"Earth Day 2018: Everything you need to know"
"People around the world will come together this weekend to celebrate the planet and to take action to protect it. Here's everything you need to know about Earth Day 2018. When is Earth Day? First celebrated in 1970, Earth Day takes place worldwide on April 22. This year's event falls on a Sunday.  What is Earth Day and why do we celebrate it? Various events are held annually on Earth Day across the globe to show support for protecting the environment. U.S. Sen. Gaylord Nelson, a Wisconsin native, is largely credited for organizing the first Earth Day in spring 1970, a time when it was still legal for factories to spew noxious fumes into the air or dump toxic waste into nearby streams. That's because the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency didn't exist then, and there were no laws to protect the environment. Nelson recruited Harvard University professor Denis Hayes to coordinate and promote Earth Day nationally. The event was a success. Twenty million Americans took to the streets on April 22, 1970, demanding action on environmental pollution. That December, Congress authorized the establishment of a new federal agency, the EPA, to ensure environmental protection. The passage of the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act and many other landmark environmental laws followed soon after, according to the EPA. Earth Day went global 20 years later, mobilizing 200 million people in dozens of countries and putting environmental issues on the world stage."
"5 Ways to Make This Earth Day Really Count"
"Earth Day 2018 is here—and the earth needs us more than ever. The Trump administration is waging a no-holds-barred assault on our clean energy future, the air we breathe and water we drink, our public lands, and our endangered species. But the grassroots environmental movement is energized, and every action each of us takes to honor the planet matters. Here are a few effective—and fun—ways to make a difference this year. Organize a Cleanup You can’t clean up the entire planet, but you can beautify a pocket of your neighborhood. Round up a group of like-minded friends and relatives to pick up trash at a local park or beach or along a popular hiking trail. Chores are always more fun when they become games, so have everyone bring along a reusable bag—you’ll sort the trash from the recyclables at the end—and compete to see who can pick up the most litter. (Bonus points for offering sustainable prizes to the winners.) The cleanup will be a good chance to give something back to your community and an opportunity to show younger participants the importance of reducing waste. It will also be a reminder to everyone just how quickly seemingly small bits of trash, like bottle caps or candy wrappers, add up."
Lyrid Meteor Shower Peaks This Weekend!!
"Lyrid Meteor Shower 2018 Peaks This Weekend: What to Expect - For enthusiastic meteor watchers, it has been a long stretch — nearly 16 weeks— since there has been a decent opportunity to catch sight of a reasonably good meteor shower. There are 10 displays during the year that are generally considered reliable and worth looking for, and the most recent of these, the Quadrantid meteors, peaked in early January. Since then, we've gone through the rest of winter and into the first full month of spring with not much in the way of significant meteor activity.  That drought will come to an end this weekend for viewers in the Northern Hemisphere, with the appearance of one of the oldest known meteor showers. The meteors are called "Lyrids" because their paths, if extended backward, appear to diverge from a spot in the sky about 9 degrees to the lower right of the brilliant bluish-white star Vega, in the constellation Lyra, the lyre. To give you a good idea of how far that is, your clenched fist held at arm's length measures 10 degrees. Within a day on either side of the maximum, about five to 10 Lyrids can usually be seen each hour by a single observer under good skies. At the peak, which comes early Sunday morning, the Lyrid rate will be roughly 10 to 20 per hour."

Spring Leaf Index

According to the USA NPN, the spring leaf index anomaly continues to show 'spring' continuing to creep north toward the Upper Midwest. Interestingly, the recent cold air during the first half of April has caused spring leaves to emerge a little later than average acros parts of southern Nebraska, southern Iowa and across parts of the Ohio Valley. Hopefully warmer temps through the rest of April and into May will allow spring leaves to emerge near normal closer to home!

Record MSP April Snowfall!

April 2018 has been pretty impressive so far in terms of snow and cold. I feel like we had a repeat of January, don't you? Well, if you haven't heard, this has been the snowiest April in recorded history with a whopping 26.1" of snow, beating the previous snowiest April of 21.8" set in 1983. By the way, the average April snow is only 2.4".


