RED FLAG WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 1 PM THIS AFTERNOON TO 7 PM CDT THIS EVENING FOR STRONG WINDS AND LOW HUMIDITY...
* AFFECTED AREA...Eastern Minnesota and far western Wisconsin.
* WIND...South 15 to 20 mph with gusts near 30 mph.
* HUMIDITY...Minimum RH of 18 to 25 percent.
* IMPACTS...any fires that develop will likely spread rapidly. Outdoor burning is not recommended.
Record MSP April Snowfall!
Just so you don't forget... April 2018 has been the snowiest April on record for the Twin Cities with a whopping 26.1" of snow. The previous snowiest April was 21.8" set in 1983. By the way, the average April snow is only 2.4".
2018 Ice Out Dates...
Strong late April sunshine and recent 'warmer' temps are helping to take out lake ice pretty fast. Lake Pepin was the first Minnesota lake to officially be ice free as of April 20th, which is nearly 3 weeks later than its average ice out date of March 31st. Since then a few more lake have officially gone ice free including Hiawatha, Taft and Spoon lakes around the Twin Cities! These lakes are also running nearly 3 weeks behind their 'average' ice out dates.
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.
Extended Temperature Forecast
The extended forecast through May 12th & 13th show warmer temps in place as we head into the early part of May. The images below suggest the GFS (American model) and ECMWF (European model) temperature outlook. Note that the GFS forecast keeps temps a little warmer, while the ECMWF keeps temps more consistently in the 60s.
Cold Start to April
The first half 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 -5F 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 -12.3F below average through the first 27 days
Great Lakes Ice Coverage
According to NOAA's GLERL, the Great Lakes were 4.0% covered in ice as of April 27th. At this time last year, there was NO ice coverage on the Great Lakes.
Lake Superior Ice Coverage
Here's a look at the ice coverage across Lake Superior and as of April 28th, NOAA's GLERL, said that 4.2% of Lake Superior was covered. At last time last year, there was NO ice on Lake Superior.
Snow Depth 2018
The snow depth map across the country for April 28th suggests that 4.8% 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 10.8% of the nation was covered in snow. As of April 28th, the Twin Cities officially had NO snow on the ground at the MSP Airport.
At this time last year, 10.8% of the nation was covered in snow.
According to NOAA's SPC, there have been 270 preliminary tornadoes so far this year (April 27th), which is more than what we had at this time in the last couple of years. Interestingly, there were 1,022 tornadoes at this time in 2011; that year ended with 1,897 tornadoes, which is nearly 500 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.) Severe weather across portions of the Plains and the Middle and Lower Mississippi Valley, Mon-Wed, Apr 30-May 2.
2.) Heavy rain across portions of the Central and Southern Plains, the Mississippi Valley, the Great Lakes, and the Ohio Valley, Wed-Thu, May 2-May 3.
3.) Heavy rain across portions of the Lower Mississippi Valley and the Southern Plains, Fri, May 4.
4.) Flooding possible across portions of the Northern Rockies and the Northern Great Basin.
5.) Flooding occurring or imminent across portions of the Southeast, the Upper Mississippi Valley, and the Northern Plains.
6.) Flooding likely across portions of the Mid-Atlantic, the Great Lakes, the Upper Mississippi Valley, and the Northern Plains.
7.) High winds across portions of the Central Plains, the Central Rockies, the Central Great Basin, the Southern Rockies, the Southern Plains, and the Southwest, Mon-Wed, Apr 30-May 2.
8.) Much below normal temperatures across portions of the Northeast, the Central and Southern Appalachians, the Mid-Atlantic, the Great Lakes, and the Ohio Valley, Mon, Apr 30.
9.) Enhanced wildfire risk across portions of the the Southern Rockies, the Southern Plains, and the Southwest, Mon, Apr 30.
10.) Slight risk of much above normal temperatures for portions of California and the Southwest, Mon-Wed, May 7-May 9.
11.) Slight risk of heavy precipitation for portions of the Lower Mississippi Valley and the Southern Plains, Sat, May 5.
12.) Slight risk of heavy precipitation for portions of mainland Alaska, Sat-Sun, May 5-May 6.
