Alberta Clippers usually elicit a shrug and a yawn. Named after (speedy at the time) 19th century clipper ships, these swirls of low pressure sneezed southward from the direction of Calgary move too fast to tap moisture from the Gulf of Mexico. They're fickle; a slight jog in track and a narrow 150-mile wide carpet of snow can shift suddenly.
Think of the slow-moving, lumbering storm moving in Monday as a clipper on steroids. What it lacks in moisture it'll make up for in persistence.
This may be a 36-48 hour snow event - temperatures aloft cold enough for all snow. How much? It looks ery plowable; a band of 4-8 inches setting up near or over the metro area. Travel goes from bad to worse late Monday into Tuesday morning, but a surface temperature from 25-30 F. means MnDot crews MAY be able to keep freeways slow and slushy. A March snow is a different beast than a cold, powdery January storm. Expect less ice, more slush.
Leave extra time to get around town late Monday into Tuesday. This looks like an early "Tournament Storm"; as much as 1 inch of liquid water - more evidence the pattern may be shifting.
Get out and romp in it - a week from now we may see 40+ and rain.
...SNOWFALL EXPECTED FROM SUNDAY NIGHT INTO TUESDAY... .A WINTER STORM IS EXPECTED TO IMPACT THE NORTHERN PLAINS AND UPPER MIDWEST FROM SUNDAY THROUGH TUESDAY. THIS SYSTEM MAY BRING SNOWFALL ACCUMULATIONS OF 6 INCHES OR MORE TO MUCH OF CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN MINNESOTA. AT THIS TIME... THE GREATEST THREAT FOR HEAVY SNOW IS ALONG AND WEST OF A LINE FROM LITTLE FALLS TO ALBERT LEA. CONFIDENCE HAS INCREASED ENOUGH THAT WINTER STORM WARNINGS MAY BE ISSUED LATER TONIGHT FOR PORTIONS OF THE REGION. PLEASE CHECK LATER WINTER WEATHER MESSAGES FOR MORE DETAILS AND POSSIBLE WARNINGS. ...WINTER STORM WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM SUNDAY EVENING THROUGH LATE MONDAY NIGHT... A WINTER STORM WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM SUNDAY EVENING THROUGH LATE MONDAY NIGHT. * TIMING: ACCUMULATING SNOW DEVELOPING SUNDAY NIGHT IN WEST CENTRAL MINNESOTA AND THEN SPREADING EAST AND SOUTH ON MONDAY. THE SNOWFALL WILL CONTINUE THROUGH MONDAY NIGHT...BEFORE DIMINISHING ON TUESDAY. * MAIN IMPACTS: SNOW ACCUMULATION OF 6 INCHES OR MORE POSSIBLE ALONG WITH DIFFICULT TRAVEL CONDITIONS. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS... A WINTER STORM WATCH MEANS THERE IS A POTENTIAL FOR SIGNIFICANT SNOW...SLEET...OR ICE ACCUMULATIONS THAT MAY IMPACT TRAVEL. CONTINUE TO MONITOR THE LATEST FORECASTS.
“These cuts would result in a gap in weather satellite coverage, diminishing the quality of weather forecasts and the warnings of severe weather events like hurricanes and tornadoes...These impacts directly affect NOAA employees and partners throughout the country: up to 2,600 NOAA employees would have to be furloughed, approximately 2,700 positions would not be filled, and the number of contractors would have to be reduced by about 1,400. If sequestration is enacted, NOAA will face the loss of highly trained technical staff and partners. As a result, the government runs the risk of significantly increasing forecast error and, the government's ability to warn Americans across the country about high impact weather events, such as hurricanes and tornadoes, will be compromised..".
A year of extremes: 2012 was the second most extreme year on record for the nation, according to the U.S.Climate Extremes Index. The year had 11 disasters costing $1 billion or more. The only year on record that had more billion dollar disasters was 2011, which had 14. According to Munich Re, extreme weather caused $107.2 billion worth of damage in the U.S in 2012...."
Image credit above: "Suomi NPP is a weather satellite in low-Earth orbit—the only one the U.S. currently operates for civilian uses."
Photo credit above: "Drowning Islands Facebook fan Tracey Coleman took this before and after photo in San Clemente, California to highlight the before and after effect of the King tide. Of all the submissions received, this was my favorite - what a great shot."
Photo credit above: "Researchers have linked airborne dust from the Sahara and Asian deserts with the precipitation that falls over California's Sierra Nevada mountains. Pictured: mountains outside of Bishop, CA." Image: Flickr/Justin in SD.
I am wondering how the 30 year average daily highs and lows are measured. As someone who works with statistics, I would think that just using mean average of 30 data points would make the measure unstable. For example, if the last 30 years of data for January 20th had several very warm high temperature outliers, the average may be moved up several degrees, say to 26 degrees. Then if January 21 had several very cold temperature outliers within 30 years, the average might be 17 degrees. Yet when I look them up the temperatures seem relatively smooth from day to day. Is there a special process used?
Brent - I teed up your question with Greg Spoden, Minnesota's State Climatologist. You are definitely on the right track with your reasoning. Here is Greg's response to your question:
Your reader is right on the mark...the daily temperature normals are derived using more math than simple arithmetic. If Brent wants to see how the sausage is made, the National Climate Data Center (NDCD) describes their methodology in this document.
The "constrained harmonic least squares fit" technique used by NCDC smooths day-to-day variations, plus assures that the mean monthly normals are consistent with the means of the daily normals for a particular month.
Minnesota State Climatologist.
Photo credit above: "Scientists have identified a link between global warming and extreme weather events such as heat waves." Photo by Flickr user perfectsnap
- Occupational: Given that local TV news is a
highly competitive business, some weathercasters fear that discussing
climate change could cast them or their stations in a negative light.
- Social: Because climate change is such a highly charged topic, there’s a natural tendency to avoid conflict by avoiding the subject.
- Cultural: Among the 35% of weathercasters in the above-mentioned survey who cited both natural and human factors in climate change, many stressed the uncertainties inherent in any research conclusion. Some also feared that politics might be affecting the research itself, including the ways in which scientists presented and discussed their policy-relevant findings. The 29% of weathercasters who viewed climate change as primarily natural had even deeper reservations about the process of climate science, including peer review and funding decisions..."
USA TODAY covered climate change the least of the major national newspapers in the context of the 2012 presidential election. It entirely ignored how climate change has worsened fire risks in the Western U.S. in its print coverage of the destructive 2012 wildfires. It only mentioned ocean acidification once between January 2011 and June 2012, and ignored a study that found that the Great Barrier Reef has declined by 50 percent in the past 27 years largely due to human activities. And it closed its green blog in September 2012..."
Photo credit above: "Was climate change to blame?" (Image: Reuters/Jakob Dall/Danish Red Cross/Handout)