Posted at 8:31 AM on November 24, 2009
by Paul Huttner
Twin Cities NWS weather depiction calls for snow Wednesday.
A clearer weather picture is beginning to emerge for Thanksgiving travel, and it includes snow on the road to Grandmother's house Wednesday.
The second in our 1-2 punch of wet weather this week will bring snow to much of southern Minnesota and Wisconsin. Right now it appears accumulations will be on the lighter side from the Twin Cities west. There could be more significant snow in Wisconsin as the system winds up Wednesday and Wednesday night.
The bottom line is travelers should expect rain changing to snow Wednesday morning. Snow could peak in intensity Wednesday afternoon and evening. With warm ground I expect 1" to 2" possible in the metro, with the best chance of 3" or 4" from the east metro into Wisconsin. If everything comes together, there could be a pocket of heavier snow (3" to 5") in western Wisconsin from Eau Claire to Tomah to Madison by Thanksgiving morning.
Sunshine should return to Minnesota for Thanksgiving Day as the weather improves dramatically this weekend. Black Friday looks excellent, with sunny skies and milder air flowing in from the southwest.
Here's a rundown of the travel forecast for Thanksgiving weekend.
Wednesday: Rain to snow in Minnesota and western Wisconsin. Temperatures steady in the 30s. Northwest winds of 10 to 20 mph with higher gusts. Slushy snow accumulation of 1" to 3" by Thanksgiving morning. Best chance for 3" snow in the east metro and western Wisconsin. Roads mostly wet, but there could be some slick travel after dark and overnight as roads being to ice up a bit.
Black Friday: Sunny and milder. Highs return to the 40s.
Saturday: Sunny and mild again High 45.
Sunday: Partly cloudy. Chance of snow northwest and north-central Minnesota High 40.
Posted at 9:14 AM on November 24, 2009
by Paul Huttner
Twin Cities Air Quality Index (AQI) spikes this week. (Source MPCA)
Air quality has reached unhealthy levels in the Twin Cities and Rochester. As of Tuesday morning, the AQI in the Twin Cities is 131. In Rochester the AQI is 121. Readings over 101 are considered unhealthy for sensitive groups, such as those with respiratory problems like asthma. People in these groups are encouraged to minimize outdoor activity today. An air pollution health advisory remains in effect today.
A stagnant air mass has led to the higher levels of pollutants. November usually brings plenty of wind and fresh cold Canadian air masses to sweep away pollutants. A persistent patter of lighter winds this month has allowed fine particulate matter such as wood smoke particles and automobile exhaust to accumulate.
November is usually our 4th windiest month of the year in Minnesota. The average monthly wind speed for the Twin Cities in November is 10.9 mph. So far this month, the average wind speed in the metro is just 6.9 mph.
Northwest winds will increase Wednesday into Thanksgiving Day. That should sweep away the gunk and allow air quality to improve as we head into the Thanksgiving weekend.
Posted at 4:39 PM on November 24, 2009
by Paul Huttner
No doubt you've heard by now that somebody hacked computers and stole thousands of emails at the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit (CRU) last week. The British institution is a major center for climate research.
In looking at the published comments from the thousands of stolen emails, it appears there is nothing nefarious that screams "climate conspiracy" in the documents that have been illegally obtained and made public. The few items regarding climate discussions that have been cited by climate change skeptics seem to have already been easily explained as part of normal healthy debate and discussion among scientists.
The bigger questions I have not seen asked yet may be; Who would hack into these computers and commit cyber theft, and why would they do it? Is this an orchestrated smear campaign against reputable climate scientists? Is the timing of this, just weeks before a major international climate policy meeting in Copenhagen, a coincidence?
I do not personally know the answers to these questions, but the investigation into the stolen emails may shed some interesting light in the coming weeks.
In the mean time, buckle up.
What do you think?