Posted at 8:21 AM on March 20, 2012
by Paul Huttner
.58" rainfall last night at MSP Airport
.89" at St. Paul's Holman Field
1"+ at several locations in south central MN
More showers & T-Storms developing today & tonight
Locally heavy rainfall totals possible
1" to 2"+ in some areas through tonight
A troubled front:
Get ready for more rain today.
A troubled cold front has stalled in western Minnesota. Ahead of the front, warmer, more humid unstable air is ready to wring out another round of showers and T-Storms. The atmosphere is ripe for locally heavy tropical style downpours today and tonight.
Local rainfall totals of 1" to 2"+ could focus on a zone from Albert Lea along the I-90 corridor to Rochester, up through the metro into western Wisconsin.
-Latest Twin Cities radar loop
This wet weather pattern looks stuck in place. Waves of low pressure will spin north along a stalled frontal zone this week.
That could be great news for easing Minnesota's drought in some areas.
Rain should persist most of the week in the southeast third of Minnesota, including the metro. I would not be shocked to see some 2" to 4"+ rainfall totals this week at some Minnesota locations.
That may not end the drought, but it's a great start!
Severe threat limited?
Source: NOAA's SPC
I can't rule out a severe storm or two this week, but there are a few factors that limit severe weather potential in Minnesota.
-Cooler air has moved in, with temps about 10 degrees cooler than before Monday evening's outbreak.
-More clouds may limit heating this week form the sun.
Still, if we get some sunny breaks at the right time during the afternoon...a few isolated severe storms could pop.
Grab your umbrella and keep one eye on the sky this week!
Soaking rains band of showers slides through into Wednesday AM
.25" to .75"+ likely with some 1" totals possible
-Latest Twin Cities radar loop
"April Showers" cooler & showery the rest of this week - more like April
Wet pattern next 2 weeks? GFS model cranks out 4" rainfall next 16 days
Ignored warnings "vast majority" of Joplin, MO residents ignored 1st (and even multiple) warning signals in deadly tornado last May
Yes it's still March, but after our May and June weather the atmosphere seems to think it's April now.
Another batch of rain is sliding north from Iowa. Scattered bands of rain will slide through into Wednesday morning.
The rain may be steady and soaking overnight in much of southern Minnesota and western Wisconsin.
Generally rainfall totals look to be between .25" and .75" with a few spots soaking in up to 1" by lunchtime Wednesday.
Cool & showery week:
Our overall weather pattern has changed to a cooler (but still above average) wetter pattern this week.
The only exception is northwest Minnesota, where more sunshine will be the rule.
Look for another batch of showers Thursday into Friday. And again, it could be a soaker.
Wet pattern holds into April?
Looking ahead, it appears our wet pattern may persist into early April.
The GFS model keeps an active jet stream over Minnesota, and frequent storms riding the jet.
The systems could dump heavy rain at times, and may begin to take a bite out of the severe drought in much of Minnesota.
Take a look at the GFS 16-day forecast below. It cranks out 4.34" of rainfall in the next 16 days.
If we get 4"+ of rain in the next 16 days, it would begin to help ease the drought.
We need the rain to recharge parched soils from last fall, and fill up lakes and rivers.
Check out the photo from Deephaven Beach on Lake Minnetonka. The water level is close to 3 feet below where it was last year.
We can use every drop!
Joplin Revisited: "Vast majority" ignored 1st warning signals
It's easy to remember the devastating images from the deadly Joplin last May 22nd.
The Joplin tornado (which occurred the same day as the North Minneapolis tornado) killed 159 people and injured over 1,000.
What's amazing is how many people simply ignored the first warning signs of an approaching tornado. In fact, and NWS study after the tornado found that some failed to take protective action after hearing as many as 6 to 9 different "risk signals."
From the NWS report:
"Many of the key findings within this report involved societal aspects of warning response and risk perception. Responding to warnings is not a simple act of stimulus-response; rather it is a non-linear, multi-step, complex process. Relationships between false alarms, public complacency, and warning credibility are highly complex as well.
The vast majority of Joplin residents did not immediately take protective action upon receiving a first indication of risk (usually via the local siren system), regardless of the source of the warning. Most chose to further assess their risk by waiting for, actively seeking, and filtering additional information.
