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Paul Douglas on Weather

Weather Bliss Today - Risk of Another Inch of Rain Sunday-Monday

Daydreams Do Come True: 70s Later Today

After 45 years of attempting to predict a cantankerous Mother Nature's moods, here is what I know: the number of people who blame us for bad weather is far greater than those who thank us for the nice days. It never quite evens out.

I may have to unplug the Doppler this afternoon, as the mercury tops 70 degrees under a flawless sky. April warmth arrives without the bugs, allergies or humidity, so (in my opinion) they're even more special. That, and it snowed 10 inches just 9 days ago, so we're due for a little lukewarm payback.

Soak it up, because a frontal boundary sagging south will fire off a few showers and T-storms Sunday; possibly a period of heavier, steadier rain Monday, before we dry out. Models hint at another wave of showery rain next weekend, but hopefully that will change for the better over time.

In today's online weather blog: Hurricane Michael was a rare Category 5 hurricane when it hit the Florida Panhandle last October, packing sustained winds of 160 mph - only the 4th Category 5 hurricane on record to hit the USA.

2019 Ice-Out Dates. After a slow start ice is coming off Minnesota lakes in a hurry, according to The Minnesota DNR. So what exactly is ice-out? Great question: "The definition of lake ice out can vary from lake to lake. For the citizen observers reporting data, ice out occurs when the lake is completely free of ice. Or, it may be when it is possible to navigate from point A to point B. Ice out may also be when a lake is 90 percent free of ice. Observers use consistent criteria from year to year when reporting lake ice out dates."

Wet April Continues. Dr. Mark Seeley updates us on an April trending wetter than normal in this edition of Minnesota WeatherTalk: "...With this additional moisture at least 35 climate stations now report over 3 inches of precipitation for the month so far. With 4.63 inches so far this month, St Peter has already logged the 8th wettest month of April in their climate history (back to 1893), while Hastings, with 4.53 inches is also having their 8th wettest April in history going back to 1933. With eleven days left in the month we will undoubtedly see these rainfall totals for April climb. However, it is quite unlikely anyone will come close to the all-time April rainfall total of 11.93 inches at Lynd (Lyon County) in 1896..."

But Wait - There's More! ECMWF (European) guidance prints out roughly an inch of rain Sunday and Monday, with the heaviest band forecast to set up right over the MSP metro area. Map: WeatherBell.

Warmer Than Average Start to May. GFS guidance from NOAA suggests warmer than average temperatures over roughly the eastern two-thirds of the USA the first few days of May, unusually cool/wet weather for the Pacific Northwest.

3-Month Trends. My confidence level is low, but I'm happy to predict we will experience summer at this latitude this year. Take it to the bank. Graphic: NOAA Climate Prediction Center.

Michael Upgraded to Category 5 Storm At Time of U.S. Landfall. NOAA has details: "Scientists at NOAA’s National Hurricane Center conducted a detailed post-storm analysis on all the data available for Hurricane Michael and have determined that the storm’s estimated intensity at landfall was 140 knots (160 mph). This final wind intensity is a 5 knot (5 mph) increase over the operational estimate and makes Michael a category 5 storm on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale at the time of landfall on October 10, 2018, near Mexico Beach and Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida. Michael is the first hurricane to make landfall in the United States as a category 5 since Hurricane Andrew in 1992, and only the fourth on record. The others are the Labor Day Hurricane in 1935 and Hurricane Camille in 1969. Michael is also the strongest hurricane landfall on record in the Florida Panhandle and only the second known category 5 landfall on the northern Gulf coast..."  

October 10, 2018 file aerial image of Hurricane Michael damge: NOAA NGS.

Hurricane Michael file image: NOAA.

Second Warmest March on Record, Globally, Since 1880. Details via NOAA NCEI: "The global land and ocean surface temperature departure from average for March 2019 was the second highest for the month of March in the 140-year NOAA global temperature dataset record, which dates back to 1880. The year-to-date temperature was the third warmest January–March on record..."

U.S. Midwest Floods Prompting Workers to Migrate to Safer Ground: LinkedIn Data. Thomson Reuters Foundation has an interesting post; here's the intro: "Deadly floods that bear the fingerprints of climate change are prompting an exodus of workers from the U.S. Midwest, the world's biggest professional social network, LinkedIn, said on Wednesday. The website, on which millions of U.S. workers maintain profiles, said data showed a spike in members changing their work location from areas flooded last month to cities in the Southwest and on the West Coast. "When you look at the most real-time data that we have, and that's our 'job starts', we've seen those come down quite a bit in the cities that have been hit," said Guy Berger, chief economist at LinkedIn. The finding emerged from a LinkedIn analysis of user-generated data. LinkedIn users can share their location and job information - such as when they start a new job - on their profile. Hiring rates tracked through the platform dropped across the Midwest, LinkedIn said in its April U.S. workforce report, published on Monday..."

Photo credit: "Homes sit in floodwaters after leaving casualties and causing hundreds of millions of dollars in damages in Peru, Nebraska, U.S., March 19, 2019." REUTERS/Karen Dillon.

