Posted at 8:40 AM on February 2, 2010
by Paul Huttner
They say Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow today. Maybe it was from all the camera lights.
I've noticed many times over the years the "official" observation from Phil seems to differ from the local weather observations.
-Du Bois-Jefferson County Airport 07:56 Overcast 16 10 77 E 7 30.09
-Franklin Automatic Weather Observing / Reporting 08:35 Overcast 16 12 86 Calm 30.11
-Erie International Airport 08:51 Overcast 22 12 66 S 6 30.16
-Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport 08:51 Overcast 24 13 62 E 5 30.12
-Butler County Automatic Weather Observing / Report 08:35 Overcast 21 14 74 NE 5 30.11
-Pittsburgh International Airport 08:51 Overcast 25 13 60 NE 3 30.09
So how is it that Phil saw his shadow with a 5,500 foot overcast layer overhead? Maybe the reason that Phil's long term accuracy rate is only 39% has more to do with the way they take the observation than the theory behind Groundhog's Day.
But there I go again sounding like Bill Murray in the movie. Maybe I'll wake up to "I Got You Babe" again tomorrow morning!
Champagne powder in the metro:
Take a look at the snow crystals lying outside today. You're looking at some of the highest quality snow crystals we've seen all winter. These stellar dendrites form when conditions are just right about 10,000 feet up. Temperatures near zero allow for the so called "dendritic growth zone" to crank out these amazing snowflakes.
(Image courtesy Dr. Ken Libbrecht Cal Tech)
To hear Ken's wonderful description of how snowflakes form listen to part 2 of our December Jet Streaming special.
Monday's weather system was one of the most efficient snow producers in memory. Not only did the circulation "sweet spot" slide right up into the southeast metro, but the dendritic growth zone was just perfect for the dry fluffy snow crystals to accumulate to maximum depth. Check out the impressive snow totals in the south and east metro.
More snow Friday?
The next weather system is chugging this way for Friday. It also appears a secondary storm may spin south from Manitoba (Manitoba Mauler?) on Sunday. The trend and pattern looks snowy right through the upcoming weekend.
If you're a snow plow contractor you're a happy camper after a quiet January this winter with frequent 2"+ snowfalls in the forecast. If you're a cross country or downhill skier, get out and enjoy some of the best powder we'll see all winter.
Expect a few more snow showers today as the back side of Monday's snow maker slides through.
Posted at 4:43 PM on February 2, 2010
by Paul Huttner
February is in like a white lion. And more snowy swipes are on the way.
We've already outdone January's monthly snowfall in many locations in one February day. The overall weather pattern looks favorable for more snow in the next week, and for above average snow this month.
An undulating westerly flow pattern will bring two distinct weather systems our way in the next 5 days. The first will pass south of us on Friday. As the upper low glides through Missouri, it may extend a finger of low pressure our way. Meteorologists call this an inverted trough, and it may throw enough moisture far enough north to produce a couple of inches of snow for southern Minnesota (and maybe the metro) Friday.
The second system is looking much more impressive. In an unusual sequence of events for the Upper Midwest, a developing low pressure system is forecast to drop almost straight south into Minnesota for Super Bowl Sunday. Early model runs suggest this "Manitoba Mauler" may stall and strengthen right over Minnesota Sunday and Monday.
If this verifies, there will likely be a large area of snowfall that will develop and linger for more than 24 hours. These dry powdery snows can add up to significant depths over time. This could make for snowy commutes to and from Super Bowl parties Sunday, and serve to remind us that Minnesota really is "The Super Bowl of weather." We could be talking 6"+ of fresh powder over a large area of Minnesota by lunchtime Monday.
In the meantime, enjoy more sun and milder temperatures as high pressure builds in through Thursday. We should be at or above average (26/7) with the mid 20s for highs Wednesday and in the 30s Thursday in the metro. The next 48 hours will provide a great opportunity to enjoy some of our high quality snowflakes, while we wait for more n the horizon. Winter is putting on a great show this year!