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.
Video Of Dome Collapse
. Thanks to our friends at FOX you can watch the Metrodome collapse - possibly the most amazing
I've seen. Maybe we'll be getting that new stadium for the Vikings after all? The "L.A. Vikings" does NOT have a good ring.
Oh The Memories. I came across an amazing YouTube time lapse video of the blizzard from St. Paul. Worth a look.
* 17.1" snow reported at MSP International Airport, making this the 5th biggest snowstorm for the Twin Cities in modern-day records. Data below courtesy of the Minnesota State Climate Office.
* Biggest snow for the Twin Cities since the Halloween Superstorm of 1991.
* 5th largest snowstorm in modern-day history (dating back to 1891). 24.2" so far this month makes this the 5th snowiest December on record. At the rate we're going this will probably wind up being the second or third snowiest December since 1891.
* Reports of 3-6 foot drifts around the metro, the most snow on the ground in 19 years.
* That snow isn't going anywhere anytime soon - no thaws in sight through Christmas Day. There will be some "settling" as the sheer weight of the snow compacts the accumulation - some "shrinkage" in the coming days, but for snow lovers this is truly as good as it's ever 'gonna get!
* Wind chills dip to -30 today in spite of bright sunshine. Winds gusting to 25 mph. will produce more drifting, especially outside the metro (where travel conditions should slowly improve as the day goes on and plows get back on the highways).
* -15 tonight, again Tuesday morning. The core of the Arctic air drifts over Minnesota during the day Monday, probably the coldest day of the next 3. By midweek temperatures start to moderate (a bit). Low to mid 20s will actually feel remarkably good by Thursday.
Snowy Wasteland. Here is the view from the tower at MSP International - crews have been working overtime to clear main runways and taxiways. Photo courtesy of Todd Nelson, a meteorologist at WeatherNation, who also works for the National Weather Service as a professional weather observer at KMSP.
Stranded. Todd Nelson was supposed to work a single shift on Saturday at MSP International. His relief never showed up (he's on his third shift in a row - still stuck at the airport!) He's trying to keep his sense of humor - he sent me this photo showing some of the drifts at the airport last night. Amazing....
Smothered In Snow. This is my backyard - somewhere out there is my grill, buried under 4-6 foot drifts. Yes, at the rate we're going its going to be a VERY white Christmas.
Dome-Less. Thanks to the Star Tribune for updating us on the sorry state of the Metrodome, where a rip in the inflatable roof created a worst-case scenario. No football for the forseeable future. Check out "SnowCam" for a live webcam view from the top of the Metrodome.
Updated Snowfall Totals....
Preliminary Snow Totals. Congratulations Osceola, WI. You just claimed the coveted (?) Golden Snow Shovel Award, for 23" of snow and towering 5 foot drifts. Strange but true: downtown St. Cloud (the airport, really) picked up 2.7". Just 4 miles south of downtown St. Cloud a whopping 7" fell. It's those kinds of variations (4-5" over the span of 4 miles) that leave us plucking at our (gray) hairs. Check out the very latest numbers from the National Weather Service here.
What Just Happened? A combination of factors made Saturday's storm extra-severe. A sharp contrast in temperature (it was 34 here Thursday - yesterday subzero air surged southward into the Red River Valley) whipped up powerful winds. Generally, the greater the temperature contrast, the stronger the winds have to blow to keep the atmosphere in a state of equilibrium. Another factor, the "Colorado-type" storm tracked south of Minnesota, from Omaha to Des Moines to the Quad Cities and Rockford, far enough south to keep precipitation all-snow in the Twin Cities metro. It also moved relatively slowly, producing nearly 25 hours of snow (8 hours of heavy snow - from 9 am until 4 pm at MSP). Another factor: the temperature: snow falling at 18-21 degrees is light, powdery - fluffy - more air puffing up the flakes like feathers in a down comforter. The snow accumulates much faster than when temperatures are in the upper 20s to near 30. Had temperatures been closer to 30 we would have seen less than half as much actual accumulation.
Heavy Snow Axis. Remember I mentioned about the difficulty of trying to pin down where the dreaded "deformation zone", the back edge of the heaviest/steadiest snow band would set up? On Thursday and Friday most (not all) of the models were hinting that this zone of rapidly rising air would set up - and temporarily stall out - directly over the Twin Cities metro area. As the storm track across Iowa into northern Illinois the heavy snow band remained draped over MSP for much of the day, enhancing snowfall amounts as 30-40 degree air was thrust up and over an oncoming Arctic airmass with temperatures in the single digits and teens. Where that air rose (violently), snow fell at the rate of 1-2"/hour.