The 10 Worst Tornadoes in the USA. Dr. Greg Forbes at The Weather Channel weighs in with his list: "What would you consider the worst tornadoes in U.S. history? Severe Weather Expert at The Weather Channel, Dr. Greg Forbes, combed through damage costs (adjusted for inflation through 2011) and fatality statistics in order to rank the nation's worst single tornadoes, using a 100-point scale. Of course, there are many ways one can combine and scale this data, so, this is just one possibility. The higher the index, the "worse" or more impactful the tornado. You may be surprised to find that the April 3, 1974 "Superoutbreak" did not have a single tornado on the list.b"None of the 1974 Superoutbreak tornadoes individually were exceptionally deadly, which kept them off the list," says Dr. Forbes..."

Photo credit: "Damaged cars at Sikes Senter Mall in Wichita Falls, Texas on Apr. 11, 1979. A total of 3,095 homes were destroyed and 42 people were killed." (Don Burgess/NSSL/Inst. for Disaster Research at Texas Tech Univ.)

Move Over San Andreas: There's an Ominous New Fault In Town. has a worthy read: "...The results were astonishing. GPS stations indicated that only about 75 percent of the tectonic movement between the Pacific and North American Plates was actually occurring along the San Andreas Fault. Much of the remaining 25 percent was bypassing the San Andreas and roaring up the Eastern Sierra, toward Reno, along the Walker Lane. For geologists, it was like discovering that a quarter of the Mississippi River is somewhere out in Colorado. “Boy, the GPS data really revolutionized our thinking,” Faulds said. Almost overnight, plate tectonics was no longer something geodesists had to speculate about with fieldwork or maps; it had become something they could watch unfold in real time..."

Map credit: Walter Baumann.

Aston Martin Now Has an Electric Car Fit for James Bond. Wow. Quartz has the post; here's a link and excerpt: "British spy James Bond can finally reduce his carbon footprint—something that’s no doubt been on his mind amid frequent car chases and romances in exotic locations. At the Shanghai Auto Show this week, British luxury sport car brand Aston Martin, makers of the DB5 sports car that Bond has driven in many a film, unveiled their first all-electric model. The company has said on social media only 155 of its Rapide E cars will be made. A sales representative for the China region said the model will cost 250,000 pounds ($326,000), and was expected to be used in the next Bond movie..."

Photo credit: "The Rapide E was on display in Shanghai during the auto show’s media days." Reuters/Aly Song.

Before You Buy Plane Tickets Remember These Four Things. The Wall Street Journal recently had some helpful advice; here's a snippet: "...Sunday and Tuesday look like the best days to check for discounted prices, sort of. The study by ARC and Expedia found that fares generally can be 20% lower on the weekend and sometimes as much as 36% cheaper if you buy on a Sunday. That’s consistent with previous research. But other recent studies don’t find as large a difference because they are based on searches for the lowest fare, not actual tickets sold. The tickets-sold pool includes lots of expensive business trips bought during the week. But there is still at least a small difference..."

Illustration credit: Fabio Consoli.

It's Time to Panic About Privacy. Check out the interactive presentation at New York Times (paywall) if you have any doubt that we all have zero privacy these days. Every incremental increase in convenience seems to come with a corresponding loss of privacy.

This Is The Emotional Quality That the World's Greatest Leaders Share. Fortune has a solid story; here's an excerpt: "...An inescapable question: How do great leaders find such courage while most people don’t? Research points to a personality style called “hardiness,” identified among business executives by psychologist Suzanne C. Kobasa decades ago and validated many times among the broader population since then. Hardy individuals don’t see the world as threatening or see themselves as powerless against large events; on the contrary, they think change is normal, the world is fascinating, they can influence events, and it’s all an opportunity for personal growth. In studies of fourth-year West Point cadets, Col. Paul T. Bartone of National Defense University found that hardiness was by far the best predictor of which cadets, male and female, would earn the highest leadership ratings..."

While We Sleep, Our Mind Goes On An Amazing Journey. Here's an excerpt of a captivating article at National Geographic: "Nearly every night of our lives, we undergo a startling metamorphosis. Our brain profoundly alters its behavior and purpose, dimming our consciousness. For a while, we become almost entirely paralyzed. We can’t even shiver. Our eyes, however, periodically dart about behind closed lids as if seeing, and the tiny muscles in our middle ear, even in silence, move as though hearing. We are sexually stimulated, men and women both, repeatedly. We sometimes believe we can fly. We approach the frontiers of death. We sleep. Around 350 B.C., Aristotle wrote an essay, “On Sleep and Sleeplessness,” wondering just what we were doing and why. For the next 2,300 years no one had a good answer..."

Image credit: Ryan Morris, NGM Staff. Sources: NASA Black Marble Science Team, NASA Earth Observatory.

64 F. maximum temperature yesterday in the Twin Cities.

60 F. average high on April 19.

53 F. high on April 19, 2019.

April 20, 1970: Snow falls across much of Minnesota.

SATURDAY: Lukewarm sunshine. Winds: S 10-15. High: 74

SUNDAY: Few showers, possible T-storm. Winds: NE 8-13. Wake-up: 55. High: 66

MONDAY: Cooler. Period of steadier rain expected. Winds: NE 10-15. Wake-up: 49. High: 55

TUESDAY: Partly sunny and pleasant. Winds: NE 7-12. Wake-up: 42. High: near 60

WEDNESDAY: Intervals of sun, milder. Winds: S 5-10. Wake-up: 47. High 67

THURSDAY: More clouds than sun, sprinkle. Winds: N 8-13. Wake-up: 49. High: 63

FRIDAY: Mix of clouds and sun, not bad. Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 43. High: 60

Climate Stories....

