Paul Douglas on Weather Logo

Blog

Paul Douglas on Weather

Autumnal Breeze - 90F Returns in 8 Days - Will "Hermine" Impact Florida?

Fresh Air For The Fair - Welcome Touch of Autumn

The question comes up fairly often: what is the biggest challenge for meteorologists? It's a loaded question, and every forecaster you ask will have a different answer.

Predicting the extent and timing of floods is very difficult. We can tell when conditions are ripe for tornadoes, but can't pinpoint which communities until they actually spin up. Blizzards are a source of perpetual migraines; where will the heaviest snow bands set up?

In my opinion nothing quite rivals a hurricane. If you're wrong millions of people may needlessly evacuate. If you're wrong, and a storm strengthens rapidly, thousands could die. The models continue to improve, but they're not perfect (and never will  be).

ECMWF (European) guidance hints at a tropical storm impacting south Florida by Sunday, possibly intensifying into a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico. Right now we don't know what we don't know.

Plan on a cool breeze today with afternoon cumulus clouds and low humidity. Fresh air for Day 1 of the State Fair. Friday looks sunny & ideal, but a few T-showers may sprout Saturday. Sunday should be the milder day of the weekend.

Summer weather lovers don't despair: 80s return next week.


Rare Late-August Tornado Outbreak Across Indiana. I counted at least 8 separate tornado touchdowns, probably more. Here's an excerpt at Indystar.com: "Meteorologists were still working to answer a lot of questions Wednesday night after a storm system that spanned much of Central Indiana produced several tornadoes. National Weather Service teams were deployed to evaluate extensive damage left in the wake of a storm, meteorologist Joe Skowronek said. An apparent tornado leveled a Starbucks in Kokomo, about 50 miles north of Indianapolis, though no injuries were reported. The storm that produced the tornado began in neighboring Carroll County and traveled straight east before leveling buildings and tearing the roofs off houses, Skowronek said..."


Supercell. WCPO.com has video of the apparent tornado that swept across Kokomo, Indiana - early indications suggest EF-3 strength, with estimated winds approaching 165 mph.


Couplet. The radial velocity display on the Indianapolis NOAA Doppler showed strong inbound and outbound velocities, suggesting very strong rotation in the Kokomo area - one of several supercell thunderstorms that spun up tornadoes Wednesday afternoon.


Still Sloppy. The circulation around Invest-99 is still disorganized, the result of considerable wind shear and even Saharan dust being entrained into the system. Conditions may better favor intensification within a  few days, especially if/when this storm enters the Gulf of Mexico, which has water in the 84-87F range



Spaghetti Plot. Again, keep in mind that models tend to do a better job with tropical track than intensity. Models remain in fairly good agreement that Invest-99 will track northwest, the core of the (messy) storm remaining over warm water, which favors slow intensification. Odds are this system will reach South Florida as a tropical storm (Hermine) by Sunday.


Sunday Evening: Tropical Storm Hermine? The ECMWF (Euro) seems to want to believe that a weak to moderate tropical storm will impact south Florida late Saturday into Sunday. It's still too early for specifics, but the European model has been consistent bringing a tropical  storm across south Florida for the last 3 days now. Model guidance: WSI.


Still Not Buying It. Yesterday at this same time ECMWF guidance hinted at landfall in southwest Louisiana; now the 12z Wednesday run is predicting landfall over the Florida Panhandle. There is still a huge disparity in model runs - and confidence levels remain very low. But could Hermine strengthen into a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico early next week? Absolutely.


Fair Forecast: Best Chance of Showers Saturday. Expect a dry, comfortable sky today and Friday, but the approach of milder air may set off a few showers, even a stray T-shower Saturday. Right now I don't see an all-day wash-out, but a few hours of showers can't be ruled out. Models show a range of .12" to .32" of rain falling at Falcon Heights on Saturday. Source: Aeris Enterprise.


Milder Day: Sunday. Temperatures may not climb much above 70F on Saturday, but we expect more sun on Sunday with a southeast breeze and highs near 80F. A better day, if you prefer lukewarm weather.


Comfortable Weekend - Heating Up Again Next Week. ECMWF model guidance shows a streak of 80s returning next week; even a shot at 90F one week from tomorrow. Source: WeatherBell.


