46 F. average high on March 29.
66 F. maximum temperature on March 29, 2016.
March 30, 1938: Springtime flooding hits Warroad and Grand Marais
Minnesota: Land of Low Weather Expectations
"Springtime is the land awakening. The March winds are the morning yawn" said Lewis Grizzard in "Kathy Sue Loudermilk, I Love You".
Hawaiians brag about palm trees and a sweet, lukewarm breeze. Californians can be major league weather snobs. Floridians LOVE to talk about the weather - until hurricane season rolls around.
Minnesota? We are often ankle-deep in mud, with dust blowing in our face. We're happy when the weather isn't trying to murder us.
Think about it, Minnesota temperature extremes range from -60F to 115F. 98.6 inches of snow in the metro 1983-84. 110 Minnesota tornadoes in 2010. Welcome to the Super Bowl of Weather.
Our weather remains relatively benign into next week as tornado-producing storms pinwheel well south of the state. Showers taper early today; glimmers of sun Friday and Saturday before a few lonely showers sprout Sunday. ECMWF guidance hints at showers the middle of next week - maybe 60 degrees the second week of April.
Precipitation since January 1 is running an inch below average at MSP. Remind me not to whine about a soaking rain anytime soon.
Super Bowl of Weather. The graphic above shows Minnesota's most eye-opening weather extremes, courtesy of the Minnesota DNR. The only thing that's changed is record annual precipitation, which was broken in 2016: 56.24" in Waseca. Details here.
Photo credit: "
Rocky Mountain Snow - Tornado Risk Mid South. A tale of two seasons on today's weather map with storm #1 pushing a squall line of severe T-storms towards Memphis and Nashville, a few rotating mesocyclones capable of spawning large, violent, long-track tornadoes. Meanwhile storm #2 pushes snow across the Rockies. At the rate we're going some ski resorts will have runs open into July. 12 KM NAM Future Radar: NOAA and Tropicaltidbits.com.
Shovel-Worthy Snow Storm Brewing for New England. The pattern is not being kind to New England, where spring is still more theory than reality. Models continue to push heavy, wet snow across northern Michigan and Ontario into New England by Friday with some one foot plus amounts possible Albany and Worcester to Manchester and Burlington. Boston may see a plowable 3"+ accumulation of cement-like slush, but New York City should be spared.
Forecasts For This Past Winter Were Mostly Awful. Blame the Fickle Pacific Ocean. We were supposed to slide into a La Nina cooling phase, but in recent months the pattern has resembled a severe El Nino pattern with wave after wave of Pacific moisture slamming the west coast. Here's an excerpt of an explainer from Jason Samenow at Capital Weather Gang: "Predicting the weather for winter many weeks before it begins is hard. If any season proved there is a long ways to go in perfecting such long-term outlooks, this winter was it. I am not aware of any outlet in the government, media or private sector which nailed the 2016-17 winter outlook. In fact, some forecasts predicted the opposite of what happened. The National Weather Service and The Weather Company probably had the best outlooks of those I reviewed although they were far from perfect. Across all of the various outlooks, the forecast errors were linked to a Pacific Ocean that did not behave as expected. Storms traveling across it were supposed to mostly pass to California’s north. Instead, time and time again they hit the Golden State head-on, unloading historic amounts of rain and snow, while flooding much of the rest of the nation with abnormally warm air..."
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A Century-Old Arctic Shipwreck Could Help us Predict Extreme Weather. FiveThirtyEight has a fascinating tale: "...Today, the Jeannette’s recovered logbooks tell incredible stories about life, death, Arctic temperatures, fear and boredom. The records, which originally existed only in federal archives, are now available to anyone who wants to read them on a website called Old Weather. Old Weather is a gathering place for more than 4,500 citizen-sleuths who are helping climate scientists map our planet’s ancient weather patterns, for free, one logbook at a time. These volunteers read and transcribe notes from sailors, hoping to map the mostly unknown history of our planet’s weather patterns. According to Kevin Wood, an Old Weather co-founder, examining the past in this way is key to understanding the earth’s future..."
Photo credit: "There's a reason we put a scientist on our $100 bill."
File photo: Greentech Media.
Minnesota Should Not Be Affected by Trump's Rescinding Clean Power Plan. Star Tribune reports: "President Donald Trump’s efforts to roll back clean power standards will probably have a minimal effect on Minnesota, since state policy — combined with changing energy economics — has already been leading utilities away from coal. As expected, Trump on Tuesday signed an executive order aimed at rescinding former President Barack Obama’s climate-change initiatives, including the Clean Power Plan. But many utilities in Minnesota are already on a clean-power path. “They are going to make the [carbon] reduction that would be required under the Clean Power Plan anyway,” said Will Seuffert, executive director of the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board, which coordinates environmental policy across state agencies..."
Photo credit: "Xcel Energy has switched on 160 megawatts of solar power in the past few months, including a massive project in Chisago County." Source: Aaron Lavinsky, Star Tribune.
