50 F. average high on April 5.
38 F. high on April 5, 2016.
April 6, 1991: The second of three consecutive record highs, all above 80 degrees, is set at MSP airport (86 on 4/6/1991).
April 6, 1964: A snowstorm hits Minnesota with 9 inches at Fosston and 8.7 at Park Rapids.
May Preview This Weekend - Dangerous Tornado Myths
So far it's the busiest year for tornadoes on record (reliable data goes back to 1950). Yesterday's outbreak was a violent reminder that the current pattern favors frequent outbreaks of large hail, damaging winds and tornadoes. At some point this atmospheric scuffle will migrate north. Peak season for Minnesota is May and June.
Now would be a good time to review a tornado action plan with your kids. The basement, under the stairs, is the safest place, not the southwest corner. Otherwise a small, windowless room on the ground floor, like a closet or bathroom. People have survived EF-5 tornadoes by crawling into their bathtubs.
Do NOT open windows to equalize air pressure. Avoid cars and mobile homes, which can become airborne at wind speeds over 100 mph.
The biggest myth: "tornadoes can't hit cities, or close-in suburbs, or cross rivers and lakes". Not true. Tornadoes pull in moisture and warmth from a 20-mile plus radius - a few high rise buildings or river won't slow it down.
Nothing but severe clear here into Saturday with a warming trend. If the sun stays out most of the day Saturday we should see 70s; average for late May. Model guidance hints at T-storms Sunday, then a cooler push early next week. Too warm for snow, too cool and dry for widespread severe outbreaks.
Compared to much of the USA we're getting off easy right now.
Signs of Spring: Phenology. The Minnesota DNR has a good post highlighting our fast-forward spring: "Spring 2017 began at a rapid pace in Minnesota. The songs of the first red-winged blackbirds of the season were heard in north Maplewood on Sunday, March 5, nine days earlier than the median date of March 14. This is the second earliest the musical birds have returned to the marshes of Maplewood. Winter made a bit of a comeback with below normal temperatures from March 9th to the 16th. In a rare occurrence, many lakes that were thawed in southern Minnesota refroze. In Maplewood, there was only one lake that was out before the cool down and this was tiny Spoon Lake just north of Highway 36. This lake thawed on March 6th, then refroze on March 10 with ice thick enough to support a basketball-sized rock, and lost its ice cover again on the 23rd. Warmer conditions returned for the last week of March and the progress of Spring restarted. The frost left the ground in Maplewood on March 29th. April began with above normal temperatures, but sunny days were still hard to come by. Phenology which is derived from the Greek word phaino meaning to show or appear, is the study of periodic plant and animal life cycle events that are influenced by environmental changes, especially seasonal variations in temperature and precipitation driven by weather and climate..."
Stormy Bookends. Relatively quiet weather is expected over the central USA today, with storms swirling on both coasts. The same intense area of low pressure that spawned tornadoes over the Deep South will push a pinwheel of heavy rain across the Mid Atlantic into New England today. Farther west enough cold air gets pulled into the circulation for a changeover to heavy wet snow. Meanwhile the next Pacific storm slops ashore, impacting northern California, Oregon and Washington state. 12 KM NAM: Tropicaltidbits.com.
Another West Coast Soaker. Over 2" of additional rain is forecast to soak northern California and parts of the Pacific Northwest in the coming days; as much as 2-3 feet of additional snow for the Cascades and Sierra Nevada.
2017 Off to Record-Breaking Start for Tornadoes and Severe Weather. Will It Continue? At the rate we're going 2017 may set more tornado records. Here's an excerpt from U.S. Tornadoes: "2017 has been off to as fast a start to the severe weather season as any in the modern record. Through the beginning of April, it’s running neck-and-neck with 2008 for first place. There have been outbreaks in each month of the year, and roughly 360 to 400 tornadoes so far. That’s more than twice normal to date, and we’ve barely even started to wander through the beginning of peak severe weather season, which runs April-June. The country is also in the midst of a two-week long onslaught of severe storms, with more on the way over the next few days..."
How 148 Tornadoes In One Day in 1974 Changed Emergency Preparedness. Smithsonian Magazine provides perspective: "...But two important things happened because of the 1974 outbreak, research meteorologist Howard Brooks told Galvin. “First, the National Weather Service adopted the Fujita Scale. And second, support and money for tornado-intercept operations greatly increased.” The Fujita scale created a standard language for the scientific community to talk about tornadoes, Galvin writes. Intercept operations, which send scientists out to actually chase tornadoes, have allowed them to observe what was happening firsthand, improving future warnings. These innovations, combined with the money and political will to update detection gear, mean that the National Weather Service now has more weather stations and better forecasting technology, he writes. Research, more weather stations, and Doppler radar combined have increased the average tornado warning time from "about zero," as one meteorologist put it, to 12 to 14 minutes. "It doesn't seem like a lot," he told Galvin, "but when you need to take shelter every minute counts..." (Map credit: NOAA).
