Paul Douglas is a nationally respected meteorologist with 33 years of television and radio experience. A serial entrepreneur, Douglas is Senior Meteorologist for WeatherNation TV, a new, national 24/7 weather channel with studios in Denver and Minneapolis. Founder of Media Logic Group, Douglas and a team of meteorologists provide weather services for media at Broadcast Weather, and high-tech alerting and briefing services for companies via Alerts Broadcaster. His speaking engagements take him around the Midwest with a message of continuous experimentation and reinvention, no matter what business you’re in. He is the public face of “SAVE”, Suicide Awareness, Voices of Education, based in Bloomington. | Send Paul a question.
Cold Weather Tax
"Winter is not a season, it's an occupation" wrote Sinclair Lewis.
Perhaps, although I consider winter a well-disguised Godsend. Think about it. If it didn't get cold every now and then, a couple of battery-draining nights, our population would spike. Those wide-eyed CNN meteorologists pointing to Minnesota unwittingly keep our commutes less horrific; nice cabins on our lakes, instead of high rise condos.
Then again I may be rationalizing the lack of feeling in my toes.
We're picking up 1-2 minutes of additional daylight every day now. Within 3-4 weeks average temperatures start to rise again. I have a hunch our current cold spell will be one of the 2 or 3 coldest of winter. Models show highs near 32F by Friday; a few days in the 30s next week.
Snow? A dusting or coating of flurries today; by the end of next week it may be mild enough aloft for a little rain. The drought that developed in late summer continues to flavor our weather; El Nino nudging the storm track south/east of Minnesota.
On the blog below: 2012 tied with 1931 for the warmest year in Twin Cities history. Our 5 warmest years have all occurred since 1987.
My gut? Another abbreviated, drive-by winter is shaping up.
A Numbing New Year. Tuesday morning saw the coldest readings of the winter, so far, subzero statewide, as cold as -21F (air temperature) at Paynesville. Details from the Midwestern Regional Climate Center, via the Twin Cities NWS.
A "Warming Trend". Few other spots on Earth (outside of interior Alaska, portions of Finland and Siberia) would call 0 to +3 C a "warm front", but after negative numbers I can assure you that 30s will feel good, as early as Friday. Significant snow? You 'gotta be kidding me. No.
Temperature Trends. This Ham Weather graphic makes it easy to see the average high and low for the period, and predicted temperatures looking out into mid-January. After warming into the 30s much of next week readings take another dive by the second weekend of January.
Predicted Snowfall Thru Friday Night. The latest NAM numbers look pretty bleak (for snow lovers). Lake effect snow squalls may drop up to 8" near Syracuse, but - note to self - we don't live in Syracuse. Can I interest you in a snowy coating today? Bleak.
2012: Ties With 1931 For Warmest Year On record. You have to go back to the beginning of the Dust Bowl years to find a year as warm as 2012, according to Twin Cities NWS data. I think we can all agree that, in spite of a cold finish, last year was unseasonably warm. According to the NWS the average temperature last year was 50.4 F, or 4.6 F. warmer than average. Note the warming trend since the mid-80s above (solid black line).
2012: "Off The Scale". The dark red line shows St. Paul temperature trends in 2012, well above 4 of the 5 warmest years in modern-day records (1987, 1998, 2006 and 2010). 4 of the 5 warmest years have been observed since 1987; the other warm year was 1931. For a better look at this graph from NOAA NCDC click here.
December Numbers. Statewide December was warmer, and a bit snowier than normal (most of the snow coming during the December 9 storm). The local National Weather Service has a good summary: "December of 2012 brought something the area hardly saw at all during the 2011-2012 winter and that is snowfall. The majority of snow seen during the month was observed with the December 8th and 9th snowstorm, though Eau Claire did get some snow from the December 20th blizzard that struuck Iowa into southern Wisconsin, helping give Eau Claire the most snowfall for the month between the 3 climate locations. Add into the mix a primarily rain event the following weekend and the entire area got to experience something for the first time since this summer: above normal precipitation for a month. Of course in a year when all three locations were at or within a degree of setting the record for the warmest year on record, it shold come as no surprise that yet again, temperatures for te month of December were above normal. In all, only October saw below normal temperatures for a month in 2012, with all other months seeing above normal temperatures at St. Cloud and MSP (Eau Claire snuck in a below normal month in September as well)."
Shocker: Another Warmer Than Average Month. The Midwestern Regional Climate Center shows temperature anomalies for December 2012 ranging from +2 to +5 F. across much of Minnesota, as much as 8-10 F. warmer than average from Chicago into much of the Ohio Valley.
Increasing Daylight. We're picking up 1-2 minutes of daylight every day from later this week into mid-January. Historically the coldest weather of the year comes during the second or third week of January, about 3 weeks after the Winter Solstice. Calendar source here.
Top 10 U.S. Weather Events Of 2012. The more I read about Superstorm Sandy, the more impressed I am by the size and intensity of this historic storm. Here's a post from Wunderground meteorologist Jeff Masters, via Think Progress: "It was another year of incredible weather extremes unparalleled in American history during 2012. Eleven billion-dollar weather disasters hit the U.S., a figure exceeded only by the fourteen such disasters during the equally insane weather year of 2011. I present for you now the top ten weather stories of 2012, chosen for their meteorological significance and human and economic impact....
1) Superstorm Sandy
Hurricane Sandy was truly astounding in its size and power. At its peak size, twenty hours before landfall, Sandy had tropical storm-force winds that covered an area nearly one-fifth the area of the contiguous United States. Sandy’s area of ocean with twelve-foot seas peaked at 1.4 million square miles–nearly one-half the area of the contiguous United States, or 1% of Earth’s total ocean area. Most incredibly, ten hours before landfall (9:30 am EDT October 29), the total energy of Sandy’s winds of tropical storm-force and higher peaked at 329 terajoules–the highest value for any Atlantic hurricane since at least 1969, and equivalent to five Hiroshima-sized atomic bombs. At landfall, Sandy’s tropical storm-force winds spanned 943 miles of the the U.S. coast. No hurricane on record has been large..."
Photo credit above: "Cabs lie flooded on October 30, 2012, in Hoboken, NJ, in the wake of Hurricane Sandy." AP photo: Charles Sykes.
2012 Tornado Count Could Be One Of The Lowest In History. The reason? Record heat (and drought) over much of the USA for much of the summer, none of the large temperature contrasts that whip up strong wind shear, capable of turning garden-variety thunderstorms into tornadic "supercells". Huffington Post has more details: "...Harold Brooks, research meteorologist at NOAA's National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, Okla., said that the lack of wind shear is responsible for the lower number of tornadoes in 2012. "That's associated, in some ways, with the drought that was over the central part of the U.S. during the summertime," Brooks said. "The jet stream went far to the north, and when we have that kind of a pattern over the central U.S., you have very hot weather at the surface. When it is that hot and dry, you don't get very many storms. And the storms that do form, there is not enough wind shear to get them organized into the kind of storms that make significant tornadoes." With very quiet and dry weather patterns, the winds do not vary much in speed or direction with height. Thus, rotating thunderstorms capable of producing tornadoes are less likely..."
Graphic credit above: NOAA SPC. "This graph from the SPC shows the number of tornadoes in 2012 compared to the number of tornadoes in 2011 and the average number of tornadoes annually in the U.S."
Study: Home Air Conditioning Reduced Deaths. This probably doesn't come as a shock, but there is something of a paradox here: A/C requires electricity, which requires burning of fossil fuels, which warms the air, increasing the need for more air conditioning. Not sure how we (easily) break this cycle. Here's an excerpt of an article from courier-journal.com: "The installation of air conditioning in American homes reduced the chances of dying on an extremely hot day by 80 percent over the past half-century, according to an analysis by a team of American researchers.The findings, based on an analysis of U.S. mortality records dating back to 1900, suggest the spread of air conditioning in the developing world could play a major role in preventing future heat-related deaths linked to climate change. Very few U.S. homes had air conditioning before 1960; by 2004, that figure had climbed to 85 percent..." (Photo: NOAA).
Minnehaha Falls, Like You've Never Seen It Before. This is one of the few benefits (?) of a cold wave, one of the more remarkable photos I've seen recently. Thanks to Matt Sepeta, who snapped this photo of the frozen falls at Minnehaha Falls taken last winter (when we weren't in a drought).
1. Our phones are becoming our remote controls for life. If we have a need for it in our daily lives, there should and will be an icon and app for it on our phone. It’s as simple as that. Our phones are our emergency kit for first-world problems.
Whether it’s a taxi or a ride in the rain (Uber, Lyft), a mechanic (YourMechanic), a doctor’s appointment (ZocDoc), the literal remote control (AppleTV), a personal assistant (Exec), a cake-baker (Zaarly), groceries (Instacart), or you’re getting a little chilly and want the temperature in the house turned up (Nest), our phones are the concierge. I expect this phenomenon to continue in 2013 and as we run into times in our daily lives when we don’t have an icon for it just yet. Someone will be working hard to create it..."
