November 4: average date of the first coating (1/10th of an inch) of snow in the Twin Cities. Details below.
Staring at the weather maps comes as a relief after the drama and trauma of recent days. Debt ceilings, fiscal cliffs - staring into the abyss. "Now let's go to Paul with the weather!"
I hope you can check out the WeatherNation TV blog, which I spend entirely too much time on every day. You can get an updated forecast, but also see the raw model maps that drive these predictions. That, and a stream of weather and climate-related stories that catch my eye every day.
Today's post includes scientific confirmation that weather does impact our health. Lightning can spark headaches, sharp drops in air pressure ahead of storms can increase depression symptoms, and arthritis is more likely to flare up on cold days. All that stuff your grandma taught you.
The forecast calls for bouts of depression and arthritis as a series of Alberta Clippers yank increasingly cold air southward. Next week will look & feel more like mid-November than mid-October. A frost/freeze Sunday morning gives way to an airmass cold enough for the first flakes of autumn.
Right now I don't see any accumulation (it's too early to see that in print) but I'm sensing a little payback for a glorious September.
Nuisance Snow Potential. 12km NAM data shows a coating to a half inch of slush, mainly on lawns & fields over far western Minnesota and the Red River Valley, as much as 2" over North Dakota. Map: Ham Weather.
Fast-Forward Fall. We go from an August-like early October to a November-like late October. Makes perfect sense to me. A few instability (rain) showers are possible this afternoon, again Saturday afternoon, a better chance of a cold rain Sunday night (possibly mixed with wet snow over central Minnesota). The atmosphere will be cold enough for wet snow much of next week - but a lack of deep moisture should mean little more than flurries. Graph: Weatherspark.
First Real Shot On Winter. 4km NAM data shows a few showers and sprinkles later today and Saturday, mixing with a little wet snow up north by Saturday night and Sunday. Heavy wet snow falls over the Rockies, while the leading edge of a November-like airmass pushes a pinwheel of rain into New England.
An Early Taste of Winter. 12km NAM data shows an airmass more typical of mid-November draining south out of Canada in the coming days, a hard freeze likely by early next week from Minnesota into the Dakotas. Cold air will push as far south as the Gulf Coast by Monday. Loop: NOAA and Ham Weather.
Trending Wetter. Here are precipitation anomalies since October 1, showing 4 times more rain (and snow) than average for the month, to date, over the Dakotas and Wyoming, 2-3 times average rainfall amounts for much of Minnesota, helping to put a serious dent in the drought. Map: Prism Climate Group, Oregon State.
Lightning: Increased Headache Risk Lightning storms may trigger headaches and migraines in chronic sufferers, according to a study by University of Cincinnati researchers recently published in the journal Cephalalgia. The study detected a 31 percent increase in the risk of headaches and a 28 percent increase in the risk of migraines among chronic sufferers on days when lighting struck within 25 miles of participants' homes..."
First Coating Of Snow For Select Cities? Yes, this is my way of cheering you up on a Thursday. Thanks to State Climatologist Greg Spoden for providing me with this information. Bottom line, the mean (average) date of the first coating (tenth of an inch or more) in the Twin Cities is November 4. More details at this site:
Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport - Date of First Snowfall => 0.1"
(period of record: 1938 - 2012)
mean: November 4
earliest: September 24, 1985
latest: December 2, 1963
Duluth International Airport - Date of First Snowfall => 0.1"
(period of record: 1948 - 2012)
mean: October 23
earliest: September 18, 1991 (* note: very early snowfall last year - September 21, 2012 *)
latest: November 26, 2004
International Falls Airport - Date of First Snowfall => 0.1"
(period of record: 1948 - 2012)
mean: October 19
earliest: September 14, 1964
latest: December 8, 1999
Fargo International Airport - Date of First Snowfall => 0.1"
(period of record: 1942 - 2012)
mean: November 2
earliest: September 25, 1942
latest: December 14, 1999
Rochester International Airport - Date of First Snowfall => 0.1"
(period of record: 1933 - 2012)
mean: November 5
earliest: September 26, 1942
latest: December 19, 1939
Image credit above: "A computer model image shows the extent of dry air flowing westward from Africa on August 16." Credit: WeatherBell Analytics.
Photo credit above: "In this photo provided by the New South Wales Rural Fire Service, smoke rises from a fire near Springwood, west of Sydney, Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013. Nearly a hundred wildfires are burning across Australia's New South Wales state, more than a dozen of which are out of control, as unseasonably hot temperatures and strong winds fanned flames across the parched landscape." (AP Photo/New South Wales Rural Fire Service).
