WeatherNation Blog

When It Rains – Does It Pour? Looking At Rainfall Totals Each Day It Rains

Have you ever felt like EVERY time it rains, you’re getting dumped on by pouring rain?  If you live in the southern, Gulf Coast, states, you might actually be right.

The Southern Region Climate Center created a pretty nifty graphic that shows how much rain places typically see each time it rains.

image

Notice how the lower Mississippi River Valley has spot in the darker blue shades… indicating 0.66″/day that it rains.  That’s pretty significant.

Another spot highlighted is the desert region of Washington – but you can apply that to other places in tan/brown over the map.  Either way you slice it – those darker tans and browns indicate less than 7 HUNDREDTHS of an inch per day that it rains.

Places like Minneapolis & Chicago average closer to 3/10″ on a day that it rains, while New York City and Washington D.C. average closer to 4/10″ – so there you go.

Does this match what you’ve always thought?  Let us know!  Find me on Twitter at @ashafferWNTV and let me know!

WeatherNation Meteorologist Aaron Shaffer @ashafferWNTV

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Faint Whispers of the Polar Vortex – Plowable Snow Upper Midwest

Coating – 7″, Give or Take. Go on TV and predict a coating to 7″ and you’ll be heckled. “Could you possibly be any more vague, Paul?” But that’s what the latest WRF guidance is suggesting: as much as 3-7″ for the north metro to near St. Cloud, but only a coating for the southern suburbs. There may be a very tight gradient in snowfall amounts across the metro area. Expect a cold rain by afternoon, ending as an inch or two of slush south metro; probably enough to shovel, plow (and complain vigorously about) north metro. Source: HopWRF.

Precipitation Needed To End Drought. Here are the latest numbers from NOAA NCDC; as much as 20″ or more of rain necessary to break the drought from California’s Central Valley southward to San Diego.

Tornado Season Is Off To A Slow Start, But There’s No Predicting What’s Next.Matt Lanza has a very good summary of the (relatively) quiet start to tornado season, nationwide, and what may be driving the low numbers. Here’s an excerpt from his story atFiveThirtyEight Science: “Tornado season has started quietly this year, continuing a trend that began in 2012. Through March 31, the United States had only 70 reported tornadoeseven though the first quarter has averaged more than 170 a year over the last 10 years. April has remained quiet, with 36 preliminary tornado reports as of Sunday. Oklahoma hasn’t seen an intense tornado1 since May 31, the longest such stretch on record. The small tornado seen there on Sunday was the first of any kind since Aug. 7…”


March Was 4th Warmest on Record Globally. Here are a couple of excerpts from a post at Climate Central: “…March 2014 was the fourth-warmest March on record globally, according to recently released NASA data, making it the 349th month — more than 29 years — in which global temperatures were above the historic average…This warm March follows on the heels of the announcements that this winter was the eighth warmest globally and that 2013 was anywhere from the fourth- to the seventh-warmest year on record, depending on which data set is used.”

Graphic credit above: “The amounts that temperatures around the world differed from the historic average.” Credit: NOAA.



If El Nino Comes This Year, It Could Be A MonsterWired.com has the story; here’s the introduction: “Attention, weather superfans: El Niño might be coming back. And this time, we could be in for a big one. Official NOAA Climate Prediction Center estimates peg the odds of El Niño’s return at 50 percent, but many climate scientists think that is a lowball estimate. And there are several indications that if it materializes, this year’s El Niño could be massive, a lot like the 1997-98 event that was the strongest on record. “I think there’s no doubt that there’s an El Niño underway,” said climate scientist Kevin Trenberth of the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research. “The question is whether it’ll be a small or big one…”

A Significant El Nino Brewing? It’s still early, but leading indicators suggest a substantial warming of equatorial Pacific Ocean water for the latter half of 2014. Data from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology show temperatures nearly 2F warmer than average in the Pacific by autumn: “All international climate models surveyed by the Bureau indicate that SSTs in the equatorial Pacific Ocean will continue to warm during autumn and winter. Almost all models indicate El Niño thresholds will be exceeded during the southern hemisphere winter.


