No Good Meteorological Reason Not To Vote Today

Can we pause the inevitable Election Day babble and talk (gawk) about the weather instead? Lawn mowing, fishing and boating into mid-November - in Minnesota? You must be taking fistfuls of crazy-pills!

This is what a warming atmosphere looks like: more numerous glimpses of head-shaking, jaw-dropping, "never seen that before" weather. Earth's low-grade fever will have silver linings for Minnesota: more years like 2016, with the longest growing season on record, dating back to 1872.

An unusually persistent bubble of warm high pressure adrift over the Plains is a rare 3-sigma event, statistically 3 standard deviations from normal, "highly anomalous, outside the 30-year climate record", according to NOAA scientists. That means 60 degrees Wednesday and Thursday; EMCWF guidance hints at more 60s next weekend for much of Minnesota.

Temperatures may finally fall below 32F in the immediate metro for the first time late next week; a full 6 weeks later than average.

Whatever 'average' is these days.

No big storms of any flavor are brewing. Winter is still coming, but a full 1-2 months late this year.

Oh, and don't forget to vote. This too shall pass.

Here is a look at predicted weather for Tuesday across the USA, data courtesy of NOAA and Aeris AMP:

8 AM Tuesday. Models show scattered showers from Chicago to Kansas City and Dallas.

Noon Tuesday. Temperatures across the USA will trend significantly milder than average for November 8, showers spreading into Detroit and Cleveland by midday.

8 PM Tuesday. Light rain spreads into Indianapolis, Columbus and Pittsburgh by evening; showers and a few T-storms lingering from Waco to Houston to New Orleans and Orlando.

First Official Freeze at MSP One Week From Friday? Circle your calendars. Does anyone still use calendars? According to NOAA guidance the temperature drops to 30F at MSP November 18, a week from Friday. If the forecast verifies it would be 41 days later than average. Graphic: AerisWeather.

Pockets of Exceptional Drought for Southeastern USA. California remains in a serious, long-term drought, but new data from NOAA's Drought Monitor show extreme to exceptional drought for much of Alabama and Georgia - more drought showing up across New England.

Does The Switch to Daylight Saving Time Increase Risk of Depression? Here's an excerpt of an interesting article focusing on new studies, courtesy of The Washington Post: "...One possible explanation is that the sudden advancement of sunset from 6 p.m. to 5 p.m . . . which in Denmark marks the coming of a long period of very short days, has a negative psychological impact on individuals prone to depression, and pushes them over the threshold to develop manifest depression,” the authors write. We know, for instance, that long days and ample sunshine are protective against depressive symptoms. The shift to standard time essentially steals an hour of daylight from the evening, when most of us are awake, and tacks it on to the early morning hours, when many of us are not. The net effect is that many of us lose an hour of daylight..."

Link Of The Day: 2 Week Jet Stream Outlook. Winter's late, but it's still coming. The 2-week forecast 500mb winds aloft (about 18,000 feet) show a lobe of wintry air pushing into the northern Plains and Upper Midwest, just in time to spark a variety of weather for Thanksgiving travel. You knew that was inevitable right? The map updates daily and you can loop the images, courtesy of GrADS:COLA/IGES.

What To Expect This Winter: NOAA's 2016-2017 Winter Outlook. La Nina is one of several factors capable of nudging our weather in a specific direction this winter. Odds are it won't be as mild as last winter; beyond that the crystal ball gets murky in a hurry. Here's an excerpt of a good explainer from Mike Halpert at NOAA's "...So while the southern (and especially southeastern) part of the U. S. is often wetter and colder than average during El Niño winters, La Niña generally favors below-average precipitation and above-average temperatures in those same regions. We also often see opposite patterns across the northern part of the nation, with warmer and drier conditions during El Niño winters and colder and wetter conditions during La Niña years. Before discussing the actual winter outlook, I want to remind readers that these are probabilities (% chance) for below, near, or above average seasonal climate outcomes with the maps showing only the most likely temperature or precipitation outcome (footnote 1). Because the probabilities shown are less than 100%, it means there is no guarantee you will see temperature or precipitation departures that match the color on the map..."

Map credit: "Typical impacts of La Niña on U.S. winter temperature and precipitation. Such impacts have been associated with past episodes, but all impacts aren't seen with every episode." NOAA drawing by Fiona Martin.