Photo credit above: "Houses in a residential area in Oshima are buried by mudslides after a powerful typhoon hit Izu Oshima island, about 120 kilometers (75 miles) south of Tokyo Wednesday morning, Oct. 16, 2013. Typhoon Wipha has lashed Japan, leaving at least seven people dead on a Pacific island south of Tokyo as it cut across the capital region and headed north." (AP Photo/Kyodo News)
Ask Paul. Weather-related Q&A:
Are we passed the weather phenomenon that is known as Indian Summer yet? I need to resurface my flat roof with asphalt base coating before winter. No minimum temperature required but prefer it to be at least several degrees above freezing for a few days and dry.
Joe, Eau Claire, WI
Joe - technically we have to experience the first frost before we can call any subsequent warmth "Indian Summer". We should see our first sub-32-degree low by Sunday morning in the metro, but I don't see any big warm-ups through the first few days of November. The GFS model (below) shows highs near 50F next weekend, again around Halloween.
Image credit above: "In this 3-D map of potential temperature, relatively cool air wraps around Sandy's core near the surface (purple and blue colors), while air parcels gain heat from moisture condensing into clouds and precipitation as they ascend through the storm’s core." For more details on this simulation, see the YouTube videos below. (©UCAR. Image courtesy Mel Shapiro, NCAR).
Photo credit above: "" AP Photo/Junji Kurokawa.
* Do you know/trust the source? If you’ve never heard of the source before, disregard it and/or check information sources you trust for a second opinion.
* Is the source legitimate? Try to figure out who is maintaining the page that information or update is coming from. Is it a reputable news or weather organization like a TV station, newspaper, established private sector weather company (like AccuWeather or Weather Underground), or government agency (like the National Weather Service)? Is there available information about the meteorological credentials of the person/people managing the page?"
More Americans Die From Car Pollution Than Car Accidents. This headline made me do a double-take; here's a clip from Quartz: "Some day our descendants will marvel that we ever lived in cities filled with emissions direct from the tailpipes of cars. A new study from MIT suggests that in the US, 53,000 people a year die prematurely because of automobile pollution, compared to 34,000 people a year who die in traffic accidents. These results more than double the number of people who die in the US every year as a result of automobiles, to nearly 100,000. One in five Americans is in danger from air pollution, and it appears that the hazard is primarily their proximity to roadways.."
ENSO Trends Since 1950. Yes, even La Nina cooling phases are trending milder than average in recent years, which may not be much of a shock, considering 90% or more of the observed warming is going into the world's oceans. Graph above courtesy of NOAA, Real Climate and Climate Central.
No, Climate Change Will Not Be Good For The World. NewStatesman has the story, a rebuttal to a recent article touting the positive impacts of climate change at the Spectator; here's an excerpt: "...He's right that there are some short-term economic benefits to climate change, but multiple analyses have shown that the long-term costs are far in excess of the costs of preventing it, making his complaints about the price of climate policies irrelevant. If we spend £100 on climate policies and get £3 of benefit (an assertion that I can't find a source for), that's a better situation than spending nothing on climate policies and having to deal with hundreds of billions of pounds of costs over the next century. He's right that warmer winters will mean fewer deaths, but then lists stats on past heatwaves - temperatures that will be considered around average by the middle of this century - without considering the heatwaves of the future. He also doesn't mention the vast increases in the spread of tropical diseases projected to occur under higher temperatures..."
Five Gruesome Truths About The State Of The Global Food Industry. Quartz has the story - here's an excerpt: "...The world currently produces enough calories to overfeed every human—presently, about 2,700 calories per head—and yet the world, as a whole, is underfed. The reality is in no small part due to the overwhelming inefficiency of our global food production and consumption. A third of the food we produce is used to feed animals; another third is wasted; and roughly 5% is used to produce biofuels.
Roughly a fifth of the world lives in areas suffering from physical water scarcity, and another 500 million are quickly approaching a similar state. But that only tells half of the tale. Another 1.6 billion people live in countries with insufficient water infrastructure, or in what’s referred to as economic water scarcity..."
Coal Executive Turned Climate Change Activist Fights For Seat On BHP Board. The Guardian has the story - here's the intro: "A former chairman of the Australian Coal Association, who has accused the fossil fuel industry of “stuffing up” effective action on climate change, is fighting an insurgent battle to gain a seat on the board of the mining giant BHP Billiton. Ian Dunlop, formerly a senior executive in the oil, gas and coal industries, is attempting to gain shareholder support for his bid to challenge what he claims is “utter (BS)” from a resources industry that has stymied an urgent transition away from carbon-intensive fuels..."
Photo credit above: "BHP Billiton's Macedon gas plant in Onslow, Western Australia." Photograph: AAP/supplied by BHP Billiton