Ice Dam Alert - Flood Watch. More Details on Spring River Flooding Risk
The weather rhymes, but never repeats. The pattern may be similar, a specific storm may spark deja vu, but it's never (ever) a perfect duplicate. I find that sobering and humbling.
There is growing concern about Minnesota's flood prospects, following a February that brought snowfall 4 times normal for many river basins. National Weather Service forecasters can look out with some level of confidence and accuracy about 7-10 days. Beyond that it's virtually impossible to pin down specifics for a given river or town.
Dan Luna is in charge of the Twin Cities National Weather Service. He expects no major river flooding through March 26. "Lots of water in the snow pack all 3 years (1965, 2001, 2019); more this year" he notes. "The severity of the flooding will be determined by how rapid temperatures reach the mid 40's and stay there, and or significant precipitation events of an inch or greater" Luna told me yesterday.
An inch of rain may fall by Thursday, with plowable snow for far northwestern Minnesota's Red River Valley. A cool weekend gives way to a real warm front. 50s arrive late next week.
I'm elated, and paranoid.
Feeling Bad About Feeling Good. Talk about the definition of passive-aggressive. I want it to warm up as badly as you do right now - but if it warms too fast the potential for serious/historic river flooding rises significantly, especially if accompanied by rain. So I have mixed feelings about ECMWF predicting 50s by the end of next week. Is the European over-doing the warmth in light of all the snow that will still be on the ground? Perhaps. I kind of hope so. Graphic: WeatherBell.
Why Did the Mississippi River Flood of 1965 Occur? The La Crosse office of the National Weather Service did a very good job explaining why 1965 set all-time records for flooding across the Upper Midwest: "...March of 1965 was one of the coldest Marches ever recorded in both Minnesota and Wisconsin. Minnesota had an average temperature of 14.8 degrees. This was 11.2 degrees colder than the 1901-2000 average of 26.0 degrees. It was their second coldest March. Only 1899 was colder with an average temperature of 13.3 degrees. Wisconsin had an average temperature of 21.4 degrees. This was 7.5 degrees colder than the 1901-2000 average of 28.9 degrees. This was the fifth coldest March of the 20th century and sixth coldest March ever recorded (these records date back to 1895). These colder than average temperature prevented the gradual melting and runoff of the snowpack...."
Mild End to March. March came in like a (polar bear) but should go out like a pussy cat; models fairly consistently keeping a mild, Pacific flow over most of the USA, with the exception of the west coast. That should be good for consistent 40s, even a few 50s.
Praedictix Briefing: Issued Tuesday, March 12th, 2019:
- A strong storm system will move into the mid-section of the nation during the middle of the week, producing a number of weather concerns along with it.
- Heavy snow and blizzard conditions will be possible in parts of the High Plains and the northern upper Midwest, particularly Wednesday into Thursday. Some areas could see snowfall totals of 1-2 feet, and wind gusts of up to 70-75 mph could cause blizzard conditions. This will cause rough travel across the region. Blizzard Warnings are already in place across parts of Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, and South Dakota.
- High wind gusts will also be possible outside of the heavy snow area, from Texas to Nebraska. In these areas, wind gusts of 60-70 mph will also be possible. High Wind Watches and Warnings are in place.
- This system will also bring the potential of heavy rain (1-2”+) from the central Plains to the upper Midwest. This heavy rain could lead to flooding with the ongoing snow melt and frozen ground and/or snow cover in place across some of the areas expected to see some of the heaviest rain.
- Severe weather is also possible, especially today across the Southern High Plains where an Enhanced Risk of severe weather is in place. Large hail, damaging winds, and a few tornadoes are possible this afternoon into the overnight hours.
Storm Overview. As a strong area of low pressure moves into the central United States through the middle of the week, a number of weather concerns are expected from the northern Plains and upper Midwest to the southern Plains. This system will bring the potential of heavy snow from Colorado into far northern Minnesota, with blizzard conditions expected across a portion of this region. Some of the heaviest snow is expected Wednesday into Thursday. Strong winds are expected outside of areas seeing heavy snow as well, with wind gusts up to 70 mph possible in some areas from Texas to Nebraska. Heavy rain, with rainfall amounts of 1-2"+, is expected in the warm sector of the storm from parts of Minnesota into the southern Plains. This heavy rain could cause flooding, especially in areas that there is frozen ground and/or snow cover in place in the northern United States. Some of the heaviest rain across the region will fall from later today through Wednesday Night. And severe storms will be possible, especially today in parts of the southern High Plains.
