me, I still have my holiday lights on the house. It would be a good weekend to pull those down too.
Long range weather models keep us dry until Monday. Rain and February rumbles may be possible then!
Extended Forecast:
TUESDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy and cooler. Not as breezy. Winds: NNW 10-15. Low: 21
WEDNESDAY: Less wind. Passing clouds. Feels cooler. Winds: WSW 5. High: 34.
WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy, cool and quiet. Winds: SE 5. Low: 25. 
THURSDAY: Mostly sunny and mild. Feels like March again. Winds: ESE 5. High: 46.
FRIDAY: Warm sunshine. A shot at 60F? Winds: SE 5. Wake-up: 32. High: 55.
SATURDAY: Dry. Hints of April. Winds: SE 5. Wake-up: 34. High: 53.
SUNDAY: Still very warm for February. Clouds thicken late. Winds: S 5. Wake-up: 34. High: 52.
MONDAY: February rain. PM rumble of thunder? Winds: SE 10-15. Wake-up: 42. High: 53.
TUESDAY: A little cooler. Lingering sprinkles. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 39. High: 47.
This Day in Weather History
February 15th
1921: An early blast of spring weather invades Minnesota. Thunderstorms were reported across the southern portion of the state. Winona had a high of 67.
Average High/Low for Minneapolis
February 15th
Average High: 29F (Record: 63F set in 1921)
Average: Low: 13F (Record: -25F set in 1875)
*Record Snowfall: 8.5" set in 1967
Sunrise Sunset Times For Minneapolis
February 15th
Sunrise: 7:13am
Sunset: 5:42pm
*Daylight Gained Since Yesterday: ~2 minutes & 55 seconds
*Daylight Gained Since Winter Solstice (December 21st): ~1 hour & 42 minutes

Moon Phase for February 14th at Midnight
4.3 Days After Full Moon
Weather Outlook For Wednesday
A fast moving clipper scooted across the Great Lakes on Tuesday. With it came gusty winds across the regions and slightly cooler temperatures. Although temperatures take a little bit of a hit on Wednesday, we'll still be above average. Feels like temperatures across the state will range from the 30s across southwestern MN to the teens across the northern part of the state.
Weather Outlook For Wednesday
After a breezy day Tuesday, winds on Wednesday will be quite a bit calmer. Winds will also begin to switch around to the west/southwest late in the day, which is the first sign of the upcoming warmer weather later this week and weekend ahead.
 Weather Outlook For Wednesday
Wednesday will be a dry day across the state, but lingering clouds will rotate through the northern part of the state with peeks of sun popping out at times in the Twin Cities.
Extended Temperature Outlook for Minneapolis
Here's the temperature outlook through February 23rd, which shows well above average temperatures continuing through the weekend and into early next week. Note that we could see our first 50F in the Twin Cities since November 28th (55F) and we may even see our first 60F in the Twin Cities since November 16th (61F). This weekend is going to feel very much like April with highs in the 50s to near 60 degrees! Unreal!

Record Warmth Later This Week
As temperatures warm later this week, record warmth could follow. The images below show where record warmth is forecast (circles) for Thursday and Friday. Note that by Friday, record warmth could stretch as far north as Minneapolis, MN, St. Cloud, MN, Fargo, ND and Grand Forks, ND!

8 to 14 Day Temperature Outlook
According to NOAA's CPC, the 8 to 14 day temperature outlook suggests warmer than average temperatures continuing across much of the Upper Midwest from February 23rd - 27th. There may be a slight cool down late month, but the overall trend remains warmer than average.

Temperature Outlook
Here's the 8 to 14 day temperature outlook, which takes us into late February. Note that much warmer than average temperatures look to continue over the eastern two-thirds of the nation, while the Western U.S. looks to begin seeing cooler than average temps.
National Temp Outlook
Take a look at the temperature anomaly through Saturday, February 25th. Note that the despite a quick shot of cooler than average temps by the middle and end of this week, the eastern half of the country looks to stay warmer than average through much of that time period. Colder than average temps begin moving into the western part of the country next week and perhaps into the central part of the country by the last weekend of the month.
More Snow in the Northeast

February has been a VERY snowy month for parts of the Northeast and the New England States. Here's the view from Plymouth State University located in Plymouth, NH, which showed quiet conditions in advance of another snow event that will unfold Wednesday through Thursday. Some spots could see 6" to 12" or more by Thursday. 

Simulated Radar Wednesday - Thursday

Here's the next storm system that will plow through the Northeast Wednesday - Thursday. Note that it seems to quickly move through the region, but the snow looks to be fairly heavy, especially across parts of Maine. Meanwhile, lake effect snow will begin to develop Wednesday - Thursday downwind of the Eastern Great Lakes with some 5" to 10" possible. 


Snowfall Potential in the Northeast

Here's the snowfall potential through PM Thursday, which shows pockets of heavy snowfall across parts of the northern New England states as well as parts of the Eastern Great Lakes. Some of the heaviest tallies here could reach 12"+ by the end of the week.

