Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Odds for a White Christmas in the NorthWest

For the Spokane area and the Palouse, it's going to be a close call.

As expected, Friday's storm brought snow to many, but not all, valley locations. The Columbia Basin received little if any snow, while southeast Washington and the southern Panhandle saw the best snowfall, up to 8". Most other locations received around 2-3". Now, can we hold on to it? Warmer air began moving into our area on Monday, along with some light rain (or snow along the Canadian border). But the real problem will be the warm, moist wind. This kind of wind eats snow rather quickly.

The northern valleys and Idaho Panhandle will probalby keep most of their snow. For the Spokane area and the Palouse, it's going to be a close call. These will be the windiest locations, so a couple of inches on the ground Monday morning may disappear by the evening. Any snow left by Tuesday morning will survive until Christmas, as the weather will be dry and cold for the remainder of the week.

Winchester 74%, Coeur d'Alene 60% - Check the link for your area's chances:

SANTA TRACKER- Watch his journy in real time

He's already delivering presents to parts of the world
How many gifts has he delivered? where was he last seen? where is he heading? 
Track Santa on his sleigh ride around the globe with the official NORAD (global radar network).
click link to see

Week's Best New Space Pictures: Christmas Lights and Vermont Nights

Christmas Tree Nebula Shines for the Season

Photograph by Fred Herrmann, National Geographic Your Shot
Season's greetings! The Cone and Christmas Tree nebulae glow merrily in this lovely view submitted to National Geographic's Your Shot on December 17.
Hydrogen gas lit by a bright star inside the nebula explains the ruddy glow of theChristmas Tree Nebula.
Roughly 2,700 light-years away, the Cone Nebula (on the left) poses a bit of a puzzle to astronomers. They suspect that a powerful stellar wind from a compact star at the tip of the cone explains its shape.
—Dan Vergano
Published December 20, 2013 

The Fracking/Ozone Mystery-

There is an important atmospheric mystery that needs to be understood, quickly.                                Cliff Mass Weather Blog Dec. 23, 2013
 As many of you know, natural gas fracking has become widespread across the
United States and is now a major source of natural gas used in heating, power
generation, and other applications.  Such fracking injects chemicals and sand
 under high pressure to produce cracks in underlying rock strata, with the sand
 keeping the pores open to allow the escape of large quantities of natural gas

And now the mystery part.   In regions where fracking is being done, some quite rural, extraordinarily high ozone values are being observed.   And such ozone values have been particularly elevated over regions of snow.  But why?

 And let's remember that ozone, while wonderful protection from ultraviolet radiation when concentrated in the stratosphere, is NOT your friend near the surface.  Ozone is a powerful lung irritant that contributes to asthma and other breathing disorders.   High ozone values can also lead to heart disease and premature death and can greatly damage plants.

Pretty nasty stuff.

So it is very important to understand why fracking is associated with high ozone values, why snow is important, and what we can do to mitigate such ozone production during fracking operations  

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