The reasons for doing so were quite varied, but largely depended on an individual's ―worldview‖ formed mostly by previous experience with severe weather. Most importantly, the perceived frequency of siren activation in Joplin led the majority of survey participants to become desensitized or complacent to this method of warning. This suggests that initial siren activations in Joplin (and severe weather warnings in general) have lost a degree of credibility for most residents - one of the most valued characteristics for successful risk communication."
The number of signals between first indication of severe weather and protective action markedly increased as information became conflicted or unclear. In the most extreme example, one resident's interview indicated nine risk signals identified before taking protective action:
1. Aware that thunderstorms were probably going to happen
2. Noticed the weather changing outside
3. Heard the 1st siren while driving to restaurant (approximately 30-minute lead time)
4. Restaurant shut doors and disallowed entry
5. Drove to a 2nd restaurant where business was carrying on as usual
6. Noticed the weather changing
7. Reports came from TV and radio
8. Patron indicated tornado in Joplin
9. Management instructed protective action
In this example, signals 4 and 5 are significant in that they heightened and diminished this resident's perception of risk, respectively. Once the restaurant shut its doors and refused entry, this resident perceived the threat of severe weather as real and commented during the interview that he did not want to be in his car. Upon arriving at another restaurant close by, however, his perception of threat was diminished because business at this second establishment was carrying on as normal: he was escorted to a table and ordered a meal.
c. PERCEPTION, PROCESSING AND PERSONALIZING THE THREAT
Finding #2b: The majority of surveyed Joplin residents did not immediately go to shelter upon hearing the initial warning, whether from local warning sirens, television, NWR, or other sources. Instead, most chose to further clarify and assess their risk by waiting for, actively seeking, and filtering additional information."
"Siren fatigue" and so called "optimism bias" (the feeling that it just won't happen to me) were two of the reasons sighted for delayed actions in the Joplin tornado.
The take away from Joplin is this. When you get the first indication of severe weather at your location take action now...then seek and filter additional data. Your life may depend in action in the first few seconds.
Posted at 9:32 PM on March 20, 2012
by Paul Huttner
Filed under: Tornadoes
NWS has confirmed that Monday night's damage in Elysian was produced by a tornado.
PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TWIN CITIES/CHANHASSEN MN 600 PM CDT TUE MAR 20 2012
NORTHERN WASECA AND SOUTHERN LE SUEUR COUNTY TORNADO AND DOWNBURST DAMAGE FROM MONDAY EVENING...
A NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE STORM DAMAGE SURVEY TEAM ASSESSED DAMAGE THAT OCCURRED ON THE EVENING OF MONDAY...MARCH 19...2012 FROM NORTHERN WASECA INTO SOUTHERN LE SUEUR COUNTIES. EVENT...COMBINATION OF TORNADO AND DOWNBURST WINDS OF EF-0 STRENGTH. LOCATION...THE TORNADO TOUCHED DOWN JUST SOUTH OF ELYSIAN LAKE ROAD...JUST SOUTH OF 412TH AVENUE IN NORTHERN WASECA COUNTY. THE
TORNADO PROGRESSED NORTH FOR APPROXIMATELY 2 MILES WHILE PARALLELING THE EASTERN SHORE OF ELYSIAN LAKE AND ELYSIAN LAKE ROAD...BEFORE CROSSING ELYSIAN LAKE NEAR 427TH AVE. FROM HERE...THE TORNADO PASSED ACROSS THE WESTERN EDGE OF THE TOWN OF ELYSIAN...BEFORE GOING ACROSS THE EASTERN TIP OF LAKE FRANCIS. FROM THE SHOREVIEW AREA NORTH OF THE TOWN OF ELYSIAN...THE TORNADO CONTINUED NORTH FOR APPROXIMATELY 4 MORE MILES...PARALLELING COUNTY ROAD 11. THE LAST BIT OF DAMAGE NOTED ALONG THE PATH WAS AROUND ST. PETER'S CHURCH ALONG COUNTY ROAD 12.
PATH LENGTH...APPROXIMATELY SEVEN MILES.
MAXIMUM WIND SPEED...80 TO 85 MPH.
MAXIMUM WIDTH...100 YARDS FOR THE TORNADO...WITH DOWNBURST SEGMENTS UP TO A MILE IN WIDTH.
