Life imitating meme? Here's a little levity to go along with the forecast for another winter storm later this week.
At the end of this week, there's a chance of a winter storm that could create some messy travel conditions. As one Minnesota National Weather Service office worked to inform the public of a messy end to the week, they inadvertently created a visual that looks quite a bit like a popular Minnesota meme. At least, I am going to assume it wasn't on purpose.
First, the forecast.
The Duluth office of the National Weather Service shared the tweet in question Monday morning, saying that there is a winter storm brewing for the end of the week that could impact a vast majority of Minnesota and Wisconsin. As is usually true for forecasts about winter storms that are more than a few days away, there are a lot of variables and unknowns.
The knowns for this week's storm:
There's a pretty high confidence that a winter storm will impact somewhere in the Great Lakes region Friday and Saturday.
This storm brings with it the possibility that 8 or more inches of snow could fall somewhere across Minnesota and/or Wisconsin.
Wherever this storm does track though, things are going to be messy. The northern part of the storm will bring snow, the southern part could include rain, and a wintry mix is possible in the middle.
The unknowns for this week's storm:
One of the major unknowns is the track of this storm. Because of that, there is a large area that has a chance of seeing significant snow. Being that the track is so uncertain, no particular area across the region has a particularly high chance of significant snow (yet).
As this storm gets closer, the picture will get much more clear. The Duluth NWS explains in their post that they just wanted to give people a heads-up that travel at the end of the week could be messy across the region. In the process, they made a graphic that I got a chuckle from.
The accidental weather meme
Due to the variables and uncertainty I mentioned above, there is a large area that has a chance of seeing messy travel conditions at the end of this week. They illustrated that in a graphic, seen here.
The broad scope and uncertainty of this storm makes for a vague map that covers a big area. When I saw this actual, factual graphic from the Duluth NWS this morning, it reminded me of the comically vague (and not real) weather meme graphic shared ad nauseam every winter for several years.
Not quite the same, but there are a number of striking similarities.
Long-range winter storm forecasting is hard. Storm path, temperature, and timing all combine to create the storms we experience. One slight change in one variable, and the forecast and outcome can be wildly different.
We'll get a much clearer picture as we go through this week. In the meantime, I'll chuckle at life imitating meme as we brace for more snow on what has already been one of the snowiest winters on record.