Winter Beauty
I had a chance to spend some time up north over the weekend and wow what a beauty it was after two separate storms dumped nearly a foot of fresh February snow! Here’s an image from Larsmont Cottages along the Minnesota North Shore near Two Harbors, MN. I thought we’d be snowed in for sure after 8.5″ snow fell Saturday night, but kudos to the staff who did an amazing job clearing all the sidewalks and parking lots so we could get out on Sunday!! What a fun weekend.
Oberserved Snowfall Last 7 Days
The observed snowfall over the last 7 days is quite impressive, especially in the Arrowhead, where nearly 2ft. of fresh February snow has fallen. There was also nearly 1ft. of fresh snow that fell across the Twin Cities from late last week into the weekend and Sunday turned out to be a fantastic day to go out and play in the wintry weather.
February Snowfall
Here’s a look at how much snow has fallen so far this February and note how many locations have seen double digit tallies, including the Twin Cities! Most locations have seen nearly 1ft. but Duluth has exceeded 2ft so far this February! Interestingly, the amount of snow that has fallen so far this February is nearly 9″ to 13″ above average from the Twin Cities to Duluth!
8th Snowiest January Through February on Record!
According to the MN State Climatology Office, the 36.3″ of snow that the MSP Airport has seen from January to February is the 8th snowiest on record! This has also helped to push the Twin Cities up to a seasonal snowfall SURPLUS for the first time in a long time. While it’s not much (+2.6″), it is still a surplus for the season.
Snow Depth As of Sunday, February 25th
As of Sunday, February 25th, there was officially 10″ of snow on the ground the Twin Cities Airport, while nearly 2ft of snow was on the ground near Duluth and MN’s North Shore. If you like snow, you better get out there and enjoy it soon because high temps in the mid/upper 30s will start that melting process quite rapidly over the next several days.
Observed Snowfall From Space
I thought this was a neat tweet from the @NWSTwinCities how widespread the recent snow was from space. You can see the difference in the snow on the ground vs no snow on the ground vs clouds. I could stare at satellite images for hours. Thanks @NWSTwinCities for the tweet!!
Upcoming Snow
More snow on the way? While it doesn’t look much, parts of southern/southeastern Minnesota could add to their snow totals this week as they get clipped by another system midweek. Stay tuned for more…
“Accumulating snow is possible across southeast Minnesota and west central Wisconsin late Wednesday night into Thursday. However, there is a lot of uncertainty with this system so please check back later this afternoon for an updated forecast.”
Weather Outlook Ahead
The weather outlook from midday Wednesday to Thursday night shows our next storm system moving through the Midwest with another round of rain and snow. At this point, it looks like snow will clip the southeastern corner of Minnesota, while areas of heavy rain and thunder will once again impact parts of the Ohio Valley.
GFS Snowfall Potential
According to the latest GFS (American model), a few inches of snow will be possible across the far southeastern tip of the state as the next midweek storm clips the state.
ECMWF Snowfall Potential
According to the ECMWF (European Model) snowfall tallies across the southern and southeastern part of the state could accumulate to shovelable levels, especially near I-90. However, Twin Cities might only see a light coating as the storm passes.


Warmer Temp Outlook Into Early March
Here’s the temperature outlook through the middle part of March, which shows milder temps in the 30s and 40s staying with us through the first weekend of March. However, it appears there may be a slight dip to slightly below average temperatures again into the first full week of the month, but the good news is that no sub-zero temps are forecast during this time.
Snow Depth 2018
The snow depth map across the country for February 26th suggests that 41.0% of the country is covered in snow, mainly across the northern half of the nation. At this time last year, 35.7% of the nation was covered in snow. As of February 26th, the Twin Cities officially had 9″ of snow on the ground at the MSP Airport, but at this time last year, there was NO snow on the ground. Note also that last year at this time, the Sierra Nevada Range in California had a significantly greater snow pack than what is there now.
Snow Depth 2017
At this time last year, 35.7% of the nation was covered in snow.



