Oh Canada – String of Subzero Days Coming

Oh Canada. Why do you make us suffer so? Whenever I gripe about the wind chill, I have to remember there’s another sovereign nation NORTH of the USA. Note to self: this is as far north as I ever want to live.

There’s nothing between Minnesota and the North Pole but a barbed wire fence, a reality that will sneak up on you today, like a cold slap across the face.

Winds gusting over 35 mph, coupled with air temperatures near 0F, create a metro wind chill of 25 below at times with white-out conditions south/west of MSP in open country, as winds pick up snow on the ground.

Check in on newborn infants and older friends and neighbors. The risk of frostbite and hypothermia, a slow drop in body temperature that can prove fatal if not caught in time, will be high today – and much of next week.

ECMWF (European) guidance hints at over 3 or 4 inches of powder late Sunday into Monday, as a stronger
clipper spins up ahead of the Mother Lode of numbing air. Temperatures may not rise above 0F from Tuesday into Friday morning of next week.

-15F in the metro and -35F up north? Yep. Polar air won’t stall indefinitely, but it will sting for a few days.

Sunday Night Snowfall Potential. It’s still 3 days away and confidence levels are fairly low, but models (consistently) bring a few inches of powder into much of central and southern Minnesota late Sunday into Monday morning, possibly enough to shovel and plow – a swirl of snow spinning up out ahead of the coldest air of the winter. ECMWF forecast above: WeatherBell.

You Get The General Idea. Today’s weather hazard will be high winds, white-out conditions (mainly west of MSP) and dangerously cold wind chills. But the worst of the cold arrives the middle of next week. Map credit: Praedictix and AerisWeather.

Ready for a Change in the Pattern. By early February winds aloft blow from the west, and the coldest air lifts into northern and eastern Canada, meaning a reprieve from subzero weather. I see no evidence of a prolonged polar stranglehold. That said, next week will be mightily unpleasant.

Praedictix Briefing: Issued Wednesday, January 23rd, 2019:

  • Snow – moderate to heavy at times – will continue to fall across parts of the Great Lakes throughout the day. Winter Storm Warnings remain in effect from Iowa into northern Michigan for overall snow totals of over a half a foot in spots.
  • A second system will slide south out of Canada across the Red River Valley late today into tonight. While little to no snow is expected, winds will be strong enough to cause blizzard conditions with snow that is already on the ground. Blizzard Warnings are in place for areas like Fargo and Grand Forks (ND) as well as Fergus Falls and Alexandria (MN).

Winter Storm Alerts. Due to the snow and ice concerns, several Winter Storm Warnings and Winter Weather Advisories remain in effect today from Iowa into Michigan. Some of the locations under alerts include:

  • Des Moines, IA: Winter Storm Warning through 9 AM today for up to an additional 1-2” of snow.
  • Chicago, IL: Winter Weather Advisory through Noon today for an additional 1-3” of snow and a glaze of ice.
  • Milwaukee, WI: Winter Storm Warning through Noon today for an additional 2-3” of snow with overall totals of 4-8”.
  • Gaylord, MI: Winter Storm Warning through 7 PM tonight for an additional 3-5” of snow.

Wintry Weather Continues Today. Wintry weather will continue today across this region, slowly tapering off west to east. Lake effect snow – as well as potentially some light snow from another system moving through the region – will be possible Thursday.

Additional Snow. The heaviest additional snow over the next few days will be across parts of northern Michigan into areas of the U.P. Some of this will be due to lake effect snow.

Blizzard Warnings. As another system dives south out of Canada later today into tonight, winds are expected to increase across parts of the Dakotas and Minnesota. Even though very little (if any) snow will fall from the sky with this system, snow already on the ground will be enough with these strong winds to create blizzard conditions. Areas under Blizzard Warnings will have the best potential of seeing blizzard conditions (nearly constant sustained winds of at least 35 mph with visibility of a quarter mile or less for at least three consecutive hours). Meanwhile, areas under Winter Weather Advisories will see blowing snow reducing visibilities with strong winds but blizzard criteria isn’t expected to be met. Cities under these alerts include:

  • Grand Forks, ND and Fargo, ND: Blizzard Warning from 6 PM tonight to Noon Thursday for blizzard conditions with wind gusts to 45 mph.
  • Bismarck, ND: Winter Weather Advisory from 6 PM tonight to 6 AM Thursday for blowing and drifting snow with wind gusts to 45 mph.
  • Aberdeen, SD: Winter Weather Advisory from 6 PM tonight to 6 AM Thursday for blowing snow with wind gusts to 35 mph.
  • Pierre, SD: Winter Weather Advisory from 6 PM tonight to 6 AM Thursday for blowing snow with wind gusts to 35 mph.
  • Alexandria, MN: Blizzard Warning from 9 PM tonight to Noon Thursday for blizzard conditions with light snow showers and wind gusts to 45 mph.
  • Mankato, MN: Blizzard Warning from 1 AM tonight to Noon Thursday for blizzard conditions with wind gusts to 45 mph.