Paul's Star Tribune Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota
TODAY: Coating to 1" of flurries, a few slick spots. Winds: SW 10. High: 22
WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Light snow tapers to flurries. Low: 10
THURSDAY: Sunny and colder again. High: 14
FRIDAY: Sunny. Grilling weather! Low: 8. High: 31
SATURDAY: More clouds, cooler breeze. Low: 14. High: 25
SUNDAY: Some sun, not quite as chilly. Low: 12. High: 28
MONDAY: Intervals of sun, risk of a thaw. Low: 18. High: 33
TUESDAY: Sunny peeks. Above average temperatures. Low: 20. High: 32
Top Climate Stories of 2012. Here's a look at a Greg Laden post at scienceblogs.com: "A group of us, all interested in climate science, put together a list of the most notable, often, most worrying, climate-related stories of the year, along with a few links that will allow you to explore the stories in more detail. We did not try to make this a “top ten” list, because it is rather silly to fit the news, or the science, or the stuff the Earth does in a given year into an arbitrary number of events...."
"Super Storm Sandy, a hybrid of Hurricane Sandy (and very much a true hurricane up to and beyond its landfall in the Greater New York/New Jersey area) was an important event for several reasons. First, the size and strength of the storm bore the hallmarks of global warming enhancement. Second, its very unusual trajectory was caused by a climatic configuration that was almost certainly the result of global warming. The storm would likely not have been as big and powerful as it was, nor would it have likely struck land where it did were it not for the extra greenhouse gasses released by humans over the last century and a half or so...."
Top 10 Warmest Global Temperatures. Here are more details from Global Warming: Man or Myth?: "20 of the warmest years on record have occurred in the past 25 years. The warmest years globally are 2005 with the years 2009, 2007, 2006, 2003, 2002, and 1998 all tied for 2nd within statistical certainty. (Hansen et al., 2010) The warmest decade has been the 2000s, and each of the past three decades has been warmer than the decade before and each set records at their end. The odds of this being a natural occurrence are estimated to be one in a billion! (Schmidt and Wolfe, 2009)."
Will The West Survive? Just looking at the trends - it's going to become even more challenging living in water-challenged western cities from Denver to Las Vegas and Phoenix, even Los Angeles. Here's an excerpt of an eye-opening article at Men's Journal: "This year, summer came on like a grudge, with record-breaking heat, inescapable drought, and the sense that the effects of climate change had arrived – and that life in America's mythic frontier might never be the same. Something looked off when I landed at Denver International Airport this past August. It had been about four years since my last visit, and I couldn't immediately put my finger on what was up. I bought a coffee, glanced at the 'Denver Post,' and wandered out into the main terminal, with its silly bedouin design, the domed white ceiling looking as flimsy and tarplike as ever. It wasn't until I was outside, riding in the shuttle bus to my rental car, that it struck me what had changed: The Rocky Mountains had vanished..."
The Windowless Room Of The Current Event. One problem many people have with MSM (mainstream media) is a collective amnesia, an inability to connect the dots and look at the big picture. Not what it is, but what it MEANS. Bill Moyer's web site takes a look at the media's inability to see the bigger picture with climate change in this post; here's an excerpt: "...Or take quite a different subject: climate change. These days — despite the 2012 presidential campaign’s silence on the subject until Frankenstorm Sandy hit — “extreme weather,” as the TV news generally likes to call it, is regularly headlined. Increasingly often, there is at least passing mention of, or even discussion of, climate change in some of these stories. Again, though, what’s generally striking in mainstream reportage is the way the dots aren’t connected. The issue is less what isn’t reported, than what isn’t included. After all, this year in American weather has been extraordinary. A partial list of the most salient events would include: the parching of the Southwest, as well as record wildfires, sometimes of staggering proportions in New Mexico, Texas, Colorado and across the West; the heat records that made 2012 an “endless summer” and is just about sure to make it the hottest year in the continental U.S. since records began being kept; the devastating drought across the Midwestern bread (or corn) basket and parts of the South, which for many months had 60-65 percent of the country in its grip (and shows no sign of going away this winter) — with damage running into the many tens of billions of dollars; and, of course, the way Sandy, that gigantic storm passing over the heated waters of the Atlantic, surged into New York City and ravaged the New Jersey coast, causing widespread devastation and tens of billions of dollars in damage (while putting climate change back onto the political map)...."
Global Warming Research Eyes "Runaway" Ice Melt. Here's an excerpt from The Summit County Citizens Voice: "Most climate models are probably underestimating the rate of sea level rise expected during the next few decades, according to some of the latest research that tries to quantify how much ice may melt off the Greenland and Antarctica ice sheets. A Dec. 26 update by James Hansen and Makiko Sato warns that melting of those ice sheets could increase sea level rise exponentially higher than most existing forecasts, potentially inundating coastal cities around the world with several feet of water by the end of the century. The short paper discusses the linearity assumptions in most existing climate models and suggests that, if greenhouse gas emissions continue unchecked, “the climate forcing will be so large that non-linear ice sheet disintegration should be expected and multi- meter sea level rise not only possible but likely.”..."
Photo credit above: "Will there be runaway ice sheet melting?" Bob Berwyn photo.
No December For You
By Todd Nelson
Are you as weirded out by this weather as I am? I mean, come on... 50s in December, what gives?
A nearly stationary and powerful Pacific storm is responsible for our late October/early November like weather as of late. The record high for today's date is 62F and we should fall short of that mark, but looking back through past Decembers, since 2000, I could only count a +50F high only 3 times; 2011, 2006 and 2004.
Upper level winds have been consistently blowing in from the west. This mild Pacific or zonal flow will get a little nudge north today as an approaching storm system rides along the international border. Even after the cold front passes later today, Tuesday's 'colder' temperatures will still be warmer than normal average high. In fact, I don't see us going below average until maybe the end of the week.
I, probably like many other, have the shovels at the ready and the snow blower all gased up. Though I still don't see whopper storm system brewing, models are hinting at a little more substantial shot at something by the end of the week/weekend ahead. Until then, enjoy winter-lite. Minnesota weather will likely return soon! -Todd Nelson
Todd's Star Tribune Outlook for the Twin CIties and all of Minnesota:
MONDAY: Brief shower?Turning colder later. High: 54 (by midday, then falling) Winds: S, then WNW 10-20
MONDAY: Breezy and cooler. Low: 32
TUESDAY: Cool breezy, more PM sun. High: 41
WEDNESDAY: Jacket weather. Clouds increase, light wintry mix late? Low: 21. High: 36
THURSDAY: AM wintry mix, more PM sun. Low: 31. High: 43
FRIDAY: Fading PM sun, PM flurries?. Low: 26. High: 33
SATURDAY: Cloudy with light snow late. Low: 18. High: 31.
SUNDAY: Sun/cloud mix with light snow. Low: 24. High: 30.
Somewhat Soggy and Foggy Sunday
I had to work the early shift on Sunday, so the drive into work at 4am wasn't the greatest... in fact, it was a bit nerve wracking. I wasn't a big fan of driving on the highway with extremely low visibility. It was almost hypnotic, staring into the abyss, watching the white lines whizz past. I snapped this shot earlier Sunday... the low fog layer opened up enough to get a quick glimpse of the near full moon.
Sunday Sunshine or No Sunshine
Look at how close the clearing line was to the Twin Cities Sunday afternoon... If you were northeast of the yellow through the day Sunday, you more than likely had a pretty gloomy day. Southwest of that line, the sun popped out and temperatures warmed close to 60F... remind me what month it is again.
Sunday Afternoon Temperatures
It's hard to see in the map below, but temperatures across southwest Minnesota on Sunday afternoon warmed into the low 60s. Marshall, MN reported a 61F temp by 2pm, while temperatures in the Twin Cities were only in the 30s.
64 F. high in the Twin Cities yesterday.
62 F. average high for October 8.
83 F. high on October 8, 2011.
Trace of rain reported Monday in the Twin Cities.
Freeze possible Wednesday morning, likely Friday morning.
Saturday: the most rain since mid-August? It's the first chance of steady/heavy rain in many weeks.
Cool Week - Significant Rain Saturday? It's too early to celebrate, but the ECMWF (European) model is fairly consistent bringing a surge of steady, potentially heavy rain into Minnesota and Wisconsin Saturday. 37 mm equals about 1.4" of rain, which may be overly generous, but at least there's a chance of significant rain. A series of clippers keep highs in the upper 40s to low 50s this week, but Indian Summer returns next week with 60s by Monday, maybe 70+ Tuesday.
Shift In The Pattern? The 12z ECMWF brings an area of low pressure northward across the Great Plains, pulling Gulf moisture into the Upper Midwest by Saturday. The map above is valid 1 pm Saturday, hinting at steady rain. Sunday should be the drier, brighter day of the weekend.
Fearless Felix Supersonic Free-Fall. Have you been keeping up with Felix Baumgartner's record-breaking free-fall attempt? It's this morning, weather permitting, and you can see it live on the Red Bull Stratos web site. A swan dive from 120,000 feet? We wish him well and God speed. Supersonic God speed. Wow.