- Establish a program to improve tornado warnings.
- Protect the Hurricane Forecast Improvement Program, whose funding was previously slashed.
- Develop a formal plan for weather research.
- Develop an annual report on the state of its weather models..."
Global Temperature Records. Coolwx.com still has the best site (in my humble opinion) when it comes to tracking U.S. and global temperatures that are close to record territory.
Japan's Cherry Blossoms Signal Warmest Climate In Over 1,000 Years. The Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang has the story: "For more than 1,000 years, emperors, aristocrats, governors and monks have chronicled the flowering of Japan’s famed cherry trees in the city of Kyoto. But bloom dates have shifted radically earlier in recent decades, a sure sign that the region’s climate is warming and warming fast. Yasuyuki Aono, a professor of environmental sciences at Osaka Prefecture University, has assembled a data set that compiles blossom-flowering dates in Kyoto all the way back to 800 A.D. It shows a sudden and remarkable change in the past 150 to 200 years. From roughly 800 to 1850, the blossom flowering time was fairly stable. While the bloom dates bounced around quite a bit from year to year during April, the long-term average hovered between April 10 and April 17 (the 100th to 107th day of the year)..."
Graphic credit: "More water is flowing this year in California from frequent storms and melting snowpack." Credit: Climate Central
Zika Poses Even Greater Risk for Birth Defects Than Was Previously Known, CDC Reports. Here's a clip from The Washington Post: "About 1 in 10 pregnant women infected with Zika in the United States last year had a baby or fetus with serious birth defects, according to a study released Tuesday that represents the largest and most comprehensive study of Zika’s consequences for pregnant women. Women infected during the first trimester of pregnancy had an even higher risk of birth defects, about 15 percent, according to the analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These estimates are higher than what U.S. health officials have previously reported and underscore the serious risk for birth defects posed by Zika virus infection during pregnancy. With warm weather, a new mosquito season and summer travel approaching, prevention is crucial to protecting the health of mothers and babies, said Anne Schuchat, the CDC's acting director..." (File image: Climate Nexus).
Wealth Didn't Matter. Pollution From a Coal-Fired Plant, Carried Miles by Wind, Still Hurt Their Babies. One of many reasons why we probably don't want to go back to a "coal-first" energy diet. Here's an excerpt from The Washington Post: "Air pollution from power plants has wanderlust. It never stays still. It rides the wind, drifting far from its source, visiting homes miles away with potentially harmful effects. New research released Monday documents the impact that pollution from a coal-fired plant in Pennsylvania had on four wealthy New Jersey counties as far as 30 miles downwind. Women in those counties had a greater risk of having babies of low or very low birthweight — less than 5½ pounds — than did women in similarly affluent areas. It didn’t matter that the mothers there had advantages that low-income mothers don’t: money and access to private health care. Their babies still appeared to suffer from the effects of air pollution, specifically wind-borne sulfur emissions. The study authors say stronger federal regulation of emissions from coal-fired plants is needed to safeguard human health..."
Photo credit: "
according to statistics from the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA). Yet President Donald Trump and his administration nonetheless continue to champion the dirty and dying fuels of the 19th century. Just last week Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced a new push to expand coal mining on public lands, while misguidedly attacking renewables: “We can’t power the country on pixie dust and hope...”Renewable power keeps shattering records in the United States and around the world. Meanwhile, U.S. coal production has fallen to its lowest level since 1978,
Photo credit: "Workers install solar panels in Glendale, California." CREDIT: AP/Reed Saxon.
A Beginner's Guide to the Debate Over 100% Renewable Energy. Dave Roberts reports at Vox: "Imagine powering civilization entirely with energy from renewable sources: wind, sun, water (hydroelectricity), naturally occurring heat (geothermal), and plants. No coal mines, oil wells, pipelines, or coal trains. No greenhouse gas emissions, car exhaust, or polluted streams. No wars over oil, dependence on foreign suppliers, or resource shortages. Sounds nice, right? A growing number of activists say it is within reach. The idea has inspired ambitious commitments from an increasing number of cities, including Madison, Wisconsin, San Diego, and Salt Lake City. Advocates are pushing states to support the goal. Clean-energy enthusiasts frequently claim that we can go bigger, that it’s possible for the whole world to run on renewables — we merely lack the “political will....” (File photo: AP, Orlin Wagner).
Map: E&E News.
