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Sauk Centre, Minnesota: near the corner of Ash Street and South 9th.
(Please, be patient. The live streaming video starts after a (relatively) short canned commercial.)

Friday, December 25, 2009


This webcam has been offline for some reason.

Now, it's back on.

For a few minutes, anyway.

I'll probably take it offline for a little cybernetic maintenance, soon.

Christmas 2009 Midwest Storm, Christmas Day

The plows have come by, again, since last night: and I'm pretty sure they'll be by again before this weather passes.

What You're Looking At

This webcam looks out a window on the north side of a house in Sauk Centre, Minnesota. This town is almost exactly in the center of Minnesota, so when you hear "central Minnesota" - it doesn't get much more "central" than this.

For those who know Sauk Centre, or live here: The house is on the corner of South Ash Street and 9th, about a block west of the high school parking lot.

The camera is looking northwest, more or less.

This is one of the busier corners in residential Sauk Centre. Obviously, it's no Los Angeles freeway: and I don't mind that a bit. South Ash street is one of two north-south arterial streets in this town, and South 9th - when it isn't used by a horde of highschoolers driving away from school - connects to State Street, which connects to County Road 186: so anyone driving into town from the southeast and headed for downtown is likely to drive by here.

Where's the Howling Wind? The Driving Snow?

For starters, this webcam doesn't have sound. Not yet, anyway. I could set things up so you hear what's happening inside the window: but I don't think either of us really wants that. I do most of my work here, so there's a lot of keys clicking and the occasional rustle of paper. That, and my occasional muttering to myself.

At this moment, there's light snowfall. You'll see the occasional flake caught near the window, in silhouette. And not all that much wind. Driving around it town is pretty easy, thanks to the plow crew. One of the plows went by as I wrote this post.

In open country, between towns, I'd just as soon not try to drive. Unless I was on a snowmobile, or some other cross-country vehicle that's designed for these conditions.

As the National Weather Service puts it:

"A winter storm warning for heavy snow means severe winter weather conditions are expected or occurring. Significant amounts of snow are forecast that will make travel dangerous. Only travel in an emergency. If you must travel...Keep an extra flashlight...Food...And water in your vehicle in case of an emergency."
(Winter Storm Warning / Stearns (Minnesota), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service (Last update: 12.25.09 - Fri - 01:26:13 PM (EST)))

I'm inclined to take reasonable precautions in weather like this. As I wrote in another blog:

"...Storms like this are potentially lethal. I won't soon forget the time a father and daughter thought they'd drive on the road running across the south side of Fargo's airport. I saw the meat wagon go out for their bodies, when that storm had passed...."
("Christmas Blizzard/Winter Storm Coming" Sauk Centre Journal Blog(December 22, 2009))

As it turned out, this is more of a winter storm than a blizzard here - not enough wind.
That's Funny: It Doesn't Look Like a Storm
Like I said, here in town it's fairly nice weather - for central Minnesota in late December.

This webcam's at least a sixth of a mile to the edge of Sauk Centre's urban forest. Those trees make a big difference.

Out in the country, it'd look a bit different. I grew up in the Red River Valley of the North before it got built up, so the farmland around here looks crowded to me. But it's not all that hard to find a stretch of road that's a quarter-mile or more from the nearest tree, and when snow is falling and wind is moving around a few inches of snow that's fallen: sometimes you won't be able to see where the road is. And it won't matter, because your car is stuck in the snow.

The Lovely Snowy Landscape of Wintertime Minnesota

With a little common sense and forethought, though, you can enjoy the Currier-and-Ives winter scene. And watch other people getting their sidewalks cleared.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve 2009 With Snow: and Freezing Drizzle on the Way?!

Looks like last night's forecast was accurate. There's several inches of snow on my oldest daughter's car, parked out back. That'll be a job to shovel out, when this storm passes.

Right now, the forecast on for this area is:

"Snow and patchy light freezing drizzle in the morning... then snow in the afternoon. Snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches. No ice accumulation...."

Well, "no ice accumulation" is nice. I could do without the light freezing drizzle. The plows spread sand on the streets, near intersections: but icy sand is still icy.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Eve Storm 2009

We're just about guaranteed a "white Christmas" this year. There's a winter storm on its way - the leading edge is here, it looks like.

The forecast says there'll be two to five more inches on the ground by morning.

Winter Storm Coming: Christmas, 2009, With Map

The forecasts are changing a bit, but the gist is still the same: quite a lot of snow and a fair amount of wind is coming, starting sometime tonight or early tomorrow morning.

I'm sincerely glad I don't have to travel.

I took a look at national weather: and this is not a small storm. And, I'm glad to live in central Minnesota. Central and Southern Illinois are in for flooding, it seems.

U.S. Severe Weather Map

(from, used w/o permission)
Image from 2:10 p.m. Central (December 23, 2009)

Looks like we may have two to five more inches on the ground by tomorrow morning.

Or, not. Minnesota weather isn't particularly monotonous or predictable.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Winter Storm Coming: Christmas, 2009

This should be interesting: I'm hoping the storm - due to hit here very late Wednesday or Thursday morning - doesn't interfere with power or the local Internet connection.

Webcam's Back! - After Another Overnight Delay

I've had some technical difficulty with the webcam lately. A new router's helped with the local network - but didn't seem to affect the the webcam, one way or another.

Somewhere in the last 12 hours, the webcam went offline. It's back, now.

Happily, the outages aren't coming more than a few times a month. Still: that's annoying.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Good Grief, Not Again?!

This webcam will be back online. Shortly, I hope.

I ran into still-unknown technical issues about an hour and twenty minutes ago, and am running a test or two.

Yes, I expect the webcam to be back online by morning.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

First Serious Snowfall of the Season

I've been tracking this thing, and most of the snow went well to the south and east of us. Can't say I'm disappointed. We've finally got snow covering most of the yards, without the inconvenience of drifts.

The plows have been by already, and most folks have their sidewalks shoveled. Which reminds me: I need to see what ours are like.
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