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A Soaking Cold Rain Expected To End April​ - Snow Stays Mainly To The North/West Sunday Night

"Black Sunday" - April 30th, 1967

Sunday marks the 50th anniversary of "Black Sunday", a day which brought F4 tornadoes across southern Minnesota and 20 foot waves in Duluth. Four people lost their lives due to the waves in Duluth, and 13 deaths were linked to tornadoes across Minnesota and Iowa. The Weather Service Office in Duluth gives some perspective about the day and the impacts in Duluth - I'll quote some of them below, but you can read more by clicking here.


Image: 1967 U.S. Coast Guard Photo (for release) by Fireman Ronald Prei / via PS1 Kevin Rofidal, MSU Duluth / via NWS Duluth

Quote from NWS Duluth article: "With 20 foot waves and gale-force winds pounding the Duluth ship canal and over the pier on the evening of Sunday, April 30, 1967, many flocked as they still do today to watch the storm down by the lake. This storm brought 45 mph gusty winds coupled with a lake temperature of 36 °F to the shoreline. The Halverson brothers, Eric, Nathan, and Arthur, like many others went down to the pier to get a view of the waves crashing onto the walkways. Venturing along the north pier, a 20 foot wave crashed over the wall, sweeping the brothers off the pier. Coast Guardsmen were called into a rescue attempt to save the brothers. In their attempt, Boatswain Mate First Class Edgar A. Culbertson was swept off his feet by a strong wave into the canal. The Halverson brothers and Culbertson lost their lives."

In addition to those waves, the system also brought tornadoes across southern Minnesota and into Iowa, impacting cities like Waseca and Albert Lea. A total of four F4 tornadoes were reported that day, with a total of 21 tornadoes. The Waseca Virtual History Museum has pictures of the damage that occured in the town.

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Historical May Twin Cities Snow

Yes, at times it does snow in May! You just have to think back to a few years to the beginning of May 2013, when 0.5" fell in the Twin Cities but a foot and a half fell across portions of southern Minnesota! The Minnesota Climatology Working Group took a look back at historical May snowfalls in the Twin Cities, and found that the top snow during the month has only been 3" of snow. Could we get a little snow in the upcoming days? More on that in a little bit.

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A Soaking Cold Rain Expected To End April​
By D.J. Kayser, filling in for Paul Douglas

Minnesota weather always seems to have something interesting hiding up its sleeve. One minute it’s warm and sunny, the next brings you accumulating snow.

Even with the recent round of cool weather, the odds are still good that April will be the twentieth consecutive month with above average temperatures in the Twin Cities. This is a streak that stretches back to September of 2015.

And yet, here we are talking about the potential of snow in early May! A storm system will bring rain to a good portion of southern Minnesota Sunday, with amounts potentially topping an inch across the metro. Enough cold air will wrap in Sunday Night into Monday to bring at least a plowable snow from Marshall to Brainerd and Hibbing. We might see a few snowflakes early and late Monday in the metro, but only minor slushy accumulations at most are expected.

The good news? After this system, we begin a warming trend, with highs approaching 70 once again by next weekend. Is this upcoming storm winter's final punch? We can only hope so.

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Extended Forecast for Minneapolis

SUNDAY: A cold rain. Gusty winds. High 45. Low 38. Chance of precipitation 80%. Winds NE 10-20 mph, gusting to 30 mph in the afternoon.

MONDAY: Rain continues. A few flakes mix in? High 43. Low 36. Chance of precipitation 80%. Wind N 10-15 mph.

TUESDAY: Isolated shower early. Mainly cloudy. High 53. Low 40. Chance of precipitation 20%. Wind NW 5-10 mph.

WEDNESDAY: Peaks of sun. Late day shower chance. High 60. Low 43. Chance of precipitation 20%. Wind S 5-10 mph.

THURSDAY: Isolated shower early. Turning sunny. High 62. Low 45. Chance of precipitation 20%. Wind NW 5-10 mph.

FRIDAY: Mainly sunny skies and a bit warmer. High 65. Low 48. Chance of precipitation 0%. Wind SW 5-10 mph.

SATURDAY: Highs approach 70 with blue skies. High 69. Low 52. Chance of precipitation 0%. Wind SW 5-10 mph.

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This Day in Weather History
April 30th

2004: After a high temperature of 91 on the previous day in the Twin Cities, the mercury tumbles to 47 degrees by the morning. St. Cloud sheds 50 degrees over 12 hours.

1967: Tornadoes hit southern Minnesota. Some of the towns affected were Albert Lea, Waseca, Wells, and Owatonna.

