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Looks Like a Holiday: More Showers & T-storms Today

Paying Our Respects

Saturday our pontoon wouldn't start, a stiff wind blowing us across the lake. No AAA to save us. A boater puttered over and gave us a tow - a good Samaritan, happy to help. "Lake rules" he laughed, accepting compensation in the form of cold beer.

We love the water - but we've had rotten luck with boats. A 33-footer sank in 2010, another pontoon swept off its lift, drifting for days before the sheriff returned it to our dock.

"Dad, please don't repeat these stories. I'm in the Navy. It's embarrassing" my Naval Academy grad groaned. Sorry son. My life is a cautionary tale.

When you have a child in the military you watch the news very differently. Suddenly Iraq, Iran and the South China Sea are too close for comfort. You flinch when your phone rings late at night.

Take time to thank enlisted, veterans and their families today. Take nothing for granted, especially our freedom.

Showers & T-storms linger into Tuesday; more drought-busting rains. The timing could have been better but we do need this moisture.

The boundary separating steamy from comfortable hovers overhead into next week, sparking more waves of thunderstorms as the drought eases.

Have a terrific Memorial Day.


Flash Flood Potential. NOAA has issued a flood watch from San Antonio to Kansas City - a huge expanse of real estate threatened by sustained urban and river flooding. Texas and Oklahoma have been hit very hard by flooding; an active southern branch of the jet stream Exhibit A of a strengthening El Nino warming phase in the Pacific Ocean. Source: NOAA and AerisWeather.


Moist Plume. NOAA's 12 KM NAM model shows the surge of moisture responsible for extensive flooding over the Southern Plans. Minnesota is on the cool/stable side of a deep trough of low pressure, meaning little or no risk of severe storms today, but showers and T-storms may pack locally heavy rain. 84 hour accumulated rainfall product: AerisWeather.


7-Day Rainfall Potential. QPF values suggest another 4-6" of rain over the next week from near Dallas, Wichita Falls and Tulsa to Little Rock, Huntsville and Atlanta. Although the heaviest rainfall amounts are forecast to remain just south and east of Minnesota, another 1-2" of rain is possible by early next week.


Storms Roughly Every 3 Days. Right now sloppy fronts and storms are spaced about 3 days apart, a trend which should continue into next week. The boundary separating steamy heat over the Plains from cool, comfortable Canadian air will continue to hover over the Upper Mississippi Valley the next 10 days, sparking more rounds of locally heavy rain. Source: Weatherspark.


June Sizzle? Long-range GFS guidance shows the core of the jet stream lifting north as hot, steamy air expands northward across the Rockies and Plains. If this forecast verifies, still a big if, it may heat up into the 80s and 90s by mid-June. Source: GrADS:COLA/IGES.


Decade After Katrina, Pointing Finger More Firmly At Army Corp. As is usually the case in a massive disaster, there was no one smoking gun, but rather a cascade of events, only some of which could have been anticipated in advance. Here's the intro to a story at The New York Times: "Nearly 10 years on, one might assume that the case of Hurricane Katrina is closed. That the catastrophic flooding of this city was caused not merely by a powerful storm but primarily by fatal engineering flaws in the city’s flood protection system has been proved by experts, acknowledged by the United States Army Corps of Engineers and underscored by residents here to anyone who might suggest otherwise..." (Image: NOAA).


Hurricane Expert: "New England Really Gets It In The Teeth" As Climate Warms. Will warmer ocean and a continued northward shift in weather patterns impact hurricane frequency or intensit over New England? Forbes has an interesting article and interview; here's an excerpt: "...Instead of using weather observations from the field, researchers can substitute conditions predicted by global climate models—wind conditions and thermodynamic conditions of the sea and air in a hypothetical climate warmed by greenhouse gas emissions. And that has empowered Emanuel to predict in some detail how hurricanes may behave in a warmer climate. If the models prove correct—a big if—New England faces a stormy ride as the climate warms this century...." (Image: NASA).


Last year was the hottest since 1850, according to the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), part of what it said is a continuing trend.

According to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), May 2014 to April 2015 is the joint-warmest 12-month period in 136 years.

Those figures could rise further if the weather phenomenon known as El Nino continues to intensify, as scientists RTCC has spoken to believe it will.

