Unusual winter backed up by numbers
Forecast models are still indicating a chance for snow across the north woods Monday. The potential of a major storm has been reduced but it does appear 2-4 inches of snow is possible, according to the National Weather Service.
The area with the highest odds of seeing plowable snowfall appears to be east of a line from Wahpeton, N.D., to Thief River Falls, Minn. - including the Bemidji and Park Rapids areas.
In the wake of the snow, look for high temperatures next week around freezing or about 5 degrees warmer than average. Lows should be around 20 - a whopping 15 degrees above average for the period and nearly 55 degrees warmer than the record low temperatures.
Need more proof that this winter has been abnormally warm?
According to statistics compiled by the Minnesota Climatology Working Group, Bemidji has experienced 13 days with low temperatures below zero thus far in 2012. Typically the Bemidji area will see below zero temps on 25 to 30 winter mornings after the first of the year.
A check of The Old Farmer's Almanac website finds this quote in the Upper Midwest section: "Winter will be colder than normal, especially in February." The site also includes live video from their headquarters in Dublin, N.H. There's not a flake of snow in sight.
Weather often follows its version of Newton's third law - for every action in nature there is an equal and opposite reaction. Considering our warm and relatively snow-free winter there must be areas experiencing the opposite. One of those areas is Eastern Europe where snow and bitter cold has overwhelmed portions of Ukraine, Romania, Serbia and Bulgaria. In Ukraine alone, bitter cold has killed more than 100 people this month.
The unusual weather has created some peculiar visuals including snow covering the Coliseum in Rome, palm trees dotting snow-covered areas along the Mediterranean Sea in Libya and frozen canals in Venice.
TOM SIEMERS is the Pioneer's circulation director.