Paul Douglas is a nationally respected meteorologist with 33 years of television and radio experience. A serial entrepreneur, Douglas is Senior Meteorologist for WeatherNation TV, a new, national 24/7 weather channel with studios in Denver and Minneapolis. Founder of Media Logic Group, Douglas and a team of meteorologists provide weather services for media at Broadcast Weather, and high-tech alerting and briefing services for companies via Alerts Broadcaster. His speaking engagements take him around the Midwest with a message of continuous experimentation and reinvention, no matter what business you’re in. He is the public face of “SAVE”, Suicide Awareness, Voices of Education, based in Bloomington. | Send Paul a question.

Summer Time-Out from Heat & Humidity

Posted by: Paul Douglas under Lions Updated: July 28, 2014 - 10:30 PM

Summer Time-out

"Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it" wrote Russell Baker. We've had a few severe storm outbreaks and brief flashes of summer heat, but it hasn't been all that bad.

NOAA SPC reports only 20 Minnesota tornadoes in 2014; 134 separate reports of severe wind damage.

Yes, June was the wettest month in recorded Minnesota history, statewide, but we've dried out in July. MSP rainfall in July is over an inch below average, for a change. Based on cooling degree days since June 1 we've spent about 12 percent less than average cooling our homes and offices.

June monsoons have given way to a fairly pleasant spell of weather, which lingers much of this week. One caveat: a whirlpool of cold air aloft stuck over the Great Lakes may set off a few late-day instability T-showers, especially north/east of the Twin Cities.

The atmosphere normally cools by 3-5F for every 1,000 feet of altitude. If it gets colder/faster, a "steeper lapse rate", the risk of late day storms rises. Dew points creep up as the week goes on; 80s next weekend with a small chance of late-day pop-up storms.

No stalled fronts, EF-4 tornadoes, biblical floods or beachball-size hail.

I'm OK with that.


A Relatively Quiet Week - Slow Warming Trend into Next Week. Long-range guidance shows comfortable dew points in the 50s much of toda and Wednesday, rising into the low 60s again by Saturday; possibly mid-60s by Monday. Highs rise above 80F by Thursday with some mid 80s from Sunday into the middle of next week. Although a few instability T-showers are possible (especially from the MN Arrowhead into Wisconsin) most towns will stay mostly-dry into the weekend. MSP Meteogram: Weatherspark.


60-Hour Rainfall Potential. NOAA's 4 km WRF model shows heavy showers and T-storms today across northern New England, another plume of heavy rain and potential flash flooding from the central Rockies into the southern Plains by Wednesday, where some 2-4" rainfall amounts are possible, helping to take the edge off the drought. Dry weather persists over California and most of the western USA. Source: HAMweather.


2014 Severe Weather, To Date. Here is data from NOAA SPC showing 20 confirmed tornadoes over western and south central Minnesota so far this year - no touchdowns in the immediate Twin Cities metro. Statewide there have been 134 severe wind reports (gusts over 58 mph) and 101 reports of 1"+ diameter hail.


What's The Hold Up, El Nino? The ocean-atmosphere system in the Pacific isn't in synch, and that is delaying the warming expected earlier this year. Here's an excerpt of a good explanation at NOAA's climate.gov: "In the July 10 update and ENSO discussion, we said the atmospheric part of ENSO doesn’t seem to be responding to the ocean.  El Niño requires that both be in sync and coupled with each other.  Why is the atmosphere acting aloof to the rather warm ocean?  This development may be especially surprising to folks given the rumors and speculation of a very strong El Niño that followed March’s oceanic Kelvin wave. In June, the Bureau of Meteorology in Australia made an interesting observation that might shed light on the lack of coupling between the ocean and atmosphere.  They pointed out that an anomalous sea surface temperature (SST) gradient was not in place across the equatorial Pacific Ocean.  Like the gradient of a hill on a highway, an SST gradient describes a change in temperature across the ocean surface from one location to another..."

Graphic credit above: "The typical evolution of sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies from April through December associated with El Niño.  These maps were created using lagged regression onto the wintertime Niño-3.4 index using monthly data from ERSSTv3b from 1980-2012.  The SST gradient is shown by the difference in near-to-below-average SST (white or blue) across the far western tropical Pacific and Indonesia and the above-average SST (red) across the central and eastern Pacific." Map by Michelle L'Heureux, Climate Prediction Center.


Parched West Is Using Up Underground Water. NASA JPL has the story - here's the introduction: "A new study by NASA and University of California, Irvine, scientists finds more than 75 percent of the water loss in the drought-stricken Colorado River Basin since late 2004 came from underground resources. The extent of groundwater loss may pose a greater threat to the water supply of the western United States than previously thought. This study is the first to quantify the amount that groundwater contributes to the water needs of western states. According to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the federal water management agency, the basin has been suffering from prolonged, severe drought since 2000 and has experienced the driest 14-year period in the last hundred years..."

