WeatherNation Blog

Is it really December? Blast of Reality Coming Soon

Somewhat Soggy and Foggy Sunday

I had to work the early shift on Sunday, so the drive into work at 4am wasn’t the greatest… in fact, it was a bit nerve wracking. I wasn’t a big fan of driving on the highway with extremely low visibility. It was almost hypnotic, staring into the abyss, watching the white lines whizz past. I snapped this shot earlier Sunday… the low fog layer opened up enough to get a quick glimpse of the near full moon.

Sunday Sunshine or No Sunshine

Look at how close the clearing line was to the Twin Cities Sunday afternoon… If you were northeast of the yellow through the day Sunday, you more than likely had a pretty gloomy day. Southwest of that line, the sun popped out and temperatures warmed close to 60F… remind me what month it is again.

Dense Fog Advisories 

Folks in the grey shaded areas are facing Dense Fog Advisories. Some are for Sunday night. Others through the overnight and Monday morning.

For details: Click here for the WeatherNation Interactive Map. 


Highs Monday – Very Warm December 3rd

Take a look at the forecast highs across the nation on Monday…. much of the central part of the country will be nearly 15F to 25F warmer than normal and near records in spots!

Highs From Normal Monday

It’s pretty remarkable to see much of the nation well above average…


December Rain?

As a storm system slides along/north of the international border today, it’ll drag Pacific moisture along with it. Doesn’t it seem weird to be talking about the potential for rain on the 3rd of December? Even though the graphic below looks pretty wild, Monday isn’t expected to be a washout. However, there could be a few isolated t-storms near Chicago, which could beef up rainfall just a little bit.

Monday Rainfall Potential

NOAA’s HPC 1 day precipitation across the nation shows this weak disturbance across the Upper Mississippi Valley with light precipitation potential, but it also shows addtional precipitation potential across the West Coast.

5 Day Precipitation Forecast

For those along the West Coast, the constant barrage of heavy Pacific moisture isn’t over just yet. The 5 day precipitation forecst brings in another +5″ for some… some of which may be in the form of snow across the higher elevations.

Heavy California Rain

Take a look at this shot from the National Weather Service out of Sacramento California… Good grief!


Grass Valley, Brunswick Basin. The area was formerly known as Olympia Lake. Photo by Daniel Swartzendruber”


California Rainfall Totals

Here are some of the NWS Mesonet observations of precipitation totals over northern California. See more HERE:

Atmospheric River – California Flooding?

This is kind of a timely story from, read more HERE:

DROWNED: A 43-day atmospheric-river storm in 1861 turned California’s Central Valley region into an inland sea, simulated here on a current-day map.”
Geologic evidence shows that truly massive floods, caused by rainfall alone, have occurred in California about every 200 years. The most recent was in 1861, and it bankrupted the state.
Such floods were most likely caused by atmospheric rivers: narrow bands of water vapor about a mile above the ocean that extend for thousands of miles. Much smaller forms of these rivers regularly hit California, as well as the western coasts of other countries.”

Vikings Lose at Lambeau

WNTV meteorologist Bryan Karrick made his annual trip to Lambeau field for the “Border Battle” (Vikings vs. Packers) on Sunday. We happened to corrdinate and capture Bryan on the Lambeau tailgate webcam.

Extended Snowfall Potential

The long range “192 hour fantasyland” GFS forecast suggests a better potential of light snow accumulations by some point late week/weekend.


Back to Reality 

By Friday, temps across much of the country will be much more in line with what you’d expect in December.   What you see below is the departure from average for high temperatures.  Bottom line is  a good chuck of the Western U.S.  is expected to be below normal by the end of the work week. The rest of the country close to normal.

What do you think? Are you excited for more winter like temperatures? Or are you enjoying the unseasonably warm weather?

Thanks for checking in, have a great rest of your weekend.

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @TNelsonWNTV


A Blanket of Fog

Dense fog blanketed parts of the nation early on this morning, and at one point, at least 20 states were seeing Dense Fog Advisories.

