December 10

Searching For Snow: Odds of a White Christmas Drop For Much of USA – Billion Dollar Disasters in 2020

Snow Cover on December 9, 2020

Where’s the Snow? We are heading into mid-December but the latest NOAA snow cover map looks like something you might see in early October. At last report 10.5% of the lower 48 states had snow on the ground, down from 18.3% of the USA on November 9.

10-Day ECMWF Snowfall Forecast

Keep Dreaming. At this point, unless there is a major shift in weather patterns (that isn’t yet showing up on the weather models) I’m not sure how we salvage a white Christmas for most of Minnesota. It’s not impossible, but the odds are…small.


Christmas Coating? It’s a bit of a stretch, but if the 2-week GFS forecast verifies (a very big if) the next inevitable cold front could squeeze out a little snow Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, but we’re really gasping at straws here. Until a thick dome of cold air is in place and jet stream winds buckle, allowing southern moisture to stream north and fuel a real storm, it’ll be slim ‘pickens in terms of accumulating snow.

FEMA Risk Index for Minnesota

Mark Boswell, Star Tribune Source: Federal Emergency Management Agency

New Index Shows Riskiest Places for Minnesota’s Natural Hazards. There were some stats in this Star Tribune post that I had not seen before; here’s an excerpt: “…Windstorms are the number one source of power outages in Minnesota, he said. There’s no evidence that climate change is amplifying the winds, he said. Warmer winters and heavier and more frequent precipitation remain the state’s biggest climate change signals. But wetter soil means trees are more vulnerable to toppling, he said. Waage noted that the FEMA index doesn’t address all the types of flooding affecting Minnesota. It covers coastal and river flooding, but not flooding on regular ground caused by heavy rains and rising water tables. “What we’re finding is that nationally, about a quarter of flood damages are outside of flood plains now,” Waage said…”

Climate Central

2020 Billion Dollar Disasters. The extremes are becoming more extreme over time, according to a good summary at Climate Central: “According to NOAA NCEI, 2020 is the sixth consecutive year in which the U.S. has experienced 10 or more billion-dollar weather- and climate-related disasters, compared to the 1980-2019 average of 6.6 events per year. It may take some time to assess the full impact of the 2020 disasters; so far the toll is 188 lives lost and $46.6 billion dollars and counting. In the midst of the pandemic, tens of thousands of Americans were forced to flee their homes. The American Red Cross reported that it provided over 1.2 million overnight stays to evacuees (quadruple the number provided in an average year) and emergency financial assistance to 11,800 households, primarily in response to wildfires and hurricanes…”

Climate Central

Record 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season


NOAA Expert Answers Questions About Historic 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season. NOAA has more insight into the crazy year we just experienced; here’s an excerpt: “…The total number of tropical storms that were named this season has broken the all-time record set in 2005, so this is probably the most noteworthy aspect. But we also saw yet more examples of very rapid intensification and very slow moving hurricanes, both of which have recently been linked to climate change. In 2020, to date, there have been a remarkable ten hurricanes that rapidly intensified (Hanna, Laura, Sally, Teddy, Gamma, Delta, Epsilon, Zeta, Eta and Iota)—some of which underwent explosive intensification—and two hurricanes that practically stopped moving as they made landfall (Sally on the Gulf Coast and Eta in Central America). All of these storms had the potential for causing great damage and loss of life because they were so strong and they lingered for so long…”

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