As Oceans Rapidly Warm Because of Climate Change, An Urgent Need to Improve Hurricane Forecasts. Here's an excerpt of a recent article I wrote for The Washington Post Capital Weather Gang: "...Given high ocean heat content, the hurricane can reintensify during eyewall replacement. This happened with Hurricane Irma five times, and Trenberth believes these same dynamics were witnessed with Florence. This is how storms grow bigger, more intense and longer-lived, fueled by a steady supply of ocean heat. Stating the obvious: For weather forecasters to have any chance of accurately predicting hurricane eyewall replacement cycles, which affects storm size, intensity and severity of the subsequent storm surge, access to reliable temperature data in the upper oceans may be key..."

Study Links Hurricane Maria's Extreme Rainfall to Climate Change. Daily Beast has details: "New research found that the extreme rainfall that fell on Puerto Rico during Hurricane Maria is connected to climate change. Hurricane Maria produced more rain in Puerto Rico than any of the 129 storms to hit the island in the past 60 years. According to the study, a storm as intense as Maria is nearly five times more likely to form now than during the 1950s, due largely to the effects of human-induced warming. “What we found was that Maria’s magnitude of peak precipitation is much more likely in the climate of 2017 when it happened versus the beginning of the record in 1950,” said David Keellings, a geographer at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa and lead author of the study..."

September 24, 2017 visible image of Hurricane Maria: AerisWeather.

Worried About Global Warming? Chill Out in "Climate-Proof Duluth". Star Tribune explains: "...Climate projections suggest that, because of geographic factors, the region around Duluth and the Great Lakes will be one of the few places in the U.S. where the effects of climate change may be more easily managed. First, it’s cool to begin with. That means, as temperatures increase, it will remain mild in relative terms. By 2080, even under relatively high concentrations of carbon dioxide emissions, Duluth’s climate is expected to shift to something like that of Toledo, Ohio, with summer highs maxing out in the mid-80s. “We’re not seeing worse heat waves or longer heat waves or more of those long nights that don’t fall below 75 degrees,” Blumenfeld said. “Instead, what we’re seeing is warmer winters, fewer days during winter where we get to negative 30 Fahrenheit...”

Star Tribune file image: "Kayakers and sailors drifted in Duluth’s Lake Superior Bay."

How Big Business is Hedging Against the Apocalypse. If you missed this in a recent New York Times Magazine edition focused on climate change, here's an excerpt: "...Exxon’s arrangement in Texas reflects, in miniature, our national state of indecision about the best approach to climate change. Depending on whom you ask, climate change doesn’t exist, or is an engineering problem, or requires global mobilization, or could be solved by simply nudging the free market into action. Absent a coherent strategy, opportunists can step in and benefit in wily ways from the shifting landscape. Tax-supported renewables in Texas take coal plants offline, but they also support oil extraction. Technology advances, but not the system underneath. Faced with this volatile and chaotic situation, the system does what it does best: It searches out profits in the short term. Unlike almost every other future event, climate change is 100 percent certain to happen..."

Illustration credit: Dadu Shin.

If GND Can Make It Here: Climate Nexus has links and headlines: "Yesterday in a 45-2 vote, New York City passed the Climate Mobilization Act, a package of Green New Deal-esque bills that together represent “the single largest carbon reduction effort in any city, anywhere,” according to co-sponsor Council Member Costa Constantinides. The most impactful piece of the legislation, which faced strong opposition from the city’s powerful real estate lobby, is an ambitious energy efficiency mandate requiring that the city’s largest buildings cut their emissions 40% by 2030 and 80% by 2050. The “Dirty Buildings” bill targets big luxury buildings, including Trump Tower, that make up just 2 percent of the city’s buildings but are responsible for half of all building emissions. The Act also includes bills that require studying ways to replace the city’s gas plants with renewables, making green roofs (with plantings, solar or wind) on certain larger buildings, and calls for the state to deny a water permit for the proposed fracked-gas carrying Williams Pipeline. It also includes a provision to convert the city’s school buses to electric by 2040, which is expected to pass a committee vote on Earth Day." (CBS, Reuters, HuffPost, CNBC, WSJ $, Bloomberg, Grist, The Guardian, NYTimes $, InsideClimate News, Wired, Fast Company, Earther, Greentech Media, Curbed, The Hill)

File photo: Seth Wenig, AP.

The "Climate Candidate". A Long Talk with Jay Inslee. Intelligencer has an interview; here's an excerpt: "...Number one, when you’re up against the most well-funded industry in world history, which is the fossil fuel industry, and they’re willing to spend $32 million to obfuscate and create misimpressions, that makes it tough. And they’re willing to spend untold numbers of dollars. And that is frustrating because those dollars come from the taxpayers, because there’s $27 billion of subsidies they get, they turn around and tell deceptions to the public. That’s very frustrating. It’s one of the reasons I’ve been so forceful in saying we need to end those $27 billion in subsidies to the fossil fuel industry. So I’ve learned that is something you’ve got to work to overcome. Number two, I’ve learned the most powerful renewable fuel is perseverance — that’s the most important renewable energy source — and that it can succeed..."

Photo credit: Ted S Warren/AP/REX/Shutterstock.

