Frosty Possibilities by Sunday - Chilly Opener

First, the good news: no murderous EF-4 tornadoes looming. No beach ball-size hail on Doppler. No spring floods or raging wildfires on the horizon.

It can always be worse.

Refresh my tired memory: are you supposed to wait until after Mother's Day or Memorial Day to plant annuals?

The rumors are true: some emerging plants and flowers may freeze their buds off this weekend. Canadian winds  stirring behind today's sloppy band of showers will keep temperatures in the 40s today and Saturday. If skies clear and winds ease by Sunday morning a light frost may settle on outlying suburbs. If in doubt cover them up, bring them indoors, or write them off.

Fishing Opener weather Saturday will feel like something out of late October, with scrappy clouds and a whiff of wind chill. The sun comes out Sunday with a string of 60s restoring your faith in a Minnesota May next week.

Our weather resembles a car swerving down I-35: from 92F last Friday to patchy frost Sunday morning to 70s, 80s and strong T-storms the weekend of May 21-22 there's something for almost everyone in the 7-Day Outlook. 

* 2-meter temperatures valid 7 am, courtesy of 4 KM NAM from NOAA and AerisWeather.

Showers Today - October Flashback This Weekend. The 00z NAM prints out .22" of rain today as a colder front pushes a few bands of showers across the state. By late Saturday temperatures up north are predicted to be chilly enough for flurries. Ah, May. Future radar: NOAA 4 KM NAM and AerisWeather.

Flirting With Frost. Although a light breeze (and the urban heat island) should keep the immediate metro, downtowns and close-in suburbs frost-free over the weekend I can't rule out a little frost for outlying suburbs, especially Sunday morning. If skies clear and winds ease a touch of frost is possible from Roseville and Anoka to Medina, Chaska, Lakeville and Eagan. Source: Aeris Enterprise.

Spring Stages a Comeback Next Week. The numbers above reflect ECMWF guidance; showing upper 40s to near 50 for highs over the weekend (nearly 20F cooler than average) but 60s returning next week; maybe 70s or warmer the weekend after next. Source: WeatherBell.

Summer Warmth Returns Late May. GFS guidance for 500 mb winds roughly 2 weeks out builds a stormy trough off the west coast, a ridge of warm air expanding northward across the Plains. I wouldn't be surprised to see a few 80s returning by the last week of May.

Upward and Onward. One more reason to thumb your nose at the weekend cool front - all models show a rapid warming  trend with 80s possible a week from Sunday. I sure hope the GFS is right.

The Minnesota Governor’s Fishing Opener, being held in the coming year on Big Sandy Lake in McGregor, has been a tradition in Minnesota since 1948. It was designed to improve Minnesota’s economy through the development and promotion of the state’s recreational opportunities, especially fishing. The first opener was a cooperative promotion between the state’s resort industry, media, and public officials. Today, the emphasis is even broader. It celebrates the kickoff of the summer tourism season. The special partnership continues today with a promotional focus on a host community as well as recreational opportunities statewide." More details here.

Billion Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters in 2015. Here's a highlight of a recent summary from NOAA: "In 2015, there were 10 weather and climate disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each across the United States. These events included a drought event, 2 flooding events, 5 severe storm events, a wildfire event, and a winter storm event. Overall, these events resulted in the deaths of 155 people and had significant economic effects on the areas impacted. The 1980–2015 annual average is 5.2 events (CPI-adjusted); the annual average for the most recent 5 years (2011–2015) is 10.8 events (CPI-adjusted). Further cost figures on individual events in 2015 will be updated when data are finalized..."

La Nina Watch Issued by NOAA Climate Prediction Center. Here's an excerpt of the latest statement, showing a continued cooling trend in the waters of the equatorial Pacific: "La Nina is favored to develop during the Northern Hemisphere summer 2016, with about a 75% chance of La Nina during the fall and winter 2016-17. During the past month, sea surface temperatures (SST) anomalies decreased  across the equatorial Pacific Ocean, with near-to-below average SSTs recently emerging in the eastern Pacific..."

