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Blizzard Watch: Chicago (3-6+" metro, maybe 8" southern suburbs) – Minneapolis Star Tribune (blog)

55.7″ snow this season at MSP.

Trace of snow fell Saturday.

1-2″ possible by Monday AM rush hour.

3-6″ possible by Tuesday morning.

10″ on the ground in the Twin Cities.

32 F. Warmest January temperature so far in the Twn Cities (for 3 consecutive hours late Friday night).

54 number of minutes of daylight since December 21 (by the end of January).

55 number of days until the spring equinox.

34 number of days until “meteorological spring” (the real start of spring is March 1, as far as the atmosphere is concerned). Historically the 90 coldest days of the year run from roughly December 1 through February 28.

52 number of years I’ve been on planet Earth.

26 number of winters I’ve spent in Minnesota.

1190 Paul’s SAT score in 1976 (really messed up on the math section, not proud of that number, no).

11 years: my maximum life expectancy at any local, Twin Cities TV station.

6: companies I’ve started since graduating college.

10 number of on-air meteorologists at WeatherNation (most in Minnesota).



Blizzard Potential. NOAA has a special (experimental) product capable of predicting blizzard conditions (visibility under 1/4 mile in falling/blowing snow, sustained winds over 35 mph). This graphic, valid around 7 am Wednesday morning, shows near-blizzard conditions from near St. Louis and the Quad Cities to Chicago, South Bend, Detroit and Buffalo.


How Much? The NAM model is printing out 3-6″ for the metro, with the greatest amounts south and west of Minneapolis, a long-lasting snow event starting Sunday evening, with light snow spilling over into Monday, possibly Tuesday morning.



Metro Close-Up. With a temperature close to 20 much of Monday, a snow ratio of 15:1 is possible, and a very real possibility of some 3-6″ amounts in the metro, maybe closer to 8″ for some of the southern suburbs. Models are suggesting more than 8-10″ south/west of Willmar and Morris.



Take Your Pick. There’s still a fairly wide spread in predicted amounts from over a dozen different weather models (each running slightly different physics and initiatlization schemes). A good midrange amount would be 4-5″, enough to shovel and plow, although with a snow/rain ratio close to 15/1 amounts may be closer to 6-8″ in some towns.



Latest NAM Model. The 00z Saturday night run prints out .41″ by late Monday night/Tuesday morning – 3 runs/row around .4 to .5″. Could we still see less? Absolutely. But I’m not sure how we see anything less than 1-2″ Monday. Upper end: 5-6″, most likely southern and southwestern suburbs by Tuesday morning.


Winter Storm Warning. The local NWS has issued a winter weather advisory for all of central and southern Minnesota for a much as 3-6″ of accumulation Monday and early Tuesday. The immediate metro area is in the watch area – but Winter Storm Warnings are posted for the far southwestern suburbs, with some 6-10″ amounts possible from Mankato and Glencoe to Willmar and Hutchinson by Tuesday morning. More details here.


Monster-Storm. Some 10-20″ amounts are predicted from Kansas City to Chicago, Detroit and (by Thursday) the northern suburbs of New York and Boston. In terms of counties impacted – this could be the biggest winter storm in a decade.



How Much Snow After February 1? I asked Pete Boulay, at the MN State Climate Office, and he spent me this spread sheet, showing the last 10 years. The magic number (averaging the most recent 10 years): 23.6″ from Feb. 1 through the end of the snow season in April. Before you stick your finger down your throat – remember that snow falling in March and April melts (almost instantly) – very different from snow in January and early February. By Tuesday we’ll probably have close to 60″ for the winter so far. At this rate we may easily see an 80″ winter.


A More Active Week. The meteorologists at Planalytics, outside Philadelphia, are predicting another series of significant storms from the Upper Midwest and central plains into the northeast, as the next surge of Canadian air interacts with warmth and moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic.



Interactive Snow Amounts. Ham Weather, a division of WeatherNation that focuses on data, maps and interactivity, has a new map that shows how much snow is on the ground. You can also call up radar, different satellite images, and the probability of snow 3 days into the future.



Metro Snow. I find it (vaguely) interesting that the heaviest snow has fallen over the south metro, where a cool 20-30″ is on the ground, with lesser amounts north of MSP and St. Cloud. See for yourself here, courtesy of NOAA’s Interactive Snow Information tool.



MSP Meteogram. Click any zip code into this site and you’ll get a forecast for the next 12 days (highs and lows). The Ham Weather calculator also superimposes the “normal” highs and lows over the predicted data, to better put things into perspective. Note that the average high rises from 21 on January 29 to 23 by Feb. 11. Progress?



