56 F. average high on April 12.
49 F. high on April 12, 2016.
.06" rain fell yesterday as of 7 PM.
April 13, 1949: A late-season snowstorm dumps over 9 inches in parts of the Twin Cities metro area.
More Puddles Brewing - But Nothing Severe Yet
"April prepares her green traffic light and the world thinks Go" wrote Christopher Morley in "John Mistletoe." This time of year we get to flirt with warm fronts but early spring warmth is elusive.
Then again, be careful what you wish for. As the thermometer rises so does the risk of severe thunderstorms. Amazingly, severe thunderstorms have been costlier than hurricanes here in the USA over the last decade. And 2017 is getting off to an inauspicious start: 5 separate billion dollar weather/climate disasters from January through March; the most since records began in 1980.
NOAA reports 536 preliminary tornadoes in 2017, to date, the most on record so early in the season. I predict a lively severe storm season in Minnesota, especially May and June.
Expect a ration of lukewarm sun today with low 60s. More showers return Friday into Saturday, even a clap of thunder, but any severe T-storms should pass off to our south - deeper in the warm, humid air. Sunday looks like the drier day of the weekend.
Next week is Severe Weather Awareness Week in Minnesota. It's time to prepare.
Map credit: Preliminary tornado touchdowns in 2017, courtesy of NOAA SPC.
Relatively Quiet Spell. America sees a bit of a break in the severe thunderstorm department into the weekend, as heavy showers and T-storms lift across the Midwest into the Great Lakes Friday and Saturday. Soggy weather over the Pacific Northwest gives way to drier conditions and badly-needed sunshine over the weekend. Meteorologists can finally catch their breath. 84-hour 12 KM NAM: NOAA and Tropicaltidbits.com.
Fewer Freezing Nights. The growing season is getting longer, nationwide. Here's an excerpt from Climate Central and WXshift: "The growing season is underway in parts of the U.S., primarily in the Southeast. As the world warms, the average date of that last spring freeze is occurring earlier in the year, extending that season. While the longer growing season does have some benefits, it also raises concerns about both agriculture and health. Consistently warmer weather helps pests survive longer while also stressing crops and potentially decreasing yields. Each crop thrives in a favored temperature range, so net warming can lead to a geographical shift in areas that have been historically productive for a particular crop. Correspondingly, higher overnight temperatures tend to reduce the productivity and quality of grains and fruits, which can drive up the cost of produce at the supermarket..."
Photo credit: "
File image: USGS.
Tornado-Siren False Alarm Shows Radio-Hacking Risk. The Wall Street Journal has more on the recent hacking of the emergency sirens in Dallas: "...A hacker with understanding of radio technology and the right access to low-cost “software-defined radio” equipment could reproduce the Dallas siren attack elsewhere, said Chris Risley, the CEO of Bastille Networks Inc., a San Francisco company that specializes in radio-frequency security. A hacker might, for example, record the tones emitted during routine tests and then replay those tones to activate the system. “It could happen in other cities,” Mr. Risley said. Similar techniques were used as early as in the 1970s, when early hackers applied them to manipulate devices on telephone networks, security experts say..."
Photo credit: " Photo: Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News/Associated Press.
File photo from Albert Lea tornado on June 16, 2010 courtesy of meteorologist Aaron Shaffer.
Palm Sunday 1965: Southern Great Lakes Ravaged by One of the Worst Tornado Outbreaks on Record. U.S. Tornadoes has a very good recap of that horrific day: "On April 11, 1965, and over a time span of approximately 12 hours, one of the most infamous tornado events in United States history took place across the Southern Great Lakes region. Commonly known as the Palm Sunday Tornado Outbreak (more precisely, the second Palm Sunday Tornado Outbreak, following one in 1920 and preceding another in 1994), numerous fast-moving tornadoes were unleashed upon the states of Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio. The twisters claimed over 260 lives, injuring thousands of others and causing hundreds of millions of dollars in damages. It was the worst tornado outbreak in Indiana’s history with nearly 140 killed in the state alone. In modern tornado history, this ranks second to the Super Outbreak of April 3-4, 1974 in terms of violent tornado count in a single North American outbreak, with 17 F4+ tornadoes..."
Photo credit: "Famous picture of F4 tornado with two distinct funnels destroying the Midway Trailer Park near Dunlap, Indiana. Photo by Paul Huffman." (NWS Indianapolis, Indiana)
Most Billion Dollar Weather/Climate Disasters in Q1 on Record. Here are a few interesting nuggets from NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information that provide perspective on the severity of Q1 weather and climate events in the first 3 months of 2017 across the USA:
- "In the first three months of 2017 there have been five weather and climate disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each across the United States. These events included a flooding event, a freeze event, and three severe storm events collectively causing 37 fatalities.
- The number of billion-dollar events for January–March (five) is the largest number of first-quarter events in the 1980–present period of record and doubles the average number of events for January–March over the last 5 years (2.4 events).
