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Paul Douglas on Weather

Lemon Dream: Leaves Ripen as Temperatures Slip

Cool October In The Twin Cities

October highs so far in the Twin Cities.

Feel like it's been a cool month across the region? Even though we are in October and - I'm hopefully not breaking news - it does start to cool down across the state, you could say this month has been a bit cool even by October standards. In the Twin Cities, we have only had two days with a high of 70+ (we average six for the entire month) and three days with a high of 60+ (average: 15). 

October departure from average highs in the Twin Cities.

That means we see a lot of blue on the departure from average high calendar for the month of October. Only four days through Sunday have had a high that was above average, with the greatest positive departure from average high (+15 degrees) occurring both the 3rd and 18th when we did see the highs pop into the 70s.


October departure from average average temperatures in the Twin Cities.

Here's the daily average temperature departure from average (factoring in both the high and low for each day). There's a lot of blue here as well as we've only recorded three days this month with an above-average average temperature. The average temperature so far this month is 45.6 degrees, which is actually only 5.3 degrees below average. However, it is good enough for the 10th coldest first 21 days of October on record. It appears we'll have more below average highs through the end of the month with only 40s and 50s expected - more on that in a moment!


Lemon Dream: Leaves Ripen as Temperatures Slip
By Paul Douglas

"Bittersweet October. The mellow, messy, leaf-kicking, perfect pause between the opposing miseries of summer and winter" wrote Carol Bishop Hipps. I couldn't have said it better myself.

In the near term Mother Nature appears to be under the influence of LSD: the scene outside my window resembles an explosion at a paint factory; the trees about to get a windblown undressing.

I don't expect any weather-panic in the near term. We are less than 2 months away from the Winter Solstice, when the sun is lowest in the southern sky. Emboldened cold fronts will continue to sweep out of Canada; each one preceded by rain, snow or a mix thereof.

Another welcome ration of sunshine today and Wednesday gives way to periods of rain Thursday into Saturday. By Sunday the atmosphere may be cold enough for a little wet snow to mix in. ECMWF hints at another mix of rain and snow before Halloween. By the way, the "European" model hints at upper 30s for highs on Halloween.

NOAA insists that a brewing El Nino may tip the scales in favor of a milder winter for Minnesota. I hope they're right.


Extended Twin Cities Forecast

TUESDAY: Brilliant sunshine. High 47. Low 29. Chance of precipitation 0%. Wind NW 5-10 mph.
WEDNESDAY: Sunny start, clouds increase late. High 50. Low 40. Chance of precipitation 10%. Wind SE 5-10 mph.
THURSDAY: Periods of light rain. High 45. Low 42. Chance of precipitation 70%. Wind S 7-12 mph.
FRIDAY: Showery rains linger. High 48. Low 44. Chance of precipitation 60%. Wind W 7-12 mph.
SATURDAY: Showers slowly taper, still damp. High 50. Low 39. Chance of precipitation 50%. Wind NW 8-13 mph.
SUNDAY: Rain may mix with a little wet snow. High 43. Low 36. Chance of precipitation 50%. Wind NW 10-20 mph.
MONDAY: Skies brighten, a nicer day. High 47. Low 30. Chance of precipitation 20%. Wind NW 8-13 mph.


This Day in Weather History
October 23rd

1899: An unseasonably warm day occurs in the Twin Cities, with a high of 82.


Average Temperatures & Precipitation for Minneapolis
October 23rd

Average High: 55F (Record: 82F set in 1899)
Average Low: 37F (Record: 17F set in 1936)
Average Precipitation: 0.07" (Record: 1.01" set in 1995)
Average Snow: 0.0" (Record: 1.4" in 1995)


Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
October 23rd

Sunrise: 7:39 AM
Sunset: 6:14 PM

*Length Of Day: 10 hours, 35 minutes and 19 seconds
*Daylight Lost Since Yesterday: ~2 minutes and 56 seconds

*Latest Sunrise Before DST Ends: November 3rd (7:54 AM)
*Next Sunrise Of 6:00 PM Or Earlier: November 2nd (5:59 PM)
*When Do We Dip Below 10 Hours Of Daylight?: November 5th (9 hours, 58 minutes, 38 seconds)


Minnesota Weather Outlook

Tuesday will be a mainly sunny, cool, and less windy day across Minnesota. Highs will range from the 30s up north to maybe a 50 degree reading in southwest Minnesota.