Photo credit above: "Surface-water depletion in the Colorado River Basin has left this "bathtub ring" of mineral deposits on Lake Mead, but groundwater loss is invisible." Image credit: U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.


A Satellite Image Tour of Planet Earth on Fire. Motherboard has a visual recap of fire season launching into full swing over the Northern Hemisphere; here's a clip: "Believe it or not, the 2014 wildfire season has not yet met its full potential given the widespread extreme droughts across the western United States. According to US Forest Service figures, the number of western fires to date is at about 70 percent of the 10 year average, while the total burned area sits at just less than half of the 10 year average. The tide is turning, however, with new fires bursting out nearly everywhere that they should be expected..." (Image: NASA).


Japan Heat Persists After Hottest Day of 2014 Leaves 11 Dead. Bloomberg has an update; here's the intro: "The Japan Meteorological Agency warned of extreme heat today in Tokyo and other areas after local media reported 11 people died and almost 1,900 were hospitalized yesterday on the country’s hottest day this year. A quarter of the agency’s 927 observation stations recorded 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) or higher yesterday, the most so far this year, the Mainichi newspaper reported..."

Photo credit above: "A child stands under water fall to cool off at a park in Tokyo, Saturday, July 26, 2014. Heat wave continues in the metro areas as temperature goes up high at 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit), meteorological bureau said." (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara).


Bees At The Brink. If you missed this 2-part series at The Star Tribune it's definitely worth a read; here's an excerpt that got my attention: "...In a struggle that echoes the scientific discord over climate change, both are striving to win the public to their side in a fight over the pervasive use of pesticides and the alarming decline of bees. Because whoever captures the heart of the public could influence the fate of the honeybee long before scientists or government regulators render a verdict. “Perception becomes reality,” said David Fischer, director of pollinator safety for Bayer AG, a leading manufacturer of the insecticides under debate. “We are a science-focused company. But that’s not going to convince beekeepers and the public...”


The Energy-Efficient Way to Punish Putin - And Protect The Planet. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed at The Guardian: "..Energy efficiency makes sense not just to curb imports, but also to cut carbon emissions. The European commission’s work has shown that gas imports could be down sharply with a modest increase in ambition on renewables and energy efficiency. The technology is there: more renewable electricity; more biogas from waste; more insulation to curb heating demand; more ground- and air-source heat pumps to replace gas boilers at home; more solar thermal for hot water..."

Photo credit above: "A Gazprom employee at work in the Sudzha plant, just 200 metres from the Ukrainian border. 'The share of Russian gas in EU gas imports has been declining for many years.' Photograph: Maxim Shipenkov/EPA.


You Are Not Late. Afraid you missed the Internet Revolution? This author of this post at Medium happens to believe that we're just getting started, in fact we haven't even scratched the surface of what is possible, what's coming in the near term. There has never been a better time to take a swan dive into the deep end of the pool; here's a clip: "..So, the truth: Right now, today, in 2014 is the best time to start something on the internet. There has never been a better time in the whole history of the world to invent something. There has never been a better time with more opportunities, more openings, lower barriers, higher benefit/risk ratios, better returns, greater upside, than now. Right now, this minute. This is the time that folks in the future will look back at and say, “Oh to have been alive and well back then!...”


10 Things Americans Have Suddenly Stopped Buying. Time's Money.com has an interesting list of items that aren't nearly as in-demand as they used to be, including white bread, gum, razors and guns. Now there's a shopping list. Here's an excerpt: "America is just not the clean-shaven, gun-buying, soda-drinking, Chef Boyardee-eating place it used to be. For a variety of reasons—including but not limited to increased health consciousness, the harried pace of modern-day life, and plain old shifting consumer preferences,—Americans have scaled back on purchases of many items, sometimes drastically so. Here’s a top 10 list of things we’re not buying anymore, at least not anywhere near as frequently as we used to..."


In Photos: The Most Ridiculous Laws in America. Wired.com does a good job highlighting some of the best head-scratchers out there; here's a snippet of a funny article: "...If you know anything about Wisconsin, you could believe the state once required serving cheese with every slice of apple pie—something of an urban myth inspired by a short-lived law requiring cheese and butter be served with every meal. Some of the laws are totally reasonable anyway; you really shouldn’t fish with dynamite, and Rhode Island’s statute against transparent clothing is pretty clearly for the common good..."

Photo credit above: "In Nevada it is illegal for men who have mustaches to kiss women." Olivia Locher.


