Another Significant Pile of Snow Saturday

There are times I look out the nearest window and wonder (out loud) if all this snow will ever melt. I have 15 foot snow piles next to my driveway. I’ve run out of places to push the snow.

But it will melt. A higher sun angle is already keeping roads wet, even when air temperatures are below 32F. In a few weeks patches of green lawn will emerge. Birds will chirp. The first thunderstorms of spring are less than a month away. Within 60 days some of us will be complaining about bugs (and humidity). Spring WILL get the last laugh, but it’s no great
hurry this year.

The rumors are true: another punch of heavy wet snow is shaping up for Saturday and Sunday morning; enough to shovel and plow. Travel Saturday night may be a mess, with some 5-10 inch amounts by Sunday. Over a foot of slush may fall south/west of the Minnesota River.

A warmer storm produces a mix of rain and snow next Tuesday and Wednesday, as the Great Meltdown of 2019 commences. Expect consistent highs in the 30s from Saturday into next week.

Baby steps into spring.


NAM Solution. Last night’s 00z run prints out 10-12″ amounts for the metro area, which may very well happen (not there yet – would like to see a few more runs before I make this leap of faith) but there is now little doubt that we’ll experience a (very) plowable snowfall Saturday PM into Sunday morning. Map: pivotalweather.com.


GFS Solution. Last night’s run prints out about 7-9″ for much of the metro area by Sunday PM; fairly heavy, wet, slushy snow. Amounts don’t look nearly as impressive for southwestern Minnesota.



A Very Slow Warming Trend. Which is just what the weather-doctor ordered up – to prevent a rapid thaw and potentially serious river flooding in a month or so. The forecast for the latter half of March calls for more relatively mild Pacific air pushing into Minnesota.


Recent Cold Weather Records. Thanks to Praedictix meteorologist D.J. Kayser for pulling this together:

  • Record lows Sunday morning:
    • Twin Cities: -13F (tied 1873)
    • Rochester: -17F (tied 1913)
  • Record cold highs Sunday:
    • Twin Cities: 0F (previous: 6F in 1873)
    • Duluth: 1F (previous: 2F in 2002)
    • International Falls: -2F (previous: 3F in 2002)
    • Rochester: -1F (previous: 6F in 2002)
    • St. Cloud: -4F (previous: 3F in 2002)
    • Brainerd: -1F (previous: 5F in 2002)
    • Hibbing: -3F (previous: 3F in 2002)
  • Record lows Monday morning:
    • St. Cloud: -19F (tied 1917)
    • Brainerd: -24F (previous: -16F in 2015)
    • Duluth: -19F (previous: -18F in 1875)
    • Hibbing: -28F  (previous: -18F in 2014)
    • Rochester: -17F (previous: -13F in 1978)
  • Record cold highs Monday:
    • Rochester: 3F (previous: 10F in 1978)

Coldest Month This Winter Was February? Which is unusual – January is almost always the coldest month, but this year we had an unusually mild first half of January. And then we went off a cliff. Map credit: climate guru Brian Brettschneider.



Deadliest Tornado Day in Years: How it Happened. There was warning in advance, but many people didn’t (or couldn’t) receive the alerts in time. Here’s an excerpt from Weather Underground: “Sunday was the deadliest tornado day in the United States in nearly six years, and while severe weather was forecast for the South well in advance, there was uncertainty in how many tornadic thunderstorms would develop in the hours before it began. There were three dozen reports of tornadoes in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina Sunday, all within a few hours from early afternoon into early evening. The exact number of tornadoes that caused destruction in those states won’t be known for several days after the National Weather Service conducts surveys and assigns ratings…”


Four Forecast and Messaging Takeaways From the Southern Tornado Outbreak. Dr. Marshall Shepherd provides insight and perspective in a post at Forbes: “...There is a percentage of people who never get the warnings. I am very weather-aware, but many people are not. They are simply battling the challenges and routines of daily life. How do we reach them? There is a percentage of people who complain about TV shows being interrupted. James Spann, the legendary Birmingham-based meteorologist, has written about this in the past. How do we overcome this notion that if a person is not affected then there is no emergency (“survivor bias“) or no need to interrupt my show? There is a percentage of people who got the message and were likely sufficiently alarmed but were not certain what to do...”
Image credit: NWS Birmingham.

Is This the End of Recycling? With China no longer taking our trash – it’s cheaper to incinerate. The world now produces about 10 tons of plastic every second. Think about that. Details via The Atlantic: “… This end of recycling is coming at a time when the United States is creating more waste than ever. In 2015, the most recent year for which national data are available, America generated 262.4 million tons of waste, up 4.5 percent from 2010 and 60 percent from 1985. That amounts to nearly five pounds per person a day. New York City collected 934 tons of metal, plastic, and glass a day from residents last year, a 33 percent increase from 2013. For a long time, Americans have had little incentive to consume less. It’s inexpensive to buy products, and it’s even cheaper to throw them away at the end of their short lives. But the costs of all this garbage are growing, especially now that bottles and papers that were once recycled are now ending up in the trash…”
Photo credit: “Plastic, paper, glass and cardboard at a Recology facility in San Francisco.” Robert Galbraith / Reuters.

