Colder Phase Likely Next 2 Weeks

I'm driving east to see family, and my thumbs are exhausted from all the texts. "Paul, have you been tested? Who have you been with? Have you been acting responsibly?" It's a little like dating. Only worse.

No epic October (weather) surprises are looming on the horizon. Just a few wet flakes mixing in with the rain in the metro today. We will spy the first flakes of the winter season in the coming days, with a few inches of slush possible over far northern Minnesota. Temperatures over the next 2 weeks will trend below average. Payback the warmest September on record, worldwide? Maybe.

NOAA just came out with their winter outlook, which calls for a wetter, slightly colder winter in Minnesota, but milder/drier over the southern half of the USA. This is based on the current La Nina cool phase in the Pacific and other variables.

"Colder with some snow" is still my outlook. Take it to the bank.

At some point the weather pendulum will swing the other (milder) way. Models hint at 50-ish for Halloween.


GFS temperature outlook for the Twin Cities: NOAA and WeatherBell.

U.S. Winter Outlook: Cooler North, Warmer South with Ongoing La Nina. Here's the latest winter outlook from NOAA: "NOAA’s winter forecast for the U.S. favors warmer, drier conditions across the southern tier of the U.S., and cooler, wetter conditions in the North, thanks in part to an ongoing La Nina. Forecasters at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center — a division of the National Weather Service — are also closely monitoring persistent drought during the winter months ahead, with more than 45% of the continental U.S. now experiencing drought. "NOAA's timely and accurate seasonal outlooks and short-term forecasts are the result of improved satellite observations, more detailed computer forecast modeling, and expanding supercomputing capacity," said Neil Jacobs, Ph.D., acting NOAA administrator..."

NAM Snowfall Prediction by Sunday Morning. Ground temperatures are still relatively warm, so some of the snow will melt on contact. In spite of that I could see a few inches of slush over far northern Minnesota this weekend. Map credit:

ECMWF Snowfall Prediction by Sunday Morning. The European model also prints out a few inches of slush over the northern third of Minnesota by early Sunday, with a coating of slush as far south as the Twin Cities metro. Lovely. Map: WeatherBell.

A Sloppy Clipper. Today's clipper arrives with a light mix of rain and wet snow mixed in, with the best chance of a few slushy lawns and fields north of the Twin Cities.

NOAA NDFD Outlook. An inch for Brainerd seems reasonable (wrong word) with up to 3" for Grand Forks by Saturday evening, according to NOAA's NDFD guidance. A few metro lawns could, in theory, have a little slush by Saturday morning. Map credit: Praedictix and AerisWeather.

A Chilly Spell. Temperatures run 10-20F below average into next week, more typical of early November. From this point forward the definition of a "warm front" is 50F or higher.

Back to the 40s. With the exception of a brief, milder blip in temperature ahead of a clipper on Saturday, daytime highs are consistently in the 40s through the weekend of October 24-25, according to ECMWF. Graphic credit: WeatherBell.

Mild Solution for Halloween Again. This is why meteorologists hang out at the isobar. Yesterday's 500mb outlook 2 weeks out looked chilly - the latest run looks milder, with Pacific air potentially extending farther inland. If (big if) this verifies we could see 50F or higher on Halloween.

Phoenix Has Hit 100 Degrees on Record-Breaking Half of the Days of 2020. Capital Weather Gang has the eye-opening details: "The unrelenting and unprecedented heat that scorched Phoenix all summer, setting countless records, has carried over into the fall. Now it has set another blistering milestone: the most 100-degree days ever observed in a calendar year. On Wednesday, the mercury in Phoenix climbed to at least 100 degrees for the 144th time in 2020, surpassing 143 days in 1989 for the most instances on record. Half of the days (144 out of 288) of the year so far, equivalent to 20.6 weeks, have hit 100 degrees. A few more such days are likely..."

Earth Breaks September Heat Record, May Reach Warmest Year. I'm sure it's all a coincidence, right? AP has details: "Earth sweltered to a record hot September last month, with U.S. climate officials saying there’s nearly a two-to-one chance that 2020 will end up as the globe’s hottest year on record. Boosted by human-caused climate change, global temperatures averaged 60.75 degrees (15.97 Celsius) last month, edging out 2015 and 2016 for the hottest September in 141 years of recordkeeping, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Wednesday. That’s 1.75 degrees (0.97 degrees Celsius) above the 20th century average. This record was driven by high heat in Europe, Northern Asia, Russia and much of the Southern Hemisphere, said NOAA climatologist Ahira Sanchez-Lugo. California and Oregon had their hottest Septembers on record..."

