Saturday Slush Potential: Heaviest South of MSP

If anyone, anywhere, tells you a weather-horror story, odds are you can one-up them. One of many reasons to call Minnesota home? We have weather-boasting-rights for the free world. And the parts that aren’t free, too.

Friend and climate historian Mark Seeley reports the May Minnesota daily snowfall record belongs to Dodge Center, where 15.4 inches fell on May 2, 2013. I’ve observed that stoic, good-natured Minnesotans
lose their sense of humor when it snows on their green lawns.

Saturday’s forecast isn’t nearly as shriek-worthy, at least for the immediate Twin Cities metro, where an inch or two of slush may pile up on some lawns. Precipitation will start as rain, then switch over to wet snow; heaviest over far southern counties, where over 6 inches may accumulate.

I know, farmers are once again being tormented by another soggy spring; getting out into the fields is difficult to impossible.

Expect blue sky today; hints of early March tomorrow, and a few days in the 40s next week. 60s and 70s return by the second week of May. I pray.

WRF Model Output. The WRF is predicting less snow for the MSP metro area, closer to 1-3″ with a fairly sharp north-south snowfall gradient right over the Twin Cities. Some 6″ amounts south of the Minnesota River? We’ll see. Map credit:

Uneasy Snowfall Consensus? The 00z NAM is an outlier with 5″ on Saturday, another few inches of snow on Sunday. But most (NOAA) models are settling into a range from a coating to 2″, which seems realistic, since we expect a mix of rain and snow, ground temperatures are relatively mild, and a high sun angle may keep freeways mainly wet. Graphic: Iowa State.

A More Springlike Second Week of May. After a cool start to May next week temperatures mellow, with 60s and 70s fairly commonplace by the second week of May.

Cyclone Kenneth Threatens Africa – Will The World Pay Attention This Time? A major hurricane may strike the same regions impacted by Cyclone Idai last month, according to Dr. Marshall Shepherd at Forbes: “…Where is Kenneth expected to go? The answer to this question is worrisome because it seems to be headed to the same region of Africa still recovering from Idai. The Joint Typhoon Warning Center is a United States Department of Defense unit responsible for tropical cyclone forecasts in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, respectively. Their forecasters expect the storm to move west then more west-southwest and strengthen to 121 mph winds before making landfall in northern Mozambique, according to NASA. On the Saffir-Simpson scale, such winds would make Kenneth a category 3 or “major” storm…”

Tornado Trends. Climate Central has an interesting update focused on a possible south/eastward shift in traditional Tornado Alley; here’s an excerpt: “…There has been a subtle but detectable increase in tornado risk over the past few decades. Let’s be clear, tornadoes are not going away in the Plains and Upper Midwest, but more have been recorded east of the Mississippi. While there are connections to climate variability modes like ENSO, these overall trends are consistent with an eastward shift in the drier climate zone of the western U.S. and with climate change projections indicating that severe storm environments will become more common in the eastern U.S. The number of tornadoes in large tornado outbreaks is also on the rise. In one study defining an outbreak as having six or more tornadoes in a six-hour period, there are about five more E/F1+ tornadoes in the largest outbreaks now than in the 1950s, and another study showed that the number of days with 30+ tornadoes has also been increasing. One possible reason for the increase is that the weather environments that produce severe storms are occurring more often…”

More Big Hurricanes Are Coming, and North Carolina Needs to Prepare, a New Report Says. Raleigh News and Observer has the story: “Hurricanes are getting worse, but residents, businesses and governments aren’t doing enough to avoid repeated losses from future floods, according to a new report. Zurich North America, a risk management and insurance company, the Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance, and ISET-International, a policy group that does research on climate change and disaster risk, released the report Tuesday. It says “huge, wet, slow” storms — Hurricanes Floyd, Matthew, Harvey and Florence are examples — are strengthened by climate change and becoming more frequent. “There is reason to believe that, at least for the foreseeable future, damages from storms such as Florence may get worse,” the report says...”

September 13, 2018 Hurricane Florence image: Praedictix and AerisWeather.

Reconsidering Hurricane Resilience. A link to the report from Zurich Insurance is here.

