Chilly Bias Expected Into Early April
Meteorologists at my weather consulting company, Praedictix, are all scratching their heads in unison this morning. It would appear that Old Man Winter has canceled spring, at least for the next 1-2 weeks. Mother Nature is not amused and may resort to floods & tornadoes to prove her point that warming is inevitable. The road to spring is littered with meteorological potholes.
But the end is near: Minnesota Senior Climatologist Dr. Kenny Blumenfeld says that examining 1884-2021 data, the average date of the last accumulating snow at MSP (last coating) is April 8. “However! In the past decade, dates have skewed late, with a range from April 8 to May 3” Blumenfeld wrote in an email. Weird.
The potential for significant snow next Tuesday night and Wednesday morning has lessened. A few inches of slush may still accumulate, but no need to head for the hills (yet).
A clipper whips up 40mph gusts today with weekend highs stuck in the 30s. Jacket-worthy weather lingers into the first week of April, I fear.
Wind-Whipped Clipper. Another fast-moving low pressure system will whip up 40 mph gusts today, morning rain showers ending as a little snow later today and tonight – a coating can’t be ruled out.
Keep a Jacket Handy. Retire the parkas, but heavy jackets? Yep, at least into the first few days of April. We are paying a steep price for a few days of 60s earlier this week. The chilliest weather comes over the weekend when daytime highs won’t climb out of the 30s.
Stormy Twins Opener? Confidence levels this far out are low but IF NOAA’s GFS model verifies we could be looking at strong to severe T-storms on April 7. I’m skeptical, but let’s see how this unfolds as time goes on.
Top 13 Signs Spring Has Arrived in Minnesota. It’s a tenuous spring in Minnesota. The forecast calls for advances and frequent setbacks into April. Laura Yuen summed this up quite nicely for Star Tribune: “…I knew it had arrived when that unfamiliar orb in the sky started to work its mystical powers on my brain, making me forget the dreariness of pitch-black mornings and the peeling disaster that was my lips. I had to bust outside for a midday walk, to inhale and remember why I fell hard for you. Here are the telltale signs that spring has sprung — and that you and I are going to be A-OK:
1) Everyone’s at the car wash.
Nothing screams Midwestern optimism like lines a half-mile deep to get our cars cleaned on the first warm day. Naysayers will grouse about how wrong this is: Your vehicle is going to be splattered by mud puddles the second you leave the parking lot! But it feels glorious to get it done…”
Steady Snow, Rainfall Lifted Much of Minnesota Out of Drought. Star Tribune has some good news: “…Steady, deep snow cover and recent rainfall lifted much of Minnesota out of drought and greatly improved conditions across the state. The winter offered enough precipitation to help relieve one of the driest periods in the past 50 years, without bringing too much down that would overwhelm rivers and creeks to flood the state. The snowmelt has thus far set up Minnesota for a type of spring that’s been elusive during the past decade: normal. “A decent snowpack helped tremendously,” said Craig Schmidt, service hydrologist for the National Weather Service. “The entire western part of the state is now drought-free, and the soil moisture in a lot of the eastern part of the state is very, very close — a few millimeters from normal…”
Summer Forecast: Fewer Weather Delays at the Airport. Sounds too good to be true, but I will suspend my disbelief. Axios explains: “National Weather Service meteorologists can now predict minute-by-minute weather conditions for individual arrival and departure routes at the nation’s 30 busiest airports — which should translate to fewer delays for travelers. Why it matters: Better weather data synced with actual flight routes will help air traffic controllers as they direct planes to dodge potentially dangerous storms. The big picture: When bad weather is approaching an airport, air traffic controllers often hold or reroute flights in the name of safety. That’s inconvenient for passengers, and can quickly snowball into systemwide delays across the country…”
New Orleans Multi-Vortex Tornado Rated EF3, Strongest Since 2017. Capital Weather Gang has details: “The deadly and destructive tornado that struck eastern New Orleans on Tuesday night was rated “at least” EF3 on the 0 to 5 Enhanced Fujita scale for tornado intensity, the National Weather Service reported Wednesday. At that rating, it is the strongest tornado to strike the area since 2017. The Weather Service office in New Orleans was surveying the damage from the tornado Wednesday and wrote that the EF3 rating is preliminary. “A final assessment including results of the entire survey [is] expected to be completed and transmitted via a public information statement in the next day or two,” a Weather Service statement said…”
We Found the Red Pickup Truck That Flipped Over in Elgin (Texas) Tornado. If you haven’t seen the video, check it out here. KXAN.com has a follow-up on the man who survived a direct hit with a tornado (while driving): “He was in shock; he was crying,” said Ruben Briones, who said he helped the driver of the red pickup truck seen flipping over on Highway 290 in Elgin in a widely-circulated video. “He told me it was scary,” said Briones, who added the driver is from Manor but is leaving the truck in Elgin near where the tornado touched down for the time being. The video of the truck driving through the tornado has gone viral. Hundreds of thousands have seen it across the world. That includes Elgin resident Keith Leschber. He also happens to drive a red pickup truck. It was parked safely at home when the tornado hit, but when his friends saw the video — they got worried…”
West Coast Should Brace for Spring Megadrought, NOAA Warns. Smithsonian Magazine has an overview: “The record-shattering megadrought gripping the Western United States will likely only get worse this spring, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) seasonal outlook released yesterday. For the second consecutive year, NOAA forecasters are predicting “prolonged, persistent drought in the West where below-average precipitation is most likely,” the agency stated. The West has been locked in a drought for years, and important reservoirs have been drained to historic lows to support thirsty communities and agriculture. The West’s upcoming hot, dry spring also sets the stage for intensifying wildfires, according to Seth Borenstein for the Associated Press…”
YouTube Explainer. Yale Climate Connections has a video explaining the 1200 megadrought impacting the western USA.
