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Paul Douglas on Weather

Sliding Into a Hot, Sticky, Thundery Pattern (90F Possible By Holiday Weekend)

The Importance of Volunteer Weather Observations

America experiences more severe weather than any nation on Earth. New technology (satellites, Doppler, computer simulations) are impressive, but there's no substitute for ground truth; knowing what is happening now - the current weather. Airport observations are good and reliable, but the National Weather Service still relies on a network of 11,000 NOAA NCDC COOP volunteer observers who monitor weather in their yards every day.

There's good precedent for this. Thomas Jefferson bought his first thermometer while writing the Declaration of Independence; he maintained a nearly unbroken record of weather observations until 1816. George Washington alsokept track of weather; the last weather entry in his diary was made the day before he died.

The sun makes a cameo appearance today, but the approach of a warmer, stickier front sparks spotty
airmass T-storms Wednesday into Friday. Some towns may pick up impressive rains, other towns  nearby much less. Sunday and Monday look dry withdaytime highs well up into the 80s.

Models hint at a tropical depression, or even "Alberto" brushing New Orleans by this Saturday. Stay tuned.


So You're Telling Me I Have a Chance? With all credit to "Dumb and Dumber", there's at least a chance that T-storms may drop locally heavy rain Wednesday into Friday. The best chance of significant rain, according to NOAA GFS-FV3 will come across parts of central and southwestern Minnesota, where some 1"+ amounts are predicted. We'll see. I suspect we'll see highly variable amounts - some farms will get a nice watering while others (a few miles away) see little or nothing. Such is the case with summer convection. Map: pivotalweather.com.


Flirting with 90F? I wouldn't be one bit surprised to see MSP highs hitting 90 degrees for the first time in 2018 as early as Saturday; again Monday and Tuesday of next week. ECMWF for the Twin Cities: WeatherBell.


Hot Start to June? Confidence levels are low this far out (they always are) but yesterday's 2-week GFS "trend" suggests a hot time of it the first week of June from the Desert Southwest across the Plains and Midwest to the East Coast.



Dry Spell Deepens. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor 53.46% of Minnesota is abnormally dry  and 6.47% of state is under moderate drought. Bring Me The News reports: "...Drought conditions are the result of "increasingly dry conditions over the past 60 to 90 days," says the USDA's Eric Luebehusen. Central and northern Minnesota are running 25-60 percent below normal precipitation for this time of year, which the Twin Cities office of the National Weather Service says is about 1-2 inches of rain below normal..."


How Volcanologists Predicted Kilauea's Explosive Eruption. WIRED.com explains: "...It’s been a testing ground for monitoring equipment, and not only are new techniques developed there, but the network of equipment has been expanding for decades.” The scientists at HVO has been very on point for this ongoing, slow-boil eruption. As the geoscientist (and former WIRED blogger) Erik Klemetti wrote in his blog at Discover, months ago the HVO scientists predicted vents opening in the East Rift zone, farther away from the summit than they usually appear, based on inflation under an area called Pu’u O’o. They predicted, accurately, that the development Leilani Estates was in danger, and Tuesday night USGS classified Kilauea as a code-red eruption risk..."


As Cities Sprawl, More Texans Are Exposed to Tornadoes. What was farmland 10-30 years ago has transformed into subdivisions and neighborhoods, increasing the probability of tornado-related damage, according to The Texas Tribune: "...Texas' population has grown faster than any other large state's this decade. It’s been the nation’s growth center and has shown no signs of slowing down, according to Steve Murdock, former director of the U.S. Census Bureau. For Fox, this means the tornadoes that he’s spent his whole career tracking can destroy more lives than ever before. Some suburbs around Dallas and Fort Worth have doubled in size over the past 20 years. Others have tripled. To accommodate additional residents, new housing developments and businesses have sprung up in multiple cities. As a result, the recipe for disaster that Fox fears has already begun, as tornadoes have struck densely populated communities that simply didn’t exist a few years before..."

Photo credit: "Duncan Winters, 10, walks through the remains of his grandmother's home during the cleanup effort in Forney on April 4, 2012. Thousands of residents were without power and hundreds of flights canceled as authorities surveyed the damage a day after up to a dozen tornadoes struck the densely populated Dallas-Fort Worth area." REUTERS/Tim Sharp.


