Biggest November Snowstorm in 9 Years?
Winter is shorter and less frigid than it was for most of the 20th century. Our lakes rarely have safe ice by Thanksgiving any more. But it still snows. Heaven help us if it stops snowing.
According to the Twin Cities National Weather Service an average of 9.3 inches of frozen water fell on MSP every November from 1981 and 2010. The last time we saw average snowfall in November was 2014. The last time a single storm dropped over 6 inches of snow in November was November 13, 2010 (7.7 inches).
Warnings are posted for what may become the biggest November snowstorm at in 9 years. Flakes start to fly by late afternoon (metro area) and keep falling until midday Wednesday. By then a swath of 5-10 inches may have fallen from Mankato and Rochester into the Twin Cities.
You might want to get out of Dodge this morning, or wait until later Wednesday, when roads will be slushy, but passable.
A second storm arrives with an icy mix Thursday into Saturday, with more plowable snow by Sunday.
European Solution. The 18z Monday ECMWF run showed 7-8″ amounts for the metro, eerily similar to NOAA NAM and GFS. Not a slam dunk, but when models agree our confidence levels go up a few notches. Map: WeatherBell.
3 KM NAM: 6-9″ Metro. NOAA’s high-resolution 3 KM NAM model suggests only the Red River Valley and far northern Minnesota will escape accumulating snow with today’s storm, a rough metro average in the 6-9″ range. Map: pivotalweather.com.
Bitter Air Evaporates (for now). Last week ECMWF and GFS brought a shot of truly arctic air into Minnesota the first week of December. Latest model runs pull back on the numbing air with temperatures only a few degrees below average next week. ECMWF: WeatherBell.
Milder Pacific Flow Second Week of December. Not sure how long tonight’s snow will stick around, after looking at what NOAA’s GFS model is predicting roughly 2 weeks out – a wind flow from Seattle vs. Alberta, which may translate into 30s, even a shot at 40F as we sail into mid-December.
Praedictix Briefing: Issued Monday, November 25th, 2019:
- A winter storm is shaping up for the beginning and middle of the week, impacting areas like the Rockies today through Tuesday and working its way into the upper Midwest as we head later Tuesday into Wednesday.
- Areas like Cheyenne and Denver could see 10-18” of snow through Tuesday, with the heaviest snow falling tonight into early Tuesday. Winter Storm Warnings are in place.
- As you move into the upper Midwest, heavy snow will be likely Tuesday Night into Wednesday, with snowfall amounts of at least 5-10” possible for areas like Sioux Falls and the Twin Cities.
- Strong wind gusts are expected along with the snow, with wind gusts as high as 35 mph possible causing blowing snow and reduced visibility.
- A second storm system will start to impact the western United States Tuesday, bringing strong winds, heavy snow, and the potential of flooding rains. That system will move into the Plains after Thanksgiving, bringing issues to the region through the weekend.
Pre-Thanksgiving Snowstorm. As an area of low pressure develops in the Rockies and pushes out into the central United States and eventually Great Lakes through the middle of the week, heavy snow is expected on the northern and western sides of the system. This snow will start in areas like Denver later today lasting through midday Tuesday, with snow expanding to the western Great Lakes late Tuesday into Wednesday.
Winter Storm Watches And Warnings. Ahead of this system, numerous Winter Storm Watches and Warnings have been issued from the Rockies to the upper Midwest. In Denver, the Winter Storm Warning is in place from 8 PM tonight to 5 PM Tuesday for 8-16” of snow and wind gusts to 40 mph. In the Twin Cities, the Winter Storm Watch is in place from Tuesday evening through Wednesday morning for at least 6” of snow and wind gusts to 35 mph.
Potential Snow Totals. Some of the heaviest projected snowfall totals will occur across portions of Wyoming, Colorado, and Nebraska, where 10-18” of snow could fall. This would include areas like Denver and Cheyenne, with most of the snow falling tonight into Tuesday. From the Central Plains into the upper Midwest, snow of at least 5-10” is expected to fall, with most of it occurring Tuesday into Wednesday. This snow will cause travel troubles across the region through the middle of the week.
Strong Wind Gusts Expected. Strong winds are also expected to develop with this system across the mid-section of the nation. In areas where snow is expected, wind gusts of at least 35-40 mph will help to blow the snow around, lowering the visibility and make travel even more difficult. There is even the potential for blizzard conditions. Across portions of the southern U.S., wind gusts of 60-65 mph will be possible on Tuesday.
