It’s less than four weeks to Birkie (are you excited?) and so far, all systems are go. While we won’t speculate on the status of omicron (hopefully down) we will look at the long term weather prognostications. So far it’s been a cold January in Birkieland, but relatively dry. There have been eight days in January at -20 or below, so the lake is properly frozen. Snowcover is ample but not deep, so the big issue would be a large-scale warmup later in February.
Right now, this looks unlikely. There appears to be another cold wave coming down the central part of the country, and although it won’t be as severe as last year (at least not in Texas) it will bring some more -20s to the Northwoods. (Sidebar: here’s a potential explanation for these later-season cold snaps.) The NCEP weekly forecasts suggest colder than normal temperatures in the greater Birkieland area throughout the month. All of this can change, of course, but in The Year Which Shall Not Be Mentioned (2017) this was right around the time we started to see very warm temperatures appear on the long range forecasts.
The main worry would be that after a prolonged cold snap warm weather might replace it. While there is no model support suggesting that (yet) often these cold snaps are followed by warm periods (like last year late February into March, which was particularly warm). It will be something to keep an eye on as we get closer in.
Watch this space for annual updates and of course the podcast!