Strong Winds Later Today Into Thursday. Strong winds potentially causing blizzard conditions will start to impact the Grand Forks area late this afternoon, spreading south along the Dakotas/Minnesota border tonight into early Thursday. Wind gusts could approach 50 mph tonight in both Grand Forks and Fargo. Whether or not blizzard criteria are met, these winds will reduce visibility across the region due to blowing snow. This could also cause slippery road conditions.

D.J. Kayser, Praedictix Meteorologist.

Brace for the Polar Vortex; It May Be Visiting More Often. Here’s an excerpt of a good explainer from The New York Times: “…The melting sea ice, particularly in an area near the Barents and Kara Seas off Siberia, may be linked to the changes in the polar vortex. “When we lose a lot of ice in that particular area in the summer, it absorbs a lot of extra heat from the sun,” Dr. Francis said. This is because the darker open ocean absorbs more heat than reflective ice. “And so we see a very persistent, hot spot there in terms of temperature differences from what they should be.” Research suggests that the hot spot, along with changes in the jet stream driven by climate change, cause the polar vortex to break down in mid- to late winter. “As the Arctic gets warmer and warmer, the severe weather picks up,” Dr. Cohen said…”

Everything You Need to Know About the Fourth Industrial Revolution. A story at CNBC.com caught my eye: “…Schwab argued a technological revolution is underway “that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital and biological spheres.” Simply put, the Fourth Industrial Revolution refers to how technologies like artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles and the internet of things are merging with humans’ physical lives. Think of voice-activated assistants, facial ID recognition or digital health-care sensors. Schwab argued these technological changes are drastically altering how individuals, companies and governments operate, ultimately leading to a societal transformation similar to previous industrial revolutions...”

“The Goal is to Automate Us” : Welcome to the Age of Surveillance Capitalism. Because who doesn’t enjoy being tracked? The Guardian has details on a disturbing trend: “…Surveillance capitalism,” she writes, “unilaterally claims human experience as free raw material for translation into behavioural data. Although some of these data are applied to service improvement, the rest are declared as a proprietary behavioural surplus, fed into advanced manufacturing processes known as ‘machine intelligence’, and fabricated into prediction products that anticipate what you will do now, soon, and later. Finally, these prediction products are traded in a new kind of marketplace that I call behavioural futures markets. Surveillance capitalists have grown immensely wealthy from these trading operations, for many companies are willing to lay bets on our future behaviour...”

The New Surveillance Capitalism. Prospect Magazine in the UK has more perspective: “…Whereas Apple, Amazon and Microsoft are extraordinarily disruptive in all sorts of ways (for just one example, see Houman Barekat on publishing) they are also recognisably conventional businesses which provide goods and services to paying customers. The other two, by contrast, are masters of a new surveillance capitalism. The billions of people who use Google and Facebook are not their customers. Instead, advertisers are—which has given rise to the mantra “if the service is free, then you are the product.” Many of the grumbles about Apple, Amazon and Microsoft are much the same as those that were heard about monopolists of the past...”

Graphic credit: Zero Hedge.

Jon Bon Jovi Pays it Forward During Federal Shutdown. CNN.com reports: “Jon Bon Jovi is the latest celebrity to help out government workers who are not being paid during the government shutdown. The rocker’s New Jersey restaurant announced in a Facebook post over the weekend that federal workers are welcome to a free meal. JBJ Soul Kitchen, which is operated by the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation, is a non-profit restaurant where customers can dine regardless of whether they are able to pay a suggested donation. They can also volunteer in lieu of paying. “In line with our mission, Federal workers are encouraged to join us for a delicious meal and to learn about additional support and resources available in our community,” post read in part…”

Music is Essential for People Living with Dementia. I stumbled upon a story at classicfm.com: “People with dementia are to be prescribed ‘personal playlists’ to alleviate symptoms thanks to a new ‘Music for Dementia 2020’ campaign. Dementia is a persistent neurocognitive disorder that impacts a person’s mood and memory – and many of those with the condition can be left feeling anxious and frustrated. Affecting more than 850,000 people in the UK each year and set to soar to over 1 million by 2025, this condition is most commonly caused by Alzheimer’s disease and is often seen in those aged over 65.  But research suggests that music may alleviate symptoms for people living with dementia and make them feel much happier. One expert said “Music can be a lifeline for people living with dementia. It facilitates shared, quality musical moments with friends, family and careers. Music for people living with dementia isn’t a nicety, it’s a necessity…”

24 F. high in the Twin Cities on Wednesday.

24 F. average high on January 23.

28 F. maximum temperature on January 23, 2018.

January 24, 1968: A rare severe thunderstorm hits the Twin Cities and leaves a coating of ice an inch thick. 10 thousand homes were without power.

