Paul Douglas on Weather Logo


Paul Douglas on Weather

Early Storms - Balmy Finish. Early March Relapse Coming

Balmy Tuesday, Then a Cascade of Cool Fronts

Junk in, junk out. The accuracy of any model depends not only on the assumptions of that model, but the quality of the data going into the algorithms. Sketchy or incomplete data fueling a simulation will lead to inaccurate results. Not enough data or tests will skew the (COVID-19) results.

I've wrestled with "which model to believe" for 40 years. I have sympathy for health officials setting public expectations about COVID-19. If there's rough consensus from multiple models, if they all pretty much agree, confidence levels go way up.

Early showers give way to lukewarm sunshine and 60s later today. A few backyard thermometers may flash 70F. Just try and stay out of the yard.

Wednesday showers mark the leading edge of a cooler push; daytime highs in the 40s by late week.

A reinforcing cold front arrives this weekend with a chilly breeze and a high probability of jackets early next week. A slush-storm may hit Chicago next Tuesday.

Too close for comfort. Deep breaths. Yes, a Minnesota spring is a morbidly-fickle beast. 

COVID-19 Mortality Projections for the USA courtesy of Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

Future Radar. Morning T-storms (best chance north of MSP) give way to clearing skies and a mild afternoon with highs in the mid 60s to near 70F. Maps above: Praedictix and AerisWeather.

Cool Correction On The Way. ECMWF (above) is more aggressive with the cooling early next week, but I'm encouraged by GFS (below) which shows a return to springlike temperatures within 11-12 days. Meteograms for MSP: WeatherBell.

Warming Trend Latter Half of April. After a rerun of early March next week GFS shows a milder, Pacific flow returning by the third week of April, suggesting a return to average or above average temperatures within 2 weeks, give or take. Mostly take.

Modern Meteorology Was Born 60 Years Ago. Ars Technica talks about the launch of America's first weather satellites, which revolutionized weather tracking and prediction: "Sixty years ago on this date, April 1, a Thor-Able rocket launched a small satellite weighing 122.5kg into an orbit about 650km above the Earth's surface. Effectively, this launch from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station marked the beginning of the era of modern weather forecasting. Designed by the Radio Corporation of America and put into space by NASA, the Television InfraRed Observation Satellite, or TIROS-1, was the nation's first weather satellite. During its 78 days of operation, TIROS-1 successfully monitored Earth's cloud cover and weather patterns from space. This was a potent moment for the field of meteorology. For the first time, scientists were able to combine space-based observations with physical models of the atmosphere that were just beginning to be run on supercomputers..."
Image credit: "Image taken on April 1, 1960, by TIROS 1. This was the first television picture of Earth from space." NASA.

Mixed Start to the Month of April. Dr. Mark Seeley reports at Minnesota WeatherTalk: "The first two days of April brought mixed weather to the state. Many parts of southern and eastern Minnesota enjoyed mild, warmer than normal temperatures (commonly highs in the 60s F). But in the west and northwest (Red River Valley) a winter storm brought a mixture of significant precipitation, including rain, ice, and snow, with colder than normal temperatures. Roads were snow covered in some areas, while other areas reported ice on the roads late on Thursday afternoon and into early Friday morning. Wind Chill values dropped into the teens and single digits and travel was difficult in some areas. Snowfall amounts in the western counties ranged from 1 inch to 4 inches in many spots, with Crookston reporting 9 inches and Karlstad reporting 11 inches..."

2020 Hurricane Forecast: Above Average Intensity. Here's an excerpt from Forbes: "Those extra goods in your pantry may be useful for more than one reason. As if 2020 has not already walloped us beyond belief, brace yourself for more of nature’s power: Because of warm seas and favorable weather patterns, this Atlantic hurricane season could include a greater-than-average number of major hurricanes. Forecasters from Colorado State University’s Tropical Meteorology Project, led by research scientist Phil Klotzbach, announced on Thursday that although there are 2.7 major hurricanes during a typical season — between June 1 and Nov. 30 — eight hurricanes are expected this year. And this includes four major hurricanes, with winds of at least 111 miles per hour..."

