Monday December 20th, 2010

Overnight report

Greetings and welcome!

There were a few people around this weekend to snowmobile and ice fish. Typically this is a slower weekend because people have a lot to do with the holidays coming up. That is probably just as well, it is early season conditions for both.

The snow is starting to pack down a little. The foot or so of powder in the wood lot was easy to shovel a few days ago, now it is freezing in. It took a while because last week was so cold. It was slow starting an ice base on roads and driveways.

This week will advance that a lot. First of all we are expecting temperatures in the mid to upper 20s this week. Tuesday and Thursday look the warmest where Green Bay could flirt with the freezing mark. That will serve us with a little freeze thaw freeze cycle that will help to set up a base.

We also have a few chances for snow coming up this week. There is a storm for Monday night and Tuesday that could bring 2-4 or 3-6″ to our area. The NWS has us for 3-5 total Monday night andTuesday. The HPC, GFS and NAM are showing us in the 0.25-0.5″ range for rainfall equivalent, roughly translating to 3-6″.

The storm is coming out of the plains and looks to weaken on the way here. The TV weather guy said that it hit the Sierra Nevada area with 10-15 FEET of snow in some areas. Wow. There are also winter storm warnings for most of Minnesota and we are under a winter weather advisory.

There is another chance for snow Thursday or Friday. So far that storm looks like it will go to the south of us, but it could add an inch or two. So far it looks like it might be more of a Thursday event, but the possibility of it disrupting holiday travel Friday remains, especially for our friends closer to the IL/WI state line.

Since we don’t have the details on that one straightened out, it is a little speculative looking another week ahead, but let’s do it anyway. Right now the GFS is showing a pretty big storm for New Years Day or maybe the 2nd. It isn’t a monster storm, but it is shown having some fairly intense snow and totals in the 6-9″ range. We could end up watching the rain snow line, but so far it looks good.

This year the holidays line up with Christmas day and New Year’s Day landing up on a Saturday. Depending on who you ask it is either wonderful or terrible. Next year the eves will be the Saturday and Christmas and New Year’s Day are the Sunday.

This coming Tuesday is the Winter Solstice. It is hard to think of December as Fall, especially with some locals marking -20 and -24F last Wednesday morning. Tuesday is the 21st  and the beginning of winter. It is when the earth’s northern hemisphere is at it’s maximum tilt away from the sun, putting the sun the lowest in the southern sky. Tuesday is the shortest day with the sunrise at 7:36 and sunset at 4:16. After that it is all downhill as we pick up about 3 minutes of daylight by New Year’s Eve.

This is no ordinary Winter Solstice. Not only is Tuesday a full moon, there is an eclipse to go along with it. The moon will pass into the earth’s shadow Tuesday night and is expected to turn a coppery red. It is the first lunar eclipse on the winter solstice since 1378, over 600 years ago.

The eclipse begins on Tuesday morning, Dec. 21st, at 12:33 am. Earth’s shadow will appear at the edge of the lunar disk and begin to overtake it. It takes about an hour for the shadow to cover the entire Moon. The moon will be fully in the shadow at 1:41 am and for 72 minutes. The article says that the best time to catch a look is 2:17am, when the shadow will be deepest.

We might miss out on it, right now the forecast is for clouds behind the Monday night/Tuesday storm to obscure it. If the moon can shine through, it might give the clouds and snow a strange red light, so I will look if I can.

I am looking forward to the warmer weather this week. I got a little shop time in over the weekend and I wrapped up a couple of projects. After a little cleanup I will be starting on sleds and E-Baying surplus parts this week. I still have inside work too, but I have progressed in that department too. Hopefully this week yields big progress in both areas.