Monday weather speculation

It might be really effin’ cold for the Birkie.

Just going to put that out there.

But first, Thursday. If you’re flying in on Thursday night, be forewarned that there may be some snow in MSP. Probably not enough to cancel flights, but maybe enough to allow you to move your flights around if things get tricky. Up in Hayward, you’ll probably see 2-4 inches of new snow, starting a little wetter and then, as the temperature drops, getting dry and powdery. This will be on top of a base which will see sun and temperatures in the 30s for the next two days, so the surface will transform in places (but perhaps not on north-facing uphills, which are most hills in the race). With new snow and lots of grooming, I would expect a course much like in 2011: mostly cold snow with a little ice mixed in to keep it fast, but not enough to require klister or anything.

On to the temperatures. They’ve been trending downwards. While at first it looked like the warmer air might hang on in to Birkie day, it now looks like it will depart on Thursday night. As high pressure settles in, winds will slacken. If they go calm on Friday night, with new snow, the temperature will drop, and we could make a run at the all-time record (-14) or the 2011 mark (-11). Luckily, we only get that cold if there’s no wind, so wind chills won’t be worse. And given the high sun angle, it should warm nicely, albeit only in to the teens, not the 30s. If it were early January, we wouldn’t be seeing zero.

Now things can change, and it could be warmer for the race. But the trends I’m seeing suggest colder. The NWS has been dropping their forecast temperature gradually, but they often build a regression to the mean in to long range forecasts. If the trends hold, make sure you don’t forget your wind briefs.

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