Thursday, December 18, 2014

What Color Will Christmas Be?

Concern over whether a white Christmas was in store for the Twin Cities was becoming a topic of greater and greater interest among the local folk. We won't say obsessed, but you get the idea. We sat down with Tom Novak (@NovakWeather) and Patrick Hammer to discuss possibilities in this video.


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136 comments:

  1. I am a huge snow fan and I am definitely wishing for a white Christmas. I was very encouraged by the video last night. Unfortunately, this morning I am equally discouraged by what I am hearing from multiple outlets in that we should expect yet another $%#@! December RAIN event early next week that might possibly end in an inch of snow. Sven on Kare 11 this morning was almost gleefully announcing rain and close to 40 degrees Monday. He said that the rain might end with a coating to an inch of snow for Christmas. I hate to admit that Kare's forecast the other day of possibly an inch of snow at the tail end of the rain is exactly what occurred. The NWS isn't bullish on snow either. They have the low positioned way too far north for snow to fall in southern/central MN. This reminds me of the pathetic "winter" weather in Washington D.C. where it will be cold enough for snow UNTIL the storm arrives. The air will then warm up so it can rain. As the storm and moisture pull away some snow flurries might fall as colder air comes back into the region, if you're lucky. Dr. Novak, are there any signs that the low will shift farther south and save us from enduring yet more April rain showers in December?

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    1. Paul Douglas is also proposing maybe a light coating of snow for Christmas, which will be followed by a brief cool down. He implies that it will get warm again early in January.

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    2. I saw that post from PD too. He stated, "A touch of arctic air is on tap for late December and early January, but the pattern appears "progressive". He does appear today to suggest that we won't lock in on a true winter pattern with persistent cold anytime soon. This doesn't surprise me because he has strongly been in the El Nino corner for quite some time now. Also, on a daily basis his blog is filled with articles on how hot it is and essentially how winter is going to become extinct, that in 30 years there might not be a viable ski industry in the Northeast, etc. Although, I do find it interesting that just yesterday PD posted, "Numbing New Year? Our westerly wind flow aloft takes a turn to the northwest by the end of 2014, setting the stage for a spell of days in the teens and single digits, nights dipping below zero. Historically January is the coldest month of the year, and 2015 will probably be no exception. Talk about mixed messages! Meanwhile, I am hearing from other sources that winter should really set in and be consistent beginning around Christmas. We will just have to wait to see who is right.

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  2. Yes, there are definite signs that this storm will organize further south than expected. I never, EVER put much faith in surface & low level features 3+ days in advance. Reason being is the storm has NOT even come ashore on the west coast yet. In turn, we don't have a good sample (measurement) of the atmosphere. With that being said, how can anyone be confident with the positioning of fine, low level features that need high resolution & good sampling?

    For me, the jet structure is the key when you are looking several days out. Model data has been consistent with the digging of a trough well south of MN. In theory, this would place MN/WI in a "cold zone" since the actual surface low should develop south near the base of the trough in IA/MO/IL.

    I will not be surprised at all if this storm were to start off as a nasty mix of rain/snow early Monday. However, I will be shocked if this stays as all rain/mix late MON into TUE.

    The screaming message for me is that we are transitioning from a warm & quiet weather pattern into an active & stormy weather pattern next week. This should prove to be fun to watch.

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  3. Novak posted on his twitter account about an hour ago that there is still a question as to whether there will be enough cold air for snow next week. What is this, August??? Where are we, South Carolina??? Tim, I share your discouragement. It is shameful to have to even consider the notion of whether there will be enough cold air in late December in Minnesota for snow instead of rain. How I long for last winter. I will make no qualms about it. I detest El Nino!!

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  4. The 06z models (at least some of them), now have the southern stream being more dominant than the northern stream. This may help the storm bomb out s little quicker, thus pushing colder air precip further west into MN. Am I correct in saying that? I think the sooner the storm gets going, the better chance MN has at seeing more snow than rain/mix. Feel free to correct me if that's not right.

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  5. Geez I dont know what to think anymore...obviously I want snow and Novak I always love your passion and knowledge of weather but it just seems too warm for a good snowstorm, unless something changes drastically it looks like a rainy/sleet event with a tailend coating of snow like the other day. El Nino blows, I hate arctic temps but I hate it more when we struggle to have enough cold air in place to get snow.....totally get you Tim, I lived on the east coast and remember the days when along comes a storm and we warn up for rain, it sucked then and still sucks now!!

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  6. El Nino really has nothing to do with causing this storm to have a rain/snow mix. December has featured an El Nino like split flow pattern, but split flow is not the driver behind the system early next week. We can see a rain/snow mix at any point during any winter. A good example is December 30th, 2010 where MSP saw rain with 16" of snow on the ground and in the midst of a moderate La Nina.

    I still think we find enough cold air to squeeze out 1-2" of snow next Tuesday. Enough to make grassy areas white, but won't do much to the roads. The possible storm the day after Christmas is the one to watch.

