First 32 degree low temperature of the season likely Thursday, again Friday morning, across much of the metro.
No rain between now and Sunday - no major storms in sight for Minnesota through Halloween.
50 tornadoes so far in Virginia in 2011 - second most on record, according to the Capital Weather Gang.
3 degrees colder than average: MSP winter temperatures will probably run a few degrees below average for the entire winter. No El Nino to save us this winter.
Less Snow: 50-55" possible. I'm predicting far less snow for MSP and the rest of Minnesota this winter (the biggest storms are forecast to track well south/east of Minnesota). The meteorologists I've interviewed all seem to agree that we will NOT see nearly as much snow as last winter, when 86.6" fell (4th snowiest on record).
* Best chance of snow: late November, again late February into March, as the storm track lifts northward again.
This forecast is based on a mild to moderate La Nina (cooling of Pacific Ocean water), coupled with strong ridging over Alaska and Greenland, assuming a negative phase of the NAO, the North American Oscillation, and a similar negative phase of the EPO, or Eastern Pacific Oscillation.
Winter 2011-2012 Outlook. Larry Cosgrove is a fellow Penn Stater, a gifted meteorologist who specializes in long-range weather forecasting (for the oil and gas industry). He has a long, rich history of making very accurate calls, 3-6 months in advance, getting the big picture right a vast majority of the time. This upcoming winter Larry is predicting bitterly cold weather from Montana to Minnesota to Michigan, temperatures 2-4 degrees colder than average. One possible benefit of the persistent cold from December through February: these outbreaks may suppress the main storm track, the main highway for storms, well south of Minnesota. That, in turn, could result in fewer snow and ice storms. I have a hunch we'll see a lot less than 86" of snow, and Cosgrove's analysis seems to agree with that assumption. Best guess? 50-55", maybe less. For the sake of all my snowmobiling buddies I hope I'm wrong on that call. Colder, less snow than average. That's the official prediction. Stay tuned.
Projected Storm Tracks. Based on blocking highs over Alaska and Greenland much of the winter, the prevailing storm track is predicted to stay south of Minnesota, favoring heavy snow for the Midwest, Great Lakes, even New England. We'll see plenty of snow - but the odds of another 80"+ winter are slim to nil, in my humble opinion. Map above courtesy of Larry Cosgrove and his excellent WxAmerica newsletter.
The Very Windy City. Check out this forecast for Chicago from the National Weather Service:
Photo credit above: "Better storm warning systems are a topic at the gathering of more than 600 weather experts in Hoover. Above is one view of part of the field of devastation in Tuscaloosa as a result of the April 27, 2011, tornadoes. (al.com photo/Izzy Gould)"
National Data Buoy Center
This site provides recent marine data (wind speed, direction, gusts; wave heights; air temps; and atmospheric pressure) from buoys and other observation stations.
National Hurricane Center
The NHC Tropical Prediction Center offers a wealth of information, including data on aircraft reconnaissance, as well as the latest satellite data. The site also catalogs all bulletins.
FEMA Storm Watch
Find out what areas have received emergency disaster declarations and link to state emergency management offices.
NWS Hurricane Awareness
This site offers solid hurricane awareness and preparedness tips, plus links to many more resources.
Central Pacific Hurricane Center
This site tracks storms that have potential for affecting the Hawaiian islands.
Hurricane Preparedness Week
History teaches that a lack of hurricane awareness and preparation are common threads among all major hurricane disasters. Learn your vulnerability and how to reduce the effects of a hurricane disaster.
Historical Hurricane Tracks
National Warning System
A list of warnings for hurricanes and other weather events around the country.
Study: Hurricanes Are "Clustered", Not Random. I thought this was a very interesting development, reported by the Summit County Voice: "A study of hurricane tracks during the past 100 years suggests that tropical storm activity is clustered rather than random, with short intense periods of hurricanes followed by relatively long quiet periods. The trend was most pronounced in the Caribbean, with strong clustering in Florida, the Bahamas, Belize, Honduras, Haiti and Jamaica. The findings, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, could have profound implications for hurricane forecasting and for monitoring impacts of tropical storms to coastal ecosystems and human populations. The researchers said it’s important to consider the clustered nature of hurricane events when predicting the impacts of storms and climate change on ecosystems. For coral reefs, forecasts of habitat collapse were overly pessimistic and have been predicted at least 10 years too early as hurricanes were assumed to occur randomly over time, which is how most research projects model the incidence of future hurricanes."
Florida Keys Get Pounded By Rain, Flooding Closes Airport. The Miami Herald has the details of a vigorous storm over the Gulf of Mexico that soaked the Florida Keys with over 10" rain. At one point there was a risk that storm could strengthen into Tropical Storm Rina. That never happened, but this tropical wave produced torrential rains, even a rare October tornado watch for South Florida last night: "The rain continues to fall in South Florida — and it’s causing disruption to car and air travel. Showers are expected to bring another two to four inches of rain and thunderstorms with winds as strong as 18 mph could last through the day. The National Weather Service issued a flood watch through the evening for Broward and Miami-Dade. There is also a risk of rip currents along the shore. The Florida Division of Emergency Management urges beachgoers to stay out of the water where reg flags are posted. As for the roads, commuters should be smart and careful: Leave the house and work with an umbrella and allow for extra driving time in case of accidents and slower moving traffic."
Haboob From Space. Here is a high-resolution satellite image of the massive dust storm that swept across Texas on Monday, clearly visible from the GOES weather satellite 22, 300 miles above the equator. Image courtesy of Twitpic.
Governors Wrangle Over Flood Control Of Missouri River Basin. I don't think anyone predicted a 7-month flood on the Missouri River - that wasn't even in the realm of possibility. USA Today has the details: "HELENA – A meeting of governors of states affected by Missouri River flooding took a contentious turn Monday as Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer challenged his downstream counterparts' assertion that upstream reservoirs need to play a bigger role in mitigating future flooding. Governors from North Dakota and South Dakota, Nebraska and Iowa said with long-term climate forecasts predicting yet another year of higher-than-normal precipitation, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers needs to consider drawing down upstream reservoirs — including the Fort Peck Reservoir — to make room for that additional moisture."
Foods Force Workers From Thai Factory Park. The AP has some amazing video that shows the scope of flooding in Thailand, the worst in at least 50 years. Millions have been impacted, and downtown Bangkok is not out of the woods just yet - flooding has already breached barriers and temporary dikes in the northern suburbs of the capital city: "Despite frantic efforts of volunteers to shore up flood defenses, Thai authorities Monday ordered the evacuation of another industrial park, the country's oldest, because of rising water."
The bottom photo shows a neighborhood were 51 people were killed by a single tornado. Most of the trees were either snapped in half or stripped bare - you can still see evidence of 150-200 mph winds, just by looking at the trees.
Taste of November. Yep, yesterday I threw in the towel - took all my short-sleeve shirts up to the attic, brought down the long-sleeve shirts, sweatshirts and pull-overs. It's time. I suspect we'll see 60 again, possibly as early as Monday of next week. But Tuesday was the chilliest day since May 2, when the high at MSP was 40. Under a gray sky "highs" ranged from 45 at St. Cloud and Eau Claire to 47 in the Twin Cities to 49 at Redwood Falls, about 10 degrees colder than average.
TODAY: Mostly cloudy, cold wind. A few sprinkles, even a flurry. Winds: N 10-15. High: 46
WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Lingering clouds, still raw. Low: 34