Winter Misery Index
The mad crush of people jamming The Minneapolis Boat Show yesterday was yet another tip-off that we're enjoying a Real Winter. Our portable space heater has been on since early December, and it's getting harder to see traffic and stray polar bears over the chin-deep-drifts at the end of the driveway. 34 subzero nights in the Twin Cities!
And yet the Minnesota Climate Office has put our pain into stark perspective. Assigning points for snowfall, snow depth and cold weather this winter ranks a 103, qualifying as "kind of miserable". 2 years ago we had no winter (that was a 15). But heavy snow in 2011 made that winter a 161 (seriously miserable). Winters of the late 70s & early 80s were much worse, while 3 of the 5 easiest winters came since 1987. The blog has details below.
Yes, it's been cold, and we've experienced a monotonous parade of Alberta Clippers for the last 60+ days, but the biggest snowstorms have detoured to our south; a trend which continues this week. Cold but quiet weather lingers - subzero nights the rule rather than the exception into mid-February. I do see a milder shift in the pattern by the third week of the month, as we finally pull out of this icy rut.
Expect 40F and a rain shower for today's Super Bowl. Washington D.C. may pick up 6-8" snow Monday.
-63 degrees F at Grand Marais Airport on the 6th (-48 F in the Twin Cities)
-50 degrees F at Duluth on the 7th
-51 degrees F at Park Rapids on the 23rd (-37 F in the Twin Cities)
-53 degrees F at Grand Marais Airport on the 27th (-39 F in the Twin Cities)
-52 degrees F at Fosston on the 28th
According to the State Climatology Office the median number of days each winter when the windchill warning criteria (-35 F or colder) is reached is three times. The National Weather Service had to issue four windchill warnings for the Twin Cities so far this winter..."
Great Lakes Have Most Ice In Decades Thanks To Bitter Winter. Milwaukee's Journal Sentinel has the story - 60% of the Great Lakes have ice cover - the most in 25 years.
Super Bowl Will Be Far From A Winter Apocalypse. Clouds, 40F, maybe a passing (rain) shower or sprinkle? Not bad, considering the weather-alternatives on Groundhog Day. Here's a clip from a story at Climate Central: "...So, ever since the NFL announced Super Bowl XLVIII would be played in MetLife Stadium, everyone predicted winter doom for the Big Apple's big game: driving snowstorms, hopelessly gridlocked traffic on icy roads, fans frozen into meat popsicles. But while no one is going to mistake MetLife Stadium, located in East Rutherford, N.J., for the Orange Bowl, it doesn’t even crack the top 5 coldest NFL stadiums. And if the current forecast holds true, the game will be far from a winter apocalypse..."
Graphic credit above: "The 10 coldest stadiums in the NFL during the first week of February. While this year's Super Bowl is in a cold-weather locale, it's hardly the coldest place the game could be played."
Hard To Believe: Another Subzero Morning. NAM model temperatures show 7 AM temperatures ranging from -8 to -20F across the metro, the coldest pocket of air just north of the Twin Cities. Map: Ham Weather.
Another Cold Week. Although not reaching Breaking News/School-closing levels, the next 7-10 days will run 10-15F colder than average, at least 5 more subzero lows in the next week or so. ECMWF forecast for MSP above from Weatherspark.
Snowy Stripes. A Pacific storm regenerates over the Lower Mississippi Valley, pushing a band of snow across the Mid South into the Virginias Tuesday and Wednesday. Farther north as much as 5-1-" may fell near Chicago late Tuesday into Wednesday morning of this week. Travelers beware.
GFS Surface Pressure - Wind Speeds. Here is GFS data showing a Pacific storm tracking over south Texas, pushing across the Tennessee Valley by midweek, putting down another carpet of heavy, wet snow. Animation: NOAA and Ham Weather.
Cold Into Mid-February. I don't see much in the way of relief looking out the next 10 days; NOAA NAEFS model guidance valid February 9-15 shows a cold bias lingering over the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes, with warmer than average temperatures for the southwest USA.
Hints Of A Real Recovery. This cheered me up a little, GFS long-range guidance showing a possible shift in the pattern after February 12. Finally. It's too early for party hats and confetti, but at some point we have to climb out of this rut. Give it 10-14 days.
Photo credit above: "The water level in Lake Cachuma is dropping, in part because of sustained drought conditions across the state." (Brian van der Brug, Los Angeles Times / January 14, 2014).
* the latest U.S. Drought Monitor information for California is here.
Image credit above: Max Whittaker for The New York Times.
* more details on the upcoming hurricane storm surge forecasts from NOAA NHC.
* Harrington's TSA (Taking Sense Away) blog is here.
* photo above courtesy of Ann Karrick.
Photo credit above: AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli.
Photo credit above: "Crews work on construction of the TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline east of Winona, Texas." Photograph: Sarah A Miller/AP.
Image credit above: "The State Department says in a report released Friday that the proposed Keystone XL pipeline would have little effect on climate change."
Photo credit above: " Pawel Kopczynski/Reuters.
Photo credit: NOAA.