Sunday, March 19, 2017

Happy Spring! Quiet start, steady rain late week

Sunshine Fire in Boulder Colorado

More than 400 homes are evacuated due to a wildfire burning in Boulder that sparked early Sunday morning The Boulder County Sheriff's Office says 1,000 calls went out to 426 homes during the pre-dawn hours. An additional 836 homes remain on the pre-evacuation list, which will only be evacuated if there is a major change in fire activity. The Sunshine Wildfire was reported around 1:40 a.m. and has since burned 62 acres near Sunshine Canyon and Timber Trail with 20 percent containment.

Visible Satellite on Sunday
Here's the visible satellite from Sunday, which showed mostly cloudy skies over the Twin Cities for much of the day, but we eventually cleared out, which helped boost temperatures into the 50s. There were a few locations in the southwestern part of the state that made it into the 60s!
Vernal Equinox 2017!
On Monday, March 20th at 5:29AM, the sun's most direct rays will be shining over the equator marking the beginning of spring in the northern hemisphere and the beginning of fall in the southern hemisphere. Note that the entire globe sees around 12 hours of daylight with the greatest increase in daylight occurring near the north pole. Get this, Barrow, Alaska is gaining a little more than 9 minutes of daylight right now, while Fairbanks, Alaska is gaining nearly 7 minutes of daylight. Happy Spring!!
_____________________________________________________________________Spring is Here! Start Your Seeds! Well, some of them...
Thanks my good friend Kaley Jacobson for the picture below who is about ready to start planting seeds for the 2017 summer garden! While it's a bit too early to start most seeds, some can be planted now!
Seed Planting Guide
If you're wondering when and what you can plant over the next few weeks, here a great seed planting guide from the University of Minnesota. Note that most seeds shouldn't be planted quite yet, but things like broccoli, cabbage, eggplant and peppers can be! And we're still a few weeks away from getting those tomato seeds going.
See the full list of vegetable dates and much from the UofM HERE:
__________________________________________________________________________________Minnesota Arboretum: Best Botanical Garden in the Country?
Well how about this... The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chanhassen, MN is in the running for the best botanical garden in the country!! There's still time left to vote.
"Visitors to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum enjoy more than 1,200 acres of manicured gardens, woods and prairies, accessible via 12.5 miles of walkable trails and garden paths. The vast space, divided into 28 named gardens and 45 plant collections, showcases more than 5,000 plant species and varieties. Highlights include a Japanese Garden, Daylily and Chrysanthemum Walk, Kitchen Herb Garden, Maze Garden and Peony Walk."
Check out the full list from USA TodayHERE:
(Photo courtesy of Don Olson, Minnesota Landscape Arboretum Photographers Society)
______________________________________________________________________________Spring Leaf Index
According to the National Phenology Network, spring has already sprung across a good chunk of the nation. In fact, much of the southern half the country is already reporting "the appearance of the first tiny leaves on the trees, or the first crocus plants peeping through the snow. The Spring Leaf Index is a synthetic measure of these early season events in plants, based on recent temperature conditions."
The image below is the spring leaf anomaly, which shows that spring is still running nearly nearly 2 weeks or more ahead of schedule!
See more from USA NPN Here: 
Upcoming Severe Threat 
According to NOAA's SPC, there is a risk for severe weather across the southern part of the country on Friday. Stay tuned for more updates.

Stormy Friday in the Southern Plains
The extended forecast suggests a fairly stormy Friday across the Southern Plains. Strong to severe thunderstorms will be possible along with locally heavy rain.
"California Highway Patrol finds Jeep buried under 20 feet of snow"
Dude, where's my car? Oh there it is! How about this story from out of California? A snow-removal vehicle was clearing roads in the Donner Pass and slammed into a Jeep that was buried under nearly 20ft of snow! Here's an excerpt from California Highway Patrol officers made a surprising discovery in the Donner Pass last week. Officers found a Jeep Cherokee buried under about 20 feet of snow near the town of Truckee in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. A snow-removal vehicle was being used to clear the roads when it slammed into the abandoned Jeep. A stunning photo posted by the California Highway Patrol's Truckee division shows the vehicle's back end exposed amid a wall of snow.
See the full story from HERE:
(Calif. Highway Patrol Truckee / Facebook)
_________________________________________________________________________California Snow Comparison 2017 vs 2016
Take a look at the snow comparison from March 18th, 2016 vs March 18th, 2017. Note how much snow there is in the Sierra Nevadas this year! If you read the story above, the California Highway Patrol was reporting nearly 20ft in spots in the Donner Pass! WOW! 

