Thursday, January 29, 2015

Searching For White Down Winter's Home Stretch


Maybe they’re all like this, but the winter of 2014-2015 seems especially odd. In Minnesota, a frigid November gave way to a most mild December. And January’s been a mixed helping as well, though a warm bias has been the prevailing characteristic. However, one constant has been the lack of significant snow and the lack of consistently stellar, recreational-friendly snow cover.

As meteorological winter entered it’s final third, snow lovers were looking far and wide for signs of the precipitation type they live for. Others were thrilled at the prospect of a winter that, while still challenging by most state’s standards, was proceeding in a tolerable fashion.

(And then there was your fearless host, who wonders if California will ever again see rain.)

Enjoy the hunt for a white February!

178 comments:

  1. No searching out east, Juno delivered then many more snow systems for northeast and mid-Atlantic for tonight/Friday, Sunday/Monday and Wednesday/Thursday. Take a vacation to the east coast snowlovers!

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  2. 12Z run of the GFS seems to paint some 2-4 inch snows for SE Minnesota? Anyone else seeing that? Does this system have an inverted trough as it seems the surface low is well south in southern Missouri and Illinois.

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    1. Dribs and drubs DysonGuy, dribs and drubs. While we try to push out dustings to an inch or two in our neck of the woods, travel east my man, travel east! Don't have to go to far either, Illinois and Indiana would suffice for significant snows.

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    2. sorry meant to say drabs

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  3. What does the sound of crickets look like in written form? Since we don't have audio on this site we will just have to use our imaginations. Lots of chatter about temps back up into the 40's for the Twin Cities again by next weekend. How many thaws will that be? I lost count. Let's see, December was one huge thaw; the second half of January was another thaw; and not to be left out of the fun February is promising to have a thaw of its own too! In essence, a "winter" that is pretty much comprised of several consecutive months of March...without the snow of course. Ahhh, the little winter that couldn't. I think we should call the cops. Somebody has kidnapped our winter and they don't even have the decency to send us a ransom note! At the very least, despite the chilly days predicted for the beginning of February it's becoming more apparent that the time to pull the plug on the winter life support system is quickly approaching. As they say about baseball pitchers who aren't having a good outing, "put a fork in him, he's done"! Anybody else ready for Spring? Hopefully that won't let us down like this winter has. I really enjoy this site for many reasons, including the fact that it provides a great forum for one to release to others the shared feelings of utter disappointment. It is very cathartic. In all seriousness, Thanks, Bill!

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    1. Thanks WinterAWOL. I don't do a helluva lot (other than pay the fee every year to keep the site alive) but thanks. This winter was like Blyleven getting roughed up in the third inning.

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    2. Good analogy, Bill. Unfortunately, unlike the Twins we can't call the bullpen to bail us out.

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  4. Rumors of snow this weekend. Very little chance of flake or two. NE winds below 850mb keep us dry. Next chance would be next week and that is very iffy indeed.

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    1. Tell us something we don't know Randy!, Pretty much this entire winter has been terribly iffy.

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    2. Good. I have family traveling here Sunday morning and I don't need any snow screwing it up.

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  5. NWS must really be desperate for some snow/action around. They have "likely" wording for snow for NEXT Saturday.....a full 7 days from now. So much could and will change in seven days, baffles me they have that much coinfidence.

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    1. Lol...I agree. Besides, by then the system will have shifted far to our south and east, as has been the case all winter (including tonight/tomorrow). Move along, folks. There's nothing to see here. Go EAST, young man!

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  6. I woud like to remind people the Twin Cities metro area is not a very snowy place, especially considering the average temps.
    Its location is poor for big snows.
    No big lakes to favor lake effect.
    Too much north to get affected by big southern stream systems (this weekend is a classic example); and too much south and east to get affected by northern stream systems.
    So the ingredients that to come into place for big snows are so many that makes it unlikely to happen very frequently.
    So, real snow lovers will probably be always disappointed by living in the MSP metro.

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    1. Yes I hear you......Im disappointed this year, but last year was a good year, at least the snow cover never melted all winter and when it snowed it just kept piling up. I do yearn for at least one good Metrodome busting storm a year, I guess thats because in my years growing up on the east coast there always seemed there was at least one good storm or blizzard a year.

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    2. I agree that the MSP metro is not the snow capital of the world. However, a steady accumulation from clippers of 2-3+ inches combined with an occasional larger southern stream storm adds up over the course of the winter for a decent snowpack for snow enthusiasts. Unfortunately, this winter has given us the double whammy, which is warm temperatures that melt what little snow we do receive and a lack of snow overall. That has resulted in bare ground deep into the heart of winter. No snow cover at the end of January is ridiculous. This isn't Memphis. At any rate, if one is merely seeking big snowstorms, then I agree that this is not the place to live. You can get big snowstorms in many places back east, but a lot of those places (e.g. New York City) don't maintain a consistent snow cover. They might get hit hard by a storm, but typically that starts to melt within a day or two because they don't have consistently cold enough temperatures to preserve the snow. However, if one is seeking a consistent snow cover throughout the winter, then I say that this is (usually) the place to live. It just depends on what a person is seeking in regards to their idea of winter.

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    3. You are absolutely correct.
      There is a trade-off to be made between consistent snow-cover vs big storms but also rapid and more frequent melting ( east coast snow situation.
      The only place I found where there is consistenly a lot of both is Marquette, Michigan.

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    4. I agree...and Caribou, Maine. However, I believe that Caribou is more susceptible to the occasional warm-up than is Marquette. It's too bad that neither of those areas really offer good career/employment opportunities.

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  7. Totally irresponsible of the NWS! Likely snow for next Saturday was forecasted last night, then this morning down to 40% and now 30%. Don't model forecast will yeah, horrible!

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  8. As a snow hater, one thing I love about watching snow systems move in is the chance that they'll bust - and they usually do! So much fun to watch them veer south or north, or dissipate or weaken.

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    1. Sadly, I think this wholly unwelcome snow will arrive just in time for rush hour.

