56 F. average high on April 14.
80 F. high on April 14, 2016.
.05" rain fell at Twin Cities International Airport as of 7 pm yesterday. No rain fell at KSTC.
April 15, 2002: An early heat wave overtakes Minnesota. Faribault hits 93 degrees, and the Twin Cities would experience their earliest recorded 90 degree temperature with a high of 91.
Few Storms Today - A Fine Easter Sunday - Remembering Our Deadliest Tornado
We don't live in the heart of Tornado Alley but Minnesota is situated along Tornado Cul-de-sac. 2010 brought 113 tornadoes in the Gopher State, most in the USA. F4 tornadoes tracked from Chanhassen to Fridley in 1965.
On this date in 1886 residents of St. Cloud and Sauk Rapids woke up to unimaginable damage and carnage with 72 lives lost. 80 percent of homes in Sauk Rapids were leveled by a wedge tornado the size of 8 football fields. The Mississippi River was temporarily "sucked dry" by the massive funnel. In the words of the Minneapolis Tribune: "This place was today the scene of the most terrible calamity that has ever visited the Northwest."
There's a perception that tornadoes only hit farms, and cities are somehow immune - or that they can't cross rivers. Avoid fake tornado news, rumors and gossip.
With dew points pushing 60F and marginal instability a few strong T-storms may bubble up today. Sunday looks drier and sunnier with mid-60s. Not bad at all for a big holiday
Models hint at a rainy soaking next Tuesday and Thursday, as green-up accelerates. Happy Easter!
Photo credit: "The tornado flattened much of Sauk Rapids." (Photo courtesy mnhs.org).
Image credit: "The streamwise vorticity current, depicted in yellow in this supercomputer simulation, seems to be important to maintaining the strength of a tornado." Photo courtesy of David Bock/NCSA.
Situational Awareness: "Doppler In Your Pocket" We still can't DO anything about the weather but at least we can see those red blobs coming, like never before. Weather information, even Doppler radar, has been democratized - now you can track storms on your TV, your PC, your gaming device and hundreds of weather apps for smartphones, many of them free. Unless you're wandering the Boundary Waters Canoe Area there is NO reason why you should be surprised by bad weather. Traditional media (TV, radio and print) can give you context, perspective and analysis no app will ever provide. But when you're on the golf course or sitting at Target Field and you need a nugget of information NOW, there's no substitute to checking Doppler on your phone. Over time you'll save time, money and aggravation - staying safer in the process.
Fairly Quiet for a Holiday Weekend. Showers and T-storms rumble across the Upper Midwest into Great Lakes and northern New England, but most of the east, south and western USA will experience a quiet weekend; the next wave of showers coming in off the Pacific by Tuesday of next week. 84-hour NAM guidance: NOAA and Tropicaltidbits.com.
Photo credit: "Flooding in Asuncion, Paraguay, brought on by the strong El Nino in 2016." Andres Cristaldo/European Pressphoto Agency.
Pretty impressive warmth, considering it comes just two months after a cooling La Niña event that ended in January 2017. Warmest months on record since 1880 (expressed as departure from the 1951 - 1980 average):
February 2016, 1.32°C
March 2016, 1.28°C
January 2016, 1.13°C
March 2017, 1.12°C
February 2017, 1.10°C
December 2015, 1.10°C
Map credit: Copernicus. "Surface air temperature anomaly for March 2017 relative to the March average for the period 1981-2010. Source: ERA-Interim. (Credit: ECMWF, Copernicus Climate Change Service)"
Photo credit: "
Photo credit: "
45 Separate Atmospheric Rivers During Record West Coast Wet Season. And we're not done just yet, looking at the pattern and the maps. Here's an excerpt from the Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes: "...There have been 45 total atmospheric rivers that have made landfall over the U.S. West coast from 1 October to 31 March 2017. Of the 45 total ARs, 10 have been Weak, 20 have been Moderate, 12 have been Strong, and 3 have been Extreme (Based on IVT magnitude). 1/3 of the landfalling ARs have been “strong” or “extreme”. The large number of ARs that have made landfall over the U.S. West Coast have produced large amounts of precipitation. The Northern Sierra 8-station index is currently at 83.4 inches, which is just 5.1 inches below the wettest year on record with seven months remaining in the water year. The graphic below, from the California Department of Water Resources, highlights this information..."
From Extreme Drought to Record Rain: Why California's Drought-to-Deluge Cycle is Getting Worse. Exhibit A for "weather whiplash". Here's a clip from The Los Angeles Times: "...The dry periods are drier and the wet periods are wetter,” said Jeffrey Mount, a water expert and senior fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California. “That is consistent with what the climate simulations are suggesting would be a consequence for California under a warming planet.” Warming global temperatures can have a profound effect on weather patterns across the planet. Changing the distribution of warmth in the ocean drives changes in the atmosphere, which ultimately decides how much precipitation gets to California, Mount said. Warm weather worsened the most recent five-year drought, which included the driest four-year period on record in terms of statewide precipitation. California’s first-, second- and third-hottest years on record, in terms of statewide average temperatures, were 2014, 2015 and 2016..."
