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Snow, Ice Rain Upper Midwest (New England digs out after record snowfall for some cities)

10 Feb 2013, 6:23 am

Predicted Snowfall: NAM. Expect a sharp gradient across the metro, maybe an inch southern suburbs, to 3″ far northern and western suburbs. The St. Cloud area may pick up 4-6″ with some 10-12″ amounts closer to Detroit Lakes and Moorhead. Well over a foot of snow may pile up over the eastern Dakotas.

Predicted Snowfall: RPM. WSI’s 12 km. RPM model shows only 2″ of snow for much of the metro (which I tend to agree with), some 5-6″ amounts near St. Cloud, maybe 8″ for Duluth and 16″ over west central Minnesota, near Breckenridge and Wheaton. The farther north/west you drive up I-94 or I-35 today the worse travel conditions will become.

Winter Storm Warning. I expect a mish-mash of ice, rain and snow in the metro today, possibly a burst of 2″ of slushy snow, maybe 3″ far northern and western suburbs. By the time it’s cold enough aloft for all-snow a surge of dry air aloft (the dreaded “dry tongue”) will cause precipitation to taper off. Map above courtesy of NOAA. For more details on the various advisories, warnings (and blizzard warning far western counties) click here.

On The Edge. Deep into the cold air, where precipitation will fall as all snow, over a foot of accumulation is likely across much of the Dakotas, maybe 5-10″ for far western Minnesota, whipped up by 30-40 mph winds, creating white-out conditions by tonight. Map: NOAA.

31.9″ snow at Portland, Maine. This breaks the old record of 27.1″ set on January 17-18, 1979. This makes it the greatest snowstorm on record at Portland, Maine. Source: Gray, Maine office of the National Weather Service.

* photo above showing 6 foot drifts in Glenburn, Maine – courtesy of Angie Whittington and WeatherNation TV.

My Car’s In There Somewhere. Seeing is believing; over 25″ of snow in Boston. This photo was taken in South Boston by @Casieg.

Blizzard Paralyzes Connecticut. The Associated Press has an eye-opening YouTube clip showing what happens when you mix 24-36″ and 55 mph winds. Serious drifts.

Thunder-Snow? When the air is rising violently, in a thunderstorm (or a blizzard) it’s possible to get lightning and thunder. In winter it means snow is usually falling at the rate of 2-4″/hour. Such was the case Friday night in Middle Island, New York, courtesy of YouTube and Christine Heeren.

Snowbound. Stephanie from Hyannis, Massachusetts shared this photo of a small tree down on their minivan, after 18-24″ snow and 60 mph. wind gusts. She explained that her family had to crawl out of a window to get outside – there was too much snow blocking the front door!

Mixed Bag. At times today’s weather may look like something out of early March, with wet snow spiked with rain, even sleet (ice pellets). A period of light rain may freeze on cold surfaces this morning (freezing rain). The predicted sounding for 9 am (above) shows temperatures above 32 F. about 2,000 to 3,000 feet above the ground. A change back to wet snow is likely later today.

Climate Stories…

Climate Change And The Blizzard: Nor’easters More Fierce With Global Warming, Scientists Say. Did warmer sea surface temperatures (and thus the availability of more water vapor) turbocharge the blizzard? Professional climate science deniers scoff at the idea, but there’s sound science to back up the claim. Here’s an excerpt from Huffington Post: “Climate change may or may not have helped generate the nor’easter lashing the East Coast this weekend. Such storms happen with some regularity, after all. But the amount of snow the storm called “Nemo” ultimately dumps, and the extent of flood damage it leaves in its wake, may well have ties to global warming, climate scientists suggested. Michael Mann, a climatologist who directs the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University, compared a major storm like Nemo — or Hurricane Irene or Superstorm Sandy, for that matter — to a basketball slam-dunk with a lower net. “If you take the basketball court and raise it a foot, you’re going to see more slam-dunks,” Mann said. “Not every dunk is due to raising the floor, but you’ll start seeing them happen more often then they ought to…”

