Getting Better – Because It Has To Get Better

Here in the Land of 10,000 Weather Sorrows we earn our springs. That was the case in 2018 (26 inches of snow that April) and that’s the case in 2019. For the record, I’m just a bewildered spectator and reluctant messenger.

The weather-news isn’t all bad. The sun comes out today, and 40 degrees should feel pretty good. Considering the sun is as high in the sky as it was on August 28, the snow in your yard will melt faster than you thought possible – a jolt of moisture that should green up lawns within 7-10 days.

Give or take 2 months.

Models show a few (rain) showers early next week, with a more significant storm spinning up midweek. Although most of this precipitation should fall as rain, we can’t rule out a changeover back to snow next Thursday. Please, let this be fake news.

Long-range models are hinting at 60s the weekend of April 20-21. That would be nice.

Listen up you beleaguered weather pioneer – at last we have boasting rights. bWith over 76 inches, this has already been the 11th snowiest winter on record in the Twin Cities.

A Significant Mid-April Winter Storm. Dr. Mark Seeley provides perspective at Minnesota WeatherTalk: “A large and deep low pressure system crossed the plains from Colorado to Wisconsin during the middle of the week bringing a mixture of precipitation along a 900 mile frontal boundary, and producing widespread winds of 40 to 50 mph. The winds ushered in a great deal of dust and soils from the southern states, notably TX and NM, such that many in the region observed a brownish or yellow tinge to the snow that fell. And plenty of snow fell over April 10-12 this week. Many areas of the state picked up from 6 to 20 inches. Some of the snowfall totals from this storm were quite impressive, including

20.0 inches at Madison (Lac Qui Parle County)
18.0 inches at Ortonville (Big Stone County)
17.0 inches at Canby (Yellow Medicine County)
14.0 inches at Milan (Chippewa County).

Dirty Snow. No, you weren’t hallucinating. The snow that fell on Thursday had a tan/yellow tint or hue, especially once you broke through the icy crust to what was lurking below. At first I thought it was dirty boots, but no, the snow really was this color. Blame Texas.

Dirty Snow – Blame Texas. Texas dust lofted high into the atmosphere was observed as far north as Minnesota on Thursday, giving the snow a tan/yellow appearance at times. Image: AerisWeather.

Spring May Even Stick Around. After a couple of false starts the predicted upper level wind pattern for late April suggests a fairly consistent west to east flow (with fewer Canadian swipes), leading us to believe (hope) that consistent 50s and 60s will be the rule.

Praedictix Briefing: Issued Friday, April 12th, 2019:

  • Snow and wind associated with the strong April storm that has been impacting the Plains and Upper Midwest over the past couple days will taper off as we go through Friday. Up to an additional 5” of snow is possible in parts of northern Minnesota, which is where the heaviest snow will fall today.
  • Strong wind gusts over 35 mph will still be possible across the Upper Midwest today, continuing to cause low visibilities due to blowing and drifting snow. Blizzard Warnings remain in place through the midday hours across parts of eastern South Dakota and western Minnesota.
  • Meanwhile, a second system moving into the central United States will cause the potential of severe weather this weekend. A Moderate Risk of severe weather is in place across parts of the Lower Mississippi Valley Saturday, with an Enhanced Risk from the Ohio Valley to the Southeast Sunday. Damaging winds, large hail, and tornadoes will be possible.

Friday Morning Radar. Snow continues to fall across parts of the Upper Midwest this morning, mainly across portions of the Dakotas into Minnesota. The top snowfall totals with this storm have come out of South Dakota, where 25″ was reported near Norbeck, 24.5″ near Mansfield, and 24″ near Ideal and near Hamill. Meanwhile, as of about 7 AM, over 14,000 power customers in Minnesota (mainly in southern parts of the state) were without power according to

Map from around 6:50 AM CT

Road Closures. We are still watching some road closures across the region this morning due to the snow and blizzard conditions. This includes:

  • I-29 from the Canadian Border to Sioux Falls (SD)
  • I-90 from Rapid City (SD) to Sioux Falls (SD).
  • I-94 from Jamestown (ND) to Fargo (ND). At 7 AM, I-94 from Moorhead (MN) to Osakis (MN) reopened.

