Soaking Rain Likely By Wednesday

With Canada cooling off rapidly, late October can bring jaw-dropping storms. California went from extreme drought to Biblical flooding in the meteorological blink of an eye: reports of mudslides, flooding, and 5-10 feet of snow in the mountains.

Meanwhile a powerful Nor’easter may bring hurricane-force gusts to southern New England later today. I’m counting my blessings, atmospheric and otherwise.

We salvage a breezy, blue-sky Tuesday with highs in the 50s. No small feat, considering today’s sun angle is the same as it was back on February 16, when the metro woke up to -15F. That still stings.

Then again, October weather has been typical of September: 7F warmer than average at MSP with 13 days above 70F and only one night below freezing. Will we make up for that in February 2022? No idea, but nothing surprises me anymore.

A soaking rain is likely Wednesday- Thursday with 1-2 inch amounts. Saturday looks nice with highs near 60F, but a cooler, vaguely horrifying breeze may blow on Sunday. Scary…

Tuesday Future Clouds/Precipitation

Fine Tuesday – Rain Arrives Wednesday. The soggy remains of the storm that battered the west coast will weaken as they cross the Rockies, but hold together long enough for an extended rain event (yep, all rain this time around) Wednesday into Thursday with potentially significant, 1-inch-plus rainfall amounts by Friday morning.

Back To The 50s. Expect 50s this week, even with the rain Wednesday and Thursday, with a slight chance of sampling 60 degrees Saturday afternoon. Temperatures will trend cooler next week with a run of 40s likely.

ECMWF Temperatures for MSP
NOAA GFS Temperatures for MSP

Mild(er) Signal Reemerges by Mid-November. We’ll see a few hardier shots of Canadian air the first week of November, but GFS model guidance suggests a return of ridging over the northern Rockies and southern Canada in roughly 2 weeks, as a classic omega-block pattern proves resilient, with a tendency toward stormy weather for the east and west coast.


October Snowfall. Rapid City gets the Golden Snow Shovel Award with over 5” of snow; the only Minnesota reporting station seeing flurries so far this month is Duluth.

Satellite view of the bomb cyclone swirling off the coast of the Pacific Northwest and the atmospheric river affecting California on Oct. 24.

“Atmospheric River” Swings Northern California from Drought to Flood. Like flipping on a light switch, according to a post at “A series of powerful “atmospheric river” storms are delivering historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest. The atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, was causing Northern California to whiplash from drought to flood, as it slowly moved south overnight. It’s triggered widespread power outages, flooding and mudslides. The storm system claimed the lives of two people in Washington state after a tree fell on a vehicle amid powerful winds Sunday. The storm is associated with a record-strong “bomb cyclone” off the Pacific Northwest, which was forecast to remain at sea. But it’s bringing wind gusts of up to 60-70 mph and greater than 40-foot waves off the coasts of northern California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia…”

CNN Graphic

Official NOAA Forecast Includes Possible Impacts of Brewing La Nina. has an overview; here’s a clip: “…A wetter-than-normal season is forecast for portions of the Midwest, Ohio Valley and New England, as well, NOAA said. La Niña could impact the drought “significantly,” NOAA said. “There tends to be below-normal precipitation along the southern tier of the US, and with that being the expectation for what we are favoring in the outlook, we do expect the drought to persist along many places in the Southwest,” Gottschalck said. Even with a stronger monsoon season in the Southwest, that wasn’t enough to quell the drought. But remember: This is a seasonal outlook — not the day-to-day forecast. There will be extreme variability in the day-to-day forecast, including extremely cold days in the South, as well as drier weeks in the North...”

Paul Douglas

If Clouds Are Made of Water, How Do They Stay in the Air? (paywall) has a wonky post filled with wonderful math that explains what’s really happening; here is a clip: “…So, imagine a wind blowing a tiny drop of water upward at a speed of 1.5 m/s. The upward-pushing air resistance can have the same magnitude as the downward gravitational force. The drop will have zero velocity and zero net force. It will just stay there. So this is what is happening with the clouds: The water droplets are small enough that the upward-pushing force of the air can keep them suspended aloft. But it can’t keep them at the same altitude forever. Any droplet with a large enough radius will eventually get overwhelmed by the downward pull of gravity. Basic physics shows that clouds don’t have to float—they fall, but they fall really slowly…”

Bryce Jones, head of Flash Forest, says drones are “an incredibly practical tool to do things we could never do otherwise.”
Flash Forest

A Few Idealistic Canadians Are Trying to Replant the World’s Forests with Flying Machines. A clever use of drone technology, as outlined at The Washington Post (paywall): “…While many think of drones as a toy or, worse, a lethally precise military tool, Flash Forest has gone the other way: It’s deploying drones to nourish life. The 20-person Toronto company is using a fleet of unmanned vehicles to plant (more accurately, carpet-bomb) the landscape with tree seeds and replenish those majestic carbon guzzlers. The battle against climate change can be waged with sober policymaking, an engaged citizenry and corporate responsibility. It can also be fought, it turns out, by a few hipster millennials with flying machines. “Drones have been featured in science fiction for so long, I understand why people don’t always think of them in terms of solving our problems,” Jones said. “But they’re an incredibly practical tool to do things we could never do otherwise...”

