42 F. high temperature yesterday in St. Cloud.
62 F. average high on April 26.
46 F. high on April 26, 2016.
April 27, 2002: Heavy snow falls over the Twin Cities and central Minnesota. Chanhassen receives 6 inches, and vivid lightning is seen with the snow during the evening.
April 27, 1996: Embarrass records a low of 9 degrees. Some central, and most northern, Minnesota lakes are still ice-covered.
April 27, 1921: A late season blizzard hits Hibbing. The temperature was 75 degrees three days earlier.
It's Chilly, But At Least It's a "Dry Chilly"
The coldest I've felt was not in Minnesota. Not even close. Manhattan, surrounded by water, can be bone-chilling. But the most painful walk was on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, pushed along by 40 mph winds, high humidity allowing the cold to slice right through my coat.
We all get grief for putting up with Minnesota's manic weather, but at least the sun is out and humidity levels are low. That is not the case in Milwaukee, Chicago, Detroit & Cleveland, where lake effect means more cloudiness and higher humidity, which conducts the cold much faster. 32F in Chicago FEELS colder than 32F in St. Paul.
We're paying a steep price for last weekend's warmth; I was hoping not to say the s-word again. Keep in mind July is the only month where snow hasn't been observed somewhere in the great state of Minnesota. Insert sinister laugh track here.
Lumpy stratus clouds linger today, but cool sunshine returns Friday and Saturday, the nicer day of the weekend. Models hint at a slow-moving southern storm pushing heavy rain into town Sunday, maybe ending as slushy snow Monday.
60s return the following weekend - this too shall pass!
Photos taken in the Duluth area on Wednesday courtesy of Donna Maxie.
More March Than April. The stroll into spring is more of a drunken stagger; always two steps forward - one step back. Today a storm over the Midwest brushes Wisconsin with a mix of rain, ice and snow, while a band of heavy T-showers pushes into the eastern U.S. Showery rains linger across the Pacific Northwest with more snow for the high terrain of the intermountain west. The next storm spins up over the southern Plains Friday, pushing north over the weekend with a broad shield of rain, ice and snow. 84-hour NAM guidance: NOAA and tropicaltidbits.com.
Winter Relapse. Models hint at a plowable snowfall across parts of Wisconsin and the U.P. of Michigan today; skiers still deliriously happy in the Rockies as the snow machine just doesn't want to let up. It would be premature to pack up the heavy jackets over the northern third of the USA anytime soon.
Map credit: "Surface temperatures during winter (Dec – Feb) showed an increasing trend across the Arctic Ocean and most of Canada from 1989 to 2016, but they dropped markedly across most of northern Asia, with minor decreases over the southeast U.S. and northern Europe." Image credit: Courtesy James Screen, adapted from “Far-flung effects of Arctic warming,” Nature Geoscience, published online March 20, 2017.
Map credit: "Tornado touchdowns in the U.S. from April 25-28, 2011." Map by Katie Wheatley.
The utility of it depends on the context. Hospitals will use it. Forecasters will use it. But the average person? My fear is they will find something else to do. I don’t see anyone sitting in a shelter for an hour. Perhaps we’re thinking about the purpose all wrong though. A one hour heads up may spark awareness and more attention to the 10 minute warning....”
Worst Flooding Since Hurricane Matthew Swamps North Carolina. USA TODAY has a good summary of the weather headaches in the Raleigh/Durham area: "People in North Carolina are paying attention to rising rivers after storms dumped several inches of rain across much of the state. Gov. Roy Cooper warned residents on Tuesday to stay wary after the state's heaviest rainfall since last year's Hurricane Matthew. State emergency management officials are warning of possible flooding along the Neuse River near Clayton and Smithfield, and the Tar River in Tarboro and Greenville. The rain caused disruptions to the morning rush hour, and several motorists also had to be rescued from their cars, according to ABC 11. Flood warnings were posted for rivers in 33 eastern counties..."
The Impact of Weather on Auto Insurance Costs. A story at Yahoo Finance had a few nuggets I wasn't aware of: "...When it comes to weather and auto insurance, there are several misconceptions. In many cases, auto insurance policies have nothing to do with the weather in an area because they simply do not reimburse for damages caused by tornadoes, flooding and extreme weather in general. Winter does not make auto insurance more expensive! A common misconception that many drivers have involves snowy weather and auto insurance. Many believe that during the winter months, prices go up due to the worsening driving conditions. However, this is not true. In fact, across the United states, December is the cheapest month to buy auto insurance in..."
Today's Energy Jobs Are In Solar, Not Coal. Here's an excerpt from The New York Times: "...Last year, the solar industry employed many more Americans than coal, while wind power topped 100,000 jobs. Those numbers come from a Department of Energy report published in January by the Obama administration that provides the most complete picture available of American energy employment. In 2016, 1.9 million Americans were employed in electric power generation, mining and other fuel extraction activities, according to the report – a field we’ll call power creation for short. More than 373,000 Americans worked part or full time in solar energy, and just over 260,000 of them – or about 70 percent – spent a majority of their time on solar projects..."
Photo credit: "A wax worm, aka a plastic bag destroyer." (skeeze/Pixabay).
