A Supernaturally Slow Morning Commute?
Never (ever) tell a Minnesotan not to drive. “It’s my God-given right as a freedom-loving American to drive as FAST as I want in near-blizzard conditions!” So there.
That said, take it easy out there this morning. Snow will gradually subside, with only minor blowing and drifting on the backside of this storm. Conditions aren’t ripe for blizzard conditions, but this morning’s commute will be a gong-show. And I’m a naive optimist.
Last night’s precipitation was enough to push us over the top: 2019 now the wettest year on record for MSP and much of Minnesota.The old annual precipitation record at MSP was 40.3″ set in 2016
Travel conditions improve later today with a dry sky on Thanksgiving Day. The next storm pushes a sloppy mix of rain, ice and snow into Minnesota Friday and Saturday. I envision a messy Gophers-Badgers game
Saturday, with temperatures in the mid 30s and wet freeways.
As the atmosphere cools late Saturday any mix will change back to snow, with a few more inches possible Saturday night into Sunday.
Santa’s happy. Nothing like easing into winter.
Road Conditions. Here’s a good place to start, Minnesota 511 Travel Information, courtesy of MnDOT.
Moderation Second Week of December. Nothing truly arctic is in sight – no numbing temperatures behind today’s storm, in fact steering winds aloft are forecast to blow fromthe west within 2 weeks, meaning fairly consistent 30s, even a shot at 40F.
Praedictix Briefing: Issued Tuesday, November 26th, 2019:
- At least one to two feet of snow has already been reported this morning across portions of Colorado and Wyoming in association with a strong winter storm. The snow, along with gusty winds, has caused adverse travel conditions leading to the closure of several portions of interstates in Colorado, Wyoming, and Nebraska.
- This system will continue to push north and east into Wednesday, spreading snow across the Central Plains and into the Upper Midwest over the next 12-18 hours. A band of at least 6-12” of snow is expected to fall from Nebraska to the U.P. of Michigan through Wednesday, including areas like North Platte (NE), Sioux City (IA), and the Twin Cities (MN). Strong winds will also blow the snow around, causing reduced visibility and difficult travel conditions.
- Strong winds with this system will also impact areas that don’t get snow. High Wind Warnings are in place today across portions of the Southern Plains with wind gusts at/above 70 mph possible. High Wind Watches are in place from eastern Iowa into the Ohio Valley for Wednesday as winds will approach 60 mph at times.
- A second system is impacting the western United States through the middle of the week and could be historic in portions of the Northwest. This system will bring damaging winds, heavy snow, and potentially flooding rains along with it to the western United States through the middle of the week before moving east into the central United States for the end of the week and the weekend.
Morning Radar, Snow Totals, And Road Closures. Heavy snow is falling this morning across portions of Wyoming, Colorado, and Nebraska with 1-2” per hour rates being reported. Blowing and drifting snow is occurring due to the fluffy nature of this snow and strong winds. Numerous 1-2 feet totals have already been reported this morning across portions of Colorado and Wyoming, including:
- 24” – Meeker Park, CO
- 22” – Battle Lake, WY
- 16” – Masonville, CO
- 14” – Boulder and Fort Collins
- 10” – Cheyenne, WY
- 7” – Denver Airport
The heavy snow and strong winds have closed several roads across the region including:
- In Colorado: portions of I-76 and I-70
- In Wyoming: portions of I-80
- In Nebraska: portions of I-76
Here are links to local DOT website for the very latest road information
- Wyoming: https://map.wyoroad.info/wtimap/index.html
- Colorado: https://cotrip.org/map.htm
- Nebraska: https://hb.511.nebraska.gov/
Pre-Thanksgiving Storm Moves North And East Through Midweek. The area of low pressure responsible for this heavy snow will move out of the Rockies onto the Plains today, quickly working into the Great Lakes as we head toward Wednesday morning. As it moves north and east, the heavy snow band will expand across portions of the Central Plains today and into the Upper Midwest tonight. Snowfall rates of near 2” per hour will be possible in the heaviest snow bands.
