My 8 year old niece told me not to sweat Christmas this year. "It doesn't matter whether it snows or not" she whispered. Say what? "We're OK, because Santa has RAIN DEER!" Amen.
I've heard a few wild rumors about 8 to 12 inches of snow for the metro. That's simply not going to happen. To get (all) snow the temperature profile of the lowest mile of the atmosphere has to be colder than 32 F. That won't be the case today; snow melting into rain drops, possibly freezing into a little glaze ice early today (watch the bridges).
A changeover back to wet snow is likely tonight; a couple inches of slush may complicate the drive to church tomorrow morning, but this will NOT be a repeat of last Sunday. Not even close.
Models show a few inches of snow next Thursday, probably enough to assure a bright-white Christmas this year, with highs stuck in the teens under blue sky.
The weather blog includes updates on the Geminid meteor shower, our drought, and estimates that only 25-35 percent of the USA will have snow for Christmas.
From State Climatologist Greg Spoden: December is 7F warmer than average. If we finish 4.3F warmer - 2012 will be the Twin Cities' warmest year on record. Details below.
* photo above: funnywildlife.com.
...A WINTRY MIX OF PRECIPITATION FOR LATE TONIGHT AND SATURDAY... .THE WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY HAS BEEN EXPANDED EAST ACROSS MUCH OF CENTRAL MINNESOTA AND A SMALL PART OF WEST CENTRAL WISCONSIN. THE ADVISORY IS NOW IN EFFECT...NORTH AND WEST OF A LINE FROM GRANITE FALLS...TO ST CLOUD AND BALSAM LAKE...FROM 3 AM TONIGHT TO 3 PM SATURDAY. THIS IS FOR THE POTENTIAL COMBINATION OF FREEZING RAIN FOLLOWED BY ACCUMULATING SNOW. PRECIPITATION IS EXPECTED TO QUICKLY SPREAD INTO THE REGION LATE TONIGHT AND MOVE OUT SATURDAY EVENING. FOR THE FIRST FEW HOURS AFTER PRECIPITATION STARTS...IT IS EXPECTED TO COME DOWN AS LIQUID. SURFACE TEMPERATURES WILL BE NEAR FREEZING AS THIS OCCURS... AND WHERE TEMPERATURES CAN REMAIN BELOW FREEZING...THE PRECIPITATION WILL BE IN THE FORM OF FREEZING RAIN. AFTER SUNRISE SATURDAY... THE PRECIPITATION WILL TRANSITION OVER TO RAIN AND SNOW...WITH 1 TO 3 INCHES OF SNOW POSSIBLE DURING THE DAY. BE PREPARED FOR SLIPPERY ROADS AND LIMITED VISIBILITIES...AND USE CAUTION WHILE DRIVING.
ECMWF Trend: Colder and Snowier. The latest European model shows mostly rain today for the Twin Cities, ending as an inch or two of wet snow tonight; dry weather from midday Sunday into Wednesday. A half inch of liquid is predicted for next Thursday, with temperatures cold enough for (all snow). The result may be several inches of accumulation, perhaps 4"+, before considerably colder weather returns late next week, highs in the teens to near 20.
Close Encounter. The 00z ECMWF model shows the bulk of any snow next Thursday sliding off south/east of MSP, maybe brushing far southeastern Minnesota. Too early to say right now, but this may be a big snowstorm from Des Moines to Madison, Milwaukee and Chicago. WSI model guidance above valid 18z next Thursday.
-The portion of the contiguous U.S. in the worst category – D4, or exceptional drought – remained virtually unchanged at 6% (rounded) for the eighteenth consecutive week (August 14 – December 11).
-Hay in drought fell slightly to 64%, but has been at or above 60% for 23 consecutive weeks – since July 10.
-Cattle in drought was unchanged at 73%, and has been greater than two-thirds of the domestic inventory for 23 consecutive weeks (July 10 – December 11).
-Winter wheat in drought was down slightly to 63%, although the hard red winter wheat belt – especially from South Dakota to Texas – remains deeply entrenched in drought."
* the latest Minnesota Drought Monitor from NOAA is here.
- The January-November period was the warmest first 11 months of any year on record for the contiguous United States. The national temperature of 57.1°F was 3.3°F above the 20th century average, and 1.0°F above the previous record warm January-November of 1934. During the 11-month period, 18 states were record warm and an additional 24 states were top ten warm.
- It appears virtually certain that 2012 will surpass the current record (1998, 54.3°F) as the warmest year for the nation. December 2012 temperatures would need to be more than 1.0°F colder than the coldest December (1983) for 2012 to not break the record.
OPPOSING VIEW: Our warnings were clear and effective
Why not? In the six weeks since Sandy struck, a lot of people in the forecasting community have been asking that question. The emerging answers suggest that, faced with a pair of unusual challenges from Sandy, government forecasters rose to one test and bungled the other..."
House lawmakers don't intend to introduce an emergency funding bill anywhere near as large as the $60 billion the Obama administration is seeking to help rebuild the Northeast after superstorm Sandy, saying the administration hasn't provided sufficient details to justify spending that amount, two senior GOP aides said Wednesday.
If the Republican-controlled House doesn't take up the measure this year, it would push debate on a large rebuilding bill into next year -- something New York and New Jersey officials have said they want to avoid..."
Photo credit: " A miniature golf course destroyed by Hurricane Sandy at Jenkinson's Boardwalk in Point Pleasant Beach, N.J., Nov. 28, 2012. A month after Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc along the Jersey Shore, the area is slowly starting to recover. (Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times)
* NASA has a live stream of the Geminid Meteor Shower here.
Photo credit: "Homes left in the wake of superstorm Sandy in Seaside Heights, New Jersey." Photograph: Mike Groll/AP
Image credit above: "Percent contributions of greenhouse gases (GHGs), sulfur dioxide (SO2), the sun, volcanoes, and El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) to the observed global surface warming over the past 50-65 years according to Tett et al. 2000 (T00, dark blue), Meehl et al. 2004 (M04, red), Stone et al. 2007 (S07, green), Lean and Rind 2008 (LR08, purple), Huber and Knutti 2011 (HK11, light blue), Gillett et al. 2012 (G12, orange), and Wigley and Santer 2012 (WS12, dark green)."
* Global Warming is not due to the sun, according to leaked IPCC report. The U.K. Guardian has details.
Image credit above: National Park Service, Will Elder
- Do a revenue-neutral tax swap that reduces taxes on income and shifts the tax onto carbon dioxide, thereby attaching to fossil fuels an approximation of the cost of their negative externalities. [Note: Make sure to keep this revenue-neutral. You may have to add revenue elsewhere in a grand bargain, but the goal of this tax swap is the correction of a market distortion, not the raising of revenue.]
- Eliminate all subsidies for all fuels, thereby correcting yet another market distortion called government failure."