Here are links to local DOT agencies for the latest road information:

April Snowstorm Tapers Off Today. As the area of low pressure responsible for this strong April storm moves into Canada later today, snow and strong winds will slowly taper off across the Upper Midwest throughout the day.

Blizzard Warnings In Place. Blizzard Warnings continue this morning across parts of South Dakota and Minnesota but they are expected to expire later today.  Winter Storm Warnings and Winter Weather Advisories also remain in effect across parts of the Upper Midwest today. Areas under winter weather alerts this morning include:

  • Pierre, SD: Winter Weather Advisory through 1 PM Friday for up to an additional inch of snow and wind gusts to 35 mph.
  • Aberdeen, SD: Blizzard Warning through 1 PM Friday for BLIZZARD conditions with up to an additional inch of snow and wind gusts to 40 mph.
  • Sioux Falls, SD: Winter Weather Advisory through 1 PM Friday for up to an additional inch of snow and wind gusts to 35 mph.
  • Fargo, ND: Winter Weather Advisory through 1 PM Friday for an additional 1-3” of snow and wind gusts to 35 mph.
  • Grand Forks, ND: Winter Weather Advisory through 1 PM Friday for an additional 1-3” of snow.
  • Bemidji, MN: Winter Storm Warning through 1 PM Friday for an additional 1-3” of snow.
  • Duluth, MN: Winter Storm Warning through 1 PM Friday for an additional 1-3” of snow, ice up to a tenth of an inch, and wind gusts to 40 mph.
  • Marquette, MI: Winter Weather Advisory through 11 AM Friday for up to an additional inch of snow, up to a quarter inch of sleet, up to two-tenths of an inch of ice, and wind gusts to 40 mph.

Additional Snow Potential. The heaviest additional snow today will be across parts of northern Minnesota, where up to 5″ of new snow could fall. This snow – in addition to what has already fallen – will continue to make travel rough across the region.

Strong Winds Decreasing. Strong winds will be on the decrease throughout the day across the upper Midwest in areas impacted by this blizzard, but through at the least the midday hours wind gusts of 35-40+ mph will continue to be possible. This will cause blowing and drifting snow and reduced visibility, making travel difficult.

Saturday Severe Threat. As we go into the weekend, another area of low pressure will form and move into the central United States, sparking off the potential for severe weather. Ahead of a cold front associated with this system, storms are expected to form across parts of the Deep South during the afternoon hours Saturday. Models are indicating this could be a sizeable severe weather event across the region, and a Moderate Risk of severe weather has been put in place across parts of eastern Texas, southern Arkansas, northern Louisiana, and western Mississippi. This includes cities like Shreveport, Bossier City, and Monroe (LA), as well as Greenville and Vicksburg (MS). Damaging winds, large hail, and tornadoes (a few of which could be strong) will be possible.

Timing Storms Saturday. Storms are expected to form across the severe threat area Saturday afternoon ahead of and along a cold front, with individual cellular development (particularly capable of tornadoes) across Louisiana and Mississippi and a linear line of storms closer to the cold front back across parts of Texas. These storms will continue east into the overnight hours, with a line of storms being the main focus for severe weather during that timeframe.

Sunday Severe Threat. The severe threat will continue to move east on Sunday, with an Enhanced Risk in place from the Ohio Valley into the Southeast. This Enhanced threat includes cities such as Atlanta and Columbus (GA), Lexington (KY), Cincinnati (OH) and Knoxville (TN). Damaging winds appear to be the main threat with these storms ahead of the cold front as we go through the day, but there will also be the threat of tornadoes across the region (particularly near/west of the mountains).

D.J. Kayser, Meteorologist, Praedictix.

