"Keep your expectations low. That way you may be pleasantly surprised from time to time."
Good advice, especially for a meteorologist. Especially this "spring". Goldilocks had a point: rarely is our weather "just right". It's usually too hot-cold-wet-dry. The 7-Day Outlook should come with a 7-Day supply of Zoloft.
But here's what I've discovered: the weather has an uncanny way of evening things out. It may not happen next week or next month, but this cold, foul, puddle-infested FAIL of a spring will be balanced by an extended spell of gloriously lukewarm blue-sky postcard-worthy days.
Then again I have been standing way too close to the Doppler.
Any unwanted slush in your yard gives way to rain showers today as temperatures aloft begin to mellow. Puddles shrink tomorrow as skies brighten; 50s will feel like sweet relief this weekend as the sun makes a rare cameo appearance. Next week will feel like spring again; consistent 60s and even a few low 70s by the second week of May.
Like a cruel meteorological mirage spring keeps getting pushed back.
And as much as I'm rooting for warm fronts to reach our lofty latitude, my hope is that we have a quiet tornado year in Minnesota. Stay tuned.
* photograph of a new lake in a farmer's field near Cologne, Minnesota courtesy of WeatherNation meteorologist Bryan Karrick.
** Second wettest April on record in the Twin Cities. The Star Tribune has details. More data from NOAA here.
|Location||County, ST||Provider||72 Hr Pcpn|
|N SAINT PAUL 1 NW||Ramsey||EC||MN||COCORAHS||4.97|
|FALCON HEIGHTS 2 SSE||Ramsey||EC||MN||COCORAHS||4.11|
|VICTORIA 2 ENE||Hennepin||EC||MN||COCORAHS||4.07|
|COLUMBIA HEIGHTS 1 S||Hennepin||EC||MN||CoCoRaHS||3.87|
|ANOKA 2 SE||Anoka||EC||MN||COCORAHS||3.60|
|ST CLOUD AP||Sherburne||C||MN||ASOS||3.58|
|CHANHASSEN 1 SE||Carver||EC||MN||COCORAHS||3.51|
|FOREST LAKE 5NE||Chisago||EC||MN||COOP||3.49|
|ST CLOUD SCSU||Stearns||C||MN||UCOOP||3.48|
|MPLS LWR ST ANTHONY FALLS||Hennepin||EC||MN||COOP||3.31|
|MANKATO 4E||Blue Earth||SC||MN||UCOOP||3.20|
|ST PAUL DWNTN AP||Ramsey||EC||MN||ASOS||3.14|
Four Things That Turn America Into The "Tornado Super Bowl". Where have you heard that before? NBC News has an explainer, focused on why the USA experiences (far) more tornadoes than any other nation on Earth; here's a clip: "A one-of-a-kind combination of weather factors make the United States the twister capital of the world, with the ominous funnels 10 times more common in the states than anywhere else on the planet, scientists say. The four main ingredients all are geographical, all unique to America's borders: a massive mountain wall to the west, a warm ocean to the southeast, a cold-air “shield” to the north – and above these particular latitudes, a narrow river of wind, the jet stream, that surges eastward at hundreds of miles per hour..."
Little Rock Outbreak Details. Here is additional information on the Sunday evening outbreak that leveled parts of Vilonia and Mayflower, courtesy of the Little Rock, Arkansas National Weather Service: "In the picture: Rotation associated with the parent storm on 04/27/2014 was persistent for roughly 40 miles (Tornado #1) before weakening (where the gap is indicated). Another tornado (Tornado #2) was likely spawned a short time later by the same storm and tracked through White, Jackson, and Independence Counties. Note: Tornado #2 may actually be several tornadoes. This will be determined through damage surveys. The graphic is courtesy of the National Severe Storms Laboratory..."
• This is the second time in three years that Vilonia has been hit by a tornado. The last time was April 25, 2011, when a long-tracked EF2 tornado hit, killing four.
• Since reliable records began in 1950, Vilonia has seen five tornado tracks within the present-day city limits. Aside from 4/27/2014, there was 4/25/2011 (EF2), 12/24/1982 (F3), 12/23/1982 (F2), and 03/12/1961 (F2). Source: National Weather Service, Little Rock.
