Monday, April 10, 2017

Slushy start on Tuesday (for some) - 60s return later this week

Spring Has Sprung

Signs of spring are becoming more and more evident across the region as perennials are already sprouting and tree buds are getting ready to pop. Keep in mind that the average lilac bloom date is around the 2nd week of May, which isn't far away. Pretty soon you'll be able to fire up the lawn mower and we'll be furiously swatting at skeeters! Enjoy the summer build up, the anticipation is palpable!


Spring Leaf Index Anomaly

According to the USA National Phenology Network, the spring leaf index anomaly suggests that spring has arrived up to 20 days earlier than normal across much of the nation! What is the spring leaf index? Here's an excerpt from USA NPN:  "It is the appearance of the first tiny leaves on the trees, or the first crocus plants peeping through the snow? The Spring Leaf Index is a synthetic measure of these early season events in plants, based on recent temperature conditions. This model allows us to track the progression of spring onset across the country."


Sunday's Thunderstorm Activity

A few strong to severe storms developed across parts of the southern half of Minnesota and into Wisconsin PM Sunday. Here's an image of one of the storms that rolled through the northern Metro, which stayed sub-severe. This particular storm was responsible for gusty winds and some small hail.

Storm Reports Sunday

While there were very many storm reports across Minnesota, there were a few strong storms that developed in southeastern Minnesota that moved into central Wisconsin late Sunday. These storms were responsible for large hail and damaging wind reports there.

Winter Weather Advisory

A Winter Weather Advisory has been issued for parts of Northwest Wisconsin through 7AM Tuesday for the potential of 2" to 4" of slushy snow.

Snowfall Potential

Here's the snowfall potential through Tuesday, which suggests some 2" to near 4" tallies across parts of Northwest Wisconsin, while a slushy coating maybe possible just north of the Metro. 

Precipitation Chances Continue This Week

Here's the weather outlook through AM Saturday, which shows another batch of precipitation moving into the Upper Midwest on Wednesday and once again late Friday/early Saturday.


Precipitation Potential

Here's the precipitation potential into early next week. While the average suggests nearly 0.5", there is a chance that we could see nearly 0.7" in addition to what we had on Monday. 


Record Warmth in the Northeast on Tuesday

Tuesday will be an exceptionally warm day in the Northeast with readings nearly 15F to 20F+ above average. Boston, Mass. is forecasting a high temperature of 81F while the record for April 11th is 78F, which was set in 1955.

Tropical Cyclone COOK

Tropical Cyclone Cook continues in the South Pacific where earlier this week it created flooding in Vanuatu's central islands and hit New Caledonia's main island. Interestingly, Cook became the first  cyclone to directly hit New Caledonia since 2003! Note that this is spinning anti-cyclonically because it is in the southern hemisphere!

Tracking Cook

Here's the forecast for Cook over the next several days. The good news is that Cook looks to move into open waters and away from any major landmass.

"Category three Cyclone Cook hits New Caledonia"

"French media reports at least four injured and 20,000 homes without power in the wake of Cyclone Cook making landfall in New Caledonia. Cyclonic winds and heavy rain buffeted the French island territory in the South Pacific on Monday, prompting residents to seek shelter and halt mining of nickel, its most important export. Local rainfall of up to 300 mm was also reported. "Right now we are in the eye of the storm, it is calm, but before the wind was strong and the rain was heavy," David Sigal told Reuters as he sheltered in the town hall of Poindimie, about 50 km north of where the storm hit land."

(Credit: 1NEWS via


Visible Satellite on Monday
Monday was another cloudy day across much of the state, which featured areas of cold rain mixed with scattered snow showers late in the day. The good news is that sun will return Tuesday with highs back to near average. 60s look to return through the second half of the week and a near 70F high again by Saturday!

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


Active Early Week

Here's the weather outlook through AM Friday, which shows an ongoing thunder threat from the Great Lakes to the Southern Plains on Monday. A few of these storms could be a little on the strong to severe side with locally heavy rainfall. Meanwhile, more Pacific moisture will feed into the Western US with locally heavy rainfall and mountain snow. 

Several Weather Threats Ahead 
While severe weather threats don't look quite as impressive as they did over the last could of weeks, there certainly will be a chance of some isolated strong to severe storms over the next couple/few days. Here's the severe weather threat for Tuesday and Wednesday respectively.

Active Start to April
According to NOAA's SPC, there have been nearly 1,000 severe weather reports through April 8th! While most of the reports have been either hail or wind reports, 78 of those have been tornadoes!