U.S. Midwest Floods Prompting Workers to Migrate to Safer Ground: LinkedIn Data. Thomson Reuters Foundation has an interesting post; here’s the intro: “Deadly floods that bear the fingerprints of climate change are prompting an exodus of workers from the U.S. Midwest, the world’s biggest professional social network, LinkedIn, said on Wednesday. The website, on which millions of U.S. workers maintain profiles, said data showed a spike in members changing their work location from areas flooded last month to cities in the Southwest and on the West Coast. “When you look at the most real-time data that we have, and that’s our ‘job starts’, we’ve seen those come down quite a bit in the cities that have been hit,” said Guy Berger, chief economist at LinkedIn. The finding emerged from a LinkedIn analysis of user-generated data. LinkedIn users can share their location and job information – such as when they start a new job – on their profile. Hiring rates tracked through the platform dropped across the Midwest, LinkedIn said in its April U.S. workforce report, published on Monday…”

Photo credit: “Homes sit in floodwaters after leaving casualties and causing hundreds of millions of dollars in damages in Peru, Nebraska, U.S., March 19, 2019.” REUTERS/Karen Dillon.

The 10 Worst Tornadoes in the USA. Dr. Greg Forbes at The Weather Channel weighs in with his list: “What would you consider the worst tornadoes in U.S. history? Severe Weather Expert at The Weather Channel, Dr. Greg Forbes, combed through damage costs (adjusted for inflation through 2011) and fatality statistics in order to rank the nation’s worst single tornadoes, using a 100-point scale. Of course, there are many ways one can combine and scale this data, so, this is just one possibility. The higher the index, the “worse” or more impactful the tornado. You may be surprised to find that the April 3, 1974 “Superoutbreak” did not have a single tornado on the list.b”None of the 1974 Superoutbreak tornadoes individually were exceptionally deadly, which kept them off the list,” says Dr. Forbes…”

Photo credit: “Damaged cars at Sikes Senter Mall in Wichita Falls, Texas on Apr. 11, 1979. A total of 3,095 homes were destroyed and 42 people were killed.” (Don Burgess/NSSL/Inst. for Disaster Research at Texas Tech Univ.)

Pollenpocalypse: A blanket of yellow pollen is suffocating parts of North Carolina this week as the Raleigh-Durham area recorded the fifth highest pollen count in the country on Wednesday. Photos of the “Pollenpocalypse” show yellow-tinged shots of homes and streets that went viral on social media. Climate change is prolonging allergy season as longer growing seasons and more CO2 in the air make plants produce more pollen and different types of plants migrate to new areas as temperatures change. (NC: New York Times $, Popular Science, CBS. Allergies: CNN)

You Might Have Allergy Symptoms For The First Time This Spring – Here’s Why. POPSUGAR Fitness has the post; here’s the intro: “After months of bare trees and snow, Spring is a welcome change — but with gorgeous blooms come the itchy, watery, stuffy symptoms of seasonal allergies. And now, that might be true even if you’ve never suffered from allergies before. “Climate change is making allergies worse,” Amiinah Y. Kung, MD, an allergy and immunology specialist at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital, told POPSUGAR. “Winters aren’t as cold, so there isn’t much of a freeze, and with seasonal warming beginning earlier, it makes Spring particularly bad.” A longer, harsher season can mean that some people develop symptoms for the first time, while others simply feel worse. Pollution also plays a role in this trend…”

Temperature Anomalies From January Through March. Colder than average for the northern Plains and Upper Midwest, but warmer for the Southeastern USA, according to NOAA NCEI.

8th Wettest Start for Minnesota? Data from January through March suggests that much of the Midwest and Ohio Valley has received 2-3 times normal precipitation since the beginning of the year; 6th wettest in 125 years of record-keeping in Wisconsin and 8th wettest for Minnesota.

