"One of Alaska’s warmest springs on record is causing a dangerous thaw"
"Bryan Thomas doesn’t want any more “wishy-washy conversations about climate change.”For four years, he has served as station chief of the Barrow Atmospheric Baseline Observatory, America’s northernmost scientific outpost in its fastest-warming state. Each morning, after digging through snow to his office’s front door, Thomas checks the preliminary number on the observatory’s carbon dioxide monitor. On a recent Thursday it was almost 420 parts per million — nearly twice as high as the global preindustrial average. It’s just one number, he said. But there’s no question in his mind about what it means. Alaska is in the midst of one of the warmest springs the state has ever experienced — a transformation that has disrupted livelihoods and cost lives. The average temperature for March recorded at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) observatory in Utqiagvik (which was known as Barrow before 2016, when the city voted to go by its traditional Inupiaq name) was 18.6 degrees Fahrenheit above normal. Fairbanks, Alaska, notched its first consecutive March days when the temperature never dropped below freezing. Ice roads built on frozen waterways — a vital means of transportation in the state — have become weak and unreliable. At least five people have died this spring after falling through ice that melted sooner than expected."
Weather Outlook For Thursday
High temps on Thursday will be cooler than average once again with readings only warming into the 40s and 50s, which will be nearly -5 to -15F below average. Other than a few lingering showers early in the day across the Arrowhead, much of the day looks to be dry across the state.
Weather Outlook Through AM Saturday
Here's the weather outlook through the end of the week and into early Saturday and other than a few lingering showers early Thursday across the Arrowhead, much of the region will stay dry until later Friday.
Precipitation Potential Through AM Saturday.
According to NOAA's NDFD, total liquid precipitation amounts look to be fairly light across much of the state. However, there could be some 0.20" to 0.40" tallies across the far northern reaches of the state through AM Saturday.
Cool Stretch of Weather Ahead
Here's the weather outlook through the middle part of May, which suggests fairly cool temperatures for this time of the year. The good news is that mild temps do look to return as we slide into the weekend with highs approaching 70F by Saturday! It does appear that highs after the 2nd weekend of May do look to warm more considerably.
Below Average Temps Continue
Here's the 850mb temp anomaly, which shows a continued stretch of below average temps (in blue) over much of the Upper Midwest and High Plains into the early part of next week. Keep in mind that Friday and Saturday will be very pleasant with warmer temps, but it won't last long. Highs in the 50s and 60s look to return much of next week.
Snowfall Season To Date - Through April
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! Keep in mind that the average snowfall in the Twin Cities in May is 0.0". However, the greatest snowfall was 3.0" set in 1946, 1935 and in 1892.
Signs of Spring!!
Here's a neat map from Journey North, which shows the migration of one of our most beloved summer feathered friends, the hummingbird! It's amazing to think that they migrate across the Gulf of Mexico to make it all the way home. According to the map below, there have already been a few reports of hummingbirds across the southern part of the state. It's about time to get those feeders out!
See more from Journey North HERE:
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."
"Phenology Report: April 30, 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 reflects on the 47 nature notes he jotted down this week and makes predictions about what we will see between now and this coming Tuesday! John created a sweet worksheet you can download and use to collect your own phoenological data. Wood frogs, spring peepers, roughed grouse drumming, eastern phoebes, ice out dates, and common loons are just a very small sampling of the kinds of data you can keep track of with his handy handout."
Listen to the full report from KAXE HERE:
Tree Pollen Running High in the Twin Cities
Have you been sneezing a little more than usual? It could be because pollen levels have been running fairly high. Thanks to a cooler and cloudier Wednesday, pollen levels were held in check. However, higher pollen levels look to return through the end of the week and weekend ahead.
Ice Out Continues...
Thanks to my good friend Scott Verness for the picture below. Scott says that the ice went out on Norway Lake in Pine River on April 24th, which was a little later than average. The good news is that you can finally get your dock in!