Growing Flood Threat. Here is the latest from NOAA’s North Central River Flood Forecast Center, showing a greater than 80% of flooding on the Red, Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers through early May. With more snow in the forecast, as much as 6″ of liquid water trapped in the snow pack near Montevideo – and the prospect of a rapid thaw in late February and early March, I suspect river flooding in late March/April may be worse than anything we’ve seen in recent years. The primary factor: this could wind up being the snowiest winter since 1992. Depending on how much rain falls in March, we could be facing some of the worst flooding conditions since 1997 on many of Minnesota’s rivers. I want to emphasize that I am NOT a flood forecaster. I have immense respect for NOAA’s team of hydrologists focused on the upcoming flood risk; they do an amazing job. But just looking at the meteorological ingredients necessary for major flooding – we have all of them. Factors that can’t be predicted: 1). How quickly we thaw out, and 2). Whether the coming thaw will be accompanied by frequent/heavy rains, which would accelerate snow melt and make a bad situation much worse. People that live in flood-prone areas should check their insurance policies and get serious about creating a plan, should conditions go downhill in 45-60 days. We’ll know more by mid February – but right now I do not have a good feeling about the potential for major, widespread flooding. I think it’s all but inevitable.



Heavier Snows May Stick Around, Climate Experts Say. Renee Schoof from the McClatchy Newspaper Company delves into the sheer quantity of snow in the east, and how a “real winter” is muddying the message that more frequent and intense snowfalls may be yet another symptom of a warmer, wetter atmosphere:


Tree limbs snap, the power goes out, the car needs digging out again. Along with the grumbling about winter snow there’s also a common curiosity: So what does all this say about global warming? How can the average world temperature be inching up and 2010 be tied for the warmest year ever, when places from North Carolina to New England get buried by whopper winter storms? There are several scientific explanations that help sweep away the snow confusion. But like everything else related to climate science, it’s all rather muffled these days, at least in the nation’s capital. Those who don’t accept climate science are vocal. Some of those who do accept it think it’s better to talk about jobs or technology, rather than what’s going on with warming oceans and atmosphere.”


How Bad Is The Snow? Depends Where You Live. The New York Times points out the different responses to the snowiest January on record for the Big Apple: there is Manhattan, and then there’s everything else. The article explains: “The difference between Manhattan and the rest of the city is so ingrained in the local psyche that residents of the other four boroughs are more likely to take pride in, rather than offense at, the notion that they live in a different New York City. But rarely have those two New Yorks felt more different than in the last 34 days. New Yorkers in Manhattan have mostly had their building superintendent shovel out their stoops and sidewalks. New Yorkers in Bayside, Queens, have had to do it themselves, using shovels and another tool foreign to apartment-dwellers in Manhattan: electric or gas-powered snow blowers. New Yorkers in Manhattan walked to the subway, which ran smoothly for the most part there, or took a cab. New Yorkers in Flatlands, Brooklyn, or in nearby Mill Basin — where the closest subway is two miles away on some blocks — shoveled the stoop, and then the sidewalk, and then the driveway out back that leads to the garage. New Yorkers in Manhattan were often late for work. New Yorkers elsewhere had to burn vacation days.”



Tornado In A Box. This “tornado simulator” was constructed by Landon and Payton Frostad for the Imagination Fair at the Excelsior Elementary School (with a little help from their father – my friend and business partner, Todd Frostad). It’s really quite extraordinary, powered by a fan at the top, and dry ice to create the visible funnel vortex. If you have the time, the (basic) materials and the desire, you can build your own tornado simulator, maybe score some points for your kid’s next science fair? The specs can be found here.


Saturday Statistics. Yesterday’s high was 32 (around midnight) falling through the 20s during the day with a trace of snow. Highs ranged from 16 at Alexandria to 22 in St. Cloud.





Paul’s Star Tribune Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:


TODAY: Intervals of sun, a few flurries, but little accumulation. Winds: N 7-12. High: near 20

SUNDAY NIGHT: Light snow likely, 1-3″ possible by daybreak Monday. Low: 12


MONDAY: Light snow, 3-6″ possible by Monday night. Icy roads – more south/west of the metro area. High: 22


TUESDAY: Snow tapers to flurries. Colder. Low: -2. High: 8


WEDNESDAY: Numbing sunlight, parka weather returns. Low: -9. High: 9


THURSDAY: Sun gives way to more clouds. Low: -5. High: 11


FRIDAY: Mostly cloudy, “average” again. Low: 6. High: 23


SATURDAY: Flurries, risk of a thaw. High: 31




Potentially “Plowable”


Here we go again. It’s been 2 weeks since we’ve seen enough snow to foul up our commutes (4.4″ fell January 13-14). The next, slow-moving storm sparks a long-lasting snow event from tonight through Tuesday morning. As much as .45″ liquid water (at 20 F) may translate into 3-6″ snow, most of it coming Monday.