File photo: Zuma Press.
Clean Energy Employs More People Than Fossil Fuels in Nearly Every U.S. State. Here's a clip from ThinkProgress: "Nationally, clean energy jobs outnumber fossil fuel jobs by more than 2.5 to 1, according to a new Sierra Club analysis of Department of Energy jobs data. And when it comes to coal and gas — two sectors President Donald Trump has promised to bolster through his upcoming executive order on energy regulation — clean energy jobs outnumber jobs dealing with those two fossil fuels by 5 to 1. “Right now, clean energy jobs already overwhelm dirty fuels in nearly every state across America, and that growth is only going to continue as clean energy keeps getting more affordable and accessible by the day,” Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune said in a statement..."
Photo credit: AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin.
Donald Trump and the Myth of the Coal Revival. Coal is coming back! And in other news check out my new bell bottoms and 8 track tape player. It's like - so cool! Here's an excerpt from The New Yorker: "...Indeed, economists have projected that the cost of implementing the C.P.P. would be recovered in public-health benefits alone, since it would reduce soot-and-smog-forming emissions. This is especially true for communities downwind of coal plants, which have been suffering for decades. According to the E.P.A.’s own estimates, the C.P.P. would help prevent as many as thirty-six hundred premature deaths, seventeen hundred heart attacks, ninety thousand asthma attacks among children, and three hundred thousand missed workdays and school days every year. A study published in January in Environmental Science & Technology suggests that low-income communities will bear the brunt of Trump’s changes. But one of the co-authors, Noelle Selin, told me that no one will be completely immune. “All of us will see air-quality decline,” she said. “Particularly in the northeast U.S...”
The Squid & the Whale. Here's an interesting take on the evolving competition between uber-platforms Netflix and Amazon at 500ish Words: "..As crazy as it may sound right now, I believe the only company with a real shot at disrupting the change Netflix has wrought on Hollywood is… Amazon. These are the two most interesting companies thinking about content in the right way for the 21st century. Apple, Google, Hulu, and the like are all starting to come around. But these are the key players here, right now. The squid and the whale…A third would be Tesla. But seeing as I don’t own a Tesla, I do not interact with the brand on a daily basis. I am interested in a Model 3, as is seemingly everyone. But I’m still not sure it will tempt me to buy my first new car in well over a decade… Anyway, I’m more interested in Tesla the power company, versus Tesla the car company. And I think they’re just now inching into that world..."
At BlackRock, Machines Are Rising Over Managers to Pick Stocks. Think automation, robotics and AI is only a threat to blue collar factory jobs? Think again. The New York Times has the story.
Why You Should Be Walking 7 Miles a Day - At Least. Does driving 7 miles a day count? Here's a snippet from Esquire: "...But walking any amount lessened the risk, putting the mail carriers at an advantage. Mail carriers who walked more than three hours a day had no heightened risk for heart disease at all—their BMIs, metabolisms, cholesterol levels, and blood sugar levels were normal. So, according to this (small, limited) study, 15,000 steps keeps people healthy. For those curious, 15,000 steps is equivalent to about seven miles of walking. Easy. People can get 15,000 steps a day "by walking briskly for two hours at about a four-mile-per-hour pace," lead researcher Dr. William Tigbe told The Times. (An average walking pace is three miles per hour.) Another totally realistic suggestion was "a 30-minute walk before work, another at lunch, and multiple 10-minute bouts throughout the day..."
Frogpocalypse Now. What is the deal with cane toads in south Florida? Feeling better about Minnesota's mosquitoes after reading a story at Outside Online: "...Cane toads have these things going for them: they are bigger than other toads (the biggest cane toad on record weighed 5 pounds 13 ounces, almost as much as a Kalashnikov rifle); they lay huge numbers of eggs, perhaps 30,000 in a breeding season (the southern toad, a species they appear to be displacing in Florida, lays about 4,000); and they are highly poisonous (their venom, carried in glands in their shoulders, kills animals, and could kill a person, though so far no Floridian is known to have been poisoned by it). On top of all that, they can eat almost anything. All amphibians are carnivorous, but cane toads stretch the description. Besides insects, they vacuum up snakes, worms, grubs, snails, mice, small rats, bats, young birds, other amphibians (sometimes their own young), pet food, and garbage. They differ from most other frog species in that they can identify food that is not moving..."
Image credit: Simón Prades.
