Mark Seeley, climatologist and meteorologist at the University of Minnesota, talks about the weather trends of the past year and predictions for the year to come.
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(00:00:00) See we're going to we're going to we're going to note. This December is one of the coldest of all time, but we'll still average about 08 or nine degrees for the month. So that's a nut close to another seven or eight degrees colder than what we're going through right now. How in the world did they ever stay warm? It must have had fires going all of the time. But even then yeah. Yeah just it's incomprehensible. And why would they stay here one other question for you mark before we we get to some callers we're going to work our way down and take a look back at some of the big weather developments of the past year as well today. But before we get to our callers, and this has come up mostly in joking form. But again, it's worth raising, I guess global warming Theory now the clearly like last year was so warm the last several Winters have been very mild and it's still has winter seem to to underscore that theory now. We're back to what looks like a typical old Minnesota winter does Undermine the theory. No, I think I think what we have to be wary of and of course is most minnesotans. Are we the climate here can startle us? It can absolutely shocked us. We're still going to be subject to a very very high degree of variability. Even though it's been pretty well substantiated that on the average. Our temperatures are going up. Well be it just a few tenths of a degree but nevertheless even though the trend is upward. We're still going to be subject to these wild aberrations like this December this this going to be the coldest December since 1985. So to find anything that's a close analogy. We got to go back 15 years, but I don't think this is a sign we're going back to old-fashioned December's for good, you know, we could turn right around as you mentioned in the introduction we could turn right around and be in the 40s next December, you know, but certainly it's startling in the absence of El Nino and the absence of La Nina. Absence of any what we call Pacific Ocean Global effects because we're in that what they climatologists calls a neutral State. We are subject to Polar outbreaks in the winter just about any time and that's looks like in fact that's the official word from the Weather Service. He has January February and March we're going to be averaging colder than normal in Minnesota. So that landscape you see out there today or for the Christmas weekends. Probably going to be with us for a while. Hmm University of Minnesota meteorologist. Climatologist, Mark Celia's Our Guest this hour here to talk about the weather or current weather the weather we've experienced the past year and and look ahead a little bit as well. If you like to join our conversation, give us a call six five one two, two seven six thousand 6512276 thousand outside the Twin Cities 1-800 to for 228280 Caleb your first go ahead, please. (00:02:56) Hey, Mark, I've lived in Minnesota for five. Is and I'm a snowboarder and except for the first year that I moved here. I've been very disappointed in the amount of snow that we've gotten here and I've been thinking about transferring College out to Montana, but I was wondering if we get more snow this year. I was wondering on your opinion how much snow we're going to get and whether I should stay here in Minnesota. Thanks. (00:03:17) You're from Fergus Falls, right? You're calling for Fergus Falls. (00:03:20) That's right, home of the Otters. Okay. (00:03:22) Okay, and it was Caleb. Yes. Okay Caleb. Unfortunately, you've arrived if your enthusiastics Norm snowboarder, you've arrived at Minnesota at the wrong time. Now this this year though is much more typical we have on average abundant snowfall if I had to describe it Statewide I'd say on the average anywhere from 40 to 60 inches of snowfall for a season is more typical of Minnesota. What you've been going through in recent years is certainly an aberration in terms of normal snowfall. And as for this winter, I think you're in good. Look for snowboarding this winter because the trend is towards continuing snow accumulation. So we've had many places around the state have already reported two feet of snow already this winter and it looks like we've got more to come. So I think we're just going to build on what's already on the landscape so you're got probably going to be looking at a lot of weekend's that you'll be able to participate in that activity. If you don't freeze to death now, we normally get what 55 inches of snow in the Twin Cities. Is that is that the well, you know that number gets thrown all over the place. I use the hundred and twenty year average the hundred hundred and twenty year average is actually about 45 or 46 inches. But anyway from 45 to 55 inches, I was asked this morning and in fact we talked about this with Kathy on Morning Edition. I think if we go back and find analogies to what we've Had so far this year Gary all of those winners that have had 30 inches occur by now have gone on to produce ol on average about 70 inches for the season. So it does look like we're headed for a snowy season. Wow males on the line from Mankato with a question. Go ahead now. (00:05:19) Thank you. I have two questions about temperature one my understanding of when you first see your breath and because your body temperature and moisture that's must be around 40 (00:05:32) degrees. Well 40 degrees is a threshold used to calculate the wind chill index by the National Weather