Read more here:

Almost Half of Americans are Breathing Unsafe Air: Report. Daily Beast has details: “About 141 million Americans are breathing unsafe air, according to a new report. That’s seven million more than last year. The American Lung Association reports that 43% of Americans are now living in places where they are breathing dirty air. Conditions are believed to be getting worse as global temperatures rise because more wildfires are spewing smoke across the country and more smog is forming on warmer days. “We’re seeing in this year’s report the impacts of climate change on air quality in really stunning terms,” said Paul Billings, a vice president for the association…”

File photo credit: Reuters / Eric Thayer.

Best Time to Pee During a Long Movie? There’s an App for That. has the story: “The website has been around for more than a decade, advising movie-goers about the best time — should nature call — to run out for a bathroom break. Still, with this weekend’s release of the three-hour-plus “Avengers: Endgame,” the site/app might be ready for its closeup. “This is as big a movie as we’ve ever done for Runpee,” Dan Gardner, the app’s founder, told CNN, adding that the app has just over 100,000 registered users. Notably, it was another three-hour movie, Peter Jackson’s 2005 remake of “King Kong,” which gave Gardner the idea for the site. As he tells it, he needed to go but didn’t want to exit the theater, lest he miss a key scene.Within a few years, that seed blossomed into an actual website/app, one that provides cues regarding when to leave without missing anything that’s fundamental to the plot or story. It is, of course, a somewhat subjective measure, which explains why the site also solicits feedback from film patrons…”

77.1″ snow so far this winter season in the Twin Cities.

72 F. high yesterday at MSP.

63 F. average high on April 25.

61 F. high on April 25, 2018.

April 26, 1954: Extremely heavy downpours occur in Mora, where nearly 7 inches of rain would fall in a little over 10 hours.

FRIDAY: Sunny, breezy and comfortable. Winds: NW 15-25. High: 59

SATURDAY: Rain and wet snow. Inch or 2 of slush? Winds: E 15-25. Wake-up: 36. High: 38

SUNDAY: Cool and soggy, few rain showers. Winds: SE 8-13. Wake-up: 34. High: 46

MONDAY: Windy, cool and showery. Winds: N 10-20. Wake-up: 36. High: 49

TUESDAY: More clouds than sun, still cool. Winds: E 7-12. Wake-up: 35. High: 51

WEDNESDAY: Raw, periods of rain. Winds: E 10-20. Wake-up: 42. High: 49

THURSDAY: Showers taper, slow clearing. Winds: W 10-20. Wake-up: 44. High: 55

Climate Stories….

Golman Sachs, Bank of England and Treasury Targeted by Climate Activists in London. Reuters has details: “More than 300 environmental activists sowed chaos through London’s financial district on Thursday, gluing themselves to the stock exchange and blocking roads outside the Bank of England and major banks such as Goldman Sachs. The Extinction Rebellion group has spent 11 days disrupting London in a bid to force Britain to act to help avert what they cast as a climate cataclysm. On Thursday, they turned their attention to London’s financial institutions and the City – home to more international banks than any other and the global center for foreign exchange trading…”

Oil & Gas Majors Using Free Rehab Labor: Headlines and links via Climate Nexus: “At least two major oil companies have benefited from free–and likely illegal–labor provided to them by drug rehab companies forcing addicts to work long hours as part of a faulty therapy program, according to a new investigation. A year-long Reveal and Center for Investigative Reporting collaboration shows how Texas rehab nonprofit Cenikor contracted with Shell and Exxon, among other giant corporations, to send addicts to work for free on a refinery and building an oil platform as part of “work-based therapy.” The company received $7 million from work contracts last year, while participants received little actual therapy and often suffered serious injuries on the job. “It’s like the closest thing to slavery,” former Cenikor participant Logan Tullier, who worked 10-hour days at a refinery in dangerously hot conditions, told Reveal. “We were making them all the money.” (Reveal)

How Climate Activists Can Communicate Better. A story at Pacific Standard caught my eye – here’s an excerpt of an interview: “...I actually am not surprised at all that we haven’t taken aggressive national action on this issue, because nobody’s really demanding it yet; not in an organized, powerful way that has a prayer of defeating the special interests that absolutely just want to maintain the status quo. I mean in particular, of course, the fossil fuel industry. It’s willing to spend, and have spent, billions of dollars on public relations to try to keep the status quo right where it is. So when you don’t have a powerful set of citizen voices demanding action against an opponent that has invested a lot of resources, and very strategically, to influence the political system—I can’t say I’m all that surprised that we as a country haven’t moved that much…”

File photo: Michel Euler, AP.

