1886: St. Cloud-Sauk Rapids tornado. It left 72 people dead. 80 percent of all buildings in Sauk Rapids were leveled as the tornado expanded to 800 yards across. When it crossed the Mississippi it knocked down two iron spans of a wagon bridge and local witnesses said the river was "swept dry" during the tornado crossing. There was 300,000 dollars damage in Sauk Rapids and only 4,000 dollars worth was insured. The forecast for that day was for local rains and slightly warmer with highs in the 50s.
On August 18-19, 2007 a flash flood dropped an almost unimaginable 15.1 inches of rain in less than 24 hours at Hokah, in southeast Minnesota. 7 people died; hundreds of homes and businesses were destroyed. It marked a new 24-hour rainfall record for Minnesota, one of four separate thousand-year flash floods just since 2004.
Flooding claims more lives than any other weather hazard, and many deaths are avoidable. 3 out of 4 flash flood deaths occur at night, when it's impossible to estimate the depth of water. 6 inches of moving water can knock you off your feet; 2 feet of water can turn your vehicle into a boat, with tragic consequences.
New research, some of it at the U. of Minnesota, suggests fewer storms in the summer, longer stretches between rain - but when it does rain watch out for a biblical torrent.
Spurts of lukewarm sunshine spill over into Saturday, the nicer, drier day of the weekend. A soaking would qualify as good weather with 92 percent of Minnesota in drought. ECMWF guidance prints an inch of rain Sunday, followed by a cooling trend next week.
In the meantime soak up the sun. No storms. No bugs. No humidity. No allergies.
What's not to like about April?
* Nationally, floods claim nearly 200 lives each year, force 300,000 persons from their homes and result in property damage in excess of $2 billion. In Minnesota, floods kill more people than any other weather event; 15 people have died in floods since 1993.
* About 75 percent of flash-flood deaths occur at night. Half of the victims die in automobiles or other vehicles. Many deaths occur when people drive around road barricades that clearly indicate that the road is washed out ahead.
- Monday — Alerts and Warnings
- Tuesday — Severe Weather, Lightning and Hail
- Wednesday — Floods
- Thursday — Tornadoes (with statewide tornado drills)
- Friday — Extreme Heat
1). Multiple Safety Nets (e-mails and apps). Don't rely on any one source of severe weather information. There are hundreds of apps that can transmit the latest (NOAA) warnings for your county. You should also invest in a $20-30 NOAA Weather Radio that will send the warning, even if the power goes out.
2). Doppler on your smartphone. My favorite is RadarScope, although our new app, Aeris Pulse, is powerful as well, more of a general interest weather app with extensive mapping capabilities.
3). Don’t rely on outdoor sirens. They were designed for outdoor use only. If you depend on the sirens you're setting yourself up for trouble.
4). Football/bike helmets can avoid injury! It sounds crazy but many people have avoided head injuries by putting on helmets before seeking shelter in a basement or small, windowless room on the ground floor. The greatest source of tornado death and injury is blunt head trauma. A helmet can help lower the odds.
5). Tornado drills for your family. Much like a mock fire drill you should consider a tornado drill, so your kids know exactly where to go and what to do if it was the real thing.
* The latest U.S. Drought Monitor is here.
TODAY: Partly sunny, breezy, still pleasant. Winds: SE 10-20. High: 67
WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy, not as cool. Low: 49
THURSDAY: More clouds, probably dry. High: 66
FRIDAY: Sunny intervals, no complaints. Wake-up: 51. High: 70
SATURDAY: Nicer day, fading sun, lukewarm. Wake-up: 50. High: 72
SUNDAY: Steadier, heavier rain possible. Wake-up: 49. High: 55
MONDAY: Mostly cloudy, cool breeze. Wake-up: 40. High: 51
TUESDAY: More clouds than sun. Wake-up: 38. High: 56
Photo credit above: "Students protest outside the president's office Sunday night at Harvard University." Kirk Carapezza WGBH News.
JFK Profile In Courage Award Going To Former GOP Rep. Bob Inglis. I had a chance to spend some time with Rep. Inglis when he was in St. Paul a few weeks ago for the big WOW Gale (Wind on the Wires), underscoring the amazing advances in renewable wind energy in Minnesota and the Upper Midwest. He's the real deal and it took great courage to stand up for his convictions, and the science. Here's a clip from a story at NPR: "... Today, the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation named Inglis the 2015 recipient of the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award for political courage. The foundation said in a statement: "Inglis is being awarded this honor for the courage he demonstrated when reversing his position on climate change after extensive briefings with scientists, and discussions with his children, about the impact of atmospheric warming on our future. "Knowing the potential consequences to his political career, Inglis nevertheless called on the United States to meaningfully address the issue. In June, 2010, Inglis lost his re-election to the U.S. Congress."