Recovering From Katrina: Will New Orleans Become the World's Climate Beacon? Deutsche Welle has an interesting read; here's a clip: "Vitally, too, the city has become a testing ground for innovative water management projects, including the construction of river gates to mimic flooding and create sediment. These will hopefully replace some of the 2,000 square miles of Louisiana's wetlands ecosystem that have disappeared due to erosion. In addition, the astounding Lake Borgne Surge Barrier - a 26-foot-high, 1.8-mile-long concrete- and steel-wall nicknamed by locals "The Great Wall of Louisiana" - was constructed to block deadly lake surges. "What's really resulted from Katrina is that now we have a better water management program," Musso said. "I believe that in a post-Katrina world, the right people turned up. I think that the city is going to be better in the future than it's ever been..." (File photo: Wikipedia).


47th Anniversary of Hurricane Camille. WBRC.com in Birmingham has a good recap of this monstrous, Category 5 storm: "Wednesday marks the 47th anniversary of Hurricane Camille making landfall along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, devastating the coastline and the Pine Belt. Camille made landfall as a Category 5 hurricane just after 11 p.m. in Pass Christian with winds of 175 mph. Other estimates placed the winds near 190 mph with gusts of 230 mph. The exact speed will never be known since Camille destroyed all of the weather sensors along the coast at landfall. Storm surge reached 24 feet along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, which was the highest storm surge ever recorded before Katrina. Camille is the second of only three storms to ever make landfall as a Category 5 in the United States, the others being the 1935 Labor Day hurricane in the Florida Keys, and Hurricane Andrew in 1992..."

Photo credit: "In 1969, Hurricane Camille slammed into the Mississippi coast." Source: NOAA.


5 Reasons Some Were Unaware of One of the Biggest Weather Disasters Since Sandy. Dr. Marshall Shepherd explains at Forbes: "...The American public is somewhat conditioned to perceive a named or higher-category storm as more of a threat. The meteorological conditions that produced the Louisiana floods never received an official “name.” One NOAA Weather Prediction Center discussion actually referred to it as ”sheared inland tropical depression” or a monsoon depression. While this is meaningful to the meteorological crowd (maybe), this certainly is not going to resonate with the average citizen. Whatever it “was,” more rainfall fell in parts of Louisiana than some cities in California have seen in three to five years..." (File image: NOAA).


California Firefighters Stretched Thin As Blazes Sweep State. The Associated Press reports: "California's state fire department is stretched thin just as the bone-dry state enters the peak of its wildfire season, with vacancy rates exceeding 15 percent for some firefighters and supervisors. The vacancy rate is more than 10 percent for some fire engine drivers, according to statistics provided to The Associated Press. A five-year drought and changing weather patterns have transformed what once was a largely summertime job into an intense year-round firefight, said California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokeswoman Janet Upton..."

Photo credit: "Laura Sutton, center, the wife of California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection firefighter Nick Sutton, joins others at a rally calling for shorter hours and higher wages to retain firefighters, at the Capitol, Monday, Aug. 22, 2016, in Sacramento, Calif. Statistics provided to The Associated Press show vacancy rates exceeding 15 percent in some CaliFire positions." (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)


California's Ocean Waters Due For a Cooling Trend After Period of Damaging Heat, Scientists Say. But the latest guidance suggests La Nina may not be as strong as earlier predicted. Here's an excerpt from The Los Angeles Times: "As a series of marine heat waves linked to climate change has thrown ocean ecosystems out of whack from Australia to the coast of California, a cooling trend called La Niña has given scientists hope that water temperatures could come back into balance. But so far, the cooling weather pattern — predicted to follow as a result of last winter’s El Niño — remains squeezed by warmer ocean temperatures along a narrow stretch of the Earth’s equator..."

Graphic credit: NOAA, "La Niña developing." (@latimesgraphics)


U.S. Warning: Zika Could Spread to Gulf States, Persist For One to Two Years. The Washington Post reports: "The National Institutes of Health’s Anthony Fauci warned that Texas and Louisiana could be next for Zika. In the weeks since mosquitoes carrying the virus hit U.S. borders, they have already spread from a small suburban community in South Florida to Miami’s most popular tourist spot, South Beach. The development prompted a travel advisory from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday urging pregnant women to avoid the area. Fauci, director of the Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaking Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” said the situation is likely to get worse soon..."

Image credit: "The Post's Brady Dennis talks with Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, about the process of getting a potential Zika vaccine tested and ready for the public." (Video: The Washington Post/Photo: Sammy Dallal for The Washington Post).


