Thanksgiving and Hanukkah occurred on the same date this year. The last time this happened was 1888 and the two holidays won't occur together again until the year 79,811! For kicks and giggles, here are a few things that will happen by the time Thanksgiving and Hanukkah occur together again...
Big thumbs up to my weather producer, Alex Buck, for coming up with this list!
Snow chances begin to increase Monday-Wednesday next week. Accumulations will be possible as a winter storm tries to develop across the plains. The bigger story is the potential for record-setting cold the first half of December. We're talking highs barely getting to zero and lows well below zero. North Dakota and Montana might see high temps around -20 degrees! According to the National Weather Service, this might rival the February 1996 cold weather outbreak. Yikes.
Saturday: Mostly cloudy. H: 36° Wind: NW 2-4
Saturday Night: Some clearing. L: 20° Wind: N 2-4
Sunday: Mostly cloudy. H: 32° L: 22° Wind: E 2
Monday: Light snow showers. H: 33° L: 24° Wind: SE 7
Tuesday: Snow, heavy at times. H: 34° L: 26° Wind: SE 10
Wednesday: Snow showers. H: 34° L: 21° Wind: SE 7
Feeling unusually cold lately? For the past week, temperatures across the Midwest have been trending colder than normal. Odds now favor this cold persisting into mid December.
Men and women feel cold differently. Men, on average, have more muscles than women and muscle is good at producing heat. Guess I gotta start hitting the gym.
Exercising out in the cold is like a double workout because in cold weather the body works harder to warm itself up, thus helping you to lose weight.
Smart Phone Thermometer
This year 2WheelWeather will be providing a CycleCast for the upcoming Fatbike Frozen40 in February. I had a chance to catch up with Brad Boyd, the race director and starter of RideFatBikes.com. During our meeting, he asked an interesting question..."will we ever have access to accurate pinpoint/neighborhood weather?" Turns out that getting this hyper local forecast data for your backyard isn't too far off. Various companies have developed ways to utilize our already exiting technologies like traffic cameras and smartphone to acquire and repurpose weather data. So, is a smart phone thermometer...a SmaPhoTherm?
Kids and Bikes
Organizations like the MN League and Crank Sisters have grabbed the interest of young people and have gotten them more involved in cycling. These efforts are contagious and now bike youth programs are popping up all over the metro. The Pillsbury Elementary in Minneapolis, for example, has added biking to their fourth grade curriculum.
The program focuses on kids learning through activity and adventure. Underpinning this idea are the convictions that communities can offer a wealth of bike-accessible resources, and that becoming a safe urban biker empowers kids and builds connections to their communities.
Taking Fatbikes to the Next Level
I always admire cyclists who think outside the box. The Ktrak is like a fatbike...but without the fat tires. Could be cool?
Trails should stay in a solid state this week. Another puff of arctic air moves in Tuesday morning. Temps stay pretty much below normal through the week. Travel weather for Turkey Day looks good! Might need to be mindful of the freeze/thaw by the weekend as conditions will warm a bit.
Tuesday: Mostly cloudy. flurries. Gusty. H: 19° Wind: NW 10-15 G 20
Tuesday Night: Clearing. L: 7° Wind: N 5-10
Wednesday: Partly cloudy. H: 24° L: 14° Wind: S 2-4
Thanksgiving: Mostly sunny. H: 28° L: 15° Wind: S 2-4
Friday: Partly cloudy, relatively warmer. H: 32° L: 20° Wind: SE 5-10
Saturday: Cloudier. H: 37° L: 24° Wind: S 2-4
Sunday: Mostly cloudy. H: 37° L: 25° Wind: SW 2
Here's a sobering stat: never has the Twin Cities hit a high above 50 degrees after November 23. Depressing, I know. These pre-winter cold fronts can be brutal!...and it's not unusual to see a 20-30 degree temperature drop in 24 hours. The snow on Thursday signaled the passage of an arctic front that brings the coldest air in 9 months!
Expect a temporary end to the freeze thaw cycle. Trails should be in good condition as temps stay below freezing this weekend.