Winter Storm Alerts. Numerous Winter Storm Warnings and Winter Weather Advisories stretch this morning from the Rockies to the western Great Lakes in association with this storm. We also have some Blizzard Warnings in place across portions of Wyoming, Colorado, and the U.P. of Michigan. Some areas under these alerts include:
- Blizzard Warnings:
- Wyoming: The South Laramie Range including Buford and Pumpkin Vine until 6 PM tonight for an additional 5-7” of snow with wind gusts to 40 mph.
- Colorado: For the Plains including Akron, Limon, and Castle Rock until 5 PM for an additional 6-9” of snow with wind gusts to 45 mph.
- Michigan: Keweenaw County from 1 AM to 7 PM Wednesday for 11-16” of snow with wind gusts to 50 mph.
- Winter Storm Warnings:
- Cheyenne, WY: Through 6 PM for total snow accumulations of 10-20” with wind gusts to 40 mph.
- Denver, CO: Through 2 PM for an additional 5-7” of snow and wind gusts to 35 mph.
- North Platte, NE: Through midnight tonight for an additional 4-11” of snow and wind gusts to 35 mph.
- Sioux Falls, SD: From 3 PM Tuesday through 9 AM Wednesday for 3-7” of snow and wind gusts to 40 mph.
- Minneapolis, MN: From 9 PM Tuesday through Noon Wednesday for 6-12” of snow and wind gusts to 35 mph.
- Duluth, MN: From 9 PM Tuesday through Noon Wednesday for 5-10” of snow and wind gusts to 40 mph.
- Marquette, MI: From 1 AM Wednesday to 1 AM Thursday for 6-24” of snow and wind gusts to 40 mph.
Central Plains Additional Snow. Back toward the Rockies, an additional 4-8” inches of snow could fall through today, leading to continued hazardous and potentially impossible travel conditions. The National Weather Service office in Denver/Boulder has mentioned that this storm could be an historic (approaching top five) snowstorm in the Fort Collins and Loveland areas with overall totals of 20”+. Across Nebraska toward Sioux City and Sioux Falls at least 6-12” of snow is expected to fall through Wednesday morning.
Upper Midwest Snow. Several of these totals have gone up since yesterday due to the expected strengthening of this storm as it pushes into the Central United States, with now 6-12” of snow possible in the Twin Cities through midday Wednesday. Travel will be difficult across this region tonight into Wednesday, with the Wednesday morning commute greatly impacted.
Strong Winds. This system will also bring strong winds across the mid-section of the nation over the next few days. Wind gusts of 30-45 mph are expected in areas that see snow, helping to reduce visibility and make travel rough. Winds are expected to be even stronger in areas outside of the snow band from the southern Plains to the Ohio Valley. Today in the southern Plains winds could gust between 60-70 mph, with wind gusts reaching 50-60 mph possible Wednesday from eastern Iowa into the Ohio Valley. These very blustery winds will have the potential to cause power outages and knock at least small tree limbs down. In the southern Plains, an elevated to critical fire danger will accompany the strong winds.
Peak Gusts Around Chicago Wednesday. The Windy City will live up to its name Wednesday as wind gusts are expected to exceed 50 mph during the day. The highest winds (50+ mph) are most likely in the metro between about 9 AM and 2 PM.
High Wind Watches And Warnings. Due to the expected strong winds outside of areas that will receive snow, High Wind Watches and Warnings have been posted. For areas in the southern Plains, these alerts are in effect today. For areas of the Ohio Valley, including Chicago and Indianapolis, these alerts are in place Wednesday.
Messy Weather Out West. A second system is approaching the west coast as we head through Tuesday, bringing damaging winds, heavy snow, and even flooding rains. This storm will quickly deepen off the Pacific coast today and the National Weather Service in Medford says that this could be an historic storm for the region. Winds particularly along the southern Oregon and northern California coasts and along/west of the Cascades in these same areas could approach 75 mph. Heavy snow across the mountains will make travel difficult, and even some valley floors could see snow accumulation. Meanwhile, in southern California Flash Flood Watches are in place for San Diego from tonight through Thursday evening due to the potential of 1-3” of rain.