Former "Climate Change Denier" Explains His Shift. Yale Climate Connections has a fascinating read; here's a clip: "...Kaiser sums up the primary reason he and other conservatives rejected the premise of climate change: “Because if climate change is as bad as they say it is, it would justify government intervention. And we can’t justify government intervention because that’s a bad thing.” Climate change was viewed as a power grab: “This is how the government was going to trick us into giving our rights away and fully regulate the economy to protect the environment.” He recited the rationale with uncanny polish. “I still remember making that argument myself as a college student.” He elaborated, “I think a lot of people on the right do what I did, which is that we work backwards from an ideological fear of government intervention to the idea that we can’t accept climate change...”

These Millennials Are Going on "Birth Strike" Due to Climate Change. Quartz explains: "...BirthStrike is one iteration of a small but growing movement of people around the world (paywall) who are hesitating over whether or not to have children due to worries about climate change. It’s a concern that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the youngest woman to serve in the US Congress, recently voiced when she told her 3 million Instagram followers that “there’s scientific consensus that the lives of children are going to be very difficult” as a result of climate change. “It does lead young people to have a legitimate question: Is it OK to still have children?” This question is fundamental and controversial. Some argue that giving up on parenthood won’t make a meaningful difference in resolving climate change..."

Photo credit: "The emerging costs of climate change are leading some parents to wonder if bringing children into this world is even ethical." REUTERS/Ahmad Masood.

What Does 'Game of Thrones' Have To Do With Climate Change? Oh, Everything. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed at "...Let’s look at the evidence. In “GoT”:

  • A global shift in climate, long predicted, emerges
  • A huge, icy structure crumbles
  • The climate shift allows noxious pests to move beyond their traditional habitat
  • … And forces people from their ancestral homes
  • Even as evidence of these threats mount, squabbling nations deny their existence

In “Game of Thrones,” the climate is getting colder; our own is warming, but whatever. Their wall is Greenland’s glaciers (or Antarctica’s). Their zombies are our toxic algae, ticks and adeus egypti mosquitoes. Their Wildings are our climate refugees, and squabbling nations are our squabbling nations, with fewer beheadings but plenty of backstabbing. Their crisis mirrors our own..."

Photo credit: "Kit Harington and Emilia Clarke in "Game of Thrones." (Helen Sloane/HBO).

Trillion Dollar Investors Says Hitting Climate Goals Will Cost "Less Than We Had Feared". Here are a couple of clips from Quartz: "Legal & General Investment Management is one of the world’s largest investors, with more than £1 trillion in assets. Today, LGIM announced that it has built its own energy-transition model to guide companies it invests in to align with climate goals set under the Paris climate agreement. “Disruption is coming to energy markets no matter what,” said Nick Stansbury, head of commodities at LGIM...“The cost of [climate] action is much lower than we had feared,” Stansbury concluded. The total cost to the global economy to act on climate change could be as low as 0.5% of global GDP. “The cost of inaction will substantially raise the later costs of transition, reinforcing the urgent need for policy action...”

Photo credit: "Won’t run for long." Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin.


In Shadow of Green New Deal, Other Climate-Change Bills Proliferate. Axios has details: "...At least three bills are forthcoming, with one already floated. Some of these were introduced for the first time last Congress.

  1. The Whitehouse and Schatz bill is similar to the one they introduced last Congress, which divided the money raised to the public and to other purposes. This bill would achieve more reductions in carbon emissions than the last version.
  2. Republican Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania is going to re-introduce his own version of a carbon tax bill that he proposed last Congress alongside then-Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.), who lost his reelection bid. This bill eliminates the federal gasoline tax and uses the money raised for various purposes.
  3. Democrat Sen. Tina Smith of Minnesota is crafting a clean energy standard bill, per her office..."

Good Friday. Better Saturday. Showery Easter

Blue Sky Returns!!

From snow drifts to mudslides and back to the 70s in just a matter of days. There's no shortage of interesting weather here in Minnesota and especially in April. Today will be a pretty nice day with bright blue sky and temperatures in 50s and 60s, which will be pretyt close to average. Enjoy!


Weather Outlook Friday

Here's a look at Friday, which will be distractingly nice across much of the state. Blue sky returns with highs in the 50s and 60s, will likely entice many to flee the office early. I suspect the smell of BBQ grills will filter through most neighborhoods by dinnertime tonight.


Even Warmer Saturday

High temps on Saturday will be even warmer across much of the state with readings warming into the 50s and 70s, which will be nearly +10F to +15F above average. It appears that a few showers may impact the northern part of the state, but most will stay dry!


Weather Outlook Ahead

Here's the weather outlook through the end of the month and into the first few days of May. Temps ahead look to be fairly mild, especially this Saturday with readings topping out near 70F at MSP. Keep in mind that our average high is around 60F now, but will be 65F by the end of the month. There doesn't appear to be any major cool downs over the next couple of weeks.


Mild Weekend Ahead

The temperature anomaly as we head into the weekend looks favorable for some pretty mild temps. In fact, Saturday could be one of the warmest days of the year so far! The warmest temp at MSP so far this year is 70F set on April 8th.


"As oceans rapidly warm because of climate change, an urgent need to improve hurricane forecasts"

"Better hurricane forecasts require near-real-time, deep-ocean monitoring.  In the past two hurricane seasons, record-breaking floods have engulfed our coastal zones in the Carolinas and Texas as storms have drawn more water and grown larger from rapidly warming oceans. As the climate system continues to warm, we will need better prediction systems so we can prepare vulnerable coastal areas for bigger, wetter and faster-strengthening hurricanes. Hurricane season is just six weeks away. Recent studies confirm that warming of the world’s oceans is taking place faster than previously estimated — as much as 40 percent faster than the United Nations estimated in 2015. Research confirms that roughly 93 percent of the warming from man-made greenhouse gases is going into the world’s oceans. About two-thirds is absorbed in the ocean’s top 700 meters, noted Zeke Hausfather, a climate scientist at Berkeley Earth. This is the layer from which hurricanes draw much of their energy."