85% Chance La Nina Lingers Through Winter. NOAA's has an update; here's an excerpt: "...The altered atmospheric circulation of ENSO affects global weather (here’s how that works in general and La Niña in specific). Since ENSO can be predicted months ahead of time, a lot of research has gone into understanding the patterns of ENSO’s global weather impacts. The idea is that if we can predict ENSO, we can get an early picture of what global weather could look like months into the future. A recent study by some of our colleagues at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI), led by Nathan Lenssen, carefully re-assessed global precipitation (rain, snow, etc.) patterns during ENSO events. They looked at La Niña and El Niño impacts separately, because the impacts are not always opposite. Meaning, although El Niño may be related to a wet winter in one location, La Niña doesn’t necessarily mean a dry winter in that location..."

Hurricane Delta By the Numbers: Peak Winds, Rain and Surge in Record-Setting Season. Capital Weather Gang has the details on the second hurricane to strike Louisiana in a 43-day period: "Just when the record-setting 2020 Atlantic hurricane season seemed like it couldn’t get any worse, Hurricane Delta exploded in the northwest Caribbean one week ago, plotting a devastating course from the Yucatán Peninsula to the northern Gulf Coast. It crashed into Cancún and Cozumel on Wednesday before regrouping over the Gulf of Mexico and slamming into storm-weary Louisiana on Friday night. This was the second hurricane strike in six weeks in southwest Louisiana. Residents from Lake Charles to Lafayette now find themselves cleaning up from yet another vicious storm, a process that will take months or longer to complete..."

Hurricane Delta file image: NASA.

What It's Like to Watch Hurricanes Batter Your Hometown - Over and Over. Perspective on the unimaginable from The New York Times (paywall); here's an excerpt: "...Repairs are set to begin soon, but there’s an eerie sense of limbo, with still another month left in what has become a record-breaking hurricane season. While the tree has been removed, and her home partly covered in blue tarp, she doesn’t yet know whether the damages caused by Hurricane Delta will delay those repairs. For now, she’s settled with my parents and me in Conroe, Texas — about 40 miles outside Houston. That sense of dislocation, and the weight of hurricanes — on my family and many others in the South — has only become more potent over the years. Natural disasters mark noticeable chapters in our lives..."

Health Issues as Wildfire Smoke HIts Millions in U.S. Associated Press connects the dots with smoke and respiratory ailments: "Wildfires churning out dense plumes of smoke as they scorch huge swaths of the U.S. West Coast have exposed millions of people to hazardous pollution levels, causing emergency room visits to spike and potentially thousands of deaths among the elderly and infirm, according to an Associated Press analysis of pollution data and interviews with physicians, health authorities and researchers. Smoke at concentrations that topped the government’s charts for health risks and lasted at least a day enshrouded counties inhabited by more than 8 million people across five states in recent weeks, AP’s analysis shows..."

What Exactly Is a Gigafire? Here's an excerpt from Mental Floss: "...The term gigafire is thought to have originated in the comments section of the Wildfire Today website. In 2017, a visitor to the site with the screenname “kevin9” proposed that fires consuming over 1 million acres should be dubbed gigafires. The site began using the term for wildfires that met or exceeded that threshold in Australia. The record-setting wildfire destruction this year is thought to be exacerbated by climate change, with hotter and drier conditions providing an ideal setting for fires to take hold and spread. As of Monday, firefighters had contained roughly 65 percent of the California blaze..."

Fifth of Countries at Risk of Ecosystem Collapse, Analysis Finds. The Guardian has a sobering analysis: "One-fifth of the world’s countries are at risk of their ecosystems collapsing because of the destruction of wildlife and their habitats, according to an analysis by the insurance firm Swiss Re. Natural “services” such as food, clean water and air, and flood protection have already been damaged by human activity. More than half of global GDP – $42tn (£32tn) – depends on high-functioning biodiversity, according to the report, but the risk of tipping points is growing. Countries including Australia, Israel and South Africa rank near the top of Swiss Re’s index of risk to biodiversity and ecosystem services, with India, Spain and Belgium also highlighted..."

File image: NASA.

Flight to Nowhere Sells Out in 10 Minutes. Don't laugh - people are so hungry to travel during a pandemic they'll cough up good money to go...nowhere. has the story; here are a few snippets: "...Australian airline Qantas had a brilliantly stupid idea. As a company they naturally like money, and because their planes could fly nowhere, why not sell a flight precisely there? Despite how ridiculous it sounds, in mid-September Qantas started offering the Great Southern Land scenic flight. The flight takes off from the Sydney Domestic airport and – seven hours later – lands back in the same place. When the tickets went on sale in September, the whole plane sold out in less than ten minutes. “It’s probably the fastest selling flight in Qantas history...”