Minnesota Gov Announces Renewable Plans: Headlines and links via Climate Nexus: “Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz unveiled a plan Monday to transition the state to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. At a press conference Monday morning, Walz said his plan was “different” than other states’ transition blueprints because he’d worked with utilities that already have ambitious renewables goals, like Xcel Energy, to draft the proposal. Minnesota’s state legislature introduced a similar plan last month that would require utilities to meet certain benchmarks on their way to achieving 100 percent renewable energy by 2050, but Walz’s proposal would give companies more flexibility, and he expressed hope that utilities would “blow by” the goals on their own. Minnesota’s utilities have already surpassed a goal set in 2007 to have 25 percent of energy sources come from renewables by 2025, although coal made up nearly 40 percent of the state’s energy mix last year.” (AP, MPR News, Minneapolis Star Tribune $, CBS Minnesota, Twin Cities Pioneer Press).


Mercedes Remakes the Minivan as an All-Electric Luxury Ride. WIRED.com has a few details: “…Mercedes-Benz is looking to change the minivan’s reputation, if not its long-term decline in popularity. Today at the luxury-focused Geneva Motor Show, it debuted the Concept MPV, an all-electric minivan it says is most definitely headed for production, and soon. With room for up to eight people and 249 miles of range, Mercedes pitches this Performance-Pickup für den sportlichen Lifestyle as a ride for your VIPs, whether they’re kiddies or clients. Depending on when it reaches dealer lots, the MPV could be the world’s first electric minivan. Chrysler, which already offers the plug-in hybrid Pacifica, is preparing its own battery-powered scion-schlepper, based on its Portal concept…”

Image credit: “Depending on when it reaches dealer lots, the Mercedes MPV could be the world’s first fully electric minivan.” Mercedes-Benz


Welcome to 2019, Virgin Atlantic. Quartz has the story; here are a couple of excerpts: “Virgin Atlantic, one of Britain’s top transatlantic carriers, announced today that it would no longer require its female cabin crew to wear makeup while working. As a nod to the fact that it’s now 2019 and not 1950, the standard uniform issued to female crew will now also include trousers, rather than requiring workers to specially request them…The working lives of airline cabin crew have long been wracked with sexism. Virgin Atlantic is certainly not the only airline to have required more stringent grooming and appearance requirements of its female staff than of males…”


Give This Pilot a Raise! CNN Travel has the story: “Stranded for hours on a snowy tarmac, passengers on an Air Canada flight were beginning to feel the stress, but their pilot knew the answer: 23 pizzas delivered to the airplane’s door. Air Canada Flight 608 left Toronto bound for Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Monday night, but bad weather forced the aircraft to be diverted to Fredericton, New Brunswick. After several hours stuck in the plane, the pilot decided to order food.  Jofee Larivée, the manager at Minglers Restaurant and Pub in Oromocto, received the pilot’s call and took down his order for 23 pizzas topped with cheese and pepperoni. “We told him we could have them made in an hour or hour and a half,” Larivée said.  She said they have never delivered pizza to an airplane, and they were “laughing all night” about the unusual order…”


18″ snow on the ground at MSP.

22 F. maximum temperature yesterday in the Twin Cities.

36 F. average high on March 6.

34 F. high on March 6, 2018.

March 7, 1987: A heat wave across Minnesota brings the earliest 70 degree readings on record to the Twin Cities. The record high for the day was 73, breaking the old record by 13 degrees. Shorts were common and people were turning over dirt in their gardens for planting.

March 7, 1950: A snow and ice storm hits Minnesota. The heaviest ice was in northwest and west central Minnesota, especially in Norman County near Twin Valley. 52 electrical poles were down in this area with ice up to 1 ½ inches on wires. All communication lines out of Fargo were out with wind gusts estimated up to 60 mph. In order to provide temporary long distance service to and from isolated communities, short wave radio equipment was used to bridge the gaps. In Pipestone, several plate glass windows were blown in. During the snowstorm that followed later in the day, a Northwest Airlines plane crashed into three homes in Minneapolis killing all 13 on the plane and two on the ground. The left wing of the plane struck a flagpole at Ft. Snelling National Cemetery as it circled to land.


