Sunday, December 28, 2014

Beige Christmas Beyond, Vortexish Chill Looming?

Now that our white Christmas drama is over, weather eyes scanned the horizon for true winter chill. According to most weather prognosticators, January seemed destined to live up to its bitter billing -- at least for the beginning.

163 comments:

  1. Hey Bill, if a traditionalist forecast is what your looking for for our next system, may I suggest you have a look at kstp.com, it doesn't get anymore traditionalist then Dave Dahl. Maybe copy it for your readers.

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  2. Interesting, NWS upped the snow chances for Friday from 20% to 30% yet in their discussion all they kept talking about is how far south the system will go and not effect our area. Confused.

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  3. Latest word is the Euro and GEM are showing it well south and east of MSP.

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  4. How is that possible? Dave Dahl's forecast is polar opposite of the NWS. For the life of me I could never understand how you can have two varying forecast for the same location while looking at the same guidance and both forecasts came out about mid/late afternoon.

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    1. Consider Dave Dahl a weather model, and yesterday he was a outliner(weather models always have one) and today you watch he will sing a different tune and follow inline with the others.
      That system of interest in the SW corner will stay there for awhile and when it injects out, the NWS sums it up best by saying that feature will move well southeast of the MPX CWA.
      So what are we left with, so we have the real cold air with us now then near normal temps, the rest of the week. We do eventually get to see some clippers, but you know them they are hit and miss and mostly moisture starved with only a small swath of accumulating snowfall.

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  5. AS FOR THE 4-CORNERS WAVE...EVERYTHING IS TRENDING SLOWER AND
    FARTHER SOUTH WITH THAT WAVE. REALLY...THE ONLY TRUE OUTLIER LEFT IS
    THE OPERATIONAL GFS...WITH THE TEST PARALLEL RUN OF THE GFS AND THE
    GFS ENSEMBLE MEAN IN LINE WITH THE REST OF THE GUIDANCE IN KEEPING
    THAT FEATURE WAY SOUTHEAST OF THE MPX CWA.

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  6. Something smells here. The upper air structure still appears favorable for something worth watching FRI into SAT. This may not involve the 4 corners disturbance, but some sort of a storm should come out of this.

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    1. Didn't you learn your lesson on one of our last events when the upper air structures looked good and it was pretty much a bust. Hey at least theres cold air this time around.

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  7. Not usual to hear snow from Paul Douglas much....but he does say tonight in his blog "of a couple of inches" Saturday and a more significant "snowstorm or snow/ice/rain event" around January 11-14(I know way out there, but he said it, not me).

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    1. Snow/ice/rain event, huh? Good 'ol Paul Douglas. He's always looking to advance his "global warming winter will cease to exist soon" agenda. He always seems to find a way to mention rain and warm temperatures, regardless of how likely or remote they are to actually occur. I swear that he would predict record high temperatures in the midst of an arctic outbreak. He's so biased that I no longer read his blog.

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    2. Paul Douglas mentioned nothing at all about global warming in that forecast.

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  8. This looks like a potential Blizzard for portions of MN/WI, Great Lakes late FRI into SAT. Tons of Arctic air to work with. Should be interesting.

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    1. Jet structure looks more and more impressive too; esp. the GFS & GEM

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  9. Let me guess, Manitoba and across northern Minnesota and northern Wisconsin.

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  10. I noticed that various weather media continue to flog wind chill as a deeply meaningful number. I guess it's a lot more impressive and frightening when you can say -20 instead of +3. Dumb.

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  11. The Weather Centre blogger is beginning to shed some light on some model shifting happening today which would nudge the weekend system closer to MN's direction. Still 5 days out, but encouraging for snow lovers here in MN!

    http://theweathercentre.blogspot.com/2014/12/january-3-5-potential-winter-storm-ice.html

    http://theweathercentre.blogspot.com/2014/12/january-3-5-potential-winter-storm-ice.html

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  12. Plymouth Weather LoverDecember 31, 2014 at 11:18 AM

    When Novak uses the b-word, I use the b-word: Bring It!!

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    1. Not in Plymouth@PWL. Travel north or northeast. Northern MN and Northern WI is the bullseye. Back in our neck of the woods, a little snow a little wind then a icebox. As usual arctic air promotes boring weather, storm track too far away.

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  13. Snow haters REJOICE! According to Randy Hill no new acculamations for MSP thru the weekend. Snow goes into Northern MN and stays south into Iowa and Wisconsin.
    Mother Nature sure is BRINGING IT, sunshine and dry clear roads. Thank you!

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    1. HIGH FIVE!

      96 days until opening day.

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    2. And closer to 50 for when pitchers and catchers report!

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  14. High five back out you! 79 days to spring!

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  15. Even NWS echoes what Randy Hill says for the weekend, MSP will be dry. Also of note a clipper for Monday hits the I-90 corridor which means more dry and clear roads in MSP proper. Continue to rejoice snow haters!

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  16. Sounds like a frustrating and boring weather pattern setting up for snowlovers. Snow will fall all around MSP but not in MSP.

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  17. Is Dr. Novak bucking all the trends? Check out his facebook page. I bet it will be an inch of snow and wind for MSP, not a big deal!

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    1. The 12z/31 gem showed a surface reflection pattern developing a area of low pressure tying the northern and southern system, thus creating a earlier phased system at the surface, the 18z OP GFS is now showing the same reflection pattern. Result is snow for at least the SE Metro.