- See more at: http://www.rtcc.org/2015/05/21/el-nino-likely-to-ensure-2015-breaks-warming-records/#sthash.ALmaQ1Uu.dpuf

Your Contribution To The California Drought. Much of our food is grown in California - I remember reading that the average distance from where food is grown to where it's consumed is about 1,000 miles. More incentive to buy (and eat) local, when possible. Here's an excerpt from The New York Times: "...California farmers produce more than a third of the nation’s vegetables and two-thirds of its fruits and nuts. To do that, they use nearly 80 percent of all the water consumed in the state. It is the most stubborn part of the crisis: To fundamentally alter how much water the state uses, all Americans may have to give something up. The portions of foods shown here are grown in California and represent what average Americans, including non-Californians, eat in a week..."


Farming In The Sky. The future of agriculture may be...up? Here's an excerpt of a fascinating story at The Atlantic: "...The future of farming is looking up—literally, and in more ways than one: There are grow towers, rooftops, and industry talk of Waterworld-style “plant factories” in futuristic floating cities. And this vertical movement is happening for a variety of reasons. For one, by prioritizing localized operations, it offers a remedy to the mounting economic difficulties that independent farmers face when otherwise so easily underpriced by Big Ag. But more importantly, it’s rising out of environmental concerns—space, soil health, climate change, vital ecosystems decimated by monoculture..." (Photo: Edgar Su, Reuters).


10 Jaw-Dropping Photos From The 2015 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest. Here's an excerpt from Huffington Post: "The entries for the 2015 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest are in, and the photographs are as stunning as ever. The annual contest asks photographers from all around world to submit photos in four categories: Travel portraits, outdoor scenes, sense of place, and spontaneous moments. Photographers are allowed to submit as many photos as they'd like for $15 apiece, with no cap on the number one person can enter. The contest, which ends June 30, is still open for entries..."

Photo credit above: "I was out in the Arches National Park to take night pictures, but the clouds moved in. I waited for about two hours in the car and finally the sky cleared and I got this image." Photograph and caption by Manish Mamtani/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest.



64 F. high in the Twin Cities Sunday.

72 F. average high on May 24.

80 F. high on May 24, 2015.

.29" rain fell at KMSP yesterday. Eau Claire reported .70" of rain.

May 24, 1925: After seeing a high of 99 degrees two days earlier, the Twin Cities picked up a tenth (.10) of an inch of snow.

May 24, 1908: Tornadoes hit the counties of Martin and Blue Earth. Source: MPX National Weather Service.


MEMORIAL DAY: A few showers and T-storms likely, damp most of the day. Winds: SW 15. High: 68

MONDAY NIGHT: Showers begin to taper. Low; 57

TUESDAY: Sunny start, PM T-storm possible, especially up north. High: 72

WEDNESDAY: More sun, feels like summer again. Wake-up: 59. High: 80

THURSDAY: Sticky sunshine, a taste of July. Dew point: 62. Wake-up: 62. High: 82

FRIDAY: Showers and T-storms likely. Wake-up: 60. High: 72

SATURDAY: Partly sunny, cooler, less humid. Wake-up: 53. High: 66

SUNDAY: Plenty of sun, quite pleasant. Wake-up: 47. High: near 70


Climate Stories...

Shell Boss Warns That Unchecked Fossil Fuel Burning Will Cause Global Warming. Could there arise new technologies even more disruptive than fracking, that allow us to burn fossil fuels without CO2 emissions? I wouldn't rule anything out. Even though this appears like a remote technological miracle today, new processes and materials could make today's (pipe-dream) a reality at some point in the future. That said, we can't count on this kind of innovation; we may have to dial down fossil fuel use even faster to stay within a 2C temperature rise. Here's an excerpt of a story at Christian Today: "The world's fossil fuel reserves cannot be burned unless some way is found to capture their carbon emissions, Royal Dutch Shell Chief Executive Officer Ben van Beurden said on Friday. In an interview published in the Guardian newspaper, Van Beurden forecast that global energy use would produce "zero carbon" by the end of the century, and that his group would get a "very large segment" of its earnings from renewable power..."

