Thursday, April 6, 2017

Fantastic Friday, First 70F on Saturday and Storms Sunday

2017 hurricane outlook: Colorado State predicts a slightly-below average season

Here we are at the beginning of April and we're already starting to think about the 2017 hurricane season. With the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season not starting until June 1st, Colorado State is already predicting a slightly below average season. By the way, the 2016 Atlantic Hurricane season was the first above average season since 2012! It produced 15 named storms, 7 of which were hurricane and 4 of those were major hurricanes (category 3 or higher). Here's an excerpt from the WashingtonPost about the the recent hurricane forecast: "It’s that time. The time to think about (and prepare for) hurricane season, which begins on June 1. Each year, the tropical weather research group at Colorado State University issues an outlook for the season — how many tropical storms and hurricanes the Atlantic may see in the coming months. This year, the group predicts hurricane season will be just shy of average. They think there will be 11 named storms. Of those, they believe four will become hurricanes, and two will become major hurricanes (Category 3 or stronger). What this prediction doesn’t try to determine is how many of these storms will make landfall.

Named Storms (12)* 11
Named Storm Days (60.1) 50
Hurricanes (6.5) 4
Hurricane Days (21.3) 16
Major Hurricanes (2.0) 2
Major Hurricane Days (3.9) 4
Accumulated Cyclone Energy (92) 75
Net Tropical Cyclone Activity (103%) 85
* Numbers in ( ) represent medians based on 1981-2010 data.


Visible Satellite on Thursday
It sure was nice to see the sun again on Thursday, wasn't it? Despite the winds being a little breezy, sunny skies and temperatures in the 50s made for a very pleasant early April day. If you liked Thursday, you will certainly like Friday and Saturday as sunshine continues along with even warmer temperatures! We even had a chance at our first 70F high temp of the year on Saturday. Note that Mille Lacs, Leech and Upper/Lower Red Lakes look white. That's because they are still ice covered, but ice is melting quickly!

2017 Ice Out Dates
Here's the latest MN DNR ice out dates, which shows that more lakes across Central MN have officially gone out for the season. Note that ice outs are occurring nearly 1 to 2 weeks ahead of schedule this year!


Spring 2017 Continues to Arrive Early Across the Nation
According to the National Phenology Network spring has sprung across much of the nation and arriving nearly 20 days earlier than a long-term average (1981-2010) in much of the South, Great Plains, Great Basin, mid-Atlantic, Midwest and parts of the Northeast.
See more from the USA NPN here:

Feels Like Summer This Weekend!
Take a look at the weather this weekend! WOW! With highs in the 70s and 80s across parts of central and southern MN, this will be one of the warmest days we've seen since last fall. By the way, the last time the Twin Cities hit 70F+ was on November 6th, 2016 (70F) and the last time the we had an 80F+ was on September 18th, 2016 (84F). The warm weather may be follow by strong to severe thunderstorms late Sunday as another storm system rolls through the Midwest. Stay tuned!

Masters Weekend

Another sure sign of spring is when the Masters golf tournament rolls around. Friday will be day 2 of play at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, GA. The course was closed on Wednesday due to significant severe weather concerns. Strong winds in the wake of the storm system made for an interesting and somewhat difficult opening round of play Thursday. Although it appears to still be a bit breezy on Friday, weather conditions will be pretty pleasant this the weekend! I am looking forward to watching some great golf this weekend. 

Space Seeds?
If you're a gardener or a space guru this might be of some interest to you. Here's an excerpt from Earth to Sky Calculus regarding space seeds, which you can purchase if you're interested: "Northern Spring has arrived, and that means it's time to plant your garden. Your SPACE garden, that is. On March 26th, the students of Earth to Sky Calculus flew a payload-full of tomato and sunflower seeds to the edge of space. Carried 115,500 feet high by a giant helium balloon, the packets experienced temperatures as low as -63 C and cosmic ray dose rates 100 times Earth-normal. What will these far-out seeds yield? Find out for yourself! For only $39.95 we will send you a packet of space seeds along with control samples that remained on the ground during the flight. Plant them side by side for a backyard science experiment. Each shipment comes with a card telling the story of the flight and certifying that the seeds have been to the stratosphere and back again. Please specify your seed preference (Beefsteak tomato, cherry tomato, or sunflower) in the comments box at checkout."
See more from Earth to Sky Calculus HERE:


Active Weather Continues
The strong storm system that brought several days of strong to severe weather across the eastern two-thirds of the nation earlier this week will slowly exit the Northeast on Friday and Saturday with lingering rain/snow showers and gusty winds. Another Pacific storm system will edge into the Western US with strong winds, heavy mountain snow, heavy rain and even strong to severe thunderstorms. The new storm system will slide into the Central US over the weekend with some soaking rains and a chance of strong to severe storms.

