As our winters slowly warm, with more fickle snowfall patterns showing up from year to year, it's good to keep some perspective. Yes it's chilly out there, but nothing like 1983, when the "high" on Christmas Eve was -10F.
Santa was not amused.
That was the year we had 20 inches of snow on the ground on December 25 and then went on to pick up 98.6 inches for the winter. Back when it snowed fairly consistently.
NWS records show 19 inches on Christmas 2010, 18 inches in 1996; both real winters. The exceptions to the rule. It's odd: December's the snowy canary in the winter coal mine. If we get smothered in snow - expect a long, old fashioned Minnesota winter.
But El Nino & nagging drought are conspiring to route storms south/east of home - a trend that will continue thru the first week of January.
Flurries are possible today (metro coating, 1-2" far western MN), maybe a Friday coating, but holiday travelers in the Upper Midwest catch a big break. Meanwhile the southern and eastern US get pummeled with heavy rain and T-storms. Details below.
We may wake up to readings near zero Christmas morning - cold enough for most of us.
1 inch of snow on the ground Christmas morning? More beige than white.
Santa Tracker. Hey, it's a Christmas tradition. Click here to track Santa's real-time GPS location, in a variety of languages. I don't expect any weather-related delays. Nobody does it better than NORAD.
Christmas Numbers. The average high for Christmas Day is in the low to mid 20s across most of southern and central Minnesota. Climate info courtesy of the Twin Cities National Weather Service.
Very White Christmases. NWS historical data shows a whopping 20" on the ground back in 1983, 19" as recently as 2010.
#5 Non-Winter of 2011-12
Some of the predictions were dire. Possibly a winter more snowy than 2010-2011 was in the cards. It didn't happen. One of the most wimpy winters ever seen in the Twin Cities and Minnesota was the result with mild temperatures and scant snowfall. 2011-12 wound up the tenth least snowy winter on record for the Twin Cities and was the fourth warmest winter on record.
#4 Hot July 2012
2012 was the second warmest month ever for the Twin Cities back to 1872 with 80.2 degrees. Only July 1936 was warmer with 81.4 degrees. Duluth had its warmest July on record, although in 1936, the recording station for Duluth was closer to Lake Superior. To escape the heat, one had to go to International Falls where the average July temperature was 69 degrees making 2012 only the 12th warmest July on record there.
#3 Drought of 2011-2012
This could easily be #1 depending on where you live in Minnesota. The heavy rains of May and June, 2012 helped to blunt the drought a bit, but then it intensified by the late summer and continued into the fall. By late November 80% of the state was under a severe or extreme drought. By fall, soil moisture levels at the University of Minnesota Southern Research and Outreach Center in Waseca were some of the lowest on record.
#2 Northeast Minnesota Flood of June 19-20
The largest flash flood event in Minnesota for 2012 struck northeast Minnesota on June 19-20. The largest two day total was 10.10 inches just northeast of Duluth. There were so many roads flooded out in Carlton County that the county rain out of signs and more had to be trucked from the Twin Cities. One of the iconic photos of the storm was of Feisty the seal who escaped the Lake Superior Zoo and wound up on a neighborhood street. The St. Louis River engulfed and nearly destroyed the Jay Cooke State Park Swinging Bridge, but it will reopen in the summer of 2013. As for Feisty? She found refuge at Como Zoo and now has over 800 followers on Twitter.
#1 Outrageously Mild March 2012
Imagine if you will a March that was so warm it would break six record high temperature records in the Twin Cities, have four days with muggy dew point temperatures that reached 60 and wound up warmer than October! To top it off the Twin Cities had its earliest 80 degree temperature ever with 80 degrees on St. Patrick's Day, March 17. The old record was March 23 back in 1910. March 2012 will go down in history as one of the most bizarre months temperature-wise, finishing 15.5 degrees above normal. The only other month in the historical record for the Twin Cities that matches this feat was January 2006 that also finished 15.5 degrees above normal. As a consequence, spring phenology was exceedingly early with lilacs blooming the earliest on record in the Twin Cities, with many in full bloom by mid April.
Hurricane Sandy: "the largest Atlantic hurricane on record in terms of wind span". Source: Swiss Re (article at desmogblog.com).
Image above: coolsydney.net.au.
- Senator Bob Kerry, quoted in an article at Ars Technica. Image: Wikipedia.
(Photo above: "mikepic")
1. Extend emissions limits to cover existing power plants.
On Dec. 20, a federal appeals court upheld that the Environmental Protection Agency has the power to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions. With its regulatory authority better established, the next step for the EPA could be to extend its emissions limits to cover existing power plants, not just new ones..."