"Life stands before me like an eternal spring, with new and brilliant clothes" wrote Carl Friedrich Gauss.
I keep a pair of shorts and flip flops prominently displayed in my closet year-round, there to remind me that everything turns around. The cold and darkness, the dead of winter, gives way to warmth, life and rebirth. Some years earlier than others. A year ago lakes were ice-covered; spring a distant illusion.
So often we go from slush to heat advisories in a meteorological blink of an eye. It's nice to savor a real spring, a pregnant pause of possibility before the rush of bugs, sweaty storms and mad dashes up to the lake.
Yesterday renewed my faith in a Minnesota spring. We dragged our Adirondack chairs out of cold storage, then I happily escorted the space heater back into the garage. Good riddance.
A fine week is shaping up: 60s into Sunday with little or no drama. We cool off 10-15 degrees today with a stiff west breeze - but not nearly as windblown as Sunday was. T-showers may speckle the Doppler midweek, a better chance of rain a week from today. A series of clippers the latter half of April keep us from overheating too quickly.
A real spring? What a concept.
Good Timing. If you're lucky enough to be holding tickets for today's Twins Home Opener expect a fairly flawless day with blue sky, temperatures close to 60F around gametime with a stiff west breeze and low humidity. No bugs, showers of cold IPA. I wish I could get a note from my boss...
Chirps and Growls. Chirping birds gave way to a few rumbles and growls of thunder by evening as a line of thundershowers pushed eastward across the state; a few reports of .25" to .75" diameter hail along with some badly needed rain. Visible satellite loop from Sunday evening courtesy of WeatherTap.
Happy Red Blobs. Keeping an eye on the severe threat yesterday evening I couldn't help but be relieved and a bit buoyed by the fact that it was raining, that red signified intense rains (and hail below severe criteria). The line of storms put another significant dent in the drought, but we still need more rain to make up for a long-term moisture deficit. Graphic: AerisWeather.
Doppler Rainfall Estimates. MPX Doppler from the National Weather Services shows some 1 to 1.5" rainfall amounts over the far north metro Sunday, over half an inch from near Anoka to Maple Grove. This time around St. Cloud picked up some .25 to .50" rainfall amounts. A step in the right direction.
Expanding Drought. The latest U.S. Drought Monitor shows moderate drought over 92% of Minnesota, now expanding across much of northern and central Wisconsin. Much of the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes is drying out - with any luck we'll see a few soaking storms in the weeks ahead.
For Drinking Water In Drought, California Looks Warily To Sea. The New York Times reports; here's the introduction: "Every time drought strikes California, the people of this state cannot help noticing the substantial reservoir of untapped water lapping at their shores — 187 quintillion gallons of it, more or less, shimmering so invitingly in the sun.Now, for the first time, a major California metropolis is on the verge of turning the Pacific Ocean into an everyday source of drinking water..."
A Very Close Call. This is about as close as you can come to an EF-4 tornado and live to talk about it. I'm amazed by how calm this guy is - I would have been screaming the Lord's Prayer. Here's a link to incredible iPhone footage and a story from Oswego Patch: "...A North Carolina man passing through Illinois on a business trip was directly in the path of the EF-4 tornado that struck northern Illinois on Thursday April 9. The motorist, who was on Interstate 39, was just a few hundred feet from the tornado as it passed by. He recorded the twister on his iPhone while sitting in his truck. “It look like it’s coming right towards me,” says the driver, identified as Sam S., by the man who posted the video to YouTube, Aaron Rooney..."
Rochelle Tornado "Stuck Out Like A Sore Thumb" for Meteorologists. Journal Standard in Freeport, Illinois takes a look at best practices for tornado warnings, and whether there is such a thing as too much lead time; here's an excerpt: "...
"I’m not sure we need more warning time for some tornadoes," Sebenste said. "Psychological studies have shown that once you get more than 13 minutes of warning and nothing has happened, people will come out of their basements and look around. That has actually killed some people."
"A researcher in Texas has established pretty convincingly that 15 minutes is the ideal amount of notice for a tornado," Smith said, "and if you have more than 18 minutes, deaths go up. ... People either lose the sense of urgency to take cover or try to flee instead of immediately taking shelter, which is what we want them to do..."
