64 F. maximum temperature yesterday in St. Cloud.
57 F. average high on April 16.
79 F. high on April 16, 2016.
Going Green Will Leave More Green In Your Wallet
Friday's soaking coupled with Sunday's brilliant sunshine has given spring a green light. Nature's reboot is urgent-green, almost neon-green. In your face rebirth and renewal.
Which is what our energy system is experiencing. I drive a Tesla, which I charge at home. Our electric rates have not gone up. Thank you Xcel Energy. My insurance premium fell, and there's little maintenance. "Bring it in once a year and we'll check the tires" their service guy told me. "But you don't have to."
There's a real ROI, a return on investment. New Tesla Model 3's and Chevy Bolts are priced in the mid- 30s and prices will continue to plummet. My electric car has 150 moving parts; a typical gas-powered vehicle: 10,000 moving parts. There is simply less that can go wrong. They are cheaper to maintain and cheaper to manufacture.
Installing solar shingles and energy storage (a big battery) will allow me to drive for free, and even power my home for extended periods of time - for free. Free has a nice ring.
Sunshine today gives way to more showers Tuesday & Wednesday. Expect a partly sunny weekend with highs topping 60F. Nothing severe is brewing. Slush season in our rear-view mirror. Soak it up!
This National Weather Service page has information on weather radios, including a list of weather radio stations in each state..."
When a Tornado Looms, Many Residents of Trailer Parks Are On Their Own. I still can't quite fathom how it isn't a state law that every mobile home park should have an underground shelter available. I know it costs money, but it's a little like selling a car without brakes. Which is great, until you need to apply the brakes. Here's an excerpt of a story at Illinois's Daily Herald: "...Patti Thompson, a spokeswoman for Illinois Emergency Management Agency, said people living in trailer parks should leave their homes as soon as severe storm or tornado watches are issued and head to a safe place, such as a friend's house with a basement or another sturdy building. It's especially important to use weather radios to be aware of the conditions. "Weather radios make a really loud sound when a warning's been issued in the area," she said. "But that's almost too late for people in mobile homes. They really need to be looking for a safer place even when there's just a watch out." Thompson said their recommendations are based on the consensus from the weather science community including the National Weather Service..."
84-Hour Future Radar. NOAA's 12 KM NAM model prints out more showers and T-showers across the Mid South today; flurries for northern New England and showery rains for the Pacific Northwest. Tomorrow a storm spreads a comma-shaped swirl of showers and storms across the Dakotas and Upper Midwest. Animation: NOAA and Tropicaltidbits.com.
Slight Cooling Trend. Temperatures are forecast to run closer to average in the coming weeks with highs in the 50s to low 60s. Expect a few nights in the 30s, but the immediate metro should avoid a widespread frost looking out 2 weeks. MSP meteogram: WeatherBell.
Lightning Factoids. Every thunderstorm, by definition, is potentially deadly, with cloud to ground lightning, striking the U.S. roughly 25 million times a year. An average of 75 to 100 Americans are killed by lightning every year; hundreds injured; many with lifelong disabilities. Most of these injuries are ultimately avoidable. The first growl of thunder signals it's time to move inside: a home or vehicle offers the best protection. Avoid fields, golf courses and lakes. Remember the "30-30 Rule"; if you count 30 seconds between the flash and the bang, it's time to race indoors. Wait 30 minutes after the last rumble of thunder to resume outdoor plans. Don't push your luck.
File image from low-Earth orbit: NASA and the International Space Station.
Lightning Round-Up: The World's Weirdest Electricity. New Scientist has a good summary of some of the new and exotic forms of lightning discovered in recent years, including sprites: "..Once thought to be a myth, sprites are fleeting flashes of red light high above thunderclouds that look like giant jellyfish. These collections of “streamers”, formed of ribbons of ionised air, are believed to be produced by the strong electric fields generated in the upper atmosphere when lightning is born, but we don’t yet understand exactly how they form..."
Image credit: JSC/NASA.
Graphic credit: "GOES-16 0.64 um imagery at 1-min temporal resolution." Full resolution: https://satelliteliaisonblog.files.wordpress.com/2017/04/20170414_vis_anno.gif
"Worst Flooding in Decades" in Northeast Washington State as Flood Season Begins. Details via The Yakima Herald: "What has been described “as the worst flooding in decades” in Ferry County in northeastern Washington has upended roads, slid a home into a riverbank and resulted in numerous mudslides. In one incident, said Amy Rooker, the county’s emergency manager, “We had a gentleman driving south on Highway 21 towards Keller when he noticed that half the road was gone. He flew across the road and ended up in a yard of a house.” On its official website, the county, population 7,700, says about itself: “Often described as one of the last frontiers of the American West, Ferry County combines a rugged mountain environment dominated by mining and logging industries with the breathtaking beauty of a wilderness retreat...”
Photo credit: Ferry County Sheriff's Office.
