Frost & Sunburn. Residents from White Bear to Stillwater to Menomonie, Wisconsin are waking up to a little patchy frost this morning. Hard to believe sunburn is in the forecast later today. I was reminded of a valuable (and painful) lesson on Sunday, when I spent 7 hours in the sun, with no sunscreen. Duh. The capacity to tan (or burn) has NOTHING to do with the air temperature - and everything to do with the current date and sun angle. Right now, with the Summer Solstice about 5 weeks away, the sun is just about as high in the sky as it ever gets. Yes, you can get a sunburn with an air temperature in the 40s or 50s. It's all about the DATE!
Crystal Clear Monday. NASA's MODIS "Terra" satellite, in low orbit, showed an utter lack of "weather" across the Twin Cities metro area Monday. Unlimited visibility, a cloudless sky. This is what MSP looks like from a perch roughly 210 miles above Target Field.
Frost - In Mid May? Here's a twitpic photo taken in central Minnesota early Monday. Hard to believe the Summer Solstice is 5 weeks away.
Last Frost Of Spring? Yes, I'm a naive optimist, but I suspect, I hope, I PRAY this is the last time you have to see blue counties on the NWS map. The best chance of early morning frost will come north/east of the MSP metro area, a much better chance of frosty daffodils east of the St. Croix.
Late Week Thunder. Dry weather prevails through Friday night - the models bring a few waves of showers and heavier T-storms into town late Friday, again late Sunday. Unlike last Saturday's (miserable) stratiform rain, this weekend should bring convective, showery rains, a couple hours of rain possible each day. Highs in the 70s to near 80 should make any puddles a bit more tolerable.
The Great Flood of 2011 From Space. NASA's Terra satellite image (250 meter resolution), taken midday Monday, shows the Mississippi River out of its banks across much of Mississippi and Louisiana. What's ironic, in a tragic sense, is that the diverted Mississippi is flowing through a region of "exceptional drought" gripping much of western and central Louisiana.
Unprecedented Floods On The Mississippi, In Columbia, And Canada. Jeff Masters has an interesting post in his Wunderblog, focusing on a 1 in 300 year flood in Canada, and another year of severe flooding in Columbia, where rainfall amounts have been 5 to 6 times their normal amounts (32" in some regions in just the last 2 weeks), as well as a recap of historic flooding on the Mississippi River: "The great Mississippi River flood of 2011 continues to make history, with Saturday's opening of the flood gates of the Morganza Spillway marking just the second time that flood control structure has been used since its construction in 1956. With the Morganza, Bonnet Carre', and Birds Point-New Madrid Spillways all open, the Army Corps of Engineers has now opened all of its major spillways simultaneously for the first time ever. The Mississippi is rising at Vicksburg, Mississippi, where the water has now reached 56.5', exceeding the previous all-time record of 56.2', set during the great flood of 1927. Natchez, Mississippi, is also at its greatest flood height on record, with the water at 60.6'. The previous record high was 58', set in 1937. However, the opening of the Morganza spillway has reduced the predicted heights of the great flood of 2011 from Natchez to New Orleans by 1 to 1.5'....Devastating flooding has hit South America in Colombia, where exceptionally heavy spring rains have killed at least 425 people so far this year, with 482 others missing. Damages are in the billions, and there are 3 million disaster victims. "Some parts of the country have been set back 15 to 20 years", said Plan’s Country Director in Colombia, Gabriela Bucher. "Over the past 10 months we have registered five or six times more rainfall than usual," said the director of Colombia's weather service, Ricardo Lozano."
Chris Darden, Meteorologist In Charge of The Huntsville Weather Service Office, Describes What Happened During the Tornado Outbreak. Here's a behind the scenes look at what REALLY happened when EF-4 and EF-5 tornadoes were on the ground in the Huntsville, Alabama area on April 27. The meteorologists knew that potentially unsurvivable tornadoes were on the ground, ripping up neighborhoods nearby - yet they had to keep their cool, try to block out their own families, friends and colleagues, and get the latest warnings out to the public. A fascinating read from the Huntsville Times and al.com: "HUNTSVILLE, Alabama. On April 27, an unprecedented natural disaster unfolded before us as well over a dozen tornadoes raked the area. Not since 1925 has the loss of life been so great in a single day by tornadoes. In a blink of an eye, well-constructed homes were turned to rubble, trees were stripped of their bark, and churches and businesses were taken to the ground. The National Weather Service has a mandate to protect "life and property," and we have worked diligently to do so for over a century. Technology has increased greatly in recent decades with Doppler radar technology allowing forecasters to view the wind flow and rotation within storms, high-resolution satellite imagery that shows fronts and other features critical to tornado development, and computer models that better predict the evolution of weather in the upcoming days. In the days preceding what is now referred to as the Super Outbreak, meteorologists became increasingly concerned about this being the "big one". Conditions, including intense wind shear, an unstable air mass, a surge of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and a powerful storm system were coming together to produce an explosive environment for supercell thunderstorms. Supercell thunderstorms are the genesis for long-lived, devastating tornadoes. A review of the forecasts, discussions and posts on social media in the days before the 27th reveal many forecasters comparing the setup to the outbreaks of Nov. 15, 1989, or "Anderson Hills '95." Sadly, even those dire predictions were well below reality. In fact, this event will go down as the most tragic tornado outbreak in modern times and will likely be the benchmark upon which all future research is constructed."