The Politics of UFO’s. has a fascinating tale; here’s an excerpt: “...Although broad discussion of UFOs has been eclipsed in the general culture by fresher, shinier conspiratorial ideas — birtherism, false flags, pedophile rings — a remarkably high number of Americans believe in the existence of extraterrestrial life. The poll numbers can vary wildly and frustratingly. In 1997, a CNN/Time poll showed that a whopping 80 percent of the adult population believed the government was hiding “knowledge of the existence of extraterrestrial life-forms.” In 2015, a YouGov survey found that 54 percent of the adult population believed that alien life exists, while 30 percent were convinced, in the poll’s words, that “extra-terrestrial intelligent life has already contacted us but the government has covered it up.” According to the Chapman University Survey of American Fears that same year, 42.6 percent of respondents thought the government was concealing what it knows about alien encounters…”

11 Things You Shouldn’t Do On a Plane. Thank you USA TODAY for spelling this out; here’s an excerpt: “...I have no problem with people slipping off their shoes to be more comfortable on a long flight – with a few important exceptions. First, your feet should be as unobtrusive as possible to everyone else (so don’t prop them on top of a seatback, or wriggle them into the gap between the wall of the plane and the poor person in the seat in front of you who just wants to lean against the window without getting a faceful of your bare toes). Second, put your shoes back on before you go to the lavatory (because ew). And finally, if you know you’re prone to bromodosis – the polite scientific term for smelly feet – be considerate of your fellow passengers and leave your shoes on…”

It’s Time to Panic About Privacy. Check out the interactive presentation at New York Times (paywall) if you have any doubt that we all have zero privacy these days. Every incremental increase in convenience seems to come with a corresponding loss of privacy.

Don’t Shoot! Daily Beast has an amusing tale: “When a terrified Oregon woman heard weird noises and saw shadows coming from her locked bathroom, armed officers were called in and they prepared to break down the door to neutralize the suspect. Deputies surrounded the house, brought in a canine unit and shouted to the suspect to exit the bathroom or face the consequences. The cops heard “rustling” noises, USA Today reports, which became more frequent as they continued to shout instructions to their suspect. But when the door remained closed for 15 minutes, they burst in with their guns drawn—and found a Roomba. The Washington County Sheriff’s Office said in Facebook post Tuesday that officers discovered a “very thorough vacuuming job being done by a Roomba Robotic Vacuum cleaner.” Good job, everyone…”

3″ snow on the ground Friday evening at MSP International Airport.

37 F. high yesterday in the Twin Cities.

56 F. average high on April 12.

52 F. high on April 12, 2018.

April 13, 1949: A late-season snowstorm dumps over 9 inches in parts of the Twin Cities metro area.

SATURDAY: More clouds than sun, dry. Winds: NW 8-13. High: 41

SUNDAY: Mix of clouds and sun, milder. Winds: NE 5-10. Wake-up: 27. High: 46

MONDAY: Clouds increase, rain shower late. Winds: SE 10-15. Wake-up: 35. High: 52

TUESDAY: Patchy clouds, few showers. Winds: SE 5-10. Wake-up: 41. High: 57

WEDNESDAY: Heavier, steadier rain possible. Winds: NE 10-20. Wake-up: 48. High: 53

THURSDAY: Rain may change to wet snow. Sorry. Winds: N 15-25. Wake-up: 40. High: 42

FRIDAY: Partly sunny, nice recovery. Winds: SW 8-13. Wake-up: 32. High: 54

60s are possible the weekend of April 20-21.

Climate Stories….

What Does ‘Game of Thrones’ Have To Do With Climate Change? Oh, Everything. Here’s an excerpt of an Op-Ed at “…Let’s look at the evidence. In “GoT”:

  • A global shift in climate, long predicted, emerges
  • A huge, icy structure crumbles
  • The climate shift allows noxious pests to move beyond their traditional habitat
  • … And forces people from their ancestral homes
  • Even as evidence of these threats mount, squabbling nations deny their existence

In “Game of Thrones,” the climate is getting colder; our own is warming, but whatever. Their wall is Greenland’s glaciers (or Antarctica’s). Their zombies are our toxic algae, ticks and adeus egypti mosquitoes. Their Wildings are our climate refugees, and squabbling nations are our squabbling nations, with fewer beheadings but plenty of backstabbing. Their crisis mirrors our own…”

Photo credit: “Kit Harington and Emilia Clarke in “Game of Thrones.” (Helen Sloane/HBO).

