18" snow at Blooming Prairie, Minnesota yesterday
81 F. high reported in the Twin Cities on May 2, 2012.
Tulsa, Oklahoma saw a trace of snow yesterday - the latest snow on record.
Just when you thought you'd seen everything, along comes the Backwards Spring of 2013. 18" at Blooming Prairie, Minnesota. On May 2. The Twin Cities dodged a bullet, but this event will probably be the snowiest May snowstorm on record for Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa.
Every morning I dial up the latest maps, afraid what I may find next. Parts of California are on fire, while a rare May freeze pushes into Texas; record floods washing out roads in Key West. Many Midwestern counties went from drought to flood in less than 2 weeks. Head-snapping weather.
In spite of La Nina, 2012 was the 9th warmest year, worldwide, on record. Record melting of Arctic ice last year may be impacting the jet stream, the river of high-speed air sweeping the globe - increasing the chance of blocking patterns, which can cause weather to temporarily stall. The result? A high amplitude pattern - more north/south swings in the jet stream capable of creating "cut-off" lows that can stall. Giant atmospheric roadblocks. More extremes.
The "stuck" storm over Missouri responsible for record snows east of MSP will rotate rain into town later today & Saturday. Expect 60F by Sunday; some 70s next week as spring returns. Fishing Opener? A rather mild Saturday gives way to a cooler front by Mother's Day; probably dry for Race For The Cure.
Better days ahead. It can only get better right?
Rochester, Minnesota photo credit upper left: AP Photo/Post-Bulletin, Ken Klotzbach.
Thousand Oaks, California photo credit upper right: AP Photo/Nick Ut.
A Reason To Keep On Going. Today will feel like March 3, but by Monday of next week it will look and feel like spring again (and none of us will take warmth for granted ever again). The ECMWF shows a drier day Sunday, with dry weather spilling over into Monday and Tuesday; a few showers and T-storms possible Wednesday as highs top 70. We cool off a little late next week before warming into the 60s again on Saturday, probably the milder day of the Fishing Opener/Mother's Day weekend.
Encouraging Trends. The U.S. models are in fairly tight alignment, showing a warming trend into next week; a good chance of 70-degree highs by midweek.
Mother's Day Preview. Here is the 240 ECMWF forecast for next Sunday morning, May 12. It shows a cooler front pushing south; highs in the 50s (north) - maybe low 60s Twin Cities metro. It's early, but if this forecast verifies it would be dry and comfortably cool for Race For The Cure and brunch with your favorite mom. Don't forget about mom.
Risk Of A Real Warm Front. I'm not getting too excited just yet (we've been down this road before), but GFS numbers show a chance of 80s by mid-May. One thing is certain: we're going to have a cooler, wetter, stormier summer than last year.
Proving cause and effect is difficult, at times impossible, but talking with climate scientists there seems to be a strong causal connection between more weather extremes and record warming taking place in the Arctic. 90% of warming is going into the oceans, and some of that warmth is showing up in the Arctic, which has lost 70-75% of its ice volume in 50 years, reaching a record low in September, 2012. A warming Arctic can displace the cold air that should be at the top of the world farther south over Canada, Europe and Asia, setting the stage for more extremes, more head-scratching "Black Swan" weather events.
Changes in the Arctic are happening much faster than predicted. Richard Alley at Penn State believes some of these changes are taking place 100 years ahead of schedule. Climate scientist James Hansen believes warming of the oceans and atmosphere is equivalent to 400,000 Hiroshima bombs going off every day. We may be undergoing a "phase transition" in the climate system, which is non-linear. Nature rarely moves in a straight line. Alarmist hype? I sure hope so. But the reality: we're in uncharted water when it comes to global changes and impact on local weather.
Photo credit above: REUTERS/Gene Blevins. "A fast moving brush fire approaches a home in the Camarillo Springs area of Ventura County, California May 2, 2013. Southern California is under a high fire alert due to high temperatures and high winds."