Finally: Hints of March
Well, at least snow lovers are content. Not nearly as many (flaming) e-mails from irate snowmobilers wondering where to drive their sleds to see snow. That's an improvement.
An extended stay from the Polar Vortex is treating the continental U.S. to the coldest winter since 1979; the 3rd coldest on record, to date. A real winter. The same stagnant, mostly-stalled jet stream is sparking record drought across California, biblical storms for Britain, a springlike February across Europe - along with shirtsleeves & surplus slush for Sochi, Russia.
For the first time in 20 days we surge above 32F today. Some towns may see the first 40F high since January 12. A poignant reminder of a higher sun angle, making it harder to get extreme, school-closing cold fronts by late February.
Lows slip below zero again early next week, but it won't be anything like January's Siberian Smack. Enjoy a partial thaw into Thursday, but keep heavier coats handy for the weekend. No big snows brewing; cold air from the weekend into much of next week will push the storm track well south of Minnesota. Some light accumulation is possible Thursday - maybe a couple inches.
Kent from Eden Prairie writes: "Hey Paul, I witnessed at least 10 fat robins in the midday sun hopping from branch to branch under a marvelous blue sky. Are these birds crazy and confused?"
Yep. Join the crowd.
Image credit above: "The jet stream that circles Earth's north pole travels west to east. But when the jet stream interacts with a Rossby wave, as shown here, the winds can wander far north and south, bringing frigid air to normally mild southern states." NASA/GSFC.
Photo credit above: "Rain drops hang on a railing at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Monday, Feb. 17, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. After days of warm weather at the Sochi Olympics, fog up in the mountains is causing an even bigger disturbance.Thick fog rolled in over the mountains in Krasnaya Polyana on Sunday night and was still lingering on Monday, and the limited visibility forced organizers to delay a biathlon race and cancel the seeding runs in a snowboard event." (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth).
Photo credit above: "A referee throws salt on the track prior to the men's biathlon 20k individual race, at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia." (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man).
Photo credit above: "Flood water surrounds homes in Shepperton, Surrey, England, as Royal Engineers are now being tasked to carry out a high-speed assessment of damage to the UK's flood defense infrastructure, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014. The military could have been brought in earlier to help deal with the winter storms that have been wracking Britain, a Cabinet minister has admitted. As the weather finally gave the country a respite, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond defended the Government's handling of the crisis." (AP Photo/PA, Steve Parsons).
Graphic credit above: "Change in energy content of different components of the climate system." (IPCC, 2013).
Viewpoints: Fracking During The Drought Is Destructive and Irresponsible. The Sacramento Bee has an Op-Ed that caught my eye; here's a clip: "...Fracking is a triple threat to California’s water. Not only does it exacerbate the climate crisis, it requires mixing vast amounts of water with harmful chemicals, and it puts our vital aquifers at risk of contamination for generations. Last week, the green investment group Ceres released a report that found that 96 percent of fracking wells in California were drilled in regions under high or extremely high water stress..."
Photo credit above: "This Feb. 14, 2014 photo shows a freeway sign in Los Angeles advising motorists to save water because of the state's severe drought. This week the California Department of Transportation launched an education campaign with 700 electronic highway boards displaying the message: "Serious Drought. Help Save Water."