Blizzard Warnings From Colorado To South Dakota. Starting with the cold side of the system, due to the potential of snow, ice, and blizzard conditions areas from Colorado to Minnesota are under winter weather alerts this morning. Numerous Blizzard Warnings are in place from northeastern Colorado to southwestern South Dakota, and these could expand as Winter Storm Watches are upgraded later today. Some of the locations under winter weather alerts include:
- Denver, CO: Winter Storm Watch from Wednesday afternoon through Wednesday evening for 4-8” of snow and wind gusts as high as 50 mph.
- Cheyenne, WY and Scottsbluff, NE: Blizzard Warning from Midnight tonight to 6 PM Thursday for 10-18” of snow and wind gusts as high as 65 mph that will cause blizzard conditions.
- Casper, WY: Winter Storm Watch from Wednesday morning through late Wednesday night for 5-10” of snow and wind gusts as high as 40 mph.
- North Platte, NE: Winter Storm Watch from Wednesday afternoon through Thursday evening for up to 6” of snow, ice up to a tenth of an inch, and wind gusts as high as 55 mph.
- Rapid City, SD: Blizzard Warning from 6 AM Wednesday to 6 PM Thursday for 8-18” of snow and wind gusts as high as 65 mph causing blizzard conditions.
- Pierre, SD: Winter Storm Watch from Wednesday morning through late Thursday night for 5-19”, ice up to three tenths of an inch, and wind gusts as high as 55 mph that could cause blizzard conditions.
- Aberdeen, SD: Winter Storm Watch from Wednesday morning through late Thursday night for 4-14” of snow, ice up to a tenth of an inch, and wind gusts as high as 55 mph that could cause blizzard conditions.
- Bismarck, ND: Winter Storm Watch from Wednesday evening through late Thursday morning for 3-6” of snow and wind gusts as high as 50 mph that could cause blizzard conditions.
- Fargo & Grand Forks, ND: Winter Storm Watch from Wednesday evening through Thursday evening for 3-9” of snow and wind gusts as high as 55 mph that could cause blizzard conditions.
- International Falls, MN: Winter Storm Watch from Wednesday evening through Thursday evening for 3-5” of snow.
Also, parts of the Rocky Mountain Front in Montana (including Logan Pass and Marias Pass) are under a Blizzard Warning through 3 PM today due to ground blizzard conditions with wind gusts up to 50 mph.
Expected Snow. A band of 1-2 feet of snow will be possible through Thursday evening from parts of eastern Wyoming and western Nebraska northeastward into central South Dakota and potentially areas of southwestern North Dakota. Areas like Fargo, Grand Forks, and northwestern Minnesota could see the potential of 6-9" of snow. This snow will cause severe travel issues across the region, and with the added wind/blizzard potential travel could be impossible.
Expected Strong Winds. Very strong winds – potentially gusting near 70-75 mph in some areas – will be possible along with this storm system across the Plains states. Starting in areas that see snowfall, this could lead to blizzard and whiteout conditions, especially Wednesday into Thursday which will make travel nearly impossible. Due to the heavy snow and strong winds, I would expect some road closures, especially in areas under Blizzard Warnings and the potential of power outages and tree damage. In areas outside the heavy snow, strong winds will lead to the potential of hazardous travel conditions and power outages.
High Wind Alerts. With very strong wind gusts (again potentially exceeding 70 mph in some locations) expected outside of areas that see snow, High Wind Watches and Warnings have been issued from Texas to Nebraska for the middle of the week. Some of the locations under these concerns include Albuquerque (NM), Amarillo, Lubbock, and Wichita Falls (TX), Oklahoma City (OK), Pueblo (CO), Dodge City and Wichita (KS), and Grand Island and Lincoln (NE).
Flooding Rains Expected As Well. This system will also produce a heavy rain and flood threat in the warm sector across the mid-section of the country. Rainfall totals of at least 1-2”, with some areas receiving 3” tallies, are expected today through Thursday, with some of the heaviest expected to fall Tuesday night into Wednesday night.