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  7. If the 12z GFS verifies, buckle up! This solution makes sense as it develops a genuine 'classic' Winter Storm over the Upper Midwest rather than basically cutting off a low over MN/WI & spinning it for 24 to 48 hours which doesn't make much sense. Think about it, if the core of the Jet Stream is well south of MN/WI, how in the hell will a strong surface low develop over MN? It will be interesting to see the 12z Euro solution. With that being said, confidence in a MN/WI snow continues to grow.

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    1. Keep bringing us hope, Dr.! Many of us are pulling for you to be right!!

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  8. I have seen and read Novak's argument before: when 3-4+ days out do not look at the surface and low-level features but focus on the upper-level dynamics.
    But, assuming the upper level dynamics come from the same models (GFS, NAM, etc..) that are also used for surface features shouldn't one expect these models themeselves (if properly formulated) to take upper level features when generating surface level output?
    And assuming the data sampling is less precise for the surface than for the upper levels shouldn't again a properly design model take that into account when formulating forecasts?
    Where am I going wrong?
    Appreciate an expert to enlighten me....

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  9. Great question Anonymous! Hopefully one of the experts can shed some light on that.

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    1. I agree. A great question, indeed.

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    2. Bill can you use your Novak Red Phone and get him on the horn to answer this? Also did the Euro show same idea as 12z run of the GFS? I'm sure he wont' mind.

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    3. He usually reads the comments but I'll give him a heads up.

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  10. In a perfect world, ALL levels of the atmosphere would be thoroughly measured by instruments & the data would then be amazingly fine with high resolution. However, as most of us know, this is simply NOT the case because more instruments are on land when compared to the oceans AND atmosphere.

    With that being said, your best bet is to wait for a storm system to come ashore so that it can reach the heavier network of instruments that are available. Hence, in MN/WI storms usually come ashore about 48 to 60 hours before they reach our region.

    Now, why do I place more emphasis on Upper Level charts when a storm is 3 to 5 days out? Well, my opinion is that lower resolution data can measure the upper level features better than surface features, mostly because there are NOT as many variables to contend with like mountain ranges, lakes, deserts, crops, etc. In an effort to factor in these important variables, you must, MUST have a much finer network of measuring instruments.

    My hope is that someday, satellites will be able to better measure the atmosphere AND the surface of the earth rather than having to rely on weather balloons, surface obs, etc.

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  11. Thanks again Novak; very helpful comment.

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  12. Come on people, not rocket science here! Temps above freezing = rain for a good portion of the storm, you'll get your token coating as it moves away. Is this hard to see.

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  13. Plymouth Weather LoverDecember 19, 2014 at 5:12 PM

    When Novak speaks, I listen. When the NWS discussion ends by saying "WE COULD END UP WITH QUITE A BIT OF SNOW ACCUMULATION BY NEXT WEEKEND IF THE ECMWF FORECAST REMAINS ON TRACK FOR THESE TWO EVENTS" I listen. You put it all together and take out the warm profile, we could have quite an active and snowy Christmas week--just like we all dream about, dance about, and sing about. I'm dreaming of a white Christmas...... Bring it!

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    1. PWL....did.you see that the NWS has put out a graphic for snowfall Monday night into Wednesday.....anyway you slice it it shows 4-6" or 8+....keep dancing and bringing it!

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    2. After reading this mornings AFD from the NWS they need to take down that stupid graphic painting all that snow in our CWA. When reading their discussion two things are very evident, one is the ONLY precip type that is certain/likey is rain for Monday and the other is alot of uncertainity with the weather models, thus very little snow if any is expected at this time meaning a brown Christmas is still on the table when so many were ensuring a white Christmas was a lock, the way it stands right now the only thing that is a lock is RAIN on Monday. And PWL the Euro model that was so favorable yesterday afternoon is no longer. Next week can just as easily turn out to be as boring as the last three weeks with the exception of monitoring systems that have potential but don't really impact us. Again notice I said systems, not storms.....keep looking for them boys, in the meantime enjoy another weekend thaw in December, I know crazy huh, twice in a month certainly not your grandfathers winters anymore!

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    3. OMG, Hahahahaha, that is hilarious it literally seems like the NWS listened to me (Im sure it wasn't me) but that weather story graphic just from 12 hours ago with all the pretty colors showing most of Minnesota either getting 8+ inches or 4-6 inches, the one @bigdaddy mentions is gone, poof disappeared! It was the right move their discussion this morning was nowhere near that graphic and whats even more laughable is the system that was getting so hyped that it will guarantee MSP with a white Christmas and was a sure thing with the video on this blog is now according to the NWS bring "an inch or less to most locations". What a turn of events, keep searching boys, maybe one of my hooker friends from the panhandle may pay us a visit this winter.

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  14. Amy, now there already hyping Friday the 26th. I'm sure the Hammer will call for a foot by Tuesday's video.