California Reservoir Levels 2017 vs 2016
Reservoir levels have certainly been coming up over the last several weeks/months, which is good news! Note that levels were quite a bit lower last year across much of the state, especially across southern California.

Rain in California Next Week
Here's the weather outlook from Monday to Thursday, which shows another round of precipitation working into the Western US with some fairly decent precipitation tallies. Note that rain will be found in the lower elevations, while areas of heavier snow may be found in the higher elevations. 

 Western Precipitation Potential

Here's a look at the precipitation potential through late next week, which shows another round of heavy precipitation moving through the Western US. Some spots could see as much as 2" to 4"+ of liquid.

High Temperatures From Average Monday
Here's a look at high temperatures from average on Monday. Note that while temperatures remain a little cooler than average in the Northeast, temperatures in the Central and Southwestern US will be well above average! Note that some locations across the Plains will be nearly 25F+ above average!

Record Warmth Continues...
With temperatures running nearly 25F+ above average across the Southern Plains, record high temperatures may be possible there. Take a look at the image below, which show the potential record highs (circled numbers) that could be set on Monday.


Happy Spring! Quiet start, steady rain late week
By Todd Nelson, filling in for Douglas.
Welcome to your first official day of spring 2017! How does it feel? Over the next 3 months, we'll see some pretty dramatic changes across the region as our dull, brown landscape slowly begins teeming with life. Note that the average bloom date of lilacs in the Twin Cities is around the 2nd week of May, so we've still got some time.
With that said, if you want to get an early jump on the 2017 summer growing season, there are a few seeds that can started indoors now. Unfortunately, my poor wife has to live with a greenhouse in her kitchen over the next 12 weeks. Sorry dear.
Weather conditions this week start off on a rather quiet note, but a soggy storm system blows into town later this week. At this point, I don't see much of a snow risk as temperatures will be hovering around 50 degrees. Keep in mind that the average high in the Twin Cities is now 43 degrees and will warm to 49 degrees by the end of the month!
While it is still a little chilly for some, your boys of summer gear up for their home opener in just 2 weeks! Go Twins!
Extended Forecast:
SUNDAY NIGHT: Mostly cloudy. Winds: NNW 5-15. Low: 35
MONDAY: Happy spring! More sun, still mild. Winds: NNE 5-10. High: 52
MONDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy. Winds: NNW 5. Low: 30
TUESDAY: Partly cloudy, cooler breeze. Winds: N 5-10. High: 42.
WEDNESDAY: Dry start. Wintry mix overnight. Winds: ESE 5-15. Wake-up: 19. High: 41.
THURSDAY: Cloudy & mild. Scattered PM showers. Winds: SSE 10-15. Wake-up: 30. High: 50.
FRIDAY: Windy. Steady rain in southern Minnesota. Winds: N 15-25. Wake-up: 37. High: 50.
SATURDAY: Drier. Lingering clouds. Winds: ENE 10-15. Wake-up: 31. High: 48.
SUNDAY: Winds pick up. More rain late. Winds: SE 10-20. Wake-up: 35. High: 54.
This Day in Weather History
March 20th
1991: An early season tornado hits Faribault county from Bricelyn to Wells.
Average High/Low for Minneapolis
March 20th
Average High: 43F (Record: 66F set in 1938)
Average: Low: 26F (Record: -9F set in 1965)
*Record Snowfall: 7.0" set in 1886
Sunrise Sunset Times For Minneapolis
March 20th
Sunrise: 7:15am
Sunset: 7:26pm
*Daylight Gained Since Yesterday: ~3 minutes & 9 seconds
*Daylight Gained Since Winter Solstice (December 21st): ~3 hours & 24 minutes