See more from Washington Post HERE:


"Lyrid meteor shower: All you need to know"

A few folks have been reporting shooting stars or meteors over the last few nights and that's because the annual Lyrid Meteor Shower is only a few days away from peaking on Apirl 23rd!!

"The annual Lyrid meteor shower is active each year from about April 16 to 25. In 2019, the peak of this shower – which tends to come in a burst and usually lasts for less than a day – is expected to fall on the morning of April 23, under the light of a bright waning gibbous moon. Should you skip the shower? Well, maybe. But we’re already hearing from skywatchers who don’t plan to skip it, especially after the months-long meteor drought that always comes between early January and the Lyrid shower each year. There are no major meteor shower during those months, as you can see by looking at EarthSky’s meteor shower guide. So, many meteor-watchers are itching to get going, and it’s unlikely moonlight will dampen their enthusiasm. No matter where you are on Earth, the greatest number of meteors tend to fall during the few hours before dawn. Keep reading to find some tips for watching the 2019 Lyrids in moonlight."

See more from Earth Sky HERE:


"EarthSky’s 2019 meteor shower guide"

You might be interested to know that there are several metero showers during the year, but there are certainly a few more notible ones like the Perseids in mid August. Take a look at the list of meteor showers that EarthSky has compiled as they have everything you need to know about each one for the rest of 2019!!

See more from EarthSky HERE:


Easter Sunday Showers?

The weather outlook for Sunday is suggesting a slight chance for a few light showers across the southern half of the state on Sunday. It certainly won't be a washout, but it's not going to be as bright or as warm as it will be on Saturday.

Easter Sunday Showers
While rainfall amounts look fairly light across the southern half of the state, a few rain showers on Sunday could lead to a few more indoor easter egg hunts this year. Stay tuned.


April Precipitation

It's been a pretty wet start to the month of April thus far, in fact, most locations in the southern half of the state are at least 1" above average. MSP has accumulated 3.32" of liquid, which is near 2" above average! Also note that MSP has seen 9.8" of snow this month, which is tied for the 10th snowiest April on record!


Snow Depth

Here's the latest snow depth across the region, which really doesn't show much left after our big snow storm from late last week. There is still 14" on the ground in Marquette, MI but there is officially no snow on the ground in the Twin Cities after last weeks 9.8".


10th Snowiest April on Record at MSP So Far...

Our April 10-12 snow event accumulated 9.8" of snow at the MSP Airport, which not only made it the 5th largest April snow event on record, but it also pushed us into the 10th snowiest April on record spot! Note that MSP only averages 2.4" of snow in April, so we are wewll above average!


April 2019 Snowfall So Far...

Thanks to our latest April snow storm, areas of heavy snow fell across the region. Note that some of the heaviest fell across parts of South Dakota, Central MN (including the Twin Cities) and into northern Wisconsin. Quite a few locations have seen double digits tallies, which is well above average!

Snowfall Season To Date
WOW - What a snow season it has been! Despite a fairly lackluster start to the winter season, we sure made up for it in a hurry during the 2nd half of winter and so far this spring. With that said, MSP has now seen 77.1" of snow, which makes it the 11th snowiest season on record!
Signs of Spring!!

Here's a neat map from Journey North, which shows the migration of one of our most beloved summer feathered friends, the hummingbird! It's amazing to think that they migrate across the Gulf of Mexico to make it all the way home. According to the map below, they are getting close!! you can see fairly widespread reports across the southern half of the US, but they're still a bit spotty closer to the Great Lakes and the Upper Midwest.

See more from Journey North HERE:

More Signs of Spring from the MNDNR
This time of the year can be a little dank and dreary at times, but we're not too far away from several signs of life returning to a backyard near you! There's a phenology reporting locating in Maplewood, just north of St. Paul and they record things like the first red-winged blackbird to the first dandelion and even when the lilacs bloom. This phenology location recorded the first "conk-la-ree" from a red-winged blackbird on March 20th this year, which was a few days later than average. By the way, the average bloom date of lilacs in the Twin Cities is typically around May 10th. Last year, lilacs didn't bloom until mid May.
"The songs of the first red-winged blackbirds of the season were heard in north Maplewood on Wednesday, March 20, six days later than the median date of March 14, and on the first day of Spring! Phenology which is derived from the Greek word phaino meaning to show or appear, is the study of periodic plant and animal life cycle events that are influenced by environmental changes, especially seasonal variations in temperature and precipitation driven by weather and climate. The USA National Phenology Network (USA-NPN)  collects phenological data from across the United States. Also track the progress of The Ruby-throated Hummingbirds  as they migrate north. Here is some recent spring phenology for a site in Maplewood just north of St. Paul."

"Phenology Report: April 16, 2019"
Here's the latest Phenology from John Latimer who hails out of Grand Rapids, MN. He shares his latest findings on what is springing up across parts of central/northern MN. 

"Phenology is the biological nature of events as they relate to climate.  Every Tuesday morning, our resident Phenologist John Latimer gathers his phenological data and reports his findings in the weekly Phenology Report. In this week's report, John compares what he's seeing this year to past year's data collection. Among the wildlife activity he's documented so far this year, John has witnessed buffleheads, hooded mergansers, and flickers."

