Weather: Are we headed for a brown Christmas?
The Bemidji area is another week closer to what appears to be a brown Christmas. Ten day forecasts show little hope of any significant snow for the region. Some forecast models are predicting a storm system will move into the upper Midwest on Christmas Eve. That system appears destined to join a long line of systems this year that have moved far south of the north woods.
An Alberta Clipper moved through the area Thursday. It left barely a dusting of snow in its wake. Its impact was strong winds - gusting more than 35 miles per hour throughout the middle of the day. An Alberta Clipper is a low pressure system that originates in the Arctic regions and moves southeast across the North American continent. After crossing the Rocky Mountains into the prairie regions of Alberta it forms into more of a storm system and moves at a rapid clip. Typically these systems leave small amounts of snow as they are moving so fast and have little moisture to work with.
The La Nina conditions that had formed in the Pacific Ocean have been lessening recently. A strong La Nina usually translates to colder and snowier condition across our area. One forecaster has suggested that not only will La Nina disappear by the end of winter but that El Nino conditions may form. El Nino winters are typically warmer and drier in the upper Midwest.
Another casualty of the warmer than average conditions has been ice cover on area lakes. Lakes in the Bemidji area have 4 to 8 inches of ice cover. The Minnesota DNR suggests that 2 inches of ice is necessary to support a person on foot. Ice fishermen require 4 inches. Five inches of ice is necessary to safely support a snowmobile. Wait until 8 to 12 inches of ice are measured before driving a car on a frozen lake, while a pickup requires 12 to 15 inches.
Siemers is the Pioneer's circulation director.
Email him at tsiemers@