Wednesday's Heavy Rain Caused Mudslides

Heavy rain fell south of the Twin Cities metro on Wednesday, which caused this scene near St. Peter along Hwy 169. Some of the reports suggest nearly 3" to 4" of rain fell in that area during the day. WOW!

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

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

See more from Washington Post HERE:

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"Lyrid meteor shower: All you need to know"

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

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

See more from Earth Sky HERE:

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"EarthSky’s 2019 meteor shower guide"

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

See more from EarthSky HERE:

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Weather Outlook Thursday

High temps on Thursday will still be a bit cool for the mid April. Readings only warming into the 40s and 50s across the state, which will be nearly -5F to -10F below average. The good news is that temps will be quite a bit warmer as we approach the weekend. In fact, temps on Saturday could approach 70F!

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Weather Outlook Saturday

Spring fever will be in full swing once again this weekend and especially on Saturday when high temps warm into the 60s and 70s across much of the state! Keep in mind that the average high in the Twin Cities at this time of the year is around 60F, so we'll be almost +10F above average!

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Temperature Outlook Ahead

Here's the temperature outlook as we head through the end of April and into the first part of May. The good news is that I don't see any major cool downs as we head through the 2nd half of month and in fact, it appers that we may have a fairly decent string of 60s and perhaps even 70s showing up over the next week and a half!

 
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Weather Outlook Wednesday - Thursday

Here's the weather outlook for the upcoming Easter weekend, which looks pretty dry across much of the state. This is good news for travelers and Easter egg hunters. Temps will also be quite mild this weekend, especially on Saturday with readings nearly +10F above average!

 
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Snow Depth

Here's the latest snow depth across the region, which really doesn't show much left after our big snow storm from late last week. There is still 3" on the ground in Huron, SD, but there's only a trace of snow on the ground in the Twin Cities metro from the 9.8" that officially fell at the MSP Airport.

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

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

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April 2019 Snowfall So Far...

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

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

Here's a neat map from Journey North, which shows the return our MN State Bird, the Common Loon! Now that lakes are starting to become ice free, the loons are starting to show up! Welcome home friends!! It'll be fun to see you on lakes and ponds this summer.

See more from Journey North HERE:

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

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

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

Listen to the full report from KAXE HERE:

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

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

See more from Washington Post HERE:

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Pollen Levels on the Rise!

Thanks to a very wet Wednesday, pollen levels were kept in check. However, pollen levels are expected to spink quite a back by the end of the week and into the weekend ahead. AHH CHOO!
 
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Ice Out Dates

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

Average Ice Out Dates

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


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Ice Safey Reminder

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

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

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

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Drying Out Today. Tracking 70s On The Maps
By Paul Douglas
 
Only in Minnesota can you be knee-deep in mud with dust blowing in your face. When Mother Nature changes her mind you had better get out of her way. That's about the fastest I've ever seen us go from snow drifts to mudslides.
 
Yesterday's surge of rain and T-storms dumped over a month's worth of rain on some communities south and east of the Twin Cities, with some 4 inch plus totals.
 
This was a classic case of a "train-echo effect". Thunderstorms kept sprouting over the same counties; one wave goes through - another band quickly takes its place. Much like the cars of a train repeatedly passing over the same section of track.
 
A north wind dries us out Thursday, but a passing instability shower can't be ruled out. No monsoon rains though. Lukewarm sunshine returns Friday, with a potentially irresistible Saturday (blue sky and low 70s). 70s, without the bugs or allergies or needy lawns that need mowing.
 
We cool off into the 60s Sunday (I like the sound of that) but more 70s are expected the latter half of next week. You're welcome.
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Extended Forecast

THURSDAY: Windy with a passing shower. Winds: N 10-15. High: 51.

THURSDAY NIGHTIsolated showers, then clearing. Winds: N 5-10. Low: 35.

FRIDAY: Sunny and much nicer. Winds: NW 5-10. High: 63.

SATURDAY: Blue sky. Potentially spectacular. Winds: S 10-15. Wake-up: 47. High: 71.

SUNDAY: Mix of clouds & sun. Breezy. Winds: N 10-20. Wake-up: 51. High: 66.

MONDAY: Sunny with less wind. Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 45. High: 63.

TUESDAY: Clouds increase, mild breeze. Winds: S 8-13. Wake-up: 47. High:61.

