Northern Lights Seen from the U.P. of Michigan
 
WOW - Take a look at this stunning view of the Northern Lights from Thursday night over Lake Superior! This picture was share via the @UWCIMSS Twitter page. According to the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the northern lights forecast was at "Active" status earlier this week. The aurora forecast has dropped to "Low" status this weekend.
 

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Northern Lights From Space
 
The picture below was also shared via the @UWCIMSS Twitter page and it shows the Northern Lights over the Northern Hemisphere from Thursday night. This was captured by was captured by a VIIRS satellite. 
 
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Tropical Cyclone Fani
 
"7 killed as Tropical Cyclone Fani hits India - The strongest tropical cyclone to hit India in 20 years made landfall Friday, killing seven people and lashing the country's east coast with ferocious winds and torrential downpours. Tropical Cyclone Fani struck near the city of Puri, in Odisha state, as the equivalent of a Category 4 hurricane -- packing sustained winds of 240 kilometers per hour (150 miles per hour). The storm is expected to weaken as it moves toward Kolkata, one of India's most populous cities, and Bangladesh. The seven people who died in Odisha were killed by falling trees and collapsed walls, police spokesman Sanjeev Panda said. Fani made landfall as the strongest cyclone to hit the region since a 1999 storm killed at least 10,000 people. That incident prompted India to reassess its disaster management planning.More than 1 million people were evacuated ahead of Fani, Odisha's chief minister said in a tweet. About 10,000 villages and 52 towns in nine districts in the state were in the storm's path, forecasters said. Eleven districts along the Odisha coast were placed on red alert, and some 900 cyclone shelters were set up to house evacuees."
 
 

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"Mapping America’s wicked weather and deadly disasters"

"The fear of losing everything in a natural disaster sits in the back of our minds no matter where we live. The same diverse physical geography that gives us sunny beaches and crisp mountain air also generates devastating storms and wildfires. Climate change is only making things worse. Data collection for these events has never been more consistent. Mapping the trends in recent years gives us an idea of where disasters have the tendency to strike. In 2018, it is estimated that natural disasters cost the nation almost $100 billion and took nearly 250 lives. It turns out there is nowhere in the United States that is particularly insulated from everything."

See more from Washington Post HERE:

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Weather Outlook For Saturday

High temps on Saturday will be fairly mild across southern half of the state with readings warming into the lower 70s. With that said, temperatures will actually be a little bit above average for a change. However, folks in the Northwestern part of the state will be stuck in the 50s, which will be a little below average for early May. 

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Weather Outlook AM Saturday to AM Monday

Here's the weather outlook from AM Saturday to AM Monday, which shows a few showers possibly drifting through the region late weekend. At this point, we're not expecting much rain, but it could be a little soggy. 

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Warmer Saturday, Then Another Cool Stretch

Here's the weather outlook through the middle part of May, which suggests fairly cool temperatures for this time of the year. Other than a brief warm blip on Saturday and perhaps during the middle part of next week, temps look to be a bit cooler than average, especially in the European (ECMWF) model. 

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Below Average Temps Continue

Here's the 850mb temp anomaly, which shows another stretch of cooler than average temps moving in across the Upper Midwest as we head into the 2nd half of next week. In fact, it appears that temps could be quite a bit below average for the early/middle part of May. 

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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:

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

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"Phenology Report: April 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:

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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. High to Medium-High pollen level look to return as we head into the end of the week and weekend ahead. 
 
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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. Leech Lake saw ice out on May 2nd, which was 5 days behind the average of April 28th. Also, Lake Vermillion and Lake Kabetogema went out of April 30th, which is pretty close to average. Lake of the Woods' average ice out it on May 3rd, so we'll see when they go out. 

Average Ice Out Dates

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


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Temperature Outlook
 
According to NOAA's CPC, the temperature outlook from May 11th - 17th 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.
 
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Spring Leaf Anomaly
 
Here's an interesting map for folks that are looking forward to spring. It's the NPN Spring Leaf Anomaly map, which shows that spring has indeed sprung across the southern tier of the nation. The red colors indicate that spring leaves are actually emerging earlier than average in those areas, while blue colors indicate that we're a little behind average in other spots.

"April 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."

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Mommy, How Did Beehive Hairdos Get Started?
By Paul Douglas
 
Every now and then you see something that makes you question reality. On Tuesday, a National Weather Service storm report from Tempe, Arizona read: "strong gust of wind blew a bee hive off a tree and onto a woman's head, resulting in numerous stings." My first thought: is this how beehive hair styles originated?
 
The atmosphere in spring is ripe for severe storm outbreaks. A high sun angle is heating the ground and air above the ground, while the upper atmosphere is still chilly, suffering from a wintry hangover. The result of severe instability can be violent updrafts. If a thunderstorm is spinning, with wind shear aloft, this updraft can be "protected" for over an hour, creating large hail and even tornadoes.
 
