Winter Storm Watch (PM Wednesday – Thursday)
A Winter Storm Watch has been issued by the National Weather Service from PM Wednesay to Thursday for the potential of accumulating snow and blowing snow. Here’s the latest from the @NWSTwinCities:
A band of mixed wintry precipitation is expected to push into western Minnesota Wednesday evening while a band of rain and snow develops late Wednesday night further east from south central Minnesota to northwest Wisconsin. The precipitation is expected to change to all snow, some of which may be heavy at times Wednesday night through Thursday morning. A thin glazing of ice to a couple hundredths of ice accretion is possible in advance of the change to snow. A narrow swath of up to 7 inches is possible somewhere from the New Ulm/Mankato areas northeast to east central Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin. Outside of this narrow corridor, 2 to 4 inches are expected by Thursday afternoon. Strong northwest winds will develop late Wednesday night and continue through Thursday. The strongest winds will be found from west central to south central Minnesota where winds could gust to 40 mph. This will result in widespread blowing snow and possible whiteout conditions. A Winter Storm Watch is in effect late Wednesday night through Thursday across all of central and southern Minnesota into west central Wisconsin.


Winter Storm on the Way!!
“A Winter Storm Watch is in effect Wednesday night through Thursday for much of the region. A wintry mix of precipitation, followed by accumulating snow, blowing snow, and plummeting temperatures may make travel very difficult. Whiteouts are possible across southwestern Minnesota where wind gusts will be strongest. Stay tuned for updates as impacts become more certain.”
Snowfall Potential
Here’s the NDFD (National Weather Service) snowfall forecast, which suggests a fairly widespread swath of snow across much of the state through Thursday.
Model Differences: GFS (American) vs ECMWF (European)
Interestingly, the latest GFS (American and ECMWF (European) models are suggesting lesser amounts of snow across the Twin Cities; perhaps 1″ to 3″ with the heaviest on the southeast side of the metro. It is also interesting to note that both models are suggesting a fairly narrow and heavy band of snow (4″ to 6″) from southcentral Minnesota into northern Wisconsin, largely missing the Twin Cities metro altogether. We’ll see how the weather models do today (Tuesday) as the storm system actually gets a little closer. Stay tuned!

Weather Outlook
Here’s the weather outlook from Wednesday to Thursday night, which shows the developing storm system moving through the Upper Midwest. Temperatures on Wednesday will still fairly mild to start, but as the storm moves east, temperatures will plummet! Wet snow will quickly turn to blowing snow, which could create near blizzard conditions across parts of the region.


Minnesota Snow Drought
It’s been a pretty dull winter season thus far with snowfall running nearly 18″ below average. Interestingly, this is the 22nd least snowy start to any winter season (July 1st – January 8th) on record! The least snowy start was actually set in 2005, when only 2.8″ of snow had fallen through that time period. 2003 and 2007 also make the top 10 list below as the least snowy starts to any winter season on record.


Turning COLD Again!
Highs in the 30s and 40s will still be in place on Wednesday, but take a look at the dramatic temperature drop later this week! Highs will only warm into the single digits with overnight lows in the single digits and teens (below zero)! Wind chill values will likely dip into the -10s and -20s across much of the state as well. The good news is that this deep freeze doesn’t look like it’ll last as long. We’ll likely freeze our butts off through Wednesday morning before we get closer to average and beyond.

Lake Superior Ice Coverage
According to NOAA’s GLERL, Lake Superior is 13.4% ice covered, which is up nearly 11% from last year, which was only 2.6% covered last year at this time. The 2 week cold snap from just before Christmas through the first full week of January is largely responsible for the uptick in the recent ice coverage.


Great Lakes Ice Coverage

According to NOAAs GLERL, 26.8% of the Great Lakes are covered with ice. At this time last year, only 10.9% of the Great Lakes were covered in ice.



Snow Depth 2018
The snow depth map across the country for January 9th suggests that 40.3% of the country is covered in snow, mainly across the northern half of the nation. At this time last year, 59.7% of the nation was covered in snow. As of January 9th, the Twin Cities officially had 2″ of snow on the ground at the MSP Airport, but at this time last year, there was only a Trace on the ground.
Snow Depth 2017
At this time last year 59.7% of the nation was covered in snow.