Service. If the outside air temperature is over 40 degrees. They generally don't calculate it. (00:05:46) I'm talking about when you can first. See your (00:05:47) breath. Yeah, right II don't quite know if 40 degrees is a threshold for that or not. I think it depends on the both the temperature condition of the air but it also depends on the water vapor in the air. So it depends a little bit on humidity. (00:06:05) Well, I thought you just a rough (00:06:06) approximation. Yeah. Normally you would see your breath certainly when it's in the 30s and absolutely when it's in the 20s outside because the the what's what your respiring out of your lungs is coming out at a very high temperature and it's got a lot of water vapor in it. So it readily readily forms into basically microscopic droplets that we see as our breath. Okay second (00:06:31) question, but question. is When it snows I had heard once that similarly it had to be well got to be at least 32 but quite often when you have a nice snowfall that if means the temperature is about 32. Yes, and I'm a little confused here Minnesota things like a suppose when it's colder. Yeah. There's only from the Chicago area where there's a big lake and maybe that has something to do with it. (00:06:57) Right? I think in Chicago you do get a lot of snowfall occurring right around the freezing Mark or a little bit under whereas here in the western Great Lakes region where we're far away from those large bodies of water. We get a lot of snow falls in the 10 to 20-degree temperature range and therefore the densities quite different we get a fluffier snow that's a lot lighter and easier to move around. In fact, most of the Snows mail that we've had this month of December have been exactly like that. They've been rather easily blown around on the landscape. That's why there's been so many travel problems. But getting back to the fundamental answer to your question is that snowfall has been measured anywhere from temperatures in the mid-40s? Because the flakes are falling out of very cold clouds that are Aloft all the way down to minus 70 degrees. They've measured snowfall. So it's all a saturation question on when the air becomes saturated with water vapor so that old cliche about if it gets real cold, we're not going to have any snow here. That's just not true. No, it depends on the structure of the snow, which is primarily a function of what the cloud temperature Aloft is and so that can vary all over place and the snow density traditionally the old adage about using 10 inches of snow equals 1 inch of water. That's that's a very gross rule of thumb. It can be anywhere for 2521 up to as much as 40 or 50 to 1 now Mark. Can you answer once and for all subtlety the Going debate about which month is the snowiest month in a state of Minnesota is a January or is it March, you know, and it depends on what time period you sum up lately. I've been calling them equal because they the the like an economist on the one hand and the other exactly the his the historic average is so close within an inch or two of each other that it's real hard. I think the one we remember the one that impacts us a lot is when we get those March heavy snows Gary that's a heavy heavy snow to move. If you've got to go out and shovel that or snow blow that that is usually a pretty heavy-duty snow. Whereas the equivalent amount in January is usually a fairly light snow and I suppose psychology plays a role to by the time it gets into late March you're ready for something different. I'm sure that has something to do with it too Kelly. You're up next your question, please. (00:09:34) Yes. Good morning to both of you. It's great to have you back again Professor steal a I enjoy your show is here and MPR. Thank you. A question. A question I have is with the drought or at least the dry conditions that we had had throughout the ottoman back into summer and Beyond with all the snow that we've been getting this month how much that has been able to get into the ground before the grown fro is ordered the did we get so cold so fast the grown Frozen not much of it went in there and it's going to run off as possibly even floods come this spring. (00:10:07) Will you raise several good points Kelly. In fact, I'm thank you. You asked a very appropriate question to think about the soils begin to freeze in November. And so in the first part of your question, most of the recharge that we got stored into our soil which was in terrible deficit coming into the fall. We put into the soil in November and thankfully many places around the state had abundant November precipitation. So we put anywhere from three to five. Choose the storage in the soil before it froze up, but for the month of December, which is turning out to be quite a snowy month. We're not putting that moisture into the soil. The frost layer right now is anywhere from 14 to 20 inches deep. That's how how much of a layer of soil is frozen. And so that's not going to take in any more moisture until we start to see a thaw so we're adding moisture to the landscape but it's just accumulating on the surface and under these kind of conditions the more we add the more serious the spring flood threat would become if we're looking at as we go into March and April if we're looking at having say two to three feet of snow stored on the soil surface and then we're going to have to run all of that off as we thaw out in the spring that's going to be one of the features of the climate people are going to keep a close eye on to see if we are going to face a serious threat of Loading now as I recall last year we didn't have problems with