Earth Dodges A Huge Magnetic Bullet. We’ve seen a number of close calls. If a Category 4-5 X-Class solar flare ever reaches Earth’s surface we won’t be talking (or communicating) much about weather annoyances. We’ll have much bigger problems to contend with, possibly a widespread loss of satellite communication and the power grid. Here’s an excerpt from Electronic Products: “I’d say electronic engineers have not been terribly worried about a solar event upsetting their designs. But maybe they should be worried. According to University of California, Berkeley, and Chinese researchers, a rapid succession of coronal mass ejections sent a pulse of magnetized plasma barreling into space and through Earth’s orbit on July 23, 2012. Had the eruption come nine days earlier, when the ignition spot was aimed at Earth, it would have potentially wreaked havoc with the electrical grid, disabled satellites and GPS, and disrupted our increasingly electroniclives...” (File photo: NASA).


Asian Air Pollution Strengthens Pacific Storms. Smog spiking storms hundreds, even thousands of miles downwind from the source? Here’s an excerpt of a BBC article: “Air pollution in China and other Asian countries is having far-reaching impacts on weather patterns across the Northern Hemisphere, a study suggests. Researchers have found that pollutants are strengthening storms above the Pacific Ocean, which feeds into weather systems in other parts of the world. The effect was most pronounced during the winter…”

Photo credit: Reuters. “A thick haze of pollution envelopes Beijing – but scientists say the toxic air travels much further afield.”


Fujitsu 3-D Tsunami Simulator Predicts Watery Disasters As They Unfold. Real-time predictions of tsunami impacts? Here’s a clip from vr-zone.com: “Fujitsu’s collaboration with Touhoku University led to the development of a 3D tsunami simulator for high-precision tsunami forecasting….The 3D tsunami simulator can recreate how a tsunami flows inland in very accurate detail, showing the flow of water as it interacts with the general topography of the area it is going to affect. It can also simulate waves as it breaks and forms, and as it flows through obstacles like urban buildings and local coastal geographic features…”

Tornadoes And Hurricanes And Earthquakes – Oh My! Surviving A Disaster In Your Home. I picked up a few timely tips and valuable suggestions in this Living Green Magazine article from Ross Bishop; here’s an excerpt: “…The lesson is, when the infrastructure goes, the one constant is that life can be extremely difficult. And even a little preparation can make a great deal of difference. Electricity is usually the first thing to go, and our lives today are very electric dependent. No electricity means no furnace, no lights, and no computer. It also means that the refrigerator won’t run and that you won’t be able to recharge your cell phone. Natural gas is more reliable, so you may have the stove for cooking (even if you have to light it by hand), and you may have hot water.…”

The lesson is, when the infrastructure goes, the one constant is that life can be extremely difficult. And even a little preparation can make a great deal of difference.
Electricity is usually the first thing to go, and our lives today are very electric dependent. No electricity means no furnace, no lights, and no computer. It also means that the refrigerator won’t run and that you won’t be able to recharge your cell phone.
Natural gas is more reliable, so you may have the stove for cooking (even if you have to light it by hand), and you may have hot water. The furnace however, needs electricity.
A flood, hurricane or earthquake will put your water supply at risk. Even though you may have water, it may not be safe to drink. Depending on where you live, this may not happen very often, but the consequences are dire. You can go without food for a month if pushed, but without water, you’ll die in a matter of days.Read more at http://livinggreenmag.com/2014/04/15/home-garden/tornadoes-and-hurricanes-and-earthquakes-oh-my-surviving-a-disaster-in-your-home/#R9SBXoeyGfoD4hGV.99