Largest Oil Companies' Debts Hit Record High. The Wall Street Journal reports: "Some of the world’s largest energy companies are saddled with their highest debt levels ever as they struggle with low crude prices, raising worries about their ability to pay dividends and find new barrels. Exxon Mobil Corp. , Royal Dutch Shell PLC, BP PLC and Chevron Corp. hold a combined net debt of $184 billion—more than double their debt levels in 2014, when oil prices began a steep descent that eventually bottomed out at $27 a barrel earlier this year. Crude prices have rebounded since, but still hover near $50 a barrel..."


EPA: North Texas Earthquakes Likely Linked to Oil and Gas Drilling. The Texas Tribune reports: "Federal regulators believe “there is a significant possibility” that recent earthquakes in North Texas are linked to oil and gas activity, even if state regulators won’t say so. That’s according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s annual evaluation of how the Texas Railroad Commission oversees thousands of injection and disposal wells that dot state oilfields — underground resting places for millions of gallons of toxic waste from fracking and other drilling activities..."


Apple Becomes a Green Energy Supplier, With Itself as Customer. The New York Times reports: "The words are stenciled on the front of the Apple Store, a glass box sandwiched between a nondescript Thai restaurant and a CVS pharmacy in downtown Palo Alto: “This store runs on 100 percent renewable energy.” If Apple’s plans play out, it will be able to make that claim not only for its operations throughout California but also beyond, as the company aims to meet its growing needs for electricity with green sources like solar, wind and hydroelectric power..."

Photo credit: "A worker helps install new solar panels at a First Solar plant outside Cholame, Calif. Apple will purchase the electricity generated by the plant to power its stores in California." Credit Andrew Burton for The New York Times.


Why Uber Is Going to Test Its New Self-Driving Car in Pittsburgh. The future is arriving sooner than expected. Here's the intro to a Washington Post story: "Silicon Valley is the land of the beta test, the constant tweak, where companies habitually release products still in development to see how they work in the hands of consumers. Last week, that iterative approach, so ubiquitous in software, entered a new realm when Uber announced that it would begin testing a fleet of 100 self-driving cars for hire in Pittsburgh by the end of the month. The move means that the streets of a large American city, one that gets an average of 41 inches of annual snowfall and has more than 400 bridges, will become the company’s laboratory. And the test subjects will be real people who summon the vehicles, some weighing more than two tons with turbocharged engines, with their smartphones..."

Photo credit: "A self-driving Ford Fusion hybrid car is test-driven Aug. 18 in Pittsburgh. Uber said that passengers in Pittsburgh will be able to summon rides in self-driving cars with the touch of a smartphone button in the next several weeks." (Jared Wickerham/AP)


Tesla Touts Speed and Driving Range With New Upgraded Battery. Here's an excerpt at Reuters: "Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA.O) crowned itself the maker of the world's fastest production car on Tuesday, saying a new version of its Model S all-electric sedan can accelerate from 0-60 miles per hour in just 2-1/2 seconds. Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk said the company will offer a larger upgraded battery pack for performance versions of its Model S and X vehicles that will extend range, while also allowing for super fast acceleration. Tesla has long laid claim to bragging rights in the highly competitive luxury car market. But Tuesday's news is unlikely to change the equation on a host of challenges the company faces, from production and finances to regulation..."

Photo credit: "A Tesla Model S charges at a Tesla Supercharger station in Cabazon, California, U.S. May 18, 2016." REUTERS/Sam Mircovich/File Photo.


Here's How Solar Roofs Fit Into Elon Musk's Master Plan. Vox has details: "Earlier this month, Elon Musk made news again when he announced his intention to offer solar roofs, a product he sensed might need a few words of clarification. "It's a solar roof as opposed to a module on a roof," he said on an earnings call about the planned merger between his electric car company, Tesla, with his cousin’s solar panel company, SolarCity. "It's not a thing on the roof, it is the roof." This wasn’t technically the first mention of the solar roof — it also appeared in Musk’s Master Plan, Part Deux, released in July..."