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  9. Newest Euro weeklies came out yesterday, showing it's thoughts on the rest of the month. Yeah, models aren't too reliable even a few days out, let alone a whole month. However, I don't really look for specific systems when I look at these, but rather the general overall pattern. We've been in quite the lull so far this year, and that mostly looks to continue. This system for the upcoming weekend could prove to be interesting, but lets not get ahead of ourselves. Anywho, the Euro actually showed an overall flip in the pattern, with more ridging out east and troughing out west. This type of pattern would prove to be snowier, if the set up is in the right places.

    Still no real arctic blasts in sight, with the northeast taking the brunt of these cold hits. However, the less snow we have, the easier it will be to warm up down the stretch. Snow down to the south will cool southern winds a bit, but I imagine that snow will only take a couple weeks to melt.

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  10. Plymouth Weather LoverFebruary 5, 2015 at 5:11 PM

    I am so grateful for last year because this is so boring. Yikes! But I will keep dancing because this is Minnesota and weather can change on a dime (or quarter this year).

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    1. Excuse my language......but holy crap what a boring winter....what was the largest storm thus far, 3 or 4 inches?.......Wake up mother nature, and we can't even blame El Nino because that hasn't formally been formed, at least what I have read and heard.

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  11. Down here in Rochester we have 8.5 inches of snow on the ground. We haven't had a snowfall more than 4 inches this year, I believe yet we are above average to data on seasonal snowfall. crazy

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  12. St. Cloud got its 2nd largest snowfall of the winter a few days ago with 1.7".

    Now to be fair the largest was over 14 inches...but still.

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  13. Tuesday system has caught the eye of one Dr. Novak, translation- what looks good on a Saturday will end up being north or south of MSP by Tuesday, in other words the dust on your snowblower will continue to accumulate.

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    1. Hey Mark, Dr. Novak says Tuesday system will be a direct hit on MSP, be also goes on to say someone will get 4-6+" snows.

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  14. Tuesday is tough in terms of temps. Layer of warm air will be getting very close to freezing. What would normally support 3 to 5" of snow, might get cut down if the flakes partially melt. Best guess would be an 7:1 ratio. So 0.3" of precip would give closer to 2 inches than 4+ that you would see with a colder temperature profile. Of course two degrees warmer could mean all sleet of even freezing rain. Two degrees colder could be a 10 or 12:1 snow ratio.

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  15. What is all the fuss around Tuesday for?, NWS and Dave Dahl both have 2-4" snows, not like we haven't seen plenty of those this winter. Novaks video makes it sound much worst then what other forecasters are saying.

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    1. Hey man, what's your damage, yo? A few deaths on the roads are worth a snowman or two, you know?

      /sarcasm

      Trivia: when's the last time someone died as a result of a summer storm in Minnesota? Maybe the 2011 tornado in North Minneapolis?

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  16. I agree with the good Doctor, for all the reasons he explained in his video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4Oz0vYBu5k#t=13.

    In addition to that, what he didn't show was the neutral to slightly negative tilt to the trough coming thru from 500mb on down which would also induce lift over the metro to the north.

    As for thermals, the Euro has insisted that it shouldn't be a problem. The forecast sounding off the GFS shows the column over the metro warning to the freezing mark at around 800mb, and it's very shallow showing it only at 800mb at 6am Tuesday morning but quickly cooling buy 9am. I haven't bothered to look at the profiles off the Nam yet, because quite frankly I don't trust them this far out. It could be close however.

    The other thing that has caught my attention is the storm system off the east coast. All the models show a strong low level ridge ne of us extending down to our east. And this makes complete sense, the atmosphere wants to stay in balance and tries to do this by balancing area's of low pressure with area's of high pressure, therefore the ridge should be in between the two storm systems. The models are trying to lift this system out to the ne right into that high pressure surface ridge. I think they are to quick in doing this, thus I also agree with Novak that it may be snowing here come daybreak on Wed. As usual please excuse any errors in grammar or punctuation, thanks.

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    1. Ok this is a very difficult forecast. I would ask you to look at what I said above in regards to the surface ridge over eastern Canada extending down to just east of us blocking the movement of the surface low. That is still in play. What has changed is the mid levels especially at the 700mb level. It now looks as if there will be a 700mb ridge oriented from the SW to NE with it's axis over the central lakes area by Tues morning, as the storm approaches us. That would result with the strongest portion of the 700mb low setting up over northern MN and ejecting to the NE, leaving the surface low behind. With the surface low to our west, and the 700mb lifting to our NE we could lose the mid level cold air, leaving us with warm air advection at the surface causing a nasty mix for the metro. I wish I was better with computer skills as I could save what I'm seeing and than draw on the maps. If I could do that I would start a blog...lol.

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    2. So in other words MSP misses out on snow again, just a bunch of wintery mix! Wonderful, snowlovers go to Boston! Minneapolis is lame this winter.

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    3. I second that. The back pedaling has begun. Metro equals Missed AGAIN! No surprise. That's been the pattern all winter. NWS now saying maybe an inch or so for the Metro after last night saying maybe 4 inches. Again, I'm not surprised and neither should anyone else.

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    4. Agreed!!, Back pedaling has begun on many fronts. The good Dr. Novak must have been bored yesterday, putting out his own video and going as far as saying in one of his tweets just 24 hours ago that the storm for Tuesday will be a "direct hit for MSP" and now with his snowfall map out this morning he has northern MN in the 4-6+ range, so not a direct hit, in fact for MSP he is not sure what will occur with the c-2" and 2-4" and icy mix lines all intersects the MSP dot on his map, I guess hes covering all the bases so he cant be classified as wrong. One of these days a real storm will happen, but tommorrow isnt that day.

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  17. Hilarious, Paul Huttner puts out the 16-day GFS output, for the timeframe of 2/19-2/24 it shows 1.6" of liquid with temps below freezing and puts in a litte line off to the side of "snow chances increasing??"
    Do you believe this? or better yet who believes by tommorrow it will disappear. For the record I have both hands up.