The 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season. Scientist and writer Greg Laden has an interesting post at; here's the intro: "This year’s Atlantic Hurricane season will be stronger, forecasts suggest, than that of the previous two years, and stronger than the average year. The Atlantic Hurricane Seasons starts on June 1st. But, there was a hurricane that happened already, either late in last year’s season or very early in this year’s season, called Alex. That hurricane had to go somewhere, and I suppose the keepers of the records had already put their spreadsheet to bed when Alex came along on January 7th, so that storm gets counted as part of the season that will nominally start at the beginning of next month..."

Image credit: "The following graphic shows the relationship between the median number of named storms predicted each year by those three sources and the actual number of named storms in the Atlantic."

Rains Hamper Planting: Southwest Minnesota, Northwest Iowa Lag Behind Their State. Following up on Kevin's comments above, here's the intro to a story at The Worthington Daily Globe: "Area farmers grew accustomed to praying for timely rains during the past several years. Now, they’re praying for sunshine and some wind to dry up the fields so they can get their crops planted. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service released its weekly crop progress report Monday afternoon, and it noted that 89 percent of the state’s corn crop and 46 percent of its soybean crop was planted. That’s not the case, however, in the southwest corner of the state, where ponds are still visible in some fields and the week’s weather forecast calls for chances of rain nearly every day..."

Photo credit above: "A rural Rushmore farmer plants corn Sunday on ground, dry enough to work up and plant between rains." Tim Middagh/Daily Globe.

Toilet Bowl Saves Oklahoma Teenage Boy's Life During EF-3 Tornado. Here's an excerpt of a story at Christian Post that made me do a double-take: "A toilet bowl served more than just a depository of human waste and excess body fluids after it saved a life of an autistic boy in the midst of strong tornado. Daniel Parks, an 18-year-old autistic teenage boy, was spared from imminent demise after he hid in their bathroom and hugged the toilet bowl as an EF-3 tornado ravaged a rural area 80 miles south of Oklahoma City, as per Buzzfeed. "We are all safe! My house on the other hand is leveled. Nothing left," posted the mother of Parks, Angela, on her Facebook account at the aftermath of the disaster..."

Severe Weather Outbreaks are Spawning More Tornadoes. Natural variation or symptoms of additional heating and instability associated with warming? Here's an excerpt of an interesting post at WXshift: "...Observations over the past few decades have yielded an interesting trend. While there are fewer days with tornadoes, there are more tornadoes on those days. Because there have been changes in how tornadoes are reported and detected, researchers eliminated the weakest tornado classification on the Enhanced Fujita scale known as EF0 tornadoes (or F0 before 2007 on the original Fujita scale). Since the early 1970s, the average annual number of days with at least one EF1 or stronger tornado has dropped from 150 to 100. Yet, there has been an increase in the number of days with a very high number of tornadoes. In the 1970s, the average number of days with more than 30 EF1 or stronger tornadoes was a fraction less than one, meaning they weren’t even a yearly occurrence on average. In the last decade, that number had jumped to three days each year..."

Image credit: "While there are fewer days each year with tornadoes, on average, the number of days with more than 30 tornadoes is increasing." Credit:

5 Things You Need to Know About Tornadoes. Here's an excerpt from The National Science Foundation: "...Tornadoes usually occur in association with particular types of severe storms, such as supercells and squall lines, called tornado parental storms. But not all these parental storms generate tornadoes.  Tornadogenesis, as the formation of tornadoes is called, remains the “holy grail” of tornado research. Recent work suggests that the temperature of the outflow air from the parent thunderstorm could play a critical role. There is a lot we don’t yet understand, including the circumstances that produce tornado outbreaks..."

Photo credit above: "Image of a strong tornado near Arab, Alabama, part of the outbreak on April 27, 2011." Credit: Charles Whisenant.

2016 Tornado Activity Remains Below Normal Despite Recent Outbreak. Here's an excerpt of a timely reality check from in Huntsville, Alabama: "...Despite the recent rash of tornadoes in parts of the country, tornado activity in 2016 is still below average. According to the Storm Prediction Center, between 2005 and 2015, an average of 604 tornadoes occurred each year through May 10. This year, 438 have occurred through May 10. The tornado count through May 10 of this year is higher than it was through the same date in 2015, 2014, 2013, 2010 and 2005. Six out of the past 11 years had higher numbers of tornadoes through May 10 than we've had in 2016."