Where the Most Weather Warnings are Issued in the U.S. The Weather Channel confirmed my suspicions: “…Based on the data, the 10 NWS offices that issued the most warnings were largely from the Southern Plains to the Southeast. The Norman, Oklahoma, NWS office, serving central and western Oklahoma and extreme northwestern Texas, led the pack with over 9,100 warnings. The Jackson, Mississippi, office came in second with over 7,600 warnings. You can see the entire data set of warnings considered, broken down for each NWS office in the 50 states, in the links below...”
Advanced Satellite System Sets its Sights on Ice Clouds to Improve Weather and Climate Modeling. A post at NASA caught my eye: “Wispy white cirrus clouds stretched across a blue sky may seem insubstantial, but they actually have a huge impact on Earth’s climate. Learning more about these clouds would allow scientists to develop better models for understanding storms and climate change. “Cirrus clouds cover more than 50% of our planet. If we can build a better body of fundamental data describing the structure of these clouds, we’ll have a far superior understanding of how that coverage will affect our weather and climate moving forward,” said William Deal, a staff engineer at Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation. With a grant from NASA’s Earth Science Technology Office (ESTO), Deal is working with a team of researchers at Northrop Grumman and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to develop a new instrument that would reduce the cost and complexity of using space-based remote sensors to study the tiny ice crystals making up cirrus clouds…”
Are Advertisers Going to Infiltrate Our Dreams? A post at The Hustle made me sit up a little straighter: “Last year, Molson Coors, the esteemed purveyor of watered-down frat-party beer, ran a jarring ‘experiment.’ In a discreet building in downtown Los Angeles, 18 subjects were instructed to watch a strange video featuring a synth-laden soundtrack and natural imagery interspersed with glimpses of Coors Light cans. The participants were then asked to drift off to sleep while listening to an 8-hour soundtrack featuring audio from the video. Coors’ stated goal was science-fiction worthy: The company wanted to “shape and compel [the] subconscious” into dreaming about beer. Shockingly, it seemed to work. Around 30% of the participants reported that Coors products made an appearance in their dreams…”
45 F. Twin Cities maximum temperature on Thursday.
46 F. Average MSP high on March 24.
45 F. MSP high on March 24, 2021.
March 25, 2007: Record warmth stretches from southern Minnesota to western Wisconsin with 72 at Owatonna, 77 at Menomonie, WI, and 80 at Eau Claire, WI.
March 25, 1981: An F2 tornado hits Morrison county and does $25,000 worth of damage.
FRIDAY: Blustery, light mix. Winds: NW 20-40. High: 40
SATURDAY: Partly sunny and chilly. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 23. High: 36
SUNDAY: Mix of clouds and sun, nippy. Winds: N 5-10. Wake-up: 13. High: 34
MONDAY: Cloudy with a few sprinkles. Winds: SE 10-20. Wake-up: 26. High: 41
TUESDAY: Late showers ending as wet snow? Winds: E 10-20. Wake-up: 33. High: 49
WEDNESDAY: Snow tapers, gusty winds. Winds: NW 15-30 Wake-up: 29. High: 42
THURSDAY: Partly sunny, cooler than average. Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 22. High: near 40
“OK Doomer” and the Climate Advocates Who Say It’s Not Too Late. Here’s the intro to a New York Times story: “Alaina Wood is well aware that, planetarily speaking, things aren’t looking so great. She’s read the dire climate reports, tracked cataclysmic weather events and gone through more than a few dark nights of the soul. She is also part of a growing cadre of people, many of them young, who are fighting climate doomism, the notion that it’s too late to turn things around. They believe that focusing solely on terrible climate news can sow dread and paralysis, foster inaction, and become a self-fulfilling prophecy. With the war in Ukraine prompting a push for ramped up production of fossil fuels, they say it’s ever more pressing to concentrate on all the good climate work, especially locally, that is being done…”
U.N. Sets 5-Year Goal to Broaden Climate Early Warning Systems. We assume the “watches” and “warnings” we receive in the U.S. are the way things are worldwide. That would be an incorrect assumption. AP News has the story: “The chief of the United Nations announced a project Wednesday to put every person on Earth in range of early weather-warning systems within five years as natural disasters have grown more powerful and frequent due to climate change. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the project with the Geneva-based World Meteorological Organization aims to make the alert systems already used by many rich countries available to the developing world. “Today, one-third of the world’s people, mainly in least-developed countries and small island developing states, are still not covered by early warning systems,” Guterres said. “In Africa, it is even worse: 60% of people lack coverage...”
