Who Ordered The Free Lawn Watering?

“I never worry about the future, it comes soon enough,” said Albert Einstein. What will our future bring? Forecasting COVID-19 and our response almost makes weather forecasts look reliable. Almost.

“I feel like I’m under house arrest” a friend emailed me yesterday. Yes, and my ankle bracelet beeps every time I approach the refrigerator.

We can’t predict exactly how things will go in the coming months. But we can ensure that science, data, logic (and kindness) triumph over a contagion of fear, denial and irrationality.

Today should be the wettest day of the week, with some half inch rainfall amounts possible. The atmosphere will be too cool and stable for anything severe. We dry out Wednesday with a late-week warming trend. We should see 70 degrees from Thursday into Saturday with ample sunshine this weekend.

In today’s Star Tribune weather blog (below): triple digit heat already griping the southwest USA, and a leading university is predicting a 2020 hurricane count well above average.

All bets are off.

ECMWF (European) model rainfall forecast by Wednesday morning courtesy of WeatherBell.

Future Radar. An impressive swirl of moderate rain (and a few embedded T-storms) is forecast to pinwheel over Minnesota today; the wettest day in sight. Graphics: Praedictix and AerisWeather.

Another Warming Trend. Rain will keep us in the 50s today, but we start to warm up again as the week goes on with a good shot at 70 degrees Thursday into Saturday.

Maps Looking Warmer. We’ll see if this is a model-spasm or a real trend, but GFS is building a broad ridge of high pressure over the central USA by the second week of May, suggesting 70s, even 80s for Minnesota.

Storm Surge Maps Will Warn Coastal Residents of Potential Deadly Floods. I came across a timely post at Scientific American: “…The National Hurricane Center is stepping up its warnings about storm surge and will start publishing maps this summer that show where tropical storms are likely to cause flooding along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Storm surge color maps will perform the same warning function as the center’s traditional hurricane maps, which President Trump famously altered last year with a Sharpie to inaccurately show Hurricane Dorian possibly hitting Alabama. The new storm surge maps will highlight in red the coastal areas that face possible flooding and will show the expected height of the storm surge at numerous locations…”

Snow Season Review. Ah, the memories. Dr. Mark Seeley has all the details in this week’s edition of Minnesota WeatherTalk: “Given the outlook models for the rest of April and beginning of May, it appears there is likely little if any chance for snow across the state, except for a few flurries in far northern counties Sunday and Monday. In that context, I thought it would be time to summarize the 2019-2020 snow season (generally October 1 to April 30) on a statewide basis. At the top of the list is Isabella up above the north shore of Lake Superior in Lake County. They reported over 133 inches. The only other locations over 100 inches for the season were Two Harbors and Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center near Finland, both also in Lake County. But portions of the Red River Valley in northwestern Minnesota reported 50-60 inches, well above normal for them…”

Definition of a Downpour. .53″ of rain in 5 minutes? This nugget is brought to you by the Iowa Environmental Mesonet, courtesy of Iowa State University. Go Cyclones!

Even the Highest Summer Temperatures May Not Hinder Coronavirus, Study Suggests. AccuWeather has the story; here’s the intro: “Reports and studies have speculated for months that warm summertime weather may be a coronavirus killer, but a new study suggests that the type of higher temperatures needed to inactivate the new coronavirus may be far more extreme than people can expect to see under normal weather conditions. The study, led by researchers Remi Charrel and Boris Pastorino from the University of Aix-Marseille in France, found that the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19, was killed by 15 minutes of exposure to 197.6-degree Fahrenheit temperatures. For context, water boils at 212 F...”

Image credit: CDC.

Travel the World With These Livestream Cameras. The next best thing to being there – sort of. Thanks to Outside for finding a few really good ones, like the one above (Hawaii): “...During a period when we can’t travel, livestream feeds are one of the best armchair experiences. Until we can all get back out there, these webcams will take you on a journey around the world—and inspire future trips. Listen to crashing waves and catch a surfer or two on this live cam at the Pipeline break on Oahu’s North Shore (where surfing is still allowed for now). And Surfline, a website that specializes in surf news and forecasting, has a Cam of the Moment set on a different break around the world at any given time...”

74 F. high in the Twin Cities Monday.

63 F. average high on April 27.

51 F. high on April 27, 2019.

April 28, 1994: Heavy snow falls over parts of Minnesota with 7.5 inches at Tower and 4.5 inches in the Twin Cities. Source: Twin Cities National Weather Service.

April 28, 1966: A heavy snowstorm leaves 10 inches of snow on the ground across a wide chunk of northern Minnesota.