Illustrations by Cam Floyd. Animation by Pablo Espinosa.
Walking 10 Minutes a Day Could Change Your Life. Here's a clip from nextavenue: "...Walking is also recommended as a great form of exercise. But there’s a difference between just walking and taking a mindfulness walk. “We often get so caught up in life and in our thoughts that we miss things,” Koerbel says. Our lives are filled with ordinary moments that we don’t pay attention to because we are rushing through them. “Being mindful is about stopping and pausing and taking notice of them,” says Koerbel. Notice, for example, how the air smells or how it feels when it hits your skin. Take a look at the colors around you — in the leaves of the trees, the grass or even the brown spots where the grass isn’t growing. Listen to the birds, the cars passing by, to the sounds of your particular environment..."
TODAY: Cool sun, breezy. Winds: N 10-15. High: 53
THURSDAY NIGHT: Clear to partly cloudy, frosty suburbs. Low: 33
FRIDAY: Sunny, sneak out of office early. Winds: S 5-10. High: 61
SATURDAY: Lukewarm sun, nicer day of weekend. Winds: S 10-20. Wake-up: 46. High: 73
SUNDAY: More humid, few T-storms in the area. Winds: SW 8-13. Wake-up: 57. High: 71
MONDAY: Windy and cooler, passing shower or two. Winds: W 15-25. Wake-up: 49. High: 58
TUESDAY: Mostly cloudy, light jacket worthy. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 37. High: near 50
WEDNESDAY: Sunny start, showers possible late. Winds: SE 8-13. Wake-up: 33. High: 54
Trump Declares End to "War on Coal", but Utilities Aren't Listening. So says a story at Reuters: "...Reuters surveyed 32 utilities with operations in the 26 states that sued former President Barack Obama's administration to block its Clean Power Plan, the main target of Trump's executive order. The bulk of them have no plans to alter their multi-billion dollar, years-long shift away from coal, suggesting demand for the fuel will keep falling despite Trump's efforts. The utilities gave many reasons, mainly economic: Natural gas - coal’s top competitor - is cheap and abundant; solar and wind power costs are falling; state environmental laws remain in place; and Trump's regulatory rollback may not survive legal challenges...I’m not going to build new coal plants in today’s environment," said Ben Fowke, CEO of Xcel Energy, which operates in eight states and uses coal for about 36 percent of its electricity production. "And if I’m not going to build new ones, eventually there won’t be any...."
File photo: Midwest Energy News.
How We Know Today's Climate Change is Not Natural. Here's an excerpt from Earth Institute at Columbia University: "...Climate deniers offer a variety of bases for their skepticism without providing scientific evidence. The most effective thing that the climate denier community has done, however, is to spread the notion of uncertainty about climate change, and use it as an excuse not to take any action. “It’s been a very effective tactic,” said de Menocal, “in part because the scientific community spends a tremendous amount of effort quantifying that uncertainty. And so we make it plain as day that there are things we’re certain about, and things we’re uncertain about. There are places of debate that exist in the community. That’s the scientific process. … The deniers are not selling a new way of looking at the problem, they’re selling doubt, and it’s very easy to manufacture doubt.” “They are in total denial of the evidence that there is,” said Schmidt. “When I challenge them to produce evidence for their attributions, all I get is crickets. There’s no actual quantitative evidence that demonstrates anything. … Show me the data, show me your analysis...”
Photo credit: "Scientists studying glaciers in Glacier National Park." Photo: GlacierNPS
Image credit: " NASA, CC BY
Photo credit: Leah Hogsten
Photo credit: "What we need to talk about when we talk about climate change." (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Photo credit: " .
True Conservatives Should Worry About Climate Change. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed at The Charlotte Observer: "...To follow Mr. Loris’ recommendations will push the concentration of carbon dioxide above 400 ppm. We are now aware that these choices have consequences for us, for our children and for generations to come. The moral choice has been different over the last 30 years than it was for our grandparents. Mr. Loris cannot simply argue for a limited set of jobs helped by fossil fuels without also accepting the burden we now understand – such as rising sea levels, abnormal precipitation leading to droughts in some areas and flooding or mudslides in others. It is not a conservative value to ignore our impacts on those around us or on the economic conditions we leave for our kids. Thankfully, there are conservative voices speaking out on this issue. Fifteen House Republicans have joined the bipartisan House Climate Solutions Caucus to hold meaningful discussions on what can be done..."
Photo credit: " Matthew Brown AP.
Graphic credit: "Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels could reach a level unseen in 50 million years by the 2050s. If they continue rising into the 2200s, they'll create a climate that likely has no precedent in at least 420 million years." Credit: Foster, et al., 2017.