Putting folklore to the test; ring around the moon

Millions of tiny ice crystals, high in the sky as cirrus clouds, reflect and refract moonlight to form a halo around the moon. While you may have spied such a halo last night, it did not result in precipitation.

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Image:NOAA/NWS

Folklore has it that a ring around the moon often signals thickening and lowering clouds, spelling a good chance for moisture reaching the ground within 18 to 24 hours. But clouds exited in last night’s case, leaving us with a bright, but chilly afternoon.

Heavy snow hammers the Ohio Valley.

Six to ten inches of snow accumulated in central and southern Indiana today, accompanied by winds that grew at times to over 30 mph. The heavy snowfall extended into northern Ohio through Pennsylvania and New York this afternoon.

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NOAA’s forecast for the highest probability of 4 or more inches of snow overnight and into Thursday.

The GFS model tracks the center of lowest pressure swiftly to the east overnight. See previous blog to note the center of low pressure this morning.

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Model forecast valid at 1 a.m. EST. Source:NOAA/College of Dupage

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Snapshot of radar at 4:10 p.m. CST. Blue is snow, purple is mixed precipitation.

Source:NOAA/Weather underground

While much of Minnesota and western Wisconsin saw the mercury slip below zero the last two nights, the temperature at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport has not dropped below zero yet this winter season. However, I saw one automated report of minus zero that suggested the low may have been 0.4 degrees F below zero on Christmas morning at MSP.

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Overnight lows expected as of 7 a.m. EST Thursday. Source:NWS

While the northeast will get pasted with snow tonight and Thursday, we have a chance of a couple of inches of fresh snow over southwest Minnesota on Thursday and Thursday night.

A Winter weather advisory has been posted as far north as Mankato..

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Shaded area under a Winter weather advisory from Thursday afternoon through Friday.

Source:NWS Chanhassen, MN.

From the Chanhassen NWS Office late this afternoon:

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN TWIN CITIES/CHANHASSEN HAS ISSUED

A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY FOR 3 TO 5 INCHES OF SNOW…WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 3 PM THURSDAY TO NOON CST FRIDAY.

Lighter snow accumulations are expected in central Minnesota on Thursday night into Friday. Details about how much snow we might receive in the Twin Cities will be available here on Thursday morning.

Looking out to the end of the year, it appears likely that temperatures will remain below the thawing point over much of Minnesota. New Year’s Eve may be quite chilly.

NOAA recently published their assessment of the economic impacts of extreme weather events in 2012. If you wish to explore further you can click here.

Craig Edwards

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