Sunday, December 18, 2016

Toward Christmas and Beyond -- Scanning the Meteorological Horizon for Snow and Cold

With two consecutive weekend snowstorms behind us, what does the future hold? Use this space to discuss possible storms as we approach Christmas and beyond.

116 comments:

  1. It appears Christmas Day blizzard is a lock, 10 plus, 40-50MPH winds behind, 7 days out! Lock.

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    1. Really!?!?!?!....I don't come here to see others mock others, you know what you did, not cool so take a hike or provide some better insight!

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    2. Big boy, calm down a little, relax brother, enjoy the winter! Wow! I missed the serious comments only disclaimer in the fine print.

      I'll behave please show me the way Bigboy!

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    3. As the blog owner, I'm all for humor. But that's an edge nobody on here wants.

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    4. The storm did hit as predicted/locked. No where did anyone 'lock' in the totals a week out! So yes this posting isn't accurate.

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  2. It's great to see these systems show up this year. It's been quite a while since we've seen a "consistent" flow of large systems (6"+). What I find interesting with this Xmas weekend system is that the 12-18 18z run had MSP on the northern edge of the heavy snow. Now, with the last two runs, they're has been s 300 mi shift to the north and MSP is now on the southern edge with amounts much, much less.
    I realize there will be adjustments but I don't recall seeing a huge shift such as this.

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  3. Sunday's potential storm is one I am 100% hoping is a miss. The idea of driving home from Wisconsin on white interstates Christmas night is the opposite of appealing.

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    1. You might get your wish if the GFS verifies. Won't be a miss but GFS has snow changing to rain with a small amount of snow, maybe the interstates will be wet and not white for you. Hard to imagine we go from -25 to rain in a week but it's possible. Rain on Christmas in Minnesota is just not right though so I'm wishing against that.

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  4. GFS latest model guidance is still trending north. Metro almost completely snow free now. Still a few days out but the trend is a northern movement

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  5. Yes, both GFS and ECMWF put the low in western MN. Dakotas blizzard?

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  6. @ mnmoxie - where do you get you model data? Would be fun to watch

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  7. yes to what DysonGuy says. took me a while to navigate the site but once I got it figured out it became fun.

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  8. This is a GIANT storm right now, so with that much interaction with land and all that moisture (correct me if I am not looking at the maps correctly, but it looks to me like it's pulling in Pacific AND Gulf moisture), there's bound to be sizable shifts in location/speed/etc. Sure will be fun to track this week, and looks like someone will get a blizzard for Christmas!

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  9. So as we sit right now, rainstorm for MSP for Christmas, OMG white Christmas washout on Christmas that would be the worst gift for snow lovers but one I would pay to watch!

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  10. Paul Huttner(MPR)= Christmas rainstorm!
    Oh this is getting good, how much is admission to this snow lovers cry feast!

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  11. Weather.com says Christmas ice storm for MSP, I would rather have the rain or snow..no thank you on the ice!

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  12. So the NWS tweeted showing a plume of precipitation probabilities. The majority suggested rain, yet their official forecast only mentions snow. I asked them about it and this is what they said: "With the system being 6 days out, we stayed on the conservative/cool side and kept the precip type as snow across the region."

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  13. Give it time Bill, tomorrow's forecast they will start introducing rain and by Thursday it will be an all out rainstorm. Also Novak lost his buddy, arctic air, so he too will talk liquid! Sorry snowlovers, well not really!

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    1. Right on que, NWS says system will be 'warm', with rain now in the forecast for Sunday, they even go as far as saying in their discussion 'a snowstorm for MN/WI is unlikely'.

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  14. It's all back to normal guys. The arctic air storms were just an exception.
    Now it's back to the rain/snow reality. Cold and dry, and when there's moisture it's too warm to support all snow.
    Watch it coming the rest of the winter..
    Hope you enjoyed these past 2 weeks.
    Hopefully the weekend storm and the thaw expecting this coming days won't wreck the White Xmas. But concerns are increasing.

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  15. Yeah for warmth! Who wants a snowstorm around a major holiday when so many people are on the road?

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  16. Nothing from Dr. N for a few days now! Like to hear his thoughts.

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  17. It never snows in Minneapolis anymore.

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    1. It does snow, but whereas in the past that was the rule, now it is the exception.

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

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

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  20. Lets look at some facts. 2 out of the last 5 winters have averaged below normal for snow in MSP. 7 out of the last 10 winters have been below average in snowfall. Since 1980, 17 below average and 18 above.

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  21. Just a couple more days until we start heading back towards summer! Woot!