Storm Pushes Into The Central U.S. Toward The Weekend. This system will move into the Central United States late this week into the weekend, bringing another round of potentially heavy snow and strong winds with it. It’s still too early for many details, but we’ll continue to monitor it as we head toward the long holiday weekend.
D.J. Kayser, Meteorologist, Praedictix
Active 2019 Hurricane Season Comes to an End. NOAA has a good summary of another busy season; here are a couple of excerpts: “The season produced 18 named storms, including six hurricanes of which three were “major” (Category 3, 4 or 5). NOAA’s outlook called for 10-17 named storms, 5-9 hurricanes and 2-4 major hurricanes, and accurately predicted the overall activity of the season….This year marks the fourth consecutive above-normal Atlantic hurricane season. The only other period on record that produced four consecutive above-normal seasons was 1998-2001. Also this year, five tropical cyclones formed in the Gulf of Mexico, which ties a record with 2003 and 1957 for the most storms to form in that region. Of those, three — Barry, Imelda and Nestor — made landfall in the U.S...”
Low-Frequency Sound May Predict Tornado Formation. The theory that tornadic storms give off detectable pulses of energy is not a new one – I remember this dating back to the 1970s. But researchers at Oklahoma State are pushing the boundaries and quantifying how/why this may happen. Here are a couple clips from phys.org: “How can you tell when a storm is going to produce a tornado even before the twister forms? Research from Oklahoma State University and University of Nebraska-Lincoln indicates prior to tornado formation, storms emit low-frequency sounds…The researchers wanted to explore how fluid mechanics cause the sounds detected before a tornado is created. Those sounds are well below the range of human hearing. They will present recent infrasound observations from the 2019 tornado season as well as discuss how they were able to detect tornado formation, even before they were spotted on radars…”
Photo credit: “Researchers will discuss research on fluid mechanisms behind infrasound emitted before tornado formation at this year’s APS DFD meeting.” Credit: OSU Brand Management/Phil Shockley.
Weather is Big Business, and It’s Veering Toward a Collision with the Federal Government. The Washington Post and SFGate.com has a must-read post; here’s a snippet: “…Private weather forecasting is a $7 billion industry and growing, according to a 2017 National Weather Service study. It’s also increasingly testing the federal government’s hold on weather data and warnings. Those pressures are expected to grow as forecasting moves into environmental prediction, such as anticipating harmful algal blooms and dengue virus outbreaks. The Trump administration has so far shown little inclination to make sure government agencies stay ahead of private competition.bUntil recently, AccuWeather, Earth Networks, the Weather Co. and other private weather providers relied on the fire hose of data from NOAA’s National Weather Service and satellite arm, as well as NASA and other agencies. Now companies are producing their own data and using analytics in business-savvy ways, tailoring their forecasts to specific real-world problems…”
New 5F Wireless Deal Threatens Accurate Weather Forecasts. I mean, what can possibly go wrong? Scientific American frames the threat: “The international agency that regulates global telecommunications agreed to new radio-frequency standards on 21 November. Meteorologists say the long-awaited decision threatens the future of weather forecasting worldwide, by allowing transmissions from mobile-phone networks to degrade the quality of Earth observations from space. Wireless companies are beginning to roll out their next-generation networks, known as 5G, around the world. The new agreement is meant to designate the radio frequencies over which 5G equipment can transmit. But some of those frequencies come perilously close to those used by satellites to gather crucial weather and climate data. To keep the signals from interfering with one another, researchers have proposed turning down the amount of noise allowed to leak from the 5G transmissions...”
Image credit: NOAA.