Lousy Timing: Drought-Busting Rains Next 36 to 48 Hours

Serious Puddle Potential

Peering out my rain-splattered window I know, instantly, this must be a holiday. Mother Nature has a sadistic streak. It's more fun turning on the rain, thunder and lightning when people are trying to squeeze in a few dry, lukewarm hours outside.

"Paul, can't you DO something about the weather?" a couple in Nisswa joked yesterday. "Yes, but I choose not to" I answered. Why? Because you can't keep farmers, boaters and golfers happy, simultaneously.

The drought is fading fast as the pattern trends wetter - soggy storms taking a more northerly detour in recent weeks; cutting our rainfall deficit. This may be a symptom of El Nino; the warming of Pacific Ocean water. Texas went from severe drought to flood in 3 weeks. Yesterday 95 percent of Texas was in a Flood Watch. I've never seen that before.

Showers and scattered thunderstorms will prowl the state much of today and Monday. It won't be a steady ("stratiform") rain, like we see in spring and autumn but T-storms may drop heavy rain tonight into Monday morning. ECMWF (European) guidance prints out 2-3 inches of additional rain in the next week for MSP.

I'm always amazed by how fast the pattern can change here in Minnesota.


.76" rain predicted by late Monday night in the Twin Cities (NAM model).


Going Downhill. Have a Plan B for much of today and Monday as a jolt of southern moisture surges northward into Minnesota. The rain will be tricky to time, but it will come down heavy at times later today; again Memorial Day. Graphic: National Weather Service.


Looks Like Rain. NOAA's NAM model shows moisture from the Gulf of Mexico pushing rapidly north. We won't see 5-8" rains like much of central Oklahoma, but some 1-3" amounts are possible between now and Tuesday morning. Source: AerisWeather.


A Drought-Busting Pattern. We aren't out of the woods in terms of drought conditions, but the pattern we're in favors significant rains into early and mid-June as the boundary separating hot from comfortable continues to waver back and forth over Minnesota. As long as the core of the jet stream is howling above the Upper Midwest we should see frequent storms capable of putting a real dent in the drought.


Significant Drought Reduction, Followed By Cold Temperatures. I pray the frosty mornings are behind us now, but the heavy thunderstorm season is just getting wound up. Here's an excerpt from Dr. Mark Seeley's WeatherTalk blog: "...May total rainfall is significantly above normal now for several Minnesota climate stations, including:
6.21" at Moorhead
5.07" at Georgetown
5.98" at Artichoke Lake
6.48" at Cass Lake
5.32" at Park Rapids
5.00" at Pokegama Dam
4.53" at Kabetogama
6.72" at Morris.
.."


El Nino Like To Ensure 2015 Breaks Warming Records. Here's an excerpt from a summary at rtcc.org: "Last year was the hottest since 1850, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), part of what it said is a continuing trend. According to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), May 2014 to April 2015 is the joint-warmest 12-month period in 136 years. Those figures could rise further if the weather phenomenon known as El Nino continues to intensify, as scientists RTCC has spoken to believe it will..."


Last year was the hottest since 1850, according to the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), part of what it said is a continuing trend.

According to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), May 2014 to April 2015 is the joint-warmest 12-month period in 136 years.

Those figures could rise further if the weather phenomenon known as El Nino continues to intensify, as scientists RTCC has spoken to believe it will.

- See more at: http://www.rtcc.org/2015/05/21/el-nino-likely-to-ensure-2015-breaks-warming-records/#sthash.ALmaQ1Uu.dpuf

Your Contribution To The California Drought. Much of our food is grown in California - I remember reading that the average distance from where food is grown to where it's consumed is about 1,000 miles. More incentive to buy (and eat) local, when possible. Here's an excerpt from The New York Times: "...California farmers produce more than a third of the nation’s vegetables and two-thirds of its fruits and nuts. To do that, they use nearly 80 percent of all the water consumed in the state. It is the most stubborn part of the crisis: To fundamentally alter how much water the state uses, all Americans may have to give something up. The portions of foods shown here are grown in California and represent what average Americans, including non-Californians, eat in a week..."