This image below, from, was taken back in late May 2012 from Dubai.  The world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, stands at 2,700 ft-high and it uses this to its advantage as it stands well above the cloud layer, which hovers around 400 feet.  The lights from the surrounding buildings is helping to illuminate the thick clouds.

Many locations had their visibilities reduced to around 1/4 mile or less this morning, which made driving and air travel somewhat difficult.  According to the National Weather Service, fog is “water droplets suspended in the air at the Earth’s surface. Fog is often hazardous when the visibility is reduced to ¼ mile or less.”

During the early morning hours, the fog can cause many folks to become distracted or unaware of their surroundings.  With these reduced visibilities, it is a good idea to drive slower than usual and leave extra space between you and the car in front of you. The fog not only impedes vision, but also makes for slicker roads, which reduces your ability to stop quickly. When the fog becomes very dense, there is next to no time to react properly to avoid an accident.  A Dense Fog Advisory is defined as “when fog reduces visibility to 1/8 mile or less over a widespread area.”


Fog blanketed much of the Midwest this morning, and the graphic above shows eight states with fog-related advisories. The green shaded counties are Freezing Fog Advisories.  Temperatures were down in the low 30s in the early morning hours and the abundant moisture combine with the lack of winds, allowed the fog to settle down on surfaces and freeze.  This situation is not good at all for travelers, because icy conditions can form on the roadways in a very thin layer, very similar to black ice.  Freezing Fog is defined by the NWS as “a fog where the droplets freeze upon contact with exposed objects and form a coating of rime and/or glaze.”

Outside our studio, you can see how gloomy the conditions were.


The campus grounds of the University of Iowa look like they were straight out of a scene from a horror movie this morning!  And no, this picture was not taken from a black-and-white camera, it was just THAT foggy at 4am.  As the sun rose and burned off the fog around 10am, the colors returned and the buildings in the distance became visible.  What a difference a few hours make!  The campus grounds look stunning and alive, even though its a Sunday, and most of the students are either sleeping (my first guess) or are away.



The East coast also had to contend with the fog this morning.  Dense Fog Advisories covered 9 states, plus the Washington D.C. area.  While the fog is clearing in the Mid Atlantic, the moisture is creeping into New England.  As the advisories were being lifted from MD, PA and NJ, MA, CT and NH were being placed under Dense Fog Advisories.

It was not a good day to do any morning exercises in Ocean City, MD.  The boardwalk was barely visible and the conditions only started to improve after the late morning hours. Joggers would have had a pretty terrible view early this morning!




How about trying to head down the I-95 corridor through the “City of Brotherly Love”?  Well there were low visibility issues as well in Philadelphia and the surrounding areas.  So if you were thinking of leaving early this morning and beating the weekend rush, well you had to take your time.


And finally, up in New England, Portsmouth, NH had fog even on the coastline.  All these tug boats were docked throughout the evening hours and in the morning, they were the only thing visible.  There is a larger ship ahead of them that is barely visible and, if there were clear skies, you could see the rest of the port.  If dense fog is found to be occurring over a marine area, an advisory for widespread or localized fog would be put up about the reducing visibilities to regionally or locally defined limitations that do not exceed 1 nautical mile.


Well now that the fog has lifted, for the most part, go out and enjoy this wonderful Sunday.  The afternoon will be pleasantly mild across much of the country, from the East coast back to the Midwest, and between the 49th parallel and the Rio Grande.  Here are the amazingly warm temps for today… is this really December?!

These temps are running well above seasonal levels.  We could see high temps nearly 30° warmer than where they should be.  That much warmth can be found in the Northern Plains.  The core of the warmth will be from Nebraska to North Dakota.  Few places will be below average, including the southern tip of Florida, and the western sides of the the Cascades and the Sierra Nevadas.


Take care and have a great week!

