All Weather News

Are we going to see a stormier, wetter shift in the pattern?

6 Oct 2012, 7:12 am

Marathon Details: Cheer on this year’s marathon runners. More details on the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon can be found here.

Hints Of A Stormier Pattern? TV news directors and (bored) meteorologists over the eastern half of the USA are secretly praying for a negative phase of the NAO, the North American Oscillation. Such a blocking pattern tends to favor significant storms, rain and snow, especially over the eastern USA. NOAA’s NAO prediction page shows a potentially strong negative shift to the NAO by mid-October. We’re due for a shift in the pattern.


Friday Snow Totals, courtesy of NOAA and Chad Merrill at Earth Networks:

Harrison, NE – 6 inches


Custer, S.D.  – 4 inches


Lusk, WY – 3.5 inches


Ardmore, S.D. – 2 inches



* photo from Damar, Kansas above courtesy of Becky Wells and the Hastings office of the NWS.



Low Lake Water Levels. You’ve seen the (remarkable) photos from White Bear Lake, but lake water levels are down statewide. Lake Minnesota is down at least 15″ from normal, but closer to 2 to 2.5 feet from the high water mark in 2011, according to the LMCD, the Lake Minnetonka Conservation District.

Major October Snowstorms & Blizzards. O.K. After reading this I’m feeling (a little) better about Thursday’s heavy snowfall over northwestern Minnesota. Dr. Mark Seeley includes a look at some of Minnesota’s most notable October storms in this week’s WeatherTalk blog entry; here’s an excerpt: “Though uncommon, significant October snowfalls and blizzards have occurred in Minnesota’s past.
Other significant October snowfalls and blizzards include:

October 11-14, 1820 up to 11 inches at Old Fort Snelling.
October 21-22, 1835 brought the first 6 inch snowfall of the season to Ft Snelling and was a precursor to a harsh winter for the Great Lakes Region.
October 16-18, 1880 paralyzing blizzard (drifts up to 20 feet) in southwestern Minnesota, written about by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
October 18-20, 1916 a blizzard struck northwestern Minnesota with 5 to 16 inches of snow and zero visibility.
October 23-24, 1933 brought a heavy snow to northeastern Minnesota, with amounts ranging from 7 to 11.5 inches.
October 1-2, 1950 brought 1-5 inches of snow across northwestern Minnesota counties.
October 7-11, 1970 brought some heavy snowfall to northern counties, record setting amounts of 6-14 inches for some, producing some road closures.
October 4-6, 2000 brought snow to many northern Minnesota communities. Thief River Falls, Roseau, and Littlefork reported over 2 inches, while Baudette and Thorhult reported over 3 inches.
October 24-25, 2001 a blizzard with 55 mph hit northwestern Minnesota bringing snowfall of 10-14 inches, and huge drifts.
October 12-13, 2006 brought snowfall to northeastern Minnesota, including 4-5 inches at Cook and Babbitt.

Winter Whispers. This terrific photo came from Brady Buttars at Grand Teton National Park.

So Nice You’re Seeing It Twice. With no wind and a lake as smooth as glass, the scenery in Oregon, Illinois was like something out of a postcard, courtesy of John Bullock.

Muffled Sunlight. Ham Weather founder and developer Lee Huffman captured this photo of a corona thru high, thin cirrus clouds floating 25,000 feet above San Diego Friday.

Where This Naming Business Runs Off The Rails. Nate Johnson, meteorologist and Executive Producer at WRAL-TV in Raleigh, NC makes some very good points in his latest installment of Digital Meteorologist about “Hurricane-Name-Gate”, The Weather Channel’s decision to preemptively name major winter storms and blizzards this upcoming winter season. Here’s an excerpt: “…Whether he’s been successful in convincing the public of that or not aside, The Weather Channel’s unilateral plan to name winter storms, without coordination with the National Weather Service, threatens to set him – and us – all back a good bit.  Take, for example, TWC’s stance on the winter storm moving into the northern Plains right now.  Because it didn’t meet their “geographic” and “population” criteria, this storm will not get one of the names they’ve laid out for the season.  Their winter weather expert Tom Niziol, former Meteorologist-in-Charge at the Buffalo NWS office, and Jim Cantore even had to spend time yesterday afternoon explaining why this “overachiever” of an early winter storm won’t get a name.”

“I’m Not Going To Be Ashamed” KSTP Meteorologist Reveals Battle With Bipolar Disorder. Kudos to Ken Barlow for having the courage to come forward – and in the process help a lot of Minnesotans struggling with the same disease. Here’s an excerpt from “…Barlow told the Pioneer Press he first spoke about his condition while emceeing a walk for the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

“When I was standing up there, I was thinking, these people came here to end the stigma of mental illness, and I’m up here living one — I’m afraid of this stigma.  I thought as I was on that stage two weeks ago, I’m not going to do this anymore, I’m not going to be ashamed. Two million people have this in the country and millions of others deal with depression and other forms of mental illness. I’m not alone.”

In the article, Barlow talks about being diagnosed with the illness in 2007 while he was working for WBZ in Boston.”

Why You Need a “HotTug”. Will this take off? No idea, but I wanted to share this combination boat-hot tub that may come to a lake near you in 2013. Details via theCHIVE: “The new “HotTug” is a bizarre tug boat that doubles as a hot tub and is able to seat up to seven people. It is heated with an onboard, stainless steel stove, and the tub is completely seaworthy and offers an interesting ride never before experienced…”


A Free Press. I snapped a photo of this wall-sized map at the “Newseum” in Washington D.C. Monday. I was dumbfounded to see how many countries around the world do not have a free press (all those nations in red). As much as we like to criticize the mainstream media, at least we’re free to say what we want, when we want. Most of the world is not so fortunate.


Take Nothing For Granted. I have a son in the Navy, and his safety is the first thing I think about when I wake up, and the last thing I worry about when I turn out the lights. I follow developments in Iran, Iraq and the South China Sea with new eyes. A friend sent me this photo Thursday, asking me to keep our troops, worldwide, in our prayers…. and to pass it on.




* “Snow Baby” photo above taken by Heidi Whiting in Crookston, Minnesota.



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Welcome to the WeatherNation blog. Every day I sift through hundreds of stories, maps, graphics and meteorological web sites, trying to capture some of the most interesting weather nuggets, the stories behind the forecast. I’ll link to stories and share some of the web sites I use. I’m still passionate about the weather, have been ever since Tropical Storm Agnes flooded my home in Lancaster, PA in 1972. I’ve started 5 weather-related companies. “EarthWatch” created the world’s first 3-D weather graphics for TV stations – Steven Spielberg used our software in “Jurassic Park” and “Twister”. My last company, “Digital Cyclone”, personalized weather for cell phones. “My-Cast” was launched in 2001 and is still going strong on iPhone, Android and Blackberry. I sold DCI to Garmin in 2007 so I could focus on my latest venture: WeatherNation. I also write a daily weather column for The Star Tribune And if you’re on Twitter, you’ll find me @pdouglasweather

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