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    1. Bring that! When do pitchers and catchers report?

      Not that I care about the Twins anymore :(

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  22. Mom Nature is planning on drop kicking us snow lovers in the gut by giving us a large lump of coal for Christmas. A rainstorm for Christmas?!?! Really?!?! WTH?!? This reminds me of the lame "winters" back in the mid-Atlantic region, it warms up so it can rain and then it gets cold and sunny once the storm moves out and there is no moisture left for snow. Dr. Novak, is there any realistic possibility that the models will shift south by Christmas to give us a White, not Wet, Christmas?

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    1. Dr. Novak is uncharacteristically very quiet, why?
      Because is friend Arctic has left. Thus rain!

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    2. I grew up in those Mid-Atlantic winters (DC area). What about you, Tim?

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    3. Dr. Novak is waiting on a shift south on the models so he can at least put MSP in a 'low' impact zone for his Impact map, that's why he's so quiet!

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    4. Bill,

      I grew up in Delaware, an hour south of Philly, and I went to school at the U of MD, College Park, so I lived in D.C. for 3 years. I spent my first 24 years back East. I have now been in Minnesota/Wisconsin for the past 20 plus years. How I hate those wimpy mid-Atlantic "winters". lol

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  24. I'm on the sidelines right now. I wouldn't touch this storm with a 10 foot pole. 50°f 850mb temps in January? Are you on crack? Something smells with this storm & I don't want to make a fool of myself until a few more model runs come down.

    Also, this Storm is slowing down too. May not really hit until Monday.

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    1. You mean December, correct?
      What does a slower storm mean?...shift in track?...colder?

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    2. Ha! Yeah, December. Thanks!

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    3. Don't know what that means. Usually, a slower storm = more warm air entrained into the system. Gut feeling is that track will change significantly.

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  25. Euro's got RST with a surface temp of 50° @ 7am MON dropping to 15° by 7pm. That seems absolutely absurd. Can't wait to see how this thing eventually unfolds.

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  26. Its called a cold front I believe, Novak.
    Anyhow most forecasters are going with plain rain after a brief period of wintry precip to start on Christmas, so basically this is a unevent, also NWS is calling for thunderstorms with heavy rain, could there be any snow left on the ground on December 26th. What a drastic turn of events, last two weeks everyone was talking about finally a real Minnesota winter with cold and snow and constant snowcover. Not anymore!

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  27. latest eruo and GFS continue to keep the low west of Minnesota. Been very consistent last few days.

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    1. Yes remember when Novak said in one of his videos that the models have been very good lately, well why would this be any different. Believe it it will rain and hard!

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  28. I am a bit puzzled as to why Novak smells something with this storm.
    Classic mid-latitude cyclone, western track that put most of MN in the warm sector, therefore rain and potential for thunderstorms in southern MN.
    It is a system more typical of late March/April than December but overall consistent with the late pattern of warm air surging north almost with every storm.
    Again, the past 2 weeks were the exception not the rule.

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  29. Too good to be true. Model guidance hasn't budged & the consensus is amazing. You know what that means...surprises ahead! There are such strong signals with this storm. I just don't know how model guidance can be locked-in on such a strong storm this far in advance. We are still a good 4 days out.

    One thing appears certain. Somebody is going to get DRY slotted from this thing & those individuals will consider this a massive BUST.

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    1. Considering that I am a snow lover, and that the very notion of rain in December is anathema to me, I hope you are right. Better to be dry slotted than rain if snow is not to come.

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    2. Us snowlovers don't care about a rain bust, it can bust all it wants! The best thing about a rain bust is at least all our snow cover won't disappear!

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  30. I never thought I would say this, but "come on dry slot"! It sure beats tropical "Florida-like" thunderstorms for Christmas Day. Smh in absolute disgust.

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  31. Prepare yourselves for tornado watches and heat advisories for Christmas, boys and girls. To make matters worse, all of that rain is going to make for prime breeding conditions for those pesky mosquitoes. Welcome to your third consecutive non-winter. The new normal?

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  32. Why are there so many stupid people on this site like anonymous at 7:53 pm?

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    1. They are just snow haters and like to poke some fun when it rains. It will snow Friday and it will snow again after Christmas, let them have their day!

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    2. Yeah I know but it just pisses me off when people act stupid like that.

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  33. Why do you think i prefer facebook over this b.s. they wouldnt make half the stupid comment on facebook because then we would know who they are...wish this site could be made where you have to sign in.

    Gregg

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    1. I suppose you're right. I just don't have/care to have a facebook page.