High Wind Watches. Due to the potential of strong winds Tuesday across portions of the Southern Plains, High Wind Watches are in place. These winds could also lead to quickly spreading grass fires if any are sparked.
Second Storm Into The Weekend. Another potential potent storm waits as we head toward Friday and Saturday, bringing another dose of snow and strong winds with it to portions of the upper Midwest. It is too early for many details, but note that the weather is expected to stay active across the region as we head into the holiday weekend.
Major Impacts Out West From That Second System. While we wait for that system to reach the Midwest later this week, it will bring heavy rain and snow to portions of the West Coast Tuesday into Wednesday. Portions of southwestern Oregon could see wind gusts of 70-80 mph, with up to 4 feet of snow possible in the Sierras. Heavy rain will also be a concern in southern California, where 1-2” could impact areas like San Diego and cause flash flooding.
D.J. Kayser, Meteorologist, Praedictix
EPA Prosecutions of Polluters Approach Quarter-Century Lows. Associated Press reports: “Criminal prosecution and convictions of polluters have fallen to quarter-century lows under the Trump administration’s Environmental Protection Agency, deepening three years of overall enforcement declines, according to Justice Department statistics. And while the administration says it’s focusing on quality over quantity in pollution cases, using its enforcement resources to go after the biggest and worst offenders, an Associated Press analysis found little sign of that so far in court cases closed in 2019...”
Photo credit: “This Sept. 21, 2017 file photo shows the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Building in Washington. Criminal prosecution and convictions of polluters haven fallen to quarter-century lows under the Trump administration. That’s according to Justice Department figures for fiscal year 2019. The EPA says it’s improved in some other enforcement categories. But a former EPA agent in charge says three years of declines show the agency dismantling criminal enforcement.” (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais).
Will Tesla Deliver Full “Self-Driving” Capabilities Within a Few Weeks? Fortune has a long post; here’s an excerpt: “…Any release of Full Self-Driving (FSD) this year would be a massive public relations coup, giving Tesla at least some claim to be the winner of the decade-plus race to create a self-driving car. As a sizable bonus, the company says it would also allow nearly $500 million in revenue from pre-orders of the self-driving features, held off the books for years, to be recognized in quarterly earnings statements. This has the potential to transform Tesla’s near-term financial outlook. Tesla did not respond to multiple requests to comment for this story. But it has admitted that cars will not be fully autonomous when Full Self-Driving is released. “There’s the car being able to be autonomous, but requiring supervision and intervention at times…”
Tesla has more details on the just-unveiled Cybertruck here.
Will Anyone Buy Elon Musk’s New Pickup? The New York Times weighs in here.
Trucks Are Going Electric: Climate Nexus has links and headlines: “Tesla founder Elon Musk unveiled the company’s much-anticipated new truck model Thursday at a promotional event in Los Angeles. The futuristic Cybertruck models start at just under $40,000–significantly less than the $70,000 charged by competitor Rivian for its electric truck–and models will get between 250 and 500 miles of range off one charge. Hours before the demo event, General Motors CEO Mary Barra said that GM’s first electric pickup would go on sale in the fall of 2021. Lordstown Motors, the startup that bought GM’s Lordstown factory, also said Thursday that production of its truck would start in the fall of 2020 and that it would aim to deliver its first models at the end of next year.” (Tesla: CNN, Elektrek, CNBC, The Verge. GM: CNN, Motor1, CNET, Fox. Lordstown: Fox, Jalopnik. Trucks: USA Today)
Photo credit above: CNET. Tesla unveiled a new electric-powered ATV which can be powered up in the bed of the new Cybertruck.
Why Do We Eat Pumpkin Pie at Thanksgiving? I learned something at Mental Floss: “…Abraham Lincoln eventually declared Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863 (to near-immediate outcry from Southerners, who viewed the holiday as an attempt to enforce Yankee values). Southern governors reluctantly complied with the presidential proclamation, but cooks in the South developed their own unique regional traditions. In the South, sweet potato pie quickly became more popular than New England’s pumpkin pie (mostly because sweet potatoes were easier to come by than pumpkins). Now, pumpkin pie reigns supreme as the most popular holiday pie across most of the United States, although the Northeast prefers apple and the South is split between apple and pecan, another Southern staple.”
At the First National Thanksgiving, the Civil War Raged. Here’s an excerpt of a timely post at The Washington Post (paywall): “…As the Civil War raged in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln and his secretary of state, William H. Seward, issued a proclamation on Oct. 3 calling for a national holiday to be observed on “the last Thursday of November.” That proclamation, a document of unusual literary grace, might do good service again in a nation that could use words of healing.The proclamation is not generally listed among Lincoln’s great achievements, and with good reason…”
Illustration credit: Michelle Kondrich for The Washington Post.