Ice Out Dates
Ice out season continues in MN and according to the MN DNR quite a few more lakes have gone ice out over the past 5 to 7 days. Lake Minnetonka saw ice out on April 20th, which was nearly a week behind the average of April 13th. Lake Mille Lacs also went out on April 28th, which is 3 days behind the average of April 25th.
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!!
According to NOAA's CPC, the temperature outlook from May 9th - 15th still looks to be running below average across much of the Central US. The only locations that will be above average look to be across the Southeastern part of the nation, the West Coast and into Alaska.
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 22, 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 four days late in Missoula, MT and Minneapolis, MN. 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 Philadelphia, PA, and Cincinnati, OH."
Here in Minnesota We Earn Our Springs
By Paul Douglas
I've spent much of spring shrugging and apologizing. "Paul, this is miserable! When can I turn off my space heater?" I love America, where we all have the freedom to gripe about things we can't control.
If anyone asks, which I seriously doubt, April was 1.3F cooler than average, with a whopping 9.8 inches of snow in the Twin Cities. On paper, looking at 30-year averages, we should see daytime highs near 74F by the end of this month. I know, I'll believe it when I see it. With an average of 3.36 inches of rain, May is now the 4th wettest month of the year in the Twin Cities, behind August, June and July (in that order).
I detect a cool bias into next week, but no real weather drama to speak of. One benefit of Canadian air lurking overhead: a more stable atmosphere; less prone to hail and tornadoes.
The sun peeks out today with 60F tomorrow and a lukewarm Saturday. A few spotty weekend showers may sprout, but most of the time should be dry.
The biggest, wettest, wildest storms should track south of Minnesota again next week.
THURSDAY: Mostly cloudy, better. Winds: NW 7-12. High: 57.
THURSDAY NIGHT: Mostly clear and quiet. Winds: WNW 5. Low: 43.
FRIDAY: Patchy clouds. Stay shower. Winds: S 8-13. High: 60.
SATURDAY: Mix of clouds and sun. Milder. Winds: W 8-13. Wake-up: 48. High: 68.
SUNDAY: More clouds. Slight shower risk. Winds: NW 5-10. Wake-up: 49. High: 61.
MONDAY: Showers and T-storms. Some heavy. Winds: E 10-20. Wake-up: 45. High: 59.
TUESDAY: Mostly cloudy, cool breeze. Winds: N 10-15. Wake-up: 41. High: 54.
WEDNESDAY: Mostly cloudy. Still too cool. Winds: E 8-13. Wake-up: 44. High: 56.
This Day in Weather History
2013: A historic snowstorm dumps up to 18 inches of snow in southeast Minnesota and west central Wisconsin. Blooming Prairie receives 18 inches from this storm, and Eau Claire gets 9.3 inches.
Average High/Low for Minneapolis
Average High: 65F (Record: 91F set in 1959)
Average Low: 44F (Record: 24F set in 1961)
Record Rainfall: 1.11" set in 1944
Record Snowfall: 2.2" set in 1954
Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
Hours of Daylight: ~14 hours & 18 minutes
Daylight GAINED since yesterday: ~ 2 minutes & 42 seconds
Daylight GAINED since winter solstice (December 21st): ~5 hours and 33 minutes
Moon Phase for May 2nd at Midnight
1.7 Days Before New Moon
See more from Space HERE:
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:
"Tonight, look outside in the evening and learn a phrase useful to sky watchers. The phrase is: follow the arc to Arcturus, and drive a spike (or speed on) to Spica. You can use this phrase in any year. First locate the Big Dipper asterism in the northeastern sky. Then draw an imaginary line following the curve in the Dipper’s handle until you come to a bright orange star. This star is Arcturus in the constellation Bootes, known in skylore as the bear guard. Arcturus is a giant star with an estimated distance of 37 light-years. It’s special because it’s not moving with the general stream of stars, in the flat disk of the Milky Way galaxy. Instead, Arcturus is cutting perpendicularly through the galaxy’s disk at a tremendous rate of speed … some 100 miles (150 km) per second. Millions of years from now this star will be lost from the view of any future inhabitants of Earth, or at least those who are earthbound and looking with the eye alone. Now drive a spike or, as some say, speed on to Spica in the constellation Virgo."