Turns Out, You Can Make Solar Panels Work In Cloudy Cities. Here’s another article that made me do a double-take; an excerpt from The Atlantic Cities: “Solar panels have always made sense in cities that get a lot of sun, at least intuitively. But in recent years, scientists have figured out ways to make them more useful for perpetually gloomy cities like London and Seattle. The solution comes down to organic photovoltaics. Unlike traditional solar panels, made of silicon, OPV cells are made of organic semiconductors, which can be 3D-printed or coated over large areas, as seen in the video below.…”

What Riding On Airforce One Is Really Like. Here’s an excerpt of an interesting behind-the-scenes story from The Washington Post: “…It turns out that riding Air Force One is, in lots of ways, like flying commercial. You need to get there hours early. You send your items through a metal detector and get wanded down. The inside of the cabin is, well, the cabin of a plane, but with some much nicer touches, like real towels and hand lotion in the bathroom…”

Photo credit: “Air Force One.” (Katie Zezima)


New Leak Points To Major iPhone 6 Design OverhaulBGR has the latest on what may be coming next from Apple; here’s an excerpt: “…Apple is rumored to launch at least one bigger iPhone model later this year, with various reports suggesting that a 4.7-inch iPhone 6 would hit stores first, at some point in late Q3. An even bigger 5.5-inch iPhone version has also been detailed in many reports, with recent ones implying that certain manufacturing issues may prevent Apple from launching it at the same time with the 4.7-inch iPhone…”

Image SourceNowhereelse.fr


Amphicruiser: Amphibious 4WD Based On Toyota Land Cruiser. And who wouldn’t want to be seen in one of these pulling up to Big Island on Lake Minnetonka on a busy Saturday afternoon? Here’s a clip from Gizmag: “We wanted it to be as solid on water as the Land Cruiser is on land.” That’s Dutch Amfibious Transport co-founder Dirk-Jan de Jong talking about his company’s heavy duty amphibious 4WD, the Amphibicruiser. Built around a Toyota Land Cruiser engine, it’s a fully fledged on and offroad cruiser that can be driven up a river or out to sea with next to no training…”


World’s First Cannabis Vending Machine Unveiled In ColoradoThe Times of Indiahas the mind-numbing details: “A dispensary in Colorado is making the most of the state’s recent legalization of cannabis by introducting the world’s first marijuana vending machines. The machine, called ZaZZZ, will work in a similar way to cigarette machines but includes new technology that requires would-be tokers to scan their driving license (or other, similar documentation) before they can access the goods…”

Weather Service: Please Disregard Our Giant Biblical Flood Warning. Yes, even NOAA has occasional issues with their web sites, as described in this clip fromMashable: “NOAA, meet Noah. The website for the National Weather Service (NWS), which is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), suffered a major malfunction on Thursday leading to the false appearance of a biblical flood warning spanning from Canada (which the NWS doesn’t even have responsibility over) south to Florida, and west to Michigan. The malfunction, which began around midday ET and was fixed by 3:15 pm ET, affected local NWS websites — key conduits for disseminating life-saving watches and warnings...”



* Total lunar eclipse photo taken early Tuesday morning courtesy of photographer Steve Burns.

My Photo

Welcome to the WeatherNation blog. Every day I sift through hundreds of stories, maps, graphics and meteorological web sites, trying to capture some of the most interesting weather nuggets, the stories behind the forecast. I’ll link to stories and share some of the web sites I use. I’m still passionate about the weather, have been ever since Tropical Storm Agnes flooded my home in Lancaster, PA in 1972. I’ve started 5 weather-related companies. “EarthWatch” created the world’s first 3-D weather graphics for TV stations – Steven Spielberg used our software in “Jurassic Park” and “Twister”. My last company, “Digital Cyclone”, personalized weather for cell phones. “My-Cast” was launched in 2001 and is still going strong on iPhone, Android and Blackberry. I sold DCI to Garmin in 2007 so I could focus on my latest venture: WeatherNation. I also write a daily weather column for The Star Tribune startribune.com/weather And if you’re on Twitter, you’ll find me @pdouglasweather.