Hurricane Season On Top of a Pandemic Will Be a Nightmare. Here's a clip from a post at Gizmodo: "...However, the nation needs a coordinated response with all officials on board if the U.S. wants to avoid an ultra-disastrous hurricane season, Samantha Montano, an assistant professor of emergency management and disaster science at the University of Nebraska Omaha, told Earther. “We really need particularly elected officials to be doing everything possible to get the covid situation under control as quickly as possible,” Montano said. “We need to try to get ourselves out of these peaks of the covid curve so that they are not aligning with hurricane season as much as we can.” Hurricanes are disastrous enough without the backdrop of a pandemic..."

Image credit: NOAA.

The World Is a Quieter Place - With Less Vibrations. explains: "Once-crowded city streets are now empty. Highway traffic has slowed to a minimum. And fewer and fewer people can be found milling about outside. Global containment measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus have seemingly made the world much quieter. Scientists are noticing it, too. Around the world, seismologists are observing a lot less ambient seismic noise -- meaning, the vibrations generated by cars, trains, buses and people going about their daily lives. And in the absence of that noise, Earth's upper crust is moving just a little less..."

60 F. high yesterday at MSP.

53 F. average Twin Cities high on April 6.

53 F. maximum temperature on April 6, 2019.

April 7, 1857: A cold snap hits the United States, with snow reported in every state.

TUESDAY: AM shower, mild PM sunshine. Winds: NW 10-15. High: 68

WEDNESDAY: Gusty winds, passing rain shower. Winds: NW 15-30+. Wake-up: 44. High: 57

THURSDAY: Cold wind, few sprinkles, flurries. Winds: NW 15-25. Wake-up: 32. High: 45

FRIDAY: More sunshine, less wind, still chilly. Winds: SW 8-13. Wake-up: 29. High: 46

SATURDAY: Few showers, then partial clearing. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 37. High: 51

SUNDAY: Cool wind, feels like mid-March. Winds: N 10-15. Wake-up: 32. High: 47

MONDAY: Partly sunny and brisk. Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 29. High: 42

Climate Stories...

Why is Climate Change So Unfair? Because the poorest of the poor are first to experience the impacts of a more volatile climate. Grist explains: "...Some of those demographic factors, like age, race, and gender, aren’t under people’s control. And studying the history of a certain community or group can reveal that they have suffered unfair treatment  that is often rooted in biased policies or attitudes. For example, we know that poorer areas and communities of color are likely to suffer the worst consequences of climate change, even though they tend to be responsible for emitting fewer greenhouse gases than wealthier and less-diverse populations. And it’s often not just the consequences that affect these communities. They also are much more likely to live around the sources of pollution responsible for warming, like highways, refineries, and other industrial sites..."

Birds are Adopting "Extraordinary Behaviors" to Survive the Impact of Climate Change. The Daily Mail Online has the story; here's a clip: "...Those that more easily incorporate different foods into their diets or develop new foraging techniques better withstand environmental changes. Ducatez and his team say environmental changes is the main threat birds face. Researchers compared the number of observed innovations of each species with their risk of extinction according to the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Other instances of dietary changes between bird species were a great egret killing and eating a common sparrow in Brazil, rather than fish, and a crow stealing scraps from starlings feeding in a dump in Spain..."

File image: Wikipedia.

COVID-19: Biggest Drop in CO2 Emissions Since WWII, but Little Impact on Climate Change. Here's an excerpt from RFI: "...Any reductions in pollution and carbon dioxide emissions are likely to be temporary, said Lars Peter Riishojgaard, from the infrastructure department of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), a United Nations agency based in Geneva. "It does not mean much for climate," he told a virtual press conference. Riishojgaard said there was a lot of media speculation about what impact the global pandemic might have on the climate, greenhouse gas emissions and longer-term global warming. “While in the short term, carbon dioxide emissions would go down as cars stay put and aircraft remain on the ground, "we expect the impact will be fairly short-lived," Riishojgaard said. "The pandemic will be over at some point and the world will start going back to work and with that, the CO2 emissions will pick up again, maybe or maybe not to quite the same level..."

Image credit: Scott Kelly, NASA ISS.

Ocean's Capacity to Absorb CO2 Overestimated, Study Says. Details via The Guardian: "The North Atlantic may be a weaker climate ally than previously believed, according to a study that suggests the ocean’s capacity to absorb carbon dioxide has been overestimated. A first-ever winter and spring sampling of plankton in the western North Atlantic showed cell sizes were considerably smaller than scientists assumed, which means the carbon they absorb does not sink as deep or as fast, nor does it stay in the depths for as long. This discovery is likely to force a negative revision of global climate calculations, say the authors of the Nasa-backed study, though it is unclear by how much..."

