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Well-Timed Easter Weekend Warm Front for Much of USA

19 Apr 2014, 6:35 am

Easter Sunday National Outlook. With the exception of cool weather over much of New England, most of America experiences a mild Easter Sunday, even northern cities from Minneapolis to Chicago and Detroit. Good timing on this latest warm front.


7-Day Rainfall Forecast. GFS guidance shows 1-3″ amounts pushing into the Pacific Northwest, some 3-5″ rains capable of flash flooding into the weekend over Georgia, South Carolina and the Florida Panhandle. An upper level disturbance pushing across the Upper Midwest may drop some 1-2″+ amounts on southeastern Minnesota and central Wisconsin late Saturday into Monday morning. Source: NOAA and HAMweather.





Doubly Taxing. As if April 15 isn’t tough enough. Dr.Mark Seeley has some trivia about April 15’s weather that made me do a triple-take. Here’s an excerpt of the latest edition of WeatherTalk: “…Tax filing day in 2014 will likely be remembered as the coldest April 15th in state history (or at least a rival to 1875, 1935, and 1962 as among the coldest). Scores of Minnesota weather observers reported new record lows for April 15th, and the National Weather Service Cooperative weather observer at Camp Norris (Lake of the Woods County) reported a new all-time statewide low temperature for the date with a reading of -4 degrees F…”

Let’s shift gears and acknowledge that the pattern is (finally) shifting into spring…

Will The Next El Nino Break A Global Temperature Record? Not al El Ninos are created equal. The really big warm phases of ENSO, the ones that lead to global temperature records, tend to be EP or Eastern Pacific El Ninos. The CP (Central Pacific) warmings tend not to have as great an influence on global temperature. Climate scientist Simon Donner explains at Maribo; here’s an excerpt: “…This has important implications for the “pause” in surface warming. Over the past 10-15 years, the easterly winds have been abnormally strong, with few gaps sufficient to generate Kelvin waves. This is related to decade-scale variability in the Pacific Ocean conditions, called the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) or Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO). It may then come as no surprise that all the El Nino events since 1998, including the 2009/10 event that made the cherries blossom early in Vancouver, have all been of the CP variety.  The same happens to be true for other “slowdowns” in the rate of global surface temperature change since the Industrial Revolution. This suggests the decade-scale variability in the Pacific affects El Nino development, and in turn, the ups and downs in the rate of human-caused global surface warming…”


Average Data Of The First Tornado Warning? Iowa Environmental Mesonet put together an interesting graphic, showing the average first Tor Warning, office by office. As early as January 24 in Jackson, Mississippi, March 11 in Oklahoma City, May 2 in Denver, May 9 in Washington D.C. and May 12 in the Twin Cities. Can we please have a few quiet weeks between the snow and the tornadoes?


Spewing Sewage Into The Ocean Is Bad: Toxic Algae and Man-Size Jellyfish Edition. Remind me not to take a dip in the South China Sea anytime soon after reading this post from Quartz. Here’s a clip: “…In July 2013, the biggest algal bloom ever recorded in China covered 28,900 square kilometers (11,158 square miles) of the Yellow Sea—meaning more than three New York City metro areas of ocean was carpeted in green muck—requiring Qingdao city officials to bulldoze 7,335 tonnes (8,085 tons) of beached scum. A similar incident almost shut down the sailing competition of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. The army dispatched 15,000 soldiers to remove 1 million tons of algae, costing more than $100 million…”

Photo credit above: “The Red Army battling green algae.” AP Photo/Ng Han Guan.



Pollution From Asia Makes Pacific Storms Stronger. It’s all about the aerosols, man-made pollutants seeding clouds and ultimately storms hundreds, even thousands of miles downwind. Is Chinese pollution impacting our weather? Here’s a clip from National Geographic: “…Whether the weather [in North America] will change in a good direction or bad is hard to say at this time,” says Renyi Zhang, a professor of atmospheric sciences at Texas A&M University in College Station. Zhang is a co-author, along with several scientists from the U.S. and China, of a study released in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Monday. The scientists say pollution from Asia is likely leading to stronger cyclones in the midlatitudes of the Pacific, more precipitation, and a faster movement of heat from the tropics toward the North Pole. As a result of these changes, “it’s almost certain that weather in the U.S. is changing,” says Zhang…”



California Suffers Astonishingly Fast Snowpack Melt As Drought Intensifies. It’s going to be a long, hot, potentially fiery summer and autumn for California and much of the Southwest. Andrew Freedman has more details in a story at Mashable; here’s a clip: “…Officials already knew that the snowpack was unusually thin and would provide below average amounts of water when it melted, considering that the state had its third-driest winter on record, following its driest calendar year in 2013. However, they did not anticipate it would melt so quickly. The California state snow survey on April 1 found that the snowpack contained just 32% of the average water content at that time of year, when snowpack typically reaches its annual peak. This placed 2014 as among the lowest water-content years on record since such data began in 1930...”