3-7 Day Hazard Forecast

1.) Heavy precipitation across portions of the Great Lakes and the Upper Mississippi Valley, Mon, Feb 19.
2.) Heavy rain across portions of the Central Plains, the Lower Mississippi Valley, the Central Appalachians, the Tennessee Valley, the Great Lakes, the Middle Mississippi Valley, the Northeast, the Southern Plains, and the Ohio Valley, Mon-Tue, Feb 19-Feb 20.
3.) Heavy rain across portions of the Lower Mississippi Valley, the Tennessee Valley, the Middle Mississippi Valley, the Southern Appalachians, the Southeast, the Southern Plains, and the Ohio Valley, Wed-Thu, Feb 21-Feb 22.
4.) Flooding possible across portions of the Lower Mississippi Valley, the Central Appalachians, and the Ohio Valley.
5.) High winds across portions of the Central Plains, the Central Rockies, the Central Great Basin, the Southern Rockies, the Southern Plains, and the Southwest, Mon, Feb 19.
6.) Much below normal temperatures across portions of the Central Great Basin, the Northern Plains, the Northern Rockies, the Central Rockies, California, the Northern Great Basin, the Pacific Northwest, and the Southwest, Tue-Wed, Feb 20-Feb 21.
7.) Much below normal temperatures across portions of the Central Plains, the Upper Mississippi Valley, the Northern Plains, and the Northern Rockies, Mon-Fri, Feb 19-Feb 23.
8.) High winds across portions of mainland Alaska, Mon-Wed, Feb 19-Feb 21.
9.) Much above normal temperatures across portions of mainland Alaska, Mon-Wed, Feb 19-Feb 21.
Slight risk of much below normal temperatures for portions of the Central Plains, the Central Great Basin, the Northern Plains, the Northern Rockies, the Central Rockies, the Middle Mississippi Valley, California, the Northern Great Basin, the Upper Mississippi Valley, the Alaska Panhandle, the Pacific Northwest, and the Southwest, Sat-Fri, Feb 24-Mar 2.
10.) Slight risk of much above normal temperatures for portions of mainland Alaska and the Aleutians, Sat-Mon, Feb 24-Feb 26.
11.) Moderate risk of much below normal temperatures for portions of the Central Great Basin, California, and the Southwest, Sat-Sun, Feb 24-Feb 25.
12.) Moderate risk of much below normal temperatures for portions of the Central Plains, the Northern Plains, the Northern Rockies, and the Northern Great Basin, Sat-Fri, Feb 24-Mar 2.
13.) Slight risk of heavy precipitation for portions of the Central Plains, the Lower Mississippi Valley, the Tennessee Valley, the Middle Mississippi Valley, the Southern Appalachians, the Southeast, the Southern Plains, and the Ohio Valley, Sat-Mon, Feb 24-Feb 26.
14.) Severe Drought across the Central Plains, the Central Rockies, the Lower Mississippi Valley, the Central Great Basin, the Northern Plains, the Southern Rockies, the Middle Mississippi Valley, California, the Southern Plains, and the Southwest.


2018 Tornadoes So Far…

According to NOAA’s SPC, there have been 48 preliminary tornaoes so far this year (February 25th), which is more than what we had at this time in the last couple of years. Interestingly, there were 362 tornadoes at this time in 2008; that year ended with 2,194 tornadoes, which is nearly 800 more than the short-term 2005-2015 average.

______________________________________________________________________________Major River Flooding

There has been some major river flooding ongoing across the Ohio Valley thanks to extreme rainfall over the past 5 to 7 days. Thanks to @mett_nky for the flooding picture out of Covington, KY, where the Ohio River reached moderate flood stage last Thursday and may not fall below that mark until this Friday!


Major River Flooding

According to NOAA, there were nearly 285 river gauges in flood stage as of Monday morning, 15 of which where at Major flood statge!


February Rainfall

WOW! How about those numbers! A corridor of heavy precipitation this month helped push February precipitation numbers into Double digits for a number of locations! In fact, there was so much precipitation that Louisville, KY and Evansville, IN have seen their wettest February on record!!


_____________________________________________________________________________“Minnesota Sees Deadliest Winter In Years”

“Minnesota has already had five ice-related deaths this winter. The state typically averages three during the whole season. Minnesota is on track to have one of its deadliest winters in years. Five people have died this season after falling through ice. The state typically averages three ice-related deaths over the course of the entire winter. The 2015-2016 winter had zero ice-related deaths, while the 2016-2017 winter had two. The last time Minnesota saw ice-related deaths in the double digits was in the 2002-2003 winter, when the state had 10 fatalities. The most recent death this year happened in northern Minnesota where a women drowned after riding an ATV on Rice Lake. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources conservation officer Hannah Mishler has already responded to multiple ice rescue calls. “Ice, especially snow covered ice, is extremely deceptive. You can’t see dangerous cracks or the thickness of the ice under the snow,” Mishler said in a statement.”


