Blizzard warnings are expanding to include west metro counties including Carver and Wright. Near blizzard conditions with blowing snow and winds gusting over 30 mph are occurring Saturday morning, even in the metro.
Expect difficult travel for a few hours Saturday morning until the wind and snow subside.
Japan nuke explosion: Possible radiation release?
From Japan's NHK News:
"Tokyo Electric Power Company says an explosion was heard at one of its nuclear reactors in quake-hit Fukushima Prefecture. It says several workers were injured.
The power plant operator told a news conference on Saturday that it had been informed smoke was seen near the scene of the explosion, the Fukushima Number One power station.
The utility firm had been releasing air from the container of the reactor to lower pressure.
Pressure inside the container had been rising after the reactor's cooling system broke down due to power failure.
Radioactive substances have been detected near the reactor."
Winds near the reactor site in Fukushima are very light; meaning any plume of radiation would not disperse quickly. It is not yet known how severe the radioactive release will be.
***original post Friday at 3:53pm***
A powerful cold front is racing through Minnesota overnight into Saturday.
As the front sails through, a shot 2" to 4" of new snow will combine with winds of 25 to 40 mph to reduce visibilities to under 1/4 mile in the Red River Valley tonight and early Saturday. The winds will also be strong enough to pick up snow already on the ground and send it airborne, creating "ground blizzard" conditions.
Blizzard warnings have been issued by Grand Forks NWS.
Be prepared for blizzard conditions in the Red River Valley tonight & Saturday morning.
Anatomy of a megaquake & tsunami:
As posted here early Friday morning, Japan's 8.9 magnitude megaquake wat the 5th strongest in the world since 1900. The scenes of devastation from Honshu are both horrifying and unreal.
Believe me, with all of the weather drama that Minnesota can dish out, we've never seen anything like this. I can only imagine the shock and devastation the people of Japan are living through, and this is only the beginning if what will take years to rebuild.
You've seen the video, but there are also some amazing graphics that illustrate the power and reach of the tsunami.
NOAA Tsunami propagation animation: This incredible video animates the tsunami waves as the propagate throughout the Pacific basin.
NOAA maximum wave amplitude show energy streaming from epicenter.
You can find more information from the West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center.
A major earthquake and massive tsunami devastated parts of eastern Japan Friday.
NOAA's Pacific Tsunami Warning Center says the magnitude of the quake was a massive 8.9 magnitude. The quake was centered near east coast of Honshu, Japan's largest island.
According to preliminary reports from the USGS, this may have been the 5th strongest quake in the world since 1900!
Here are the details from the USGS.
There are reports of a massive tsunami wave that has caused massive devastation as it inundated miles of land near the Pacific Ocean in eastern Japan. Here's the incredible video from MSNBC.
Tsunami warnings have been issued for Hawaii.The waves could reach Hawaii by about 3am Hawaii time, and could hit the USA West Coast early Friday morning. It is not known how severe the tsunami waves will be as they hit Hawaii or the USA west coast.
Here's the warning for Hawaii from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.
A TSUNAMI HAS BEEN GENERATED THAT COULD CAUSE DAMAGE ALONG
COASTLINES OF ALL ISLANDS IN THE STATE OF HAWAII. URGENT ACTION
SHOULD BE TAKEN TO PROTECT LIVES AND PROPERTY.
A TSUNAMI IS A SERIES OF LONG OCEAN WAVES. EACH INDIVIDUAL WAVE
CREST CAN LAST 5 TO 15 MINUTES OR MORE AND EXTENSIVELY FLOOD
COASTAL AREAS. THE DANGER CAN CONTINUE FOR MANY HOURS AFTER THE
INITIAL WAVE AS SUBSEQUENT WAVES ARRIVE. TSUNAMI WAVE HEIGHTS
CANNOT BE PREDICTED AND THE FIRST WAVE MAY NOT BE THE LARGEST.
TSUNAMI WAVES EFFICIENTLY WRAP AROUND ISLANDS. ALL SHORES ARE AT
RISK NO MATTER WHICH DIRECTION THEY FACE. THE TROUGH OF A TSUNAMI
WAVE MAY TEMPORARILY EXPOSE THE SEAFLOOR BUT THE AREA WILL
QUICKLY FLOOD AGAIN. EXTREMELY STRONG AND UNUSUAL NEARSHORE
CURRENTS CAN ACCOMPANY A TSUNAMI. DEBRIS PICKED UP AND CARRIED
BY A TSUNAMI AMPLIFIES ITS DESTRUCTIVE POWER. SIMULTANEOUS HIGH
TIDES OR HIGH SURF CAN SIGNIFICANTLY INCREASE THE TSUNAMI HAZARD.
THE ESTIMATED ARRIVAL TIME IN HAWAII OF THE FIRST TSUNAMI WAVE IS
0259 AM HST FRI 11 MAR 2011
MESSAGES WILL BE ISSUED HOURLY OR SOONER AS CONDITIONS WARRANT.
COASTAL AREAS BETWEEN AND INCLUDING THE CALIFORNIA-MEXICO
BORDER TO CHIGNIK BAY ALASKA
1214 AM PST FRI MAR 11 2011
...THE TSUNAMI WATCH CONTINUES IN EFFECT FOR THE COASTAL
AREAS OF CALIFORNIA - OREGON - WASHINGTON - BRITISH
COLUMBIA AND ALASKA FROM THE CALIFORNIA-MEXICO BORDER TO
CHIGNIK BAY ALASKA...
PERSONS IN TSUNAMI WATCH COASTAL AREAS SHOULD STAY ALERT FOR
TSUNAMI WATCHES ARE AN ADVANCE NOTICE TO AREAS THAT COULD BE
IMPACTED BY A TSUNAMI AT A LATER TIME. TSUNAMIS ARE A SERIES OF
WAVES POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS SEVERAL HOURS AFTER INITIAL ARRIVAL
TIME. ESTIMATED TIMES OF INITIAL WAVE ARRIVAL FOR SELECTED
SITES IN THE WATCH ARE PROVIDED BELOW.
KODIAK-AK 0351 AKST MAR 11 TOFINO-BC 0658 PST MAR 11
SEWARD-AK 0416 AKST MAR 11 NEAH BAY-WA 0710 PST MAR 11
ELFIN COVE-AK 0418 AKST MAR 11 CHARLESTON-OR 0715 PST MAR 11
YAKUTAT-AK 0425 AKST MAR 11 CRESCENT CITY-CA 0723 PST MAR 11
SITKA-AK 0425 AKST MAR 11 SEASIDE-OR 0724 PST MAR 11
VALDEZ-AK 0435 AKST MAR 11 WESTPORT-WA 0725 PST MAR 11
LANGARA-BC 0535 PST MAR 11 SAN FRANCISCO-CA 0808 PST MAR 11
CORDOVA-AK 0445 AKST MAR 11 SANTA BARBARA-CA 0817 PST MAR 11
HOMER-AK 0508 AKST MAR 11 SAN PEDRO-CA 0832 PST MAR 11
CRAIG-AK 0526 AKST MAR 11 LA JOLLA-CA 0841 PST MAR 11
FOR ARRIVAL TIMES AT ADDITIONAL LOCATIONS SEE
This is a major earthquake; to compare the Indonesian super quake that caused the massive deadly tsunami near Christmas 2004 was a magnitude 9.1.
Stay tuned to MPR for updates Friday.