flooding per se but we had problems with flash flooding in the summer. Am I right about that? You're absolutely right starting in May. We got some significant flash flood events. We got one on the on the 17th of May and we got another one on the 31st of May and then we had two or three in June where we got anywhere from 4 to 7 inches of precipitation in such a short period of time that it created a huge volume of runoff and we couldn't handle that but spring flooding. We haven't seen in a serious sense since the great floods of 1997 which were a snowmelt spring runoff type of a situation and I think that's the type of situation that Kelly was alluding to so we'll have to keep an eye on that for this spring. Do do those floods. Do they tend to run in Cycles in a fairly predictable pattern there? They're highly erratic. The the there's a number of factors that the weather service and the river forecast hydrologist. Keep a close eye on two of those. We've already alluded to they keep a close eye on the accumulated snow cover and a close eye on the depth of frost penetration because the deeper the soil freezes then going into the spring the longer it's going to take to thaw out in the more energy. It's going to take the thaw out. So you'll have a more prolonged period where that surface runoff is going to be flowing into the rivers and streams and making the flows go up. Hmm. Paul your question, please. (00:13:15) Yes. I just wanted to comment on the you touched on global warming to my everything. I've seen heard and read it case that this is a scientific fact the ice pack above the Arctic Circle has measured and is thinning the ocean levels are rising. Glaciers have disappeared from Glacier National Park and went from a hundred and fifty down to 100 is what I'm hearing. I just wanted to comment on that. (00:13:46) Okay. Alright. Thank you. I guess the the debate continues and not specifically over whether it occurs, but well, yeah, it's readable in all the signs. Although it's not by any means uniform. It's not uniform across the Northern Hemisphere, but it's readable in all the data and and the signs but the attribution or explanation for it is quite difficult. And I think that's still where all the contention is David. You're up next, (00:14:16) please. Yeah. I had a question on global warming to the I've never heard of dress before I've done a lot of reading on the Arctic and stuff and when vikings settled in Greenland, they used to grow crops on the western coast up until about 500 years ago and it got really cold. Yes, and I was wondering if there had ever been any data on or if they can't even on long term, you know several hundred years if there's any cyclic whether that you know, where it would get warmer every so many hundred years to cover global warming or do you know anything about that? (00:14:47) Well, there's there's many natural cycles in the Earth's system and the Earth climate system that are of such great long longevity that they exceed our instrumental record. And and then we have to go back and and use paleo records or other kinds of proxy evidence ice core data sediment data pollen, tree-ring data a variety of other data to try to reconstruct what the earth's climate system might have been like hundreds or thousands or millions of years ago. And these Cycles are very difficult to quantify precisely. They're difficult to quantify precisely in magnitude and they're difficult to quantify precisely in terms of the time of occurrence and how long they might have lasted but green on there was an interesting paper just came out this last year a scientific study of the ice data from Greenland showing that along some of the Hilarious. It is melting rather rapidly in recent decades. However, in some other Inland or interior portions of Greenland, it is accumulating it is it's getting much much deeper. So there's a lot of variability even when you look at a scale like that University of Minnesota meteorologist. Climatologist, Mark, Seeley is our guest this our a midday. Of course, you can hear Mark every Friday on our Morning Edition program, but every once in a while, we're lucky enough to get him to come by our midday program to take your questions is always good to have him by he's here today to talk about our current weather which is certainly worthy of some discussion, but look back at some of the big weather developments of the past year as well and look ahead to the New Year. If you'd like to join our conversation, give us a call six five one two, two seven six thousand 6512276 thousand outside the Twin Cities. You can reach us toll free at Five one two two seven six thousand or one eight hundred two, four two two eight two eight will get two more of your calls in just a couple of minutes. God holiday travel plans, Minnesota Public Radio can help you get there become a member of MPR at the $1,000 leadership Circle level before December 31st, and we'll send you 10 thousand Northwest Airlines World perks frequent flyer miles as (00:17:10) our thank you gift plus you can claim (00:17:13) most of your membership as a charitable contribution at tax time call six five. One two, nine zero fifteen sixteen today or click and join it, Minnesota Public Radio dot org, and thanks just a reminder. Minnesota Public. Radio does rely on listeners to help pay our operating expenses. We'd like to say thanks to all of you who recently made a contribution. Your membership makes a difference. It does matter time. Now for news headlines here Stephen John (00:17:38) Stephen. Good morning. Gary president-elect bush has announce the nomination of Senator. John Ashcroft