Bitter Breeze. In spite of some tentative sunlight, temperatures may not climb above zero across most of Minnesota today, a stiff northwest wind at 15-25 making it feel like -20 to -40 much of the day. The 10 am wind chill is forecast to be -28 F. in the Twin Cities, -32 at St. Cloud and -35 F from Windom to Fargo/Moorhead. If you're heading out to play in all that fresh new Colorado-like powder, remember all those wise words of wisdom your mom taught you growing up: multiple layers, face mask, warm hat and gloves - if you're active (and take frequent indoor breaks) you should be OK.
It's Tough Being A (Little) Dog. Say hi to "Bentley", a tiny little dachsund living out in Chanhassen, who seemed to enjoy the snow but had a HECK of a time "doing his business", according to owner Tricia Frostad.
"Snowmageddon". 1-2 feet of snow in the metro? What parallel universe are we living in - where it actually snows in the Twin Cities, just like it did back in the 70s and early 80s? Over 1" liquid in the Twin Cities translated into nearly 16" at MSP International Airport, 17" on the ground. Nearly 3" fell in St. Cloud, but some 4-7" amounts were common in other towns across Stearns County.
Paul's Star Tribune Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:
SUNDAY: Sun returns, probably one of the 3-5 coldest days of the winter season. Wind chill: -30. NW 15-25. High: 0
SUNDAY NIGHT: Clear and frigid. Low: -15
MONDAY: Welcome to Siberia. Blue sky, subzero "high". High: -3
MONDAY NIGHT: Coldest night - temperatures bottom out. Low; -21
TUESDAY: Bitter start, clouds increase. High: 5
WEDNESDAY: A little light snow, inch or 2 possible. High: 17
THURSDAY: Leftover flakes, as "mild" as it's going to get through next week. High: 23
FRIDAY: More clouds than sun - still (relatively) comfortable. How far we've fallen... High: 22
SATURDAY: More clouds than sun, colder. High: 17
Snow Blitz of '10
My loyal weather spotters at KFAN-AM confirm a cool 1-2 FEET of snow for most of the metro. Wow. Snow lovers woke up to an early Christmas present - like the winters your parents (or grandparents) described, with a touch of (pained) nostalgia. "Paul, I can remember some winters where the snow came up to my chin!" True. But remember you were 2 feet tall at the time.
The Snow Blitz of '10 is winding down, but monster drifts will linger through a VERY white Christmas this year. Latest GFS guidance suggests the warmest we'll be between now and Christmas Day is Thursday, when we may see 22 (above). That "real winter" I was talking about 2 months ago seems to coming true, after all, no thanks to a strong La Nina cooling of Pacific ocean water.
Will we see a correction in January, a series of Pacific thaws? Very possible, but there's little question the atmosphere east of the Rockies is stuck in an Arctic rut, a blocking (holding) pattern that shows NO sign of letting up anytime soon.
MnDOT may have major roads dug out by afternoon - consider checking in on older neighbors nearby; the risk of frostbite and hypothermia (drop in body temperature) will be high. The blog has updates. Be safe. Enjoy the most snow from a single twin Cities snowstorm in 19 years.
* There is a (slight) chance we'll have at least 4" of snow on the ground by Thursday at 7 pm. If we have more than 4" it will be the snowiest Thanksgiving in 14 years (9" on the ground Thanksgiving Day, 1996). The last time we had a seriously white Thanksgiving was 2003 (4" of snow reported on the ground).
* Latest model: wintry mix of sleet, freezing rain and snow Wednesday changes to mostly snow Wednesday night into Thursday morning, leaning more toward 1-3" immediate metro, with 3-6" St. Cloud and a foot of snow possible from Bemidji to Duluth to the MN Arrowhead. Overall the potential for significant snow in the immediate metro has dropped somewhat - too early to know for sure. There's little doubt that conditions will get worse the farther north you travel, away from the metro, Wednesday night into Thanksgiving Day.
* The rumors are true: it's going to get cold by the end of the week, January-cold, but the Arctic air will be short-lived, highs rebounding close to freezing by Sunday. Deep breaths.
* The approach of this numbing airmass will set off a significant storm Wednesday into Thanksgiving Day up north. I've written a small novela (below) trying to describe the projected amounts and timing, to the best of my ability. Remember: 4 new computer runs/daily between now and Thanksgiving. Count on changes between now and then - I'll do my best to keep you posted on the latest.