Memories of March… More Snow and Cold

Freezing Our Buds Off

Thanks to recent mild weather, flowers have been springing up all over the place, including the poor looking flower out of Toledo, OH. Unfortunately, some late season snow has nipped this particular daffodil in the bud! Thanks to Steve Scuba for the picture below.

4-15_0837_RGL_TOLEDO, OH_DAFFODILS SURRENDER_FB_STEVE SCUBAHere’s another snowy flower picture from Brian Baker out of Crossville, TN.

 

4-15_0926_RCE_CROSSVILLE, TN_SNOW ON FLOWERS 2_FB_BRIAN BAKER

Record Cold Low Temps

Temperatures this morning were VERY cold for mid April. In fact, there were a number of record low temperatures

4-15 Lows Today

Lows Tonight

It’ll be another cold night tonight as temperatures dip into the freezing category for a number of locations even as far south as the Gulf Coast Region.

4.15 Low Tonight

Frost/Freeze Concerns

Due to the impending cold, the national weather service issued a number of frost/freeze headlines across the deep south. Keep in mind that the spring green-up has already commenced, so this will have some impacts on the new foliage out there!!

4.15 Freeze

Setting the Stage

Thanks to this colder than normal weather, our next storm system will likely bring SNOW to places in the Upper Midwest.

4.15 850tempsMore Snow on the Way…

UGH! Our latest storm system is expected to bring anywhere from 6″ to 12″ of snow across parts of the Upper Mississippi Valley. Here’s the latest info from the National Weather Service out of the Twin Cities.

4.15 MSP Warns

Thanks for checking in and have a great rest of your week! Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @TNelsonWNTV

WNTV TODD NELSON

 

 

 

Spring Is Here: So We Can Plant Gardens, Right?

It’s mid-April, and if you’re a “green-thumber” like myself (or what I aspire to be, having bought my first house in November) you are probably chomping at the bit to plant your garden.

 

AARONGARDEN

We just tore out the old garden set-up and re-built it over the weekend (see picture above).  So, being the impatient person I am – I went out and bought a bunch of pre-grown plants so I could plant them ASAP.

Little did I know I’m now going to be housing those plants inside the house for another month!

What should I have done?  Checked when the average last frost is for my area, and found plants that can withstand frost – and then waited to grow/buy the plants that are more tender.

Let’s start by looking at average last frost dates throughout the nation:

 

freezemap_GHS

I found this map here, and it reveals some good insights: namely when you can plant your more tender vegetation.

But which vegetation/plants/etc qualify as “tender?”  Immediately tomatoes come to mind (so I bought 5 tomato plants yesterday and they will need to stay indoors until mid-May!), but what other plants qualify as hardy or tender?

I found an article about the frost tolerance of vegetables in your garden, and it reveals some insights:

Likely damaged by light frost: Beans, cucumbers, eggplants, muskmelon, New Zealand spinach, okra, peppers, pumpkins, summer squash, sweet corn, tomatoes, watermelon, amaranth, and winter squash (plants).

Can withstand light frost: Artichokes, beets, carrots, cauliflower, celery, Chinese cabbage, endive, lettuce, parsnips, peas, Swiss chard, escarole, arugula, bok choy, mache, and radicchio.

Can withstand hard frost: Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, collards, kale, kohlrabi, mustard, onions, parsley, peas, radishes, spinach, turnips, leeks, and sorrel.

So, if you live in Minneapolis, you might wait until mid-May to plant tomatoes, while in Atlanta you can probably plant them in early to mid-April (although this winter/spring is probably a good year to err on the later side of that!).

Taking a look at this map below, hopefully folks in the various shades of blue/purple on this map didn’t plant yet!  These are a variety of freeze warnings/watches/advisories across a big chunk of the nation for tonight and into tomorrow!

 

freezestuff

Stay tuned, and feel free to share your own gardening tips!