Graphic credit: Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
Photo credit: "Abandoned factory, Brattleboro, VT." Credit: Beyond My Ken Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Is Singapore's "Miracle" Health Care System the Answer for America? Would Americans stand for a U.S. equivalent of "Medisave"? Here's an excerpt of a fascinating story at Vox: "...When conservatives praise Singapore’s health system, they are typically praising the Medisave system. Medisave is a forced savings plan that consumes between 7 and 9.5 percent of a working Singaporean’s wages — think of it like the Social Security payroll tax, if said tax funded a health savings account. Singaporeans then pay for some routine care out of their Medisave accounts. Conservatives like Medisave because it is built on a deep appreciation for the idea that routine medical care can be treated like any other good, and patients can be pushed to act like consumers when buying it. Which is all true. Medisave distinguishes Singapore’s system from that of the US or Western Europe, where insurers typically cover most of the cost of routine care..."
Meet "Steve", a Mysterious Type of Aurora Spied Over Canada. The Weather Network has the curious details: "The Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, is known for putting on a different light show pretty much every time it shows up in the night sky. It's one of the amazing features of this spectacular phenomenon. Sometimes, though, something really different shows up, and it takes the combined efforts of citizen scientists over social media, and scientists with access to specialized satellites in orbit, to figure it out. This is what happened with a special kind of aurora feature, which some have been calling 'Steve'. Here is 'Steve', shown in the image below, as the purple stream stretching across the sky, captured by photographer Dave Markel in 2016..."
TODAY: Mostly cloudy, chilly - few flurries and sprinkles. Winds: NW 10-15. High: 43
THURSDAY NIGHT: Partial clearing, risk of frost. Low: 32
FRIDAY: Early frost, especially outlying suburbs. Partly sunny. Better. Winds: N 7-12. High: 52
SATURDAY: Cool sun, nicer day of weekend. Winds: NE 8-13. Wake-up: 34. High: 56
SUNDAY: A cold rain, miserably wet. Winds: NE 15-25. Wake-up: 40. High: 47
MONDAY: Rain/snow mix. Slushy lawns? Winds: N 10-20. Wake-up: 37. High: 41
TUESDAY: Any slush melts. Spring returns! Winds: NW 7-12. Wake-up: 33. High: 56
WEDNESDAY: Mostly cloudy, risk of a shower. Winds: E 7-12. Wake-up: 38. High: 57
Image credit: Amber Sullins. Photographer: Ali Withers/Bloomberg.
Graphic credit: "Projections for an extreme sea level scenario for New York City under NOAA's new guidelines."
El Nino and the End of the Global Warming Hiatus. Here's an excerpt from Yale News: "...A new climate model developed by Yale scientists puts the “global warming hiatus” into a broader historical context and offers a new method for predicting global mean temperature. Research by professor Alexey Fedorov and graduate student Shineng Hu indicates that weak El Niño activity from 1998 until 2013, rather than a pause in long-term global warming, was the root cause for slower rates of increased surface temperature. The research, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, also finds that volcanic activity played only a minor role. “Our main conclusion is that global warming never went away, as one might imply from the term ‘global warming hiatus,’” said Fedorov, who has conducted extensive research on the oceans’ role in climate. “The warming can be masked by inter-annual and decadal natural climate variability, but then it comes back with a vengeance...”
Graphic credit: "Pacific Ocean sea surface height anomalies during the 1997-98 El Nino (left) are compared with 2015 Pacific conditions (right). The 1997 data are from the NASA/CNES Topex/Poseidon mission; the 2015 data are from the NASA/CNES/NOAA/EUMETSAT Jason-2 mission. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)."
Photo credit: "Lynda V. Mapes (far left) spent a year in the Harvard Forest studying one red oak and kept meticulous notes. In the oak, climbing instructor Melissa LeVangie (left) shows novice Mapes the ropes. Two webcams keep an eye on seasonal changes in the witness tree canopy."
Extreme Arctic Melt is Raising Sea Level Rise Threat; New Estimate Nearly Twice IPCC's. Here's a clip from a story at InsideClimate News: "Global sea level rise could happen at nearly twice the rate previously projected by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, even under the best scenario, according to a new report. By the end of this century, as some glaciers disappear completely, the Arctic's contribution to global sea level rise will reach at least 19 to 25 centimeters, according to the report by the Arctic Council's Arctic Monitoring Assessment Program (AMAP). Factoring those numbers into projections about other sources of sea level rise results in a minimum of 52 centimeters of sea level rise by 2100 under a best-case scenario and 74 centimeters under business as usual. "These estimates are almost double the minimum estimates made by the IPCC in 2013," the authors wrote..."
Can We Fight Climate Change With Trees and Grass? Here's an excerpt from MIT Technology Review: "Can we use trees and other plants as a weapon in the fight against climate change? Earth's greenery comes with natural carbon-capturing abilities, but now several studies are investigating how to tweak those tendencies to have a maximum impact on carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. In 2014, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change announced that plants would have to be a major part of the world’s efforts to capture CO2. The idea would be to have trees and grasses suck up CO2 as they grow, then burn or process them into fuels to generate power while capturing any CO2 produced along the way. This process is known as “bioenergy plus carbon capture and storage,” or BECCS. We’re starting to see increasingly large tests of the technology roll out..."