How 7 Places Around the World Celebrate Thanksgiving. Mental Floss has another interesting post: “…Arising from the same European origins of harvest festivals that led to the United States’s version, Canadian Thanksgiving was first celebrated in 1578, when English explorer Martin Frobisher gave thanks for his fleet’s safe travels in present-day Nunavut. Parliament made it a national holiday in 1879. But in 1957, Parliament moved it from November 6, declaring, “A Day of General Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed...”
45 F. Twin Cities high on Monday.
36 F. average high on November 25.
30 F. high on November 25, 2018.
November 26, 2001: A strong low pressure system develops in Colorado on the 25th, reached eastern Iowa during the evening of the 26th, then moved into eastern Wisconsin late on the 27th. It produced a wide swath of heavy snow across much of central Minnesota into West Central Wisconsin. Storm total snowfall of 8 inches or more was common, with a large area exceeding 20 inches. Specifically, Willmar picked up 30.4 inches, New London saw 28.5 inches, Collegeville had 23.4 inches, Litchfield and Granite Falls received 22 inches, and Milan had 20 inches. A convective snow band set up across this area on the 27th and remained nearly stationary for over 12 hours, resulting in the extreme storm totals. From 8 am on the 26th to 8 am on the 27th, Willmar received 21 of its 30.4 inches, setting a record for most snowfall in Willmar in a 24 hour period. The heavy wet snow downed numerous power lines, and at one point, at least 20,000 customers were without power in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area. Over one thousand traffic accidents were noted across the entire area. Most were minor, but one accident claimed two lives when a car spun out and collided with a semi near Mora.
November 26, 1995: A narrow band of five to eight inches of snow falls from west central Minnesota around Canby and Granite Falls to east central Minnesota. This included much of the Twin Cities metro area.
November 26, 1965: A snowstorm develops across northern Minnesota. 14.7 inches of snow fell at Duluth, along with 13.6 inches at Grand Rapids.
November 26, 1896: A severe Thanksgiving day ice storm develops over southwest and central Minnesota. 1.42 inches of freezing rain falls at Bird Island, and 1.20 inches of freezing rain falls at Montevideo. The ice causes a great deal of damage to trees and shrubs. Source: Twin Cities National Weather Service.
TUESDAY: Winter Storm Warning. Snow arrives late afternoon or evening. Winds: NE 7-12. High: 37
TUESDAY NIGHT: Winter Storm Warnings. Heavy snow likely. Low: 30
WEDNESDAY: 5-10″ totals possible with blowing and drifting. Snow tapers with slowly improving travel PM hours. Wins: NW 20-35. High: 32
THANKSGIVING: Light icy mix possible late. Winds: E 5-10. Wake-up: 16. High: near 30
BLACK FRIDAY: Slushy snow or icy mix. Winds: SE 10-15. Wake-up: 24. High: 33
SATURDAY: Icy mix changes back to snow. Winds: E 10-20. Wake-up: 30. High: 34
SUNDAY: Snow slowly tapers. Plowable amounts? Winds: N 10-20. Wake-up: 27. High: 31
MONDAY: Mostly cloudy, better travel. Winds: W 5-10. Wake-up: 17. High: near 30
Why We Risked Arrest to Protest Harvard and Yale Funding Fossil Fuel Giants. Two of the protestors explain why they did what they did for The Guardian: “…Collectively, Harvard and Yale could be investing upwards of $1.2bn in the fossil fuel industry. While universities worldwide are waking up to the threat of climate change and pledging to divest, ours are jeopardizing their own students’ futures. And given the long-term risks of fossil fuel investments, in addition to the moral imperative, there is a clear financial incentive to divest. That’s why over $11.5tn has been divested from the fossil fuel industry worldwide and why recently, the University of California decided to make its over $70bn endowment and $13.4bn pension fund fossil fuel-free. But it’s not only through their investments that these elite institutions prop up the bad actors behind our planet’s degradation. Harvard continues to refuse to publicly recognize the vast and problematic ties that the Harvard Corporation maintains to the fossil fuel industry…”
An Ivy League Divestment Standoff: Climate Nexus has headlines and links: “Hundreds of activists stormed the Yale University football field Saturday to protest climate change by disrupting the annual Yale-Harvard football game. Protesters from both schools delayed progress on the historic annual game for nearly an hour after they swarmed the field at halftime, linking arms to sit on the 50-yard line as they called for Harvard and Yale to divest from fossil fuels and forgive Puerto Rican debt. More than 40 protesters were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct, including actor and Yale graduate Sam Waterston, who was also arrested last month at a climate protest in DC. Organizers say dozens of unaffiliated students joined the protest after it began, with more than 500 protesters on the field at its peak.” (Washington Post $, New York Times $, AP, NPR, News8, ESPN. Commentary: WSJ editorial $)
