Weather: Where's the snow? Not here
Winter officially began Thursday, though you'd be hard pressed to tell by looking out your window or reading your thermometer.
Despite Friday's brief snowfall, less than an inch of snow covers the ground across the area. Barring some last-minute snow, Christmas will be brown this year across the area.
The National Climatic Data Center defines a White Christmas as at least one inch of snow on the ground as measured at 6 a.m. on Dec. 25.
Records and memories are sketchy regarding the last brown Christmas in the area but visible satellite images from Christmas morning in 2006 show bare ground generally south of U.S. Highway 2 from Grand Forks, N.D., to Duluth.
If your Christmas isn't complete without snow, your options are limited this year. The nearest area with snow cover is the Arrowhead region where 4 to 8 inches of snow is reported from Ely to the high ground west of Grand Marais.
Nationally, you could head to the Rocky Mountains, Michigan's Upper Peninsula, the Tug Hill Plateau of northwestern New York, much of northern New England and Hawaii's Mauna Kea where the road to the summit was closed earlier this week due to snow and ice.
The National Drought Mitigation Center lists the Bemidji area as currently experiencing moderate drought conditions.
Accompanying this year's lack of snow are temperat-ures running above normal. Low temperatures this time of year average around zero in Bemidji. Curiously, the low temperature at the Bemidji Regional Airport was 14 for four straight days this week. Highs have been around 32 - compared to an average high of 20.
Given that this is northern Minnesota it is unlikely that these conditions can last much longer. The National Weather Service Global Forecast System model is hinting at a change. It is possible that Arctic air that has pooled in far northern Canada will plunge southward during the second week of January.
Siemers is the Pioneer's circulation director. Email him at tsiemers@ bemidjipioneer.com