50 F. maximum temperature yesterday in St. Cloud.
59 F. average high on April 19.
55 F. high on April 19, 2016.
.35" rain fell at St. Cloud yesterday as of 8 pm.
Minnesota's Biggest Weather Killer is Flooding
Expect 2 tests of the emergency outdoor sirens today, at 1:45 pm and 6:45 pm. Remember, the sirens were designed for outdoor use (only). They were never meant to be heard indoors.
Expect 2 tests of the emergency outdoor sirens today, at 1:45 pm and 6:45 pm. Remember, the sirens were designed for outdoor use (only). They were never meant to be heard indoors.
Tornadoes are photogenic, hypnotic and terrifying; they tend to hog media airtime at a local and national level. But lately flooding has been Minnesota's biggest weather killer, with 13 deaths since 1993. Nationwide 75 percent of flash flood deaths occur at night; half of all victims perish in their vehicles, trying to drive through flooded roads. A reminder than 6 inches of moving water can knock you off your feet. 2 feet of water can float your car or SUV, with tragic consequences. NOAA says it best: "turn around - don't drown".
Showers taper today, ending as wet snow over the Minnesota Arrowhead, where a few inches of slush may temporarily annoy the robins. Sunshine returns Friday and Saturday with highs in the low 60s. Clouds build Sunday with more heavy showers and T-storms Monday.
I see a slight cool bias the next 2 weeks, keeping severe outbreaks south of Minnesota. Quiet, siren-free weather for now.
Photo credit: AP.
Flooding: Minnesota's Biggest Weather Killer. Minnesota's Department of Public Safety explains: "Nationally, floods claim nearly 200 lives each year, force 300,000 persons from their homes and result in property damage in excess of $2 billion. In Minnesota, floods kill more people than any other weather event; 15 people have died in floods since 1993. About 75 percent of flash-flood deaths occur at night. Half of the victims die in automobiles or other vehicles. Many deaths occur when people drive around road barricades that clearly indicate that the road is washed out ahead. In 2007, a deadly flood occurred August 18-19 in southeast Minnesota, killing seven people and destroying hundreds of homes and businesses. A state record for rainfall was set at Hokah — 15.1 inches in 24 hours — while several other areas received more than eight inches of rain..." (File image: NOAA).
Statewide Tornado Drills Today. Remember that the sirens are only meant for outdoor use. They were never designed to be heard inside homes, offices, stores and hospitals. Don't rely on just the sirens to get essential warnings. Here's an update on today's siren test from Homeland Security and Emergency Management: "The most important events during Severe Weather Awareness Week are the two annual statewide tornado drills. These drills are scheduled for Thursday, April 20 2017 at 1:45 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. (Counties may chose to opt out of the drills if actual severe weather is possible in the area). Outdoor warning sirens and NOAA Weather Radios will sound in a simulated tornado warning. The first drill is intended for institutions and businesses. The evening drill is intended for second shift workers and families..."
Where To Go During a Tornado Warning. Here's an excerpt of a good summary from the Minnesota Dept. of Safety:
In a House With a BasementAvoid windows. Get in the basement and under some kind of sturdy protection (heavy table or work bench), or cover yourself with a mattress or sleeping bag. Know where very heavy objects rest on the floor above (pianos, refrigerators, waterbeds, etc.) and do not go under them. They may fall down through a weakened floor and crush you.
In a House With No BasementAvoid windows. Go to the lowest floor, small center room (like a bathroom or closet), under a stairwell, or in an interior hallway with no windows. Crouch as low as possible to the floor, facing down; and cover your head with your hands. A bath tub may offer a shell of partial protection. Even in an interior room, you should cover yourself with some sort of thick padding (mattress, blankets, etc.), to protect against falling debris in case the roof and ceiling fail.
In an Apartment, Dorm or Condo
If you live in an apartment that is on an upper floor, get to the lowest level of the building that you can immediately. This could be an underground parking garage or a neighbor’s first floor apartment. Then move to the most interior area possible, away from windows. If you live in a high-rise apartment building, you may not have enough time to get to a lower level, so picking a place in the hallway in the center of your building is the best idea such as a stairwell. If that is not available then a closet, bathroom or interior hall without windows is the safest spot in your apartment during a tornado. Power loss during a tornado storm is common, so avoid elevators and keep a flashlight handy...
Image credit above: Homeland Security.
