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.

A More Comfortable Front - "Bertha" Sighting

Posted by: Paul Douglas under On the road, Bears Updated: August 3, 2014 - 11:22 PM

Just Keep Smiling

I'm older, but no wiser, yet one thing I know: Minnesota Nice evaporates when you're standing in line for a Paul McCartney concert and the sky begins to leak.

"Paul, if it rains you're in trouble!" a women scowled, repeatedly poking me with hypodermic fingernails. Really? I checked Doppler on my cell phone (something my team at a former company, Digital Cyclone, invented in 2001) and was gratified to see others in the crowd quietly doing the same. "Ma'am the shower is ending. And it won't snow. That I can promise you."

Here's the thing: I love the weather. I do my job for free. They pay me (actually I pay myself) to put up with noisy skeptics. It's a never-ending MBA in public relations and crowd control. No wonder I'm neurotic.

A northeast breeze drops dew points to comfortable levels today; most of the T-storms stay south and west of MSP into midweek.

Thursday appears to be the wettest day, with sunshine and 80s next weekend luring you back onto the lake. After record June floods and mostly-lousy weekends in July we're trying to cram an entire summer into August.

Soak it up because the ECMWF hints at 60s for highs by the middle of next week.

PS: the sprinkles ended in time for McCartney's amazing rendition of "8 Days a Week".

No flurries either.


Definition of Isolated Thunderstorms. When it rains hard in your yard the probability of precipitation goes up to 100%, but the high-res visible loop from Sunday shows showers and T-storms over less than 5-10% of the area during the midday and afternoon hours; cumulonimbus flaring up ahead of a slightly cooler and drier front that will leave us breating a bit easier today and Tuesday. Loop: HAMweather.


A Summerlike Week. Next Week? Not So Much. 80s will be the rule this week, with the exception of Thursday, when showers and T-storms will keep temperatures in the 70s. You'll notice a welcome dip in dew point today, but humidity levels creep up as the week goes on, a very lake-worthy weekend shaping up with mid-80s possible both days. A cool frontal passage sparks more heavy T-storms Monday, followed by a possible temperature tumble next week. Source: Weatherspark.


Moisture Plume. The amount of tropical moisture available to a stalled East Coast frontal boundary is impressive, and I could see some isolated 6" amounts near Wilmington North Carolina by 2 AM Wednesday. Slightly cooler, drier air pushes south into Minnesota and Wisconsin; monsoon T-storms producing localized flash flooding from California's Sierra Nevada into Las Vegas and possibly Salt Lake City. 4 KM WRF data: NOAA and HAMweather.


Carolina Flood Potential. 7-Day accumulated rainfall guidance shows some 4-5" amounts possible from near Charleston to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, capable of ongoing flooding headaches. More heavy showers and T-storms are likely to dump 1-3"+ rains from near Sioux Calls to Des Moines and Kansas City. Source: NOAA.


A Close Call from Bertha. No, not Bertha Butt (one of the Butt Sisters), but Tropical Storm Bertha, which may grow to minimal Category 1 hurricane status by Wednesday, well east of the US coast. But the Carolinas will be brushed by strong winds and rip currents, moisture from Bertha fueling additional heavy showers and T-storms with potential flash flooding for the Outer Banks. Storm track: NOAA NHC.


Gov. Brown Declares State of Emergency for California Wildfires. Here's the latest from The Los Angeles Times: "Gov. Jerry Brown on Saturday declared a state of emergency due to the effects of several wildfires burning in central and northern California counties. Thousands of acres have burned in El Dorado, Amador, Butte, Humboldt, Lassen, Madera, Mariposa, Mendocino, Modoc, Shasta and Siskiyou counties, which have been suffering from lightning strikes and high temperatures. Some homes have burned..."

Photo credit above: "This July 28 photo by the U.S. Forest Service shows flames and smoke in the Sierra National Forest." (Burt Stalter / U.S. National Forest Service via AP).


As Wildfires Burn Through Funds, Washington Seeks New Way To Pay. Nothing like running out of money to sharpen one's focus. Maine Public Broadcasting reports; here's an excerpt of a very interesting interview: "...Together, the Interior Department and the Forest Service, which bears the lion share of wildfire fighting responsibilities, have budgeted over a billion dollars for firefighting this year. That's five times more than 20 years ago, and even that may not be enough, if recent years are any guide. There are other costs associated with wildfires, says Rachel Cleetus, a senior climate economist with the Union of Concerned Scientists..."