At the First National Thanksgiving, the Civil War Raged. Here’s an excerpt of a timely post at The Washington Post (paywall): “…As the Civil War raged in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln and his secretary of state, William H. Seward, issued a proclamation on Oct. 3 calling for a national holiday to be observed on “the last Thursday of November.” That proclamation, a document of unusual literary grace, might do good service again in a nation that could use words of healing.The proclamation is not generally listed among Lincoln’s great achievements, and with good reason…”
Illustration credit: Michelle Kondrich for The Washington Post.
38 F. maximum Twin Cities temperature yesterday.
35 F. average high on November 26.
24 F. high on November 26, 2018.
November 27, 2005: In the early morning a home in Mower County is hit by lightning and burned to the ground, but no one is injured.
November 27, 1994: A low pressure system produces the first winter storm of the season for Minnesota. By the early morning hours of the 28th, a swath of snow in excess of 6 inches had blanketed much of southwest through central into northeast Minnesota. Snowfall of 6 inches or more occurred south of a line from Gunflint Lake in Cook County to near Ortonville in Big Stone County, and along and north of a line from near Blue Earth in Faribault County to Red Wing in Goodhue County. The snow closed the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport for a short time on the 27th, and contributed to hundreds of accidents and at least three fatalities. In addition, the build-up of ice and snow in combination with strong winds resulted in numerous downed power lines in southeast Minnesota.
November 27, 1985: Extreme cold hits northern Minnesota. A low of 30 below zero is reported at Crookston.
November 27, 1971: Heavy snow falls in southwest Minnesota, with Redwood Falls receiving a foot.
WEDNESDAY: Storm Warning. Gusty. Snow tapers, 5-10″ totals. Winds: NW 20-35. High: 31
THANKSGIVING: Cloudy, better travel conditions. Winds: SE 3-8. Wake-up: 18. High: 29
BLACK FRIDAY: Period of sleet or freezing rain. Winds: SE 10-15. Wake-up: 23. High: 32
SATURDAY: Rain snow mix. Mainly wet major roads. Winds: SE 10-20. Wake-up: 30. High: 36
SUNDAY: Snow tapers, a few more inches? Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 29. High: 34
MONDAY: Peeks of sun, better travel. Winds: SW 5-10. Wake-up: 21. High: 32
TUESDAY: More clouds than sun, quiet. Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 24. High: 37
In Bleak Report, U.N. Says Drastic Action is Only Way to Avoid Worst Effects of Climate Change. Here’s a clip from a summary at The Washington Post: “...As part of that deal, world leaders agreed to hold warming to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius compared with preindustrial levels; the current trajectory is nearly twice that. Should that pace continue, scientists say, the result could be widespread, catastrophic effects: Coral reefs, already dying in some places, would probably dissolve in increasingly acidic oceans. Some coastal cities, already wrestling with flooding, would be constantly inundated by rising seas. In much of the world, severe heat, already intense, could become unbearable. Global greenhouse gas emissions must begin falling by 7.6 percent each year beginning 2020 — a rate currently nowhere in sight — to meet the most ambitious aims of the Paris climate accord, the report issued early Tuesday found…”
Warming Winters. Graphics above showing temperature trends since 1970 courtesy of Climate Central.
