Paul Douglas is a nationally respected meteorologist with 33 years of television and radio experience. A serial entrepreneur, Douglas is Senior Meteorologist for WeatherNation TV, a new, national 24/7 weather channel with studios in Denver and Minneapolis. Founder of Media Logic Group, Douglas and a team of meteorologists provide weather services for media at Broadcast Weather, and high-tech alerting and briefing services for companies via Alerts Broadcaster. His speaking engagements take him around the Midwest with a message of continuous experimentation and reinvention, no matter what business you’re in. He is the public face of “SAVE”, Suicide Awareness, Voices of Education, based in Bloomington. | Send Paul a question.

Welcome Rain Thursday - 1" Slush Up North ("Sandy" heading for New England?)

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: October 24, 2012 - 1:23 PM

65 F. high in the Twin Cities Tuesday.

55 F. average high for October 23.

58 F. high on October 23, 2011.

Dense Fog Advisory posted today. Visibilities may drop under 1/4 mile at times. Some delays are possible at MSP International.

.08" rain fell yesterday with scattered T-storms between 3-7 am.

.86" rain predicted for the Twin Cities by midday Thursday. 12z NAM model.

 

Touch of Slush? The latest NAM model continues to print out a stripe of slush, a coating to maybe 1" near Brainerd, during the day Thursday.

 

Slight Severe Threat Today. A few strong/severe storms are possible this afternoon - best chance south/east of MSP. Details from SPC below. The threat appears to be shifting away from MSP, greater for eastern Iowa and southern WI.

 

Election Day Forecast. Will weather be a factor - heavy rain/snow capable of giving Republicans an edge at the polls? A highly speculative November 6 weather map below.

 

"Having a cold dulls your reflexes and slows you down. Alcohol impairs your judgment and so can a head cold," he said. "With a cold, it's like your brain is stuck in first gear and it's not reacting as quickly as it should." - excerpt from a story at alertdriving.com below, showing how driving with a cold can be as dangerous as driving drunk.

 

Slight Severe Risk. SPC has a slight threat of hail and damaging wind gusts from Eau Claire and the Twin Cities to Rochester, Des Moines and Omaha. Watches and warnings may be issues this afternoon and evening; best chance south/east of the Twin Cities.

 

Potentially Significant Rain For Southeastern Minnesota? The 4 km NAM model prints out some 1-1.5" amounts later today into Thursday morning, closer to .3 to .5" for central Minnesota.

 

Slush Potential. The same 4 km NAM shows a cold rain ending as a coating to an inch of slush in a fairly narrow band from near Marshall and Windom to Wadena and the Duluth area by midday Thursday. We'll see.

 

Nothing to Sneeze At

Today's eye-opening weather nugget: driving with a cold can be as dangerous as driving drunk. Americans get bogged down with 1 BILLION colds every year, and a story on today's weather blog shows how a single 3 second sneeze, while sailing down the freeway at 70 mph, takes your eyes off the road for 315 feet. Not good. Decongestants can leave you woozy and disoriented - a car accident waiting to happen, according to UK research.

Lovely.

Enjoy one more mild day today; a few T-showers by evening as a vigorous cold front approaches. A few severe storms may bubble up - especially south/east of MSP. Half an inch of rain falls tomorrow morning as a chilling wind howls. By the time it's cold enough aloft for snow moisture will have moved on. Timing.

Rescue heavy jackets from cold storage; highs struggle near 40 Friday into early next week.

The jury is out on "Sandy", expected to become a hurricane, churning up the east coast of the USA. Some models shove it out to sea, but the ECMWF and Navy NOGAPS model hooks the hurricane into Long Island and New England Sunday night or Monday. Landfall risk? 1 in 3.

Yes, storms with names put our Minnesota cold fronts into stark perspective.