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    1. Huttner flogs the 384-hour GFS so much it's become a self-parody. I think it just gives him something to talk about.

      That said, I am taking issue with all the bellyaching already going on here. Meteorologists change their forecasts as new data becomes available. That's a good thing. Forecasts change; it's called "weather."

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    2. Then don't say a particular spot will get a direct hit then and then change that forecast 24 hours later. Stick with proabilities and percentages and confidence levels.

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  18. You want weird? Most of MN is in MRGL risk for thunderstorms tomorrow

    http://www.spc.noaa.gov/products/outlook/day2otlk.html

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    1. MRGL is a 5% chance of severe. SPC just has MN in the TSTM (think garden variety thundershower/thunderstorm) category.

      Still, would be neat to hear a clap of thunder tomorrow.

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    2. Hot off the presses:

      DAY 2 CONVECTIVE OUTLOOK
      NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
      1116 AM CST MON FEB 09 2015

      VALID 101200Z - 111200Z

      ...NO SVR TSTM AREAS FORECAST...

      ...SUMMARY...
      ISOLATED THUNDERSTORMS ARE POSSIBLE ACROSS PARTS OF THE UPPER
      MIDWEST TUESDAY MORNING AND AFTERNOON.

      ...DISCUSSION...
      TSTM POTENTIAL WILL BE NEGLIGIBLE ACROSS MUCH OF THE CONUS. AN
      EXCEPTION WILL BE OVER THE UPPER MIDWEST WITHIN A ROBUST LOW-LEVEL
      WAA REGIME AHEAD OF A PROGRESSIVE LOW-AMPLITUDE SHORTWAVE TROUGH.
      HERE...NEAR-SATURATED PARCELS ROOTED AROUND 700 MB MAY BE SUFFICIENT
      TO GENERATE MUCAPE OF ABOUT 100 J/KG WITHIN A STEEP MID-LEVEL LAPSE
      RATE ENVIRONMENT. THE NAM APPEARS MOST AGGRESSIVE WITH THIS
      SCENARIO...BUT HAS SUPPORT FROM SREF/GFS FORECAST SOUNDINGS AND
      WRF-NSSL LIGHTNING THREAT GUIDANCE.

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    3. I'll be there chasing the VIOLENT WEDGES!!!

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  19. A new video with the weather doctor is here! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lsB6ge9pJog

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    1. Good video, thanks!

      I hate snow, but I do really enjoy the forecasting science. Great work, Bill and Tom.

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    2. It's all Tom, of course. :-) Like Ed McMahon to Johnny Carson. (dating myself)

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    3. Speaking of Johnny Carson...

      http://sacramento.craigslist.org/clt/4882824190.html

      C'mon, Bill. You know you want this.

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    4. Hilarious! Funny thing is I lived a few blocks from there 20 years ago!

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  20. Maybe the metro is coming back into play for some heavier amounts. GFS has some heavier precip (about 0.3") over the north half of the metro. A least two of the 0z HOP-WRF members also place 0.3"+ over most of the metro.

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  21. Bust, bust, bust!! Sleet is the dominant precip. falling. Not one flake, inches lost.

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  22. Bust, all in sleet in Maple Grove and to think 2-4" and 3-5" was forecasted for my area. Get ready for alot of met dancing to follow this evening.

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  23. I am afraid to say it but it is a bust: I am starting to wonder if Bill and Tom are jinxing storms with their videos :) Not the first time it happens this winter.

    Looking at the radar there seems to be another wave and then it seems the storm is basically done as dry lost comes in. I believe that even if this first wave had been snow instead of sleet, amounts would never have totalled to the 2 to 4 inches predicted.
    I truly believe it would have been a bust anyway.

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  24. Amazing what 2°C warmer than expected about 5000 feet above us can do.

    Will point you to my post from a couple days ago.

    "Of course two degrees warmer could mean all sleet of even freezing rain. Two degrees colder could be a 10 or 12:1 snow ratio."

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  25. What is the deal with this new GFS model? I know the last couple winters haven't been kind to any particular models, but it seems this latest "upgraded" GFS model has failed at every single system since the beginning of the year. Maybe it's time to revert back to a previous version? :-)

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  26. Plymouth Weather LoverFebruary 10, 2015 at 2:01 PM

    Right now is one of the weirdest looking radars I have ever seen. It looks like a hurricane with the large swirls of moisture wrapped up into the storm. You should check it out before it changes.

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    1. Check out visible satellite, it looks even better.

      http://www.intellicast.com/National/Satellite/Visible.aspx?region=default

      Also heard a little clap of thunder about an hour ago. Pretty neat.

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  27. Maybe 1/2 inch at best in South Mpls.

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  28. Credit to Paul Huttner for being the first met (and hopefully not last) acknowledging the storm was a bust for the metro ( as all have been this winter so far).

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  29. Quite frankly, it is just one of those seasons & we all know it. How can you predict nearly 4" of snow in portions of Anoka county, 3" in Dakota county yet 1" or less over much of Hennepin/Ramsey? You can't. This storm evolved like a T'Storm complex/MCS. It was weird & something I would've never dreamed of.

    Plus, I'm starting to believe that there is a tarp over MSP Int'l.

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  30. Dave Dahl on his blog tonight has some hope for snowlovers......could be a snowy end game to this winter.

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    1. I will believe it when I see it. False hope...Yawn...listen to the sound of the crickets. It's time to move to Boston where yet another huge snowstorm is on their doorstep. Amazing! Meanwhile, back here in the Minnesota desert.....well, you know. Enough said.

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    2. Yeah I know, Boston is the place to be, their winter this year is exceeding even our awesome winter of last year, but you have to think we should be abke to muster up one or two legitimate storms, not clippers, before winter is over in the desert.

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    3. I hope so too, @bigdaddy, but unless this pattern changes quickly in favor of snow lovers we're going to run out of time and out of luck. Mid-March is only a month away. As you know, snow in mid-late March has very little to no staying power.

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    4. What is interesting about Boston is that until about 3 weeks ago they were having a non-winter too.