DAMAGE...DAMAGE PRIMARILY NOTED WITH THIS EVENT WAS TO EVERGREEN TREES. MOST DAMAGE TO STRUCTURES WAS CONFINED TO SHINGLES AND SOFFITS ON ROOFS. THE MOST SIGNIFICANT STRUCTURAL DAMAGE OCCURRED AT A FARMSTEAD AND SHED ALONG ELYSIAN LAKE ROAD IN NORTHERN WASECA COUNTY. AT THE FARMSTEAD...SEVERAL TREES WERE UPROOTED/SNAPPED ON THE PROPERTY...WITH A METAL EQUIPMENT SHELTER HAVING A SECTION OF THE BUILDING BLOWN IN. ABOUT A QUARTER MILE NORTH OF THIS HOUSE ALONG ELYSIAN LAKE ROAD...THE SOUTHERN WALL OF A STORAGE SHED WAS BLOWN IN...CAUSING THE SHED TO COLLAPSE. IN THE WESTERN SECTION OF THE TOWN OF ELYSIAN...TWO SMALL EMPTY GRAIN BINS WERE BLOWN INTO AN ADJOINING FIELD...WITH A SMALL METAL SHED AT A NEARBY HOUSE BLOWN ACROSS HIGHWAY 60. THIS STRUCTURAL DAMAGE...ALONG WITH TREE DAMAGE NOTED IS CONSISTENT WITH WIND SPEEDS AROUND 80 MPH...WHICH IS AT THE HIGH END OF EF-0 /EF-1 BEGINS AT 86 MPH/.
NORTH OF LAKE FRANCIS...THE DAMAGE PATTERN BECAME MUCH MORE COMPLEX...AS THE TORNADO BEGAN TO INTERACT WITH STRONG DOWNBURST WINDS. THIS CAUSED THE DAMAGE FOOT PRINT AT TIMES TO GROW TO AS MUCH AS A MILE WIDE. MOST OF THE DAMAGE FROM LAKE FRANCIS TO ST. PETER'S CHURCH WAS TREE DAMAGE...THOUGH NUMEROUS BOAT DOCKS AND LIFTS ALONG THE NORTHERN SHORE OF THE LAKE WERE PICKED UP AND MOVED/TOSSED IN THE WINDS. IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD DIRECTLY NORTH OF THE LAKE OFF OF WILLOW POINT DRIVE...MOST HOMES SUSTAINED SOME DEGREE OF ROOF DAMAGE...WITH A LARGE NEIGHBORHOOD PLAY SET BLOWN OVER AND SPREAD ABOUT THE NEIGHBORHOOD. MUCH OF THIS DAMAGE WAS ASSOCIATED WITH THE DOWNBURST. BETWEEN CEDAR POINT ROAD AND ST. PETER'S CHURCH...THERE WAS SPOTTY TREE DAMAGE...UNTIL THE AREA AROUND THE CHURCH. AT THE CHURCH...SEVERAL LARGE CEDAR TREES WERE SNAPPED/UPROOTED...WITH TREES AND GREENHOUSES NEAR THE CHURCH SUSTAINING DAMAGE.
TIMING...BASED RADAR AND DAMAGE REPORTS...THE TORNADO TOUCHED DOWN AT APPROXIMATELY 625 PM...WITH THE TORNADO LIFT UP AT APPROXIMATELY 635 PM.
ADDITIONAL DAMAGE...SPORADIC WIND DAMAGE WAS SEEN FROM THE TERMINUS OF THE TORNADO...NORTH ACROSS THE REST OF LE SUEUR COUNTY TO AROUND THE CITY OF UNION HILL. THIS DAMAGE WAS ASSOCIATED WITH STRAIGHT LINE WINDS OF APPROXIMATELY 50 MPH. THESE WINDS...WITH SPORADIC WIND DAMAGE WERE SEEN ACROSS THE REST OF SCOTT COUNTY...ACROSS THE WESTERN TWIN CITIES METRO AREA...AND UP INTO THE CAMBRIDGE AREA.
CLIMATOLOGY...THIS IS THE SECOND EARLIEST DATE A TORNADO HAS BEEN REPORTED IN MINNESOTA HISTORY. ACCORDING TO THE MINNESOTA STATE CLIMATOLOGIST...THE ONLY EARLIER RECORDED TORNADO OCCURRED ON MARCH 18...1968 IN TRUMAN...NORTH OF FAIRMONT.