Although we're stuck in a cool, wet pattern into next week, the sky overhead should be too cool and stable for any violent T-storms anytime soon.
 
Today looks like the best day to loiter outside, with a shot at 70F. Showers return Sunday - more rain by midweek. Think of all that cold cash you're saving on air conditioning!
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Extended Forecast

SATURDAY: Partly sunny and pleasant. Winds: SW 8-13. High: 70.

SATURDAY NIGHT: Increasing clouds, chance of a T-shower late. Winds: WSW 5-10. Low: 46.

SUNDAY: Showers return, possible thunder. Winds: N 8-13. High: 56.

MONDAY: Showery rain expected. Winds: NE 8-13. Wake-up: 44. High: 57.

TUESDAY: Mostly cloudy with a cool breeze. Winds: NE 8-13. Wake-up: 45. High: 58.

WEDNESDAY: Cold rain, pretty raw. Winds: E 10-15. Wake-up: 41. High: 50.

THURSDAY: Showery rains linger. Spring on hold. Winds: NE 8-13. Wake-up: 43. High: 51.

FRIDAY: Mostly cloudy. Little sunburn concerns. Winds: S 5-10. Wake-up: 42 High: 58.
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This Day in Weather History
May 4th

1926: Morris goes from winter to summer temperatures in one day. The morning low was 32, followed by a high of 89.
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Average High/Low for Minneapolis
May 4th

Average High: 66F (Record: 91F set in 1952)
Average Low: 45F (Record: 22F set in 1967)

Record Rainfall: 1.01" set in 1959
Record Snowfall: 2.0" set in 1890
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Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
May 4th

Sunrise: 5:58am
Sunset: 8:22pm

Hours of Daylight: ~14 hours & 24 minutes

Daylight GAINED since yesterday: ~ 2 minutes & 39 seconds
Daylight GAINED since winter solstice (December 21st): ~5 hours and 39 minutes
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Moon Phase for May 4rd at Midnight
0.3 Days Since New 
Moon

See more from Space HERE:

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What's in the Night Sky?

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

"Before dawn these next several mornings – May 4, 5 and 6, 2019 – watch for meteors in the annual Eta Aquarid meteor shower to streak across the heavens in an inky dark sky unmarred by moonlight. We expect the morning of May 5 to showcase the peak number of meteors. But try the morning before and/or after as well, as this meteor shower has a relatively broad peak. Although the shower can be seen from all parts of Earth, the Eta Aquarids are especially fine from Earth’s Southern Hemisphere, and from the more southerly latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere. Appreciably north of 40 degrees north latitude (the latitude of Denver, Colorado; Beijing, China; and Madrid, Spain), the meteors are few and far between. The reason has to do with the time of twilight and sunrise on the various parts of Earth. To learn more, check this post on why more Eta Aquariid meteors are visible in the Southern Hemisphere. It’s also helps to know that – as seen from all parts of Earth – the dark hour before dawn typically presents the greatest number of Eta Aquariid meteors."

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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.
 
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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 May 2nd suggests that there have been a total of 485, which is still below the 2005-2015 short term average of 513. However, this has been the busiest tornado season since 2012, which nearly 634 tornadoes were reported. Interestingly, more than 1,000 tornades were reported at this time in 2011.
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Weather Outlook Saturday
 
Here's a look at high temps across the naiton onSaturday will be a little warmer across parts of Central US. However, folks in Chicago and St. Louis will be below average. The warm spot on Saturday will be in Phoenix, where the mercury will only be a few degrees away from the century mark.
 
 
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National Weather Outlook

As we slide through the weekend and into early next week, weather conditions will remain fairly active, especially across the southern part of the country. Widely scattered showers and storms will continue there, some of which could be strong to severe with locally heavy rain and flooding potential.
 

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7 Day Precipitation Forecast
 
WOW - What a response from the NOAA WPC 7-day precipitation outlook below. Thanks to widespread shower and thunderstorm development, areas of heavy rain and flooding maybe possible across parts of the Southern Plains and into parts of the Middle Mississippi Valley. Some of the heaviest rain could fall over the Ark-La-Tex region, where some 4" to 5" tallies can't be ruled out.
 

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"What it Takes to Bring Back the Near Mythical American Chestnut Trees"
 
"Sometimes reaching a height of more than 100 feet tall with trunk diameters often well over 10 feet, the American chestnut was the giant of the eastern U.S. forests. There were once billions of them and their range stretched from Georgia and Alabama to Michigan, but the majestic tree was gone before forest science existed to document its role in the ecosystem. Notes left by early foresters including Gifford Pinchot, the founder and first chief of the USDA Forest Service, suggest that its ecological role was as impressive as the tree’s size (PDF, 1.3 MB). Mature American chestnuts have been virtually extinct for decades. The tree’s demise started with something called ink disease in the early 1800s, which steadily killed chestnut in the southern portion of its range. The final blow happened at the turn of the 20th century when a disease called chestnut blight swept through Eastern forests. The disappearance of the chestnut launched a profound change in the structure and composition of eastern forests."
 
