Posted at 2:59 PM on December 14, 2012
by Paul Huttner
Filed under: Winter 2012-13
Unseasonably warm December "slop storm" for Minnesota this weekend
Some freezing rain/ice early Saturday - especially north & west of metro
Puddle Potential: Mostly rain & wet roads for the Twin Cities Saturday temps well above freezing
Wintery mix west & north of metro Saturday - ice, sleet, snow all possible
2" to 4" of sloppy snow possible for western & central & NE Minnesota
Coating to 2" of slushy snow possible Sunday for the metro (especially the NW side)
2012 on pace for warmest year ever in metro? - Details below
Mid December "slop storm"
Is this the "new normal?"
The Ides of December should be delivering snow to the Twin Cities. This year it looks like a rainy weekend mix.
Our next weathermaker rolls in this weekend. This system is unseasonably warm for mid-December, and mostly wet roads may replace the treacherous snow covered commute we faced last weekend in the metro.
Warm air wins:
We've followed this system all week long. All along, it was clear that the only wild card with the system would be temperatures.
If enough cold air could get yanked into the system it could change over to wet heavy snow. Just the right combination of above freezing air above ground and freezing at the surface? Ice storm. Too much warm air? Rain.
It looks like the warm air is winning.
Temps well above freezing will ease north with the system, and after a possible period of glaze ice from freezing rain early Saturday AM, it looks like precip will favor rain in the metro. Temps may push as high as 37-40 degrees Saturday...and that will mean wet roads by afternoon.
Modles favor as much as .50" of precip this weekend in the metro. Most of that may fall as rain.
Cold enough for ice & snow west & north?
It looks like the air may be just cold enough to keep a wintery mix west & north of the metro.
Look for a mix of glaze ice, sleet and snow from Redwood falls to Morris, Alex, Brainerd & Duluth. If you are planning travel into western & northern MN plan for some slick roads.
As much as 2" to 4" of wet slushy snow could accumulate in these areas by Sunday.
If you're planning any travel in the western or northern half of Minnesota (except for the northwest which will be mostly snow free) plan for some slick roads at times. And you may want to load up on washer fluid this weekend!
Vanilla Icee: Sunday Metro slush?
Just enough cold air should work into the system by Saturday night that a wintery mix may develop in the Twin Cities, changing to snow by Sunday. If the models pan out, what's left of the system's moisture Sunday may be able to put down a slushy inch or 2 in the metro by Sunday evening. The best chance for a couple inches of slush will be in the west & north metro.
Overall this is an unusually warm system for this time of year.
Bigger snow next week?
The European model has hinted for a few runs now that a bigger system may be tracking toward the Upper Midwest for next week. It's early, but this system looks colder and could be a significant snow producer somewhere in Minnesota or Wisconsin by next Wednesday or Thursday.
2012: Warmest year ever recorded in the Twin Cities?
We know 2012 has been warm. Nationally we're on pace for the warmest year on record according to the latest analysis from NOAA.
Looking at the numbers, it appears we also have a shot at the warmest year ever on record in the Twin Cities.
Greg Spoden from the Minnesota Climate Working Group sends along this update Friday.
As I'm sure you are aware, Twin Cities temperatures in 2012 have been pervasively warm. March 2012 was the warmest March on record by a large margin. July 2012 was the second warmest July (and the second warmest of any month) of the modern record. October was the only below-normal temperature month of the year.
As the calendar year comes to a close, there exists the potential to break the record for the warmest annual average temperature found in the modern Twin Cities climate data set (1872-2012). Should the December monthly average temperature finish above 24.0 degrees, a new calendar year average temperature record will be established. This will require that the monthly average temperature exceeds the December normal average temperature (19.7 degrees) by more than 4.3 degrees. Given December temperatures reported thus far, along with outlooks for the second half of December, such a scenario appears to be plausible.
Welcome to the new normal.