Average Tornadoes By State in May
According to NOAA, the number of tornadoes in May is at its peak across the country with most happening in the Tornado Valley. Note that Minnesota sees an average of 6 tornadoes during the month.
2019 Preliminary Tornado Count
Here's the 2019 preliminary tornado count across the nation, which shows a fairly high concentration across the Lower Mississippi Valley and Gulf Coast States. Note that we have not seen any tornadoes this year in Minnesota. Last year, our first tornado didn't happen until the end of May.
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 30th suggests that there have been a total of 449, which is still below the 2005-2015 short term average of 492. However, this has been the busiest tornado season since 2012, which nearly 616 tornadoes were reported. Interestingly, more than 1,000 tornades were reported at this time in 2011.
Weather Outlook Thursday
Here's a look at high temps across the naiton on Thursday, which suggests warmer than average temps continuing across the southeastern part of the country. However, much of the northern tier of the nation looks to be cooler than average.
Weather conditions across the nation look to remain fairly active over the next couple of days. Widespread showers and thunderstorms will continue, some of which will be strong to severe with locally heavy rain.
7 Day Precipitation Forecast
According to NOAA's WPC, the 7 day precipitation forecast suggests areas of heavy rain across parts of the Central US once again. Several inches of rain could accompany strong to severe stormsthat look to develop as we through the rest of the week and weekend ahead.
"Strong winds are supersizing the ocean's biggest waves"
Amped-up winds and waves could aggravate the effects of climate change, adding destructive strength to storms already fueled by rising seas. Strong winds are driving the ocean’s biggest waves to dizzying new heights. That’s the potentially ominous finding of new research that analyzed more than 30 years’ worth of global wind and wave measurements to see how they changed over time. The University of Melbourne researchers behind the work, published April 25 in the journal Science, say the supersized waves could compound the effects of rising sea levels, leading to more frequent flooding and accelerated coastal erosion. “These changes will have impacts that are felt all over the world,” Ian Young, an engineering professor at the university and a co-author of the study, said in a statement."
"What you need to know about thunderstorms and lightning strikes"
"To demonstrate something rare or impossible, many turn to the old — and false — adage: “Lightning never strikes in the same place twice.” Tell that to the Willis Tower, which WGN-TV’s Tom Skilling has estimated is struck by lightning about 50 times a year. When it comes to severe weather, it may seem like there’s no preparing in advance for a lightning strike. While it’s true you can’t prevent one from happening, there are many commonsense actions residents can take to try to mitigate the damage a random lightning strike could cause to your residence, or to avoid being one of the roughly 47 people killed by lightning strikes in the United States each year. Here are some things you should know about thunderstorms and lightning — and how to stay safe in thunderstorms. Lightning is hotter than the sun, but it’s safe to touch a strike victim"
"Here's Why Swirling Supercells Look So Perfect Over The Plains"
"It’s that time of year when our social media feeds light up with the incredible pictures storm chasers manage to snag on the Plains. Picturesque supercells lumbering across an otherwise-serene landscape can look so perfect that they almost seem fake. One such picture of an otherworldly supercell near Amarillo, Texas, recently made it to my mom’s Facebook page. Always curious about the weather, she asked why we don’t see storms like that here in central North Carolina. That’s a pretty common question among folks in the southeast who frequently experience severe weather but rarely get to see such an impressive sky before the storm arrives. There’s actually a good reason why we don’t see Plains-like storms in the Southeast, and that difference is what can make them so dangerous when they happen around these parts."
Thanks for checking in and don't forget to follow me on Twitter @TNelsonWX