April 19, 1893: A heavy snowstorm at Bird Island would last until the 21st. 17 inches of snow would fall, with drifts 3 to 4 feet high.
April 19, 1820: The first tornado ever reported in Minnesota hits the camp that would soon become Ft. Snelling. It damages the roof of a barracks, with no one injured.
The extended outlook? Partly to mostly with a chance. The long-range forecast is a riddle wrapped in an enigma, but new Doppler technology allows us to make a much more accurate short-range, 0 to 3 hour "Nowcast".
* On average, nearly 50 people die per year in the United States due to lightning (down from an average of nearly 330 people per year in the 1940’s), and nearly four times as many men are killed as women.
* Lightning causes $1 billion in damage each year.
* Lightning is hotter than the surface of the sun, and can reach temperatures around 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit!
* Hail can exceed softball size (5” diameter) and does even more damage when driven by the wind.
Budget Cuts to Weather and Satellite Programs Are Likely to Cost Us a Lot More Than They Save. Here's an excerpt from Pacific Standard: "...Organizations from airlines to the military to your local television station use data from these satellites to make operational decisions, issue forecasts, and warn people about tornadoes, hurricanes, and floods. Scientists also use the data to understand how our local weather patterns are affected by long-term changes in climate. There are several different types of weather satellites operated by the federal government, among which is a set that orbits the Earth’s poles. Polar-orbiting satellites help forecasters see global trends driving the weather in the United States, and the data they produce is critical for making forecasts days in advance.Our weather satellites are the responsibility of two federal agencies, the Department of Defense and the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration, both of which are behind in their efforts to launch the next generation of polar orbiters. If the existing satellites fail before the new ones are in place, we will have a gap in our weather data, which, the GAO warns, “would endanger lives, property, and our nation’s critical infrastructures...”
File image: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
File photo: Randy Widmayer.
A Forecast Your Lawn Should Love. The 84-hour outlook from NOAA's NAM model looks mostly-soggy for the northern half of the USA, with a parade of sloppy storms pushing east. Expect snow over the highest peaks of the Rockies, even some slush mixing in from the Minnesota Arrowhead into the U.P. of Michigan and far northern New England. Future Radar: NOAA and Tropicaltidbits.com.
Severe Weather Myths, Misses and Misconceptions. Every spring I hear the same stuff from bright, high-functioning adults. "Tornadoes can't hit cities or cross lakes & rivers!" Wrong. "If it's not raining I can't be hit by lightning." Wrong. "It's just "heat lightning" Paul, not a threat!" No such thing as heat lightning; it's just lightning from a distant T-storm, too far away to hear the thunder. 554 tornadoes have already touched down in 2017 (preliminary count), on track to rival record seasons in 2011 and 2008. Fact: 44 percent of Americans killed by tornadoes since 1985 were in mobile homes. Make sure there's a shelter nearby - consider moving to a safer location (office building or a store) when a "watch" is issued.
File photo: NOAA.
Why Rating Tornadoes Can Be Difficult in Rural Locations. Because intensity estimates are based on actual damage, and if a tornado strikes a field it's much harder to estimate wind speeds, according to a post at Weather Underground: "A large EF3 tornado that struck near Dimmitt, Texas, last Friday illustrated the difficult task the National Weather Service sometimes faces when rating the strength of tornadoes. Tornadoes are rated from EF0 to EF5 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale based on the damage that they cause, not by their appearance or any other real-time metric. But when a tornado strikes a mostly rural area with few structures, the damage may be so sparse that it can be difficult to determine the exact strength of the winds..."
Graphic credit: NOAA SPC.
File photo: Arab News.
How Wall Street Once Killed the U.S. Solar Industry. The Atlantic explains: "Why is the American solar-power industry so small? It’s less obvious than it may seem. The global industry is a $65-billion business, and the United States has been involved in it from the beginning. NASA first improved and perfected panels for early satellite and Apollo missions. American firms have been manufacturing and selling solar panels for 40 years. Yet North American firms produce only about 3 percent of the world’s solar panels. China and Taiwan, meanwhile, make more than 60 percent of them. Labor in East Asia is often cheaper than it is in the United States, but that’s not the only factor..."
TODAY: Chilly, more rain arrives. Winds: NE 8-13. High: 51
WEDNESDAY NIGHT: More rain. Low: 40
THURSDAY: Showers taper, clouds linger. Chilly. Winds: N 10-15. High: near 50
FRIDAY: Partly sunny, much nicer. Winds: N 8-13. Wake-up: 38. High: near 60
SATURDAY: Some sun, nicer day of the weekend. Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 40. High: 62
SUNDAY: More clouds, few showers up north. Winds: NE 8-13. Wake-up: 45. High: 59
MONDAY: Showers, risk of a T-storm. Winds: S 15-25. Wake-up: 44. High: 58
TUESDAY: Peeks of sun, a drier day. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 42. High: 55
Photo credit: "
File photo: National Park Service.
Image credit: "Miami under a 6-foot sea level rise scenario." Climate Central.
Graphic credit: "Global temperature anomalies for each month since 1880. March 2017 was the second warmest March, behind only 2016." Credit: NASA