Forget Spring. Summer Arrives Next Week

Yesterday’s monthly test of the outdoor sirens was a jolt. A chilly spring has meant fewer thunderstorms, a result of meager warmth, humidity and instability. May and June is prime time for severe storms and tornadoes.

The sirens were sounded back in the 1950s to remind Minnesotans of a low-grade risk of nuclear war. Today sirens can go off for damaging weather, chemical spills and radiation incidents.

The sirens were designed for outdoor use only. It’s smart to have multiple sources of severe weather information: sirens, phones, media and NOAA Weather Radio.

I could see a few severe storm outbreaks next week as a surge of 80s and sweaty dew points reach Minnesota. Instant summer – like flipping on a light switch. Showers brush southern Minnesota tonight and Friday, keeping us a few degrees cooler. After a glorious Saturday a thunderstorm may rumble in on Mother’s Day. Spring Fever? More like a Summer Slap.

Meanwhile you can ski up at Lutsen on Saturday, the latest closing date on record. Weird.

Thursday Future Clouds/Precipitation

Showers Stay Mostly South of MSP. A storm that will create foul weather over the eastern seaboard this weekend will brush far southern Minnesota with clouds and a few showers, mainly on Friday, but any rain will be light and spotty. Plan on heavier/steadier rain if you’re driving into Iowa or southern Wisconsin.

Heating Up. The temperatures above are NOAA NDFD numbers, and I suspect they may be a little conservative for daytime highs Monday and Tuesday. If the sun is out we may easily top 80F both days as we break out into the warm sector of a storm system, with potentially ripe conditions for a few severe thunderstorms. Timing and location? Stay tuned.

ECMWF Temperatures for MSP
NOAA GFS Temperatures for MSP

Cool Blips but Frost-Free. I suspect it’s as safe as it’ll ever be to plant annuals now – I don’t see any more sub-freezing temperatures, certainly not in the MSP metro area. Long-range guidance tries to keep an omega block going with weak ridging over the Plains and Rockies, suggesting temperatures at or above average for Minnesota.

New Mexico Governor Seeking US Disaster Status for Wildfire. AP News has the latest: “New Mexico’s governor on Tuesday asked President Joe Biden to declare a disaster as firefighters scrambled to clear brush, build fire lines and spray water to keep the largest blaze burning in the U.S. from destroying more homes in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. During a briefing on the fire burning across the state’s northeast, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed a request for a presidential disaster declaration that will be sent to the White House in hopes of freeing up financial assistance for recovery efforts. She said it was important that the declaration be made on the front end rather than waiting until the fire is out…”

Feds To Hold Water In Lake Powell To Preserve Hydroelectric Generation: Climate Nexus has headlines and links: “The list of dramatic, unprecedented steps necessitated by the megadrought parching the western U.S. is growing. In addition to the discovery of the first — though likely not the last — human remains, revealed as water levels fall to historic lows, the federal government is taking drastic measures to prevent the loss of electricity generation at the Glen Canyon Dam below Lake Powell. The reservoir is also being inundated by unprecedented amounts of sediment. The Bureau of Reclamation will hold back 480,000 acre-feet of water and will release an additional half-a-million acre-feet from the Flaming Gorge Reservoir, up the Colorado River in Wyoming, to bolster water levels. The extraordinary action “reflects the truly unprecedented challenges facing the Colorado River Basin and will provide operational certainty for the next year,” said Tanya Trujillo, the federal Interior Department’s assistant secretary for water and science, in a statement announcing the measures. Climate change, mainly caused by the extraction and combustion of fossil fuels, makes droughts worse and more frequent.” (Lake Powell: (New York Times $, AP, LA Times $, KNAU, E&E News, CNN, Reuters, The Hill, CNBC, Deseret News; Sediment: Casper Star-Tribune; Human remains: 8NewsNow, New York Times $, Gizmodo, Washington Post $; Climate Signals background: Western US megadrought)

India and Pakistan Heat Wave is “Testing the Limits of Human Survivability”. CNN has the latest on intense heat roasting much of southern Asia: “Temperatures in parts of India and Pakistan have reached record levels, putting the lives of millions at risk as the effects of the climate crisis are felt across the subcontinent. The average maximum temperature for northwest and central India in April was the highest since records began 122 years ago, reaching 35.9 and 37.78 degrees Celsius (96.62 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit) respectively, according to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD). Last month, New Delhi saw seven consecutive days over 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit), three degrees above the average temperature for the month of April, according to CNN meteorologists. In some states, the heat closed schools, damaged crops and put pressure on energy supplies, as officials warned residents to remain indoors and keep hydrated...”