Photo credit: "Dow Chemical’s PowerHouse solar shingles, on a homeowner’s roof." (YouTube)


Electric Vehicle Sales On Track for Mainstream Adoption. Greentech Media has the story; here's an excerpt: "...The 2016 Global EV Outlook from the International Energy Agency (IEA) also said last year was a pivotal one for EV and PHEV sales. “The year 2015 saw the global threshold of 1 million electric cars on the road exceeded, closing at 1.26 million,” said the organization. “This is a symbolic achievement highlighting significant efforts deployed jointly by governments and industry over the past 10 years. In 2014, only about half of today’s electric car stock existed. In 2005, electric cars were still measured in hundreds...”


Inside Shanghai Tower: China's Tallest Skyscraper Claims To Be The World's Greenest. Here's a clip from The Guardian: "...The Shanghai Tower, reaching 632 metres, is the third “supertall” tower on the city’s iconic skyline. Looking out from the 119th floor, the city lies below like a toy model, a densely packed mass of streets and high-rise buildings. China loves a world record, and its new building boasts plenty, including the world’s fastest elevators, highest hotel and restaurant, and tallest viewing platform. Reassuringly, it also required the largest ever cement pouring for the foundations. But most importantly, the 128-storey tower also claims to be the world’s greenest skyscraper. Awarded the top green rating, LEED Platinum, the government is hailing the tower as a sign of China’s growing green credentials..."

Photo credit: "The newly completed Shanghai Tower, China’s tallest building, rises above the city." Photograph: Gensler.


Is There a Place in America Where People Speak Without Accents? Right here! Hey, Minnesotans don't have accents, do we? Atlas Obscura explains: "...But the vaguely Midwestern basis for General American has stuck around in surprising ways. Most Americans do not really believe they have an accent; this is a reasonable, if inaccurate, thought, as most people are surrounded by others who speak the same way they do. But the Midwest is a particularly bizarre place, and Preston knows that better than anyone. Preston is a pioneer in the study of perceptual dialectology, the study of how normal people think about dialects: where they come from, where they are, what they consist of..."

Photo credit: "Minneapolis. The classic Midwestern accent is a result of the Northern Cities Vowel Shift." (Photo: Joseph Sohm/shutterstock.com).



82 F. high in the Twin Cities Wednesday.

79 F. average high on August 24.

67 F. high temperature on August 24, 2015.

6.20" rain so far in August.

3.44" normal rainfall for August, to date.

August 25, 1976: The Roy Lake Fire results in 2,600 acres burned during a drought.

August 25, 1875: A tornado strikes near Hutchinson.


TODAY: Some sun, cool breeze at the Minnesota State Fair. Winds: W 10-15. High: 73

THURSDAY NIGHT: Clearing and cool. Low: 54

FRIDAY: Early jackets. More sun, less wind. Winds: SW 5-10. High: 74

SATURDAY: Unsettled, a few showers in the area. Winds: SE 7-12. Wake-up: 58. High: 72

SUNDAY: More sun, milder day of the weekend. Winds: SE 7-12. Wake-up: 60. High: 79

MONDAY: Plenty of sun, warming up. Winds: S 10-15. Wake-up:  63. High: 85

TUESDAY: Less sun, stray T-storm possible. Winds: SE 7-12. Wake-up: 64. High: 83

WEDNESDAY: Sticky with widely scattered storms. Winds: SE 10-15. Wake-up: 65. High: 85


Climate Stories...

Climate Change: Warning of Extreme Events, and a Move Into Uncharted Territory. An article and new study featured at The Sydney Morning Herald caught my eye; here's an excerpt: "...Already, at about 1 degree warmer than pre-industrial times, parts of the world are experiencing more frequent and intense extreme events – heatwaves, unusual dry spells, dumping rainfall, massive coral bleaching. The report says the upper end of current climate extremes would be "the new normal" at 1.5 degrees warming - which could be just 10 to 20 years away under the current trajectory. At 2 degrees, the picture is much less clear – the climate system would move into uncharted territory..."


This Chart Shows Why Insurers Are Climate Change Believers. When people ask if "I believe" I tell the the truth: I believe in God, I acknowledge and continually test the science surrounding climate volatility and weather disruption. Here's an excerpt at Fortune: "Whether they’re paying for hurricane cleanup or reimbursing farmers for lost livestock and crops, insurers foot much of the bill for disasters associated with climate change. The chart below shows just how big that bill can get; the cost of insured weather catastrophes has been soaring far faster than inflation. Just about every company in the property and casualty insurance business carefully tracks climate data these days (the data for the chart above, for example, comes from Swiss Re)..."


