I think we are having a land hurricane here in Minnesota. The tree in front of my daughter’s other house (her mom’s place) that was topped by a tornado the week after we bought it has lost a big dead branch, a bunch of firs at the junction of 10 and 35W are down, a colleague of my wife lost a fence, traffic lights have been knocked out on University in Blaine, Monica lost power in the cities last night, all sorts of things like that happening as we experience a steady drum of 35 mph winds with gusts reaching 80 now and then, but more commonly, about 55 mph.

The precip is horizontal, but it is moving so fast it is hard to tell if it is rain or snow, and truthfully, it seems to be both. But I’ve seen no accumulation here. Just the occasional car dusted with slush, obviously come from a different micro-climate.

But then there was this: Driving south on 35W, I spotted what I thought was a chunk of slush snowy icy stuff like that which accumulates under a car behind a wheel, about soft-ball size. That would require snow on the ground, and I don’t think there is any in short driving distance. So I convinced myself that it was a Styrofoam cup and not a chunk of snow. Never mind that Styrofoam cups are no longer used and you no longer see them along the highway, at least around these parts.

Then, three miles down the road we saw it. The same exact thing … slush icy snow-stuff like would fall off the bottom of a car, but larger. About as big as a medium-size dog, a bit bigger than a bushel basket, roughly the dimensions of an old CRT TV. In the middle of the road, people driving around it. If it was blue, I would have figured it to be something that dropped out of an airplane. I have no idea how to explain this.

Meanwhile, in the tropical regions of the Atlantic Ocean, we have this:
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No really well organized storms, but two blobs that look like pre-tropical storm features. Each one is tagged by the Hurricane Prediction Center as having a mere 10% chance of forming into a storm over then next 48 hours, but there is a reasonable chance that either or both will eventually do so.

Shary and Tomas. Those are the next two names on the list. So now, we have the question: Which of the two blobs will turn into a storm and get named first, the westerly one or the easterly one, and will either one or the other, both or neither even do so?

I’m guessing they both will be named storms, the westerly forming first.

Comments

  1. #1 Stephanie Z
    October 27, 2010

    In downtown Minneapolis, at least, it’s definitely snow, albeit easily melted. The rain doesn’t eddy in your face the same way when you manage to get your back turned to whichever direction the wind is blowing from in that particular location.

  2. #2 Ahcuah
    October 27, 2010

    I just learned a word for the development of that kind of storm: bombogenesis.

  3. #3 Eric Lund
    October 27, 2010

    I’ve never seen the phenomenon you describe of snow falling off a vehicle undercarriage in a place where it isn’t snowing, but it probably happens a fair amount in the Seattle area, where my mother lives. Mom is very close to Puget Sound, so snow almost never accumulates there (and on the rare occasions when it does, the region is paralyzed). But often, as you go inland and gain elevation, you will come to a place where it is snowing, and when it snows in western Washington the snow is usually heavy. So I can see how a car coming from an area that’s getting snow will drop one of those snowballs on the road somewhere that isn’t seeing snow. The related phenomenon of seeing vehicles with snow on the roof in a place where it isn’t snowing is common, and something I have observed when I have visited around Christmas. It sounds from your description that the parts of MSP that got snow yesterday were getting lots of it, so you would see something like what you saw. The isobars on that storm looked impressive yesterday, and they still do today.

  4. #4 Greg Laden
    October 27, 2010

    Yeah, but the thing in the road, the second, big thing, is something I’ve not seen before and I’ve lived most of my life in snow country.

    We were expecting to see an ice berg a mile or two down the road!

  5. #5 Greg Laden
    October 27, 2010

    Ahcuah: Correct! Cool word.

  6. #6 Brad
    October 27, 2010

    I heard on the radio this morning that the central pressure in this low was 972 mbar, corresponding to about a cat II hurricane, but the winds are lower due to being over land. Lots of wind set-up on Lake Winnipeg, levels in the south basin are probably a meter above what they were two days ago.

    And still blowing from the north.

    Brad

  7. #7 Greg Laden
    October 27, 2010

    I would guess some very high wind speeds could be found over the larger lakes, towards the lee side, because the water surface will offer less friction than the slightly hilly parkland or forest (or built landscape).