1.3" snow fell at MSP yesterday (3" at Plymouth).
1.8" snow. Record snowfall for April 20 (set in 1982).
46 F. high on Wednesday at MSP (average high is 59 F). Last year the high was 71 on April 20.
.63" rain predicted between tonight and Saturday evening (most of that falling Friday.
1.88" rain predicted for MSP from this evening through midnight, April 27 (GFS).
Sunday: nicer, brighter, drier day of the weekend, chance of 60 F. by mid afternoon.
272: April tornadoes nationwide, a new nationwide record for the USA, and the month is a little more than half-over (Greg Forbes, The Weather Channel).
"It's accurate to say that Minnesota has been experiencing major flooding, but not record flooding, for a variety of reasons."
"We dodged a bullet this year. We had 3 distinct thaws in February, March and April. That slowed the rate of snow melt just enough to avoid catastrophic flooding. Prolonging the melt helped to avert a major disaster."
"Much of March and early April was cold and dry, which helped to reduce the volume of water flushed into Minnesota's streams and rivers."
"Minnesota was lucky in terms of a lack of major rainstorms. If we had picked up a couple inches of rain in March, when we still had heavy snow on the ground, flooding would have been considerably worse."
"There has been a tremendous amount of water in Minnesota's rivers. We've had a very long-duration flood event, some bridges over the Minnesota River have been closed now for nearly a month."
"The average length of (major) flooding in Minnesota may be close to 18 days, give or take. This year it was closer to 30 days."
"It could have been an order of magnitude worse had we experienced a sudden melt like we had last year..."
"Last year's temperatures (sudden thaw in March) coupled with this year's snow on the ground would have, in all probability, produced new records for flooding on Minnesota's rivers."
"Most of Minnesota's river flooding comes between September and May. The reason? Lack of vegetation. Vegetation: trees, lawns, shrubs and crops all absorb water, reducing the amount of runoff into area streams and rivers. When Minnesota greens up in May and June the potential for (major) river flooding drops off considerably because the vegetation-effect kicks in, pulling water out of the soil."
"We have to be on-guard until we get to Mother's Day. The combination of saturated soil and high water volumes means we need to be alert for 4-6 more weeks. Until we get to Memorial Day all bets are off! Hey, we're making up for last year!" (60s and 70s in March).
"Had the flooding rains that set up over Iowa come a couple hundred miles farther north, it would have been an entirely different story for Minnesota. The flooding rains stayed just to our south - that made all the difference this spring."
- Thanks Dan. Appreciate the additional information. We may have dodged a bullet, but we aren't quite out of the woods just yet.
Aerial Photography Of Flooded Red River Valley. As Dan Luna from the NWS mentioned, flooding in parts of the Red River Valley is actually worse than it was in 1997. Here's another perspective on the flooding from NOAA: "Last week, the National Geodetic Survey dispatched NOAA's King Air aircraft, equipped with specialized remote sensing equipment, on a mission to collect aerial photography at 10,000 feet (3 km) across areas of the upper Midwest in midst of another spring with severe river flooding caused by melting snow atop already saturated ground. These "before and after" photos of the Red River Valley along the Minnesota-North Dakota border compare images taken in 2009/2010 by Google® Earth with photos taken from the NOAA aircraft. Photos were used to assist NOAA's National Weather Service to verify and validate flood models, and also assist local officials in planning their response and recovery efforts."
Happy Not To Be Showing A Snowfall Map. Yes, I'm pleased not to have to tee up another snow map (maybe for the next 6 months?) Showery rains arrive this evening, a potential for steadier, heavier rain on Friday as an area of low pressure tracks south/east of Minnesota. At least the atmosphere overhead will be warm enough for (all) rain.
* 9.9" of snow as of midnight Tuesday night.
* Snowiest April day on record.
* Most snow ever recorded from a late-season snowfall.
* 92.4" snow this winter (third snowiest on record, and the most winter snowfall since 1889-90)
"Up To 300 More Tornadoes Over The Next 2 Weeks?" Accu Weather meteorologist Heather Buchman has an ominous prediction looking out through the last half of April. The weather is locked in a "high-amplitude" pattern, unusually strong jet stream winds sweeping across the USA. The combination of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, surges of dry air pushing in from the Desert Southwest, and frontal boundaries separating warm, juicy air to the south from cool, Marchlike airmasses to the north, may set the stage for more outbreaks in the weeks ahead: "In the wake of one of the worst tornado outbreaks in recorded history last week, more rounds of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes are predicted to bombard the same general region into early May. AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Henry Margusity even stated in his blog Tuesday that over the next two weeks, he thinks there could be up to 300 more tornadoes within an area spanning from eastern Oklahoma to northern Mississippi, Tennessee, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. "You may think that 300 tornadoes is a lot, but if you look at 2008, we had just that many in the two-week time period leading up to the second week of May," Margusity said in his blog. "Also, given the pattern, I don't think it's too unrealistic to think that many can happen."