Listen to the full report from KAXE HERE:


"Thunderstorms kicked a wall of pollen into the air. A drone captured these images of the yellow haze."

"Congratulations! You now own a yellow car! If Mother Nature has been making your life a nose-running misery for the past few weeks, you’re not alone. Forget the amber waves of grain. We’re talking amber waves of pollen. That’s exactly what Jeremy Gilchrist captured Monday on drone footage above Durham, N.C. “I noticed the green haze just after lunch so I decided to put the drone up,” Gilchrist told the Capital Weather Gang. “I also used it to chase the storms when they arrived later.” The images shot shortly after noon, including the one above, look like they were taken through a yellow filter — but they weren’t. Instead, a golden haze has descended on the city. From above, it looks like a yellow smoke from distant fires smoldering at ground level. This pollen cloud is real, and it’s spectacular — unless, of course, you’re someone who likes to breathe."

See more from Washington Post HERE:


Pollen Levels on the Rise!

Have you been sneezing a little more than usual? It could be because pollen levels have been running fairly high. In fact, Friday through Monday could be a fairly sneezy stretch for folks as spring really makes a comeback to a backyard near you.

Ice Out Dates

Ice out season continues in MN and according to the MN DNR, there are a few lakes that are officially ice out across the southern half of the state including a few in the Twin Cities. In fact, Lake Calhoun went out on April 10th, which is only one day later than the average ice out on April 9th. We are still waiting for Lake Minnetonka to be ice free, which typically goes ice free on April 13th.

Average Ice Out Dates

Here's a look at average ice out dates across Minnesota. Note that most lakes around the metro go out in April, so within the next week or 2, you should see open water. However, folks closer to the international border may not see open water until the end of April or early part of May. Spring is on the way!!


Ice Safey Reminder

As we head into the next several weeks, ice stability is going to deteriorate rapidly! Warmer temps will weaken ice on area lakes/ponds, so please be careful! The MN DNR has ice safety reminders that you can review and remember that ice is never 100% safe!

 Temperature Outlook
According to NOAA's CPC, the temperature outlook from April 25th - May 1st looks warmer than average across much of the nation. Note that Alaska will finally be seeing below average temps after such an extended period of well above average temps.
Spring Leaf Anomaly
Here's an interesting map for folks that are looking forward to spring. It's the NPN Spring Leaf Anomaly map, which shows that spring has indeed sprung across the southern tier of the nation. The red colors indicate that spring leaves are actually emerging earlier than average in those areas, while blue colors indicate that we're a little behind average in other spots.

"April 15, 2019 - Spring leaf out continues to spread north. In the west, spring leaf out is 1-2 weeks early in parts of California and Nevada, and 2-3 weeks late in much of Oregon and Washington. In the east, spring leaf out is 1-2 weeks early in the upper Southeast, and 1-2 weeks late across the Great Plains, southern Midwest and Mid-Atlantic. Spring leaf out is one week late in Chicago, IL and Cleveland, OH. Spring bloom has arrived on time to 2 weeks early in much of the South. Parts of Arizona, California, Nevada, and the Southern Great Plains are 1-2 weeks late. Spring bloom is on time in Washington, D.C., and one week late in the Portland, OR and Seattle, WA areas."

Good Friday. Better Saturday. Showery Easter
By Todd Nelson, filling in for Douglas.

From snow drifts to mudslides, we've had it all this month and it's not surprising for April. In fact, we typically average about 2.5 inches of snow and 3 thunderstorm days at the MSP Airport. Well, we've managed to pick up 9.8 inches of snow, making it the 10th snowiest April on record and we've already had thunder reported 2 days in the metro this month. Our April showers have brought snow plowers and sand bags. Go figure.

Spring fever sets in today and becomes a full blown illness as temps warm into lower 70s across the southern half of the state tomorrow. In fact, Saturday could be our warmest day of the year so far and only the second time we've hit 70 or better in a single month since last October!

One of the downsides to all of this spectacular weather? Spring allergies... AHH CHOO! According to, pollen levels will be running at high levels through the weekend.

Outdoor Easter egg hunts could be a little damp on Sunday afternoon across the southern part of the state, but at least it’s not snow. Happy Spring!

Extended Forecast

FRIDAY: Warm sun returns. Winds: WSW 5-10. High: 62.

FRIDAY NIGHTMostly clear and quiet. Winds: NNW 5. Low: 42.

SATURDAY: Warmest day of 2019 so far? Winds: SW 7-12. High: 71.

SUNDAY: A few Easter showers, mainly in southern MN. Winds: NNE 8-13. Wake-up: 49. High: 63.

MONDAY: Periods of mild sun. Not bad. Winds: ENE 5-10. Wake-up: 43. High: 62.

TUESDAY: Clouds thicken. PM showers develop. Winds: ESE 7-12. Wake-up: 40. High:58.

WEDNESDAY: Mostly cloudy. Another steady rain. Winds: NNE 10-15. Wake-up: 40. High: 60.

THURSDAY: Drier skies, warmer temps. Winds: WSW 5-10. Wake-up: 42. High: 66.

This Day in Weather History
April 19th

1928: Chilly air moves across the region with a record low of 19 at the Twin Cities.

