Monday, September 1, 2014

Back to School; Nothing Rough

Back to School
By Todd Nelson

While some schools have already settled in to a daily routine, most will be just getting underway today. Morning commutes will be a little more hectic as you follow around those yellow school buses making frequent stops. With that said, as the sun angle gets a little lower every morning, it'll be a little harder to see any youngsters darting across the road to catch the bus... Take it slow and pay attention!

On Monday, we welcomed Meteorological Fall, which marks the date when the warmest 3 months (on average) are behind us. The Autumnal Equinox is quickly approaching too; only 3 weeks away! Get this, we've lost nearly 2 hours and 20 minutes since the Summer Solstice and we'll lose yet another hour or so by the Equinox on the 22nd!

Our average high dips below 70F by the end of the month, so changes happen quickly...

While I hate saying goodbye to my garden and summer pools, I have come to realize that Fall is one of my favorite times of the year for other reasons. Lower humidity, less bugs and enjoying those brilliant fall colors on crisp mornings with a steaming hot cup of joe! MN has a lot to offer with the changing season, but blink & it's gone!


TUESDAY: Partly sunny, less humid. Dew point: 55. High: 75. Winds: SW 5-10

TUESDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy, still quiet. Low: 56.

WEDNESDAY: Warmer and stickier, fading sunshine with PM Storms. Dew point: 70. High: 81

THURSDAY: Breezy and unsettled with spotty storms. Dew point: 68. Wake-up: 67. High: 81.

FRIDAY: Cooling trend, refreshing breeze. Wake-up: 53. High:69

SATURDAY: Sunny, hint of Fall in the air. Dew point: 47. Wake-up: 48. High: 70

SUNDAY: AM light jackets, PM sunglasses. Wake-up: 48. High: 72

MONDAY: More clouds with scattered PM storms. Wake-up: 52. High: 71.


This Day in Weather History
September 2nd

1996: Approximately 8" of rain fell over 2 1/2 hour period in the Mankato area resulting in flash flooding. Numerous road were closed, basements flooded and $100,000 of damage from a lightning strike in Lehiller.

1992: Severe weather affected several counties in the western parts of the County Warning Area. Several tornadoes were reported along with 3/4 inch hail and damaging winds as the system passed through Pope, Swift, Stearns, Kandiyohi, Meeker, Brown and Renville Counties.

1975: Severe weather rolled through Stevens, Swift, Kandiyohi, and Meeker counties. 1.50 inch Hail was reported in Stevens and Swift. An F1 tornado also occurred in Swift at the time that the hail was reported. An hour later another F1 Tornado was reported in Kandiyohi County while 69 knot winds occurred in Meeker County. Damages were estimated at $50,000 for the two tornadoes that touched down.

1937: Severe thunderstorms over northern Minnesota, with 4.61 inches of rain dumped on Pokegama. Flooding was reported in Duluth.


Average High/Low For MSP
September 2nd

Average High: 77F (Record 97 set in 1937)
Average Low: 58F (Record 42 set in 1974)


Sunrise/Sunset Times
September 2nd

Sunrise: 6:36am
Sunset: 7:48pm


Moon Phase for September 2nd at Midnight
0.2 Days Before First Quarter


Minneapolis Temperature Trend
As we head back to the grind after the long Labor Day weekend, weather conditions will be rather quiet. However, a storm system moves in by midweek with more summer humidity and storms. Post front, we see a rather significant drop in temps and humidity by the upcoming weekend. In fact, there will be a hint of Fall in the air!


Tuesday Weather Outlook
Tuesday looks rather pleasant as a few lingering showers drift east along the northeastern part of the state through the day. We warm up close to 80F in the southwestern part of the state with highs in lower 70s across the northern part of the state.

Weather Outlook (AM Monday - AM Wednesday)
The loops below show the simulated radar and accumulated precipitation potential from AM Monday through PM Wednesday. There will be a few spotty showers across the northern part of the state on Tuesday, while the next best chace of heavier rain/thunder moves in by midweek.

Weather Outlook
It'll be a fairly quiet start as we head back to work, but the next storm that rolls in by midweek bring a chance of showers and storms.

Severe Threat Wednesday
Our next chance of showers and storm by midweek brings with it a chance of strong to possibly severe storms. stay tuned!

Thanks for checking in and have a great week ahead! Don't forget to follow me on Twitter @TNelsonWX

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Slowly Improving Labor Day. September: The Most Underrated Month?

Most Underrated Month?

"By all these lovely tokens September days are here, with summer's best of weather and autumn's best of cheer" said Helen Hunt Jackson. Not that it matters but this may be my favorite month of the year.

Think about it: summer's frantic 90-day spasm of over-scheduling is over - the air still mild; lakes warm enough for one last dip. Tornadoes are rare, a cooling atmosphere sparks lazy clouds: wisps of dense fog.

NOAA data shows September is nearly as sunny as July & August, 1-inch rains half as common as June. The air has roughly half as much water floating overhead as early July; crisp and clean most of the month. Even the mosquitoes seem to get the hint. Summer's September encore is nature's last standing ovation and I'm a raucous fan.

