Friday Slush Event - Earliest Coating Since 2009?

What is it about the first snowfall of the season? Some Minnesotans, who've been through this drill many times before, temporarily lose their minds. You'd think the forecast called for zombies or dragons! It's just snow, folks.
According to the Twin Cities National Weather Service this may be the earliest accumulating snowfall since 2009. Since 2000 there have been only 5 days in October with measurable snow. The first coating will come about 6 days earlier than normal in the Twin Cities. Unusual, but hardly unprecedented.
I still remember shoveling 30 inches of snow on Halloween 1991. I'll take that one to my grave.
Clouds increase today with highs in the mid-50s. A raw north wind changes light rain over to snow tomorrow. An inch or two of slush may pile up on lawns, but with air temperatures above 32F I expect most roads to stay wet. This is just a slushy appetizer; the main event (something plowable that will turn your commute into a living hell) is still probably 2-4 weeks away.
A chilling breeze blows early next week; highs struggle up to 40F on Halloween. Scary!

** We won't see nearly this much snow. File photo above: Pietro Zanarini.

From the Twin Cities office of the National Weather Service:

European Solution. The 12z Wednesday ECMWF shows a couple inches of slush for the metro and much of southern Minnesota, with plowable amounts possible over the northern third of Minnesota and Wisconsin. I know. Too. Soon. Map: WeatherBell.

NOAA (NAM) Solution. Here's the 18z 12 km NAM model output, showing potentially plowable amounts just west of the Twin Cities. Friday will be raw and snowy by afternoon but air temperatures should be at or just above 32F much of the daylight hours, keeping many roads wet. Friday evening and night could be trickier with wet roads turning to ice as temperatures dip below freezing. Map:

Autumn Interrupted. Fall has been postponed for a few days; from Friday into Halloween it will look and feel more like late November out there as Canadian air pours south. We'll see more 50s in November - I wouldn't rule out another 60F high or two before winter really arrives. Twin Cities ECMWF: WeatherBell.

Slight Moderation Second Week of November. Peering out 2 weeks GFS model guidance suggests a zonal, west to east wind flow for the USA, implying temperatures close to average and no major storms, with the possible exception of the Pacific Northwest.

Biggest Wave Ever on the Great Lakes. Wind gusts up to 77 mph on the U.P. of Michigan with waves as high as 29 feet? Bill Steffen at WOOD-TV explains: "Very strong winds in Upper Michigan downed trees and powers lines, leaving thousands of customers without power.  The Alger Co. Sheriff is urging residents to stay home.  A man and women got swept off Black Rocks by the waves of Lake Superior on Tuesday afternoon around 1:35 p.m. The U.S. Coast Guard helicopter from Traverse City has arrived in the area to assist with the rescue operation.  Marquette City Police have advised that anyone who attempts to go out to Presque Isle Island could be arrested.  Several shelters have been opened to aid those without power..."

Tracking the Trends. In the last 365 days the USA has experienced a total of 34,582 record maximum temperatures and 31,375 record warm minimum temperatures - compared with 14,798 record cold maximum temperatures and 8,987 record cold minimum temperatures, according to NOAA NCDC.

Frequency of Extreme Summertime Heat Seen Rising Across U.S. Reuters reports: "Nearly two-thirds of Americans, mostly in Western states and on the Eastern seaboard, have endured more days of extreme summer heat over the past 10 years than in previous decades, a leading environmental group said in a study unveiled on Tuesday...The study, issued by the Natural Resources Defense Council, identified 21 states and the District of Columbia as being the hardest hit. In each one, at least 75 percent of residents now face more than nine summer days in which temperatures are higher than the top 10 percent hottest days of June through August during the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s, according to the report..."

Map credit: Natural Resources Defense Council.