1893: A heavy snowstorm at Bird Island would last until the 21st. 17 inches of snow would fall, with drifts 3 to 4 feet high.

1820: The first tornado ever reported in Minnesota hits the camp that would soon become Ft. Snelling. It damages the roof of a barracks, with no one injured.

Average High/Low for Minneapolis
April 19th

Average High: 60F (Record: 87F set in 1985)
Average Low: 39F (Record: 19F set in 1928)

Record Rainfall: 1.28" set in 1871
Record Snowfall: 1.2" set in 1982

Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
April 19th

Sunrise: 6:22am
Sunset: 8:03pm

Hours of Daylight: ~13 hours & 41 minutes

Daylight GAINED since yesterday: ~ 2 minutes & 57 seconds
Daylight GAINED since winter solstice (December 21st): ~4 hours and 56 minutes

Moon Phase for April 19th at Midnight
0.8 Day After Full "Pink" 

"6:12 a.m. CDT - The grass pink or wild ground phlox is one of the earliest widespread flowers of the spring. Other names were the Full Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon and — among coastal tribes — the Full Fish Moon, when the shad come upstream to spawn. In 2019, this is also the Paschal Full Moon; the first full moon of the spring season. The first Sunday following the Paschal Moon is Easter Sunday, which indeed will be observed two days after the full moon on Sunday (April 21). This is an unusually late Easter, four days shy of the latest date that Easter can fall." 

See more from Space HERE:


What's in the Night Sky?

According to this is what will be visible in the night sky over the next several nights: 

"On April 19, 2019, the moon turns full in front of the constellation Virgo the Maiden at 11:12 UTC. That is 7:12 a.m. EDT, 6:12 a.m. CDT, etc, and thus tonight’s moon might look more full for you than tomorrow night’s if you live in Earth’s Western Hemisphere. More about that shortly. In the meantime, for all of us around the world, as darkness falls on April 18, you’ll find an almost-full waxing gibbous moon close to Spica, the constellation Virgo’s one and only 1st-magnitude star. Now back to that full moon time. From some places worldwide, the moon turns full before dawn on April 19. If you live in Alaska, the western portions of Canada or the United States, Mexico or Central America, this full moon instant actually happens before (or at) dawn April 19. At North American and U.S. time zones, the moon turns full during the morning hours on April 19, at 8:12 a.m. ADT, 7:12 a.m. EDT, 6:12 a.m. CDT, 5:12 a.m. MDT, 4:12 a.m. PDT, 3:12 a.m. Alaskan Time and 1:12 a.m. Hawaiian Time. By definition, the moon is full at the instant that it’s exactly 180 degrees away from the sun in ecliptic longitude. Or another way of putting it, the sun-moon elongation equals 180 degrees at full moon. Click here to find the sun-moon elongation at this moment, keeping in mind that a positive number refers to a waxing moon and a negative number to a waning moon. Technicalities aside, however, the moon appears full to the eye for a few days. That’s because at the vicinity of full moon, the moon remains more or less opposite the sun for a day or two. From around the world, expect to see a full-looking moon lighting up the nighttime from dusk until dawn tonight (April 18) and tomorrow night (April 19)."

"Bad Tornado Season? Forecast Predicts More Twisters for Texas, 3 More States"
"Blame it on The Wizard of Oz or a frazzled Helen Hunt in Twister, but tornadoes top my list of mortal fears. As an adult, I watched a perfectly funneled tornado form over the open Colorado plains outside of Denver International Airport and promised myself I would never live in Tornado Alley. Well, Tornado Alley isn't where you might think anymore (it's moving east, but we'll get there), and I live in Austin, Texas. When I saw the new AccuWeather US tornado forecast report, I knew it was newsworthy. Here's the deal. As part of their yearly weather forecasting reports, AccuWeather released their weather observations for 2019 based on the previous year. The weather outlook predicts that there'll be 1,075 tornadoes in 2019, which is up from the 2018 prediction of 987. The report breaks down weather events by season, and the weather radar service predicts there will be 525 tornadoes from March through May, which as AccuWeather pointed out, is the normal average for those months of the year using computer models. Even better, in 2018, there were only 345 recorded tornadoes from March to May."

Average Tornadoes By State in April 
According to NOAA, the number of tornadoes in April really starts to go up across the southern US. Note that several states typically see nearly a dozen tornadoes, while Texas takes the cake with nearly 30. Meanwhile, Minnesota only typically sees 1 tornado during the month of April and the most active month is typically June, when Minnesota typically sees 15.
2019 Preliminary Tornado Count
Here's a look at how many tornadoes there have been across the country so far this year. The preliminary count through April 16th suggests that there have been a total of 270, which is still below the 2005-2015 short term average of 363.
Severe Weather Outlook Friday
According to NOAA's SPC, there is an ENHANCED risk of severe weather in orange on Friday, which means that there is a pretty good chance of severe storms. Large hail, damaging winds and a few tornadoes will be the primarty threat in this region. 

Weather Outlook Friday
Here's a look at high temps across the naiton on Friday, which shows temps across the Plains and the Western half of the country warming to above average levels, while folks from the Great Lakes to the Lower Mississippi Valley will be running below average. If you're looking for heat, head down to Phoenix, AZ where the mercury could flirt with the century mark for the frist time this season!

National Weather Outlook

Here's the weather weather outlook as we head into the weekend, which shows our lastest storm system continuing to move east with areas of showers and storms, some of which could be strong to severe with locally heavy rain. There will also be some rain and mountain snow across parts of the Northwest. 