No need to water the yard anytime soon after last night's noisy soaking. Showers give way to some afternoon sun; the weather getting better as today goes on. Not a perfect Labor Day but we've seen worse. The next chance of thunder comes Thursday with a heat spike; highs may brush 90F before tumbling to more comfortable levels late week. You may have to pull out a sweatshirt next weekend.

In 2014 weather is on a time-delay; everything is coming later. I suspect a warmer than average September.

* File photo of Minnesota's BWCA courtesy of Steve Burns Photography.

Labor Day Details. European guidance shows a risk of morning and midday showers, but winds switching around to the west/northwest should pull drier, more stable air into MSP by afternoon with dew points falling from mid 60s into the low 50s by evening. The odds of seeing the sun increase as the day goes on.

Future Radar. 4 KM NAM guidance shows the showers and T-storms that rumbled across the area late yesterday and overnight; a few stragglers this morning then drying out later in the day with enough sun for highs in the upper 70s. Loop: NOAA and HAMweather.

Big Swings. We cool off and dry out today, a beautiful Tuesday giving way to a quick midweek hot front; some guidance hints at upper 80s to near 90F by Thursday with a few T-storms late Wednesday into Thursday. And then a more September-like airmass comes south for late week. ECMWF data may be overdoing the cooling a bit, but temperatures may struggle to reach 70F in the metro Friday into Sunday with 60-degree highs up north.

Traditional Peak of Hurricane Season Off To A Slow Start. The Atlantic hurricane season peaks September 10, the day a landfalling hurricane is most likely to strike the USA. But things remain strangely quiet in the Atlantic and Carribean, and the short-term forecast is for more of the same. Here's a clip from a story at Florida Today: "...But on Aug. 27, a forecast team at Colorado State University released a two-week forecast of hurricane activity through Sept. 10, predicting below average activity. The team tries to predict what they call the Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) index. That’s all the named storms’ maximum wind speeds for each six-hour period of the storms that happen over the two-week prediction period. They say the two weeks ending Sept. 10 will bring less than 70 percent of the average ACE..."

Drought Forces Big Changes Among California Growers. If the drought continues we will all be paying significantly higher prices for many vegetables. Here's an excerpt of a good summary of what growers are doing to try and deal with historic drought at The Seattle Times: "...Such crop switching is one sign of a sweeping transformation going on in California — the nation’s biggest agricultural state by value — driven by a three-year drought that climate scientists say is a glimpse of a drier future. The result will affect everything from the price of milk in China to the source of cherries eaten by Americans. It has already inflamed competition for water between farmers and homeowners..."

Photo credit above: "Volunteers deliver cases of water to homes in East Porterville, Calif., Friday, Aug. 22, 2014. Nearly 1,000 people whose wells have gone dry due to drought received an emergency allotment of bottled water Friday." (AP Photo/The Porterville Recorder, Chieko Hara)

Swirls of Dust and Drama, Punctuating Life in the Southwest. With all apologies to my TV meteorology friend in Phoenix, haboobs are a clear and present danger, especially during the summer months. Here's the intro to a story at The New York Times: "The best way to explain a haboob is to say it is a tsunami of sand, in the sense that there is no stopping it or outrunning it. It is a supreme spectacle. The fierce winds that precede it make the leaves on palm trees stand as if they are hands waving an effusive goodbye, the sky darkens and the world takes the color of caramel as the dust swallows everything in its path..."

Why You Need To Stop Checking Your Phone All The Time. Here's a snippet from an essay at MindBodyGreen that caught my eye. She's right: "...I do my best to put the phone away when spending quality time with others, but because we all live in the same world and we all use these devices, we all have the same strange addiction to them. We’re tolerant of each other as we communicate with everyone else but the ones we’re with. Beyond the very basic tenants of memory we used to hold so dear (remembering phone numbers, addresses, birthdays and details of loved ones, etc.), lies a direct correlation between how much we use our brains and how much we substitute them with our phones..."

LABOR DAY: AM showers, slow PM clearing. Winds: West 10. High: 76
MONDAY NIGHT: Clear to partly cloudy, more comfortable. Low: 54
TUESDAY: Partly sunny, less humid. Dew point: 55. High: 78
WEDNESDAY: Fading sun, storms at night. Wake-up: 57. High: 82
THURSDAY: Hot & sticky. Few T-storms. Dew point: 70. Wake-up: 68. High: 87
FRIDAY: More clouds than sun, cooling off. Wake-up: 57. High: near 70
SATURDAY: Sunny and beautiful. Dew point: 42. Wake-up: 50. High: 69
SUNDAY: Intervals of sun, hints of fall. Wake-up: 51. High: 71

* File photo above: Brad Birkholz.

Climate Stories...
David Hastings: What I didn't Say to Gov. Scott About Climate Change. Here's a clip of an Op-Ed at The Tampa Tribune: "...The governor’s office should embrace a transparent process to develop and implement a state plan to reduce carbon pollution. Florida should:

♦  Phase out coal-burning power plants. Many of these plants are inefficient, and they are the biggest source of human CO2 emissions.
♦  Ramp up energy efficiency. It is the fastest and cheapest way to reduce carbon emissions. Setting meaningful efficiency goals for big utilities will save communities money and reduce harmful emissions of heat-trapping gases..."