Snow Depth - What A Difference A Week Makes!

Take a look at the snow depth from this weekend to last weekend. Hard to believe that last weekend we were dealing with Blizzard Warnings and thundersnow with some 1ft. to 2ft. snow tallies across the southern part of the state. Even with all that snow, the strong April sun and mild temperatures can do a number on the snow pack. As you can see, within a few days, we've lost A LOT of snow!! Keep it going!!

Coldest April on Record... So Far
The average temperature at the Twin Cities Airport through the first 20 days of the April have been the coldest on record with an average of only 29.7F! Impressively, we are nearly -15.3F below average through the first 20 days of the month.

1st Minnesota Lake is Offcially ICE FREE!!!

Congratulations to Lake Pepin who went ice free on Friday, April 20th and becomes the first Minnesota lake of 2018 to do so. Interestingly, Lake Pepin went ice free nearly 3 weeks later than normal, but is still about 1 month ahead of the latest ice out date of May 20th set in 1843. The good news is that with 'milder' temperatures ahead, we should start seeing more lakes go ice free over the coming weeks. Think Spring!

See more from MN DNR HERE:


Minnesota Govenor's Fishing Opener 2018

"WILLMAR — The 71st annual Minnesota Governor's Fishing Opener is only 28 days away, and local organizers say there is a whopping 25 inches of ice to melt off Green Lake — site of this year's Governor's Opener — by May 12. Our latest ice-out in on record was May 8th, so we're keeping our fingers crossed and hoping for a quick warm-up," said Beth Fischer, executive director of the Willmar Lakes Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, in a news release. Whatever the case — frozen or unfrozen — Fischer says not to worry. "We have several beautiful lakes to choose from in the Willmar Lakes Area, so we'll make sure the governor gets out on the water." The Minnesota Governor's Fishing Opener, a tradition in Minnesota since 1948, will be May 10-13 in the Willmar Lakes Area, including the communities of Willmar, Spicer, and New London."

See more from West Central Tribune Out of Willmar, MN HERE:

(Members of the Planning Committee for the Governor’s Fishing Opener have not lost their sense of humor. On Sunday, they gathered on Green Lake with ice augers, chainsaws, blow torches, axes, shovels and a sign that said, #ComeOnSpring and #WeGotThis.)


Ice Safety!!

Before you go testing the ice on area lakes and ponds, remember that "ICE IS NEVER 100% SAFE!" So when is ice safe? Here is an excerpt from the MN DNR regarding ice safety: 

"There really is no sure answer. You can't judge the strength of ice just by its appearance, age, thickness, temperature, or whether or not the ice is covered with snow. Strength is based on all these factors -- plus the depth of water under the ice, size of the water body, water chemistry and currents, the distribution of the load on the ice, and local climatic conditions."

 Here are some general ice thickness guidelines from the MN DNR:

For new, clear ice ONLY:

Under 4" - STAY OFF
4" - Ice fishing or other activities on foot
5" - 7" - Snowmobile or ATV
8" - 12" - Car or small pickup
12" - 15" - Medium truck

Many factors other than thickness can cause ice to be unsafe.
White ice or "snow ice" is only about half as strong as new clear ice. Double the above thickness guidelines when traveling on white ice.

See more from MN DNR HERE:

Latest First 60F on Record For MSP...
Hallelujah! Our first 60F high of 2018 happened Saturday, April 21st and it felt great! Keep in mind that the last time Minneapolis had a high in the 60s was on November 27th, nearly 5 months ago! With that said, we had our 7th latest first 60F highs on record. Note that the latest on record was on April 29th set in 1874, but the most recent was on April 26th set in 2013! By the way, last year, our first 60F high was on February 17th at 63F! At this time last year, we had already had 16 days with highs in the 60s or warmer, 3 of those days were in the 70s!