 

Driving With A Cold Is As Dangerous As Driving Drunk. Really? This story from realage.com caught my eye; here's an excerpt: " If your nose looks like a radish and your eyes are more watery than chicken soup at a bad diner, the only equipment you should be operating is a thermometer. The common cold, it turns out, is a car accident waiting to happen. The sneezing, tearing, fever, and puffy eyes make your reactions behind the wheel as slow and unsteady as a party-goer driving drunk, reports a United Kingdom team. One reason: A single sneeze lasts 2 to 3 seconds and your eyes automatically close during the action. If you’re driving 70 miles an hour and go ah-ah-ah-choo, you’re driving blind for 315 feet. You don't need us YOU Docs to tell you that's scary. It also explains something we didn’t understand in the past: why getting a flu shot decreases car accident deaths. Here are 6 more reasons why you should get a flu shot this year..."

Photo credit courtesy of alertdriving.com, which has more details on the UK study.

 

Yesterday I talked about a 35% possibility of Hurricane Sandy impacting the east coast of the USA by Sunday-Monday of next week. This morning the odds have increased to 45%, and my concern about a possible U.S. landfall is slowly increasing over time. It is by no means a “sure thing”, but some of the models that pushed “Sandy” out to sea yesterday are now re-curving this (potentially very significant) hurricane northwestward, toward New York City, Long Island and southern New England by late Sunday.

 

Hurricane Sandy. As of midday Sandy was packing 80 mph sustained winds. Hurricane Warnings are posted for Jamaica and Cuba, Tropical Storm Warnings in effect at Haiti and The Bahamas, with a Tropical Storm Watch for much of south Florida. Map: NHC and Ham Weather.

 

Model Ensemble. The map above shows all the weather models, and their respective solutions for the track of “Sandy”. As you can see roughly 2/3rd of the models now suggest an eventual turn toward New England or the Mid Atlantic coast.

 

Navy NOGAPS Model. This high-resolution model closely resembles the ECMWF (European) model, which was the first simulation to turn “Sandy” toward the northeast coast. The map above is valid 1 am Monday, showing a possible landfall near New York City. If (a big if) this solution verifies the worst flooding and beach erosion would take place north/east of Hurricane Sandy’s track, from Long Island to Providence to Cape Cod.

 

ECMWF Solution. The European solution has seen a northwestward hook to Sandy for the last 2-3 days. It was the first to suggest that Sandy would not push out to sea, but turn toward the USA, and that solution continues with the latest model run, suggesting landfall near Long Island. The map above is valid 1 am Tuesday morning.

Storm Timeline:

Thursday night – Friday: Florida (beach erosion and coastal flooding on Atlantic side of Florida, from Miami northward to Jacksonville)

Friday: Carolinas. Outer Banks should see the worst of the storm with 50-85 mph winds, and some beach erosion.

Saturday: Mid Atlantic coast.

Sunday – Monday: New Jersey, New York City metro area, Long Island and southern New England.

This is a rough timeline, and may change as new data arrives. Here’s the bottom line: the odds of Sandy impacting the east coast of the USA have increased (slightly) in the last 24 hours. Beach erosion and coastal flooding may be significant along the east coast, but the worst conditions may take place from the New York City and Long Island into southern New England.

 

Monster East Coast Storm Next Week or Big Miss? Meteorologist Jason Samenow at The Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang weighs the evidence (and conflicting models) in this post; here's an excerpt: "A few computer models have conjured up a storm of epic proportions for the mid-Atlantic and/or Northeast next week. But before anyone presses the panic button, other models keep the storm out to sea. Because of the pre-storm hype resonating through social media streams, let’s clear the air by answering some basic questions and sharing some expert opinions... How likely is a big storm? The pieces are there for a big storm, the question is whether and where they come together. Based on current information, I’d give slightly better than 50 percent odds that a significant storm impacts some place in the mid-Atlantic and/or Northeast early next week, but just a 20 percent chance of a storm affecting Washington, D.C. directly. A landstrike north of Washington, D.C.’s latitude appears to be more likely than south. So this could end up being a bigger deal in New England than the mid-Atlantic...."