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  31. Plymouth Weather LoverFebruary 12, 2015 at 10:13 PM

    Bring it, Dahl! Bring it!!!!!

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  32. Plymouth Weather LoverFebruary 12, 2015 at 10:13 PM

    Bring it, Dahl! Bring it!!!!!

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  33. We finally got some cold air in town that looks to stay for a while, but alas, as of this evening's forecast there is still no snow in sight. We might get a token dusting Sunday but that's it. It's the Have's (Boston) v. the Have Not's (Minneapolis). Wake me when it's May.

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  34. How's that Dave Dahl "big snow to end Feb and start March" forecast workin' out for us so far?

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    1. i would not bet on it. This is not our winter.
      If eventually a storm does cut through the midwest it will be too warm for snow.
      i would not be surprised if we go from arctic air to 40s and rain within 2-3 days in a couple of weeks.
      This is an East Coast winter. Like there were winters when we got 60+ inches of snow and Boston got less than 10, this year is the other way around.
      Personally, as someone who likes snow, I am disappointed, but It is Mother Nature that sets the rules. We are guests on this planet and we need to accept whatever She decides to send us, whether we like it or not.

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    2. LOL...I was just thinking the same thing. The NWS discussion this morning said that cold and dry is the forecast for the rest of the month, that there is very little chance of even light snow.

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  35. A strange and very rare white substance is falling from the sky this morning in the south metro. Is this the end of the world? Villagers are frightened!

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  36. We will be stuck in the pattern right up to the end of the month. Brief warm ups with cold shots to follow. We'll be watching for perhaps some type of change come the beginning of March, but that is a ways out there. Until then, mostly high and dry.

    We are coming up to transition time though, and we all know how rapidly things can swing one way or the other with storms. Will the set up for big storms be pushed further west, or will the northeast continue to get completely hammered by these storms? Close to 90 inches of snow in the last 30 days in Boston?! They shouldn't have any problem at all breaking that 100 inch snow total for the season.

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  37. Nice story about the quality of commenters on the Washington Post's weather blog: http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/the-bizarre-atmospherics-of-the-posts-weather-blog-commenters/2015/02/17/ac9952de-b6d7-11e4-9423-f3d0a1ec335c_story.html?postshare=9411424227566922. Hope to follow their standard here!

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  38. I'd much rather have this cold than snow. Keep on pushin' that storm track south! Music to my ears!

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  39. Dr. Novak tweeted that the arctic air will push the storm track south of MN. I agree, but what was the reasoning for no storms when there was no arctic air? It doesn't snow when there is arctic air, and it doesn't snow in the absence of arctic air.

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  40. Storm tracks have just locked into place north and south of us. Most of the clippers have been to our north and the subtropical track (most of our big storms) have been well to the south.

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  41. I've kept my mouth shut over the last 3 or 4 days, but I have been closely following what the models have been showing, for if they are right a major pattern change is in the works. As we move towards the end of the month they have been consistent in retrograding the western ridge that has been planted over the west coast out over the central Pacific. I've decided that this is probably real. The net result is that the +PNA that has been with us most of the winter will break down and we will transition into a -PNA, which will likely cause a western trough that will dig into the sw US. That is a pattern that is most favorable for larger storms over the Upper Mississippi Valley. Right now the ECMWF and GFS bring some snows over se MN around the 1st of March, although the RST area and points SE are currently favored. I will have to look later today if the models continue to show this and if so, is there enough room for the storm to move to the NW. Irregardless, this looks like the best chance for MSP to get warning type snows since early Nov.

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    1. Chance yes, but we all know that this is a tease and MSP will as usual fall within the tight gradient for snow and be lucky to muster another inch or two!

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    2. Thanks for sharing Randy! I understand meteorologists being gun shy this winter about discussing snow chances, and it's only exaggerated on this site with all the "Anonymous" folks complaining louder than kids that got coal for Christmas that there's no snow in MSP!

      I personally like hearing about macro-trends and how they affect our area. If there are signs pointing to changes to a snowier pattern, I'd rather know about them ahead of time so I can have fun watching them develop!

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  42. I like snow, but I'd love to see a pattern shift that points to 60 degrees.

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    1. NWS forecast discussion this afternoon is saying that the models are pusing the weekend storm farther south towards I-80, as opposed to I-90.

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    2. Surprise, surprise...NOT! We all know how the storms this season have had a tendency to shift farther north over time. Oh, wait, that was a few seasons ago. This season they go south just like the weekend event is starting to do. Zzzzzzzzzzzz

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  43. Meanwhile the always sure Dave Dahl had this to offer on his weather blog on KSTP.com this evening...."snow will start early on Saturday and continue through most of Sunday, this should be the most significant snow of February and start March off with a bang".....right from the horses mouth.
    So is he right?.....who believes him?......

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    1. Nobody believes him! The NWS discussion this morning said that while the storm track is finally expected to shift north next week, the track will be through the Great Lakes and it is very debatable that it will be far enough north to give us snow. Once again, when the arctic air is present here it suppresses the storm track to the south and it does not snow here. When the arctic air is not present the storm track still does not come close enough to us so it still does not snow here. This season just isn't our season, boys and girls. Here's hoping for next season to at least bring us average amounts of snow.

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  44. I really love the initial upper level/JET set-up for this weekend & into next week. Still not sure what, if anything, is going to get squeezed out of this larger western trough, but the persistent W/SW flow is much more interesting than our current N/NW flow.

    My best guess is that accumulating snow will finally appear in our 4casts starting this weekend. This type of pattern would favor pieces of energy shooting out into the Upper Midwest rather than one massive storm.

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  45. Dave Dahl sure does like snow doesn't he? I know part of hte point of this blog is to keep mets accountable. From what he said a couple days ago, to what he's saying now about the weekend, to what he's then saying about mid-week next week... if we don't get more than a couple inches this weekend and a lot more mid-week next week, I give him a huge F. He's already back pedaling from what he said Sunday evening or Monday. Anyway, forgive the rant. Just think it's a little irresponsible to make these larger predictions like he is this far out.

