Slow Motion Spring
Why is 40F a chilly annoyance in October but a wondrous revelation in March? Weather Relativity. It's why the first flurries of fall generate a ripple of excitement. By April the mere mention o snow generates veiled threats and growling howls of protest. And that's from family members.
We have a right to be grumpy. By any objective measure it was the toughest winter since the late 70s. In a slowly warming world we get stuck with a Pioneer Winter. It doesn't seem fair.
MSP has picked up 58.4 inches so far this winter; 13 inches more than average - 16 inches on the ground - about 3-5 inches of liquid water trapped in the snow in your yard. According to NOAA the spring flood threat is at or below the historical average west of the Mississippi River. But heavier snow pack northeast of the Twin Cities means a higher risk of flooding in the St. Croix, Chippewa and Eau Claire basins. It all depends on how fast we warm, and whether heavy rain accelerates snow melt.
I suspect we'll limp into spring this year; 90-day trends show a nagging cool bias into May. A few hours of wet snow Tuesday may give way to a more impressive storm one week from tomorrow.
For now the Doppler is holding at Defcon 5.
Snow Water Equivalent. The latest numbers from NOAA estimate 3-4" of liquid water trapped in the snow pack over the south metro, but closer to 5-6" from Isanti and Cambridge to Taylors Falls, as much as 10" along Lake Superior's North Shore. Pray for a gradual thaw (with no heavy rain).
Unusually Deep Snow Over Northeastern Minnesota. In his most recent post, Dr. Mark Seeley answers a listener question about the deep snow pack along the North Shore and over the Minnesota Arrowhead. Here's an excerpt of his response at Minnesota WeatherTalk: "...Though not record-setting it is rare to have snow depths over 40 inches, yet several observers have reported these amounts for this winter including 47 inches near Two Harbors, 43 inches at Isabella, 42 inches at Wolf Ridge and Babbitt, 41 inches at Cook, and 40 inches at Cloquet and Grand Marais. The measurement of 47 inches neat Two Harbors is the deepest snow there since they measured 51 inches in March of 1965. Similarly at Babbitt the reading of 42 inches is the most there since a snow depth of 52 inches in February of 1969. The state record by the way is a snow depth of 75 inches at Pigeon River Bridge in March of 1950..."
* Another Significant snowstorm is brewing for midweek: Wednesday looks like the roughest day for travel and facility impacts from the Ohio Valley into New England.
* Evolution of model runs suggesting a plowable snowfall for Chicago (probably 4-6"), with the heaviest snow bands passing south/east of The Windy City. The heaviest amounts are likely from near Toledo and Cleveland into northern Pennsylvania, upstate New York and much of New England Wednesday night into Thursday morning. Boston may wind up with 8-12" snow by Thursday.
* New York City will see rain at the height of the storm Wednesday PM hours, ending as a few inches of slushy snow late Wednesday night and Thursday morning. Travel will be impacted for the Thursday AM commute in the Tri-State Region.
* Detroit may be close to the northern edge of the heaviest snow band; latest models suggest 4-6" in the Motor City Wednesday.
Summary: It's still early, but enough ingredients are converging for a very significant snowfall from the Ohio Valley into portions of the Great Lakes and New England. A plowable snow is likely in Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, South Bend, Toledo and Cleveland, with as much as 8-12" from east of Cleveland into Buffalo, Syracuse and Rochester by the PM hours Wednesday, spreading rapidly into the rest of New England Wednesday night and Thursday morning. Latest models suggest 8-12" of snow for metro Boston, most of that falling Wednesday evening into midday Thursday, enough to shut down the city for 12-18 hours, if the models are on the right track (and I suspect they are).
Another update Monday as we receive more data and weigh the various model solutions. It's been the roughest winter since the late 70s and early 80s for many northern cities, and Old Man Winter isn't quite done with us yet. The pattern remains active and volatile. Stay tuned for more details as the specifics on this storm crystallize.
Paul Douglas - Senior Meteorologist - Alerts Broadcaster
The Future Of TV Is Coming Into Focus, And Looks Pretty Great. Will every show you care about eventually be delivered online, and on-demand? What will this do to traditional network TV schedules? Are we heading to more of a Netflix model for most of our entertainment? Quartz has a thought-provoking article; here's the introduction: "The future of TV is here. It’s just not evenly distributed. If it doesn’t seem like the American television industry is in the middle of a dramatic transformation, that’s simply because the pieces are scattered all over the place. But they are starting to come together. One transformative piece arrived earlier this week, when Dish Network secured the rights to include ABC, ESPN, and other popular channels owned by Disney in a TV service delivered entirely over the internet. Negotiating deals like that one has generally been the biggest impediment to internet TV in the United States..."
Photo credit above: "A new study finds that global warming will probably cause droughts to set in quicker and be more intense." Photograph: David Gray/REUTERS.
* more on the ongoing debate over extreme drought and climate change from Tamino.
Who Cares About Flowers Anyway? Here's a clip from an Op-Ed at The Boston Globe that got my attention: "...Flowers stink. They’re expensive and can’t hold a charge. And for the life of me, I can’t remember the last operating system update. No music. No video. No apps. No, technology is what we find beautiful today. Understated design, clean lines, and functionality have become our preferred aesthetic. Never mind that nature provided us this template to begin with. Being plugged in is what we value. We have no time for sentimentality. Perhaps that’s why we’ve so easily turned our backs on the spot-on warnings of scientists for decades now that our current use of energy, the juice that powers our beautiful products, means the climate will get too hot for plants to survive..." (Photo courtesy of Tricia Frostad).