What's It Like Living Through a Category 5 Cyclone? The National Press Club has an audio interview with a Cyclone Winston survivor in Fiji: "Cyclone Winston is the worst storm ever recorded in the southern hemisphere. It had sustained winds of 185 miles an hour and killed 42 people. It also destroyed thousands of homes in Fiji, left many people without water and electricity and forced tens of thousands of Fijians to live in evacuation centers. Irshad Hussain, a radio station manager in Fiji, talks to Broadcast Committee member Irv Chapman about his experience surviving the category 5 storm. He was at the station when the cyclone hit on February 20, damaging the station's antenna and knocking it off the air in parts of the Pacific Islands. Hussain explains in detail what it was like when the cyclone hit, how the media have covered the story and how Fiji is recovering."

Boulder: Anatomy of a Flood Recovery. There are many lessons to be learned from the historic flash floods of 2013; here's an excerpt from Emergency Management: "Officials learned several other lessons as the recovery progressed:

  • Information management — including sharing information among agencies — is critical. The city was doing damage assessments, FEMA was processing requests for individual assistance and other agencies were responding to survivors’ needs. “Being able to coordinate all of that so that residents don’t get assessed and visited multiple times and so that it’s clear what the needs are in the community” is critical, Meschuk said. “We’re working through that, and it’s going to be a long-term process...”

Image credit:

Changing Migration Patterns Upend East Coast Fishing Industry. The waters are warming - there's no fooling the fish. Here's an excerpt from The Wall Street Journal: "...Many scientists believe that rising sea temperatures triggered by climate change is, in part, fueling the migration of fish species northward, and that the trend is expected to continue. Several scientific papers argue that the warming trend is particularly pronounced along the U.S. East Coast, with a 2009 “Progress in Oceanography” paper finding that northeast waters warmed by nearly twice the global rate from 1982 to 2006. The phenomenon has significant consequences for oceanic species and the industries that depend on them, said Eli Fenichel, an assistant professor at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies..."

Map credit: WSJ, Rutgers University's School of Environmental and Biological Sciences; OceanAdapt.

Air Pollution Rising at an "Alarming Rate" in World's Cities. Here's a clip from a story at The Guardian: "Outdoor air pollution has grown 8% globally in the past five years, with billions of people around the world now exposed to dangerous air, according to new data from more than 3,000 cities compiled by the World Health Organisation (WHO). While all regions are affected, fast-growing cities in the Middle East, south-east Asia and the western Pacific are the most impacted with many showing pollution levels at five to 10 times above WHO recommended levels..."

Map credit above: "Annual mean concentration of fine particulate matter (2.5 micrometres or less) in micrograms per cubic metre for 3,000 towns and cities around the world."

* The report at The World Health Organization (WHO) is here.

Congress to America: Drop Dead. Not concerned about the Zika virus yet? You will be - it could make the recent ebola scare look like a relative walk in the park. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed in The New York Times from Nicholas Kristof: "...Even Senator Marco Rubio laid into his fellow Republicans a few weeks ago, saying: “The money is going to be spent. And the question is, Do we do it now before this has become a crisis, or do we wait for it to become a crisis?” Rubio is right. It’s always more cost-effective and lifesaving to tackle an epidemic early. “I’m very worried, especially for our U.S. Gulf Coast states,” said Dr. Peter Jay Hotez, a tropical diseases expert at Baylor College of Medicine. “I cannot understand why a member of Congress from a Gulf Coast state cannot see this train approaching. It’s like refusing emergency preparedness funds for an approaching hurricane...”

Photo credit: "An official from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention speaking during a press briefing on Zika at the White House last month. President Obama has requested more than $1.8 billion to address the virus." Credit Zach Gibson for the The New York Times.

That’s not the case, however, in the southwest corner of the state, where ponds are still visible in some fields and the week’s weather forecast calls for chances of rain nearly every day.