Yes, the natives are a bit restless. Adam Platt, Executive Editor at Mpls. St. Paul Magazine put our winter into stark perspective. “It’s taken me 29.5 winters of living here, but I’ve finally figured out why, no matter how many inches of snow NYC or DC or BOS or CHI get above what we get in a winter, it’s still inconsequential. Their snow MELTS. Ours doesn’t. Here, it just piles and piles for about 90 days.” Good point.


I checked with Pete Boulay at the MN Climate Office. He confirmed, “37 hours above freezing since December 1, all in December.” For 3 hours early Saturday we experienced 32 F. Some January thaw.


The sheer quantity of snow, coupled with the lack of any melting, has me increasingly concerned about river flooding by March. Hope I’m wrong. Monday snow will be followed by a cold week (3 nights below zero) – but 32 F returns next weekend. What a winter.



Source: Blizzard Watch: Chicago (3-6+" metro, maybe 8" southern suburbs) – Minneapolis Star Tribune (blog)

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Mayor’s Charity Ball shows ‘Utica at its finest;’ 1,600 attend

The lobby of the Radisson Hotel-Utica Centre filled with glittering dresses and black tuxedos Saturday night as hundreds of local officials and residents made their way to the fourth annual Mayor’s Charity Ball.

Mayor David Roefaro and his wife, Cynthia Roefaro, greeted many of their more than 1,600 guests in front of a large ice sculpture of an artist’s palette and paint brushes, a nod to this year’s beneficiary – the Stanley Center for the Arts’ Arts in Education Institute.

“We do this all for the children of our city,” Cynthia Roefaro said of the event, which donates its proceeds to a different charity each year.

The Arts in Education program, which lost its funding from city schools this year, helps teachers integrate arts into their curricula and organizes arts-based field trips.

“It’s just a wonderful charity,” Utica school board member Anthony Brindisi said of the program. While he has a personal connection to this year’s organization, Brindisi said he attended last year’s ball as well.

“You get to see a lot of people out supporting the community and I’m happy to do my part,” he said.

Other repeat guests said the glamour of the event, coupled with the charitable aspect, was what kept them coming back.

Mohawk Valley EDGE President Steve DiMeo described the occasion as “Utica at its finest.”

“It’s a fun event,” his wife, former school board member Dianne DiMeo, added. “You get to see a lot of people. You get to get dressed up.”

Guests were treated to drinks and hors d’oeuvres at the 6 p.m. event, as well as the chance to dance to music from four different bands – including Playin’ Again and The Scintas – over the course of the evening.

The final amount raised for the arts program was not available Saturday. But last year’s ball raised more than $69,000 for the Utica Zoo with a slightly smaller crowd of around 1,300, according to O-D archives.

Mayor Roefaro said he’s happy to see the event growing each year.

“The best thing is people come out and say, ‘We’ve heard about it from last year,’” he said.

Cynthia Roefaro said the charitable aspect of the event isn’t limited to those attending the ball, either. Local restaurants donated all of the food and drinks served at the event, and the bands donated their time for the entertainment. Students from Thomas R. Proctor High School’s NJROTC program also helped out by running a coat-check room.

“That’s one thing about Utica,” Cynthia Roefaro said. “They’re there for you for charity.”

Source: Mayor’s Charity Ball shows ‘Utica at its finest;’ 1,600 attend

Mayor Declares Weather Emergency

Updated 9:46 AM

By: NY1 News

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It is a rare snow day for New York City’s public school students.

With a heavy winter storm making many roads impassible, Schools Chancellor Cathie Black announced shortly before 5 a.m. that public schools are closed today. It is the seventh snow day for city schools since 1978.

A list of other school closings can be found below.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that non-emergency city government offices would be closed as well.

“New York City almost never takes a snow day, but today is one of those rare days,” the mayor said in a statement.

This storm was the eighth-largest snowfall in city history. This has been the snowiest January on record and the sixth-snowiest winter in city history.

