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Paul Douglas: 6-12' from two storms in next 72 hours

2 Plowable Snowfalls Brewing by Saturday Night

"The weather never repeats, but sometimes it rhymes." There has never been a weather map identical to today. It may be similar, but every new scenario is uniquely baffling. What can go wrong, and what time?

Now that the atmosphere is showing signs of a slow thaw the storm track is shifting north, pulling more moisture from the Gulf of Mexico into Minnesota. Storms swept up in a southwest flow aloft will frustrate commuters and delight snow lovers into Saturday.

The first storm arrives later today; capable of 2-4 inches by Friday morning. A second storm spreads snow into Minnesota on Saturday afternoon, and although it's premature to be throwing around inch-amounts, let's just say it may be plowable, meaning over 3 inches.

When I arrived in Minnesota back in 1983 March was the snowiest month of the year. Now it's January, at least on paper. Not a fan of snow? At least temperatures are moderating, reaching mid-30s most of next week, with no more subzero lows in sight. So far MSP has enjoyed 25 nights below 0F. Last year? Only 13 nights. Average is 23 nights colder than 0F.


84-hour 12km NAM model showing forecast precipitation: NOAA and tropicaltidbits.com.


Predicted Snowfall by Friday Morning. A reminder that the forecast map above is only a simulation (12km NAM from NOAA), but it shows the best chance of 5-6" snows over central Minnesota, a healthy 3-6" for much of the metro - most of that coming tonight. Map: pivotalweather.com.


Total Snowfall by Sunday Morning. The map above takes 2 snow events into account, Thursday night and Saturday PM hours. I wouldn't be surprised to see some 10-12" amounts (total between the 2 storms) by  Sunday. Making up for lost time.


2 Distinct Snowy Possibilities. You can see the model spread with tonight's snowfall (2-6" for MSP) and the local NWS office (green line) is going 4", which seems realistic. We get a brief break on Friday before the next surge of southern snow arrives Saturday, with another 3-8" of accumulation. Let it snow.



Stormier and Trending Milder. As we speculated a couple weeks ago a reluctant thaw is pulling the main storm track farther north, increasing the probability of substantial snow for Minnesota. By next week highs should fairly consistently be above 32F; an outside shot at 40F next Tuesday and Wednesday, based on ECMWF forecasts for the Twin Cities. Graphic: WeatherBell.


March Moderation. You may not believe it (I'm skeptical too) but GFS guidance is fairly consistent in pulling milder, Pacific air back into Minnesota and the Upper Midwest within 2 weeks - the pattern hinting at 30s, even a shot at a few 40s by the second week of March.


Status of Spring. Here's an update from NPN, The National Phenology Network: "Spring continues to arrive early in the west and late in the east, compared to a long-term average (1981-2010). Spring is four weeks early in southern Utah and eastern Washington and 5-6 weeks early in the Grand Canyon. Spring is a few days late in Birmingham, AL, and Charleston, SC.  The timing of leaf-out, migration, flowering and other seasonal phenomena in many species is closely tied to local weather conditions and broad climatic patterns. The Spring Index maps offered by USA-NPN shed light on plant and animal phenology, based on local weather and climate conditions..."

Praedictix Briefing: Issued Wednesday, February 21st, 2018:

* A slow moving frontal system will continue to produce heavy rain and icy conditions in the central United States over the next several days.

* Numerous 24-48 hour rainfall totals of 2-5”+ have already been reported from Texas to the lower Great Lakes, with more heavy rain on the way over the next several days. An additional 2-6”+ will be possible through the end of the week from the Southern Plains into the Ohio Valley, especially in parts of Texas and Arkansas, which will lead to flash flooding and river flooding.

* Frozen precipitation – including freezing rain – will fall today from parts of northern Texas into Missouri, with ice totals mainly under two-tenths of an inch. The heaviest ice totals (potentially a quarter to a half an inch of ice) will fall around Abilene, TX, where an Ice Storm Warning is in effect. Icy conditions will lead to difficult travel conditions.


Local Department of Transportation Websites:

Missouri: http://traveler.modot.org/map/index.html
Oklahoma: https://www.oktraffic.org/map.php?location=statewide
Texas: https://drivetexas.org/
Arkansas: https://www.idrivearkansas.com/


Past 24 Hour Rainfall. Heavy rain of 1-4”+ has fallen over the past 24 hours from Texas into Michigan on the warmer side of this system. In the past 24 hours (through 7 AM), 5.68" of rain has fallen in Mena, AR, with 3.15" at the Dallas/Ft. Worth airport. There have also been reports of event totals of 3-5” of rain across portions of Michigan and Illinois. A portion of Highway 88 between Ink and Pine Ridge, AR, was reported under water earlier this morning. Meanwhile, a controlled water release is occurring with the Remmel Dam along the Ouachita River in Hot Spring County, AR, which will result in lowland flooding.Map: NOAA.


Additional Heavy Rain Expected. As moisture continues to stream into the central United States along a slow moving frontal boundary across the region, more heavy rain is expected to fall from the Southern Plains to the lower Great Lakes over the next few days. The heaviest rain will fall from Texas into the Ohio Valley, where an additional 2-5”+ of rain is expected through Friday evening. With reports of flash flooding and river flooding already occurring across portions of the region, any additional rain would exacerbate the flooding situation. Map: AerisWeather and Praedictix.


Excessive Rainfall Outlook Today. Due to the potential of heavy rain today across the Lower Mississippi Valley and Southern Plains, the Weather Prediction Center has placed a moderate risk of rainfall exceeding flash flood guidance across that area. Rainfall amounts of 2-4” today are likely across this moderate risk area, with the potential of isolated 6”+ amounts. This heavy rain – on top of recent rain – could lead to flooding across the region.


Flood Watches. Flood Watches and Flash Flood Watches are in place from the lower Great Lakes into the Southern United States due to the potential of heavy rain which could lead to flash flooding and river flooding over the next several days. Map: AerisWeather and Praedictix.


Excessive Rain Outlook Thursday And Friday. Heavy rain will continue from the Southern Plains into the Ohio Valley Thursday and Friday, with the potential of more flash flooding across the region. For this reason, there is a slight risk of rainfall exceeding flash flood guidance both days. Map: NOAA.


