Warm thoughts

We are all thinking warm thoughts this time of year. Warm thoughts about family and friends. Warm thoughts about those who have been so kind and generous to us this year. Warm thoughts that we have hopefully helped others in some small way.

This December, we can be thankful for 25 percent lower heating costs, less snow and ice on roads, considerably easier commutes.

So far this December we’ve managed just 1.3 inches of snow in the metro. Last year? We piled up 15.9 inches and a bunch of nightmare commutes by month’s end. Looking at the forecast through month’s end it appears we’ll end up about 10 degrees warmer than we did last December.

Some numbers:

  • +3.6 degrees December temperatures vs. average at MSP Airport so far
  • + 8 degrees forecast temperatures vs. average through Christmas Eve in the Twin Cities (daily averages)
  • -7.3 degrees vs. average in December 2013 (one year ago)
  • +10 degrees December 2014 likely to finish at least 10 degrees warmer than December 2013

I am thinking warm thoughts today about you, the loyal Updraft reader. Thank you for the blessing of your time in reading this blog in a busy, often chaotic internet world.

timeanddate.com

Christmas week slop storm?

There seems to be slightly better news for holiday travelers next week. The latest forecast model trends bring a slightly warmer system in Monday. That could be enough to keep precipitation mostly as rain Monday, with a change to wet sloppy snow showers Monday night into Tuesday into Christmas Eve on Wednesday.

The Twin Cities National Weather Service put together a nice graphic that summarizes the system early next week.

I still think we may see some minor travel issues Tuesday and Christmas Eve, but it appears more of the precipitation with the system may fall as plain old rain showers through Monday. Wet roads, yes — but that’s better than snow-covered highways.

Here’s a look at the low pressure system gathering to the west this weekend.

NOAA

Here’s a closer look at the forecast breakdown through Christmas Day. We may have to keep our eye out for a little ice later at night this weekend, but temperatures mostly above freezing early next week should translate into mostly wet roads through Monday. Tuesday and Christmas Eve may present some (hopefully minor) travel challenges in southern Minnesota and points south.

Weatherspark

Wintry travel north

If you are heading north to grandmother’s house on the Iron Range or North Shore, the forecast is a different story. The freezing line hangs close, and the air should be cold enough for a more wintry scenario…with more travel problems. Expect a mix of ice and snow as we move toward Christmas week up north.

The latest Global Forecast System runs still favor significant, even heavy snow totals for northern Minnesota early next week.

NOAA GFS 5-day snowfall output via wxcaster.com

Get updates and potential winter storm watches/warnings from the Duluth NWS here.

Happy chilly New Year?

Trends still favor a shot of noticeably colder air as we approach New Year’s. Could we add a few more sub-zero mornings as we approach 2015? We could use the cold to build some thicker ice on your favorite lake.

IPS Meteostar

Some good news? We start adding daylight in a big way over the next few weeks.

Twin Cities NWS

Happy Holidays to you and yours!