 

Irene Analysis Finds Weather Service Flaws. Do meteorologists, government and private, consistently underperform when it comes to predicting inland flooding from tropical storms and hurricanes. The Times Union takes a look; here's a clip: "A yearlong federal report on the National Weather Service's performance during Tropical Storm Irene concluded the agency needs more accurate and timely methods to determine the risks of inland flooding. The report also found that information about the storm's risks that was provided to the public and news media proved difficult to comprehend. The 129-page report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration contains more than 80 recommendations for the weather service to adopt. The report's authors were quick to state that, as a whole, they believe the NWS performed admirably during the storm, but that Irene exposed flaws that, if corrected, could save lives should a storm similar to Irene strike again..." Image: NOAA.


Election Day Preview. Please don't share this with David Axelrod, President Obama's Chief Advisor. A cold rain is predicted from the Carolinas into (gasp) Ohio, the state that may determine the election. Light showers may fall on the Great Lakes, wet snow from Montana into the Dakotas. Will soggy weather tip the scales in favor of Gov. Romney? Place your bets. Map above: NOAA's GFS solution valid Tuesday evening, November 6.

 

No Weather Too Scary For Original Storm Chasers. Here's an excerpt of a very interesting article at nky.com: "Sixty-five years ago, a group of high-flying storm chasers in Wilmington wrapped up a groundbreaking research project. Never before had people flown airplanes into the heart of thunderstorms to study their causes and characteristics. That was the goal in the summers of 1946 and 1947, first in Florida, then in Wilmington. “No storm was to be avoided because it appeared too large or too violent,” Roscoe R. Braham Jr., the project’s senior analyst, said many years later at a meteorology conference..."

Photo credit: "Some of the men who worked on the project - eager to learn, willing to work, and dedicated to developing a career in meteorology."

 

GOES-13 Satellite Returns! Back from the dead - or nearly dead. It's a miracle! Earthsky.org has more details: "As reported in previous stories, the GOES-13 weather satellite experienced many issues in September 2012 that forced NOAA to temporary replace the satellite. GOES-13 was offline for some weeks, and no one knew if it would return. But now it has! Back in September, GOES-13 experienced a lot of noise, which eventually resulted in the repair of the sounder and imager instruments. In order for GOES-13 to be fixed, NOAA decided to grab the GOES-14 satellite to temporarily replace GOES-13. In fact, during the month of October, NOAA was slowly drifting the GOES-14 satellite into GOES-13′s current position. However, this transition is no longer needed, as GOES-13 – whose function is to provide visible/infrared images and various weather measurements for the eastern U.S. and Atlantic Ocean – is back..."

Image credit above: "When GOES-13 went on standby. Image via CIMSS Satellite Blog."

 

Monitoring Global Precipitation Using Satellites. Satellites are revolutionizing not only the tracking of hurricanes, but how we detect excessive rain and snow around the planet, and initialize weather models. Here's a snippet of a story at SPIE Newsroom: "Floods caused by extreme precipitation are one of the most frequent and widespread natural hazards. They are more costly and dangerous than ever, as population in urban areas increases and the global climate becomes more extreme and variable. Data shows that each year there are more than a hundred million people affected by flood events with a cost of more than $100 billion. While accurate precipitation monitoring is a key element for improving flood forecasting, traditional means of precipitation observation, such as ground-based gauges and radars, are limited in their spatial coverage. Recent advances in satellite remote sensing techniques have enabled precipitation observation in remote and ungauged regions to help hydrologists better forecast floods and manage water resources..."