Hurricane Intensity Is Not Exaggerated To Scare People, And Here's How We Know. When data and evidence gets in the way some resort to conspiracy theories. Besides, it makes for good click-bait. Hurricane expert Brian McNoldy responds to Matt Drudge at Capital Weather Gang: "Hurricane Matthew brushed the East Coast as a Category 4 in early October. It scoured the Florida coast with a storm surge that washed out roads and flooded homes and businesses. It dumped over a foot of rain on the Carolinas and triggered deadly flooding. And before all of this, Matthew devastated Haiti and killed at least 600 people — it’s possible we’ll never know the final death toll. But the hurricane’s deadly encounter with Haiti and multibillion-dollar brush with the East Coast wasn’t bad enough for some people — mainly, Matt Drudge, a political commentator and news aggregator, who tweeted skepticism about Matthew’s actual intensity as it barreled toward Florida. Perhaps, he suggested, the National Hurricane Center was overhyping the storm’s maximum winds..." (Hurricane Matthew file photo: NOAA).

Hurricane Sandy Was a 260 Year Storm - Here's What That Means. For the record 2012's Superstorm Sandy wasn't even (technically) a warm-core hurricane when it struck New Jersey. But the storm was huge, it carved out an impressive storm surge that hit at astronomical high tide during a full moon. Here's an excerpt from Yahoo Finance: "... The total damage to New York City was worth $19 billion and to New Jersey $29 billion. Now, the big question is: How likely is it that a Sandy-level storm will happen again in our lifetimes? In the past, studies have pegged Sandy as anywhere from a 100-year storm to a 1,500 year storm. That means that in any given year there's a 1/100 to 1/1,500 chance of a storm causing Sandy-level flooding. A new paper accepted for publication in the Journal of Geophysical Research October 21 offers a more precise estimate: Sandy was a 260-year storm, based on current ocean conditions. That includes tropical cyclones like Sandy as well as winter storms like northeasters, lead author Philip Orton, who studies ocean physics at the Stevens Institute of Technology, told Business Insider..." (Superstorm Sandy file image: NASA).

Oklahoma Storm Shelter For School Said To Withstand EF-5 Tornado. I wonder if any man-made structure can be constructed to be "tornado-proof"? I found this story from WTVY-TV to be interesting; here's a clip: "...The superintendent hopes to build more of these, one for each elementary school. The building is said to be able to withstand an F-5 tornado. It has a monolithic dome, a round roof made of reinforced steel and layer after layer of concrete, making it one of the safest places to be during a natural disaster..."

Water Temperatures in Gulf Could Give Advance Warning of Summer Tornado Activity. A signal for the intensity of future outbreaks? Perhaps. Here's an excerpt from NOAA's "Using a combination of observations and models, NOAA-funded scientists have found a small but significant “advanced warning” signal for heightened summer tornado activity in the U.S.: warmer-than-average water temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico. The knowledge has the potential to provide emergency response agencies, communities, and individuals with an early head’s up that an upcoming severe weather season may be unusually active. These maps show the tornado-Gulf of Mexico connection that researchers found when they divided 30 years of data (1981-2011) into two bins: summers when the Gulf of Mexico was cooler-than-average and summers when it was warmer-than-average..."

What Happened To Our Record Lows? Bob Henson takes a look at the trends at WunderBlog: "... In the 1970s, the U.S. saw roughly 5 daily record lows for every 4 daily record highs. That ratio flipped in the 1980s, which produced about 6 highs for every 5 lows. By the 2000s, we were getting nearly twice as many daily record highs as lows (350,181 to 187,323). For the 2010s thus far, the ratio has climbed even higher: we’ve had about 2.2 times as many record highs as record lows. This is especially remarkable given that the years 2013 and 2014 both managed to buck the trend, scoring more daily record lows than highs. This year through October 25, the ratio is more than 5 to 1. That’s higher than in any full year on record. Hiding in plain sight in the 2016 data is something even more astounding. Walton’s and NCEI’s numbers through October 25 show that this year has produced 20,847 U.S. daily record highs but a mere 3920 record lows..."