Mom Has A Bad Attitude. O.K. I begged her to hand me the remote after the third quarter of the Vikings game, but she insisted that "a turnaround is imminent! We can come back from this!" Right. So now I can't take her out in public anymore. Live and learn. I still love you mom - just remind me to never take you to the farmers market again (after a Vikings loss). Big mistake. (P.S. That's not my mom - just liked the photo, had to find a way to include it, especially in light of yesterday's maddening football fiasco at the dome).
Freezing Rain Advisory. The NWS has issued a freezing rain advisory for southeastern MN (including far southern suburbs of the Twin Cities) for more light rain/drizzle falling on sub-freezing surfaces, including highways. The farther south/southeast you drive down I-35 or Highway 61 the greater the odds of a little glaze ice this morning.
Winter Weather Advisory. North and west of Fergus Falls, Detroit Lakes and Bemidji as much as 3-6" of new snow is possible later today and tonight. Roughly 1" is expected in the Twin Cities, but amounts increase a couple hours west and northwest of MSP.
One Complicated Forecast. Remember, this is not the "main event" - that comes Wednesday into Thursday. This is the snowy/icy appetizer. The NWS has done a good job providing an overview of today's weather challenge: ice over southeastern MN, about an inch (maybe as much as 2") from the Twin cities into central MN, with as much as 3-6" over west central and northwestern Minnesota, enough to shovel and plow.
Worst Ice Storm In 29 Years? Hundreds of fender-benders, collisions and spin-outs late Saturday night and Sunday morning - not even AWD is going to save you when there's a thin film of glaze ice. One MnDOT official said it was the worst ice event he's witnessed in 29 years. KSTP has more details here.
Atmospheric Profile for Ice. To get all snow the lowest mile or so of the atmosphere has to be below freezing. Even a shallow layer of > 32 F. air can trigger a changeover to rain. If those raindrops re-freeze before hitting the ground the result is "sleet" (ice pellets). Traction is poor but you can still get around. If there is a thicker layer of warm air aloft rain can reach the (cold) ground, freezing on contact into freezing rain, glaze ice. Not even front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive will make much of a difference on glaze ice.
Northward Shift - Less Snow For MSP? The latest GFS model is taking the storm track farther north, meaning just a couple of inches of snow Wednesday into Thursday across the metro, with closer to 3-6" for St. Cloud, maybe a foot or more from Bemidji to Duluth. The timing and final amounts are still very much up in the air, but it still looks like a period of accumulating snow is likely from Wednesday into Thanksgiving Day.
A few headlines:
1). The farther north you travel, the better the chance of significant snow amounts later this week.
2). The worst conditions will probably come from late Wednesday afternoon through Thursday night.
3). Wednesday precipitation may start as a mix of rain/ice before changing over to mostly snow Wednesday PM hours.
* Snow may come in 2 distinct phases - the first shot of snow Wednesday afternoon/evening, then a brief break Wednesday night into early Thursday. Wrap-around moisture (called "backlash") approaching from the north may drop a couple more inches Thanksgiving Day, especially north of MSP.
4). A "plowable" accumulation is most likely north of the Twin Cities, but (depending on the final storm track) that zone of 3-6"+ snow could still dip into the MSP metro area - but that scenario is looking increasingly unlikely. Here in the metro I don't see how we see anything less than 1 or 2". If the storm tracks farther south - we could see more, but I'm comfortable in the 1-3" range, with closer to 3-6" from St. Cloud to Brainerd, closer to 10" far north.
5). If you leave Tuesday, or even first thing Wednesday, you should be able to get out in front of the storm.
6). Winds ease and flakes (finally) stop flying Friday - good news for power-shoppers. It's just going to be COLD, highs in the mid teens, after waking up to readings close to zero in the suburbs. Typical weather for late January. At least the sun will be out (as is often the case during the coldest days of winter). Oh yeah - it's still "autumn." Great.
7). I still don't see any post-Thanksgiving storms, getting home next weekend should be easier than traveling Wednesday-Thursday. By Sunday highs should be close to 32 F (which I guarantee will FEEL pretty good, after muddling through a couple of Nanook days Thursday and Friday).
