You have your pet peeves? So do meteorologists. Predict 4 to 8 inches and people remember 8. "Where's that 8 inches you promised me, Paul?" We give a range of amounts because, as good as the models are, they're not that good. "Why can't you find an identical storm in the past to find out what we'll get?" Every storm is different; every scenario is unique. There has never been a day identical to today. Humbling, and perpetually challenging.
Some perspective: we're waking up to the second subzero morning of February; this makes 8 nights of negative bliss for MSP. The latest 30 year climate data shows an average of 22.5 nights below zero every winter. How do you get half a night below zero? Fun with statistics.
A deep layer of arctic air will insure all snow; fairly light and powdery Thursday night into Friday. I'm thinking something in the 4-7 inch range; 8-9" for southern MN. You'll want to play in all that fresh (perfect) snow Saturday.
Another southern storm pushes wet, slushy snow into town Monday night and Tuesday; maybe a few more sloppy inches. We'll hit freezing next week (woo hoo!) but no springy warm fronts are in sight.
Old Man Winter isn't nearly done with us yet.
Photo credit above: "Associated Press.
- 67 percent of U.S. counties and 43 states were affected by “billion-dollar damage” extreme weather events in 2011 and 2012.
- 1,107 fatalities resulted from these 25 extreme weather events in 2011 and 2012.
- Up to $188 billion in damage was caused by these severe weather events in 2011 and 2012.
- $50,346.58 was the average household income in counties declared a disaster due to these weather events—3 percent below the U.S. median household income of $51,914. 
- 356 all-time high temperature records were broken in 2012.
- 34,008 daily high temperature records were set or tied throughout 2012, compared to just 6,664 daily record lows—a ratio of 5-to-1.
- 19 states had their warmest year ever in 2012.
Photo credit above: "The VIIRS sensor on the NOAA/NASA Suomi NPP satellite passed over the central eye of Hurricane Sandy on Oct. 25, 2012. Without the satellite data, NOAA’s weather forecasts would become less reliable." Credit: JPSS/NOAA/NASA
Weather Satellites Could Miss The Next Hurricane Sandy. There may be a serious gap in coverage with the POES (polar orbiting) weather satellites; data which is fed into computer models, data which made a tangible difference forecasting major winter storms (and Sandy) during recent years. Here's a portion of a Yahoo Finance article that caught my eye: "...Since the 1970′s, America had two sets of polar-orbiting weather satellites, one operated by the government’s weather researchers, and the other by military. In 1994, it was decided that combining them into one operation would save a lot of money. After 16 years of unsuccessful attempts to do that, the government threw up its hands and decided to split the task, giving the weather agency the late afternoon orbit and the military the early morning, with the mid-day orbit shared with the European space agency. But even these separate plans have been plagued by delays, and the GAO warns that the gap in afternoon coverage by the weather researchers could last from 17 to 53 months. The defense department, meanwhile has decided to launch previously mothballed satellites. which may not have the technology to perform the kinds of observation needed for weather forecasting..."
* America's 20 Dirtiest Cities? 7 of them are in California. Forbes has the details here.
Photo credit above: "The new idea is that it's a more sustainted series of eruptions from volcanoes in strategic locations along the edge of continents that cause these long periods of warmth." Credit: flickr/NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center.