Photo credit above: "Smoke rises from a fire in Burney, Calif., Sunday, Aug. 3, 2014. A pair of wildfires burning without restraint about 8 miles apart in northeast California became the focus of state and federal firefighters as authorities reported that one of the blazes had destroyed eight homes and prompted the precautionary evacuation of a small long-term care hospital." (AP Photo/Record Searchlight, Clay Duda)


Downright Dismal Images of the Western Drought, A Record-Setter in California. The acceleration of drought out west, especially California, is remarkable. Climate Central provides additional perspective; here's a clip: "...California is turning brown and you can see it from space. Look at the difference between June 2011 and June 2014 in the animation of NASA images below. Note the dwindling snowpack, as well. Sierra Nevada snowpack was just 18 percent of normal this spring..."

Animation credit: "Pair of images above from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite." (NASA).


10 Cities Running Out Of Water. Most of them are in California, as USA TODAY reports: "...Based on data provided by the U.S. Drought Monitor, a collaboration between academic and government organizations, 24/7 Wall St. identified large U.S. urban areas that have been under persistent, serious drought over the first seven months of this year. The Drought Monitor measures drought by five levels of intensity: from D0, described as abnormally dry, to D4, described as exceptional drought. For the first time in the Drought Monitor's history, 100% of California is under at least severe drought conditions, or D2. It was also the first time exceptional drought of any kind — the highest level — has been recorded in the state..."


Otherworldly Downpour Precedes Deadly Landslide in India. When it does rain it's falling harder, with tragic consequences at times. Here's a clip from The New York Times: "When the storm came to this tiny village on Wednesday morning, with a resounding blast and mere seconds of a downpour so heavy it could not be called rain, Dilip Bhagwa Lembeg was walking to his paddy fields. He heard the blast, looked up to the hill behind him, and saw that the mango trees on the hilltop were trembling. Seconds later, most of the houses in the area were gone..."

Photo credit above: "Villagers watch a rescue operation standing by mud and slush at the site of a landslide in Malin village, in the western Indian state of Maharashtra, Friday, Aug. 1, 2014. Heavy rains hampered efforts Friday by hundreds of rescue workers digging through heavy mud and debris, as the death toll from a landslide that engulfed an entire village in western India crossed 50". (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool).


Extreme Flash Flooding In Italian Tourist Town Kills 4, Injures 20. The UK Daily Mail has details on another tragedy. Is the rain falling harder or is this just the media doing a better job of reporting extreme rains that have always been with us? I suspect the former, but I'm keeping an open mind. Here's a clip: "At least four people have died after a flash flood swept revelers at a village festinval in Italy into a river. A furious torrent carried off cars, kiosks and villagers, who were celebrating the traditional "Feast of the Omens" in Molinetto della Croda, near Venice. Around 200 people had taken shelter under a tent when "an avalanche of water" struck, leaving more than 20 people injured, four badly, authorities said..."


Heavy Rain Paralyzes Life Across Turkey. Istanbul was hit by a rare tornado; here's an excerpt from Today's Zaman: "İstanbul was hit by heavy rain on Saturday evening, causing water to collect on several roads, bringing traffic to a standstill. Many locals, heading home from work, were trapped in their vehicles when floodwater accumulated on the roads. Flooding caused traffic jams and congestion problems throughout the city. Municipal workers worked all night to clear streets across the city...."

Photo credit above: "A tornado struck the İstanbul neighborhood of Kasımpaşa amid fierce rain on Saturday." (Photo: Cihan).

Science Fair Project Spins Up NASA Hurricane Study. Are hurricanes becoming larger, and if so what are the economic implications? Should we be focusing less on wind speed and category and more on the size of a storm? Here's an excerpt of a fascinating study from NASA JPL: "...They found that the common practice of using only wind speed to represent hurricanes in economic hurricane damage models is inadequate for large storms, such as 2012's Hurricane Sandy. Zhai and Jiang are the first to quantify the economic impacts of increasing hurricane size. Analyzing 73 hurricanes from 1988 to the present, Zhai and Jiang found that a doubling in size, without a change in wind speed, more than quadruples the economic loss a hurricane causes. Tripling its size multiplies the loss by almost 20 times..."

Photo credit above: "Alice Zhai and Jonathan Jiang." Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.


Researchers Take New Approach To Hurricane Forecasting. Track predictions are consistently accurate, but how do we make that quantum leap and make a more accurate hurricane (intensity) forecast? News 92 FM in Houston has an interesting story; here's an excerpt: "...Forecasters have gotten pretty good at forecasting a hurricane’s path, but when it comes to intensity forecasting, especially intensity just before landfall, researcher Alex Soloviev of Nova Southeastern University says there just hasn’t been much progress. “During the last 25 years or so, there has been no serious improvement in forecasting of hurricanes,” Soloviev said..." (File photo of Hurricane Katia: NASA).


