Posted at 7:00 AM on February 19, 2008
by Paul Huttner
Some numbers you may find interesting this morning and some you may want to forget!
Today is day 20 below zero in the metro this winter. The season average is 30 days at zero or below in the metro. Hopefully we won't get there this year. The jet stream will lift mercifully north this weekend giving us a weekend thaw. It may hit 40 in parts of western Minnesota Sunday, and maybe even in the Twin Cities if everything goes just right. Next week looks milder too. The likelihood of sub zero air decreases dramatically over the next two weeks.
NOAA says January snow cover in the U.S. was the most in 43 years. La Nina is probably the culprit. Pacific SST's are running anywhere from 2 to more than 4 degrees below average, prompting the CPC to call this a "moderate to strong" La Nina. It appears this is the 3rd strongest La Nina since 1979.
Our moon will disappear Wednesday night when a total lunar eclipse occurs. It will be visible in all of North America, beginning in the metro at 7:43pm and ending at 11:09pm. Totality will run from 9:01pm to 9:52pm, a total of 51 minutes!
It should be clear to partly cloudy if you're brave enough to bear the cold!
Posted at 12:50 PM on February 19, 2008
by Craig Edwards
A hot topic during the month of February has been the lack of snowfall and the intrusions of arctic air. While significant snowfall continues to bypass much of the Gopher State, we have had our fair share of sub zero temperatures and bitter wind chill.
Today, I was reminded in an email from a valued MPR listener that weather forecasters have a slight propensity to expose their bias when delivering the forecast. Clearly, I place myself in the category of favoring warmth.
During my fifteen years at the helm of the National Weather Service in the Twin Cities, my staff reminded me that climate data precisely documented the conditions I was likely to experience when I moved up from Indianapolis.
It should come as no surprise that cold, snow and wind chill comprise the definition of winter in Minnesota. Despite temperatures which have caused us to shiver many a morning, record readings have been scarce. Perhaps we celebrated climate change too soon when the average temperature in January 2006 was nearly 16 degrees above normal in the Twin Cities.
Anchor people relay the news of the day, sports casters give the inside story on athletic competition and invited authorities share their expert commentaries. Us weather folks are working hard to be nature’s messenger not the Public Information Officer for the Chamber of Commerce.
I’ve made presentations to a number of groups on my observations of climate change, sidestepping the politics. By remaining the messenger, without firmly planting myself in a particular camp, I minimize the emotions of discussing climate change/global warming. Audiences are becoming more receptive to the possibility of fostering environmental stewardship rather than the agonizing over the drama of global weather calamities.