7 Day Precipitation Forecast
According to NOAA's WPC, the 7 day precipitation forecast suggests areas of heavy rain across parts of the Southern Plains and east of the Mississippi River Valley. 

"Global Warming Is Already Costing the Insurance Industry Historic Amounts"
"And that's only expected to rise, says a major reinsurance company. Climate change is becoming increasingly costly, according to a new study from Swiss Re, a reinsurance company based out of Switzerland. The combined insured natural catastrophe losses for the two year period between 2017-2018 was $219 billion, the highest ever over a two-year period. The company credits man-made activities like urbanization and climate change with the higher price tag. The world's second-largest reinsurer, Swiss Re insures insurance companies around the world with offices in 25 countries. Through regular reports released under the name sigma, the company offers a lens into the changing trends of the insurance world. The report highlights what the insurance industry calls "secondary perils," of which there are two divisions— small-to-mid-sized events (like river floods or wildfire otubreaks), and secondary effects of major disasters (like hurricane-induced precipitation, or fires following an earthquake). According to Swiss Re, secondary perils don't get the attention they should from the insurance industry."

"AccuWeather's 2019 Hurricane Forecast Predicts as Many as 14 Tropical Storms This Year"
"Start making your safety plan, stat. AccuWeather released its 2019 Atlantic hurricane forecast for the upcoming season, which runs from June 1 to November 30. Based on the predictions, the United States coastlines could get slammed with as many as 14 tropical storms this year, about two to four of which are expected to become large-scale hurricanes. The widely anticipated arrival of warmer weather means longer days, more much-needed outdoor time, and...hurricanes. Yep, the official start of Atlantic hurricane season kicks off June 1, and if this year's predictions are correct, we have a handful of tropical storms on the radar. As evidenced by Hurricane Michael and Hurricane Florence, 2018 saw its fair share of severe weather, racking in 15 storms and eight hurricanes. To that note, according to AccuWeather forecasters, 2019 will pan out to be a "near- to slightly above-normal season," with potential for 12-14 tropical storms. Their preliminary report adds that, of that number, at least five to seven storms could have hurricane potential, and an additional two to four could develop into major hurricanes (Category 3, 4, or 5)."

"The Top 7 Most Unreasonable Expectations About Weather Forecasts"
"If you read my essays in Forbes regularly, thank you. You probably have noticed that I've had a lot on my mind lately. Weather has been quite active in recent weeks and affected high-profile events like the Boston Marathon and Masters golf tournament. Over the course of the past weekend along, I saw breathtakingly ridiculous things said about forecasts or messaging of critical weather information. I started to reflect on my 25 years as a research meteorologist and atmospheric sciences professor. During my career, here are the 7 most unreasonable expectations that I often hear about weather forecasts. 1. Stop breaking into my TV show. This one is at the forefront of my mind because a meteorologist in Atlanta received death threats for interrupting the Masters golf tournament to warn about tornadoes. Noted ESPN journalist Mike Wilbon also tweeted his displeasure for the CBS affiliate in Washington D.C. interrupting a replay of one of Tiger Woods' moments. However, the Washington Post Capital Weather Gang summed it up perfectly,"

"The Decades-Long War on Smog"
"What history tells us about addressing today’s pressing air pollution problems. One sunny summer day in 1943, a blue-brown haze descended upon the city of Los Angeles. It smelled like bleach, made people’s eyes sting and drove almost everyone indoors. It was so bad that some residents thought they were under a chemical warfare attack. This was Los Angeles’ first episode of “photochemical” smog. In one of the great success stories of scientific activism, researchers determined the source of L.A. smog, persuaded industry that their science was right, and worked tirelessly until civic leaders took necessary regulatory action to prevent it."

"Heaviest U.S. Rains Will Happen More Often Even if Warming Targets Are Met"
"Extreme rainfall projections inform plans to increase infrastructure resilience. Record-breaking rainfall and flooding may happen more frequently across the United States even if the Paris climate targets are met, new research suggests. Extreme rainfall events that currently might have only a 1-in-500 chance of happening in any given year—dubbed “500-year” events—may be up to 50 percent more likely under 2 degrees Celsius of climate warming. And the risk of 1,000-year events may increase by twofold to fivefold. The study, published earlier this month in Geophysical Research Letters, found that the risks will likely increase the most on the East Coast, in the southern Great Plains and in the southern Rocky Mountains."

"Climate Change Made Hurricane Maria’s Heavy Rains Nearly 5 Times More Likely to Occur"
"Hurricane Maria dropped more rain on Puerto Rico than any storm to hit the island since 1956—a feat that was made more likely by nearly a factor of five due to human-caused climate change, new research says. Maria smashed into Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017, as a high-end Category 4 storm with 155 mph winds. Maria’s winds, extreme rains, and storm surge did catastrophic damage estimated at $92 billion, and was America’s deadliest disaster of the past fifty years, with the official estimate of the direct-plus-indirect death toll at 2975. Hurricane Maria’s torrential rains triggered massive flash flooding and landslides, with over 80% of the island receiving at least ten inches of rain in 48 hours. Widespread near-record and record river flooding was observed across the island, and streamflow data from the U.S. Geological Survey showed that 53 out of 65 river gauges in Puerto Rico met or exceeded flood stage. Among these rivers, 30 exceeded major flood stage, while 13 reached or exceeded their all-time record level."
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