Several Weather Threats Ahead 
As our next storm system rolls in off the Pacific, strong to severe thunderstorms maybe possible over the next few days. Here are the severe thunderstorm risks for Friday, Saturday and Sunday below. Note that by Sunday, the severe threat will once again be in the Central US. Stay tuned...

Strong Pacific Storm Hits The West Coast
A very strong Pacific storm will push through the Western US in a couple of different waves, but the end result will bring strong winds, heavy coastal rain and heavy mountain snow through Saturday. Here's the simulated radar from early AM Friday to early AM Sunday.

Hurricane Force Winds & Fee of Snow in the Sierras
Our next Pacific storm system will pack a fairly decent punch as it moves across the northern half of California. High Wind Warnings and Winter Storm Warnings have been posted by the National Weather Service until Saturday. Winds could gust to hurricane force (74mph+), while snowfall tallies above 7,000ft. could approach 2ft. to 3ft. as the storm fades this weekend. Unreal!

Sierra Snowfall
WOW! Another massive snow dump continues in the mountains of California with some spots seeing as much as 2ft. to 3ft. by Saturday.

California Precipitation Forecast
The precipitation forecast through early next week look pretty impressive with widespread 2" to 4"+ liquid tallies across the region. This late season heavy Pacific moisture adds to what have been a very impressive stretch of heavy moisture for the West Coast over the last several months.

California's Rare "Super Bloom" Flowers Are Migrating North
In March, California made headlines with a so called "Super Bloom" across parts of Southern California. Well now that "Super Bloom" is migrating north and has parts of the Central Valley cascading in color! Unfortunately, those flowers are being trampled by the high volume of tourists checking out the rare view: Here's an excerpt from Architectural Digest: A winter of heavy rainfall in California meant this year's flowers are even more vibrant—and they have spread to new locations. Perhaps nothing announces spring better than a valley of blooming wild flowers. And that is just what residents and visitors of California's Central Valley have experienced this week. After the Bureau of Land Management posted an Instagram picture of the lush landscape yesterday, the Internet took notice as images began spreading throughout the web. "The show is simply something out of a storybook," the Bureau's caption read. "The Valley floor has endless expanses of yellows and purples from coreopsis, tidy tips, and phacelia, with smaller patches of dozens of other species." Generally, California's "Super Bloom" occurs in locations such as the Anza-Borrego Desert outside of San Diego and Walker Canyon near southern Los Angeles. This year, however, the blooming moved some 50 miles north of L.A. in and around Carrizo Plain. This has caused residents and tourists alike to flock the generally quiet valley. As a result, officials have been forced to place signs urging visitors to stay on marked trails as there have been reports of flowers being trampled.
See more from Architectural Digest HERE:
(California's "Super Bloom" has traveled north of L.A. this year to the Carrizo Plain.Photo: Courtesy of the Bureau of Land Management)
____________________________________________________________________Active Weather Last 2 Weeks
It certainly has been an active pattern over the last couple of weeks. In fact, there have been severe weather reports everyday since March March 23rd! According to NOAA's SPC, there have been nearly 1,500 severe storm reports since then, nearly 600 of those occurring during the first 6 days of April.

2017 PRELIMINARY Tornado Count
According to NOAA's SPC, the PRELIMINARY tornado count for 2017 is at 486 (thru April 5). Interestingly, this is the highest number of tornado reports (thru April 5) since 2008 when 544 tornadoes were reported through that time frame. The 2005-2015 average number of tornado reports through April 5 is 252.

Strong Storm Fades by Saturday

The same storm system that was responsible for several days of severe weather across the Eastern half of the country will continue to be a nuisance across the Northeast on Friday and early Saturday. Heavy, steady rains will begin to fade, but cool, blustery weather with lingering snow showers will lingering through late Friday/early Saturday.

Flood Watches Continue

Flood watches continue through PM Friday across parts of the Northeast as steady soaking rains on Thursday blanketed the region. In combination with above freezing temperatures and snow melt, rivers and streams will be on the rise, which may lead to flooding.

Snowfall Potential

Here's the snowfall potential through Saturday, which shows slushy snow accumulations from PM Thursday to AM Saturday from parts of the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley to parts of Eastern Canada. Some very minor accumulations maybe possible throughout parts of the Eastern Great Lakes and Northeast through AM Saturday as well.

