Tuesday Severe Threat. A weak clipper-like intrusion of Canadian air may spark a few strong to severe storms from Madison to Milwaukee, Rockford and Chicago later today. Map courtesy of SPC.
Photo credit above: Flickr image courtesy of kla4067
Fun Weather Fact: The windiest place in the world is Port Martin, Antarctica, which has an average wind speed over a year of 64 km/h (40 mph). It experiences gale force 8 winds (39-46 mph) for over a hundred days a year! Credit: Facebook and the Marquette, Michigan office of The National Weather Service.
Photo credit above: "In this photo from NOAA, what is believed to be a tornado is seen touching down in Grand Isle, La., Wednesday, May 9." Courtesy of Tim Osborn/NOAA/AP
Photo credit above: "CSI Tornado: Decoding – and chasing – supercells with the experts. This is the weekly cover story of the May 14 issue of The Christian Science MonitorWeekly." Credit: Parrish Velasco/The Dallas Morning News/AP
Great Hurricane of 1780"The deadliest Atlantic hurricane on record is the Great Hurricane of 1780. The storm passed through the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean between Oct. 10 and Oct. 16, 1780, killing more than 25,000 people. The hurricane struck Barbados with wind gusts that possibly exceeded 200 mph before it moved past Martinique, Saint Lucia, and Sint Eustatius; thousands of deaths were reported on each island."
Photo credit above: Marc Allan, AP.
* more on the Arizona wildfires and subsequent evacuations from USA Today.
"I am wondering if you had any thought about the 2012 spring and summer weather predictions-
I am a bit concerned about the lack of precipitation we had since this past summer. Are we looking at more drought?"
Terri - I share your long-term concerns about drought. No question: the 2-5" rain that swamped much of central and southern Minnesota a couple weekends ago took the edge off the drought, but most of Minnesota is still classified as "abnormally dry", a section of south central Minnesota under "moderate drought", according to NOAA's Drought Monitor. We've transitioned into a warmer, stormier pattern, but from now until September precipitation will be convective, showery, hit or miss showers and T-storms where some farms and lawns get soaked, while others a few miles away see little or no rain - not the widespread, steady, sustained "stratiform" rains and snows that fall between October and early April, when just about everyone sees precipitation. It's more gut feel than science, but unless we get sustained rains over the next few weeks (doubtful) I suspect portions of Minnesota will slip back into moderate, even severe drought by mid or late summer.
The Palmer Index (latest map above) shows relief from the drought over central and southern Minnesota, where the heaviest rains fell 7-10 days ago, but Extreme Drought conditions are still reported over far northern Minnesota.
Scale Of The Universe. I'm feeling even smaller and more insignificant than usual. Nope, my wife didn't call - I checked out this amazing web site that provides a sense of scale, from the micro to the macro, unlike anything I've ever seen before. Thanks and kudos to Michael and Cary Huang for sharing this at htwins.net.
Redefining Cute. How cool is this, courtesy of Denali National Park and Preserve: "Traffic is picking up on the park road this week. Yield to Denali's newcomers as they learn their way around."
"Remember, if you're headed in the wrong direction, God allows U-turns!" - Allison Gappa Bottke
Basements & "Safe Rooms"
"I live in the metro area. Tornadoes don't hit here, right?" I still get this question a lot, from otherwise bright, literate people. They believe that a few buildings, or living near a lake, will somehow protect them from a tornado. The reality: a large, violent tornado won't be impacted by the "urban heat island" or a few high-rise apartments.
At the risk of being labeled "alarmist" here's a grim prediction which will probably come true in our lifetime: a major U.S. city or close-in suburb will be hit by a major EF-3 or stronger tornado.
Hundreds will die, thousands injured. There will be congressional inquiries. "How could this happen? Why weren't we prepared?" It's inevitable.
Every family needs a Tornado Action Plan and a designated spot to ride out a tornado. A basement works best; otherwise consider spending a few thousand dollars to retrofit a closet into a "safe room". KARE 11 takes a look at a worst-case tornado for the metro tonight at 10. I'll be watching.
A puff of cooler air innoculates us from storms today & Wednesday, but a surge of 80s arrives late week. Storms are possible Thursday, maybe a few severe storms late Saturday, after a day of steamy mid-80s.
"Economic advance is not the same thing as human progress." - John Clapham, "A Concise Economic History of Britain"
Photo credit: "Calving front of Equp Sermia glacier, West Greenland." Credit: Michele Koppes, University of British Columbia.
Photo credit above: "A bag, a beetle and a warming threat to trees: A plastic bag that fights a beetle infestaton on a western conifer is an emblem of how federal researchers are working to steel high-elevation pine forests in the West against the onslaught of climate change."
Photo credit above: "Changes in Sydney's climate will have far-reaching implications" ... Climate change activist Tim Flannery. Photo: Dean Sewell.
Photo credit above: "Food aid is distributed in Haiti after the earthquake in 2010, and inset, Dr David Reiner."