WEDNESDAY: Early shower, then clearing. Winds: S 5-10. Wake-up: 45. High: 65.
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This Day in Weather History
April 18th

2004: A strong cold front whips up winds of up to 55 miles an hour over southern Minnesota. The wind causes black clouds of soil to lift into the air, creating soil erosion and reduced visibility. Some old-timers remarked that it reminded them of the dust storms from the 1930's Dust Bowl era.

2002: Baseball-sized hail falls in Eagan, creating small craters in the soft ground and broken windows in apartments.

1977: A tornado touches down at the mouth of the Minnesota River.
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Average High/Low for Minneapolis
April 18th

Average High: 59F (Record: 89F set in 1985)
Average Low: 38F (Record: 21F set in 1953)

Record Rainfall: 1.04" set in 2004
Record Snowfall: 6.4" set in 2013
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Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
April 18th

Sunrise: 6:24am
Sunset: 8:02pm

Hours of Daylight: ~13 hours & 38 minutes

Daylight GAINED since yesterday: ~ 2 minutes & 58 seconds
Daylight GAINED since winter solstice (December 21st): ~4 hours and 53 minutes
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Moon Phase for April 18th at Midnight
0.2 Day Until Full "Pink" 
Moon

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

See more from Space HERE:

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What's in the Night Sky?

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

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

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

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

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Weather Outlook Thursday
 
Here's a look at high temps across the naiton on Thursday, which shows temps along and east of the Mississippi River warmer than average, while folks in the Central US will be cooler than average in the wake of the storm system. Meanwhile, folks in the western half of the country will be warmer than average.
 
 

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National Weather Outlook

Here's the weather weather outlook Thursday, which shows our latest storm system moving along and east of the Mississippi River Valley with strong to severe storms and locally heavy rain. There will also be another batch of Pacific moisture across the Pacific Northwest. 
 

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7 Day Precipitation Forecast
 
According to NOAA's WPC, the 7 day precipitation forecast suggests areas of heavy precipitation along and east of the Mississippi River Valley. Some of the most widespread and heavy rainfall could be found in the Lower Mississippi Valley, which could lead to more flooding potential.
 

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

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

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

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"To Nurture Nature, Neglect Your Lawn"
 
"Why poison the earth when you can have wildflowers at your feet and songbirds in your trees without even trying? “Nothing is so beautiful as Spring,” the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote, “When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush.” I say that poem to myself every day now because I can’t think of any place more beautiful than the American South in springtime. The flowering trees — dogwoods and redbuds and serviceberries, the crab apples and peaches and cherries — are in full glory, and the woody shrubs, cascading with blossoms, are like something out of a fairy tale: forsythia and quince and lilac and bridal veil spirea. Every time it rains here, the streets are paved with petals."
 
 

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"Two Tornadoes Narrowly Missed Destroying A Mississippi Weather Radar"
 
"This weekend’s severe weather outbreak across the eastern United States claimed nine lives and caused damage from the Deep South to New England. The extent of the severe weather on Saturday, April 13, wasn’t quite as bad as forecasters had initially feared given the extremely favorable dynamics across parts of Louisiana and Mississippi. However, several storms did manage to take advantage of the environment and produce destructive tornadoes. Two of those tornadoes touched down within a few miles of a weather radar in Mississippi, giving us an incredible view of how quickly an intense tornado can develop. A squall line with embedded supercells moved through northeastern Mississippi late in the evening on Saturday. One such supercell produced a duo of violent tornadoes as it passed through Monroe County, Mississippi, which is home KGWX, a weather radar located about 28 miles north of Columbus Air Force Base."
 
 
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"Blobs 500 times the size of Earth are being burped from the sun"
 
"We now know more about the gigantic "periodic density structures" that emerge from the sun every 90 minutes. The Parker Solar Probe is currently en route to the sun, in order to better understand the near perfect sphere of hot plasma that powers our solar system. But back on Earth scientists have looked to decades old data, and they've found something interesting: blobs. Literal blobs. Not just regular blobs. Big blobs. Officially called "periodic density structures", these blobs in the solar wind emit from the sun in burps and they can be anything from 50 to 500 times as large as Earth. Apparently these things emerge from the sun roughly every 90 minutes. "They look like the blobs in a lava lamp," said Nicholeen Viall, a research astrophysicist at NASA/Goddard Space Centre, speaking to Space."
 
 

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

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