Forecast River Flooding. Heavy rain over the next several days is likely to cause additional river flooding from the Great Lakes to the lower Mississippi Valley. Over two dozen USGS river gauges could reach major flood stage over the next seven days, especially across the Great Lakes region, with some potentially reaching record levels. River levels will be slow to recede, and we could see flooding issues into next week.


Winter Weather Concerns. We’re also keeping an eye on the cold side of this system, which will continue to produce the potential of ice from northern Texas into parts of the middle Mississippi Valley. Winter Weather Advisories are in effect for the potential of this freezing rain – up to two-tenths of an inch in areas – from Texas to Missouri. An Ice Storm Warning has been issued around the Abilene area through this evening for the potential of a quarter to a half an inch of ice.


Southern Ice Expected. Ice accumulations of between 0.05” and 0.20” are expected across parts of the Southern Plains mainly over the next 24 hours due to the potential of freezing rain. Heavier totals are expected around the Abilene, TX, area where that Ice Storm Warning is in effect. Icy conditions will make travel difficult (if not impossible in spots), and would have the potential to cause power outages and tree damage.


Northern Ice Expected. Another round of freezing precipitation is possible across parts of the upper Midwest Thursday into Friday with a system moving through the region, but ice totals are expected to be under 0.20” at the moment.

Summary: We continue to watch a slowly moving frontal system which will bring flooding rains and some ice accumulation to the central part of the nation over the next several days. Heavy rain has already fallen in the past 24-48 hours from the Southern Plains to the Great Lakes, with numerous reports of flooding. Additional rain of 2-6” will be possible through the end of the work week across this region, especially in parts of the Southern Plains and Ohio Valley. This will cause the potential of flash flooding and river flooding. More heavy rain is expected into the weekend as well, potentially causing more flooding issues across the region. We are also watching the cold side of this front, which will continue to bring the threat of freezing rain from northern Texas into Missouri today. In most spots, ice totals over the next 24 hours will be under two-tenths of an inch, but they are expected to top a quarter inch around Abilene, TX, where an Ice Storm Warning is in effect.

D.J. Kayser, Meteorologist, Praedictix.


It's Bizarrely Warm at the Northernmost Land Weather Station. Earther has the article; here's an excerpt: "...DMI scientists recorded temperatures crossing the freezing threshold at the world’s northernmost land-based weather station, located in Greenland. An initial analysis shows that temperatures there rose an astonishing 39 degrees Fahrenheit in four hours on Sunday night. They’ve stayed above freezing through Tuesday. This is hardly the only instance of a weather station going haywire due to the heat. Sea ice in the Barents Sea, which sits to the east of Greenland, has also started to shrink at a time when ice is usually still climbing towards its maximum extent. The same process has played out on the Pacific side of the Arctic as well, where sea ice has been wiped out in the Bering Sea..."

Image credit: "The hourly temperature graph for Kap Morris Jesup, the northernmost weather station in Greenland." Image: DMI


Minnesota Climate Extremes. I always feel a little better after reviewing Minnesota's craziest weather extremes, courtesy of the Minnesota DNR.


One Montana Town Experienced an 82-Degree Temperature Rise in One Day. Weather Underground has the jaw-dropping details: "Imagine seeing the temperature rise more than 80 degrees in just a few hours, but it's still cold. Yes, this really happened Tuesday in Fort Belknap, Montana, thanks to Chinook winds causing the temperature to rise from an early-morning low of minus 37 degrees to an afternoon high of 45 degrees, a temperature change of 82 degrees in less than 24 hours. Fort Belknap is in northern Montana, about 135 miles northeast of Great Falls. Chinook winds are the result of an airmass rising over mountain ranges – in this case, the northern Rockies – and as the air reaches the ridge tops, it begins to sink and warm as it descends the mountain slopes. The winds that result can be strong and gusty and can also create dramatic temperature changes..."


Hurricanes Aren't To Blame for Most Big Storm Surges in Norrtheast. Claims Journal has the counterintuitive story: "Hurricanes spawn most of the largest storm surges in the northeastern U.S., right? Wrong, according to a study by Rutgers University–New Brunswick scientists. Extratropical cyclones, including nor’easters and other non-tropical storms, generate most of the large storm surges in the Northeast, according to the study in the Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology. They include a freak November 1950 storm and devastating nor’easters in March 1962 and December 1992..."

File image from January 4, 2018: NOAA.


PUERTO RICO: From Climate Nexus: "Suicide rates spike in Puerto Rico, five months after Maria (NBC), iIn Puerto Rico, a skirmish over how much debt the bankrupt island can handle (Washington Post $), Puerto Rico utility gets $300 million after truce with creditors (Reuters), why does restoring full power in Puerto Rico seem like a never-ending task? (NBC), Puerto Rico recovery efforts plagued by power company’s financial troubles." (ThinkProgress)

Hurricane Maria file image: NASA.


The United States Corn Belt is Making Its Own Weather. Science Magazine has the story: "The Great Plains of the central United States—the Corn Belt—is one of the most fertile regions on Earth, producing more than 10 billion bushels of corn each year. It’s also home to some mysterious weather: Whereas the rest of the world has warmed, the region’s summer temperatures have dropped as much as a full degree Celsius, and rainfall has increased up to 35%, the largest spike anywhere in the world. The culprit, according to a new study, isn’t greenhouse gas emissions or sea surface temperature—it’s the corn itself...This increases the amount of water going into the atmosphere and returning as rainfall. The cycle may continue as that rainwater eventually moves back into the atmosphere and causes more rainfall downwind from the original agricultural area..."

Map credit: "Map of the central United States, showing changes in rainfall during the last third of the 20th century. Areas of increased rainfall are shown in green, with darker colors representing a greater increase." Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Researchers See Shift in Tornado Activity. The Joplin Globe highlights research focused on "Dixie Alley": "...In a study published in 2016, Ernest Agee, of Purdue University, and several other scientists mapped tornado activity between 1984 and 2013, then compared it with the three prior decades. They concluded that the center of tornado activity appears to be moving east. Oklahoma saw a decrease in tornado activity during the more recent period, while Tennessee saw an increase. Between 1954 and 1984, Oklahoma and Texas were the centers of tornado activity in the country. Over the subsequent three decades, the number of tornadoes there decreased. During the same period, the zone with the most tornadoes, located in northern Alabama, the number of twisters jumped by roughly half, to 477..."