Ice Safety!!

Before you go testing the ice on area lakes and ponds, remember that “ICE IS NEVER 100% SAFE!” So when is ice safe? Here is an excerpt from the MN DNR regarding ice safety:
“There really is no sure answer. You can’t judge the strength of ice just by its appearance, age, thickness, temperature, or whether or not the ice is covered with snow. Strength is based on all these factors — plus the depth of water under the ice, size of the water body, water chemistry and currents, the distribution of the load on the ice, and local climatic conditions.”


General Ice Thickness Guidelines

Here are some general ice thickness guidelines from the MN DNR:
For new, clear ice ONLY:

Under 4″ – STAY OFF
4″ – Ice fishing or other activities on foot
5″ – 7″ – Snowmobile or ATV
8″ – 12″ – Car or small pickup
12″ – 15″ – Medium truck

Many factors other than thickness can cause ice to be unsafe.
White ice or “snow ice” is only about half as strong as new clear ice. Double the above thickness guidelines when traveling on white ice.

See more from the MN DNR HERE:



Temperature Anomaly on Saturday
The image below shows the temperature anomaly across North America from Monday which showed well above average temperatures across much of the Eastern US & Eastern Canada, but cooler than average temps were found across much of the Western US and Western Canada.


Temperature Trend
Here’s the 850mb temperature anomaly from Tuesday to Thursday, which shows continued warmer than average temps across the Eastern half of the nation, while colder than average temps continue across much of the Western US..


High Temps Tuesday

High temps across the country on Tuesday will be quite warm for much of the eastern half of the country. In fact, some across the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley will be nearly +20F above average. However, folks in the Intermountain West will still be nearly -20F below average

Weather Outlook Ahead
Weather conditions into Wednesday morning will remain quite active across the nation as another storm system rolls out of the Western US into the Plains. High elevations snow along with lower elevations thundershowers in the Western US will eventually turn into severe storms, more heavy rain and wintry precipitation in the Central US Wednesday & Thursday. By the end of the week, areas of heavy rain and wintry weather will move into the eastern third of the nation, which will cause some travel impacts!
7 Day Precipitation Outlook

According to NOAA’s WPC, the 7-day precipitation outlook suggests areas of heavy precipitation continuing in the Southcentral part of the county, where river flooding is still ongoing. Unfortunately, this addtional heavy rain could leave to more river flood, which could actually worsen! The Northeast will remains active with some 1″ to 2″+ liquid tallies into the first part of March. The most significant moisture could be found along the West Coast and into the high elevations of the Sierra Nevada Range, which would be wonderful news since the snowpack there is running below normal for late February.

Snowfall Potential Ahead

The GFS snowfall potential through the early weekend suggests a little snow across parts of the Midwest/Great Lakes and Northeast over the course of the week, but look at what could happen in the high elevations out west! If this model holds true, parts of the Sierra Nevada Range could get pounded with feet of snow as we head into the first few days of March!
Sloppy – Drippy – Mushy. Maps Look Like March
By Paul Douglas
The thing about the weather: everyone has an opinion, everyone has a story. At MSP International on Saturday Matt explained how happy he was to have moved his family back to Minnesota from Tucson, Arizona.
Was it tough re-acclimating to cold and snow, I asked? He looked at me like I had horns. “I couldn’t let my kids out to play in the yard, for fear of rattlesnakes, tarantulas and scorpions! Gila Monster lizards don’t let go unless you drown them in water” he offered, shaking his head. Suddenly the slush and cold didn’t feel quite so bad.
Last week was snowiest of the winter; this week we melt much of that snow as the mercury flirts with 40F. A southern storm may brush southeastern Minnesota and the MSP metro with a couple of slushy inches on Thursday. Long-range models show a good chance of more significant snow next Monday, but it’s too early for specific.
The moisture is welcome, but as we sail into March more precipitation will fall as a mix or even all-rain. Odds are in a few weeks we’ll see our first 50. Spring river flooding risk? I’ll delve into risk factors tomorrow.

Extended Forecast

TUESDAY: Clouds and fog. Winds: N 5.  Wake-up: 21. High: 40.