Image credit: "Phytoplankton blooms are visible from space in this 2017 satellite image taken of the Gibraltar strait." Photograph: Suomi/VIIRS and Modis/NASA.

Cloudy And 60s To Begin The Week - Highs Approach 70F Tuesday

Highs Approach 70F Tuesday!

There will be a spring-time feeling outside the next couple of days, but especially as we head into Tuesday as highs will approach 70F across southern Minnesota! The average first 70F degree day in the Twin Cities (looking at the 30-year 1981-2010 average) is April 9th, so if we can make it there Tuesday it'll be just a couple of days early. Meanwhile, the first 70F degree day last year was April 8th.

Tuesday morning forecast precipitation and fronts. Image: Weather Prediction Center.

We will also be watching the potential for showers and thunderstorms as an area of low pressure moves across the state. The highest potential here in the Twin Cities to see rain would be during the morning hours, with sunnier skies by the afternoon.

Since 1973, there has been about a day each April that thunder has been reported at the MSP airport. We've already observed a day this year with thunder (back on March 28th).


Rain (And Snow Potential) The Next Few Days

Hopefully I didn't scare you with the mention of the word "snow", but some will be possible as we head through Sunday Night into Monday morning across northern Minnesota. Any accumulation is expected to be fairly light - mainly under half an inch.

The heaviest precipitation (rain and melted snow) through Tuesday evening will be across northern Minnesota, with overall liquid amounts of up to half an inch possible in some locations. Precipitation amounts will taper off as you head into southern Minnesota.


Lake Superior Water Level Rose In March

Image: International Lake Superior Board of Control

According to the International Lake Superior Board of Control, the water level on Lake Superior rose 2 centimeters during the month of March, a month that typically sees a decline of 1 centimeter. This puts the lake near it's record-high for the beginning of April: "At the beginning of April, Lake Superior is 2 cm below the record-high beginning-of-month level set in 1986. The level is currently 36 cm above average (1918 – 2019) and 4 cm above the level recorded at this time last year."


Spring Fever, Followed by a March Relapse
By Paul Douglas

Day 14 marooned at home and my dog (Leo) is looking up at me like, "See? This is why I chew the furniture." I get it. As long as the internet stays up we all have a fighting chance.

I expect more spring in your step the next 2 days, with afternoon temperatures luxuriating in the 60s. A surge of warmth may set off a stray shower today. Heavier T-storms sprout late tonight into early Tuesday, with the best chance of a soaking north of the MSP metro. If the sun comes out early enough Tuesday 70F is still a possibility.

The rumors are true: Canada won't run out of chilly air anytime soon. A family of Alberta Clippers will drag waves of progressively colder air south of the border later this week. Rain showers Wednesday, then a sloppy, slushy mix Friday night that could drop a few inches of April fun on central Minnesota. Daytime highs hold in the 30s and low 40s early next week before a slow recovery. We sure do earn our warm fronts.

It's time to roll off the sofa. Leo wants to take ME for a walk!


Extended Twin Cities Forecast

MONDAY: Some sun, stray shower. Wake up 41. High 59. Chance of precipitation 40%. Wind SE 8-13 mph.
TUESDAY: Early storms, then mild sunshine. Wake up 51. High 69. Chance of precipitation 60%. Wind NW 10-15 mph.
WEDNESDAY: Cool front #1. Few rain showers. Wake up 44. High 57. Chance of precipitation 40%. Wind NW 15-25 mph.
THURSDAY: Peeks of sunshine, cool breeze. Wake up 34. High 47. Chance of precipitation 20%. Wind NW 10-20 mph.
FRIDAY: Clouds increase, late rain/snow mix. Wake up 29. High 45. Chance of precipitation 60%. Wind S 8-13 mph.
SATURDAY: Slushy mix slowly tapers. Wake up 33. High 41. Chance of precipitation 70%. Wind NW 10-15 mph.
SUNDAY: Mostly cloudy, opposite of springy. Wake up 27. High 38. Chance of precipitation 10%. Wind NW 10-20 mph.


This Day in Weather History
April 6th

1991: The second of three consecutive record highs, all above 80 degrees, is set at MSP airport (86 on 4/6/1991).

1964: A snowstorm hits Minnesota with 9 inches at Fosston and 8.7 at Park Rapids.