Phenology: Using Nature to Track Weather Trends
By Paul Douglas

I love Minnesota's increasingly super-sized summers. But there's something about the first warm spell of April, when you can finally un-clench those tense winter muscles; summer without the baggage of humidity, bugs and raging thunderstorms.
Phenology is the study of how plant and animal life cycles are influenced by environmental changes. NASA can track spring green-up from space, but nature provides her own cues, as we track the date of first dandelions, frogs, lilacs and crabapples. According to the Minnesota DNR the first red-winged blackbirds of the season were heard in Maplewood on March 5, 9 days earlier than average - the second earliest on record.
Odds are you'll be chirping a happy tune Friday and Saturday as temperatures mellow. The first 70F of 2017 is possible Saturday, right on schedule. A few T-storms bubble up on Sunday, but dew points and instability may not be sufficient to support anything severe.
Enjoy the drama-free weather. Tornadoes down south, slush in the Great Lakes, soaking rains on both coasts. And here we sit, meteorologically content. For now.
Extended Forecast:
THURSDAY NIGHT: mostly clear, frosty suburbs. Winds: N 5. Low: 32
FRIDAY: Sunny, sneak out of office early. Winds: S 10-15. High: 63
FRIDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy, not as chilly. Winds: S 10. Low: 46
SATURDAY: Sunny. Feels like May. Winds: S 10-15. High: 73
SUNDAY: More clouds, few T-storms. Winds: SE 8-13. Wake-up: 54. High: 69
MONDAY: Showery rains linger, cooling off. Winds: NE 10-20. Wake-up: 46. High: 52
TUESDAY: Sunny peeks, drying out. Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 36. High: 54
WEDNESDAY: Mostly sunny and pleasant. Winds: SE 5-10. Wake-up: 34. High: 59.
THURSDAY: Clouds increase, a mild breeze. Winds: SE 10-20. Wake-up: 42. High: 60.
This Day in Weather History
April 7th
1857: A cold snap hits the United States, with snow reported in every state.
Average High/Low for Minneapolis
April 7th
Average High: 53F (Record: 83F set in 1991)
Average: Low: 33F (Record: 6F set in 1936)
*Record Snowfall: 8.9" set in 1923
Sunrise Sunset Times For Minneapolis
April 7th
Sunrise: 6:42am
Sunset: 7:49pm
*Daylight Gained Since Yesterday: ~3 minutes & 5 seconds
*Daylight Gained Since Winter Solstice (December 21st): ~4 hours & 22 minute

Moon Phase for April 6th at Midnight
3.5 Days Since First Quarter
Weather Outlook For Friday
Friday will be another spectacular day with bright sunshine and mild temperatures. We are looking at highs that will bounce into the 60s across much of the state by the afternoon. 
Weather Outlook For Friday
Winds will start to pick up a little out of the south Friday afternoon with gusts approaching 20mph+ across the western part of the state. This southerly wind will ultimately help to transport some very mild air into the region by Saturday with highs in the 70s & possibly 80s then!
 Weather Outlook For Friday
Other than a few clouds, Friday will feature mostly sunny skies. Enjoy!

Quiet Friday & Saturday, but a Soggy Sunday Ahead

Here's the weather outlook from Friday to AM Tuesday. While weather conditions look very quiet on Friday and Saturday, thunderstorms PM Sunday will give way to cooler, more showery weather on Monday and Tuesday. Some spots across the Upper Midwest could even see a little snow as the storm departs early/mid next week.

Precipitation Potential

Here's the precipitation potential through AM Wednesday, which shows the potential of steadier, heavier rain moving in across southern MN this week. Note that some spots across the far north could see nearly 1"+ rain!

Extended Temperature Outlook for Minneapolis
Here's the temperature outlook through April 21st, which shows temperatures warming over the next several days with highs into the 70s this weekend! We may take a bit of a hit early/middle part of next week, but the middle part of the month looks warm again with highs back in the 60s & 70s. Note that the average high temperatures in the Twin Ciites on April 7th is 53F, while the average high on April 21st is 61F!
______________________________________________________________________________8 to 14 Day Temperature Outlook
According to NOAA's CPC, the 8 to 14 day temperature outlook suggests warmer than average temperatures in the Upper Midwest from April 15th - April 19th.

Temperature Outlook
Here's the 8 to 14 day temperature outlook, which takes us into the 3rd week of April. Note that warmer than average temperatures look to develop across much of the nation, while the only cooler than average spot would be found across parts of the Western US.
 National Weather Outlook
Here's the weather outlook through the early weekend, which shows a large storm system wrapping up in the Northeast on Friday and early Saturday before subsiding late weekend. Meanwhile, another strong Pacific storm is in the works across the Western US with heavy mountain snow, heavy coastal rain and strong winds. This particular storm system will begin moving into the Plains late weekend with the potential of strong to severe storms in the Central US by Sunday.