Paul Douglas

‘Unprecedented’ South Asian Heatwave ‘Testing The Limits Of Human Survivability’: More perspective on the heat from Climate Nexus: “The months-long heatwave in India and Pakistan is shattering records and “testing the limits of human survivability,” IPCC Lead Author and Senior Researcher at the Indian Institute for Human Settlements Dr. Chandni Singh told CNN. At least 25 people have died of heatstroke in India’s Maharashtra province, but the actual death toll of the heatwave is almost certainly far higher, experts say. Average April temperatures in northwest and central India were the highest since records began at the beginning of the 19th century. Cities in Pakistan’s southeastern Sindh province hit 117°F (47°C) last week, the highest temperature that day in the Northern Hemisphere. “We are living in hell,” Nazeer Ahmed of Turbat, Pakistan, where high electricity demand is causing up to nine hours of electricity blackouts every day, told the Guardian. Blackouts in India have also highlighted the country’s need to diversify its power sector, which still relies on coal for 70% of its electricity generation, the AP reports. “This heatwave is definitely unprecedented,” said Singh, adding the heat had diminished April wheat yields by as much as 445 pounds per acre (500kg/hectare). “We have seen a change in its intensity, its arrival time, and duration. This is what climate experts predicted and it will have cascading impacts on health.” (CNN, The Guardian, Axios, CNBC; Deaths: Times of India; Wheat: Bloomberg $; Electricity: Reuters, AP; Climate Signals background: Extreme heat and heatwaves)

The track of the La Plata tornado can be seen from satellite on May 1, 2002.

20 Years After La Plata Disaster, Washington DC Area’s Tornado Risk Has Grown. Capital Weather Gang has details: “Two decades ago, the La Plata tornado gouged a long and highly destructive track across southern Maryland. It was rated Level 4 on a 0 to 5 scale and became the second-strongest twister to strike a state along the East Coast. The rotating thunderstorm that produced the twister on April 28, 2002, originated on the Kentucky-West Virginia border and tracked nearly to the Atlantic Ocean. Three people died, making it Maryland’s deadliest tornado in the modern record, and 122 were injured. While it has been 20 years since the La Plata disaster, its occurrence is a reminder that the D.C. region is vulnerable to devastating whirlwinds on par with those of famed tornado alleys in the Great Plains and Deep South. The D.C. region also sees much more frequent tornadoes of lesser strength…”

Reed Timmer

Remarkable Tornado Drone Video. Professional storm chaster Reed Timmer has taken tornado tracking to an entirely new level with deployment of drones – with his intercept of the Andover, Kansas tornado I’m seeing things I’ve never seen before. Check out his YouTube footage: “New compilation from the Andover, KS EF3 tornado intercept on April 30, 2022 including Dominator Drone and ground perspectives. Audio has been softened for the faint of heart. Miraculously, no lives were lost from this tornado despite immense damage and nearly 1000 structures impacted. This shows how incredible the warning process was for this storm. We called in the tornado in progress and NWS issued tornado warning and sirens sounded. We hope that this drone footage can advance our understanding of the tornado relationship with the ground and the influence of friction.”

63 F. Twin Cities high temperature yesterday.

65 F. average high on May 4.

60 F. MSP high on May 4, 2021.

May 5, 1965: At least 7 tornadoes hit southern Minnesota. This outbreak is a preview of what would happen the next day…

THURSDAY: Some sun. Clouds increase. Winds: SE 7-12. High: 62

FRIDAY: Mostly cloudy, passing shower. Winds: E 10-15. Wake-up: 48. High: 58

SATURDAY: Lukewarm sunshine. Winds: SE 8-13. Wake-up: 47. High: 68

SUNDAY: Partly sunny, stray T-shower. Winds: SE 8-13. Wake-up: 50. High: 65

MONDAY: Warm and sticky, few T-storms. Winds: S 15-25. Wake-up: 57. High: 83

TUESDAY: Hello July. Muggy, T-storm risk. Winds: S 8-13. Wake-up: 61. High: 86

WEDNESDAY: Summer-like. Some sun, steamy. Winds: S 8-13. Wake-up: 63. High: 85

Climate Stories…

Climate Central

Peak CO2 and Heat-Trapping Emissions. Climate Matters has an update on rising greenhouse gas levels: “Yearly peak carbon dioxide levels will likely break a new record in early May and methane concentrations had their largest annual increase in 2021. The continued rise of global greenhouse gas emissions is mainly from human activities in five sectors: energy, industry, agriculture, transportation, and buildings. In the U.S., transportation is the largest emitter contributing to 27% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. We need “rapid and deep” emission cuts across all sectors, globally, if we want a chance at limiting future warming to 1.5°C or below 2°C. If we want a world with the least amount of climate change impacts, we have to take action within this decade. For March 2022, the latest monthly data available, average monthly carbon dioxide (CO2) levels reached 418 ppm (parts per million) compared to 417 ppm in March 2021. CO2 levels peak annually in early May. In May, we anticipate that average monthly CO2 concentrations will break last year’s record of 419 ppm…”

