Winter rolled into Minnesota like a freight train. Like a red-eye flight to a far away country we awoke to a strange, snow-sculpted landscape Tuesday.
Chaotic snowfall pattern
Monday night’s snowfall was like a patchwork quilt. Snowstorms have many moving parts. Different sub-features drive snow zones within the bigger storm.
The “baroclinic leaf zone” northwest of surface low track drove heaviest snow totals in northwest Minnesota near Lake of the Woods. A separate upper-level vortex spawned the evening snow burst neat the Twin Cities. A relatively snowless wedge developed between St. Cloud and Duluth.
— NWS Twin Cities (@NWSTwinCities) December 5, 2017
Nightmare morning commute
The Tuesday morning commute was one for the books. A stark reminder that we live in a climate where the weather can change your life in a hurry. We should get an “I survived a Minnesota winter commute” T-Shirt.
I can only imagine what the traffic looks like around 694. 52 Northbound is still a bumpy skating rink, as @CheyCab pointed out earlier, in need of a zamboni… or a salt truck or 2 would do fine. #mnwx #traffic pic.twitter.com/fvqhQBFMzq
— Mark J. Westpfahl (@MarkJWestpfahl) December 5, 2017
Cold locked in
Like a light switch, our seasons have flipped in an instant. Winter is here to stay. Get used to mostly subfreezing temperatures for the foreseeable future. Sunday looks like the “mildest” day in sight.
Here to stay
I still see persistent cold the next two weeks. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Global Forecast System continues to feature a potential subzero shot in the two week range.
Subtract 10 degrees for northern Minnesota.
Minnesota’s cold wave drives California fire weather
It has been said that something as small as the flutter of a butterfly’s wing can ultimately cause a typhoon halfway around the world – Chaos Theory
Well maybe not exactly. But big cold outbreaks in the Midwest have a link to California’s Santa Ana winds. As cold air dives south in the central United States the momentum of that cold dense air mass funnels through the mountain passes in the western U.S.
The air warms and dries as it descends toward the coast. That’s what has created the extreme fire weather driving the latest batch of southern California wildfires.
— Drew Tuma (@DrewTumaABC7) December 5, 2017
The urban wild-land interface is torching neighborhoods again. This time it’s Ventura, California.
Video from Sky5 shows dozens of structures in Ventura engulfed in flames earlier Tuesday morning as a result of the #Thomasfire. @MarkKonoSky5 @LAflyingcameras https://t.co/zWukeLr7dz pic.twitter.com/GiQlmBjUjw
— KTLA (@KTLA) December 5, 2017
Simi Valley is also under threat.
— VCscanner (@VCscanner) December 5, 2017
The extreme fire weather danger continues this week.
— NWS Los Angeles (@NWSLosAngeles) December 5, 2017
Health impacts extend beyond the fire zone.
Smoke Advisory due to #CreekFire. Unhealthy air especially in San Fernando Valley & coastal areas incl Malibu & Santa Monica.
Details and precautions at: https://t.co/f2Z6Bu2Iq8 @LACoFDPIO @LACOOEM @LAFD @LASDHQ @ReadyLA pic.twitter.com/YbvuTTUXeO
— LA Public Health (@lapublichealth) December 5, 2017
This story is not over.