.62" of rain predicted for MSP by Sunday morning (NAM model). Most of that rain is forecast to come tonight.
2-4" band of rain possible over parts of central Minnesota tonight and early Sunday (00z NAM).
"Supercell." Wow. I wish I could be articulate, but when I saw Paul Zunkel's photo taken near Fairmont late Friday I almost fell off my sofa. Well done - a perfect example of a rotating "supercell" thunderstorm. This is the same cell that dropped as many as 9 tornado touchdowns (from the same parent thunderhead) all the way from Worthington to near Kiester.
Iowa "Haboob". I know - kind of a funny word; something you might expect to see in Phoenix or Las Vegas - an advancing wall of dust and dirt, whipped up by an advancing gust-front in Iowa. I don't think this was a "gustnado", but rather the symptom of a wall of wind picking up dirt/topsoil into a swirling, seething cloud that totally enveloped this town. Sheric Hull captured this footage on the campus of Northwestern College. The (remarkable) YouTube clip is here. Details: "This is a gustnado(short for gust front tornado) that formed in Orange City, IA on the Northwestern College campus. A gustnado is similar to a tornado in the fact that it rotates, but it's direction is horizontal rather than a vertical like an actual tornado." (video clip rated PG for salty language - if I saw this thing approaching my neighborhood I might be using the same words. Sorry mom).
* here is a good overview on haboobs from Wikipedia.
Damage Reports. We were relatively lucky yesterday. Damage from a series of tornado touchdowns was fairly minor; downed trees and powerlines, some roof damage reported. A complete up-to-date list of damage is here, courtesy of NOAA.
Ballfield - or Lake? Thanks to Chris Blumberg, who sent in this photo of a flooded softball field in the Owatonna area Friday evening. Some of these storms may have packed 2-3" rains.
Doppler Radar Estimates. Here are some of the amounts (from the Twin Cities NWS Doppler), showing 2" rain near Montevideo, Owatonna and Windom, a few isolated pockets of 3" rains near Saint James.
Pick A Model, Any Model. As usual, weather models are all over the map when it comes to predicted rainfall amounts. The 00z NAM prints out a narrow band of 2-4" for parts of central Minnesota tonight and early Sunday. We'll see - at this point nothing would surprise me. Thanks Ryan. And Twitter.
Iowa Twisters. Over the last 48 hours Iowa has been hit much harder by tornadoes than southern Minnesota.
Photo credit above: "Lightning strikes in the distance as volunteers (on right) help rescue more than a thousand turkeys from a destroyed barn on the property of a farmer who did not wish to be identified east of Wayland, Iowa Thursday, May 3, 2012 after a suspected tornado went through the area. Wayland Police Chief Ron Roth said he saw a tornado around nine o’clock Thursday night heading for the small town. (AP Photo/The Gazette-KCRG,Brian Ray)."
“The area of climate change has a dramatic impact on national security,” Panetta said. “Rising sea levels, severe droughts, the melting of the polar caps, the more frequent and devastating natural disasters all raise demand for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.” - excerpt from a statement by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in "The Hill"; details below.
Severe Flash Flooding In Flint, Michigan. The same "supercell" that spawned tornado warnings across central Michigan dumped excessive rainfall amounts on Flint. Details from AP's YouTube page: "An overnight storm dumped nearly half a foot of rain on the Flint area and drenched other parts of Michigan, killing power to neighborhoods, stranding cars on roadways and forcing the boat evacuation of some residents."
Miraculous Tornado Before/After Photos. I'm always amazed by the resilience of Americans, willing to rebuild, start over, after a devastating tornado.
Upper left photo credit: "This photo combo shows a view of Main Street in Greensburg, Kan., a few days after the town was leveled by a tornado on May 4, 2007, top, and what it looks like on May 1, 2012, bottom. (AP Photo/The Wichita Eagle, Travis Heying)."
Upper right photo credit: "This photo combo shows an area of Greensburg, Kan., a few days after the town was leveled by a May 4, 2007 tornado, top, and what it looks like on May 1, 2012, bottom. (AP Photo/The Wichita Eagle, Travis Heying)."
Worst. Airline. Ever. Again. I'm feeling even better about flying Delta these days. Here's a snippet of an article at portfolio.com: "A Seat 2B column on the dreadful state of United Airlines in 2008 cribbed a line from The Simpsons for its headline: "Worst. Airline. Ever." Four years later, there's ample reason to revive the line and dub the United Airlines of 2012 "Worst. Airline. Ever. Again." Two years to the day after it announced its merger with Continental Airlines, United is lagging its competitors among the legacy carriers by most any financial measure or service metric. The airline's fractured employee groups are unhappy, and C-suite executives are bolting. Many of its best and most profitable customers are in open revolt, and average travelers are filling United's Facebook page with tales of woe. The airline's management seems alternately clueless and arrogant and unwilling or unable to fix what's gone awry."