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  18. Let's not forget that the northern shortwave hasn't even entered North America yet, so sampling is minimal. Tomorrow morning it moves onshore in W. Canada. Things will be fined tuned then...for better or worse.

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    1. New year, new SAMPLING, same result! Snowhaters continue to rejoice snow still out of the cards for MSP proper(travel several hours north or south or even east if white is what you want). Now the cold, thats a different story, like it or not its coming. It is definitely being brought!

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  19. Watches are up in Minnesota. Not even close to the metro. Sampling still favors areas near the Canadian border.

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  20. NWS puts a dagger into any snow hopes for the metro in their weather story update, an inch at best for most, anything west of the loop looks dry.

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  21. I love the look of the NWS graphic on their Facebook page: it paints a wide snow-free tongue right across the metro - a fixed chasm of dry, snowless glory!

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  22. MPR Weather ‏@MPRweather

    Classic winter! Bright sun, light wind. High 25. Wind S 5 mph.

    --

    Seriously, what the hell is "classic winter?" It is currently overcast, 13 degrees, and miserable.

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    1. Enjoy the 13....after Saturday you wont see it for a few days!

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  23. Time for a brief 2014 recap:

    Coldest temperature : -23 on Jan 6th
    Warmest temperature 92 on July 21st
    These were also respectively the coldest and warmest days of the year if you consider both low and high temps.

    MIN TEMPS: Of the 365 days 202 (55%) had min temps below the average min for the day, 34 (9%) exactly average, and the remaining above.

    MAX TEMPS: 191 (52%) had max temp below the average max for the day, 38 (10.4%) exactly average, and the remaining above.

    Considering both min and max overall 205 (56%) days were below average days.

    One day only, April 8th, had temperatures that matched exactly the average min and max for the day ( there were 2 in 2013 for that matter).

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    1. Always appreciate your insight @Rigil.....cool stats! I for one really appreciated the cooler then average year that was 2014, especially the lack of 90+ days!

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    2. Great stuff, Rigil. I'm amazed how few times the exact min and max averages are met even considering the high variability of the MSP climate.

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  24. The phasing of the two systems is just going to happen a bit too late for us to see a big snow event over the weekend. Timing was everything with this one, and for those who wanted snow, the timing was once again just a little off. We'll still see some snow from it, but as Novak mentioned the wind and temp drop is going to be the main story for folks in central and southern MN. Far northern MN will be the ones seeing the most snow from this wave coming down out of Canada.

    Of more interest to me is the potentially potent clipper coming through on Monday night. Arctic air and a deep dendritic growth zone (nearly 7000 feet) should help to promote high snow ratios. What will probably prevent things from really getting out of control is the overall speed of the system. Like most clippers, it will be moving along at pretty decent rate. Like usual, any decent fresh snow we get will only make the arctic air that follows even colder. Stay warm out there!

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    1. NWS all in already for Monday night....they have 80% chance of heavy snow for my point forecast in Golden Valley.

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    2. Interesting. Will bring it up in upcoming video with Mssrs. Novak and Hammer.

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  25. New video discussion: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4bAH279W-Bw

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  26. Numbers/predictions are trinkling in....Jonathan Yuhas(kstp) calling for 1-3" Saturday night and 2-4" Monday night.
    Dr. Novak has coating-2" for Saturday night.....no mention on Monday yet.
    NWS has 1-2" Saturday night and 4+(MSP aviation update) for Monday night.
    Nothing huge but more white coming.....snowlovers rejoice!

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  27. The south/southwest trend with the Monday clipper continues with the 12z runs. So far, the NAM and SREF models are the furthest north with the snow, while the GFS/GEM/ECMWF are furthest south and west. It should be noted that the NAM did start trending towards the others.

    I would honestly be a little surprised if the entire watch area was upgraded to a warning, since I think the warning snows are going to be in extreme southwest MN and down into Iowa. Given the snow ratios are going to be so high, it won't take much moisture to put down a few inches of snow. For the Twin Cities, I'd say 1-3 inches of snow, more as you head south and west. 3-6 along a line from Marshall to Mankato. If the NWS figures a combination of the snow, wind, and cold will be enough for a warning, then I guess they could go for the full upgrade. Largely though, it's a fast moving system but will make use of a deep DGZ. It will be light powder that will be easy to remove. That's my early prediction. As usual, and shift north or south with the track of the low will increase or decrease amounts.

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  28. Plymouth Weather LoverJanuary 4, 2015 at 12:46 PM

    Is it just me or has Paul Douglas gotten more and more irritating? I have read mixed comments on this site about PD, but most seem to not be too positive. Well, I read his most recent post and when he gets to the climate stories (of which I am glad he separated into a different section, but he likes to spill them into "main" section), he starts it with a poem about waking up at 3:23 and being awake because "my great, great, grandchildren won't let me sleep" due to the earth falling apart, global warming, etc. and ends it by saying "Did you fill the streets with protest when democracy was stolen?" What in the world? How extreme can one be? I have always said that climate change is real and there are some pieces of evidence that continue to show that there may be some evidence that we have some control over it. But the evidence can be used on both sides. The extreme attention that PD puts on this, over and over and over and over, wants me to discount the amount of time he actually puts into the forecast for today and the week. Maybe I am alone in this, but the use of the poem in today's post (which I know was not his), really bothered me and showed me how extreme he really is. I guess I truly wonder how he does sleep at night!

