The nagging, perpetual, slow-motion drought that has plagued many counties of Minnesota in recent years finally shows signs of easing. NOAA expects the drought designation to be lifted in coming weeks, and gazing at the current pattern that's not hard to believe.
We've had a few warm blips (Easter Sunday was a balm for the senses) but overall a cool bias is forecast to linger into May. This, in turn, increases temperature contrasts over the lower 48 states, whipping up stronger storms, capable of pulling moisture north from the Gulf of Mexico.
Another factor: El Nino, forecast to kick in by summer, which also tends to favor cooler and wetter weather. With any luck meteorologists won't be dragging around the D-word (drought) much longer.
NAM model guidance shows 1-2 inches of rain from today into Thursday as a slow-moving storm approaches. By the weekend you may be able to actually hear your lime-green lawn growing.
Latest ECMWF guidance shows another wave of moisture moving in with more rain, heavy at times, from Saturday night into Monday, possibly ending as a mix of rain and wet snow by Tuesday of next week. Don't pack away the jackets - it looks like a string of 40-degree highs shaping up for next week as spring loses its bounce once again
Yes, it's been a challenging 5 months to be a weather-guy.
Tortured Spring: The Sequel. God-willing we won't have a rerun of April, 2013, when 18" of snow delighted residents of the Twin Cities, with heavy snow spilling over into the first week of May. But after blipping upward Friday and Saturday ECMWF guidance shows a chilly spell much of next week with a string of days in the upper 30s to mid 40s; as much as 20F colder than average. Rain Sunday and Monday may end as a mix by Tuesday. I'm calling in sick that day. Graphics: Weatherspark.
Waves of Rain. GFS guidance shows heavy showers and a few T-storms pushing across the Midwest later today and Thursday; a second storm spinning up over the Midwest, Great Lakes and Ohio Valley late in the weekend and early next week. California is still too dry, but much of America east of the Rockies will see plenty of rain in the coming days.
April Drenching. Some 3-4" rains are predicted from Omaha to near Des Moines over the next 5 days, with over 1" of rain by Sunday evening for much of Minnesota. The Pacific Northwest sees soaking 2-5" rains capable of flash flooding. Source: NOAA HPC.
Severe Risk. NOAA SPC predicts a "slight risk" of severe storms from near Lincoln southward to Oklahoma City, Midland and Wichita Falls, Texas later today, including a few isolated tornadoes.
Looking Up In May? NOAA's CFS (Climate Forecast System) model predicts sustained 60s and 70s as we head into May. I hope the model is on the right track. We'll see.
Slowest Start To U.S. Tornado Season On Record. It's a little premature to get too complacent about a lack of major tornado outbreaks (93 so far nationwide, less than a quarter of "average", to date). That's the topic of today's edition of Climate Matters: "WeatherNationTV Chief Meteorologist Paul Douglas goes over this years tornado stats. So far, we've been extremely lucky to see only 93 tornadoes. But in all things weather, it can change on a dime. Peak tornado months are May followed closely by June. So don't write off tornado season yet, this could be just the beginning."
Quietest Start To Tornado Season In 60+ Years? So says NOAA SPC. Details from the Storm Prediction Center here.
Experts: Civilians Not Ready For EMP-Caused Blackout. No kidding. Watchdog.org has the details; here's the introduction: "The catastrophic effects of an electromagnetic pulse-caused blackout could be preventable, but experts warn the civilian world is still not ready. Peter Vincent Pry, executive director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security and director of the U.S. Nuclear Strategy Forum, both congressional advisory boards, said the technology to avoid disaster from electromagnetic pulses exists, and upgrading the nation’s electrical grid is financially viable. “The problem is not the technology,” Pry said. “We know how to protect against it. It’s not the money, it doesn’t cost that much. The problem is the politics. It always seems to be the politics that gets in the way....”
TODAY: Windy with rain, thunder risk. Winds: SE 15-30. High: 53
WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Periods of rain, heavy at times. Low: 43
THURSDAY: Heavy rain. Spotty street flooding? High: 56
FRIDAY: Some sun, drying out. Wake-up: 45. High: 62
SATURDAY: Clouds increase, showers and T-storms possible late: 41. High: near 60
SUNDAY: Cloudy and soggy with periods of rain. Wake-up: 46. High: 53
MONDAY: Chilly with a chance of a cold rain. High: 46
TUESDAY: Rain may mix with a little wet snow before tapering. Wake-up: 34. High: 41
Preparing The U.S. Military For The "Threat Multiplier" Of Climate Change. Here's a snippet from a story at Stars and Stripes that caught my eye: "...Climate change worsens the divide between haves and have-nots, hitting the poor the hardest. It can also drive up food prices and spawn mega-disasters, creating refugees and taxing the resiliency of governments. When a threat like that comes along, it's impossible to ignore. Especially if your job is national security. In a recent interview with the blog Responding to Climate Change, retired Army Brig. Gen. Chris King laid out the military's thinking on climate change: "This is like getting embroiled in a war that lasts 100 years. That's the scariest thing for us. There is no exit strategy that is available for many of the problems...."
Photo credit above: "An F/A-18 from the Blue Angels flight demonstration squadron is fueled with a 50-50 blend of biofuel and jet fuel. Experimenting with biofuels is part of the military's push to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels." Kiona Miller - U.S. Navy.
NOAA Releases Arctic Action Plan. Details from NOAA: "Earlier this year, President Obama released a plan for moving forward on his national strategy to advance U.S. security and stewardship interests in the Arctic. Today, in keeping with the goals and tenets of his strategy, NOAA unveils its Arctic Action Plan—a document that provides NOAA scientists, stakeholders and partners a roadmap to make shared progress in monitoring, understanding, and protecting this vast, valuable, and vulnerable region. Climate change is making the Arctic a greener, warmer, and increasingly accessible place for economic opportunity. However, climate impacts such as sea ice loss and rising ocean acidification are straining coastal community resilience and sound resource stewardship. Impacts are also being studied outside the Arctic, as NOAA scientists and colleagues work to better understand the region’s influence on global weather and climate patterns..."