Highs on Tuesday will be a good 5-15 degrees below average for October 22nd.

Highs will remain fairly steady for the foreseeable future, stuck in the 40s and 50s with no big warm ups or cool downs in sight.

We’ll remain dry through Wednesday in the Twin Cities, but then we head back toward a wetter pattern for the second half of the week into the weekend. The good news is this looks to be a light rain or drizzle, so significant rainfall accumulations aren’t currently expected.


National Weather Forecast

On Tuesday a cold front will continue to dive south and east across the country, bringing rain and snow chances across parts of the Northeast. A stationary front near the Gulf Coast will bring rain chances from Texas to the Florida Panhandle. An upper-level trough will bring rain chances (as well as higher elevation snow) to parts of the Four Corners and central/southern Rockies. And to round it all off, showers will be possible in the Pacific Northwest as a cold front moves inland.

The heaviest rain through 7 PM Wednesday is expected across Texas, with 1-3"+ possible. Some of this could be influenced by Willa in the Pacific.

Speaking of Willa, here's a look at this dangerous hurricane Monday off the Pacific Coast of Mexico. As of Monday morning, the storm had strengthened into a Category 5 hurricane with 160 mph winds.

The system will track right into Mexico on Tuesday as a very strong system, capable of hurricane-force winds, heavy rain, and dangerous storm surge.

Parts of the Rockies and northern Maine could pick up 6"+ of snow through 7 PM Wednesday, with lesser amounts possible in parts up upstate New York and into Wyoming.

Meanwhile, we will be watching the potential of a coastal low forming as we head into the weekend across the East Coast. This system would have the potential to bring heavy rain, snow, gusty winds, and coastal flooding along with it. It is too early for exact details, as this system could swing further inland or further out to sea. It will be a system to keep an eye on over the next several days, however.


The most important science policy issue in every state

Popular Science has more: "Wildfires burning around the West. Rising seas lapping at the East. Animal feces, coal ash, and fertilizer fouling waterways from the Carolinas to the Midwest. Bridges, roads, and pipelines crumbling across the country. With the midterm elections less than a month away, communities across the United States face some of the most formidable scientific, environmental, and technological challenges in decades. On November 6, voters from Alaska to Florida will choose not just their next governor, state representative, or member of Congress, but to some degree how we live for decades to come. “This is the most important election of our lifetime,” says Bill Holland, State Policy Director for the League of Conservation Voters. In the 36 gubernatorial and 470 congressional races around the country, some of these challenges, like opioids and fossil fuels, are campaign issues, while others, such as climate change’s role in severe wildfires, don’t appear on any candidates’ platform. But, whether these matters are on their minds, the victors will face them once sworn in. Their decisions will help shape how well storm-ravaged communities adapt, whether the water is safe to drink, how open our internet will be, and more."

A new wind turbine inspired by a palm tree, big as the Empire State Building

More from Marketplace: "The Energy Information Administration says the United States got about 11 percent of its energy from renewable sources last year. Climate scientists say that's going to have to go up a lot to ward off the worst effects of climate change. The Department of Energy says the U.S. is one of the fastest-growing markets for wind power in the world. That's mostly on land. Eric Loth, at the University of Virginia, is an engineer who's part of a team building the next generation of offshore wind turbines. Those turbines towering over fields or deserts usually produce 5 megawatts of power each. "We want to have turbines as large as 50 megawatts,” Loth said. “And the size of that would be like the Empire State Building, even larger. So you're talking about being able to power a small city with one of these wind farms. And I think that's where we're going. That's where the future is.""

