Minnesota’s Winter Could be Impacted by an Ocean Phenomenon called ‘the blob’

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The ocean water off the coast of Alaska is still warming up. It has been doing it ever since 2013 and these waters’ warmth had dramatic effects on the winter weather felt in the US. Washington Post published a fascinating article in which we find out that this phenomenon is called ‘the blob’ and it can bring temperatures as extreme as minus 48.

Between 2013 and 2015 the blob caused two winters with big storms and frigid conditions on the entire eastern half of the US, while the west was scorched by record-breaking heat. The brunt of the 2013-14 cold winter was felt to the extreme in Minnesota.

Just four years ago, the arctic phenomenon called the ‘polar vortex’ became a household name as it reached Minnesota and the Twin Cities experienced 53 nights of sub-zero temperatures in 2014, while International Falls endured 92 such days.

The Minnesota DNR climate journal had this to say: “A generation of elementary and high school children will not forget January, 2014. This was the month that had five days of school canceled due to the cold wind chills in the Twin Cities. The coldest wind chill temperature was -48 at the Twin Cities on January 6th and for the state it was -63 degrees at the Grand Marais Airport.”

According to the Post, the blob has the jet stream to arc north and then dive into the Lower 48. Because of this, the West gets warmer, while the East cools. Minnesota is caught in the cross-fire and can receive both warmth and cold. Thursday, the National Weather Service issued a long-range forecast for the upcoming winter.

According to this release, Minnesota has a 40% chance of experiencing higher than normal temperatures from November to February. This isn’t a prediction; it’s just what the computers were able to show. We just have to wait and see.

As our second lead editor, Anna C. Mackinno provides guidance on the stories Great Lakes Ledger reporters cover. She has been instrumental in making sure the content on the site is clear and accurate for our readers. If you see a particularly clever title, you can likely thank Anna. Anna received a BA and and MA from Fordham University.