SATURDAY NIGHT: More showers and storms - still humid. Low: 62
68 F. high in the Twin Cities at 3:25 pm.
71 F. average high for May 17 in the Twin Cities.
7.6 mph: average wind speed on Tuesday in the metro area.
1.42" of (showery) rain predicted from Friday through Monday of next week for the Twin Cities. (GFS model).
Weekend Trends. Best chance of rain showers (and possible T-storms) should come Friday night into Saturday. A surge of drier air may punch a few sunny holes over Minnesota Sunday as winds shift around to a more westerly direction. It's early, but right now I suspect Sunday will be drier and brighter than Saturday.
30 Day Rainfall. Much of Minnesota has seen 2-4" of rain since mid April, lesser amounts over the Red River Valley. Chec out the amounts from Arkansas and southern Missouri into the Ohio River Valley - as much as 15-20"+ of rain. That's 4-5 months worth of rain in just the last 30 days. Rainfall data courtesy of NOAA.
Rainfall Departure Since April 1. The last 6 weeks have brought sufficient rains across much of Minnesota, but a dry pocket has developed in west central Minnesota. I doubt we'll have to worry about widespread drought conditions this summer, based on the way weather patterns are unfolding (a southward bias to the jet stream), but we'll have to watch this. Map courtesy of the Minnesota DNR.
A Little June Skiing Anyone? Amazingly there is still 50-80" of snow on the ground over the Sierra Nevada range, the Cascades and Olympic Range out west. The higher elevations of Colorado, Utah and Wyoming are reporting 20-40" snow. Click here to see the latest from NOAA's National Snow Analyses.
Flood From Space. NASA's "Aqua" satellite shows a swollen Mississippi River inundating many parishes across Louisiana, muddy water emptying into Lake Ponchartrain.
When The Levee Doesn't Break - What's Wrong With The Media's Coverage? Media exaggerating the impact of flooding in Memphis? I find that hard to believe. Forbes has the story behind the story: "First off, I’d like to send my condolences to the people of Memphis. Thanks to the weather, they have suffered emotionally and financially in the past few weeks. Actually that’s not really true. It would be more accurate to say they have suffered emotionally and financially in the past few weeks thanks to the weather media. Accuracy is the key word here, and ironically, in an entire industry that should be built on accuracy, weather folks have little regard for the truth. I was in Memphis last Wednesday, May 11, the day that weather watching fanatics, and apparently there are enough of them to fuel an entire industry in weather-related hyperbole, will recognize as the day the Mississippi River crested in Memphis (capping a weeklong media countdown). For days leading up to this non-event, we were subjected to a non-stop series of television weather “reporters” in hip waders trying to outdo one another by plunging deeper and deeper into the waters of flooded downtown Memphis for their reports. We watched dramatically as they descended the now all too familiar staircase, its invisible bottom steps (inches, feet, miles?) lost to the Mississippi, and endlessly reminded us that “I am standing in downtown Memphis.” While technically true, there was one big problem that was not being reported: downtown Memphis never flooded."
Could The Internet Spell The End Of Snow Days? Uh oh. I don't like the sound of this - sounds pretty un-American to me. USA Today and the AP has the story: "PARKVILLE, Mo. (AP) — Could the Internet mean the end of snow days? Some schools think so, and they are experimenting with ways for students to do lessons online during bad weather, potentially allowing classes to go on during even the worst blizzard. "Virtual snow days" would help ease pressure on school calendars and offer students more time to learn in the winter before taking standardized tests in the spring. Virtual learning has been widely used by colleges and universities for years. Now it's becoming more common for younger students as teachers and administrators grow comfortable with the technology. But there are obstacles, too, especially for families who can't afford computers or Internet access."
CIA Flew Stealth Drones Into Pakistan To Monitor Bin Laden House. The Washington Post does the reporting: "The CIA employed sophisticated new stealth drone aircraft to fly dozens of secret missions deep into Pakistani airspace and monitor the compound where Osama bin Laden was killed, current and former U.S. officials said. Using unmanned planes designed to evade radar detection and operate at high altitudes, the agency conducted clandestine flights over the compound for months before the May 2 assault in an effort to capture high-resolution video that satellites could not provide. The aircraft allowed the CIA to glide undetected beyond the boundaries that Pakistan has long imposed on other U.S. drones, including the Predators and Reapers that routinely carry out strikes against militants near the border with Afghanistan. The agency turned to the new stealth aircraft “because they needed to see more about what was going on” than other surveillance platforms allowed, said a former U.S. official familiar with the details of the operation. “It’s not like you can just park a Predator overhead — the Pakistanis would know,” added the former official, who, like others interviewed, spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing the sensitivity of the program."