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    1. From what I've read (on here), I would tend to agree.

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  46. Man I have lost respect for one Dave Dahl, he just sounds so sure of himself and then 24 hours later he is back pedaling, so on Monday he says Saturday will be the most significant snow of February and today he is forecasting 1-2" for Saturday and March was suppose to come in with a "bang" and now he says flurries, but wait it gets better now Monday-Wednesday there will be a even bigger storm. He is so unbelievable in my eyes, I think I will just stop watching KSTP.

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  47. I knew somebody who use to say: If we got all the snow Dave Dahl forecast, we would have a glacier a mile high over the Twin Cities. Dave just loves snow.

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    1. Makes you wonder why people here read his blog -- maybe just looking for any sign of snow?

      Isn't Dave Dahl also a bigtime climate change denier?

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  48. A few inches here in Rochester this morning. Probably up to 40 inches for the year (right around the average for this time of year).

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    1. No inches here in the metro this morning...as usual. Way below average for the season (approx. 22 inches to date?)

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  49. So in reality no real pattern shift upcoming except that the arctic air is retreating, still no real snow makers for the MSP area. I thought when they said the pattern was shifting we would finally see snow, I guess snow is only regulated to snow country of Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and the Carolinas. Paul Douglas continues to nail the forecast for this winter, Dave Dahl not so much.

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  50. It is way too early to say whether or not we will see snow next week, or with this upcoming pattern shift. Given the fact that there is more troughing out west and ridging off to the east, it is still very possible for a low to develop in the four corners region of the US and spin up in this direction. It is this type of pattern that we do typically see more snow. There still are signs that a big system could develop at some point early next week, but that is just too far out there to say for certain. Isn't there a saying that says to not forecast rain when you're in a drought? I guess the same could go in this case. So far this season, the northern and southern streams have been phasing too late, and blowing up storms out east. With the ridge in the Pacific shifting west, it will be interesting to see if systems shift west as well.

    I personally am all for an early spring given our last couple winters. The only thing I'm concerned about is drought conditions developing this spring. Lack of snow will bring some concerns in the drought department..

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  51. For those of you that are criticizing Dave Dahl, I get it, he often times jumps ahead of things. But any way you look at, he is the only media met that I know of that has jumped on the pattern change. For the last couple of days if you read the AFD out of MPX you notice they are talking about the pattern change as well. Most people that come in here that are not trolls know that any mention of a storm 7-10 days out, is not a guarantee that your back yard is going to get plastered. As Duane mentioned above the, pattern that we are going into can lead to increased chances of bigger snows.

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  52. I just took a closer look at the 02/26 0z run of the ECMWF and things are getting a little more interesting for next Tuesday. By Monday morning just before some of the energy ejects out of the SW US trough, the winds at 500mb are screaming at 80-90 knots with the source region being the eastern Pacific. At 700mb the same holds true but the winds are at 50 knots and that's impressive. That should act to pump plenty of moisture into the system, the question as always is how will that moisture survive the trip over the Rockies, right now it looks to be adequate.

    The key here is the 850mb moisture transport supplied by the winds at that level. As of now they don't have the source region on Monday morning out of the Pacific, and that's a good thing. Its actually out of southern TX with a hint of the far western gulf involved. As we move into Monday evening into the overnight we see more moisture coming out of the gulf getting transported further north into the Kansas area, and by Tuesday morning it has shifted a bit to the SE. We are very very close to getting the gulf moisture involved with the moisture coming out of Pacific, and if that should happen we could get a major winter storm close to home. Right now the ECMWF is dropping about 3-5" over the metro with about 7" over Rochester. Stay tuned as this has potential in my opinion.

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    1. Nice analysis as always, Randy. No sure thing about early next week just yet, but this is probably the best potential so far this winter. The trough out west is pushing further away. That's a good setup for snow here in March. Models are still changing every run, but the signal is consistently there that a storm is brewing. Where it hits won't be nailed down for a few days, but this is one to watch for sure. Like Randy said, the moisture transport is huge. If the GOM gets involved, this could become a big dog. Cue the trolls in 3...2....1.

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  53. So people that question the forecasters forecast are tells now? Or is as simple as not buying the hype 7 days ahead much like the forecasters do, then turns out a coating do snow. Do as I say, not as I forecast.

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    1. That should read trolls, not tells. Whoops.

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    2. I agree with NON. Also, the proper word to use when speaking of physical distance is "farther, not further" (i.e. the storm moved farther west. It is pushing farther away.). It's easy to remember because "farther" has the word "far" in it. As for snow, well, I will believe it when I see it. I just hope we don't have a late Spring. Let's save the snow for the December-February period when people can get out and enjoy it on a regular basis. March snow is usually wet, sloppy and quickly melts. Some (other than farmers) might say it's a waste of snow at that time of year.

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    3. Its important to realize when Randy says 7" in Rochester thats not a forecast. That post is him throwing out some ideas for a potential system next week.

      As for Dave Dahl...well...I don't know what to say about that.

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  54. Well, if there's a "pattern change" coming, the CDC's extended forecasts haven't bought into it. They're still talking about below average temps and precip for at least two more weeks.

    This winter has been just a black hole. I could see people having water line problems again this March given how brutal February has been.

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  55. A plead to Bill and Tom Novak.
    We really need a snowstorm this time so please no jinking videos this time :)

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    Replies
    1. Sorry, we're planning a video for later tonight. Just walk under a ladder to counteract the superstition.

      Delete
    2. There you go!
      You posted the video, and the storm has shifted south, as it was to be expected.
      I suggest posting another saying there's not going to be any snow from this system. Maybe you can jinx it the other way.

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  56. Snow or no snow. What does it matter anymore? Winter's just about over. It looks like a major warm-up beginning the second week of March.