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Average Temperatures & Precipitation for Minneapolis
April 30th

Average High: 65F (Record: 91F set in 1952)
Average Low: 44F (Record: 24F set in 1903)
Average Precipitation: 0.11" (Record: 1.53" set in 1954)
Average Snow: 0.0" (Record: 3.1" set in 1984)
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Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
April 30th

Sunrise: 6:03 AM
Sunset: 8:17 PM

*Length Of Day: 14 hours, 11 minutes and 27 seconds
*Daylight Added Since Yesterday: ~2 minutes and 44 seconds


*Next Sunrise At/Before 6 AM: May 2nd (6:00 AM)
*Next Sunset At/After 8:30 PM: May 11th (8:31 PM)

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Minnesota Weather Outlook

 
Sunday will be a bit of a topsy-turvy day across Minnesota, as the cooler temperatures will be across southern Minnesota. This is where we expect to see rain (and even a rain/snow mix). The warmer weather will be across northern Minnesota, with areas like International Falls and Bemidji reaching the 50s under a mix of clouds and sun.
 
 
With highs in the 30s and 40s across southern Minnesota, it'll be a good 15-25 degrees cooler than average during the day Sunday. Where there is sunshine - across northern Minnesota - temperatures will be a lot closer to average.
 

The good news is that the cooler weather doesn't last... although you have to get through the next couple days. 50s will return to the Twin Cities by Tuesday, with 60s likely by the end of the week. Some of the model data is hinting at a return to the 70s next weekend and into the next week before a touch cooler weather works back in.

It will also be a gusty Sunday across southern Minnesota with that cold rain, as wind gusts could top 30 mph in spots. It looks like the windiest weather will be during the afternoon hours, along with some of the heavier rainfall.

As this system moves through the region, precipitation amounts could easily top 1" across central and southern Minnesota, as well as along the North Shore. The heaviest of the rain, however, should remain off to our south and west, where places like Madison and Milwaukee could pick up on 2-3"+ of rain through Tuesday morning.

As we look long term at precipitation, we do work into a little bit of a break in the rain as we head later into the week, helping conditions dry back out a bit.

Meanwhile, yes, we are still tracking the potential of snow across parts of the state as we head into the beginning of May. The best chance of seeing accumulating snow appears to be off in western/central/northern Minnesota, where snow totals could top five inches. While it will start off as rain in these areas Sunday, the precipitation will change over to snow Sunday Night and last into Monday.

Due to the potential of heavy snow totaling 3-6", Winter Storm Watches have been issued from southwest to northeast Minnesota.

Here in the Twin Cities we could see a slight accumulation of slushy snow, but the odds show that the main snow show should stay to our north and west.

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National Weather Outlook

Sunday Forecast

After record breaking temperatures across the eastern U.S. Saturday, temperatures will moderate just a little bit with highs in the 80s expected for D.C., Charlotte and Atlanta. Some of the coolest weather Sunday will be from western Kansas into the upper Midwest, where highs will only be in the 30s and 40s due to a storm system bringing rain and snow to the region. Meanwhile, parts of southern Texas that have been approaching 100 the past few days will only be in the 80s due to a cool front that has passed through the region and is heading east through the Southeast on Sunday.
 
 
With rain and snow impacting parts of the central Plains and upper Midwest, highs will be a good 15-35 degrees below average for this time of year on Sunday. The bulk of the warmth can still be found from the Ohio Valley into the Southeast, however temperatures will be cooler for the second half of the weekend versus on Saturday.

Snow Potential Through Monday Evening

 

The heaviest snow over the next few days continues to be across parts of Colorado and Kansas, stretching up into the upper Midwest. Did anyone mention to Mother Nature that Monday is the start of May?

Here's the forecast amounts from local National Weather Service offices, with the potential of 6"+ of snow from the panhandles of Texas and Oklahoma northward into the upper Midwest (at least in spots).

Precipitation Outlook Through Thursday Morning

 
A life-threatening heavy rain/flooding situation will continue over the central U.S. as we head into early next week. From Saturday through Thursday, rainfall totals could easily top a half a foot in parts of the region.
 
Heavy Central U.S. Rain
 
 
Some of the heaviest totals over the next several days will be across Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri, where 2-6”+ of rain can be expected, especially over the Ozarks. Even Little Rock, though, could pick up almost 4” of rain through Tuesday morning.
 
 
It isn’t only the Southern Plains dealing with heavy rainfall, though. Over 3” of rain is possible through early next week as far north as Chicago and Milwaukee, leading to the potential of flash flooding here as well.