- The U.S. Climate Extremes Index (USCEI) for the year-to-date was the highest value on record at more than double the average..."
Image credit: NOAA. "Hurricane Katrina at its peak intensity. With advanced warnings, most New Orleans residents evacuated before the storm hit."
Photo credit: Key West office of The National Weather Service.
“I think this is really a fundamental part of achieving differentiated product strategy.
FRIDAY: PM showers arrive, few T-storms possible. Winds: SE 10-15. High: 62
SATURDAY: Lingering shower, thunder possible. Winds: NE 5-10. Wake-up: 56. High: 68
SUNDAY: Partly sunny, late day shower risk. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 52. High: 61
MONDAY: More clouds than sun. Winds: E 5-10. Wake-up: 39. High: 55
TUESDAY: Another jolt of rain, possibly heavy. Winds: SE 10-20. Wake-up: 41. High: 54
WEDNESDAY: Partly sunny and pleasant. Winds: NE 5-10. Wake-up: 42. High: 58
Shifting Climate Has North Dakota Farmers Swapping Wheat for Corn. Here's an excerpt from NPR: "...North Dakota's assistant state climatologist, Daryl Ritchison, says on average, rainfall has been two to three inches greater in the past two decades. "And of course, that's the average over that time period. There's been years where, of course, we've had literally eight or 10 inches above average," Ritchison says. That may not sound like a lot, but it's a big change from the semi-arid conditions that prevailed in the previous 60 years. Because of a warming trend, the growing season here has also increased two to three days a year in the last couple of decades, and by two weeks over the past century. Ritchison says the added warmth and moisture have helped make corn a successful crop in North Dakota..."
Photo credit: "Corn is loaded onto a truck on Larry Slaubaugh's farm in Wolford, N.D. He's seen a big shift from wheat to corn in recent years." John Ydstie/NPR.
Climate Change Will Make American Farmers' Lives More Difficult. A longer growing season sounds good at first blush, but dig a little deeper and you start to understand how a more volatile climate system may not be a positive development for America's agriculture economy. Here's a clip from Truthdig: "...We’re predicting warmer and wetter springs, and drier, hotter summers,” Dr Davis says. “The season fragments and we start to see an early-early season, so that March starts looking like a good target for planting in the future. In the past, March has been the bleeding edge; nobody in their right mind would have planted then. But we’ve already seen the trend for early planting. It’s going to keep trending in that direction for summer annuals.” Worldwide, scientists have repeatedly warned that climate change driven by human dependence on fossil fuels presents serious problems for farmers: many crops are vulnerable to extremes of heat, and climate change presents a hazard for harvests in Africa, Asia and Europe. America in particular could face substantial losses, and, at the most basic level, the grasses – almost all the world’s staple foods are provided by the grass family – may not be able to adapt to rapidly changing climates..."
Photo credit: "America’s farmers may have to adapt to climate change by planting new hybrids—or new crops altogether." (Rich/Flickr)
How Climate Change Could Make Air Travel Even More Unpleasant. It's all about the configuration and strength of the jet stream, according to a story at The Washington Post: "...Williams focused on an area in the North Atlantic known for heavy air traffic, particularly between Europe and North America, and limited his simulations to winter, when turbulence is known to be at its highest. He examined 21 different wind-related characteristics known to be indicators of air turbulence levels, including wind speed and changes in air flow direction. The study found an increase in turbulence across the spectrum. Light turbulence was projected to increase by an average of 59 percent, light-to-moderate by 75 percent, moderate by 94 percent, moderate-to-severe by 127 percent and severe by 149 percent, although there’s substantial uncertainty associated with the more severe categories..."
File photo credit: "
So, scientists really want to know what affects these undulations – both their magnitudes and their persistence. We also want to know whether these undulations will change in a warming planet. This is precisely where the new study comes in. The researchers used both weather observations and climate models to answer these questions. What they found was very interesting. Using measurements, the authors documented what conditions led to extreme weather patterns that persisted for extended durations. They found that many occur when the jet stream becomes stationary with the undulations stuck in place. They also saw that under certain situations, the jet stream undulations do not dissipate in time; they become trapped in a wave guide..." (Image: NASA GSFC)
Climate Change is a National Security Issue, Says the Military. Here's an excerpt from Nevada Public Radio: "Climate change is not a partisan issue. It’s a national and global security issue. When people are forced from their homes because of drought, they end up as refugees in other areas. This puts a strain on the systems of those who take in refugees. The new people feel marginalized as the old residents feel threatened. That may lead to anger and the susceptibility to radicalization of the refugees. All because they didn't have enough rain to grow food. Retired Brigadier General Dr. Stephen Xenakis says that's one scenario that makes climate change a threat to national security. War plays a part in the displacement of refugees, as we have seen in Syria. Any disruption that leads to personal insecurity will lead to global insecurity..."
Photo credit: "The solar array at Nellis Air Force Base."