The Best State in America for Women: Minnesota. So says The Washington Post, and they have the data, maps and graphics to prove it; here's the intro: "Minnesota is the best state for women in America. That’s according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, a nonprofit that on Wednesday published the final two reports in a sprawling seven-part series exploring how women are faring in the states. The “Status of Women in the States” series, an update on a set of reports from 2004, represents an ambitious attempt to quantify gender inequality in the states—and provide fodder for the national discussion..."


Farming In The Sky. The future of agriculture may be...up? Here's an excerpt of a fascinating story at The Atlantic: "...The future of farming is looking up—literally, and in more ways than one: There are grow towers, rooftops, and industry talk of Waterworld-style “plant factories” in futuristic floating cities. And this vertical movement is happening for a variety of reasons. For one, by prioritizing localized operations, it offers a remedy to the mounting economic difficulties that independent farmers face when otherwise so easily underpriced by Big Ag. But more importantly, it’s rising out of environmental concerns—space, soil health, climate change, vital ecosystems decimated by monoculture..." (Photo: Edgar Su, Reuters).



73 F. high in the Twin Cities Saturday.

71 F. average high on May 23.

75 F. high on May 23, 2014.

Trace of rain fell yesterday at KMSP.

May 23, 1914: Early heat wave across the state with 103 at Tracy.


TODAY: Showers and T-storms likely. Winds: SE 15+ High: 69

SUNDAY NIGHT: Showers and T-storms, locally heavy rain. Low: 59

MEMORIAL DAY: Humid and unsettled, more T-storms likely, especially AM hours. Winds: S 15+ High: 72

TUESDAY: Partly sunny, PM T-shower up north. Wake-up: 60. High: 75

WEDNESDAY: Warm, sticky sunshine. Wake-up: 59. High: 80

THURSDAY: Few showers, heavy T-storms. Wake-up: 61. High: 76

FRIDAY: Some sun, stray T-storm. Wake-up: 60. High: 77

SATURDAY: Slightly cooler, rain far south. Wake-up: 57. High: 72


Climate Stories...

Shell Boss Warns That Unchecked Fossil Fuel Burning Will Cause Global Warming. Could there arise new technologies even more disruptive than fracking, that allow us to burn fossil fuels without CO2 emissions? I wouldn't rule anything out. Even though this appears like a remote technological miracle today, new processes and materials could make today's (pipe-dream) a reality at some point in the future. That said, we can't count on this kind of innovation; we may have to dial down fossil fuel use even faster to stay within a 2C temperature rise. Here's an excerpt of a story at Christian Today: "The world's fossil fuel reserves cannot be burned unless some way is found to capture their carbon emissions, Royal Dutch Shell Chief Executive Officer Ben van Beurden said on Friday. In an interview published in the Guardian newspaper, Van Beurden forecast that global energy use would produce "zero carbon" by the end of the century, and that his group would get a "very large segment" of its earnings from renewable power..."


Saudi Arabia Ministoer Sees Day When Nation Exports Solar Power, Not Oil. This caused quite a stir, an acknowledgment that relying on fossil fuels, for a variety of compelling reasons, may be unsustainable. Here's an excerpt from The Boston Globe: "Saudi Arabia’s oil minister predicted an eventual end to the nation’s fossil fuel exports, anticipating instead the day the world’s largest crude exporter will sell solar power. “In Saudi Arabia we recognize that eventually, one of these days, we’re not going to need fossil fuels,” Ali Al-Naimi said at a climate conference in Paris on Thursday. “I don’t know when -- 2040, 2050 or thereafter. So we have embarked on a program to develop solar energy.” He later said fossil fuels will still dominate the world’s energy supply through 2050..."


Exclusive: The CIA Is Shuttering A Secretive Climate Research Program. Mother Jones has a curious story; here's a clip: "...Under the program, known as Medea, the CIA had allowed civilian scientists to access classified data—such as ocean temperature and tidal readings gathered by Navy submarines and topography data collected by spy satellites—in an effort to glean insights about how global warming could create security threats around the world. In theory, the program benefited both sides: Scientists could study environmental data that was much higher-resolution than they would normally have access to, and the CIA received research insights about climate-related threats. But now, the program has come to a close..."

Photo credit above: "Polar bears approach the submarine USS Honolulu near the North Pole." .