Near-Blizzard Conditions Up North Thanksgiving Day? This is the GFS forecast valid 6 pm Thanksgiving Day. I'm worried about the combination of falling/drifting snow + a strong pressure gradient across the state, capable of whipping up (sustained) winds of 25-35 mph, especially Thursday afternoon/evening. Moisture wrapping all the way around an intensifying storm over Lake Superior (approaching from the NORTH) - a phenomena known as "backlash" - may trigger a few extra inches of powder Thanksgiving Day, on top of the 1-2" that falls Wednesday PM hours and Wednesday night. Again, it's still too early to get specific about snow amounts - but I do expect a "plowable" accumulation from Wednesday afternoon into Thursday night. The farther north you travel, closer to Brainerd, Grand Rapids or Duluth - the better the chance of 6-10" amounts (and near white-out conditions, especially Thursday).
South Dakota's Blizzard Of Bad Weather. It's been a rough year in Minnesota (104 tornadoes) but the weather has been even more extreme just to our west. So far in 2010 South Dakota has seen 7 presidential disaster declarations. Everything from blizzards to EF-4 tornadoes to volley-ball size hail (a new national record back in June). What the heck is going on? The New York Times has a good summary here.
"The seven presidential disaster declarations issued here — part of a record 78 nationwide so far this year — more than doubled the number in any previous year, naming all but 10 of the 66 counties as a disaster area; some many times over. And after losing roads and power lines, watching homeowners displaced and crops drowned, the residents now speak with an exhausted fatalism, though rarely with complaint."
Is WIFI Making Trees "Sick"? A recent study by a Dutch university suggests that WIFI radiation can trigger strange abnormalities in trees. If it's doing that to the trees, wonder what it's doinng to us? More from Gizmodo here.
The Attention Span Myth. Check out this story from the New York Times (but first check your smart phone for recent texts, see what's on TV, while you're at it answer a few overdue e-mails). Attention span - what attention span? Is our collective attention span getting shorter and shorter (as ever more electronic distractions find their way into our over-stuffed lives?) or have we always been this hopeless distracted? A good question - one I'll consider when I get around to it.
Story Of My Life. Are there vitamins or supplements you can take to improve your memory? I keep rationalizing that "I have too much on my plate." That's why I can't remember stuff the way I could when I was a pup in my 20s. "Hey Paul, remember me? We met 23 years ago on a Tuesday when you gave a talk to the Kiwanis Club of West Ferndale!" Long pause. "You don't remember me? I came up and shook your hand?" Nope. Nothing. Na-da. That's why I've started saying "Nice to see you!" instead of "nice to meet you." So I don't celebrate my faulty memory. I highly recommend it.
Growing Up Digital. Are you finding it increasingly difficult to have a real conversation with your kids? Are your kid's grades suffering because they're spending too much time texting, playing video games, updating their Facebook status, tweeting at all hours - and just generally loitering in a distant, detached digital haze? My youngest son doesn't answer my calls anymore - I have to text him to get his attention. Such is the state of "progress". All this technology - all these new ways to communicate and keep in touch, yet technology is distracting us as never before, and young people may be especially vulnerable to the lure of all-things-digital. The New York times has a long (but good) article about what this might mean, and why some kids seem more vulnerable to digital distraction than others.
Icy Memories. Much of the .05" of rain that fell on the Twin Cities and St. Cloud froze on contact, "freezing rain" that created an insideous layer of glaze ice. Highs ranged from 28 at Alexandria to 31 in St. Cloud to 34 in the Twin Cities and 37 at Eau Claire, WI.
Paul's Star Tribune Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:
MONDAY: Colder, PM snow likely, around 1". Winds: NW 8-13. High: 28
MONDAY NIGHT: Light snow tapers to flurries - little additional accumulation. Low: 19
TUESDAY: Good travel day, few flakes - no problems getting around. High: 23
WEDNESDAY: Cloudy with a light mix of rain/sleet/snow changing to all snow later in the day and night, 1-3" late? (best chance of 3" far north metro) Travel gets worse as the day goes on. High: near 30
* THANKSGIVING DAY: Potential white-out up north? Some blowing & drifting. Afternoon High: 20 (falling)
* THURSDAY NIGHT: Snow finally tapers to flurries - still very poor travel conditions statewide. Low: 7
FRIDAY: Cold sun, less wind. Better travel. Risk fo shopping. Low: 2. High: 18
SATURDAY: Partly sunny, good shopping weather. Low: 9 High: 26
SUNDAY: No headaches getting home. More clouds than sun, closer to freezing. High: 31
The Perils of Ice
This is why many Minnesotans (especially older residents) fear winter. It's not the snow or even the debilitating cold. Ice is insidious, triggering far more broken bones/hips & other injuries than tornadoes, hurricanes and floods.<p>According to Professor Mark Seeley it may be a trend. His records show a 4-fold increase in ice storms (& mid-winter rain events) just since 2000. Nothing short of a Sherman tank is going to provide traction on the kind of glaze ice we experienced early Sunday, when hundreds of cars spun out. One MnDOT official said it was the worst ice storm he'd seen in 29 years.