Small Business AdministrationIn a 2009 survey, 90 percent of small companies (those with fewer than 100 employees) reported they spend less than one day a month on business continuity. To help small businesses increase their chances of disaster recovery, the SBA earlier this year launched Prepare My Business, a site that guides small-business owners through disaster planning, education, testing, and assistance with downloadable checklists and templates for risk assessment, communications plans, and practice exercises. Prepare My Business also offers free monthly webinars. The next one, on May 17, is “Protecting Your Business This Hurricane Season.”
Broken Seat Belt? I can fix that.
Car Imported From The Wrong Country? I can fix that.
No Ice Chest? I can fix that.
Gotta Feed The Baby AND Do The Laundry? I can fix that.
Display Rack Falling Over? I can fix that.
Satellite Goes Out In The Rain? I can fix that.
Wiper Motor Burned Out? I can fix that. For more funny (and slightly horrifying) examples of kludges and outrageous FAILS click here.
As Good As It Gets In May. Under a flawless sky - and some patchy early-morning frost - the mercury reached normal levels across most of Minnesota, ranging from a raw 48 at Grand Marais to 68 in St. Cloud and 69 in the Twin Cities. International Falls saw a balmy 72, the result of darker pine trees across northern Minnesota; a lower albedo which warmed the air above the ground.
Figure 1. Higher emissions will result in more severe
impacts. Models compare the number of days per year
projected to exceed 100ºF by the end of the century
under a higher and lower emissions scenario.
Source: U.S. Global Change Research Program, 2009.
America's Climate Choices. The National Academy of Science, the National Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council recently collaborated on an exhaustive study that states (once again) that climate change is no longer a theory, but a worldwide reality. The PDF summary is here: "Climate change is occurring, is very likely caused primarily by the emission of greenhouse gases from human activities, and poses significant risks for a range of human and natural systems. Emissions continue to increase, which will result in further change and greater risks. Responding to these risks is a crucial challenge facing the United States and the world today and for many decades to come. Rationale for Action: The estimate of risk of any given event is typically quantified along two dimensions—the probability the event will occur and the magnitude or consequences of the event. The risks posed by climate change are complex because they vary widely in terms of what populations, regions, and sectors are affected and at what point in time, and even in terms of how risks are perceived based on personal values and judgments. Although there is some uncertainty about future risks, changes in climate and related factors have already been observed in various parts of the United States; and the impacts of climate change can generally be expected to intensify with increasing greenhouse gas emissions (for example, see Figure 1). Some projected future impacts of most concern to the United States include more intense and frequent heat waves, risks to coastal communities from sea level rise, greater drying of the arid Southwest, and increased public health risks."
..."Climate-change deniers, in other words, are willfully ignorant, lost in wishful thinking, cynical or some combination of the three. And their recalcitrance is dangerous, the report makes clear, because the longer the nation waits to respond to climate change, the more catastrophic the planetary damage is likely to be — and the more drastic the needed response."
Global Warming. Here's an editorial from the New York Times that sums it all up in a few elegant paragraphs:
"What will it take to convince people that the world’s climate is changing and that we are causing it to change? Will it be this latest flooding of the Mississippi River, brought about by record April rainfall in the Ohio River Valley and very high levels in other states, killing at least 18 people, flooding millions of acres of farmland, and causing untold misery and economic hardship? Will it be that 90 cities in the United States and 19 countries around the world posted record-high temperatures in 2010? Or last year’s historic heat waves, droughts and fires in Russia and flooding in Pakistan and Australia, which together killed an estimated 17,000 people? The year 2010 was tied with 2005 as the warmest year for our planet on record, since global temperatures were first accurately measured in 1850. It was also the wettest. There is no longer any serious debate among the world’s leading scientists, including our own, that our excessive burning of fossil fuels is warming the Earth and resulting in extreme, wildly fluctuating and increasingly unstable changes to the world’s climate: torrential rains and flooding and more severe storms in some areas, heat waves and droughts in others. When will we wake up to the climate and public health catastrophe unfolding before our eyes and demand that our political leaders and representatives really do something to address it?"
Boston, May 12, 2011
The writer, a doctor, is director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School.
Weather Disasters Evidence Of Global Warming? The Palm Beach Post has a story that actually allows the reader to VOTE on whether they believe that extreme weather is linked to climate change. Yes, let's ignore the climate scientists and put it up to a vote. Sounds like a smart move to me: "The Mississippi River valley is so inundated that the Army Corps of Engineers has had to open floodgates that will flood whole regions in order to save New Orleans and Baton Rouge. Vicious twisters slashed through the South, killing people in Alabama, Arkansas and North Carolina. Colombia is experiencing record floods, and there have been weather-related disasters across the globe. Locally, we’re having one of the worst droughts on record. Are all these weather extremes evidence of global warming? The NPR program “Science Friday” recently touched on that topic. Here’s part of host Ira Flatow’s discussion with climate scientist Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute in Oakland, California.
FLATOW: You know, scientists are not willing to point to weather events as evidence of climate change. Are you willing to point to this, this massive flood as evidence of all the factors that you said, the snow melt, the incredible amount of rainfall as evidence that this might be something to expect more of in the future?”
Dr. GLEICK: “Absolutely. Let me put it this way: Climate science tells us unambiguously that we’re changing the climate, and we’re trapping more energy in the atmosphere. We know that trapping more energy will cause more extreme events and will worsen extreme events that would otherwise happen."