60s likely next week; 70s possible Wednesday.
it’s come to this. Yesterday, when the sun finally came out in all its
glory, the meteorologists I work with crept up to the Amish Doppler
(window) and began clapping. Kind of sad. Moss is now forming on my
north side. Daffodils coming up in the yard are doing the backstroke,
but my rice paddies are coming along nicely.
Nearly 10 inches of
precipitation has fallen on MSP since January 1, 3.63 inches wetter than
average. With any luck a deepening drought spreading from California to
the Plains won’t creep back up to our latitude.
I still see a
cool bias into much of May; the core of the jet stream still 200-400
miles farther south than usual for this time of year. But we’re
stumbling in the right direction.
Showers sprout near Duluth later
today, but much of Minnesota salvages some sun with highs near 60F. A
few light showers may brush far southern Minnesota Sunday morning –
heavier T-storms are brewing for the middle of next week. A few could
even be severe as temperatures rise above 70F.
In today’s weather
blog below: CO2 levels hit a new record, the most Great Lakes ice in
April since 1973 and Minnesota ice-out dates are running 8 days later
Never a dull moment.
Stumbling Into Spring.
Expect mid to upper 50s today, but a warming trend arrives next week.
Not exactly a hot front, but a spike of warmth Wednesday may spark a few
strong to potentially severe thunderstorms nearby. Steadier rain gives
way to clearing next Friday; ECMWF guidance suggesting more low 70s next
weekend. Graphic: Weatherspark.
The best chance of a few instability showers today will come north and
east of Duluth. A second (weak) system spreads a few light showers into
southwestern Minnesota Sunday; rain will probably pass south and west of
MSP with some high and mid level clouds nearby. 4 KM WRF data: NOAA and
After this week’s stalled storm and record rains from Pensacola to
Tampa northward to Philadelphia and Long Island much of America dries
out this weekend. Next week’s northward shift of the jet stream may
spark a wave of heavy showers and T-storms from the Dakotas to the Great
Lakes by midweek.
Extended Outlook: East Coast Heats Up – Cool Bias Rockies to Upper Midwest.
After warming into the 60s next week, even 70s by Wednesday,
temperatures cool off a bit between May 8-12 from Denver to the Twin
Cities and Green Bay as the jet stream continues to bulge southward,
pulling cooler air out of Canada. Map: NOAA and HAMweather.
April Weather Highlights and Low-Lights. Here’s an excerpt from Dr. Mark Seeley’s always-illuminating WeatherTalk newsletter: “…Cooler and wetter than normal describes the month of April in Minnesota for a second consecutive year. April of 2014 was the 6th consecutive month with cooler than normal mean monthly temperatures reported.
Most observers reported mean values for April temperature that were
from 4 to 6 degrees F cooler than normal. Extremes for the month ranged
from 82 degrees F at Madison (Lac Qui Parle County) on April 9th to -11
degrees F at Hallock (Kittson County) on April 2nd. Only 9 days during
the month brought above normal temperatures. Minnesota reported the
coldest temperature in the nation on four dates during the month…”
April Climate Recap. Here are a few highlights from the most recent HydroClim Minnesota Update from the Minnesota DNR:
precipitation totals were variable across Minnesota, ranging from less
than two inches in southwest and north central Minnesota counties, to
over six inches in east central, south central and southeast Minnesota
locales. In the wetter areas, monthly precipitation totals approached or
exceeded all-time record highs for the month of April.
monthly temperatures for April in Minnesota were below historical
averages. It was the sixth consecutive month of below-average
- The U. S. Drought Monitor places portions of southwest Minnesota in the Moderate Drought category.
discharge values are high to very high at most Minnesota monitoring
locations. Minor flooding is occurring in some areas. Moderate flooding
is underway or projected at a few locales along the Red River of the
- Most lakes in the northern one-quarter of Minnesota remain ice covered. This
spring, lake ice out dates are approximately eight days later than
historical median ice out dates, but 10 days earlier than in 2013.