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    2. The problem with Facebook, I think, is that people have to change their settings to ensure that they get notifications or that updates otherwise appear at the top of their feed so they don't miss them. I imagine there are ways to set up a log in, but that seemed to trip the wrong people up last time we tried. Can maybe revisit this down the road.

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    3. Bill its a setting on the page itself that when you follow you can choose it to be at the top of your news feed every time you post something.

      Gregg

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  34. Every time I pull up the models I shake my head thinking this can't be possible for Christmas. Still looks like a decent amount of...rain?!?

    If this keeps up Bill may move back here.

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    1. :-)
      And can you add some mountains while you're at it?

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    2. I agree. I keep searching/hoping for a Christmas miracle, but it's not looking promising. Weatherwise, this is extremely depressing. Holiday-wise, I am happy it's Christmastime. Take the very bad with the very good.

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  35. It will feel like living back on the east coast this weekend. Case in point, Saturday night lows are forecasted to be in the low 20's and Sunday night lows are forecasted to be in the low 20's..in between over an inch of liquid rain. As they always said back home cold before the storm warms up during the storm to deliver rain and then cold follows again. But this western track is a classic track of warmth being pulled northward, no Arctic air to suppress this one!

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  36. GFS moved slightly east with Christmas system, still rain but cooler temps, not near 50 like the EURO more like upper 30's, could this trend east continue? We'll see!

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  37. That is actually not good because it increases and prolongs the period of potential ice.
    The shift will never be enough to bring the area in the snow.
    What it will do is delay the surface temps rising above freezing. Sunday morning will be an icy mess.

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  38. I'm really excited for the rain on Christmas Day! I hope it washes most of our snow away and that it doesn't snow again for a long time, well into January, if not February.

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    1. It can wash it right into next winter as far as I'm concerned.

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  39. New video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7opSHVOTq4

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    1. Dr Novak looks and sounds bummed! Like he lost his best friend, Arctic!

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  40. If I can't be in the Dakotas or northwestern Minnesota for Christmas, then hopefully the Twin Cities metro will get dry slotted on Christmas. I have figured out a way that us snow lovers can salvage Christmas, weather-wise. If here in the metro we can pick up a couple of inches or so of snow tomorrow, and get dry slotted on Christmas Day (even if it is 40 degrees), we can save most of our snowcover. I would rather lose a couple of inches of snow due to a warm day, than lose most of it due to driving heavy rain on Christmas Day! UUUgghhh! Ok, we'll see how it plays out. Let's keep our fingers crossed, because getting snow in the metro for Christmas Day embarrassing and disappointingly appears to be as likely as Miami, FL getting snow on Christmas Day.

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    1. Either way, you'll live. It's okay.

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  41. I don't know how exactly it could be embarrassing. 40s on Christmas would be great. Also cuts down on heating bill.

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  42. 36 degrees and light drizzle in MSP right now. That dynamic cooling better kick into high gear pretty soon if we are to get the advertised snow.

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  43. Another busted forecast.

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  44. I don't believe you can call the 4cast for MSP a bust. I don't know of anyone that was predicting 2"+ of snow over the metro. Most outlets were saying 1"-2" I believe. Now, if MSP only gets rain, then yes, a bit of a bust.

    How would you like to be a FAR or GFK 4caster? A storm track of 30 to 50 miles either way is going to make a world of a difference in snow totals. GFK may have to pull the old 2" - 24" of snow possible on SUN/MON. There are going to be a lot of ticked-off people up there that feel the 4cast is a colossal BUST.

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    1. To be clear: rain was not mentioned at all, so that per se is already a bust. Wrong precip type to start with. I doubt MSP gets any measurable snow given it's much warmer and the ground is wet, so accumulations will be hard. But in my opinion even if you get 0.9 vs 1: you are 10% off in your forecast : that's huge.

      As far GFK: again, if your job is to do weather forecasting I would expect you to have the right skills to tell me better than anywhere between 2-24" because I already know that. There is no value added in that information.
      In late december in GFK I can expect 2-24" of snow almost every day.
      So the real question is: if weather prediction is indeed so imprecise then maybe probabilistic forecast would be a much better way to go.
      If you say 1-2" the public inteprets is as there is a 100% chance of getting at least 1 inch of snow. In reality we know the chance is less than that. But I feel that component of uncertaincy is never correctly pointed out, which is why most people call it a bust.

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    2. I agree that uncertainty is not well communicated. I know that some forecasters think they need to just be bold and put something out there, but I think they should communicate variance.