Could Tornadic Winds Really Be 800 Miles An Hour? I did a double-take when I saw this post, but see if you can follow NBC-TV Kansas City meteorologist Gary Lezak's logic as he explains some frame-by-frame photographical evidence from a recent tornado strike in Jackson, Mississippi: "There is a lot to think about as we go into this week. The weather pattern continues to cycle, according to Lezak’s Recurring Cycle (LRC), at around every 50 days. This is a very active pattern that, unfortunately, is set up to produce more tornadoes and more tornado outbreaks. For Kansas City and our viewing area, which we have fortunately missed these major severe weather episodes with the exception of the huge hailstorm event on April 3rd, we will likely end up just barely on the cold side of this week’s events. There are two storm systems that will affect us this week and I will go into more detail on these set-ups soon...These are pictures I took by snapping pictures from the video that Reed and his team caught near Jackson, MS. The above picture shows the tornado crossing I-20 near Jackson. Debris was just tossed into the air, but that would be an understatement. You can see a tree that is likely at least 15 feet, and possibly even bigger, that was uprooted and tossed at high speeds into the air and then rotated around the funnel before landing somewhere with tremendous force. This next picture is even more amazing. I circled a piece of debris, likely the size of a car, being tossed at an extremely high speed. There is a good chance that this large piece of a house or some structure, was catapulted at a speed stronger than the actual wind, if this is possible. This is where I want today’s debate to be concentrated on. I would say that this huge debris was tossed about two blocks in less than a half of a second. So, let’s say this is 0.2 miles, or around 0.4 miles/second. This would imply that the debris was moving at around 1440 miles per hour. If I am off and it was only 0.1 miles in that half second, this would still imply a speed of around 770 mph. When I was growing up as young kid interested in weather in Southern California I remember that in the 1960s and 1970s the tornadic wind speeds were thought to be as high as 800 mph. Why not? Wouldn’t this case verify this?"
A LOW PRESSURE AREA LOCATED ABOUT 460 MILES NORTHEAST OF SAN JUAN PUERTO RICO HAS DEVELOPED SOME SHOWER AND THUNDERSTORM ACTIVITY NEAR ITS CENTER. IN ADDITION...SATELLITE DATA AND SHIP REPORTS INDICATE GALE-FORCE WINDS ARE OCCURRING NORTH OF THE CENTER. SLOW DEVELOPMENT OF THIS SYSTEM IS POSSIBLE DURING THE COUPLE OF DAYS AS IT MOVES WEST-NORTHWESTWARD AT ABOUT 10 MPH. THERE IS A LOW CHANCE...20 PERCENT...OF THIS SYSTEM DEVELOPING INTO A SUBTROPICAL OR TROPICAL CYCLONE BEFORE CONDITIONS BECOME LESS FAVORABLE IN ABOUT 48 HOURS. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON THIS LOW CAN BE FOUND IN HIGH SEAS FORECASTS ISSUED BY THE NHC/TROPICAL ANALYSIS AND FORECAST BRANCH...UNDER AWIPS HEADER NFDHSFAT2 AND WMO HEADER FZNT02 KNHC. ANOTHER SPECIAL OUTLOOK WILL BE ISSUED ON THURSDAY... OR SOONER IF NECESSARY.
McDonald Observatory Gets Wild View of Texas Wildfires. Here's an amazing story from space.com: "A week after the Texas wildfires cut power to the McDonald Observatory, the worst appears to be over, according to Anita Cochran, the associate director of the observatory. Observations have resumed and the astronomy center is scheduled to open to the public today (April 20), after surviving a close call with menacing wildfires. At the observatory, located in West Texas, wildfire weather conditions have been among the worst in the state's history. Dry grass and dry air, along with hot temperatures and howling winds, are fueling the sprawling wildfires that have scorched a million acres across the state, according to the Texas Forest Service. [Photo of McDonald Observatory Amid Wildfires]"
* Photo caption/credit: "The Texas Forest Service undertook controlled burns on April 17 near the McDonald Observatory. Credit: Frank Cianciolo/McDonald Observatory.
Paul's Conservation Minnesota Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:
TODAY: Partly sunny, hints of spring in the air again. Winds: SE 10-20. High: near 50
THURSDAY NIGHT: Cloudy with showers likely. Low: 39
FRIDAY: Foul. Heavier rain possible. High: 49
* Supreme Court Skeptical About Climate Change Suit. Nina Totenburg from NPR has another look at the same issue before the judiciary: "The politics of climate change hit the U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday, illustrating the powerful and unpredictable role the court can play in protecting the health and safety of the nation. Just four years ago, the justices repudiated the Bush administration and ruled 5-4 that the federal government has a duty to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. But on Tuesday, the justices gave a chilly reception to state governments that are suing electric utilities over emissions that contribute to global warming. Tuesday's case was first brought in 2004 by a coalition of states and environmental groups. They sued the nation's five largest public utilities — companies that together produce 10 percent of U.S. carbon emissions annually. The states were seeking a court order to cap emissions. But for a variety of reasons, the lawsuit languished for five years. In the meantime, the Supreme Court ruled in a different case that the federal Environmental Protection Agency is required to regulate such emissions. What's more, President Obama took office, and under his lead, the EPA announced plans to regulate where the Bush-era EPA had not. The states' case, however, trudged on in the lower courts, and in 2009, a federal appeals court in New York ruled it could go forward to trial."
* Judges Skeptical On Role Of Courts In Setting Emissions Standards. The New York Times has the story here: "WASHINGTON — A lawsuit by six states and New York City to force major power companies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions was met with seemingly unanimous skepticism from the justices on Tuesday during arguments at the Supreme Court. No one questioned the basic premise of the suit — that greenhouse gas emissions contribute to global warming. But there was essentially no support for the states’ position that courts are the proper forums in which to regulate the problem."
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