January 8th, 2015

snowflakes-4

Cuts Like A Knife

It's up to 11°F this morning in Allendale. Blustering outside. We have a winter advisory stretching from 11am today through 4pm Friday. Sounds like it will be an ugly morning tomorrow.
Winter Storm Warning remains in effect from 11 am this morning to 4 pm EST Friday. Hazardous Weather.

•Heavy snow begins this afternoon and continues into Friday.
•6 to 12 inches of snow expected by 4 pm Friday.
•Near blizzard conditions with wind gusts near 45 mph.
•Visibilities near zero with blowing and drifting snow.
•Wind chills around 10 below. Impacts:.
•Dangerous travel conditions with roads impassable or closed.
•Dangerous to be trapped outdoors, 30 minutes to freeze exposed skin.
Scattered to numerous power outages.
West Michigan is quite the mixed bag. Kalamazoo schools have been closed yesterday and today. Roads are heavily iced. I don't know if they just got walloped with more of an ice band in Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties or they were less effective in dealing with the earlier ice. WMU did not close, since the university isn't open yet.

Meanwhile, last year's polar vortex intrusions caused a lot of school districts to add official closing criteria for wind chills. Now wind chill per se isn't a bad metric. But I am convinced that media weather people often use it to make things seem worse to scare us. Oh, the temp is 29°F, but it FEELS LIKE 12°F OMG YOU ARE GOING TO DIE. For much of the winter, wind chills are mainly good for knowing how much to bundle up. Hey, it's winter, get over it.

But dangerous wind chills aren't a joke. The wind can pull heat energy from exposed skin, chill the body and create frostbite. And worse.

In Minneapolis, the new criteria is -35°F wind chills -- it triggered and schools are closed today.

In Detroit, the threshold is -19°F -- it barely did not trigger this morning, I guess, though the suburbs are mixed.

Bus stops are a big issue. I remember when I first started seeing rural roadside bus stop shelters in Wisconsin -- all homemade and really wildly different in construction and materials. City kids? Not always a place to hide from the winds. Around here we see cars waiting in the driveways as parents wait for the bus. On really cold days, the pattern of smoke wreathed cars down the road is eerie.

More mollycodling of today's kids? Or more realistic? Not totally sure. I was never a rural schoolkid and only ever had to take the bus in third grade -- because the third grade had been moved across town to a former German POW camp -- and in high school in North Carolina. Not in Houghton or Minnesota. And that bus stop in Medina was at schools at both ends, so one could wait inside if you had to.

Hell, at 8am in Greensboro NC right now it's 7°F with a wind chill advisory til 10am. That's not the kind of winter weather you expect in Greensboro -- but I note the county and city schools are open, with some forty other regional schools delaying two hours. *** NPR this morning had South Carolina at 0°F.

Yup, after a wildly divergent November and December,the polar vortex is back. The good news for Michigan is that after this spat, the skies clear and the temps move into the 20s and 30s all next week.

ConFusion 16-18 January, doncha know.

I think it was 42°F in Bodo, Norway this morning, north of the Arctic Circle. Yes, I installed The Weather Channel app on my Kindle Fire HD yesterday. (grin) Watching the Norwegian weather for research for my YA novel. (double-plus-grin)

Dr. Phil

*** When I Googled "Greensboro school closings", the abstract for WFMY Channel 2 said repeatedly There are no closings in this category. When I clicked on the website it informed me that the mobile school closings page wasn't working and would I like the regular site. A red notice at top said Closings - 42 schools. And I was on the Silk browser, dammit, I didn't ask for the godforsaken mobile app!

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snowflakes-4

Come Out Here...

says Mrs. Dr. Phil, "And take a picture of the kitchen window."

So I did.

Just a few days ago there was no snow. Tonight, as the winter storm -- an Alberta Clipper -- builds there is about a foot and a half drift on the back porch.

And the window? It was just the other day that Mrs. Dr. Phil finally pulled the screen, that let the snow make this neat pattern on the glass.


Decided to go with straight lighting, but amped the sensor up to ISO 1600. Had to mask one hot pixel that was really annoying in the dark section. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

By 8pm the West Michigan closings had included Allendale Public and Christian, Coopersville, Grand Haven, Holland around us. K-zoo and south, well Kalamazoo Public hadn't yet declared, but closed the last two days due to ice. KVCC -- Kalamazoo Valley Community College -- has closed for Friday. I-94 has been a horror show the past two days and they are so exposed out there. Vicksburg and other communities south of K-zoo pulled the plug already.

Larc on Facebook noted that the Detroit closings had gone from 11 to 9. How do you unclose? (grin) A comment suggested that the stations assume closed if you're closed today, so they do have to call in. That makes sense. Call to close, call to reopen. Less confusion there.

Speaking of ConFusion, the long range forecasts for Allendale and Detroit show sunny and mostly sunny all next week. Don't have the forecast for Sunday the 18th, and in Michigan it's hard to trust the tail end of long range forecasts -- or hell ANY Michigan forecasts (grin) -- but right now the drive east should be sun and temps around 30°F. I can deal with that.

Dr. Phil
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