U.N to Roll Out Global Early-Warning Systems for Extreme Weather. The briefing and alerting systems being used right now we need to evolve and improve as extreme weather events become more frequent (and even more extreme). Here’s an excerpt from Thomson Reuters Foundation: “With climate change fueling dangerous weather worldwide, the United Nations is pledging that early-warning weather monitoring will cover everyone on the planet in five years. “Half of humanity is already in the danger zone,” U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said earlier this week. And yet, “one-third of the world’s people, mainly in least developed countries and small island developing states, are still not covered by early warning systems.” Today, there are about five times the number of weather-related disasters than there were in the 1970s. These droughts, floods, heatwaves and storms have killed more than 2 million people and wrought $3.64 trillion in losses worldwide since 1970, WMO data show. With the trend expected to worsen as global temperatures continue to climb, “there is a need to invest $1.5 billion” in the next five years to predict when extreme events might occur, said World Meteorological Organization Secretary-General Petteri Taalas…”
Florida Panhandle Residents Breathing Mold 3 Years After Hurricane Michael: We vacation on the Florida Panhandle every February and I’ve been blown away by the damage from 2018 Hurricane Michael, and how slow the reconstruction has been since the Category 5 storm devastated the area just east of Panama City. Here are more links and headlines from Climate Central: “More than three years after Hurricane Michael slammed the Florida Panhandle, residents in historically Black and low-income neighborhoods are still living in tarp-covered, mold-infested homes, Inside Climate News reports. Layers of systemic racism and housing injustice are amplifying the impacts of climate change in numerous ways. While money has been appropriated, byzantine application processes favor whiter communities with more access to resources. Many people also lack official documentation proving they own the home they inherited from their family, and a dearth of affordablehousing means they are forced to remain in unsafe and unhealthy homes. “I had to tarp my roof about seven times because the wind would come and tear up the tarp,” Patricia Roundtree of Panama City told ICN. “And this brings in water and more mold inside my house, and, basically, I can only live in about two-thirds of my house.” (Inside Climate News; Climate Signals background: Hurricane Michael)
Solar and Wind Power Gains. Here’s a look at national and state trends with renewable power, courtesy of Climate Central: “Climate Central’s new report, WeatherPower Year in Review, analyzes when and where the most wind and solar energy was produced in the U.S. in 2021. The contiguous U.S. generated an estimated 606,000 GWh of wind and solar electricity in 2021, up to 16% of electricity consumed. Wind energy accounted for 73% of the total, and peaked in December. Solar peaked in July.In terms of total generation, Texas was the top wind state with 113,000 GWh (about a quarter of the national total). California led for solar with 55,000 GWh (about a third of the national total). Despite strong growth in wind and solar, faster rates of production are needed between now and 2030 to reach U.S. energy goals…”
Rich Countries Must Stop Producing Oil and Gas by 2034, Says Study. The Guardian has the results of that study: “Rich countries must end all oil and gas production in the next 12 years, while the poorest nations should be given 28 years, to provide a fair transition away from fossil fuels, according to a study. The report, led by Prof Kevin Anderson from the Tyndall Center for Climate Change Research at Manchester University, found that wealthy countries such as the UK, US and Australia had until 2034 to stop all oil and gas production to give the world a 50% chance of preventing devastating climate breakdown, while the poorest nations that are also heavily reliant on fossil fuels should be given until 2050. Anderson said that while it was now clear there had to be a rapid shift away from “a fossil fuel economy”, it was essential this was done in a fair and equitable way…”
U.S. SEC Proposes Companies Disclose Range of Climate Risks, Emissions Data. Reuters has the details: “The U.S. securities regulator on Monday proposed requiring U.S.-listed companies to disclose a range of climate-related risks and greenhouse gas emissions, part of President Joe Biden’s push to join global efforts to avert climate-related catastrophes. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) unveiled its long-anticipated draft rule under which companies would disclose their own direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions, known as Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions. It would also require companies to disclose greenhouse gases generated by suppliers and partners, known as Scope 3 emissions, if they are material or included in any emissions targets the company has set...”
The 510 page SEC proposal is here.