Now comes the cold, capable of squeezing out a quick inch of snow today. Tuesday should be a good travel day, if you take off first thing Wednesday you may be able to stay ahead of the storm.
I still have a bad feeling about Wednesday & Thanksgiving Day as the core of the Arctic air arrives, a few "bursts" of powdery snow, at least 3-6" of powder, maybe a cool foot up north. Winds will whip up, sparking blowing/drifting; near-blizzard conditions are possible Thursday. Too early for specifics, but tune into my wx. blog for continuous updates. No post-Thanksgiving storms, thank God.
Unavoidable Climate Change - We've Reached The Point Of No Return. Peter Gleick argues that it may be too late to avoid some of the more dire symptoms of climate change. A recent study conducted by the Pacific Institute predicts significant impacts on the state of California and the west coast of the USA - more details here.
* Christian Earthkeeping - Social Justice Over Climate Change. There is a growing evangelical movement underway - people of all denominations realizing that climate change is not simply a scientific issue, but a moral one. A thoughtful article from christianpost.com is here.
Leaking Siberian Ice Raises A Tricky Climate Issue. An estimated 1.5 TRILLION tons of carbon is locked up in frozen Siberian permafrost - scientists are increasingly concerned that the gradual thawing of permafrost and subsequent release of methane (23 times stronger than CO2) may become ground zero for climate change in the coming decades. From the AP story: "Katey Walter Anthony, of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, has been measuring methane seeps in Arctic lakes in Alaska, Canada and Russia, starting here around Chersky 10 years ago. She was stunned to see how much methane was leaking from holes in the sediment at the bottom of one of the first lakes she visited. "On some days it looked like the lake was boiling," she said. Returning each year, she noticed this and other lakes doubling in size as warm water ate into the frozen banks. "The edges of the lake look like someone eating a cookie. The permafrost gets digested in the guts of the lake and burps out as methane," she said in an interview in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, en route to a field trip in Greenland and Scandinavia. More than 50 billion tons could be unleashed from Siberian lakes alone, more than 10 times the amount now in the atmosphere, she said."
Man Uses Laptop For Cover During Tornado - Dell Rewards Him With New Computer. "Dude - you just won a Dell...the hard way!" Just when you think you've seen everything, along comes the story of 83 year old Jack Woolley of Machipongo, Virginia - who used a Dell laptop computer to shield himself from flying debris as a tornado smashed through his house earlier this summer. It's true - I heard it on Oprah! Actually, WFMY-TV has the mind-boggling story here.
2-4" of Hail? The best part of Monday night's Vikes game? Those last half touchdown passes were a step in the right direction - but the WEATHER for the Jet's game was the craziest thing I've witnessed in years - nearly continuous lightning, the first NFL weather-delay in 4 years - and several inches of HAIL across the metro area. Roads became icy (from hail!) - 32 degree (ice-strewn) water chilling the air from below - creating waves of thick fog, resulting in an eerie sight. What a summer: Minnesota sees 145 tornado reports, and even New York City gets in on the action with tornado touch downs and an unusually number of (wild) hailstorms. The story is here - some pretty amazing YouTube here.
Close Encounter. It didn't make headlines (thank God) but yesterday Asteroid 2010 TF54 (roughly 20 feet wide) passed within 28,000 miles of Earth. There was never any danger of this particular space-rock scoring a direct hit (odds are it would have burned up in a fiery arc through the atmosphere). NASA and hundreds of amateur astronomers are tracking all these errant asteroids and (at last report) we're ok for the time being. Comforting. More from U.K's Telegraph newspaper here.
Less Ice Up Top. According to National Snow and Ice Data Center September coverage of Arctic ice reached 1.89 million square miles, 830,000 square miles less than the 1979-2000 average - 230,000 square miles more than the all-time record: 2007. It was the third lowest extent of Arctic ice since satellites began measuring changes in the Arctic. More details here.
