Paul Douglas On Weather
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Slight Chance Of Snow Thursday

Even though we saw snow Wednesday, a few more snow showers might be possible as we head throughout Thursday across the state. Not much snow is expected to fall - maybe a tenth of an inch or two in areas that do receive some snow. The graphic above: Model forecast loop of the potential snow from 6 AM Thursday to 6 AM Friday.

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Cold Streaks Slowly Coming To An End

As warmer weather continues to arrive the next few days, we are slowly starting to end our streaks of consecutive days with temperatures colder than a certain temperature. One that is still alive and running is our streak of highs that are colder than +20F. Through Tuesday, we were at 12 straight days, good enough for a tie for 34th place. We should add three more days to that (Wednesday through Friday), which would bring us up to 15 straight days and a tie for the 20th longest stretch on record.

One streak that has ended, however, is our stretch of highs colder than +10F. The high on Tuesday climbed to 12F, which ended the streak at 10 days - tied for 8th place.

One other stretch that is still growing - for now - is our streak of subzero lows. Through Tuesday we had 11 in a row, which was good enough for 25th place. We added to that Wednesday morning, but there is the potential that we stay at or above zero Thursday morning. If that is the case, it would bring an end to the streak at 12 days - good enough for 20th place.

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Cold February So Far

It has certainly been a very cold start to February. Through Tuesday, the average temperature at MSP Airport has only been +2.4F, a good 16.3F degrees below average and the 8th coldest start to February on record. With the cold weather in place, we haven't seen a lot of snow/precipitation, and are below average in those categories as well.

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Weekend Weather Outlook

Warming weather will continue into the weekend here in the Twin Cities, with highs in the 20s expected Saturday and then the low 30s as we head toward Sunday. Sunday would be the first day in the 30s since February 4th. Mainly sunny skies are expected Saturday, but we do expect the potential for light snow Saturday night and Sunday with currently minimal amounts expected.

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A Minnesota Warm Front to the Rescue
By Paul Douglas

"It's freezing outside!" Most of planet Earth: uh oh. That's bad. Send help. Minnesota's response: Hooray, a warm front!

One of the most widespread cold waves since 1989 will slowly relax its stranglehold on the USA in the coming week, as the wavy, loopy jet stream that pulled polar air south becomes more moderate, blowing from west to east.

If anyone asks, the first 16 days of February brought a mean temperature of 2.4F in the Twin Cities, the 8th coldest start to February. You have to go back to 1936 to find a colder first-half of February.

The tide is turning, the pattern breaking, and temperatures will steadily moderate into next week. Expect 20s by Saturday with a string of 30s next week. 40F is possible a few days, and the atmosphere may be warm enough for a rain-snow mix from a potential storm next Friday.

Subzero lows are possible in March, but rare, due to a higher sun angle. We've picked up 1 hour 49 minutes of daylight since December 21; 3 minutes of additional daylight every day. Hooray!

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Paul's Extended Twin Cities Forecast

THURSDAY: Peeks of sunshine. Wake up 3. High 16. Chance of precipitation 10%. Wind SW 5-10 mph.

FRIDAY: Mix of clouds and sun. Wake up 2. High 20. Chance of precipitation 20%. Wind SW 3-8 mph.

SATURDAY: Early fog, some PM sunshine. Wake up 3. High 23. Chance of precipitation 10%. Wind SE 7-12 mph.

SUNDAY: Patchy clouds, but milder. Wake up 13. High 30. Chance of precipitation 10%. Wind S 5-10 mph.

MONDAY: Partly sunny and milder. Wake up 23. High 40. Chance of precipitation 10%. Wind SW 10-15 mph.

TUESDAY: Mostly cloudy and windy. Wake up 33. High 39. Chance of precipitation 10%. Wind NW 15-25 mph.

WEDNESDAY: Relatively mild, flurries up north?. Wake up 28. High 38. Chance of precipitation 20%. Wind SE 10-15 mph.

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This Day in Weather History
February 18th

1979: This is one of the rare times that Lake Superior completely freezes over.

