Have we reached an epic new low for winters in Minnesota? Maybe. 50 subzero lows IS impressive, but Kent Smith in Eden Prairie and Pete Boulay at the Minnesota Climate Office both confirm no record lows this winter at MSP, which I found a bit odd. A spree of subzero lows but nothing record-breaking. 9th coldest meteorological winter on record at KMSP, and based on heating degree days we've spent 12.3 percent more than average heating our homes this winter. Whatever average is.
Two meteorological trends I've noticed in recent years: a tendency for weather to stall, to get "stuck". And more volatility, more extremes, more weather whiplash.
Think about it. Two years ago we saw 60F the first week of March; 80F by mid-March. Flowers were in bloom & sail boats were in the water by late March, on our way to a 7 month boating season! This winter we feel blessed just to see freezing.
"Every winter seems like a new low" my oldest son complained. Here's a guy that lived for snow days and shrugged at cold fronts growing up. Now he's thoroughly disgusted. I sense he's not alone. Last winter it snowed in early May, creating a chorus of groans. The groans have turned into gasps.
No epic, March Tournament storms are brewing anytime soon; an inch or two from a fast-moving clipper tonight - a better chance of a few inches of slush next Tuesday as a more significant storm spins up over the Midwest - the brunt of snow, ice and rain may stay south and east of Minnesota, but it could be a close call.
Remarkably no more subzero lows are in sight. We brush 32F Thursday; 40F is possible next week. I'm nervous saying this out loud, but I sense we're finally turning the corner... on a winter to remember.
* photo above courtesy of duckduckgrayduck.com.
Ask Paul. Weather-related questions, comments (and threats):
"How many hours has Mpls been above freezing since November 1, 2103? Thank you."
I asked local weather and climate guru Pete Boulay at the Minnesota Climatology Working Group to tally up the numbers. Here is an excerpt of his reply:
"The more impressive totals are number of hours that we had above 32 degrees for meteorological winter.
December: The Twin Cities International Airport had 64 hours of above freezing temperatures 33 or warmer
January: The Twin Cities International Airport had 34 hours of above freezing temperatures 33 or warmer in January and one hour of 40 degrees and that one hour was glorious.
February: The Twin Cities International Airport had was 32 hours for 33 degrees and above."
"I had 8 of them vying for a spot around my heated birdbath in Mound on Sunday. I don’t think they ever left last fall!"
Best Regards, Howard Richards
Photo credit above: "The GPM Core Observatory is launched aboard a Japanese H-IIA rocket from the Tanegashima Space Center last week." (Photo: NASA/Bill Ingalls).
Photo credit above: "Wind turbines could potentially disrupt a hurricane enough to reduce peak wind speeds by up to 92 mph and decrease storm surge by up to 79 percent." (Credit: Department of Energy and Climate Change/Flickr)
Don't Ignore Climate Change Realities. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed that appeared in The Kansas City Star: "...Using information from around the globe, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration lays out compelling climate change evidence from the last century:
-Global surface temperatures are rising.
-The index ranking extreme weather events in the United States is at its highest level in 100 years. (Think polar vortex.)
-Sea levels are rising; oceans are getting warmer.
-Glacier volume is shrinking dramatically..."
Photo credit above: "An iceberg melts in Kulusuk, Greenland near the arctic circle Tuesday Aug, 16, 2005." Image: John McConnico/Associated Press.