Thomas Jefferson and the Telegraph: Highlights of the U.S. Weather Observer Program. A story from NOAA had some very interesting nuggets: "...The earliest known systematic weather observations in America were taken by John Campanius Holm along the Delaware River in the 1640s. Some of our earliest presidents also were avid weather observers. Thomas Jefferson bought his first thermometer while writing the Declaration of Independence, and purchased his first barometer a few days following the signing of the document. Jefferson maintained an almost unbroken record of weather observations until 1816. George Washington also took regular observations; the last weather entry in his diary was made the day before he died. During the early and mid-1800's, weather observation networks began to grow and expand across the United States. The Surgeon-General of the Army issued a directive to his Army surgeons in 1818 to record the weather and everything of importance relating to the medical topography of his station, the climate, and diseases prevalent in the vicinity. This was to help determine if there was a cause and effect relationship between climate and the health of the soldiers and to determine the occurrence of any change in the climate of a given district over time..."

Animation credit: "For more than 120 years, participants in the U.S. Cooperative Observer Program (COOP) have supplied daily weather data to the nation. This animation shows the locations of observers each decade from 1890-2009.  As far back as the 1890s, there were stations in places as remote as Hawaii and Alaska." NOAA Climate.gov animation, based on data from NCEI.


Reforming the National Weather Service, Part 1: Changing the Role of Human Forecasters. In a day and age of model ensembles is there still a place for human forecasters? Cliff Mass has some interesting data and food for thought; here's an excerpt of a recent post: "...Humans are needed as much as ever, but their roles will change.  Some examples:

1.    Forecasters will spend much more time nowcasting, providing a new generation of products/warnings about what is happening now and in the near future.
2.     With forecasts getting more complex, detailed, and probabilistic, NWS forecasters will work with local agencies and groups to understand and use the new, more detailed guidance.
3.    Forecasters will become partners with model and machine learning developers, pointing our problems with the automated systems and working to address them.
4.    Forecasters will intervene and alter forecasts during the rare occasions when objective systems are failing.
5.   Forecasters will have time to do local research, something they were able to do before the "grid revolution" took hold
..."


For Emergencies, Hope Isn't a Plan. Some very good advice from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety; here's an excerpt of a post: "None of us can see the future, so it’s impossible to know if and when an emergency will occur. But simply hoping a disaster won’t happen won’t help you survive and recover when it does. Hope is good, but it’s not a plan. So when something happens like the April 26 fire at the Husky Refinery in Superior, Wisconsin, you need to be ready. There are two refineries in the Twin Cities area—one in St. Paul Park, and another on the border of Rosemount and Inver Grove Heights. Minnesota is also home to two nuclear generating plants as well as many other types of facilities that use hazardous materials. So if you live near one, you need to have an emergency plan. The people of Superior didn’t know when they left for school and work that morning that they would have to evacuate their homes before the end of the day. But it’s safe to say that those who had emergency kits packed, a family emergency communications plan in place, and who knew where to take temporary shelter had an easier time of it. Put simply, you can’t make those kinds of decisions when you have minutes to evacuate your home..."


NOAA GOES-17 Shares First Light Imagery from Geostationary Lightning Mapper. The lightning imagery is fairly mind-boggling; here's a clip from a NOAA post: "...The Geostationary Lightning Mapper onboard GOES-17, like the one on board NOAA GOES East, is transmitting data never previously available to forecasters. The mapper observes lightning in the Western Hemisphere, giving forecasters an indication of when a storm is forming, intensifying and becoming more dangerous. Rapid increases of lightning are a signal that a storm may strengthen quickly and could produce severe weather. During heavy rain, GLM data can show when thunderstorms are stalled or if they are gathering strength. When combined with radar and other satellite data, GLM data will help forecasters anticipate severe weather and issue flood and flash flood warnings sooner..."




Two-Thirds of World Population Will Live in Cities by 2015: UN Study. CNN breaks down the trends: "The coming decades will see the growth of colossal megacities as the world's population increasingly moves into urban environments, a new United Nations report predicts. Today, 55% of the world's population is urban, a figure which is expected to grow to 68% by 2050, with the addition of 2.5 billion new city residents, according to projections by the Population Division of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs. By 2030, there will be 43 megacities around the world with populations of over 10 million, up from 33 similarly sized urban centers today and just 10 in 1990..."


Sea Level Rise in the San Francisco Bay Area Just Got a Lot More Dire. Here's a clip from an analysis at WIRED.com: "If you move to the San Francisco Bay Area, prepare to pay some of the most exorbitant home prices on the planet. Also, prepare for the fact that someday, your new home could be underwater—and not just financially. Sea level rise threatens to wipe out swaths of the Bay's densely populated coastlines, and a new study out today in Science Advances paints an even more dire scenario: The coastal land is also sinking, making a rising sea that much more precarious. Considering sea level rise alone, models show that, on the low end, 20 square miles could be inundated by 2100. But factor in subsiding land and that estimate jumps to almost 50 square miles. The high end? 165 square miles lost. The problem is a geological phenomenon called subsidence. Different kinds of land sink at different rates. Take, for instance, Treasure Island, which resides between San Francisco and Oakland..."

