Very Poor Ice Fishing Conditions - More 60s Brewing

Remember Walter Matthau in the movie "Grumpy Old Men"? He and his buddies were ice fishing in Minnesota around Thanksgiving. When's the last time THAT happened? At the rate we're going there may be open water into mid-December.

2016 has seen an 8-month boating season in Minnesota; from late March into mid-November. "May you live in interesting times" the Chinese proverb goes. And I don't think that's a compliment.

According to Dr. Mark Seeley November warmth has been record-setting, with 36 daily record highs so far. "This is nearly 14F above normal and surpasses the other warm first 10 days of November which occurred in 1975, 2001, and 2015" Seeley wrote. Amazing.

A mild La Nina cool phase in the Pacific may favor a colder, snowier winter, when it finally arrives, but a warm bias lingers. We should top 60F Sunday; again Thursday and Friday of next week. The arrival of a major, full-latitude trough sparks gusty showers next Friday, ending as flurries one week from today.

For MSP the first sub-freezing low will come November 20. That's a whopping 43 days later than average.

Warmest First 10 Days of November. So says Dr. Mark Seeley in this week's installment of Minnesota WeatherTalk: "The remarkable warmth so far this month is record-setting. For example in the Twin Cities, the average temperature for the first ten days of November is 53.7. This is nearly 14F above normal and surpasses the other warm first ten days of November which occurred in 1975, 2001, and 2015. This pattern is holding true at a number of locations around the state, including International Falls where the first ten days of November are average close to 46F also about 14F above normal. This too surpasses the other warmest Novembers of 1964, 1975, and 2015. So far this month 32 daily high temperature records have been set within the Minnesota Cooperative Weather Observer Network across the state, including a remarkable reading of 78F at Mora..."

What November? Temperatures run as much as 20-25F warmer than average into late next week, before dropping rapidly one week from today; blustery exhaust on the backside of a significant storm. I wouldn't be surprised to see the first flurries of fall next Saturday, coming 4-6 weeks later than average. The first sub-freezing low probably comes next Sunday, November 20, 43 days later than average at MSP, where the average first 32-degree temperature comes October 8. Meteogram: WeatherBell.

Late Month Swipes of Colder Air - Drought Strengthens Southeastern USA. Here is the 500mb forecast for Friday evening, November 25, the day after Thanksgiving, which still looks fairly mild for the eastern half of the USA.

La Nina Arrives, Likely to Exacerbate Southern Drought. Most (but not all) La Nina cooling phases in the Pacific result in drier winters for the southern USA. Here's an excerpt from Climate Central: "La Niña is here. But unlike the El Niño that preceded it, this climate event is expected to be weak and short-lived, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Thursday. But that doesn’t mean the U.S. won’t see some of the typical impacts of a La Niña; forecasters expect it to tilt the odds in favor of warmer, drier conditions across the already drought-stricken southern portions of the country and wetter, cooler conditions across some of the northern regions. “The weak La Niña is likely to contribute to persisting or developing drought across much of the southern U.S. this winter," Mike Halpert, deputy director of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, said in a statement..."

Map credit: U.S. Drought Monitor.

Tracking The Smoke. 7 states are being impacted by severe to extreme drought capable of generating significant wildfires; the result of very little rain over the last 2 months.

North America is Flooded in Warmth and There Is No Sign of Real Winter. Here's an excerpt of a summary from Jason Samenow at Capital Weather Gang: "...Vancouver set a record high just two days before CBC News reported, and said much of British Columbia had been “extraordinarily warm” in November. Many areas of Canada which normally have snow at this time of year have bare ground. As Canada is the source region for cold air over the Lower 48, it’s no surprise snow is lacking there as well. Snow covers a mere 0.4 percent of the Lower 48 states — the smallest area on record for Nov. 10 (dating to 2003).  On average, about 10 percent of the nation has snow on the ground as of this date..."

Map credit: "U.S. snow cover on Nov. 10, 2016." (NOAA)

November 2016 La Nina Update: Hello, Lady! Yes, it's official - a (mild) La Nina cooling of equatorial Pacific Ocean water. Here's an excerpt of a post at NOAA's that explains the conditions that need to be present before it can be (officially) called La Nina: "...Is the sea surface temperature in the Niño3.4 region more than half a degree cooler than average? Yes! (It was about -0.7°C below average during October.) Do forecasters think it will stay cooler than that threshold for several overlapping three-month periods? Yes! (But just barely.) Finally, are there signs that the atmospheric circulation above the tropical Pacific is stronger than average? Yes! This all means that La Niña has officially arrived..."

Mild La Nina? Odds Favor Colder and Snowier for Minnesota. I know, I'll believe it when I see it too. I'm still a bit skeptical but maybe snow-lovers will be pleasantly surprised this winter.