Report: Drought is "Misery in Slow Motion": From Climate Nexus Hot News: "Worldwide droughts destroy enough food crops to feed 81 million people each day for a year, according to new research. A new report from the World Food Bank calls droughts "misery in slow motion," finding that deadly droughts are four times more costly for economies than floods. The report also lists several examples of the devastating impacts of drought, including increased deforestation as farmers expand crop area and fewer opportunities and more health problems for women born during drought. Climate change helps to drive several factors that can lead to severe drought. "This is not a problem for the future -- it's a problem for the here and now." lead author Richard Damania told CBS." (The Guardian, CBS, Thomson Reuters Foundation. Background: Climate Signals on drought risk)

File photo: Associated Press.

Extreme Weather, Climate Change Costing Taxpayers Billions. Here's an excerpt of a summary of a new government (GAO) report highlighted at NBC News: "Climate change is costing taxpayers billions of dollars in disaster relief and the tab will only increase as extreme weather events become more common, according to a new government study. The federal government has spent an estimated $350 billion over the past decade responding to extreme weather and fire events, which are exacerbated by climate change, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) report. It comes as Congress moves to approve billions of dollars in extra funding for hurricane relief. "Climate change impacts are already costing the federal government money, and these costs will likely increase over time as the climate continues to change," the report found..."

How Trump is Crippling Storm Forecasting Just When It's Getting Good. New times and an apparent uptick in extreme weather events calls for new techniques and technologies just to keep up, argues Eric Holthaus at Rolling Stone: "...The president's budget proposal would slash the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's budget by 16 percent, including 6 percent from the National Weather Service. Besides hampering climate research, the cuts would jeopardize satellite programs and other forecasting tools – as well as threaten the jobs of forecasters themselves. And they may undermine bipartisan legislation Trump himself signed earlier this year that mandates key steps to improve the nation's ability to predict disasters before they happen. It's hard to overstate how backward that seems after the hurricane season we've just witnessed, as well as the deadly wildfires in California, the climate-charged droughts and deluges and, well, you name it. Just when we need forecasting to be better than ever – and need our forecasters to be able to go even further, using those predictions in ways that protect people's lives and livelihoods – the Trump administration wants to cut back?..."

Hurricane Harvey file photo: NASA's International Space Station.

NYC Looking at a Flooded Future: From Climate Nexus Hot News: "Catastrophic flooding levels considered once-in-500-year events when New York City was founded could hit the city once every five years within a few decades, according to new research. A study published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science finds that while a warmer climate may cause more storms to swerve away from the city in the future, the storms that do hit New York will bring devastating floods due to rising sea levels. Researchers say that 7.5-foot flooding in New York, a rarity before 1800, now occurs once every 25 years, and could rise to once every five years by 2030. The study also projects that a once-in-500-year flood event by 2100 could possibly flood parts of the city by up to 17 feet, dependent on the state of the Antarctic ice shelf. Superstorm Sandy, which hit the city five years ago this week, brought 9.2-foot floods that inundated thousands of buildings, knocked out power and decimated the subway system." (AP, Washington Post $, The Atlantic, InsideClimate News)

5 Years After Superstorm Sandy, the Lessons Haven't Sunk In. The Washington Post explains: "...While billions have been spent to repair the damage, protecting vulnerable infrastructure, people and property across the nation from the more extreme weather that climate change could bring is going to require investment on a staggering scale, easily costing hundreds of billions, perhaps trillions. Some coastal protection projects are moving forward, but the most ambitious ideas spurred by Sandy’s onslaught are still in the design stage, with questions about whether they will ever be built. Some wonder whether the nation has the will to undertake such ventures, even after this past season brought more catastrophic storms, including Hurricane Harvey, which swamped Houston, and Hurricane Maria, which laid waste to Puerto Rico’s electrical grid..."

Photo credit: "Water from New York Harbor surrounds the southern tip of New York’s Manhattan borough on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017, seen from aboard a Staten Island Ferry. Superstorm Sandy roared ashore five years ago, Monday, Oct. 29, 2012, devastating the coastlines of New Jersey, New York and parts of Connecticut and becoming one of the costliest storms in U.S. history." (Seth Wenig/Associated Press).