Speaking of ice….
by high winds, ice from Lake Mille Lacs has gone on a rampage in recent
days, bursting into homes, tearing up the shoreline, blocking roads and
forming massive mounds in yards. The problems are mostly in the
Garrison, Minn., area on the western shore of the lake, which has taken
the brunt of the east winds accompanying recent rains. Last year, it was
the southeast corner of the lake, near Isle and Wahkon...”
swept and damaged Randy Dykhoff’s property along the shore north of
Garrison, MN Thursday, May 1, 2014. Dykhoff, of Mound, was notified by
the Sheriff’s office of the damage that had occurred last Sunday. He
said he carried several wheel barrow loads of ice through his kitchen.
He has owned the property since 1997 and It was the first time he has
experienced this.” Photo: Elizabeth Flores.
This April was the lakes’ iciest on record after a near-record winter,
and the season has been notable for how early ice formed and how long
it’s lingered. At the close of April, nearly a quarter of the
five Great Lakes — the largest group of lakes on Earth — still have ice
on them and ice is likely to linger for weeks to come according to the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory. That makes the month far and away the iciest April since recordkeeping began in 1973…”
fact, it wasn’t even close. But the storms that swept across Alabama on
Monday and into early Tuesday morning was the most significant outbreak
since that historic day three years ago. According to storm surveys
from the National Weather Service, 20 tornadoes touched down across
central and northern Alabama – including two that touched down just
north of the Alabama-Tennessee state line in Lincoln County, Tenn…”
View HSV used a quadcopter to capture footage from storm-ravaged areas
in the Bay Hill Marina, Coxey community and along 7 Mile Post Road in
Limestone County Wednesday, April 30, 2014.” (Contributed by Sky View HSV).
The EF-4 that hit Vilonia and Mayflower was a monster; winds may have
peaked close to 200 mph. The length, width and ferocity of the tornado
becomes apparent when you can see the debris field from space. The Vane
and Newsweek report; here’s an excerpt: “Almost three dozen people were killed in the latest tornado outbreak
that tore through the Deep South this week. The outbreak included
several “long-track” tornadoes, which can drag across the landscape for
tens and sometimes hundreds of miles, leaving behind scars on the
earth’s surface that can be seen from space. Gawker’s The Vane
blog created gifs out of satellite images that clearly show the scars,
eerie reminders of the scale of the havok the tornadoes wreaked. These
scars tend to dissapear in several months as vegetation regrows, though
they linger for longer in more populated regions, according to The Vane…”
a report published by the journal Monthly Weather Review – Jeff Trapp, a
planetary sciences professor at Purdue, said a bout of 20 or greater
reported tornadoes had a 74 percent chance of occurring throughout a
period of tornado activity sustained for three or more days. Throughout
those exact same periods, a tornado with an intensity that scored 3 or
higher out of 5 on the Enhanced Fujita scale had a 60 percent chance of
hitting, the report added…”
No Drought Relief In Sight For Desiccated West. Climate Central has more on a deepening drought that’s spreading from California into the Plains; here’s an excerpt: “…The
driest places today are the places that have been dry for 2 or 3 years
or longer: California, northwest Nevada and the southern Great Plains of
the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles, northeast New Mexico and along the
Colorado-Kansas border. In other words, drought is bringing the dust
back to the Dust Bowl territory of the 1930s…”
Image credit above: U.S. Drought Portal.
One year probably doesn’t “prove” anything, statistically, but every
meteorologist truly does believe that their market, their city, is the
hardest to predict the weather for. A friend forwarded this story along
to me, courtesy of ForecastAdvisor, The Vane at Gawker. Here’s a clip: “…The
easiest variable to predict was precipitation, with an average of 82.1
percent accuracy. This is largely because precipitation is simplified to
a “yes/no” proposition—predicting clear skies every day would net you
70 percent accuracy in many parts of the country—but also because rain
and snow are also fairly predictable across large swathes of the U.S. It
rarely rains in the southwest, and the outlets had the most difficulty
along the Gulf Coast (where intense thunderstorms are hit-or-miss most
of the year) and especially around the eastern Great Lakes, where a
large portion of the yearly precipitation falls in the form of
A Time-Lapse Of All The Earthquakes From This Record-Breaking April.