Changing Opinions on Climate Change, From a CNN Meteorologist. I give Chad Myers at CNN a lot of credit. It's OK to change your mind, based on a preponderance of evidence and data. Here's an excerpt of his post, explaining why he now acknowledges that man-made climate change is real: "...2010 was a turning point for me. That year was the hottest year on record, even though there was a La Niña present, a process that should have cooled the planet. Down went the other potential causes: There were no volcanoes producing huge amounts of CO2. The sun was not getting hotter. Satellite-derived temperature readings ruled out the heat-island effect. Even "The Pause" (the so-called period post-1998 that showed very little warming of the planet for about 15 years) had been shattered. They are all now called "zombie theories," long since debunked myths about climate change that skeptics will continually bring up to counter the facts of man-made climate change..."


Russia Posed Military Threat in Melting Arctic, say UK MP's. Here's the intro to a story at Climate Home: "Russian military expansion in the Arctic as a result of the melting ice-cap is a potential threat to the UK, a Parliamentary inquiry has concluded. Moscow has invested millions of dollars in two ice-breakers and new miltary bases MPs heard, with new nuclear submarines also likely to join its Northern Fleet. "The melting Arctic ice-cap may have significant defense annd security implications for neighboring states," said the Defense Committee report, which was published on 5 July..."

Photo credit: "Russia has invested in new Arctic ice breakers." (Pic: Christopher Michel/Flickr).


Bill Nye: Climate Change to Blame for Louisiana Floods. Flooding probably would have happened anyway, but a warmer Gulf of Mexico and atmosphere with more water vapor overhead supercharged the storms, making the flooding worse. Here's an excerpt from CNN.com: "...Nye said due to the effects of climate change, the region will be hit again by these smaller storms and suffer more catastrophic floods. "As the ocean gets warmer, which it is getting, it expands," he explained. "And then as the sea surface is warmer, more water evaporates. And so it's very reasonable that these storms are connected to these big effects." Lost lives and damaged homes won't be the only tragic effects, either. The storms will be just as devastating in the long-term. "What will probably happen is people will move," Nye said..."


In Streak of Extreme Storms, What's the Role of Warming? Climate Central connects the dots: "...A 1-in-1,000-year event — “we’re talking about something that’s not likely to ever happen” — would be 21 inches falling over the same time period, he said. There were nine stations in the area that topped that 1-in-1,000 level, two of which saw more than 25 inches in just two days. The highest rainfall was recorded in Watson, La., which saw 31.39 inches. That obliterated the previous two-day rainfall record by more than 7 inches. “It’s just insanity,” Keim said. Half of southern Louisiana received 10 inches or more of rain, and it’s possible that more homes were flooded in this event than by Hurricane Katrina, Keim said. Many of those homes hadn’t flooded during the previous flood of record, in 1983, or at any time since. “The whole region just got absolutely hammered,” Keim said..."

Photo credit: "Flooded homes are seen in St. Amant, La., on Aug. 15, 2016." Credit: REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman.


A Widening 80-Mile Crack is Threatening One of Antarctica's Biggest Ice Shelves. Chris Mooney reports at The Washington Post: "...It’s called an ice “shelf” because the entirety of this country-sized area is covered by 350-meter-thick ice that is floating on top of deep ocean waters. The crack in Larsen C grew around 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) in length between 2011 and 2015. And as it grew, also became wider — by 2015, yawning some 200 meters in length. Since then, growth has only continued — and now, a team of researchers monitoring Larsen C say that with the intense winter polar night over Antarctica coming to an end, they’ve been able to catch of glimpse of what happened to the crack during the time when it could not be observed by satellite. The result was astonishing..." (Image credit: Project MIDAS).


Global Warming Has Now Made The Northwest Passage a Thing. Phil Plait explains at Slate: "...Roald Amundsen was the first to successfully make his way through. It took him three years in a small ship starting in 1903, and included getting stuck in ice three times. Fast-forward. On Aug. 16—just days ago—a 250-meter-long, 1,070 passenger cruise ship, the Crystal Serenity, set sail, and is expected to make its way through the Northwest Passage in just eight days. How can it do so? Global warming. Over the past few years, the Arctic has warmed so much that the fabled passage has become a reality. The ice melts so much in the summer that it’s not only possible for ships to make their way through the archipelago, but it may be commercially viable to do so..."