“Minnesota Sees Deadliest Winter In Years”
“Minnesota has already had five ice-related deaths this winter. The state typically averages three during the whole season. Minnesota is on track to have one of its deadliest winters in years. Five people have died this season after falling through ice. The state typically averages three ice-related deaths over the course of the entire winter. The 2015-2016 winter had zero ice-related deaths, while the 2016-2017 winter had two. The last time Minnesota saw ice-related deaths in the double digits was in the 2002-2003 winter, when the state had 10 fatalities. The most recent death this year happened in northern Minnesota where a women drowned after riding an ATV on Rice Lake. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources conservation officer Hannah Mishler has already responded to multiple ice rescue calls. “Ice, especially snow covered ice, is extremely deceptive. You can’t see dangerous cracks or the thickness of the ice under the snow,” Mishler said in a statement.”


Ice Safety!!
Before you go testing the ice on area lakes and ponds, remember that “ICE IS NEVER 100% SAFE!” So when is ice safe? Here is an excerpt from the MN DNR regarding ice safety:
“There really is no sure answer. You can’t judge the strength of ice just by its appearance, age, thickness, temperature, or whether or not the ice is covered with snow. Strength is based on all these factors — plus the depth of water under the ice, size of the water body, water chemistry and currents, the distribution of the load on the ice, and local climatic conditions.”


General Ice Thickness Guidelines

Here are some general ice thickness guidelines from the MN DNR:
For new, clear ice ONLY:

Under 4″ – STAY OFF
4″ – Ice fishing or other activities on foot
5″ – 7″ – Snowmobile or ATV
8″ – 12″ – Car or small pickup
12″ – 15″ – Medium truck

Many factors other than thickness can cause ice to be unsafe.
White ice or “snow ice” is only about half as strong as new clear ice. Double the above thickness guidelines when traveling on white ice.

See more from the MN DNR HERE:



“Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters: Overview”
“The National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) is the Nation’s Scorekeeper in terms of addressing severe weather and climate events in their historical perspective. As part of its responsibility of monitoring and assessing the climate, NCEI tracks and evaluates climate events in the U.S. and globally that have great economic and societal impacts. NCEI is frequently called upon to provide summaries of global and U.S. temperature and precipitation trends, extremes, and comparisons in their historical perspective. Found here are the weather and climate events that have had the greatest economic impact from 1980 to 2017. The U.S. has sustained 219 weather and climate disasters since 1980 where overall damages/costs reached or exceeded $1 billion (including CPI adjustment to 2017). The total cost of these 219 events exceeds $1.5 trillion. This total now includes the initial cost estimates for Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. 2017 in Context…

In 2017, there were 16 weather and climate disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each across the United States. These events included 1 drought event, 2 flooding events, 1 freeze event, 8 severe storm events, 3 tropical cyclone events, and 1 wildfire event. Overall, these events resulted in the deaths of 362 people and had significant economic effects on the areas impacted. The 1980–2017 annual average is 5.8 events (CPI-adjusted); the annual average for the most recent 5 years (2013–2017) is 11.6 events (CPI-adjusted).”

See more from NOAA HERE:

____________________________________________________________________________Warmest December on Record For Alaska!

According to NOAA, December 2017 was the WARMEST December on record with an average temperature of 19.4F, which was nearly 16F above average! WOW! The average December temperature in the Twin Cities finished -0.8F below average.





“Assessing the U.S. Climate in 2017”
2017 was the third warmest year on record for the United States “Based on preliminary analysis, the average annual temperature for the contiguous U.S. was 54.6°F, 2.6°F above the 20th century average. This was the third warmest year since record keeping began in 1895, behind 2012 (55.3°F) and 2016 (54.9°F), and the 21st consecutive warmer-than-average year for the U.S. (1997 through 2017). The five warmest years on record for the contiguous U.S. have all occurred since 2006. **For the third consecutive year, every state across the contiguous U.S. and Alaska had an above-average annual temperature. Despite cold seasons in various regions throughout the year, above-average temperatures, often record breaking, during other parts of the year more than offset any seasonal cool conditions. **Five states – Arizona, Georgia, New Mexico, North Carolina and South Carolina – had their warmest year on record. Thirty-two additional states, including Alaska, had annual temperatures that ranked among the 10 warmest on record.”