THURSDAY: Mostly cloudy, dry. Winds: E 5-10. High: 22

FRIDAY: Patchy clouds, a bit milder. Winds: SE 5-10. Wake-up: 13. High: 31

SATURDAY: Heavy wet snow likely. Rough PM travel. Winds: E 10-20. Wake-up: 25. High: 35

SUNDAY: 5-10″ snow possible, tapering to flurries. Winds: NW 10-20+ Wake-up: 28. High: 31

MONDAY: Becoming partly sunny. Better travel. Winds: NW 7-12. Wake-up: 17. High: near 30

TUESDAY: Clouds increase. Sloppy mix at night? Winds: SE 8-13. Wake-up: 21. High: 34

WEDNESDAY: Cold rain or rain/snow mix. Winds: SE 10-20. Wake-up: 35. High: 39


Climate Stories….

Who Would Have Guessed That a Global Existential Crisis Bothers Prospective Parents. Intelligencer has the post: “Many young adults think prospective parents should consider the effects of climate change as they decide whether or not to have children, Business Insider reported on Tuesday. Thirty-eight percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 said climate change “should be a factor in a couple’s decision about whether to have children.” Overall, 30 percent of Americans said that they “either strongly agree, agree, or somewhat agree” that climate change should be a consideration for couples. The news site commissioned the poll after Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat from New York, said on her popular Instagram account that young adults “have a legitimate question: Is it OK to still have children?” because of climate change…”


Far-Right Climate Denial is Scary. Far-Right Climate Acceptance Might Be Scarier. Here’s a clip from a story at Intelligencer: “After all, if you accept the climate science, then this migration problem is only going to get worse — which means that only unsentimental nationalists can be trusted to protect our people from the huddled masses to come. Beyond the issue of immigration, there is a significant amount of political science research positing a correlation between material abundance and liberal pluralism. Such research suggests that in circumstances of scarcity, people might naturally gravitate toward more conformist and authoritarian attitudes and social structures. A nasty, brutish, and hot world — routinely upended by massive storms and agricultural failures — may be one in which mass publics are less tolerant of social difference, and more eager to submit to a political leviathan...”


Ex-Official: Don’t Let National Security Conform to Politics’: Headlines and links via Climate Nexus: “Second-guessing” established climate science will “erode national security,” nearly 60 former military and national security officials said in a letter to President Trump Tuesday. The letter’s signers, who include former Obama administration secretary of defense Chuck Hagel and former secretary of state John Kerry, are responding to recent reports that the administration is planning to form a denier-stocked panel under the National Security Council to question federal climate science. “Imposing a political test on reports issued by the science agencies, and forcing a blind spot onto the national security assessments that depend on them, will erode our national security,” the letter states. “It is dangerous to have national security analysis conform to politics.” (Washington Post $, NPRThe Verge, Boston Globe $)

File image: AP.


Is Climate Change Making Tornadoes Worse? There’s no hard evidence of that, at least not yet, but traditional Tornado Alley appears to be shifting. PBS News Hour explains: “…While this weekend’s storms took the Southeast by surprise, the events fit into a growing trend for a region meteorologists now call Dixie Alley. Since the turn of the millennium, the Dixie Alley has witnessed an ever-increasing onslaught of tornadoes.  “Whether this is climate change or not, what all the studies have shown is that this particular part of the U.S. has been having more tornado activity and more tornado outbreaks than it has had in decades before,” said Mike Tippett, a Columbia University applied mathematician who studies the climate. Tippett is among a group of scientists trying to dissect why the South has become a hotbed for tornadoes and severe thunderstorms…”


Green New Deal vs. Carbon Tax: A Clash of 2 World Views; Both Seeking Climate Action. InsideClimate News has a good overview of the 2 competing concepts: “Congress is in uncharted territory on climate policy. For the first time ever, lawmakers face competing approaches to reviving U.S. climate action. And despite hostility from the White House, each has significant support and the potential to shape the 2020 elections. On one side are the student activists of the Sunrise Movement and Congress’s new young firebrands; on the other, more moderate groups, including grassroots advocates and some of the Republican Party’s elder statesmen, supported both by established environmental groups and by major energy corporations. The young activists want nothing short of a social and economic revolution. Their Green New Deal, while not yet fully formed, promises jobs and economic security as part of a drive to get greenhouse gas emissions to net zero. The moderates, hoping to win over Republicans in Congress, seek a market-based incentive in the form of a carbon tax plan…”


The Climate Change Lawsuit That Could Stop the U.S. Government From Supporting Fossil Fuels. The 60 Minutes segment from CBS News is worth your time: “Of all the cases working their way through the federal court system none is more interesting or potentially more life changing than Juliana v. United States. To quote one federal judge, “This is no ordinary lawsuit.” It was filed back in 2015 on behalf of a group of kids who are trying to get the courts to block the U.S. government from continuing the use of fossil fuels. They say it’s causing climate change, endangering their future and violating their constitutional rights to life, liberty and property. When the lawsuit began hardly anyone took it seriously, including the government’s lawyers, who have since watched the Supreme Court reject two of their motions to delay or dismiss the case. Four years in, it is still very much alive, in part because the plaintiffs have amassed a body of evidence that will surprise even the skeptics and have forced the government to admit that the crisis is real…”