I’m not a seismologist, and I don’t play one on TV, but I seem to
recall that tremors often come in waves, in swarms. Here’s an excerpt of
an interesting story at Gizmodo: “…According
to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) which issues alerts for
tsunamis, April was a very busy month for the earth’s crust. Of course
there are earthquakes every hour of every day, but the world usually
only seens one or two earthquakes per month that are 6.5 magnitude or
higher. This April there were 13, including five that were higher than
7.8, prompting tsunami warnings. “Easily a record for this institution,”
Sooo…Our Nuclear Missiles Are Run By Computers That Still Use 8-Inch Floppy Disks? This story gave me a warm and fuzzy. But are we communicating between silos with CB radio? CBS News and Huffington Post Tech have the video and story; here’s an excerpt: “Contrary
to what cartoons may have you believe, there’s no giant red button that
detonates America’s land-based nuclear missiles. They’re actually
operated by — wait for it — old-school computers that run 8-inch floppy disks.
On a recent tour of one of the nation’s Air Force nuclear missile
facilities in Wyoming, Leslie Stahl of CBS’ “60 Minutes” made the
surprising discovery about the archaic state of technology inside the
facilities. Dana Meyers, a 23-year-old missileer working at the
facility, told Stahl of the floppy disks: “I had never seen one of these until I got down in missiles...”
making a mistake by comparing it to Facebook. Twitter is not a social
network. Not primarily, anyway. It’s better described as a social media
platform, with the emphasis on “media platform.” And media platforms
should not be judged by the same metrics as social networks…”
Former FCC Head Michael Power Talks Future Of Cable. Listen to an interesting perspective on bundling, ala carte options and network neutrality at marketplace.org; here’s a clip: “Big cable companies continue to just get bigger. In response to Comcast and Time Warner’s merger earlier this year, AT&T and DirecTV are thinking of doing the same. Which got former FCC chairman Michael Powell thinking: Why are all these mergers happening?
“One of the things I think is a serious issue is that the economy has
been strained,” he said. “I think the model has to find a way to find
more affordable, more accessible packages, given the strains of the
is hoping to get enough Valours on the road to form a mesh network of
users. Through this online community, users will be able to tap into
data on potholes, closed roads, blocked lanes collected by other Valours
to choose safer and smarter routes. In addition, if one’s Valour is
stolen and another user happens to pass it by, a notification is sent
via the application to alert the original owner of its whereabouts….”
Teenager Takes His Great-Grandmother To The Prom. Here’s an excerpt of a heart-warming story, courtesy of FOX News: “A
few months back, Delores received a telephone call from her
great-grandson. Austin is 19-years-old, a senior at Parkway High School
in Rockford, Ohio. And he had a very important question for his “Granny
DD.” “I asked her if she would be my prom date,” Austin told me. “How
cool would it be to take my great-grandmother to prom?”
Lost In Translation: A “Poo Poo Smoothie”? It’s not as bad as it sounds at first blush, reports The Wall Street Journal; here’s a clip: “It
takes a taste test to know that Burger King’s latest drink is nothing
like what it sounds like. Recently, the global food chain (motto: Taste
is King) began marketing a new drink to Chinese consumers called the
“PooPoo Smoothie.” The name is meant to be playful, as the smoothie is
actually mango-flavored. When the Wall Street Journal went to try the
drink at a branch on Shanghai’s Yuyuan Road, a server behind the counter
explained that the drink’s name sounds phonetically similar to the
Mandarin term for bubbles, or paopao…”
Photo credit above: Laurie Burkitt/The Wall Street Journal.
