April 14, 1886: The deadliest tornado in Minnesota's history rips through St. Cloud and Sauk Rapids, leaving 72 people dead. 80 percent of all buildings in Sauk Rapids would be leveled as the tornado's width expanded to 800 yards. As 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. 300,000 dollars damage would occur in Sauk Rapids, only 4,000 dollars of which was insured. The forecast for that day was for local rains and slightly warmer with highs in the 50's.
Situational Awareness: "Doppler In Your Pocket"
We still can't DO anything about the weather but at least we can see those red blobs coming, like never before. Weather information, even Doppler radar, has been democratized - now you can track storms on your TV, your PC, your gaming device and hundreds of weather apps for smartphones, many of them free.
Unless you're wandering the Boundary Waters Canoe Area there is NO reason why you should be surprised by bad weather.
Traditional media (TV, radio and print) can give you context, perspective and analysis no app will ever provide. But when you're on the golf course or sitting at Target Field and you need a nugget of information NOW, there's no substitute to checking Doppler on your phone. Over time you'll save time, money and aggravation -staying safer in the process.
More showers push into Minnesota today; even a few claps of thunder tonight and Saturday. Sunday looks like the sunnier, drier day of the weekend with enough blue sky for low 60s.
More heavy showers and T-storms arrive next Tuesday, but I don't see a big risk of hail or high water anytime soon. Enjoy the quiet.
Saturday Severe Risk. A relatively quiet Friday gives way to a better chance of large hail, damaging winds, even an isolated tornado or two from the Texas Panhandle to Wichita and Kansas City Saturday. Map credit: NOAA SPC.
Relatively Quiet for Mid-April. Showers and embedded thundershowers lift across the Midwest into the Great Lakes, reaching New England late Saturday and Sunday - while the Pacific Northwest gets a brief break from the puddles and snow finally tapers to flurries across the Rockies. Mother Nature is only catching her breath - it still looks like an extra-active and severe spring across much of the USA. 12 KM NAM guidance: NOAA and Tropicaltidbits.com.
Easter Sunday Preview. Much of the southern and eastern USA will look and feel more like mid-May with 70s and 80s. Showery rains are likely across the Plains, but no widespread severe weather outbreaks are imminent. California and the Pacific Northwest will even get a break with some badly needed sunshine! Graphic credit: Praedictix.
Photo credit: "
More details on the April 21, 1967 tornado outbreak from the Chicago office of the National Weather Service.
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.
Great Lakes Water Piped to Southwest "Our Future" Says NASA Scientist. I hope I'm not around for this (inevitable) scuffle over water. Here's an excerpt from Detroit Free Press: "The idea is as old and dusty as the desert Southwest: Pipe abundant Great Lakes water to parched cities out West, such as Phoenix and Las Vegas. The idea's been dismissed for as long as it's been pitched, with adamant opposition from Great Lakes states, whose representatives crafted a pact with Canada just to stop such a thing. But the latest person to see large-scale Great Lakes water diversions as a future likelihood might make some in the Midwest do a double take — the chief water scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. Jay Famiglietti, a hydrologist and senior water scientist at JPL, raised the possibility in an April 4 interview with ideastream.org, a nonprofit owner and operator of Cleveland public broadcasting stations. Famiglietti was in Ohio to speak as part of a lecture series at Case Western Reserve University..."
Great Lakes file image: NASA.
Cybersecurity Attacks Could Sink a Largely Unprepared Energy Industry. The Advocate explains some of the vulnerabilities in current fossil fuel energy systems: "...Houmb noted that about 75 percent of all breaches are caused by "insiders." The source can be an engineer doing some maintenance work who unknowingly opens a company's network via a virus-compromised computer. A lot of Houmb's work involves training employees on risks, she said. She recommends that oil and gas companies streamline the amount of data an employee needs to do his job. Ideally, if the system is not performing normally, it should help the worker determine whether there's a software problem, a hardware problem or an attack, Houmb said. Gonzalez said there's so much information in an oil and gas operations that it can be overwhelming — for example, sensors at every level of the process can capture data..."
File image: George Widman, Associated Press.
Image credit: Santorini, Greece, has been taking advantage of white paint and cool roofs for thousands of years.
TODAY: Lot's of clouds. Showers develop by PM hours. Winds: SE 10-15. High: 61
FRIDAY NIGHT: Showers likely, chance of thunderstorms. Low: 57
SATURDAY: Humid with showers, few T-storms. Winds: W 7-12. High: 68
SUNDAY: More sun, nicer of the weekend. PM shower up north. Winds: W 8-13. Wake-up: 48. High: 63
MONDAY: Peeks of sun, fairly pleasant. Winds: SE 5-10. Wake-up: 42. High: 57
TUESDAY: Heavy showers and T-storms likely. Winds: S 10-15. Wake-up: 48. High: 62
WEDNESDAY: Partly sunny, drying out. Winds: N 8-13. Wake-up: 40. High: 56
THURSDAY: More sun, lawns greening up nicely. Winds: E 5-10. Wake-up: 39. High: 59
Photo credit: "Harvard University Republican Club members listen to a speaker at a meeting in Harvard Hall, September 6, 2016." Declan Garvey/Harvard Republican Club/Handout via Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Climate Change Upsets Lives Guided by Nature, Native Americans Say. Here's an excerpt from a story at Reuters: "The impacts of climate change stretch from the loss of polar bear habitat to African crop failures to threatening a seasonal festival among Native Americans that they believe is critical to keep the world in balance. The traditional calendar of the Tohono O'odham nation, whose reservation straddles the U.S.-Mexican border, starts with the summer solstice. The ensuing months follow the pace of nature. "Right now, the seasons are offset because of global warming," Verlon Jose, vice chairman of the nation of 34,000 people, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation during a recent visit to the reservation. "The weather is crazy. So is the calendar," he said..."
Haboob file image: Arizona Department of Public Safety.
How Can Cities Double Down on Fighting Climate Change? The Architects Newspaper has details: "It’s widely accepted that climate change affects us all, and cities in particular. So what are some of the most vulnerable cities doing to adapt to rising seas and extreme weather events? Three experts from three cities—all of whom are current or former government officials—zeroed in on cities’ responses to climate change in their respective regions at a mini Columbia GSAPP conference titled Cities and Climate Action. They were: Jeffrey Hebert, from New Orleans; Adam Freed, from New York; and Rodrigo Rosa of Rio de Janeiro, a visiting scholar at Columbia University and a legislative consultant in the Brazil Federal Senate. Climate change, the experts agreed, is addressed not just through the environment—destructive hurricanes or deadly heat waves—but through a city’s culture, economy, and landscape..."
Photo credit: "How can cities double down on the climate change fight? Three experts share ideas. Pictured here: Even inland cities are vulnerable to the effects of climate change—downtown Nashville is shown here after record flooding in 2010." (Courtesy Kaldari / Wikimedia Commons).
Photo credit: Jeffery Wright/Flickr.