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Average Temperatures & Precipitation for Minneapolis
February 18th

Average High:30F (Record: 58F set in 2017)
Average Low:14F (Record: -21F set in 1903)
Average Precipitation:0.03" (Record: 0.70" set in 1961)
Average Snowfall: 0.3" (Record: 7.0" in 1961)
Record Snow Depth: 27" in 1967

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Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
February 18th

Sunrise:7:08 AM
Sunset:5:45 PM

*Length Of Day:10 hours, 37 minutes and8 seconds
*Daylight GAINED Since Yesterday:~2 minutes and 58 seconds

*When Do We Climb To 11 Hours Of Daylight?February 26th (11 hours,1 minute, and 25 seconds)
*When Is The Sunrise At/Before 7:00 AM?: February 23rd (7:00 AM)
*When Is The Sunset At/After 6:00 PM? March 1st (6:01 PM)

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Minnesota And Twin Cities Weather Outlook

As we go through Thursday in the Twin Cities, we are tracking a slight chance of snow, otherwise partly to mostly cloudy skies are expected. Temperatures will start out in the single digits (hopefully above zero), climbing to the mid-teens for highs. Wind chills values, however, will remain in the single digits throughout the day due to wind speeds around 5 mph.

Again, we are only tracking a slight chance of a few snow showers at times across the state Thursday, otherwise partly to mostly cloudy skies are expected. Highs will be in the teens for most locations - still 10F to 20F degrees below average.

However, the slow warm-up that has been occurring will continue (and accelerate) through the end of this week into next week, with highs finally back around average on Sunday and then near 40F or into the low 40s next week! That will certainly feel a lot nicer than what it has been!

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National Weather Forecast

On Thursday the second snow and ice storm of the week will be working east, bringing inclement weather from the Southern Plains into the Great Lakes and Northeast. Rain and snow will also be expected across the Northwest.

Heavy snow and ice will be possible through the end of the week from the Southern Plains to the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast with this second snow and ice storm. More on that below. Heavy rain will also be possible in the warm sector, with up to three inches possible from the Florida Panhandle into the eastern Carolinas.

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Praedictix Corporate Custom Weather Briefing: Wednesday morning, February 17th, 2021

Morning Radar. Snow and ice are impacting the central and southern Plains this morning as the second winter storm of the week impacts the region. So far this morning, we have seen reports of 7.5" of snow west of Vernon (TX) and 7.4" of snow at NWS Amarillo. We have also observed a quarter inch of ice in the Austin (TX) area, with 0.15" of ice in San Antonio (TX). This snow and ice are once again leading to major travel issues across the region.

Forecasting Snow And Ice. This system will continue to move northeast through the end of the week, spreading snow and ice from the Southern Plains and lower Mississippi Valley today into the Ohio Valley by tonight, and eventually the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states as we head into Thursday.

Winter Storm Watches And Warnings. Winter storm alerts are in place from the Southern Plains to the Northeast for the second snow and ice storm of the week. Some cities included in these alerts are:

  • Dallas, TX: Winter Storm Warning through 8 PM today up to an additional 1" of snow/sleet.
  • Austin and San Antonio, TX: Winter Storm Warning through 6 PM Thursday for up an additional 1-3" of snow and light ice accumulations.
  • Houston, TX: Winter Storm Warning through 6 AM Thursday for the potential of light icing.
  • Oklahoma City, OK: Winter Weather Advisory through 6 PM tonight for up to an additional inch of ice.
  • Tulsa, OK: Winter Storm Warning through 6 PM tonight for up to an additional 2" of snow.
  • Shreveport, LA: Winter Storm Warning through Noon Thursday for up to 1" of snow and 0.25"-0.5" of ice.
  • Little Rock, AR: Winter Storm Warning through Noon Thursday for 4-8" of snow.
  • St. Louis, MO: Winter Weather Advisory through 6 PM today for up to 1" of snow.
  • Memphis, TN: Winter Storm Warning through 6 PM Thursday for 4-6" of snow/sleet and a glaze of ice.
  • Nashville, TN: Winter Storm Warning from 6 PM tonight through 6 PM Thursday for 2-4" of snow and up to 0.1" of ice.
  • Jackson, MS: Winter Storm Warning through 6 AM Thursday for 0.4-0.7" of ice and 1-3" of snow.
  • Louisville, KY: Winter Weather Advisory from 7 PM tonight to 7 AM Friday for 1-3" of snow.
  • Greensboro, NC: Winter Storm Warning from Midnight tonight through 7 AM Friday for 0.25-0.5" of ice.
  • Roanoke, VA: Winter Storm Warning from 7 PM tonight to 1 AM Friday for 1-4" of snow and 0.25-0.5" of ice.
  • Washington DC And Baltimore, MD: Winter Storm Watch from late tonight to late Thursday night for 5"+ of snow and 0.25"+ of ice.
  • Philadelphia, PA: Winter Storm Watch from late tonight to Friday afternoon for 4-6" of snow/sleet and up to 0.1" of ice.
  • New York City, NY: Winter Storm Watch from Thursday morning to Friday afternoon for 4-8" of snow.
  • Boston, MA: Winter Storm Watch from Thursday morning to Friday evening for 4-8" of snow.

