Gearing Up for a Cold, Cruel April Fool’s Joke

This forecast should come with a warning label. The weekend outlook is rated PG, for pretty grim. That’s assuming you have a hankering for spring, of course. Don’t get me wrong. I love snow, but by late March I’m looking forward to exhaling, complaining about the humidity, and gawking at everything green.

I’m predicting a cruel meteorological April Fool’s joke with Easter morning temperatures in the teens; a few degrees away from records. March goes out like a lion tomorrow, a mountain lion, with blustery winds and swirling snow up north.

Models still keep a band of heavy, 6-10 inch snow north of the metro area. Plowable amounts are possible from Detroit Lakes to Brainerd and Duluth; maybe 2 inches at St. Cloud and an icy coating for the MSP metro. It’s just Mother Nature’s way of keeping things interesting.

More slushy snow is possible Monday-Tuesday, and (no exaggeration) next week will feel more like the first week of March. Spring is MIA.

And then we shift gears. The second week of April should bring rain and heavy T-storms with 50s; even a shot at 60F.

Yes please.

Going Fast. The stripe of heavy snow that fell last Friday night is melting rapidly, the result of a sun angle now as high as it was in mid-September. Midday visible satellite image: NOAA and AerisWeather.

Winter Storm Watch Late Friday. NOAA has issued a watch for 6″+ snows from Fargo/Moorhead and Detroit Lakes to Brainerd and Duluth. Meanwhile some streams and rivers are out of their banks from eastern South Dakota into northwestern Iowa. Map: AerisWeather.

NAM Solution: Plowable North. I’m still leaning toward the NAM solution, which suggests some 8-12″ amounts from the Red River Valley and Bemidji to Brainerd and Duluth. Saturday AM and midday will be a mess up north with 30-40 mph gusts producing significant blowing and drifting – even a risk of white-out conditions. Map:

GFS: A Little Close For Comfort. Latest GFS guidance shifts the axis of the heavy snow band farther south, much closer to St. Cloud and the northern suburbs of the Twin Cities. I’m thinking an inch or two Friday night for the immediate metro area, but far northern suburbs may pick up 3-6″. 12-17″ near Brainerd? At this rate I wouldn’t rule anything out.

Record Territory. Wake-up temperatures on Easter Sunday will be close to records for much of the area; the best chance from St. Cloud and Brainerd to Duluth, where fresh snow could mean temperatures a few degrees colder than they would be otherwise. Something to look forward to!

USA Hazards. Temperatures are forecast to be well below average from Montana to Wisconsin as we push into April. Severe drouught is gripping the southern Rockies and southern Plains, while flooding is widespread across the Ohio and Mississippi River Valley.  Day 3-7 U.S. Hazards: NOAA CPC.

Perfectly Average – For First Week of March. Next week promises to be an acquired taste with highs in the 30s and low in the teens; at least 15F colder than average. A high sun angle will finally thaw out the atmosphere with a shot at 50F by April 11-12. Oh happy day. Twin Cities ECMWF: WeatherBell.

On-Again, Off-Again Spring. Patience is running out, the natives are getting very restless. Yesterday’s run looked warmer for the second week of April; the latest run shows more of a zonal flow with temperatures closer to average. There’s no real consistency so confidence levels are low. Spring is coming – just not sure when. Don’t hold your breath.

Federal Report: High-Tide Flooding Could Happen “Every Other Day” by Late Century. Jason Samenow reports for Capital Weather Gang: “High-tide flooding, which can wash water over roads and inundate homes and businesses, is an event that happens once in a great while in coastal areas. But its frequency has rapidly increased in recent years because of sea-level rise. Not just during storms but increasingly on sunny days, too. Years ago, the late Margaret Davidson, a coastal programs director at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, warned it wouldn’t be long until such flooding became routine. “Today’s flood will become tomorrow’s high tide,” she said. A new NOAA report has published startling new projections that affirm Davidson’s warning. By 2100, the report says, “high tide flooding will occur ‘every other day’ (182 days/year) or more often” even under an “intermediate low scenario” in coastal areas along the East Coast and Gulf of Mexico…”

Photo credit: “High-tide flooding in Washington on March 27.” (Angela Pan/Flickr)

Perpetual Coastal Flood Advisory. NOAA’s 56-page report is here.