Map credit: "Snow everywhere: Sierra snow totals." (National Weather Service).
California Overcame 1 in 100 Odds to Beat Its Epic Drought. WIRED has the details.
Photo credit: "A worker takes a bath from the water of a bore pump on a hot summer day during a heat wave in Gurgao, India, on May 29, 2015." Credit: REUTERS/Anindito Mukherjee
More details on the April 21, 1967 tornado outbreak from the Chicago office of the National Weather Service.
Smoke-nado? Check out the footage of a smoke-whirlwind, triggered by intense updrafts sparked by wildfires in Nebraska. Video courtesy of Twitter and WeatherNation.
Great Lakes Water Piped to Southwest "Our Future" Says NASA Scientist. I hope I'm not around for this (inevitable) scuffle over water. Here's an excerpt from Detroit Free Press: "The idea is as old and dusty as the desert Southwest: Pipe abundant Great Lakes water to parched cities out West, such as Phoenix and Las Vegas. The idea's been dismissed for as long as it's been pitched, with adamant opposition from Great Lakes states, whose representatives crafted a pact with Canada just to stop such a thing. But the latest person to see large-scale Great Lakes water diversions as a future likelihood might make some in the Midwest do a double take — the chief water scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. Jay Famiglietti, a hydrologist and senior water scientist at JPL, raised the possibility in an April 4 interview with ideastream.org, a nonprofit owner and operator of Cleveland public broadcasting stations. Famiglietti was in Ohio to speak as part of a lecture series at Case Western Reserve University..."
Great Lakes file image: NASA.
Americans Used a Lot Less Coal in 2016. Details from Climate Central and Scientific American: "Coal in the U.S. is like landline telephones and fax machines — it was everywhere decades ago, but tastes, technology and the market have moved on. So it was little surprise when the federal government reported this week that U.S. coal use fell 9 percent in 2016, even as Americans consumed more energy overall. The U.S. used more natural gas and renewables last year than ever before, while oil use and even nuclear power were on the rise, too. But coal? Not so much. Coal use fell last year for the third year in a row — after slight increases in 2012 and 2013 — and has been steadily declining in the U.S. since it peaked a decade ago, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration data..."
Photo credit: Kimon Berlin Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Photo credit: " Chandler Markie WYMT, Mountain News.
Cybersecurity Attacks Could Sink a Largely Unprepared Energy Industry. The Advocate explains some of the vulnerabilities in current fossil fuel energy systems: "...Houmb noted that about 75 percent of all breaches are caused by "insiders." The source can be an engineer doing some maintenance work who unknowingly opens a company's network via a virus-compromised computer. A lot of Houmb's work involves training employees on risks, she said. She recommends that oil and gas companies streamline the amount of data an employee needs to do his job. Ideally, if the system is not performing normally, it should help the worker determine whether there's a software problem, a hardware problem or an attack, Houmb said. Gonzalez said there's so much information in an oil and gas operations that it can be overwhelming — for example, sensors at every level of the process can capture data..."
File image: George Widman, Associated Press.
Tech World Ignores DC and Doubles-Down on Renewables. Climate Nexus has the overview and links: "As Trump doubles down on coal, some of the country's largest tech companies are forging ahead with their own plans to reduce emissions and use renewable energy. Cloud computing company Salesforce said Thursday it has achieved net zero carbon emissions in its direct operations and will provide a "carbon neutral cloud" for its customers by offsetting indirect emissions along its supply chain. Apple announced Thursday that seven of its suppliers have now pledged to use 100 percent renewable energy. And Microsoft made an agreement this week to bypass Washington's largest private utility to buy clean power. The tentative arrangement with Puget Sound Energy, which sources 60 percent of its energy from fossil fuels, will allow Microsoft to purchase wind, solar and hydroelectric power from other electricity suppliers." Salesforce: Mashable, SF Gate. Apple: Bloomberg.
Microsoft: Seattle Times
Solar Installers Struggle as Panels Become Cheap Enough to Own. Falling prices are good for consumers (and companies) but not so good for professional installers, according to The Wall Street Journal: "Solar panels are more affordable than ever for U.S. homeowners, and that is bad news for the biggest players in the industry. The price of solar panels dropped by 20% in the past year thanks in part to a global glut of panels and better technology, according to GTM Research, accelerating a shift among homeowners to buy panels rather than lease them. For a six-kilowatt residential array, the average price fell 17% to $17,340, according to GTM. More than half of U.S. homeowners now buy their panels with cash or a loan, rather than sign a lease or power purchase agreement, up from 38% of home installations in 2015..." (File image: Greentech Media).