to be the next us attorney general the Missouri Republican lost his re-election bid this fall to they late, Missouri governor Mel Carnahan. It's a merry pre-Christmas session on Wall Street today where stock prices Sharply higher analysts say investors have started bargain hunting after seeing the NASDAQ break a seven-day losing streak yesterday. The White House says President Clinton is expected to act before Christmas on requests for presidential clemency and pardons. One of them includes Leonard Peltier who was convicted of killing two FBI agents in South Dakota in 1975 the plan to create low-power Community FM stations will be scaled back under a provision included in a year-end budget Bill President Clinton signed yesterday, Senator Rod grams sponsored the amendment which sharply limits Plans by the FCC to license low-power FM station sponsored by schools churches and other community organizations. The original plan was intended to counterbalance consolidation in the radio broadcasting market and add new voices to the FM dial. But the National Association of broadcasters joined by national public radio along with Minnesota Public Radio complain that more stations would clutter the radio spectrum and cause poor reception. Golden Valley woman who pleaded guilty to stealing more than 7,500 dollars from churches in Dakota County now is charged with stealing more than $12,000 from 35 churches and a synagogue in Hennepin County 50 year old Claudia hexter is charged with seven felony counts of theft by Swindle Hennepin County attorney. Amy Klobuchar said Hector made up false stories to gain sympathy and get money from the religious groups partly to mostly cloudy across the state today highs from the single digits Below in the Northwest to single digits above in the Southeast tonight a chance of snow in the South with lows from around 20 below in the north to near Five Below in the far south in the Twin Cities Five Below this hour Gary. That's the latest from The Newsroom. Thank you Stephen. (00:19:40) It's 28 minutes now before noon. This is midday on Minnesota Public Radio and Mark see Lee is here today to talk about the weather and who better to chat with about the weather than mr. Seeley. Dr. Seeley who is a climatologist meteorologist at the Minnesota regular guest on our Morning Edition program and unfortunately, sometimes guests here on our midday program as well question looking back to last year the tornado not we didn't have a lot of tornadoes as I recall that this past year but we had a pretty nasty one in Granite Falls. Absolutely, right Michael. There we go. Tornado numbers Nationwide were down. It was in fact in terms of numbers. It was the least since sometime in the 1980s. I can't remember 86 or 88 but even in Minnesota the numbers were down, but the Granite Falls tornado was an F for now that's 207 miles an hour or higher wind speed and an F for in the state of Minnesota is indeed rare it plus it had a Nine Mile path link Gary. So when you got it when you got a tornado of with that intensity travelling over a nine-mile piece of the landscape. Pretty much going to wipe out everything it encounters. And so it was a very devastating situation that occurred back in July 25th there fortunately it wasn't, you know, we didn't have many more of the tornadoes around the state this year that went right through a town or a city but was that worse than the one that wiped out Saint Peter here. Was it to three years ago? Yeah. There was there the one the Saint Peter which was really that was a family of tornadoes. They were eight or nine tornadoes in that March 29th outbreak a couple of years ago and the it was quite different in that that was a family a tornadoes. There were multiple communities affected and of course, it came very very early in the seat in the season. One of the in fact March tornadoes are exceedingly rare, but the comfrey episode The that Affected the town of comfrey was about equivalent in magnitude to that. F for the went through Granite Falls in July say one other feature last year worth mentioning. In fact, a strange feature was November 1st. We had a tornado reported in Kandiyohi County. Now ignore November tornado is exceedingly rare. That was only the third documented case of a November tornado in Minnesota. So there were some unusual certainly unusual features to last year that we hadn't hadn't seen much of previously it doesn't happen. But is it theoretically possible we could have a tornado say this time of the year? I guess you could say it's theoretically possible. There have been instances in in December when we've had temperatures in the in the 50s and dewpoints. I suppose as high as the maybe the 40s we'd have to be way on the extreme dende end of things because you have to have a certain amount of water vapor in the atmosphere to as well as the temperature contrast and certainly absence of snow cover but I suppose theoretically but boy, would that be surprising we don't have to worry about it this year? No, not at all and your question, please. (00:23:12) Yes, I may be deceiving myself, but occasionally think occasionally and in the winter that the temperature decreases shortly after sunrise and if that's true, what causes that? (00:23:27) Yeah, the heat of the surface the surface gives up its heat all night long and it continues to give up its heat even after Sunrise. I the reversal time when it actually switches over it's almost like an on-off switch, you know and begins to absorb and then reradiates, um heat as well as the other switch that comes on in the morning when the sun comes up is then you start to get some