13.) Severe Drought across parts of the Plains, the Central and Southern Rockies, the Central Great Basin, California, the Southeast, and the Southwest.
Temperature Anomaly on Friday
The temperature anomaly across North America from Saturday, showed WELL below average temperatures across a large chunk of the western part of the US and Canada, while cooler than average temps were still in place across the Hudson Bay and down into the Great Lakes/Ohio Valley.
The 850mb temperature anomaly from Sunday to AM Wednesday shows warmer than average temperatures moving in across much of the Upper Midwest and lingering through the early week time frame. This warmth and even a bit of humidity will surge ahead of a storm system that will produce widely scattered showers and thunderstorms across much of the Central US over the next several days.
Weather Outlook Ahead
A developing storm system in the Western US will slowly move east over the coming days, which will increase the threat of widely scattered showers and thunderstorms in the Central US. Keep in mind that some of the storms could be strong to severe with areas of locally heavy rain.
Severe Threats Ahead
As the storm system slides east through the weekend and into next week, widely scattered thunderstorms will develop and some will be strong to severe across the Central US. Here are the SPC threats from Sunday to Wednesday
Severe Threat Sunday
Severe Threat Monday
Severe Threat Tuesday
Severe Threat Wednesday
7 Day Precipitation Outlook
According to NOAA's WPC, the 7-day precipitation outlook suggests areas of heavy precipitation continuing across the Central US with widespread 2" to 4"+ tallies possible through the week ahead.
Snowfall Potential Ahead
The GFS snowfall potential as we head into the first week of May suggests snow still falling across across the high elevations in the Western US. However, other than a litle snow possible in the Northeast, 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!
Too Sunny and Too Dry. Fire Weather Watch
By Paul Douglas
Yesterday looked like a (bad) episode of "The Walking Dead"; dazed neighbors emerging from hibernation, walking zombie-like around their yards, inspecting lawns and gardens. One quipped "Hey Paul, where does the white go when snow melts?" Pondering an answer made my head hurt but blue sky and an August-like sun angle felt good. Spring has arrived; better late than never.
Sunday may tickle your weather taste buds with late afternoon temperatures hovering near 70F. A southerly fetch direct from the Gulf of Mexico will fuel showers and T-storms tonight and Monday morning. There's even a slight severe storm risk over far southwest Minnesota. If the sun breaks through tomorrow we may hit 80F with sticky dew points near 60F. Flip a switch: instant summer.
Grumbling thundershowers spill over into Tuesday; a northwest breeze drying us out temporarily on Wednesday. More rain brushes the area Thursday before we dry out late in the week.
NOAA has issued a Fire Weather Watch - any fires that do start may spread rapidly. Monday rain and a rapid green-up this week should lower our fire risk.
SUNDAY: Lukewarm sunshine, breezy. Winds: S 15-30. High: 70.
SUNDAY NIGHT: Increasing clouds. Chance of thunder overnight. Winds: SSE 10-15. Low: 53.
MONDAY: Early thunder, then warm and sticky sun. Winds: S 15-25. High: 80.
TUESDAY: Some sun. Spotty thunderstorms around. Winds: N 7-12. Wake-up: 60. High: 73.
WEDNESDAY: Slightly cool and drier with some sun. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 52. High: 64.
THURSDAY: Gray and cool with a period of rain. Winds: NE 10-15. Wake-up: 48. High: 57.
FRIDAY: Partly sunny and pleasantly mild. Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 44. High: 68.
SATURDAY: Intervals of sun. Passing shower? Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 48. High: 63.
This Day in Weather History
1984: Late season heavy snow blankets the Twin Cities with 6.6 inches.
1940: Heavy rain falls in Duluth, with a daily total of 3.25 inches.
Average High/Low for Minneapolis
Average High: 64F (Record: 92F set in 1952)
Average Low: 43F (Record: 22F set in 1958)
Record Rainfall: 1.30" set in 1991
Record Snowfall: 6.6" set in 1984
Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
Hours of Daylight: ~14 hours & 11 minutes
Daylight GAINED since yesterday: ~ 2 minutes & 46 seconds
Daylight GAINED since winter solstice (December 21st): 5 Hour 24 Minutes
Moon Phase for April 29th at Midnight
0.3 Days After Full "Pink" Moon
"One of the earliest-blooming, widespread flowers in North America is the grass pink or wild ground phlox. Other names for this full moon are the Full Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon and, to some coastal tribes, the Full Fish Moon, to mark when the shad come upstream to spawn. Fullness occurs at 7:58 p.m. CDT"
Temp Outlook For Sunday
Sunday will be a nice mild day across the region with a number of 60s and 70s showing up, however, winds will once again be quite gusty.
