Monday, March 23, 2009

ND/SD/MN flooding and 3/23/09 Severe weather

First thing is the massive flooding expected in ND/SD/MN over the next couple of weeks. Many areas of these states saw high amounts of snow during the winter and with the warm temps and heavy rainfall currently ongoing the flooding threat is only going to get worse. It looks like the hardest hit area may be Fargo, ND. The NWS-Grand Forks is calling for major flooding in the Fargo-Moorehead area. But another area that is going to be affected by major flooding is the Wahpeton, ND area. Current river stage is just under 20 ft with flood stage being 10.0 ft. This is part of the flood warning from NWS-Aderdeen for Richland county, ND:


The river is expected to crest at nearly 3 times its flood stage level!! This is historic flooding that is ALREADY happening and going to get even worse. I highly doubt I will ever see a warning explicitly say they are expecting record flooding. There are so many more areas in the Dakotas and Minnesota that are expected to see moderate to major flooding that it would take me hours to list them and their forecasts. I will say this, this is a MAJOR (AND PROBABLY HISTORIC) FLOOD EVENT. Many people expect this event to be much worse than the flood of '97. I have a sister who lives in Fargo but luckily lives in an apartment which is not her liability should something happen to the complex. The only thing I have left to say about this event is that everyone affected is in my prayers and let God be with them.

So, on to the second item. Severe weather looks likely from South Dakota to Oklahoma. Funny thing right now is that some counties in SD and NE that are under a blizzard warning for later tonight are also currently under a tornado watch for this afternoon. Gotta love these dynamic spring storms! Anyways, as of 1:30 pm a tornado watch is in effect for southcentral SD and a good part of the eastern half of Nebraska. 10% tornado risk all the way to the NE/SD/IA border. Looks like a cold core event if anything with a thick cloud deck present over pretty much the entire northern risk area. But even still a few storms have popped already, although the warnings that were issued have been allowed to expire. The main action should hold off until later this afternoon and my thinking is that it will be mostly northeast Nerbaska and maybe southeast South Dakota. Call me crazy but I think the front will push through central Nebraska before the atmosphere destabilizes enough. But anything that does go up should rotate without a problem, only real concern in this area right now is the moisture, with the highest dewpoints around 55. But with temps holding in the low to mid 60's I think supercells will be likely by 3:00 or 4:00. The southern target is where the SPC has the highest threat, but it also looks to have a better chance of busting, atleast IMO. Temps have warmed to the low 70's but dewpoints have lagged and are only in the mid 50's for the most part. Soundings out Dodge City, KS look real good, but the ones out of OKC dont. I have a feeling Oklahoma is going to bust. Strong cap is evident in the sounding out of Oklahoma City, and not a whole lot of instability, atleast per the 20z sounding. We've still got an entire afternoon to go so we will see what happens. But right now I would rather be in Nebraska than in Kansas or Oklahoma. My target would be O'Neil, NE if I were chasing.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

New Skywarn Material

I got my first chance to see the new Minnesota Skywarn material yesterday (March 14th) at the Skywarn class in Blaine. I was happy with the new material, although surprised that they got rid of the test. I didnt get to a class last year and my mind is a little fuzzy from the old material so its a little hard to compare the new material vs. the old but either way it was still pretty good. A nice variety of pictures and video, and the cool thing was I know most of the people that had their pics/vid in the presentation (with a couple of my photos also making it in). Hats off to Todd K. and John W. for putting it together. Talking to Todd one day he was telling me about the editing part of it and it sounded like hell. I dont know what it was, I think it was just the speakers in the room we were using, but the audio from the video kept cutting in and out which was kinda annoying and it would've been nice to hear what some of the people were saying. Also thanks to Theresa C. for a great job on doing the presentation. It was cool seeing some familiar faces from F5 at the class and putting a couple new faces to the names as well. I had a good time at Acupulco (spelling?) for dinner after the class with most of the gang from F5 that was at the class. Too bad I cant make it to the workshop, who knows when the next will be that I see some of these people. Anyways, it certainly feels like spring with the above average temps this weekend and early this week, getting close to 60 on Monday. Broke out the shorts yesterday and today, it just feels so damn good to be wearing them again. Ahh, chase season is JUST around the corner, I can almost smell it.