WeatherNation Meteorologist Aaron Shaffer @ashafferWNTV

Aaron Out web2

Marchlike Relapse – Severe Risk Today; Wind Chill By Midweek


A Fine Whine

Amazingly, meteorologists are people too. Well, on a good day. We get just as annoyed with lousy weather as everyone else, even though it offers some (perverse) level of job security. Should we be clinical and unemotional? “Just the facts ma’am.” Or do we hold up a mirror and reflect some of the weather-related joy, dread & angst we witness all around us? I still struggle with this.

Ron Reimann of Arden Hills has had enough “Debbie Downer” weather updates. “….I’m convinced the depth of our 4 seasons is part of what makes Minnesotans so vibrant and healthy. Each of our 4 seasons demands changes in our lives and keeps us from getting into as much of a rut” he wrote. “Can’t you celebrate that a little more and help make that our mental model here, instead of fostering this “poor us” mentality?…..”

Ron has a point. Reacting to extreme and violent weather (that often tries to murder us) has fostered resilience & innovation – it’s FORCED us to adapt and improve. I’m usually a glass-half-full guy, but this winter tested my patience too, I admit.

We won’t see much of spring into Friday; a chilly relapse gives way to 50s next weekend. Then again, no slush, no early mosquito bites, no blaring severe storm sirens or widespready flood warnings. It could be worse.

Future Radar. NOAA’s NAM model shows heavy showers and T-storms pushing into the eastern half of the USA today; the next system pushing a smear of rain and wet snow across the Upper Midwest by Wednesday. Map: HAMweather.


Relapse. After basking in the 70s and 80s Sunday temperatures drop off dramatically this week out east as jet stream winds buckle, treating the eastern half of the nation to a rerun of March. The solid red line marks the 32F isotherm, the solid blue line the 72F isotherm. Map: NOAA (NAM) and HAMweather.

 

How Politics Makes Us Stupid. Ezra Klein has an interesting read at vox.com; here’s an excerpt: “There’s a simple theory underlying much of American politics. It sits hopefully at the base of almost every speech, every op-ed, every article, and every panel discussion. It courses through the Constitution and is a constant in President Obama’s most stirring addresses. It’s what we might call the More Information Hypothesis: the belief that many of our most bitter political battles are mere misunderstandings. The cause of these misunderstandings? Too little information — be it about climate change, or taxes, or Iraq, or the budget deficit. If only the citizenry were more informed, the thinking goes, then there wouldn’t be all this fighting….But the More Information Hypothesis isn’t just wrong. It’s backwards. Cutting-edge research shows that the more information partisans get, the deeper their disagreements become…”


What To Do Now That The Heartbleed Bug Exposed The Internet. Stop using the ‘net? Good luck with that. But there are a few steps you can take to lower the risk. Here’s an excerpt of story focused on “good internet hygiene” courtesy of NPR: “…While individual users can’t patch the holes, keep in mind some general Internet hygiene that we should be doing anyway.

  • Change your password every few months. Because so many of our transactions are conducted online, this is a good practice to have no matter what. But to be extra safe, use , which typically means you need to know a piece of information — like a password — and have a piece of information, like a freshly generated pass code that shows up only on your personal smartphone, before getting into certain sites.
  • Be a little leery of public Wi-Fi networks. If you are hopping on the Wi-Fi at Starbucks and other public places, limit your Internet behavior to the things you wouldn’t mind people being able to find out and transactions that aren’t especially sensitive...”

The Most Dangerous Words In Tech. Government investments (often in military technology) trickle down and become the foundation for “innovative new breakthroughs” in Silicon Valley? Here’s a clip of another story worthy of your time at The New York Times: “…Speaking at the Institute for New Economic Thinking conference in Toronto this week, Mariana Mazzucato, a professor at the University of Sussex, described the most notable technology innovations as coming from the government, not the private sector. “What made the iPhone ‘smart’ — GPS, touch screens, Siri, the Internet — was started by the government,” said Ms. Mazzucato. “The National Institutes of Health is responsible for creating the most revolutionary drugs.” Her recent book, The Entrepreneurial State , is about contributions the government has made to innovations Silicon Valley claims as its own…”


* “Fire and Ice” photo above courtesy of Steve Burns.