 

Arctic Could Wreak Havoc On Florida's Weather. Say what? Teleconnections - incredibly complex linkages, planetwide. That's what meteorologists (and climate scientists) are detecting. Changes in the Arctic can have a domino effect, 5,000 miles south, as described in this article at the Herald-Tribune; here's an excerpt: "Forecasters say winter in Florida and along the southeastern U.S. coast will be wetter and a tad cooler than normal, but an unprecedented loss of Arctic sea ice this fall could wreak havoc with that prediction. The experts made almost the same long-range forecast three years ago, based on Pacific Ocean temperatures similar to those expected to develop this year. But instead of a mild chill, Florida got record-breaking cold weather that winter. If such extremely cold weather hits Florida again this winter, some scientists say the blame may lie nearly 3,000 miles away — in the Arctic Ocean. Sea ice there dropped to its lowest level ever recorded in September, shattering the previous mark set in 2007 by 16 percent..."

Image credit above: "This Sept. 16, 2012, image released by NASA shows the amount of summer sea ice in the Arctic, at center in white, and the 1979 to 2000 average extent for the day shown, with the yellow line. Scientists say sea ice in the Arctic shrank to an all-time low of 1.32 million square miles on Sept. 16." (AP Photo/U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center, File)

 

"Ask Paul". Weather-related Q&A:

"I am a huge fan of Paul Douglas's blog! Thanks for all you do Paul, I love your enthusiasm for weather. I share in that enthusiasm and like to keep up to date on the weather forecast and the various model outputs. I want to ask you where you get the model data from the GFS that breaks it down in 3-hour increments. I am attaching the graphic you frequently reference as an example. I love this format and would love to have access to view this model output on my own.

Thanks again for all you do!"

David Gregoria

 

 
David - thanks for a nice note and kind words; very much appreciated. Would you call my Mom and repeat what you said to her? Just to get her off my back for a day or two? The link in question, looking out 16 days, is from MeteoStar, and you can click over to it here. Keep in mind once you get beyond 5-7 days it's more voodoo than science.
 
 

 

 

Paul,

"Just a note to inform you that parts of western Morrison County received anywhere from 2.5-3.0” of rain on Tuesday morning.  A welcome event for a very dry part of the county."

Alan Ringwelski

Little Falls

Thanks Alan - appreciate the note and congratulations on getting some significant rain in Morrison County. I'm hoping this signifies a shift in the pattern and other counties get a good dousing soon.

 
 

"Paul: Does it make you nervous that an Italian court convicted seven scientists for failing to adequately warn residents of an earthquake? You better make sure your weather forecasts are accurate!"

Don Haberman

Orono

Don - breathing makes me nervous; the Italian verdict is ridiculous, bordering on the absurd. There is no way to predict earthquakes, in advance. Zero skill. Once a quake strikes you can (sometimes) give a few seconds notice before the shock wave arrives. And getting to the heart of your question, no meteorologist (that I'm aware of) has ever been prosecuted for a "bad forecast". The courts have ruled that meteorologists are liable for maintaining weather-related equipment, but suing a forecaster for a lousy prediction would be pouring good money down a deep drain. Then again in this country anybody can sue anyone for any reason. As in anything future-related, there are no guarantees. That goes for economists, doctors, CIA analysists and palm readers, come to think of it.
 
Image above: Pacific Northwest Seismic Network. An excerpt of an article at Huffington Post summed it up best:
 
"The idea is ridiculous, to hold scientists responsible for public policy," said Chris Goldfinger, a professor of geology and geophysics at Oregon State University. "First, scientists have almost zero ability to predict earthquakes, and second, have no direct responsibility for public policy. Something has gone seriously wrong in the Italian legal system."
 

Favorite pics...

 

You Know It's Time To Wax The Board And Tune The Skies When... Here's a (very) cool video clip from Mission Ridge Ski and Board Resort: "You know it's time to wax the board and tune the skis when... you get 8 inches of new on Oct. 22 ... you feel the need to take a video of snow ... you giggle uncontrollably ... you have to push your car out of the snow to get home from work ... it's STILL snowing. — with Josh Jorgensen at Mission Ridge Ski & Board Resort."