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  57. The pattern change is really defined by how you want to look at it. A big trough swings into the southwestern U.S. this weekend, which has been rare the past few winters. But this is too far south to have much of an effect on Minnesota, keeping us in cold west/northwest flow. This changes for a day and gives us our chance of snow Tuesday, before northwest flow returns and another blast of cold air spills southward out of Canada. So yes to a pattern change across the U.S. but it really only affects Minnesota for a day or two.

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    1. Agreed Randy, however I think even the cold air blast will only last a day or two as well. It's possible we do some decent melting come the second week in March. I believe the seasonal transition time is really upon us, and we're going to be seeing some big swings in the weather pattern overall. It will only be a matter of time before the south/southeast US start cranking up their severe weather season especially with this type of pattern.

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    2. It's definitely possible next week's cold blast is short lived, but I'm not quite ready to jump onboard with a warm second week of March. I'd like to see cooler temperatures near the Pacific coast and and a decrease in the very positive PDO. Until this happens the Pacific ridge will be tough to move, keeping Minnesota in northwest flow. You also have to remember that long range, the models adjust more to climatological norms, and the normal high at MSP reaches 40 on March 13th.

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    3. While it's true that the seasonal transition period will draw us towards warmer temps I agree with Randy on his thoughts. We continue to see a strong positive PDO signal and sea surface temps up and down the coast of North America being well above the 30 year mean. We have generally been under a northwest flow for the last 18 months commencing with the fall of 2013 and persisting to this day. The only reason we are above normal temps for this winter is a very warm 2 week period in both Dec and Jan, otherwise it has been mostly below normal. Keep in mind we also had a below normal summer of 2014. Until there is a cooling of the waters off the west coast I don't see a significant change in the overall pattern, although there could be some torches thrown in.

      Now take a look at what this long term model is showing. Check the season from this spring, into summer and fall when it comes to sea surface temps.

      http://www.jamstec.go.jp/frsgc/research/d1/iod/e/seasonal/outlook.html

      Now look at what it is showing for surface temps during the same time.

      http://www.jamstec.go.jp/frsgc/research/d1/iod/e/seasonal/outlook.html

      I think another summer of below normal temps, and a mostly boring severe season is upon us.

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    4. I guess you will have to scrawl down on the drop down box to see the surface temp anomalies.

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  58. New video to discuss possible snow next week. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZeHwQZvaH4

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  59. The NWS discussion this morning is still calling for some snow next Tuesday in the metro. However, they also mentioned that the models have already started shifting the system south. What else is new? That should come as no surprise to any of us. Don't get your hopes up, snow fans.

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    1. Yep, starting to believe there is some sought of jinx with Bill and the guys making making a video. Video goes up and the storm shifts south.

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    2. If that's true, keep those videos coming, B! Not a snow fan...

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  60. I have seen foretasted temps with highs 30-35 on Tuesday. Hilarious if we get mixed bag to rain out of this.On par with the rest of the winter.

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  61. lamest Winter ever! need SNOW to stay sane! #summersucks

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  62. Plenty of the Euro ensembles bring the track of the low across east central and north east Iowa. More likely than not the significant snow stays south of the Twin Cities, but its not a lock yet.

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    1. The NWS discussion this afternoon maintains that the storm track on Tuesday will be too far south (shocking! lol) to give the Twin Cities significant snow. Perhaps 3 inches or so down near the Iowa border. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

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  63. I realize it's been quite the lame winter, but really people are already calling it quits on this system? Realize that the main energy for this system is still off the west coast and hasn't gotten into our weather network yet. The GFS is trending stronger with this storm, per the 00z run, but really this far out you have to expect more shifts in the track. Don't turn a blind eye on this storm. Expect more changes, especially once the system comes ashore and a more detailed data set gets put into the models. Could it end up sailing south? Sure it could! It could also trend north. Nothing is a lock yet, given it is still 4 days out.

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  64. 0z GFS shifted north but the anon's have called it a bust so we don't need to watch anymore.

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  65. One of the reasons I have been bullish about this system is the moisture feed coming off the eastern Pacific in the mid levels and the same thing from the western GOM at 850mb.

    Secondly, I have been watching the 500mb height and vorticity maps, + vorticity equals energy, and there is plenty of that in the SW US. While this energy is sitting there, come Monday afternoon there is a secondary piece of energy diving in behind it coming down the western US coast. This second piece actually acts as a kicker and pushes the energy out of the sw primarily intact as opposed to being strung out.

    For those of you that like to look at the surface maps, there is something interesting there as well. Just like the mid levels where mother nature wants to balance everything out by having ridges and trough's following the ridges, it generally will do that as well at the surface with areas of high pressure followed by a area of low pressure. This weekend we will be affected by a strong surface high that will move off to the east starting late Sunday into Monday. By Monday evening as it moves well off to our east, the models are also dropping another area of high pressure down from the northwest. It's very unlikely that those two air masses will effect us with out some kind of low pressure in between them. Therefore I strongly believe this system has room to cut further to the NW, than what the far southern solutions were showing. I'm going with a 7 out of 10 chance that the area from Albert Lea to Rochester to Eau Claire will see a significant winter storm, with the SE Metro getting into the action as well. I suspect the NW metro area from Elk River to Stillwater could see advisory type snows.

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  66. It is not often that a push my chips in when a storm is still 72 hours out, but I'M ALL IN! I simply can't ignore the dynamics on TUE:
    - Powerhouse 250mb jet oriented SW/NE across the Plains.
    - Bitter cold Arctic air in place over MN/WI
    - Moisture feed from the Gulf of Mexico surging north
    - Tight, TIGHT baroclinic zone over the Upper Midwest & Great Lakes
    - Surface low tracking from KS to WI.

    All of this points towards an interesting scenario that promises snow. Could it bust? Of course, but it is highly irresponsible to ignore and/or downplay these signals. Quite frankly, I've been shocked that media outlets & the NWS haven't hit this harder by now. These signals have been obvious for a few days now.

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    1. I hope you're right! I imagine that the NWS and the media outlets are pretty gun shy about predicting snow in the midst of a drought. Also, whenever they do predict snow it seems that the storm darts away and very little if any snow falls. Time will tell....