El Ninos Trending More Severe During Industrial Age. A story at phys.org caught my eye; here’s an excerpt: “El Ninos have become more intense in the industrial age, which stands to worsen storms, drought, and coral bleaching in El Nino years. A new study has found compelling evidence in the Pacific Ocean that the stronger El Ninos are part of a climate pattern that is new and strange. It is the first known time that enough physical evidence spanning millennia has come together to allow researchers to say definitively that: El Ninos, La Ninas, and the climate phenomenon that drives them have become more extreme in the times of human-induced climate change…”
Graphic credit: “On the right, satellite composition of El Nino in 1997, and on the left, El Nino in 2015. Both were extreme El Nino events that new hard evidence says are part of a new and odd climate pattern.” Credit: NOAA
Hurricanes and Climate Change. InsideClimate News talks about hurricane intensity and attribution to a changing climate (and rapidly warming ocean): “…Scientists, so far, can’t tease out exactly how much of a given hurricane’s size or impact is because of climate change. What they do know is this: Hurricanes draw their energy from the oceans, and the oceans are now warmer than they’ve been in 125,000 years because they’ve absorbed 90 percent of the excess heat trapped in the atmosphere by increased greenhouse gas emissions. The warmer oceans provide more energy to amp up hurricanes by intensifying wind and rainfall—like a steroid enhancing the performance of an athlete. Scientists who research how climate change affects hurricanes readily acknowledge that much remains unknown. The research is constrained by the fact that hurricanes, especially the ones that make landfall, are rare events, which means there’s not a rich historical record to draw on like the record that exists for surface temperatures across the earth…”
Why We Risked Arrest to Protest Harvard and Yale Funding Fossil Fuel Giants. Two of the protestors explain why they did what they did for The Guardian: “…Collectively, Harvard and Yale could be investing upwards of $1.2bn in the fossil fuel industry. While universities worldwide are waking up to the threat of climate change and pledging to divest, ours are jeopardizing their own students’ futures. And given the long-term risks of fossil fuel investments, in addition to the moral imperative, there is a clear financial incentive to divest. That’s why over $11.5tn has been divested from the fossil fuel industry worldwide and why recently, the University of California decided to make its over $70bn endowment and $13.4bn pension fund fossil fuel-free. But it’s not only through their investments that these elite institutions prop up the bad actors behind our planet’s degradation. Harvard continues to refuse to publicly recognize the vast and problematic ties that the Harvard Corporation maintains to the fossil fuel industry…”
An Ivy League Divestment Standoff: Climate Nexus has headlines and links: “Hundreds of activists stormed the Yale University football field Saturday to protest climate change by disrupting the annual Yale-Harvard football game. Protesters from both schools delayed progress on the historic annual game for nearly an hour after they swarmed the field at halftime, linking arms to sit on the 50-yard line as they called for Harvard and Yale to divest from fossil fuels and forgive Puerto Rican debt. More than 40 protesters were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct, including actor and Yale graduate Sam Waterston, who was also arrested last month at a climate protest in DC. Organizers say dozens of unaffiliated students joined the protest after it began, with more than 500 protesters on the field at its peak.” (Washington Post $, New York Times $, AP, NPR, News8, ESPN. Commentary: WSJ editorial $)
American Climate. InsideClimate News has launched an ambitious project, capturing the myriad of ways a rapidly changing climate is impacting Americans: “Rising temperatures are strengthening the destructive force of wildfires, hurricanes and floods, putting tens of millions of Americans at risk. Tens of thousandsof Americans are already paying a high price, their lives shattered by climate calamities. Here are twenty-one of their stories…”
The Wall That Would Save Venice from Drowning is Underwater. Wall Street Journal (paywall) has a story that takes irony to a new level: “As the water rose, Alessandro Ferro made a desperate effort to prevent a devastating flood on the islands of the Venetian Lagoon. The mayor of the lagoon town of Chioggia asked for the first-ever use of submersible steel floodgates that had been built for billions of euros to block out the sea. But he could find no one willing and authorized to raise the barriers. On Nov. 12, Venice, Chioggia and surrounding islands suffered their worst flood in over half a century. Waters rose over 6 feet above the normal level. Around 80% of the city was inundated, causing damage estimated by Venice’s mayor at over €1 billion ($1.11 billion). Brackish water filled the crypt of the 12th-century St. Mark’s Basilica. Gondolas and public ferries were left strewn on walkways...”
