Biggest Hurricane Killer Is Now Inland Flooding

Welcome to the 9th wettest start of any year since 1895 in the Twin Cities, according to National Weather Service data. It's an era of all or nothing, "weather whiplash". Fields in southern Minnesota are still too wet, while many northern counties are abnormally dry.

Some breaking news out of the National Hurricane Center made me do a double-take. Since 2016 the vast majority of hurricane fatalities were from inland flooding (79 percent) vs. storm surge flooding (4 percent). Nearly half of all deaths were from people who drove through flooded roads.

Exhibit A: Barry. Winds may approach hurricane strength, but the main threat from bthis slow-moving storm will be 15-25 inch rains across Louisiana. I'm very worried about New Orleans, which lies below sea level.

ECMWF (European) guidance hints at 5 days at/above 90F by July 20. Welcome some of the hottest weather of 2019 with open (sweaty) arms.

A few T-storms bubble up the first half of next week, but most of the time will be lake-worthy, with spurts of sun and a noticeable dew point. 


Peak Summer. ECMWF hints that 5 of the next 10 days may bring 90-degree heat to the Twin Cities, which seems realistic looking at the overall pattern. As obvious the limiting factor will be cloud cover and possible convection (T-storms) that would keep us cooler. MSP trend: WeatherBell.


Free A/C. Looking out roughly 2 weeks NOAA's GFS model continues to show a cooler bias for the northern tier of the USA as we approach the end of July; the epicenter of searing heat from the southern Rockies and Southwestern USA into the Mid South and Mid Atlantic.


Praedictix Briefing: Issued Thursday, July 11th, 2019:

  • The disturbance we've been watching in the Gulf of Mexico is still just a potential storm this morning, but it is expected to become a tropical depression later today. As of 7 AM CDT, the system had sustained winds of 35 mph and was moving to the west at 5 mph.
  • The forecast still has this system becoming a tropical storm by tomorrow morning and potentially a hurricane late Friday or early Saturday before making landfall along the central Louisiana Gulf Coast during the day Saturday.
  • Watches that are in place along the coast this morning include:
    • A Storm Surge Watch from the Mouth of the Pearl River to Intracoastal City
    • A Hurricane Watch from the Mouth of the Mississippi River to Cameron
    • A Tropical Storm Watch from the Mouth of the Mississippi River northward to the Mouth of the Pearl River
  • As you head inland:
    • Hurricane Watches are in place for New Iberia and Houma (LA)
    • Tropical Storm Watches are in place for Lower St. Bernard Parish
  • Impacts from this system will include:
    • Heavy rain: Overall totals of at least 5-15” across parts of the central Gulf Coast and inland, especially across southeastern Louisiana and southwestern Mississippi. This heavy rain is likely to lead to flash flooding. There is a high probability of flash flooding across southeastern Louisiana Saturday.
    • Storm Surge: A dangerous storm surge of 3-6 feet will be possible from Mouth of the Pearl River to Intracoastal City if the surge of water is timed with high tide. This will send rising water inland to areas that are normally dry.
    • Winds: Particularly around the area of landfall, hurricane-force winds will be possible Friday Night and Saturday.
  • Louisiana has declared a state of emergency ahead of the storm, with mandatory evacuations in Plaquemines Parish for the entire East Bank of Plaquemines Parish and West Bank starting at Oakville (Floodgate) south to Venice. The latest information for the state of Louisiana, including links to local parish information, can be found at http://emergency.louisiana.gov/.
  • The latest information for New Orleans can be found at https://ready.nola.gov/home/.
  • The latest information for Baton Rouge can be found at https://city.brla.gov/emergency/.
  • The latest information for the state of Mississippi can be found at http://www.msema.org/.
  • Facilities in the path of Two/Barry should be prepared for tropical storm force conditions Friday and Saturday, with some areas receiving hurricane force conditions Friday Night into Saturday, and should rush to complete any preparations today and Friday.

Potential Tropical Cyclone Two. The disturbance we've been watching in the Gulf of Mexico is still just a potential storm this morning. As of the 7 AM CDT update from the National Hurricane Center, the center of Potential Tropical Cyclone Two was situated about 115 miles south-southeast of the Mouth of the Mississippi River, or 225 miles southeast of Morgan City, and was moving to the west at 5 mph. The system had sustained winds of 35 mph.


Could Still Become Hurricane Barry Friday. While the system remains a potential cyclone this morning, atmospheric conditions are favorable for development, and it is still expected that this system will become a tropical depression later today and a tropical storm by tomorrow morning. Models still indicate the potential that this system could become a hurricane late Friday or early Saturday before landfall occurs along the central Gulf Coast. Since forecast errors can be larger with potential tropical cyclones versus systems that have defined centers, anywhere along the Louisiana coast within the cone of uncertainty could see the eventual landfall. While the strongest winds with the system will be near that point of landfall, do not focus so much on that exact track of the storm as hazards associated with Two/Barry will stretch far from the center of the storm.



