80s Were Nice, Now Cue the Cold Fronts

All weather, like politics, is local. What will happen in my yard, my neighborhood, my hometown? With major media 7-Day Outlooks are tailored for large metropolitan areas, where most people live. It’s not fair, but this is our reality.

Weather apps can help to localize current and predicted weather, but they only go so far. Meteorologists try to capture future variations across the entire state, but weather models, no matter how high-resolution, will never capture tiny wobbles in weather from town to town. It’s worth repeating: weather models are pretty good going out 2-4 days. They are slowly improving over time, but they aren’t perfect, and never will be.

Exhibit A: Sunday night’s soaking dropped 1.24″” at MSP International, while a meager .02″ was recorded at Montevideo, and a record 1.1″ drenched St. Cloud. Talk about fickle. It didn’t totally erase the drought, but it was a very good start.

Two surges of Canadian air arrive between Wednesday and Saturday. A hard freeze is likely in the metro this weekend, with nighttime lows dipping into the 20s.

A few inches of slush may fall on northern Minnesota by the weekend, with a few flurries for the metro area.

Just a little preview of coming attractions.

ECMWF prediction for MSP above: WeatherBell.

Sunday Night Rainfall. Heaviest amounts were observed just south and east of MSP, with up to 1.76″ reported, while most of far western Minnesota picked up under .05″. Source: Twin Cities National Weather Service.

A Fine Tuesday – But Showery Rains Return Wednesday. Soak up the sunshine today with temperatures close to average, because showers return Wednesday ahead of a stronger cold front.

Hard Freeze by Late Week. Models are unanimous in bringing colder air back into Minnesota the latter half of this week. By Friday temperatures will be 10-15F colder than average for mid-October, with a slight chance of a few flurries by late week.

GFS Numbers. Time to rummage around in cold storage for heavier jackets and sweatshirts, as the atmosphere compensates for last week’s luxurious warmth. GFS data: WeatherBell.

Halloween Warm Front? That’s going out on a limb, but statistically I wouldn’t be one bit surprised to see a thaw by late October with 50s, maybe another shot at 60F as we end the month of October.

No More Snow Days After Covid-19? These Schools Used Online Learning to Cancel Them. USA TODAY has the post; here’s an excerpt: “…Since students could work online, snow days at Bancroft-Rosalie were already a thing of the past when the pandemic struck. Other districts, including New York City schools, have canceled snow days or are looking into doing away with them because of the prevalence of online schooling. New York leaders said abolishing snow days will help the district fit in as many instructional days as possible.  “When we first started doing it, people weren’t interested in having remote learning during snow days. They thought that was a day kids should have off. People are going to rethink how you can use remote learning now in schools,” Cerny said...”

Graphic credit: Minnesota DNR and State Climate Office.

U.S. Hit by 16 Billion-Dollar Disasters This Year, So Far. NOAA has an update on another crazy year of weather extremes: “…From January through the end of September of this year, the U.S. has experienced 16 weather and climate disasters with losses exceeding $1 billion each. Eleven were due to severe storms—which occurred across more than 30 states—and the remaining 5 comprised one wildfire, one drought and three tropical cyclones. With 16 disasters so far, 2020 has already tied with 2011 and 2017 for the largest number of disasters in a calendar year. This is also a record sixth-consecutive year where 10 or more billion-dollar disasters have struck the U.S...”

The U.S. Could See the Fewest Recorded Deaths from Lightning Strikes This Year. One silver lining in during a volatile year of weather extremes. CNN.com reports: “In a year of increasingly bleak headlines, here’s one uplifting piece of news: The US is on track to experience the fewest recorded deaths from lightning strikes in a single year. Fourteen people have died from lightning strikes in the US so far this year. And because peak lightning season in the Northern Hemisphere takes place during June, July and August, the worst is likely behind us. Even if a few more deaths are reported in the next three months, the overall toll will still be below what we usually see, says John Jensenius, a meteorologist and lightning safety specialist with the National Lightning Safety Council…” File image: NASA.