Hurricane Paula. The 8th hurricane of the seasn is intensifying rapidly off the coast of Cozumel and Cancun - sustained winds of 100 mph. Paula will produce extensive flooding across Cuba, possibly brushing the Florida Keys with tropical storm force wind by Thursday or Friday - all the models keep the brunt of Paula south of Florida. Data courtesy of NHC - graphics from Ham Weather.
This summer a friend of mine, John Overby, walked from Eden Prairie Minnesota to Washington DC, approximately 1200 miles. The event was called "John's Walk for Recovery." John did the walk for several reasons. The first was to raise awareness of the escalating problem of addiction in the United States. The second was to raise money for a documentary film called "The Choosing". More on John's ambitous project below. If you know someone struggling with addiction you should check out John's inspirational story and YouTube overview - and consider getting involved at any level.
Another Day In Paradise. 8 days in a row above 70, 9 days above 70 since October 1 - 4 days/row above 80 this month. In spite of a cool frontal passage the mercury reached 63 at Alexandria, 67 at St. Cloud, 72 in the Twin Cities and 79 in Rochester. A far cry from last year, when the high was 36 with 2.5" of snow. How is that even possible?
Paul's Star Tribune Outook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:
Today: Bright sun, breezy and cool. Winds: NW 10-20. High: 64
Wednesday night: Clear and seasonably cool. Low: 43
Thursday: Blue sky, a bit milder - another beautiful day. High: 66
Friday: Sunny - still dry, still amazing quiet (for October). High: 64
Saturday: Spectacular sunshine, a bit milder. High: 65 (70 not out of the question over southern MN).
Sunday: Sun fades behind increasing high clouds. High: 62
Monday: Cloudy with a chance of light rain. High: 55
Tuesday: Becoming partly sunny and windy - feeling more like mid October. High: 57
A Dickens Tale
October, 2010 has been the best of times - and the worst of times. For Gophers, Twins & Vikings fans this is degenerating into "Choke-tober." It's been painful for loyal sports fans. So close, and yet so far. At least we'll always have October. Or is it still early September out there? I have to check the calendar these days to be sure. 8 days/row above 70, 4 days/row > 80. Wow.
Last year we were scraping snow off our driveways & sidewalks on October 13; this year we've enjoyed a jumbo, 6 week (and counting) September, record highs falling left & right. It's taken some of the pain out of reading the daily sports section of the Star Tribune. I don't see a drop of rain until Monday of next week (19 days since we've seen measurable rain at MSP). A slightly-cooler-front arrives today, but 60s should be the rule through the weekend. Monday will be a minor reality check with periods of rain, highs in the 50s next week, more like the October we know & cherish. Nothing wintry is on tap through the 28th of October.
Meanwhile Hurricane Paula may brush south Florida within 48 hours - a major rain & wind storm is on tap for New England by the end of this week. While we bask in the sun.
Offshore Wind Power Line Wins Praise - And Backing. The New York Times reports on an ambitious investment from Google and a few New York financial firms betting on the long-term prospects for wind power. Specifically, the joint venture is funding a 350 mile long transmission "backbone" that will connect to hundreds of offshore wind turbines - possibly reinventing the power grid for many east coast states.
China's Glaciers May Shrink By 27% By The Year 2050: Report. The average area of glaciers over western China may shrink by as much as 27% in the next 40 years, based on current temperature and moisture trends over Asia. A recent study predicts that ocean glaciers, affected by wet airflow from the oceans - may decline by over 52% by 2050. More from the Times of India here.
Climate Change: A Summary Of The Science. The Royal Academy of the UK has a comprehensive overview of climate change. If you're interested in learning more about the state of the science click here to download the pdf.
U.N.: "Credible" Climate Report Needed. There is a credibility problem, or at least a perceived problem - based on last winter's e-mail hack and the resulting "ClimateGate" uproar. 97% of peer-reviewed climate scientists believe that the atmosphere is warming, and much of that warming can be traced to antropogenic (man-made) sources, specifically the burning of fossil fuels. The 2007 IPCC report was comprehensive, but there were errors in the final draft - and there is mounting pressure to address those problems head-on with a new report, one that is fair, impartial, and reflects the true state of the science. More from the UPI here.
Walking To Raise Addiction Awareness.
I have a lot of friends and family members who have been touched by addiction - several people close to me took their lives because they saw no hope, no future. That's why I'm including the story of John Overby, who walked 1,200 miles from Eden Prairie to Washington D.C. to raise awareness for addiction issues facing this nation. He's trying to raise money to complete a film about his journey - his goal is to make the end result available to everyone: individuals grappling with addiction, treatment centers - anyone and everyone touched by this insidious disease.