Image credit: NASA Earth Observatory.


What Happens to the Plastic We Throw Out. We've outsources our plastic problem to China (and the middle of the Pacific Ocean) according to an interactive post at National Geographic: "...Direct dumping contributes a significant portion of plastic litter in rivers, but land-bound trash also can make its way to water. Rainwater ushers mismanaged waste from land into local waterways, which feed into larger tributaries and rivers, which in turn empty into oceans. In this way, plastic from far inland can travel many miles to the coastline. Polluted rivers are pumping the world’s plastic into the oceans—bringing a significant portion of the estimated 9 million tons of plastic that end up in the ocean annually. That corresponds to five grocery bags stuffed with plastic trash for every foot of coastline..."


Breakthrough Solar Panel Can Harvest Power From Raindrops - Day or Night. ThinkProgress documents some amazing breakthroughs: "...For instance, China has developed “double-sided” solar panels that can generate power from light that hits their underside. That can enable a 10 percent boost in output, especially if you put the panels on a roof or other area that is painted white to help reflect the suns rays. Bloomberg New Energy Finance projects these panels could capture a remarkable 40 percent share of the market by 2025. In another remarkable advance, researchers at China’s Soochow University have demonstrated a solar cell that can generate electricity from falling rain. A recent article in the American Chemical Society’s nanotechnology journal Nano describes the innovation in an article titled “Integrating a Silicon Solar Cell with a Triboelectric Nanogenerator via a Mutual Electrode for Harvesting Energy from Sunlight and Raindrops...” 



The Quest for the Next Billion Dollar Color. Bloomberg has a story worth your time: "...Technically speaking, colors are the visual sensates of light as it’s bent or scattered or reflected off the atomic makeup of an object. Modern computers can display about 16.8 million of them, far more than people can see or printers can reproduce. To transform a digital or imagined color into something tangible requires a pigment. “Yes, you have this fabulous blue,” says Laurie Pressman, vice president of the Pantone Color Institute, which assists companies with color strategies for branding or products. “But wait, can I actually create the blue in velvet, silk, cotton, rayon, or coated paper stock? “It’s not just the color,” she adds. “It’s the chemical composition of the color. And can that composition actually be realized in the material I’m going to apply it to?...”

Photo credit: "Different concentrations of manganese lead to different saturations and densities of the color." Photographer: Ian Allen for Bloomberg Businessweek.


This Physicist's Ideas of Time Will Blow Your Mind. Here's a clip at Quartz: "...He makes a compelling argument that chronology and continuity are just a story we tell ourselves in order to make sense of our existence. Time, Rovelli contends, is merely a perspective, rather than a universal truth. It’s a point of view that humans share as a result of our biology and evolution, our place on Earth, and the planet’s place in the universe. “From our perspective, the perspective of creatures who make up a small part of the world—we see that world flowing in time,” the physicist writes. At the quantum level, however, durations are so short that they can’t be divided and there is no such thing as time..."

Photo credit: "Time is the space between memory and anticipation." (EPA/Ralf Hirschberger).


A Safer Way to Watch "13 Reasons Why"? If you have a family member who plans on watching the Netflix series you may want to check out this primer from SAVE.org first: "Following the Netflix release of 13 Reasons Why in 2017, many mental health, suicide prevention, and education experts from around the world expressed a common concern about the series’ graphic content and portrayal of difficult issues facing youth. Resources and tools to address these concerns were quickly and widely disseminated in an effort to help parents, educators, clinical professionals and other adults engage in conversations with youth about the themes found in the show. In advance of the release of season 2, SAVE (Suicide Awareness Voices of Education) brought together a group of 75 leading experts in mental health, suicide prevention and education as well as healthcare professionals (see full list below) to develop tools to help encourage positive responses to the series..."


A New Theory Linking Sleep and Creativity. A story at The Atlantic is a worthy read; here's an excerpt: "...Now, Penny Lewis from Cardiff University and two of her colleagues have collated and combined those discoveries into a new theory that explains why sleep and creativity are linked. Specifically, their idea explains how the two main phases of sleep—REM and non-REM—work together to help us find unrecognized links between what we already know, and discover out-of-the-box solutions to vexing problems. As you start to fall asleep, you enter non-REM sleep. That includes a light phase that takes up most of the night, and a period of much heavier slumber called slow-wave sleep, or SWS, when millions of neurons fire simultaneously and strongly, like a cellular Greek chorus..."

Photo credit: "A man naps at the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics." Mike Segar / Reuters.