Kelley Blue Book, Paul Horn, Inside Climate News

Inside Clean Energy: Electric Vehicles Are Having a Banner Year. Here Are the Numbers. Inside Climate News reports: “Electric vehicle sales have made a leap this year in the United States. From January to September, U.S. consumers bought 305,324 all-electric vehicles, an increase of 83 percent from the same period in 2020, according to Kelley Blue Book. With this bump in sales, all-electric vehicles are now 2.6 percent of all new light duty cars and trucks sold in the country, up from 1.6 percent at this time last year. Those are huge gains. But when I spoke with auto analysts this week, they said 2021 is only an appetizer for what is coming in 2022. The increase in sales this year came despite major challenges, including a short-term shortage of computer chips that has led to production delays, and long-term regional differences that mean the EV market barely exists in much of the country...”

Paul Douglas

The Coming Electric Car Disruption That Nobody’s Talking About. The only predictable thing is change, as highlighted in a post at Yahoo! News; here’s an excerpt that caught my eye: “…Making the massive batteries that line the bottom of electric cars promises to employ thousands. But where a conventional car’s engine and transmission have hundreds of parts, some electric-vehicle powertrains have as few as 17, according to the Congressional Research Service. That doesn’t take into account the radiators, fuel tanks or exhaust systems that electric vehicles don’t need. Once operating, an electric car has no spark plugs or oil that need changing or mufflers that wear out. And with so few moving parts, service stations could be relegated to changing tires and windshield wipers. Conventional cars will probably remain on the road for years, softening the blow for repair shops and other affiliated industries. But with an average lifespan of 12 years, the trend lines for gasoline-powered vehicles will be heading down…”

How Working from Home Could Change Where Innovation Happens. A post at Wall Street Journal (paywall) caught my eye: “…Some researchers and industry experts see the trend as a sign of profound change, at least in the tech industry, which traditionally has been one of the most geographically concentrated fields. Many people are moving outside of the usual industry hubs, and they aren’t coming back. This shift has profound implications for where and how innovation will happen. Tech-company engineers and other professionals moving farther from the office could bring tech expertise to places that have long sought to add it. And big companies in coastal hubs now have the ability to tap into talent pools farther afield…”

Mental Floss

“My Poor Ass”: Michelangelo Wrote a Poem About How Much He Hated Painting the Sistine Chapel. I had no idea, but a post at Mental Floss has the details: “…Michelangelo had come into renown as a sculptor and considered painting the 12,000 square feet of the ceiling beyond his capabilities. He was wrong, of course, but the artistic anxiety caused him considerable distress. He even made sure the first portion of the ceiling, The Flood, was tucked away and largely out of sight in case he messed it up. He famously worked 65 feet in the air on custom scaffolding, and after four years of effort from 1508 to 1512, the physical toil of craning his neck upward was apparent. (He did not, as is sometimes thought, paint while lying down.) To relieve some of the emotional tension, Michelangelo took to poetry…”

53 F. Twin Cities high in the Twin Cities.

53 F. average high on October 25.

29 F. MSP high on October 24, 2020.

October 26, 2010: The lowest pressure on record for Minnesota occurs in the town of Bigfork, with a reading of 28.21 inches of mercury (955.30 mb). Very strong winds were widespread throughout the state, with peak gusts of 65 mph recorded at both Georgeville (Stearns County) and Mehurin Township (Lac Qui Parle County).

October 26, 1996: A severe weather outbreak combined with a blizzard occurred across the upper Midwest. Intense low pressure tracking into Minnesota produced blizzard conditions over portions of South Dakota, while further east in Minnesota, unseasonably mild temperatures developed. Temperatures climbed to near 70, with dew points in the 50s. 1 to 1 3/4 inch hail and strong winds were reported in Lac Qui Parle, Yellow Medicine, Chippewa, and Swift Counties. These storms produced 12 tornadoes; the strongest of which received F2 ratings. Southwest of Alexandria in Douglas County, an F2 tornado with a 9 mile track destroyed several homes. One woman sustained broken bones and internal injuries when a portion of her house, with her inside, was launched 200 feet onto the interstate. This tornado also pushed over a 500 pound fuel tank. Tornadoes also touched down in Swift, Kandiyohi, Pope, Stearns, and Isanti Counties.

