Watching Thanksgiving system; MPR meteorologist wanted

I'm already sensing a possible trend. Snow may be hard to come by at times this winter.

The early patterns emerging as we inevitably slide toward the northern winter include a milder than average temperature profile in inbound storms. That has produced a November snowfall drought so far.

Exhibit A.

  • 3.99 inches: rainfall this November in the Twin Cities

  • 7th wettest November on record

  • 0.0 inches of measurable snowfall at MSP Airport so far in November

  • 9.3 inches: average November snowfall in the Twin Cities

Green grass, sunshine and 46 degrees in the Twin Cities on November 23rd?

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Paul Huttner/MPR News

Sometimes the best seasonal evidence may be right before your eyes.

Thanksgiving nuisance system?

The latest trends continue to suggest our Thanksgiving system will bring lighter precipitation totals. That said, it doesn't take much to gum up the works on a busy holiday travel weekend. Fog and drizzle can make for tough travel. Even a light coating of ice or snow can cause havoc this time of year. Keep that perspective in mind as you weigh the forecast and your travel plans Wednesday and Thanksgiving Day.

Here's a look at the inbound low-pressure system. A faster more progressive system means less precipitation overall. The system features mostly light rain, drizzle and fog over Minnesota Wednesday. A transition to light icy precipitation and light snow arrives Wednesday night into Thanksgiving Day.

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NOAA

So far snowfall totals look light for most of Minnesota. If the system stays on the faster track snowfall will be light. If the system slows, a second wave spinning up the front could produce heavier totals, especially in southeast Minnesota just south and east of the metro. Here's the thinking from the Twin Cities NWS forecast discussion.

AT THE MOMENT...ONE-HALF TO ONE INCH OF SNOW IS FORECAST WITH THIS SYSTEM. WE WILL HAVE TO CONTINUE TO MONITOR MODEL TRENDS. IF THE SYSTEM SLOWS FURTHER...WE COULD BE MORE SUSCEPTIBLE TO SOME HEAVIER SNOW ACCUMULATIONS.

We'll keep an eye out for forecast changes in the critical next 48 hours leading up to Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

Here's a closer look at the going forecast through the Thanksgiving weekend.

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Weatherspark - GFS data

Balmy December?

No I don't expect palm trees and tropical drinks. But all signs point to a mild shot of air the first week of December. Here's NOAA's week two temperature outlook. Another red bullseye over Minnesota.

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NOAA

The longer-range trends continue to support a milder than average month ahead. NOAA's experimental three-week temperature outlook; a sea of red across the northern tier.

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NOAA

A continuing theme for the upcoming winter season? As the magical 8-ball would say, "signs point to yes."

Life of a broadcast meteorologist

As meteorologists we watch the weather maps everyday. Off day? What a concept. Weekend? "Can you pause the movie for just a second honey while I take a peek at the new model run coming in?"

Yeah, I'm that guy.

Some "inside baseball" on the life of a daily practicing broadcast meteorologist?

Looking at numerical weather forecast model runs everyday can get a bit myopic. Think complex piles of spaghetti strewn on jagged maps of various shapes and sizes. Pull back and look at the bigger, longer-term picture and more meaningful trends can start to emerge. It's like a meteorological Rorschach test. An M.C. Escher drawing leading you up yet one more staircase. What pattern do you see? How perceptive are you as a meteorologist? Are your biases showing?

Pattern recognition. Judgement skills. Proficiency to prioritize dozens of variables into one concise accurate outcome. That's where the art inside the science of meteorology takes over. And it's every bit as critical as technical expertise to the most accurate forecast outcome.

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Chaos theory and The Butterfly Effect.Wiki Commons

Throw in the ability to communicate all that complexity effectively and appetizingly to your audience (in less than 2 minutes) and you've got a special and rare gift. Yes, it can be easy to sound like a weatherperson. It's a lot more challenging to be a top tier broadcast meteorologist. That's why I hold those who exhibit that excellence in my chosen profession in such high regard. They are really, really good at what they do. And the astute and weather savvy Minnesota weather audience can sniff out the pretenders from the pros in a few short seconds.

But alas I digress.

Wanted: Meteorologist at MPR News

My partner in weather crime at MPR News Craig Edwards retired this fall to soak up the Florida sun. Craig has that rare breed of expertise and warmth. We've been blessed to have his voice on MPR airwaves the past eight years. On a professional note I've been fortunate to work with Craig and many other great weather pros in my career. You would have loved to see the back-channel communications Craig and I have during incoming snow storms as we slice and dice incoming weather systems.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Craig Edwards at Target Field. Paul Huttner/MPR News

Now, we're looking for the next great forecaster, communicator and voice to join me in the MPR Weather Lab. If you know someone who may fit the bill, please feel free to pass this job posting for an MPR Meteorologist along.

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