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  15. And the emotional rollercoaster continues! The phrase of the day is "ABSOLUTE UNCERTAINTY". Everyone, including the NWS, seems to live and die with the latest model runs, which prove to be as extreme, confused and varied as typical Minnesota weather. While I understand the sentiments of those who have posted this morning regarding the abrupt overnight about-face in the NWS stance regarding a White Christmas, I will point out that the NWS has done just that...made an another about-face turn...again. All day yesterday the NWS was calling for possibly an inch by Christmas morning. However, last evening it abruptly changed its stance in response to the latest model runs. This morning it once again flipped its position. To its credit the NWS does mention in the forecast discussion that there is great uncertainty in the forecast. Given this uncertainty we could easily once again in the next day or two be discussing moderate snow accumulations. As I always say, the weather will do what it will do. We can all hope and pray for a certain result, but in the end none of us can control it. Personally, I am dreaming of a White Christmas, which I never got to experience growing up all of those years near Philly. Maybe it will snow. Maybe it won't. We will all know soon enough.

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  16. So what everyone is saying is don't get Dad a snowmobile for Christmas, I know for a fact that some places up north is just pathetic with snowcover as the metro.

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    1. That sounds like sage advice. This poor excuse for a winter is very disappointing. Someone posted on here yesterday that this isn't the result of El Nino. I beg to differ.

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  17. @Plymouth Weather Lover, so are you listening to Novak now?, he is pulling the plug on snow for southern MN, no need for a twenty minute video explanation for this one, he simply says "too warm", a mere 12 hours ago his coinfidence was increasing for a white Christmas for most of Minnesota. Also I guess the Europeans don't like your dance moves, because they stopped bringing the snow.

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  18. Dr. Novak, your insight please...

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    1. He already said too warm for snow in southern Minnesota.

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  19. Plymouth Weather LoverDecember 20, 2014 at 10:34 AM

    Let's state the facts as we know them right now. 1. It is Saturday morning and the onset of any significant precipitation is Monday, at the earlier. 2. The models are all over the place. 3. Forecasts vary greatly. 4. Novak tweeted that models are having a hard time getting a handle on this--he did not say he is pulling the plug on snow for southern MN. 5. NWS continues to flip flop three times over 24 hours. 6. It is Saturday morning (or maybe I already wrote that). You can read above for all of the opinions, which everyone has, but no one can dispute the facts. Let's all calm down and just dance. The possibility of snow, including a deeper storm for the day after Christmas should send all of the "split flow" concern and "nothing to see here" concern out the window. This is what forecasting is all about: predicting based on whatever facts you can pull. Love it. Bring it.

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    1. I agree. It's fascinating how people who don't want snow (or don't think it's going to snow) are so vocal when they see a change in the forecast. Suddenly they somehow know that's it's not going to snow. Chill out peeps! No one will have a real good idea as to what's going to happen until the system energy comes in shore on Monday. The models will then be able to sample the atmosphere. Until then, not even AmyfromWillmar knows if it will rain, snow, or neither.

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    2. @PWL, in response to your facts:
      1. Novak stated eastern ND and Northern MN are inline for snow, last I checked Plymouth is not there, where you are in southern Minnesota he said its too warm, if thats not pulling the plug I dont know what is.

      2. The significant precipitation you speak of on Monday is rain, temps will be in mid to upper 30's.
      3.As of this morning, all models have rain and little if any snow at the end.
      4.We are under 48 hours when models hone in on solutions.
      5. NWS flip flopping is nothing new, have you seen them not flip flop.
      6. Day after Christmas is an entirety away, with no consistency on track.
      We can banter back and forth, but your a smart man and follow weather enough that the writings on the wall and the tap dancing for excuses for minimal snow has begun.

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  20. I was looking at the GFS Parallel, and holy crap does it give a lot of snow over Wisconsin with two back to back systems. If this pattern continues, we could see a serious retrograde low, which would normally take a nor'easter path, bring a significant snowfall over the Twin Cities. If that happens, I would think that the other storm would be pivoted further south, because the jet stream would have to have a huge dip for that to happen. Just have to see how the models pan out...

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  21. NWS discussion this afternoon is analogous to driving a stake through the hearts of snow fans. What a switch from the song the NWS was singing this time last night. A brown Christmas appears all but inevitable now. I want last December back!

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  22. One winter month (December) lost to El Nino. Are January and February also on the chopping block? I am not saying this in hindsight, but I never felt confident that the November pattern was going to carry over to December. As is evident, it didn't. This pathetic start to winter continues.

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  23. First off, I have NOT said that I'm taking snow out of the forecast for MSP early next week. What I said was that it will be too warm for snow on MONDAY. However, the jet structure, since day one, has always promoted a longer than usual storm system; one that could easily last 48+ hours. With that being said, I would expect a couple of pieces of energy, at least, to come out of this massive & impressive trough that digs into the Plains states.

    So, I would expect snow to be the dominant threat over eastern ND & northern MN on Monday. Then, that threat for accum. snow likely redevelops southeast into eastern MN & much of northern WI on TUE. That 2nd area of snow will be interesting to watch evolve since it likely will have more southern energy to work with as it rounds the base of the trough.