Bathtubs: Last Line of Tornado Defense. If you don't have a basement the safest place to ride out a tornado is a small, interior room on the ground floor. The more walls between you and the tornado, the better. People have survived tornadoes by hiding in their bathtubs, with a mattress above their heads. You probably won't see a tornado this year but lightning is pervasive. NOAA reminds us to avoid plumbing, windows, doors and porches when lightning is flickering overhead. Smartphones are fine, but stay off corded phones. Your home, office, store or vehicle offers the best protection.
Severe Threat Shifts East. Last night's severe storm outbreak over Nebraska and Iowa may be repeated later today from near Indianapolis and Dayton to Toledo, Cleveland, Detroit and Buffalo, where storms may pack large hail, damaging winds, even an isolated tornado. NOAA SPC has a "slight risk" of severe storms for the Texas and Oklahoma panhandle, as well.
Rainfall Potential. Rainfall totals are forecast to exceed an inch across much of southeastern Minnesota and Wisconsin from this storm; showers tapering off this morning as a drying northwest wind kicks in behind the storm. At the rate we're going your lawn will be roughly this shade of green by Friday afternoon.
No Rest For The Weather-Weary. A line of strong to severe T-storms rumbles across the Ohio Valley today; farther north, deeper into colder air, a shield of rain changes to snow over far northern Michigan. A ridge o f high pressure dries out the west coast for a few days; more mountain snow piles up across the Rockies. 84-Hour 12 KM NAM: NOAA and Tropicaltidbits.com.
Slight Cool Bias. ECMWF guidance continues to show temperatures running a few degrees cooler than average the next 2 weeks, but the metro area should avoid a frost or freeze into early May. Significant warming is likely just to the south of Minnesota, setting up a strong thermal (baroclinic) temperature contrast, one that may support more soggy storms with above average rainfall amounts. Graph: WeatherBell.
Early May: Early Summer Eastern Half of USA. If the GFS forecast for 500 mb winds verifies temperatures may surge into the 70s and 80s as far north as the Twin Cities, Chicago and Detroit by the first week of May.
The Nation is Immersed In Its Warmest Period In Recorded History. Jason Samenow reports at Capital Weather Gang: "The U.S. is enduring a stretch of abnormally warm weather unsurpassed in the record books, and it shows no immediate sign of ending. The latest one-, two-, three-, four- and five year periods — ending in March — rank as the warmest in 122 years of record-keeping for the Lower 48 states, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Freakish bouts of warm weather have accompanied this long period of historic warmth, unlike anything previously experienced. In February of this year, Chicago witnessed multiple 70-degree days for the first time and a record snowless streak. Denver hit 80 degrees as early as it ever has (in a calendar year). Meanwhile, spring arrived as much as three weeks early in the South..."
Graphic credit: "
Squaw Valley, is proposing after an historically snowy winter that surpassed 700 inches of snowfall this week. He’s so sure that this season’s snowfall will stick around, he’s hoping to stay open straight through the summer months and into the 2017-18 winter season. “I’ll drop something on you that you may not be expecting,” Wirth told Truckee Tahoe Radio on Saturday. “We are actually considering staying open through the summer and fall so it becomes the ’16-17-18 season..." (Photo credit: Squaw Valley).Don’t have Fourth of July plans yet? How about a ski weekend … at Lake Tahoe? That’s what Andy Wirth, chief executive officer of
Northern California's Wet Season Now Second Wettest On Record. The Los Angeles Times has details.
Storms, Hail and Lightning. A home, office, store or even a vehicle offers the greatest protection from lightning. Homeland Security and Emergency Management has a good post focused on non-tornado-related thunderstorm threats. Here are a few nuggets:
* On average, nearly 50 people die per year in the United States due to lightning (down from an average of nearly 330 people per year in the 1940’s), and nearly four times as many men are killed as women.
* Lightning causes $1 billion in damage each year.
* Lightning is hotter than the surface of the sun, and can reach temperatures around 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit!
* Hail can exceed softball size (5” diameter) and does even more damage when driven by the wind.
"Heat Lightning"? There's No Such Thing. It's just lightning from a thunderstorm over the horizon reflecting off high cirrus clouds - too far away to hear thunder. Details via NOAA: "The term heat lightning is commonly used to describe lightning from a distant thunderstorm just too far away to see the actual cloud-to-ground flash or to hear the accompanying thunder. While many people incorrectly think that heat lightning is a specific type of lightning, it is simply the light produced by a distant thunderstorm. Often, mountains, hills, trees or just the curvature of the earth prevent the observer from seeing the actual lightning flash. Instead, the faint flash seen by the observer is light being reflected off higher-level clouds. Also, the sound of thunder can only be heard for about 10 miles from a flash."