According to NOAA's CPC, May 6th - May 12th will be warmer than average across the Western US, while cooler than average temps will still be found across the Eastern half of the country.
"How to stop a hurricane"
"Hurricane season comes every year, and with it damage, devastation and lives destroyed - is there some way we could stop it and harness the energy at the same time? Last year will go down in history as the year of the hurricane. In 2017, three storms in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean – Harvey, Irma and Maria – together took more than 300 lives and caused damage totalling $450bn (£319bn), making it the costliest Atlantic hurricane season ever. As climate change bites ever harder, the most powerful hurricanes are forecast to become more frequent, so years like this may become the norm in decades to come. This has focused minds on ways of stopping hurricanes in their tracks, or even preventing them from forming at all. One idea – known as the Salter Sink – has been patented by British marine engineer Prof Stephen Salter and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates. The plan is to float thousands of tyre-like rings in the tropical Atlantic, connected to giant tubes that suck warm surface waters down into deeper water, to be replaced by cold water from below."
"Global temperatures have dropped since 2016. Here’s why that’s normal."
"It was only two years ago that a new record-warm global temperature was set, but things have already cooled off significantly. Temperature anomalies hit record peaks in 2016 but have been sliding since then. Global temperatures are still much warmer than normal, but according to NASA, the first quarter of 2018 (January-March) was the fourth warmest, behind 2015, 2016, 2017 and tied with 2010. This is normal, of course. The world has not seen the last of global warming. The long-term upward trend in temperatures is the result of man-made fossil fuel emissions, but natural processes that affect global temperature — like El Niño — still play a role. Sometimes they make things warmer and sometimes they make things cooler. The current cooling episode is mostly the result of a reversal of waters in the Tropical Pacific, which can modulate global temperature. Since the Pacific Ocean is our largest global body of water, what it does makes a big difference on global climate. A similar reversal followed the super El Niño in the late ’90s — 1998 was the hottest year on record at the time in part because of the warm El Niño water pushing global temperatures over the brink. Earth went from having one of the strongest El Niño events on record (very warm waters in the central Tropical Pacific) to a few years of cooler waters, thanks to a La Niña period."
"A State in India Was Struck by Lightning More Than 36,000 Times in 13 Hours"
"The southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh had an electrifying night this week after officials reportedly recorded 36,749 lightning strikes in just 13 hours. The extreme electrical activity lashed the coastal state on Tuesday and claimed nine lives, including that of a nine-year-old girl, the BBC reports. Lightning strikes are not uncommon before the start of India’s monsoon season, which runs from June to September, Kishan Sanku of the state’s emergency operation center told the BBC. But this week’s bout, which was termed an “extreme weather pattern,” was atypically energetic. Last year, the region saw about 30,000 lighting strikes over the entire month of May. Some scientists believe that global warming may be contributing to more active lightning storms. The combination of cold winds from the Arabian Sea and warmer air currents from northern India created an unusually large cloud cover, spanning 124 miles and inflating the risk of lightning storms, Sanku said."
"B.C. wildfires triggered mega thunderstorm with volcano-like effects"
'This was the most significant fire-driven thunderstorm event in history,' meteorologist says. The only real comparison for what happened in B.C. on Aug. 12, 2017, would be a volcanic eruption. On that day, in the midst of the province's record-breaking wildfire season, the heat from four fires triggered huge thunderstorms that sent smoke soaring into the stratosphere, eventually spreading through the entire Northern Hemisphere. It was the biggest so-called pyrocumulonimbus event ever observed, according to David Peterson, a meteorologist at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in Monterey, Calif. "This was the most significant fire-driven thunderstorm event in history. Nothing else even comes close," Peterson told CBC News. "The total amount of smoke that was released into the lower stratosphere was comparable to a moderate volcanic eruption."
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