John was born in Baton Rouge, LA, and grew up near Birmingham, Alabama. As a teenager, his family moved to Madison, Wisconsin, and later to a small town in northeast Iowa. John traces his early interest in weather to the difference in climate between Alabama and Wisconsin. He is a graduate of Iowa State University with a degree in meteorology. Like any meteorologist, John is intrigued by extremes of weather, especially arctic air outbreaks and winter storms. John has been known to say he prefers his summers to be hot but in winter, he prefers the cold. When away from work, John enjoys long-distance running and reading. John has been a meteorologist at WDAY since May of 1985.
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The official winter outlook is in, and it has good news for people who dread days of bitter cold and wind chill. The Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and a sibling of the National Weather Service, has placed our region in an area indicating a greater than 40 percent chance of warmer-than-average temperatures for December through February. But this outlook needs some explanation.
The rain and snow combination on Wednesday, Oct. 10, yielded almost an inch of water here in Fargo-Moorhead, bringing the total for just the first half of October to almost 2.5 inches.
It seems that most people have trouble differentiating between climate and weather. Weather is what happens any day or month. It is naturally quite changeable, even to extremes. Climate is a generalized set of expectations of the weather.
For about four weeks now, the weather across North Dakota and Minnesota has been consistently cold and wet. Persistent, long-term weather patterns are always associated with anomalous jet stream patterns.
There was nothing unusual about the snow on Wednesday, Oct. 10.
Fifty-eight years ago, on an unremarkable autumn day, a small camper-pickup carrying the aging writer John Steinbeck and his standard poodle, Charley, passed over the Main Avenue bridge from Moorhead into Fargo. The moment gets mentioned across a couple of pages in "Travels With Charley: In Search of America," Steinbeck's travelogue of his 1960 journey of reflection on the state of America.
A few years ago, when traffic was stalled for an entire weekend in the southern cities of Atlanta and Birmingham by a mere 2 inches of snow, we Northerners laughed. But the reality is we Northerners are not so good at driving on our own snow when it falls early in the fall, and it is not just a matter of "getting used to it" again.
When we report the wind for Fargo or any other weather station around the region, what we are reporting is actually an average wind over a two-minute period at the instrument site. For Fargo, the site is just off the main runway at Hector International Airport.
The recent spell of cold and wet weather has generated a lot of talk about how unusual this weather has been.
Weather systems that produce a mixture of rain and snow can be devilish to forecast.