Central Park received 19 inches of snow overnight, in addition to the four inches that fell on Wednesday. Other totals include 18 inches in Pelham Parkway House in the Bronx; 13 inches in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn; 17.3 inches in LaGuardia Airport and 10.3 inches in John F. Kennedy Airport in Queens; and 16 inches in Eltingville, Staten Island.

All parking rules have been suspended for Thursday as a result of the storm.

As fast-falling snow clogged city streets, the MTA suspended bus service throughout the five boroughs at 12:25 a.m. The MTA’s decision came on the heels of numerous reports throughout the city of buses being stuck in the hard-to-navigate snowy conditions.

Select bus service is now starting up again in Queens and Brooklyn.

All subway lines are running, but some lines are running local and some have delays.

As of 5 a.m. the Long Island Rail Road was back running after it suspended passenger train service in both directions at about 2 a.m. The LIRR has about 60 to 90 minutes’ delay.

See a current timetable for train times, or use Sunday, January 30 as your travel date on our schedules page.

Metro-North railroad was running with partial service, but Amtrak announced it had suspended service between New York City and Boston. Service between NYC and Albany was also running on a reduced schedule.

Metro-North’s New Haven Line service has resume on a Sunday schedule. This schedule provides hourly service and New Haven Line customers should not travel unless they have to. The Hudson and Harlem Lines are operating on a Saturday schedule.

Commuters are being asked to check for the latest service updates.

New Jersey Transit rails have 30 minute delays, and NJ Transit bus service remains suspended.

The snowy conditions also forced the temporary closure of John F. Kennedy and Newark airports. Newark has since reopened but no flights are going in or out.

JFK is expected to reopen at 10 a.m.

Passengers who spoke with NY1 said there’s nothing they could do but wait it out and try to be patient.

“It’s very inconvenient, but you know, it happens. They can’t control the weather. People just need to relax and kind of wait it out,” said one traveler.

“The weather’s the weather, so you can’t do anything about it,’ said another. “We did have some police activity because someone was really upset at the Spirit counter, but other than that I think most people get it, you can’t do anything about it and until you can start controlling the weather, you’re gonna be stuck with it.”

On Wednesday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg issued a Weather Emergency for the city, urging residents to avoid driving if possible. The Weather Emergency declaration allows the city to tow any vehicle blocking roadways or impeding the ability to plow streets at the owner’s expense.

Alternate-side parking regulations have been suspended citywide until further notice to help speed up snow removal. Parking meters are also suspended throughout the city.

Garbage collection has been suspended as well.

MTA officials said they were stepping up their efforts following its highly criticized response to last month’s blizzard. During its monthly meeting Wednesday, the MTA Board delved into what went wrong and what steps can be taken to change it.

Some of the proposed measures included better communication and having a consumer advocate in the control center to address the needs of riders on stuck trains and buses.

“The management team met this morning to compare all the weather forecasts. This is a good example of a storm that’s highly unpredictable right now,” said MTA Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jay Walder. “I mean, if you’ve watched the forecast over the past couple of days, they’ve shifted all over the place. There are multiple fronts coming, but part of what we seek to do is to provide a clarity about the evening rush hour.”

Many city offices and services are closed today.

Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro has cancelled his State of the Borough address that was scheduled for tonight.

All branches of the New York Public Library, Brooklyn Public Library and Queens Public Library are closed today.

City courts are open today, but only grand jurors should report for jury duty. No new jurors or jurors sitting on a pending cases should report for jury duty, according to the Office of Court Administration.

Other closed locations include U.S. Citizenship and Immigration offices, the Wildlife Conservation Society’s zoos and aquariums, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

School Closures/Delays For Thursday, January 27th

* All New York City public schools are closed

Cooper Union (closed)
Fashion Institute of Technology (closed)
Friends Seminary (closed)
Helene Fuld College Of Nursing (closed)
New York University (closed)
School of Visual Arts (closed)
CUNY: City University Central Administrative Offices (closed)
CUNY: Baruch College (closed)
CUNY: City College of New York (closed)
CUNY: Hunter College (closed)
CUNY: John Jay College (closed)
CUNY: The CUNY Graduate Center (closed)
CUNY: Borough of Manhattan Community College (closed)

Immaculate Heart of Mary School (closed)
St. Frances Cabrini School (closed)
St. Francis of Assisi School (closed)
St. Joseph High School (closed)
Believe Northside Charter H.S. (closed)
Believe Southside Charter H.S. (closed)
Williamsburg Charter H.S. (closed)
CUNY: Brooklyn College (closed)
CUNY: Kingsborough Community College (closed)
CUNY: York College (closed)
CUNY: Medgar Evers College (closed)
CUNY: New York City College of Technology (closed)