The 12 Worst Habits For Your Mental Health. A few in here that strike close to home. Time has the post: "Depression is usually brought on by factors beyond our control—the death of a loved one, a job loss, or financial troubles. But the small choices you make every day may also affect your mood more than you may realize. Your social media habits, exercise routine, and even the way you walk may be sucking the happiness out of your day, and you may not even know it. Luckily, these behaviors can be changed. Read on for 12 ways you’re sabotaging your good moods, and what you can do to turn it around..."


Here Are the Tools That Could Be Used to Create the Fake News of the Future. We're just scratching the surface of what is possible - or inevitable. Here's a clip from The Washington Post: "...This is not exactly realistic, you’ll notice. But it’s easy to see how, using a different model and a different voice, this could be more convincing. There are two other things to remember here. The first is that, while professional animators and computer-effects specialists have been able to create fairly realistic virtual people for some time (including virtual versions of real people), better technologies mean that it’s easier for nonprofessionals to create artificial videos such as the one above. More remarkable than the deepfakes tool, in some ways, was the deepfakes community, a group of people — not just one expert — who all had at their disposal a way to put Person X’s face on Person Y’s body..."


China Cracks Down on Funeral Strippers.  Let's hope this trend doesn't catch on here. The Telegraph explains: "China has launched its latest crackdown against a phenomenon which just won't seem to die in rural areas - funeral strippers. The Ministry of Culture said last month that it was targeting "striptease" and other "obscene, pornographic, and vulgar performances" at funerals, weddings and traditional Chinese New Year public gatherings…Some communities in rural China reportedly believe that bigger attendances at funerals help to honor the dead and bring them good fortune…"


"I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use." – Galileo


19 F. maximum temperature yesterday in the Twin Cities.

31 F. average high on February 21.

62 F. high in the Twin Cities on February 21, 2017.

February 22, 1922: A blizzard, ice storm and thunderstorms all occur on the same day across Minnesota. Winds hit 50 mph in Duluth while thunderstorms were reported in the Twin Cities. Heavy ice over southeast Minnesota with 2 inches of ice on wires near Winona. Over two inches of precipitation fell. This was also one of the largest ice storms ever in Wisconsin history with ice four inches in diameter on telegraph wires. One foot of ice covered wire weighed 11 pounds. One killed and four injured in Wisconsin.



THURSDAY: Clouds increase with light snow developing. Winds: SE 7-12. High: 26

THURSDAY NIGHT: Snow likely, 2-4" totals. Low: 23

FRIDAY: Flurries taper, slow PM clearing. Winds: W 5-10. High: 30

SATURDAY: Another shot of snow, potentially plowable? Winds: NE 8-13. Wake-up: 19. High: 31

SUNDAY: Peeks of sun, better travel day. Winds: W 8-13. Wake-up: 22. High: 32

MONDAY: Partly sunny and milder. Winds: S 7-12. Wake-up: 20. High: 35

TUESDAY: Mostly cloudy, feels like March. Winds: NW 5-10. Wake-up: 23. High: 36

WEDNESDAY: Patchy clouds, drama-free. Winds: NE 5-10. Wake-up: 18. High: 33


Climate Stories...

Arctic Sea Ice at Record Low January Levels. USA TODAY has details: "The part of the Arctic covered by sea ice in January was the smallest for the month since records began in 1979, federal scientists announced Tuesday. January ice cover in the Arctic was a whopping 525,000 square miles less than average, which is an area the size of Texas and California put together. Sea ice is frozen ocean water that melts during the summer and refreezes in winter. It floats on top of the ocean. The report was released Tuesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration..."


 

Scientists Concerned About Soaring Arctic Temperatures. Here's a clip from Think Progress: "...We are seeing what scientists have predicted for years,” professor of thermal sciences John Abraham told ThinkProgress via email. “The temperatures in the Arctic are off the chart. This matters for the rest of us because this is the time of year when the Arctic ice should be growing. But it isn’t growing like it should. So, this summer, there will be less ice and more open waters that will lead to more warming.” In light of the lack of aggressive action to address climate change, Abraham warns that “We’ve started a feedback loop that we cannot stop.” And indeed, Arctic sea ice levels have been at record lows most of 2018, according to Japan’s National Institute of polar research..."

Image credit: "Arctic sea ice has been at record low levels for much of 2018 (red line)." CREDIT: Japan's National Institute of Polar Research.


Sea Levels In Future Depend on Action Now: From Climate Nexus: "Each five years of delayed action on climate change now could result in as much an additional eight inches of sea level rise by 2300, stark new research shows. A study published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications assumes that the world will keep warming under 2 degrees C, and estimates that every five-year delay in reaching peak emissions over the next few decades adds additional inches of sea level rise to 2300 projections. The research also finds that sea levels will rise between 2.3 and 4 feet by 2300 even under best-case scenarios. "Sea level is often communicated as a really slow process that you can’t do much about...but the next 30 years really matter," lead author Matthias Mengel told Reuters." (Washington Post $, Reuters, USA Today, Gizmodo).



Making America Toxic Again. Here's an excerpt from Mother Jones: "...I asked Garland to shed some light on the remark. “Either we’re going to steward the Earth and use it for God’s glory and man’s good, or we serve the Earth,” Garland says. Failing to use the Earth for our benefit, he notes, would violate Genesis 2:15, which concerns the relationship between humans and the natural world: “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” Garland does not believe humans are the main cause of climate change, and neither does Pruitt. “I would not agree that it’s a primary contributor to the global warming that we see,” Pruitt said in March 2017. But his biblical references are not restricted to climate change..."

Image credit: Tim O'Brien.


This Olympic Skier Wants to Save the World's Snow. Kudos to Jessie Diggins for raising awareness about what a warming climate is doing to winter sports around the world. Here's a link and excerpt from The New York Times: "Jessie Diggins is a cross-country skier on the American women's team and a favorite to win a medal at the Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. If she succeeds, it will be only the second time the United States has won a medal in the sport and the first for an American woman. Diggins is also an advocate for climate action. I interviewed her to understand more about why she believes winter is worth protecting...

