Shortest winter ever? Colder Winter Carnival weekend; NWS at MOA

33 days – until meteorological spring begins (March 1st)

Above average CPC February outlook slightly favors a mild February overall for Minnesota

100 average number of days with at least 1″ snow cover at MSP Airport in winter

22 number of days with 1″ snow cover so far this winter at MSP

7th warmest January on record in Minnesota

+7.1 degrees vs. average at MSP in January

Sub zero? GFS still hinting at one more possible sub zero shot around Feb 10th?

Safe ice? Will ice ever be “safe” this year on Minnesota lakes?

Winter Carnival hits full stride this weekend!

NWS at MOA this weekend!

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A quick and melting shot of 0.8″ snow at the weather lab Friday

Shortest winter on record?

With our mild slow start to winter, the lack of snowfall and spring on the (admittedly distant) horizon, I got to thinking if this may be the shortest winter on record in Minnesota.

It might be hard to come up with one good metric that gauges the overall length of winter, but consider these facts.

-October to December was the 2nd warmest on record in the metro and much of Minnesota.

-January temps to date are running +7.1 degrees above average in the metro!

-This will likely be the 7th warmest January on record in Minnesota

-We tied the record for the latest sub zero temp ever recorded at MSP Airport

-Our season snowfall of 14.4″ is the 2nd lowest snowfall total on record at MSP

(Subject to additional snowfall of course)

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-We have not had continuous snow cover in most of Minnesota this winter.

-“Average” high temperatures rise above freezing at MSP by February 26th

(Not that “average” has mattered much this winter!)

-CPC outlook slightly favors above average temps in Minnesota for February

-The maps seem to favor below average snowfall through mid-February

In an average winter we see 100 days with at least 1″ of snow cover in the metro. This year we have had only 22 days so far!

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I am not aware of one metric that encompasses the combined “length” and “severity” of winter in Minnesota. But if you look at all the factors above, and if we end up above average in February with below average snowfall through March, you have to say this is one of if not the shortest winters on record in Minnesota.

Let’s see what the last third of winter sends our way. If snow cover remains low, it may be an early spring this year!

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Weekend chill:

A cold front has returned us to more winter like weather for this last weekend of Janaury.

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Look for highs in the teens and 20s this weekend, with sub-zero temps up north at night and early morning.

Safe ice in 2012?

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With cars and trucks crashing through unsafe ice this winter, you have to wonder if the ice will ever be truly “safe” this year.

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A car through ice in Eagan this month. (Photo: Eagan Police)

We do have some cold spells ahead in the next two weeks, and that may help build some more ice. The problem is not always ice thickness, but stability.

The frequent thaws this winter have caused the ice structure to be weak and unstable. 10 inches of weak ice is not as strong as 10 inches of clear ice with good structure.

There have been numerous ice rescues this winter, and I doubt whether the ice will ever be truly safe in all areas. Again, the locals usually have the best info on changing ice conditions. Car and truck travel on ice this winter is truly risky and not advised in many areas.

Winter Carnival this weekend!

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This should be a great weekend to get out and see the ice sculptures at the Winter Carnival in St. Paul! Here’s more info on events this weekend.

NWS at MOA

If you want to meet our excellent local NWS team, this is the weekend to do it.

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NWS will be present at the Mall of America this weekend. You can visit the booth and talk with local NWS staff. It’s a great opportunity to meet some very dedicated professionals who work tirelessly to keep us informed about and safe from Minnesota’s wacky weather.

“STAFFED BY METEOROLOGISTS AND HYDROLOGISTS THROUGHOUT THE WEEKEND, THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE EXHIBIT WILL CONSIST OF A VARIETY OF INFORMATION, AND DISPLAYS THAT COVER WEATHER, WATER, AND CLIMATE MONITORING AND PREDICTION.

THERE WILL BE FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY! THE EVENT IS FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.

COMPUTER TERMINALS WILL BE AVAILABLE WHICH YOU CAN USE TO EXPLORE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE WEBSITES. YOU CAN LOCATE YOUR LOCAL FORECAST AND OTHER WEATHER, CLIMATE, HYDROLOGIC, AND SNOW RESOURCE DATA, AND TAKE THE LINKS HOME WITH YOU FOR FUTURE USE.

YOU WILL ALSO SEE POSTERS HIGHLIGHTING THE “YEAR OF THE TORNADOES 2011″, THE PAGAMI FIRE IN NORTHEAST MINNESOTA, AND THE UPCOMING UPGRADE TO OUR DOPPLER RADAR FOR “DUAL POLARIZATION”.

THERE WILL ALSO BE A SLIDE SHOW ILLUSTRATING NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE OPERATIONS, VIDEOS OF SEVERE WEATHER, AND LOOPS OF SATELLITE AND RADAR IMAGES. PLUS, THERE WILL BE AN INTERACTIVE WIND SENSOR WITH DISPLAY AND ILLUSTRATIONS, AN INTERACTIVE HYDROLOGICAL MODEL, AND AN EYE-POPPING TORNADO SIMULATOR FOR THE KIDS.

YOU WILL ALSO FIND AN INFORMATIONAL DISPLAY ON NOAA WEATHER RADIO, THE OFFICIAL VOICE OF THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE. OUR STAFF WILL PROVIDE DETAILS ABOUT THE BROADCAST, THE BENEFITS OF LISTENING TO NOAA WEATHER RADIO, AND EVEN PROGRAM YOUR WEATHER RADIO IF YOU BRING IT ALONG (WITH BATTERIES)!”

Have a great weekend!

PH