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    1. I agree, it's kind of ridiculous sometimes. I've learned to tune out the global warming agenda portion of the blog for what I consider the better weather portion of the blog. I actually like reading him on weather. I think he's level-headed, not-sensationalistic, and overall pretty accurate when it comes to weather forecasting. I just wish that his blogs stopped there.

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    2. Interesting discussion.

      I used to be a PD fan, but his credibility is gone with me and many TC mets I have met through weather related work. He constantly makes erroneous forecast claims that he knows are beyond the limits of short term forecasting. Then he seems to have amnesia when they go awry.

      Example? His recent claims about mid-January snow...then later claims he "still sees no evidence" of a storm in the next 1-2 weeks when one doesn't materialize. Give the benefit of the doubt...but that's just plain dishonest sounding.

      Does he think we can't read and remember what he wrote last week?
      From his blog...

      December 29th: "Stormier/Snowier by Mid-January? Never (entirely) trust a forecast looking out 2 weeks into the future, but it can be helpful to look at model trends over time. NOAA's GFS model shows a long-wave trough of low pressure, a big dip in the steering winds aloft, capable of turning jet stream winds to the southwest, which may push enough moisture from the Gulf of Mexico northward for a more significant snowstorm or mixed snow-ice-rain event by January 11-14. It's way too early for specifics, but if you like snow stay optimistic. At some point we'll make up for a fairly bleak December."

      December 30th: "Ripe For Snow by Mid-January? This may be wishful thinking on my part, but jet stream wind predictions for Tuesday evening, January 13, show a southwest flow aloft, hinting at a series of storms passing just south/east of Minnesota; enough cold air in place for accumulating snow. We'll see."

      January 4th: "I still see no evidence of a major southern storm impacting Minnesota or the Upper Midwest looking out 1-2 weeks, just a return to average, which will be welcomed by most Minnesotans."

      I used to appreciate his stuff, but have turned to more credible sources.

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  29. Still looking for a "real" storm boys? Some snow here, some snow there but nothing to write home about! The cold sucks though!

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  30. What a buzz-kill, another snow chance misses MSP. MSP will be very lucky to hit 30" this year with all these events were missing out on.

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  31. Let this be another lesson for those who get too excited about forecasted storm tracks several days in advance. The trend this season so far has been for storms to track farther south than expected. I recall the opposite being true a few winters ago. It's just not looking like a good snow season for the metro. We did have a good run though with the prior two winters.

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  32. AmyfromWillmar who are you calling boys all the time? Very demeaning / disrespectful in my opinion.

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    1. I took it as fun spirited.
      Also, please consider getting a handle so it's easier to address people in theses threads.
      Cheers, Bill

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    2. Wow, abit touchy Anonymous@9:33. If you look around not too many females on this blog, there are a ton of anonymous that could be either male or female but to me it looks like not many females so I was being friendly with the "boys". Frustrated over not much snow so you decided to take it out on me, bring it up with mother nature, I don't have much either. So keep looking boys, your time will come, let the snow haters have their glory at the moment.

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    3. Welcome Amy, enjoy the humor! I'm one of the few here who is happy at the lack of snow.

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    4. P.S. Bill I am Dave from Shakopee. Figured I'd should update the handle since I moved...north!

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  33. Here we are going into the first full week of January and it looks like the biggest snow we've had all season is 3.6 inches at MSP - and no bigger storms on the horizon. Is that normal? I'm not a weather stats guy, but I'd be curious to know how common it is. Seems like a pretty meager winter for snow.

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    1. For the life of me I cannot find a single snowfall total for MSP for this winter. I used this:

      http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/climate/historical/lcd.html?loc=msp

      ...to add up the snowfall, which looks like 15.1 so far at MSP. I'm not sure if this is accurate.

      Here are the averages:

      http://climate.umn.edu/text/historical/mspsnow.txt

      Seasonal average is 47 inches.

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    2. Disco, here you go.

      http://www.nws.noaa.gov/climate/getclimate.php?wfo=mpx

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    3. Not sure if it will copy and paste correctly. But that is the web address.

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  34. Bill, I commented on the NOAA upgrade. What happened to my comment?

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    1. That's weird. Saw NOAA comment come across my email feed. I certainly didn't do anything to it. Try again?

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    2. No worries.

      NOAA announces significant investment in next generation of supercomputers

      http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2015/20150105_supercomputer.html

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  35. You have to remember that big snowfalls are much more rare for any spot than we realize.

    St. Cloud has had only 20 storms that dropped a foot or more in the last 114 years. I used St. Cloud because Dr. Weisman has a very good climate page for St. Cloud.

    For the Twin Cities, we are stuck with daily snowfall totals which still can be used as a point.

    Number of days with >4 inches of snow is 2.6. From November to March, the Cities average 0.4, 0.5, 0.5, 0.4, 0.6 days with >4 inches respective.

    When we move to 6" in a day, now were talking about 1 a year. Once we're up to 8" in a day (what we would probably start considering a big storm), we're talking about one every two years.

    St. Cloud and Rochester are running about normal for snowfall. The metro has missed a few big storms. It all evens out in the long run.

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    1. You nailed it. Minneapolis is not an especially snowy place, particularly given the savage cold.

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    2. If anyone is interested, Kenny Blumenfeld did a write up on Twin Cities snowfall climatology for the Twin Cities Meteorological Society.

      http://www.ametsoc.org/chapters/twincities/newsletters/newsletter_2014_dec.pdf

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  36. To MNTransplant, are you the same MNTransplant that is on AmericanWX?