The Amish Understand a Life-Changing Truth About Technology the Rest of Us Don't. Quartz has a fascinating story - here's the intro: "The Amish have negotiated a pact with modernity. Whereas much of the contemporary world sees technological progress as inevitable, even a moral imperative, the Amish ideal lives in the past, circa 1850. It’s not that the Amish view technology as inherently evil. No rules prohibit them from using new inventions. But they carefully consider how each one will change their culture before embracing it. And the best clue as to what will happen comes from watching their neighbors. “The Amish use us as an experiment,” says Jameson Wetmore, an engineer turned social researcher at the Arizona State University’s School for the Future of Innovation in Society. “They watch what happens when we adopt new technology, and then they decide whether that’s something they want to adopt themselves...”

Photo credit: "Into the past." (NB: Not all Amish groups permit photography) (Jason Reed/Reuters).


The First Holographic Smartphone Will Be Released Later This Year. Not sure I need that feature (yet), but under the heading of keeping an open mind, here's a snippet from CNN.com: "Sure, you have a fancy iPhone X or Pixel 2 that can take amazing photographs and handle even the most graphics-heavy games. But does it have holograms? AT&T and Verizon announced this week they will start selling a holographic smartphone later this year. The Red Hydrogen One smartphone is the first phone from video equipment company Red. The Android phone's killer feature is a "holographic display" that projects 3D images that can be viewed without special glasses. You will be able to view the images from the sides and behind, and interact with them using special hand gestures. It will also include cameras for capturing the custom 3D images..."

Photo credit: "The Red Hydrogen One smartphone will have a "holographic display" feature."


71 F. high yesterday in the Twin Cities.

71 F. average high on May 21.

52 F. high on May 21, 2017.

May 22, 2011: A strong EF-1 tornado with wind speeds up to 110 mph strikes north Minneapolis, causing extensive tree and structural damage. The tornado touched down in St. Louis Park and moved through north Minneapolis, lasting 14.25 miles before dissipating in Blaine after causing minor damage to the Anoka County Airport. The tornado reached a peak width of 1/2 mile.

May 22, 2001: Record cold high temperatures are set in over 30 cities in Minnesota, including a chilly 47 in the Twin Cities and 39 at Grand Rapids and Pine River. Half of an inch of snow falls at International Falls.

May 22, 1925: Temperatures take a nosedive from 100 to 32 degrees in 36 hours at New Ulm and Tracy.


Tornado Tally in the Twin Cities. Yes, tornadoes can and do hit the Twin Cities metro area. Here's a good summary of recent tornado touchdowns from tripsavvy.com: "...The new scale resembles the original with tornado grades from EF0 to EF5, but it slightly re-categorizes tornadoes reflecting the latest knowledge of damage caused by different wind speeds. Situated on the northern edge of the so-called "tornado alley," the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area experiences periodic twisters. Between 1950 and 2016, Minnesota saw 1,835 tornadoes; more than 30 touched down in Hennepin County, home to the Twin Cities..."

Image credit: North Minneapolis tornado track on May 22, 2011 courtesy of Geo-Located Minneapolis.



TUESDAY: Partly sunny, pleasant. Winds: S 3-8. High: 77

TUESDAY NIGHT: Clouds increase, slight risk of thunder. Low: 61

WEDNESDAY: More humid, chance of a T-storm. Winds: SE 7-12. High: 79

THURSDAY: Warm & steamy, few T-storms around. Winds: S 10-15. Wake-up: 66. High: 87

FRIDAY: Sticky & unsettled, pop-up T-storms. Winds: SW 8-13. Wake-up: 67. High: 86

SATURDAY: Warm sun, few PM storms up north? Winds: W 10-15. Wake-up: 68. High: 88

SUNDAY: Almost hot. Go jump in a lake. Winds: W 7-12. Wake-up: 65. High: 86

MEMORIAL DAY: Hot sunshine, few weather complaints. Winds: NE 5-10. Wake-up: 62. High: 88


Climate Stories...

Here's How Big a Rock You'd have to Drop in the Ocean to See the Rise in Sea Level Happening Now. The Washington Post explains: "...Certainly 3.3 millimeters doesn’t sound like a lot of water to displace, and it does seem, to Brooks’s point, that it’s an amount — about 0.1 inch — that would be easy to displace with a cliff collapse near San Diego. The equivalent rise relative to surface area in an Olympic-sized swimming pool would be 0.0000000000114 millimeters. That’s not possible, though, since a water molecule isn’t that small. But when you apply 3.3 millimeters of rise to the entire ocean? We’re talking about a lot of water that’s displaced — 3.3 millimeters across about 362 million square kilometers of surface area. The total volume displaced, then, would be 1.19 trillion cubic meters of water...So to make the oceans rise 3.3 millimeters, we would need to displace that 1.2 trillion cubic meters of water upward by dropping in 1.2 trillion cubic meters of dirt or stone or whatever..."

Image credit: Google Earth and WaPo.