Fifth of Countries at Risk of Ecosystem Collapse, Analysis Finds. The Guardian has a sobering analysis: “One-fifth of the world’s countries are at risk of their ecosystems collapsing because of the destruction of wildlife and their habitats, according to an analysis by the insurance firm Swiss Re. Natural “services” such as food, clean water and air, and flood protection have already been damaged by human activity. More than half of global GDP – $42tn (£32tn) – depends on high-functioning biodiversity, according to the report, but the risk of tipping points is growing. Countries including Australia, Israel and South Africa rank near the top of Swiss Re’s index of risk to biodiversity and ecosystem services, with India, Spain and Belgium also highlighted…”

File image: NASA.

Electric Cars Are Cheaper to Own – Consumer Reports Agrees With Us. Here’s an excerpt from a post at CleanTechnica that caught my eye: “…Also, whereas I have to couch my analyses in paragraphs of disclaimers and notes about assumptions and disclaimers about notes about assumptions or else I’ll get chewed out by people who think I’m being too friendly to electric vehicles, Consumer Reports just blurted it out with almost no nuance in the very beginning of its press release:“Owning a plug-in electric vehicle today will save consumers thousands of dollars compared to owning a gas-powered vehicle, according to a new analysis by Consumer Reports comparing electrics to CR’s top-rated vehicles, as well as the best-selling, most efficient, and best-performing gas-powered vehicles on the market.”There actually are important caveats and assumptions you have to pay attention to. There are big differences from individual to individual on key factors influencing the results, such as total miles driven per year…”

Illustration credit: CleanTechnica.

Canada Will Ban Single-Use Plastic Items by the End of Next Year. CNN.com reports: “Travelers to Canada should not expect to see some everyday plastic items starting next year. The country plans to ban single-use plastics — checkout bags, straws, stir sticks, six-pack rings, cutlery and even foodware made from hard-to-recycle plastics — nationwide by the end of 2021. The move is part of a larger effort by the nation to achieve zero plastic waste by 2030. “Plastic pollution threatens our natural environment. It fills our rivers or lakes, and most particularly our oceans, choking the wildlife that live there,” Canadian Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said Wednesday in a news conference. “Canadians see the impact that pollution has from coast to coast to coast...”

World’s Most Expensive Butt-Dial? Futurism has the unlikely story: “Florida physician Ali Vaziri accidentally “butt-dialed” himself into a $4,200 “Enhanced Autopilot” upgrade for his Tesla Model 3, CNBC reports — and he’s still waiting for a refund. “My phone was in my jeans,” Vaziri told CNBC. “I took it out, put it on this charger that comes with your Tesla and that’s it. A minute later? I got the text. I’ve never purchased anything through the Tesla app before…”

File image above: Tesla.

64 F. high in the Twin Cities on Monday.

60 F. average high on October 12.

39 F. high on October 12, 2019.

October 13, 1917: Record low temperatures occur across central Minnesota with temperatures ranging from the low to mid teens to the upper teens and lower 20s. St. Cloud records the coldest temperature of 10 degrees, while Mora records a low of 13.

October 13, 1880: An early blizzard strikes parts of southwest and west central Minnesota. Huge drifts exceeding 20 ft in the Canby area would last until the following spring.

October 13, 1820: A snowstorm at Ft. Snelling dumps 11 inches.

TUESDAY: Plenty of cool sunshine. Winds: NW 10-20. High: 61

WEDNESDAY: More clouds, few rain showers. Winds: S 10-15. Wake-up: 47. High: near 60

THURSDAY: Mostly cloudy, colder breeze. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 37. High: 49

FRIDAY: Few passing showers or flurries. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 33. High: 46

SATURDAY: More clouds, few showers likely. Winds: NW 15-30. Wake-up: 34. High: 56

SUNDAY: More clouds than sun, brisk. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 30. High: 48

MONDAY: Mostly cloudy and chilly. Winds: SE 5-10. Wake-up: 28. High: 43

Photo credit above from Lutsen, Minnesota: Chris McKelvey, Praedictix.