Environmental Regulation Has Helped Cut Deaths From Air Pollution in Half, Study Finds

More from Earther: "There are plenty of reasons to be worried about air quality these days, from the Environmental Protection Agency killing an expert panel on dangerous particulate matter to the Trump administration’s plan to scrap mercury regulations. But today, we got some good news to remind everyone about the value of environmental regulations that keep pollution in check. Air pollution is killing fewer people than it used to, according to a study published in the Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Journal Friday. Deaths related particulate matter (nasty stuff that gets lodged in the lungs and can reach the heart) dropped more than 50 percent nationwide between 1990 and 2010—largey thanks to regulations like the Clean Air Act and federal and state rules on vehicle emissions, according to the report’s authors, who include researchers from the EPA and Department of Energy."


Thanks for checking in and have a great Tuesday! Don't forget to follow me on Twitter (@dkayserwx) and like me on Facebook (Meteorologist D.J. Kayser)!

 - D.J. Kayser

Dry Into Wednesday - Autumn Smells - Average Date of First 1" Snowfall?

No Big Snows Brewing, So Here Are a Few Snowy Statistics

I'm taking a little break from my tasty Box Elder Bug salad (may as well put 'em to good use!) to review snowfall statistics. No, I haven't put my driveway stakes in yet, and I plan to resist the urge until the first big snow is imminent.

According to NOAA records, the median date of the first 1-inch snowfall is November 16 in the Twin Cities, but the first plowable snow often doesn't arrive until late November or even December.

Last winter, all 78.3 inches of it, the MSP metro area enjoyed a total of 42 days with measurable snow, defined as a tenth of an inch or more. Before you start hyperventilating, MSP sees an average of 16 winter days with an inch or more of snow; 5.3 days/winter with 3 inches or more.

Fun with statistics!

No accumulating snow events are brewing, although it may be just chilly enough aloft for a light mix next Sunday. Dry weather lingers into Wednesday, with a little rain Thursday and Friday before we cool back down over the weekend. Big storms will be confined to either coast.

If anyone asks, there's about a 75 percent chance of a very white Christmas.

The Scent of a Season: Explaining the Aromas of Fall. Capital Weather Gang had a timely post; here's an excerpt: "...When the leaves fall, they die. As they take their last breath, they “exhale” all sorts of gases through tiny holes known as stomata. Among these compounds released are terpene and isoprenoids, common ingredients in the oils that coat plants. Terpenes are hydrocarbons, meaning their main ingredients are hydrogen and carbon. Pinene, a species of terpene, smells like — you guessed it — pine. It’s a main ingredient to the saplike resin that repairs the bark of conifers and pine trees. Occasionally, these gas molecules excreted by plants — known as volatile organic compounds — interact with variants of nitrous oxide. This can lead to ozone production, which can smell a bit like chlorine or the exhaust of a dryer vent..."

Seasonably Chilly. The latest run of NOAA's GFS model shows a blocking low over eastern Canada the evening of November 4, with colder than average temperatures from the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes into New England - where the greatest potential for (big) storms spinning up may be.

Snow Cover. Sunday's NOAA snow cover map shows a few patches of slush over the Arrowhead and northern Wisconsin/UP, but otherwise you have to travel to the Rockies to see snow. That will change - give it a few weeks.

Historical Snow Depth Probabilities. It's no surprise that our heaviest snow cover amounts come from late January into mid-February, coinciding with the coldest temperatures of the year. There's a 50% chance of having at least 6" of snow on the ground at MSP during that period.

Average Number of 1, 1.5, 2 and 3-inch Snowfalls at MSP. I consider anything over 2" potentially plowable, but others will disagree. Data: Minnesota DNR and State Climatology Office.

National Severe Storms Laboratory Unveils Weather Radar Research Prototype. Everything gets disrupted, including first-generation Doppler radar systems. Here's an excerpt from NewsOK: "...Conventional radar systems use a dish to focus radar beams on a single area. Hondl compared those systems to a flashlight: Shine it in a particular area, and you'll see what's there. But when forecasters need to look somewhere else, they must mechanically move the dish to point to that area. Phased-array radar uses panels of nearly 5,000 radar beams to look for weather events. Forecasters can point those beams anywhere in a 90-degree area without physically moving the panel. That gives them the ability to look in several different areas more quickly than conventional radar would allow, Hondl said..."