Average Number of April Tornadoes by State

According to NOAA's SPC, here are the average number of April tornadoes by state. Note that Texas averages nearly 30 tornadoes, while California and Idaho, surprisingly, average 1!

2017 PRELIMINARY Tornado Count
According to NOAA's SPC, the PRELIMINARY tornado count for 2017 is at 512 (thru April 9). Interestingly, this is the highest number of tornado reports (thru April 9) since 2008 when 563 tornadoes were reported through that time frame. The 2005-2015 average number of tornado reports through April 9 is 286.
Slush or 90s? A Minnesota April Can Go Either Way
I find it charming and vaguely amusing when people in other (duller) zip codes around the United States share weather stories. The Plains see bigger tornadoes; the Gulf coast experiences Texas-size hurricanes. But when it comes to wild extremes look no further than Minnesota.
The biggest temperature swings take place near the center of continents, well away from the moderating effects of water. April can bring over a foot of snow in a single day - and 90s. Floods, blizzards, wildfires, shrieking tornadoes and boots full of slush! The MSP metro sees an average of 2.4 inches of snow in April. Morning slush this time of year is business as usual.
Any wintry memories give way to blue sky and low 50s Tuesday, a baby-step in the right direction. Showery rains brush Minnesota Wednesday, with heavier T-storms popping on Friday ahead of a warmer front. If everything goes just right we may sample 70 degrees Saturday afternoon as we stagger into spring.
April extremes? Absolutely. But still no earthquakes, tsunamis or volcanoes. The weather may be volatile but the ground underfoot is firm.
Extended Forecast:
TUESDAY: Partly sunny. Better. Winds: NW 5-10. High: 53
TUESDAY NIGHT: Mostly clear and quiet. Winds: W 5. Low: 39.
WEDNESDAY: More clouds. A few showers nearby. Winds: S 8-13. High: 59.
THURSDAY: Intervals of sun, a nicer day. Winds: E 7-12. Wake-up: 43. High: 62.
FRIDAY: Showers likely. A few t-storms. Winds: SE 10-20. Wake-up: 47. High: 61.
SATURDAY: Damp start, then some mild PM sun. Winds: W 7-12. Wake-up: 57. High: 69.
SUNDAY: Partly sunny, a bit cooler. Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 47. High: 60.
MONDAY: Fading sun, closer to average temps. Winds: SE 7-12. Wake-up: 38. High 58.
This Day in Weather History
April 11th
1929: An intense downpour occurs in Lynd, Minnesota (near Marshall), where 5.27 inches of rain would fall in 24 hours.
Average High/Low for Minneapolis
April 11th
Average High: 56F (Record: 83F set in 1968)
Average: Low: 35F (Record: 12F set in 1940)
*Record Snowfall: 5.7" set in 1929
Sunrise Sunset Times For Minneapolis
April 11th
Sunrise: 6:34am
Sunset: 7:53pm
*Daylight Gained Since Yesterday: ~3 minutes & 2 seconds
*Daylight Gained Since Winter Solstice (December 21st): ~4 hours & 35 minute

Moon Phase for April 10th at Midnight
0.0 Days after Full Pink Moon
Why is it  the full pink moon? Here's an excerpt from "April 11, 2:08 a.m. EDT – Full Pink Moon. The grass pink orchid, or wild ground phlox, is one of the earliest and most ubiquitous flowers of spring. Other names were the Full Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon and — among coastal tribes — the Full Fish Moon when the shad come upstream to spawn. In 2017, this is also the Paschal Full Moon; the first full moon of the spring season. The first Sunday following the Paschal Moon is Easter Sunday, which indeed will be observed five days later on Sunday, April 16."
Weather Outlook For Tuesday
High temperatures on Tuesday will be a little warmer than they were on Tuesday. After a bit of a chilly start, we should have no problem getting back into the 50s across much of the state. A few 40s may linger across the Arrowhead and across northern Wisconsin, but we're heading in the right direction!
Weather Outlook For Tuesday
Winds subside quite a bit on Tuesday and switch out of the west. By Wednesday, winds will be out of the south and it might be just enough to get us close to 60F once again.
 Weather Outlook For Tuesday
Here are the weather conditions around midday Tuesday, which suggests sunnier skies returning to much of the state. After a few cloudier days, the sun will feel nice. Enjoy it because we looked to get brushed by a few showery rains later Wednesday. 