Flooding Could Occur Due To The Rain. The main concern of this heavy rain will be the potential of flooding over the next several days. In some parts of the central Plains and upper Midwest, this rain will be falling on top of frozen ground and/or in areas with snow cover still in place, meaning a lot of this rain will directly run off into rivers and streams. This rain would also increase the snowmelt across parts of the upper Midwest and could cause at least some minor river flooding. Urban/street flooding will also be a concern, especially if storm drains are clogged with snow and ice. The potential of ice jams on rivers will also have to be monitored.
Numerous Flood Watches. Due to the threat of flooding with this system, an expansive area from the Minnesota/Canadian border to Kansas are under flood watches through the middle of the week.
Enhanced Severe Storm Risk Today. Severe weather is also expected with this system as it moves toward the central United States. The highest severe risk at the moment is expected today across parts of the Southern High Plains, where an Enhanced Risk of severe weather is in place including locations like Lubbock, Abilene, Midland, Odessa, and San Angelo, TX. Storms are expected to form across central New Mexico this afternoon, moving eastward as a line of storms into western Texas this evening into the overnight hours. Initial storms across New Mexico and western Texas will be capable of large hail and a few tornadoes. Toward the evening hours storms will merge into a line capable of damaging winds and a few embedded tornadoes across parts of western Texas.
D.J. Kayser, Meteorologist, Praedictix
Street Flooding Potential. With 1-1.5" of rain expected Tuesday into Thursday rapid snow melt and run off into streets will be problematic, with a significant threat of street flooding in the days to come. The local National Weather Service has a Situation Report on the flooding potential here.
Alabama's Deadly Tornado Ripped Through Homes - and Exposed Vulnerabilities. Here's a clip from The Washington Post: "...Bobby Kilgore, a police captain in nearby Opelika, said officials are grappling with how to get weather-weary citizens to seek shelter when a watch is issued even if experience has taught them that there is a very low chance of being hit. “Once the siren goes off, it is already too late,” he said. It can be very dangerous to travel to a public shelter in the few minutes before a tornado hits. “You don’t want people getting in their car and driving,” van de Lindt said. Lee County has been aggressive in pushing out information via social media, weather radios and television, Myers said. But the fact that the storm came on a Sunday probably hampered preparedness, with people’s routines and communications different than during the week..."
The Fight To Be a Middle-Aged Female News Anchor. A story at The New York Times made me do a double-take: "....Meredith is also, as it happens, being sued for age discrimination. In 2015, CBS affiliate KCTV in Kansas City, fired news anchor Karen Fuller, then 47, from the station and replaced her with a 32-year old. In Dec. 2017, NBC affiliate WSMV in Nashville let anchor Demetria Kalodimos, then 58, go, and replaced her with someone a decade younger. Both women subsequently filed suit. Ms. Fuller’s suit alleged that removing older women from highly visible roles has been a problem at Meredith stations, with a set of seven female anchors in markets including Atlanta, Phoenix and St. Louis removed in a span of five years and replaced with younger women. The average age of the anchors who lost their jobs was 46.8, while their replacements averaged 38.1 years. In one case, the difference was more than two decades..."
Why Hasn't Minnesota Ever Produced a U.S. President? The Star Tribune has a good read: "...Hubert Humphrey’s defeat in ’68 represents the state’s closest attempt at the Oval Office. (Though born in South Dakota, Humphrey is as Minnesotan as they come.) Walter Mondale, the state’s only other major party nominee, overwhelmingly lost in 1984 to Ronald Reagan. Could it be some sort of Minnesota curse, similar to that of a certain purple and gold football team? Minnesota Historical Society curator Sondra Reierson says probably not. “With Humphrey, Vietnam was really the end of him. With Mondale, Reagan was just a more attractive candidate overall. It really does come to the individual specifics of each race,” she said. “I’m not sure if the individual states are really the deciding factor...”
5 Reasons Why the U.S. Should Stay On Daylight Saving Time Permanently. Here's the intro to a piece at Quartz: "In my research on daylight saving time, I have found that Americans don’t like it when Congress messes with their clocks. In an effort to avoid the biannual clock switch in spring and fall, some well-intended critics of DST have made the mistake of suggesting that the abolition of DST—and a return to permanent standard time—would benefit society. In other words, the US would never “spring forward” or “fall back.” They are wrong. DST saves lives and energy and prevents crime. Not surprisingly, then, politicians in Washington, California and Florida are now proposing to move to DST year-round..."