Photo credit: Star Tribune.



A Big-Sky Plan to Cool the Planet. Again, the rhetorical question: what can possibly go wrong? Here's a clip from an Op-Ed at The Wall Street Journal: "Seriously addressing climate change means cutting carbon emissions and, ultimately, reducing the carbon already in the atmosphere. There’s no way around it. Another type of intervention, however, is increasingly garnering attention: solar geoengineering, that is, cooling the planet by making it reflect back more of the sun’s rays. It’s not a permanent solution to climate change, and it carries worrisome environmental and political risks of its own, but it’s an idea worth exploring. The principle underlying solar geoengineering is simple enough: Brighter colors reflect more light and cool what’s underneath. That’s why houses in Mediterranean villages are often painted white..."

Graphic credit: Harry Campbell.


Countries Made Only Modest Climate-Change Promises in Paris. They're Falling Short Anyway. Here's a clip from a story at The Washington Post: "...Tremendous gains in energy efficiency and renewable power aren’t yet reducing our global hunger for fossil fuels, especially oil and natural gas,” he added. “Until they do, greenhouse gas concentrations will keep rising.” The Paris agreement laid out ambitious goals to limit the planet’s warming — world leaders knew they would be difficult to achieve. The deal called for finding ways to remain “well below” a rise of 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above preindustrial levels, and if possible, not above 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit). A rise of about 1 degree Celsius already has occurred. But at the same time, the emissions-cutting pledges that countries brought to the table in Paris were nowhere near sufficient to meet such goals, which world leaders acknowledged at the time..."


Climate Change Changes Everything. Because those with the least are first to be impacted. Here's a link and call to action from Catholic Relief Services: "All of us must take steps to address this problem, including Congress. By joining the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus, your Representative can do their part by working with other members of Congress from both sides of the aisle to care for our common home and address the devastating impact climate change is having on our communities in the United States and around the world. The list of members of the Caucus is growing, so now is the perfect time to invite your Representative to join! And, if your Representative has already joined, please send them a thank you message..."


What's Going On With the Earth's Climate? News & Observer has an article; here's a link and excerpt: "...As it turns out, there is good reason to believe that temperature analyses published by science agencies in the U.S. and around the world are accurate. The data are carefully controlled for errors and biases, and the warming they show aligns closely with what is happening elsewhere on Earth. Among many such indicators glaciers are melting, Arctic sea ice and snow cover are retreating, the atmosphere above the ground is warming, ice sheets – in Greenland and the Antarctic are shrinking, and ocean temperatures and sea level are rising. These are independent measures of the climate, and they all point to a warming world. For example, ocean observations beneath the surface, taken in oceanographic surveys and, more recently by thousands of autonomous (robot) floats, show a steady rise in the heat content of the oceans..."

File photo credit: "Waves crash under a row of beach houses in south Nags Head in 2010, which planned a $36 million project to pump fresh sand onto its eroding strand. Rising sea level will only magnify the damages of erosion and storms on the state's oceanfront and sounds, scientists say." Charlotte Observer JOHN D. SIMMONS.

Potentially Plowable Snowfall Thursday Night - Thaw Arrives Next Week

Lake Effect 101 - Some Moderation Likely Next Week

Maybe I'm rationalizing, but Minnesota's coldest days tend to be sunny. That's not the case in lake-effect cities from Chicago to Cleveland. Speaking of lake effect, Minnesota's lakes are too small, the wind "fetch" over water too short, for lake effect squalls here. That goes for Minnetonka, Gull, Leech, even Lake Mille Lacs.

But Superior is a different story. Subzero air passing over milder lake water can create snow falling at a rate of 4 inches an hour, with thunder and lightning. Tell that to folks living in Finland, up in Lake County, where lake effect dumped 46.5 inches of snow in early January, 1994; 36 inches of that falling in 24 hours!

The sun is now as high in the sky as it was on October 21. That higher sun angle will make it feel a bit more tolerable today, with a few (liquid) puddles. Nice.

The next system drops 1-2 inches Thursday night; another coating of flakes Saturday night. No sign of another Big One, similar to the foot of snow that fell on January 22.

Expect consistent highs above freezing much of next week, which may feel like a lukewarm revelation.


Minnesota Climate Extremes. I always feel a little better after reviewing Minnesota's craziest weather extremes, courtesy of the Minnesota DNR.


Potentially Plowable Thursday PM Hours? Here's the 00z snowfall prediction (Kuchera) from NOAA's 12km NAM model, suggesting over 6" for parts of central and northern Minnesota, maybe 2-4" for the immediate Twin Cities metro. The 00z NAM prints out about .30" liquid for MSP, with a rain:snow ratio of 12:1 that could equate into 3-4", if it verifies. Stay tuned. Map: pivotalweather.com.


Consistent 30s Next Week. That's as much a prayer as it is a prediction. ECMWF guidance shows daytime highs above freezing most of next week as a whiff of moderate, Pacific air penetrates inland. Gee, I'm going to miss the subzero temperatures (said no one - ever). Twin Cities data: WeatherBell.

Not Arctic. Although it's not going as fast as many people would like, the pattern is evolving, with more of a Pacific influence for the USA as we push into early March. A longwave trough setting up over the western USA will produce much-needed precipitation for drought-stricken California, and eject a series of storms toward Minnesota. The question then becomes: cold enough for all-snow, or will it be a sloppy mix?


Meanwhile...check out these INSANE high temperatures on Tuesday out east. Reminder: it's still February.



Praedictix Briefing: Issued Tuesday, February 20th, 2018:

* A slowly moving frontal system will continue to bring significant icing and flooding rains to the central part of the nation through the middle of the week.

* Icing – potentially significant in spots – is expected along a transition zone near the front from the mid-Mississippi Valley into the Upper Midwest. Ice Storm Warnings have been issued for the Kansas City metro and parts of northern Michigan with a quarter to a third of an inch of ice expected. This would cause dangerous travel conditions as well as potentially power outages and tree damage.

