Good News: Less Weeding – Fewer Allergies

October in Minnesota is an acquired taste. Like liver and onions. Opera (in Italian). Punk polka. When it’s good, it’s VERY good. But often, it’s not.

I’m giving thanks for many things: allergy season is going away. No more weeding or slapping at skeeters. Steamy humidity and flooding rains are behind us now (I pray).

The powerful cyclone that dumped 30 inches of snow on Harvey, North Dakota (without 5 foot drifts) relaxes it’s stranglehold on Minnesota today. Flurries and sprinkles taper – skies may even brighten.

Temperatures have nowhere to go but up: 50F on Monday with a few 60s by late week. The atmosphere will be too mild aloft for any snow this week. Expect a fleeting shower Tuesday; again Friday night. Heavier, steadier rain is possible one week from today. Canada will turn up the volume on chilly fronts in coming weeks, but no prolonged cold waves are brewing just yet.

Keep in mind the sun is as high in the sky now as it was on the last day of February.

Any day above 60F is a bonus!


Snowfall Totals. Click here to see the latest totals; up to 30″ for parts of North Dakota – an inch or more of slush within about 40 miles of the Twin Cities.





Positively Zonal. The 2-week 500mb GFS forecast from NOAA suggests a strong zonal flow with temperatures close to average across much of the USA. Expect a family of cold fronts, but nothing quite as numbing as what we’re enjoying this weekend.


Praedictix Briefing Issued Saturday, October 12. Key Messages

  • Blizzard conditions continue across parts of North Dakota today.
  • Interstate 94 has been closed in both directions from Bismarck, ND to Fargo, ND. This is a 195 mile stretch. Many other roads in the region are also closed.
  • Blizzard Warnings are in effect for central North Dakota, where winds are gusting up to 50 mph. Conditions are expected to improve later today.
  • Strong winds are occurring all around the Midwest as this system moves through the area. Gusty winds along the west shoreline of Lake Michigan will be capable of producing 7 to 10 feet waves and minor lakeshore flooding.
  • Dry, windy conditions are continuing to spread wildfires in Southern California where the governor has declared a State of Emergency.  Winds are expected to slightly weaken today.
  • Typhoon Hagibis hit Japan today with strong winds and record rainfall. Just before landfall, a 5.3 magnitude earthquake also struck the area.

Radar and Satellite Imagery of Midwest Blizzard. The center of low pressure with the system was over the Minnesota/Canandian border this morning.  It will continue to more toward the northeast throughout the day. As it moves away, the snow will begin to diminish and the winds will gradually subside.  Until then, expect difficult to impossible travel condtions in parts of North Dakota and northern Minnesota.


Snow So Far. The snow isn’t done yet but one location near Harvey, ND has already reported 30 inches. Several other locations have reported over a foot.  For the latest totals check here https://www.weather.gov/source/crh/snowmap.html?sid=fgf.


Morning Wind Gusts. Winds gusting over 40 mph in parts of North Dakota, where it has also been snowing heavily. NWS has reported even stronger wind gusts as well. Further south, in areas where there is no precipitation this morning, there are also strong, gusty winds.


Active Blizzard Warnings and Winter Storm Warnings.  These are the advisories and warnings that have been in place this morning.  Most of them will be expiring this afternoon as the system begins to exit the area and conditions begin to improve.


Dangerous Travel Conditions.  Near zero visibility and snow covered roads means extremely dangerous conditions to travel in central and eastern North Dakota. Interstate 94 has been closed this morning. For the latest updates in North Dakota check https://www.dot.nd.gov/travel-info-v2/.

For the latest updates in Minnesota check https://hb.511mn.org/#roadReports?timeFrame=TODAY&layers=allReports%2CroadReports%2CwinterDriving%2CweatherWarnings%2CotherStates.


Spreading Wildfires. The Santa Ana winds that caused the rapid spread of dangerous wind fires in Southern California yesterday are beginning to ease up today. However, some dry and breezy conditions persist and so the Red Flag Warnings will remain in effect until 6 pm tonight.