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    1. If you are, I'm known as Minnesota Meso

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    2. That isn't me on AmericanWX. I'm Chitown Storm. You gave me the heads up a few weeks ago about this site. I appreciate it.

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  37. I follow tons of weather social media; facebook, twitter, blogs, etc. I have seen almost no temperature maps this week; it's all wind chill. Do they think we stand outside in our gym shorts all day? I wonder if the people who like those maps understand that wind chill is outright hogwash when you're sitting inside.

    Blah, weather terrorism, blah.

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    1. You could also argue that regular temps are mostly hogwash when sitting inside. However, for people having to be outside for work, or parents who have to get their kids ready for school, windchill is important. Heck even the National Weather Service doesn't have any temp advisories or warnings that involve just air temps. It's usually always about the "feels like" temps, whether it is heat or cold.

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    2. No, air temp certainly isn't hogwash. Ask my Xcel Energy bill.

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    3. Well then, windchill isn't either. Ask my skin. Yes, I cover up as much as possible, but it isn't possible to cover every single inch of skin on the body, and still be able to see what's going on. I personally like hearing both numbers, much like I like hearing warm temps with heat index as well.

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    4. I gotta go with Duane on this one. Windchill forecast is more important than strict air temp any time. I suppose it wouldn't matter if one were a hermit and never goes outside in the winter. Even a short 10 or 15mn drive could be life threatening if car problems are encountered and the nearest warm shelter is a half an hour walk.

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  38. Good shot at some clipper snows for the MSP metro area on Thursday, as of right now 2-3" can be expected. Not a huge deal but with very cold temps the roads will be a mess!

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  39. Concerning the warm up that some are forecasting for around the 15-17th of the month with temps in the mid to upper 20's with a possible January thaw.

    The current -EPO ridge that is the culprit for this cold shot is forecast by all models to relax around the 15th, that's good news. However it is going to be replaced by a +PNA ridge. The question is how strong will that be? Both the GEM and ECMWF push this ridge well north into the NW Territories to very near Alaska. The GFS is somewhat flatter with the ridge allowing for a modified zonal flow. I personally believe that the GEM/ECMWF have the right idea do to the warm sea surface temps along the west coast. Time will tell, this a thread the needle type of forecast, but It looks like 20° temps might not happen till closer to the 20th.

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    1. Does your thread the needle forecast bring us any snow?

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  40. Here we go again with all the negative thinking, mostly prompted by misinformation, disinformation or just plain ignorance.
    To those who are already writing this winter off in terms of snow a couple of figures:
    to date this winter the total for MSP is 15.6.
    Last year to date was 17.3. So pretty much the same and we all know it ended up above average.
    Any judgement is premature: as a good friend of mine in the snow-blowing business keeps telling me all the time: all you need is a decent snowstorm and all of a sudden the winter looks 'snowy' etc.
    Let us all enjoy the un-predictability of the weather in the medium to long term.
    If we knew exactlt what was going to happen for the next 3-4 months wouldn't it be absolutely boring?

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  41. Plymouth Weather LoverJanuary 8, 2015 at 12:32 PM

    Way to Go, Anonymous@3:27!! Love your post and great reference to last year and where we were at the same point in the year. To all of that, I say Bring It!!

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  42. Full blown blizzard down here in Rochester.

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  43. NWS way behind on this little system! Everytime I look an advisory or warning is being expanded. Poor performance again.

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  44. Just how warm is it supposed to get in mid-January? Hopefully not too warm.

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  45. So remember my little post about big storms being rare here. I give you this.

    RECORD EVENT REPORT
    NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CHANHASSEN MN
    0627 PM CST THU JAN 08 2015

    ...RECORD DAILY MAXIMUM SNOWFALL SET AT TWIN CITIES MN...

    RECORD SNOWFALL OF 3.0 INCHES WAS SET IN THE TWIN CITIES TODAY.

    THIS BREAKS THE OLD RECORD OF 2.5 INCHES SET IN JAN 08 1909.

    $$

    Daily record snowfall at 3".

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    1. Wow... amazing, but as you suggested, it shouldn't be that surprising. Thanks for bringing that to our attention.

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    2. I agree that that statistic is almost unbelievable. Wow! Records go back officially to 1871/1872? Simply amazing that in more than 140 years not even a clipper (until day) came through and deposited at least 3 inches of snow.

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  46. I think we should pay attention in how we interpret it. This is the record snowfall for January 8th.
    So it is the highest snowfall of all January 8ths.
    Considering the high variability of the weather in Minnesota, and that you have so many other days in winter in which it can potentially snow, it is not actually that surprising. I did not check, but It would not shock me if more than half of the previous 100+ January 8ths were just dry days.

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    1. It would be much more than half dry days. Minneapolis averages precip about 9 days in January. You would expect about 70-75% of all January 8ths to be dry days.

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    2. Took a look and since 1900 53 January 8ths out of 116 were dry.
      So actually slightly less than half.
      Of course we can /should agree on how to define dry. I did not include those days reporting a trace of precip because it may opinion that still meant something fell out of the sky...

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  47. MN Transplant welcome aboard. Don't be a stranger, your thoughts are welcomed, there really is some nice peeps that post here from time to time. Hope we can deliver a MSP whopper this year. This site turns quiet during the severe season, although those that post here are often times chastised by forecasting severe weather as if we are a fan of it. I would say that we are in awe of it, but not fans of the results, however we all have to deal with it as it is a consequence of the GOM. Don't be a stranger during the summer either.