Climate Change Could Cost Millenials Trillions of Dollars in Lifetime Income. Mashable has details: "Americans in their 20s and 30s could lose trillions of dollars in potential lifetime earnings as climate change disrupts the global economy and weakens U.S. productivity, according to a new report by NextGen Climate said. If countries fail to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit the amount and pace of global warming, a 21-year-old college graduate today could lose $126,000 in lifetime wages and $187,000 in long-term savings and investments, the report found. This would outrank the lost income due to student debt or wage stagnation..." (File photo: Peter Morgan, AP).


It's Hard to Talk About Climate Change. This Storytelling Project Wants To Make It Easier. Here's an excerpt from Vox: "...If people are aware of climate change, why do so many seem to ignore discussions about the future? And how do you engage people in the conversation? That's what DearTomorrow, an online project founded in 2014, is tackling.  Co-founders Trisha Shrum and Jill Kubit are asking people to create messages, photos, and videos to be opened in the years 2030 and 2050. The idea came about after Shrum heard a speech by Christiana Figueres, the executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Figueres said she had a dream where children look at her and ask, "You knew about climate change. What did you do?..."

Drying Out and Cooling Off - Growing Hurricane Paranoia Across Florida and Gulf Coast

Clearing, Trending Cooler. Tropics Heating Up

I don't know much. Just ask my wife. But here is what I suspect: 1). Skies will clear today with a cooling trend into Friday morning. 2). Sunday looks like the nicer, drier day of the weekend. And I will never (ever) own real estate along the Gulf Coast. Ever. Because I'd wind up spending way too much time watching The Weather Channel. Worrying about massive, Texas-size storms with names.

Life is too short.

The ECMWF (European) model, which provided an 8-day heads-up with Superstorm Sandy in 2012, is trying to bring a tropical storm (Hermine?) into Florida by Sunday. Gulf of Mexico water temperatures are unusually warm; high-octane fuel for hurricane intensification, and this storm MAY strike the Gulf Coast Tuesday of next week. Let's hope it steers clear of Louisiana.

A wet start gives way to lukewarm sunshine today, with highs near 80F. A whiff of autumn Thursday leads to a slow weekend warming trend; a juicy warm front may spark numerous showers and T-storms Saturday. Sunday looks better - potentially lake-worthy.

The atmosphere is shifting gears as we limp into fall.


Imagery above courtesy of Aeris Maps Platform (AMP).


Tropical Briefing. Aeris meteorologist Kristin Clark takes a look at the tropical wave (99-L) that may intensify into a tropical storm or hurricane in the days to come. NOAA's GFS model keeps killing the storm, but the ECMWF (European model) pulls it into Florida as a tropical storm, with possible strengthening in the Gulf of Mexico early next week. Check out her report here.


Let's Hope This Doesn't Verify. And I seriously doubt it will, but we should pay attention to all the models, looking for trends. The European has been fairly consistent for 2 days now, pulling "Hermine" into southern Florida Sunday, then out over the bathwater-warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, where significant intensification is possible. Models tend to do a much better job with track than intensity, so take everything with a huge grain of salt until we get within 48-72 hours of landfall. ECMWF solution valid next Tuesday at 1am, courtesy of WSI Corporation.


Getting Better Organized? As of late last night the convection circulation associated with 99-L was becoming slightly more concentric, but it still has a long way to go before reaching tropical storm strength. Conditions are favorable for strengthening, especially as it (possibly) enters the Gulf of Mexico early next week. Source: NOAA.


Spaghetti Plot. Here are the various tropical model solutions for 99-L, keeping the core  of the storm north of Puerto Rico and Hispaniola. Confidence levels are still low; people living along or near the Gulf Coast and Florida should pay attention. I don't even want to imagine a scenario where this storm pushes more heavy rain into Louisiana.


Tracking Aftershocks in Italy. Using the (free) Aeris Interactive tool you can track tremors, worldwide. Here is what we were looking at last night; a peak magnitude of 6.2 of the Richter Scale.


Taste of Autumn for Day 1 of the Minnesota State Fair. Expect a stiff northwest breeze, a mix of clouds and sun and afternoon highs in the low 70s. In the shade it may border on chilly (for some) but most of us will find it refreshing.  Temperature plot: Aeris Enterprise.


Another Cool Correction - Mellowing Out Next Week. I'm not yet convinced temperatures will hold in the 60s on Saturday (possible if it rains long and hard enough) but Sunday should be the drier, brighter, milder day of the weekend, with a good shot at low 80s returning by the middle of next week. ECMWF forecast: WeatherBell.