TODAY: Partly sunny, stiff breeze. Winds: NW 10-20. High: 58
SATURDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy and cool. Low: 42
SUNDAY: Sunny intervals. Showers far southern Minnesota. High: 57
MONDAY: Early shower, then partial clearing. Wake-up: 43. High: 57
TUESDAY: Breezy, turning milder with some sun. Wake-up: 41. High: 63
WEDNESDAY: Warmer with T-storms, some strong/severe? Wake-up: 54. High: 74
THURSDAY: Periods of rain, possibly heavy. Wake-up: 51. High: 63
FRIDAY: Partly sunny, drying out. Wake-up: 48. High: 65
High Carbon Dioxide Levels Set a Record. SFGate has an update; here’s a clip: “…The
instruments that have been measuring carbon dioxide for more than 50
years showed that for the entire month of April, levels of the gas
exceeded 400 parts per million for the first time, said Pieter Tans, a
climate scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency
who monitors the instrument record. The precise average for the entire
month was 401.25 parts per million as of Tuesday, he said, and that
level had only reached the crucial 400 threshold for the first time
during a single day a year ago before dipping slightly...”
Feds: Wildfire Season Is Expected To Go Way Over Budget, And Climate Change Is To Blame.
It’s going to be a long, potentially record-setting fire season for
much of the western USA, especially California. Here’s an excerpt of a
story at Salon: “…With
climate change contributing to longer and more intense wildfire
seasons, the dangers and costs of fighting those fires increase
substantially,” Rhea said. The report notes that fire seasons have
gotten 60-80 days longer over the last three decades, and that annual
acreages burned have more than doubled. One way or another, the fires
are going to be fought — it’s not really a problem anyone’s able to
ignore. But the agencies are pushing for a change to the way we fund
their efforts: bipartisan legislation recently introduced in Congress,
and backed by Obama, would treat the worst wildfires as natural
disasters, like hurricanes, qualifying them for special relief funds not
subject to budget caps.”
Photo credit above: “
upcoming wildfire season could cost $400 million more to fight than the
Forest Service and Interior Department have in their available budgets,
according to a report those agencies released today. The forecast
estimates that the Forest Service and Interior will need to spend a
combined total of about $1.8 billion fighting wildfires this year
(though the actual amount could be significantly higher or lower), while
only $1.4 billion is available for that activity…” (File image: EPA).
How To Convince Conservative Christians That Global Warming Is Real. Mother Jones
has the story of Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, a conservative, right-leaning,
Evangelical Christian. Who also happens to be one of the world’s leading
climate scientists. Here’s an excerpt: “…Why is Hayhoe in the
spotlight? Simply put, millions of Americans are evangelical Christians,
and their belief in the science of global warming is well below the
national average. And if anyone has a chance of reaching this vast and
important audience, Hayhoe does. “I feel like the conservative
community, the evangelical community, and many other Christian
communities, I feel like we have been lied to,” explains Hayhoe on the
latest episode of the Inquiring Minds podcast.
“We have been given information about climate change that is not true.
We have been told that it is incompatible with our values, whereas in
fact it’s entirely compatible with conservative and with Christian
Why Doesn’t Anyone Know How To Talk About Global Warming? Smithsonian Magazine poses the question; here’s the introduction to their story: “When
Vox.com launched last month, the site’s editor-in-chief, Ezra Klein,
had a sobering message for us all: more information doesn’t lead to
better understanding. Looking at research conducted by a Yale law
professor, Klein argued that when we believe in something, we filter
information in a way that affirms our already-held beliefs. “More
information…doesn’t help skeptics discover the best evidence,” he
wrote. “Instead, it sends them searching for evidence that seems to
prove them right…” (Image above: NASA).
Solar Comes of Age. Here’s an excerpt of an Op-Ed from Mark Andrew at The Star Tribune: “…Solar
energy enjoyed a surge last year never before seen. 2013 global
installations was over a third of all solar installed before it; in the
U.S. new solar spiked to 10 gigawatts, an increase of over one-third in a
single year. That translates to something like 1.6 million American
households being powered by solar today. I was astonished to learn that
the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission recently granted approval of
150MW of new electrical capacity by choosing a solar project over
natural gas based largely on economics. “This is the first time solar
has competed favorably with coal or natural gas in a head-to-head
economic competition and won”, said Michael Krause, a national authority
on clean energy and green roofs and Founder of the Minneapolis-based Green Institute. “Solar is coming into its own as a key source of our state’s energy portfolio“… (File image above: Wikipedia).