* the Vancouver Sun has more details on the highest, fastest free-fall in history here.
Aurora Watch. Things are heating up on the sun (sorry), with more CME's bombarding Earth's magnetic field. That could and should translate into a higher probability of seeing the Northern Lights in the coming days and weeks - one of the benefits of living at this lofty latitude. The photo above was taken in Bayfield, Wisconsin by Migizi Gichigumi: "Northern Lights turned on!..even with the clouds and moonlight it was an awesome display of Auroras:) Bayfield,Wisconsin (Lake Superior) 10/8/12."
* NASA has more on the enhanced aurora potential here.
Awe-Inspiring. Check out this remarkable photo from Norway, courtesy of spaceweather.com: "On Oct 7th, Frank Olsen went to the beach outside Sortland, Norway to photograph the colors of aurora borealis in the sky. He also found some strange colors at his feet. The beach was aglow with bioluminescent dinoflagellates..."I was photographing the auroras when the Noctilucales washed up on the beach," says Olsen. "The moonlight was a nice bonus."
"Ask Paul". Weather-related Q&A:
"Here is a question that I have, that you may or may not want to share with the public.
It seems to me that EL Nino is struggling to gain a foot hold , so it looks like that signal may turn out to be a very weak to neutral ENSO for this winter season. What has gotten my attention is the signal that we are seeing in the north central Pacific ocean.. The waters were warming in that area causing a cold pool of water to set up near the coast of North America.. Now it looks like the Sea surface temps in the central northern Pacific are starting to cool, could that bing in warmer waters just of the coast of the NW USA.? In other words I am talking about the PDO.....I think it could be the major driver for our winter forecast."
* heavily retouched photo (what WAS that roadkill on my head?) courtesy of KARE-11 and tcmedianow.com.
Temperature Roller Coaster. The maps above (NOAA NCEP) are an ensemble of computer models, hinting at mild weather next week, but a potentially chilly end to October and a cold start to November. I passed your question along to Larry Cosgrove, who specializes in long-range weather prediction for utilities and other companies that want a jump on the 2-5 month outlook. He publishes a newsletter (WEATHERAmerica) - you can see his latest thoughts on the implications of a weak El Nino here. Here is what Larry has to say about Minnesota's upcoming winter:
Larry: "I will have the finished winter forecast out around October 18th. Looking for a tepid Modoki El Nino, trending back to a neutral ENSO in February. Deep cold pool near and below Aleutians, warm SST intrusion along immediate West Coast and just below Greenland are pushing me toward a warm West, cold Central, changeable to mild East alignment. Should be a good winter for the (Twin) Cities."
* I nudged Larry (gently) about what he meant by a "good winter" for the cities:
Larry: "If I am reading the pattern evolution correctly (and after last winter, who knows LOL), the basic storm track would be from the western Gulf of Mexico up along the western slopes of the Appalachian Mountains into Quebec. That isn't a great snow path for the Cities, but with a closed 500 mb low nearby you might pull off one or two synoptic scale blizzards and plenty of frontogenetic stuff spoking around the upper level cyclones. So at this point I would go with 80-90" in MSP...with most occurring late November through January, and a mild February as the +ENSO wanes."
Paul: Holy Batman! 80-90"? Larry does a great job, and part of me hopes he's right. I'd be thrilled with 100" snow and 20-30 F all winter. If only. At this point I wouldn't rule anything out, but I'll wash and wax Dave Dahl's car if we get 90" of snow. Based on a (weak) El Nino nudging the storm track over the southern USA and a pervasive drought that doesn't show any immediate signs of letting go, I'm leaning toward 40-45" for the winter. Better than last winter, but not as snowy as 2010-2011. Stay tuned. I'll stock up on some high-quality automotive wax, just in case.
"I thought Paul would like a copy of the photo below for his column. Later."
Beam Me Up Scotty. One of the (many) great things about weather is that I'm continually a). humbled, and b). amazed. I don't think I've ever seen anything quite like the photo that Terry passed on. What is a "sky punch"? Here's an explanation from Dr. David Whitehouse at The BBC, at aviationweathercv.com:
"Strictly speaking there is no scientific term for the apparition, and what exactly it is has been the subject of much meteorological speculation. One hypothesis is that the hole is made by falling ice-crystals that could have come from the exhaust of a passing aircraft. It is possible the air was at just the right temperature and with just the right moisture content so that the falling crystals could absorb water from the air and grow. The moisture removed from the air could have increased the evaporation of the cloud's water droplets, which then disappeared to produce the dramatic hole. The wispy clouds seen below the hole may be heavier ice-crystals that have fallen from the hole, evaporating (the correct term is subliming) before they reach the ground. It's called a fallstreak hole."
"Attached are a couple of pictures from my Jet demo flight this past weekend. The Eclipse Jet is part of a new line of small jet aircraft called Very Light Jets (V.L.J's). The Eclipse Jet has a cruise speed of just over 400 mph, but can take off and land at under 100 mph. The relatively slow take off and landing speed makes it possible for someone like me (with very little flying experience) to actually fly a jet. It also makes it possible to takeoff and land at smaller regional airports like the one in Blaine (where these photos were taken) or even smaller. This jet also uses the latest in airframe, engine, and avionics technology to make it the most efficient, easy to fly, and safest jet available. The Eclipse has a max seating capacity of 6 people (including the pilot). Most other VLJ's that I am aware of only have 4 seats."
Jay Gustafson - Director of IT
Media Logic Group
Jay - I'm slobbering all of my laptop, and for good reason. That's one beautiful aircraft. At close to $2.5 million I wouldn't exactly call it affordable, but the capabilities seem to rival jets 2-5 times more expensive. Very impressive, and made in America! More information on the Eclipse 550 here. Corporate jet? Keep dreaming...
How Big Data Can Make Us Happier And Healthier. Here's a story that caught my eye, a snippet from an article at Mashable Tech: "Big data is getting personal. People around the globe are monitoring everything from their health, sleep patterns, sex and even toilet habits with articulate detail, aided by mobile technology. Whether users track behavior actively by entering data or passively via sensors and apps, the quantified self (QS) movement has grown to become a global phenomenon, where impassioned users seek context from their big data identities. Moreover, with services like Saga and Open Sen.se, users can combine multiple streams of data to create insights that inspire broader behavior change than by analyzing a single trait. This reflects a mixed approach design (MAD) research methodology that purposely blends quantitative and qualitative factors in a framework where numbers are driven by nuance. The science of happiness, for example, is now a serious study for business, as organizations combine insights of the head and heart to create environments where workers feel their efforts foster meaningful change..."
Steve Jobs' Most Disruptive Trait: His Obsession With The Customer's Experience. Yes, he could be a jerk at times, but I think this gizmag.com story nails what made Steve Jobs singularly unique, and truly visionary: his total focus on streamlining and simplifying how we deal with tech. Here's an excerpt: "You have to wonder whether all of the tech bloggers who gush sentimental tributes to Steve Jobs would have actually liked the man. Numerous accounts paint a picture of a person who – in addition to his obvious charm, wicked intelligence, and inspired creativity – could be extremely rude, manipulative, and hot-tempered. It's easy to laugh these traits off when you're reading about them in a biography, but if these sappy fanboys had actually spent time with Jobs, would they still offer such moving words?"
"Stress Paul" - Rubber Stress Reliever. Yes, that's a very nice likeness. In fact I often curl up into the fetal position, watching the Vikings every Sunday (in my purple Spandex outfit). "Don't get stressed - take it out on Paul!" Amen brother. Details from GeekAlerts.com: "Need some stress relief? Look no further than the Stress Paul - Rubber Stress Reliever. Paul will help you get rid of that stress. He's only to happy to take some squeezing and abuse for your state of mind. This squeezy stress reliever is made of soft rubber and measures 2.4 b 1.4 by 3.2 inches. It will give you something to do that will relieve your stress. Whenever you need him grab him and squeeze. Don't worry, he can take it. He just curls up into a ball so you can do your thing. Only $11.44 from Amazon.com."
The Warm Side of the Clipper. Counterclockwise winds pumped milder air northward yesterday, boosting temperaturs into the 60s, ranging from 61 at St. Cloud to 64 Twin Cities and 68 Redwood Falls and Rochester. .19" rain fell at International Falls with a high of onl 42.
Paul's Star Tribune Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota (and western Wisconsin):
TODAY: Showers are over now. More clouds than sun, cool breeze. Winds: NW 15-25. High: 52
TUESDAY NIGHT: Gradual clearing, frost/freeze expected late. Low: 30
WEDNESDAY: Frosty start. Bright sunshine, still cooler than average. High: 53
THURSDAY: Next clipper, clouds & sun. Brisk. Low: 39. High: 51
FRIDAY: Sunny, turning breezy. Low: 30. High: 53
SATURDAY: Steady, soaking rain. Cool & raw. Low: 39. High: 48
SUNDAY: Drier day. Soggy start, skies brighten PM hours. Low: 44. High: 55
MONDAY: Sunshine, milder breeze. Low: 42. High: near 60
* photo above courtesy of Shad Van Matre.
