Anyone with a pulse realizes spring is in trouble. This may be a year where we go from ankle-deep slush to 70s, virtually overnight. If so - make sure you have fresh batteries in your NOAA Weather Radio.
I hope I'm wrong on this call - that in a few months we can look back and laugh. "Yep, one more case of Paul going off his meds!" But here's the thing: 2013 reminds me of 1965. We suffered thru a tortured spring in '65: record river flooding; an inch of snow on April 25 at MSP. Then a light-switch warm-up: 78F on May 6, 1965; with a swarm of killer EF-4 tornadoes from Lake Minnetonka to Fridley.
Lingering chill over the northern U.S. this year may spark an even sharper temperature gradient by late spring, implying stronger jet stream winds and more wind shear, capable of spinning up extreme tornadoes. Impossible to pin down where, but NOAA SPC confirms a correlation between cool summers & more twisters. We'll see, but I just have a feeling.
Ice and slush early gives way to a cold rain today; another plowable snow up north, delaying & complicating Minnesota's flood outlook. Next week's big storm will track to our east, keeping us unnecessarily chilly. 50s may return a week from tomorrow.
No big and beefy warm fronts just yet. Part of me is relieved, but I want spring as much as the next guy. Just without the EF-4 tornadoes, please.
Here are some digital tools to help you through a storm safely.
NOAA Weather Radio
Getting advanced warning of impeding tornadoes is key. If the electricity goes out and you can't watch weather updates on TV, you can switch to a battery-powered radio or fire up the NOAA Weather Radio app ($3.99). This app streams more than 200 NOAA broadcasts and adds in additional information including radar, push notifications, emergency warnings for your state and detailed weather reports..."
Video clip credit above: "As China struggles with air pollution, some believe the air inside is just as bad. Louie Cheng president of PureLiving China, an indoor environmental consulting firm, talks about toxic pollutants, your home and what you can do to get rid of them."
From the local National Weather Service. On April 13 in weather history:
1983: "Surprise" snowstorm covers east central Minnesota. The Twin Cities measured 13.6 inches. Brilliant blue skies and bright sun the morning after.
1886: St. Cloud-Sauk Rapids tornado. It left 72 people dead. 80 percent of all buildings in Sauk Rapids were leveled as the tornado expanded to 800 yards across. When 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. There was 300,000 dollars damage in Sauk Rapids and only 4,000 dollars worth was insured. The forecast for that day was for local rains and slightly warmer with highs in the 50's.
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Photo credit above: "Souaibou Toure, head of a cereal cooperative in Mali." Photograph: Tadej Znidarcic.