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    1. Thanks for the welcome. I'll post and contribute where I can. Cheers.

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  48. I was surprised by the strength & longevity of the winds yesterday. It appears that this 'Clipper' was taken too lightly & jet energy was stronger than anticipated. You don't totally understand how dangerous it is out there until you venture into the rural countryside. Quite the difference between rural & urban visibilities.

    Meanwhile, model data performed well with QPF. Granted, a slight shift south in the main snow band, but overall, well forecasted.

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  49. Well, January is certainly living up to its reputation as our most miserable month. What a black hole this is. Soul-crushing weather.

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    1. "Soul-crushing." Good description.

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  50. Great day for cross country skiing...IF we had more snow. Four inches is not enough to cover the rocks and rough spots on the trails. Forecast for the next 7-10 days is looking dry and warmer. UUggghhh

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    1. Now that is soul-crushing!!!

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  51. Precipitation will return with a vengeance week after next, with multiple storm chances to finish the month of January. One problem though if your a snowlover, temperatures will be hovering around freezing by then and p-type issues will arise.
    Oh how painful to be a snowlover because first you have the cold arctic air that shoves the storm track way south, then you have the tight gradient storms where you go from a dusting to 6" in merely miles and then we have the p-type issue storms.

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    1. A vengeance? We'll see. Strong words!, not even God plans that far out. Ha!

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  52. From today's Dave Dahl's weather blog.
    Wow: basically saying that it will snow unless it doesn't snow.

    "We're running nearly a foot below average, and with the pattern we're in right now it doesn't look like we're going to get any significant snow over the next week. There are indications that early next week there could be enough of a change in the jet stream to possibly produce heavy snow for parts of the Upper Midwest, which might include the Twin Cities. This is a rather large change, which will make snow lovers happy, but it might also be overdone, so I don't want to get your hopes up just yet."

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  53. I would like someone with more knowledge to confirm or disprove a suspicion I have:
    Paul Huttner in his blog continues to show a green weather meteogram from weatherspak claiming it is the EMCWF (European Model) output.
    But as I go on weatherspark, that same model is featured as the norwegian metereological institute model (met.no).
    So question is: are they the same thing?
    Or is it the case that he is basically posting incorrect information on his blog?
    Thanks

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    1. I have made that comment several times on his blog; I don't think he reads the comments. He is indeed confusing ECMWF with met.no, and he keeps doing it. You might tweet it to him.

      They are not the same thing.

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    2. I very strongly believe that weather spark does indeed show the Euro Model output. I have compared it may times to the text forecast from EuroWX whose output is raw model data from the ECMWF and it is always very close if not spot on in temps and QPF Met. NO. stands for Meteorology Norway which I believe is Norway's Met department. Norway is a member state of the ECMWF and sits on the organizations governing body, the ECMWF Council.

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  54. Plymouth Weather LoverJanuary 14, 2015 at 10:38 AM

    I would love some feedback on this thought. As of Monday/Tuesday, forecasters were all calling for warmer weather by the weekend--above freezing for sure. They were also calling for sunny skies. But, whenever it gets warmer this time of year, when there is snow on the ground and it starts to melt, we get caught in some cloudy days. Don't they seem to go hand in hand. So....shouldn't the forecast, under these conditions be for cloudy skies by default as a result. Maybe it isn't that easy, but I would love some feedback. I noticed that they are now forecasting cloudy skies for Friday/Saturday.....

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    1. There would not necessarily be clouds. If there was a good strong breeze from the south, that could make for fewer clouds.

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    2. I think yesterday's NWS discussion addressed your question pretty well.
      If I remember correctly they mention a split flow and therefore the gulf moisture being cut-off so limiting any cloud cover.
      However today their daily forecast mentions 'mostly cloudy' skies for both Fri and Sat.
      We shall see...

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    3. I usually look at where the airmass originates from when considering cloud cover.

      If it is a Maritime Pacific airmass that settles into our region, then there should be more sunshine since this airmass flows over the Rockies & into the Plains/Midwest with a dry 'Chinook' effect.

      If it is a Continental or Maritime Tropical airmass, then there will be more clouds since Gulf moisture flows north (often over snowpack) with this airmass.

      To put it more simply, if the lower/mid level flow is coming from the Rockies and/or Canada, then we will have more sun. If the flow is coming from the south, then we will have more clouds in the winter.

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  55. Some late evening thoughts concerning the last 8 days or so of January into very early February. Most of what I'm thinking is coming from the oscillations as of the 01/14 12z model runs, based on Jan 22nd and they of course can change quickly.

    The Eastern Pacific Oscillation is shown to go negative by the GFS ensembles as well as the Euro Operational and ensemble forecast, with the GEM ensembles agreeing. This idea would favor colder air being forced over the northern part of the US. The GFS operational is not on board with this, but all other guidance is supportive, so I am at this time throwing out the GFS operational.

    The Pacific North American Oscillation by all models is forecast to go positive at this time, which means a ridge will form along the west coast extending up the western edge of Canada. At this time the axis of said ridge looks to be to far west to effect us. Again this could very well be a signal of cold air coming into the northern US.

    Next up is the Arctic Oscillation. It has been mostly positive if not strongly positive this winter, however that is about to change. The GFS and Gem ensembles both agree that this index could go into a negative state, maybe as low -1.0. This would mean that the polar vortex is weakening somewhat. I don't have access to the Euro value for this one but the map seems to agree at 500mb.