    This is one of the most interesting storms that I've covered in quite some time since it has so much Jet energy to work with. The models are still having a difficult time with this jet energy.

    As far as the NWS is concerned, you have to remember that they have different shifts = different forecasters. That is often why you may get some flip-flopping & varying views in the AFDs & Zone forecasts. Don't be surprised if the overnight forecaster sings a different tune than today. However, the NWS does try to stay consistent when possible because they know that inconsistency does no good.

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  24. PWL hope your not hanging your hat on the day after Christmas storm, because that chance has diminished greatly, Paul Douglas even apologized to you for the false alarm!

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  25. Novak is saying this morning that the storm is coming in colder than expected: potential good news for snow. And for those who want cold, it's coming! Weather.com's 10-day outlook is none-too-pleasant for outdoor activities.

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    1. Funny, because others on social media have diminished the chances for snow in and around the metro. Should be interesting to see who is correct.

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    2. He just posted it an hour ago. He isn't declaring a snowstorm, but rather that the change to snow will be sooner than thought yesterday. Weather.com has snow chances in the 1-3 inch range for Mon-Tue right now.

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  26. Big, fat, wet snowflakes are falling in Apple Valley right now.

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  27. Models have trended colder with the system today and tomorrow, leading to greater snow chances. The system after Christmas is now trending farther NW, putting MN in a much better spot for snow. Stay tuned peeps! Things are changing again.

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  28. While it is understandable that people vent their frustration if the weather does not align with their wishes, I find it ridiculous to aim that frustration at forecasters just because they may predict something you do not like.
    I read a lot of snode remarks that should have no place in a weather blog.
    If you do not agree with someone's forecast, explain why instead of just bashing it.
    This is deplorable, and achieves absolutely nothing.

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    1. As the "owner" of this blog, I completely agree with your sentiments! I'll be sure to delete snide comments that don't pass the "courteous" smell test.

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    2. People that post snide comments towards forecasters really don't understand weather. It is one of the truly inexact sciences. So many variables at play, it makes predicting an exact forecast difficult if not impossible.

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  29. Yeah but unfortunately it isn't just weather blogs anymore! It's everything on the internet! If someone doesn't agree with you, you are in idiot, moron, no good pos. It's quite sad.

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    1. That rude and discourteous behavior unfortunately extends into everyday life. I see it daily in my job, even here at Christmas time. It is very disheartening. I think it is compounded online because people can post anonymously and not be held accountable for their inappropriate behavior and comments. Here is hoping for more civilized humanity in 2015! And, oh by the way, here's also wishing for a very Merry and White Christmas!!!

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  30. Randy Hill says not a good setup for snow in metro with this incoming storm, mostly rain with a mix at times, maybe an 1" of snow on Tuesday, pretty much what the NWS is saying. If we get a white Christmas it will be by the skin off our teeth.

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  31. Hows it going fellas? Enjoying the thaw and abit of moisture?, speaking of moisture I'm in the cities this weekend taking in this preview or harbinger of things to come over the next few days, rain with some snow mixed in at times and temperatures running above freezing so roads are just wet with no acculamations. My condolences for those yearning for a white Christmas. May I suggest Marquette, Michigan for that!

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  32. Pure snow here north of St Paul. Accumulating a bit. Sorry for the rain where you are Amy. We know you're rooting for snow. Reverse psychology doesn't work with weather.

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    1. Good for you, I'm glad your seeing snow if thats what you like. I never said I don't enjoy snow, I enjoy a good snowstorm from time to time, thats why I keep saying keep looking for one, these peddley moisture events are really nothing to write home about.And I hate nothing more then snow with above freezing temps, whats the point it really doesn't accumulate and mostly melts on contact.

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    2. I call it white rain.

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  33. From Jonathan Yuhas........a bigger winter storm is possible on December 26, cloudy with snow developing, snow could be heavy high 20°. So potential is there.

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    1. Really your going to go with a forecast from JY.

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  34. Well thats about it......the rain from today has officially taken out whatever snowcover I had....the kids are bumming, not the start we wanted to our winter vacation......I hope we can add some snow this week, I keep getting mixed signals on whoevers blog or forecast I read. To tell you the truth rain in December come on....this sucks.....Im not asking for 10° but 30° would be good enough for snow today.

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  35. The NWS sounds like their going with Novaks earlier thinking of a changeover to snow earlier on Monday with temps cooling off to freezing by evening....yesterday NWS point forecast for Golden Valley had all snow after 11pm on Monday with 1/2" acculamation....now they have snow by 5pm with 1-3" Monday night and another 1-2" on Tuesday.....if this verifies then a white Christmas would be recognized. Even their aviation update this afternoon has rain changing to snow by afternoon, definitely by evening with several inches of accumulations....I know not a huge storm but at least it looks like winter may be back and with colder temps by weeks end it wont melt away. Keep dancing PWL, I am.