New York's Fate is Closely Tied to Antarctic Ice, Climate Scientists Warn. Chris Mooney explains at The Washington Post: "New York City’s ability to withstand hurricanes could hinge on the state of the Antarctic ice sheet some 8,000 miles away, according to a study published Monday. Using computer projections to simulate thousands of storms in potential future climates, researchers found that storms would be more likely to swerve away from the city. The trouble is the storms that do approach will, on average, be more powerful. And all storms that hit New York, regardless of their power, will start at a higher baseline, as they’ll be traveling on seas that have risen due to climate change. The result is that the risk of a storm similar to Hurricane Sandy, albeit with a slightly smaller storm surge, has gone from a one-in-500-years event in 1800 to a one-in-25-years event today. By the period between 2030 and 2045, such storms could become a one-in-five-years event, according to the projections..."

File photo: "Stormy seas crash into a pier along the northeast U.S. coast." (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences)

How Cities Are Defending Themselves from Sea Level Rise. AP and The Washington Post have the story: "Superstorm Sandy and a series of lesser coastal storms since that 2012 disaster compelled some coastal communities to defend themselves by elevating homes and critical infrastructure, building sand dunes, widening beaches and erecting or raising sea walls. But as sea levels continue to rise around the world, that’s not an option in large cities, where skyscrapers can’t be elevated and subway and train tunnels act as turbocharged flumes when millions of gallons of stormwater rush through them. The answer, some cities have decided, is a mixture of hard and soft barriers; green infrastructure to capture rain and absorb storm water; temporary storage space for runoff; and drastically increased pumping measures..."

File photo: Matt Merrifield, AP.

Forest Fires Stoke Record Loss in World Tree Cover: Monitor. Reuters has the details: "Forest fires in Brazil and Indonesia contributed to a record loss in global tree cover in 2016, equivalent to the size of New Zealand, that could accelerate deforestation blamed for climate change, an independent forest monitoring network said on Monday. Man-made global warming increased the risks of wildfires by adding to extreme heat and droughts in some regions, according to Global Forest Watch (GFW). This year, California and Portugal have been among places suffering deadly blazes. The combination of forest fires with land use change and climate change could speed destruction in areas like the Amazon and contribute to emissions of carbon dioxide, one of the gases that contribute to global warming, the report said..."

File photo credit: "Police and a fire fighter from a local forestry company try to extinguish a forest fire in the village in Rokan Hulu regency, Riau province, Sumatra, Indonesia August 28, 2016 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Picture taken August 28, 2016." Antara Foto/Rony Muharrman/via REUTERS

Pollution's Annual Price Tag? 4.6 Trillion and 9 Million Dead. Air pollution claims more lives than water pollution, especially in developing countries, including India and China. Bloomberg reports: "...Pollution in all its forms killed 9 million people in 2015 and, by one measure, led to economic damage of $4.6 trillion, according to a new estimate by researchers who hope to put the health costs of toxic air, water and soil higher on the global agenda. In less-developed nations, pollution-linked illness and death drag down productivity, reducing economic output by 1 percent to 2 percent annually, according to the tally by the Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health, published Thursday by the U.K. medical journal. The report is intended to illuminate the hidden health and economic consequences of harmful substances introduced into the environment by human activity. Diseases caused by pollution account for about one in six deaths worldwide..."

* Access to the paper referenced above is available at The Lancet.

Subsidizing Coal is Far From Conservative. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed at Bloomberg: "...In addition, let's recognize that Perry is pushing for coal to be rewarded for one positive attribute, "resilience," even as the administration downplays a glaring negative one, carbon emissions. Maximilian Auffhammer, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley, captured this inconsistency in a recent blog post:

Subsidizing coal for its reliability attributes is like subsidizing bacon for its nutritional content.

Ignoring the problem of climate change, or setting irrational thresholds for action, is to just roll the dice. Jerry Taylor, founder of the libertarian think tank Niskanen Center, put it this way in a detailed paper stating the case for a carbon tax, published in 2015:

Risks from climate change are real and a policy of ignoring those risks and hoping for the best is inconsistent with risk management practices conservatives embrace in other, non-climate contexts..."

File photo: Matthew Brown, AP.