    The major change is with the North Atlantic Oscillation which has been strongly positive so far this year, but once again that is about to change. A positive signal means there is almost a zero chance of blocking setting up near Greenland. The GFS and Gem ensembles drop this index to near neutral and the Euro plus it's ensemble mean take it strongly negative. Why is this so important? During this last cold outbreak the NAO was positive and the coldest air believe it or not was shunted off to our NE over SW Canada, this was due to the lack of blocking over Greenland allowing the coldest air to escape.

    With signals over the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Alaska favoring a cold shot coming into the northern plains coupled with some blocking near Greenland chances are increasing that the coldest weak of the winter season may well be the last week of January. Once again this could change on a dime and we could see near normal temps, but the chance of cold returning is out there. Instead of me just coming here and saying that we will once again go cold I thought I would give the reason behind it. Time will tell, lets just wait a see what transpires.

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    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    2. Nice write up, Randy. Appreciate your thoughts on the next few weeks. NON, some of us are interested in how weather transpires, not just whether or not its going to be cold. A one-liner stating its going to be cold isn't very informative. We could hear that from Dave Dahl. A lot of us here are looking for a little more than that.

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    3. I deleted NON's comment. It was rude and not the level of discourse I wish to have on this blog. Good stuff, Randy!

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  56. Well just about lost another winter month without any appreciable snowstorms, most outlets and forecasters not seeing much significant storms or snow looking out 1-2 weeks except for ur occasional dustings to 2" wimpy systems. So far this winter has been a dud in terms of snow, we aren't even close to our average. December and January sucked for snow, lets see if El Nino screws our February and March.

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    1. well, maybe it is a dud, but last winter to date we were at 21.7 inches. This year TD we are at 19.3 (this is for MSP); therefore pretty much the same. And last winter ended up significantly above average.
      So all this whining it absolutely premature.

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    2. I am not talking about last year and just about half your 19.3 was in November....so yeah this winter which runs December to March has been a dud and continues to be forecasted to be a dud. We are now 8+" below average in snowfall, the rate were going we won't even see a 8+ snowstorm. So the whining has merit, snowfall is down and the "winter" has been wimpy!

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    3. what's wrong with November snow?
      and considerng that 3 of the last 4 winters were above average it is more than possible that this winter may end up below.
      We will proably be around 35-40 inches in my personal forecast. Not the end of the world

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  57. I agree with some here who have said that last year really isn't comparable in terms of snow to this year. Yes, we're only 2+ inches under last year's pace, but this year we all that November snow that got decimated by the December warmth (unlike last year). Last year we had a lot more snow on the ground at this time (and through most of December) - unlike this year where we only have 3-4 inches on the ground at best, and melting fast! Also, in general, less clippers, more mild spells. I think the outlook for Feb/Mar was snowier last year too.

    So it's just not as simple as comparing snow amounts. More variables/criteria are required in comparing years.

    This year is a dud snow-wise compared to last year. Maybe Feb/Mar will get more active, but so far, again, not comparable to last year.

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  58. Boring.........,....................

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  59. More like.......ZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzz..,............................

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  60. Update for the end of January and beginning of February. It looks like the new GFS model was on to something regarding the North American Oscillation. While it is not as strongly positive as it once was, the rest of the global models and their ensembles have made a major shift to neutral conditions. Thus the cold air should remain over SE Canada.

    Whats even more surprising is that all modeling has now gone away from the negative EPO signal, meaning it may not get as warm in the Gulf of Alaska as previously thought. In other words it's less likely that cold air could get funneled down here.

    Because of those changes above I figured there must be a change in the Pacific North American Oscillation and there has been. While we should see a strong PNA ridge over the western US, possibly drifting towards us and keeping our temps above normal up to about 01/24, the change happens shortly thereafter. Starting on the 25th or so the PNA should start transitioning into a more negative state which would mean a trough should develop over the western US. If that should happen it would very likely pop a SE US ridge, meaning that any storm that should develop in the SW US has the potential to cut up towards the Great Lakes region.

    The net result of these changes is that we could be tracking storm systems as opposed to cold air. Will they stay south of us or cut up fast enough to effect us? All I know is that this winter has played havoc as there is no one pattern to lock onto.

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    1. All I know is this winter has been boring!

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    2. Agreed! This winter has not been anything to write home about, especially as far as snow is concerned. At least it's been cold so far this January. Can't we get some average temps (mid 20's) and some snowstorms? Uugghh!

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  61. NWS is on board with the cold air not returning late next week after all. They are calling for a high of 32 degrees next Saturday after a couple of seasonal temp days mid-week. Of course, there is No Snow in the forecast. It's going to look and feel a lot like this past December around here real soon. If that's the case, then let's fast forward to Spring!!

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    1. I look forward to spring beginning about every November.

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  62. As our great snow drought (10+ under average) continues...........I give you this from the NWS: "There are no significant storm systems to watch during this forecast period".
    #Thiswintersucks

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  63. I can't believe the amount of bare ground down here (Farmington). It's 39 degrees...again. It sure doesn't look or feel like the dead of winter. Is this the result of El Nino, other forces or a combination?

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  64. Plymouth Weather LoverJanuary 20, 2015 at 11:53 AM

    I can just feel it. I can feel it in my bones! I can feel it in my dancin' shoes! Something big is going to happen with a snowstorm in the next 7-10 days! Bring it!

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    1. Yes, a snowstorm is supposed to strike the northeast U.S. in the next week. As for here in MN/WI, forget about it! Nuthin' going on here.