3rd Warmest October for U.S. - On Track For Second Warmest Year To Date. Here are a few highlights from October, courtesy of NOAA: "...Other notable climate events in October: 

  • Drought: The total area of drought increased from 19.4 percent to 26.8 percent of the Lower 48, mainly from expansion in the South and Southeast.
  • Hurricane Matthew, a Category 1 hurricane with winds of 75 mph, made landfall in South Carolina on October 8, causing widespread flooding in the region.
  • New Mexico experienced record warmth in October, with an average temperature increase of 5.8 degrees.  
  • Alaska had its driest October on record.  
  • Pacific Northwest: Idaho, Montana and Washington each had their wettest October on record, while Oregon experienced its second wettest..." 

Weather-Related Car Accidents Far More Deadly Than Tornadoes, Hurricanes, Floods. Perspective is important, according to a story at The Weather Channel: "...The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) says that more than 5,748,000 vehicle crashes occur each year based on statistics from the 10 years spanning 2005-2014. About 22 percent of those, or close to 1,259,000, involved hazardous weather.  Those U.S. weather-related automobile crashes have killed an average of nearly 5,900 people annually, accounting for about 16 percent of all vehicular deaths, the DOT says. Another 445,000+ were injured each year during that same period of time. For comparison, the 10-year average combined number of deaths each year from flooding, lightning, tornadoes, hurricanes, and heat is 375..."

Image credit: "Annual average vehicle crash statistics." Data from U.S. DOT.

How To Survive Being Caught Up In a Flash Flood. Most flash flood deaths occur in vehicles, at night, when estimating water depth is nearly impossible. Here are a few suggestions of what to do in the unlikely event you ever find your car or truck being transformed into a boat, courtesy of Times LIVE: "...If your car is swept into the water and submerged‚ DON'T PANIC! Stay calm and wait for the vehicle to fill with water. Once the vehicle is full‚ the doors will be able to open. Hold your breath and swim to the surface. If you are swept into fast moving floodwater outside of your car‚ point your feet downstream. Always go over obstacles‚ never try to go under..." (Image credit: Virginia Department of Transportation).

GOES-R Mission. Here's a good explainer of what the next generation of U.S. weather satellites will be able to achieve, courtesy of NOAA NESDIS: "The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-R Series (GOES-R) is NOAA’s next generation of geostationary weather satellites. The first satellite in the series, GOES-R, is scheduled for launch on November 16, 2016 at approximately 4:42pm Eastern. Once the satellite reaches geostationary orbit, it will be known as GOES-16. There will be four satellites in the series: GOES-R, GOES-S, GOES-T and GOES-U. GOES-R will provide continuous imagery and atmospheric measurements of Earth’s Western Hemisphere, total lightning data, and space weather monitoring to provide critical atmospheric, hydrologic, oceanic, climatic, solar and space data..."

Trump Insider: New Administration Won't Attack Renewable Energy. Here's a clip from a story at Utility Dive: "...Energy is not one of the top five agenda items” on Trump’s to-do list when he takes office in January, according to a major Trump financial contributor who said he is a member of the transition team and spoke on the condition of anonymity. The top issues on that agenda are tax reform, immigration, reforming health care (Obamacare), infrastructure, and trade. “Everything with renewables continues; the credits will remain in place,” he said..."

Solar Power Proponents Hopeful Trump Sees Benefit of Growing Industry. Here's an excerpt from the Los Angeles Times: "...As part of his larger economic agenda, Trump has proposed lifting environmental regulations, tapping coal and nuclear power, and opening federal lands to oil and natural gas production. But despite his campaign rhetoric, experts and industry players say, Trump’s energy policies as president will bump into market realities. The challenge Trump faces is that increasingly the economics in the energy sector favor renewable technologies such as solar and wind, which are reducing costs quickly. Increased fracking has produced natural gas at prices that are cheaper than coal. And a worldwide oil glut has reduced petroleum profits to the point where reducing regulation and opening federal lands to drilling is unlikely to bring a drilling boom..."

Photo credit: "A large-scale solar panel project sits atop warehouses No. 9 and 10 at the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro, which have been converted into retail space for shops and a microbrewery." (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times).

The Tiny Kentucky Town That Eclipse Fans Are Obsessing Over. Interested in hearing more about the total eclipse of the sun next summer? Check out this story at Atlas Obscura: "Go ahead. Try to book a hotel room online in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, for the third weekend in August next summer. You can’t. The rooms appear to be booked solid from August 19th through August 22th. And the same goes for hotels and motels in nearby Cadiz, Hardin, Oak Grove, or any other interchange along Interstate 24. Demand is so high that you have to personally call to make a reservation, and be willing to pay between $400 to $800 a night. You could say the stars have aligned for Hopkinsville. Or, more precisely, the Earth, sun and moon will be perfected aligned. Next summer will be the first time a total solar eclipse—when the moon completely blocks out the sun—can be witnessed in the continental United States since 1979..."

File image: NASA.

Image Of The Day. I came across this image on Twitter, showing Miami and the Bahamas from the vantagepoint of the International Space Station, courtesy of NASA. Spectacular.

The Joys of Pumpkin Spice. It's been an interesting week, and nothing calms the nerves like pumpkin spice...and talking guinea pigs. Thanks to HLN, FLUFF and YouTube. I predict you're going to like this clip.