Winter Hassle Factor
I've been babbling about the Hassle Factor since the 80s, when I loitered in KARE-11's backyard. It's an attempt to predict rush hour conditions, based on snow, ice, wind chill, etc.
The question keeps bubbling to the surface: "what's the Winter Hassle Factor"? Colder with some snow. I know it's vague, but I stand by that prediction. Snow lovers may be happy to hear from Larry Cosgrove, an old college buddy, who now specializes in long-range weather for utilities. He's predicting the main storm track from the western Gulf to the Appalachians, but overall a "good winter" for snow lovers. How good?
"At this point I would go with 80 to 90 inches in MSP, with most occurring late November through January and a mild February as the +ENSO wanes" Cosgrove e-mailed me yesterday.
Yikes! Average is 55 inches. I'll be amazed (and greatful) if we pick up 45 inches this winter, based on our ongoing drought. Time will tell. Details of Larry's prediction above in the "Ask Paul" section.
The maps are looking a little more encouraging for moisture. Sprinkles (even a few flurries tonight) give way to dry weather into Friday. Significant rain is expected Saturday, the most since mid-August.
Heavy jackets this week; 60s return next week.
No "sticking snow" shaping up the next 2 weeks.
* photo above courtesy of funnychill.com.
"Many laws protecting environmental quality have promoted liberty by securing property against the destructive trespass of pollution." - Ronald Reagan
Don't Forget The "Global" In Global Climate Change. Here's a snippet of a timely story at Scientific American: "...This approach allows for flexibility in letting each country craft a solution tailored to their individual economies and politics. Imposing limits on greenhouse gas emissions for each country on a strict timeframe might make us sleep better at night, but it as the high likelihood of gridlock and failure. And also, because it is flexible, goals can be updated as countries emerge from developing status, or other unforeseen circumstances. It’s keeping the rest of the global community, where each country has its own funky domestic policies and politics and development goals, in mind with our goals for prosperity and development. Mitt Romney essentially articulated this point when he answered the ScienceDebate.org question on climate change."
Underestimating The Dangers Of Peak Oil And Climate Change. It's been a long time since I've heard news of "peak oil", with all the euphoria surrounding "fracking" and at least a century's supply of (American) natural gas. So this story at The Christian Science Monitor caught my eye; here's an excerpt: "Many people dismiss the risks associated with oil depletion and climate change--even many who accept the two issues as problems. They judge those risks to be small or at least manageable. Since no one can know the future, we cannot be sure whether they are right or wrong. But even if they are right, should we be so sanguine? As we examine this question, keep in mind that we are talking about probabilities and the level of risk, not absolute knowledge which none of us can have about the future....In a nutshell, we believe that because a certain event has reliably repeated itself in the past or because certain conditions have prevailed for a long time, we can always expect more of the same in the future. If that were true, there would come a point in our lives when we would never be surprised. But as it turns out, humans are continually surprised, which shows you that the problem of induction lives on." Photo above: Clean Technica.
What Kind Of Energy Journalism Do We Need? Here's an excerpt of a story at Climate Progress: "What I'd like to see in all these varieties of energy journalism is a little bit more systems thinking, a greater sense of context. Humanity's relationship with energy is changing in fundamental ways and lots of the familiar frames for energy coverage no longer make much sense, or at least are woefully inadequate. Here are the three great energy challenges of the 21st century:
1). Maintain safe and reliable energy supply to developed countries, where demand is leveling off and infrastructure is aging."
Climate Science Seminar. St. Paul's Science Museum hosted a Climate Science Seminar Friday evening and Saturday, hosting local TV and radio meteorologists from around the Upper Midwest. It's impossible for me to adequately summarize everything I heard and learned, but here are a few highlights, based on the notes I took at the event. I don't purport to be recapping the seminar, word for word (I'm too easily distracted), but here is what I remember and put to paper:
Dr. Ben Santer (Lawrence Livermore Laboratory)
Most of the observed warming during the latter half of the 20th century is very likely (greater than 90% probability) to be attributed to human activities. - 2007 IPCC conclusion
Natural causes alone cannot explain the observed changes.
"The science is real - we can't embrace ignorance."
"Many Americans are rightfully concerned about the fiscal debt we're handing down to tour kids, which proves we can still focus on future problems and issues. Buut when it comes to environmental debt, triggered by a steady build-up of greenhouse gases, many of these same people are silent. There is a serious disconnect."
"What do people want to be remembered for? The money they accumulated during their careers? How much stuff they have? Or the world they left behind?"
* no such thing as "settled science" or "perfect science". The science is continually evolving as new data comes in and new hypotheses are formed, tested, validated or discarded.
* based on the evidence at hand scientists try to reach consensus.
" media "balance" on climate policy is appropriate - but on climate science?
Anthony Brocoli, Rutgers University
How do we know that greenhouse gases trigger warming?
* Basic physics.
According to NCDC: 2012 is the warmest year since 1895 for most states from the Upper Midwest to the east coast.
* map above courtesy of NOAA NCDC (118 means hottest on record).
"Human-caused warming (AGW) will increase the probability of warmer weather, but internal variability will always be a powerful factor from year to year."
97% Why do (only) 97% of published, climate scientists agree that humans are largely responsible for most of the warming since the latter half of the 20th century? "Scientists do not all have identical thresholds for accepting hypotheses."
Climate Policy: "Your opinion counts just as much as mine."
Mark Seeley, University of Minnesota
Important Drivers With Climate Change:
1). Natural variability.
2). Land use/landscape changes.
3). AGW (human-caused warming linked to the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation)
"The persistence and amplitude of the warming signal during winter is stronger in Minnesota."
Brainerd: new 30-year rolling weather averages show a 3.8 F. warming for January low temperatures.
Implications for Minnesota:
* increased freeze/thaw cycle (more damaged roads)
* longer growing and construction season.
* changes in animal migration, hibernation and foraging.
* longer exposure times to mold and allergens
* later nitrogen applications (soil temperatures too high)
* more rapid breakdown of crop residues.
* change in the depth/duration of soil and lake freezing.
* fewer adverse-weather days.
Temperature signal during the summer is modest in Minnesota.
Based on cooling degree days: 2012 is the 3rd warmest on record.
Slight increase in 70-degree dew point days.
* first 80-degree dew point reported at Voyageur's State Park. Historically this is unprecedented.
"Most of our heat waves since the 1980s have been driven not by air temperature, but by excessive dew points."
Minnesota Impacts & Vulnerabilities:
* new insects/pathogens.
* efficacy of herbicides.
* warm water issues (algae blooms).
* heat-related health care implications (MS, COPD, obesity.
* increased livestock stress.
* shorline management.
* storm sewer runoff.
* influence on fisheries.
There are 1,500 volunteer weather observers in the state of Minnesota (I did not know that).
Trends: springs and falls are trending wetter. Eastern Minnesota is trending wetter with time.
10-30% increase in "normal precipitation".
Bipolar Weather Regime:
Severe drought has been reported somewhere in Minnesota every summer since 2005.
Greg Zandlo report: three separate 1-in-1,000 year flood events in southern Minnesota since September, 2004.
"I'll accept the notion of climate change when pigs and rabbits fly..."
Peter Snyder, University of Minnesota Department of Soil, Water and Climate:
Minnesota: 3rd fastest-warming state in the USA (Climate Central)
CMIP5 Model Ensemble Predictions (image above courtesy of nature.com):
* 4-6 F. warming by 2100
* minimum winter temperatures (nighttime lows) forecast to warm the most.
* increase in winter cloudcover over time.
* 20% reduction in snowfall by 2100 (more rain and mixed precipitation during winter months).
* current average winter snowfall at MSP: 55" forecast to be one foot less by 2100.
* Overall increase in precipitation forecast for eastern Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Jeff Masters, Founder, Weather Underground:
Consensus on sea level rise by 2100: around 1 meter, or 3 feet.
Hurricane damage is doubling every 20 years.
Models suggest fewer hurricanes in a warmer world, but more extreme (Category 3+) storms.
Florida/Bahamas may be most at risk.
Warming oceans: odds of a San Diego/Los Angeles hurricane are increasing. Mediterranean Sea forecast to become warm enough to support hurricane activity.
2012: ten separate billion-dollar weather disasters, second only to 2011.
$20 billion in severe storm damage so far in 2012, much of it from the massive derecho that swept across the Ohio Valley into the Mid Atlantic region - the most damaging/deadly on record
Flood control systems: designed for 20th century storms.
Top 10 Most expensive disasters since 1980: 6 out of the top 10 were hurricanes, 3 were droughts.
1988 heat wave and drought: 7,500 Americans died (!) with a damage estimate of $78 billion.
Drought: key driver of climate change (more heat = more intense drought). Link to extreme storms more tenuous.
Wunderground.com has a new section focused on local impacts of climate change, state by state.