Heavy February Snows

Thanks to the National Weather Service out of Gray, ME for the numbers below, which show some of the snowiest February's on record for Portland, ME and Concord, NH. Note that Portland, ME has seen 34.5" of snow thru February 13th and with this next event, they could be in the top 10!


Tornado Damage near Houston, TX

Strong to severe thunderstorms rumbled across parts of southeastern Texas on Tuesday morning with a tornado reported near Houston, TX!



Severe Weather Concerns Continue

Here's the simulated radar on Wednesday, along with the severe weather outlook for Wednesday, which shows severe weather concerns continuing across parts of the Southeastern U.S.. Strong to severe storms may be capable of large hail, damaging winds and even tornadoes.

Radar Estimated Precipitation Past 30 Days
Take a look at how impressive the 30 day precipitation tallies are across the West Coast. Note the purple colors that indicate 12" of liquid! Some spots have quite a bit more than that and there's more precipitation on the way!

Improving California Drought
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, the California drought continues to improve. Note that over the last 3 months, we have seen major improvement in the Exceptional, Extreme and Severe drought. With the additional moisture expected this week, we should continue to see even more improvement!

Atmospheric Rivers Continue...
Heavy precipitation has been falling across the Western U.S. due to rivers of Pacific moisture plowing into the region. Note the deep plumes of Pacific moisture that seems to be directed right toward the West Coast, these are the Atmospheric Rivers that are responsible for the extensive precipitation. Note the next big plume setting up just west of the region, this will be responsible for another heavy surge through the week ahead.

Waves of Pacific Moisture in the Western U.S. Continue
Several rounds of heavy precipitation have blasted the West Coast and we're not quite done yet. Another surge of heavy precipitation will push through the region this week and weekend ahead with more possible into early next week with significant rainfall and flooding along with heavy mountain snow.
5 Day Precipitation Forecast
According to NOAA's WPC, the 5 day precipitation forecast suggests widespread 6" to 9"+ precipitation amounts across the West Coast through the early weekend. This will likely help improve the drought even more as we head into the 3rd week of February.
 More Heavy Rains in California

Here's a closer look at how much rain could fall around Los Angeles, CA and across parts of the Southwest through AM Sunday. Note that some spots near Los Angeles, CA could see nearly 6" or more, which could lead to flooding. 
National Weather Outlook
Here's the national weather outlook through the middle part of the week, which shows another round of snow pushing through the Great Lakes and the Northeast, while strong to severe storms continue across the southeastern. Meanwhile, another surge of Pacific moisture looks to begin moving into the West Coast. This next surge of Pacific moisture will continue sliding down the coast and will likely bring parts of southern California heavy precipitation as well.
Snowfall Potential
Here's the snowfall potential into early next week, which shows heavy mountain snow developing once again across parts of the Western U.S.. Heavy looks to develop once again across the Cascades, Sierra Nevada Range in and across the Rockies.

"Sea Ice Hits Record Lows at Both Poles"
"Arctic temperatures have finally started to cool off after yet another winter heat wave stunted sea ice growth over the weekend. The repeated bouts of warm weather this season have stunned even seasoned polar researchers, and could push the Arctic to a record low winter peak for the third year in a row. Meanwhile, Antarctic sea ice set an all-time record low on Monday in a dramatic reversal from the record highs of recent years."

"Climate threat to wildlife may have been massively underreported"
"More than 700 of the world’s threatened and endangered animal species may be directly affected by climate change, according to a new study — vastly more than the number of animal species scientists initially thought would face risks from global warming. Scientists had previously determined that only 7 percent of mammals and 4 percent of birds on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) “Red List” of threatened species are affected by climate change. However, a new study finds that the threat from climate change may have been massively underreported."
"Species like the mountain gorilla are especially threatened by climate change because of their very limited, specific habitat."(LIANA JOSEPH/WILDLIFE CONSERVATION SOCIETY)

"Humans are changing climate 170 times faster than nature, say researchers"
"Over the past 7,000 years the primary forces driving change have been astronomical - changes in solar intensity and subtle changes in orbital parameters, along with a few volcanoes," Will Steffen, of the Fenner School of Environment and Society and the Climate Change Institute at ANU, said in a statement. "Human-caused greenhouse gas emissions over the past 45 years have increased the rate of temperature rise to 1.7 degrees Celsius per century, dwarfing the natural background rate," Steffen added."
(Lukas Schulze | Getty Images)

Heavy Rains May Bring a California Poppy Spectacle This Spring
All the rainfall Southern California has seen this winter has helped to ease the state’s six-year drought and may offer a flicker of hope for fans of a certain bright orange flower. In a good year, the green fields of the California Poppy Reserve in Lancaster appear afire with the blooming of the state flower. Park officials told KPCC the reserve has already received the minimum amount of rainfall to make a bloom possible — more than 7 inches — and that the poppy stalks have sprouted.
California poppies carpet a valley near Lancaster. (Jerry Frausto/Flickr)
Thanks for checking in and don't forget to follow me on Twitter @TNelsonWX

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