Lightning Claims More Lives Than Tornadoes. It's true - lightning is the often underrated, ignored weather risk, pervasive to the point where maybe we all let our guard down a little too often. Graphic: Scott County Sheriff.
El Nino: Watching,Waiting For Signs It Could Return. AL.com has an update: "La Nina is history -- but El Nino might not be gone for long. That's according to the latest monthly discussion on the matter from climate researchers. ENSO-neutral conditions prevailed in March, and could continue though at least the rest of the spring, according to the report from a group that includes NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, the National Centers for Environmental Prediction, the National Weather Service and the International Research Institute for Climate and Society. However, researchers believe there are increasing odds of El Nino returning by the late summer or fall..."
Graphic credit: "The tropical Pacific was giving mixed signals in March. Some areas (in blue) were cooler than average while others (in red) were warmer." (NOAA).
Budget Cuts to Weather and Satellite Programs Are Likely to Cost Us a Lot More Than They Save. Here's an excerpt from Pacific Standard: "...Organizations from airlines to the military to your local television station use data from these satellites to make operational decisions, issue forecasts, and warn people about tornadoes, hurricanes, and floods. Scientists also use the data to understand how our local weather patterns are affected by long-term changes in climate. There are several different types of weather satellites operated by the federal government, among which is a set that orbits the Earth’s poles. Polar-orbiting satellites help forecasters see global trends driving the weather in the United States, and the data they produce is critical for making forecasts days in advance.Our weather satellites are the responsibility of two federal agencies, the Department of Defense and the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration, both of which are behind in their efforts to launch the next generation of polar orbiters. If the existing satellites fail before the new ones are in place, we will have a gap in our weather data, which, the GAO warns, “would endanger lives, property, and our nation’s critical infrastructures...”
File image: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
File photo: Randy Widmayer.
Severe Weather Myths, Misses and Misconceptions. Every spring I hear the same stuff from bright, high-functioning adults. "Tornadoes can't hit cities or cross lakes & rivers!" Wrong. "If it's not raining I can't be hit by lightning." Wrong. "It's just "heat lightning" Paul, not a threat!" No such thing as heat lightning; it's just lightning from a distant T-storm, too far away to hear the thunder. 554 tornadoes have already touched down in 2017 (preliminary count), on track to rival record seasons in 2011 and 2008. Fact: 44 percent of Americans killed by tornadoes since 1985 were in mobile homes. Make sure there's a shelter nearby - consider moving to a safer location (office building or a store) when a "watch" is issued.
File photo: NOAA.
Greensburg To Remember Tornado. The tornado that hit Greensburg, Kansas was a monster, a huge, violent wedge torando. Dodge City Daily Globe has a story on efforts to commemorate the 10 year anniversary of that horrible day: "Greensburg was destroyed almost 10 years ago by a deadly tornado. Since then the community has embraced the green in Greensburg. The community will hold several 10th anniversary events beginning May 4 and concluding May 7. City officials are currently trying to finish a sidewalk as part of Starlight Public Art Park, located kitty-corner from city hall..."
Photo credit: "The center of Greensburg is shown on May 17, 2007, in this FEMA photo. the town resembles a bomb site 12 days after it was hit by an EF-5 torando. The community will hold a 10th anniversary event which remembers the night of the tornando, but also the spirit of the community." Photo by Greg Marshall/FEMA.
Climate and the Weather-Sensitive U.S. Economy. Buffalo meteorologist Don Paul has an informative post at The Buffalo News: "...Most people are unaware of just how weather-sensitive our economy is. The insurance industry has some of the numbers. According to the Reinsurance Association of America, an insurance trade association, extreme weather-related losses have gone up 350 percent since 1980. That’s $1.1 trillion in losses. In a study published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, data shows U.S. businesses sustaining about $500 billion in weather-related losses annually, as of 2011. In just one example, NASA’s Langley Research Center reports the airline industry loses at least $100 million annually due to turbulence, which causes flight delays and injuries. Weather is the root cause tied to more than half of all insurance claims, according to the industry. Those costs will inevitably continue to climb because so many are choosing to live in areas prone to more frequent extreme weather..."