Shell Faces Shareholder Challenge Over Climate Change Approach. Here's an excerpt from The Guardian: "Royal Dutch Shell faces a shareholder challenge over climate change this week, as investors insist oil and gas firms should offer more transparency and action on carbon emissions. A growing number of pension funds have backed a resolution at Shell’s AGM on Tuesday that calls on the company to set tougher carbon targets that are in line with the goals of the Paris climate deal. The proposal has been backed by the Church of England, the Dutch pension fund Aegon and, most recently, Nest, the workplace pension scheme set up by the UK government, which has £7m invested in Shell..."

File image: Marco Brindicci, Reuters.


Ancient Rome's Collapse is Written Into Arctic Ice. I had no idea, but a good summary at The Atlantic opened my eyes: "...On Monday, scientists announced the discovery of an entirely new resource that has the potential to remake some of those centuries-old arguments over Roman politics and history. A team of archaeologists, historians, and climate scientists have constructed a history of Rome’s lead pollution, which allows them to approximate Mediterranean economic activity from 1,100 B.C. to 800 A.d. They found it hiding thousands of miles from the Roman Forum: deep in the Greenland Ice Sheet, the enormous, miles-thick plate of ice that entombs the North Atlantic island. In short, they have reconstructed year-by-year economic data documenting the rise and fall of the Roman Republic and Empire. The first news of the record was published Monday afternoon in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences..."

Image credit: Oskari Porkka / Gilmanshin / Shutterstock / Katie Martin / The Atlantic.


Climate Change, Crowding Imperil Iconic Route to Top of Mount Everest. Here's an excerpt from The Washington Post: "...Several veteran climbers and well-respected Western climbing companies have moved their expeditions to the northern side of the mountain in Tibet in recent years, saying rising temperatures and inexperienced climbers have made the icefall more vulnerable. Research by the International Center for Integrated Mountain Development shows that the Khumbu glacier is retreating at an average of 65 feet per year, raising the risk of avalanche. “The icefall is obviously a dangerous place to be, especially later on in the season and with increased temperatures experienced in the Himalayas due to climate change,” Phil Crampton of the climbing company Altitude Junkies told the Everest blogger Alan Arnette earlier this year..."

File image: Britannica.com.


Worried About Refugees? Just Wait Until We Dust-Bowlify Mexico and Central America. ThinkProgress has the article: "...But what scientists tell us we are doing to our climate will be much worse than the Dust Bowl of the 1930 — worse even than medieval U.S. droughts. Indeed, Lisa Graumlich, Dean of the University of Washington’s College of the Environment, notes that the Southwest drought from 1100–1300, “makes the Dust Bowl look like a picnic.” Remember, the Dust Bowl itself was mostly contained to the 1930s, whereas multiple studies project that future Dust Bowls will be so-called “mega-droughts” that last for many decades — “at least 30 to 35 years,” according to NASA. Further, the 1930s Dust Bowl was regionally localized. As the NASA map above makes clear, we are on track to Dust-Bowlify much of the U.S. breadbasket and Southwest, and virtually all of Mexico and Central America..."


Earth Just Experienced 400th Straight Warmer-Than-Normal Month. USA TODAY explains: "It was December 1984, and President Reagan had just been elected to his second term, Dynasty was the top show on TV and Madonna's Like a Virgin topped the musical charts. It was also the last time the Earth had a cooler-than-average month. Last month marked the planet's 400th consecutive month with above-average temperatures, federal scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Thursday. The cause for the streak? Unquestionably, it’s climate change, caused by humanity's burning of fossil fuels.  "We live in and share a world that is unequivocally, appreciably and consequentially warmer than just a few decades ago, and our world continues to warm," said NOAA climate scientist Deke Arndt. "Speeding by a '400' sign only underscores that, but it does not prove anything new..."

April Global Temperature Anomaly map above: NASA GISTEMP.


That NASA Climate Science Program Trump Axed? House Lawmakers Just Voted to Restore It. Details via Science AAAS: "A U.S. House of Representatives spending panel voted today to restore a small NASA climate research program that President Donald Trump’s administration had quietly axed. (Click here to read our earlier coverage.) The House appropriations panel that oversees NASA unanimously approved an amendment to a 2019 spending bill that orders the space agency to set aside $10 million within its earth science budget for a “climate monitoring system” that studies “biogeochemical processes to better understand the major factors driving short and long term climate change.” That sounds almost identical to the work that NASA’s Carbon Monitoring System (CMS) was doing before the Trump administration targeted the program, which was getting about $10 million annually, for elimination this year..."

Photo credit: "Representative John Culberson (R–TX, center) with NASA officials in 2015." NASA SMAP/T. Wynne.



