High humidity is back, but only for a short time. After some severe storms late Wednesday, a much cooler/drier atmosphere settles in that should make for a pleasant riding weekend.
Wednesday: PM/evening strong storm. H: 83 Wind: S 10-15
Wednesday Night: Thunderstorms. L: 73
Thursday: Morning rain, then clearing. H: 82 L: 52 Wind: WNW 10-15
Friday: Sunny. H: 69 L: 49 Wind: WSW 7
Saturday: Sunny. H: 73 L: 54 Wind: W 2
Sunday: Dry. H: 75 L: 58 Wind: SW 7
Meteorological summer (June, July, August) is officially over. Fall is right around the corner with the astonomical start to the Autumn season just 3 weeks away. Models keep hinting at a real fall feel (lows in the 30s) come mid September. Get ready...
This Friday is the end of meteorological winter, but it won't feel like it. Highs and lows will be 25-30 degrees below climatological normal through next weekend.
Meteorological winter is designated December-February and this year has been the 11th coldest on record.
Wednesday: Sunny. H: 16 L: -9 Wind: SW 10-15
Thursday: Partly sunny. H: -1 L: -10 Wind: NW 5-10
Friday: Partly sunny. H: 7 L: -12 Wind: NW 5
Saturday: Increasing clouds, overnight snow showers. H: 1 L: -10 Wind: NW 7
Sunday: Continued cold. H: 10 L: -1 Wind: NW 2
Record Ice on Great Lakes
One of the side effects of the extensive cold has been record ice cover on the Great Lakes. Ice covers an average of 88% of the lakes, the most since 1994. Lake Superior is now 94% covered giving way to spectacular ice caves that have been attracting thousands of visitors, including cyclists.
Which brings up an interesting point. Michigan's soils and shorelines are fragile, and off-road vehicles along stream banks and other waterways are restricted during the warm season. Off-road vehicles include ATV's, cars...and bikes. But what about in the rare event that the lake freezes over?
Mixed messages have been sent out. Some have been told that biking along the shoreline and ice caves is legal whereas others have been told otherwise. I know a group of riders heading up to northern Michigan this week and they plan to meet with the park rangers to get a straight answer before they hop on their saddles and explore the ice caves.
Geeze, that nearly 40 degree high on Sunday was nice while it lasted! Another blob of cold air rotating around the polar vortex sends the latest arctic wave into Minnesota. Those that plan on commuting to work will need to layer up pretty much all week. Luckily, the cold eases up come the weekend for the 2nd Get Phat with Pat race at the River Bottoms.
Monday Night: Turning much colder. L: -15
Tuesday: Coldest day of the week H: -5 L: -7 Wind: NW 4
Wednesday: Early AM light snow. H: 2 L: -12 Wind: NW 10
Thursday: Clear & cold. H: -3 L: -10 Wind: W 10
Friday: Snow. Around 1 inch. H: 22 L: 17 Wind: SW 10-15
Saturday: Snow showers. H: 25 L: 3 Wind: N 10-15
Sunday: Snow showers. H: 21 L: 15 Wind: SW 10
Blizzard conditions can only mean one thing to the Minnesota fatbiker: trail maintenance. Winds packing over 30 mph combined with the 4"-6" snowfall we received this week has made the snow deep on spots. Any exposed area of trail likely has significant drifting. Carver Lake Park, for example, is planning trail maintenance and packing before the Cold Catfish Cup on Sunday.
A fresh round of 2"-4" of snow by Saturday should make the Get Phat with Pat River Bottoms Race interesting! Winds are always an issue when these strong Alberta Clippers race through Minnesota this time of year.
Saturday: Morning snow ending throughout afternoon. H: 18 Wind: S 10 G 20
Saturday Night: Clearing. L: 10 Wind chill: -4
Sunday: Mostly sunny. Breezy. H: 17 L: -7 Wind: 10-15 G 30
Monday: Cloudy and COLD. H: 0 L: -14 Wind: NW 7
Tuesday: Partly sunny. H: -2 L: -12 Wind: W 2-4
Wednesday: Cloudy. H: 5 L: -10 Wind: NW 7
The words 'polar vortex' have been thrown around a lot lately in the media. There's absolutely nothing new about the polar vortex. It has always been in the arctic! The polar vortex is simply the low pressure associated with the core of the coldest air in the northern most latitudes. This swirling low can often swing down lobes of cold air during winter. A piece of the polar vortex is back early next week...beware.