"During the last 7 years we've broken pretty much every kind of weather record there is, from heat to tornadoes to floods..."
John Abraham. University of St. Thomas:
"All the volcanoes of the world produuce less greenhouse gas emissions than the state of Florida".
Greenhouse gas levels higher now than they've been in 800,000 years.
Evidence of changing climate not dependent on one data source: numerous threads of evidence.
10 of the 11 warmest years on record, worldwide, observed since 1998.
No atmospheric blanket of gases to trap warmth: Earth's temperature would be closer to 0 F, not 59 F.
CO2 increasing at the rate of 2 ppm/year, or about .5% every year.
Paul Douglas. Co-Founder, Senior Meteorologist at Media Logic Group.
Twin Cities: 16 months/row of warmer than average temperatures. Odds of flipping 20 consecutive "heads" is roughly 1 in 1 million.
331 months/row of global temperatures warmer than the 20th century average.
2012 Anomalies. Yes, London was cooler and (much) wetter for much of the summer, but the idea that record heat over the USA was somehow "balanced" by the same magnitude of cooling elsewhere doesn't hold up under scrutiny. The map above shows 2012 temperature anomalies from January thru August. Everything in yellow/red is warmer than average. Map: NASA GISS.
Minnesota Temperature Trends. Southern Minnesota temperatures since 1980 rising at the rate of 5.5 F/century. Over northern Minnesota temperatures are rising at the rate of 7.2 F/century.
"Mitigating climate change will require a level of sustained innovation and American reinvention that will propel the USA into a new competitive paradigm. This is our Energy Moonshot Moment. To remain competitive on a global stage we have to develop new ways to grow our energy infrastructure, jobs and GDP that aren't totally reliant on fossil fuels."
By: Todd Nelson
Soon to be Super Bowl champions, the Minnesota Vikings (I'm an optimistic thinker) report to training camp THIS Sunday, how about that!
Minnesota summers always seem to be a sprint, don't they? We race to Memorial Day, the unofficial start to summer, blink and it's already the 4th of July. There's still a lot of summer to go, but we are definitely on the summer slide as Fair season approaches. The heat of 2012 has been a talker thus far, but on today's day in 1987 the Twin Cities had its largest flash flood in history.
9.15" fell on this date 25 years ago, which flooded thousands of homes and created millions of dollars worth of damage. The rain never quit; there were reports of impassable roads and businesses closed for several days. A few days before the event, heavy rain soaked some of these same areas, which set the stage for widespread flooding. In the end, the meteorological summer of 1987 became the wettest summer in recorded history with almost 2 feet of rain!
Your last full week of July 2012 will be warm and humid with several clusters of storms developing during the overnight hours. Some of these may linger into the morning - Todd Nelson
Todd's StarTribune Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:
MONDAY: Another very warm and unsettled late. Intervals of sticky sun. High: 92
MONDAY NIGHT: Chance of overnight thunder. Low: 72
TUESDAY: Still summery with a chance of thunder developing overnight. High: 87
WEDNESDAY: Sweaty and muggy with some heavy downpours. Low: 72. High: 84.
THURSDAY: Lingering clouds and thunder. Low: 68. High: 84.
FRIDAY: A slight break in the heat. Not as humid, spits of PM rain. Low: 67. High: 84.
SATURDAY: Quiet with sun. Not as hot or humid. Low: 66. High: 84
SUNDAY: Fading sun with some afternoon thunder. Low: 66. High: 87.
Twin Cities Superstorm of 1987: 25 Years Later
"25 years ago, the largest flash flood in Twin Cities history began on July 23, and ended during the early morning hours of July 24. Known locally as the “Superstorm”, the storm caused damage to 9,000 homes and killed two people. Value of the damage was estimated at $27 million. This storm was voted the eighth most significant weather event in the state of Minnesota during the 20th century."
(Flooded Interstate 494 at East Bush Lake Road in Bloomington. Photo courtesy of KARE11)
More Superstorm Coverage
Take a look at some of the coverage of the massive flooding from KARE 11 and WCCO.
Thanks to Tom Oszman for sending these links over:
Super Storm Coverage
KARE-TV Sunrise (with Paul Douglas)
KARE-TV Evening Coverage (with Paul Douglas)
WCCO's Debbie Ely in standing flood water night of the storm
(Rainfall totals - KARE News11 Sunrise from July 24, 1987)
Thanks to my good friend, Rich Koivisto, from Duluth, MN for the picture below. Spotty showers and thunderstorms have been bubbling up on the northern periphery of the extreme heat setting up to the south. We'll have a few more of these storms across the region this week and the core of the extreme heat continues to our south.
Severe Thunderstorm Threat
The Storm Prediction Center has issued a SLIGHT RISK of severe weather in a couple of locations shaded in yellow for Monday. Hail and high winds would be the primary threat for any of the more vigorous storms that would develop.
5 Day Rainfall Forecast
NOAAs HPC 5 day rainfall forecast shows pockets of heavy rainfall potential around the extreme heat in the central part of the country. It still apears that heavy rainfall is not expected in the drought stricken areas of the middle part of the country where drought conditions will likely continue to worsen.
Excessive Heat Warnings and Heat Advisories continue once again for a large chunk of the middle part of the country where heat index values will top the century mark. In fact, afternoon heat index values could be as high as 110F!
NOAAs HPC maximum heat index for next Sunday shows a slight reprieve from the heat, mainly across the Great Lakes region. The excessive heat with afternoon heat index values approaching 110F look to be sagging south just a bit.
Hot Weather to Continue
WASHINGTON (AP) — The unusually hot dry weather that has gripped the nation will not let up its stranglehold over the next few months, federal weather forecasters said Thursday.
And that means the heartland's "flash drought" will linger at least until around Halloween and even spread a bit farther north and east.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's outlook for August through October shows that nearly every state likely will have hotter than normal temperatures. Much of the Midwest is likely to be drier than normal, too."
Thanks for checking in, have a great week ahead!
Don't forget to follow me on Twitter @TNelsonWNTV
Hooray! I've never been happier getting an e-mail alert from The Star Tribune (10:43 pm last night). Thank you to Vikings fans and legislators in the Minnesota House who made the tough call to get this done, once and for all. I know I'm just a dazed weather guy, but I'm also a Minnesota tax payer and businessman, and I'm thrilled that the Vikings will be sticking around indefinitely, with a new, state-of-the-art stadium - one that will be used for a lot more than NFL football. Some were skeptical of Target Field, but that seems to be working out pretty well. I know there are vocal critics, and yes, we need to spend money on infrastructure, health care and education and a host of other challenges, but losing the Vikings was not an attractive proposition. I think it was the right call. Hopefully the MN Senata will feel the same way...
66 F. high in the Twin Cities Monday.
67 F. average high for May 7.
72 F. high temperature on May 7, 2011.
.07" showery rains predicted this afternoon/evening (NAM model).
First dry Saturday in a month? The early word is encouraging - details below.
4.23" rain the first 6 days of May, 2012
.77" average rain for the first 6 days of May in the Twin Cities.
.15" rainfall from May 1-6, 2011.
Minnesota Fishing Opener. This is how I'll be spending my Saturday. Not sure why, but I seem to have better luck fishing potholes. Odd. I'm cautiously optimistic for the weekend weather, although I expect complaints about:
a). too much sunshine, and
b). a rising barometer.
* Expect sunrise temperatures in the mid to upper 40s Saturday and Sunday morning. Saturday morning may start out cloudy and damp, but skies should be mostly clear Sunday morning.
Saturday: Damp, gray start giving way to partly sunny conditions. Winds: West 10-15. High: 64 (Gull Lake) to 68 (Lake Minnetonka and White Bear).
Sunday: More sun, fewer clouds - beautiful. Winds: Southwest 5-15. Highs: 69 (Pelican and Round Lake) to 71 (Mille Lacs) to 75 (Lake Pepin)
Fishing Opener + Mother's Day: What Can Possibly Go Wrong? The European ECMWF model is fairly encouraging for next weekend, hinting at clouds and a little drizzle early Saturday, giving way to a mix of clouds and sun, a northwest breeze. Sunday looks sunnier and a few degrees milder by afternoon, highs reaching the low 70s for Mother's Day. BTW, the high temperatures above (in red) are in Celsius. Don't want to trigger any heart-palpitations.
Weekend Details. The ECMWF prints out .3 mm early Saturday, between 1 am and 7 am. We may wake up to clouds and drizzle, but a west to northwest wind should provide partial clearing. Miraculously, Mother's Day looks dry, sunny and lukewarm with a light west to northwest breeze. Apparently Mother Nature will be celebrating as well.
Cartoon courtesy of Brian Zalkowski.
A (Temporary) Break In The Action? Long-range guidance is hinting at a return to drier, slightly cooler weather for much of America east of the Mississippi. Details from CPC and Ham Weather below. No major storms or frontal passages are expected through the middle of next week.
"Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world." - Albert Einstein.