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GOES-16 To Help With Wildfires As Well

The new GOES-16 satellite will not only bring us better satellite imagery to real time weather decisions, but also will provide better information for fighting wildfires. More from Wildfire Today: "During the siege of wildfires on March 6 and 7 in Kansas, Oklahoma, and northern Texas strong winds before and after a frontal passage fanned existing small fires into huge firestorms that burned about a million acres in Kansas alone. Six people were killed and firefighters were stretched far beyond the capabilities of the mostly rural departments they served.  While this was going on a few meteorologists with access to the new, still being tested GOES-16 satellite were monitoring the emerging wildfire situation."

Trouble In Paradise?

Hawaii is in the process of banning sunscreens that contain the chemical oxybenzone. Why are they attempting to do this? The chemical is killing coral reefs. More from Popular Science: "The waters surrounding Hawaii's eight main islands contain more than 410,000 acres of living coral reefs. If strung together, the reefs would be bigger than Oahu, Hawaii’s third largest island. And because of Hawaii’s geographic isolation, the reefs support unique life. The Hawaiian Monk Seal, the Bandit Angelfish—even some of the types of coral that comprise the reef itself—are found nowhere else on earth. It’s a shame that our sunscreen might be killing them." (Image: NOAA)

Offshore Arctic Drilling

President Trump signed an executive order Friday to try and restore offshore drilling in the Arctic. What can Trump actually accomplish here? More from InsideClimate News: "The area in question includes the entirety of the Chukchi Sea and most of the Beaufort Sea off Alaska, as well as a stretch of the Atlantic Ocean from Massachusetts to Virginia. Obama's executive order relied on his powers under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act of 1953 (OCSLA), which allows a president to withdraw certain areas from drilling.

EPA Webpages Disappear

Friday night the EPA wiped climate data off their website after announcing that there would be changes made. The Washington Post has more: "One of the websites that appeared to be gone had been cited to challenge statements made by the EPA’s new administrator, Scott Pruitt. Another provided detailed information on the previous administration’s Clean Power Plan, including fact sheets about greenhouse gas emissions on the state and local levels and how different demographic groups were affected by such emissions."

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

 - D.J. Kayser

Meteorological Mayday! Heaviest Snow Bands Should Stay North/west of MSP Monday

When Slush Falls On Freshly-Mowed Lawns on May 1: Mayday!

Don't look now but Mother Nature is having another nervous breakdown. A loopy jet stream is helping to spawn jaw-dropping extremes: record 80s and 90s out east, while Denver picks up half foot of slushy snow.

An atmospheric tug-of-war over the central USA may produce life-threatening flooding from the Ozarks into the Ohio Valley. Over 10 inches of rain may fall by Wednesday; a tropical storm's worth of moisture.

For the record, weather impacts about a third of America's GDP; roughly $6 TRILLION worth of economic activity is at the mercy of the elements. And there's mounting evidence that weather extremes are trending even more extreme over time.

Expect glimmers of sun and 50s today, the better day to mow the lawn or go for a walk. An impressive, almost March-like storm pushes a cold rain into town Sunday. The column of air overhead cools Monday as rain mixes with slushy snow. Lawns may get slushed up in the metro, but the best chance of plowable (3-inch-plus) amounts may set up from Alexandria to Bemidji, Brainerd and Hibbing.

The best part of a freak May snow? A higher sun angle should melt whatever falls within 24 hours.


ECMWF Snowfall Potential. As good as the European model is - it is not infallible. No weather model is. So look at the trends, not specific amounts, not yet. The metro area may pick up an inch of slush on lawns Monday, but the greatest potential for a "few inches" will be from eastern South Dakota to Alexandria, Bemidji, Brainerd and the Minnesota Arrowhead. Confidence levels are low, but some towns in Minnesota may break records for May snowfall. Good grief. Map: WeatherBell.


NAM Model Solution. The most extreme snowfall amounts are forecast to fall on southeastern Coloado and western Kansas, where some 2 foot amounts are predicted. Impressive for late April. The 12 KM NAM has the same general idea as the European, with the heaviest amounts of slush setting up north and west of the Twin Cities Monday and Monday night. Stay tuned. Make sure there's fresh Kodacolor film in your camera - nothing more enchanting than snow clinging to green tree branches! Ugh...

Animation credit: Tropicaltidbits.com


Most Likely Snowfall by Monday Evening. I want so badly to stop borrowing these maps from the local National Weather Service Office. Then again, I am vaguely amused by the fact that the snowfall scale goes up to 100". Wow. A little slush is possible in the metro Monday, but the farther north and west you go the better the odds of a few inches of wet snow. Source: Twin Cities National Weather Service.