See more from NOAA HERE:


Temperature Anomaly on Tuesday
The image below shows the temperature anomaly across North America from Tuesday, which showed that much of the nation was warmer than average! It was definitely a BIG change from what most of us were dealing with over the past couple of weeks. Note that much of Alaska is cooler than average now, which is quite a bit different from the record warmest December on record there. A good rule of thumb is that if Alaska is cold, we (Minnesota) is warm and vice versa.
Another Shot of Cold Coming…
Warmer than average temperatures will be in place across much of the nation through the first half of the week, but note the next surge of colder than average temperatures moving in later this week! This next shot won’t be quite a wide reaching or as long lasting, but it will be very cold across the far north once again!


High Temps Wednesday

Temps across much of the nation will be warmer than average for January 10th, which will be a BIG difference from where most of us where over the last couple of weeks.



Weather Outlook Ahead
Weather conditions will continue to be quite active during this 2nd week of 2018 with widespread heavy rain and heavy snow across the Western US through midweek. The storm system responsible for feet of snow in the mountains and flooding rains will also be responsible for a swath of heavy snow across parts of the Upper Midwest Wednesday into Thursday. There will also be areas of heavy rain across the Mississippi Valley and into the Ohio and Tennessee Valley
5 Day Precipitation Outlook

According to NOAA’s WPC, the 5 day precipitation outlook suggests areas of heavy precipitation across the Western US with several inches of liquid possible in the high elevations. There could be feet of snow in the mountains through the weekend, especially in the Cascades. Several inches of liquid will also be possible east of the Mississippi as heavy rain changes to snow later this week and into the weekend.

Snowfall Potential Ahead
The snowfall potential through the rest of the week looks very impressive across the higher elevation in the Western US with some spots seeing feet of snow. There will also be a shovelable snow swath across the Upper Midwest and another across parts of the Ohio Valley into the Eastern Great Lakes and into the Northeast.
National Weather Hazards Ahead…

1.) Much below normal temperatures for parts of the Plains, Mississippi Valley, Great Lakes, and Appalachians, Fri-Tue, Jan 12-16.
2.) High winds for parts of the Great Lakes, Sat, Jan 13.
3.) Heavy precipitation for parts of the Great Lakes, Ohio and Tennessee Valleys, Central and Southern Appalachians, Mid-Atlantic, and Northeast, Fri-Sat, Jan 12-13.
4.) Heavy precipitation for the South Coast of Alaska between Kodiak and Yakutat, and parts of the Alaska Panhandle, Fri-Sun, Jan 12-14.
5.) Much above normal temperatures for parts of southern Alaska near Kodiak Island, Anchorage, and south of the Alaska Range, Sat-Sun, Jan 13-14.
6.) Periods of high Winds for the South Coast of Alaska, parts of Southwest mainland Alaska, the Alaska Peninsula, and the Alaska Panhandle, Fri-Mon, Jan 12-15.
7.) Periods of high significant wave heights for the South Coast of Alaska and the Alaska Panhandle, Fri-Mon, Jan 12-15.
8.) Slight risk of much below normal temperatures for much of the eastern third of the CONUS (except New England and eastern New York), Wed-Thu, Jan 17-18.
9.) Moderate risk of much below normal temperatures for parts of the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes, Wed, Jan 17.
10.) Slight risk of much below normal temperatures for parts of the Northern Plains and Upper Mississippi Valley, Sat-Tue, Jan 20-23.
11.) Slight risk of heavy precipitation for much of the western and central CONUS, Wed-Sun, Jan 17-21.
12.) Moderate risk of heavy precipitation for parts of the Great Basin, California, and the central and Northern Rockies, Wed-Fri, Jan 17-19.
13.) High risk of heavy precipitation for parts of the Great Basin and California, Wed-Fri, Jan 17-19.
14.) Moderate risk of heavy precipitation for parts of the central and southern Plains and Middle Mississippi Valley, Wed-Fri, Jan 17-19.
15.) Moderate risk of heavy precipitation for parts of the Middle and Upper Mississippi Valley, Fri-Sun, Jan 19-21.
16.) Slight risk of heavy precipitation for parts of the northeast, Sun-Tue, Jan 21-23.
17.) Severe drought for parts of the Northern Plains, the Southwest, the central and southern Plains, the central and southern Mississippi Valley, and Hawaii.