Climate Stories…

Florida Sees Signal of a Climate-Driven Housing Crisis. The New York Times (paywall) reports: “If rising seas cause America’s coastal housing market to dive — or, as many economists warn, when — the beginning might look a little like what’s happening in the tiny town of Bal Harbour, a glittering community on the northernmost tip of Miami Beach. With single-family homes selling for an average of $3.6 million, Bal Harbour epitomizes high-end Florida waterfront property. But around 2013, something started to change: The annual number of homes sales began to drop — tumbling by half by 2018 — a sign that fewer people wanted to buy. Prices eventually followed, falling 7.6 percent from 2016 to 2020, according to data from Zillow, the real estate data company. All across Florida’s low-lying areas, it’s a similar story, according to research published Monday...”

Graphic credit: “High-risk areas reflect Census tracts where 70 percent or more of developed land would be inundated if sea levels rose six feet. In low-risk areas, less than 10 percent of developed land would be inundated. Baseline average includes sales and prices between 2001 to 2012.” Source: Keys and Mulder, National Bureau of Economic Research

By Veronica Penney/The New York Times. Photo credit: NASA.

A Farewell to Ice Fishing? Climate Change Leads to Less Lake Ice. WBUR.com has a story applicable to New England, with implications for ice fishing across all norther-tier U.S. states: “…Lost lake ice can have far-reaching ecological, cultural and economic impacts. Winter recreation activities like ice fishing derbies and ice festivals are an economic boon for many lake communities, for instance, and lakes without ice have more waves through the winter, leading to shoreline erosion. Lakes are also warmer in years without ice cover, making them more prone to toxic algae blooms that can harm fish, pets and people. Filazzola said the trend toward less lake ice will likely continue. “Even an extreme reduction of carbon emission won’t return us back to pre-1940s conditions,” he said…”

Lake Minnetonka file photo: Paul Douglas.

Why Climate Change is a Time Bomb. Here’s a clip from a post at Axios: “…Because CO2 warms the atmosphere for decades to centuries, there’s a built in time delay to the physics of climate change that in turn reinforces political obstacles to action. When we pay to reduce carbon emissions now, the full effects aren’t felt until the future, which means the present generation has to sacrifice to help save the next ones. The authors admit climate change will have major costs that are difficult to fit into an economic model, like widespread biodiversity loss, while cutting carbon emissions could have more immediate co-benefits beyond climate change, like reducing toxic levels of air pollution. The bottom line: There are many reasons why climate change is considered a wicked problem, but its time delay is one of the wickedest...”

File photo: Climate Reality.

Climate Change is Making Hurricanes Stronger, Researchers Find. The number of hurricanes isn’t increasing, but the storm that do develop stand a better chance of becoming Category 3 strength or stronger, according to new studies highlighted at The New York Times (paywall): “Hurricanes have become stronger worldwide during the past four decades, an analysis of observational data shows, supporting what theory and computer models have long suggested: climate change is making these storms more intense and destructive. The analysis, of satellite images dating to 1979, shows that warming has increased the likelihood of a hurricane developing into a major one of Category 3 or higher, with sustained winds greater than 110 miles an hour, by about 8 percent a decade. “The trend is there and it is real,” said James P. Kossin, a researcher with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and lead author of the study, published Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences...”

The Frightening Implications of California’s First Million-Acre Wildfire. The Los Angeles Times connects the dots; here’s an excerpt: “…The August Complex has contributed to the worst fire season California has ever recorded: 4 million acres in California have burned to date — far exceeding the previous record of more than 1.8 million set in 2018. One firefighter, Diane Jones, 63, lost her life trying to battle the blaze. “This is a wake-up call,” said Bill Patzert, a climatologist who spent several decades at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge. “California burns every year, but it didn’t burn a half a century ago like it is today. The stage is evolving.” Increased global temperatures driven by carbon emissions also contributed to 2020’s extreme fire conditions. California saw its hottest August on record, only to break at least six more temperature records in September. Fourteen of the last 21 years have also seen below-average rainfall in the state...”