Another Slug of Serious Moisture. Latest NAM guidance brings amounts under 1", and most of that should fall as (liquid) rain Sunday and Sunday night, before a cooling trend aloft sparks a changeover to a rain/snow mix on Monday. Heaviest snow bands should, in theory, set up well north and west of MSP.


April Snowfall in the Twin Cities. We pick up an average of 2.4" in the Twin Cities during April; so far only half an inch of slush has fallen. A far cry from 2013, when nearly 18" of snow piled up in April (as I recall the locals were not happy that spring). We may add to that number Sunday.


Historical May Snow Events in the Twin Cities. Yes, it may snow again late Sunday into Monday, May 1. Big gulp. Deep sigh. How unusual? The Minnesota DNR provides perspective: "...The most recent measureable Twin Cities snow event was 0.5 inches on May 3, 2013. About once every 30 years or so, there is a snow event that is enough to cover newly greened lawns and coat budding leaves. The last time there was a snow event in May greater than an inch in the Twin Cities was on May 2, 1976 with 1.2 inches. The most that it has snowed in May in a single event for the Twin Cities is three inches. This has happened on three occasions: May 20, 1892, May 1, 1935 and May 11-12, 1946."


Praedictix Severe Weather Briefing: Issued Friday afternoon, April 28, 2017.

* Two major weather risks unfolding over the next 48+ hours.

* Potential for life-threatening amounts of rain over the midsection of the USA into early next week, as waves of heavy showers and T-storms redevelop over the same saturated, waterlogged counties, from the Ozarks to the Ohio Valley. Some 10"+ rainfall amounts are possible, roughly a tropical storm's worth of rain.

* Other significant risk is heavy snow and sleet from Denver into the central Plains and Upper Midwest by Sunday and Monday. We may be sliding into May, but as far as the atmosphere is concerned it's still early March over the central USA.


A Wet and Wild Storm Brewing. GOES-16 imagery shows an impressive-looking, comma-shaped swirl as a storm deepens over the southern Plains, pumping moisture from the Gulf of Mexico northward. The slow forward movement of this sprawling area of low pressure, combined with a "train-echo effect" (thunderstorms forming over the same counties) will result in excessive amounts of rain for the Mississippi Valley. Farther west, deep in the cold air, precipitation will fall as heavy, wet snow capable of disrupting land and air transportation from Colorado to Minnesota. Non-operational GOES-16 data: College of Dupage.


Current Watches and Warnings. NOAA has issued a Flash Flood Watch for an extensive part of America's heartland, stretching from Tulsa and Little Rock to St. Louis, Champaign/Urbana, Louisville and Cincinnati, calling for the potential for extensive flooding in the coming days. Winter Storm Warnings are in effect for much of Wyoming and the Front Range of Colorado, extending as far south as Santa Fe and Albuquerque. Map: Aeris AMP.


Potential for a Tropical Storm's Worth of Rain. NOAA models print out as much as 10" of rain between now and the middle of next week. It's important to note that the ground is already waterlogged from recent rains. Any additional rain will almost immediately run off into streets, streams and rivers. For some communities from Tulsa to Joplin, St. Louis and Peoria, flooding may rival what we saw in Raleigh, North Carolina earlier this week. NOAA WPC data: WeatherBell.


Excessive Rainfall Potential. Model ensembles suggest that the greatest risk of extreme (5-10"+) rains will be over northern Arkansas and southern Missouri, but people from Texarkana and the Ozarks to Chicago and Louisville need to monitor local conditions. Facilities that have flooded in the recent past may experience problems over the next 3-5 days. Graphic: NOAA.


No Sign of Spring in Denver. Watches have just been upgraded to Winter Storm Warnings for metro Denver, where a half foot of heavy, wet, slushy snow may snarl traffic (and air travel) later tonight into Saturday night. The worst conditions may set up south of I-70, where near-blizzard conditions can't be ruled out. Yes, this is odd for late April. Map: NOAA.


Winter's Last Snarl? I may have said something similar a month ago, but the same jet stream configuration that will result in record heat for much of the eastern USA this weekend (80s and 90s) will create conditions more typical of late February or early March from the Rockies into the Plains and Upper Midwest. But unlike a March snow, whatever falls should melt within 24 hours. The sun is too high in the sky for snow to stay on the ground for long. Map: Tropicaltidbits.com.

Summary: the pattern remains extreme, and right now we are most concerned about 1). flooding rains and 2). heavy snowfall. The greatest risk to life and property will be river flooding and urban flooding over the central USA from a convergence of factors. Stay alert and listen to local authorities should evacuations become necessary. From Denver to Omaha and the Twin Cities (Sunday) the only saving grace will be the fact that this enormous slush-storm is coming on a weekend. More updates over the weekend as conditions warrant.