" A stream of highly charged particles from the sun is headed straight toward Earth, threatening to plunge cities around the world into darkness and bring the global economy screeching to a halt." - excerpt from an L.A. Times story; details below. Have a nice day.
Union Gospel Mission Turns 110. Congratulations to one of the most remarkable non-profits in Minnesota, an organization that turns lives around, one at a time. Details on their big celebration below.
A Month's Worth Of Rain Last Weekend. These are Doppler radar estimates from NOAA's AHPS (Advanced Hydrological Prediction Service). Much of central and southern Minnesota picked up 2-5" of rain from Friday into Sunday morning - pretty impressive. Over 6" soaked the Wisconsin Dells from the same stalled frontal boundary. We dry out this week - no more excessive rainfall amounts in sight.
A Drier Week. A few instability showers are likely this afternoon and evening, dry weather returns Wednesday and Thursday with a few fleeting T-showers on Friday. Right now the weekend looks dry. I know - I'll believe it when I see it.
Note To Self: Take The Rest Of The Week Off. Cooler, Canadian air pushing southward temporarily shuts off a moist, unstable flow from the Gulf of Mexico, reducing the potential for heavy/severe T-storms into much of next week. A west/northwest jet stream wind flow aloft means cooler weather for the eastern half of the USA, while heat builds out west. The best chance of Minnesota showers: this afternoon, again Friday. 180-hour GFS outlook courtesy of NOAA.
Sunrise Temperatures Saturday. Getting up early for Saturday's Fishing Opener? Expect temperatures in the low 40s (north) to mid and upper 40s (metro lakes). Details from NOAA.
Spring (For Real). No more cold fronts until further notice. The GFS is predicting 70s, even a couple of low 80s, between May 15-23. The next chance of significant rain may not come until May 21, give or take.
High Winds Cause Damage In Las Vegas Area. Details and video from KTNV-TV in Las Vegas: "High winds sweeping through the Valley caused damage to businesses and power outages at homes on Monday afternoon. The first report of damage came from a building on Flamingo near Eastern at about 3:30 p.m. A spokesperson for Clark County said the structure lost tiles from the roof and the building appeared to be unoccupied. A dollar store near Flamingo and Owens also suffered wind damage."
Record Highs on May 6
Springfield, IL 90
Galveston, TX 85 (tie)
Greenville, MS 92 (tie)
Jacksonville, FL 96
Alma, FL 95
New Iberia, LA 92 (tie)
North Little Rock, AR 90 (tie)
Batesville, AR 91
Monticello, AR 91
Little Rock AFB, AR 91
Jonesboro, AR 94 (tie)
Paducah, KY 91
Evansville, IN 91 (tie)
St Louis, MO 92
Fort Smith, AR 91 (tie)
* thanks to Earth Networks for passing these reports along.
Welcome to "La Nada". What happens when there's no La Nina (cooling) or obvious El Nino (warming) of the Pacific? La Nada, which is a nickname for who-the-heck-knows what will happen next? At least with El Nino or La Nina changes in Pacific Ocean currents can nudge the weather downwind, over North America, in one direction or another. The L.A. Times has more: "La Niña, the demon diva of drought, has ended, but what comes next could be even more foreboding: La Nada. La Nada, or "nothing" in Spanish, is climatologist Bill Patzert's nickname for when surface sea temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean are about normal. That means ocean temperatures are not too warm, which would trigger an El Niño and would typically mean a rainy winter in Southern California. The sea also is not too cold, which produces a La Niña and usually means a dry season."
May 4 Kiester, Minnesota Tornado. An update from Twin Cities National Weather Service: "A tornado touched down two miles west of Kiester on Friday, May 4th. It travelled east-northeast, and dissipated two miles northeast of Kiester in eastern Faribault County. The tornado was on the ground four miles and had a maximum width of 50 yards. The tornado was rated an EF-0, with winds of around 75 mph. It damaged trees, took down three barns, and destroyed a number of sheds and other outbuildings. A few windows were blown out. Power poles were also knocked down. This tornado occurred between about 5:50 PM and 6:00 PM. The precise time of the touchdown is yet determined."
Photo courtesy of Stephanie Crock & KAAL
Kansas City Funnel. Here is YouTube footage of the funnel that threatened Olathe, a suburb of Kansas City, courtesy of UneGosseFolle.
Palm Beach County Funnel. From the Miami National Weather Service via FB: "No tornado Warning was issued as the funnel cloud did not reach the ground. However, a significant weather advisory was issued for northern Broward and southern Palm Beach counties for possible funnel cloud development."
Tornado Near Tokyo Kills One, Injures Dozens. Amazing. The USA experiences more tornadoes than any other nation on earth (average of 1200 to 1500/year). It's rare to get such a big, long-lasting tornado in Japan. Details from U-T San Diego: "A tornado tore through a city northeast of Japan's capital on Sunday, killing one person, injuring dozens of others and destroying scores of houses. Firefighters and medical teams rushed to the area after the tornado struck Tsukuba city, 60 kilometers (40 miles) from Tokyo. The city is a science center, with dozens of research and academic institutes, but the tornado appeared to mostly hit residential areas."
Photo credit above: "This photo was taken by an anonymous Tsukuba resident,showing a tornado in Tsukuba City, northeast of Tokyo, on Sunday, May 6, 2012. The tornado tore through the area, injuring at least 30 people, destroying dozens of homes and leaving thousands more without electricity (AP Photo/Kyodo News). AP Photo.
Japan Tornado - Another Perspective. Folks living northeast of Tokyo must have been flabbergasted: an EF-2 or EF-3 strength tornado in Japan? The raw YouTube footage is here.
This Will Put A Dimple In Your Prius. Good grief: that's 3-4" diameter hail, hitting the ground at over 100 mph. Details from the Chicago office of The National Weather Service Facebook site: "The same supercell thunderstorm over Iroquois County when it was near Watseka produced extremely large, baseball-sized hail! This photo was sent by Steve Peters to Tammie Souza, who shared it with us."
Photo Of The Day: "Wall Cloud". Here is a terrific photo of a rotating "supercell" thunderstorm that went on to spawn large hail; details from the Chicago office of The National Weather Service. They've been busy down there in recent days. More info: "Here's an impressive photo of a wall cloud southwest of Ashkum in Iroquois County on Sunday afternoon."
You've Been Warned: Wireless Providers Enroll In Emergency Alerts For Severe Weather. Here's an interesting article from The Carroll County Times: "They are short and to the point. They warn of potentially life-threatening weather, Amber Alerts and messages from the president in case of emergency. They are sent to mobile phones via text message immediately. Wireless emergency alerts, sent immediately after warnings are issued, are being implemented in a joint effort by the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. This month, the National Weather Service will start utilizing wireless emergency alerts for tornado, flash flood and blizzard warnings, among others. They will go directly to wireless users in an affected county automatically."
Illustration above: Carroll County Times.
Storm Warnings For Ships. Here's an excerpt of an interesting article (at least I thought so) from Tampa Bay Online: "The trip from McKay Bay to the Sunshine Skyway in a chugging freighter can take as long as five hours, so the weather along the way can change a couple of times. It could be sunny and balmy in Tampa while thunderous storms rage near Egmont Key, said Capt. Mike Buffington, a harbor pilot for the Port of Tampa. Ships heading in and out of the port travel some 42 miles to get to the Gulf of Mexico. So the new initiative by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service to provide real-time, pinpoint weather analysis to harbor pilots guiding ships on marine routes through the Bay is being warmly received."
"Think It'll Snow?" The short answer is yes. Here's more from the Crater Lake National Park Facebook site: "About 2 miles of West Rim Dr is plowed but still closed to motor vehicles. Good place to walk with Fido or go for a bike ride. Improvised bike racks provided."
Snow Drought That Hammered Skiers Now Threatens Farmers. The story from USA Today, KUSA-TV and AP: "The dearth of snow that set back Colorado's ski areas this winter is now taking its toll on farmers, KUSA-TV reports. It could cost farmers millions of dollars and translate to higher prices for consumers. Snow runoff traditionally fills up the ditches and ponds that farmers tap to irrigate crops. Not this year. The "terrible year" for ski resorts is translating to a lack of surface water for farmers who say their options for water are limited. "It's a huge issue. I consider water more valuable than gold," Weld County farmer Glen Fritzler tells KUSA. "We can't survive without it."
Cooler, Drier Bias Next 2 Weeks. The good news: weather will be largely siren-free east of the Mississippi through the third week of May. CPC, the Climate Prediction Center (division of NOAA) is predicting cooler weather through May 18 for much of the east, a warm bias out west. Details from Ham Weather.
Space Weather Expert Has Ominous Forecast. Great, as if we didn't all have enough on our plates. Now the sun may be interfering with our lives? Here's an excerpt from The Los Angeles Times: "A stream of highly charged particles from the sun is headed straight toward Earth, threatening to plunge cities around the world into darkness and bring the global economy screeching to a halt. This isn't the premise of the latest doomsday thriller. Massive solar storms have happened before — and another one is likely to occur soon, according to Mike Hapgood, a space weather scientist at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory near Oxford, England. Much of the planet's electronic equipment, as well as orbiting satellites, have been built to withstand these periodic geomagnetic storms. But the world is still not prepared for a truly damaging solar storm, Hapgood argues in a recent commentary published in the journal Nature."