Oil Giant Goes Big on Solar: Headlines and links via Climate Nexus: “Saudi Arabia and Japanese investment company SoftBank announced plans Tuesday to build the world’s largest solar-power-generation project. The $200 billion project is expected to bring 200MW of solar power online by 2030, with plans to bring 7.2GW online next year. The proposed development is 100 times larger than the next biggest planned project in Australia and, if it goes through, could triple Saudi Arabia’s electricity generation. Saudi leaders and SoftBank executives say the project could produce 100,000 jobs and save $4 billion in generation costs.” (WSJ $, Bloomberg, Reuters, Axios, FT $, AP)

File image credit: Xcel Energy.

EPA Distributes Denier Talking Points: From Climate Nexus: “An internal memo distributed to EPA staffers this week included talking points on how to downplay the links between human activity and climate change, the Huffington Post reported Wednesday. An email obtained by HuffPo and sent to regional communications staff under the subject line “Consistent Messages on Climate Adaptation” states that despite “extensive research and a host of published reports on climate change, clear gaps remain including our understanding of the role of human activity and what we can do about it.” Another point says that “the ability to measure with precision the degree and extent” of the impact of human activity on the climate, as well as how to mitigate this impact, “are subject to continuing debate and dialogue.” The email’s language echoes denier talking points routinely used by EPA chief Scott Pruitt that directly contradict international and national scientific consensus.” (Huffington Post, Washington Post $, Axios, ThinkProgress, Mashable, Vice, NY Mag, Splinter)

I downloaded 14 Years of my Facebook Data and Here’s What Happened. A story at caught my eye: “…Facebook has an impeccable memory. After downloading my stored data on the site — I’ve been a member since 2004 — I was presented with an enormous amount of personal details that have been collected about me over the years. It had the phone number of my late grandmother who never had a Facebook account, or even an email address. It preserved the conversations I had with an ex– someone with whom I thought I had deleted my digital ties. It even recalled times I was “poked,” a feature I had forgotten about. I also learned that Kate Spade New York and MetLife have me on their advertiser lists. Staring at the data was not only creepy but it drudged up painful memories…”

Ireland to Get First Official Nude Beach. Wow, that’s pretty brave. BBC News reports: “Usually a trip to an Irish beach requires putting on more clothes rather than taking them all off. But for people who can ‘bare’ the cold, there’s now somewhere in Ireland where they can go and be natural. The first nude beach on the island of Ireland will officially open at Hawk Cliff in Dalkey, south Dublin in April. And naked beach-going is more popular in Ireland than you might think, said Pat Gallagher from the Irish Naturist Association. “This country has had people using beaches all around Ireland for as long as I can remember for nude bathing,” he told Good Morning Ulster…”

Photo credit: “Hawk Cliff in Dalkey will become Ireland’s first official nude beach.”

42 F. maximum temperature yesterday in the Twin Cities.

48 F. average high on March 29.

51 F. high on March 29, 2017.

March 30, 1938: Springtime flooding hits Warroad and Grand Marais.

FRIDAY: Light mix or rain showers – some slush possible. Winds: W 7-12. High: 42

FRIDAY NIGHT: Rain changes to snow, icy coating-1″ immediate metro. Winter Storm Watch north. Low: 28

SATURDAY: Plowable snow north early, clearing  and very windy. Winds: NW 20-35. High: 35

EASTER SUNDAY: Near-record chill. Sunny, less wind. Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 15. High: 36

MONDAY: Light mix develops. What April? Winds: SE 8-13. Wake-up: 29. High: 41

TUESDAY: Period of wet snow possible. Help! Winds: NE 10-15. Wake-up: 22. High: 34

WEDNESDAY: Blue sky, still too chilly. Winds: SW 5-10. Wake-up: 17. High: 37

THURSDAY: Mostly cloudy and brisk. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 19. High: 38

Climate Stories…

How Climate Change is Posing a Serious Threat to the NHL. A post at caught my eye: “Climate change stands to threaten more than just the polar bears (duh). Apart from threatening our very existence on Earth, rising temperatures are also taking their toll on some professional sports and, more specifically, the NHL. The league is committed to a green future, and on Wednesday, it released its second sustainability report. Back in 2008, the league partnered with the National Resources Defense Council to create a pro-environment initiative, and ever since then, the league has been committed to doing its part to help the planet. It seems to recognize the impact climate change could have on hockey’s future. “Hockey was born on frozen ponds,” the league said in its most recent report. “Climate change is impacting access to our sport outdoors…”