Saturday: Frigid, yet sunny. H: 16° Wind: NW 10 (wind chill: 3°)
Saturday Night: Clear and cold. L: 5° Wind: Calm
Sunday: Warmer. Increasing clouds. H: 26° L: 20° Wind: SW 5-10
Monday: Partly cloudy. Dry. H: 36° L: 22° Wind: NW 10
Tuesday: Mostly sunny. H: 33° L: 15° Wind: NW 7
Wednesday: Partly cloudy. H: 28° L: 20° Wind: SE 4
My co-worker snapped this picture from his backyard in Bone Lake. Any slush on our area lakes has since melted with what little warmth we had this week. The ice in, therefore, has yet to occur on many lakes.
Thinking about purchasing some studs this year? I pulled the trigger last winter and had a blast riding the icy Chain of Lakes. I was instinctively cautious when riding two tires on sheer ice but studded tires grip exceptionally well.
The Lake Calhoun median date for ice in (when ice first forms and stays on the lake through the season) is December 6 to December 12.
Shorter Fatbike Season?
New research says "dirty" snow is to blame for accelerating snow melt. Here's a snippet from the study:
During recent years, desert dust has been settling thick and dark on the snowpack in the northern Rocky Mountain headwaters of the Colorado River, and snowpack is melting out as many as six weeks earlier than it did in the 1800s. Snow dusted with dark particles absorbs more of the Sun’s rays and melts faster than clean snow.
While this research pertains to the southwestern U.S. the same could be said for the Midwest in the future if climate scientists are right about global warming.
Seems like everyone has bike fever these days. Nick Frey, founder of Boo Bikes, recently stopped by KCWI Good Day Morning show in Des Moines to show off the new AluBoo bikes.
Fatbikes have become immensely popular, but not without controversy. Trail sharing is the number one problem facing fatbike riders these days. Gary Sjoquist, QBP Advocacy Director, has sent out an open letter that addresses the rising fame of fatbikes and ways to share the trail during the winter season.
My guess is that we have a near normal winter season. The typical indicators that help decipher a winter forecast, however, are more obscure this year. For example, without the presence of a La Nina or El Nino, the winter outlook is harder to predict. Here's what we do expect:
- No strong long-term signal as to what this winter will be like.
- Will be more affected by short-term signals like the Arctic Oscillation
- Little drought relief in the southwestern U.S.
- Drought to expand in the southeastern U.S.
November Severe Outbreak
This pic indicates the path of the EF-4 tornado that tore through the town of Washington, IL last Sunday. The open field clearly shows the classic corkscrew motion a tornado creates. While severe weather in November isn't too unusual, this particular outbreak was record breaking. Here are some of the stats:
- Washington, IL tornado was the first EF-4 tornado in the state in November.
-Illinois: Since 1986, 194 tornado warnings were issued...101 of those warnings occurred on Sunday.
-23 tornadoes were confirmed in Indiana, 3rd most in state history.
From 1950-2013, there has only been one tornado reported in the month of November in Minnesota. From the Minnesota Climate Working Group:
The latest (tornado) in any year (was) on November 16, 1931, east of Maple Plain. Historically and statistically, June is the month of greatest frequency with July not far behind. May has the third greatest frequency, followed closely by August. Nearly 3/4 of all tornadoes in Minnesota have occurred during the three months of May (15%), June (37%), and July (25%).
My heart goes out to those affected by severe weather so close to the holiday season.
A friend of mine owns a bike shop in State College, PA that specializes in building custom bikes from a mix of new and recycled parts. The shop is called Freeze Thaw Cycles...appropriately named, huh? Here in Minnesota, the freeze thaw cycle takes on a totally different meaning. The Hoosier Mountain Bike Association explains the process:
"When soil freezes all the moisture turns to ice crystals between the particles of the soil, and in clay or loam soil they are tightly packed together. As the moisture freezes the crystals expand and tear the clay apart which shatters it, then as it thaws the soil becomes more porous and allows more moisture in. This is repeated with every successive thaw."