Image credit: Santorini, Greece, has been taking advantage of white paint and cool roofs for thousands of years.
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons.
An Unearthly Sight. Check out a lunar eclipse and the Milky Way, courtesy of NASA and the International Space Station. Awe-inspiring.
TODAY: Peeks of sun, mild and humid. Few strong T-storms. Winds: SW 5-10. High: 71
SATURDAY NIGHT: Lingering showers and T-storms, especially southern MN. Low: 46
EASTER SUNDAY: Partly sunny, much nicer with a drop in humidity. Winds: W 10-20. High: 66
MONDAY: Lingering sunshine, still pleasant. Winds: NW 7-12. Wake-up: 42. High: 62
TUESDAY: Heavy showers and T-storms. Winds: S 10-20. Wake-up: 48. High: 59
WEDNESDAY: Sunny start, rain arrives late. Winds: E 8-13. Wake-up: 43. High: 57
THURSDAY: Rain tapers to showers, chilly. Winds: NE 10-15. Wake-up: 41. High: 49
FRIDAY: Mix of clouds and sun, better. Winds: NE 5-10. Wake-up: 40. High: 59
Four Seasons of Warming. During meteorological winter Minnesota is the fastest warming state in the USA, according to data compiled by Climate Central: "Climate change is driving up the temperature around the year and around the globe, but topography, weather patterns and snow cover — among other factors — yield regional differences for warming. In the U.S., that means winters are warming fastest from Montana to Florida, springs are cranking up the quickest in the Southwest, and falls are feeling the heat in the Northwest. Then there’s the Lone Star State as the lone place where summer is warming the fastest. If you look at all four seasons across all of the Lower 48 states — for a grand total of 192 state-season combinations — there are only three instances of cooling. The Dakotas and Iowa are cooling ever so slightly in summer. Otherwise, there’s only one direction temperatures have gone: up. Snow cover in particular plays a role in why winters are heating up so fast from Montana to North Carolina. Or more specifically, it’s a lack thereof..."
Earth Day in the Age of Trump. Elizabeth Kolbert writes for The New Yorker: "...If you don’t believe in global coöperation because “America comes first,” then you’re faced with a dilemma. You can either come up with an alternative approach—tough to do—or simply pretend that the problem doesn’t exist. “Climate change denial is not incidental to a nationalist, populist agenda,” Erickson argues. “It’s central to it.” She quotes Andrew Norton, the director of the International Institute for Environment and Development, in London, who observes, “Climate change is a highly inconvenient truth for nationalism,” as it “requires collective action between states.” This argument can, and probably should, be taken one step further. The fundamental idea behind the environmental movement—the movement that gave us Earth Day in the first place—is that everything, and therefore everyone, is connected..."
Photo credit: "Harvard University Republican Club members listen to a speaker at a meeting in Harvard Hall, September 6, 2016." Declan Garvey/Harvard Republican Club/Handout via Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Climate Change Upsets Lives Guided by Nature, Native Americans Say. Here's an excerpt from a story at Reuters: "The impacts of climate change stretch from the loss of polar bear habitat to African crop failures to threatening a seasonal festival among Native Americans that they believe is critical to keep the world in balance. The traditional calendar of the Tohono O'odham nation, whose reservation straddles the U.S.-Mexican border, starts with the summer solstice. The ensuing months follow the pace of nature. "Right now, the seasons are offset because of global warming," Verlon Jose, vice chairman of the nation of 34,000 people, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation during a recent visit to the reservation. "The weather is crazy. So is the calendar," he said..."
Haboob file image: Arizona Department of Public Safety.
How Can Cities Double Down on Fighting Climate Change? The Architects Newspaper has details: "It’s widely accepted that climate change affects us all, and cities in particular. So what are some of the most vulnerable cities doing to adapt to rising seas and extreme weather events? Three experts from three cities—all of whom are current or former government officials—zeroed in on cities’ responses to climate change in their respective regions at a mini Columbia GSAPP conference titled Cities and Climate Action. They were: Jeffrey Hebert, from New Orleans; Adam Freed, from New York; and Rodrigo Rosa of Rio de Janeiro, a visiting scholar at Columbia University and a legislative consultant in the Brazil Federal Senate. Climate change, the experts agreed, is addressed not just through the environment—destructive hurricanes or deadly heat waves—but through a city’s culture, economy, and landscape..."
Photo credit: "How can cities double down on the climate change fight? Three experts share ideas. Pictured here: Even inland cities are vulnerable to the effects of climate change—downtown Nashville is shown here after record flooding in 2010." (Courtesy Kaldari / Wikimedia Commons).
Photo credit: Jeffery Wright/Flickr.