Hurricane And Tropical Storm Watches. Due to the impact from what will eventually become Barry along the northern Gulf Coast, Hurricane and Tropical Storm Watches have been issued. What these mean is that either tropical storm (39+ mph winds) or hurricane (74+ mph winds) conditions are possible within the watch area within the next 48 hours. Along the coast, these watches are in place for the following areas:

A Hurricane Watch is in effect for...
* Mouth of the Mississippi River to Cameron

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for...
* Mouth of the Mississippi River northward to the Mouth of the Pearl River

As you head inland, Hurricane Watches are in place for New Iberia and Houma (LA) with Tropical Storm Watches in place for Lower St. Bernard Parish.

You can read the hurricane local statements from National Weather Service offices here: https://forecast.weather.gov/wwamap/wwatxtget.php?cwa=usa&wwa=Hurricane%20Local%20Statement

You can read more on Hurricane Watches in place from National Weather Service offices here: https://forecast.weather.gov/wwamap/wwatxtget.php?cwa=usa&wwa=Hurricane%20Watch

You can read more on Tropical Storm Watches in place from National Weather Service offices here: https://forecast.weather.gov/wwamap/wwatxtget.php?cwa=usa&wwa=Tropical%20Storm%20Watch


Summary Of Potential Threats. We will be watching the potential for heavy/flooding rains, storm surge, hurricane-force winds, and tornadoes with Barry as it approaches the coast and after it makes landfall. Above is a quick summary of where some of the worst conditions for each of those threats will be, with more detailed information below.


Heavy Rain And Flooding Threat

Heavy Rain And Flooding Event. One of the greatest impacts from Two/Barry will be copious amounts of rain that will fall along and inland from the northern Gulf Coast. With a somewhat slow-moving system and plenty of tropical moisture streaming northward, rainfall amounts of at least 5-15” will be possible across parts of Louisiana and Mississippi through the weekend in a multi-day rain event. The heaviest rain with a tropical entity typically falls along and east of the center of circulation. As of this morning, the expected swath of heaviest rain would include locations like New Orleans and Baton Rouge. This heavy rain will not depend on the intensity of the storm - these impacts will occur whether or not the system reaches hurricane strength by landfall. Meanwhile, already yesterday some parts of New Orleans saw flooding with 5-9” of rain that fell.


Flooding Potential. Especially as we go into Saturday, the flood risk will be high across parts of Louisiana due to continued heavy rains falling on the same areas. The threat starts to increase Friday with a moderate risk across southern Louisiana. Then on Saturday, a High Risk of flooding is in place across southeastern Louisiana, including New Orleans.


Flash Flood Watches. Due to the extended period of heavier rain in association with this system across the northern Gulf Coast, Flash Flood Watches have been issued from Louisiana to the western Florida Panhandle, including Baton Rouge and New Orleans (LA), Gulfport and Biloxi (MS), Mobile (AL), and Pensacola (FL).


Storm Surge Threat

Dangerous Storm Surge. Over the next few days, water will push toward the coast. Already starting today there could be some instances of coastal flooding at high tide. The most dangerous water rises will arrive Friday Night into Saturday, generally along and east of the track. If peak water rises occur along with high tide Friday Night into Saturday, we could see a storm surge of 3 to 6 ft from the Mouth of the Pearl River to Intracoastal City. This would cause typically dry areas to be flooded by rising water pushing inland.


Storm Surge Watches. Due to the storm surge potential, Storm Surge Watches have been issued from the Mouth of the Pearl River to Intracoastal City.


Wind Threat

Timing The Start Of Tropical Storm Force Winds. This graphic gives a general idea of when tropical storm force winds are expected to begin across the southern United States in association with this system. That is a good gauge of when preparations should be rushed to completion, as these stronger winds could interfere with that process. Tropical storm force winds are expected to begin Friday morning across southeastern Louisiana and southern Mississippi, spreading across much of Louisiana and through the southern half of Mississippi throughout the day. Meanwhile, the greatest potential of tropical storm force winds (50%+) will be across southern Louisiana.


Potential Peak Wind Gusts. The strongest wind gusts are expected near the Louisiana coast as we go through Friday Night into Saturday, with the potential of hurricane-force wind gusts in places including Houma, Morgan City, and Lafayette. Wind gusts squarely in tropical-storm-force range will be possible for New Orleans and Baton Rouge. As we head toward Sunday, strong winds will move north with Barry into parts of northern Louisiana.

D.J. Kayser, Meteorologist, Praedictix.