End of an Era – GOES 13 Satellite Shuts Down
For much of 2017 GOES 16, a new weather satellite, captured incredible images from space. This new satellite was in the testing phases of taking over the older GOES 13 duties and did so, officially, on December 18th, 2017! With that said, GOES 13 was officially shut-off and moved to 60-degrees west longitude on Monday January 8th, 2018. The good news is that our new satellite (GOES 16) has many improvements! Here are some of the features:

Three times more spectral information
Four times greater spatial resolution
Five times faster coverage
Real-time mapping of total lightning activity
Increased thunderstorm and tornado warning lead time
Improved hurricane track and intensity forecasts
Improved monitoring of solar x-ray flux
Improved monitoring of solar flares and coronal mass ejections
Improved geomagnetic storm forecasting






Warm Wednesday, Snow Thursday and a Frigid Friday
By Todd Nelson, filling in for Douglas.

Drip, drip, drip… that’s the sound of what’s left of our measly snow pack melting across the region again today.

Our well deserved thaw continues one more day as highs flirt with 40 degrees ahead of a fairly potent storm system that will bring snow, strong wind and another shot of Arctic air to the Upper Midwest through the end of the week. Rumors of snow have been spreading like wildfire at the water cooler, but this particular storm doesn’t look like a major snow maker.

Weather models have been hinting at a very narrow band of plowable snow (only a county-wide) setting up over southeastern Minnesota into western Wisconsin; A near miss for the Twin Cities once again?? Those hoping for a blockbuster storm, this isn’t it. Areas that don’t get hit by the narrow band of heavy snow will see lighter amounts, but blustery winds Thursday could still cause blowing snow and travel issues!

Temps will tumble Thursday as our next batch of Arctic air arrives. The weekend will be face-numbing, better suited for peering out the window. UGH!

Extended Forecast

WEDNESDAY: Cloudy and mild with areas of drizzle developing late. Winds: S 5-10. High: 42.

WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Wintry mix turns to snow. 1″ to 2″ possible by morning. Winds: NNW 10-15. Low: 12.

THURSDAY: Snow early (heaviest just southeast of the Twin Cities), then turning blustery and colder. Winds: NW 15-30. High: 15 and falling.

FRIDAY: Another cold shot. Light snow at night. Winds: NE 5-10. Wake-up: -8. High: 6.

SATURDAY: AM flurry. Arctic PM sunshine. Winds: NW 5. Wake-up: -6. High: 2.

SUNDAY: Clipper arrives late. Fluffy coating. Winds: S 5. Wake-up: -13. High: 4.

MONDAY: Still cold. A few flakes possible. Winds: NW 5-10. Wake-up: -11. High: 2.

TUESDAY: Last really cold day. Winds: SSW 5-10. Wake-up: -12. High: 5.

This Day in Weather History
January 10th

1990: A January ‘heat wave’ forms. MSP Airport warms to 49 degrees.

1975: The ‘Blizzard of the Century’ begins. Also called the ‘Super Bowl Blizzard,’ it was one of the worst blizzards ever. The pressure hit a low of 28.62. This was the record until 1998.

