Warming trend kicks in; Sunday snow solutions vary

Sayonara, subzero. Auf Wiedersehen, wind chill. Buh-bye, bitter cold.

No matter what weather dialect you prefer, the result is the same. It’s warming up out there.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Global Forecast System model paints the transition from shades of purple to blue to green in the next 48 hours.

NOAA GFS 2-meter temperature forecast, via tropical tidbits

January thaw encore

Our change in air masses is courtesy of a milder Pacific breeze. Our winds blow more from Seattle than Yukon the rest of this week. Much of Minnesota gets at least two January thaws this year. Temperatures peak Friday afternoon in the low 40s in the Twin Cities.

NOAA, via Weather Bell

Sunday snow: wide ranging solutions

We’re still four days out from our possible Sunday snow system. The forecast this far out is like a game of pin the tail on the weather donkey. The blindfold is the forecast models. The layer of gauze over our eyes is just thick enough to obscure the shape of the forecast.

There are still wide-ranging solutions on precise storm track, and thus where the heavy snow band will lay out. Fargo, N.D.? Twin Cities? Rochester?

NOAA supercomputers

Again, these solutions will change, but one of these models may end up being pretty close at this point. The big question? Which one? It’s still too early to trust “inches” but the maps below give you a taste of snowfall potential and range of geographic solutions.

Canadian model

The Canadian GEM model did well with the last system. It brings rain into the Twin Cities Sunday. This model lays the heaviest snow band north of the Twin Cities.

Canadian GEM model predicted snowfall Sunday and Monday, via tropical tidbits

American model

NOAA’s GFS model paints the heavy snow band axis just southeast of the Twin Cities, with significant metro accumulations.

NOAA GFS model predicted snowfall Sunday and Monday, via tropical tidbits

European model

The overnight run from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts model has dialed back considerably on precipitation totals for the Twin Cities. The Euro was cranking out over an inch of liquid (possibly a foot of snow) for the Twin Cities. The overnight run dialed that back to .31 inch of liquid, which would translate into a few inches of snow.

ECMWF model forecast for the Twin Cities, via Norwegian Met Institute

Again, watch for more changes in the next 72 hours before we hit the optimal inches forecast window Saturday.

Dixie snow

The southern states are getting in on winter this year. I’m not throwing Yankee weather shade here, but it’s amazing how what passes for typical winter weather here in Minnesota is closer to a civil emergency in the South. They’re just not equipped to deal with winter the way we are.

Here’s a shot of the Blue Norther that blew through San Antonio, Texas.

Frozen pipes are a real issue with this kind of cold.

Michigan meteor

Check out the dash cam video of a meteor streaking across the Michigan sky last night.

Cape Town running out of water?

Why do climate scientists warn that even small climate shifts can have dramatic consequences? Ask people in Cape Town how they’re feeling about their dwindling water supply.

Climate change refugees increasing

University of St. Thomas professor and frequent MPR Climate Cast guest John Abraham pens this eye-opening piece on the impact of climate change and forced migration.

  • Philip A. Rutter

    Capetown is the perfect place to actually try a desperate water scheme that has long been considered. Grab a big iceberg, and bring to the city in need. Capetown is a long way from Antarctica, much farther than a lot of South American cities – but it also has an unimpeded path to the big bergs.

    It can sound pretty crazy- unless you add some conditions. A) no fossil fuels. The berg should be trimmed to have a reasonably seaworthy shape; and it could be powered entirely by wind; most like the big kites that have already been developed for ocean freight. B) it won’t be fast C) you need REALLY good sailors to pull it off. D) start small; don’t try to sail a year’s supply first time out.

    Then – maybe. Winds and currents there are very strong; with satellite data we now have a far better chance of directing a berg into currents and winds that would help, not hinder.