Seeley: Heavy snow and dew point records
My MPR colleague and UM professor Dr. Mark Seeley has another great installment on this week's Weather Talk. Heres' an excerpt.
Topic: Heavy snow
Sunday, December 9th brought snow to much of the region, and some record-setting values to a few Minnesota communities. Among those with long-term climate histories reporting record snowfalls were: MSP-Airport with 10.5 inches; St Cloud Regional Airport with 11 inches; Montevideo with 12 inches; Milan with 10 inches; Chanhassen with 13.6 inches; Forest Lake with 13.5 inches; Marshall with 6 inches; and Hastings with 12 inches. According to Greg Spoden of the Minnesota State Climatology Office the 10.5 inches measured at MSP-Airport is the 4th largest daily amount for the month of December in history for the Twin Cities, trailing only 16.3 inches on December 11, 2010, 12 inches on December 28, 1982, and 10.8 inches on December 17, 1908. Many other observers reported amounts ranging from 8 to 17 inches. For some the liguid content of the snowfall was the greatest amount of moisture received in a single day since late July. Some of the record amounts of precipitation reported for December 9th included: 0.87 inches at MSP, 0.35 inches at Rochester, 0.49 inches at Winona, 0.82 inches at Milan, 0.87 inches at St Cloud, and 0.97 inches at Marshall.
December total snowfalls are already above normal in a number of areas. Madison, Montevideo and Forest Lake have reported over 17 inches. Bird Island, Chanhassen, Red Wing, Hastings, and Redwwod Falls have reported over 14 inches, while Princeton and Stillwater report over 13 inches.
Topic: New dewpoint records in 2012
Tracking as the warmest year in USA history, 2012 has already produced thousands of new daily temperature records within the nation's climate network. The Minnesota State Climatology Office also reports that several new dewpoint records were set during 2012. For the Twin Cities 12 new record daily high dewpoints (a measure of moist air) were set during the year, along with 4 new record low dewpoints (a measure of dry air). Those new record high dewpoints included 8 consecutive days in March, plus other dates:
3/16 57 F
3/17 60 F
3/18 59 F
3/19 60 F
3/20 59 F
3/21 56 F
3/22 60 F
3/23 60 F
4/16 63 F
5/27 70 F
11/10 56 F
12/03 54 F
Those new record low dewpoints included:
8/17 39 F
10/07 14 F
10/11 11 F
Poll: Vast mjority of Americans, even science skeptics now believe Climate Change is real
EIS field assistant, Adam LeWinter on NE rim of Birthday Canyon, atop feature called "Moab". Greenland Ice Sheet, July 2009. Black deposit in bottom of channel is cryoconite. Birthday Canyon is approximately 150 feet deep.
(Image:James Balog/Extreme Ice Survey)
Here's a timely piece from AP Science Writer Seth Borenstein on how extreme weather and obvious climate shifts are (finally) getting people to see that climate change is...well....real.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Nearly 4 out of 5 Americans now think temperatures are rising and that global warming will be a serious problem for the United States if nothing is done about it, a new Associated Press-GfK poll finds.
Belief and worry about climate change are inching up among Americans in general, but concern is growing faster among people who don't often trust scientists on the environment. In follow-up interviews, some of those doubters said they believe their own eyes as they've watched thermometers rise, New York City subway tunnels flood, polar ice melt and Midwestern farm fields dry up.
Overall, 78 percent of those surveyed said they thought temperatures were rising and 80 percent called it a serious problem. That's up slightly from 2009, when 75 percent thought global warming was occurring and just 73 percent thought it was a serious problem. In general, U.S. belief in global warming, according to AP-GfK and other polls, has fluctuated over the years but has stayed between about 70 and 85 percent.
Kerri Miller tackled the topic with James Balog and Will Steger on The Daily Circuit. Here's their take on 'Chasing Ice' and climate change.
This is must hear radio for anyone interested in climate change.