Average Temperatures & Precipitation for Minneapolis
April 6th

Average High: 53F (Record: 86F set in 1991)
Average Low: 33F (Record: 10F set in 1979)
Average Precipitation: 0.08" (Record: 2.58" set in 2006)
Average Snowfall: 0.1" (Record: 6.0" set in 1928)
Record Snow Depth: 8" in 1975


Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
April 6th

Sunrise: 6:43 AM
Sunset: 7:47 PM

*Length Of Day: 13 hours, 4 minutes and 23 seconds
*Daylight GAINED Since Yesterday: ~3 minutes and 5 seconds
*When Do We Climb To 13.5 Hours Of Daylight? April 15th (13 hours, 31 minutes, and 47 seconds)

*Next Sunrise At/Before 6:30 AM: April 13th (6:30 AM)
*Next Sunset At/After 8:00 PM: April 16th (8:00 PM)


Twin Cities And Minnesota Weather Outlook

As we head into Monday, we'll see mainly cloudy skies in the Twin Cities. Highs will climb to around 60F after starting the morning in the low 40s. Winds will be out of the south-southeast around 5 mph.

Looking statewide at your Monday, cloudy skies will reign. There will be the potential of some rain and snow in northern Minnesota, mainly in the morning hours. However, some isolated rain showers could linger in northeastern Minnesota into the afternoon.

Highs across a good portion of the state will be above average, with values of 10-15F degrees above the norm in southwestern portions of the state. Highs in northeastern Minnesota will be a few degrees below average. The average high in the Twin Cities for April 6th is 53F.

As mentioned earlier in this post, we'll be even warmer on Tuesday with highs climbing to around 70F. Cooler weather moves in behind that with highs in the 50s Wednesday and then the 40s to end the week. Highs on Thursday will be about 10F degrees below average.


National Weather Forecast

On Monday, a system across the Southwest will produce rain and higher elevation snow. A warm front stretched from the Northern Plains to the Mid-Atlantic will produce areas of showers and thunderstorms, with some early morning snow across northern Minnesota. Some scattered showers and thunderstorms will also be possible in the Southern Plains and Southeast.

The heaviest snow over the next few days will be out in the Sierra, where at least 3-4 feet of snow could fall. Heavy rain will also occur in coastal areas of California, with the potential for at least a couple of inches of rain falling.

On Tuesday, the threat for severe weather will ramp up across portions of the Ohio Valley with a Slight Risk of severe weather in place. Scattered strong thunderstorms will be capable of large hail and damaging wind gusts.


Severe Weather May Impact COVID-19 Coronavirus Response Efforts

More from Forbes: "If there’s one predictable thing we can count on right now, it’s the unpredictability of spring severe weather season. There’s no industry more vulnerable to severe weather right now than our hospitals and the first responders tasked with caring for those with COVID-19, while managing the other ongoing healthcare needs of people. Weather is always a factor when considering the safety of lives and structures, but with the overwhelming response to the COVID-19 crisis and the volatility of spring weather these risks are amplified. Key concerns for hospitals and care units during severe weather events is the continuity of operations, patient care and the safety of healthcare workers. This “all-hazards” approach is constantly tested as there have been several historic, weather events that have decimated hospitals."

Chile drought causing water shortage amidst virus crisis

More from "With historically low river flows and reservoirs running dry due to drought, people in central Chile have found themselves particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus pandemic. Years of resource exploitation and lax legislation have allowed most reservoirs in that part of the country to run dry. "There are now 400,000 families, nearly 1.5 million people approximately, whose supply of 50 liters of water a day depends on tankers," Rodrigo Mundaca, spokesman for the Movement for the Defense of Water, the Earth and the Protection of the Environment, told AFP."

Climate Change Has Doubled Riskiest Fire Days in California

More from Scientific American: "Climate change has doubled the number of extreme-risk days for California wildfires, according to research released yesterday. An analysis led by Stanford University found that temperatures rose about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit statewide while precipitation dropped 30% since 1980. That doubled the number of autumn days—when fire risk is highest—with extreme conditions for the ignition of wildfires. “That’s a really big increase over a relatively short period of time that can be attributed directly to the changes in climate,” said Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at UCLA and one of the study’s authors."


Thanks for checking in and have a great Monday! Don't forget to follow me on Twitter (@dkayserwx) and like me on Facebook (Meteorologist D.J. Kayser)!

 - D.J. Kayser