Extended Temperature Forecast

The extended forecast through May 5th & 6th is looking MUCH better with high temps a little more normal for the end of April. In fact, we're seeing a pretty consistent surge of 50s and 60s. According to the GEFS forecast (1st image below), we may see more highs in the 60s and 70s, while the ECMWF forecast (2nd image below) shows temps running a little cooler with more 50s and 60s. Regardless, these temps looks MUCH bettern than what we were dealing with during the first half of the month.


Cold Start to April

The first 20 days of April has featured some VERY chilly air across much of the Central US and as you can see in the image below many locations are running a good -10F to -15F (or colder) below average. Meanwhile, temps in the Southwestern US are running nearly +5F to +10F above average. When in comes to the Twin Cities, we are running -15.3F below average through the first 20 days of the month.


Great Lakes Ice Coverage

According to NOAA's GLERL, the Great Lakes were 4.8% covered in ice as of April 20th. Interestingly only 0.2% of the Great Lakes were covered at this time last year.

Lake Superior Ice Coverage

Here's a look at the ice coverage across Lake Superior and as of April 21st, NOAA's GLERL, said that 5.2% of Lake Superior was covered. Interestingly, at last time last year only 0.1% of the lake was covered in ice! Quite a difference from this year to last.


Snow Depth 2018

The snow depth map across the country for April 21st suggests that 14.7% of the country is covered in snow, mainly across the northern tier of the nation and across the Intermountain West. At this time last year only 6.0% of the nation was covered in snow. As of April 21st, the Twin Cities officially had 1" of snow on the ground at the MSP Airport in the morning, and at this time last year, there was no snow on the ground.

Snow Depth 2017

At this time last year, 6.3% of the nation was covered in snow. 

2018 Tornadoes So Far...

According to NOAA's SPC, there have been 257 preliminary tornadoes so far this year (April 20th), which is more than what we had at this time in the last couple of years. Interestingly, there were 643 tornadoes at this time in 2008; that year ended with 2,194 tornadoes, which is nearly 800 more than the short-term 2005-2015 average. 

Average Tornadoes in April By State

Here's the average number of tornadoes during the month of April by state. Texas sees the most with 29, but interestingly, Minnesota averages 1 tornado in April.


3-7 Day Hazard Forecast

1.) Flooding possible across portions of the Northern Plains.
2.) Flooding occurring or imminent across portions of the Lower Mississippi Valley and the Northern Plains.
3.) Flooding likely across portions of the Upper Mississippi Valley and the Northern Plains.
4.) High winds across portions of the Southeast and the Mid-Atlantic, Mon-Tue, Apr 23-Apr 24.
5.) Heavy precipitation across portions of the Alaska Panhandle and mainland Alaska, Mon-Tue, Apr 23-Apr 24.
6.) High winds across portions of the Alaska Panhandle and mainland Alaska, Mon, Apr 23.
7.) High winds across portions of mainland Alaska and the Aleutians, Mon-Wed, Apr 23-Apr 25.
8.) High significant wave heights for coastal portions of mainland Alaska and the Aleutians, Mon-Wed, Apr 23-Apr 25.
9.) 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.


Temperature Anomaly on Saturday

The temperature anomaly across North America from Saturday, till showed below average temperatures across a large chunk of the Central and Eastern US.

Temperature Trend

The 850mb temperature anomaly from Sunday to Wednesday shows well below average temperatures across much of the Eastern two-thirds of the nation starting to fade a little as we head into the next few days. Meanwhile, warmer than average temperatures look to continue in the Southwestern US. 


 Weather Outlook Ahead

A storm system will move across the southern US and we head through the rest weekend and into early next week with areas of heavy rain and strong to severe storms. Meanwhile, another storm system will develop in the northern Rockies with areas of snow there. This next system will eventually bring April showers to the Upper midwest Tuesday/Wednesday.


Severe Threats Ahead

The storm system will continue to slide east through the weekend with a few strong to severe storms possible across the Gulf Coast on Sunday. Here is the SPC threats for Sunday.

Severe Threat Sunday

7 Day Precipitation Outlook

According to NOAA's WPC, the 7-day precipitation outlook suggests areas of heavy precipitation continuing across the Southern and Southeastern US as we head through the rest of the weekend and last full week of April. Some spots could see 2" to 4" especially in the Southeast/Mid-Atlantic States.

