The scurs managed a less than stellar performance last week as the heater core controlled by the Weather Eye must’ve been plugged. No heat for you! Will they have to wait another year for temps to rebound or is the New Year the beginning of the end for global warming as we now know it? Starting Wednesday, sunny but at least it will be blustery with highs near - 5 and a low around – 15. Thursday, mostly cloudy, blusterier but warmer with a modest chance of snow. Highs in the low teens above zero and lows near – 5. Mostly sunny and colder for Friday with highs near zero and lows near – 10. Temps rebounding somewhat on Saturday under partly sunny skies. Highs near 10 above with lows near – 5. Sunday, mostly sunny mostly sunny with highs in the low teens above zero and lows around zero. Similar temps Monday with a slight chance of ice and snow under mostly cloudy skies. Highs in the low teens above zero and lows around zero. Tuesday, mostly cloudy and warmer with a slight chance of snow. Highs in the mid-teens above zero and lows near 5. Yes, that’s above zero. The normal high for January 10th is 22 and the normal low is 4. After climbing back over 9 hours of daylight on the 4th, the scurs may have to re-learn the power of positive thinking.
The days are slowly becoming longer although until about the 9th of January, sunrise is stuck at 7:48 a.m. The sun continues to set later each day and we are gaining about a minute per day of daylight as a result. That pace picks up of course as the month wears on and within a month, we will have gained over an hour of daylight. The temperature too once we get past the 20th should begin to show signs of warmth if historical averages are any indication. Typically the period from the 13th – 20th represents the coldest days of the winter. What actually happens is anyone’s guess however.
Precipitation continued to lag behind normal as we start the New Year. For 2014, our snowfall has only amounted to 14.3” at the ranch. Compared to records at the SROC in Waseca, about 6.5” below normal. At the SROC itself they are 4.8 below normal as of December 31st. For 2014, their total precip was 35.60 “, about .12” below normal. The dry month of July along with the dry autumn had an impact after the deluge experienced in June. At the ranch the precip total was very similar at 35.03”. Our dry late year pattern continues.
As pointed put by Vista’s noted Swedish astronomer, the recent clear skies in the evenings make for excellent sky watching. Many planets will be on display in January if one is away from light pollution, the moon begins to dim and one can bear the cold long enough to find them. Anti-freeze is allowed. As Dale Niedfeldt from the Steele Co. Astronomical Society wrote in his recent column, Venus is low in the western sky and can be spotted for a half hour to an hour after sunset. Mercury will be very close to it from the 10th through the 15th. Mars is above the southwest horizon in the early evening hours. Jupiter rises in the east around 8 p.m. and a half hour after sunset at the end of the month. Saturn can be spotted in the morning sky an hour or two before sunrise. Some conjunctions include the planet Jupiter and the waning full moon on both the 7th and 8th in the eastern sky.
The end of the year marked the end of an era locally in several respects. The closing of Edna’s hardware store has made an impact. There’s no longer a place to buy assorted home repair products in town along with day to day items we often rely on. It was also the place to look for funeral arrangements on the small board placed in the store window. Now the quarantine has been lifted at the Care Center, it’s time to stop in to visit Edna. I miss those phone calls from her asking me about what the weather was going to do and when. It was one of the reasons I put NOAA weather and radar on my cell phone in the first place.
The closing of the Village Inn at Hartland also meant a major change for us at the Mall for Men. Some who gazed at the large office calendar on my door were curious what was penciled in on the second Tuesday of each month. “What does that say?” I was often asked to which I responded, “Why Rib Day of course!” We motored many Tuesday’s to Hartland for those delicious ribs, served with choice of salad, bread, a vegetable, along with mashed potatoes and gravy. If we were feeling particularly flush we’d have dessert too. A real farmer meal if ever there was one. I suspect it was frequently followed by a real after dinner farmer nap. Thanks Judy!
See you next week…real good then.