Meteorologist Addison Green (twitter @agreenWNTV)

It’s Winter Somewhere…

I think there’s a saying that goes “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere” isn’t there? Even though it doesn’t feel like winter around here, it really is somewhere. Take a look at the Arctic webcam from Fairbanks, Alaska where the midday temperature was a balmy -20F on the 1st day of December (first day of Meteorological Winter). As a general rule of thumb, when Alaska is cold, we are typically warm.
Here are some of the latest numbers on how November faired for some selected cities:

Pittsburgh, PA: 0.38″ in November, 3rd driest (normal 3.23″)
Shreveport, LA: 0.85″ in November, 12th driest
Tyler, TX: 0.28″ in November, 3rd driest
Tampa, FL: 0.16″ in November, 11th driest (normal: 1.55″)
Columbus, OH: 0.79″ in November, 5th driest
Nashville, TN: 1.38″ in November, 17th driest
Houston, TX: 0.65″, 6th driest
Jackson, KY: 0.84″, 2nd driest
Jacksonville, FL: 0.27″, 13th driest
Fairbanks, AK: Ave Temp: -8.8 (6th coldest), Ave High 0.4 (10th coldest), Ave Low: -17.9 (3rd coldest)
Dallas, TX: 0.05″, 5th driest
Danville, VA: 0.54″, 2nd driest
Savannah, GA: Ave High 66.8, Ave Low 43.2 — 6th coldest Nov on record

Alaska’s Arctic Temperatures

This isn’t all that unusual for Alaska at this time of the year, but the numbers are still a bit startling. Interior Alaska has been consistently in the -20s and -30s, but some of the overnight lows as of late have been down in the -40s and -50s… YIKES! The map below shows some of the minimum temperatures recently recorded. See more from the NWS mesonet observation page HERE:

When Alaska’s Cold, We’re Typically Warm

This isn’t always the case, but it’s a pretty good rule of thumb. A large Pacific storm (sitting nearly stationary) has been pushing copious amount of Pacific moisture into the west. This constant barrage has been responsible for flooding along the West Coast, but has also helped in warming things up across the nation’s midsection. This storm is also responsible for the cold Arctic air entrentched across Alaska.

Mild Midsection of the Nation

By contrast, take a look at how mild it was recently across the Lower 48, specifically the nation’s midsection. Temperature have been running well above average… 40s, 50s, 60s and even 70s doesn’t seem like typical December weather does it?

YIKES! That’s Not Normal

This map is anything but normal. The high temps from normal map shows that much of the nation on Sunday will be above normal by quite a margin, in some cases nearly 20F to 30F above normal!

Milwaukee, WI Still Snowless

Our snowless streak continues in Milwaukee, WI. March 4th was the last time there was measurable snow making it the 3rd longest stretch without measurable snow. If we can make it to Sunday, December 9th, that’ll be 280 days without measurable snow and the longest stretch without such in recorded history… the countdown continues. See more HERE:

US Snow Potential

According to the GFS, there is little snow potential across the nation through AM Thursday. Other than the high elevations out west, much of the Lower 48 stays mostly snow free.

Long Range Snow Potential

Here’s the long range GFS snow potential thru next Sunday. Although this is considered to be a little ‘fantasyland’ forecasting, this too shows minimal snow potential through the first full week of the month.




Probability of a White Christmas



For folks hoping for a white Christmas, the good news is that we still have lots of time to get that coating and we have climatology on our side! There are many folks across the northern tier of the nation that typically see a white Christmas, which is considered to be at least 1″ of snow on the ground on Christmas day.






Looking Ahead…



The 6 to 10 day temperature outlook keeps chances of warmer than normal temperatures across much of the nation through next weekend. That’ll take us through the first one-third of the month without typical December weather.





December Monthly Temps



Looking out through the month, the outlook does cool things off a bit across the Upper Mississippi Valley and the High Plains. It’s hard to say exactly what is going to happen through the entire month, but for those who enjoy winter weather, we are certainly starting off on a bad note. The question is… when is the shoe going to drop and when it does, is it going to land with a BIG thump?






Thanks for checking in, have a great rest of your weekend.



Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @TNelsonWNTV