* Heavy rain will fall on the warm side of the system from the Southern Plains into the lower Great Lakes. Numerous Flood Watches and Flash Flood Watches are in place as 2-6” of rain could fall between now and Thursday evening, with some of the heaviest totals expected across northeast Texas, southeast Oklahoma and into Arkansas. Additional rain can be expected as we head into the weekend across these areas as well.

* We’re also tracking snow falling on the north side of this system, with an additional 1-3” of snow possible from central Nebraska into northern Minnesota today.


Morning Radar. Ice, snow and rain continue to fall across the central United States this morning. Roads were icy in the Kansas City metro due to ongoing freezing rain and sleet. Freezing precipitation (either freezing rain or sleet) is also being reported across parts of Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Kansas and Oklahoma. Heavy rain is falling across parts of Texas to Michigan.


Local Department of Transportation Websites:

Nebraska: https://hb.511.nebraska.gov
South Dakota: https://www.safetravelusa.com/sd/
Iowa: https://hb.511ia.org/
Minnesota: https://hb.511mn.org
Wisconsin: https://511wi.gov/
Michigan: https://mdotnetpublic.state.mi.us/drive/
Kansas: http://www.kandrive.org/kandrive
Kansas City: http://www.kcscout.com/
Missouri: http://traveler.modot.org/map/index.html
Oklahoma: https://www.oktraffic.org/map.php?location=statewide


Ice Totals So Far. A swath of at least one tenth of an inch of ice has been reported over the past 24 hours from northern Iowa into parts of eastern Wisconsin. The greatest total reported so far was 0.43” at the Rochester, MN, airport.


Winter Weather Concerns. The heaviest ice expected today will be across the Kansas City metro and in parts of northern Michigan, where ice totals of a quarter to a third of an inch are expected. This is where Ice Storm Warnings are in effect. These Ice Storm Warnings are in effect through 1 PM across northern Michigan, and through 6 PM in the Kansas City area. Numerous Winter Weather Advisories and Winter Storm Warnings continue today across parts of the central United States, from Oklahoma to Minnesota and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Some of the advisories on the north side, from Nebraska into central and northern Minnesota, are for an additional 1-3” of snow expected today. The southern side of advisories, from Oklahoma into parts of Wisconsin and Michigan are in effect for accumulating ice (potentially up to an additional two tenths of an inch in spots).


Ice Expected. The heaviest ice today will fall from Oklahoma into parts of Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, with the potential of a tenth to three tenth of an inch of ice in some locations, especially around the Kansas City area. This ice will make travel difficult (if not impossible) across the region today, and would have the potential to cause power outages and tree damage. Some ice accumulation will also be possible tonight into early Wednesday from St. Louis to Chicago.


Snow Expected. North of the accumulating ice, light snow is expected to continue today, however additional totals of only 1-4” are expected.


Past 24 Hour Rainfall. We’ve also been tracking heavy rain on the warm side of this front. Over the past 24 hours, at least 1-3” of rain has fallen across parts of Illinois, Indiana and southern Michigan. There have been reports of flooding due to this heavy rain across parts of southern Wisconsin, northern Illinois and northern Indiana. Midway Airport in Chicago has picked up 2.06" of rain over the past 24 hours through 7 AM, and 3.34" of rain has fallen so far during this rain event in Constantine, MI.


Heavy Rain From Texas To Michigan. An abundance of moisture will continue to stream north across the central United States, and with a slow moving cold front associated with this complex storm system we expect to see heavy rain continue through at least the middle of the week from the southern Plains to the lower Great Lakes. Rainfall totals could be approaching a half a foot in some parts of the southern Plains by Thursday evening. This heavy rain falling over an extended time frame will potentially lead to some flash flooding and river flooding across the region.


Excessive Rainfall Expected. Due to the potential of heavy rain Tuesday and Wednesday across the Mid/Lower Mississippi Valleys and Southern Plains, the Weather Prediction Center has placed a moderate risk of rainfall exceeding flash flood guidance across those areas. A widespread 1-3” rainfall area is expected today across this area, with isolated 5”+ amounts possible. We will be watching the potential of not only flash flooding but river flooding over the next several days. A moderate risk of rainfall exceeding flash flood guidance is also in place across parts of the lower Great Lakes today due to continuing heavy rain in combination with what has already fallen.


Flood Watches. Flood Watches and Flash Flood Watches are in place across parts of the lower Great Lakes and Ohio Valley and in the middle Mississippi River Valley and Southern United States. Many of these watches go through Wednesday, with some of the southern watches lasting into Thursday. An additional 1-4” of rain is expected across the lower Great Lakes. Those totals, along with frozen ground (meaning the rain will just run off) and some snowpack that will be melting, would cause flooding issues. In the Southern United States, 2-6” of rain is possible, capable of flash flooding and river flooding.


Forecast River Flooding. Heavy rain over the next several days is likely to cause additional river flooding from the Great Lakes to the lower Mississippi Valley. Over a dozen river gauges could reach major flood stage over the next seven days, mainly across the Great Lakes region, with some potentially reaching record levels. River levels will be slow to recede, and we could see flooding issues into next week.

Summary: We continue to watch a slowly moving frontal system bringing significant icing and flooding rains to the central part of the nation through the middle of the week. Ice will continue to fall near the front from northern Oklahoma to Michigan today, with ice possible tonight from St. Louis to Chicago. Ice accumulations will be heaviest around the Kansas City metro and in northern Michigan, where a quarter to a third of an inch of ice will be possible. This would cause dangerous travel conditions across the region as well as the potential of power outages. North of the ice, 1-4” of snow will be possible today from Nebraska to Minnesota. South of the front, we will be watching heavy rain that could cause flash flooding and river flooding over the next several days. Over the past 24 hours, 1-3”+ of rain has fallen across parts of the lower Great Lakes, with additional heavy rain likely today into Wednesday. Across parts of the middle and lower Mississippi Valley and Southern Plains, heavy rain is likely over the next couple days, with the potential of 2-5” of rain. More rain is possible late in the week and into the weekend as well, which would only cause more flooding issues across the region.

