Welcome to the last week of meteorological winter 2015-16.
Chances are you've noticed we're getting off easy this winter. By all measures this winter falls in the milder range of winter in Minnesota. Some numbers for the Twin Cities.
+4.8 degrees temperatures vs. average overall this meteorological winter (Dec-Feb)
11 days at or below zero at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport so far this winter (48 percent of average)
23 days on average at or below zero at MSP in winter
30.4 inches season snowfall to date at MSP Airport
-9.1 inches season snowfall vs. average to date this winter
You get the picture. Winter is definitely underperforming this year.
8th 'least miserable' winter on record?
On Jan. 15, I wrote about how the Winter Misery Index tells us this has been one of the mildest winters on record. Our January Arctic outbreak and snowfall has added some "misery" to this winter since then, upping the index from 14 points in January to 45 points in the most recent update.
That falls in about the top 10 percent of mild winters, and in the mild winter category (41-55 points) overall.
By my count this is the eighth "least miserable" winter on record.
Only in Minnesota would we think to quantify our winter "misery." Pete Boulay and the Minnesota State Climatology Office deserve a lot of credit for this unique and interesting way to quantify our winters in Minnesota.
Lake on a lake: Symptom of a mild winter
What happens when you get 45 degrees on a Friday afternoon in late February? Odd and unusual sights on area lakes.
My friend and weather spy Tom Garneau sends along this incredible video of melt-water draining into a substantial crack in the ice on Lake Minnetonka Friday.
I have never seen this almost glacial level of melt-water drainage on Lake Minnetonka, and certainly not in February.
Forecast: Closer to average this week
After three consecutive days in the 40s last week, we return closer to late February form this week.
Tuesday brings a light snow to rain mix. With temperatures close to the freezing mark in the early morning, there could be some slick roads for morning rush Tuesday. The rest of the week looks uneventful.
I'm not buying the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts notion of 45 degrees in the metro for tomorrow just yet, but I do think 40 is possible tomorrow afternoon. A brief cold snap arrives Saturday night and Sunday. Temperatures rebound again next week.
Typically, my rule of thumb is the last subzero reading of a winter season usually occurs in the Twin Cities the first week of March.
We'll make a run toward zero next Tuesday morning, but my hunch is we'll stop short of the zero mark in the metro, with some sub-zero temps up north.
MPR adds weekend weather broadcasts
I am very excited to announce that MPR weather is expanding our weekly offerings to our radio and Updraft audience. Starting next weekend, MPR News will add regular weekend weather broadcasts and Updraft posts to our current weather coverage.
Experienced Twin Cities market veteran meteorologist Ron Trenda will join the MPR weather team and provide regular live broadcast updates during Weekend Edition in the 7 am hour both Saturday and Sunday. Ron will also provide additional Updraft support and severe weather coverage on weekends.
You've heard Ron before on the MPR airwaves as a freelance meteorologist. I am very excited to have Ron as part of our regular weather team, and to be expanding MPR's weather coverage into regular weekend updates. Weather is a seven-day a week process in Minnesota, and adding this additional coverage will enhance our weather services to our audience as they plan their important weekend events.
Ron joins a weather team that includes veteran Twin Cities meteorologist Bill Endersen, and former KSTP-TV meteorologist Rob Koch. You've heard Bill's excellent work many times on MPR, and Bill will continue to provide his excellent weather support when needed.
The addition of Rob Koch gives the MPR weather team four experienced meteorologists to provide weather weather coverage and perspective for our audience. With the long time excellent climate perspective of Mark Seeley, I am proud to say the MPR weather team is second to none when it comes to experience and talented voices as we cover Minnesota's changing weather.
Seeley noted the expansion of the MPR weather staff in his latest Weather Talk post.
A salute to the MPR weather staff
Recently Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) announced its full complement of meteorologists to help in covering the weather on their region-wide broadcast network. I was not the only one impressed by this. Paul Huttner is now teamed with Bill Endersen, Rob Koch, and Ron Trenda to cover weather for MPR and this represents well over 115 years of meteorological experience, mostly in Minnesota's environment.
No other news organization can boast this much experience. For this MPR should be proud! We are well served when it comes to covering the weather, especially when significant or threatening conditions present themselves.
The updated MPR weather team helps fill the vacancy created when veteran Twin Cities meteorologist Craig Edwards retired to warmer climates in Florida last fall.
I am very proud of the level of weather and climate change coverage we have built in my nine years at MPR News. Regular daily weather broadcasts on MPR News, severe weather coverage, the Updraft weather blog, social media updates and Climate Cast have all been created in the past nine years.
I am looking forward to this next step in growing the level of weather services we provide to what I consider to be the best educated weather audience in the nation. Your support makes our weather coverage possible.
The forecast for MPR weather looks bright and sunny from the Huttner Weather Lab!