Paul Douglas, Senior Meteorologist, Praedictix


East Coast Braces for Record Heat. While residents from the Rockies to the Upper Midwest wrap their brains around more slushy snow in the forecast, the eastern USA will simmer on Saturay witih a string of record-breaking 80s and 90s. Serious weather-whiplash.


Unusually Cold and Wet for the Plains and Upper Midwest. NOAA teamed up with USDA to release a special update on how March-like conditions may impact agriculture and livestock in the coming days.





Fake Spring. Parts of the High Plains and Upper Midwest will pay a steep price for 60s in mid-February. Temperatures will run as much as 30F colder than average early next week before rapidly recovering. The risk of slush, frosts and freezes will linger into the first few days of next week, setting back farmers a full week or two.


Cold-Cocked by Old Man Winter - Spring Afterglow Next Weekend. A few raw days, then improvement as the week goes on with a shot at 70 degrees next weekend, as Mother Nature attempts to repair the damage to our fragile weather-psyche. Oh well, it gives us all something to talk about other than politics. ECMWF numbers for the Twin Cities: WeatherBell.


Why the Federal Flood Insurance Program is $24.6 Under Water. Here's an excerpt of an eye-opening update from Yahoo Finance: "...Despite repeated efforts to contain the cost of disaster response and encourage individuals and businesses to build outside of flood plains, government-subsidized insurance premiums haven’t kept up with the government’s risks. As a result, the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) – the manager of the program – has gone deeper and deeper into debt.  Since 1996, federal debt incurred by the flood insurance program has increased 16-fold and has directly added to the national debt. As of last month, FEMA owed the Treasury $24.6 billion for money borrowed to pay claims that exceeded premiums collected, a new report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) states. Those funds include $1.6 billion that FEMA borrowed following a series of floods in 2016. “FEMA is unlikely to collect enough in premiums to repay this debt,” GAO said in its report, the most recent in a series of critical reviews..."


Hurricane Hunter Aircraft Study Severe Thunderstorms and Tornadoes Too. An article at WHNT.com in Huntsville caught my eye: "...On the ground, you are committed to a location and you just hope the storms will come close to you. And so what we’re measuring with the radars [on the airplane] is basically very similar things [compared to radars on the ground]," Jorgensen states. “By using the aircraft, we can get close and we can fly patterns that will enable us to do these analysis and get the wind flow very accurately. And ground based radars can do the same thing, but you gotta be lucky and have the storms go to you," Jorgensen elaborated. And unlike ground-based single truck radars, the P-3 is equipped with three separate radar systems, all used to research storms from about a mile and a half above the ground..."

Photo credit: "Fuselage radar located under the WP-3D Orion." (Photo: WHNT News 19)


Early Look at 2017 Hurricane Season. Praedictix meteorologist Todd Nelson takes a look at some of the things we're watching: "...Despite the early start to the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season, Colorado State University is forecasting a slightly below average season this year. Here's a look at the numbers, which was released on Thursday, April 6th:

Named Storms: Forecast (11) - Average (12)
Hurricanes: Forecast (4) - Average (6-7)
Major Hurricanes: Forecast (2) - Average (2)

The reasoning behind the slightly below average hurricane forecast is due to the development of a weak to moderate El Nino likely developing in the Pacific Basin (According to NOAA). When an El Nino develops, wind shear in the middle and upper levels of the atmosphere increases in the Atlantic, which leads to less favorable weather conditions for tropical development there. There is also some assumption by forecasters that water temperatures in the Atlantic will be trending cooler than average this year, which will may also help to keep tropical formation lower..."


Alabama and U.S. Both Above Average for Tornadoes So Far in 2017. A post at AL.com reminds readers how to dress for potential tornadoes and wind damage - which makes sense, since the greatest cause for concern is flying debris and blunt head trauma: "...De Block again highlighted the need for Alabamians to be prepared for all kinds of severe weather -- and that includes having a helmet on hand for everyone in the family. "If you haven't heard that you need to have a helmet during a tornado warned event, then you haven't been listening because it's been preached now for probably for six years," he said. "And I like to advise people to dress like you're going to go biking through the woods. You don't want to get scraped by the brush when you're driving through the woods ... you don't want to be exiting a damaged building in your pajamas and your bare feet..."