These Are The Fastest Growing Jobs in the U.S. Bloomberg has the story: "Home health aides, statisticians, solar-panel installers and software developers are among the 15 fastest-growing occupations in the U.S. and reflect the needs of an aging population, a shift to clean energy and employer demand for science, technology and math talent. The number of solar photovoltaic installers -- responsible for installing systems on roofs or other structures, and earning a median annual wage of $39,240 in 2016 -- is projected to more than double from 2016 to 2026, according to data from the Labor Department’s biennial employment projections released Tuesday..."

Solar Costs Set to Fall Further: From Climate Nexus Hot News: The already-plummeting costs of installing solar power could fall an additional 60 percent over the next decade, the head of the International Renewable Energy Association said Monday. IRENA director general Adnan Amin told Reuters that the organization expects an additional 80 to 90 GW of solar capacity will be added worldwide each year for the next five to six years, and that improvements in technology, including batteries, will help drive down costs. Earlier this month, a new solar project in Saudi Arabia set a record for the lowest bid prices ever recorded for solar energy at 1.79 cents/kWh. A report from the International Energy Organization earlier this month hailed a "new era" for solar, naming it the fastest-growing source of new energy in 2016. (Irena: Reuters, PV Magazine. Saudi Arabia: Bloomberg. IEA: ReutersCNBCThe GuardianBloombergMashable. Commentary: ThinkProgress, Joe Romm column)

Over 40% of Tech Workers Worried About Losing Their Jobs to Ageism. has the details: "More than 40 percent of tech workers polled are worried they will lose their jobs because of ageism, a new study from job listing site Indeed, with almost 20 percent saying they worry “all the time” about becoming too old for their jobs. Indeed polled 1,000 tech workers in September 2017 for its study, which found that 46 percent of the tech sector is comprised of millennials, with a much smaller minority of 26 percent made up of baby boomers and Gen Xers. The average tech worker polled had been in tech for 15 years and 9 months, with 36 percent saying the average age at their company is between 31 to 35..."

In a Distracted World, Solitude is a Competitive Advantage. A story at Harvard Business Review is worth your time: "...A significant volume of research has outlined the problem with this onslaught of information. Research by the University of London reveals that our IQ drops by five to 15 points when we are multitasking. In his book, Your Brain at Work, David Rock explains that performance can decrease by up to 50% when a person focuses on two mental tasks at once. And research led by legendary Stanford University professor Clifford Nass concluded that distractions reduce the brain’s ability to filter out irrelevancy in its working memory. There is no silver bullet to solving the complex problems ushered in by the information age. But there are some good places to start, and one of them is counterintuitive: solitude. Having the discipline to step back from the noise of the world is essential to staying focused..."

File image: NASA.

Now We Have to Worry About Dog-Doping? Is no sport immune? Here's a blurb from a story at The Washington Post: "A doping scandal has rocked yet another sport — this time, the competition that calls itself the “Last Great Race on Earth” — the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Officials with the 1,000-mile race through Alaska’s treacherous wilderness, two weeks ago announced that several dogs from one musher’s team tested positive for the opioid pain reliever Tramadol. It is the first time in the history of the world-famous race that dogs have tested positive for a banned drug. But the governing board declined to name the musher, leading to weeks of speculation. On Monday, race officials revealed that the musher whose dogs tested positive was a four-time Iditarod champion, Dallas Seavey..."

Image credit: "The Iditarod Trail Committee identified four-time champion Dallas Seavey as the musher whose dogs tested positive for a banned substance in this year’s race." (Amber Ferguson/The Washington Post)

Albert Einstein’s Happiness Note Sold for $1.6 million. BBC reports: "A note written by Albert Einstein containing advice on happy living has sold at an auction house in Jerusalem for $1.56m (£1.19m). Einstein gave the note to a courier in Tokyo in 1922 instead of a tip.  He had just heard that he had won the coveted Nobel prize for physics and told the messenger that, if he was lucky, the notes would become valuable. The German-born physicist had won the Nobel and was in Japan on a lecture tour. When the courier came to his room to make a delivery, he did not have any money to reward him. Instead, he handed the messenger a signed note - using stationery of the Imperial Hotel Tokyo - with one sentence, written in German: "A calm and humble life will bring more happiness than the pursuit of success and the constant restlessness that comes with it…"

58 F. maximum temperature yesterday in the Twin Cities.

54 F. average high on October 25.

52 F. high temperature on October 25, 2016.

October 26, 2010: The lowest pressure on record for Minnesota occurs in the town of Bigfork, with a reading of 28.21 inches of mercury (955.30 mb). Very strong winds were widespread throughout the state, with peak gusts of 65 mph recorded at both Georgeville (Stearns County) and Mehurin Township (Lac Qui Parle County).