American Climate. InsideClimate News has launched an ambitious project, capturing the myriad of ways a rapidly changing climate is impacting Americans: “Rising temperatures are strengthening the destructive force of wildfires, hurricanes and floods, putting tens of millions of Americans at risk. Tens of thousandsof Americans are already paying a high price, their lives shattered by climate calamities. Here are twenty-one of their stories…”
The Wall That Would Save Venice from Drowning is Underwater. Wall Street Journal (paywall) has a story that takes irony to a new level: “As the water rose, Alessandro Ferro made a desperate effort to prevent a devastating flood on the islands of the Venetian Lagoon. The mayor of the lagoon town of Chioggia asked for the first-ever use of submersible steel floodgates that had been built for billions of euros to block out the sea. But he could find no one willing and authorized to raise the barriers. On Nov. 12, Venice, Chioggia and surrounding islands suffered their worst flood in over half a century. Waters rose over 6 feet above the normal level. Around 80% of the city was inundated, causing damage estimated by Venice’s mayor at over €1 billion ($1.11 billion). Brackish water filled the crypt of the 12th-century St. Mark’s Basilica. Gondolas and public ferries were left strewn on walkways...”
Barack Obama Lays Out 3 Things He’s Most Worried About, the Biggest One is Climate Change. Here’s the intro to a post at Business Insider: “On Thursday at Dreamforce, Salesforce’s annual mega-conference, Obama spoke with Salesforce’s CEO and cofounder, Marc Benioff, on the most important issues of the day that needed fixing. “Climate change would be right at the top,” Obama said onstage. “There’s such a thing as being too late.” Obama said modern culture contributed to climate change by encouraging people to consume more. By way of example, he said houses today consumed more electricity than before. “We were just talking about the fact that it’s great we’re creating all sorts of energy efficiencies, but it’s also true that part of our challenge about climate change is a culture that says more is always better and bigger is always better,” Obama said…”
Photo credit: “
a 1966 copy of the industry publication Mining Congress Journal; his father-in-law had been in the industry and he thought it might be an interesting memento…”Exxon knew.” Thanks to the work of activists and journalists, those two words have rocked the politics of climate change in recent years, as investigations revealed the extent to which giants like Exxon Mobil and Shell were aware of the danger of rising greenhouse gas emissions even as they undermined the work of scientists. But the coal industry knew, too — as early as 1966, a newly unearthed journal shows. In August, Chris Cherry, a professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, salvaged a large volume from a stack of vintage journals that a fellow faculty member was about to toss out. He was drawn to
Illustration credit: Rebecca Zisser.
Thousands of People Have Stopped Flying Because of Climate Change. Here’s an excerpt from CNN.com: “…Tyers is not the only person to shun air travel in response to climate change. Thousands of people worldwide have publicly pledged to stop flying, including teenage activist Greta Thunberg, who has inspired youth climate protests around the world. They say there is no justification for flying in a world where governments have declared climate emergencies and scientists have warned of global warming’s devastating impacts on human health and on the future of countless species. Activist Maja Rosen launched the “Flight Free” campaign in Sweden in 2018 with the aim of encouraging 100,000 people not to fly for one year. Although only around 14,000 people signed the online “#flightfree2019” pledge, Rosen told CNN that the campaign had made more people aware of the urgency of the climate crisis and motivated them to travel by train more often…”
Photo credit: “Roger Tyers, 37, travelled from England to China by train instead of plane because of the climate crisis.” Roger Tyers.
Climate Change Has Finally Broken Through. It does feel like a public opinion tipping point, an inflection point, but I may be a naive optimist. Here’s a clip from an essay at Slate: “…Why would Republican candidates, even long-shot Republican candidates, show up for such a thing? I think it’s because they realize they ought to. Their voters are starting to care. Since 2016, most Americans, almost always more than 65 percent, have told Gallup that they know climate change is happening and that most scientists agree on this fact. By some counts the percentage is even higher—a survey from the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication suggests 73 percent of registered voters think it’s happening, and 63 percent are worried about it. The situation is still split along partisan lines, as you might expect. Gallup divides respondents into three groups: “concerned believers,” “mixed middle,” and “cool skeptics”; 77 percent of Democrats are “concerned believers” while 52 percent of Republicans are “cool skeptics.” But as the Yale study points out, “Worry about global warming has increased among liberal/moderate Republicans by 15 percentage points since May 2017 and by seven points among conservative Republicans since October 2017...”