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  65. It's January 20 and we STILL to date have no had more than 3.6 inches in a storm at MSP. Amazing. And no big storms in sight. Upper 30s on Friday too!

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    1. Our biggest storm to date last year was 4.5". Not really that amazing.

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    2. True, but last season the snow didn't MELT! That's the difference. People who love snow want to be able to enjoy it (skiing, sledding, etc.). A few inches falling on a regular basis combines for a decent snowpack, so long as it doesn't melt. This season it feels like we are constantly starting over with building our snowpack. It's late January and not looking good at all.

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    3. I look at it the other way. We're getting rid of a lot of this slop today and tomorrow, only to get it all back Saturday night. Gross.

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  66. There's mention in the NWS discussion this morning about a Saturday night-Sunday snow event bringing 2-4" inches to the area.

    At least there's SOMETHING on the horizon to keep an eye on and look forward to!

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  67. Well, not looking good for the system this weekend. Models have really pushed things east of MN. Looking like another missed opportunity. But no one should be surprised based on how things are going this winter. This pattern just won't break.

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    1. And now the forecasted heaviest accumulation area has been brought much closer to the metro.

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  68. Based on how the models are handling the storm along the eastern seaboard, I don't see this clipper slamming into the air mass that will reside between MSP and the NE USA, and I have never really believed the solutions that were showing the heaviest snows to the NE of MSP. Having said that, confidence is low at this time as to where a 3 to possibly 6" band would set up. Current thinking is that when the clipper starts to drop into NW MN it will be forced to drop to the south until the storm off the NE US lifts out to NE , at which time the clipper will make it's turn to the east.

    Therefore I believe the heaviest snows will be to the West and SW of the Metro before quickly laying down a band a decent snows from Mankato to Lacrosse. I'll be up until the 01/24 0z run of the NAM comes in, but because of work constraints for tomorrow this will be my last forecast for this system, and again the confidence is average at best.

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  69. NWS now shows under an inch for MSP.

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  70. Lots of spring birds chirping out there today. I think they're confused.

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  71. Wow! I have to say that ALL computer models really blew it on this weekend's Clipper. I can't recall any of the models latching onto the southern solution until the last 24 hours. Kind of embarrassing for all of us.

    Also, to talk about temperatures in the 30s/40s along with rain as a 'Clipper' approaches in late JAN just doesn't seem right.

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  72. Whoever predicted an El Nino or El Nino-like winter must be smiling from ear to ear about now. Except for the first 12 days or so of this month this winter has been a non-winter, a total BUST!!! Even when it was cold for that brief time earlier this month, it did not snow. If we aren't going to have winter I wish we could fast forward to May and put us winter fans out of our misery! Many more 40 degree days ahead next week...yeah....NOT!!

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  73. Why don't the models ever miss in favor of the Metro snow fans?

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  74. Our missed clipper is going to morph into a HECS (historic east coast storm.) if the last two runs of the models are correct. For those of us that lived thru the Halloween storm and look back at it with fondness and horror both at the same time, this could rival that. Snowfall will likely me measured with a yard stick, not a 12" ruler.

    The clipper looks like it will continue more south than east and will emerge off the Carolina coast and be picked up by the gulf stream, at which time it will strengthen rapidly and just absolutely clock the big cities of the east from NJ northward. Starting tomorrow I expect the national news will be all over this.

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    1. Sorry Big Daddy!!!!

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    2. Yep...I know my brother has sent me many text messages and local weather forecasts from the NYC tri-state area.....I am very jealous and with the way our snowfall has gone about to get my ass kicked.....as of this writing I lead 21.5 to 7.5 with a 12" spread....so he will easily jump ahead and problem is I believe they will see more storms over the next couple of weeks with all the cold air pouring into the east.
      El nino screwed me this year!

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    3. El Nino. Nothing good comes from it!

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  75. This was a terrible performance by the newly promoted parallel GFS.

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  76. Plymouth Weather Lover hop on plane today and pick a city between Philadelphia and Boston to fly to and you will be a very happy man on Tuesday. As Dr. Novak would say this is a sure thing.

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  77. Its pretty boring around here, so I wanted to share a little weather nugget.....the city I was born and raised in on LI is currently under a blizzard warning with a point forecast from the NWS of 20"-34".....some unreal numbers, numbers that I have never lived thru there or here. But the question I have is do you think thats a pretty wide spread in totals?....is the guidance that far in disagreement or is it lazy forecasting and just covering all bases or do they not know at this late hour where the heavy banding will be. Sorry I know its not Minnesota weather but seriously not much to talk about in our area.

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    1. I think part of the issue is the point (grid) forecast and how it works. That's my guess anyway. For major metropolitan areas, I think the NWS is much better off distributing a metro-wide forecast rather than going with grids. You and I both know from growing up back East that it's not uncommon to hear 6-12, 18-24, etc., but 20-34 seems pretty whacked out to me. And man, Bigdaddy, I sure would like to be out there for that storm. I've never seen snow rates in Minnesota approach the 4"/hour rates you can get out there. Yes, boring in MN and a time to be jealous. And I know this pretty well does you in with your competition with your brother. There's always next season.

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    2. For what it's worth I'm up watching the models come in. NWS Mount Holly has lowered the totals to 18-24. Just the Euro was still showing the higher totals, all the other models made a shift to the east, so I think they did a blended forecast. However they should have waited for the 06z NAM, it now has caught on, 24 to 30 for NYC and LI.