Climate Change Is Serving Up Doses Of Extreme Weather. Even In Winter. It’s basic physics: warmer air holds more water vapor, more potential fuel for major rainstorms (and snowstorms). If we reach the point where it’s too warm for midwinter snows from Minnesota to New England it’s game over; we’re truly living on a different planet, and no amount of technology, clean energy or political decrees will help. We’re not there yet. Here’s another perspective from The Daily Climate: “As the Northeast digs out from under a mammoth blizzard, it might seem easy for climate change skeptics to point to such intense storms as evidence that global warming isn’t real. They would be wrong. “Climate change contrarians and deniers love to cherry-pick individual events to argue that they are somehow inconsistent with global warming, when they are not,” said Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University.  “As long as it’s cold enough to snow – which it will be in the winter – you potentially will get greater snowfalls….”

Photo credit above: “Snow blankets Boston on Friday, Feb. 8, 2013. Heavier winter storms fit a pattern predicted by climate scientists as the world warms.” Photo by Christopher Petroff/flickr.

Study: Global Warming Causes Most Monthly Heat Records Today. Here’s a clip from a story at Think Progress and Skeptical Science: “A new paper published in Climatic Change by Coumou, Robinson, and Rahmstorf (CRR13) examines the increased frequency of record-breaking monthly temperature records over the past 130 years, finding that these records are now five times more likely to occur due to global warming, with much more to come“..worldwide, the number of local record-breaking monthly temperature extremes is now on average five times larger than expected in a climate with no long-term warming. This implies that on average there is an 80% chance that a new monthly heat record is due to climatic change … Under a medium global warming scenario, by the 2040s we predict the number of monthly heat records globally to be more than 12 times as high as in a climate with no long-term warming…”

Graphic credit above: “Observed record ratio (the increase in the number of heat records compared to those expected in a world without global warming) for monthly heat records as it changes over time (thin red line is annual data, thick red line smoothed with half-width 5 years). This is compared with predictions from a simple stochastic model based only on the global mean temperature evolution (blue line with uncertainty band directly comparable to the smoothed red curve)

Global Warming Brings Severe Rainstorms. No, when it does rain, it’s not falling as gently as it did for our grandparents. Here’s an excerpt from “Extreme rainfall events are becoming more and more commmon across the globe as climate change brings higher temperatures, researchers say. The University of Adelaide team looked at extreme rainfall and atmospheric temperatures at more than 8,000 weather gauging stations around the world between 1900 and 2009. “The results are that rainfall extremes are increasing on average globally. They show that there is a seven percent increase in extreme rainfall intensity for every degree increase in global atmospheric temperature,” says Dr Seth Westra. “Assuming an increase in global average temperature by three to five degrees Celsius by the end of the 21st century, this could mean very substantial increases in rainfall intensity as a result of climate change…”

See The Trailer. The movie comes out next month (no, Al Gore has nothing to do with this one). The thrust of the movie: the Koch brothers and other key fossil fuel companies have trillions of dollars on the line – so there is incentive to push back on climate science, and do (or say) anything to create doubt and confusion about what’s really going on. I’m keeping an open mind – but right now it appears that the uptick in severe storms, more persistent droughts and rising sea levels is probably a symptom of greenhouse gas levels approaching 400 ppm (parts per million) in the atmosphere, a byproduct of burning fossil fuels. A natural cycle? Over the eons greenhouse levels have fluctuated between 180 and 280 ppm. No. This is not a natural cycle.

Climate Change Means More Fires, Insects In Forests, USDA Warns. Here’s a clip from “Big changes are in store for the nation’s forests as global climate change increases wildfires and insect infestations, and generates more frequent floods and droughts, the U.S. Department of Agriculture warns in a report released Tuesday. The compilation of more than 1,000 scientific studies is part of the National Climate Assessment and will serve as a roadmap for managing national forests across the country in coming years. It says the area burned by wildfires is expected to at least double over the next 25 years, and insect infestations often will affect more land per year than fires…” (file photo courtesy of the Grand Junction, CO office of the National Weather Service).



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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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