Monday, March 9, 2009

update FCST on Major Winter Storm/Blizzard March 10/11

Models are still showing a strong low pressure system moving northeast across the region on Tuesday. A major winter storm and blizzard now look iminent for central and northern Minnesota. I could try to forecast this event for the entire upper midwest, but that would take a lot more time than I have so I will focus on just Minnesota. GFS and WRF pull the center of the low from southern Iowa in to southern Wisconsin and northeast from there. Both models have been in consistent in showing .5-.75 inches of precipitable water. Areas west of and north of the Twin Cities should see mostly snow, but the Twin Cities and areas east and south will start out as a mix of rain and snow before changing over to all snow from west to east throughout the afternoon. For us here in the Twin Cities it looks like temps will fall below freezing later in the afternoon, but the heaviest precip isnt forecasted to start until just about the time this heavy precip moves in. MPX just issued a winter storm warning for the western half of the metro, the eastern half of the metro is under a winter weather advisory. Depending on when the transition to snow happens, we may end up with more or less snow.

Now, for the rest of Minnesota. At this time, blizzard warnings are in effect for counties in western Minnesota, blizzard watches are in still in effect for northwest Minnesota although I expect the NWS-Grand Forks to upgrade them to blizzard warnings soon. Winter storm watches are still in effect for all of Duluth's CWA, which will likely be upgraded in to Winter Storm Warnings shortly. Most areas of western and northern Minnesota should pick up between 7-12 inches, with locally higher amounts possibly reaching 20 inches. Winds will be sustained 30-35, with gusts to 40 or even 50 mph during the afternoon. Blizzard conditions for conuties in the blizzard warning, periodic whiteout conditions which may last in to the day Wednesday due to blowing snow. Arctic air will pour in behind the front with the potential for below zero temps overnight Tuesday. This combined with strong winds will create dangerous windchills over central and northern Minnesota in to Wednesday morning. Blowing and drifting snow will continue in to Wednesday. Arctic high pressure will build in to the region on Wednesday which will keep temperatures very far below average. Highs on Wednesday may not get above 0 degrees F along the Canadian border with highs in the sinlge digits across the majority of the rest of Minnesota. Temps will bottom out Wednesday night but as the arctic high moves out of the region warmer air will begin to advect north with highs in the 20's across most of the state.

Another update is possible tomorrow as the event unfolds...

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Possible winter storm March 10th/11th

Looks like a major winter storm may affect the upper Midwest mainly this Tuesday. Winter storm watch from Grand Forks saying that locally 20" may be possible over northern Minnesota. Winter storm watches are in effect for the northern half of Minnesota with all of them saying 8-12" possible. The GFS and WRF have both had a hard time handling this system, both have been all over the place with the track of the storm and the precip area. Regardless, looks like the storm will start as rain but quickly change to snow as a sharp arctic front pushes through the region. MPX is calling for 4" here in the metro, DLH is calling for "heavy accumulation" for the arrowhead. Blizzard watches for eastern NoDak and northwest Minnesota. The HPC has also been back and forth with their forecasts, right now their winter weather outlooks highlights central and northern MN for heaviest snow, but looking at their QPF it shows over an inch of precipitable water over the next 5 days, and with no other significant storms in that period I'm assuming that most of that water is coming from the 10th/11th system. Haven't checked the updated model runs yet. May update later but if not I will definately update tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Frickin Busy

Midterm portfolio is due for my photo class. 8 pictures due, 3 are for our second assignment, 5 due for the portfolio plus 2 proof sheets. I spent a good 6-7 hours taking/developing/enlarging pictures on Monday and another 4 hours today (Tuesday) and will spend atleast another 4 hours tomorrow. Good thing its due tomorrow, it means I'll actually have to finish it and turn it in and get it over with. Frickin intense though, I gurantee I'm not the only one in there either. I dont know what it is but I am always starving after I'm done in the darkroom, must be the fix or something. Anyway, I hear the North Shore calling my name again, I'm feelin Tetagouche and Grand Marais this time.