October 26, 1996: A severe weather outbreak combined with a blizzard occurred across the upper Midwest. Intense low pressure tracking into Minnesota produced blizzard conditions over portions of South Dakota, while further east in Minnesota, unseasonably mild temperatures developed. Temperatures climbed to near 70, with dew points in the 50s. 1 to 1 3/4 inch hail and strong winds were reported in Lac Qui Parle, Yellow Medicine, Chippewa, and Swift Counties. These storms produced 12 tornadoes; the strongest of which received F2 ratings. Southwest of Alexandria in Douglas County, an F2 tornado with a 9 mile track destroyed several homes. One woman sustained broken bones and internal injuries when a portion of her house, with her inside, was launched 200 feet onto the interstate. This tornado also pushed over a 500 pound fuel tank. Tornadoes also touched down in Swift, Kandiyohi, Pope, Stearns, and Isanti Counties.

THURSDAY: Clouds increase, becoming windy. Winds: NW 10-20. High: 56

THURSDAY NIGHT: A little light rain, changing to wet snow northern MN. Low: 34

FRIDAY: Rain changes to snow, slushy 1-2" on lawns? Wet roads. Winds: N 15-30. High: 38

FRIDAY NIGHT: Snow tapers to flurries -- wet roads become icy. Low: 29

SATURDAY: Partly sunny. Winds ease. Any snow melts. Winds: NW 7-12. High: 43

SUNDAY: Next clipper, few PM showers. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 31. High: 46

MONDAY: A ragged sky, few flurries in the air. Winds: NW 15-25. Wake-up: 30. High: 40

TUESDAY: Chilly Halloween. Lot's of clouds - probably dry. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 32. High: 42

WEDNESDAY: Mostly cloudy, cooler than average. Winds: SW 8-13. Wake-up: 30. High: 44

Climate Stories...

Climate Change Journalist Warns: "Mother Nature Is Playing by Different Rules Now". Here's an excerpt of an interview with Jeff Goodell at NPR: "...We've seen - in 2012 there was a record ice melt up there. And, you know, we're seeing acceleration of the glaciers in Greenland. But ice physics is very complex and, you know, scientists up until recently sort of had this idea that they could calculate how fast a big ice sheet like Greenland can melt and have a good idea of what sea level rise rates might be like in the future. But recently, a lot of attention is being focused in West Antarctica, especially this couple of glaciers there called Thwaites and Pine Island Glacier where the real problem is that you have a warming ocean - the ocean absorbs a lot of the heat of - as the atmosphere warms. And that warming ocean is getting underneath the ice sheets there, and that can cause big problems because you have melting from below. And one of the things that scientists are figuring out is that you can calculate to a pretty good degree how fast an ice sheet will melt, but calculating how fast it can collapse is a whole a different thing. And some of the ice sheets in West Antarctica are a mile or two high. And if the water gets underneath them and they start to collapse, that could mean very rapid sea level rise..."

Should States Rely on Nuclear Power to Combat Climate Change? Here's the intro of an interview at PBS NewsHour: "As older nuclear energy plants approach retirement or are threatened by closure, states worried about climate change are figuring out whether to keep them running. While they are cleaner for the environment, they are radioactive and significantly more expensive than fossil fuels. NewsHour Weekend's Christopher Booker reports on the debate from New York..."