A Look At Some of History's Most Intense Hurricanes. RNN and WDAM.com have a good recap of some of America's superstorms; here's an excerpt: "Here’s a look at some of the most intense hurricanes to hit the United States.

Labor Day hurricane, 1935: This hurricane is still ranked as the most intense hurricane to ever hit the U.S. nearly eight decades after it struck the Florida Keys. Residents in the area had very little warning or chance to evacuate, as the storm was predicted to pass south. Survivors told The Associated Press their families only knew something was wrong in the hours before landfall when their barometers began showing low readings. While no wind speeds are available, the storm’s pressure was measured at 892 millibars, one of the lowest ever recorded. The unnamed hurricane killed 408 people in the Keys, many of them World War I veterans working on a local construction project..."

File photo above: Hurricane Andrew, 1992. "Many houses, businesses and personal effects suffered extensive damage from one of the most destructive hurricanes ever recorded in America. One million people were evacuated and 54 died in the hurricane." (Source: FEMA).


Only 6% of Weather-Related Deaths from 2006-2010 Were from Severe Weather. It may be counterintuitive, but the vast majority of the roughly 2,000 American weather-related fatalities were due to extreme cold and extreme heat. More details from WWLP.com.


Dramatic Image of Supercell Wins National Geographic Contest. Yes, this is one of the most spectacular photos I've ever seen of a strongly rotating thunderstorm. These are the extreme storms that often produce damaging hail and tornadoes. More from The Capital Weather Gang: "A beautiful, dramatic image of a Colorado supercell thunderstorm won first place in National Geographic’s 2014 Traveler Photo Contest. The image, taken by photographer Marko Korošec of Slovenia, is a striking representation of the power of thunderstorms in North America. Low precipitation supercells, like this one in Colorado, are most common in the high plains of the United States. They provide excellent opportunities to visualize the rotating updraft — part of what makes these storms so dangerous..."

Photo credit above: "The Independence Day" – "While on storm chasing expeditions in the Tornado Alley in USA I have encountered many photogenic supercell storms. This photograph was taken while we were approaching the storm near Julesburg, Colorado on My 28th, 2013. The storm was tornado warned for more than one hour, but stayed an LP storm through all its cycles and never produced a tornado, just occasional brief funnels, large hail and some rain." (Photo and caption by Marko Korošec / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)


After Ebola. The world is a dangerous place, but all other risks pale compared to virus and pandemic. That's the argument of this harrowing story at The New Yorker, including the story of Patrick Sawyer, the only American to die from ebola so far, was scheduled to fly to Minnesota - he never had a chance to get on that plane: "...But as the world’s worst Ebola epidemic yet spreads through western Africa, it is important to remember that we won’t always see something. “The single biggest threat to man’s continued dominance on this planet is the virus,” the Nobel Prize-winning biologist Joshua Lederberg once wrote. Few epidemiologists would disagree. There is no bomb, no poison, no plan of attack with the potential to do as much damage..."

Image credit above: "A woman in protective clothing drives an ambulance after departing Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta., Ga., en route Emory University Hospital in Atlanta Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014. A specially outfitted plane carrying Dr. Kent Brantly from West Africa arrived at a military base in Georgia. Brantly was taken to the Atlanta hospital. Another American with Ebola is expected to join him at the hospital in a few days." (AP Photo/John Bazemore).


When It's Bad To Have Good Choices. I've noticed for some time (in me). More choices sounds great, but it also makes me more neurotic - having to choose. This is why you never wander into Byerly's on an empty stomach. Here's a clip from The New Yorker: "...Perhaps, then, what we’re really seeing is how the old fear of missing out plays out in the brain. We’re surrounded by great choices to make, great places to be, great things to do—and that’s wonderful. But when we’re made to commit to one, just think of everything that gets away. Shenhav himself refers to it as the “neural correlates of First World problems.” We know that someone else is eating that delicious ice cream that we passed up—or filling that job that we turned down..." (Image credit: Psychology Today).


88 F. high in the Twin Cities Sunday.

82 F. average high on August 3.

80 F. high on August 3, 2013.


TODAY: Partly sunny, less humid. Dew point: 56. NE 8. High: near 80

MONDAY NIGHT: Mostly clear, more comfortable sleeping. Low: 57

TUESDAY: Comfortable sunshine. Dew point: 54. High: 80

WEDNESDAY: Sun fades, isolated thunder late. Wake-up: 55. High: 82

THURSDAY: Wettest day of the week. T-storms likely. Wake-up: 58. High: 76

FRIDAY: Unsettled, spotty T-storms. Wake-up: 63. High: 81

SATURDAY: Warm sun, hit the lake. Dew point: 59. Wake-up: 62. High: 84

SUNDAY: Sticky sunshine, feels like July. DP: 63. Wake-up: 63. High: 85


Climate Stories....