Snowfall Potential Ahead

The GFS snowfall potential  as we head into the last full week of April suggests more snow across the high elevations in the Central and Northern Rockies. However, note that there doesn't appear to be any major snow storms brewing across the Upper Midwest. Let's hope we're all done with the snow!


Happy Earth Day! Second 60 Degree High of 2018?
By Todd Nelson, filling in for Douglas.

Oh boy! The anticipation of our second 60 degree high temperature of 2018 in the Twin Cities is palpable, can you feel it? Watching the fat robins struggling through last weekend’s blizzard, I'd say just about everyone is ready!

If we hit 60 degrees today, it'll be the 2nd 60 since almost Thanksgiving. Sounds pitiful, doesn't it? Yea, well no one questions the hardiness of a Minnesotan. We earn our summers in the #BoldNorth and based on my latest blueish-white skin tone, I'm ready for a little vitamin D.

Speaking of which, the sun is as high now as it is in Mid-August. According to NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, the UV index today is considered to be HIGH, bringing burn times to 30 minutes or less. No kidding!

I predict that many grills will be smoking this afternoon and possibly again for dinner tomorrow as a few optimistic thermometers tickle 70 degrees late in the afternoon! We still need more warmth to knock out that lake ice. The Fishing Opener is only 3 weekends away and some lakes still have feet of ice up north!

Extended Forecast

SUNDAY: Sunny! First 60s of 2018! Winds: SSW 5. High: 61.

SUNDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy and quiet. Winds: SSE 5. Low: 38.

MONDAY: Raging spring fever! A run at 70F? Winds: SW 5. High: 67.

TUESDAY: A few April showers. Winds: N 10-15. Wake-up: 46. High: 58.

WEDNESDAY: Bright sun returns. Winds: SW 5-10.. Wake-up: 34. High: 57.

THURSDAY: Breezy winds develop. PM showers. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 41. High: 56.

FRIDAY: Frosty start. Afternoon sun. Winds: WSW 5. Wake-up: 34. High: 56.

SATURDAY: Mix of sun and clouds. Nothing rough. Winds: NW 5-15. Wake-up: 37. High: 37.

This Day in Weather History
April 22nd

1874: Unseasonably cold air moves into Minnesota. The low is 23 degrees at the Twin Cities.

Average High/Low for Minneapolis
April 22nd

Average High: 61F (Record: 90F set in 1980)
Average Low: 40F (Record: 23F set in 1874)

Record Rainfall: 2.21" set in 2001
Record Snowfall: 5.4" set in 1963

Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
April 22nd

Sunrise: 6:16am
Sunset: 8:07pm

Hours of Daylight: ~13 hours & 51 minutes

Daylight GAINED since yesterday: ~ 2 minutes & 54 seconds
Daylight GAINED since winter solstice (December 21st): 5 Hour 4 Minutes

Moon Phase for April 22nd at Midnight
0.4 Days Since First Quarter Moon


 Temp Outlook For Sunday

Considering that we were dealing with an historic April snow storm last weekend, it's pretty impressive that we can manage to warm into the 50s and 60s 1 week later! I think Sunday we will FINALLY hit our first 60F high of the year in the Twin Cities with a number of low/mid 60s possible across parts of central and western Minnesota. With mostly sunny skies, Sunday surely won't disappoint! Enjoy!!

8 to 14 Day Temperature Outlook

According to NOAA's CPC, April 28th - May 4th will be warmer than average across much of the Central and Western US! It sure is nice to see some warmth returning closer to home, isn't it?