Photo credit above: "In this Thursday, April 9, 2015 photo provided by Northern Illinois University meteorology professor Walker Ashley, a funnel cloud moves through near Rochelle, Ill. The National Weather Service says at least two tornadoes churned through six north-central Illinois counties on Thursday evening." (AP Photo/Walker Ashley)
Flood Of The Century: 50 Years Ago Easter Weekend Saw Record Crest for the St. Croix. The flood of '65 was truly historic, one for the record books, with the highest crest on record for the Minnesota River at Shakopee. Stillwater was also hit hard; here's an excerpt from The Stillwater Gazette: "On Easter weekend 1965, Stillwater’s Main Street was shut down. Beginning at 8 a.m. on Good Friday, no one was allowed east of Second Street without an emergency pass. According to news reports from the time, the closure was unprecedented in Stillwater history; so were the record flood levels threatening downtown. Water covered the lift bridge’s driving surface, and a 5,000-foot-long dike built by teenagers served as the only barrier preventing the St. Croix River from bursting onto Main Street..."
50 Year Anniversary of Palm Sunday Tornado Outbreak. '65 was a tough year, for spring river flooding and tornadoes, leading up to the May 6, 1965 outbreak in the Twin Cities, when Fridley was hit by two EF-4 strength tornadoes. Here's an excerpt of a Wikipedia account of the Palm Sunday outbreak: "The second Palm Sunday tornado outbreak occurred on April 11–12, 1965, in the Midwest U.S. states of Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa, with 47 tornadoes (15 significant, 17 violent, 21 killers). It was the second-biggest outbreak on record at the time. In the Midwest, 271 people were killed and 1,500 injured (1,200 in Indiana). It was the deadliest tornado outbreak in Indiana history, with 137 people killed. The outbreak also made that week in April 1965 the second-most-active week in history, with 51 significant and 21 violent tornadoes. Despite having 17 F4 tornadoes, 6 of them (4 in Indiana, and 2 in Ohio) are questionable, and may have been F5's. (Photo credit: Paul Huffman, NOAA).
Another Southerly Detour. For the better part of 9-10 months storms have been (consistently) tracking south and east of Minnesota, another symptom of the ridiculously resilient ridge of high pressure straddling the west coast, creating one of the worst droughts in a millenia for California. That pattern lingers with some 6-10" rains for the Gulf Coast and Deep South, while rainfall remains light and spotty for the Upper Midwest.
April Gets Better. A streak of 60s, even a shot at 70F Tuesday, again Friday? What's not to like - other than the lack of additional puddles. A dry pattern lingers with the next chance of widespread rain about 1 week from today, based on European guidance.
75 F. high in the Twin Cities Sunday.
56 F. average high on April 12.
55 F. high on April 12, 2014.
April 12, 1931: July-like temperatures across the area with 90 degrees at Beardsley in west central Minnesota. Source: Twin Cities National Weather Service.
TODAY: Sunny, windy, a bit cooler. Winds: W 15-25. High: 63
MONDAY NIGHT: Clear and comfortably cool. Low: 38
TUESDAY: Blue sky, beyond pleasant. Winds: S 10. High: near 70
WEDNESDAY: Less sun, isolated T-shower? Wake-up: 46. High: 66
THURSDAY: Mix of clouds and sun. Wake-up: 48. High: 64
FRIDAY: Clouds increase, showers up north. Wake-up: 49. High: 68
SATURDAY: Blue sky, still too dry out there. Wake-up: 45. High: 64
SUNDAY: Breezy with lukewarm sunshine. Wake-up: 47. High: 66
Pope Francis Is A Powerful Messenger for Climate Change. Here's a snippet from a story at Quartz: "This summer, Pope Francis plans to release an encyclical letter in which he will address environmental issues, and very likely climate change. His statement will have a profound impact on the public debate. For one, it will elevate the spiritual, moral and religious dimensions of the issue. Calling on people to protect the global climate because it is sacred, both for its own God-given value and for the life and dignity of all humankind, not just the affluent few, will create far more personal commitment than a government call for action on economic grounds or an activist’s call on environmental grounds..." (File photo: AP).
Students Push College Fossil Fuel Divestment To Stigmatize Industry. NPR has the story - here's an excerpt: "...In the past few years, students at hundreds of colleges and universities have started pushing their schools to divest from fossil fuel companies as a way to slow climate change. The campaign has had some notable wins in the past year. But at tiny Swarthmore College, outside of Philadelphia, where the movement was born, students have been staging a sit-in for nearly a month to try to make their voices heard..."
Photo credit above: "Freshman education major, Josh Medel, has his picture taken by alumna Anjali Cadambi for social media." Emily Cohen/NewsWorks.