NHL Green. Check out what the National Hockey League is doing about sustainability: “Hockey means more than just excitement and exercise – it means an opportunity to build character, learn positive values, and connect families and communities. That’s why we’re committed to protecting the places we play hockey for future generations. We’re using innovative technologies to transform our business, and inspiring our communities and partners to lower emissions, conserve water, reduce waste and more. When your sport is so much more than a game, you have to play it forward…”

On Climate Science, Auto Makers Say April Fool’s. Here’s a snippet of an Op-Ed at “…Car salesmen get the bad rap, but the slickest spiel these days is coming from car makers – who preach social responsibility on climate change for good publicity, while simultaneously trashing the same science to argue against pollution limits. Manufacturers tout the importance of fighting global warming, with ads like Toyota’s during the winter Olympics, featuring crying, melting ice sculpture athletes and a tender voiceover assuring us its green cars “help keep our winters, winter.” But Toyota didn’t shed a tear when the lobbying group that represents it and other carmakers, like Ford and General Motors, argued to federal regulators last month that climate science is not to be trusted, and dirty soot from tailpipes is actually not that bad for our health. Maybe their best mascot really is a melting athlete…”

A Major Oil Company Just Agreed in Court That Humans Cause Climate Change. It Sets a New Precedent. Here’s an excerpt from a story at Vox: “…The plaintiffs, the cities of San Francisco and Oakland, brought three world-renowned climate scientists to the tutorial. The defendants — BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell, and ConocoPhillips — sent one lawyer, from Chevron. And when it was his turn to present, the Chevron attorney agreed that human activity is changing the climate and that it warrants action. This is a seismic shift from years past, when “uncertainties” about climate change were the party line for oil companies. Humanity’s role in rising temperatures has now been established in court, and future legal wrangling will have to build on this foundation. But both sides agreeing to the fundamental mechanisms behind climate change now will give way to the thornier legal debate of establishing blame...”

File image: Eric Gay,  AP.

Greenland is Melting Faster Than at Any Time in the Last 450 Years (At Least). Chris Mooney explains at The Washington Post: “Scientists who crossed western Greenland with a fleet of snowmobiles, pulling up long cylinders of ice at camps a little more than a mile above sea level, have found evidence that the vast sheet of ice is melting faster than at any time in the past 450 years at least — and possibly much longer than that. That’s worrisome, because the snow that has fallen on the island over millennia — now compacted into ice — could raise sea levels by 20 feet if it completely melted. In recent years, as Arctic air and ocean temperatures have risen, Greenland has been losing more ice through melting on its surface and through iceberg breaks at its periphery. It’s currently contributing almost a millimeter annually to the rising of the oceans, more even than Antarctica…”

Photo credit: “Lead scientist Erich Osterberg prepares to drill an ice core during the 2016 Greenland Traverse for Accumulation and Climate Studies. The study was based on refrozen meltwater preserved as ice layers in seven roughly 100-foot-long ice cores collected from the West Greenland ice sheet.” (Forrest McCarthy)

Poll: Millenials Care About Climate Change. Axios has details: “…By the numbers: Here are a few takeaways from the polling conducted for the Alliance, a group pushing for conservatives to embrace a revenue-neutral carbon tax married to repeal of regulations.

  • Slightly over three-fourths of millennials agree that humans should take steps to slow or stop climate change.
  • Majorities of varying degrees of Democrats, independents and Republicans want action (see chart above).
  • 62% of millennials say the climate is changing due to human activity, though under half of the young Republicans polled said this comes closest to their view. (Note: The consensus view among scientists is that human activities are the primary driver of rising temperatures.)…”

Graphic credit: “Echelon Insights focus group conducted in Charlotte, NC, for the Alliance for Market Solutions.” Chart: Axios Visuals

“Extreme” Fossil Fuel Investments Have Surged Under Donald Trump, Report Reveals. Here’s the intro to a story at The Guardian: “Bank holdings in “extreme” fossil fuels skyrocketed globally to $115bn during Donald Trump’s first year as US president, with holdings in tar sands oil more than doubling, a new report has found. A sharp flight from fossil fuels investments after the Paris agreement was reversed last year with a return to energy sources dubbed “extreme” because of their contribution to global emissions. This included an 11% hike in funding for carbon-heavy tar sands, as well as Arctic and ultra-deepwater oil and coal…”

Photo credit: “A Shell tailings pond at a tar sands operation near Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada.” Photograph: Todd Korol/Reuters.