* 2 confirmed deaths from Sunday's tornado outbreak in Iowa. Details here.
EF-4: Louisville, MS
EF-3: Mayflower/Vilonia AR, Limestone County, AL (at least), Tupelo, MS
EF-2 : Union City, TN, Heard/Troup County, GA
EF-1 : Kimberly, AL (north Jefferson County)
Dome It! Schools Can Affordably Survive Tornadoes. Yes, tornadoes are a threat, and an opportunity to make our communities more resilient and storm-prooof. Here's an excerpt of a timely, interesting article from Andrew Revkin at The New York Times: "... I spoke Monday with David B. South, the co-inventor of a dome manufacturing process 37 years ago whose company, Monolithic Dome, has been erecting storm-safe domed school buildings from Sarasota, Fla., through Geronimo, Okla., and Lumberton, Tex., and even west to Payson, Ariz. (where the benefits include the big energy savings that come with thick insulation and concrete). There are ways to build a safe haven into a conventional school design, as well. But old building codes, tight budgets and simple inertia continue to get in the way of change..."
Photo credit above: Monolithic Dome"
Tornadoes: The Science Behind The Destruction. National Geographic has more good information and background on tornadogenesis - here's a clip: "...Even then, "we still don't know why some thunderstorms create tornadoes while others don't," tornado-chaser Tim Samaras said in early 2013. Samaras was a scientist and National Geographic grantee who was killed by a twister on May 31, 2013, in El Reno, Oklahoma. (Read "The Last Chase" in National Geographic magazine.) Brooks says scientists believe strong changes in winds in the first kilometer of the atmosphere and high relative humidity are important for the formation of tornadoes. He adds that there also needs to be a downdraft in just the right part of the storm..."
From "Gale" To "Inconceivable". Ranking Tornado Strength. Here's a good explanation of the new enhanced Fujita (EF) scale, courtesy of an article at Time Magazine: "...The Enhanced Fujita scale was adopted in 2007. It was designed to more accurately reflect the actual damage a tornado had done on the ground. The EF scale uses 28 different damage indicators, ranging from small barns to hardwood trees to shopping malls—and each of those indicators is assessed based on several different points of possible damage..."
61 Facts About Tornadoes. Here are just a few from abc15.com in Phoenix:- "A tornado emergency is enhanced wording in a tornado warning indicating a large tornado is moving into a heavily populated area. Significant widespread damage and numerous fatalities are likely. The term was coined by forecasters in May 1999 and is used sparingly.
- Enhanced Fujita Scale: The Fujita scale is used to estimate the wind speed of a tornado by the damage the tornado causes."
* details on the 1965 Palm Sunday tornado outbreak, featured above, from Wikipedia.
* forecast graphic above: NOAA and HAMweather.
Phones Are Giving Away Your Location, Regardless Of Your Privacy Settings. No, you're not paranoid - you are being tracked until further notice. Maybe if I start using my old brick phone...? Quartz has the story; here's an excerpt: "...A new study has found evidence that accelerometers—which sense motion in your smartphone and are used for applications from pedometers to gaming—leave “unique, trackable fingerprints” that can be used to identify you and monitor your phone. Here’s how it works, according to University of Illinois electrical and computer engineering professor Romit Roy Choudhury and his team: Tiny imperfections during the manufacturing process make a unique fingerprint on your accelerometer data..."
Photo credit above: "An aerial photograph of a coastal town in Samar province in central Philippines, taken on 11 November 2013." Photograph: Erik De Castro/REUTERS.
Supreme Court Backs EPA Rules For Coal Pollution. The New York Times has an update - here's an excerpt: "The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate coal-plant pollution that wafts across state lines from 27 Midwestern and Appalachian states to eastern states. The 6-to-2 ruling is a major environmental victory for the Obama administration, which has instituted several new E.P.A. regulations under the Clean Air Act in an effort to crack down on coal pollution. Republicans and the coal industry have criticized the effort as a “war on coal...”
File photo: Matt Brown, AP.