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  36. I would feel much more confident about snow if those temperatures were about 5 degrees colder. Dr. Novak, are there any reasonable signs pointing to colder temperatures with this system? Lows of 32-33 degrees is not very encouraging. This forecast just seems to me to have a very high degree of bust to it in terms of snow.

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  37. Why is this storm so difficult to predict? Why are the models having such a difficult time nailing this down? I have been reading on other blogs that this is one of the worse cases of model inconsistency they have seen in years.

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  38. Hot off the press video with the good doctor. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNKz8KI3EOo

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  39. Kare 11 just said an inch of snow...maybe...from this system. I'm pulling for Dr. Novak!

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    1. KARE just repeated its forecast of a coating to possibly an inch. Why such a discrepancy between them (and the NWS) and Novak?

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  40. What I find curious is Novak is forecasting at the top end 8", yet there is no watch/warning/advisory anywhere in MN or WI.

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  41. The Arrowhead has a winter storm watch.

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  42. The writing is on the wall. I think we all knew that, but we were still hoping for a miracle to bring us a white Christmas. Novak's video last night gave us what now appears to be fleeting hope. It looks like a white Christmas will occur in northern WI and in the MN Arrowhead region. I agree with Snow Meister's post last night that the temperatures are just too warm for snow. The cold air is obviously being delayed. Now it appears that high temperatures won't go below freezing until Friday. This morning's NWS forecast even has light snow tonight turning back to at least a mix tomorrow. The only watch/advisory in effect in MN is a winter weather advisory in the Arrowhead. Count yourself lucky if you happen to see ANY snow on the ground outside of your window Christmas morning. If you are able to squeeze out an inch, then that will truly be a miracle.

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  43. Regarding flip-flopping per Novak's video, I wanted to give props to Paul Douglas and Jonathan Yuhas as I've noticed how steady they've been with their forecasts, really for the past several days. The NWS, surprisingly, has been flip-flopping all over the place. Whether it's their discussions or even Facebook graphics, it's been almost laughable. They even had an 8+ inch snow graphic up a few days ago for MSP, then quickly changed it the next day.

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  44. What bothers me is that I noticed an increased tendency to forecast based on the latest model runs. As models have been getting more inconsistent especially the last couple of winters, so did the forecasts, with frequent flip-flopping.
    I work with numerical predictive models in the field of economics and I know first hand that they are not 100% correct obvioulsy, but I question whether assuming the latest model run is the most accurate and therefore changing the forecast accordingly is a valid way to operate.
    Are previous runs included as members of the ensembles? I think that would greatly improve consistency.

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  45. Gosh, this winter must be torture for you snow lovers. I feel for ya.

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    1. We can't even call it "winter". There isn't even enough cold air to enable people to ice skate, ice fish, etc. El Nino is alive and well...unfortunately!

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    2. I agree. I haven't even considered going out on the ice. It's too thin. I am hearing that after the brief cooldown the end of this week the weather should warm substantially once again going into January. Let's just fast forward to May so we can put this misery behind us!

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  46. Another damn rainy day in December. Feels like Im in the Ground Hog movie, another day with rain, except its December not February!

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    1. We don't want rain in February either, but I get your point about Groundhog Day. This is ridiculous! I shudder to think how wimpy January and February are going to be. This is completely opposite of last winter. I am glad that I enjoyed last winter, because even then I was thinking this is too good to be true. I had a bad feeling that this winter was going to go in the opposite direction. It is disappointing that so far it has.

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  47. I will be playing the world's smallest violin for our snow lovers as I travel on safe roads this week. Seriously, get over it.

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  48. I thought that this was supposed to be a weak El Nino, and that a weak El Nino typically gives MN a cold/snowy winter. I guess I misunderstood.

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  49. Looking back at precipation data from 1900 (although weather records consistently started before, that was mostly temps whereas precips data is very spotty with a lot of missing info) there have been (including yesterday) 3555 December days (114 years *31 days + 21 days in 2014).
    Of these 3,555 days 9.5% recorded liquid precipitation (rain), 50.2% snow and the remaining 40.3% were dry for the Twin Cities.
    So, although it goes without saying that being Minnesota and being December snow was much more common than rain as precipitation type, almost 10% of December days recorded some sort of liquid precipitation.
    That is an average of 3 days per year.
    So, after all rain in December is not that uncommon as one would think.

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  50. Always appreciate your insights, Rigil!

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  51. Plymouth Weather LoverDecember 22, 2014 at 3:44 PM

    Man, this weather is crazy! Or should I say that all of this dancing is making me tired! I hear different forecasts, snow will suddenly mix in and I think that the changeover is upon us then back to rain, I hear models are still having trouble with this--even still, and it is December 22. Still going to dance and hope for a White Christmas. This makes me fell like pulling out my lawn mower. So bring it!!

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    1. PWL, you're going to have to head to northern or northeastern Wisconsin if you want snow.

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  52. Plymouth Weather LoverDecember 22, 2014 at 6:19 PM

    After reading the NWS forecast discussion, I will first hope and dance for a White Christmas, but now I am also excited about how the discussion has changed for Friday. They seem much more robust about it and even mention a possible band of 6+ inches! May the Gulf open up! Maybe that is what I am dancing for. Bring it!