"London has warmest April day in nearly 70 years, as enormous heat dome consumes Europe"

"While abnormally cold weather continues to grip the Eastern United States, a full-fledged dose of summer weather has overtaken much of Europe. An enormous heat dome, parked over Germany, has covered a large part of the continent in record or near-record warmth. High temperatures in the 70s and 80s (roughly 20 to 30 Celsius) were widespread Thursday. The British Met Office tweeted that St. James’s Park in London soared to 84.4 degrees (29.1 Celsius), its warmest temperature in April since 1949, when it hit 84.9 (29.4 Celsius). Paris also experienced historically warm April conditions. Its temperature surpassed 82 degrees before April 20 for the first time since 1949, MeteoFrance reported. Etienne Kapikian, a meteorologist with MeteoFrance, tweeted that Paris’s preliminary high of 83.7 degrees (28.7 Celsius) ranked as the fifth-highest April temperature there in 146 years of measurements. Several locations in France set all-time April highs, MeteoFrance tweeted. Europe’s warmest conditions relative to normal focused in southeast England, northern France, Belgium, the Netherlands and western Germany, where many locations witnessed temperatures 20 to 30 (11 to 16 Celsius) degrees above normal."

See more from Washington Post HERE:


"Sea levels could be rising faster than predicted due to new source of Antarctic ice melting"

"Scientists find processes that 'feed off each other to further accelerate climate change’. Sea level rise could be happening at a faster rate than previously thought, as scientists have identified a new source of melting ice in Antarctica. Melting glaciers can create a positive feedback loop in which the more they melt, the more they drive further melting, according to the Australian team. They predict that the processes they identified could be playing a role in accelerating both sea level rise and climate change. As glaciers melt, they produce fresh water. When this meltwater enters the ocean surrounding the glacier it makes the surface layer less salty and therefore more buoyant."

See more from Independent HERE:


"Hubble delivers dazzling Lagoon Nebula for 28th anniversary"

"NASA and the European Space Agency celebrate the Hubble Space Telescope with a look at the dreamlike Lagoon Nebula. The Hubble Space Telescope knows how to celebrate its anniversary in style. Each year, the telescope team releases a new, mind-blowing image of something gorgeous. The Lagoon Nebula is the winner for 2018. NASA also released a fly-through video of the nebula that takes you soaring through the Hubble view. Hubble, a joint project of NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA), launched on April 24, 1990. The ESA's Hubble site describes the Lagoon Nebula as a "colossal object" that's 55 light-years in width and 20 light-years in height. Even though it is about 4,000 light-years away from Earth, it is three times larger in the sky than the full Moon."Here is the new image in all its glory:"

See more from CNet HERE:


"Weather radar detects engine debris from Southwest Airlines Flight 1380"

"The engine casing of beleaguered Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 showed up on National Weather Service Doppler radar as it fell from the skies above southeastern Pennsylvania on Tuesday afternoon. The incident occurred just before 11 a.m. Tuesday as the aircraft was finishing its ascent out of New York’s La Guardia Airport. The plane, then climbing about 1,800 feet per minute, according to FlightAware.com, was about 15 miles west-southwest of Allentown, Pa., when disaster struck. Data from the government’s weather radar in Mount Holly, N.J., first shows a signal at 11:01 a.m., centered around 28,000 feet. This is commensurate with the plane’s location at that point. These are the first signs of trouble, seconds after the engine explosion occurred. The debris had not begun to fan out at this point."

See more from WashingtonPost HERE:


"More than 95% of world's population breathe dangerous air, major study finds"

"Poorest are hardest hit with many developing countries falling behind on cleaning up toxic air pollution. More than 95% of the world’s population breathe unsafe air and the burden is falling hardest on the poorest communities, with the gap between the most polluted and least polluted countries rising rapidly, a comprehensive study of global air pollution has found. Cities are home to an increasing majority of the world’s people, exposing billions to unsafe air, particularly in developing countries, but in rural areas the risk of indoor air pollution is often caused by burning solid fuels. One in three people worldwide faces the double whammy of unsafe air both indoors and out. The report by the Health Effects Institute used new findings such as satellite data and better monitoring to estimate the numbers of people exposed to air polluted above the levels deemed safe by the World Health Organisation. This exposure has made air pollution the fourth highest cause of death globally, after high blood pressure, diet and smoking, and the greatest environmental health risk."