Graphic credit: "According to NOAA the U.S. has had about 100 more tornadoes than average so far in 2017, but that doesn't mean the rest of the year will follow the same trend." (NOAA)


The Aftermath: Hackleburg, Alabama. I don't think any of us can fathom the aftermath of an EF-5 tornado. Chris Allred put together a video that captures the horror and resilience of one community in the aftermath of 2011's horrific tornado outbreak. Check it out on Vimeo: "A view of the aftermath of an EF5 tornado that devastated Hackleburg, Alabama on April 27, 2011. I drove around Hackleburg to gather footage for the Red Cross. My heart and prayers go out to all those who have been effected from the April 27th storms. Shot with a Panasonic HPX170 in DVCPro 1080i. Most of the shots have a image stabilization effect done in Apple Motion. Color treated in Apple Color. The song is "Gideon" by Jason Upton from his "Live From Dublin" Album. The pad is from "Ascend" Instrumental by Tyler England."


Republicans and Democrats Agree On One Thing: Solar Panels. Here's a clip from Yale Climate Connections: "In Washington D.C., solar energy is sometimes seen as a political issue. But research suggests constituents – both Democrats and Republicans – feel differently. A solar consulting company called PowerScout pulled the addresses of one-and-a-half million political donors. Then, they used satellite images to identify which of their homes had solar panels. Attila Toth is CEO and Founder of PowerScout. Toth: “Across the twenty states that we looked at, Democratic and Republican party donors installed residential solar systems at very comparable rates...”


Why We Can't Just Leave Environmental Protection to the States. That's the funny thing about pollution - it doesn't respect state boundaries. Here's an excerpt at Grist: "...First, states often don’t enforce the laws within their own borders when the people primarily harmed live downwind or downriver in another state. States don’t want to spend their money or their political capital to benefit other states. The federal government has the responsibility to protect everyone — like the millions of people on the East Coast who suffer the effects from large air polluters in the Midwest. Second, many significant violators are national companies that operate in many states. Individual states can’t effectively take on nationwide operations. Filing cases one state at a time is inefficient and leads to inconsistent results..."

File photo: Gene Daniels, U.S. National Archives.


Flexible Working is Making Us Work Longer. Really? Here's a story at Quartz highlighting new research: "...Contrary to what you might expect, those with more control over their work schedule work more than those with less control. In fact, people have a tendency to work more overtime hours once they are allowed to work flexibly, compared to when they were not. These were the findings of research my colleague Yvonne Lott and I recently carried out, published in the European Sociological Review. We examined data that followed workers across a number of years in Germany to see what happened to the amount of overtime they did once they started having more control over their working hours..."


TED 2017: The Mind-Scrambling Talk I Won't Stop Talking About. Here's an excerpt from a writer at WIRED who had something of an epiphany with one specific talk focused on consciousness: "...That said, Seth argued that human consciousness is likely just one form of consciousness in the universe. From Copernicus showing that the sun doesn’t literally revolve around the Earth to Darwin demonstrating humans are merely part of the larger movement of evolution through time, Seth said humans stand as part of—and not apart from—the rest of nature. In that sense, he said, we have nothing to fear from death—the end of consciousness, which is just one way of being in the universe. “Nothing at all,” he said. Not all of Seth’s ideas are new in his field, but that didn’t matter to me. I left the theater and raved about the talk with anyone who would listen. I could tell you more about why it resonated with me personally as someone who’s struggled with and tried to learn as much as I could about anxiety, whose close friends have struggled with anxiety, too..."

Photo credit: Anil Seth speaks at TED2017Marla Aufmuth/TED.


Using NASA Data to Make an Insanely Detailed Map of U.S. Racial Diversity. Check out the story at Quartz: "Tomasz Stepinski used to be focused on Mars, mapping its craters algorithmically. Now the astrophysicist and mathematician is into his home planet, Earth. His latest project is an incredibly detailed map of the US that shows shifting racial diversity down to the neighborhood. The free map tracks racial diversity spatio-temporally by laying census data from 1990 to 2010 over detailed grids from NASA satellite maps. The method was recently publicized in the journal Plos One, and on April 27, Stepinski will present his work at the annual Population Association of America conference in Chicago..."


Science Has Outgrown the Human Mind and Its Limited Capacities. Will really smart computers be pushing science forward in years to come - will AI (artificial intelligence) be making the big discoveries? Here's an excerpt from Aeon Ideas: "Science is in the midst of a data crisis. Last year, there were more than 1.2 million new papers published in the biomedical sciences alone, bringing the total number of peer-reviewed biomedical papers to over 26 million. However, the average scientist reads only about 250 papers a year. Meanwhile, the quality of the scientific literature has been in decline. Some recent studies found that the majority of biomedical papers were irreproducible. The twin challenges of too much quantity and too little quality are rooted in the finite neurological capacity of the human mind. Scientists are deriving hypotheses from a smaller and smaller fraction of our collective knowledge and consequently, more and more, asking the wrong questions, or asking ones that have already been answered..."

