45 mph: peak wind gust reported yesterday.
1-2" slushy snow possible on metro lawns/fields early Saturday - should melt within 2-4 hours.
80 tornadoes reported from Illinois to Alabama and Mississippi on Friday.
.96" of additional rain predicted next Tuesday (GFS model).
51 F. predicted high for Sunday afternoon.
60 degree highs expected to return to the Twin Cities after Monday, April 25.
Flashback: April 15, 1983. Things could be worse. Much worse. On April 15, 1983 13.6" of snow fell on the Twin Cities, setting an all-time record for April snow in the metro area. I had just gotten to Minnesota one month earlier, and I distinctly remember thinking, "what have I gotten myself into?"
Nuisance To Plowable. Although amounts will be close to 1-2" in the metro (mainly on lawns and fields), as much as 3" is expected over the far western suburbs, from near Delano to Winsted. Some 5-10" amounts are possible from Detroit Lakes to the Brainerd area. A little April snowmobiling anyone? Didn't think so.
Winter Weather Advisory. Not sure why a watch isn't issued up north. Duluth may wind up with 4-8" snow from this fast-moving storm. Warnings are posted for the North Shore of Lake Superior, where some 10" amounts are expected.
Flood Update. I asked local National Weather Service Meteorologist In Charge, Dan Luna, for a quick update on Minnesota's flood potential. Here was his response: "Rivers will continue to recede and I don't expect will see a third crest from this current storm system and with a relatively dry three days ahead (meaning less than 0.35 inches of precipitation, we will see a continued fall. With the system on days 4 and 5, well, we will have to see. Too early at this point in the game. At any rate, we have and continue to be very fortunate with the precipitation patterns." Latest from NOAA:
Warroad 2.11 inches, 0.90 inches above normal
Cass Lake 2.33 inches, 0.50 inches above normal
Little Fork 2.23 inches, 0.31 inches above normal
International Falls 1.99 inches, 0.61 inches above normal
Kabetogama 2.17 inches, 0.67 inches above normal
Southeastern Minnesota observers also reported heavy rainfall last weekend, some totaling over 2 inches. Grand Meadow (Mower County) reported 2.44 inches on April 10th, breaking the all-time state record for the date of 2.40 inches at Bricelyn (Faribault County) in 1947. Warmer than normal temperatures during the first two weeks of April have helped speed along the ice out on southern Minnesota lakes. Many lakes from Albert Lea to White Bear Lake have seen the ice disappear over this past week. A cooling trend from now until the last week of the month will likely slow this process and the state's remaining lakes."
Major Outbreak - At Least 80 Tornadoes Reported Friday. From Illinois southward to Mississippi and Alabama, SPC counted 80 tornadoes as of 11 pm Friday night. A complete rundown of the tornado oubreak is here.
TV Meteorologist Thrives In Social Media Tornado. I have to hand it to James Spann, by far the #1 on-air meteorologist in the state of Alabama. He combines live Doppler with a steady stream of tweets, photos, video clips, FB posts and weaves together an amazing commentary as he tracks tornadic storms across the state. Here's the story from Lost Remote: "To get an idea of the popularity of James Spann, all you have to do is look at his Facebook and Twitter accounts. As far as I can tell, Spann has more combined Twitter fans (19,837) and Facebook followers (42,376) than any local TV talent in the country. For a meteorologist in Birmingham, Alabama — the nation’s 40th TV market — that’s downright impressive. As tornadoes swirled through Alabama today, Spann was live on ABC 33/40, two radio stations and UStream, tracking storms (like “bullets from a gun,” he said) and urging residents to take cover. While on the air, Spann wasn’t able to post on Facebook or Twitter very often, but the social conversation around him was a storm of its own — and he kept an eye on it on his laptop. On both Facebook and Twitter, fans and viewers sent him a steady stream of messages — sometimes several per minute — of damage reports, weather questions and general praise."
* The Schwartz house (photo above) was one of the first houses to be hit by the tornado in St. Cloud (courtesy of the Benton County Historical Society).
Texas Brushfires From Space. Thanks to high-res NOAA visible satellites you can see the smoke plumes from wildfires in Texas, smoke being swept hundreds of miles downwind.
Cameras That (Automatically) Scan The Crowds For Criminals? It sounds like something right out of Robocop, but it's beta technology being tested right now in Brazil, according to an eye-opening article at Engadget: "In advance of the 2014 World Cup (and the thousands of visitors it'll draw), military police in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro are testing glasses topped with cameras capable of scanning crowds for criminals. The camera analyzes 46,000 biometric points on up to 400 faces per second -- data that then gets compared with a database of up to 13 million people. If a mug happens to match a wanted person or known troublemaker, a red light will appear on a small screen connected to the glasses. And, in a twist particularly befitting Robocop, the glasses can be calibrated to zoom in from 12 miles away, though they'll typically be used to manage crowds at a much more personal 50 meters (164 feet). For now, local cops will use them to tame crowds (and likely brawls) at soccer matches and even concerts, but hope to eventually monitor those crowded World Cup stands. As for us, we're all kinds of curious. Where do those tens of millions of faces come from -- Santa's naughty and nice list? What if people wear masks? Or sunglasses at night?"
How Twins Are Made. Thanks to my dear wife of 26 years, 9 months, 17 days, 3 hours and 22 minutes (also a twin) for passing this photo along...
Raw Friday. Yesterday was fairly unpleasant - a gray sky spitting a few sprinkles, winds gusting to 30 mph - you could feel a storm brewing. Highs ranged from 39 at Alexandria to 47 in St. Cloud, 49 in the Twin Cities.
Extended "Weather Trend"
Saturday (April 23): Damp start, then slow clearing, cool breeze. High: 52
Sunday (April 24): Nicer day of the weekend? Partly sunny and milder. High: near 60
On Global Warming Our Best May Not Be Good Enough. A rather sobering article from newstimes.com: "If every light bulb was florescent, if we stopped every coal-burning power plant in the United States, China and India, we'd still have a long way to go,'' Shellenberger said this week in Hartford, beginning a year-long lecture series that will mark the 40th anniversary of the state Department of Environmental Protection. Here's the laundry list the world would need to seriously address global warming, Shellenberger said: 30 new nuclear plants; 17,000 wind-powered generators; 400 biomass plants; two huge hydroelectric dams the size of the massive Three Rivers Gorge plant in China; and 42 natural gas plants."
* T.V.A. Considers Upgrades For 6 Nuclear Reactors. In response to the nuclear disaster in Japan the Tennessee Valley Authority is proposing upgrades/improvements to prevent the risk of catastrophic problems resulting from earthquakes or flooding. The New York Times reports: "The Tennessee Valley Authority said Thursday it was considering millions of dollars of improvements to protect its six nuclear reactors from earthquakes and floods. It is the first American reactor operator to announce safety changes that it is weighing since an earthquake and tsunami set off a nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan last month. Other operators have said publicly that they might have to make changes, but they have avoided saying what those were."