Here is the note John sent me on Tuesday - I hope you'll consider getting involved...
"The inspiration for "The Choosing" was borne from the desire to help those seeking a lasting release from their addiction and to lead a happy and a more fulfilling life.
"The Choosing" is a film that will explore the Spiritual experience that most of us find so necessary to break free from addiction and live in recovery. I intend to interview a large number of people in recovery who have had this experience and use their stories to inspire hope in those who are seeking their own escape from addiction.
In March of this year I was inspired to begin planning the walk to Washington. I felt at that time that I had enough resources at hand to complete the walk and that funds raised from the walk would be sufficient to move the project forward. This unfortunately was not the case. The walk was successful at raising awareness but not very successful at raising money.
While on the walk I shot several hours of video that have started to take shape into a documentary that I am calling "An American Walkabout… Addiction." This film will be used to raise awareness and a fundraising tool for the larger project,
The Choosing." It has always been my intention to make both of these films available to anyone who can make use of them, free of charge. So there is not much incentive for traditional inverters in this project.
This is why I need your help. At this time I am trying to raise enough money to allow me to complete the film "An American Walkabout… Addiction." It is not easy to ask people for money in these tough economic times, but I feel this is an investment in the future of recovery. For me there were many elements needed to complete the picture that became recovery. Some were in the form of books, some were in the form of films and some were in the form of kind words form loving people. This project may be one element in the recovery of someone you don't know or someone you love.
Please look at the link and help if you can! Thank you!
Before Picture. Here is the first televised satellite image from April 1, 1960. Grainy, black and white, it still caused a sensation when people saw weather patterns from high above the earth for the first time. That was 50 years ago, but perhaps no other technology has had a greater impact on weather forecasting (and tracking) than weather satellites. Up until that time meteorologists had to rely on SHIP REPORTS to estimate the location of hurricanes. Not a great system, huh? Tiros-1 created a revolution, and it's been a steep learning curve ever since. For more on the first weather satellite check out this great overview from NOAA.
After Picture. Check out yesterday's high-res, 250 meter image from NASA's low-orbiting Modis "Terra" satellite. You can see amazing details, like the fact that the ice really is off Lake Minnetonka. Individual cumulus clouds show up from the satellite, orbiting a little more than 200 miles above the earth. The satellites used in daily TV weathercasts are "geosynchronous", in orbit 22,300 miles above the equator, zipping along at over 16,000 mph, moving at the same speed the earth is turning far below, so they appear to hover over the same location, enabling us to "loop" multiple images to show weather systems moving over time. The latest Modis image can be found here.
Happy Easter (and Passover!) Hope you can spend the day with people you care about....
Paul's Star Tribune Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota
Today: Damp start, isolated shower possible early, then partly sunny with a mild breeze. Winds: W 10-20. High: 65
Tonight: Partly cloudy, mild for earl April. Low: 40
Monday: Clouds increase, chance of showers by afternoon. High: 63
Tuesday: More showers (heaviest rains probably pass south of Minnesota). High: 58
Wednesday: Damp start, then sunshine returns. High: near 60
Thursday: Plenty of sunshine, still mild. High: 61
Friday: Partly sunny skies, not bad at all for early April. High: 60
Saturday: Mostly cloudy - probably dry. High: 62
We salvaged a pretty nice Saturday - and a much-better-than-average Easter Sunday is shaping up for most of Minnesota, ample sun, a pleasant breeze, and temperatures surging into the 60s by afternoon, a good 10-15 degrees above average. Not bad, considering we could be ankle-deep in slush right about now, battling wind chill and muddling around in heavy jackets and coats.
Record Warmth. Check out the number of record highs from the Upper Midwest into New England since Friday. Click here to see an interactive map, where you can display data for each city that experienced a record of some sort. This is from Ham Weather, a division of WeatherNation.