File image: NOAA.
What it Takes to be Carbon Neutral – For a Family, a City, and a Country. Denmark is getting serious about carbon footprints, as related in a post at The Washington Post (paywall). Here’s an excerpt: “…We’re not minimalists,” said Purup Nohr, 31. But she and her husband have examined every aspect of their lives for its environmental impact. “It is a journey,” she said. “You start looking, and then you look at your food, and then you look at your transport. When you start thinking about the environment, you want to make your life fit.” Some of their adjustments have been relatively minor. They phased out liquid shampoo in favor of soap bars that don’t require bottles, and hung an hourglass into the shower to keep themselves from dawdling under the water. They bought used reusable cloth diapers — which they plan to resell to someone else when they are done with them. The little red cart their 1-year-old uses to toddle around is secondhand, as are the rest of the toys, so as not to fuel more production and consumption…”
Photo credit: “Copenhagen officials estimate that 75 percent of all trips must be done by bike, foot or public transportation to meet their 2025 goals.” (Ulf Svane/For The Washington Post)
Airline CEOs to Climate Activists: You’re Right, Our Industry is a Big Problem. Will bio-fuels or electric-hybrid planes solve the problem? Here’s the intro to a post at Vox: “Airline executives are feeling the headwinds of the growing alarm among travelers about the climate consequences of air travel — and acknowledging their industry isn’t doing enough to curb emissions. Air France CEO Anne Rigail told the audience of the Fortune Global Forum on Monday that flying shame had taken root in her own household among her husband and children. “It’s very good because I was not at all surprised by this whole thing about ‘flight shaming’,” she said. “I think it’s our biggest challenge.” Flights account for about 2.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, and some travelers, most notably Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swedish climate activist who gave up flying, are cutting back on flying to reduce their personal carbon footprint...”
Voters Want More Climate-Change Debate, but the Democratic Event Gave Less Than 10 Minutes to the Issue. Here’s a clip from a story at MarketWatch: “…But climate experts also worry that a lack of specific policy with price tags and the limitations of a debate format relegate the topic to low priority, even as Wall Street and Corporate America step up their own attention on the issue. Wednesday’s question lineup was also reflective of current headlines. The Trump impeachment hearings, taxes and foreign policy dominated the debate. The New York Times has tracked the total time given to various issues across the debates so far. Health care leads the 15-item topic list offered by the Times; candidate age ranks lowest. Climate change, earning a total of 32.6 minutes of debate air time so far, is nestled somewhere in the middle of the list, between party strategy and women’s rights…”
Photo credit: Associated Press. “Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders in Wednesday’s debate warned of climate change’s impact: “Major cities going underwater, we’re talking about increased drought, we’re talking about increased extreme weather disturbances.”
Democratic Senators Want the Fed to Better Prepare Banks for Climate Change. The Wall Street Journal (paywall) reports; here’s a snippet: “…The bill, if passed, directs the Fed to more formally incorporate climate-change-related risks into its regulatory regime for the financial sector. It would order the Fed to specifically “stress test” firms with more than $250 billion in total assets to ensure they can withstand the trouble that climate change can bring to the economy and the financial system. The bill also would direct the Fed to create an advisory panel of climate scientists and economists to create scenarios for the stress testing. Affected firms would also be required to come up with plans for various climate-related contingencies, including fire and rising seawater. The Federal Reserve hasn’t cropped up as much of a topic in the Democratic presidential race, but the sponsorship of the bill offers some hints about how at least some of the candidates view the central bank and its role in the economy...”
“Smart Cities” Urged to Look Beyond Rich, White Men. Here’s the intro to a post at Thomson Reuters Foundation: “A growing push to put cities on a digital path to a greener future risks excluding groups like the poorest, disabled and elderly, and will fail to benefit those people unless technology is used to help meet their needs, rights advocates have warned. They also called for women to be given a bigger say in urban planning that is based on high-tech tools such as big data and artificial intelligence, while speaking at an international conference on “smart cities” in Barcelona this week. “My fear is that smart cities end up benefiting the elite white men,” said Catherine D’Ignazio, an assistant professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In the United States, she said, national politics and other social spheres are shaped by “the privilege hazard”, in which a small, dominant group – often of rich, older men – make decisions for others whose lives and experiences they know little about…”
File image: PBS.