Earthquake and Typhoon hit Japan. Typhoon Hagibis made landfall on Satuday as the worst in six decades. The Japan Meteorological Agency issued its highest level of warning for parts of Tokyo. More than 6 million people were advised to evacuate.  Record breaking rainfall has been occuring. Just prior to landfall, a 5.3 magnitude earthquake shook the area. It was centered off the coast of Chiba but tremors were felt in Toyko.

Meteorologist Gretchen Mishek

Praedictix



“Climate Normals” Are Shifting With Time. Here’s an excerpt of an eye-opening post from Dr. Mark Seeley at Minnesota WeatherTalk: “…We have some evidence from preliminary data for selected cities in Minnesota. For MSP the annual average precipitation will go up again by about 2 percent over the previous period (1981-2010), which will continue the upward trend seen since 1941. Likewise for Duluth the annual average precipitation will go up by about 2 percent over the previous period. The largest single month increase at MSP has occurred in May with about 15 percent more rainfall, while the largest single month increase at Duluth has been 9 percent more rainfall in June. For changes in temperature “normals” we find that MSP will see about a 0.7°F increase in the annual mean temperature, while Duluth will see a change in the annual mean value of temperature that is about 0.4°F. Again, these are positive trends that started nearly a century ago…”


FEMA May Need to Buy Millions of Flood-Prone Homes. And where, exactly, will that money come from? Here’s the intro to a post at Finance & Commerce: “…Americans have voluntarily sold more than 43,000 properties in high-risk areas to the government since 1989, according to a new analysis published Wednesday in Science Advances. FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program has bought properties sprinkled among one-third of all U.S. counties, spread over 49 states, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. After the properties are bought, the structures are demolished and the land remains open, ready to absorb future flood waters. This 30 year-trickle is nothing compared with the great climate exodus to come. The potential number of homes that may be abandoned is staggering, said A.R. Siders, a co-author and assistant professor at University of Delaware’s Disaster Research Center. “There are 49 million housing units in at-risk areas on the U.S. coast, and over $1 trillion worth of infrastructure within 700 feet of the coast,” she said. The government isn’t prepared to relocate even one-tenth of that, if it needed to, Siders said. FEMA did not immediately respond to a request for comment...”


Why Lightning Strikes Twice as Much Over Shipping Lanes. WIRED.com (paywall) has an interesting post; another learning experience: “...The official term for this is “aerosol convective invigoration.” Thornton also calls it “catalyzing lightning.” You just need to know that more particles means more lightning, and burning fossil fuels is a reliable way to make those particles. Ships are especially culpable because they use bunker fuel to get from port to port. Made from the dark, viscous stuff that’s left at the bottom of the barrel after the comparatively ethereal gasoline, jet fuel, and kerosene have been distilled off, it contains about 3,500 times as much sulphur as automotive diesel. The world’s fleet burns some 3.3 million barrels of it daily. (At least until December 31—more on that in a flash.) For the 2017 study, Thornton and his coauthors pulled data on 1.5 × 109 individual strokes (aka discharges) between 2005 and 2016 from the World Wide Lightning Location Network…”

Graphic credit: American Geophysical Union.


NASA Testing First All-Electric Plane. A story at Big Think made me…think. It hurt my head. Here’s a clip: “NASA recently received the X-57 Maxwell, an all-electric X-plane that’s set to undergo manned tests in the coming months. The X-57 Maxwell is modeled after a popular Italian twin-engine plane called the Tecnam P2006T, but the new X-plane has electric cruise motors instead of traditional combustion engines. The X-57 that was recently delivered to NASA is the second of four scheduled iterations of the electric plane, with the third and fourth versions including additional improvements to the wings and other hardware. NASA’s design goals are to develop an electric plane with “500% increase in high-speed cruise efficiency, zero in-flight carbon emissions, and flight that is much quieter for communities on the ground,” the agency wrote…”

Image credit: NASA.