The Uncanny Power of Greta Thunberg’s Climate-Change Rhetoric. Here’s a clip from The New Yorker: “…Yesterday, Thunberg repeated the phrase. “Avoiding climate breakdown will require cathedral thinking,” she said. “We must lay the foundation while we may not know exactly how to build the ceiling.” In Westminster, Thunberg’s words were shaming. Brexit is pretty much the opposite of cathedral thinking. It is a process in which a formerly great country is tearing itself apart over the best way to belittle itself. No one knew what to say to Thunberg, or how to respond to her exhortations. Her microphone check was another rhetorical device. “Did you hear what I just said?” she asked, in the middle of her speech. The room bellowed, “Yes!” “Is my English O.K.?” The audience laughed. Thunberg’s face flickered, but she did not smile. “Because I’m beginning to wonder.”

It’s Starting to Look Like God Won’t Save Us From Global Warming. God gave us free will – and will we have the sense to save ourselves and avoid a worst-case scenario? Here’s a clip from Buzzfeed News: “…Moreover, Taylor said, the outlook of most religions, Eastern and Western alike, is overwhelmingly predisposed to put the environment second to human interests. “The Earth is, at best, a way station to something better, or an encumbrance to be put aside, in many religions,” he said. “The Pope did his best to put his arguments in the spiritual terms of his church, but fundamentally, these are organizations devoted to putting people first.” Aside from some parishes and denominations that have embraced solar panels and recycling, he said, the business of most Christian pastors and preachers is ministering to the flock— seeing them through divorces, funerals, and other pitfalls. “That’s why we have more priests than prophets,” Taylor said. “Being a prophet sucks, frankly. People yell at you, and don’t believe you...”

Image credit: Alex Eben Meyer for BuzzFeed News.

State of the Climate: Heat Across Earth’s Surface and Oceans Mark Early 2019. Zeke Hausfather reports for Carbon Brief: “Global surface temperatures in 2019 are on track to be either the second or third warmest since records began in the mid-1800s, behind only 2016 and possibly 2017. On top of the long-term  warming trend, temperatures in 2019 have been buoyed by a moderate El Niño event that is likely to persist through the rest of the year. That’s one of the key findings from Carbon Brief’s latest “state of the climate” report, a quarterly series on global climate data that now includes temperatures, ocean heat, sea levels, greenhouse gas concentrations, climate model performance and polar ice…”

Image credit: “Monthly global ocean heat content (in zettajoules – billion trillion joules, or 10^21 joules) for the 0-700 metre and 700-2000 metre layers.” Data from Cheng et al 2017, updated through March 2019. Chart by Carbon Brief using Highcharts.

Big Buildings Hurt the Climate. New York City Hopes to Change That. The New York Times has details: “New York City is about to embark on an ambitious plan to fight climate change that would force thousands of large buildings, like the Empire State Building and Trump Tower, to sharply reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The legislation, expected to be passed by the City Council on Thursday, would set emission caps for many different types of buildings, with the goal of achieving a 40 percent overall reduction of emissions by 2030. Buildings that do not meet the caps could face steep fines…”

Photo credit: “Buildings like the Freedom Tower and the Empire State Building could face fines of up to millions of dollars per year if they do not significantly reduce emissions by 2030.” Credit: Karsten Moran for The New York Times.

The Rich Get Richer Under Climate Change, 50 Years of Data Shows. Check out a post at Smithsonian: “…According to the data, global warming has decreased the wealth of individuals in the world’s poorest countries by 17 to 31 percent. Meanwhile, the world’s richest countries, which are responsible for pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, have benefitted from temperature increase. Most wealthy nations became roughly 10 percent richer over the same time period. Overall, the gap between Earth’s wealthiest and poorest nations is 25 percent larger than it would be without warming. “Researchers and policy makers have been saying for many years that the greatest, most acute impacts of global warming are falling on populations least responsible for creating that global warming,” lead author Noah Diffenbaugh, also at Stanford, tells Phil McKenna of Inside Climate News. “We have quantified the effect...”