We spent 62 hours below zero this week. That number doesn't even come close to the record of 186 consecutive hours back in 1912. Either way, that crazy arctic outbreak is behind us. A 50 degree temperature swing has occurred over a 4 day period. 30s never felt so good!
There will be a couple opportunities for fresh snow on the trails this weekend. The first round comes in Friday night with 1 inch accumulation in the metro. A light wintry mix early Sunday could cause glaze on the groomed trails.
Saturday: Morning snow ending, staying cloudy. H: 29 Wind: NW 10
Saturday Night: Partly cloudy. L: 16 Wind: SW 10
Sunday: Morning light freezing drizzle, very brief. Crusty trails? H: 35 L: 13 Wind: SW 10
Monday: Snow showers. H: 23 L: 16 Wind: SW 10
Tuesday: Partly cloudy, breezy. H: 24 L: 5 Wind: NW 15-20
Wednesday: Partly cloudy. H: 22 L: 13 Wind: SW 10
Fewer Frigid Nights
Despite the recent extreme cold, the numbers show that overall there is a downward trend in the number of extreme cold nights.
Ash Borer Larvae and Cold
If you've been up north lately, you've seen the devastation these little buggers have done to the ash trees. Across the United States, 150-200 million out of 8 billion ash trees have perished. The good new is that many of the ash borer larvae in Minnesota may not be able to survive our recent cold winter. A recent study "showed that 5% of the insects die at 0F, 34% at -10F, 79% at -20F and 98% at -30F." You can read more about this in Paul Hettner's weather blog.
2014 MORC Board of Directors
Introducing the 2014 MORC Board of Directors! We're excited about the upcoming year. I will be posting our latest webinar discussing the past, present and future of this great organization. Lots of good stuff in the pipeline so stay tuned!
Monday: Cloudy and coldest of the week. H: -16 Wind chill: -40
Monday Night: Bitterly cold. L: -20 Wind chill: -45
Tuesday: Not quite as cold. H: -1 L: -10 Wind chill: -10
Wednesday: Slowly climbing out of the cold. H: 0 L: -5 Wind: CALM
Thursday: Warmer southerly wind. Flurries. H: 17 L: 12 Wind: SE 10
Friday: Mostly cloudy, flurries. H: 30 L: 20 Wind: SW 10
Saturday: Mostly sunny. H: 32 L: 23 Wind: W 15-20
Sunday: Partly sunny H: 35 L: 25 Wind: SW 15-20
For those that will be commuting by bike this week, take extra care to cover up. With record cold and wind chill as low as -65, exposed skin can get frostbitten in 5-10 minutes.
Luckily, this extreme cold will be rather short lived. Conditions will gradually get warmer with each passing day and by the weekend, we'll be back to freezing!
Hang in there, we're stuck in this cold abyss for a while. In fact, temperatures look to stay below normal through the middle of January. Praying for a warm front. The lack of any thaw, however, will allow for pristine trail conditions for fatbikes.
Monday Night: Snow showers. About 1 inch accumulation. L: -9 Wind: NW 7
New Year's Eve: Cold, increasing clouds. Snow after midnight to ring in the new year. Accumulations ~1" H: 0 L: -9 Wind: NW 2-4
New Year's Day: Cloudy. H: 5 L: -7 Wind: NE 10
Thursday: Sunny. H: 3 L: -10 Wind: NW 4
Friday: Partly sunny. Slight warming thru the night. H: 15 L: 20 Wind: S 5-10
Saturday: Snow showers. Little to no accumulation. H: 20 L: 7 Wind: NW 15-20
Sunday: Partly cloudy. H: 13 L: -8 Wind: NW 10-15
Hey, it could be worse. Scientists recently discovered the coldest place on the planet. The temperature just off a ridge in the East Antarctic Plateau reached minus 135.8°F, in the middle of August no less! Really puts our cold into perspective.
After a quick 1-2 inch coating of new snow on the trails, cold settles in again for the weekend. A storm that passes to our south and brings accumulating snow to Iowa and Wisconsin and flooding rains to the Ohio Valley. Minnesota is spared.