The Growing Stress on the World's Water. Here's the intro to an Op-Ed from the Editorial Board at The Washington Post: "THE WORLD Bank has warned countries that one of climate change’s most significant impacts will be on a precious resource that many people, particularly in advanced nations, take for granted: water. The concerns go far beyond sea-level rise, which is perhaps the most predictable result of the planet’s increasing temperature, or an uptick in extreme weather. Countries must worry about whether their people will have enough fresh water to farm, produce electricity, bathe and drink. Global warming will not change the amount of water in the world, but it will affect water’s distribution across countries, making some much worse off..."

Photo credit above: "A farmer carrying a hoe walks past a dried-up pond in Shilin Yi Autonomous County of Kunming, Yunnan province February 28, 2013." (STRINGER/CHINA/REUTERS).

The Heartland of America is "100% Clean Energy Ready". EcoWatch reports on a growing trend: "...The long and ultimately victorious fight to stop the Keystone XL pipeline inspired the Tanderups to install their own large solar array on the farm and to get an electric vehicle that could be charged entirely by the sun. “The Keystone XL fight will not be over until we have transitioned to 100 percent clean energy,” said Art Tanderup. “Dirty fuels are bad for our farms and our communities—and the farmers, cowboys, Indians, and others who stood up to TransCanada are now standing up for what’s right for the Midwest. We need to create clean, healthy, American-produced energy right here in the Heartland. Clean energy is no longer a thing of the future—it’s powering Heartland farms and families today...”

Photo credit: "Nebraska farmers in Keystone XL battle carve a massive crop art message into an 80-acre cornfield calling for 100% clean energy for all." Photo credit: Tom Simmons / Spectral Q.

Clean Energy "Miracles" Remain Elusive - But Here's Why That Might Not Be a Problem. VICE News has the story; here's a snippet: "...The progress has been buoyed by tax credits for wind and solar power that Congress extended in a December budget deal. The United States added enough solar and wind power in 2015 to light about 3.8 million homes, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) and industry estimates. And federal regulators just approved a new long-distance power line that will carry electricity from wind farms in Texas and Oklahoma to the Southeast. The price of renewables is still higher than coal or comparatively cleaner natural gas, but the gap is shrinking as more wind and solar capacity comes online, said Larry Chretien, executive director of the Energy Consumers Alliance of New England..."

Photo credit: Larry W. Smith/EPA.

The "Clean Energy Miracle" Is Already Here. Joe Romm at ThinkProgress makes a compelling case; here's an excerpt and link to Part 2 of his ongoing series: "...The mainstream media generally has a bias towards bad news — if it bleeds it ledes, goes the saying. You have to wait an awfully long time on the evening news — or indeed most news shows and media outlets — to see “good news.” As a result, they rarely cover the solar energy “miracle” or the wind energy “miracle” because they think they already did that story years ago. Almost everybody is behind the curve — literally. The U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA) consistently underestimates renewables growth in its projections. Solar and wind have been continuously outperforming expectations for so long that even the International Energy Agency (IEA) — a world leader in analyzing clean energy trends — itself keeps underestimating what’s about to happen year after year..."

Image credit: "Global EV sales, 2011-2015". (Source: via

Denmark Is Kicking Its Fossil Fuel Habit. Can The Rest of the World Follow? InsideClimate News takes a look at how Denmark is weaning itself off dirty fossil fuels: "In the 1970s, Denmark was addicted to oil, burning petroleum not only to power its cars but also to generate electricity. Forty years later, the country is rapidly gaining on a mid-century goal of being fossil fuel-free, thanks partly to a policy that gives Danish citizens the legal right to own a stake in wind farms. More than 40 percent of the country is now powered by wind, up from less than a quarter a few years ago, and compared to only 5 percent in the United States..."

The Mask You Live In. What does it mean to be a man in today's culture? What are we teaching our sons about what it means to live a successful, full and happy life? I watched this film on Netflix - it's worth your time to check it out. Details and the trailer from The Representation Project: "The Mask You Live In follows boys and young men as they struggle to stay true to themselves while negotiating America's narrow definition of masculinity.  Research shows that compared to girls, boys in the U.S. are more likely to be diagnosed with a behavior disorder,  prescribed stimulant medications, fall out of school, binge drinke, commit a violent crime, and/or take their own lives..."