How Disappearing Arctic Ice is Already Changing Your Weather. We've been sprinkling hot sauce on our ice cream sundae, then acting surprised when the weather tastes odd. I've been talking about this for nearly 20 years and it would appear that the symptoms are becoming more apparent over time. Here's an excerpt from meteorologist Dan Satterfield at AGU Blogosphere: "...Is Arctic amplification already altering the jet stream? That’s the big question and one of the first scientists to try and answer it was my friend Dr Jennifer Francis at Rutgers University. The wind flow aloft should be getting weaker and it should be more “curvy”. Dr Francis and 5 co-authors have a paper in an upcoming issue of the AMS Journal of Climate that shows that this indeed the case. The atmospheric flow is becoming wavier, and not only that, the newest climate models predict that it should be happening as the ice and snow disappear in the north. These models also show that it will all get dramatically worse by the end of this century as major changes develop in our weather patterns over North America. It looks like the wheat and corn belt in the Plains will be hit the hardest with much hotter and drier conditions, while winters may actually bring even stranger weather as blocks form and persist..."
Graphic credit: "The “curviness” of the winds aloft is indeed increasing as expected." From: Changes in North American Atmospheric Circulation and Extreme Weather: Influence of Arctic Amplification and Northern Hemisphere Snow Cover Stephen J. Vavrus, Fuyao Wang, Jonathan E. Martin, Jennifer A. Francis, Yannick Peings, and Julien Cattiaux.
Photo credit: "
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Image credit: Edmon de Haro for POLITICO.
The Despair of Learning That Experience No Longer Matters. As you get older you perfect your craft and your income rises. That may have been true in the 1950s and 1960s but today, with globalization, automation, robotics and artificial intelligence all bets are off. Here's a clip from a New Yorker article: "...Our data are consistent with a model in which the decline in real wages led to a reduction in labor force participation, with cascading effects on marriage, health, and mortality from deaths of despair.” The return to experience is not the best-known economic concept, but it is alive in most of our contemporary economic spook stories, in which the callow private-equity analyst has the final power over an industry in which people have long labored, in which the mechanical robot replaces the assembly-line worker, in which the doctor finds his diagnosis corrected by artificial intelligence. It seemed to match at least one emotional vein that ran through the Trump phenomenon, and the more general alienation of the heartland: people are aging, and they are not getting what they think they have earned..."
Image credit: "Sleep today is a measure of success, a skill to be cultivated and nourished." Tim Robinson.
TODAY: Cool sunshine much of the day. Winds: NW 5-10. High: near 60. High: near 60
MONDAY NIGHT: Clouds increase, showers late. Low: 48
TUESDAY: Showers and T-storms likely. Winds: SW 15-30+ High: 67
WEDNESDAY: Dry start, PM showers likely. Winds: NE 10-15. Wake-up: 44. High: 55
THURSDAY: Gray with sprinkles. Spring on hold. Winds: N 10-20. Wake-up: 39. High: 52
FRIDAY: Partly sunny, getting better. Winds: NE 7-12. Wake-up: 38. High: near 60
SATURDAY: Plenty of sun, liking April again. Winds: SE 5-10. Wake-up: 42. High: 62
SUNDAY: Blue sky, a real Minnesota spring this year? Winds: SW 8-13. Wake-up: 43. High: 65
Quora Question: How is Climate Change Affecting Us Now? Here's an excerpt from Newsweek: "...Climate change is already being felt in innumerable ways today. Climate change is one of the underlying contributors to some of the most major stories of the past decade and is being felt broadly and mostly negatively....
- Regional conflicts: Climate change has increased drought in the middle east, and has contributed to the rise of ISIS and the destabilization of the middle east playing out now. This in turn has led to the millions of Syrian and other refugees in temporary refugee camps in countries outside of the worst impacted areas and the hundreds of thousands of refugees attempting to get to Europe and often drowning.
- Miami is sinking: Many parts of Miami are already experiencing sea water welling up from under foot at king tides and some are experiencing regular flooding at merely high tides. This is with the relatively small amount of sea level rise already experienced. This is an indicator of what is to come.
To These Pastors, Saving the Colorado River is a Divine Command. The New York Times reports.
Educators Decry Conservative Group's Climate "Propaganda" Sent to Schoolteachers. Then again, consider the source, The Heartland Institute, the same group that equated people concerned about climate change with the Unabomber, and assured us that smoking was safe. The very definition of fake news. Here's an excerpt from InsideClimate News: "Science teachers and legislators are fighting back after a conservative advocacy organization mailed false information on climate science to thousands of school science teachers nationwide. After the Heartland Institute began a mass mailing of teaching materials denying the scientific consensus on climate change, lawmakers and teachers' organizations have raised the alarm over what they characterize as propaganda disguised as information. "I am writing to ask you to consider the possibility that the science in fact is not 'settled,'" Heartland Institute's Lennie Jarratt, manager for the institute's Center for Transforming Education, wrote in a cover letter sent to the teachers accompanying the book, Why Scientists Disagree About Global Warming. "If that's the case, then students would be better served by letting them know a vibrant debate is taking place among scientists on how big the human impact on climate is, and whether or not we should be worried about it." These statements are false, as is the book's contention that the overwhelming majority of scientists do not agree on the manmade cause of global warming..."
Image credit: "The Heartland Institute, a libertarian nonprofit organization, has sent mailings discrediting the scientific consensus on climate change to thousands of teachers nationwide." Credit: Rhett Allain via Twitter