During the first 7 days in January 1912 the temperature stayed below zero, the longest consecutive streak on record. By comparison, we'll stay below zero for at least 48 hours this weekend. Wind chill values as low as -40 can be expected. Cold like that can make frostbite in less than 15 minutes. If braving the elements on the bike this weekend, be sure to cover any exposed skin!
Weather records go back to 1872 in the Twin Cities. The coldest day ever recorded was -20 degrees in 1888. We like to refer to that as "pioneer" cold!
We get a chance to thaw out a little later this month. The extended temperature outlook shows above normal temperatures January 22-28.
Back on January 9th I came across this frozen frog along the Theodore Wirth singletrack. I thought frogs hibernated deep into the soil during the winter but here this little buy was, frozen in time.
What happened? And how did the frog meet this fate? Minnesota Biological Survey herpetologist Carol Hall weighed in on this frog mystery. Here is her response:
"Well this is odd, and I suspect it will be an unsolved mystery. I’ve been sent pics of frogs out on lake ice in the winter (likely otter predation), but this is really unusual! Based on the silhouette and the site location, I suspect it is either a Northern Leopard Frog or a Green Frog. Both species overwinter in deep wetlands or lakes, or possibly a river/stream. It could have been dragged to the trail by a predator, but there is no way to tell if there was any open water nearby. In December there were periods where frogs were still active, but if the picture was taken recently it likely didn’t get there on its own!"
In looking back at the climate data I found that the air temperature in the two days prior to finding the frozen frog was above freezing at 34 degrees. In addition 1.5" of snow fell over that same period. This is when another fellow herpetologist, Aaron Crank, chimed in:
I would bet at this time the snow began to melt, the frog sensed this as an opportunity to head to a more suitable overwintering site. It was probably met by freezing temps that night and it may have slowed its locomotion to the point it stopped moving. Seems like it had frozen that night, and more snow has fallen to cover.
Fascinating! Hope you enjoyed this discovery as much as I did.
Does cycling infrastructure investment (like designated bike lanes) mirror gentrification and privilege? Researchers at McGill University and the University of Quebec in Montreal found "a bias towards increased cycling infrastructure in areas of privilege." The study looked at Chicago in particular where "neighborhoods with large white populations, or an influx of whites, were more likely to get these bike investments." But this raises an interesting point:
Do cities build this infrastructure where they believe people live who are likely to use it (or lobby for it)? Or does the creation of bike lanes attract certain people? Are bike lanes really a part of the process of neighborhood change, or a sign when it's underway? The researchers sidestep the answer by suggesting that gentrification and cycling infrastructure "mirror" each other in these two cities.
You can read more about this study and its findings in The Washington Post.
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