Stories tagged snow

Snow angel: Rice Park in downtown St. Paul has probably the most artistic snow gauge in the Twin Cities.
Snow angel: Rice Park in downtown St. Paul has probably the most artistic snow gauge in the Twin Cities.Courtesy Thor Carlson
Taking a break from the snow shoveling to check out Science Buzz? We sure got a lot of snow in the Twin Cities this weekend, especially when initial predictions were for three to five inches and we ended up with nearly a foot. How does that happen? Meteorology guru Paul Douglas explains it all right here in an very open discussion of why predicting snow fall amounts is so slippery.

How do you feel about our sudden surge into winter? Were you excited to get all this snow? Share your thoughts with other Science Buzz readers.

This old man is as horrified as you are: Summer is over, sir. Time to dig out your sweaters.
This old man is as horrified as you are: Summer is over, sir. Time to dig out your sweaters.Courtesy rocketlass
So ... long-range forecasting teams are predicting that this winter will be really cold and snowy. You know, like last winter.

Commence crying ... now!

Why is another brutal winter likely? Well, for a couple of reasons:

Primarily, the punishing weather is coming because of your bad behavior. I'm referring specifically to your naughty language, and the way you've been taking fivers out of your mom's purse. Did you think there would be no repercussions? Unbelievable. Obviously you've offended Thor, or something. (Not Science Buzz's own Thor, Thor the weather god. Well ... maybe also Science Buzz's Thor.)

Another big reason for the prediction is the angry girl-child herself: La Niña. As you probably know, La Niña is a cyclical weather pattern, originating in the Pacific Ocean off of South America. La Niña also treats the jetstream like a plaything, generally screwing things up for people.

So, you know, enjoy.

Mar
14
2011

Buzzketeers, it's a big problem.

A ginormous, hulking, frozen, messy problem.

See, here in St. Paul, we've had a very snowy winter. (As of today, it has been the seventh snowiest winter on record. And the snow season isn't over yet.) When the City plows the streets, they have to put the snow somewhere. And one of the places they put it is the parking lot of the St. Paul Saints Midway Stadium, on Energy Park Drive.

The result?
Mt. Midway: Looking NNW from the few open parking spaces off Energy Park Drive. See those little bamboo fronds at the peak? Who needs Hawaii?
Mt. Midway: Looking NNW from the few open parking spaces off Energy Park Drive. See those little bamboo fronds at the peak? Who needs Hawaii?Courtesy Liza Pryor

The 550-spot parking lot is completely -- and I mean COMPLETELY -- covered with snow. It's 30, even 50, feet deep. And it goes from Energy Park Drive north to the train tracks, and from the stadium west to the end of the property. It's impressive, peeps.

It goes on...: and on...and on...I'm standing on the snow pile, with the peak with the tree to my left (west) looking north toward the train tracks.
It goes on...: and on...and on...I'm standing on the snow pile, with the peak with the tree to my left (west) looking north toward the train tracks.Courtesy Liza Pryor

And here's the problem, friends: the St. Paul Saints season opener is May 8th. And there's no way all this snow is going to melt before then. Baseball needs its parking lot back.

More pictures of Mt. Midway.

So how can we get rid of the snow? Trucking it away isn't an option, and minimal use of fossil fuels is a good thing. Buzzers, it's time to go all Mythbusters here and submit your ideas. If you've got a good one, you might get to see it in action.

Jan
31
2011

Leigh and I have safely arrive in Christchurch, preparing for our second trip to Antarctica this field season. We flew down with several folks that will be wintering over on the ice. For some, this is their first trip to the ice ever, for others, this has just become a bit routine.

The weather here is a bit chilly and overcast this evening, with a very nice forecast for the next two days. The forecast for our friends and family back home in KS is not nearly as positive. I guess that all depends on how you look at it though.