TODAY: Damp AM, clearing PM. Winds: NE 10-15. High: 49
THURSDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy and chilly. Low: 34
FRIDAY: Mix of clouds and sun. Winds: NE 7-12. High: 53
SATURDAY: Peeks of sun, drier day of weekend. Winds: W 5-10. Wake-up: 37. High: 56
SUNDAY: Early sun, few PM instability showers. Winds: S 7-12. Wake-up: 41. High: 55
MONDAY: Partly sunny and dry for Twins Home Opener. Winds: SE 7-12. Wake-up: 40. High: 56
TUESDAY: Blue sky lingers, promising. Winds: E 8-13. Wake-up: 41. High: 57
WEDNESDAY: More showers arrive, cool and damp. Winds: E 10-15. Wake-up: 40. High: 54
Climate Executive Order Leaves Communities More Vulnerable to Disasters. Here's an excerpt from Vox: "...Trump’s move to pull back the federal government’s consideration of climate change in planning may prove to be a shot in the foot. “Given the president’s focus on building infrastructure and his desire to cut federal spending, many analysts said it would make sense for him to maintain or even expand programs to reduce the cost of disasters,” Bloomberg’s Christopher Flavelle writes. Why spend money on developments that may get washed away in a future flood? Extreme weather events are expected to become more frequent and unpredictable in the future, and increase in severity. And the cost of climate-related disasters — like hurricanes, floods, and tornadoes — is higher than ever. What’s more, as the country grows wealthier, disasters are going become even costlier..." (Image credit: NOAA).
Does the New Environmental Executive Order Threaten National Security? TheHill has additional perspective: "In March 2013, four-star Admiral Samuel Locklear III sat down with a Boston Globe reporter in a Cambridge hotel. As head of the Pacific Command, Admiral Locklear commanded the 400,000 troops stationed in the Pacific Command, stretching from California to India to Korea. The admiral had to worry about North Korea’s nuclear capabilities, tensions between China and Japan over the South and East China Seas and typhoons in the Pacific. But when reporter Bryan Bender asked him what was the biggest long-term security threat in the Pacific region Admiral Locklear gave a two-word answer: “climate change.” He explained, “If it goes bad, you could have hundreds of thousands or millions of people displaced and then security will start to crumble pretty quickly...”
Photo credit: "Workers install solar panels on a rooftop in Wuhan, China, in a country where renewable energy is booming." Photograph by Giulia Marchi, The New York Times, Redux.
A Faith-Based Program to Care for Earth. Here's an excerpt of a book review from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: "...Their book is thick with supporting data on the warmest years on record but the tone and cadence, if not the content, can sound downright Trumpian. Take this passage from Mr. Douglas: “Wet areas are getting wetter, dry areas are trending drier. You’ve heard the expression ‘weather on steroids’? We’re turbocharging the storms that would have formed anyway — loading the dice in favor of more extreme weather events.” Weather is local. Climate change is global. While there’s no silver bullet to stem it, this book makes a case for “silver buckshot — hundreds of new technologies and viable, cost-competitive clean-energy alternatives, which will gradually, methodically wean us off fossil fuels, employ more Americans, and jump-start a sputtering, rudderless economy.” That’s not the message from the White House or from legions of Trump supporters in coal country, but other conservatives are pushing for a revenue-neutral carbon tax..."
Image credit: "The Heartland Institute says it will send the book "Why Scientists Disagree About Global Warming" to every public school science teacher in the nation." (Brenna Verre, FRONTLINE)
"We are in a Race Against Time": Louisiana Governor Urges $50 Billion Coastal Plan. Here's an excerpt from NOLA.com: "...This is a plan for all of Louisiana, not just one agency and not just for the coast," Edwards said. "Implementing this plan will reduce risk and build and sustain land for the benefit of all of our people, our economy and our ecosystem for generations to come. "We are in a race against time to save our coast, and it is time we make bold decisions now. I look forward to discussing these plans with the Legislature." The 2017 rewrite of the plan promises to reduce hurricane storm surge damage by $8.3 billion each year through 2067, and to create 800 more square miles of coastal wetlands and dry lands than if the plan is not implemented..."
When Is It Time to Retreat from Climate Change? America already has its first climate refugees, due to rising seas, land subsidence and coastal beach erosion in Alaska and Louisiana. This is a question that will be asked with greater frequency and urgency in the years to come. Here's an excerpt at The New Yorker: "...In a paper published today in the journal Nature Climate Change, a trio of Stanford researchers examined twenty-seven recent cases of managed retreat affecting twenty-two countries and 1.3 million people. They found that, regardless of a country’s wealth and level of development, relocations are most likely to happen when a government and its citizens are in accord. In the early two-thousands, for instance, the Dutch farming community of De Noordwaard was “de-poldered”; its seventy-five households were moved, its protective dikes were lowered, and its land was allowed to flood. Residents who initially opposed the retreat came around after repeated inundations, and the government’s initiative helped not only them but also many thousands of others downstream. Likewise, after the Australian state of Queensland suffered a series of catastrophic floods in late 2010 and early 2011, more than two hundred and fifty people in the Lockyer Valley chose to leave, first with local government support and later with assistance from the state and national governments..."
Photo credit: "" Photograph by William Widmer, REDUX.
Image credit: "Oregon Governor Kate Brown and Washington Governor Jay Inslee said they plan to "fight back" against President Trump's environmental rollbacks." KING5 TV, Seattle.
CO2 Spike. NASA has more details on carbon dioxide measurement and trends.