New Weather Satellite Set to "Revolutionize" The U.S. Weather Forecast. That may be a bit strong, but there's little doubt that GOES-R is another big step forward, giving us a much more powerful, high-resolution eye in the sky. Details via Yahoo Finance: "...NASA is currently preparing the launch pad at Cape Canaveral to send the first satellite, known as GOES-R, into orbit on November 16 at 4:42 p.m. ET. According to NOAA, the new weather station will contribute to more accurate weather forecasts and better predictions of severe storms. "Without a doubt, GOES-R will revolutionize weather forecasting as we know it," Stephen Volz, assistant administrator for NOAA's Satellite and Information Service, told reporters earlier this month. "For weather forecasters, GOES-R is like going from black and white television to super-high-definition TV, and for the American public GOES-R will mean faster, more accurate weather forecasting and warning..." (Artist sketch of GOES-R: Lockheed Martin).

Lockheed Satellite System Aids Tornado, Sun Storm Warnings. More perspective courtesy of The San Francisco Chronicle: "...The launch is scheduled for Nov. 19 from Cape Canaveral. The total cost of the program, including four satellites and associated ground systems, is $10.83 billion, including 30 years of operations. Lockheed Martin will receive a portion of this total for its building and testing the satellites plus three instruments on each spacecraft. The satellites represent an important advance in forecasting tornadoes and severe weather, said Steve Goodman, the ocean and atmospheric agency’s chief scientist for the satellites. “This is the first major upgrade in 22 years,” Goodman said..."

Photo credit: "Technician Clinton Maldoon checks on the Geostationary Lightning Mapper at Lockheed’s Advanced Technology Center." Santiago Mejia, The Chronicle.

Top Weather Phobias Explored: Millions of Americans Experience These Weather Fears. "Antlophobia" is fear of floods. A tropical storm that flooded my boyhood home in Pennsylvania in 1972 got me interested in meteorology. What are you scared of? I stumbled upon this curious story at "...According to a 2014 study published in the American Meteorological Society Journal, approximately one in 10 Americans may suffer from some degree of severe weather fear. Researchers from Ball State University and the University of Kansas said study participants reported feelings of anxiety and helplessness, increased heart pounding and the need to change their schedules when faced with a severe weather event. The most common behavior surrounding these weather events was constant monitoring of television, radio, internet or weather applications, according to researchers. They interviewed almost 300 people in 43 states. The study reported: "...When not debilitating, some fear can be a substantial motivator to encourage individuals to take action against the threat, such as seeking shelter..."

Key Navy Base At Risk From Rising Seas: Mabus. With a son in the Navy I can assure you that these professionals take rising seas seriously; operations are already being impacted. Here's the intro to a story at "Navy Secretary Ray Mabus told an audience Monday that Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, the largest naval base in the world and a key East Coast center of operations for the service, could be endangered in coming decades by rising seas due to climate change if steps are not taken to reverse current trends. Mabus, who has frequently spoken about his concerns regarding climate change and associated threats to national security during his seven-year tenure as secretary of the Navy, said other bases also might be at risk from projected rising seas..."

At Least 74,000 Americans Live Near Oil and Gas Wells on Public Lands. Check out the state-level maps to assess your level of risk in this article at Yale Environment 360: "A new online tool mapping active oil and gas wells on U.S. public lands shows that at least 74,000 people in six states live within a half-mile of drilling sites. That close proximity puts these people at increased risk of cancer, heart disease, and respiratory problems from natural gas leaking from the wells, said the Wilderness Society, which together with Earthworks helped create the tool. In Wyoming, for example, 15,869 oil and gas facilities operate on public land, and some 4,000 people live within a half-mile of them — the range that airborne pollutants from wells, such as benzene, can easily travel. The mapping tool is being released at a time when scientists, environmental groups, and policymakers are ramping up calls to reduce and regulate natural gas leaks from drilling and storage sites..."

Oil Industry's New Threat? The Global Growth of Electric Cars. Odds are our kids and grandkids won't think twice about driving an electric vehicle. Here's an excerpt from The New York Times: "...Could the world’s transportation system be on the verge of a disruption, one that could slow the growth of oil demand and eventually reverse it? That question is not just profound, it is urgent. Nations have pledged to fight global warming, which means sharply paring emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases by midcentury, just over three decades away. If that is to be achieved, some studies suggest, there will be no place for cars burning gasoline or diesel. They will have to run on electricity, or possibly another alternative fuel, and the electric system itself will have to become much cleaner..."