Barking Drones Used on Farms Instead of Sheep Dogs. Oh boy, here come the robots. Radio New Zealand has the story: "Robots aren't just stealing human jobs, they're after man's best friend too - now there's a drone that can bark like a sheep dog...The latest drone model, the $3500 DJI Mavic Enterprise, can record sounds and play them over a speaker - allowing a dog's bark, or other noises, to be loudly projected across a paddock. Mr Lambeth said this feature helped move stock along faster during mustering while stressing the animals less than a dog could. Cows could sometimes become protective of their calves and try to lunge at farm dogs when they got too close, he said. "That's the one thing I've noticed when you're moving cows and calves that the old cows stand-up to the dogs, but with the drones, they've never done that," he said..."
It Pays to Read the Fine Print. USA TODAY explains: "A Georgia schoolteacher won $10,000 from an insurance company for doing what dozens before her failed to do: She read the fine print. Donelan Andrews was seven pages deep into the fine print on a travel insurance contract when she spotted some curious text, according to Squaremouth, the Florida-based company that issues a policy known as Tin Leg. “If you’ve read this far, then you are one of the very few Tin Leg customers to review all of their policy documentation," read the text, revealing a secret contest inviting Andrews to claim a $10,000 reward..."
Photo credit: "Donelan Andrews reads every word of every contract, every time." (Photo: Squaremouth)
WEDNESDAY: Flood Watch. Rain, heavy at times. Winds: E 10-15. High: 46
THURSDAY: Showery rains. Slushy coating at night. Winds: N 7-12. Wake-up: 39. High: 47
FRIDAY: Mostly cloudy, colder wind. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 26. High: 35
SATURDAY: Partly sunny, less wind. Winds: W 7-12. Wake-up: 19. High: 37
SUNDAY: Cloudy, sprinkles or flurries. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 25. High: 39
MONDAY: Sunny and pleasant. Winds: NW 7-12. Wake-up: 23. High: 42
TUESDAY: Partly sunny, feels a little springy. Winds: SE 5-10. Wake-up: 28. High: 44
Kasich: Forget the Green New Deal. We Need Climate Solutions From Free-Market Moderates. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed from the former governor of Ohio at USA TODAY: "...That’s just one example of a national climate change response that could win support from elected leaders with a broad range of political convictions. They can start with a carbon tax or a cap and trade program, which is a market-based trading system to incentivize carbon reduction. These approaches have already shown they can work. Over the past 20 years, a cap and trade in the eastern USA has dramatically reduced sulfurous power-plant emissions that cause acid rain. Today, California and some of Canada’s provinces have agreed to apply a cooperative cap and trade approach to controlling greenhouse gasses. These and similar initiatives are making a difference, but we need to do more to make significant progress against climate change..."
That Sinking Feeling: Real Estate in the Age of Climate Change. Interested in coastal real estate? Really? Here's an excerpt from a post at Forbes: "...Also note that the lead author of the report, Mary Ludgin, is not some unwashed, unlearned hipster activist, but the managing director of a $42 billion real estate investment fund, Heitman. Ludgin received analytical support from Four Twenty Seven, a climate risk analytics firm founded by political scientist Emilie Mazzacurati after Mazzacurati witnessed the enormous financial losses brought about by Hurricane Sandy. Ludgin and Mazzacurati know what I know: climate change is the most disruptive socioeconomic force in human history. Disruption spells opportunity, but only for those who are prepared for it. Intelligent investors take note!"
Map credit: First Street Foundation Report: First Street.org.
Democrats Want Any Infrastructure Bill To Address Climate Change. Scientific American has the story: "As infrastructure talks progress on Capitol Hill, Democrats are calling for any legislative package to address climate change. That would have been unthinkable last year, when Republicans controlled both chambers of Congress. Indeed, when President Trump initially proposed his $1 trillion infrastructure plan last year, it sparked little discussion about global warming. And the plan ultimately failed to materialize due to disagreement over funding options. But momentum is again building for an infrastructure package to materialize by late spring. And now that they have a majority in the House, Democrats are increasingly vocalizing the need for it to address the climate crisis (E&E Daily, March 7)..."
File image: NOAA.