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    3. Agreed, Bill. I have been following this blog often and I know you have been long a fan of probabilistic forecasts.
      In my business (flying) we rely a lot on short term forecasts which by their nature are more reliable and extremely detailed. I think the general public would mostly appreciate more rather than less detail.
      I read often north west metro, south-east metro etc.. What is that supposed to mean? Do we even know if the general public interprets that in the same way?

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  45. Moderate snow in Rochester. Big flakes.

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  46. Light snow in Apple Valley, mostly small flakes

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  47. Zero accumulation in South Minneapolis. Melted on contact. Maybe a slushy 1/8 inch in some spots (a dusting really). Underwhelming. Roads are great. Drove home really fast, no slipping. Easy.

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    1. Yes, completed mishandled. Rain that was not forecast, air temperature much higher than expected so that even when it snowed accumulations were minimal.
      These are really big mistakes in my opinion. You need to take into consideration warmth at the surface when estimating accumulation. You can predict 2 inches of snow when you start the day with 37 degrees and it is drizzling.

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    2. I agree. I was in the Lakeville area all day, and after the unpredicted RAIN (the area forecast this morning for Lakeville was for a 100% chance of 2-4 inches of snow) ended it snowed a shovel bending half of an inch, and the temperature stayed around 35 degrees all day. But enough about that fun little precursor to the pending Christmas Day present that is about to be delivered. The following are the weather service's words, not mine: heavy downpours, thunderstorms, winds up to 40 mph, unusual warmth in the upper levels of the atmosphere. Hmmmm, that sounds eerily like a tropical storm to me! Yes, snow fans, that's your Christmas Day forecast in Miami, FL...ooops, sorry, I meant Minneapolis, MN! Little Johnny gets a tropical storm for Christmas! But wait snow fans, there's more. It will get cold AFTER the moisture moves away, therefore, guaranteeing that no snow will fall. Also, there is no snow in the forecast for the next week (ignore the weather service's mention of the lame possible weak clipper next week). Don't hold your collective breaths. I was ridiculed the other night by some of you on here. Ridicule all you want. Look out your windows and you will see that I am right. Again, welcome to your third consecutive non-winter. As for the freezing rain potential, I sincerely hope that does not materialize. Many people will be driving on Christmas Day. I certainly do not wish for anyone to be harmed.

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  48. I think a dusting of snow today is a bust in my book. From the cold and snow to this bullshit weather this week is disappointing.
    Hoping the cold and snow return for the new year!

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    1. You're right about that. This BS weather is for the dogs. If I wanted to live where there is no winter, I would move to Florida. The obnoxious post above at @5:57 unfortunately might be on to something. With each passing year it seems to get more and more difficult to get a real Minnesota winter around here, especially in the southern part of the state. Lame, very lame. And before anyone responds and says to stop complaining, keep in mind how you would feel if you enjoyed warm summer weather, for example, but the recent summers were chilly and rainy. I'm sure you wouldn't be too happy about that. Those of us who enjoy snow/winter feel the same way when winter fails to arrive. A couple of cold days here and there does not qualify as a winter.

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    2. The forecast was for a low of 24 last night. I don't think it even hit freezing in the Eagan area? Add that to the busted snow forecast, and yesterday's total forecast grade is a D- at best. I'm not too concerned about ice tomorrow, particularly in the central and southern metro. It would be a very good thing to not have icy roads to contend with. Have a safe Christmas, everybody!

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  49. What seemed to be an almost certain chance of a white Xmas for MSP is really getting in jeopardy.
    4 inches snow depth officially after today. Tomorrow is also supposed to above freezing for a while so we'll probably lose another 1 or 2.
    If I remember correctly the measurement is taken at 6am on Xmas morning and that can save us as most of the rain is supposed to hit in the afternoon.
    But anyways hugely disappointing, borderline ridiculous.
    Someone needs to find a way to mix down cold air from 500mb sometimes in the near future otherwise we snow lovers are kind of s***d. :) :)

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  50. I looked at the NAM 4K late last night and it really backed off snow over the metro but kept it elsewhere in the same places Novak did. The moisture showed up, but temps were a couple degrees too warm. Odd thing is parking lots tonight are brutal, much worse than snow. The drizzle all day is freezing.

    Not trying to defend Novak, he can do that for himself. This wasn't going to be a major snow event, it was going to be heavy wet snow. Add a couple of degrees in temps and instant mix all day.

    Sunday looks crazy with a chance of thunder.

    Merry Christmas everyone. Great group of folks out here.