Heat Lingers for Much of USA into Early September. We should see fairly frequent cool frontal passages over the next 2 weeks; no sign of significant heat building close to home anytime soon. That said, I doubt we've seen our last 90-degree day of 2016.


47th Anniversary of Hurricane Camille. WBRC.com in Birmingham has a good recap of this monstrous, Category 5 storm: "Wednesday marks the 47th anniversary of Hurricane Camille making landfall along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, devastating the coastline and the Pine Belt. Camille made landfall as a Category 5 hurricane just after 11 p.m. in Pass Christian with winds of 175 mph. Other estimates placed the winds near 190 mph with gusts of 230 mph. The exact speed will never be known since Camille destroyed all of the weather sensors along the coast at landfall. Storm surge reached 24 feet along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, which was the highest storm surge ever recorded before Katrina. Camille is the second of only three storms to ever make landfall as a Category 5 in the United States, the others being the 1935 Labor Day hurricane in the Florida Keys, and Hurricane Andrew in 1992..."

Photo credit: "In 1969, Hurricane Camille slammed into the Mississippi coast." Source: NOAA.


Extreme Weather Like the Louisiana Floods Should Serve As A Warning. Here's an excerpt from the Editorial Board at The Washington Post: "THE FUTURE is being rigged against vulnerable people by a system in which government and industry are complicit. No, we are not talking about the electoral system — we are talking about the climate. The warming of the globe, spurred by humanity’s dependence on fossil fuels, is weighting the dice, as scientists often put it, in favor of increasingly frequent and severe extreme weather phenomena. Extremely high temperatures are the easiest to predict as warming proceeds. Also relatively foreseeable is heavier rain, because warmer air carries more moisture. In other words, do not be surprised if the country sees more costly disasters such as the flooding that hit Baton Rouge over the past week. The Louisiana inundation is probably the worst natural catastrophe the country has seen in four years..."

Photo credit: "Floodwaters surround a damaged home in St. Amant, La., on Aug. 21." (Jonathan Bachman/Reuters).


115,000 Louisiana residents have signed up for federal flood assistance. Details from ABC News.


5 Reasons Some Were Unaware of One of the Biggest Weather Disasters Since Sandy. Dr. Marshall Shepherd explains at Forbes: "...The American public is somewhat conditioned to perceive a named or higher-category storm as more of a threat. The meteorological conditions that produced the Louisiana floods never received an official “name.” One NOAA Weather Prediction Center discussion actually referred to it as ”sheared inland tropical depression” or a monsoon depression. While this is meaningful to the meteorological crowd (maybe), this certainly is not going to resonate with the average citizen. Whatever it “was,” more rainfall fell in parts of Louisiana than some cities in California have seen in three to five years..." (File image: NOAA).


Why Obama Must Pay Attention to the Louisiana Floods. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed from Eric Holthaus at Newsweek: "...Words matter. And since Obama has staked a big part of his legacy on climate change, he owes it to the victims of the flooding in Louisiana, and the potential victims of future climate-related disasters, to address the clear and present threat of climate change directly in Louisiana. The President not only has the ability to improve the lives of the victims of this tragedy, by motivating attention and donations to help their plight, but to save countless future lives as well. To intentionally avoid this responsibility is unforgivable. To be a true leader, you have to change the status quo; when you're trying to lead on climate you have to change the status quo much faster than "normal" politics might say is possible..." (Photo: American Red Cross).


These Louisiana Politicians Are Demanding Flood Aid, But Voted Against Sandy Relief. Here's an excerpt of a column at The Los Angeles Times: "Call it logrolling or one hand washing the other, a generally recognized fact in Washington is that if you want something for your district, it pays to agree to the same thing for another guy’s district. That point may have been lost on three Louisiana Congressmen when they voted against a $50.5-billion relief package for the victims of Superstorm Sandy. The 2012 storm ravaged coastal communities in New Jersey and New York. Now they’re in the position of needing the same sort of aid for their own state. How will that play out?..."

Photo credit: "Voted against Sandy aid, wants Louisiana aid: Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La. (center)"  AP.