Saturday: Mostly cloudy, light wind. H: 22 Wind: NE 2
Saturday Night: Cloudy. L: 11 Wind: N 7
Sunday: Cloudy. H: 16 L: -7 Wind: NW 10 mph
Monday: Sunny but wind chill sub zero. Bitterly cold. H: 1 L: -7 Wind: NW 7
Christmas Eve: Partly cloudy, breezy. H: 16 L: 12 Wind: S 10-15
Christmas Day: Cloudy, light snow showers. H: 22 L: 1 Wind: SW 10-15
Thursday: Partly sunny. H: 9 L: 0 Wind: W 10
Friday: Mostly sunny. H: 11 L: -1 Wind: SW 7
Okay, do you want the good news or the bad news first? Though the amount of daylight will decrease for a few more days as the sun continues to rise later, we have passed the earliest sunset of the year and will see the sun set later each day. The winter solstice and the official start to winter is Saturday. Bring on the bright summer evenings!
Something odd fell from the sky Monday, December 16...snow in the shape of corkscrew pasta! I've been scratching my head trying to figure out how these individual snowflakes obtained this odd shape. Maybe it has to do with the type of tiny air particles and just the right atmospheric conditions? No clue! Some things defy explanation.
Minnesota Heat Waves Linked to Lost Cryosphere
New study links loss of arctic sea ice and snow melt to extreme weather in the mid-latitude, including in Minnesota. Warning, technical weather talk:
Atmospheric changes associated with the combined snow/ice reductions reveal widespread upper-level height increases, weaker upper-level zonal winds at high latitudes, a more amplified upper-level pattern, and a general northward shift in the jet stream.
More frequent extreme summer heat events over mid-latitude continents are linked with reduced sea ice and snow through these circulation changes.
You may have seen this story but I though it was the coolest thing. Imagine raindrops that fall today being preserved for billions of years.
Recently discovered raindrops in South Africa were fossilized in volcanic ash 2.7 billion years ago. This discovery provided a clue as to what our atmosphere was like during that time. Based on the size of the imprints, scientists were able to conclude that the atmosphere that created the preserved raindrops was nearly twice as thick as today.
Welcome to the coldest weather since 2008! Temperatures will struggle to break even 10 degrees and wind chill values 20 below zero will test even the best cold weather riding gear. After everybody's frozen we only modestly start to climb out of this arctic abyss late next week. Good grief!
Saturday: Partly sunny, dry for Global Fatbike Day. Wind chill: -5 to -10 H: 5 Wind: W 5-10
Saturday Night: Mostly cloudy. Wind chill -16. L: -1 Wind: W 10
Sunday: Snow continuing overnight. Totals: 1-2" H: 15 L: 4 Wind: SE 2-4
Monday: Mostly cloudy. H: 8 L: -3 Wind: WNW 10-15
Tuesday: Snow showers. Less than 1 inch accumulation. H: 11 L: -7 Wind: NW 10-15
Wednesday: Partly sunny. H: 10 L: -4 Wind: SW 5-10
When the air is so bitterly cold, ice crystals can form out of clear air. These ice crystals are sometimes referred to as diamond dust and can cause beautiful optical phenomena in the sky. The pillars of sun like the ones shown above are a common sight in Minnesota on very cold mornings and form when ice crystals refract sunlight low on the horizon.
Find Fatbike Snow
If you want to crush some snow you gotta head up north. Duluth and areas along the north shore of Lake Superior got hammered by over 20 inches of snow this week! Duluth had a storm snow total of 23.3 inches Monday-Wednesday.
Minnesota Cimate Change
Milder winters, more heat waves, heavier rain events. The jury may still be out on wether climate change is natural of human caused but change is evident even for an ordinary observer. For Minnesota, 7 of the past 10 warmest years have occurred in the past 15 years. The state has also experienced more intense droughts and heavy rain events. You can read more here about Minnesota climate change and weather hazards from state climatologist Mark Seeley and the University of Minnesota Extension climate team.
NASA has just released this most detailed movie to date of Saturn's north pole, known as 'the hexagon'.
The hexagon is a wavy jet stream of 200-mile-per-hour winds (about 322 kilometers per hour) with a massive, rotating storm at the center. There is no weather feature exactly, consistently like this anywhere else in the solar system.
Best part about the hexagon?....astronomers aren't exactly sure how it takes on that shape.
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?
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