Killer Hail in Greece. Daily Beast has details: "Six tourists, including two children, were killed and more than 100 people were injured when violent hailstorms and tornadoes struck a tourist hotspot in northern Greece Wednesday night. The unprecedented summer storm overturned caravans, downed trees and flipped cars in Halkidiki, south of the popular resort city of Thessaloniki. A medical centre in the region treated over 60 people for injuries, including fractures, and a state of emergency was declared for the region. Meteorologist Klearxos Marousakis described the 20 minute storm as “extremely unusual” noting that temperatures had soared to around 37C (98.6F) in previous days..."

Photo credit: SAKIS MITROLIDIS.


Managing Fresh Water Across the United States. Here's an excerpt from a post at NASA: "...The Army Corps wants to know how much change to expect across the country in the next 50-100 years, Arnold said, since that can affect how the corps operates its infrastructure, such as dams and hydropower plants. “Water security is having the right amount of water at the right time and at the right place,” Arnold said. The tools developed by the project will enable water managers to create strategies to modernize and maintain their infrastructure, said Andy Wood, the lead scientist at NCAR. Wood's team has been working closely with water managers across the United States and incorporating their feedback into tools that use NASA's Land Information System model to monitor and predict seasonal changes in water supplies at the watershed scale..."


The Truth Behind 7 Common Tornado Myths. A few oldies but goodies in a post at Popular Mechanics: "...On April 26, 1991, a group of motorists huddled under an overpass on the Kansas Turnpike during a tornado and shot video of their ordeal. They were lucky to survive this close encounter, and the dramatic footage of their experience has led many to believe that overpasses are viable tornado shelters. The space beneath an overpass can create a wind tunnel, accelerating the already violent winds of the tornado. And wind speed increases with height, so climbing the embankments beneath the girders of the overpass may expose you to even stronger winds. "People have tried to take shelter and been killed in overpasses," Carbin says. "The wind forced through a small, rigid opening like that can actually increase the wind speed and likely tear you right out of there, which has happened..."


Miracle in Minneapolis. TrafficMagazine.com has the story - a PDF is available here.


New Coke Didn't Fail - It Was Murdered. Ah, the memories. Interesting perspective in a story at Mother Jones: "...In the face of a nationwide backlash, the company brought back the old formula—now dubbed “Coke Classic”—after two months. The story of New Coke is eternal. It’s a parable of hubris. It’s also a lie. Far from the dud it’s been made out to be, New Coke was actually delicious—or at least, most people who tried it thought so. Some of its harshest critics couldn’t even taste a difference. It was done in by a complicated web of interests, a mixture of cranks and opportunists—a sugar-starved mob of pitchfork-clutching Andy Rooneys, powered by the thrill of rebellion and an aggrieved sense of dispossession. At its most fundamental level, the backlash wasn’t about New Coke at all. It was a revolt against the idea of change. That story should sound familiar. We’re still living it..."

Image credit: Netflix.


Americans Shouldn't Have to Drive, But The Law Insists On It. Huh? The author makes some cogent points in a post at The Atlantic: "...In America, the freedom of movement comes with an asterisk: the obligation to drive. This truism has been echoed by the U.S. Supreme Court, which has pronounced car ownership a “virtual necessity.” The Court’s pronouncement is telling. Yes, in a sense, America is car-dependent by choice—but it is also car-dependent by law. As I detail in a forthcoming journal article, over the course of several generations lawmakers rewrote the rules of American life to conform to the interests of Big Oil, the auto barons, and the car-loving 1 percenters of the Roaring Twenties. They gave legal force to a mind-set—let’s call it automobile supremacy—that kills 40,000 Americans a year and seriously injures more than 4 million more. Include all those harmed by emissions and climate change, and the damage is even greater. As a teenager growing up in the shadow of Detroit, I had no reason to feel this was unjust, much less encouraged by law. It is both..."

If You’re Hiding from the Police – Try to Hold It. Newsweek has the smelly details: "On social media, the Clay County Missouri Sheriff's Office referenced an unfortunate incident (for the suspect, at least) that took place last weekend. A man was captured by officers after his hiding position was ruined by a thunderous bodily function. "If you've got a felony warrant for your arrest, the cops are looking for you and you pass gas so loud it gives up your hiding spot, you're definitely having a [poop emoji] day," the department wrote, alongside an image of deputies hunting for a suspect with help from a K-9 unit..."


83 F. high yesterday at MSP.

84 F. Twin Cities average high on July 11.

92 F. high temperature on July 11, 2018.

July 12, 1863: Unseasonably cool temperatures are felt across the state. Frost is reported in the Twin Cities area.