Walmart's Ice Cream Sandwiches Don't Melt In The Sun. Hey, right now that's the least of my concerns, but I did think this WCPO-TV story via Huffington Post was curious; here's an excerpt: "Last we checked, ice cream is supposed to melt if it isn't kept chilled. But Walmart's store-brand ice cream sandwiches don't even melt in the sun, according to a report from WCPO Cincinnati. The discovery was made by a local mom, Christie Watson, who noticed that a Great Value ice cream sandwich her son left out on their patio table hadn't fully melted -- even though it had been sitting out for 12 hours on an 80-degree day..."


77 F. high in the Twin Cities Monday.

83 F. average high on July 28.

75 F. high on July 28, 2013.

July 28 in Minnesota Weather History. Source: Twin Cities NWS:

1917: Hottest temperature ever recorded in Minnesota with 114.5 degrees at Beardsley.

1849: Severe storms between 3 and 5 AM at the newly constructed post of Ft. Ripley. W.J. Frazier, Head Surgeon noted: "Rain and hail with much thunder and lightning and very high winds breaking many trees."


TODAY: Partly sunny, few Wisconsin T-storms late. DP: 53. Winds: NW 10. High: 78

TUESDAY NIGHT: Mostly clear, still comfortable for late July. Low: 56

WEDNESDAY: Mix of clouds and sun, pleasant. Dew point: 54. High: near 80

THURSDAY: Warm sun, stray late-day T-storm. Wake-up: 59. High: 81

FRIDAY: Sun much of the day. Late thunder? Wake-up: 61. High: 82

SATURDAY: Sunny, very lake-worthy. Dew point: 60. Wake-up: 62. High: 83

SUNDAY: Hazy sun, few late PM storms. Wake-up: 64. High: 84

MONDAY: Some sun, murky and humid. DP: 64. Wake-up: 64. High: 83


Climate Stories...

California: Bring Your Own Water. Thanks to David Horsey at The Los Angeles Times.


Now Two New Large Holes Appear in Siberia. The Siberian Times has the story and photo; here's a clip: "Millions of people around the world glimpsed the first giant hole after it was revealed by The Siberian Times here and on The Siberian Times TV here. Now news has emerged of two new similar formations in the permafrost, prompting more intrigue about their creation. Theories range from meteorites, stray missiles, a man-made prank, and aliens, to an explosive cocktail of methane or shale gas suddenly exploding. The version about melting permafrost due to climate change, causing a release of methane gas, which then forces an eruption is the current favorite, though scientists are reluctant to offer a firm conclusion without more study..."


First Observations of Methane Release From Arctic Ocean Hydrates. Are the mysterious "holes" in Siberia the result of methane release or some other process? Stockholm University reports on new data findings showing methane release in the Arctic Ocean; here's a clip: "Just a week into the sampling program and SWERUS-C3 scientists have discovered vast methane plumes escaping from the seafloor of the Laptev continental slope. These early glimpses of what may be in store for a warming Arctic Ocean could help scientists project the future releases of the strong greenhouse gas methane from the Arctic Ocean..."


The Military Battles Climate Change. Here's a clip from a story at Huffington Post: "...Nationally, there are plenty of concerns in store. Our country's infrastructure is in for major challenges as a result of extreme weather, rising sea levels, and flooding. The Pentagon is taking the correlation between climate change and the national security extremely seriously. Coastal Navy installations are at risk, especially Norfolk, Virginia, home to the "world's largest naval base." Military readiness is diminished when troops are diverted to humanitarian concerns brought on by the ravages of nature. Emergency Responders often require the assistance of the federal government..."


What Is Climate Change Doing To Our Mental Health? Grist has the story; including this excerpt that mirrors my experiences with storm survivors here in the USA: "...When you think about what climate change does, it basically increases the risk of weather-related disasters of one sort or another,” she said. “What happens from a psychological point of view is people get knocked down. Whenever people are knocked down, they have to get up again and start over. And the more that happens, the more difficult it is to keep getting up...” (Image credit: Amelia Bates).


Would Jesus Accept Climate Science? An interesting theoretical question and of course the answer is unknowable. But that free will thing keeps coming up in my discussions with other Christians. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed at Huffington Post: "...Whom should a Christian believe? Should they assume all climate scientists are just furthering a government agenda when they conclude that climate change is real? Or should they accept the science? The answer to that question lies in the exercise of free will. God gave us brains to make good choices. It's just important to remember that every choice has consequences..."


Extreme Weather - Canadians Better Get Used to It. The Globe and Mail has the Op-Ed; here's an excerpt: "...Over the last six decades, Canada’s average temperatures have risen 1.5 degrees Celsius, with warming happening much faster in northern Canada. The frequency of cold nights has dropped; the frequency of warm days has increased. The country, as a whole, has become wetter; sea ice is declining (as everyone knows) in the Arctic but also along parts of the Atlantic coast..."

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