Can the San Francisco Bay be Saved From the Sea? Here's an excerpt from The Atlantic: "...It’s totally freaky to see that with just two feet you have lost two airports. Pretty soon all of the approaches to all of the bridges are gone, most of Highway 101 and Route 37, and healthy chunks of the 80,” Schwartzenberg says. The few current pockets of affordability—Alviso, Redwood City, Fremont, Richmond, and East Palo Alto—are all underwater, as are portions of Oakland, Marin County, and downtown San Francisco. What we think of as the coastline is a blur. Looking over the map, I wonder whether the Fisher Bay Observatory is designed to get visitors not just to think about sea-level rise but to begin to imagine the unthinkable: the unsettling of the American shore..."

Cool & Damp Monday - Warmer & More Unsettled 2nd Half of Week

Spring Fling !!
 
What a difference a month makes, huh? One month ago, there was still officially 1" of snow on the ground at the Twin Cities Aiport. Now, the grass is green and most of our spring buds have popped! Lawn mowing season is in full swing and skeeter season is likely not far away either.

Pollen Count - HIGH

Ok, well yes it's nice to have life coming back to plants and trees near you, but for spring allergy sufferers, it has been a little rough. According to Pollen.com, pollen levels have been MEDIUM to MEDIUM-HIGH for many days now and will continue to remain in that range over the next several days. Keep the Benedryl handy... ACHOO!!
 

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Thunderstorm Chances Return This Week
 
"Warmer, more humid air will bring several chances for showers and thunderstorms from Tuesday night through Friday."
 
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Weather Outlook Ahead
 
The weather looks a bit unsettled as we head through the week. Here's the weather depiction from PM Wednesday to midday Friday. Note the waves of green with embedded areas of yellow, orange and red sweeping through the Upper Midwest. This indicates the potential of scattered showers and thunderstorms making their way closer to home. 
 
 
Rainfall Potential
 
Here's the precipitation potential through the week ahead, which suggests fairly decent rainfall amounts across parts of the state. Depending on where thunderstorms develop, some could see up to an 1" of rain or more leading up to Memorial Weekend.
 
Minnesota Drought 
 
According to the US Drought Monitor, drought conditions have been slowly getting worse across the northern half of the state. From May 8th to May 15th, Moderate Drought conditions increase from a little more than 1% to nearly 6.5%, while abnormally dry conditions are impacting nearly 53.5% of the state now, which is up from nearly 39% from last week. Hopefully the rain expected later this week will help out with the dry conditions.
 

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Extended Temperature Forecast

The extended forecast through June 3rd & 4th shows mild temperatures over the next coulple of weeks. The week ahead could feature highs in the 70s and low 80s with a slight dip around Memorial Day. The images below suggest the GFS (American model) and ECMWF (European model) temperature outlook. Note that the GFS forecast keeps temps a little warmer this week with highs in the upper 80s to around 90F by the end of the week, while the ECMWF keeps us a little cooler with highs only in the 70s and low 80s. 

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2018 Lightning Fatalities

Did you know that lightning ranks as one of the top weather related killers in the U.S.? An average of nearly 50 people are killed each year in the United States and so far this year, 3 people have died from lightning; 1 in Texas and 2 in Florida. Interestingly, from 2008-2017, 221 males have died, while only 63 females have died.

See Lightning Safety Tips From NOAA HERE:

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2018 Tornadoes So Far...

According to NOAA's SPC, there have been 353 preliminary tornadoes so far this year (May 19th), which is less than what we had at this time over the last couple of years. Interestingly, there were 1,093 tornadoes at this time in 2011; that year ended with 1,897 tornadoes, which is nearly 500 more than the short-term 2005-2015 average. 

Average Tornadoes in May By State

Here's the average number of tornadoes during the month of May by state. Texas sees the most with 43, but interestingly, Minnesota averages 6 tornado this month. Comparitively, Minnesota averages 15 tornadoes in June and 11 in July, so we are entering our typical severe weather season here over the next few months.

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3-7 Day Hazard Forecast

1.) Heavy rain across portions of the Southeast, Mon-Fri, May 21-May 25.
2.) Heavy rain across portions the South Coast of Alaska, Mon, May 21.
3.) Slight risk of much above normal temperatures for portions of the South-Central and Southwest CONUS, Sat-Fri, May 26-Jun 1.
4.) Slight risk of heavy precipitation for portions of the Central and Southern Plains, Middle and Lower Mississippi, Ohio, and Tennessee Valleys, Southeast, Southern Appalachians, and Mid-Atlantic, Sat-Mon, May 26-May 28.
5.) Severe Drought across the Central Plains, the Central Rockies, the Central Great Basin, the Northern Plains, the Southern Rockies, California, the Southeast, the Southern Plains, and the Southwest

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Temperature Anomaly on Sunday

The temperature anomaly across North America from Sunday, showed above average temperatures across a large chunk of the Southeastern US and across Western Canada, while cooler than average temps were in place across the Midwest and Plains.