Tracking Air Pollution by Zip Code. Star Tribune reports: “Twin Cities residents interested in the air quality of their neighborhoods can now find out with the click of a mouse on a state website…“We do understand that there is some kind of relation between air pollution and asthma,” said MPCA environmental research scientist Monika Vadali. “The goal was to understand how air pollution varies from ZIP code to ZIP code because we don’t have any data on that.” State health officials have already shown that hospitalization rates for asthma, for example, vary greatly by ZIP code in Minneapolis and St. Paul, with neighborhoods that are poorer and more heavily minority suffering significantly higher rates. In fact, Minnesota “has some of the largest health disparities in the country,” according to the state’s second “Life and Breath” report released in June...”

Image credit: “Air monitors like these will sample air quality in all Minneapolis and St. Paul ZIP codes.” MPCA.


Jeff Bezos’s Master Plan. Is it to get us into space? Let the conspiracy theories begin. A story at The Atlantic is a worthy read: “...Today, Bezos controls nearly 40 percent of all e-commerce in the United States. More product searches are conducted on Amazon than on Google, which has allowed Bezos to build an advertising business as valuable as the entirety of IBM. One estimate has Amazon Web Services controlling almost half of the cloud-computing industry—institutions as varied as General Electric, Unilever, and even the CIA rely on its servers. Forty-two percent of paper book sales and a third of the market for streaming video are controlled by the company; Twitch, its video platform popular among gamers, attracts 15 million users a day. Add The Washington Post to this portfolio and Bezos is, at a minimum, a rival to the likes of Disney’s Bob Iger or the suits at AT&T, and arguably the most powerful man in American culture…”


Tesla’s Autopilot Could Save the Lives of Millions, But It Will Kill Some People First. Lovely. Bloomberg explains: “…But Autopilot is unlike almost any other consumer product in history, in ways that offer a preview of the uncomfortable questions we’ll confront in the dawning robot age. Tesla’s flamboyant chief executive officer, Elon Musk, says the technology saves lives, and legions of Tesla owners offer their own testimonies of hazards spotted and collisions avoided. (And they have YouTube videos to prove it.) It’s possible that both sides are right, that the computers are killing a few drivers who otherwise would have lived, but that they’re also saving the lives of many more. In the coming years, society—in particular, regulators and the courts—will have to decide whether that’s an acceptable trade-off. The question is no longer academic. Musk’s decision to put Autopilot in the hands of as many people as possible amounts to an enormous experiment, playing out on freeways all over the world…”

Photo credit: “A nonfatal crash in Laguna Beach, Calif., in May 2018, involving a Tesla in Autopilot mode and an unoccupied police cruiser.” Source: Laguna Beach Police Department/AP.


Carlsberg is Working on Beer Bottles Made of Paper. CNN has the details: “Carlsberg is getting closer to its goal of selling beer in paper bottles. On Thursday, the Danish beer company revealed two new recyclable prototypes of the sustainably-sourced wood fiber bottle it hopes to eventually bring to market. One version is lined with a thin film of recycled PET plastic to keep beer from seeping out. The other uses a bio-based lining. The prototypes will be used to test the linings. For Carlsberg, the innovation is a way to lower its impact on the environment and present consumers with an interesting new option. Fiber bottles are better for the environment than aluminum or glass because they are sourced in a sustainable way, and because the material has a “very low impact on production process,” explained Myriam Shingleton, vice president of group development for Carlsberg…”

Image credit: envirotecmagazine.com.