Image credit: "Shian-Jiann “S. J.” Lin’s program will power short-term weather forecasts and long-term climate simulations." JEFF FUSCO
EPA Seeks Delay Over Rule Curbing Coal Plants' Toxic Pollution. The Washington Post has an update: "The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday asked a federal court to delay an oral argument in a challenge involving a 2012 regulation limiting the amount of mercury, lead and other airborne toxins emitted from power plants. While the power sector has largely already complied with the rule, several companies and 15 states — including Oklahoma, which was represented by current EPA head Scott Pruitt when he was the state’s attorney general — are seeking to overturn it. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit was set to hear the case on May 18..."
Photo credit: "
See The Best and Worst Places for Breathable Air in the U.S. It turns out the cleanest air isn't always in rural areas, according to new research highlighted at National Geographic: "The air Americans breathe is cleaner than ever, thanks to cleaner power plants and cleaner vehicles. That milestone is all the more impressive when considering progress has been achieved in spite of increases in population, energy use, and miles driven. Yet nearly 40 percent of Americans—125 million people—still live where the air is unhealthy to breathe. Those findings are contained in the American Lung Association’s annual State of the Air report, released Wednesday...Six cities ranked on all three pollutant lists for cleanest cities. They had no high ozone or high particle pollution days, and were among the 25 cities with the lowest year-round particle levels. Five cities are repeaters: Burlington, Vermont, Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Florida, Elmira-Corning, New York, Honolulu, Hawaii, and Melbourne-Titusville-Palm Bay on Florida’s Space Coast..."
Photo credit: Fidel L Soto.
Photo credit: " Berkeley Energy Group
Are You Walking the Path of Successful or Average? Here's the intro to a challenging post at Thrive Global: "What do you believe to be true that most people do not? asks Peter Thiel in his book "Zero To One". This question is genius. Why? Because although we all strive for unconventional levels of financial success, most people think conventionally, leading them nowhere. Thiel’s question forces you to think like a contrarian for a brief powerful moment. Do you own your own life? I ask, because most of us live like we don’t. Thiel’s question is brilliant because the way you answer it tells you what path you’re already on. This is where your life and money get interesting. Let’s go..." (Photo credit: Joshua Earle).
The Stuff Of Your Nightmares: 66-Foot Spider Web. Here's a vaguely horrifying story at Atlas Obscura: "A New Zealand family was shocked Sunday to find that the shimmering waves that had begun to cover their local soccer field were in fact one giant spider web. According to the Otago Daily Times, the 66-foot web is located in Papamoa, about 140 southeast of Auckland, New Zealand. “We thought surely there are no spiders inside that,” Tracey Maris, who discovered the web with her daughter, told the Daily Times. “We walked further up, and our feet started getting stuck in the cobwebs and then we noticed little black things on top..."
TODAY: Showers taper, drying out by afternoon, but nasty. Winds: NW 10-20. High: 49
THURSDAY NIGHT: Partial clearing. Low: 38
FRIDAY: Blue sky, spring stages a comeback. Winds: NE 5-10. High: 61
SATURDAY: Partly sunny, probably nicer day of weekend. Winds: NW 5-10. Wake-up: 40. High: 64
SUNDAY: Clouds increase, probably dry. Winds: E 5-10. Wake-up: 47. High: 62
MONDAY: Heavy showers and T-storms likely. Winds: S 15-25. Wake-up: 50. High: 61
TUESDAY: Partial clear, breezy and cooler. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 45. High: 56
WEDNESDAY: Showery rains south, sun north. Winds: NE 8-13. Wake-up: 42. High: 57
Minnesota Eco Events has a detailed list of events related to Earth Day here.
I'm a Tea Party Conservative. Here's How to Win Over Republicans on Renewable Energy. Vox has a terrific interview with Debbie Dooley: "...Dooley is a conservative, gun-owning Trump supporter who also happens to be a co-founder of the Tea Party. Dooley runs Conservatives for Energy Freedom, where she advocates for the expansion of renewable energy and for cuts to government regulations she believes hinder that growth. Through her efforts, she has even won over unlikely allies such as Al Gore. According to Dooley, the problem with her fellow conservatives is that “they've been brainwashed for decades into believing we're not damaging the environment.” As a result, Dooley speaks with them about renewable energy in a political language conservatives respect, using phrases like energy freedom, energy choice, and national security..."
Photo credit: "Larchmont-Edgewater, a Norfolk, Va. neighborhood frequently plagued by floods. The house in the center has been raised above flood levels, the one at left has not." Benjamin Lowy for The New York Times.
Photo credit: "
File photo: National Park Service.
Image credit: "Miami under a 6-foot sea level rise scenario." Climate Central.