Weather Perfection. Tuesday was awe-inspiring, one of the best days of spring. Under a brilliant blue sky the mercury rose into the upper 60s and low 70s statewide, ranging from 68 at St. Cloud and the Twin Cities to 71 at Redwood Falls.
Unprecedented Impact On Coastline Linked To Global Warming. Joshua Hill from planetsave.com has the details: "Scientists investigating reports made by the Inuvialuit of the northwest Arctic of a massive storm surge in 1999 have been shocked at the devastating impact on the ecosystem and environment. The researchers from Queen’s and Carleton Universities studied growth rings from coastal shrubs and lake sediment from the Mackenzie Delta, the location of the widespread 1999 storm surge. The researchers found that the impact of the salt-water storm surges is unprecedented in the thousand year history of the region. “One of the most ominous threats of global warming today is from rising sea levels, which can cause marine waters to inundate the land,” says the team’s co-leader, Queen’s graduate student Joshua Thienpont. “The threat is especially acute in polar regions, where shrinking sea ice increases the risk of storm surges.” “This had been predicted by all the models and now we have empirical evidence,” added team co-leader Michael Pisaric, a geography professor at Carleton The results of the study into the impact the salt water flooding had on alder bushes along the Mackenzie Delta coastline shocked the researchers. Within a year of the storm surge, half of the shrubs sampled were dead, with another 37% dying off within the next five years. In fact, after a decade, the soil is still contaminated with high concentrations of salt, and sediment cores from the inland lakes reveal massive changes in the ecosystems, including a “striking shift” towards a salt-water environment from a typically freshwater one."
Seasonal Allergies All-Time High, Global Warming May Be To Blame. Sniffling and sneezing more than usual? Our evolving climate may be a factor, as explained by FYIliving.com: "With seasonal allergies on the rise, there are some happy tissue companies this year. Who would have thought that all that extra sneezing and eye rubbing had to do with global warming? But research shows that because of climate change, North America will have one of its longest allergy seasons. This isn’t the first time this has happened, either. Most common outdoor allergens, like tree pollen, grass pollen, and mold increase in production when temperatures and humidity are high. Ragweed levels in particular also go up with higher concentrations of atmospheric CO2 — the “greenhouse gas” causing all the trouble. So as the consequences of climate change extend the pollen season, more babies may grow up with things like eczema, runny noses, watery eyes, or worse — asthma. High pollen and mold counts lead to worsening of symptoms for asthma sufferers, and studies have shown more asthma-related emergency room visits and hospitalizations during these peak times."
Global Warming Poses No Controversy, Just Facts. DiamondBarPatch.com has the story: "Controversy rages in the Los Alamitos Unified School District over teaching "both sides" of the global warming "debate," but the scientific foundation for climate change is undeniable. There is no debate that Earth is experiencing climate change; in fact, the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), along with Al Gore, won the Nobel Peace Prize with this conclusion: "Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice and rising global average sea level…Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely [>90% chance] due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations (1)." After reviewing thousands of peer-reviewed studies, the IPCC concluded that global warming is unequivocal and, with more than nine out of ten odds, due mostly due to human-emitted greenhouse gases."
UK Pledges To Cut Carbon Emissions In Half By 2025. Very aggressive and impressive - happy to see that a group of competing policians in a western society are capable of tackling greenhouse gas pollution, balancing economic concerns with environmental stewardship. Huffington Post has the story: "LONDON (AP) — The British government on Tuesday pledged to cut the country's carbon emissions in half by 2025 – an ambitious target which could be watered down unless other European countries cut their emissions accordingly. Energy Secretary Chris Huhne told Parliament that Britain would reduce the emissions by about 50 percent from benchmark emission levels in 1990, part of its legally mandated commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 60 percent by 2030, and 80 percent by 2050. Huhne sought to cast the dramatic cuts as a massive boost to the country's green technology companies, telling parliamentarians he was putting Britain "at the leading edge of the global low-carbon revolution." But Britain's energy-intensive industries, such as steel manufacturers, are warning that the country risks making itself uncompetitive unless other European countries follow its lead. They've pressured the government to put in an escape clause which allows for the target to be scrapped as soon as 2014 if Britain's European partners fail to implement their own carbon cuts."