I spent most of Saturday at WeatherNation (a couple of big projects conspiring to make sure I don't enjoy a true "holiday"). Timing. No complaints, but it's amazing how small businesses mutate, spiral into new trajectories that you couldn't even dream of when you wrote up your business plan. Every business I've ever started (I'm on # 4, 5 and 6) has gone down an initial path I predicted, only to take wild zigs and zags in completely new directions (that couldn't have been predicted months in advance). The only advantage a small company has is creativity, innovation, and speed to market - responding to the marketplace and making a mid-course correction to take advantage of a new (and unforeseen) opportunity. I'm not complaining - just musing, dazed and amazed. In the end it all comes down to people, the smart people you surround yourself with to turn a vision into a reality. Surround yourself with people smarter than you are (in my case that isn't too hard to pull off) and great things can happen. The most important attribute in the success vs. failure of a start-up? Flexibility, being able to turn on a dime. End of sermon. Sorry for the digression, but a tip of the hat to any of you in the midst of trying to get a business off the ground. I'm detecting some confidence returning to the market, people are a lot more optimistic about the business world than they were even 3 months ago. Hopefully that bodes well for all of us.
Digging out of a Hole. Precipitation for the Twin Cities was 4-6" less than average for the entire year - the driest weather over east central and southeastern MN, a dry pocket up on the Iron Range, while precip. was well above average across much of the Red River Valley. Click here to see a yearly summary of rainfall amounts (and departure from normal), provided by the MN State Climatology Office.
Saturday I transformed into a hopeless iGeek, waiting for the UPS guy to show up with my iPad(s). No, I wouldn't dream of showing up at the house with only one iPad - my wife is just as big an Apple fan-boy (fan-girl?) as I am, even more so. Initial impressions? This will change the way people consume information. Yes, it's a big iPhone, and yes, you are limited to the iTunes ecosystem. But you can't really grasp the power of this new - thing/gadget/toy/productivity tool until you hold one, and start to play with it. No, it won't change the world, but it may change the way you think about content. The ability to personalize streams of content for every person has profound implications. Were our own program directors, with a DVR we can see shows on our schedules, our terms. We're our own news directors - filtering the streams of information we want to see at any given time. My kids laugh when I ask if they saw a story on the 10 pm news. Sure, we'll still gather around the TV set for Vikings games and last episodes of "Lost", but we're already leading solitary lives when it comes to digesting news and entertainment. Do you multi-task in front of the TV, fire up your laptop, text or tweet while you're watching your favorite show(s) - with only one eye on the TV? Do you get itchy and irritable if you're not the one holding the TV remote? We're all multi-taskers now, a new generation of people who have trouble focusing on ONLY ONE THING. Maybe it's my ADD, but now - if someone talks for more than 15 seconds, my mind wanders off and I want to check my e-mail, texts & tweets. Not good, I know, but it seems that we're all expected to do more - with less. Remember when faxes were a big deal? That seems like ancient history. Just trying to keep up with all the new ways to communicate is a full-time gig. The Information Superhighway has morphed into the Information Treadmill.
I hope I'm not jumping the gun - I spent part of my Saturday afternoon cleaning out my closets, dragging coats to the basement, carefully arranging my short-sleeve shirts, taking the flannel to the attic, all the while muttering a silent prayer that I wasn't doing too much too fast. Time will tell, but gazing at the 15-Day GFS trend I don't see any a). accumulating snow, or b). arctic relapses. We cool off - slightly - by midweek with highs in the 50s, still above average. But 60s return by next weekend, a string of 60-degree days through mid April. With each passing day the odds of a REAL cold front drop off precipitously. Are we out of the woods yet? Theoretically yes - I BELIEVE we won't see any more accumulating snow this season. Can I guarantee it? No, but my hunch, my strong gut feeling (nausea?) is that we've seen the last of the snow. That's remarkable, considering the last day with accumulating snow was Feb. 23 (a whopping tenth of an inch). Last year? The last day with accumulating snow didn't arrive until April 5 (.9")
Another Dud? Computer models are contradictory about the potential for rain Monday - Tuesday. The trend is toward less rain with each passing computer model, but the NAM model is still holding firm, hinting at over a half inch of rain. I doubt it. The tendency is recent weeks has been for the models to wildly over-predict rainfall amounts, only to have the actual storms fizzle when they reach Minnesota.
Encouraging Trends. So far, nationwide, 78 tornadoes have touched down since January 1, well below the average of 253 tornadoes that should have been observed from coast to coast. Only 1 fatality so far in 2010. Last year 21 people lost their lives in tornadoes, in 2008 a total of 126 people died in tornadoes - a staggering death toll. On average the annual tornado death toll is closer to 76. Hopefully this will be a quiet year - too early to know, but we're getting off to an encouraging start to the year.
Daily Almanac. Check out this site to see a daily update of major weather stories for a given day. Pretty handy for weather trivia at your next (dull) party. Think of the weather nuggets you'll be able to share!