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    1. PWL, don't hang your hat on that forecast for Friday, I hate for you to get excited and then be let down again like today, wasn't the rain suppose to have mixed with and change to snow already, well what may look good today for Friday may shift south or north or mix may happen or some dry slot or dry tongue may pop up. Try not looking at any weather forecasts or blogs or social media all this week and then see what happens on Friday, are you up for the challenge?

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    2. Read this evening's NWS update discussion as they are back pedaling on tonight's and tomorrow's snow. Let's face it, except for maybe southeast MN we are not going to have a white Christmas. Wisconsin is a different story. I want a white Christmas too, but the fat lady is singing. As the Cubs say, "there's always next year".

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    3. NWS has done a piss poor horrible job with this system, performance has been subpar always changing forecasts and throwing out explanations on why this or why that didnt happen even when they use words like definitely in their earlier discussions. I know weather forecasting is difficult but their performance on this one was horrible or the models were horrible, but either way it could have been better.

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  53. NWS is now saying the switchover to snow won't occur until after 4 pm tomorrow (Tuesday)! Lol Why don't they just concede and remove any mention of snow from the forecast? They were predicting all snow by late this afternoon. That didn't happen so they said the changeover would occur this evening, then they said after midnight. Now it's late tomorrow afternoon. Unbelievable...simply unbelievable.

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  54. What's been the biggest snow at MSP this season? Around 3 inches? Kinda lame.

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  55. what is being lost in all the consternation is that had this been an all snow event, it would have been hugely disappointing one.
    Total precip at MSP was just 0.12 inches of liquid, and at these temperatures snow ratios would be at 7:1, maybe 8:1 at best translating in less than an inch of snow anyway. Had we missed on a 6-8 inch snowstorm, I could understand the frustration, but less than an inch?

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  56. I am near Hastings. A nice steady snow is falling. The streets and sidewalks are covered. I hope we get enough to whiten the ground for Christmas.

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  57. Days are starting to get longer! On our way to spring.

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  58. I moved to Minnesota in October 2006, so this is going to be my 9th Christmas in the Twin Cities area.
    Historical chance of a white Xmas is 72%, which means roughly 7 out of 10 Xmases are white. Out of the 9 I have been experiencing here you would expect 6.5 white and 2.5 brown.
    2006 was brown, 2011 was brown and it looks like 2014 maybe beige as I heard some local forecasters define it.
    So I guess that exactly in line with what historical trends would predict.
    So calm down everybody.
    Mother Nature is not acting weird at all. She is acting like she has been in the past 120 years!

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    1. Throw the white Christmas aside, pretty much the entire month of December has had lame winter weather(and please nobody give me the agrument that winter started 2 days ago, we have more winter then fall after the calendar enters November). Hardly enough cold air for ice making....area rinks are closing when they should be flourishing.....do you see any ice houses on the lakes, no because the ice is not safe or thick enough.....no snowshoeing or cross country skiing, see many snowmobilers, so you get the point businesses are suffering due to the lack of "winter", not just the snow.

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    2. So far we had December in November and November in December. This happened in the past, and I outlined in my winter forecast that a warm December was likely, but January/February would be colder. So far we are on track. The ice issues will be taken care of over the next week, and a colder northwesterly flow looks likely into the new year. Just have to have a little patience. Great posts by the Anonymous above and Rigil Kent using real statistics and not overreaction.

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    3. I do not dispute that; But brown Xmases are usually the consequences of very lame Decembers; and so if approximately 3 out of 10 are brown it means that this kind of lame winters do happen much more often than people think.
      I think that those who have a business that depends on winter weather should consider that and plan accordingly, because the trends are pretty clear.
      With data never been so readily available I am suprised winter weather dependent businesses still get caught by surprise.

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  59. The NWS just took accumulating snow out of the forecast for the rest of the day here in Rice County, replacing it with rain. Total damage -> Just a trace of snow, locking in a brown Christmas here.

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  60. A few inches of snow on the ground in Rochester! A winter wonderland.

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    1. Enjoy.....snow has come to an end there, temps above freezing rest of today and Wednesday and Thursday. May not last for a white Christmas, its melting as we speak.

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  61. NWS stands for No White for Santa!!

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    1. Hahahahaha, good one! Love it!

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  62. Very subpar performances from Novak and NWS on this one!

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    1. Add some local mets to the list, especially Dave Dahl who in his last night's 10pm weathercast sounded super-confident it was going to be a white X-mas.

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  63. Interesting weather across Louisiana and Georgia today. Tornado warnings? yes please!

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  64. The light coating of snow that fell this morning has now melted. There is a 100% chance of a brown Christmas.

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  65. Novak has thrown in the white towel! Says "stick a fork in us, brown christmas for most of us". See PWL even the good doctor misses, he stayed the course with some tweaks and still missed. Weather is never a sure thing even inside 24 hours, but most failed because most everyone guaranteed a white christmas with at least an inch or so falling today. Maybe we will have a white New Years with any luck and Presidents Day and Valentine's Day and St. Patricks Day and Easter, the point is who cares what day it snows, lets just get some winter please!!