D.J. Kayser, Meteorologist, Praedictix


One Montana Town Experienced an 82-Degree Temperature Rise in One Day. Weather Underground has the jaw-dropping details: "Imagine seeing the temperature rise more than 80 degrees in just a few hours, but it's still cold. Yes, this really happened Tuesday in Fort Belknap, Montana, thanks to Chinook winds causing the temperature to rise from an early-morning low of minus 37 degrees to an afternoon high of 45 degrees, a temperature change of 82 degrees in less than 24 hours. Fort Belknap is in northern Montana, about 135 miles northeast of Great Falls. Chinook winds are the result of an airmass rising over mountain ranges – in this case, the northern Rockies – and as the air reaches the ridge tops, it begins to sink and warm as it descends the mountain slopes. The winds that result can be strong and gusty and can also create dramatic temperature changes..."


In the "Weather App Era" Cuts to The National Weather Service Are Dangerous. It's all about trusted sources of information. Here's an excerpt from meteorologist Marshall Shepherd at Forbes: "... The National Weather Service (NWS) is a jewel of the United States Government. I trust them for my weather information (by the way, so do you even if you may not realize it). Their computer models, satellites, radars and meteorologists are at the heart of most weather information that you consume on television and digitally. They also provide our valuable watches and warnings. Yet, President Trump's proposed 2019 budget includes dangerous cuts to the National Weather Service. I normally reserve this space to provide insights on weather and climate science. However, there are times in which I provide commentary from my lens as 2013 president of the American Meteorological Society, a past member of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Science Advisory Board, and an active voice within the weather enterprise. Irrespective of those credentials, I am an American citizen that understands the value of weather forecasts..."

Screen shot: AerisPulse.


Hurricanes Aren't To Blame for Most Big Storm Surges in Norrtheast. Claims Journal has the counterintuitive story: "Hurricanes spawn most of the largest storm surges in the northeastern U.S., right? Wrong, according to a study by Rutgers University–New Brunswick scientists. Extratropical cyclones, including nor’easters and other non-tropical storms, generate most of the large storm surges in the Northeast, according to the study in the Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology. They include a freak November 1950 storm and devastating nor’easters in March 1962 and December 1992..."

File image from January 4, 2018: NOAA.


The United States Corn Belt is Making Its Own Weather. Science Magazine has the story: "The Great Plains of the central United States—the Corn Belt—is one of the most fertile regions on Earth, producing more than 10 billion bushels of corn each year. It’s also home to some mysterious weather: Whereas the rest of the world has warmed, the region’s summer temperatures have dropped as much as a full degree Celsius, and rainfall has increased up to 35%, the largest spike anywhere in the world. The culprit, according to a new study, isn’t greenhouse gas emissions or sea surface temperature—it’s the corn itself...This increases the amount of water going into the atmosphere and returning as rainfall. The cycle may continue as that rainwater eventually moves back into the atmosphere and causes more rainfall downwind from the original agricultural area..."

Map credit: "Map of the central United States, showing changes in rainfall during the last third of the 20th century. Areas of increased rainfall are shown in green, with darker colors representing a greater increase." Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Researchers See Shift in Tornado Activity. The Joplin Globe highlights research focused on "Dixie Alley": "...In a study published in 2016, Ernest Agee, of Purdue University, and several other scientists mapped tornado activity between 1984 and 2013, then compared it with the three prior decades. They concluded that the center of tornado activity appears to be moving east. Oklahoma saw a decrease in tornado activity during the more recent period, while Tennessee saw an increase. Between 1954 and 1984, Oklahoma and Texas were the centers of tornado activity in the country. Over the subsequent three decades, the number of tornadoes there decreased. During the same period, the zone with the most tornadoes, located in northern Alabama, the number of twisters jumped by roughly half, to 477..."


Sumatra Volcanic Eruption. Here's commentary from a friend, Dan Lilledahl, who works for Delta in Atlanta: "Mt Sinabung on the island of Sumatra erupted overnight while I was on shift here at Delta....here are a few pictures. All the news stories so far say that it was "up to 16,400ft above summit". WRONG! This picture alone says that is not accurate. A few of us here at work looked at special satellite data that estimates ash height from volcanic eruptions and concluded that it erupted to AT LEAST 52,000ft, and possibly over 60,000ft!..."

Volcano From Space. A NASA image shows the volcanic ash plume spreading across Sumatra. It's still too early to know whether ash injected into the stratosphere will have a (temporary) cooling effect on the planet, but at this point nothing would surprise me.


Study: 73% of Fish in Northwestern Atlantic Have Plastic in Their Guts. Here's an excerpt from Big Think: "...A report in Frontiers of Marine Science suggests that almost 3 out of every 4 fish in the Northwestern Atlantic most likely has plastic polymers in their stomachs. Oceanic researchers (or as I'd love to call them, seasearchers) from the University of Galway conducted a study off of the coast of Newfoundland in April of 2015 and found that a huge percentage of the 233 fish from 7 different species studied had traceable amounts of plastics within them. The findings of that study were only recently published — click here if you want to read the full thing. Most of the plastic fibers found were polyethylene, one of the most commonly available commercial plastics found in everything from grocery store bags to water bottles..."

Image credit: Outwardon.com and Fotos593 / Shutterstock.com


Here Are the Places That Struggle to Meet the Rules on Safe Drinking Water. The New York Times reports: "To ensure that tap water in the United States is safe to drink, the federal government has been steadily tightening the health standards for the nation's water supplies for decades. But over and over again, local water systems around the country have failed to meet these requirements. In a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers found that, since 1982, between 3 and 10 percent of the country's water systems have been in violatioon of federal Safe Drinking Water Act health standards each year. In 2015 alone, as many as 21 million Americans may have been exposed to unsafe drinking water..."


Consumer Products Have A Pollution Problem: Climate Nexus has more perspective on the WaPo story above: "Petroleum-based chemicals, such as used in personal care products, paints and cleaners, contribute as much to volatile organic air pollution in urban areas as cars and trucks, according to a new finding published in Science. The consumer products emit synthetic “volatile organic compounds” or VOCs that contribute to ground-level ozone or small particulate pollution, causing asthma, lung disease, and other serious health problems. According to the research led by Colorado University, the source of non-vehicle VOC sources is likely two or three times higher than estimated under present air pollution inventories. Meanwhile, stricter vehicle emission controls have made cars and trucks cleaner – resulting in consumer products rivaling cars in air pollution contribution." (Washington Post $, New York Times $, Axios, Financial Times $, BBC, The Guardian, KPCC, SF Gate, LA Times $)

File image: National Park Service.