The Big Chill. Quartz has a great post on the Little Ice Age of the 1600s, and how it may be prologue to the kinds of large-scale climate disruptions we're going to face going forward: "...But when the bad seasons wouldn’t stop coming—for years—and literal witch hunts didn’t do a thing to help, a new paradigm was (slowly) born. Over the next 100 years, nature started being seen as a clockwork mechanism that humans can discern. Scientists exchanged information. Botanists sent plants across continents, and Europe adopted new growths, like tulips and potatoes, which proved to be the basis for new markets and gastronomies. By the time the weather became more temperate a century later, many of the ideas that shape the world we live in today had come into being—including notions of a free market with its own logic. And those market forces led us to the current climate crisis. If the past is any indication, what lies ahead for us as climate change leads to increasingly frequent extreme weather is a time of great trouble, disruption, upheaval, uncertainty, intellectual development, and innovation. If we’re lucky, a brave new world will emerge..."
The Climate Election. It won't be too difficult for climate to get more coverage in 2020 than it did in 2016, according to Axios: "There wasn't a single question about global warming in the 2016 presidential debates. In 2020, it might be the dominant one.
The big picture: Climate change is on everyone's minds in a way that it wasn't in 2016. The worst thing to be as a Democratic presidential candidate, according to some youth environmental activists, is a "climate delayer" — someone who doesn't recognize the urgency in addressing climate change.
Even Gov. Jay Inslee, who's running for president as the climate candidate, doesn't get a pass. Thirteen activists are suing Inslee and the state of Washington for "causing and contributing to climate change" by "promoting and implementing a fossil-fuel based energy and transportation system," said Andrea Rodgers, a lead lawyer on the case..."
Illustration credit: Rebecca Zisser/Axios.
Republicans Who Believe in Climate Change Seek Alternative to Green New Deal. A story at NBC News caught my eye: "...But polling shows the Republican Party's aversion to acknowledging climate change is increasingly falling out of favor. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released on March 4 showed that 63 percent of adults felt that the GOP's positions on climate change were outside the mainstream, compared to 54 percent who said so when asked in October 2015. On fiscal issues, immigration and abortion — three other issues that adults were asked about in both the polls — the difference between 2015 and 2019 was negligible or nonexistent. "I think they've got to look at where the young people are, where the suburban people are, much more pro anti-climate change measures than Republican leadership and stuff," Rep. Francis Rooney, R-Fla., told NBC News. "And at some point, they're going to realize that if you can't reach enough people, you can't win. That's a math issue..."
Photo credit: "Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., hold a news conference this month on their Green New Deal environmental proposal."Jonathan Ernst / Reuters file.
It's 2050 and This Is How We Stopped Climate Change. Bold prediction or fantasy? NPR takes us along for the ride: "...Some of my guides see "electric highways" with wires overhead, and trucks tapping into the electric power in those wires the same way trains do. Others see trucks running on hydrogen fuel; we make that hydrogen using solar or hydro power. It appears that aircraft still are burning jet fuel. When you buy a plane ticket, you're also paying to cancel out that flight's carbon emissions, capturing an equivalent amount of CO2 from the air. This makes air travel expensive. Fortunately, we now have much faster trains. Teleconferencing helps, too. Sally Benson is absolutely convinced about one thing. The hardest part of this journey wasn't finding technical solutions. They all existed, even back in 2019. The hardest part was navigating the social disruption. "The transformations were so profound that it really needed to be a collective effort," she says..."
How Broadcast TV Networks Covered Climate Change in 2018. Media Matters has a rather sobering report: "...Key findings:
- There was a 45 percent drop in climate change coverage on the broadcast networks’ nightly news and Sunday morning political shows from 2017 to 2018 -- from a total of 260 minutes in 2017 down to just 142 minutes in 2018.
- Nearly a third of the time that the networks spent covering climate change in 2018, or 46 minutes, came from a single episode of NBC's Meet the Press on December 30 that was dedicated to discussion of climate change.
- NBC was the only network that aired more minutes of climate coverage in 2018 than in 2017 -- an increase of 23 percent. CBS' time spent on climate coverage fell 56 percent from 2017 to 2018, Fox News Sunday's fell by 75 percent, and ABC's fell by 81 percent..."
Graphic credit: Melissa Joskow / Media Matters.