50 F. high in the Twin Cities Friday.

44 F. average high on November 11.

53 F. high on November 11, 2015.

November 12, 2000: A winter storm system produces a narrow band of heavy snow across extreme western Minnesota. Winds toward the end of the event were clocked between 15 and 25 mph, resulting in blowing snow leading to visibilities of 1 to 1.5 miles. Some snow totals included: Canby (Yellow Medicine County) with 6.5 inches, Madison (Lac Qui Parle County) with 6.0 inches.

November 12, 1940: Record low highs are set in west central Minnesota. Alexandria records a high of 8 degrees Fahrenheit, Springfield and Willmar have highs of 10 degrees, and St. Cloud and Minneapolis have highs of 11 degrees.

November 12, 1933: A dust storm hits southwest Minnesota, while a blizzard rages in the northwest part of the state.

TODAY: Sunny, winds increase. Winds: SW 15-25. High: 56

SATURDAY NIGHT: Clear to partly cloudy. Low: 39

SUNDAY: Hello September! Intervals of sunshine. Winds: SW 10-15. High: 62

MONDAY: Bright sun, a bit cooler. Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 43. High: 55

TUESDAY: More clouds, stray sprinkle. Winds: NW 7-12. Wake-up: 41. High: 56

WEDNESDAY: Sunny and pleasant. Winds: E 5-10. Wake-up: 39. High: near 60

THURSDAY: Windy and warm, clouds increase. Winds: S 10-20. Wake-up: 48. High: 68

FRIDAY: Showery, mild start, then colder. Winds: NW 15-30. Wake-up: 56. High: 61, then falling sharply.

Climate Stories

Caring for Creation: Community Conversation and Book Release November 15 at Minnehaha Academy. If you're interested in this topic (and most everyone should be) I hope you'll consider coming out next Tuesday evening, November 15, to Minnehaha Academy to hear co-author of "Caring for Creation" Mitch Hescox and me discuss why climate awareness and a push toward clean energy are essential, and why people of faith should pay attention to the trends. Going in this direction will save us money, clean up the air, and prevent our kids and grandkids from having to deal with a worst-case climate scenario: "Minnehaha Academy Welcomes Meteorologist Paul Douglas and Evangelical Environmental Network Director Mitch Hescox for a Compelling Climate Change Conversation and Book Release Event. Join us for this not-to-be-missed community conversation and book release event about climate change and the Biblical call for Christians to care about the earth. 

In this free evening conversation, you’ll learn:

- Why Christians should lead the charge for caring for God’s creation.
- How climate change goes beyond politics and affects the health, economy, and stability of future generations.
- Tips to help your family and those around you care for the earth.

Record Hot Years Could Be The "New Normal" by 2025. So reports Huffington Post: "Following in the blistering footsteps of 2014 and 2015, this year is on track to be the warmest on record. And we probably need to get accustomed to this sweltering heat. If carbon emissions continue to rise at their current rate, these record hot years will be the “new normal” by 2025, new research shows. Even if we take action to curb emissions, the damage has already been done, warns the study, published Friday in the Bulletin of American Meteorological Society. Human activities have already ensured that the global annual average temperature of 2015 will be the norm “no later than 2040,” the researchers said..."

Michael Bloomberg Has a Plan To Shift The Conversation on Climate Change. Business Insider reports: "...Bloomberg and Pope firmly believe that fixing those flaws will allow the entire global economy to grow. When they researched current technologies and initiatives that could address some of the biggest environmental problems, Pope says they “found that each one had a pretty attractive set of solutions and that collectively, solving climate will make a lot of money for the world.” That wasn’t true 20 years ago, when solar and wind power were vastly more expensive, electric cars were not yet a reality, it was difficult to monitor and track illegal deforestation, and far less was known about how to make agriculture more sustainable. The world’s approach, according to Bloomberg and Pope, is still stuck in that era..."

Growing Link Between Global Warming & Extreme Weather, Finds World Meteorological Organization. A warmer, wetter atmosphere is turning up the volume on extreme weather, especially record heat and flooding rains. Clean Technica connects the dots related to attribution: "...The new report, The Global Climate 2011-2015, investigated the warmest five-year period on record, 2011 to 2015, which was also the warmest on record for every single continent except Africa. These record temperatures were accompanied by rising sea levels, as well as major declines in Arctic sea-ice extent, continental glaciers, and northern hemisphere snow cover. As the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) notes, “All these climate change indicators confirmed the long-term warming trend caused by greenhouse gases.” The WMO also points to the awkwardly historic milestone, which we reported back in June, that carbon dioxide levels surpassed 400 parts per million for the first time in 4 million years..."

Map credit: "Results of studies on attribution of extreme events to anthropogenic climate change." (Sources: Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society and various other publications)

How To Tell When The Arctic Ocean Will Be Ice Free. Here's a clip from a story at Pacific Standard: "...The estimates also suggests, based on current sea-ice coverage, that it will take another trillion metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions before Arctic summer sea ice more or less vanishes. Given global greenhouse gas emissions of around 35 trillion metric tons per year, that suggests there won’t be any Arctic sea ice in September by mid-century."

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A Perfectly Normal Growing Season This Year - For Northern Texas