 

Looks Like Winter. Here are some of the highest western snowfall totals, courtesy of Chad Merrill at Earth Networks:

30" Prosser Creek Reser, California

22" Alpine Meadows, California

18" Mt. Rose Ski Area, Nevada

16" Soda Springs, California

9" Hungry Horse, Montana

4.5" Montpelier, Idaho

 

Enlightening. Donna Wick Paul took this photo near Piqua, Ohio on Monday as strong T-storms rolled thru town.

 

Serenity. The National Weather Service in Columbia, South Carolina fielded this photo of a memorable sunrise.

 

A Superior Sunset. Migizi Gichigumi snapped this photo of the Apostle Islands on Lake Superior Monday evening: "the overcast skies cleared this evening for a beautiful sunset over lake superior and the apostle islands!"

 

New X-Flare On The Sun. Northern Lights Imminent? We won't have much chance of spying the aurora until Thursday night, again Friday night, but with all the solar flares being reported in recent days it might be worth a look, especially if you can get away from light pollution and give your eyes a chance to adjust. Spaceweather.com has more details: "New sunspot AR1598 has erupted again. On Oct. 23rd at 0322 UT, Earth orbiting satellites detected a strong X1-class solar flare. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the extreme ultraviolet flash. Radiation from the flare created waves of ionization in the upper atmosphere over Asia and Australia (the daylit side of Earth) and possibly HF radio blackouts at high latitudes. The blast did not, however, produce a significant coronal mass ejection (CME). No auroras are expected to result from the blast..."

 

More Like Late April. It didn't feel like late October out there yesterday. After a thundery start clouds, fog and mist lingered much of the day, as much as .38" rain fell at Crystal. Highs ranged from 56 at Alexandria to 60 St. Cloud to 65 in the Twin Cities.

 

 

Paul's Star Tribune Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:


TODAY: Mostly cloudy and mild, few T-storms possible, probably not severe. Winds: SE 5-15. High: 66

 

WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Showers, possible thunder. Low: 42

 

THURSDAY: Gusty - a cold, heavier, steadier rain tapers, clearing late. High: 44 (falling during the day).

 

FRIDAY: Partly sunny and brisk. Low: 28. High: 41

 

SATURDAY: Plenty of sun, cooler than average. Low: 26. High: near 40

 

SUNDAY: Mix of clouds and sun, still chilly. Low: 29. High: 42

 

MONDAY: Sunny start, high clouds increase. Low: 31. High: 43

 

TUESDAY: Patchy clouds, still quiet. Low: 32. High: 44

 

* photo above of Benton Lake (near Cologne) courtesy of WeatherNation TV meteorologist Bryan Karrick.


Climate Stories...

 

Climate Change Was Shut Out Of The Debates For The First Time In 24 Years. Slate.com has more: "...Needless to say, climate change remained one of the "things we didn't get to" last night, marking the first time that the topic didn't make an appearance in the round of presidential and vice presidential debates in more than two decades, and providing the latest example of how green issues have been largely left out of this year's election.

For those of you who are wondering, the first time climate change came up in a debate was during the 1988 VP match-up between Lloyd Bentsen and Dan Quayle..."

 

Food And Climate: A New Warning. Here's the introduction to a story at The New York Times Environmental Blog: "As we have noted many times, one of the major questions about climate change is what it will do to the world’s food supply. Competing factors are at work. On the one hand, the rising level of carbon dioxide in the air significantly bolsters the growth of plants, potentially raising yields. Conversely, rising heat and, in some places, additional weather extremes like drought and heavy rains threaten to reduce yields. Climate contrarians like to cite the upside potential of rising carbon dioxide while largely ignoring the risks. And early research, often done under artificial conditions, did indeed suggest the gains were likely to outweigh the losses. But a growing body of research conducted under more realistic field conditions suggests the opposite may often be the case..." Photo: AP.

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