FRIDAY: Sticky sun, stray T-storm. Winds: SW 7-12. High: 87

SATURDAY: Plenty of sunshine, quite pleasant. Winds: E 3-8. Wake-up: 67. High: 85

SUNDAY: Hot sunshine, stiff south breeze. Winds: S 10-20+ Wake-up: 69. High: near 90

MONDAY: Some steamy sun, few T-storms. Winds: SW 10-20. Wake-up: 74. High: 91

TUESDAY: Few T-storms, then clearing. Winds: SE 7-12. Wake-up: 69. High: 87

WEDNESDAY: Unsettled with gangs of T-storms. Winds: NW 7-12. Wake-up: 70. High: 85

THURSDAY: Hazy sun, free sauna for everyone. Winds: S 7-12. Wake-up: 69. High: near 90


Climate Stories...

By 2050 Many U.S. Cities Will Have Weather Like They've Never Seen, New Study Says. National Geographic has the story; here's an excerpt: "...To illustrate their findings the Crowther Lab in Switzerland created a global data map that pairs one city’s future climate conditions with current ones. For example Minneapolis in 2050 will be more like Kansas City, with Minneapolis’s warmest month shooting up from around 80 degrees Fahrenheit on average to more than 90F in 2050. Generally speaking, cities in the Northern Hemisphere will have the climates cities more than 620 miles to their south have today, he said....Changes in tropical cities will be less in terms of temperature increases, but will be dominated by more frequent extreme precipitation events and the severity and intensity of droughts. “The fate of major tropical cities remains uncertain as many will experience unprecedented climate conditions,” the study concludes..."


Changes Coming For Major Cities: Climate Nexus has links and headlines: "Washington, DC will feel like Nashville, London will be balmy like Barcelona, and New York's summers will be like Virginia Beach as eight in 10 of the world's major cities will experience significant temperature shifts by 2050, new research shows. A study published Wednesday in the journal PLOS ONE examined more than 500 cities and paired their projected future temperatures by 2050 with the existing current conditions of other major cities. The study also found that one-fifth of the cities surveyed, including Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, and Singapore, will experience unprecedented climate conditions that do not have a present-day equivalent." (The Guardian, CNN, National Geographic, Thomson Reuters Foundation

File image: AP.


Even Republicans Are Aware That Climate Change is Happening. Odds are they differ from Democrats on what to do about it, which is the debate we need. Let's debate policy, not established science. Observer has the post; here's an excerpt: "...Three years ago, only 49 percent of Republicans believed in climate change. Now, 64 percent of those in the GOP do, according to a Monmouth poll. Nationally, more than three-quarters of Americans believe that climate change is occurring, and those numbers are up over the last three years among Democrats and independents. And, this is not a geographic issue, in which only blue states buy it. Those on the coasts (79 percent) are just as likely as those in the nation’s heartland (77 percent) to observe climate change occurring, according to that Monmouth survey..."


Intelligence Aid, Blocked From Submitting Written Testimony on Climate Change, Resigns From State Department. Here's an update from The Washington Post: "A State Department intelligence official who was blocked by the White House from submitting written congressional testimony on climate change last month is resigning from his post. Rod Schoonover — who worked in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research’s Office of the Geographer and Global Issues — spoke before the House Intelligence Committee on June 5 about the security risks the United States faces because of climate change. But White House officials would not let him submit the bureau’s written statement that climate impacts could be “possibly catastrophic,” after the State Department refused to cut references to federal scientific findings on climate change..."

Photo credit: "Rod Schoonover, an intelligence official at the State Department, speaks at a House Intelligence Committee hearing in June." (Andrew Harnik/AP)


Collier Looks to Computer Models as Officials Gear Up for Sea Level Rise, Severe Storms. Here's the intro to a story at Naples Daily News: "Faced with projections of rising sea levels and more intense storms, local governments in Collier County are looking to an array of interactive maps and models as the latest tool to stem the growing threat climate change poses to coastal communities. The computer models, which are being developed as part of a study funded with a $1 million grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, aim to help local officials identify vulnerable areas and come up with a plan to adapt to future challenges. Among other things, researchers and scientists from the University of Florida, Florida Gulf Coast University and the U.S. Geological Survey are working to predict the inland migration of mangroves..."




How Climate Change Will Affect Minnesota. Mpls. St. Paul Magazine has an excellent overview of current impact and future implications for Minnesota; here's the intro: "For a few decades now—yes, it’s been a while—we’ve been hearing about what a warming Earth will look like in the future. Wildfires in Los Angeles. Flooding in Miami. While we were looking elsewhere—or trying to cover our eyes—Minnesota became the second-fastest warming state in the country. For better or worse (probably worse), we’re starting to see how it will play out. The pine forests will swoon. Some of our iconic animals—moose, lynx, loons—will move up north . . . to Canada. Our basements will flood. And we won’t want to sleep with the windows open in August. What will climate change look like in Minnesota? Here’s a snapshot..."

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Sweaty Weekend Coming - "Barry" Threatens New Orleans with Severe Flooding

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Excessive Heat Watch Sunday & Monday - Barry Threatens Louisiana With Historic Flooding