mixing you start to get the are moving a little bit more but it's quite common that the overnight minimum occurs shortly after sun just before or shortly after sunrise and its really I suppose more common to see this time of year when we're having these very very long nights. So we have a very very long number of hours that the surface is giving up its heat. Now this raises another question you talked about the long nights yesterday was the first day of winter and we're always told that that's the shortest day of the year in terms of daylight. Is that true? It is for the Northern Hemisphere. We will start to gain day length varies albeit very slowly now, maybe only about a minute or a little over a minute a day, but that's right the times of sunrise and sunset in terms of having the earliest sunset and the latest Sunrise are not in perfect coincidence though. There's they're staggered out. But in terms of if we just talked about day length, you're quite right now that we've switched over our day length is going to start to increase ever so slightly each day and another feature of winter that sometimes makes it more tolerable is when you get some nice sunlight, even if it isn't warm necessarily at least if it's sunny, it feels better traditionally. Do we have fairly Sunny Winter's in Minnesota or more traditional are they are clouded over gloomy. Well kind of depends on on what your point of reference is Gary in the Great Lakes states. The Western Great Lakes states have far sunnier Winters than the Eastern Great Lakes because they're so affected by water vapor and cloud cover that's induced. If you will by the Great Lakes, but yes in Minnesota and in fact will start to snap to it next month as we come out of November and December tend to be rather cloudy and also have very high incidence of fog albeit now, maybe even freezing fog because our temperatures are so cold. But as we migrate into January, we do start to see a higher frequency of sunny days because the high pressure systems tend to dominate us for a little bit longer periods in January and that allows more sun merrier question, please (00:26:22) yes, I guess I have kind of a I live out in Western Minnesota and I'm heading home right now. And yesterday when we were coming into Minneapolis in the like Clara City area. We have blizzard conditions and I had called the weather, you know Road information and that was like 10 and they said oh Rose if I will let you know will update it with this is from 6:00 in the morning and they never did change it for my no, I think it was a weather advisory. We never saw anything on TV and I just we get very frustrated out here cuz we depend on you know, the Minneapolis area sometimes for our weather and I never addressed the wind they'll dress temperatures and everything else but not the wind and the blizzard conditions in the whiteouts. I'm wondering if people are aware of this and if there's anything I can do to try and get this address more because it's really scary out there. Sometimes (00:27:12) you bring up a very good point. This is obviously going to be a winner with the presence of the snow cover we have and as I alluded to earlier being a very light snow. Density a we're going to move snow around the landscape quite a bit this winter until we get some kind of an event where the we warm up enough that it can get cohesive and start to form a crust and start start to get denser. So the wind is going to move even in the absence of snow falling from a cloud base the winds going to move our snow on our landscape around quite a bit and it's very important. Now the Weather Service cannot get a good handle on that unless they get reports from the state patrol or something like that. So I guess I would encourage you to maybe contact the local state patrol in terms of getting road reports because the wind moving around the snow on the landscape is going to be an important and potentially threatening feature of our climate for the balance of winter. Hmm Greg. You're up next your question, please. (00:28:16) Well I left for work yesterday morning and I saw what I think was this called a sundog and I was Rise to hear that my wife saw the same thing several hours later. I'm wondering what causes a sundog and it seems to be much more durable or longer lasting than a rainbow. Can you talk a little bit about what causes Sun? Duck? (00:28:39) What is a sundog first? The sun dog is the colloquialism for par Hylian PA rhel iion, Healy. And of course the old Greek term for the Sun and you have what you have Gary is you have images rainbow like images on either side of the sun often a dual image from suspended ice crystals from the light passing through the suspended ice crystals in the atmosphere. Now the key there is the suspension of ice crystals in the atmosphere microscopic, but nevertheless their effect on light is very pronounced, but when you have overnight in versions, so you get little vertical mixing of the air the air tends to be stagnant and All you can get this suspension of these ice crystals last well after the sunrise our until you start to get enough convection and enough vertical mixing that then that goes away we've been so darn cold that it's taken a lot of energy to induce this convective mixing and so because of that we're having prolonged number of hours in the morning where we can have this stable atmosphere and I think that's what's allowed the sun dogs to persist for a number of hours fact. We had Sundogs I think on two or three different mornings this week. Mmm Gail your question, (00:30:02) please. Well, I really don't have a question. I just have a comment