Photo credit above: “The dry bed of the Stevens Creek Reservoir is seen on Thursday, March 13, 2014, in Cupertino, Calif.” Image: Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press.


California’s Wildfire Threat Is So Severe That The Season Started Early. Following a deepening drought and unusual heat during the winter months, 2014 promises to be a very rough year on the wildfire front. Here’s an excerpt from Huffington Post: “Don’t let the recent rains and green hillsides fool you — the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection says the fresh growth is only covering up months of dry, dead grass, putting California at risk for one of its most severe fire seasons ever. Warnings issued to homeowners in the state’s most wildfire-prone areas urged them to prepare earlier than ever for the summer fire season in light of California’s historic drought, ABC News 10 reported…”


California Drought To Push Produce Prices Higher. AZCentral has the story; here’s an excerpt: “Drought conditions in California’s agricultural fields are going to push prices higher for fruits and vegetables, according to a Arizona State University study. The biggest price hikes are likely for lettuce, up 34 percent, and avocados, up 28 percent, according to Professor Timothy Richards of W. P. Carey School of Business at ASU. “You’re probably going to see the biggest produce price increases on avocados, berries, broccoli, grapes, lettuce, melons, peppers, tomatoes and packaged salads,” Richards said…”

* latest U.S. Drought Monitor for California is here.


The Drought Hitting 40% of the Entire Country, in 5 Maps. The Washington Post has the story – here’s an excerpt: “…Every inch of five states — California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and Nebraska — are experiencing some level of drought. Much of the northern Texas Panhandle is under extreme or exceptional drought warning, as is most of California and parts of northern Nevada. A weekly snapshot of drought conditions shows 21 percent of the country is experiencing severe drought or worse; all told, 40.9 percent of the country is under some kind of drought watch or warning….”

* latest U.S. Drought Monitor is here.


Silver Lining. Those piles of April slush lingering in your yard have some benefits: they’ve delayed allergy season, and moisture is trending above average. NOAA may remove the drought designation for parts of central and southwestern Minnesota in the coming weeks if these (wetter than normal) trends continue.


Encouraging Moisture Trends Midwest, Great Lakes & Ohio Valley. Here is the 90-day departure from normal precipitation composite, courtesy of NOAA. The Plains continue to dry out, along with portions of the Mid South and Southeast, much drier than average, overall, for California.


Despite all the public education, a staggering 84 percent of people surveyed still believe wind, not water,is the greatest threat to their safety, and base their evacuation decisions on wind speed or a storm’s category, the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes said this week.
The national Harris Interactive Survey, commissioned by the nonprofit group FLASH, revealed “frightening perceptions,” FLASH said Tuesday in a release.
The survey clashes with the reality that hurricane evacuation zones are based on the threat of water, not wind, and nearly all evacuation orders reflect the threat of inland flooding and storm surge.
– See more at:


The 2,000-Year History of GPS Tracking. Here’s an excerpt of a fascinating story (and book review) from Mother Jones: “Boston Globe technology writer Hiawatha Bray recalls the moment that inspired him to write his new book, You Are Here: From the Compass to GPS, the History and Future of How We Find Ourselves. “I got a phone around 2003 or so,” he says. “And when you turned the phone on—it was a Verizon dumb phone, it wasn’t anything fancy—it said, ‘GPS’. And I said, ‘GPS? There’s GPS in my phone?'” He asked around and discovered that yes, there was GPS in his phone, due to a 1994 FCC ruling. At the time, cellphone usage was increasing rapidly, but 911 and other emergency responders could only accurately track the location of land line callers...”

Image credit above: “Egyptian geographer Claudius Ptolemy and Hiawatha Bray’s “You Are Here. .


Easter’s Coming. Beware Bunny Ears? Oh the shame. The Washington Business Journal has a nugget in this article that made me think back to the days of Easter Egg baskets – did I steal from my kids? Uh oh. Here’s an excerpt: “…The Washington-based trade group says Americans will spend $2.26 billion on candy this Easter, up 4 percent from last year. The increase is largely because Easter is three weeks later than it was last year. The association says 87 percent of parents will buy or create Easter baskets for their kids and 81 percent of them will steal candy back from their kids’ Easter stash…”

* “5 Hotels for Chocoholics“. CNN investigates.



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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 And if you’re on Twitter, you’ll find me @pdouglasweather.

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