Penicillin, Velcro, Teflon, Post-It Notes, the microwave, Viagra, even Coca Cola were accidental discoveries. They all did pretty well, in 20/20 hindsight.
During World War II radar operators tracking allied aircraft noticed mysterious smudges of interference on their screens. It turned out to be rain and snow. Now we take it for granted; Doppler radar on your PC, apps, soon on your watch.
Today we can track approaching storm and take evasive action, lowering the risk of damage and injury. Encountering a squall line or tornadic storm must have been even more terrifying before radar came of age, not knowing what was really out there.
Radar, satellites & numerical weather prediction, models that use math and physics to simulate and predict how the fluid of air overhead should move over time, have taken much of the mystery out of the weather.
We're sliding into a wetter pattern; significant rain likely today and Sunday - a surge of warmth sparks T-storms with locally heavy rain the middle of next week. Drought-denting rain.
Mother Nature is still hopelessly confused. Springy 60s return Saturday into much of next week, but ECMWF guidance hints at some slush 8 days out.
Dave - the snow subtotal for the winter is 32.1". Average winter snowfall as of April 8 is 52.9". Last year the Twin Cities metro had picked up 69.5" snow as of April 8, 2014. Source: NOAA.
"Are we still looking at about 3.5” for the single heaviest snowfall in the Twin Cities for 2014-2015 Winter/ Thanks!" - Dennis Fischer
Climate data from the Minnesota DNR shows how pathetic our snowfalls were this past winter season. Thanks to meteorologist D.J. Kayser for tracking this down:
Largest multi-day: 4.2" Dec. 26-27, 2014
Largest single day: 3.4" Dec. 27, 2014
Scientists Explore Changes to Tornado Warnings. WOODTV.com in Grand Rapids, Michigan has the story - here's an excerpt about Doppler radar that caught my eye:
- Radars have changed the way they scan the skies to better spot small tornadoes. Now when a storm is near, a radar is programmed to scan the base of a storm more frequently. This could help spot quick-starting tornadoes, like the one that rolled through Kentwood in 2014 un-warned.
- National Weather Service radars are all now “Dual-Pol,” which means they send out horizontal and vertically propagating microwaves. This helps meteorologists identify the size and shape of particles in the sky, which means the radar can identify debris from tornadoes on the ground...
Graphic credit above: "This graph shows how U.S. oil and natural gas production compares to that of Russia and Saudi Arabia in recent years." Credit: EIA
TODAY: Periods of rain, windy and raw. Winds: N 10-20+ High: 44
THURSDAY NIGHT: Showers and sprinkles taper. Low: 34
FRIDAY: A few breaks in the clouds - better. High: 54
SATURDAY: Some sun, feels like spring again. Wake-up: 40. High: 64
SUNDAY: Early sun, late PM showers, thunder. Wake-up: 50. High: 66
MONDAY: Partly sunny and pleasant. Wake-up: 49. High: 68
TUESDAY: Showers, few heavy T-storms? Wake-up: 48. High: near 70
WEDNESDAY: Some sun, humid. Stray T-storm. Wake-up: 52. High: 71
Graphic credit above: " NCDC .
Photo credit above: "A U.S. Air Force F-22 intercepts a Russian bomber near Alaska." (Courtesy of U.S. Air Force).