 

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"A Western Revival"
 
"What's happened since a devastating fire ripped through Malibu. The church survived and so did the train depot. But the rest of Paramount Ranch is a mangled yard of twisted metal and charred wood. The National Park Service fenced off the ruins of the replica 19th-century Western town, which throughout its 70-year history in the Malibu hills has served as a classic set for the likes of HBO’s Westworld, countless Hollywood westerns, and weddings. When I visited the rubble in April, a man in his 60s stood beside me, peering through the metal fence at the leveled buildings. “Our daughter got married out here,” he said, wearily. Six months earlier, the Woolsey Fire ripped through the mock town’s saloons, mining shops, and Sheriff’s buildings. The blaze burned nearly 100,000 acres and scorched 88 percent of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, which is home to Paramount Ranch. It was the largest fire in the park’s history, and it left a scar that is easily visible from space. The Woolsey Fire followed in the footsteps of 2017’s nearby Thomas Fire, which for eight months held the title as the biggest wildfire in California history — until, that is, it was eclipsed by yet another giant blaze, the Mendocino Complex fire."
 
 

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"We’re to blame for Earth’s droughts – and it’s only getting worse"
 
"The human impact on global drought conditions is unmistakable, a new NASA study concludes ominously, with climate change only likely to worsen conditions unless addressed head-on. The new study is unstinting in its blunt assessment of the impact human behaviors are having on the planet, and the disruptions climate change can provoke on the essential conditions for life to continue. “Climate change is not just a future problem,” warns Ben Cook, climate scientist at GISS and Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in New York City, who co-authored the study. “This shows it’s already affecting global patterns of drought, hydroclimate, trends, variability – it’s happening now. And we expect these trends to continue, as long as we keep warming the world.” The study looked for evidence of potential human impact on global drought patterns through the 20th century. Specifically, it sought to find match between the so-called “fingerprint” of human impact on drying and wetting patterns that theories had predicted, with the actual results across the globe. If human behaviors really were to blame, the global patterns of regional drying and wetting characteristics of the climate should match up."
 
 

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"Global warming's "fingerprint" found in drought trends as early as 1900"
 
"Scientists have detected the "fingerprint" of human-caused global warming on drought patterns around the world dating back as long ago as 1900, according to a new study published Wednesday. The research shows how various human influences, from greenhouse gas emissions to pollutants that contribute to smog can influence soil moisture on a global scale. Why it matters: While global warming has altered temperature and precipitation, and has exacerbated individual droughts in some parts of the world, scientists have been unable to detect a global warming signal in the occurrence or severity of droughts worldwide. This new study, published Wednesday in the journal Nature, attempts to address the detection of a human influence on drought since emissions of planet-warming greenhouse gases began to increase at the start of the Industrial Revolution. What they did: The researchers, led by Kate Marvel, a climate scientist at NASA, and Benjamin Cook, a tree ring specialist at Columbia University, used large drought atlases of North America, Europe and the Mediterranean, Mexico, parts of Asia and Australia and New Zealand. These drought databases go back to 1400 A.D., and in some cases all the way back to 1100 A.D., based on tree ring data."
 
 

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"It's May 1st - The National Hurricane Center Is Watching Something Near Florida"
 
Isn't it a bit early for the National Hurricane Center to be issuing outlooks? The Atlantic hurricane season typically starts on June 1st. The peak of the Atlantic hurricane season comes later in September when ocean temperatures are quite warm, and atmospheric wind shear is relatively low. Storms forming on May 1st are quite rare as indicated in the figure below. However, they are not unprecedented. In the past decade, half of the Atlantic’s seasons had “preseason” storms. In 2012, two storms—Alberto and Beryl—were named before the season officially started. And last year, Ana formed east of Georgia on May 7. Granted, it was initially a subtropical storm, a hybrid with both tropical features and features of midlatitude cyclones. But waters were warm and Ana became fully tropical in just days, and moved ashore in South Carolina on May 10."
 
 

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"Chronicles of the Rings: What Trees Tell Us"
 
Studying the historical data stored in centuries-old trees is a burgeoning field, with labs around the world learning more about historical patterns of weather and climate and the effects on humans. From the early 1700s until the 1960s, the fast moving river of wind known as the North Atlantic Jet Stream, which drives weather extremes over Europe, was pretty steady on its course. Then it became less predictable. But instrument data alone can’t tell the jet stream’s movements for comparison over the centuries, given that scientists began keeping records of weather events via instruments only in the late 19th century. The rings of trees, however, offer a far more complete historical picture of climate variations. As they age, trees form new distinctive rings, outward from the center, and each year a new, distinct circle of dead wood is created around the trunk of most trees. In that ring, one can find information about precipitation, temperature and other data about that year."
 
 

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

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