RENEWABLES: Headlines and links via Climate Nexus: "This coal miner shows limits of Trump's bid to rescue industry (Bloomberg), ministers warned on subsidy risk to offshore wind power projects (FT $), this company may have solved one of the hardest problems in clean energy (Vox), China flooded US with solar panels before Trump's tariffs (Bloomberg), company answering to wind farm noise complaints in Faribault County (Minneapolis Star Tribune $), wind energy proposals may dictate industry’s future in Ohio (AP), grants kick-start energy efficiency projects around Minnesota." (Minneapolis Star Tribune $)


In Oklahoma, a War Over Wind Power. The Houston Chronicle reports: "The fossil fuel and renewable power industries have fought a low-grade conflict for years, maneuvering in state capitols and Congress to gain advantage in tax and energy policies that might increase or protect market share. But in Oklahoma, where officials are contending with a massive budget deficit, the long-simmering tensions have broken out into a war over wind power that has already eliminated the state's renewable energy tax credit program and threatens to further undermine financial supports for the burgeoning wind industry. In the latest development, a plan backed by oil and gas interests to impose new taxes on wind energy production failed in the Oklahoma House this week when it failed to gain the three-fourths majority needed to approve tax increases..."

Photo credit: "In this Monday, June 12, 2017 file photo, wind turbines are pictured near El Reno, Okla. Oklahoma rolled out the red carpet to the growing wind industry two decades ago with the promise of generous state tax incentives and a steady stream of wind sweeping down the Central Plains. But with budget shortfalls that have persisted for several years, lawmakers have already scaled back almost all of the incentives and are now looking to impose a new production tax on the industry." (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File).


Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/op-ed/soapbox/article199755669.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/op-ed/soapbox/article199755669.html#storylink=cpy

The Only Way to Get Snowdrifts Removed in Moscow? The BBC explains: "Moscow residents say they have found that the only way to get the council to clear snow is to write the name of opposition leader Alexei Navalny on it. Posts on Facebook and Twitter have received thousands of likes, after disgruntled residents took to social media, saying that they tried spray-painting "Navalny" on the city's deep snow out of frustration at the authorities' slowness in removing them. One user said the move prompted immediate reaction and that council workers removed the graffiti "within hours". Mr Navalny is Russia's best-known critic of President Vladimir Putin, and state media never mention him by name..."

Photo credit: "Image caption Activists spray-painted "Navalny" on several large snow drifts." Tatyana Grigoryeva.


The 12 Worst Habits For Your Mental Health. A few in here that strike close to home. Time has the post: "Depression is usually brought on by factors beyond our control—the death of a loved one, a job loss, or financial troubles. But the small choices you make every day may also affect your mood more than you may realize. Your social media habits, exercise routine, and even the way you walk may be sucking the happiness out of your day, and you may not even know it. Luckily, these behaviors can be changed. Read on for 12 ways you’re sabotaging your good moods, and what you can do to turn it around..."


Flatulence forces an emergency landing. Kind of makes you want to take the bus. Here's a clip from Fox News: "A Transavia flight was forced to land and summon the police when a passenger’s gassiness led to an onboard fight. A pilot made an emergency landing after a fight broke out over a passenger who allegedly refused to stop passing gas. Two Dutchmen sitting next to the flatulent passenger reportedly asked the man to stop, but he refused and continued to break wind aboard the Transavia Airlines flight from Dubai to Amsterdam Schiphol..."


China Cracks Down on Funeral Strippers. The Telegraph explains: "China has launched its latest crackdown against a phenomenon which just won't seem to die in rural areas - funeral strippers. The Ministry of Culture said last month that it was targeting "striptease" and other "obscene, pornographic, and vulgar performances" at funerals, weddings and traditional Chinese New Year public gatherings…Some communities in rural China reportedly believe that bigger attendances at funerals help to honor the dead and bring them good fortune…"


2" snow on the ground.

21 F. high yesterday in the Twin Cities.

31 F. average high on February 20.

55 F. high on February 20, 2017.

February 21, 1965: Strong winds occur, reaching speeds of up to 45 mph in the Twin Cities.


WEDNESDAY: Bright sunshine. Winds: SW 5-10. High: near 20

WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy. Low: 7

THURSDAY: Clouds increase. 1-2 inches possible late. Winds: SE 7-12. High: 26

FRIDAY: Flurries taper, PM clearing. Winds: NW 7-12. Wake-up: 22. High: near 30

SATURDAY: Fading sun, coating of flurries possible late. Winds: SW 5-10. Wake-up: 14. High: 29

SUNDAY: Partly sunny, temps. close to average. Winds: W 5-10. Wake-up: 15. High: 32

MONDAY: Plenty of sunshine, risk of a thaw. Winds: NW 5-10. Wake-up: 18. High: 34

TUESDAY: Fading sun, breezy and milder. Winds: E 10-15. Wake-up: 22. High: 36


Climate Stories...

This Olympic Skier Wants to Save the World's Snow. Kudos to Jessie Diggins for raising awareness about what a warming climate is doing to winter sports around the world. Here's a link and excerpt from The New York Times: "Jessie Diggins is a cross-country skier on the American women's team and a favorite to win a medal at the Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. If she succeeds, it will be only the second time the United States has won a medal in the sport and the first for an American woman. Diggins is also an advocate for climate action. I interviewed her to understand more about why she believes winter is worth protecting...

Photo credit: Star Tribune.



A Big-Sky Plan to Cool the Planet. Again, the rhetorical question: what can possibly go wrong? Here's a clip from an Op-Ed at The Wall Street Journal: "Seriously addressing climate change means cutting carbon emissions and, ultimately, reducing the carbon already in the atmosphere. There’s no way around it. Another type of intervention, however, is increasingly garnering attention: solar geoengineering, that is, cooling the planet by making it reflect back more of the sun’s rays. It’s not a permanent solution to climate change, and it carries worrisome environmental and political risks of its own, but it’s an idea worth exploring. The principle underlying solar geoengineering is simple enough: Brighter colors reflect more light and cool what’s underneath. That’s why houses in Mediterranean villages are often painted white..."

