Perfectly Average Weather - For April 28
I went ahead and issued a Toupee Alert and High Wig Warning for gusts as high as 50 mph tonight and Tuesday, maybe 60 mph for western Minnesota.
The bigger the differential in temperature, the wider the range over a given spot, the faster winds have to blow to keep the atmosphere in a state of equilibrium.
We'll go from mid-60s today (with a few strong thunderstorms) to low 20s Wednesday morning. The result: gale-force wind gusts.
Temperatures cool off close to average by late week with a series of slushy clippers, but nothing that will rock your world or mess up travel plans. This chilling Canadian Correction lingers into much of next week before the mercury recovers into the 40s and 50s later in March.
Mud season comes early this year but look at the bright side: a supernatural lack of snow means a reduced risk of river flooding. Oddly enough the risk of brush fires will be high until we green up (which may come 2-3 weeks ahead of schedule).
Nationwide this is the most active year for tornadoes since 2012. I doubt Minnesota will see 144 tornadoes like 2010, but I'm expecting a busier severe storm season.
Enhanced Severe Risk. A few large and violent tornadoes are likely across the Mid South later today, with the best chance from Springfield and Joplin, Missouri toward Fort Smith and Fayetteville, Arkansas. A few strong T-storms are possible as far north as the Twin Cities and Madison. Map: NOAA SPC.
Winter Camps Out Over Pacific Northwest - While Spring is in Full Swing East of Mississippi. It's odd to be seeing rain for Maine and even the U.P. of Michigan during the first week of March. A powerful storm pushes across the Dakotas toward Winnipeg, a tight pressure gradient whipping up sustained winds of 30 mph with gusts to 50 from the northern Plains into the Upper Midwest. More rain and snow torments the west coast as a remarkably persistent pattern hangs on. 84-hour NAM Future Radar: NOAA and Tropicaltidbits.com.
Clash of Seasons. Tie down garbage cans, pets and small, imported cars over the next 36 hours because the wind will be wailing away, especially Tuesday when sustained winds may be in the 30-35 mph range with gusts over 50 mph. I could even see minor wind damage, downed tree limbs, possibly a few power outages. Meteogram: AerisWeather.
Spring Today - Feels Like Winter by Friday. Enjoy the warmth and humidity because we'll all be donning heavy jackets and coats by the end of the week. ECMWF guidance shows a correction lasting into the middle o f next week before temperatures moderate again the latter half of March. Graphic: WeatherBell.
Snowfall Potential Through Thursday Morning. As has been the case all winter the most prolific snows will be found from the Cascades to the Rockies; a couple inches of snow spreading across the Dakotas into northern Minnesota.
Moderating Temperatures Within 2 Weeks. After an inevitable temperature correction over northern states and New England specificially, GFS guidance shows a west-to-east wind flow aloft returning after mid-month. Just about the time we spring forward with our clocks the atmosphere should as well.
Early Spring Warmth Wreaks Havoc on Plants, Allergies, Bugs. USA TODAY talks about the implications of another early spring for much of the USA: "...In Memphis, many of the city's trees and plants are about a month ahead of schedule, Rick Pudwell, director of horticulture at Memphis Botanic Garden, said recently. And in New Jersey, the recent warmth has caused tree and shrub buds to start swelling early. However, any extended cold could still affect early-spring flowering trees, said Bill Zipse, regional forester for the state forest service. Changes in the timing of spring can affect human health, bringing early-season disease-carriers such as ticks and mosquitoes, and an earlier, longer and more vigorous pollen season, the National Phenology Network warned. While a longer growing season can result in increased yields for some crops, it is risky because of the higher likelihood of plant damage caused by late frosts or summer drought..."
Large Cuts Proposed for U.S. Weather Prediction. Here is an excerpt of a must-read post from Cliff Mass, outlining the implications of proposed NOAA budget cuts: "...The proposed cuts (described here) are huge and would cripple the ability of the National Weather Service to improve the quality of weather predictions provided to the American peopleCuts include:
1. A half-billion dollar reduction in NOAA's satellite program run by National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service (NESDIS). Weather satellite's provide 95% of the information used to initialize weather prediction models and such a large cut would result in the loss of major satellite observing systems. Weather prediction skill would decline.
2. A 26% (126 million) cut in the Office of Atmospheric Research (OAR) OAR is responsible for the development of the next generation of weather prediction models and the technologies underlying U.S. operational weather forecasting. Such a large cut would greatly undermine current activities to replace the problematic current generation of U.S. global models. It would undermine the development of new approaches to data assimilation of observational data. And much more..."
Four Ways NOAA Benefits Your Life Today. Dr. Marshall Shepherd takes a look at how NOAA data fuels our everyday lives at Forbes: "...According to figures in the Washington Post, the White House proposal eliminates $513 million, or 22 percent of NOAA's satellite division or National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service. This division also houses critical climate data at the National Center for Environmental Indicators. This data is vital for understanding how our weather and climate are changing. Numerous reports have cautioned about looming gaps in weather satellite coverage as our fleet of low-earth and geosynchronous orbiting satellites age. Weather satellites provide a critical service for the public, the military, industry, and other stakeholders. They are like smoke detectors in our homes. You know they are there but really do not pay them any attention until your house is on fire. For the safety of our families, we replace the batteries when they age. This is pretty simple to do for a smoke detector, but large satellite programs are different. They require sustained and consistent funding for research and development, industry contracts, and support..."