Paul Douglas

TUESDAY: Partly sunny, breezy. Winds: SE 15-25. High: 56

WEDNESDAY: Rain likely. Winds: SE 15-25. Wake-up: 47. High: 52

THURSDAY: Rain may be heavy at times. Winds: N 10-20. Wake-up: 44. High: 49

FRIDAY: Slow clearing, a dry sky. Winds: N 10-15. Wake-up: 43. High: 55

SATURDAY: Plenty of sun, nicer weekend day. Winds: SW 8-13. Wake-up: 39. High: 61

SUNDAY: Blue sky, cooling off for Halloween. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 40. High: 52

MONDAY: Mostly cloudy and chilly. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 33. High: 44

Climate Stories…


Climate Change: Greenhouse Gas Build-up Reached a New High in 2020. And that was during a global pandemic with less driving and flying than in 2019. BBC News has details: “The build-up of warming gases in the atmosphere rose to record levels in 2020 despite the pandemic, according to the World Meteorological Organization. The amounts of CO2, methane and nitrous oxide rose by more than the annual average in the past 10 years. The WMO says this will drive up temperatures in excess of the goals of the Paris agreement. They worry that our warmer world is, in turn, boosting emissions from natural sources…”

Climate Change is a Serious Threat to America’s Financial System. Mother Jones and Huffpost explain why concern is rising: “Climate change could bombard the US financial system on many fronts, and the nation’s growing dependence on natural gas for heating and electricity requires particular scrutiny as regulators scramble to catch up on the threat. That’s the conclusion of a landmark report from the Financial Stability Oversight Council, the federal entity established after the Great Recession to guard against future economic disasters. It marks the first time the council has deemed climate change an “emerging threat” to the US economy since the council was created as part of the Dodd-Frank financial reforms of 2010. “Are we behind? Of course we are,” a senior administration official on the council, who declined to be named on the record, said on a press call. “This is the starting gun going off for the US financial regulatory system...”

Redfin Survey Results

Nearly Half of Americans Who Plan to Move Say Natural Disasters, Extreme Temperatures, Factored Into Their Decisions to Relocate: Survey. Interesting findings from “Many Americans are factoring climate change into their decisions about where to live, according to a new Redfin survey. About half of respondents who plan to move in the next year said extreme temperatures and/or the increasing frequency or intensity of natural disasters played a role in their decision to relocate. More than a third (36%) said rising sea levels were a factor. Redfin commissioned a general-population survey of 2,000 U.S. residents from Feb. 25, 2021 to March 1, 2021 to learn how Americans are thinking about climate change. The first section of this report focuses on the 628 respondents who indicated that they plan to move in the next 12 months...”

Net-Zero Proclamations From The Persian Gulf: Climate Nexus has headlines and links: “Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, says it will eliminate climate pollution, domestically, by 2060. The plan on relies heavily unproven carbon capture and sequestration technology, not on the reduction of fossil fuel use. The announcement made by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who approved the murder and dismembering of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, does not apply to pollution caused by the overseas combustion of oil and gas extracted in Saudi Arabia and exported, which accounts for approximately 10% of all global oil consumption. The CEO of Saudi Aramco said on Saturday the company is seeking to reach net-zero emissions from its operations, though not its product, by 2050. The state news agency of Bahrain also reported Sunday that country aims to reach net-zero carbon emissions in 2060.” (Saudi Arabia: Washington Post $, Bloomberg $, The Hill, FT $, Axios, Reuters; Saudi Aramco: Reuters; Bahrain: Reuters)

Fossil Fuel Execs to Testify at “Landmark” Hearing Focused on Climate Disinformation. More perspective from Axios: “The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform announced on Friday it will hold a “landmark” hearing next week with fossil fuel executives focused on the industry’s role in spreading climate disinformation. This is the first time oil company CEOs, and the head of their main trade group, will testify under oath about their knowledge of the link between burning fossil fuels and climate change, per Axios’ Andrew Freedman. The hearing will take place on October 28th and top executives from ExxonMobil, BP America, Chevron, and Shell Oil are slated to appear, as are trade group execs from the American Petroleum Institute and President and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce…”

New York Times Graphic

Yes, There Has Been Progress on Climate. No, It’s Not Nearly Enough. The New York Times (paywall) has perspective: “…In 2014, Climate Action Tracker estimated that the world was on track for nearly 4 degrees Celsius of warming by 2100, compared with preindustrial levels. Warming of 4 degrees has long been deemed a worst-case scenario. One assessment by the World Bank explored the risks, such as cascading global crop failures, and bluntly concluded that 4 degrees “simply must not be allowed to occur.” This year, however, Climate Action Tracker painted a more optimistic picture, because countries have started doing more to restrain their emissions. Current policies put the world on pace for roughly 2.9 degrees Celsius of warming by 2100...”