NOAA Winter Outlook: El Nino May Mean Stormy Conditions in South and Eastern USA. Jason Samenow delves into a brewing El Nino at Capital Weather Gang: "...We find ourselves on the verge of El Niño,” said Mike Halpert, deputy director of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, on a call with reporters Thursday. “There’s a 70-to-75 percent chance El Niño will develop in the next few months.” Historically, El Niño events have boosted precipitation amounts across the South and into the Mid-Atlantic and sometimes snowfall as well. In the Mid-Atlantic region, the amount of snow has depended on the strength of El Niño. Moderate and strong El Niño events have tilted the odds toward heavy snow in the Mid-Atlantic, but weak events have not. Halpert said this El Niño is likely to be a weak one..."

Photo credit: "A plow makes its way under a railroad bridge as light snow falls during a snowstorm, March 21, in Lebanon, N.J." (Julio Cortez/AP).

An App Built for Hurricane Harvey Is Now Saving Lives in Florida. Every threat is an opportunity, right? Here's an excerpt from "...They used as their guide a service called Crowdsource Rescue, or CSR, which showed on a map individuals who might need help. On one of Salty Water’s visits, the crew met a woman whose house had a gas leak, so Lewis called local authorities. “It’s an eerie feeling to dial that number thinking someone’s going to come and it goes straight to a busy signal,” he says. The woman’s family had used CSR to request a wellness check on their relative. The idea behind CSR started out simple: collect calls for help posted on social media, geolocate them, and route volunteers to the distressed parties. Basically, Uber for emergencies..."

Science Says Flouride in Water is Good for Kids. So Why Are These Towns Banning It? NBC News reports; here's a clip: "...Anti-fluoridationists” — a small but vocal minority — are disputing long-established science to say that fluoride added to tap water lowers IQ and causes everything from acne to anemia to Alzheimer’s. These anti-fluoride believers are active online but also at the polls: In the past five years, 74 cities have voted to remove fluoride from their drinking water, according to the American Dental Association. This year, there have been 13 votes around the country on fluoridation, and at least three more cities have fluoride referendums on the ballot in November: proposed bans in Brooksville, Florida, and Houston, Missouri, and a vote on bringing fluoridated water back in Springfield, Ohio..."

Image credit: "Anti-fluoridationists" claim, without scientific evidence, that fluoride lowers IQ and causes everything from Alzheimer's to cancer."Benedetto Cristofani / for NBC News.

Man-Made Moon to Shed Light on Chengdu (China) in 2020. Wow. Just wow. Here's an excerpt from China Daily: "...Wu estimated Chengdu could save around 1.2 billion ($174 million) yuan in electricity annually if the artificial moon illuminated 50 sq km of the city.Meanwhile, the extra light can shine into disaster zones during blackouts, thus aiding relief and rescue efforts, he added. The mirrors can be adjusted for luminosity, and can be completely turned off when needed. However, less light from the satellite will reach the ground if the sky is overcast. "The first moon will be mostly experimental, but the three moons in 2022 will be the real deal with great civic and commercial potential," Wu said. The three new man-made moons can take turns reflecting sunlight as they will not always be in the best position relative to the sun, and together they can illuminate an area of around 3,600 to 6,400 sq km on Earth for 24 hours if desired, he said..."

File image: NASA.

In Defense of Elon Musk. Popular Mechanics has a little perspective; here's a snippet: "...A cult of celebrity can be a powerful thing, and Musk’s companies have certainly benefited from his. But the viewing public doesn’t only want to see celebrities defeat the odds through their talent and charisma; once a celebrity has entered into the Kardashian cycle, we also, eventually, demand to see them fail—toppled by their own hubris, preferably. Neither of these plot points particularly has much to do with the undeniable successes of SpaceX, and I fear that when we talk about Elon Musk we tend to miss the point. A cult of personality doesn’t create a rocket that can land on a barge; SpaceX engineers did that. If our celebrity obsession keeps us from understanding and encouraging achievements like these, we have no one to blame but ourselves..."