Moon Phase for March 19th at Midnight
0.4 Days Before Last Quarter
Weather Outlook For Monday
High temperatures on Monday won't be quite as warm as it was on Sunday. A cool front working through the region will pull temperatures down just a touch, but it will still warmer than average for this time of the year.
Weather Outlook For Monday
After the passage of a cool front, winds will switch around to the north and drag down slightly cooler air for Monday. Note that winds don't look to be as breezy as they were on Sunday. 
 Weather Outlook For Monday
Other than a few lingering cloud across the southern part of the state, much of the state will see sunshine once again. 

Late Week Storm System

Weather conditions later this week will be somewhat active as a storm system blows through. Here's a quick glimpse of what weather conditions could be like Thursday through AM Friday and note that the primary precipitation type appears to be rain!

Precipitation Potential

Here's the precipitation potential through the end of the week and note that some spots across southern Minnesota could see as much as 1" of rain or more!

Extended Temperature Outlook for Minneapolis
Here's the temperature outlook through March 28th, which shows warmer temperatures with us now through Monday, but there will be a bit of a cool down midweek. The extended forecast suggests high temps back in the 40s by the weekend.
______________________________________________________________________________8 to 14 Day Temperature Outlook
According to NOAA's CPC, the 8 to 14 day temperature outlook suggests equal chances of above and below normal temperatures from March 28th - April 1st with warmer than average temperatures settling in across Midwest once again.

Temperature Outlook
Here's the 8 to 14 day temperature outlook, which takes us through of March. Note that warmer than average temperatures look to settle in from the Great Lakes to the Gulf Coast States. Lingering cooler than avg. temps hang on across the Northern New England States and in California.
 National Weather Outlook
Here's the national weather outlook through early next, which shows active weather conditions across the Western US, which will translate into moisture moving through the Central US and Ohio Valley over the next few days.

5 Day Precipitation Forecast
According to NOAA's WPC, the 5 day precipitation forecast suggests widespread 3" to 6"+ precipitation amounts across parts of the Western US with some of the heaviest tallies in the higher elevations. Later this week, a storm system will move into the Central US with some 1" to 2" rainfall tallies.
Snowfall Potential
Here's the snowfall potential over the next several days, which shows some accumulations across parts of the Northeast and in the Western mountains, but there doesn't appear to be any major snow event unfolding across the Lower 48. The heaviest appears to be farther north in Canada.
Flood Concerns Continue in the Northwest
A number of flood concerns have been posted across the Northwest do to the combination of snow melt and rainfall. A number of rivers, streams and creeks will be elevated over the next several days due to the weather conditions there.

River Flooding Concerns
According to NOAA's NWS, there are currently 20 river guages that are currently in flood stage and the extended forecast suggesting that 26 river guages will be in flood stage through the end of next week.
NOAA: Current River Gauges in Flood Stage
NOAA: Forecast For River Gauges that will be in Flood Stage Through Friday, March 24th
"Doctors Warn Climate Change Threatens Public Health"

"Physicians are noticing an influx of patients whose illnesses are directly or indirectly related to global warming. Growing up in southwestern Pennsylvania, Patrice Tomcik had never heard of Lyme disease — an infectious, flu-like illness transmitted by ticks. But in the last few years, five of her friends have caught it, she's had to have her dog vaccinated and she regularly finds herself pulling ticks off her children. It can be disconcerting, she said, having to worry about an illness that she had never been exposed to in the past. "It's getting warmer, so the season for ticks is lasting longer," said Tomcik, a field consultant with Moms Clean Air Force. "There are so many more of them, and they just don't die off. It's a big issue here in Pennsylvania, because we have so much wood. Our family has 29 acres of land out in the woods, and I'm picking ticks off my dog and my kids like I've never seen before.""