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  66. A poorly understood and as a results a poorly forecast storm.
    It happens. No big deal.

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  67. Its raining again! Oh wait till Tuesday everyone was saying when it will be snow and a few inches will pile up and a white christmas will be guaranteed. What a horrible performance by all and what was shown in those videos never happened.

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  68. I'm totally perplexed with our atmosphere right now. It is true that 3 out of 10 Christmas days are brown, but I find it odd that we've had nothing but rain opportunities for the last 3 weeks+. Simply put, that isn't normal.

    Meanwhile, all this warm air at the surface & in the low to mid levels of the atmosphere is really causing forecasting issues. I'm just not use to having a DEC storm pass by with no cold air to work with. It doesn't make much sense.

    Weather forecasting 101 says "never predict significant snow if you don't have cold air to work with". It sounds logical, but the #1 ingredient for snow is...COLD! Lessen learned again.

    I hate this crap! Now I have to scrap the trick I was going to play on my kids which was to make slay tracks in the snow overnight tonight & tell them in the morning that Santa was here: "Look at the tracks kids!"

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    1. What I found particularly odd is that when in the past we've had some precip type issues with December storms the problem always seemed to be the dreaded warm layer at around 850mb.
      In this case according to soundings output it seems 850mb temps were below freezing and the problem was weak forcing and much too warm near the surface (925mb).
      Isn't it odd that we could not consistently sustain snow at the surface in December in the Twin Cities with 850mb below 0c?
      It seems to really emphasize the atypical warmth we've been dealing with.

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    2. I was wondering the same thing. I felt certain that if we had upper level cold support that we could cool down a couple of crucial degrees at the surface to prevent the snow from switching to rain. It's not like the surface temps were in the 40's. It's practically been 35-36 degrees for the past 48 hours. Very bizarre.

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  69. Looking at the weather service discussion today, I for one am thankful we haven't gotten a lot of snow from this system. Cold air coming in late next week will still be chilly, but not nearly as bad as if we had a solid snowpack. I never really felt confident that this system would put down a lot of snow for us. With temps at or above freezing through most of it, it would have taken an all day heavier snow for us to reach decent totals. I agree with Novak though. It is very tough to not forecast a decent amount of snow in late December in Minnesota and Wisconsin, especially when you have a decent low passing by to the south and east of the area. I just hope this year doesn't turn out to be one of those where all the snow comes in March and April. Merry Christmas everyone!

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  70. So, this is to anybody who has knowledge about these things, are there any signs of winter really setting in anytime soon? I'm not talking about a couple of cold days and then a warming trend. I would be very happy with average temperatures and SNOW!! Is there any hope out there?

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    1. Nothing noteworthy next ten day.....colder yes, but for snow maybe an 1 or 2 Friday and another inch late Sunday....sorry!

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  71. If it makes anyone feel better, the forecast here in the Bay Area was a bust as well the last two days. Forecast was for high of 63 and we hit 70.

    Sorry... had to share. I still view the California weather with the weary eyes of a long-wintered Minnesotan.

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  72. Plymouth Weather LoverDecember 23, 2014 at 9:28 PM

    Here is what I am trying to understand and know that I probably never will. There are people on this site that truly want to see snow lovers be disappointed after their expressed excitement. I don't get it. Why? If you do not like snow, then so be it--express that without making snow lovers feel they shouldn't be excited. You make it personal. Don't get it. There seems to be some joy received with pointing out how people WILL BE wrong before they are even wrong and then pointing out when they are wrong without any analysis behind it. Why? It makes one not want to chime in. I agree that some really missed this forecast and could have handled it better. I also agree that the models really missed this forecast and could have handled it better. I also agree that professional experts missed this forecast and could have handled it better. But does excitement over a potential snowstorm have to be shot down--especially when you getting a true sense of excitement when someone is disappointment and "bring it" doesn't happen?

    I don't expect to get it, but I truly don't think this is the purpose of this sight. Someone pointed that out earlier. Makes one not want to comment anymore. I follow this sight to get insight into what the weather holds. I also follow it to have a name attached to a statement/comment so I can attached comments to a specific person--hard to follow who is who after a while.

    My two cents, but this last stream was very frustrating

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    1. I'll try to watch comments more closely and delete ones that seem inappropriate or mean.

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    2. @PWL don't despair NWS is showing "less then a inch" for your area tommorrow night thru Friday, but their weather story shows a healthy 2-4" west and north of Plymouth so with their notorious flip-flopping and track record as of late chances are good you'll end up with 4" Friday, hell maybe that 6" area over SD makes it your way. You never know this winter, forecasts haven't been that good.

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  73. PWL do yourself a favor and don't read the AFD this evening....NWS says a swath of snow goes north of MSP metro on Thursday and another swath goes south of MSP metro on Friday. Isn't that just lovely a bubble over MSP!!