Precipitation Potential

Here's another look at the precipitation potential over the next several days, which suggests another round of potentially heavier rains across southeastern Minnesota and into Wisconsin. Note that some locations across extreme southeastern Minnesota could see an additional 1"+ or rainfall through the early weekend.

Extended Temperature Outlook for Minneapolis
Here's the temperature outlook through April 25th, which temperatures taking a bit of a hit Monday and Tuesday in the wake of a storm system. However, the extended forecast brings a string of 60s & 70s back in by the second half of the week and upcoming weekend. We may even stay that warm through the 3rd full week of April! Note that the average high temperatures in the Twin Cites on April 10th is 55F, while the average high on April 25th is 63F!
______________________________________________________________________________8 to 14 Day Temperature Outlook
According to NOAA's CPC, the 8 to 14 day temperature outlook suggests that the warmer than average temperatures will sag a little farther south from April 19th - April 23rd, while cooler than average weather may sneak in across the High Plains.

High Temperature Tuesday

Temperatures on Tuesday will still be very warm across parts of the Eastern US with near record warmth from Boston to the Mid-Atlantic States. Meanwhile, after a brief cool down, temperatures will be on the rise across the Upper Midwest. Note there will be a few summer like 90s across southern Arizona!

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 remain in place across the southern half of the nation, while the cooler than average weather will be found in the Northwest and Northeast.

National Weather Outlook
Here's the weather outlook through midweek, which a cold front sweeping through the Eastern US over the next couple of days with widely scattered showers and storms on its leading edge. Temperatures will cool down briefly in the wake of the front before warming as another system moves into the mid-section of the nation. Weather conditions in the Western US will also remain active with another round of heavier coastal rain and mountain snow.

5 Day Precipitation Forecast
According to NOAA's WPC, the 5 day precipitation forecast suggests heavy precipitation across parts of the Central and Western US through the early weekend. Some spots across southern Texas could see up to 4", while some spots in California could see as much as 4" to 5"+ of liquid.
Snowfall Potential
Here's the snowfall potential over the next several days, which shows snow accumulations continuing in the Western US with colder than average temperatures persisting there. Meanwhile, minor slushy accumulations will wrap up across the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes Region by Tuesday.
"Today's hurricanes kill way fewer Americans, and NOAA’s satellites are the reason why"
The researchers found that between 1970 and 2004, an average of around 20 people died from hurricanes each year. But if forecasts were as faulty as they were in the 1950s, they estimated that 200 people would have died each year, simply because significantly more people had settled into the path of destructive cyclones. “The bottom line is that the number of deaths have been going down, but the coastal population has been going up,” says Hugh Willoughby, the study's lead author and a hurricane researcher at Florida International University. With better predictions, these vulnerable, swelling populations have more time to flee than they did 50 years ago. “What was really happening before 1970 is that every few years there was storm that would kill a few hundred people—sometimes more and sometimes less,” says Willoughby. “Since 1970 we’ve done a really good job of reducing those events.”
See more from Popular Science HERE:
(Hurricane Katrina at its peak intensity. With advanced warnings, most New Orleans residents evacuated before the storm hit. Credit: NOAA)

________________________________________________________________________"Hacking blamed for emergency sirens blaring across Dallas early Saturday"
"Dallas officials blame computer hacking for setting off emergency sirens throughout the city early Saturday. Rocky Vaz, director of Dallas' Office of Emergency Management, said that all 156 of the city's sirens were activated more than a dozen times. Officials don't know who was responsible for the hacking, but Vaz said "with a good deal of confidence that this was someone outside our system" and in the Dallas area. The city has figured out how the emergency system was compromised and is working to prevent it from happening again, he said. It's a "very concerning" issue that Dallas has never faced. Although Vaz said that identifying who sounded the sirens will be like "finding a needle in a haystack," Mayor Mike Rawlings said authorities will "find and prosecute whomever is responsible.""
See more from DallasNews HERE:

______________________________________________________________________________"A Brain-Invading Parasite Is Believed to Be Spreading Because of Humans"
Health officials in Hawaii have been warning residents not to touch snails or slugs with their bare hands because of an increase in cases of people coming into contact with a rare parasitic infection known as a rat lungworm. Experts are blaming its sudden spread across the United States on climate change and globalization. In the last two decades, there have only been two documented cases of rat lungworm infections in Hawaii. But in the past three months, six more cases have occurred in rapid succession. Other states where it has recently popped up include California, Alabama, Louisiana and Florida. According to the Atlantic, the first known case of the disease occurred in Taiwan in 1944 but in the past few years, it’s believed to have spread to the U.S. by way of rats in cargo ships.
See more from Gizmodo HERE:
(Snails are a known carrier of rat lungworm disease Photo: Getty via Gizmodo)
____________________________________________________________________________"Americans Used A Lot Less Coal in 2016; Here’s Why:"
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. The ongoing decline is occurring even as the Trump administration promotes coal as a way to boost energy independence and bring back jobs, two goals that most experts say are fallacies.
See more from Climate Central HERE:
(A coal mine in West Virginia. Credit: James Holloway/flickr via Climate Central)
______________________________________________________________________"Climate Change Is Ruining Farmers’ Lives, But Only A Few Will Admit It"
When Christina Carter started growing vegetables 12 years ago, she looked forward to winters because they offered her the chance to recover from the strenuous growing and harvesting seasons. That’s no longer the case. Summers are hotter and stormier than they used to be, and fall never seems to come. A true winter also seems to be a thing of the past, but that doesn’t mean spring won’t bring the occasional surprise hailstorm. Today, Carter, who owns and operates the Ten Mile Farm in Old Fort, North Carolina, is managing crops and dealing with repairs and maintenance to her farm year-round. “We used to have December, January and February off,” Carter said with a laugh. Carter said she believes climate change is to blame for such extremes, and making her farm more adaptable to such wild weather has been on her mind practically from the start. It’s the reason she grows a rotating variety of some 60 different vegetables, uses cover crops and avoids pesticides and fertilizers made with chemicals.
See more from HuffingtonPost HERE:
(CREDIT: TEN MILE FARM via HuffingtonPost)
_____________________________________________________________________________"10 WAYS CLIMATE CHANGE IS AFFECTING OUR LIVES"
1.) Agriculture: Defined as the science of farming, including the cultivation of soil and the rearing of animals to provide food, wool, etc., agriculture relies solely on a dependable and healthy ecosystem. And with climate change, comes unreliability. Agriculture is greatly impacted by the rising temperatures and the higher potential of droughts or floods that come with the changing ecosystem. While many of us simply buy our food and move on with our days, it is important to recognize the energy and effort that goes behind the contents of our grocery stores. U.S. farms supply nearly 25% of all grains on the global market, which means that not only is U.S. agriculture vital in the production of food, but it has a great deal of an impact on the economy as well. Effect: Rising food costs
See more from HERE:

_______________________________________________________________"Trump moves to open Atlantic coast to oil drilling for first time in more than 30 years"
The White House is taking steps that could open up new areas of the Atlantic and Arctic oceans to offshore oil and gas drilling, according to multiple individuals briefed on the proposal. The White House is considering an executive order instructing the Interior Department to reverse President Barack Obama’s withdrawal of hundreds of millions of offshore acres from future drilling in December. The executive order — which could come out in the next few weeks — represents President Trump’s latest attempt to promote domestic energy exploration by rolling back restrictions put in place by previous administrations, though it would take considerable time for Interior to carry out aspects of the proposed directive. [On its way out, Obama administration moves to slam the door shut on Arctic drilling] Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on Thursday, in an address to the annual meeting of the National Ocean Industries Association, confirmed that there was an executive order addressing offshore, “on the way … likely next week,” according to Nicolette Nye, a spokeswoman for the group.
See more from WashingtonPost HERE:
(Surrounded by miners from Rosebud Mining, President Trump signs the Energy Independence Executive Order rolling back measures enacted by predecessor Barack Obama.)
(Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images via WashingtonPost)


____________________________________________________________________________"California governor lifts drought emergency"
PALM SPRINGS, Calif. — California Gov. Jerry Brown announced the end of the state’s drought emergency Friday, stressing that water conservation must be a permanent part of life as the state adapts to climate change and prepares for the next drought. Brown lifted the state of emergency in most of the Golden State after one of its wettest winters on record, which brought heavy snowfall to the Sierra Nevada and refilled reservoirs. “This drought emergency is over, but the next drought could be around the corner,” Brown said in a statement. “Conservation must remain a way of life.”
See more from USA Today HERE:
(Snow covering the Sierra Nevadas is seen April 3, 2017, in the background of the PG&E hydroelectric dam at Spaulding Lake in Nevada County, Calif. The utility held its monthly winter season snow survey to help determine how much water from snowmelt will be available to provide hydroelectric energy, and the survey showed snowpack to be 160% of normal for this location at this time of the year.)
(Photo: Rich Pedroncelli, AP via USA Today)

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