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  67. Let the media hysteria begin! Maybe some videos of people buying duct tape? I'd feel better about the world if I saw jugs of water flying off the shelf.

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  68. 12z European ensembles are starting to converge on a track from southern Iowa towards Madison. Still looks like a pretty quick moving system so we're not talking about a historic storm either.

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  69. NWS discussion this afternoon says possibly 3 inches for the metro Monday night and Tuesday. At this time they are definitely not looking for a big snowstorm at all.

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  70. Hammer is calling for the biggest of the winter, possibly water buying time. Check your stock now, T- minus 72 hours!

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    1. Given this winter that isn't saying much. The snow bar isn't exactly set high at all. Officially the biggest snow event this winter has been approximately 3-3.5 inches?

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    2. Biggest day (December 27) is 3.4". Biggest storm (December 26/27) is 4.2".

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    3. Thanks, CWY2190. My point exactly. Not a high bar at all.

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  71. Winter's last hooray!, Enjoy next week winter/snow lovers. The biggest and last snowfall of the season, the last of the negative numbers as well. By the end of next week we begin to thaw and the week to follow after the great melt we climb into the 40's(dare I say some bank thermometers may flash 50°). Spring will be in the air, with shorts and long lines at the car wash, I might even bust out the grill!

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    1. Has winter had its first hurrah yet?

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  72. Paul Douglas hinting at 60° in two weeks! Winter will be coming to a abrupt end, kind of like two years when it hit 80 on St. Patricks Day and that March like Randyinchamplain would say was a blowtorch, repeat performance?, looks like it.

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  73. False Spring for a few days around mid month. Temperatures will then return to several degrees below average through the rest of the month as blocking re-establishes itself. Enjoy the shorts and the grill while you can.

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    1. Ok Joe Bastardi, way to read his blog and tweets and post it here anonymously. You know he's not always correct and is a model watcher, throws out models on twitter with every run....sometimes correct other times not so much!

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    2. Actually Joe has predicted the last two winter patterns quite well in general, months in advance.

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    3. Never claimed it to be my information. Bastardi is much more accurate than anyone else you can name. Remember that when it's persistently cold after your mini warm up.

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    4. I can't speak for who first anonymously posted about Joe Bastardi, but I'm not anonymous and I agree with Joe Bastardi. Jon, it sounds like you have been paying close attention to Bastardi also (blogs, tweets). What's wrong with posting here what he says? People post on here all the time what others say. That's kind of the point of this blog, isn't it? We all discuss the weather, which includes discussion of what the pros are saying. With the exception of a couple of regulars on here, the rest of us aren't meteorologists. I also agree with the comment above that Joe has done a very good job predicting the past couple of winters several months in advance.

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  74. WPC ensemble snowfall forecast which gives you a more probabilistic distribution. Very useful product especially when the storm is more than 2 days away.

    Forecast for MSP

    10th percentile (means 10% chance of less than): 1 inch
    25th percentile: 2 inches
    50th percentile (average/expected): 4 inches
    75th percentile: 5 inches
    90th percentile (means a 90% chance of less than): 7 inches

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  75. Groundwork already being laided for a BUST.....few mets already using the terms "dry air", "dry tongue", "reduced snowfall", "cut down on totals". Remember just a few days ago to the video or even posts on here when you heard its a perfect setup and all the dynamics are there, oh my another "event" that acts like all the others this winter. When will everyone learn that MSP very rarely gets a direct hit, when was the last time MSP was in the bullseye? Domebuster storm? Point is snow goes north or south or were grazed with coatings to a couple inches, you can never rely on models or setups days in advance, were lucky to have it right 12 hours in advance.

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  76. Plymouth Weather LoverMarch 1, 2015 at 1:17 PM

    Goodness, people, settle down a notch. Sam, I don't know how you define "direct hit", but we had several big storms last year. The MSP area was in the big snows several times. (Even this year the NW burbs got about 8-10 inches when MSP got around 3-4. One other time the north burbs got 10-14 inches and MSP got 1-2 or so.) I think a good point to be made here is that storms don't shift--models shift their predictions. We shift our predictions based on shifting models. Some use the shifting models only and therefore their forecasts keep shifting. I like it when a met uses the models as a part of their forecast (Novak, Randyinchaplain, Duane, others). I also don't mind it when Dave Dahl and others show models well in advance. Few rip on mets for showing models of a warm up two or more weeks out, but many rip on mets for showing a snow model just 5-7 days out. Remember, storms don't shift--models shift their predictions.

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    1. Exactly my point PWL, you mentioned snow hitting the NW burbs, it is rare that MSP or any city inside the loop gets a direct hit or the most snowfall its almost always north burbs or south burbs, MSP proper gets grazed or missed often then you realize. Its good that you want to hear all the lead up to a storm but most times as the event approaches a wrinkle appears and what was hyped days ago becomes a ho-hum event it happens that way alot. I love snow as much as the next person but they hardly materialize in the favor of MSP for some reason.

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    2. With all due respect, it does not matter one iota what happened last year. The weather we had last winter cannot be used to predict weather this winter.

      Second, what does it even mean to say that storms don't shift, but models do? Models are what we use to predict the weather; that's the only thing that matters. The weather happens, we try to predict it.

      NOAA says there's a 30-40% chance of >= 4 inches of snow in MSP by 6pm Tuesday. Slightly better chance for SE suburbs.

      Delete
    3. From a statistical point of view it is obvious that the chance of a single location (MSP in the example) being hit is relatively small considering its size relative to where a given storm can go. So it is almost a certainty that someone else is more likely to get more snow than you.
      This is why I consider idiotic to refer all records to a single location. Given 2015 technology it should be very easy to set reporting station around the loop NW, N, Ne, West Central, Central, East Central, SW, S and SE and average out. That would be a much better depiction of average snowfall for the Twin Cities Metro.
      So @Sam is technically correct: MSP will always get missed more often than not, because likelihood is against it.
      In probability theory it is the high-chance low incidence phenomenon:
      chances you get a tornado in MN: almost close to 100%. Chanve your neighborhood gets a direct hit? close to 0%...
      same for snowstorms with different values...