Trillion Dollar Investors Says Hitting Climate Goals Will Cost “Less Than We Had Feared”. Here are a couple of clips from Quartz: “Legal & General Investment Management is one of the world’s largest investors, with more than £1 trillion in assets. Today, LGIM announced that it has built its own energy-transition model to guide companies it invests in to align with climate goals set under the Paris climate agreement. “Disruption is coming to energy markets no matter what,” said Nick Stansbury, head of commodities at LGIM…“The cost of [climate] action is much lower than we had feared,” Stansbury concluded. The total cost to the global economy to act on climate change could be as low as 0.5% of global GDP. “The cost of inaction will substantially raise the later costs of transition, reinforcing the urgent need for policy action…”

Photo credit: “Won’t run for long.” Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin.

In Shadow of Green New Deal, Other Climate-Change Bills Proliferate. Axios has details: “…At least three bills are forthcoming, with one already floated. Some of these were introduced for the first time last Congress.

  1. The Whitehouse and Schatz bill is similar to the one they introduced last Congress, which divided the money raised to the public and to other purposes. This bill would achieve more reductions in carbon emissions than the last version.
  2. Republican Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania is going to re-introduce his own version of a carbon tax bill that he proposed last Congress alongside then-Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.), who lost his reelection bid. This bill eliminates the federal gasoline tax and uses the money raised for various purposes.
  3. Democrat Sen. Tina Smith of Minnesota is crafting a clean energy standard bill, per her office...”

INTERNATIONAL CLIMATE STORIES: Climate Nexus has headlines and links: “Youth climate change protests across Britain (The Guardian), Britain calls for climate change focus at IMF meeting (Reuters), Estonia blocks $1.9 billion wind park at sea on security concern (Bloomberg), to halt energy slide, Mexico turns to a trusted provider: Mexico (New York Times $), Ethiopian farmers struggle to scratch a living in warming highlands (Reuters), as drought bites, Thai cities urged to rein in festive water fights (Thomson Reuters Foundation), ‘climate before cash’: young Norwegians call time on oil industry (Thomson Reuters Foundation), global warming could create ‘greater migratory pressure from Africa” (The Guardian)

Amazon’s Growing Ties to Oil Industry Irks Some Employees. ABC News reports: “Amazon is getting cozy with the oil industry — and some employees aren’t happy about it. The online shopping giant, which already works with BP and Shell, has been trying to woo more oil and gas companies to use its technology to help them find drillable oil faster, angering workers who have been pushing Amazon to do more to combat climate change. The employees say the company should drop its work with industry entirely, arguing that it shouldn’t contribute to hurting the environment. Workers at Amazon’s Seattle headquarters have been meeting regularly, spreading the word and encouraging more involvement to put pressure on the company...”

File photo credit: “In this Aug. 3, 2017, file photo, an Amazon employee applies tape to a package before shipment at an Amazon fulfillment center in Baltimore. The online shopping giant, which already works with BP and Shell, has been trying to woo more oil and gas companies to use its technology to help them find drillable oil faster, angering workers who have been pushing Amazon to do more to combat climate change.” (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File).

The Next Reckoning: Capitalism and Climate Change. Can a market-driven economy come up with the solutions we need to lower carbon (faster) without heavy-handed government intervention? Here’s an excerpt from a New York Times article: “…The most fundamental question is whether a capitalistic society is capable of sharply reducing carbon emissions. Will a radical realignment of our economy require a radical realignment of our political system — within the next few years? Even if the answer is no, we have some decisions to make. How, for instance, should the proceeds of a carbon tax be directed? Should they be used to finance clean-energy projects, be paid out directly to taxpayers or accrue to the national budget? In a healthy democracy, you could expect a rigorous public debate on this question. But such a debate has rarely surfaced in the United States because, as of this writing, only a handful of Republican members of the House of Representatives, out of a caucus of 197, have endorsed the basic concept of a carbon tax — an idea that has its roots in conservative economic thought...”

File image: James Yungel, NASA.