TUESDAY NIGHT: Mostly cloudy and quiet. Winds: N 5. Low: 24.

WEDNESDAY: Clouds linger, touch of March. Winds: NE 3-8. High: 39.

THURSDAY: Chance of slushy snow, southeast MN. Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 26. High: 36.

FRIDAY: Bright sunshine, feels pretty good. Winds: W 5-10. Wake-up: 18. High: 39

SATURDAY: Clouds and winds increase. Milder. Winds: SE 10-20. Wake-up: 28. High: 44.

SUNDAY: Wet snow or mixed precipitation. Winds: SE 10-15. Wake-up: 32. High: 39.

MONDAY: Mixed may change over to all snow. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 31. High: 35.


This Day in Weather History
February 27th

1981: Thunderstorms move across Minnesota, dumping 1.61 inches of rain at Montevideo. Many places were glazed over with ice.

1948: A severe ice storm occurs over central Minnesota. At the St. Cloud Weather Office 1/2 inch of clear ice was measured. 65 telephone poles were down in St. Cloud.

Average High/Low for Minneapolis
February 27th

Average High: 33F (Record: 57F set in 2016)
Average Low: 18F (Record: -22F set in 1879)

Record Rainfall: 1.01″ set in 1981
Record Snowfall: 5.5″ set in 1893

Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
February 27th

Sunrise: 6:54am
Sunset: 5:58pm

Hours of Daylight: ~11 hours & 4 minutes

Daylight GAINED since yesterday: ~ 3 minutes & 05 seconds
Daylight GAINED since winter solstice (December 21st): 2 Hour 18 Minutes

Moon Phase for February 27th at Midnight
1.7 Days Until Full  “Worm” Moon

“In March, the ground softens, and the earthworm casts reappear, inviting the return of the robins. The Northern tribes knew this as the Full Crow Moon, when the cawing of crows signals the end of winter, or the Full Crust Moon because the snow cover becomes crusted from thawing by day and freezing at night. Fullness occurs at 7:51 p.m. EST(0051 GMT on March 2).”

By the way, did you know that there was NO full moon in Februray? It turn out that it is a little rare! Read more from HERE: “This occurrence happens once every 19 years. The last time February didn’t have a full moon was in 1999, and the time before that was 1980; the next time there will be no full moon in February will be 2037. (Once again, this is true for most locations on Earth, but in some places, including eastern Asia and eastern Australia, the moment of peak fullness will occur on the morning of Feb. 1.) The timing of the full moon is related to the Metonic Cycle, which is named for the Greek astronomer Meton, who discovered this phenomenon around 500 B.C. He noted that a given phase of the moon usually falls on the same date at intervals of 19 years. There doesn’t seem to be a name for a month that lacks a full moon, but February is the only month in which this can happen. Recall what we noted above: The lunar (“synodic”) cycle is roughly 29.5 days on average, but even during leap years, February cannot have more than 29 days. So if a full moon takes place on the final day of January, the next full moon will jump over February and occur at the beginning of March. And this will result in a second month with two full moons; the second full moon makes up for the lack of a full moon in February.”


 Temp Outlook For Tuesday

Temps on Tuesday will be fairly warm across much of the state with highs in the 20s and 30s, wich will be nearly +5F or so above average. Note that reading will be nearly +20F above average as you get closer to the Great Lakes, while readings will be -5F to -15F below average in the western Dakotas.


8 to 14 Day Temperature Outlook

Here’s the temperature outlook into the 2nd weekend of March, which suggests that colder than average temps will continue across much of the High Plains, while reading will be a little closer to average elsewhere through the Midwest.

8 to 14 Day Temperature Outlook

As we head into the 2nd weekend of March, colder than average temperatures will still be fairly widespread in the Northwestern part of the nation, but will also be present in the Southeast. However, the Northern New England States and the far Southwest will be above average.