See more from The Guardian HERE:


"March 2018: Earth's 5th Warmest March on Record"

"March 2018 was the planet's fifth warmest March since record keeping began in 1880, said NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) on Wednesday. NASA rated March 2018 as the sixth warmest March on record, with the only warmer March months being 2016, 2017, 2010, 2002, and 2015. The difference in rankings between NASA and NOAA is mostly due to how they handle data-sparse regions such as the Arctic, where few surface weather stations exist. The rankings for March were cooler than we've seen in recent years thanks to the presence of colder weather than average over much of Europe, plus the presence of cool ocean temperatures over the Eastern Pacific from a weak La Niña event. Global ocean temperatures during March 2018 were the fifth warmest on record, and global land temperatures were the seventh warmest on record. Global satellite-measured temperatures in March 2018 for the lowest 8 km of the atmosphere were the sixth or ninth warmest in the 40-year record, according to the University of Alabama Huntsville (UAH) and RSS, respectively."

See more from Wunderground HERE:


"The Great Barrier Reef may never recover from the devastating 2016 heat wave"

"Australia's Great Barrier Reef will never be the same following the devastating marine heat wave that hit it between 2015 and 2016, according to a new study published Wednesday. The new research found that the northern third of the reef — which as a whole, is the largest living structure on the planet — experienced a "catastrophic die-off" of fast-growing coral species, like staghorn and tabular corals. These reefs have now shifted to a new state, with a different balance of coral species than were present prior to the marine heat wave. Scientists have tied that marine heat wave itself, and the increasing prevalence and severity of them, to human-caused global warming."

See more from Mashable HERE:

"The Flood In Hawaii Is So Bad That Bison Are Being Washed Away"
"It rained 28 inches within 24 hours on Kauai, leading Hawaii's governor to issue an emergency proclamation for the island.  In case you haven't heard, things are getting very crazy in the Hawaiian island, Kauai, right now. The island had a record-breaking 28 inches of rain within 24 hours — destroying several homes and property, triggering mudslides, and even creating sinkholes. More than 200 people had to be airlifted and rescued from the North Shore, including both residents and tourists, the Associated Press reported."

"This towering ‘snow canyon’ is carved into one of the snowiest places on Earth"
"There’s a mountain in Japan where the snow falls so heavily, they do not even attempt to clear it until spring. As much as 125 feet of snow falls on this mountain each year — around 1,500 inches. It is the snowiest place in Japan and probably one of the snowiest places on Earth. Tateyama (Mount Tate) is one of Japan’s three holy mountains, located on the west side of the country near the Sea of Japan. It’s a popular destination for hikers in the warm months and just as popular in late winter after workers carve a canyon through the snow up to the mountain’s peak. Route 6 snakes up the mountainside from the city of Toyoma on the coast. The altitude climb is from sea level to just under 10,000 feet. Because of its location next to the Sea of Japan, winds from the west create lake-effect-like storms, picking up moisture from the sea and dumping it onto Tateyama in the form of snow. When the snow begins to melt, crews bring in bulldozers to clear the highway. By that time, there could be as much as 66 feet of densely-compacted snow beneath their tires."

"Dozens Of Homes Have Been Destroyed In Deadly Wildfires That Are Now Larger Than New York City"
"I don’t know what words to use to describe what’s going on over here," said a woman who was forced to flee her home. Massive wildfires in Oklahoma, fueled by the most dangerous conditions in a decade, have killed two people, destroyed dozens of homes, and charred an area larger than New York City. The largest of the blazes, the Rhea Fire, had burned 283,095 acres in western Oklahoma and was only 15% contained as of Thursday. Several other wildfires in the state have collectively burned tens of thousands of additional acres, and in total flames have raced across more than 500 square miles — an area that is more expansive than most major US cities including New York and Los Angeles. At least two people have died and at least 20 others have been injured in the fires, Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management spokesperson Keli Cain told BuzzFeed News. In Dewey County, which has suffered much of the Rhea Fire's fury, 50 homes spread across at least five separate communities have been destroyed. Hundreds of other buildings, such as barns, have also been lost. While several other fires continue to rage across the region, authorities say they don't yet know how bad the damage is."

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

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