Climate Stories…

March Temperature Anomalies. March was a reflection of the entire winter; colder than average for eastern Canada and the USA, but (much) warmer than average across the rest of the planet, temperatures as much as 6-10F warmer than average fro Europe into much of Asia and Siberia.


Odds That Global Warming Is Due To Natural Factors: Slim To NilThe McGill Reporter has the research (on the research); here’s an excerpt: “…Statistical analysis rules out natural-warming hypothesis with more than 99 per cent certainty. An analysis of temperature data since 1500 all but rules out the possibility that global warming in the industrial era is just a natural fluctuation in the earth’s climate, according to a new study by McGill physics professor Shaun Lovejoy. The study, published online on April 6, in the journal Climate Dynamics, represents a new approach to the question of whether global warming in the industrial era has been caused largely by man-made emissions from the burning of fossil fuels…”


U.N. Climate Panel Warns Speedier Action Needed To Avoid Disaster. Here’s an excerpt of a Justin Gillis article on the latest IPCC climate summary in the New York Times: “…It remains technically possible to keep planetary warming to a tolerable level, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found, according to a report unveiled here. But even in parts of the world like Europe that have tried hardest, governments are still a long way from taking the steps that are sufficient to do the job, the experts found. “We cannot afford to lose another decade,” said Ottmar Edenhofer, a German economist and co-chairman of the committee that wrote the report. “If we lose another decade, it becomes extremely costly to achieve climate stabilization…”
* The Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of the IPCC is here.

Climate Panel Stunner: Avoiding Climate Catastrophe Is Super Cheap – But Only If We Act Now. ThinkProgress puts the latest IPCC report (AR5) into perspective; here’s a clip: “…Now you might think it would be a no-brainer that humanity would be willing to pay a very high cost to avoid such catastrophes and achieve the low emission “2°C” (3.6°F) pathway in the left figure above (RCP2.6 — which is a total greenhouse gas level in 2100 equivalent to roughly 450 parts per million of CO2). But the third report finds that the “cost” of doing so is to reduce the median annual growth of consumption over this century by a mere 0.06%. You read that right, the annual growth loss to preserve a livable climate is 0.06% — and that’s “relative to annualized consumption growth in the baseline that is between 1.6% and 3% per year.” So we’re talking annual growth of, say 2.24% rather than 2.30% to save billions and billions of people from needless suffering for decades if not centuries. As always, every word of the report was signed off on by every major government in the world…”

Graphic credit above: “Humanity’s choice (via IPCC): Aggressive climate action ASAP (left figure) minimizes future warming. Continued inaction (right figure) results in catastrophic levels of warming, 9°F over much of U.S. The latest IPCC report finds the annual cost of avoiding that catastrophe is a mere 0.06% of annual growth.”

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My Photo

Welcome to the WeatherNation blog. Every day I sift through hundreds of stories, maps, graphics and meteorological web sites, trying to capture some of the most interesting weather nuggets, the stories behind the forecast. I’ll link to stories and share some of the web sites I use. I’m still passionate about the weather, have been ever since Tropical Storm Agnes flooded my home in Lancaster, PA in 1972. I’ve started 5 weather-related companies. “EarthWatch” created the world’s first 3-D weather graphics for TV stations – Steven Spielberg used our software in “Jurassic Park” and “Twister”. My last company, “Digital Cyclone”, personalized weather for cell phones. “My-Cast” was launched in 2001 and is still going strong on iPhone, Android and Blackberry. I sold DCI to Garmin in 2007 so I could focus on my latest venture: WeatherNation. I also write a daily weather column for The Star Tribune startribune.com/weather And if you’re on Twitter, you’ll find me @pdouglasweather.

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