Climate Central
Climate Central

Miami Designates “Heat Season” to Warn About Rising Temperatures. Bloomberg reports: “Miami-Dade County is drawing awareness to the dangers of rising temperatures by declaring an annual “heat season” that will run from May 1 through Oct. 31 each year. The county, where residents face an average of 154 days with a heat index of at least 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32.22 degrees Celsius), plans to give the campaign the same level of importance that it places on hurricane preparedness, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said Monday at the inaugural Forum on Global Resilience hosted by the Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center and the Atlantic Council...”

Reuters graphic

As California Burns, Environmentalists Find New Tactic to Halt Development. Reuters explains: “…A local subsidiary of New York investment bank Jefferies Financial Group (JEF.N) wants to build nearly 3,000 homes on Fanita Ranch, increasing Santee’s population of 60,000 by perhaps another 10,000 people. But Jefferies faces a new legal tactic based on fire safety that has stopped the development and others like it up and down California. The nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity successfully sued to stop Fanita Ranch, largely on grounds that evacuation plans were inadequate. As part of her April 6 ruling, the judge found one of the project’s purported escape routes toward a state highway was a dead-end street. Collinsworth is part of the group Preserve Wild Santee that was among the plaintiffs…”


In Harm’s Way: Hurricane Ida’s Impact on Socially Vulnerable Communities. NOAA has the story; here’s an excerpt: “…In the past, storms like Hurricane Ida could have simply been seen as a natural disaster, affecting both economically advantaged and disadvantaged alike. But it’s becoming readily apparent that low-income communities suffer more damage and are at greater risk from extreme events. Research shows they are less prepared for the effects of extreme weather events. Often, residents of low-income communities don’t have the resources to evacuate, recover, or adapt in the face of extreme events. Additionally, the effects of climate change on vulnerable populations are frequently compounded—such as the COVID-19 pandemic, inland flooding, and rising global temperatures, in Hurricane Ida’s case. With every climate-related disaster in the nation, economic damages are measured and addressed, while the human toll is less readily assessed. Residents of the most-at-risk communities are increasingly pushed into permanent displacement, homelessness, or deeper into poverty. As disasters become more frequent in a changing climate, vulnerable communities find it more challenging to recover and too costly to try to rebuild or retreat…”

Russia Threats Redraw the Global Energy Map. The Washington Post (paywall) examines shifts underway and what may happen if and when the European Union embargoes Russian oil and natural gas: “…What has transpired is a sudden global reordering of the energy markets stoked by an abrupt turnaround by Russia, which spent decades trying to use its generous oil and gas reserves to integrate into the world economy, said Daniel Yergin, an energy historian and vice chairman of S&P Global. For now, Europe’s gas market has become a patchwork. Italy can turn to Algeria, Bulgaria can turn to Greece, and Poland can pivot to a long-planned expansion of a terminal for liquefied natural gas, or LNG, imports and a pipeline coming online from Norway. “It’s a dramatic, unexpected reordering of world energy…”

Work for Fossil Fuel Clients Exposes Agencies to Increasing Legal Risks, New Report Says. Ad Week has the post; here’s the intro: “If you’re an agency, working for Big Oil might get you sued. That’s the message of a new report from activist group Clean Creatives, a campaign by Fossil Free Media to encourage the advertising and PR industry to cut ties with fossil fuel companies. The 17-page publication, titled Smoke and Mirrors: The Legal Risks of Fossil Fuel Advertising, tracks the explosive rise in climate litigation in recent years. Over the last six years, the cumulative number of climate-related cases has more than doubled, the report found. There were 1,841 cases in 39 countries as of May 2021, although most of those are in U.S. courts. Of those that have concluded, a majority (58%) had outcomes that were “favorable to climate action,” the report said...”

State of the Climate: Start of 2022 is 5th Warmest on Record. Here’s an excerpt of a post at Carbon Brief: “After a slightly cooler 2021 on the Earth’s surface, the world is on track for 2022 to be somewhere between the fourth and eighth warmest year since records began in the mid-1850s. It is very unlikely to be a record warm year due to moderately strong La Niña conditions in the early part of the year that are projected to continue for at least the next six months. Not every year is expected to set a new record for the surface – and 2022 annual temperatures will likely end up well in-line with the long-term warming trend that the world has experienced over the past five decades. The first four months of 2022 were the fifth warmest start to a year on record so far. March 2022 saw record warmth over China and large parts of southern Asia, as well as exceptionally high temperatures in the Arctic...”