Average High/Low for Minneapolis
January 10th

Average High: 23F (Record: 52F set in 2012)
Average Low: 7F (Record: -30F set in 1886)

Record Rainfall: 1.13″ set in 1975
Record Snowfall: 4.0″ set in 1976

Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
January 10th

Sunrise: 7:49am
Sunset: 4:52pm

Hours of Daylight: ~9 hours & 2 seconds

Daylight GAINED since yesterday: ~ 1 minute & 29 seconds
Daylight GAINED since winter solstice (December 21st): 16 minute

Moon Phase for January 10th at Midnight
2.4 Days Before Last Quarter Moon


Weather Outlook For Wednesday

High temps on Wednesday will be MUCH warmer than it has been over the last couple of weeks. This will likely be some of the warmest weather we’ve seen since just before Christmas! Highs across the state of MN will be nearly +5F to +20F above average!

Temp Outlook For Thursday


8 to 14 Day Temperature Outlook

Here’s the temperature outlook as we head through the 3rd weekend of January, which suggests that warmer than average temperatures will be in place again across much of the Midwest! It will come after another shot of cold air that will move in later this week and slide out sometime late next week.

8 to 14 Day Temperature Outlook

How the tides have turned! Here’s the extended temperature outlook from January 18th to January 22nd, which suggests warmer than average temperatures across much of the nation! This will be a dramatic shift in what many of us had over the last couple/few weeks!

“Climate change is turning 99 percent of these baby sea turtles female”
“Green sea turtles do not develop into males or females due to sex chromosomes, like humans and most other mammals do. Instead, the temperature outside a turtle egg influences the sex of the growing embryo. And this unusual biological quirk, scientists say, endangers their future in a warmer world. Already, some sea turtle populations are so skewed by heat that the young reptiles are almost entirely female, according to a new report in the journal Current Biology. “This is one of the most important conservation papers of the decade,” said biologist David Owens, a professor emeritus at the College of Charleston who was not a part of this research. It will not be long, perhaps within a few decades to a century, until “there will not be enough males in sea turtle populations,” he warned. The sex of a green sea turtle is a result of its environment. “They have temperature-dependent sex determination,” said Camryn Allen, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration endocrinology researcher and co-author of the new study. “It’s not genetics. It’s actually the temperature.”


“El Nino’s long reach to Antarctic ice”
“Antarctica may be thousands of kilometres from the central Pacific but events there can have a significant effect on the White Continent’s ice. Scientists have shown how ice shelves – the floating fronts of marine-terminating glaciers – respond to the El Niño phenomenon. The warming of tropical eastern Pacific seawaters will lead to a change in wind patterns in the polar south. This promotes snowfall on the shelves, and also melting of their undersides. These are competing processes, of course. One adds mass; one takes it away. However, the net outcome is a loss, say scientists. The reason? The ice removed from underneath the floating slabs has a higher density than the fluffy new snow at the surface.”


“It Snowed in the Sahara and the Photos Are Breathtaking”
“Look, I know we cover a lot of the bad types of weather here. Wildfires, droughts, extreme cold, hurricanes. But allow me to make it up to you with some Good Weather. Snow in Sahara? Yes, please. On Sunday, snow fell in one of the most unlikely places on Earth. Ain Sefra, an Algerian town in the Sahara Desert, got a couple inches of the white stuff. It clung to the dunes for an hour and a half before melting. The Atlas Mountains that ring the town saw snow stick around a bit longer according to Zinnadine Hashas, a local photographer who captured the scenes. The town is not exactly a snow magnet at 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) above sea level. The average low in January is 12.4 degrees Celsius (54 degrees Fahrenheit) according to records from the German weather service. Heck, it’s not even a precipitation magnet. Ain Sefra picks up a grand total of 6.65 inches of precipitation a year on average, putting it well under the threshold of 10 inches a year scientists generally use to classify a place as a desert. But over the weekend, the Algerian weather service issued a rare snow warning for the western part of the country forecasting 10-15 centimeters (4-6 inches) of snow. And on Sunday night, its forecast came to bear.”