The Mask You Live In follows boys and young men as they struggle to stay true to themselves while negotiating America’s narrow definition of masculinity.

Research shows that compared to girls, boys in the U.S. are more likely to be diagnosed with a behavior disorder, prescribed stimulant medications, fail out of school, binge drink, commit a violent crime, and/or take their own lives.

- See more at:

The Mask You Live In follows boys and young men as they struggle to stay true to themselves while negotiating America’s narrow definition of masculinity.

Research shows that compared to girls, boys in the U.S. are more likely to be diagnosed with a behavior disorder, prescribed stimulant medications, fail out of school, binge drink, commit a violent crime, and/or take their own lives.

- See more at:

The World's Most Romantic Socks are Knitted on an Active Volcano. I miss the good 'ol days, when my wife would knit my socks. Now I'm barefoot most of the time. Which got me thinking about a recent Atlas Obscura article: "...Socks were the garment of choice for young lovers. Traditionally, a woman would knit a pair for her intended paramour, adding as many stripes as she saw fit. If the target of her affection felt good about the stripe situation, he would signal his acceptance by knitting a pair of moccasins for the young lady. According to official love socks lore, "The young lady would then offer to wash his clothes and this was a sign that they were formally engaged and a marriage would follow shortly..."

Photo credit: "The famous socks." (Photo: Courtesy of Dawn Repetto).

9 of the Most Incredible Model Trains in the World. And a few of them are here in the USA, according to Atlas Obscura.

58 F. high in the Twin Cities Thursday.

68 F. average high on May 12.

58 F. high temperature on May 12,  2015.

May 13, 1872: A hailstorm hits Sibley County. Hail up to the size of pigeon eggs is reported. Lightning burns down a barn near Sibley, killing a horse tied up inside.

TODAY: Showers likely, gusty winds. Winds: NW 15-25. High: near 50

FRIDAY NIGHT: Showers and sprinkles taper, still windy. Low: 35

SATURDAY: Mostly cloudy, cool breeze - few PM sprinkles? Winds: NW 10-20.  High: 49

SUNDAY: Frost risk for outlying suburbs, more sun with less wind. Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 33. High: near 60

MONDAY: More clouds, slight shower risk. Winds: N 5-10. Wake-up: 42. High: 63

TUESDAY: Gradual clearing, pleasant. Winds: NW 7-12. Wake-up: 48. High: 64

WEDNESDAY: Plenty of sun, feels like May again. Winds: SE 7-12. Wake-up: 47. High: 66

THURSDAY: Clouds increase, late shower? Winds: S 8-13. Wake-up: 49. High: 68

Climate Stories...

University of Minnesota Professor Leads Team to High Arctic to Teach About Climate Change. Here's an excerpt from Canada's CBC News: "A University of Minnesota professor and his team endured whiteouts and snow flurries as they trekked through the High Arctic to document how communities are finding solutions in the face of climate change. Last month Aaron Doering and his team flew into Arctic Bay, then trekked 238 km to Pond Inlet — some on skis, others with snowshoes. They carried everything they needed to survive on the land with them on a sled. "We endured everything of the Arctic," said Doering."From complete whiteout to snow to sunshine." Doering dubs himself an adventure-learning pioneer, and he has been all across Canada's Arctic..."

Photo credit: "We endured everything," said Doering. "From complete whiteout, to snow, to sunshine." (The Changing Earth).

Climate Change: Extreme African Heatwaves May Spark "Humanitarian Crisis of Unknown Dimensions". Alarmist hype? Stay tuned. Here's an excerpt of a summary of recent research at International Business Times: "Extreme heatwaves in Africa could take place once every year by 2040, and four times every year by the latter quarter of the century. Scientists warn that these dangerously hot temperature spells could result in a "humanitarian crisis of unknown dimensions". Because of its geographical position between the tropics, solar radiation is always high. This means that heatwaves can take place at any time of the year. Furthermore, in the last 50 to 100 years, surface temperatures across most of the continent have increased by 0.5C or more..."

Photo credit above: "Africa could have four heatwaves each year by 2075." Gareth Beynon/Flickr.