59 F. high yesterday in the Twin Cities.

56 F. average high on October 21.

69 F. high on October 21, 2017.

October 22, 1938: Sleet and wind cause damage along the Minnesota/Wisconsin border.

October 22, 1913: Long Prairie receives a record low of 8 degrees F.

MONDAY: Partly sunny, breezy. Winds: NW 10-15. High: 55

MONDAY NIGHT: Clear and chilly. Low: 32

TUESDAY: Bright sunlight, a bit cooler. Winds: NW 5-10. High: 48

WEDNESDAY: Fading sun, still dry. Winds: SE 5-10. Wake-up: 29. High: 52

THURSDAY: Periods of light rain, drizzle. Winds: S 7-12. Wake-up: 40. High: 47

FRIDAY: Cool, damp and showery. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 42. High: 45

SATURDAY: Mostly cloudy, risk of a shower. Winds: S 7-12. Wake-up: 40. High: 49

SUNDAY: Gusty with a light AM mix possible. Winds: NW 15-25. Wake-up: 38. High: 44

Climate Stories....

Climate Change is Exacerbating World Conflicts, Says Red Cross President. The Guardian reports: "...Maurer, who was in Australia to speak about the changing nature of modern conflict, said concern about the impact of climate change in the Pacific was “enormous”. He said changing rainfall patterns change the fertility of land and push populations, who may have settled and subsisted in one area for centuries, to migrate. “It’s very obvious that some of the violence that we are observing … is directly linked to the impact of climate change and changing rainfall patterns...”

What Migrants Displaced by the Dust Bowl and Climate Events Can Teach Us. Here's the intro to a story at NPR: "The World Bank predicts climate change could create as many as 143 million "climate migrants" by 2050. The result would be a mass migration twice as large as the number of refugees in the world today. Though the size of potential displacement is unprecedented, the relationship between migration and climate has played out on a smaller scale throughout the history of North America, say historians Nathan Connolly and Ed Ayers. Connolly, a professor at Johns Hopkins University, points to long-lasting droughts from the 12th and 13th centuries that caused relocations of indigenous communities in the American West. Archaeological records show periods of drought that lasted decades, starting as early as the 11th century..."

Photo credit: "In this November 1936 photo from the U.S. Farm Security Administration, a mother, originally from Oklahoma stands with her five children near Fresno, Calif., where she works as a cotton picker. The Dust Bowl led to a massive migration of Midwestern farmers out of the region, many of whom traveled to California in search of jobs." Dorothea Lange/AP.

Why Climate Change and Other Global Problems are Pushing Some Business Leaders to Embrace Regulation. An article at Harvard Business Review contains the following excerpt: "...Many businesses were actively involved in lobbying governments to make an ambitious agreement on climate in Paris in the first place. Unilever CEO Paul Polman was one of many who worked tirelessly to push governments to higher ambition. More than 365 companies and investors voiced their support for the US Clean Power Plan in 2015. More than 200 companies have publicly called for the introduction of carbon pricing. Business leaders are now calling on governments to create the policy frameworks to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. And it’s not just on climate. Companies invested significant resources in pushing for high public policy ambition in agreeing the UN Sustainable Development Goals in 2015. On human rights issues, companies have lobbied the UK government for stronger regulation tackling Modern Slavery in corporate supply chains, and the Cambodian government for stronger protection for worker’s rights..."

Fighting Climate Change Won't Destroy the Economy. Not if we do it right. Here's an excerpt of a story at Vox: "...In its latest report, the IPCC estimated that the global economy would take a $54 trillion hit if the world warms by 1.5°C by 2100. That price tag rises $69 trillion if temperatures reach 2°C. In other words, there’s a huge price tag to doing nothing on climate change. On the other hand, increasing sustainability by using more renewable energy, curbing greenhouse gas emissions, and becoming more energy-efficient would save the global economy $26 trillion by 2030. Dirtier sources of energy like coal are already struggling with job losses and bankruptcies. There are about 52,000 workers left in the coal industry. Meanwhile, the renewable energy sector employs more than 800,000 people in the United States. And those numbers are poised to grow further in the United States: Solar power has surpassed natural gas and wind as the largest source of new energy generation..."