that people can still have fun when it's really cold out a few years ago when it was 60 below and in an embarrassment our in that area we would boil our a pan of water and go outside and whip the water in the air and it crackles and freezes instantly. I'm assuming and then We will also take soap bubbles when it's very cold 40 below 30 below and go out on the porch and blow soap bubbles out and they freeze in the air. I was wondering if there's any other things that you know to do like that a little experiments. (00:30:41) Well, those are both those are both common. I've heard those used many times for the cold. I can't think of any others that come immediately to mind when the air gets this cold that most most people are not spending the time out of doors, but it's one thing I have seen a lot of is we get Frost you get Frost forming because of the Stillness of the air get Frost forming on your windows. And if you run a little fan, you can prevent that from occurring or if you open your blinds so that you get a little air mixing there. As otherwise you can build up these tremendous layers. In fact, I've seen certain situations where the layer of frost on a window because of the Stillness of the air has built up to Old gosh. I've seen this as much as 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch of ice Gary buildup on a window, which is remarkable. Whereas if you just consider the air up a little bit it's enough to to keep the water vapor from building up and solidifying on that cold glass surface. You're not a doctor doctor you're a doctor, but maybe you know, this is it can people get adjusted to this. Is it true that your blood thickens. You always hear that the other that yeah, you're absolutely right. I'm no physician by any means but physiologically, you're quite right the blood as well as the epidural dermal layer of the skin adjust there are physiological adjustments and I think all men associations have been going through Is since oh gosh, what about the fourth or fifth of December? We've been below freezing now. And so if we ever get back, I think we've all accomplish this that at least in my view. So if we get back to another 25 or 30 degree day, we're going to have minnesotans running around in shirt sleeves because you know, we've all we've been going through this physiological adjustment. So now I think the next time we hit 30, it's going to feel balmy outside Alan your question, please. (00:32:53) Yeah. Hi, you know, this is about starting cars and cold weather my car. I park it in an unheated garage overnight and you know, these last few morning's has been right around zero and so the car turns over pretty well and then I go to work and it's parked outside all day and it's generally, you know, maybe 10 degrees warmer when I leave work and when I go to work and the car is harder to start when I'm you know coming home from work and I just I didn't think that windshield would have any effect. On Machinery, but is there I mean, why is my car easier to start when it's inside a when it's when it's sheltered rather than when it's outside in the (00:33:32) Wind. Boy, do you the only thing I can think of is where you're parking outside is your vehicle quite exposed. Whoops. Let me see if I can get it all done here. Okay, Alex. Are you still is your is (00:33:46) your (00:33:46) you know, I can hear you is your vehicle exposed Alan where you park (00:33:51) it? Yeah. Yeah, does it get direction sometimes the points into the sometimes the points into the wind? Sometimes it points away from the wind but I thought that windchill had to do with like how fast you know water vapor, you know like had to do with the evaporation went from skin and (00:34:07) stuff. Well, it is calibrated to a human body. That was the the original study that was done. But in terms of a motor vehicle the wind is going to help carry off the heat so say by the time you've driven to work your motor and in fact your hood and the front of your vehicle is probably pretty well heated up but the heat is going to be carried off. Rapidly parked outside where the wind can help carry away the heat more readily than if it's just perfectly still out and the same would be true if your vehicle is parked Outdoors, even if it's parked out in the sunlight, it's going to absorb the sunlight and it's going to readmit that as long wave radiation or heat but that heats going to get carried away that much faster by the movement of the wind outside now Mark, I read a story in the st. Paul paper this morning that scared the Daylights out of me. There's talk of understanding the scientific Community about doing away with the wind chill index because it's not accurate. What would we have to cling to this? Well, yeah, the Canadians have their own system. You're right and I think I read I read that 11 studies going to look at the Canadian system for calculating what they call a wind chill and then they're also going to maybe take a hard look at the US. System, you know, the windchill is the purpose of getting back to the purpose of the wind chill. It's really just to tell people or advise people when the conditions are are sufficiently threatening outside that you can suffer some kind of harm, you know, you can get frostbite or things of that nature. So exposure is going to be harmful to you any system that's going to do a better job and coming up with a scheme for advising people is going to be welcomed and after all that wind chill thing's been around for oh gosh over half a century, I think so. It probably does need some reworking. Well, I but it's so so great. It gives us something to talk