Good Thanksgiving Travel Weather Nationwide
Aurora Watch. Thanks to Andrea Clarke in Saskatchewan for passing this along. The Northern Lights have been very visible (and vivid) in recent nights – worth a look tonight, as skies should be clear to partly cloudy.
And Then There Were Four. The Twin Cities NWS office now counts 4 small (EF-0) tornadoes last Saturday, as a vigorous cold front plowed across Minnesota. Doppler radar doesn’t work nearly as well on small, brief tornadoes that spin up along a squall line – a very different scenario from classic (large) supercell thunderstorms, the isolated cells that spawn big tornadoes well in advance of the cold front during spring and summer. Here’s more from the NWS: ” There were two tornadoes in this region (map) that occurred Saturday night, November 10th. One was near Interstate 494 and Highway 13. The other tornado occurred near Lilydale, between Wachlter and Butler Ave, or paralleling Highway 13. Two areas of straight line wind damage occurred from near Dodd Road and Highway 110, northeast to Robert Street and Sidney Street; and along Highway 13, between Mendota and Lilydale. Both of the tornadoes had a path length of approximately one-half mile.”
Misplaced Priorities. Maybe it’s just me, but the media’s sudden obsession with “the Petreus affair” seems way off-base, considering the carnage, heartache and loss on the east coast in the wake of Sandy. This web site sums up the hypocrisy of leading with lurid tales of sex at high levels, when hundreds of thousands of Americans are trying to put their lives back together again. It’s worth a look.
Sandy Shook U.S. Like An Earthquake. How severe was Sandy? Powerful enough to physically shake the ground many hundreds of miles away. Here’s an excerpt of an amazing article and animation at Our Amazing Planet: “Hurricane Sandy pummeled the United States from Florida to Wisconsin, and its fierce winds caused a vast swath of ground to shake, a new earthquake-monitoring animation shows. The visualization shows seismic stations lit up as the storm approached Florida on Oct. 26. The earthquake monitors detected rolling seismic waves caused by Sandy’s fierce winds out at sea. The earthquake-monitoring network always “hears” a continuous hum of background noise generated in the ocean, called microseism, said Alex Hutko, a seismologist at the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS) in Seattle, and creator of the Hurricane Sandy animation…”
Surging Storms: Can The US Adapt In Time To Avert Coastal Damage. I would hazard a guess that the short answer is an emphatic no. We’re allowing people to build homes in high-risk coastal areas, and rebuild after major storms like Sandy on a consistent basis. Insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results. Mandatory federal insurance is required for people living close to sea level, and taxpayers indirectly contribute to this ongoing treadmill of rebuilding. It’s the third rail of politics – nobody wants to say it out loud, but too many people are building in areas prone to repeated storm surges from hurricanes and Nor’easters. Private insurance companies won’t touch these policies – and for good reason. Here’s an excerpt of an article at The Christian Science Monitor: “…Indeed, damage from tropical systems such as Sandy are projected to multiply by the end of the century as the population grows and people put more assets in harm’s way. That’s true whether or not global warming, which many researchers say is feeding extreme-weather events, is factored in. Tropical-cyclone damage now runs about $26 billion a year globally, according to a study published in January in the journal Nature Climate Change. By 2100, increases in population and wealth as economies grow could push that number to $56 billion a year, assuming little or no effort to adapt to the hazard...”
Photo credit above: “Houses in Bayhead, N.J., showed effects of Sandy Nov. 2. Rising populations and seas, and more severe weather, may mean $100 billion a year in global damage by 2100.” Tim Larsen/New Jersey Governor’s Office/Reuters.
We Survived Hurricane Sandy. Now What? Here’s a clip from a first-person account of Sandy at Huffington Post: “I live on the Texas Gulf Coast. I have lived through a lot of hurricanes and tropical storms. Yet last month, I flew into New York City for a hurricane. Why? Following my recent book launch, I had a lot of important media events, including a potentially game-changing TEDx talk, scheduled starting on October 30. This SQ work is my passion and mission. I didn’t want to miss these events because of cancelled flights. So I left on the second-to-last flight out of Houston to Newark, and arrived at my hotel hoping that Sandy would be more hype than horror. As a storm veteran, I brought a flashlight, extra batteries, boxes of granola bars, and other food with me. I verified that the hotel had a backup generator just in case. I confirmed we were not in the Zone A evacuation area. I stocked up on some bottled water, filled the tub, and hunkered down. Over the next few days, the local news crew became my primary companions…”
Lake Effect Snow From Space. The high-resolution (“MODIS”) satellite from NASA boasts resolutions as good as 250 meters. Here’s an excerpt from a recent NOAA post describing favorable conditions for lake effect snow bands: “Snowfall reports from Cooperative Observers, Spotters, and Social Media indicated anywhere from 2-6 inches of snow fell over Northwest Upper Michigan as of the morning of 11/13. In addition, locations east of Munising near Lake Superior received up to 3 inches of snow (seen through the clouds from Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore to Newberry). The widespread area of Lake Effect Snow highlights the areas that are favored by West to Northwest winds, as the snow quickly diminished after passing over the Huron Mountains (produced just a light dusting in Marquette). This was due to the combination of downslope wind off the higher terrain and the snow showers being removed from the influence of Lake Superior. This lack of snow continued to the east of Marquette until the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, where the West-Northwest winds allowed a long enough residence time over Lake Superior to produce lake effect snow. To see a listing of snowfall reports from this lake effect snow, click here.”
Thanksgiving Preview. ECMWF model data (courtesy of WSI) shows unusually mild, dry weather across most of the USA next Thursday; slightly cooler air dribbling southward from Fargo to the Twin Cities. The only rain in the extended outlook: Pacific Northwest, from Seattle to Portland. Old Man Winter will continue to pull his punch over the Lower 48 States thru the last weekend of November.
“Indoor Clouds”. Here’s an excerpt of a fascinating post (and experiment) at mashable.com: “Dutch artist Berndnaut Smilde has developed a way to create clouds indoors by carefully regulating the space’s humidity, temperature and light. This intersection of science and art was recently named one of TIME magazine’s “Best Inventions of the Year 2012.” The fluffy white clouds are summoned up temporarily using a fog machine, creating a surreal experience in the middle of a room. Smilde has created his clouds inside different types of locations, ranging from corridors and hallways, to bedrooms and common spaces…”
“Set impossible challenges. Then catch up with them” – Sir Richard Branson
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.