Photo credit above: "Volta Volare GT4 Daniel Schumpert and Jason Briney."
"Beatings will continue until morale improves." - anonymous
The Joys Of Summer. WeatherNation TV meteorologist Todd Nelson sent me this photo of stop-and-go traffic on I94, at 9:45 pm Friday evening. Isn't it fun driving up to the cabin? Don't answer...
"We Need The Rain!"
"Weather is a great metaphor for life - sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad, and there's nothing much you can do about it but carry an umbrella" wrote Terri Guillemets. Amen.
It's hard keeping farmers and outdoor enthusiasts happy, simultaneously. Yes, we need the rain, in fact 1-2" of rain may go a long way toward easing Minnesota's drought. Lake water levels are still low; another 3-5" of rain necessary to avoid propeller dings and extra sections of dock this summer.
Timing convective, showery rain is a fool's errand. A stalled front keeps us unsettled all weekend; the best chance of soaking rains and embedded T-storms comes tonight and Sunday as a wave of low pressure ripples east, along a volatile warm front. Severe storms may flare up over far southern Minnesota, but most of us will see an old fashioned soaker; the steady (heavy) rain we need to keep lawns and gardens green.
Today will probably be the drier day, temperatures holding in the 60s with a stiff east breeze and a partly sunny sky.
Have a Plan B (indoors) tonight & Sunday morning. A falling barometer leads to good fishing conditions for Wisconsin's Opener. Next weekend in Minnesota? Highs near 70; not quite as soggy. It may even feel like spring.
"The system of nature, of which man is a part, tends to be self-balancing, self-adjusting, self-cleansing. Not so with technology." - E.F. Schumacher, "Small is Beautiful" (1973)
Here's a post at esquire.com: "This is not the "mainstream." Both sides do not do this. There is no "other side" to this argument. The people responsible for this billboard deserve to be shunned by decent society — Astronauts? Really? Come on. — until one of them tries to sell me an apple from atop a steam grate outside the Daley Center. How's about, maybe, the billboard company looks at what they're being asked to put up and rips up the check, saying, "Sorry, fellas. We don't do business with angry lunatics"? I weep for my country when I remember that God gets pissed."
* Another perspective on this new and baffling tactic from Heartland here and here. The Daily Beast has reaction here. Comparing climate science believers and reporters to mass murderers and madmen? Joe Romm at ThinkProgress has his take here. Surreal, but something tells me this tactic will backfire badly on this Chicago-based "think tank".
** By late Friday Heartland had agreed to turn off the offensive (Unabomber) digital billboard in the Chicago area. Details from The New York Times.
Dear Mr. Bast-
Earlier today you and the companies that support you announced a set of billboards in Chicago suggesting that serial killers were pretty much the only people who feared climate change.
I’d like to thank you for doing that. The billboards are ugly, but they convey with graphic intensity the desperation of those who have fought on the side of the fossil fuel companies for a quarter century. As you know, the polling data in fact indicates that growing majorities of Americans are deeply concerned about climate change, and eager to see our political leaders address it. And the demand for action is at least as strong in the rest of the world.
I know you’d like your opponents to be murderers and crazed fanatics—that would make your job easier. But as it happens, this weekend will see more than a thousand events in most countries of the planet, arranged by entirely ordinary people who have already felt the sting of climate change. You can watch the pictures at 350.org—we’ll be blogging them as fast as we can. What you’ll see are people of every race and creed, united in the hope that the floods and droughts we’ve already suffered will be enough to sway the hearts and minds of our leaders.
Photo credit above: "In January of this year, snow was still sparse at high elevations in the Sierra Nevada. (Molly Samuel/Climate Watch)."
Skeptical Science's response: "97% of climate experts agree humans are causing global warming. Science achieves a consensus when scientists stop arguing. When a question is first asked – like ‘what would happen if we put a load more CO2 in the atmosphere?’ – there may be many hypotheses about cause and effect. Over a period of time, each idea is tested and retested – the processes of the scientific method – because all scientists know that reputation and kudos go to those who find the right answer (and everyone else becomes an irrelevant footnote in the history of science). Nearly all hypotheses will fall by the wayside during this testing period, because only one is going to answer the question properly, without leaving all kinds of odd dangling bits that don’t quite add up. Bad theories are usually rather untidy. But the testing period must come to an end. Gradually, the focus of investigation narrows down to those avenues that continue to make sense, that still add up, and quite often a good theory will reveal additional answers, or make powerful predictions, that add substance to the theory. When Russian scientist Dmitri Mendeleev constructed his periodic table of elements, not only did he fit all known elements successfully, he predicted that elements we didn’t even know about would turn up later on – and they did!"