Photo credit: "Perryville tornado damage in a neighborhood near Moore Drive off Hwy 61." (Source: Katie Kormann)
What Causes Rainbow Colors in Clouds? EarthSky has a good explanation and some wonderful examples of one of my favorite optical illusions: iridescent clouds: "Sky watchers sometimes report seeing rainbow colors within clouds. These colorful clouds are called iridescent clouds. When you see a cloud like this, you know there are especially tiny ice crystals or water droplets in the air. Larger ice crystals produce solar or lunar halos, but tiny ice crystals or water droplets cause light to be diffracted – spread out – creating this rainbow-like effect in the clouds. The phenomenon is called cloud iridescence or irisation. The term comes from Iris, the Greek personification of the rainbow..."
Photo credit: "Bird-shaped iridescent cloud over Mutare, Zimbabwe – February 13, 2017 – from Peter Lowenstein. Seeing shapes in clouds is an example of pareidolia."
Coal Industry Casts Itself as a Clean Energy Player. The New York Times has the story; here's a clip: "...Seeking to shore up their struggling industry, the coal producers are voicing greater concern about greenhouse gas emissions. Their goal is to frame a new image for coal as a contributor, not an obstacle, to a clean-energy future — an image intended to foster their legislative agenda. Executives of the three companies — Cloud Peak Energy, Peabody Energy and Arch Coal — are going so far as to make common cause with some of their harshest critics, including the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Clean Air Task Force. Together, they are lobbying for a tax bill to expand government subsidies to reduce the environmental impact of coal burning. The technology they are promoting is carbon capture and sequestration — an expensive and, up to now, unwieldy method of trapping carbon dioxide emitted from coal-fired power plants before the gas can blanket the atmosphere and warm the planet..."
Photo credit: "Carbon capture equipment at NRG’s power generating station southwest of Houston." Michael Stravato for The New York Times.
Inside the Quest to Monitor Countries' CO2 Emissions. From commercial aircraft to satellites, we need cost-effective ways to measure greenhouse gas emissions. Here's a clip from Scientific American: "...While some space satellites can measure greenhouse gas emissions, they are expensive, depend on computer models and “have all kinds of biases” that make it difficult to reach the precision needed to accurately measure man-made emissions, explained NOAA’s Tans. NASA has recently selected a more sophisticated satellite for a launch in 2022, however, that offers some hope. It is called the Geostationary Carbon Cycle Observatory (GeoCARB), and would hover 22,000 miles in space, rotating with a constant view of most of the Americas. It comes with a bargain basement price (for a satellite) of $166 million over the next five years, partly because it will hitchhike a ride into space sitting in an unused area of a payload carrying a commercial communications satellite..."
Image credit: "This is an artist’s concept of the Orbiting Carbon Observatory. The mission, scheduled to launch in early 2009, will be the first spacecraft dedicated to studying atmospheric carbon dioxide." Credit: NASA, JPL
4 Ways Climate Change is Messing with our Brains. Here's an excerpt from a story at Grist: "...But those brutal conditions also affect our mental health, changing how we think and act. Mental health professionals are paying attention to the link between climate change and emotional health — and health insurance companies are, too. Here are some of the impacts they’re concerned about. (Hat tip: CBS.)
- Disasters like floods, tornadoes, and drought have been found to trigger PTSD, anxiety, depression, and drug abuse.
- Slight increases in heat or rainfall have been found to raise the risk of riots and civil wars, as well as crimes like rape and murder.
- Babies in the womb who are exposed to urban air pollutants from fossil fuels are more likely to develop anxiety or depression later in life.
- Many people now experience “climate anxiety” — feeling depressed and overwhelmed by you-know-what — and support groups have emerged to help them..."
Was Our Snowless January and February a Sign of Climate Change? Here's an excerpt from Chicago Magazine: "...Just two months of abnormal weather can’t prove anything on their own, the climate experts say. However, the Earth is setting more record-high temperatures than record-low temperatures lately, and that is a sign of global warming. According to Horton, weather variability is natural in Chicago due to its location in the mid-latitudes, “the middle segment of the Earth where the weather is controlled by an oscillating jet stream,” which are slim strips of wind. This means that naturally, Chicago will have more irregularity in weather, as compared to the area near the equator, where temperatures are steady and predictable..."
Photo credit: " Photo: Michael Tercha/Chicago Tribune.
Graphic: National Snow and Ice Data Center.
Photo credit: "Spread over 400 acres, Nevada Solar One is a massive project built in the hot, dry desert just south of Las Vegas. The plant uses 760 parabolic trough concentrators with more than 182,000 mirrors that concentrate the sun’s rays onto more than 18,240 receiver tubes. Every year, the projected amount of CO2 emissions this plant avoids putting into the atmosphere is equivalent to taking approximately 20,000 cars off the road. It is a refreshing site to look at—I can't wait to fly a solar-powered aircraft one." Photograph by Jassen T., National Geographic Your Shot.