Photo credit above: "A massive explosion on the sun's surface has triggered the largest solar radiation storm since 2005, hurling charged particles at Earth. (NASA / May 4, 2012)."
"Ask Paul". Weather-related Q&A:
"Is there a good website that you can direct me to that will show the amount of precipitation in area on a specific date?"
Steve - the "Puddles Page" at the Minnesota Climatology Working Group is the best resource I've found for tracking down map-based and text-based rainfall amounts. Check it out.
"Thanks for being a great meteorologist and congratulations on your own weather company. I realize this is not the most earth shaking question you've gotten, but I'm interested in your thoughts.
I've noticed that most local TV meteorologists do not give rain or snow amounts and high and low temperatures from the day before. I'm always asking the TV what the weather was like yesterday and never get an answer. ( Of course, today when I bring it up I see that channel 4 is covering it because of the deluge we got last night.)
A lot has changed in weather forecasting over the last 50 years, most of it for the better. While growing up on our dairy farm at New Market, my father was always watching the weather. We talked about weather a lot. I do miss the good old days when we got the weather stats from the day before from folks like Bud Krieling. It seems they could add it to the charts they display. Does it take too much time? Or do they think people are not interested?
I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you."
Thanks Barbara - appreciate the kind words. Did my mom set you up to write this letter? Either way, thank you. To be honest, when I was working in local TV the consultants ("news doctors") shared research that showed most viewers don't care so much about climate/almanac information - most viewers tend to care most about what will happen, not what already happened. Here on the blog I have the luxury of time (and space) and start out every blog with a recap of what happened yesterday in the Twin Cities. Here are a few sources you can tap to get the latest climate data for the Twin Cities:
1). Local National Weather Service Climate Data. Click on "CLIMSP" to get Twin Cities data.
2). Daily/Monthly Data For The Twin Cities. This is a good source to get a recap, day by day, month by month, going back to 2000. Both sites are great places to start if you're looking for specifics on what just happened, weatherwise. Thanks for reading - feel free to send your weather observations, comments and anecdotes.
3). Storm Reports. The local NWS in Chanhassen does a great job updating this site. Check this to see reports on hail, tornadoes, high winds, record high or low temperatures, etc.
1 Week's Worth Of Storm Reports. Speaking of storms, it's OK to exhale - we get a break in the severe storm area through Friday. According to NOAA there have been near 3,000 individual severe storm reports in just the last week. Click here to navigate an interactive map, courtesy of Ham Weather.
|Total Storm Reports:||2984|
KVOA Puts More Eyes Around Tucson. A visual surveillance system called "SkyNet"? Wasn't there a movie about that, with a certain famous California governor? Yes, life is immitating art, and described in this article at The Arizona Daily Star which caught my eye; here's an excerpt: "Seeking an edge over the competition, KVOA-Channel 4 put together a network of remote-controlled HD cameras throughout the city to capture live footage of news as it occurs. News 4 Tucson Skynet lets the station instantly pull up footage of traffic problems, weather and other news as it breaks. Jeff Clemons, KVOA's marketing director, said the system, which went online April 25, gives the station access to footage others might need a helicopter to get. "We're able to scan the streets for pretty much whatever's out there." Clemons said he's not aware of any negative legal ramifications of having the system in place."
Air Force Pilots Blow The Whistle On F-22 Raptor's Mysterious, And Dangerous Flaw. Did you see the 60 Minutes story on Sunday? Amazing - these pilots were very brave to step up and talk on camera. Here's a good summary of the nagging issues related to F-22's, courtesy of Huffington Post: "Two elite Air Force pilots are seeking protection under the federal whistleblower law for revealing safety problems on the F-22 Raptor, and refusing to fly until those issues are resolved. On Sunday night, Maj. Jeremy Gordon and Capt. Josh Wilson risked their careers by appearing on the CBS news program "60 Minutes," in uniform and without permission to discuss the stealth fighter's flaw. Both pilots, who flew combat missions in the Iraq War, said they love flying the $400 million jets. But a faulty oxygen system that is suffocating the pilots and causing blackouts is making them fear for their lives and for the lives of people on the ground."
Photo credit above: "This June 22, 2009 photo released by the U.S. Navy shows an Air Force F-22 Raptor executing a supersonic flyby over the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis in the Gulf of Alaska. (AP Photo/US Navy - Ronald Dejarnett, File)."
Psychology Of Fraud: Why Good People Do Bad Things. I thought this was a thought-provoking article; here's an excerpt from NPR: "Enron, Worldcom, Bernie Madoff, the subprime mortgage crisis. Over the past decade or so, news stories about unethical behavior have been a regular feature on TV, a long, discouraging parade of misdeeds marching across our screens. And in the face of these scandals, psychologists and economists have been slowly reworking how they think about the cause of unethical behavior. In general, when we think about bad behavior, we think about it being tied to character: Bad people do bad things. But that model, researchers say, is profoundly inadequate."
Illustration credit above: Adam Cole/NPR .
Bill Keller: Fox News "Murdoch's Most Toxic Legacy". Here' an excerpt of an article at TVNewser.com: "Former New York Times editor Bill Kellerhas written an op-ed column focused on Fox News Channel. Keller notes that it is a financial juggernaut for News Corp. and discusses a pair of Roger Ailes and Fox News biographies, one written without FNC’s consent by journalist Gabriel Sherman, and another by Ailes himself (along with a co-author). The issue Keller takes is not financial, but rather with how the network represents itself, and facts. That, he says, is Rupert Murdoch‘s “most toxic legacy”:
"I doubt that people at Fox News really believe their programming is “fair and balanced” — that’s just a slogan for the suckers — but they probably are convinced that what they have created is the conservative counterweight to a media elite long marinated in liberal bias. They believe that they are doing exactly what other serious news organizations do; they just do it for an audience that had been left out before Fox came along."
* Keller's full Op-ed in the New York Times is here.
Teal Camper Assembles And Breaks Down Like A Puzzle. Just what I want when I go camping - a puzzle. But, for those with more technical determination and tenacity than me - here's a clip from an article at gizmag.com: "The Teal Camper gives campers an interesting way of combining the sturdy, hard-sided living quarters of a camping trailer with the easy storage of a smaller pop-up or tent. The camper is shipped to your door as a series of panels, and assembles into a two-person dwelling within about 90 minutes. When your camping season is over, you break it back down and store it neatly."
Put Away The Bell Curve: Move Of Us Aren't "Average". Here's a clip from NPR's Morning Edition: "For decades, teachers, managers and parents have assumed that the performance of students and employees fits what's known as the bell curve — in most activities, we expect a few people to be very good, a few people to be very bad and most people to be average. The bell curve powerfully shapes how we think of human performance: If lots of students or employees happen to show up as extreme outliers — they're either very good or very bad — we assume they must represent a skewed sample, because only a few people in a truly random sample are supposed to be outliers."
Photo credit above: "Hank Aaron breaks Babe Ruth's record for career home runs as he hits No. 715 at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium on April 8, 1974, on his way to a career 755 home runs. Research suggests that in a wide variety of professions, including collegiate and professional sports, a small but significant number of individuals perform exceedingly well and the rest of individuals' performance trails off." Photo: AP.
Dubai Water Discus Hotel Will Allow Guests To Sleep Underwater. Truth: all I really need is clean sheets, a TV and free Wi-Fi. But Dubai tends to do everything over the top, as described in this gizmag.com article: "It seems the construction boom in bustling Dubai is far from over – already home to several world record-holding projects, including the tallest building (for just a little while longer), the largest shopping mall and biggest man-made island, plans are now afoot to construct what will likely be the world's largest underwater luxury hotel, the Water Discus. Several years ago, we reported on another such ambitious project, Hydropolis, which sadly never got past the blueprint stage. If Polish company Deep Ocean Technology's (DOT) plans come to fruition, however, guests could one day find themselves asleep beneath the waters of the Persian Gulf."
Spring Fling. Why are Monday's amazing and Saturdays...stink? Yesterday was close to perfect, low humidity, a fresh breeze, highs ranging from 60 at Alexandria to 65 St. Cloud, 66 in the Twin Cities and 69 at Eau Claire, Wisconsin.
110 And Counting. The Union Gospel Mission has been a Twin Cities institution for 110 years. Last night I had the honor of emceeing their birthday party (over 1100 people were there to help celebrate). The photo above is the UGM Changed Lives Choir, who sang their hearts out, along with the one and only Jearlyn Steel. Union Gospel Mission takes a spirit-based approach to helping people down on their luck, turning lives around, offering not only a place to stay and recover, but counseling and training to turn their residents into productive (joy-filled) citizens ready to return to the work force and their families. They get results, and we are a better community because they're here. Thanks for a great party, and congratulations!
