By any objective measure meteorological winter was extraordinary. It was the 9th coldest for the Twin Cities, but NOAA NCDC reports the 6th coldest winter for Minnesota, 5th coldest for Wisconsin. 18 mornings with Windchill Advisories, the most since 1996.
The Minnesota DNR has an update on the WMI, the Winter Misery Index, factoring extreme cold and snow. This winter rates a 198 score, just 4 points away from qualifying as "Very Severe"; the harshest winter since 1983-84. Details below. Have a nice day.
Yeah, we're REALLY earning our spring this year.
We cool off later today, a chilly weekend on tap with temperatures 10-15F colder than average. Milder air returns Monday; the lowest mile of the atmosphere may be warm enough for a rain/snow mix by Tuesday. You remember rain, right?
Other than that our pattern looks fairly quiet - a cool, dry bias looking out 10 days.
In today's blog (below) NOAA reports 20 storms in the North Atlantic with hurricane-force winds since January 1, a total of 43 super-storms since October 25, 2013.
NOAA's 45 day CFS (Climate Forecast System) model shows consistent 60s by the third week of April here in the MSP metro, but I wouldn't hold my breath. Not yet.
Personally I suspect spring will come on a Thursday.
Flirting With 60. There's no (significant) snow on the ground over far western and southwestern Minnesota; and the mercury took off Thursday, brushing 60F from Pipestone to Canby and Morris. Thursday highs: MesoWest.
Image credit above: "Snapshot of rainfall and oxygen-18 isotope values using crowdsourced rainwater samples collected during landfall of Superstorm Sandy." Chart: Gabe Bowen, University of Utah.
Here are a few not-so-fun scenarios to consider. Remember, it's the unknown unknowns that often come back to bite you:
Power Grid Preparedness Falls Short, Report Says. With a little luck we won't soon experience a G4 or GF geomagentic storm, triggered by a CME, a mass coronal ejection of charged particles from the sun. It happens on a fairly routine basis, we've just been relatively lucky here on Earth since the mid 1800s. How long will our luck hold out? Here's an excerpt of a recent New York Times story: "Nearly all the utilities that participated in two-day exercise last November to test the preparedness of the power grid for online and physical attacks said that their planning was not good enough, according to a report by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, which organized the drill. But the participants, more than 2,000 of them from across the United States, Canada and Mexico, said the exercise taught them lessons about whom they would need to communicate with in an attack, and where their vulnerabilities were..."
File photo above: Associated Press.
Image credit above: "US Atomic Energy Commission 14 kT Bunker Charlie test - October 30, 1951." (Photo: USAEC).
Photo credit above: "A rooftop solar installation in Minneapolis." (Photo by Minnesota Solar Challenge via Creative Commons).
Image credit above: " Proceedings of the IEEE.