January 24, 1950: An ice storm develops over southwest Minnesota. Ice on telephone wires from 1/3 to 1.5 inches. Bismarck, North Dakota had 17 inches of snow. A Northern Pacific passenger train derailed at Detroit Lakes with no injuries.

January 24, 1925: A solar eclipse is seen across northern Minnesota during the morning. The Duluth Herald reported that chickens were ‘puzzled by the dark morning’ and didn’t leave their roosts.

THURSDAY: Bitter sunshine, feels like -25F. Whiteouts west of MSP. Winds: NW 15-30. High: 5

FRIDAY: Sunny, comfortably numb. Winds: SW 5-10. Wake-up: -10. High: 4

SATURDAY: More clouds, few flurries. Winds: E 5-10. High: 10

SUNDAY: Plowable snowfall possible late. Winds: SE 10-15. Wake-up: -8. High: 5

MONDAY: Icy start. Snow tapers to flurries. Winds: NW 8-13. High: 8

TUESDAY: Bitter sunshine, feels like -25F. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: -8. High: -2

WEDNESDAY: Coldest day of winter? Feels like -30F. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: -16. High: -6

Climate Stories…

And Thinking About Extreme Weather: Links via Climate Nexus: “Extreme weather is helping shift Americans’ thinking on climate change, new research shows. A poll released Tuesday by the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and the University of Chicago finds that nearly half of Americans find the evidence on climate science more convincing than they did five years ago, while around three-quarters of those respondents say that extreme weather like droughts, floods and hurricanes have influenced their opinions on climate. The poll also found 67 percent of respondents would support a carbon tax with the funds used to restore the environment, compared to just under half of respondents who supported a tax with rebates going back to households.” (AP, Quartz, The Hill. Commentary: Axios, Michael Greenstone analysis).

Business Leaders Waking Up to Extreme Risks Posed by Climate Change. TheHill has the story: “The World Economic Forum Global Risks Report 2019 shines a light on a topic that Zurich has been calling attention to for a long time. The report’s Global Risks Perception Survey identified “extreme weather” as the top risk in terms of likelihood over a 10-year horizon and placed it at No. 3 in terms of impact over the next 10 years. While there are a multitude of problems facing the world today — and 30 distinct global risks that survey respondents were asked to consider — it is not surprising that extreme weather has risen to the top and remained there for the third consecutive year...”

MSP Snowfall Trends. Here’s an excerpt from Climate Central: “A mid-winter cold snap has hit much of the country, but these episodes are becoming less frequent with climate change. Low temperatures and ample snowfall are a must for winter recreation — an industry that contributed more than $20 billion to the national economy in the 2015-2016 season. These conditions are under threat from warming winters, according to a new report from Climate Central. Warming is affecting regional snowfall patterns differently,  but from the 1970s to 2010s, 57 of the 107 analyzed weather stations saw the average annual snowfall trend downward by at least an inch. The biggest losers were Flagstaff, Arizona; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Casper, Wyoming — all historically snowy Western cities that are getting drier overall. Since the 1970s, the annual snowfall has dropped by a total of 48, 31, and 29 inches in those cities, respectively...”

Click here to see trends for your city.

Pentagon Fears Confirmed: Climate Change Leads to More Wars and Refugees. Bloomberg has the story: “The most comprehensive study done to assess the link between climate change, war and migration has confirmed that the warming planet is fueling conflicts that lead to more refugees. The conclusions published Wednesday in a scientific journal underscore the rising levels of anxiety that global warming has among leaders. Attendees at this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, said the inability to adapt to higher temperatures is the biggest global risk. A Pentagon report published on Tuesday in Washington warned that rising seas and more frequent wild fires threaten U.S. security...”

Image credit: “”Climate, conflict and forced migration” in January 2019 issue of Global Environmental Change.

Climate Change is a Key Part of Understanding Migration, GAO Tells Trump Administration. InsideClimate News has more perspective on a growing link between a warming climate sparking more migration: “As the movement of refugees strains countries worldwide and becomes fuel for political clashes in the United States, the Trump administration has eliminated guidelines that the government once gave to American diplomats about how to plan for the impact of climate change on migration and global security. In a report released Thursday, the Government Accountability Office recommended the State Department restore the guidelines so U.S. diplomats are prepared for major population shifts that could destabilize a country or region. “Without clear guidance, State may miss opportunities to identify and address issues related to climate change as a potential driver of migration,” the report said…”

File photo: AFP.