Ignoring Climate Change is Risky Business. U.S. News has the article following up on the recent "Risky Business" report; here's the introduction: "The U.S. faces significant and diverse economic risks from climate change.” No, that’s not a scary pronouncement from the Obama administration to justify its climate policies. That’s the first sentence of the report “Risky Business”— from a staid committee co-chaired by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former George W. Bush administration Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and retired hedge fund founder Tom Steyer — urging the business community “to rise to the challenge and lead the way in helping reduce climate risks...”


Minnesota: Likely Impacts 2020-2039. Here's a graphic from the recent "Risky Business" report, detailing the changes that may be coming to Minnesota and the rest of the planet. It's a worthy read.


Global Warming Kicks up Record Pacific Trade Winds. Remember that everything in the atmosphere-ocean-cryosphere system is interconnected. It's one big domino effect and we're in uncharted waters. Here's an excerpt from Discovery: "Rapid warming of the Atlantic Ocean is "turbocharging" Pacific equatorial trade winds, according to new research. These are the strongest trade winds since recording began in the 1860s, according to scientists from the University of New South Wales and the University of Hawaii. "The increase in these winds has ... amplified the Californian drought, accelerated sea level rise three times faster than the global average in the Western Pacific and has slowed the rise of global average surface temperatures since 2001," the study's authors report..." (image above: iStock).

* more on this research at phys.org and nature.com.


Where Should You Ride out Global Warming? Hint: It's Not The South. Here's an excerpt of an interesting analysis at al.com: "University of Washington atmospheric science professor Dr. Cliff Mass says in his blog this week that the Pacific Northwest is the spot in the lower 48 states to ride out global warming. Mass starts out by assuming global warming is real and "will take hold" later this century. Here's why he says the "Pacific Northwest is the place to be."

1. Sea level rise

It's not a big problem in the Pacific Northwest, Mass says, because of the general rise in elevation along Northwest shorelines. "Forget Florida," he says flatly. And South Alabama's beaches won't fare much better, his map indicates..."

Image credit above: "Based on U.S. Geological Survey publications including threat maps, meteorology professor Dr. Cliff Mass shows the coast areas most vulnerable to rising water caused by global warming." (Cliff Mass Weather Blog).


Why The Northwest Is A Potential "Climate Refuge" From Effects of Global Warming. Here's another look at Cliff Mass's recent post, and I certainly don't disagree that The Pacific Northwest has many things going for it when it comes to climate volatility, access to water and rising sea level. I'm not sure how this doesn't devolve into a PR scuffle (brought to you by the Local Chamber of Commerce!) My town will do better than your town, etc etc. I would argue that Minnesota, the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes may also fare well, as wet areas become even wetter in the years to come, which will bring it's own unique set of problems and issues. Time will tell. Here's an excerpt from KPLU News: "...So, I can go through one item after the other of major changes that are going to happen under global warming. And most of them will not produce serious effects here in the Northwest,” Mass said. Mass also cites researchers at Portland State University, who have published a study suggesting the Willamette Valley could become a place to ride out worsening conditions of a warming planet."

Map credit above: "The colored dots plot out expected effects of climate change." Courtesy Cliff Mass.


New Study Sees Warming Atlantic Behind a Host of Recent Climate Shifts. Andrew Revkin reports at The New York Times; here's the intro: "Using climate models and observations, a fascinating study in this week’s issue of Nature Climate Change points to a marked recent warming of the Atlantic Ocean as a powerful shaper of a host of notable changes in climate and ocean patterns in the last couple of decades — including Pacific wind, sea level and ocean patterns, the decade-plus hiatus in global warming and even California’s deepening drought. The study, “Recent Walker circulation strengthening and
Pacific cooling amplified by Atlantic warming
,” was undertaken by researchers at the University of New South Wales and University of Hawaii
..."


China's Surprise on Climate Change. Yes, the effort to wean ourselves off fossil fuels has to be a global effort, and China now emits more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than the USA. They're starting to realize they have a longer term problem, and challenge. How do you keep the lights on, grow the economy, move more people into the middle class, with far less carbon-based pollution? Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed at USA TODAY that caught my eye: "...Taking a long view, Chinese leaders see the threats posed by rising sea levels, droughts and other effects of climate change. For all these reasons, China is considering its first mandatory cap on coal use. Whether that will happen, or be sufficient, remains uncertain. Sustaining economic growth that has lifted a million people out of poverty remains China's overriding priority. Signals of its intentions could emerge at climate talks next month in New York, in December in Peru and next year in Paris. That's where the United States comes in. As the two biggest emitters of greenhouse gases, China and America hold the key on global warming..."

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