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    3. Hi fellow East Coasters! While Minnesota's ultra pathetic non-winter keeps keeping on I thought I would chime in on the topic of blizzards back East. I grew up in Delaware, an hour south of Philly. I recall what is now referred to as the President's Day blizzards of '78 and '79 (it was called Washington's Birthday back then) and the Valentine's Blizzard of '83. I moved to Minnesota during the early '90's so with the exception of the Valentine's Blizzard of '06 I have not experienced the handful of blizzards that have struck Delaware since that time. However, regarding the blizzards that I did experience, in each of those cases the initial forecast called for 2-4 inches (I had to fly back home in '06 for a family emergency. I did not pay attention to the forecast progression of that storm) the forecasted totals were then steadily increased by increments of 2 inches (4-6, 6-8, etc.) until about the 24 inch mark when they switched to larger increments such as 24-30 inches. It seems that the difference in forecasting today is to start out with higher initial totals (e.g. 6-8, as opposed to climbing from 2-4), but to also have larger ranges once you enter the double digits (10-14, 10-18, 12-16, 18-24, etc.). I'm not certain as to the shift in philosophy, but it seems that the tighter gradients were a more controlled, perhaps more cautious forecast. They also lowered expectations. I think that people naturally gravitate towards the higher figure, so if 18-24 is predicted, most people expect 24 and are disappointed if they only get 18 or 20. I imagine that there is an underlying scientific basis for the ranges that are used today, but I can't help to wonder whether there is also another angle (forecast accuracy) at stake. The larger ranges allow for more error in forecasting and it seems to cover the high end and low end of the likely possibilities. News stations can then tout their high accuracy rate, and frankly so can the NWS. I can understand that to a point, but I think that a range of 12 inches or more is absolutely ridiculous.

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  78. Rapid City has already tied their record high of 65. Hard to imagine they won't set a new record today.

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  79. It's 45 degrees and counting! Maybe we can reach the low to mid 80's before sundown and melt all the ice and snow. After all, that's the way this lame winter is going. Thanks, El Nino!!.....errr

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  80. PWL, I have found your snow! Head to Boston, Juno delivered them two feet and Hammer says three more big snows headed their way(twitter).

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  81. anyone see the GFS for this weekend? some snow possible for southern MN

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    1. Whoa!, Im shaking in my boots for "some snow"! I hope your all sitting for this, but Dave Dahl said today, hold on now, we could get "a couple of inches". Stop the presses, a couple, do you think the weather channel will come here for that, I mean for the mere fact that it might snow enough to cover the grass in Minneapolis should be news worthy don't you think.

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  82. Latest from La Crosse NWS - THE MODELS ARE NOW SHOWING
    THAT THE SHORT WAVE FROM FRIDAY NIGHT WILL PUSH THE FRONT FAR
    ENOUGH SOUTH THAT MUCH OF THE SNOW ASSOCIATED WITH THIS SYSTEM
    WILL REMAIN SOUTH AND WEST OF THE FORECAST AREA. THE ONLY MODEL
    STILL SHOWING ADVISORY SNOW IS THE GEM. BOTH THE GFS AND ECMWF
    HAVE SIGNIFICANTLY SHIFTED MUCH OF THE SNOW SOUTH INTO THE MID
    MISSISSIPPI RIVER VALLEY - so the boring weather continues!

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    1. So does that mean the weather channel won't be coming?
      Maybe they could come and report on our pathetic winter, we could find them the Anonymous to interview who was on here who was consistently trying to sell us that this winter wasn't that different from last year in terms of snow and saying blah blah blah only inches behind, how about now that were 13" behind normal and we can see grass, does it still look like almost last year Mr. Anonymous!

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    2. This so called winter is a complete BUST thanks to El Nino!! With the exception of the first 14 days of January being cold, we have not had winter this season. December and now the second half of January were very March-like as far as temperatures. Of course, there has been no snow. February will start cold, but not abnormally cold. Indications are that the weather will warm up again come the second week of February and pretty much continue the warm bias through the rest of the month. It's time to lick our wounds, chalk one up for the winter haters and hope that next season winter does arrive.

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    3. @hopeforwinter post is borderline desrespecful as it contains direct personal attacks to another post.
      I think Bill should delete it.

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    4. Anon @ 5:42pm --

      November was horrendously cold, with temps well below average. But amnesia runs rampant on this site.

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    5. I can't speak for Anon @5:42, but I recall that November was quite cold, but then it warmed significantly throughout December and the second part of January. November is not a winter month for the metro. Despite what anyone says it has not been consistently cold this winter at all. Now as to what February has in store only time will tell.

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  83. I love this site! You mets really provide some great commentary on forecasts as well as the science behind the forecasts. And even better, this community comes together after an event (or non-event) to discuss what happened and what didn't happen. I eat this stuff up.....

    I think a lot of people tend to gravitate to this site when a storm is on the horizon. Storms are very hit or miss (more miss this year), and a whopper can crop out out of the blue with just a day or two notice. I love those forecasts for a 1-3" clipper that quickly turns into a 6"+ snowfall.

    Anyway, to my question. I tend to gravitate to this site more for temperature forecast. Temperatures seems to be more easily forecasted than storms. I lOVE the snow, but not the bitter cold. That said, does anybody have any temperature projections for the month of February? From what I can cobble together, it looks like a chilly first week, followed by some warmer weather in the second week. Any thoughts about the 3rd and 4th weeks?

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  84. At long last, I've set up a new thread. Not that there's anything exciting to talk about .....

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