“Hurricane Harvey Destroyed More Vehicles Than Any Single Event in America. This Is the Aftermath”
“Disasters are always fascinating. From fender benders to war, humans will stop and stare at the tragic, the grotesque, the hideous. In early December, I watched a massive plume of malevolent brown smoke moving over Ventura, California, threatening my hometown of Santa Barbara. I was mesmerized by the Thomas Fire, like everyone else. But it wasn’t just the physical proximity of the flames that captivated me. I had just returned from Houston, which was still picking up after the devastation of Hurricane Harvey. Last year, as August came to a close, Houston was hit with nearly 52 inches of rain. At least 88 people were killed, and thousands lost their homes. Reports also estimate that up to a million cars were destroyed in the widespread flooding, as many as half of which were in Houston, America’s fourth-most-populous city. That’s a huge number, but it would make sense. The city of Houston has 2.3 million residents and spreads out over 627.5 square miles. Throw in the suburbs, and the metro region expands to 6.3 million residents and almost 1300 square miles. There are some buses and light rail running in the city’s urban core, but both get scant in the vast sprawl beyond. The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles had more than 3.5 million cars registered in Houston’s Harris County during 2016—and seven other counties border Harris. Few places are more car-dependent than rapidly growing, economically vital, multicultural but wholly Texan Houston.”

“The Mystery of the Fog Holes That Form Over Cities”
“IN THE WINTER MONTHS, THICK fog forms over the plains that stretch south of the Himalayas, through Pakistan, India, Nepal, and Bangladesh. Visibility can be so limited that it’s impossible to see more than 10 or 20 feet ahead, which means planes stay on the ground and even rail travel slows to a crawl. Ritesh Gautam, a climate scientist who works for the Environmental Defense Fund, first started studying the formation of fog in order to understand the ways in which air pollution was making it worse. But during his research, he noticed another strange phenomenon: Holes, dramatic enough that they show up in satellite imagery, would form in the thick fog directly over cities. The cause of these fog holes was a mystery, but Gautam and other scientistssuspected that they could be caused by the heat trapped in urban landscapes, which makes city temperatures hotter than those in the surrounding area. In a new paper, published in Geophysical Research Letters, Gautam and a team of colleagues outline the relationship between cities and these mysterious fog holes. By looking at 17 years of satellite data, capturing fog holes in California, Europe, South Asia, and China, they found a clear connection between the size of cities and the size of these gaps in the fog.”


“Could More Snow in Antarctica Slow Sea Level Rise?”
“Some experts are heralding the news as a silver lining: Scientists have found snowfall recently escalated in East Antarctica, which could lessen the high amounts of melt seen in West Antarctica that are contributing to rising seas. That prospect is comforting because the vast frozen desert at the underbelly of our world contains about 200 feet of potential sea level rise. But other scientists argue the story line is not so simple. Scientists have long maintained rising temperatures would cause an increase in the amount of vapor the air can hold. And they have suspected this could lead to more snowfall in Antarctica, but observations were few and far apart. So Brooke Medley, a NASA research scientist, and her colleagues, analyzed a 500-foot-deep ice core extracted from the thick ice sheet in Queen Maud Land, an area in East Antarctica due south of Africa’s southern tip.”


“Montana Wildfires Provide A Wealth Of Data On Health Effects Of Smoke Exposure”
“Jean Loesch and her family live in Seeley Lake, Mont., which saw the longest and most intense smoke from Montana’s wildfires this summer. Loesch has 10 children, adopted or in her foster care, and they are learning what it’s like to have lingering respiratory problems. Last summer, Loesch says, the smoke was so thick outside, the family couldn’t see the trees across the street, so they stayed inside. It was still really hard to breathe. “These guys were miserable,” Loesch says. “I think each one of them ended up having to go to the doctor.” Everyone needed inhalers. The family is usually pretty healthy, but not this year. Loesch got pneumonia and the kids had bloody noses. And now, even with the smoke long gone, the children are still having trouble with their lungs. “They’ll wake up hacking,” Loesch says “They’ve all been sick. I’ve had to take them in for upper respiratory infections.”


“What’s the most distant human object from Earth?”
“The most distant human-made object is the spacecraft Voyager 1, which – in late February 2018 – is over 13 billion miles (21 billion km) from Earth. Voyager 1 and its twin, Voyager 2, were launched 16 days apart in 1977. Both spacecraft flew by Jupiter and Saturn. Voyager 2 also flew by Uranus and Neptune. Now both Voyagers are heading out of our solar system, into the space between the stars. Voyager 1 officially became the first earthly craft to leave the solar system, crossing the heliopause, in 2012. Both Voyager spacecraft were designed back in the early 1970s. They were built to take advantage of a rare grouping of planets on a single side of the sun in our solar system. This grouping, which happens only every 176 years, let the Voyagers slingshot from one planet to the next, via gravitational assists.”


Thanks for checking in and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @TNelsonWX