Snow Potential. Through the end of the week, the heaviest additional snow will fall in two areas: one across Arkansas, and another into portions of the Northeast including Philadelphia, New York City, and Boston, where at least 5-7" of snow will be possible. This snow will lead to hazardous travel from the Southern Plains into the Northeast.

Ice Potential. Two stripes of icing are expected through the end of the week, one from central Texas to eastern Kentucky, and another from western and central North Carolina to the D.C. area. Over half an inch of ice will be possible across portions of northern Louisiana, southeastern Arkansas, and western Mississippi, and across portions of north-central North Carolina and south-central Virginia. Icing across these regions will once again lead to hazardous roads, power outages, and tree damage.

Record Cold Weather Continues. Bitterly cold weather will continue across the southern United States over the next several days, with record cold highs and record lows possible. These cold temperatures will help to keep road conditions hazardous and could cause pipes to freeze and burst. Remember to keep people safe from the cold weather outside as well. I would expect rolling blackouts to continue as well.

D.J. Kayser, Meteorologist, Praedictix

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How NASA Aims to Achieve Perseverance's High-Stakes Mars Landing

More from Scientific American: "If NASA's $2.7 billion flagship mobile science laboratory, Perseverance, successfully touches down in Jezero Crater on Mars on February 18, the feat will not only open a new chapter in exploration of the Red Planet, but also mark the triumphant culmination of four decades of increasingly challenging landings there. Replete with sedimentary rocks that might contain fossilized creatures from the planet's warmer, wetter, more habitable past, Perseverance's destination—the dried-up delta-and-lake system of Jezero Crater—seems so ideal for sniffing out signs of ancient life that one might wonder why it as of yet has remained unvisited. The answer is simple: Attempting a landing in such complex terrain has been a recipe for disaster. At least, until now."

Why the power is out in Texas ... and why other states are vulnerable too

More from Yale Climate Connections: "Many – including some prominent climate change contrarians – were quick to pin the "electric emergency" on the massive turbines that make Texas the leading U.S. state for wind energy. While the deep freeze did knock some turbines offline, practically every mode of energy supply was hobbled by the intense cold, snow, and ice. The main cause of the massive disruption, by far, were the frozen components leading to the outage of thermal plants that heat water and convert the steam to electricity. The vast bulk of those thermal plants are powered by natural gas. In addition, the South Texas Nuclear Plant was thrown out of service Monday as a result of frozen pipes, which cut even further into the Houston area's electricity supply."

Win­ter­ing bird communities track cli­mate change faster than breed­ing communities in Europe and North Amer­ica

More from the University of Helsinki: "A study recently completed in Europe and North America indicates that the composition of wintering and breeding bird communities changes in line with global warming. However, wintering bird communities are considerably faster at tracking the changing climate compared to breeding communities. Climate change is driving species' distribution towards the poles and mountaintops, resulting in changes to bird communities. As a considerable share of birds are migratory species, with the distance they travel varying by species, the rate of change in bird communities is different in the breeding season and in the winter. A new Finnish-led study demonstrates for the first time that changes in bird communities are significantly faster in the winter than in the breeding season."

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Thanks for checking in and have a great day! Don't forget to follow me on Twitter (@dkayserwx) and like me on Facebook (Meteorologist D.J. Kayser).

- D.J. Kayser