Barack Obama Lays Out 3 Things He’s Most Worried About, the Biggest One is Climate Change. Here’s the intro to a post at Business Insider: “On Thursday at Dreamforce, Salesforce’s annual mega-conference, Obama spoke with Salesforce’s CEO and cofounder, Marc Benioff, on the most important issues of the day that needed fixing. “Climate change would be right at the top,” Obama said onstage. “There’s such a thing as being too late.” Obama said modern culture contributed to climate change by encouraging people to consume more. By way of example, he said houses today consumed more electricity than before. “We were just talking about the fact that it’s great we’re creating all sorts of energy efficiencies, but it’s also true that part of our challenge about climate change is a culture that says more is always better and bigger is always better,” Obama said…”
Photo credit: “
a 1966 copy of the industry publication Mining Congress Journal; his father-in-law had been in the industry and he thought it might be an interesting memento…”Exxon knew.” Thanks to the work of activists and journalists, those two words have rocked the politics of climate change in recent years, as investigations revealed the extent to which giants like Exxon Mobil and Shell were aware of the danger of rising greenhouse gas emissions even as they undermined the work of scientists. But the coal industry knew, too — as early as 1966, a newly unearthed journal shows. In August, Chris Cherry, a professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, salvaged a large volume from a stack of vintage journals that a fellow faculty member was about to toss out. He was drawn to
Illustration credit: Rebecca Zisser.
Thousands of People Have Stopped Flying Because of Climate Change. Here’s an excerpt from CNN.com: “…Tyers is not the only person to shun air travel in response to climate change. Thousands of people worldwide have publicly pledged to stop flying, including teenage activist Greta Thunberg, who has inspired youth climate protests around the world. They say there is no justification for flying in a world where governments have declared climate emergencies and scientists have warned of global warming’s devastating impacts on human health and on the future of countless species. Activist Maja Rosen launched the “Flight Free” campaign in Sweden in 2018 with the aim of encouraging 100,000 people not to fly for one year. Although only around 14,000 people signed the online “#flightfree2019” pledge, Rosen told CNN that the campaign had made more people aware of the urgency of the climate crisis and motivated them to travel by train more often…”
Photo credit: “Roger Tyers, 37, travelled from England to China by train instead of plane because of the climate crisis.” Roger Tyers.
Climate Change Has Finally Broken Through. It does feel like a public opinion tipping point, an inflection point, but I may be a naive optimist. Here’s a clip from an essay at Slate: “…Why would Republican candidates, even long-shot Republican candidates, show up for such a thing? I think it’s because they realize they ought to. Their voters are starting to care. Since 2016, most Americans, almost always more than 65 percent, have told Gallup that they know climate change is happening and that most scientists agree on this fact. By some counts the percentage is even higher—a survey from the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication suggests 73 percent of registered voters think it’s happening, and 63 percent are worried about it. The situation is still split along partisan lines, as you might expect. Gallup divides respondents into three groups: “concerned believers,” “mixed middle,” and “cool skeptics”; 77 percent of Democrats are “concerned believers” while 52 percent of Republicans are “cool skeptics.” But as the Yale study points out, “Worry about global warming has increased among liberal/moderate Republicans by 15 percentage points since May 2017 and by seven points among conservative Republicans since October 2017...”
File image: NOAA.
What it Takes to be Carbon Neutral – For a Family, a City, and a Country. Denmark is getting serious about carbon footprints, as related in a post at The Washington Post (paywall). Here’s an excerpt: “…We’re not minimalists,” said Purup Nohr, 31. But she and her husband have examined every aspect of their lives for its environmental impact. “It is a journey,” she said. “You start looking, and then you look at your food, and then you look at your transport. When you start thinking about the environment, you want to make your life fit.” Some of their adjustments have been relatively minor. They phased out liquid shampoo in favor of soap bars that don’t require bottles, and hung an hourglass into the shower to keep themselves from dawdling under the water. They bought used reusable cloth diapers — which they plan to resell to someone else when they are done with them. The little red cart their 1-year-old uses to toddle around is secondhand, as are the rest of the toys, so as not to fuel more production and consumption…”
Photo credit: “Copenhagen officials estimate that 75 percent of all trips must be done by bike, foot or public transportation to meet their 2025 goals.” (Ulf Svane/For The Washington Post).