It's already been a crazy winter, and now this! I'm not going to lie, there is a part of me that really wishes I was going to be there for this one. I'm obviously a person that doesn't mind the cold weather or snow. Safe travels to everyone back in the Midwest! Stay safe and warm! We'll try to do the same down south.

Pop QUIZ: How would you describe the job of a Petroleum Transfer Engineer?

Jan
20
2011

With breaking weather news like "Hey! It's the coldest week of this winter," and "We're only 30 inches from breaking the record for annual snow fall," I'm beginning to wonder why we Minnesotans live here. And it's only January 20th. We have another two months of winter to go. At least. Sheesh!

Coupled with the winter weather and winter wind chill advisories -- not to mention the copious snow emergencies! -- of this winter is the fact that I've been waking up in the dark for far too long and leaving work after dark as well. I don't think I quite have seasonal affective disorder yet, but I could sure use some good news on the Spring front, couldn't you??
You Are My Sunshine: I am depending on this photo of Camogli, Italy to get me through the next few months.  (Sigh.)
You Are My Sunshine: I am depending on this photo of Camogli, Italy to get me through the next few months. (Sigh.)Courtesy KelsiDayle

Well, here I am to brighten your day:

The sun is already setting after 5pm! It has been since this past Monday (the 17th). Your commute and evening will be noticeably brighter over the next few weeks. By February 24th, the sun will rise by 7am in Minneapolis. That's just over a month away! There will be at least two more minutes of sunlight EACH DAY for the rest of January and most of February. By February 21st, there will be over THREE additional minutes of sunlight each day. Finally, there are only 5 months until the Summer solstice, or the longest day of the year.

Hang in there Minnesota... we've got this!

(Not from Minnesota? I'm sorry; that's too bad. But, you can find your own sunrise and sunset information using this sun calculator.)

No, this isn't about the Tea Party movement. With all the snowstorms sweeping the country this week, a researcher is trying to determine if all 50 states have measureable snow on their lands right now. Here's the full story. He's pretty sure this hasn't happened in a long time, if ever.

Folks in the Twin Cities saw 8" of snow on Wednesday 2/25, much of it falling in short bursts. People on the Eastern Seaboard saw some similar action earlier this week. Much of the accumulation was caused by a rare phenomenon called "thundersnow."

"According to Patrick Market, an associate professor of atmospheric science at the University of Missouri, a 30-year study of snowfall found that when lightning is observed during a snowstorm, there is an 86 percent chance that at least six inches (15 centimeters) of snow will fall within 70 miles (113 kilometers) of the flash. Researchers are trying to determine the combo of atmospheric conditions required to create thundersnow to help them better predict heavy snowfall—which they define as at least eight inches (20 centimeters) falling at a rate of three to four inches (7.5 to 10 centimeters) per hour—and issue warnings about hazardous weather before it hits, giving people time to prepare, take cover and get off the road.

The New York Times' Dot Earth blog has a cool new post: "The many faces of water in winter." It has a link to a post about snow's "fluff factor."

Andrew Revkin, the blogger, is asking readers to send in photos or video (via Flickr or YouTube) of "...parts of your environs that you treasure, that are imperiled, or that otherwise matter." Doesn't say they have to be of New York, and Minnesotans know a thing or two about beautiful places and water in winter or both.

Feb
17
2009

Snow: soon to be water
Snow: soon to be waterCourtesy jef safi
Here in Minnesota, a whole lotta snow in the winter can lead to a whole lotta messy flooding in the spring. That's probably why the Federal Weather Folk--aka the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or NOAA--base their National Operational Hydrological Remote Sensing Center up here in Chanhassen.

By looking at the snow conditions across the north, the NOHRSC can predict possible flooding when the seasons begin to change. The Star Tribune has an interesting article on how NOHRSC uses low flying planes and other forms of remote sensing to keep track of snow on the ground. Did you know that you can be a snow physicist?

So what can we expect this spring? Flooding is on the menu, and the folks at NOHRSC are flying around the north of the country to figure out where.