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  74. Sorry you took heat Plymouth. I love this site because of the storm debates. Forecasts are missed and analyzed. Not the place for cheap shots. Bill I did better than you. I am in Vegas and they missed their Monday forecast of 65. It was 75! Now back to, err, brown Minnesota. Happy holidays all.

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  75. Moderate snow falling currently in Golden Valley....ground getting white.....last ditch chance at white xmas...who knows, maybe. Anyhow Merry Christmas everyone enjoy the day with family and friends.

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  76. We have a white Christmas here in Elk River. Snow is falling and we have an inch on the ground. My wife and I just went out for a walk and it was beautiful. Houses decorated and trees frosted with the falling snow. It was so beautiful it put my wife in the mood. Sorry I have to go. I have an opportunity I can't pass up. Merry Christmas Bill, Novak Randyinchamplin and all of the regulars on here. This is a great site

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    1. Dan, I'm jealous snow and the misses. I have been watching that swath of snow all day and it hasn't moved much, just sitting over the north metro....enjoy your white Christmas!!

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    2. Glad to hear it was a nice evening all the way around for you, Dan! Never underestimate the power of weather.

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  77. Had to drive out to the in-laws in western MN for Christmas (Swift county). So far 3/4 of an inch of snow over about 6 hours. Which is an unofficial White Christmas, but I'll take it. Looking forward to the upcoming cold.

    Can we go back to the models of yesteryear when we would have no snow predicted and end up with a nice suprise storm? Merry Christmas everyone.

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  78. I always hate saying that something is "A Lock" in weather, but accumulating snow overnight & into SAT am is about as much of a lock as possible over so. MN & western WI.

    Nice tight baroclinic zone, disturbance pulling NE into the Plains/Midwest, strong Jet streak so. of MN & cold air at all levels of the atmosphere...NICE! System will be moving fast so only about a 12 hour period of snow. With the tight baroclinic zone, I wouldn't be surprised to see a narrow, enhanced band of heavier snow (4"+) across Dakota, Rice & Goodhue counties on east into WI.

    Also, model consistency & consensus has been great.

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  79. I am keeping my fingers crossed! My lovely wife just surprised me minutes ago with a brand new pair of beautiful cross country skis and boots! Yes, this is our third day of celebrating Christmas. lol We live in central Dakota County and I am hoping to see some decent snow accumulations tonight! Yesterday's surprise White Christmas while visiting relatives in the north metro was absolutely great! Everyone at the family gathering was excited to see the snow falling on Christmas Day! Mother Nature will do what Mother Nature will do. She came through at the last minute, but better late than never! I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas. Let's enjoy the SNOW!!

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  80. Plymouth Weather LoverDecember 26, 2014 at 11:24 AM

    Bring it! Hoping for the 6+, but will take anything. Bring anything!

    Merry Christmas to all!

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    1. Don't stop dancing, PWL!

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  81. After tonight everyone can finally relax on this site. Everything will be white and stay white until spring. The last few days of December into January and February will look a lot like last winter, rather than the above normal temperatures that we saw for the first three weeks of December.

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  82. There was no snow for Christmas and somehow, SOMEHOW, I managed to have a good time! It was a Christmas miracle! Sounds like it's snowing now in the Twin Cities. Whatever. As long as that garbage is gone by the time I have to drive home Monday.

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  83. Snow is beautiful!.....Looks like alot of winter recreation with the kids are in order this weekend......drive safe folks, its snow were used to it!

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  84. Its just nice to see winter make a return to the land of 5-8K unfrozen and the remaining 2-4K somewhat frozen lakes as light snow falls outside tonight here in Dakota county. Round 1 is ongoing while round 2 headquartered in the Sioux Falls-Omaha area will make the move toward southern Minnesota overnight adding a few more inches of snow. Normal winter weather is a good thing --- ice/snow to allow for outdoor activities and businesses that depend on it (i.e. skating, skiing, snowmobiling, ice fishing, etc), snow then clearing high pressure centers to allow for Vitamin D (the sun) to help prevent SAD, better air quality as clouds/inversions/fog are real instigators of such, and just that Minnesota pride in winter wx to shine again.

    Enjoy ..

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  85. 5.2" here in Chanhassen (I know it says Dave from Shakopee but I moved last year). That should make all you snow lovers happy. I continue to wait for the first thunderstorm of the year...

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  86. 6" in Golden Valley.....Happy belated white Christmas everyone! Enjoy!

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    1. Apologies...,need to make a correction to the above.....5" in Golden Valley......previous measurement was from my 7yr old who went out first thing and my bad for listening to her....anyhow its enough to get them out of the house.

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  87. @Bill.....you think new thread needed?......good Dr. Novak says hes "intrigued" with the upcoming snow chance on Friday.

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  88. Randy Hill also says better chances of snow on Friday. Is something brewing?, NWS only has 20% for Friday.

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  89. Just set up a new thread. The "traditional" weather sources don't seem too bullish on any significant snow... mainly just cold.

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