Paul's Star Tribune Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:
TODAY: Mostly cloudy with showers likely. Rumble of thunder possible. Winds: NW 10-20. High: 57
TUESDAY NIGHT: Evening shower, then partial clearing late - chilly. Low: 45
WEDNESDAY: More sun, less wind - much nicer. High: 67
THURSDAY: Sunny, best day of the week? Low: 49. High: 74
FRIDAY: More clouds, stray T-shower possible. Low: 54. High: 69
SATURDAY (MINNESOTA FISHING OPENER): Damp start, then partly sunny and nice. Winds: W 10. High: 68
SATURDAY NIGHT: Mostly clear and comfortably cool. Low: 50
SUNDAY (MOTHER'S DAY): Bright sun, sunburnt moms. Winds: SW 10. High: 73
MONDAY: Mix of clouds and lukewarm sun. Low: 56. High: 75
Here's how I started my Monday, stumbling into the office. "Paul, why are Mondays amazing, while weekends suck?" Did I mention we need the rain? Fact: there's no scientific evidence that rain is more likely to fall on a Saturday than a Monday.
Man-made pollutants seeding clouds have been linked to more showers and T-storms downwind of some urban centers during the work week. Perception becomes reality right? More of us are outside on weekends - more weather-sensitive; at the mercy of the elements.
4.2 inches of rain fell on the metro during the first 6 days of May. That's a June's worth of rain! Some towns picked up closer to 6 inches, and lake water levels are beginning to respond. We're not entirely out of the woods with drought, but I'm feeling better about the weather maps.
A minor Canadian Relapse arrives today as a whirlpool of chilly, unstable air sloshes overhead - a few PM clouds and showers. Wednesday and Thursday look stunning, only a fleeting T-shower Friday.
A damp start Saturday gives way to intervals of sun; highs: 65-70 F. Not bad for a Minnesota Fishing Opener. Mom may need extra sunscreen on her big day: low 70s on Sunday. Good timing...for once.
"We could have saved the Earth but we were too damned cheap." - Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
Why Don't TV Meteorologists Believe In Climate Change. First of all, the headlines is misleading. Many TV meteorologists do "believe" in science. The data is the data. I'm one of them, in case you've just emerged from a cave - that hardly comes as breaking news, right? Some of my colleagues on the TV side have been burned (repeatedly) by weather models, and they apply that same logic to climate simulations. Others have replaced science with ideology and politics. I suspect others enjoy being the "local science experts" in their markets, and don't like climate scientists hogging the limelight. Just a gut. I want to give some of these men and women, experts in short-term weather prediction, the benefit of a doubt: some may not have taken the time to dig into the climate science and rely on denier blogs and talk radio (God help us). Here's an excerpt of a story from InsideClimate News: "In recent years, the world's scientists have begun to show that climate change is altering the magnitude and frequency of severe weather, and polls say a majority of Americans now link droughts, floods and other extremes to global warming. And yet, this country's TV weather forecasters have increasingly taken to denying evidence that warming is affecting weather—or is even happening at all. Only 19 percent accept the established science that human activity is driving climate change, says a 2011 report by the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication, making TV meteorologists far more skeptical than the public at large."
Photo credit above: "Mark Johnson, meteorologist for WEWS ABC in Cleveland, Ohio. Johnson is one of several climate skeptic forecasts who says there is no convincing evidence of global warming."
The Climate Fixers. Is there a technological fix (or Bandaid) to climate change? The subject of geoengineering has been getting considerable traction in recent years - injecting chemicals into the atmosphere to counter observed warming. What can possibly go wrong? Here's an excerpt of a long, but excellent article at The New Yorker: "The heavy industrial activity of the previous hundred years had caused the earth’s climate to warm by roughly three-quarters of a degree Celsius, helping to make the twentieth century the hottest in at least a thousand years. The eruption of Mt. Pinatubo, however, reduced global temperatures by nearly that much in a single year. It also disrupted patterns of precipitation throughout the planet. It is believed to have influenced events as varied as floods along the Mississippi River in 1993 and, later that year, the drought that devastated the African Sahel. Most people considered the eruption a calamity. For geophysical scientists, though, Mt. Pinatubo provided the best model in at least a century to help us understand what might happen if humans attempted to ameliorate global warming by deliberately altering the climate of the earth. For years, even to entertain the possibility of human intervention on such a scale—geoengineering, as the practice is known—has been denounced as hubris."
Photo credit above: "Geoengineering holds out the promise of artificially reversing recent climate trends, but it entails enormous risks." Illustration: The New Yorker.
To Repair The Shore, Or Retreat? Rising sea levels are already impacting the New York City area - here's an excerpt of a New York Times story focused on coastal Connecticut: "EIGHT months after Tropical Storm Irene slammed into Cosey Beach Avenue in East Haven, ripping off parts of some houses and washing others away, many property owners are still adrift. “Some have been able to rebuild, but others don’t have the resources,” said State Senator Len Fasano, a Republican whose district includes East Haven. “A lot of these homes have been passed down from generation to generation. A few people have cleaned up their lot, removed the debris and put their property up for sale.”
Opinion. World's Faith Groups Agree That Climate Change Is A Growing Concern. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed at NJ.com: "Late last year, my mother asked me to make a collection of statements by various faith groups on the subject of climate change. She volunteers for the Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL), an international, nonpartisan, nonprofit group that is urging Congress to pass legislation to curb U.S. carbon dioxide emissions. CCL foresaw that the world’s religious communities might be a valuable ally. I agreed to take on this task and began by looking up a number of Christian and Jewish groups on the internet."
Photo credit above:
An Open Letter To State Farm About Climate Denial. Here's a post from Shawn Lawrence Otto at Neorenaissance: "Climate science professor Scott Mandia has been insured by State Farm Insurance for 21 years, but when he read that State Farm has apparent given hundreds of thousands of dollars (PDF) to climate denial propaganda outfit The Heartland Institute, he began to question his loyalty to the insurer. Last week, Heartland rolled out a hate-oriented billboard campaign that compared scientists, science organizations, and federal agencies who acknowledge that science suggests human behavior is warming the planet to "murderers and madmen" like Charles Manson and Osama bin Laden."
State Farm Ends Support Of Heartland Institute. Kudos to State Farm! More on their Facebook Page.
Heartland's Unabomber Fiasco Is Par For The Course. Here's a snippet from Forbes.com: "So, the Heartland Institute has battle fatigue, and that’s what drove it to erect a billboard along a suburban Chicago expressway with the Unabomber’s mugshot and the caption, “I still believe in Global Warming. Do you?” That’s what serial Heartland apologist Anthony Watts says: the make-believe “think tank” is shell-shocked, and that’s why they’re behaving strangely. Hmmm… I’d have thought that if anyone should be suffering battle fatigue, it’s the scientists and reporters who receive the hate-mail and death threats fueled by Heartland’s campaign of distortion and innuendo."
Climate Ship Plots Course Through The Battering Waves. Here's an excerpt of a BBC story: "Last December's UN climate summit, in the South African port of Durban, saw heated discussions on a proposal that governments should commit to agreeing a new comprehensive global emissions-limiting deal with some kind of legal force before 2015. Reluctant nations found themselves up against a burgeoning coalition of principally small countries from the developed and developing worlds alike, which found common interest in tackling climate change as quickly as possible. The rainbow coalition included the EU, the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), small islands vulnerable to impacts such as rising sea levels, and progressive Latin American countries such as Costa Rica."
Photo credit: AFP.
Sales of Hybrid, Electric Cars Take Off. An update from EagleTribune.com: "When a new hybrid Prius is delivered to the Rockingham Toyota Scion dealership in Salem, N.H., it sells almost immediately. "Every time we get one on the lot, it lasts about five hours," said Marc Smith, the general sales manager. "Most times, it's gone before it even reaches the dealership." High gas prices and consumers' desire for greener vehicles are driving sales of efficient gas, hybrid and electric cars, dealers and customers said."
Are We In The Midst Of A Sixth Mass Extinction? Tuesdays are tough enough - now I have to worry about another mass extinction - thanks Paul. Here's a blurb from a New York Times article: "NEARLY 20,000 species of animals and plants around the globe are considered high risks for extinction in the wild. That’s according to the most authoritative compilation of living things at risk — the so-called Red List maintained by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. This should keep us awake at night. By generalizing from the few groups that we know fairly well — amphibians, birds and mammals — a study in the journal Nature last year concluded that if all species listed as threatened on the Red List were lost over the coming century, and that rate of extinction continued, we would be on track to lose three-quarters or more of all species within a few centuries."
Petroleum Companies Urged To Increase Adoption Of American-Made Renewable Energy. Here's an excerpt of a story from imperialvalleynews.com: "Washington, DC - Agriculture Secretary Vilsack called on petroleum companies to help increase the percentage of ethanol in America's gas tanks in order to reduce dependence on foreign oil, boost job creation and promote development of renewable energy from farm-produced feedstocks. Recent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) action approved the use of E15, a fuel blend that is 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline, up from the current 10 percent blend level."