TUESDAY: Rain, heavy at times. Winds: NE 10-20. High: 54

WEDNESDAY: Stiff wind with slow clearing. Winds: N 10-20. Wake-up: 44. High: 62

THURSDAY: Sunny and very nice. Winds: NW 7-12. Wake-up: 46. High: 69

FRIDAY: Patchy clouds, lukewarm breeze. Winds: S 8-13. Wake-up: 51. High: 73

SATURDAY: Plenty of sunshine, good timing. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 54. High: 71

SUNDAY: Sunny and a bit cooler. Winds: N 10-15. Wake-up: 49. High: 66

MONDAY: Fading sun, probably dry. Winds: SE 8-13. Wake-up: 45. High: 63

Climate Stories…

Are Summers Longer Than They Used To Be? For much of America the answer is yes, according to climatologist and data/mapping guru Brian Brettschneider on his blog: “...Is summer longer than it used to be? Is Winter shorter than it used to be? To answer these questions, we first need to define what winter and summer are. Should we think of them as December-February  and June-August? If so, then winter and summer are exactly the same length every year. Of course this isn’t what you were thinking. What you really want to know is whether summer heat lasts for a longer period of time and if winter cold is shorter. The answer to these questions are an unambiguous yes for most places. The reason for this is simple, the climate is warming in most places. If the average temperature is warmer, then the comparison to what temperatures used to be like will change accordingly. Think of it this way, if you live in Omaha, Nebraska, and you imagine what summer is like (length and intensity) and then you move to Houston, Texas, you would experience a (much) longer period of summer conditions in Houston that what you are accustomed to…”

Climate Science Deniers At Forefront of Downplaying Coronavirus Pandemic. Here’s an excerpt from The Guardian: “…From the conservative conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to the US-based Heartland Institute and UK-based James Delingpole, the review concludes that the same influencers trying to make the public question the severity of global heating are also discounting the science surrounding Covid-19. “The climate war has largely been about confusing the public and making people trust in science and government less,” said DeSmog’s executive director, Brendan DeMelle. “And here we are in a pandemic where science and global cooperation are critical, and that’s a threat to the ideology of a lot of these … organizations. “You end up with this conspiracy theory about big government taking over our lives, taking away our freedoms, subjecting us to stay-at-home orders that we have to liberate ourselves from,” DeMelle said...”

Satellite Images Reveal Huge Amounts of Methane Leaking From U.S. Oil Fields. Here’s the intro to a story at CBS News: “Oil and gas operations in the Permian Basin, the largest oil-producing area in the United States, are spewing more than twice the amount of methane emissions into the atmosphere than previously thought — enough wasted energy to power 7 million households in Texas for a year. That’s the result of a new study by researchers at Harvard University and the Environmental Defense Fund. The Permian Basin stretches across a 250-mile by 250-mile area of West Texas and southeastern New Mexico, and accounts for over a third of the crude oil and 10% of the natural gas in the U.S…”

2019: Warmest Year on Record for Europe. Here’s an excerpt of a Forbes post: “The annual temperature in 2019 was the highest on record for Europe, the new European State of the Climate 2019 shows. The continent is heating at a faster rate than the global average. The data, compiled by Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) as well as other Copernicus services and external partners, focuses on some gauges of long-term regional and global climate change including surface temperature, sea level and ice sheets. A clear warming trend emerged over the last four decades and 11 of the 12 warmest years have occurred since 2000…”

Credit: “European surface air temperature anomaly for annual averages from 1979 to 2019, relative to the annual average for the 1981-2010 reference point.” Data source: ERA5. Copernicus Climate Change Service, (C3S)/ECMWF/KNMI.

The Fed Could Rescue Fossil Fuel Firms That Were Already In a Tailspin. Nexus Media News has the story; here’s an excerpt: “…Today, fracking operations are plagued by bankruptcies, and oil and gas stocks are imperiled by the divestment movement. In the last month, with would-be drivers huddled indoors and Saudi Arabia and Russia each dumping cheap oil on the market to undercut the other, supply so outpaced demand that the price of a barrel of oil briefly fell below zero. Coal is in even worse shape. Eleven coal companies have filed for bankruptcy since President Trump took office, and the future of the industry looks increasingly dim. Nearly half of all coal plants worldwide will lose money this year, stymied by cheap renewables and natural gas. And the coronavirus isn’t helping. With power demand in a lurch, utilities are leaning more on wind and solar power, which have no fuel costs. On a few days recently, wind turbines supplied more electricity nationally than coal…”

COVID-19 and Climate Change: “The Parallels are Screaming At Us” Says John Kerry. Here’s the intro to a post at Marketwatch: “That’s the take this Earth Day from former Secretary of State and onetime presidential contender John Kerry, who was a participant in the inaugural Earth Day 50 years ago. He described that Nixon-era march, well before social-media sharing but timed to the launch of the Environmental Protection Agency and other initiatives, as his first moment of activism after arriving home from combat in Vietnam. The onset of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic from the novel coronavirus has “made more people value science, flattening the curve has given proof of concept to the fact that when lives are on the line, and as people understand that their daily decisions are connected to the lives of others, people everywhere will mobilize,” Kerry said in an interview with Our Daily Planet...”

How to Fight Climate Change at Home. A post at Curbed has some good suggestions: “While a global pandemic may have put life (as we know it) on hold—and cleared the air temporarily amid widespread lockdowns—it hasn’t exactly stopped the looming climate crisis. As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day today in a social-distanced world, it’s still possible to make a difference in the fight against climate change with individual actions that start at home. From rethinking your laundry routine to ditching the plastic trash bag, these 17 ideas not only provide a roadmap for a healthier and more sustainable household, but can save you some money, too. Let’s get to it.

1. Grow your own food. In addition to helping you eat more fruits and veggies, growing your own food cuts down on transportation energy costs and avoids the pesticides and synthetic fertilizers used in conventionally grown crops...”

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