Graphic credit: Harry Campbell.


Countries Made Only Modest Climate-Change Promises in Paris. They're Falling Short Anyway. Here's a clip from a story at The Washington Post: "...Tremendous gains in energy efficiency and renewable power aren’t yet reducing our global hunger for fossil fuels, especially oil and natural gas,” he added. “Until they do, greenhouse gas concentrations will keep rising.” The Paris agreement laid out ambitious goals to limit the planet’s warming — world leaders knew they would be difficult to achieve. The deal called for finding ways to remain “well below” a rise of 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above preindustrial levels, and if possible, not above 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit). A rise of about 1 degree Celsius already has occurred. But at the same time, the emissions-cutting pledges that countries brought to the table in Paris were nowhere near sufficient to meet such goals, which world leaders acknowledged at the time..."


Climate Change Changes Everything. Because those with the least are first to be impacted. Here's a link and call to action from Catholic Relief Services: "All of us must take steps to address this problem, including Congress. By joining the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus, your Representative can do their part by working with other members of Congress from both sides of the aisle to care for our common home and address the devastating impact climate change is having on our communities in the United States and around the world. The list of members of the Caucus is growing, so now is the perfect time to invite your Representative to join! And, if your Representative has already joined, please send them a thank you message..."


What's Going On With the Earth's Climate? News & Observer has an article; here's a link and excerpt: "...As it turns out, there is good reason to believe that temperature analyses published by science agencies in the U.S. and around the world are accurate. The data are carefully controlled for errors and biases, and the warming they show aligns closely with what is happening elsewhere on Earth. Among many such indicators glaciers are melting, Arctic sea ice and snow cover are retreating, the atmosphere above the ground is warming, ice sheets – in Greenland and the Antarctic are shrinking, and ocean temperatures and sea level are rising. These are independent measures of the climate, and they all point to a warming world. For example, ocean observations beneath the surface, taken in oceanographic surveys and, more recently by thousands of autonomous (robot) floats, show a steady rise in the heat content of the oceans..."

File photo credit: "Waves crash under a row of beach houses in south Nags Head in 2010, which planned a $36 million project to pump fresh sand onto its eroding strand. Rising sea level will only magnify the damages of erosion and storms on the state's oceanfront and sounds, scientists say." Charlotte Observer JOHN D. SIMMONS.



Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/opinion/op-ed/article200881589.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/opinion/op-ed/article200881589.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/opinion/op-ed/article200881589.html#storylink=cpy

How Color-Changing Animals Are Rebelling Against Climate Change. Here's an excerpt from National Geographic: "...In a new study in Science, scientists examined 21 species in 60 countries that shed brown coats and turn white to match the snow. As global climate change leads to less snowfall, many of these animals are turning white when there is no snow—making them more vulnerable. ("Before and After: See Animals Change Their Coats for Winter.") But the study found some possible refuges for these creatures: Geographic regions that are home to color-changing species with both winter color types (picture a forest full of snowshoe hares, some brown, some white). By protecting such areas, humans could give the species to spread their darker-coat genes and outsmart climate change...."

Photo credit: "Rock ptarmigans sport their winter plumage in Sweden's Sarek National Park." Photo by Erlend Haarberg, National Geographic Creative.


Climate Impacts: From Climate Nexus: "A look into a climate-altered Alaska (High Country News), spring weather is arriving alarmingly early this year (Earther), lack of rain makes desert wildflower super blooms unlikely this year (LA Times $), we’re witnessing the fastest decline in Arctic sea ice in at least 1,500 years." (VoxInsideClimate News)


How Climate Change is Altering Air Travel. More flooding, more turbulence, flight delays due to excessive heat? A story at Ensia caught my eye: "Phoenix gets hot. But not usually as hot as last June, when the mercury at the airport one day soared above 118 °F (48 °C). That exceeded the maximum operating temperature for several aircraft ready for take-off. They didn’t fly. More than 50 flights were canceled or rerouted. Thanks to climate change, soon 118 °F may not seem so unusual. Welcome to the precarious future of aviation in a changing climate. As the world warms and weather becomes more extreme, aircraft designers, airport planners and pilots must all respond, both in the air and on the ground. With around 100,000 flights worldwide carrying some 8 million passengers every day, this is a big deal..."

File image: Alan Diaz, AP.


Scientists Can Connect with Skeptics Over Shared Risks of Climate Change. Here's an excerpt from AAAS: "It is a scientist’s worst nightmare — that the facts are not enough to be convincing. But climate change skeptics are not “blank slates” who can be swayed to accept the facts of climate change with more education or different religious leanings, said Katharine Hayhoe, an atmospheric scientist from Texas Tech University, in a plenary address on Feb. 15 at the 2018 AAAS Annual Meeting. Instead, political conservatism is the biggest predictor of whether a person will be a climate change skeptic, she said citing studies, and distrust of the government “telling them what to do” often underlies their skepticism. Politicians are not immune to this line of thinking, Hayhoe suggested. She shared a quote from Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe, who said in 2012 he was convinced of scientists’ evidence for climate change and “I was on your side until I found out how much it would cost...”


Global Editorial: Why Conservatives Really Ought To Love Carbon Taxes. The Op-Ed is courtesy of Canada's Globe and Mail: "Ignore your lying eyes for a second and entertain the following: Conservatives really ought to love carbon taxes. Bear in mind all that is wholesomely right-wing about the idea. First of all, unlike our progressive income-tax regime, with higher brackets for higher incomes, a carbon tax doesn't disproportionately affect the rich – it's "flat." Even better, it harnesses the power of markets by letting consumers decide how much (plausibly priced) carbon it's worth emitting, rather than using regulations and subsidies to tweak emissions from the top down. And, yes, it's a tax, but because it's explicitly designed to reduce the thing it's taxing (emissions), it's a lousy way for treasuries to gobble up revenue and permanently expand the size of government..."

Image credit: NOAA.