Can we please talk about something other than the weather? No, I guess not. Look at the bright side: a low mosquito count, delayed allergy season, and all this frozen moisture will turn your lawn a bright shade of green within 10 days, give or take. That, and as I speculated months ago, our drought is fading - trends are encouraging.
Unless you live in Fargo, where there is now a 40% threat of record flooding - the result of heavy snow pack and the specter of rapid warming the next 2 weeks. The one thing I feared was a "light-switch" spring. Going from knee-deep slush to shirtsleeves in a week or two sounds good, unless you live near a river.
Two months ago barges were grounded on the Mississippi - now flooding is predicted; Chicago bailing out form 4-7" of rain - almost 2 month's worth in 48 hours.
Serious weather whiplash.
Snow tapers this morning - the drive home later today should inspire fewer expletives.
The sun comes out tomorrow - the atmosphere warm enough for rain showers on Sunday.
Consistent 50s arrive the latter half of next week; a shot at 60F a week from tomorrow.
Watch, we'll go from snow to floods and random tornadoes in the meteorological blink of an eye. Get ready for a volatile year.
* thanks to Nick and Shannon Olsen from Minneapolis for having a well-developed sense of humor, and having the courage to put their Christmas lights back up!
** latest snowfall totals from NOAA are here.
* more 2013 flood forecast details from the Grand Forks, ND office of the NWS here.
MONTH MONTHLY SNOWFALL
OCTOBER 2012 3.6 INCHES
NOVEMBER 2012 4.8 INCHES
DECEMBER 2012 5.1 INCHES
JANUARY 2013 9.2 INCHES
FEBRUARY 2013 14.4 INCHES
MARCH 2013 14.6 INCHES
APRIL 2013 14.8 INCHES...AS OF APRIL 17TH
Wisconsin Schedule for Friday, April 19, 2013:
1:00 p.m. Test watch. The test "Watch County Notification" (WCN) with the list of counties will be issued by all five weather offices that serve Wisconsin. SPC will also issue a test WOU. Weather Radios will activate with the real TOA code.
1:45 p.m. Test Tornado Warning (TOR) issued by all weather offices that serve Wisconsin. Weather Radios will activate with the real TOR code.
2:00 p.m. Test Severe Weather Statement (SVS) issued to announce the end of the test warning. No alarm on weather radio.
High-Tech Clear Channel Billboards Will Deliver Tornado Warnings. Here's a press release from Dan Luna, Meteorologist In Charge of the Twin Cities National Weather Service, that caught my eye yesterday:
The EMs in Ramsey and Hennepin Counties partnered with Clear Channel to display our tornado warnings on electronic billboards, assuming the warning polygon falls in the siren zones. In other words, if we issue a tor for western Hennepin (not Minneapolis) the billboards in Minneapolis will display their typical advertising. if the polygon/siren zone falls within downtown Minneapolis, the warnings will displace the advertisement. There are 47 billboards that can display the warning, most in the west and south areas of Hennepin County.
In addition, Hennepin County has 6 other electronic signs with will display similar information.
Future endeavors include the MNDOT signs on the freeway system, and electronic signs on Lake Minnetonka warning of not only "No Wake" zones, but severe weather too. The Hennepin County EM and I have been working on this for the last several months. Hennepin County purchased about 13 weather sensors recently and we should get that data in the near future. Wright County is looking at purchasing a few sensors as well.
Attached (photo above) is a photo of our Hennepin County EM (Eric Waage) at this mornings press release, with "test" Tornado Warning on 3 different billboards in downtown Minneapolis."
* This is a promising development. As I've been saying for years, the more sources of critical, time-sensitive information, especially tornado warnings, the greater the odds you'll get the potentially life-saving nugget of information in time to do something about it. That means NOAA Weather Radio, local TV and radio, sirens, apps on smart phones, Internet e-mail alerts, and now "smart billboards".
Photo credit above: "Coastal damage caused by Hurricane Sandy". U.S. Geological Society.
Celestial Magic. I've seen a lot of great photos (and I want to thank everyone who has taken the time and effort to forward me a photo or video - I take nothing for granted). But this one took my breath away, courtesy of Steve Burns, who captured the Northern Lights and the Milky Way up at Voyageur National Park last weekend. He earned this photo, camping out in subzero weather to get the money shot: "This was taken about 3 am on Sunday morning as the galactic center of the Milky Way was rising to the east and the aurora was dancing to the north. It's a 180-degree stitch of 7 vertical captures from northwest to southeast. The light pollution at the very left is International Falls and on the far right is Ely. The aurora is a little over-exposed, but I wanted 30 second exposures for each shot to maintain consistency and really bring out the stars and foreground." Mission accomplished Steve. Great work.
Photo credit above: "Splitterwerk Architects and engineering firm ARUP have unveiled the worlds first algae powered building at the International Building Exhibition hosted in Hamburg." (Photo: Arup)
Photo credit above: "Wind turbines of the Smoky Hill Wind Farm dot the countryside near Ellsworth, Kan. Kansas legislators rejected an effort to weaken a state policy that requires utilities to generate 20 percent of their electricity from wind and other renewable resources by 2020." Orlin Wagner/AP/File
Photo credit above: "The development of low-carbon energy is progressing too slowly to limit global warming, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said." Photograph: Murdo Macleod
Photo credit above: "Building sustainable transportation systems that would reduce scenes like traffic-clogged I-95, is one of the steps to reducing the greenhouse gases that are fueling global warming." Photo: Keelin Daly