Articles by Paul Douglas

hot summer header
March 30

NOAA CPC Models Hint at (Extra) Hot Summer – Tornado Alley is Really a 6-Lane Freeway

North American Multi-Model Ensemble Temperature Anomaly (C) for June, July and AugustNOAA Climate Prediction Center Early Spring An Omen Of a Hot Summer to Come? Sometimes Mother Nature offers a preview of what may lie ahead, months down the road. March 29, 1986 saw a record 83F at MSP. The summer that followed was stifling for much of the southern United States. March 2012: another case of premature warmth, with flowers blooming in late March, followed by very hot and steamy Minnesota summer. It’s true: Weather never repeats – but sometimes it rhymes. Ice is coming off Minnesota lakes 2-3...

March 25

Tornado Potential Dixie Alley Today – “La Nina” Increasing Risk? – Lower River Flooding Risk – 2021 Hurricane Names

Perfectly fine with this…Twin Cities National Weather Service Imperfect Meteorology – But Fewer Surprises ”Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence” said Vince Lombardi. We want perfection in an imperfect world. Meteorology is no exception. Forecasts are far from perfect but we experience fewer (unpleasant) surprises than we did 50 years ago. How so? From floods and hurricanes to major tornado outbreaks, forecasters do a demonstrably better job setting consumer expectations. Fewer reports of “It came without any warning!” Technology, including Doppler radar and weather models, are improving. NOAA just launched an upgrade for...

March 24

Latest on NOAA’s GFS Model Upgrade – Are We Underestimating Tornado Strength?

Maps Look More Like Early April ”It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade” wrote Charles Dickens in Great Expectations. He had that right. March is weather lunacy, meteorological madness. Few other months can unleash blizzards, tornadoes, 80s and subzero; all packaged into 31 days of utter uncertainty. March 2021 is trending 9.1F warmer than average at MSP with 4 inches of snow so far. There is precious little snow on the ground anywhere, which has lowered the risk...

Western USA drought
March 23

Drought In Western USA – Floods Strike Australia – Pothole Weather

Relatively Mild Start to April. NOAA CPC (Climate Prediction Center) keeps a mild bias going into at least mid-April, and the 2-week forecast for 500mb winds (GFS) confirms a warmer than average pattern for most of the USA the first week of April, with the exception of the Pacific Northwest. Twin Cities National Weather Service New South Wales Rural Fire Service Life-Threatening Floods Inundating Parts of Australia. has an update: “More than 18,000 people have been evacuated from their homes in Australia’s New South Wales (NSW) as heavy rains and major flooding continue to inundate the state, causing some...

March 22

Doppler is Great, But NOAA Weather Radio is Cheapest Life Insurance on Earth

The One Radio You Should Own I married an amazing architect, who was kind enough to spare me an invoice for her time and effort building a new home for us a few years ago. It has a concrete and steel-reinforced, mostly-underground “bunker”, able to withstand an EF-5 tornado. In theory. At the recommendation of experts we have no electronics in our bedroom, except for a NOAA Weather Radio. If a tornado touches down at 3am an audible alarm on the $30 NOAA Weather Radio will make sure we have enough lead time to reach that bunker. One of many...

lumpy-snow with sky and trees
March 19

“Lumpy Winter” – No More Greek Names for Hurricanes

Paul Douglas What a Strange Winter It Has Been On paper our winter has been been “average” in terms of snowfall and temperatures in the metro. It sure hasn’t seemed average to me. Record snows in October, green lawns in December, a fairly balmy January, followed by a frigid February. Lumpy – all or nothing. Dr. Ken Blumenfeld, Senior Climatologist at the Minnesota State Climate Office, was on WCCO Radio with Jordana Green and me Tuesday. He said some things that got my attention. In spite of a polar February, the period November thru March will be one of the...

March 18

Major Tornado Outbreak Today Across “Dixie Alley” – Obscure NOAA Weather Warnings

Paul Douglas Don’t Rule Out a Few More Wintry Slaps. Nothing subzero, I think that ship has sailed, but more days in the 30s and 40s in April with a nagging potential for slush? Recent Aprils have brought significant snow. Last year was an exception, but we’re not really out of the woods until The Fishing Opener. OK, maybe Memorial Day? Reed Timmer, Twitter Briefing: Issued Tuesday, March 16th, 2021: Next System In The Central U.S. As another system moves out of the Southwest into the Central United States the next few days, we will be monitoring several weather impacts...

March 17

Record Snows Reported Near Denver – Did a Warmer, Wetter Climate Play a Role?

Snowfall TotalsNational Weather Service How Much Fell? The snowfall gradient across the greater MSP metro area was extraordinary, from 9.5” at New Prague to .5” at Forest Lake and Lindstrom. But close-in suburbs picked up 2-3” with 3-5” just south of the Minnesota River. For the latest totals click here. Colorado and Wyoming See Record Blizzard, Historic Snowfall in Denver and Cheyenne. Capital Weather Gang has a good overview of a wild late-season snow blitz: “…As of 5 a.m. Monday, Cheyenne, Wyo., had received 30.8 inches of snow in the storm, with drifts as high as four feet. The snowfall...

March 15

Outrageous Snow Amounts Expected Near Denver While Drought Deepens Western Half of USA

NOAA GFS Snowfall by Sunday Serious Snow. Snow lovers in Denver are giddy. 1 to 3 FEET of snow will pile up this weekend. Wow. Now, about the avalanche threat… A Grudging Warming Trend. With a higher sun angle warmer fronts will be emboldened in the weeks to come, although we all know that spring arrives in starts and stops. Looking out 2 weeks there is evidence of a persistent Pacific flow keeping most of the USA milder than average. Too dry out there….Drought Monitor Briefing: Issued Thursday, March 11th, 2021: Significant Winter Storm Expected. Confidence continues to increase...

Denver snow
March 12

Will La Nina Turbocharge Tornado Season in 2021 – One to Three Feet of Snow Possible Near Denver This Weekend

“Eye of the Storm”. This was one of my radar screens yesterday as tornadic storms were pushing over Northfield, showing a perfectly concentric “rain hole” over Wright county. Kind of odd, but it quickly dawned on me that this was the center of low pressure rippling northeastward, not some quirky inland hurricane sent here to terrify us. Modified Pacific Flow. A few Canadian slaps, sure, but the flow is predicted to be roughly zonal into mid-March, meaning temperatures at or above normal across most of the Lower 48 states. Briefing: Issued Wednesday, March 10th, 2021: Heavy Snow From Wyoming to...