Image credit: Future of Life Institute.


Why Getting Fired Is Worse Than Divorce. A story at Bloomberg raised a few eyebrows: "It’s just not working out” may be some of the most heartbreaking words in the English language, leading to months of anguish, self-questioning and sleepless nights. Even worse: when they come from your boss. Fired employees never quite recover to the same level of well-being, a measure that includes mental health, self-esteem and satisfaction with life, according to data provided to Bloomberg this week from a review of more than 4,000 research papers. Losing a job can be a sharp blow, one that causes a bigger drop in life satisfaction than being widowed or getting divorced, according to the review conducted by the University of East Anglia and the What Works Center for Wellbeing, an independent body set up by the U.K. government..."


Battery-Boosted Mountain Bikes Charge Onto the Trails. But is it still bicycling? CNET.com has the story; here's a clip: "...Mountain bike innovation has been ceaseless over the decades: lightweight aluminum or carbon-fiber frames, super-low gears to crawl up steep hills, cushy suspension to float over bumps, disk brakes that stop you in a moment and super-fat tires that offer a better grip. But electric bikes don't just make riding easier, they actually do some of the work for you. That raises the question of whether it's even biking anymore. "I don't think it's cheating," said Monterey cyclist Chris Toplarski. "It opens up an avenue for people who wouldn't ordinarily ride a bike. They can go places they normally wouldn't go..."


51 F. high temperature yesterday in the Twin Cities.

64 F. average high on April 28.

43 F. high temperature on April 28, 2016.

April 29, 1984: Late season heavy snow blankets the Twin Cities with 6.6 inches.

April 29, 1940: Heavy rain falls in Duluth, with a daily total of 3.25 inches.



TODAY: Some sun, a dry sky - nicer day of the weekend. Winds: NE 10-15. High: 55

SATURDAY NIGHT: Clouds thicken, rain by daybreak. Low: 38

SUNDAY: A cold, windswept rain. Winds: NE 15-30. High: 43

MONDAY: Wintry mix of rain and snow. Slushy lawns MSP metro? Winds: N 10-20. Wake-up: 37. High: 41

TUESDAY: Lingering clouds and sprinkles. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 35. High: 49

WEDNESDAY: Partly sunny, risk of spring. Winds: SE 5-10. Wake-up: 39. High: near 60

THURSDAY: Unsettled, few showers around. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 46. High: 57

FRIDAY: Blue sky returns, milder. Winds: NE 7-12. Wake-up: 45. High: 63


Climate Stories....

New Study: Global Warming Keeps On Keeping On. If anything the warming of Earth's systems (atmosphere, oceans and cryosphere) may be accelerating, according to new data highlighted at The Guardian: "...What was incredibly powerful is that the authors show that it would have been statistically significant to have not found an interval with as a slow warming as actually measured. What this analysis shows us is that the Earth continues to warm apace. Furthermore, we shouldn’t get excited about any given year that is cold or warm, or think it’s showing that global warming is slowing down or speeding up. Rather, this paper reminds us that long-term trends are what matters. And the long-term trends are speaking loudly. This latest study is just another nail in the coffin of the lie that global warming ended."

Graphic credit: "Trends in global temperatures, using a a change-point analysis for five different data sets. Illustration: Rahmstorf et al. (2017), Environmental Research Letters."


Science and Faith a Natural Fit for Climate Change Marchers. A story at National Catholic Reporter caught my eye: "...That explains why, in part, women religious, volunteers and other community associates are traveling to Washington, D.C., for the People's Climate March on April 29 or already took part in the March for Science there a week earlier. Many are participating in local marches, too. "Science helps us understand the world around us," says Sr. Barbara Battista, a member of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana. "Faith in general can help us understand that there is so much we'll never understand about this journey in life. Science helps us get little glimpses of … the immensity and therefore the potential for life. We are all connected. … What happens to one happens to all of us..."

Photo credit: "Mercy Sisters joined an estimated 310,000 demonstrators in the People's Climate March in New York Sept. 21, 2014." CNS photo/Jim West.


Climate Change: What Do The Scientists Really Say? Huffington Post interviews Dr. Kevin Trenberth at NCAR; here's an excerpt: "...We’re way behind in terms of what is needed because if you start really trying to take serious action on this, there’s a built-in delay of 20 or 30 years because of the infrastructure that you have in order to change that around. Then there’s another 20-year delay because the oceans respond very, very slowly. If you start making major changes now, you end up experiencing the effects of those changes maybe 40 years from now or something like that. You’ve really got to get ahead of this. The atmosphere is a global commons. It belongs to everyone. The air that’s over the US, a week later is over in Europe, and a week later it’s over China, and then a week later it’s back over the U.S. again. If we dump stuff into the atmosphere, it gets shared among all of the nations..." (File image: NASA).