Minnesota sees over 100 freeze thaw cycles a season. Now is the time to respect the trails and ride only when conditions are right, usually when the trail is frozen in the early morning or late evening. If you enjoy mountain biking the Twin Cities trails, please support the organization and volunteers that make the trails a reality.
The coldest air since last March dumped into Minnesota this month. The air has been so cold yet the lake water so warm that lake effect clouds have been spotted as far south as St. Cloud from Lake Manitoba and Lake Winnipeg, Canada!
With another whiff of Canadian cold early next week, this list of essential cold weather riding gear can help keep you warm when out in the elements.
Introducing 2WheelWeather Talks, where we discuss weather and its impacts on cycling! Our very first guest is competitive cyclists, April Morgan. She discusses the challenges weather can put on training and racing through all four seasons.
November is known for wicked storms like the Armistice Day Blizzard and the White Hurricane. So far, so good this November but as we know conditions can change rapidly. During the 1940 Armistice Day Blizzard, for example, the temperature fell 40 degrees in a 24 hour period. These storms tend to wreak havoc over the Great Lakes like during the 1913 White Hurricane. That storm produced white out conditions over Lake Huron with winds over 90 mph and 35 foot waves!
Carson from Welch shares this video from the North Shore over the weekend. The smooth lake surface provides very little friction so the wind can actually pick up speed. If the wind direction is steady then gigantic waves can be generated. I'm still amazed at how big those waves can get!
Speaking of disasters, a group of climate scientists have released a summary about "observed and projected changes in weather and climate extremes along with their impact on air and water quality." This article covers the impact of weather and climate extremes on air and water quality. Turns out that Minnesota is more susceptible to extreme flooding events. This is why we should be concerned:
Floods resulting from increases in heavy precipitation events or from snowmelt can cause combined sewer overflow systems, which are designed to discharge excess wastewater when under extreme duress, to overflow more often into nearby lakes, rivers, or other bodies of water, causing water quality challenges in these typically urban areas. Flooding of industrial areas or agricultural chemical storage locations can cause chemicals to move into nearby watersheds, also degrading water quality and even contaminating some residential areas. Low water levels due to drought can also contribute to deteriorated water quality.
After a wet yet warmer weekend another cold blast hits Minnesota. Highs will barely break freezing Monday and Tuesday followed by another thaw later in the week. No big chance of snow in the short term forecast. Fingers crossed Frozen 40!...hoping for a healthy snowpack this year.
Gosh, this Autumn has been gorgeous! The recent white snow against the backdrop of bright late fall color has really made for great photo ops. The MSP Airport officially received 1.1" of snow Wednesday morning while Milroy in Redwood County measured 10.50 inches!
Even with this small amount of snow in the metro, many trails are still closed. The word on the trail is that the underlying brush needs to be frozen before any snow riding can begin. Well, that might be a while because the average date of initial soil freeze is December 8 in Minneapolis. The earliest was November 13. Of course soil freeze is all dependent on air temperature...and we're looking at a potential cold blast next week!
Dry and rather seasonable weather is expected this weekend. Tempting to take to the trails but check the conditions before you go! Then a solid 48 hr+ period of below freezing temperatures is expected early next week as an unusually strong Canadian high pressure settles into Minnesota on Monday. Get the winter weather apparel together!
Saturday: Dry, breezy. Late PM clearing. H: 43 Wind: WNW 10-15 G 20
Saturday Night: Clear. L: 26 Wind: W 5-10
Sunday: Partly sunny. H: 45 L: 27 Wind: SW 5-10
Monday: Flurries/drizzle. Cloudy & much colder. H: 28 L: 18 Wind: N 10
Tuesday: Sunny but COLD. We'll be lucky if we break 30°. H: 29 L: 22 Wind: W 5-10
Wednesday: Warming up above freezing. H: 37 L: 25 Wind: SW 10-15
Super Typhoon Haiyan Makes History
World weather history was made Thursday night as Typhoon Haiyan made landfall in the central Philippines. Winds were sustained at 195 mph making Haiyan the strongest tropical cyclone to ever make landfall. This storm tops Hurricane Camille that had winds up to 190 mph when it made landfall along the Mississippi coast in 1969. At one point, winds within Haiyan were gusting to 235 mph. Crazy! That's comparable to a EF5 tornado.