The Word From a Climate Change Believer. Foreign Policy has a post from climate scientist (and evangelical Christian) Katharine Hayhoe: “A thermometer isn’t Democratic or Republican. It doesn’t give us a different number depending on how we vote. And climate change isn’t a liberal or conservative issue. It is a human issue. We care about a changing climate because it affects every single one of us who share this planet—the only home we have. That’s why we have to present every option. We need to hear libertarian solutions, free market solutions, bipartisan solutions. But by hiding from the problem and pretending as if their opinion were somehow able to alter reality, Republicans today are counting themselves out of the game. The longer they ignore climate change, the more difficult and expensive it’s going to be to fix—and the more suffering there will be…”

Photo credit: “Climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe speaks at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas, on April 3, 2012.” (Nellie Doneva/Abilene Reporter-News via AP)

More Americans Taking Climate Change Personally. Links and headlines courtesy of Climate Nexus: “The number of Americans who say climate change is “personally important” to them is now at a record high, according to a new poll. A survey conducted by Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication released Tuesday finds that 73 percent of Americans think global warming is happening, up from 70 percent in March of 2018, while 72 percent of Americans said climate change was important to them–a record jump of nine percentage points since last March. “People are beginning to understand that climate change is here in the United States, here in my state, in my community, affecting the people and places I care about, and now,” lead researcher Anthony Leiserowitz told the New York Times. “This isn’t happening in 50 years, 100 years from now.” (New York Times $, The Guardian, Axios, CNN, InsideClimate News, The Atlantic, NPRThe Hill, Rolling Stone, The Verge).

Image: Big Think.

Greenland Ice Melt Reaching a Tipping Point, Study Says. Here’s an excerpt of a story at CNN.com: “Climate change is causing Greenland’s massive ice sheets to melt much faster than previously thought, a new study has found, and it may be “too late” to do anything about it. The findings could have dire implications for the planet’s low lying islands and coastal cities. Eight of Earth’s 10 largest cities in the world are near coasts, and 40% to 50% of the planet’s population live in areas vulnerable to rising seas. Michael Bevis, a professor of geodynamics at The Ohio State University and the lead author of the study, says the research found that humanity may have passed the point of no return when it comes to combating climate change. “The only thing we can do is adapt and mitigate further global warming — it’s too late for there to be no effect,” said Bevis...”

File photo: John Sonntag, NASA.

Greenland Ice Sheet at ‘Tipping Point’: Links and headlines via Climate Nexus: “Greenland is now losing ice at four times the rate it did 16 years ago, according to new research. A study released in the Proceedings of the Natural Academy of Sciences this week finds that melt from Greenland’s southwest ice sheet could become a “major contributor” to sea level rise as the world continues to warm. “The only thing we can do is adapt and mitigate further global warming–it’s too late for there to be no effect,” lead author Michael Bevis said in a statement. “This is going to cause additional sea level rise. We are watching the ice sheet hit a tipping point.” (CNN, New York Times $, USA Today, National Geographic).

File image: AFP, NASA.

Why Climate Change Would Have Alarmed Dr. Martin Luther King. Marshall Shepherd has some unique perspective in a post at Forbes: “…This narrative clearly establishes that King, a man of the cloth, had no inherent problem or fear of science so let’s dig deeper to find clues about his possible perspective on climate change. Congressman Donald McEachin (D-Va) and Reverend Leo Woodbury, Pastor of Kingdom Living Temple, elevated this important quote from Dr. King in their recent editorial piece in The Hill:

All life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny.” We must protect the one Earth God gave us. Now is the time for Washington to do what is right for all people; we will be driving home that message this week and in all the weeks to come…”

Image credit: “Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.” FEMA.

A Mountaineer Writes a First-Hand Report From the World’s Melting Glaciers. NPR has the interview with the author; here’s a clip: “...I made it a point to go there in the book as well as a couple of the other places because I wanted to find places that I had been to before and had an intimacy with because it’s in that way we can really, really understand the gravity of the changes and really see them and know them personally. And so my first time on Denali, for example, was back in 1997. And to go back and be on that mountain 19 years later in 2016, I saw really dramatic evidence of what was happening – things like mosquitoes in base camp and Denali at 7,200 feet on a glacier, which seems preposterous, but that was happening – rockfall high up on the mountain in an area where the temperature in the summer at night still gets down to regularly -15, -20 degrees Fahrenheit. But now it’s melting out at times on some of the days that you have to wear a helmet because of rockfall. Even in these wildest places, that’s, actually, where we’re seeing some of the most dramatic changes…”