(Credit: Santiago Urquijo Getty Images)


"SpaceX’s Dragon supply carrier wraps up 10th mission to space station"

SpaceX’s Dragon cargo craft ended a four-week mission Sunday with a parachute-assisted splashdown in the Pacific Ocean, returning from the International Space Station with more than 3,600 pounds of cargo, blood and urine samples, and specimens from a rodent research experiment aimed at helping patients with catastrophic bone injuries and osteoporosis. Flying northwest to southeast over the Pacific Ocean, the 12-foot-wide (3.7-meter) automated spaceship streaked through the upper atmosphere, its carbon ablative heat shield weathering temperatures up to 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit (1,650 degrees Celsius). Two drogue parachutes deployed to stabilize the descending ship, then three orange and white main parachutes, each stretching 116 feet (35 meters) in diameter, unfurled to slow the spacecraft to a gentle splashdown speed.

(File photo of a SpaceX Dragon supply ship splashing down in the Pacific Ocean at the end of a previous mission. Credit: SpaceX)

"Climate change is certainly causing more powerful storms"

Even blizzards show that climate change is a very serious problem. From the moment a powerful blizzard hit the northeastern United States — only a few weeks after comfortable, spring-like weather — the questions about climate change’s impact have been asked. According to leading scientists, we bear some responsibility for the storm, which covered much of the inland areas with up to two feet of snow. And President Donald Trump is definitely not helping matters. “There is a connection between global warming and the increased frequency of heavy snowstorms,” said James Hansen, a professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University. “One factor is the increased amount of water vapor that the atmosphere holds in a warmer world.” In the late 1980s, Hansen testified that climate change — and the warming of the atmosphere — leads to “greater heat waves and stronger droughts” but more rain and floods in areas. “The ‘100-year flood’ now occurs more often than once a century,” Hansen said.

(People shovel a sidewalk on a Brooklyn street on March 14, 2017 (Credit: Getty/Spencer Platt))

"As glaciers melt, project seeks to preserve ice cores showing climate history"

"Glacier ice contains traces of gas, chemicals and dust. Analyzed in the lab, this is a treasure trove of data on past changes in the climate and environment, including rainfall trends, forest fires, atmospheric temperatures, levels of greenhouse gases and chemical pollutants. They provide a crucial benchmark for understanding how our climate is mutating. “The glaciers … hold the memory of former climates and help to predict future environmental changes,” said the Institute of Research for Development (IRD), another French mission member. But time is running out."
See more from HERE:
(The snow-covered summit of Mount Illimani is seen from La Paz Golf Club in the Bolivian capital, with indigenous Aymara women in the foreground, in November 2008. | AFP-JIJI)
"Assessing the Global Climate in February 2017"
The numbers are in from NOAA and the Globe had it's second warmest February, season and year to date on record! Here's an excerpt from NOAA: "The globally averaged temperature over land and ocean surfaces for February 2017 was the second highest for the month of February in the NOAA global temperature dataset record, which dates back to 1880.  The December–February seasonal and year to date global temperatures were also second warmest on record."

"Selected Significant Climate Anomalies and Events for February 2017"

February 2017

The February temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.76°F above the 20th century average of 53.9°F. This was the second highest for February in the 1880–2017 record, behind 2016.
The February globally averaged land surface temperature was 3.20°F above the 20th century average of 37.8°F. This value was also the second highest February land global temperature in the record, trailing behind 2016.
The February globally averaged sea surface temperature was 1.24°F above the 20th century monthly average of 60.6°F—the second highest global ocean temperature for February in the record, behind the record year 2016.
Winter Season: December 2016 to February 2017
The December–February average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.60°F above the 20th century average of 53.8°F. This was the second highest for December–February in the 1880–2017 record, trailing behind 2015/16.
The globally averaged land surface temperature for December–February was 2.74°F above the 20th century average of 37.8°F. This was the second highest for December–February in the record, behind 2015/16.
The December–February globally averaged sea surface temperature was 1.19°F above the 20th century average of 60.5°F – also the second highest for December–February in the record, behind the record set during 2015/16.
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