Notre Dame Catholic Academy (closed)
St. Adalbert School (closed)
St. Pancras School (closed)
St. Stanislaus Kostka (closed)
Corpus Christi School (closed)
St. Sebastian School (closed)
St. Francis Preparatory H.S. (closed)
St. Clare School (closed)
St. Mel’s School (closed)
Immaculate Conception School (closed)
Our Lady of Fatima School (closed)
Christ the King Regional H.S. (closed)
Promise Christian Academy (closed)
Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament (closed)
St. Paul’s School of Nursing (closed)
St. Kevin School (closed)
St. Joseph and Dominic Academy (closed)
St. Fidelis (delayed 2 hours)
Saints Joachim & Anne School (closed)
CUNY: Queens College (closed)
CUNY School of Law (closed)
CUNY: Queensborough Community College (closed)
CUNY: LaGuardia Community College (reopening at 4:30 p.m. for evening classes)

AEA Training Center (closed)
Our Lady of Mercy (closed)
CUNY: Lehman College (closed)
CUNY: Bronx Community College (closed)
CUNY: Hostos Community College (closed)

Staten Island
CUNY: College of Staten Island (closed)
St. John’s University Staten Island campus (closed)
St. Paul’s School of Nursing (closed)
Wagner College (closed)

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Source: Mayor Declares Weather Emergency

What will become of New London’s Capitol Theater? –

I have often heard the stories that the late George Burns once appeared at the Capitol Theater in New London, back in its vaudeville heyday. So did jazz great Al Jolson.

I didn’t know, though, until reading some stories in The Day’s archives recently, that Burns and his partner and wife, Gracie Allen, both had an unusual connection to the Capitol.

Apparently, Gracie Allen was once the roommate of Rena Murphy, the actress wife of Walter T. Murphy, who built the Capitol in 1921. Mrs. Murphy taught elocution at the Mohican Hotel on State Street, where she also lived.

“Mrs. Murphy told her pupils that she had introduced her roommate, Gracie Allen, to George Burns. … Each was looking for a new partner, and the rest is history,” wrote The Day’s fine history columnist, Carol W. Kimball, who died last year.

Of course, those were the good old days for the Capitol, which last month sank, maybe, to a new low. But maybe not.

Filed in town land records in December was the deed conveying ownership of the landmark building to a New York City contractor, who bought the dilapidated Bank Street theater, sight unseen, for $20,000 last spring, at a tax auction.

I reached Jonathan Chau, the new owner, on his cell phone this week, to ask him what he’s planning to do with the building, now that he actually owns it.

He declined to answer, and then politely hung up.

I don’t really blame him.

Chau doesn’t owe me or the public any kind of disclosure about what his plans are for the Capitol. He bought it, fair and square, at a public auction, with no strings attached and no public assistance.

The people who owe the public an explanation about what went on here are the members of the City Council who in 2009 gave away this landmark to a convicted con artist who lied repeatedly to city officials.

Patrick Gawrysiak of New Jersey and his Maxim Development Group was given the Capitol for $1 in 2006, with the promise that he would renovate and develop it into a live music venue. The city had bought it for $55,000 in 1978, in part to keep X-rated movies from being shown there.

Gawrysiak, whose criminal record includes attempted armed robbery and fraud charges related to a complicated flimflam scheme, never finished any of the renovations he promised when the city gave him the building in 2006.

Then, incredibly, in 2009, city councilors signed a new agreement with Gawrysiak, releasing him from the obligation to renovate the building but binding him to a deal to start paying some reduced taxes right away.

Of course he never paid a dime in taxes, and the Capitol went up for sale at the spring tax auction.

Maybe the councilors who took part in the Capitol fiasco, including two who have expressed an interest in running for mayor, should explain why they gave away this historic landmark, a centerpiece of the downtown and lost all control over its future development.

Yes, it’s true that someone might finally start paying taxes on it. I am sure they would point that out.

But, really, didn’t the city lose control over the future of the building, literally giving it away, for no good reason?

If George Burns were alive he might tell the story himself, then finish up with a flick of ash from his cigar before getting a good laugh.

“They sold it for $1,” is all he’d have to say.

It is good news that the Capitol is back on the tax rolls.

And who knows, maybe the future of the Capitol will be brighter, after all, without any city involvement.

This is the opinion of David Collins.

Continue reading here: What will become of New London’s Capitol Theater? –

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