Winter weather forecasting is hardly every black and white. Too many factors can easily tip the balance into that grey area. Rarely does the general public demand a rain forecast to be accurate down to the hundredths of an inch. No big deal if the rainfall forecast calls for 0.25" and it rains 0.37", right?
When it comes to snow, however, stuff starts getting serious. People expect an accurate snowfall forecast right down to the inch. Nailing down that precise number can be extremely difficult. Think about this...just 0.1" of liquid water equals 1" of snow when assuming a 10:1 ratio. Better get that liquid precipitation forecast right, not to mention a plethora of other factors like the water content (wet vs heavy snow) and atmospheric temperatures. This is the kind of forecasting difficulties that can keep a meteorologist up at night.
Our first (measurable) snow event in the metro has occurred this week. The first one is always tricky because the ground is still warm from summer and can wreak havoc on snowfall totals. Tough forecast but I'm going for 3 inches of slush by Wednesday morning.
Tuesday: Rain changes to snow Tuesday evening. ~5 hours of snow Tuesday night...some heavy at times. H: 41 Wind: NE 5-10
Tuesday Night: Snow, some heavy at times, ending after midnight. L: 28 Wind: N 9
Wednesday: Sunny. H: 40 L: 25 Wind: NW 10
Thursday: Mostly sunny. Dry. H: 41 L: 27 Wind: W 5-10
Friday: Increasing clouds, flurries/sprinkles mix. H: 44 L: 35 Wind: SW 5-10
Saturday: Light rain/snow mix. Clearing overnight & cold. H: 42 L: 25 Wind: SW 5
Sunday: Mostly cloudy. H: 38 L: 30 Wind: S 2-4
Last winter of 2012-2013 was long and snowy but the winter of 2011-2012 was fairly mild. Honestly, this upcoming winter outlook is a bit of a toss up. The average winter snow for the metro is between 40-50 inches. Get the fatbikes ready...Minnesota winter is right around the corner!
Have you noticed the late leaf fall this year? Many Minnesota's trees are past color but are still holding their leaves deep into Autumn. According to MN State Climatologist, Mark Seeley, area arborists "tell us that the two key factors leading to late autumn leaf fall this year were the very late spring and delayed leafing out of trees, combined with a very warm and sunny September."
Strong wind developing late this weekend and a wet snow next week will surely help to strip the leaves off the trees once and for all this season.
More Pacific Ocean air (instead of cold Canadian air) begins to stream across the country. The straight west to east flow (zonal) will help to moderate temperatures across the Midwest this weekend. The slight kink northward or the "ridging" of the height lines across the area means dry weather in the short term. This zonal pattern, though, brings a Pacific storm into the Midwest the middle of next week. Northern Minnesota is poised to received a wet accumulation of snow. At this point, accumulations will be minor.
Saturday: Mostly sunny. H: 51° Wind: WNW 7
Saturday Night: Mostly clear. L: 35° Wind: S 2-4
Sunday: Increasing clouds, turning windy. H: 54 L: 38 Wind: SE 15-20
Monday: Cloudy, light afternoon rain. H: 54 L: 39 Wind: S 10-15
Tuesday: Rain, some heavy at times. H: 47 L: 33 Wind: NE 5-10
Wednesday: Lingering light rain, random snowflake? H: 44 L: 31 Wind: NW 10
Snowfall Forecast Next Week
The Colorado Rockies look to hog all the snow next week while western/northern MN receives a meager 2 inches of slush.
New Set of Eyes in Space
A new weather observing satellite is scheduled to launch in 2016. This new GOES-R satellite will be able to monitor Earth's climate, weather and environment with the newly Advanced Baseline Imager. ABI will be faster, capturing an image every single minute. This will improve real-time forecasting capabilities and provide quicker updates during severe weather events. Awesome!
Summer brings warm afternoons perfect for biking, but the summer heat and humidity can also spark thunderstorms and severe weather. Be prepared for any type of adverse weather headed your way with Aeris Pulse.
NWS Twin Cities Weather Story