A "Tough Winter"?
Winters have been trending milder, to the point where a (nearly average) winter feels like punishment from a vindictive Old Man Winter.
"Paul, are you going to write about this tough winter we're having?" a friend asked last week. Huh?
Which got me thinking. Has it been that bad?
MSP has picked up 35.5 inches of snow. During an average winter we should be up to 40 inches by now. 9 subzero nights; average for an entire winter is 22.5. Based on NWS Heating Degree Days we've saved roughly 5 percent heating our homes & businesses since last fall. A tough winter? No, not really.
A reality check, compared to last year's Memphis-like winter. In spite of climate change we'll still experience cold fronts and occasional snows. If it ever gets to the point where it never snows (at all) we'll be past the point of no return.
Quiet weather prevails this week, with a minor league thaw and a major rain/wind storm tracking well east of Minnesota. Low to mid 30s give way to 20s by late week, but no more polar (subzero) air is in sight.
March 2013 won't bring 70s & 80s, like last year.
But the Spring Parade of Homes kicks off next weekend. Birds are chirping again!
It won't be long now.
New Snow By Tuesday Night. The NAM model prints out another snowy drubbing for Kansas, as much as 15-18", maybe another foot for Kansas City. Omaha may pick up 4-6", with 3-4" for Chicago, maybe 2-3" for the Detroit area. Boston picks up 1-2" later today, much heavier amounts northinto Maine.
Storm-Free Next 7-10 Days. The latest ECMWF (European) model keeps any significant storms well south of Minnesota, highs at or above freezing into Thursday, then cooler weather by late week.
Photo credit above: "John Honeywell uses a grain drill to plant winter wheat near Orlando, Okla., on Sept. 12, 2012. "Sue Ogrocki/AP Photo
* photo above courtesy of Tim Wright.