How To Respond to a Ridiculous Climate Change Argument. Where to begin. Here's an excerpt from GOOD: "Climate change deniers often say, "The Earth has always been warming and cooling, this isn't any different!" Well, this new era of global temperature rise is different. The video above will lead you through the last seven cycles of warming and cooling across the planet, and it is indeed natural for Earth to oscillate between ice ages and warmer periods in which plants and animals (human and quadruped alive) thrive. But ever since the Industrial Revolution something extra bad has been going on, and both carbon dioxide and atmospheric temperatures have risen together at historically (and we do mean historically) staggering rate..."

Global Warming Cited as Wildfires Increase in Fragile Boreal Forest. Justin Gillis and Henry Fountain have the story at The New York Times; here's the introduction: "Scientists have been warning for decades that climate change is a threat to the immense tracts of forest that ring the Northern Hemisphere, with rising temperatures, drying trees and earlier melting of snow contributing to a growing number of wildfires. The near-destruction of a Canadian city last week by a fire that sent almost 90,000 people fleeing for their lives is grim proof that the threat to these vast stands of spruce and other resinous trees, collectively known as the boreal forest, is real. And scientists say a large-scale loss of the forest could have profound consequences for efforts to limit the damage from climate change..."

Photo credit: "Charred trees near Fort McMurray, in Alberta, Canada. Climate change is a prime suspect in a rise of wildfires in the boreal forest." Credit Ian Willms for The New York Times.

New Era of "Superfires" as Climate Change Triggers Hotter, Drier Weather. Are we loading the dice in favor of more Fort McMurrays? Here's an excerpt from CNBC: "...Meanwhile, climate change has already led to U.S. fire seasons that are now on average 78 days longer than in 1970, according to a report on the rising cost of wildfire operations from the U.S. government last year. The six worst fire seasons since 1960 have all occurred since 2000, according to the U.S. report. Since 2000, many Western states have experienced the largest wildfires in their state's history. And literally adding fuel to the fire, more development has been taking place near U.S. forests over the years..."

Photo credit: Mark Blinch | Reuters. "Smoke and flames from the wildfires erupt behind cars on the highway near Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, May 7, 2016."

It's Not Just Alberta: Warrming Fueled Fires Are Increasing. Here's an excerpt from AP: "...But the temperature one stands out, Flannigan said. "The Alberta wildfires are an excellent example of what we're seeing more and more of: warming means snow melts earlier, soils and vegetation dries out earlier, and the fire season starts earlier. It's a train wreck," University of Arizona climate scientist Jonathan Overpeck wrote in an email. Worldwide, the length of Earth's fire season increased nearly 19 percent from 1979 to 2013, according to a study by Mark Cochrane, a professor of fire ecology at South Dakota State University. Fires had steadily been increasing, but then in the late 1990s and early 2000s, "we've suddenly been hit with lots of these large fires we can't control," Cochrane said..." (File photo: EPA).

Talking About Wildfires and Climate Change Isn't Playing Politics. Huffington Post reports.

Extreme Weather is "Face of Climate Change" Says Premier Wynne. Here's the intro to a story at National Observer: "The premiers of Ontario and British Columbia have both linked the Fort McMurray wildfire with global warming, while defending the importance of Canada's oil and gas industry. In separate interviews that were broadcast over the weekend, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and British Columbia Premier Christy Clark said it's time to talk about the climate change problem and find solutions. "I think there are a lot of factors in this situation and we are very, very sad and we think of the people of Alberta," Wynne said during a French-language interview with Radio-Canada's weekly political show, Les Coulisses du Pouvoir..." (Image credit: CBC Edmonton).

Obama Seeks Building Code Changes Amid More Extreme Weather. A tornado-proof, hurricane-proof, fire-resistant building; is that even possible? Here's an excerpt from Bloomberg Politics: "President Barack Obama is asking the private sector to tighten building standards to reduce losses from natural disasters after studies linked an increase in extreme weather to climate change. The administration will announce Tuesday the start of work by the organizations that set standards for residential and commercial buildings in an effort to improve safety during and after events such as fires, floods and earthquakes. “We’re building for 50 to 100 years and if we don’t take into account what is to come, our investments are at risk of being washed away,” Alice Hill, White House National Security Council senior director for resilience, said in an interview..."

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