Temperature Trend

The 850mb temperature anomaly from Tuesday to Thursday shows warmer than average temperatures starting to move in across much of the country as we head into the 2nd to last week of May. However, parts of Northeast little be cooler than average.

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Weather Outlook Ahead

Weather conditions over the next few days will remain somewhat active across the Central and Southern US with widely scattered showers and thunderstorms possible. Meanwhile, the Southwest will remain dry as well much of the far northern tier of the nation. 

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7 Day Precipitation Outlook

According to NOAA's WPC, the 7-day precipitation outlook suggests areas of heavy precipitation across parts of the Eastern half of the country, especially in the Southeast. Tropical moisture will continue funnel up from the Gulf over the next several days, which will help to inundate the region with several inches of precipitation. There also appears to be an area of low pressure that will develop in the Gulf as we get closer to Memorial Weekend that could enhance precipitation amounts in the Southeast by the weekend.

US Drought Outlook

Here is the national drought map from Thursday, May 15th, which shows extreme and exceptional drought conditions across much of the Four-Corners region and into the Central and Southern Plains. Hopefully we'll be able to pick up some much needed precipitation in these areas as we head through the rest of spring!

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What's Your Weather Beef? Where to Begin
By Paul Douglas

Last Thursday, during a daylong conversation about weather and climate on WCCO Radio, Chad Hartman asked a very good question. "Do consumers have legitimate grievances about how meteorologists do their jobs?" Where do I begin?

As a profession we often over-predict snow. Why? One nagging fear is predicting "flurries", only to wake up to a "foot of flurries". So we compensate. There is a Twin Cities bias with the 7-Day, since most Minnesotans live near MSP. Smartphone apps can offer up specifics for your weather-bubble. And we can always do a better job choosing words that better describe what we think may happen. "Rain" means something different than "showers". Communicating weather is nearly as challenging as trying to predict it.

A stray shower is possible today, but amounts will be light - enough to settle the dust. Temperatures & dew points creep up as the week goes on; more numerous T-storms Wednesday into Friday.

Instability showers may sprout Saturday PM, but Sunday and Monday still look sunny and dry for outdoor plans, with highs in the low 80s. Not bad for a holiday.
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Extended Forecast

MONDAY: Slight chance of showers. Winds: E 5-10. High: 63.

MONDAY NIGHT: Mostly cloudy. Winds: ESE 5. Low: 54.

TUESDAY: More sunshine, quite pleasant. Winds: S 5-10. High: 79.

WEDNESDAY: Unsettled. Chance of a T-storm. Winds: SE 8-13. Wake-up: 61. High: 80.

THURSDAY: Sticky with a few heavy T-storms. Winds: S 8-13. Wake-up: 63. High: 83.

FRIDAY: Sunny intervals. A few strong T-storms. Winds: W 10-15. Wake-up: 66. High: 86.

SATURDAY: Stiff breeze. Pop-up showers. Winds: NW 15-25. Wake-up: 64. High: 78.

SUNDAY: More sun, less wind. Better lake day. Winds: N 10-15. Wake-up: 60. High: 82.

MEMORIAL DAY:
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This Day in Weather History
May 21st

1960: A downpour at New Prague dumps 10 inches of rain in a 48 hour period.
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Average High/Low for Minneapolis
May 21st

Average High: 71F (Record: 92F set in 1964)
Average Low: 51F (Record: 33F set in 1997)

Record Rainfall: 3.16" set in 1906
Record Snowfall: Trace set in 1963
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Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
May 21st

Sunrise: 5:39am
Sunset: 8:41pm

Hours of Daylight: ~15 hours & 5 minutes

Daylight GAINED since yesterday: ~ 2 minutes & 00 seconds
Daylight GAINED since winter solstice (December 21st): 6 Hour 18 Minutes
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Moon Phase for May 21st at Midnight
0.1 Days Since First Quarter

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 Temp Outlook For Monday

Sunday will be a warmer day across the region with highs tipping 70s across much of Minnesota. Some across the Red River Valley could warm close to 80F by the afternoon. Doesn't look too bad for Mom, enjoy!

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8 to 14 Day Temperature Outlook

According to NOAA's CPC, May 27th - June 2nd will be warmer than average across much of the western two-thirds of the country, while the southeast will be cooler than average.