FRIDAY: Showers of rain & wet snow. Winds: W 10-20. High: 45

SATURDAY: Wet start, then drying out. Winds: SW 10-20. Wake-up: 38. High: 54

SUNDAY: Some sun with a cold breeze. Winds: NW 15-25. Wake-up: 31. HIgh: near 40

MONDAY: Icy start? Light mix possible. Winds: SE 8-13. Wake-up: 26. High: 44

TUESDAY: Cold rain MSP. Wet snow possible north. Winds: E 10-15. Wake-up: 33. High: 43

WEDNESDAY: Intervals of sunshine, chilly. Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 29. High: 45

THURSDAY: Showery rains return. Winds: SE 10-20. Wake-up: 32. High: 45

Climate Stories...

Bringing People Together on Climate Change. Does effective media have a role in convincing people still on the fence? Here's an excerpt of a new study highlighted at ScienceDaily: "A new study suggests that engaging, high-quality media programming could help Democrats and Republicans see eye to eye when it comes to climate change. The study, published in the Journal Science Communication, surveyed 2,015 participants before and after watching one of two broadcast programs. The study group watched an episode of "Years of Living Dangerously," a National Geographic series that included episodes on solar energy use in the U.S. and India, coal use in the U.S. and China, and deforestation. A control group watched a video called "Spillover: Zika, Ebola, and Beyond," which was about the spread of diseases between animals and humans..."

Global Temperature Variations Last 2000 Years Above. Graphic credit of Ed Hawins.

New Poll on Climate Change: Denial is Out, Alarm is In. Grist has the latest polling numbers: "Americans are now nearly four times more likely to say they’re alarmed about the climate crisis than to be dismissive of it. That’s the highest ratio ever since the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication (YPCCC) first began gathering data on American attitudes about climate change back in 2008. According to survey data collected in April and released last Friday, more than a quarter of the U.S. adult population — 26 percent — now thinks global warming and its attendant consequences are alarming. That’s more than double the 11 percent who were alarmed back in 2015, and almost four times the 7 percent who currently say the climate isn’t changing..."

Graphic credit: Daniel Penner / Grist.

More Frequent and Pervasive Coastal Flooding. Climate Matters connects the dots on frequency and intensity of coastal flooding in the USA: "Coastal floods, caused by storms or astronomical tides—or a combination of both—are becoming more common as sea levels rise. King tides, the nickname for some of the highest astronomical tides of the year, are expected along the East and West Coasts this week, raising the risk of coastal flooding. High tide flooding has doubled in frequency since 2000, and could double again, or even triple, in the next ten years. A new analysis by Climate Central shows that concurrent flooding, or floods occurring in multiple places at the same time, is also on the rise. September 22nd set a record for the highest number of concurrent coastal floods in a September, with flood-stage water levels recorded at 84 currently active coastal tide gauges around the U.S. Even low levels of flooding can have serious consequences for coastal communities, by closing roads, degrading infrastructure, and reducing property value..."

Trump to Sign "Trillion Trees" Executive  Order. Will planting more trees work? Here's an excerpt from Axios: "President Trump will sign an executive order Tuesday designed to put more weight behind the administration's role in the international One Trillion Trees Initiative, a White House official said. Why it matters: White House support for the initiative contrasts with Trump's overall climate posture. He rejects consensus science on human-induced warming and is scuttling Obama-era emissions rules. Supporting trees, however, has been one narrow way Trump and other Republicans have cautiously backed action..."

Illustration credit: Aïda Amer/Axios.

Climate Migration. The nuggets above are from a post at Quartz, focused on climate migration (which I would argue is already underway).

UN-Relenting Climate Disasters: Climate Nexus has headlines and links: "Climate change has driven a dramatic increase in extreme weather events over the past 20 years, and will continue to exact enormous human and economic harms in the future, the United Nations found. Climate change, caused by burning fossil fuels, increases global temperatures which, among other things, supercharges heat waves, droughts, wildfires, hurricanes, and other storms. There have been 7,348 major disasters since 2000, claiming 1.23 million lives, affecting 4.2 billion people and costing $2.97 trillion in economic damages, according to the report. Disasters caused by extreme weather accounted for 6,681 of those events, nearly double the number of extreme weather disasters recorded in the previous 20 years. "We are wilfully destructive. That is the only conclusion one can come to," Mami Mizutori, the U.N. Secretary-General's special representative for disaster risk reduction, told reporters." (Reuters, The Guardian, Thomson Reuters Foundation, AP, Al Jazeera, The Hill, E&E $)

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51 MPH Gusts Usher an Early November Into Minnesota

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Rain Early & Snow Up North, Then Turning Colder