New Coke Bottles Made from 25% Marine Plastic. GEEK.com has the post; here’s a clip: “Coca-Cola has done all kinds of gimmicky things with the labels on its bottles over the years. This new one’s actually telling you a little something about the bottle it is wrapped around. The greenish background and multicolored flecks are there to let you know that this particular Coke bottle was made from marine plastic. Specifically, plastic that was polluting the Mediterranean Sea or found washed up on its many beautiful beaches—84 of them, according to Waste360…”

Image credit: “Coca-Cola announced new plastic bottles made with 25 percent marine plastic.” (Photo Credit: The Coca-Cola Co. / YouTube)


Horny Tarantulas Are Taking Over San Francisco. Don’t sweat the flurries. CNET.com has the details: “October is turning out to be a bad month to live in San Francisco. First, utilities company PG&E initiated wide-ranging Bay Area blackouts to protect against the possibility of wildfires. Now it seems the warmer weather is attracting thousands of tarantulas looking for mates, so residents will have to fight off horny spiders in the dark.  To be fair, while tarantulas mostly come out at night during mating season, males can also be seen roaming around all hours to find a female for some lovin’. “San Francisco officials are warning residents to be on the lookout for thousands of giant male spiders,” according to The Wall Street Journal…”

Photo credit: “They might look scary, but tarantulas are not actually dangerous to humans.“Video screenshot by Bonnie Burton/CNET.


Fish That Can Live on Land and Breathe Air? The Washington Post (paywall) had a post that almost made me fall off my sofa. Almost. Here are a few excerpts: “There’s a fish that can live on land. Georgia officials want you to kill it immediately. A northern snakehead fish was caught earlier this month in a Gwinnett County pond, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division, and it’s the first time the species has been reported in Georgia waters, the agency said… The northern snakehead fish, a native to East Asia, used to be sold in pet stores, live-food fish markets and restaurants in some major cities before 2002, when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service added the species to its list of injurious wildlife… The air-breathing fish are able to draw breath through an air bladder that’s similar to a lung, according to the Chesapeake Bay Program. Their breathing ability makes it possible for them to navigate to other small areas of land and new bodies of water. The fish can survive up to four days out of water...”

Photo credit: “A Bowfin fish that has just been caught for caviar in Pierre Part, La., in 2004.” (Chris Graythen/AP).


Trace of snow fell at MSP on Saturday.

39 F. maximum Twin Cities temperature yesterday.

60 F. average high on October 12.

46 F. high on October 12, 2018.

October 13, 1917: Record low temperatures occur across central Minnesota with temperatures ranging from the low to mid teens to the upper teens and lower 20s. St. Cloud records the coldest temperature of 10 degrees, while Mora records a low of 13.

October 13, 1880: An early blizzard strikes parts of southwest and west central Minnesota. Huge drifts exceeding 20 ft in the Canby area would last until the following spring.

October 13, 1820: A snowstorm at Ft. Snelling dumps 11 inches.


SUNDAY: Clouds linger, few flakes. Winds: W 10-20. High: 42

MONDAY: Mostly cloudy, less wind. Winds: SW 3-8. Wake-up: 32. High: near 50

TUESDAY: Another cool front. Passing shower. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 40. High: 51

WEDNESDAY: Partly sunny and pleasant. Winds: NW 7-12. Wake-up: 37. High: 52

THURSDAY: Plenty of sunshine, few complaints. Winds: SE 8-13. Wake-up: 39. High: near 60

FRIDAY: Mild breeze, late shower possible. Winds: S 10-15. Wake-up: 48. High: 63

SATURDAY: More clouds than sun, not bad. Winds: S 7-12. Wake-up: 44. High: 62


Climate Stories….

Loons Likely to Disappear From Minnesota Due to Climate Change, New Report Warns. Jennifer Bjorhus reports for Star Tribune: “Minnesota could lose its beloved state bird in coming decades if humans don’t stall climate change and prevent the common loon from shifting north. The black and white bird — whose haunting cries define Minnesota as much as lakes, snow and hot dish — is among 55 species likely to disappear from the state for the summer by 2080 if the world does nothing to cut greenhouse-gas emissions, according to a new report by the National Audubon Society, Survival by Degrees: 389 Bird Species on the Brink. Minnesota is one of the country’s fastest-warming states, largely because of its northern location and warming winters. Even if humans stall global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit), several bird species in Minnesota remain threatened, including the trumpeter swan, the spruce grouse and the black-throated green warbler...”