5 Day Precipitation Forecast
According to NOAA's WPC, the 5 day precipitation forecast suggests heavy precipitation across parts of the Western US through the weekend before moving into the Central US with some heavier 1" to 2"+ pockets of rain there.
Snowfall Potential
Here's the snowfall potential over the next several days, which shows some accumulations across parts of the Northeast and in the Western mountains. Other than that, there doesn't appear to be any major snow events brewing across the Central US anytime soon.
"A Climate Model for the History Books"
Decades or even centuries from now, when enough time has passed for historians to write definitive accounts of global warming and climate change, two names are likely to make it into history books: Syukuro Manabe and Richard Wetherald. In the late-1960s, these two scientists from the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory developed one of the very first climate models. In 1967, they published results showing that global temperatures would increase by 2.0 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) if the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere doubled.
See more from Earth Observatory HERE:
____________________________________________________________________"Climate Change Could Lead to Rougher Air Travel"
Stronger wind shears within the jet stream caused by climate change may lead to increased severe turbulence in the near future. Researchers from the University of Reading believe turbulence strong enough to catapult unbuckled passengers and crew around the aircraft cabin may become twice or even three times as common due to climate change. “Our new study paints the most detailed picture yet of how aircraft turbulence will respond to climate change,” Paul Williams. Ph.D., an associate professor and Royal Society University Research Fellow in the Department of Meteorology at the University of Reading, said in a statement.
See more from HERE:
____________________________________________________________________"Parts of the Arctic Ocean are Turning Into the Atlantic"
The Arctic is undergoing an astonishingly rapid transition as climate change overwhelms the region. New research sheds light on the latest example of the changes afoot, showing that parts of the Arctic Ocean are becoming more like the Atlantic. Warm waters are streaming into the ocean north of Scandinavia and Russia, altering ocean productivity and chemistry. That’s making sea ice recede and kickstarting a feedback loop that could make summer ice a thing of the past. “2015 was a really anomalous year when we had problems finding a suitable ice flow to launch our drifting buoys,” Igor Polyakov, an oceanographer at the University of Alaska who led the new study, said. “(There was) nothing like that in the past, and it became a motivation to our analysis: why was ice in 2015 so rotten? What drives this huge change?” The findings, published in Science on Thursday, show that while warming air has a role to play, processes are playing out in the ocean itself that are fundamentally altering the region.
See more from Climate Central HERE:
(Reseachers recovering mooring M6b north of Severnaya Zemlya, a Russian archipelago.
Credit: Ilona Goszczko)

____________________________________________________________________"Study offers a dire warning on climate change"
WASHINGTON — Continuing to burn fossil fuels at the current rate could bring atmospheric carbon dioxide to its highest concentration in 50 million years, jumping from about 400 parts per million now to more than 900 parts per million by the end of this century, a study warns. And if greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated beyond that point, the climate could reach a warming state that hasn’t been seen in the past 420 million years. Some research suggests that, if humans burned through all fossil fuels on Earth, atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations could hit 5,000 parts per million by the year 2400. The new study speaks to the power of human influence over the climate. It suggests that after millions of years of relative stability in the absence of human activity, just a few hundred years of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are on track to cause unprecedented warming.
See more from Boston Globe Here;
(MARIO TAMA/GETTY IMAGES - A glacier is seen from NASA's Operation IceBridge research aircraft on March 29, 2017, above Ellesmere Island, Canada. The ice fields are retreating due to warming temperatures.)
_________________________________________________________________________"GIANT 'ELVE' APPEARS OVER EUROPE"
On April 2nd, high above a thunderstorm in the Czech republic, an enormous ring of light appeared in the night sky. Using a low-light video camera, amateur astronomer Martin Popek of NĂ˝dek photographed the 300 km-wide donut hovering near the edge of space: "It appeared for just a split second alongside the constellation Orion" says Popek. This is an example of an ELVE (Emissions of Light and Very Low Frequency Perturbations due to Electromagnetic Pulse Sources). First seen by cameras on the space shuttle in 1990, ELVEs appear when a pulse of electromagnetic radiation from cloud-to-ground lightning propagates up toward space and hits the base of Earth's ionosphere. A faint ring of deep-red light marks the broad 'spot' where the EMP hits.
See more from HERE:
Thanks for checking in and don't forget to follow me on Twitter @TNelsonWX

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