65 F. high in the Twin Cities Monday.

46 F. average high on November 7.

50 F. high on November 7, 2015.

November 8, 1999: A November 'heat wave' impacts much of the state. Temperatures in the 70's and 80's are recorded in Minnesota with records shattered in many places. The Twin Cities had 73 degrees, while Canby saw 82.

November 8, 1943: A severe ice storm hits the Twin Cities, and heavy snow falls over southwest Minnesota. One person died in St. Paul as a trolley car slid off the tracks and hit a pole. A Minneapolis man died shoveling snow. Many telephone poles were down due to the ice. Places like Worthington, Windom, and Marshall saw 14 to 16 inches of snow.

November 8, 1870: The first storm warning for the Great Lakes is issued by the U.S. Army.

ELECTION DAY: A slightly cooler front; intervals of sun, dry. Winds: NW 8-13.  High: 55

TUESDAY NIGHT: Clear to partly cloudy. Low: 39

WEDNESDAY: Sunny, breezy and milder again. Winds: S 8-13. High: near 60

THURSDAY: Mild start, then slowly cooling off. Winds: W 10-20. Wake-up: 48. High: 63

FRIDAY: Cool sunshine, still frost-free at MSP. Winds: NE 5-10. Wake-up: 40. High: 52

SATURDAY: Mild sun, another glimpse of September. Winds: S 10-20. Wake-up: 37. High: near 60

SUNDAY: Blue sky, winter still on hold. Winds: W 8-13. Wake-up: 48. High: 62

MONDAY: Clouds, few rain showers possible. Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 44. High: 53

Climate Stories. Because weather and climate are flip-sides of the same coin.

How Global Warming Could Actually Make Winters Colder For Some People. There is some (early) scientific evidence that a rapidly warming arctic may be impacting jet stream wind speeds, making for a "wavier" pattern capable of pulling arctic air south for extended periods of time. Counterintuitive? Absolutely. Here's an excerpt from Christan Science Monitor: "...Current research suggests that a “wavier” jet stream may correlate to severe climates south of the Arctic, which may linger for several weeks at a time. When the jet stream’s route is more direct from west to east, typical winter weather seems to follow. “We’ve always had years with wavy and not so wavy jet stream winds, but in the last one to two decades the warming Arctic could well have been amplifying the effects of the wavy patterns,” co-author Edward Hanna, a professor of climate change at the University of Sheffield, said in a press release. Over the past few decades, different regions around the world have warmed at different rates. In the Arctic region, temperatures are rising faster than they are at mid-latitudes. As the temperature contrast between those two regions becomes smaller, the jet stream becomes weaker..." (High-amplitude jet stream image: NASA)

(Un)Natural Disasters: Communicating Linkages Between Extreme Events and Climate Change. Here's an article (PDF) that drills down into "attribution"; which specific weather events bear thumbprints of a more volatile climate: "...While scientists have known for decades that changes in some classes of extreme weather would result from climate change, the science of attributing individual extreme eventns to global warming has only advanced significantly in recent years to cover a greater number of extremes and achieve a greater speed of scientific analysis. Unfortunately, the communication of this science outside the extreme event research community has, with a few notable exceptions, not fully reflected these advances. The media, politicians and some scientists outside this area of research still often claim that "we can't attribute any individual event to climate change." This may have been true in the 1990s, but it is no longer the case..."

Pentagon Report: U.S. Military Considers Climate Change a "Threat Multiplier" That Could Exacerbate Terrorism. Here's an excerpt from Newsweek: "A report released Monday indicates the Department of Defense has dramatically shifted its views towards climate change, and has already begun to treat the phenomenon as a significant threat to national security. Climate change, the Pentagon writes, requires immediate action on the part of the U.S. Military. The report is a “roadmap” of the Department’s future needs and actions to effectively respond to climate change, including anticipating that climate change may require more frequent military intervention within the country to respond to natural disasters, as well as internationally to respond to “extremist ideologies” that may arise in regions where governments are destabilized due to climate-related stressors..."

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Back To The 60s - Second Wettest Year on Record for Minnesota and Wisconsin