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  77. What do you people expect? An exact forecast to the tenth of an inch? The models will have predicted the existence of this storm 7 days in advance. Thats f****ng remarkable. If 7 days in advance the model says "storm develops next Tuesday with the heaviest band over Northern Iowa" and what really happens is "storm develops Tuesday with heaviest band near Twin Cities"...and people call out the models tells me you won't be satisfied until the model can tell you how many snowflakes will fall on your driveway vs your back yard.

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  78. Plymouth Weather LoverMarch 1, 2015 at 2:41 PM

    Amen, Cody Y!! I couldn't agree more!! Bring it!

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  79. No watches of any kind - safe to presume nothing big

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  80. it looks like a 2-3 inch snowfall for MSP at this point.
    Nothing big, but given the ridicolous winter we had let's take it. To paraphrase the great Greg LeMond: at this point in the Tour you do what you can, not what you like.

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  81. Dry slot
    Passing just south and east of the metro
    Passing just north and west of the metro
    Northwest flow
    Storm track well suppressed to our south
    Too cold to snow
    Dry tongue
    Dry air
    Bust
    Storm fizzling
    Drought

    - These are some of my favorite winter phrases!

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    Replies
    1. Drink deep, my son, from the fountain of snowlovers' tears.

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  82. All due respect Novak, but I'm not going to change my travel plans for a 2-3 inch snow, as most outlets are calling for incl. the NWS. My day will continue as planned.

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    1. Its the 25 to 35 mph winds in the afternoon that might make you want to change your plans. Especially for anyone OUTSIDE of the loop.

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  83. My guess is that 'Anonymous', who will not be canceling his/her travel plans, is a city slicker. You gotta love it when city people comment on travel conditions. I'll tell you what 'Anonymous', go out to rural MN on Tuesday & drive for a few hours after a 3"+ snow & winds gusting to 40mph. Then, get back to me.

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    Replies
    1. You're right, I am a city slicker :).

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  84. Visible light recently passed 12 hours per day. Only three weeks til the equinox. We're getting there; I can see a light at the end of winter's long, black, soulless tunnel.

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  85. Got to love Dr. Novak, with all due respect, not being critical here just making a obversation. So his travel impact map puts the entire metro(north and south metro) in a 'high' impact zone(which usually means highest snowfall) and then proceeds to say later that dry air will impact and reduce snowfall right up to the metro. Cant have both worlds Novak, if the dry air is coming then change your impact map, why have an impact map and confuse the public.

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  86. Why change the map when I believe that the MSP metro will be heavily impacted? Southern MN is large area & includes more than just the MSP metro. My worry is that areas south of MSP (RST, LSE, Albert Lea, etc.) will experience some dry air.

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  87. For all thoseJoe Bastardi fans I give you our very own Dave Dahl, read his blog from last evening. Claims warmer pattern will continue through next week and March will be a above average month.

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    1. LOL...you're using Dave Dahl to support your position!? Isn't he the guy that always predicts a lot of snow and then turns around and says, "ooopps, just kidding"? Dave seems like a nice guy, but he is not very accurate.

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    2. Dave Dahl isn't the only one! Paul Huttner and Paul Douglas as well, so their all wrong to Bastardi lover.

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  88. Blizzard Warning area: High impact due to winds. Little snow expected.
    Central MN: High impact due to expected 5 or so inches of snow and wind.
    Metro: Bad timing for morning commute. Otherwise, Yawn!!! This little 2 inch snowfall would have barely received a mention last season when we had a real winter! Wake me when a real storm comes along.

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  89. I hope Dahl is right. I'm tired of this lame excuse for a winter. Yes, the first half of January and the month of February were cold. It was also cold in November for a stretch, but December and the second half of January were balmy. All of the months failed miserably when it came to snow, because there wasn't any!! I would like sunny and 70 degrees now, but unfortunately I don't think it's going to happen for a long time. I feel that we will have a chilly spring too. I also agree that Dahl isn't exactly known for his accuracy.

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  90. If Dave Dahl is not your cup of tea then read Paul Huttner over at MPR, calling for a early spring in Minnesota as well. A thaw by Friday that blossoms into a full warmup next week with 40's and 50's . There will be no snowcover left from Central MN to Iowa border, snowlovers and Joe Bastardi fans can go hiberate till next winter and winter haters can rejoice!

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    Replies
    1. The CPC is calling for temps to be below normal for MN for March. Everyone appears to be in agreement that there will be a spring-like week in mid March. Some say that will last. Others say that it will be short-lived. Time will tell.

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  91. Plymouth Weather LoverMarch 2, 2015 at 9:58 AM

    I think Tuesday will catch a lot of people off guard. Snow, cold, excessive winds. We are not used to that this winter and some will only look at snow totals forecast and not the reality of the intensity of this storm.

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  92. Please, if we can't handle a 2-5" snow event with some cold and wind then we shouldn't be living in Minnesota. On the other hand if we act like people in ATL or DFW then there will be chaos on the roads. Just slow it down abit and wear a seatbelt, oh and make sure you have enough bread and milk for 24 hours.

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  93. Sven just posted 2.8inches. That's not catching even the breadlines off guard.

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  94. WOO-HOO! Has everyone seen the extended forecast, not one sub freezing high temperature starting Friday and going out to the foreseeable future(10+ days). Can you say SPRING is knocking on the door, a mere 96 hours away. Time to locate the grill.

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    Replies
    1. I indeed got a hunch tomorrow's will probably be the last snow of the season.
      Another winter that ended before even starting.
      But it's nice to hear some people are happy about this: evidently Mother Nature finds ways to make snow-lovers and snow-haters happy.

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  95. First - Bill we need a new thread, this is too long to scroll down!

    On the "storm". With temps staying up until midday, hopefully most of the snow will be done and MNDOT can melt it away. Crazy winter and I'm on board with others, let's melt those lakes and start Spring early!

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