This morning’s map shows the weak storm #3 has passed to our north. The window shows the first hint of orange dawn to the clear east, with temperatures at 21 (-6 Celsius) despite a lack of snow cover to assist radiational cooling.
The hope in the map is the warm front towards the Canadian Rockies. A Chinook has made it across the Divide, and may interrupt the arctic flow from the north. However we are still in the arctic air.
The orange dashed line extending back west from Low #3 to the Great Lakes is a trough, created in part by those relatively warm lakes dimpling the high pressure with rising air and low pressure at the surface. That rising air creates the “Lake Effect Snow” which is making the news. Though the snow is in narrow bands, where it falls it has approached record 24-hour snowfall totals of near six feet.
Imagine one day you have only a little snow in your yard, and the next morning you look out and see this:
At your workplace 20 miles away there is no snow. Will your boss believe you? Probably not. He will demand you show up for work. So you open your front door and see this:
It looks like it will be quite a job to get to your job. It is enough to make a weak willed person despair. However fortunately there is something strong deep within the heart of men that refuses to despair, or…well…maybe it despairs for a while, but then gets bored with despairing. Humor comes bubbling up. One refuses to be beat by mere little bitty snowflakes. One grabs their shovel, again opens the door, and:
Sometimes the way people respond to calamity makes me happy to be included as a member of the human race. (These pictures are from Roy Spencer’s site at: http://www.drroyspencer.com/2014/11/that-epic-fickle-shovel-off-to-buffalo-snow-an-all-time-u-s-record/ )
Those bands of snow dried out, as they moved east from the lakes to here, but we did get a few light flurries last night, that made it all the way here.
It is still looking like we will get a thaw over the weekend, which will allow us to either dig out from under feet of snow, over by the Great Lakes, or perhaps get some last minute chores done, before winter sets in for keeps around here.
The weather was cold but much more bearable at the Childcare yesterday, because the winds grew lighter. In the afternoon we built a fire to roast potatoes in, and had to break through and lift a crust of two to three inches of frozen dirt to reach the potatoes. It was like lifting a lid, and seeing potatoes beneath.
Here is a satellite picture of the clouds blooming up on the upwind side of the Great Lakes, and snowing out on the downwind side. This should be ending today, but we’ve already had a few flurries from scattered, low, windblown cumulus, which makes 4 days with at least flakes in the air (though none on the ground). That’s all we get from “lake effect snow,” in terms of precipitation, here 500 miles to the east. In terms of temperature, the air is warmed considerably by its passage over the lakes.
(This picture is from Dr. Ryan Maue’s blog at the Weatherbell site. He only posts occasionally there, but he posts many times a day on Twitter.)
Dr. Maue also noted that the upper Mississippi River is closed due to ice up by Minneapolis and St. Paul. This is the earliest closure of those locks since records started to be kept in 1969. Prior to this closure, the earliest closing was November 24, back in 1989.