Climate Change Critics Want Data, Then Ignore It. An Op-Ed in the Union-Bulletin summed up something I've personally experienced, especially as it relates to the so-called "pause" in warming. Over 90% of the additional warming is going into the world's oceans - it's not a model, actual deep ocean temperature increases have been observed. Here's an excerpt: "...The longer-term trend, averaged over many cycles, is for unremitting increases in temperature. The effects of deeper layers of the oceans periodically absorbing heat isn’t sustainable and may itself upset oceanic currents that moderate temperatures around the globe. Scientists acknowledge the need for more data and improvements in their analytic methods. But, it is disingenuous of critics to ask for data, and then ignore what they are shown. They have no data themselves and their armchair methods aren’t likely to produce any."

Athabasca Glacier: A Tragic Vanishing Act. Here's the introduction to a story at Skeptical Science and Critical Angle: "The Athabasca Glacier in the Canadian Rocky Mountains is probably the easiest glacier in the world to access by car. It’s just a few hundred metres’ stroll from the nearest parking lot on the magnificent Icefields Parkway in Alberta. The problem is, the stroll keeps getting longer by about 10 metres every year. Since 1992, the snout of the glacier has retreated about 200 metres, requiring tourists anxious to set foot on the glacier to walk a little further. The glacier has lost about 2 km of its length since 1844 (Geovista PDF)..."

Photo credit above: "The Athabasca Glacier seen from the access trail. This point is about halfway from the parking lot and the current snout of the glacier, which is about 200 metres away. In the centre background is the ice-fall from the Columbia Icefield.  The marker shows where the glacier snout was in 1992, coincidentally the year of the Rio Earth Summit. It is just possible to make out some people walking on the glacier on the left-hand side."

Beachfront in the Time of Climate Change. The Atlantic's Citylab has a poignant article of what we will soon miss; here's an excerpt: "...But this year, as everybody packs up and heads back to school in the ritual of Labor Day Weekend, there’s something sinister about being near the water. It’s an end-of-days feeling, the grim reality that, because of climate change, these places are going to be very different in 30 to 50 years. Vast acreage will be inundated. Many of the most sought-after houses on the coastline will be erased from the landscape..." (Photo credit: author Anthony Flint).

Managing Coasts Under Threat from Climate Change and Sea Level Rise. Is there an orderly, methodical way to gradually retreat from the oceans? Here's a clip from a story at "...The scientists also acknowledged that long-term adaptation to climate change can greatly reduce impacts, but further research and evaluation is required to realize the potential of adaptation. "Many parts of the coast can, with forward planning, adapt to sea-level rise, but we need to better understand environments that will struggle to adapth, such as developing countries with large low-lying river deltas sensitive to salinization, or coral reefs and particularly small, remote islands or poorer communties," said Dr. Brown..."

1 in 4 Republicans Say Global Warming is a Major Threat. The Daily Caller has highlights of a recent Pew research study.

As Louisiana Sinks and Sea Levels Rise, The State is Drowning. Fast. Here's an excerpt from Huffington Post that caught my eye: "...In just 80 years, some 2,000 square miles of its coastal landscape have turned to open water, wiping places off maps, bringing the Gulf of Mexico to the back door of New Orleans and posing a lethal threat to an energy and shipping corridor vital to the nation’s economy. And it’s going to get worse, even quicker. Scientists now say one of the greatest environmental and economic disasters in the nation’s history is rushing toward a catastrophic conclusion over the next 50 years, so far unabated and largely unnoticed..."

Animation credit: From Bob Marshall, The Lens, Brian Jacobs and Al Shaw, ProPublica:

Why Climate Change Won't Intensify Extreme Snowstorms. The most intense snowstorms may shift north over time, which isn't surprising in a slowly warming world. Here's an excerpt from Live Science and Yahoo News: "...The study revealed little change in the intensity of major snowstorms in wintry regions. In areas where winter temperatures hover near the snow "sweet spot," the heaviest snowstorms became only eight percent less intense. The higher latitudes will shift the other way, with 10 percent more snow during extreme events, O'Gorman found. In regions where there is usually little snowfall, there will be fewer days with history-making storms..."

Does Antarctic Sea Ice Growth Negate Climate Change? Scientists Say No. Here's a clip from a good explanation of what's really happening at the bottom of the world from The Los Angeles Times: "...Scientists say sea ice and continental ice are probably responding to the same forces — namely, changes in ocean circulation and winds. However, they also influence each other. Sea ice helps buffer ice shelves, the floating tongues of glacial ice that dam the ice sheets and keep them from spilling irreversibly into the sea. It also keeps warm ocean waters trapped beneath a frozen lid, insulating the ice sheet from their destructive heat..."

Photo credit above: "Ice off Antarctica's Alexander Island. This year, Antarctic sea ice has expanded its frigid reach with unprecedented speed, setting records in June and July." (Eye Ubiquitous / UIG).