What Did You Eat?
My niece, Anna Ball, just got back from an extended stay in Italy. She told me locals don't greet each other with "How are you?" They ask "What did you eat?" Life revolves around food. Can't remember?
"If you can't remember what you ate it must not have been very good" Anna told me.
I'm lobbying St. Paul to replace "What do you think of this weather?" OK, don't hold your breath.
What may be our first accumulating snow event of the winter season may materialize from a sloppy southern storm; a cold rain Tuesday afternoon changing to wet snow Tuesday night.
Ground temperatures are still fairly mild, so I expect some melting on contact, but a few inches could pile up on metro lawns; roads becoming slushy and slick after 7 PM. The ECMWF (European) model prints out 6+ inches for southwest counties.
And so it begins.
This is just Old Man Winter firing a warning shot across our bow. After a couple days in the 30s midweek we thaw into the 40s; I could see a few days above 50F next week. No sign of anything frigid just yet.
A puff of cooler air sparks a few rain showers today. Within 36 hours there will be no doubt in your mind that it's November.
What DID I eat? I'd rather focus on food.
Winter Hazard Awareness Week In Minnesota. Map above shows average annual snowfall for Minnesota, courtesy of the Twin Cities NWS. Here's an excerpt of some good (timely?) information from the local National Weather Service office: "During Winter Hazard Awareness Week the National Weather Service, in cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management will issue daily statements pertaining to winter safety. These statements are available below, and will also be broadcast over NOAA All Hazards Weather Radio and sent over the NOAA Weather Wire.
In summary, we offer these basic reminders:
Winter Weather Preparations
- Keep ahead of the winter storm by listening for the latest weather statements, watches and warnings.
- Your vehicle should also be ready. Get it winterized, before the onset of winter weather.
- Be equipped for the worst. Carry a winter survival kit in your car, especially when traveling in rural or open areas. Try to travel with others.
- Yield to snowplows, and give them plenty of room to operate.
- If your vehicle becomes stranded, stay with it until help arrives.
- Do not try to walk for help during a blizzard, you could easily become lost in the whiteout conditions.
- If you will be outside during storms or extreme cold, dress in layered clothing and avoid overexertion.
- Do not kill yourself shoveling snow. Shoveling is very hard work and may induce a heart attack.
- If you will be snowmobiling, avoid alcohol. Most snowmobile deaths are alcohol related. Take a snowmobile course offered by the DNR or check with your snowmobile dealer.
- Every year, there are fatalities in Minnesota when people fall through thin ice.
Snowfall Last Winter. Nearly 68" of snow fell last winter, most of it during the latter half of winter (well into "spring"). The odds of this happening two winters in a row? Slim, but not zero. With any luck we won't be shoveling in May of 2014. Map above courtesy of the Twin Cities National Weather Service.
Obama Signs Order On Response To Weather Disasters And Climate Change. Here's a clip from an article at The Washington Post: "A year after Hurricane Sandy devastated the East Coast, President Obama signed an executive order Friday to make it easier for states and local governments to respond to weather disasters. The executive order establishes a task force of state and local officials to advise the administration on how to respond to severe storms, wildfires, droughts and other possible effects of climate change. The task force includes governors of seven states — all Democrats — and the Republican governor of Guam, a U.S. territory. Fourteen mayors and two other local leaders also will serve on the task force. All but three are Democrats..."
Solar Activity Heads For Lowest Low In Four Centuries. No, it's not the sun heating things up (that's the first thing climate scientists analyzed). Here's an excerpt from New Scientist: "The sun's activity is in free fall, according to a leading space physicist. But don't expect a little ice age. "Solar activity is declining very fast at the moment," Mike Lockwood, professor of space environmental physics at Reading University, UK, told New Scientist. "We estimate faster than at any time in the last 9300 years." Lockwood and his colleagues are reassessing the chances of this decline continuing over decades to become the first "grand solar minimum" for four centuries. During a grand minimum the normal 11-year solar cycle is suppressed and the sun has virtually no sunspots for several decades. This summer should have seen a peak in the number of sunspots, but it didn't happen..." (Image: NASA).
America's Most Violent Tornadoes Since 1950, Seen On One Blustery Map. Here's a clip from a fascinating article at The Atlantic Cities: "...The interactive visualization, available here for your geeking-out pleasure, was assembled by New York City technoartist Adam Pearce, who also did that wonderful presentation of 500 years of meteor spottings. Inspired by a similar model made by John Nelson, Pearce whipped up a map that gives the track and wind intensity for each of the twisters. While meteorologists have noted more than 21,000 tornadoes in the past 63 years, only long-lasting ones that traveled for more than 20 miles are shown here (just under 2,000). Fatter lines represent more powerful ones, and the tracks are approximate, as NOAA "only collects start and end locations – tornadoes do not actually travel in perfectly straight lines," explains Pearce..."
Graphic credit above: Adam Pearce.
Flood Insurance Is A Complex Problem That May Have A Simple Solution. Let the markets handle this vs. the federal government? Interesting idea, but what happens if a massive calamity wipes out a few of these private ventures? Here's a clip from a story at Insurance News Daily: "...There is a solution to the federal program’s problems that is beginning to gain attention, though it is somewhat unconventional. Some federal lawmakers argue that private insurers are capable of handling the risks associated with flood insurance coverage. Large insurance corporations certainly have the assets to offer coverage in an effective manner, but have little incentive to do so due to the potential of grievous loss. If the federal government could provide some degree of financial safety net for these companies, they may be willing to take on the risks associated with flood coverage, thereby alleviating some of the strain burdening the National Flood Insurance Program."
Photo credit above: "The Trans Tech/Motiv SST-e all-electric school bus can save a school district about 16 gallons of fuel a day, or around $11,000, over a year." Photo credit: PRNewsFoto/Motiv Power Systems.
Photo credit above: "Dave Black, Ed Bolian and Dan Huang pose in front of the car they would use to attempt to break the record. Bolian is the leader and main driver, Black acted as the co-driver and Huang was the team's spotter - keeping an eye on the car's considerable technology while looking out for obstacles."
"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."
Climate Change Seen Posing Risk To Food Supplies. Here's an excerpt of a Justin Gillis article at The New York Times: "...In a departure from an earlier assessment, the scientists concluded that rising temperatures will have some beneficial effects on crops in some places, but that globally they will make it harder for crops to thrive — perhaps reducing production over all by as much as 2 percent each decade for the rest of this century, compared with what it would be without climate change. And, the scientists say, they are already seeing the harmful effects in some regions..."
Photo credit above: "Retired Rear Admiral David W. Titley, who led the U.S. Navy's Task Force on Climate Change, delivers the President's Lecture Series speech at ODU on Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013. Titley, who is director of the Center for Solutions to Weather and Climate Risk at Penn State University, gave a speech titled "The Evolving Understanding of Climate Risk: The Challenge that Won't Go Away." (Steve Earley | The Virginian-Pilot).
Photo credit above: "Morgan Schaller, James Wright, and the core sample that helped them understand what happened - and how fast it happened - 55 million years ago." Credit: James Wright, Rutgers University.
Image credit above: "Departure from average of Arctic surface temperatures during the first decade of the 21st century, as compared to the 1971-2000 average. The map illustrates that no part of the Arctic experienced cooler-than-average conditions during this period." Credit: NOAA.