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

Pollen Count - HIGH

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

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

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Extended Temperature Forecast

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

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2018 Lightning Fatalities

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

See Lightning Safety Tips From NOAA HERE:

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2018 Tornadoes So Far...

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

Average Tornadoes in May By State

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

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3-7 Day Hazard Forecast

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

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Temperature Anomaly on Sunday

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

Temperature Trend

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

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Weather Outlook Ahead

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

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7 Day Precipitation Outlook

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

US Drought Outlook

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MEMORIAL DAY:
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This Day in Weather History
May 21st

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

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

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

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

Hours of Daylight: ~15 hours & 5 minutes

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

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 Temp Outlook For Monday

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

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8 to 14 Day Temperature Outlook

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

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

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

See more from Inverse HERE:

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

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

See more from Denver Post HERE:

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"Fake news on Twitter causes problems during disasters"

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

See more from Earth.com HERE:

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

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

See more from Weather Underground HERE:

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"New Data: Hurricanes Will Get Worse"

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

See more from Scientific American HERE:

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Thanks for checking in and don't forget to follow me on Twitter @TNelsonWX

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