Climate Center declares 2012 warmest year in lower 48 states; tracking the chance for moisture

Yesterday, the National Climate Data Center released a report that validates that 2012 was the warmest year on record. Historical weather observations date back to around 1871.



From the NOAA story: the average temperature for the contiguous U.S. for 2012 was 55.3°F, which was 3.2°F above the 20th century average and 1.0°F above the previous record from 1998.

March of 2012 was outrageously mild. The high reached 80 degrees on March 17th in the Twin Cities. March pretty much delivered the record as it was 15.5 degrees above the thirty year normal for Minneapolis-St. Paul.

In the Twin Cities, it was a virtual tie for the warmest year on record with an avearge temperature of 50.8 F set in 1931.


Click on image to enlarge. Source:NWS Chanhassen, mN

You can explore more details on the annual temperature profiles for St. Cloud, Minneapolis/St. Paul and Eau Claire by clicking here.

NOAA also reported a rather low number of tornadoes in 2012.



The tornado summary for 2012 can be seen by clicking here.

Meanwhile, mild temperatures continue in Minnesota as highs once again topped out in the 30s over much of the state on Tuesday. Brisk winds kept the mercury from slipping much overnight and it was still in the lower 30s at daybreak in the Twin Cities.

Light snow traveled across northern Minnesota leaving not much more than a dusting to a little more than an inch. Radar and surface reports indicated light snow falling in northeast Minnesota this morning.

Our next weathermaker will be tracing north from the middle Mississippi Valley today. it shows up nicely on the infrared satellite image.


NOAA IR Satellite image from 530 a.m. CST indicating the coldest cloud tops with the enhanced colors over Texas this morning.

There were no reports of severe weather to the Storm Prediction Center on Tuesday from this developing weather system.

I’ve been monitoring our chances for precipitation as the moisture expands northward. A light, chilly rain is expected to arrive on Thursday. Rainfall amounts should be on the order of a quarter inch or less through Thursday night.

Several hints have been dropped about the prospects for snow on Friday night. Confidence is increasing for the snow accumulating several inches in northwest Minnesota and North Dakota.


Probability of snowfall of eight inches or more on Friday night. Source:NOAA NCEP

Old school synoptic meteorology paints the heaviest snow to the north of the surface low pressure track. Here’s the NAM forecast for the position of the low on midnight Friday.


Source:NOAA/College of Dupage

Note the blast of arctic air wrapping around the low in the Dakotas.

A tight temperature gradient will be present across Minnesota on Friday with high temperatures climbing into the 40s in southeast Minnesota.


Much colder air arrives as we move through the weekend. The normal max/min for this time of year in the Twin Cities are 23/7 F.

This was an interesting weather story from Down Under. Maximum temperatures soared to new records in Australia. Sorching, desertlike temperatures are shown on the map below. The deep purple in the middle of this sizzling weather map represents 129.2° F.


Image from Yahoo

More on the rain and potential snow storm on the afternoon update of Updraft.

Craig Edwards

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