Photo credit: David Joles – Star Tribune. “Loons are among 55 species likely to disappear from Minnesota summers by 2080, though the population appears steady.”


California’s Massive Power Outages Show Climate Change is Coming for Everyone. That said, some will feel the effects earlier (and much harder) than others. Here’s a clip from a post at Quartz: “…We’re entering a climate era when there are no total solutions. There are only tradeoffs. Disaster relief is becoming less about rebuilding or fixing infrastructure, and more a way to buy time or retreat from the hardest-hit areas. In low-lying and fire-prone areas, communities are already beginning to abandon their homes,  from Alaska to Louisiana. As the cost of defense and rebuilding after climate-driven disasters becomes too costly, exceeding the ability of even insurers and governments to absorb, this will become the new normal. Just defending coastal cities against storm surge with seawalls will cost at least $42 billion by 2040, according to environmental group the Center for Climate Integrity, and as much as $400 billion if including communities with less than 25,000 people…”

Photo credit: “The 2018 fire season amounted to 15% of California’s total emissions.” AP Photo/Noah Berger.


Your Retirement Plan is Probably Contributing to Climate Change (Here’s How to Change That). A post at Quartz and Refinitiv explains carbon emissions from S&P 500 companies: “…CO2 emissions reflect latest available CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent emissions) values, as reported by companies, or — if unreported — using one of several estimation calculations. All values were calculated or reported for 2018, 2017, or 2016.  CO2e encompasses all greenhouse gas emissions (CH4, N2O, hydrofluorocarbons, etc.) standardized in CO2 equivalents. For example, CH4 is 25x as potent of a greenhouse gas as CO2. Furthermore, CO2 values solely reflect EPA Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions and exclude (often substantial) Scope 3 emissions, which includes emissions passed onto consumers, emissions from contracted waste disposal, and emissions from employee travel and commuting…”


Carbon Tax is “Single Most Powerful” Way to Combat Climate Change, IMF Says. CNBC.com reports: “Increasing the price of carbon is the most efficient and powerful method of combating global warming and reducing air pollution, according to a new report from the International Monetary Fund. While the idea of carbon taxes on fossil fuel corporations has been spreading across the globe in the past couple decades, increasing prices on carbon emissions has received widespread backlash from those who argue the tax would raise energy bills. But economists have long contended that raising the cost of burning fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas is the best way to mitigate climate change, and that revenue raised from the tax can be returned to consumers through rebates and dividends…”


Revealed: Google Made Large Donations to Climate Change Deniers. Why on Earth? The Guardian has the scoop: “Google has made “substantial” contributions to some of the most notorious climate deniers in Washington despite its insistence that it supports political action on the climate crisis. Among hundreds of groups the company has listed on its website as beneficiaries of its political giving are more than a dozen organisations that have campaigned against climate legislation, questioned the need for action, or actively sought to roll back Obama-era environmental protections. The list includes the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), a conservative policy group that was instrumental in convincing the Trump administration to abandon the Paris agreement and has criticised the White House for not dismantling more environmental rules…”


Google Defends Contributions to Climate Change-Denying Think Tanks. They say it’s not unusual. Really? The Verge has details.


Climate Change May Be Disastrous for America’s Birds. A story at TIME.com sums up the challenges facing of feathered, flying friends: “Sanderlings, red-headed woodpeckers and great gray owls are just a few of the North American bird species projected to be threatened by climate change in the coming decades, according to the latest assessment depicting an increasingly dire situation for the continent’s avian wildlife. “Two thirds of birds in North America are at risk from climate change, to large range losses, potentially extinction, and this is especially so if we continue on the current trajectory,” says Brooke Bateman, senior climate scientist for the National Audubon Society, which carried out the report. The October 10 report, titled “Survival by Degrees: 389 Bird Species on the Brink,” details the projected range losses for more than 600 bird species in North America under climate change scenarios of 1.5, 2 and 3 degrees Celsius of warming...”

File image: Wikipedia.