Linking Extreme Weather Events To Our Changing Climate. How strong is the case for attribution? Correlations are very high for extreme heat events, followed by a tendency for heavier rain events and intense floods. Here's an excerpt of an interview with a climate scientist at Standford University at Michigan Radio: "...What is new in this paper we have out this week is we’ve taken a look across the globe at multiple different kinds of extreme events: hot, wet, dry,” he explains. And they looked at whether specific record-setting events were influenced by the global warming that’s already happened. “What we find is that the hottest events have been made more likely by global warming at more than 80% of the area we’ve been able to look at,” he says. He says climate change has increased the odds for the wettest and driest events in about half the places they looked."

Quantifying the Influence of Global Warming on Unprecedented Extreme Climate Events. A link to the paper referenced above is available here, courtesy of pnas.org.



Climate Change Altering the Arctic Faster Than Expected. Climate Central has the latest: "Evidence continues to mount that climate change has pushed the Arctic into a new state. Skyrocketing temperatures are altering the essence of the region, melting ice on land and sea, driving more intense wildfires, altering ocean circulation and dissolving permafrost. A new report chronicles all these changes and warns that even if the world manages to keep global warming below the targeted 2°C threshold, some of the shifts could be permanent. Among the most harrowing are the disappearance of sea ice by the 2030s and more land ice melt than previously thought, pushing seas to more extreme heights. The findings, released Monday in the Snow, Water, Ice and Permafrost in the Arctic (SWIPA) assessment, come after a winter of extreme discontent for the region. Sea ice receded a bit in November, a rare occurrence, and hit a record-low maximum for the third year in a row. Temperatures averaged 11°F above normal, driven by sustained mild weather that was punctured by periods of almost unheard of heat when temperatures reached up to 50°F above normal..."

Photo credit: "An iceberg collapses, Disko Bay, West Greenland." Credit: Carsten Egevang/arc-pic.com.



The Republicans Who Care About Climate Change: "They Are Done With the Denial". Here's an excerpt from The Guardian: "...But amid climate activists’ despair, there are fresh shoots of hope that, as a party, Republicans’ climate intransigence is shifting. A growing group of Republicans in Congress are newly emboldened and are speaking out in favor of finally addressing a crisis that is starting to bite their constituents. The Climate Solutions Caucus, set up just last year, now has 38 members, half of them Republicans. The congressional group, which is crafting bipartisan action on climate change, is bolstered by a new chorus of big business, faith groups and young college-based Republicans that are demanding the GOP drops the climate skepticism that has become a key part of its identity over the past decade..."

Photo credit: "The March for Science in Washington DC. Members of the caucus say their goal is to depoliticize environmental policy in the US." Photograph: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA


Worrisome Figures For Canadian Methane. Climate Nexus has a collection of media reports on methane releases to our north: "Methane emissions from the oil and gas industry in Canada could far exceed official estimates, according to two new reports. A new study from the David Suzuki Foundation and St. Francis Xavier University published in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics finds methane emissions from industry activity in British Columbia could be 2.5 times higher than previous estimates. Meanwhile, a separate report released from a Canadian nonprofit today estimates that methane emissions in Alberta could be up to 60 percent higher than official figures. The Canadian government announced last week that it would delay planned methane reduction regulations by up to three years, garnering fierce criticism from environmental advocates." (Studies: Toronto Star, Motherboard, Vancouver SunGlobe and Mail. Regulation delay: CBC, Toronto Star).

Image credit: Environmental Defense Fund.


The Policy Weapon Climate Activists Need. Buy out the fossil fuel companies to keep carbon in the ground? A nice idea, but probably a fairy-tale. Here's a clip from The Nation: "... The most straightforward way to accomplish this is for the government to take direct ownership of fossil-fuel companies. The price tag to purchase outright the top 25 largest US-based publicly traded oil and gas companies, along with most of the remaining publicly traded coal companies, is in the region of $1.15 trillion. That sounds like a lot of money, but spread out over seven years, the cost would be less than $200 billion a year, a far from impossible amount—and less than the annual cost of our string of recent wars. By way of comparison, paying for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will have cost somewhere in the range of $4-7 trillion when future costs for veterans are factored in. Surely, radically reducing the threat of climate catastrophe is a better use of the US government’s financial power than was the disastrous invasion of Iraq..."

Photo credit: " A coal-fired power plant in Holcomb, Kansas, in 2007." (AP Photo / Charlie Riedel).