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  51. I'm really surprised that there is so much talk about ICE for so. MN overnight & SUN am. I just don't see that happening.

    Model guidance has totally blown the temp 4casts over the last 24 hours & my bet is that guidance is again lowering temps too much overnight. Right now, MSP is already at 34° & will likely rise a couple more degrees before evening. Do we really believe that temps will drop below 32° with cloud cover & a stiff SE breeze overnight? No way.

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  52. Temps are down to 31 degrees at 5:19 p.m. in Owatonna. I think the National Weather Service is right on with this prediction.

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  53. Merry Christmas to you Bill and all the fine folks on here that contribute positively throughout the year!
    White Christmas has been officially attained but Mother Nature will put a serious dent in our snow cover today with the warmth and rain!
    Heads up when stepping out this morning....went out to grab the Sunday paper and my driveway is a sheet of ice this morning!

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  54. Not much in the way of warming thus far today, we're sitting at 34 degrees (didn't say mid 40's for today) but just warm enough to keep us out of a ice storm.

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  55. Just heard thunder in Roseville! Woo-hoo! A Christmas thunderstorm!

    What a nice gift! I'm diggin it!

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  56. I believe we have just passed the threshold that puts us at the wettest year ever.

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  57. At least all the snow cover is not lost....still couple of inches on the ground.

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    1. That will slowly waste away this week, and with another rain storm on the horizon it will be all gone by this time next week. Welcome to another wimpy southern Minnesota winter.

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  58. The GFS wants to bring another powerful Low towards the upper midwest early next year. Which side would we be on? (warm/cold). place your bets!

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    1. Neither!
      Euro says no storm for MSP!
      No consensus no storm IMO!

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    2. Not sure what Euro you are looking at!

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    3. This is an interesting point as models are trying to sniff something out in the extended. We should be able to end up on the cool side based on the ridge pattern that some models are indicating.


      -Cheers, fellow enthusiast

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    4. The latest GFS is bringing the famed rain/snow line over the metro for the next storm next week. Looks like some more winter rain on the way??!! There's still time for things to change, but...uughhh! Enough already!

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    5. Plenty of time for it to be all rain. Novak's buddy, Arctic hasn't returned yet and when it does next week the storm will be long gone!

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    6. Just saw on the local news that the new Theodore Wirth sledding hill that was supposed to open today did not, because there is a dearth of snow. Late December in Minneapolis and we can't even open a sledding hill. I also saw where ice fishing houses have fallen through the ice the past couple of days due to the warmth, wind and rain. It seems that anymore winter is becoming an exception rather than the norm in the Twin Cities. Climate change? Mere coincidence? Cyclical variability? Keep in mind that this isn't even an El Nino winter! It's one thing for El Nino to ruin winter for us, but when there is no El Nino and we're still getting slapped upside the head....! To add insult to injury, as if yesterday's weather wasn't bad enough, I see that the GFS is trying to make it RAIN here AGAIN next week. I sure hope it's wrong. As others have posted on here, this is getting ridiculous!!

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    7. unfortunately we will have to get used to this.
      This is the new normal.
      Even though people on this blog have ridiculed me and others in the past for posting similar thing, the evidence is overwhelming.
      If it's cold enough the storm misses to the south.
      If the track is right, it's too warm for all snow.
      It is as easy as that. I will for sure be ridiculed again, but denying it is as Paul Douglas once said "like denying gravity".
      Winter is broken for MSP guys.

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  59. Winds actually woke me up at 2:30 this morning—and my house is insulated for airport noise! Couldn’t figure out what the noise was at first. I live near the airport and it sounds similar to planes landing, only constant. Drove home in windy, torrential downpour yesterday, too. Have lived in Minnesota all my life, don’t remember anything like this in December. MM ;-)

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  60. Monday/Tuesday storm is looking to move through MN southwest to northeast. Guess what snow lovers...more heavy RAIN is on the way!

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  61. Bill I believe a new thread is in order. Not enough room on here, need to start fresh for all the snow lovers to complain about the new rainstorm!

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  62. Remember when there used to be winter weather in Minnesota during the winter months? Ah, the good ole days. Our kids will read about it in their history books at school.

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  63. Anonymous who actually likes snowDecember 27, 2016 at 8:21 AM

    NWS says another "messy system" heading our way for the New Year and yes rain is included in MSP again. When Novak's buddy isn't around this is what happens, and when his buddy returns next week guess what most days will be cold and dry with very minor nuisance snows of C-2".

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  64. New thread for rain please. 113 comments are too long to scroll through. Thanks!

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