about on the radio and we can scare people and you know, just wallow it every day John your question, please good (00:36:26) morning quite a few years ago. I was living on the east side of st. Paul and it was winter time and we were in the midst of a Elite really hard snow storm no wind and it wasn't bitterly cold. I suppose it was teens and much more snow than we had gotten this week and there was thunder and lightning and I'm just wondering why that doesn't happen more often during during hard snow storms as a as it does when it's raining and I'll just hang up and take my answer off the radio. Thanks a lot (00:37:00) guys. John sounds like you're describing a snow that was induced by a warm front and that would be a little bit different because we'd have cold air. We'd have a layer of very cold air near the surface and then we'd have a warm moist mass of air Aloft that was coming up from the south and it would be over running this cold air and at the boundary between the warm moist air Aloft and the cold air down near the surface you'd get this saturation layer, and then you'd get the snow forming. In falling in you can get quite heavy snowfalls from that and then of course the warm moist layer Aloft if there's high enough dew point conditions and enough convection going along you can get Thunder with that as well. But it's very rare. It's a rare relatively rare occurrence in terms of the frequency that we get snows out of these cold fronts that come through which of course is a cold a cold air coming in and colliding with a bit warmer air mass that's over. The surface next caller is from Woodbury (00:38:11) Pete. Hi question about a term associated with one of the recent traffic jams. We had the inverted trough as opposed to trough in general. (00:38:25) That's typically used to refer to a trough a loft or higher up in the atmosphere may not manifest itself down at the at the surface may not be perceptible. For example in a in a bear a graph or a barometer reading down at the surface of the Earth. And sometimes these have implications for local scale local scale snowfalls, but I'm not well-versed enough to tell you what the mechanism is for it. Let's get one more caller on here. Anyway before we wrap up Ralph quick (00:39:02) question. I'm just curious the ornate and so delicate design of the frost on windows with such beautiful designing what causes that on the paint create such a beautiful design. The mechanics of it or (00:39:17) whatever. Oh my I'm sorry. I'm going to Ralph. I'm going to have to apologize. I'm not able to describe the physics of the snow or the Ice Crystal formation and the adhesion required to make those patterns, but I would guess you would you would observe those when the air outside is rather still and that you've got a very cold temperatures but enough water vapor around so that you can get those crystals to form need to ask a physicist maybe for for an a good answer to that question one other feature Gary just to wrap up one other feature that escaped attention last year that I think is noteworthy is it was the mildest winter 1999-2000. We've just come through the mildest winter of the 20th century. And here we are looking at one of the coldest December's now that we've had and Last February because I'm sure this February is going to be far different last February. We had the first and only severe thunderstorm watch issued in the month of February. So a you know, that's just almost well basically unheard of and now it looks like January and February old-fashioned winter for us to even contemplate that only a year ago. We had a severe thunderstorm watch in February is just going to be almost Beyond imagination. Can we count on a January thaw well January thought is actually fairly common where we get a couple of days above the 32 Mark. So I would almost Bank on that but I would certainly also Bank on all the snow stand around and probably continuing to accumulate right on a nice regular pattern. I asked you earlier about the snowiest month of the year and you and you waffled a little bit March or January. What's the coldest month of the year coldest month by far as January, although worse? Also called this this month we're as I said earlier. We're probably going to average around eight degrees for the month of December. That is more like January. So if January warmed up a bit, we could have one of those weird Winters where December's average temperature is actually colder than what January's is. Let's let's get a record while we're doing this. Okay, before we wrap up for people who tuned in late. We need the official Santa forecast again now official Santa forecast is that the snow in terms of snowfall is probably going to Abate for a few days. We're not going to see a lot of snowfall. But boy are we going to stay Arctic? It's going to be cold. So dress appropriately travel as the woman said who called in even though it's not snowing from a cloud base that snow on the landscape can move around with the wind. So call the highway patrol or otherwise get some kind of a clearance on what the state of the highways are with the blowing and drifting snow that's already out there. But otherwise It just get ready to grin and bear the cold here. Love it. Thanks Mark for coming in. Okay, Gary University of Minnesota meteorologists climatologist, Mark Seeley joining us during this first hour of our midday program to talk about our current weather conditions. Look back Atlanta this past year and look ahead a little bit as well. Thanks to all of you who've been with us specially those of you who called inner tried to call in with your questions.