Climate Change Will Bring Major Flooding to New York Every 5 Years. The Atlantic reports on new research highlighting The Big Apple's vulnerabiliity to rising seas: "New York is a city on the water. For hundreds of years, its rivers and harbor have worked to its advantage, bringing it speedy transportation and pleasant temperatures. The next couple hundred years may not be as smooth sailing. Global warming, caused by the release of carbon-dioxide pollution into the atmosphere, will cause the seas to rise and the storms to intensify around the city. A new study from an all-star list of climate scientists attempts to estimate how a few of climate change’s symptoms—higher seas, large storm surge, and more intense hurricanes—will intersect in New York over the next 300 years..."

Photo credit: "Joseph Leader, the vice president of the New York MTA, inspects a flooded escalator down to a subway platform in the days after Hurricane Sandy." Mike Segar / Reuters.

Murkowski's Message at AFN: "Climate Change is Real". Alaska Public Media reports: "On stage at the Alaska Federation of Natives convention Saturday, Sen. Lisa Murkowski did not mince words.Climate change is real,” Murkowski told the audience firmly. “Climate change is real.” Murkowski wasn’t the only one delivering that message. Climate change was very much on the agenda this year, as delegates passed a resolution asking the federal government to make climate impacts in rural villages eligible for disaster relief. Murkowski opened her speech Saturday with a discussion of healthcare, but quickly pivoted. “While healthcare has been the issue that has been dominating our days, it isn’t the issue that is defining our time,” Murkowski said. “Our world is changing. The world around us is changing: socially, economically, and ecologically. And we all know that climate change is at the heart of this change...”

Seeing God's Hand in the Deadly Floods, Yet Wondering About Climate Change. InsideClimate News takes a look at flood victims in West Virginia attempting to connect the dots: "...There will always be weather disasters that will spark the emergence of these heroes. There will always be room for sweet sympathies for storm victims, the outpouring of donations, the arrival of strangers ready to shovel mud out of houses and hand out blankets. But the other storyline, the scientific one, proffers the possibility of prevention. Can we halt the warming of the Earth and the seas by ratcheting back the amount of greenhouse gases we produce, so less water rises up to later fall as rain, heavier and harder than we've experienced before? So NOAA doesn't have to come up with new colors on rain charts that signal feet rather than inches? So a good heavy rain is really just good for the garden, and you can wake from your afternoon nap and head to a day at work that will sift into a blur of other indistinguishable rainy days?..."

On Climate Issues, House GOP Warms Gradually. Here's an excerpt from Roll Call: "When a Republican congressman in July tried to strip the 2018 defense spending bill of its requirement to plan for global warming and rising sea level threats, a group of House GOP lawmakers joined Democrats to kill the effort. It was a rare win in the fight to slow climate change, in a Congress where the Republican majority consistently votes against climate action. Almost every Republican who crossed the aisle that day belongs to the growing House Climate Solutions Caucus. All but one caucus member voted against the amendment, which was proposed by GOP Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania. “The Perry amendment was really the first test” that called on the group to vote as a bloc, said Rep. Carlos Curbelo, a Florida Republican who co-founded the caucus. “There will be more tests in the future...”

Photo credit: "Florida Rep. Carlos Curbelo has joined 20 Republican colleagues on a resolution that calls conservation a “conservative principle.” (Bill Clark/Roll Call File Photo).

Sea Level Rise Could Flood 1.9 Million U.S. Homes by 2100. Yale E360 reports: "An estimated 1.9 million U.S. homes could be flooded by 2100 if seas rise 6 feet in response to climate change, according to a new analysis by the real estate company Zillow. The affected properties are valued at $916 billion dollars and represent 1.8 percent of the country’s housing stock. The report, published last week, finds that without climate resiliency measures such as sea walls, the majority of flooded homes will be moderate- or lower-priced properties. High-end real estate accounts for 39 percent of at-risk houses. “While the damage caused by recent hurricanes is a devastating reminder of how quickly the weather can undo people’s lives and destroy their homes, the potential for damage from a slower-moving phenomenon could be even more destructive,” the report says..."

Older Post

Slush Potential Friday PM - Winter Storm Watch Red River Valley - Halloween Preview

Newer Post

Paul Douglas: Heaviest amounts of snow forecast for west metro into central Minnesota