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"Like Humans, Dogs Born in the Summer May Have an Unusual Health Risk"

"For thousands of years, humans have cared deeply for dogs. We’ve cared for them so deeply that we selectively bred them until they became deformed little monsters. Over generations of artificial selection, domestic dogs have developed a range of physical health problems — hip dysplasia in German shepherds, breathing issues in bulldogs, and heart disease in Cavalier King Charles spaniels — because of the genes we’ve chosen for them. But on Thursday, scientists identified an unusual risk factor for dogs that aren’t normally considered at-risk for heart disease. In a paper published in the journal Scientific Reports, scientists showed in a large-scale study that dogs without a predisposition to heart disease born between June and August have higher rates of cardiovascular disease than dogs born at other times of the year. This effect peaked in July, as researchers found dogs born then were 47 percent more likely to have heart problems at any point in their lives than those born at other times during the year. The strange exception to this trend were dog breeds with a genetic predisposition to heart problems — outliers that may be key to understanding what’s actually going on here."

See more from Inverse HERE:

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"Humans are causing massive changes in the location of water all over the Earth, NASA says"

"A 14-year NASA mission has confirmed that a massive redistribution of freshwater is occurring across the Earth, with middle-latitude belts drying and the tropics and higher latitudes gaining water supplies. The results, which are probably a combination of the effects of climate change, vast human withdrawals of groundwater and simple natural changes, could have profound consequences if they continue, pointing to a situation in which some highly populous regions could struggle to find enough water in the future. “To me, the fact that we can see this very strong fingerprint of human activities on the global water redistribution, should be a cause for alarm,” said Jay Famiglietti, a researcher at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and one of the authors of a new study published in Nature on Wednesday."

See more from Denver Post HERE:

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"Fake news on Twitter causes problems during disasters"

"Fake news is a problem on Twitter even during the best of times. Now, new research shows how quickly false information can spread during an emergency situation. The study looked at four false rumors that spread around social media following the Boston Marathon bombing and Superstorm Sandy’s landfall in New York City. One of the included rumors was the fake news that the New York Stock Exchange had flooded during the monster winter storm-meets-hurricane. “To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to investigate how apt Twitter users are at debunking falsehoods during disasters. Unfortunately, the results paint a less than flattering picture,” said lead author Dr. Jun Zhuang of the University of Buffalo. The researchers weren’t able to determine how many people saw the false tweets but chose not to spread them. However, they could look at those who interacted with the tweets and determine whether they spread, questioned or cast doubt on the news. They found that: 86 to 91 percent of users either “liked” the original tweet or spread it by retweeting it without question. 5 to 9 percent retweeted or replied with questions about the accuracy of the information. 1 to 9 percent retweeted or replied and cast doubt on the original tweet, sometimes outright calling it incorrect. Even when false information on Twitter was debunked, less than 10 percent of the users who had retweeted the fake news deleted it, and fewer than 20 percent corrected their mistake with a new tweet."

See more from Earth.com HERE:

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"April 2018: Earth's 3rd Warmest April on Record"

"April 2018 was the planet's third-warmest April since record keeping began in 1880, said NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) on Thursday. NASA also rated April 2018 as the third-warmest April on record. Both agencies found that the only warmer April months were in 2016 and 2017. Occasional differences in rankings between NASA and NOAA are mostly due to how they handle data-sparse regions such as the Arctic, where few surface weather stations exist. The rankings for April were cooler than we've seen in the last couple of years largely because of the presence of colder weather than average over most of North America, plus the presence of cool ocean temperatures over the Eastern Pacific from a weak La Niña event that ended in April. Global ocean temperatures during April 2018 were the third warmest on record, and global land temperatures were the ninth warmest on record, according to NOAA. Global satellite-measured temperatures in April 2018 for the lowest 8 km of the atmosphere were the seventh or sixth warmest in the 40-year record, according to the University of Alabama Huntsville (UAH) and RSS, respectively."

See more from Weather Underground HERE:

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"New Data: Hurricanes Will Get Worse"

"Analysis of Hurricane Harvey, which drowned Houston, confirms predictions that the storms are likely to get bigger, be more intense and last longer. Hurricane Harvey, which inundated the Houston area with up to 60 inches of rain last August, was one of the most outlandish storms ever to hit the U.S. Ironically, it crossed a Gulf of Mexico that had been calm for days and quickly quieted again afterward. This rare situation allowed scientists to obtain unusually specific data about the ocean before and after the hurricane, and about the storm’s energy and moisture. Last week researchers published that data in Earth’s Future. The numbers indicate the amount of energy Harvey pulled from the ocean, in the form of rising water vapor, equaled the amount of energy it dropped over land in the form of rain—the first time such an equivalence has been documented. Investigators say this revelation supports assertions climate change is likely to make Atlantic hurricanes bigger, more intense and longer-lasting than in the past. The researchers calculate climate change caused Harvey’s rainfall to be 15 to 38 percent greater than it would have been otherwise."

See more from Scientific American HERE:

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