Mild ’til Jan 6th; Then 1st arctic blast? Tsunami debris reaches West Coast!

+4.8 temps vs. average at MSP Airport so far in December

7th straight month of above average temps in Minnesota

Trace of snow cover between now and Christmas

(1st “official Brown Christmas” in 5 years at MSP)

36 degrees Christmas Day

40 degrees December 26th & January 3rd? (GFS model output)

1st Arctic Outbreak looking more likely around January 6th-8th!

Japan Tsunami debris washes up on Washington Coast!

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Lonnie Archibald of Beaver shows a float he found near the mouth of the Quillayute River. (Photo by Marge Archibald, for Peninsula Daily News)

Mild and milder:

Welcome to “Winter Light.” The first official full day of “winter” will feel a little more like December, but this month continues the mild trend so far.

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It looks like we’re aiming for another “top 10 warmest” month in the metro and much of Minnesota. One thing we know for sure; this will be the 7th consecutive month of above average temperatures for the metro.

June +1.1

July +5.6 (6th warmest on record)

August +2.4

September +0.9

October +6.4 (8th warmest)

November +5.6 (11th warmest)

December +5.0(?) (10th warmest?)

4 of the past 6 months have been at or near the top 10 warmest on record! That’s a pretty remarkable run.

Mild pattern holds through January 5th?

It looks like the jet stream’s Canadian vacation will last into the first days of 2012. Look for average to much above average temps between now and January 5th. The GFS model is hinting at 40 degrees on December 26th and again around January 3rd! That’s almost 20 degrees above average.

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1st Arctic Outbreak in sight??

I’ve hinted in recent days that there are signs of a pattern change lurking the late in first week of January. The latest GFS runs support this notion, and bring a big chunk of bitter arctic air south starting around January 6th.

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GFS model sends a wave of cold air south from Canada January 6th

After an unseasonably mild run, it’s about time for the other shoe to drop and send arctic air south.

While the trend looks probable for a real shot of winter, it’s still early. Let’s see how the models unfold in the next week.

Japan Tsunami debris washes up on West Coast:

Multiple reports indicate that some of the initial debris from the massive Japanese Tsunami has begun to wash up on beaches in Washington and Vancouver Island.

Several large black 55 gallon drum sized “floats” have been found. One came ashore in Neah Bay on the extreme northwest tip of Washington.

“PORT ANGELES, Wash. – Now that beachcombers know what they are seeing, coastal residents have reported finding several pieces of suspected Japan tsunami debris on Clallam County beaches.

A large black float found two weeks ago on a beach east of Neah Bay was most likely the first piece of identifiable wreckage that had washed up on West Coast beaches from a massive magnitude-9.0 earthquake and resultant tsunami in Japan on March 11, researchers said this week.

Seattle oceanographers Curtis Ebbesmeyer and Jim Ingraham announced that during a lecture Tuesday night at the Peninsula

College campus in Port Angeles.

Since the Neah Bay discovery, the two wind and water current researchers, known as DriftBusters Inc., said the black, 55-gallon drum-sized floats also have been discovered on Vancouver Island.

After a report on the lecture in the Peninsula Daily News on Thursday, others on the West End realized they had found similar floats — but had not known what they were.

The floats were the topic of much discussion among Makah tribal members and other residents of Neah Bay on Thursday, said Janine Bowechop, director of the Makah Cultural & Research Center.

About a quarter of the 100 million tons of debris from Japan is expected to begin to make landfall on Pacific coastlines in a year, Ebbesmeyer said.

Most of the debris is still in the middle of the Pacific, but some lighter, windblown flotsam travels faster, he said.

Neah Bay is located on a cape at the northwestern tip of the continental U.S., at a point where two major east-flowing currents split, one north to Alaska and another south toward California.

It is a dropping-off point for flotsam caught in those currents, the researchers said.

Debris snagged by currents leading into the Strait of Juan de Fuca will eventually wash up on beaches from the mouth of the Elwha River to Port Townsend, they said.

Beaches around LaPush, which is 30 miles south of Neah Bay on the Pacific Coast, also are likely to accumulate tsunami debris.

Two floats similar to the one identified Tuesday as part of the tsunami debris field were found on Rialto Beach near the mouth of the Quillayute River about a week before Thanksgiving, said Beaver resident Lonnie Archibald, who also is a freelance photographer often published in the PDN and the Forks Forum.”

The floats are the most buoyant and wind blown pieces of debris, and therefore move the fastest. The bulk of the massive debris field is still in the central pacific. It has been estimated at 100 million tons.

Various models have projected large amounts of debris washing up in Hawaii in the next 1-2 years, with debris littering California beaches in 3 years.

The massive debris field consists of houses, cars, boats and other big and small chunks what used to be part of Japan before the massive earthquake and Tsunami.

Random graphic of the day:

This has nothing to do with weather, but everything to do with “random chaotic data” that we often observe in weather systems and graphics.

I’m not making any political judgments here or taking sides. I just fnd the data display fascinating.

Check out the latest RCP tracking poll of the GOP Presidential candidates.


This remarkable “political meteogram” tracks each candidates rise and fall in the polls over the past several year or so. Talk about a “random system” with a “high degree of variability!”

The GOP race makes the complex weather models we look at everyday look almost sane.


  • Lars

    Nice Report Paul,

    Ah, you finally wrote it. How many shoes are you wearing? You are supposed to be the weatherman who wears only one shoe so the other shoe can’t drop! 🙂

    Have a great day.

  • Chris

    You’ve mentioned a forecaster shouldn’t predict rain during a drought. Should a forecaster be predicting a cold snap during a heat wave? I’ll believe it when I see it. Already lamenting the winter that wasn’t.