“59 Cold Facts about Winter”
  • Winter cold kills more than twice as many Americans as summer heat does.
  • In one study, men rated pictures of women’s breasts and bodies as more attractive in the winter months, while they rated pictures of women’s faces the same. Researchers believe men don’t see women’s bodies as much during the winter, so they’re more excited when they do.
  • The Southern Hemisphere typically has milder winters than the Northern Hemisphere. This is because the Southern Hemisphere has less land and a more maritime climate.
  • While it seems counterintuitive, Earth is actually closest to the sun in December, even though winter solstice is the shortest day of the year.

See more from Fact Reviewer HERE:



“How to keep your skin from falling off this winter”

“After spending the weekend in sub-zero weather, my lips are so chapped I can’t even think of a joke about how chapped they are. The state of my lip skin is frankly no laughing matter at this time. But luckily, there are ways to avoid losing your skin to a brutal winter. Why does my skin give up on being skin every winter? In theory, your skin—your largest organ—serves to keep water sealed within your body. But even if your skin is usually dewy and perfect, it probably flakes on the job a bit during the winter months.”

See more from Popular Science HERE:




“In most of America, winter sucks. It is cold out. You don’t feel like doing anything, so you get fat. Pipes freeze. Lips, noses, and cheeks get chapped and raw. Black ice kills. Snow hats look cool until you have to take them off indoors and then your hair looks shitty. It’s horrible. As two people who grew up in the Midwest and New England, Matt and I have both experienced the personal hell that is winter’s awkwardly long, frigid embrace, but we had yet to figure out which, amongst all of the 50 states, could hold up the title as the state with the worst winter. And so began an intense period of research and debate, factoring in everything from weather patterns, average temperatures, and how effective and quickly their department of transportation clears highways, to interviews with locals and the historical success rates of their winter-season sports teams. This is one of those things where you probably actually want to finish last.”

See more from Thrillist HERE:



“I’m sick of ‘supermoons’ and ‘superstorms’ and ‘bomb cyclones’”

“It used to just get cold. It used to just snow. The moon used to just be . . . the moon. Sometimes the moon was a little sliver. Sometimes it was full. Mostly it was in between. Not anymore. These days, nothing can be normal. Now a full moon is a “supermoon.” A cold snap is a “polar vortex.” A snowstorm is a “bomb cyclone.” Really? A bomb cyclone? That doesn’t even make sense. Shouldn’t it be cyclone bomb? Actually, it should be: “It’s January. It’s going to be cold. It may get windy. It may snow.” But I guess that wouldn’t sell cereal. Here’s my plan for making America great again: Get rid of all these superfluous superlatives. They’re like the “Breaking News” graphic that runs endlessly along the bottom of the CNN feed, purporting to herald something special but serving merely to numb us with its needless overuse. [This researcher helped coin the term ‘bomb cyclone.’ He did it to keep people safe.] I blame the wind chill, invented in the 1970s to let the TV Weather Guy pad his report. The wind chill was the perfect data point for the Me Decade. No longer was it good enough to just tell us what the thermometer said. We had to know how the thermometer made us feel. Awww, Mercury’s in retrograde and I feel fwozen.”

See more from WashingtonPost HERE:



“Antarctic Modeling Pushes Up Sea-Level Rise Projections”

“Antarctic ice sheet models double the sea-level rise expected this century if global emissions of heat-trapping pollution remain high, according to a new study led by Dr. Robert Kopp of Rutgers University and co-authored by scientists at Climate Central. Global average sea level is expected to rise by one foot between 2000 and 2050 and by several more feet by the end of the century under a high-pollution scenario because of the effects of climate change, according to the projections in the new peer-reviewed study. It shows 21st century sea-level rise could be kept to less than two feet if greenhouse gas emissions are aggressively and immediately reduced, reflecting a larger gap in sea-level consequences between high and low emissions scenarios than previous research has indicated. The study provides a median projection for sea-level rise of 146 cm (4’9”) during the 21st century under a high-pollution scenario known as RCP8.5 (see Table 1), when results from new modeling of Antarctic ice sheet behavior are included. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s most recent report, published in 2014, which assumed the Antarctic ice sheet would remain stable, provided a median projection for the same scenario during a similar time period of 74 cm (2’5”).”

See more from Climate Central HERE:


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