California Firefighters Stretched Thin As Blazes Sweep State. The Associated Press reports: "California's state fire department is stretched thin just as the bone-dry state enters the peak of its wildfire season, with vacancy rates exceeding 15 percent for some firefighters and supervisors. The vacancy rate is more than 10 percent for some fire engine drivers, according to statistics provided to The Associated Press. A five-year drought and changing weather patterns have transformed what once was a largely summertime job into an intense year-round firefight, said California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokeswoman Janet Upton..."

Photo credit: "Laura Sutton, center, the wife of California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection firefighter Nick Sutton, joins others at a rally calling for shorter hours and higher wages to retain firefighters, at the Capitol, Monday, Aug. 22, 2016, in Sacramento, Calif. Statistics provided to The Associated Press show vacancy rates exceeding 15 percent in some CaliFire positions." (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)


Parachuting into Forest Fires for $15 an Hour. Good grief, talk about underpaid. Here's an excerpt from CNN: "Smokejumpers are elite firefighters who parachute out of airplanes and into fiery forests -- extremely dangerous work that pays just $15 an hour. That's what the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management pay them to drop into the smoke-choked Western mountains and wild lands. Smokejumpers haul 100-pound packs of equipment and dig trenches, or fire lines, using a pick-axe called the Pulaski, which looks like a Medieval weapon. The fire lines are basically trenches cleared of any flammable vegetation used to stop the blaze from spreading..." (File photo: NOAA).


U.S. Warning: Zika Could Spread to Gulf States, Persist For One to Two Years. The Washington Post reports: "The National Institutes of Health’s Anthony Fauci warned that Texas and Louisiana could be next for Zika. In the weeks since mosquitoes carrying the virus hit U.S. borders, they have already spread from a small suburban community in South Florida to Miami’s most popular tourist spot, South Beach. The development prompted a travel advisory from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday urging pregnant women to avoid the area. Fauci, director of the Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaking Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” said the situation is likely to get worse soon..."

Image credit: "The Post's Brady Dennis talks with Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, about the process of getting a potential Zika vaccine tested and ready for the public." (Video: The Washington Post/Photo: Sammy Dallal for The Washington Post).


EPA: North Texas Earthquakes Likely Linked to Oil and Gas Drilling. The Texas Tribune reports: "Federal regulators believe “there is a significant possibility” that recent earthquakes in North Texas are linked to oil and gas activity, even if state regulators won’t say so. That’s according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s annual evaluation of how the Texas Railroad Commission oversees thousands of injection and disposal wells that dot state oilfields — underground resting places for millions of gallons of toxic waste from fracking and other drilling activities..."



Inside Shanghai Tower: China's Tallest Skyscraper Claims To Be The World's Greenest. Here's a clip from The Guardian: "...The Shanghai Tower, reaching 632 metres, is the third “supertall” tower on the city’s iconic skyline. Looking out from the 119th floor, the city lies below like a toy model, a densely packed mass of streets and high-rise buildings. China loves a world record, and its new building boasts plenty, including the world’s fastest elevators, highest hotel and restaurant, and tallest viewing platform. Reassuringly, it also required the largest ever cement pouring for the foundations. But most importantly, the 128-storey tower also claims to be the world’s greenest skyscraper. Awarded the top green rating, LEED Platinum, the government is hailing the tower as a sign of China’s growing green credentials..."

Photo credit: "The newly completed Shanghai Tower, China’s tallest building, rises above the city." Photograph: Gensler


Elon Musk Leads Tesla Effort to House Roofs Entirely Out of Solar Panels. "Solar shingles" is the operative phrase here, according to a story at The Guardian: "A new venture spearheaded by Elon Musk will create house roofs made entirely of solar panels, in a sweeping expansion of Tesla’s clean energy ambitions. Tesla has finalized a $2.6bn deal to buy solar power company SolarCity to produce solar “shingles” – photovoltaic material that would be fashioned into the shape of a house roof. “I think this is really a fundamental part of achieving differentiated product strategy, where you have a beautiful roof,” Musk said. “It’s not a thing on the roof. It is the roof...” (Photo credit here).


America's First Offshore Wind Farm May Power Up a New Industry. Justin Gillis reports at The New York Times: "...By global standards, the Block Island Wind Farm is a tiny project, just five turbines capable of powering about 17,000 homes. Yet many people are hoping its completion, with the final blade bolted into place at the end of last week, will mark the start of a new American industry, one that could eventually make a huge contribution to reducing the nation’s climate-changing pollution. The idea of building turbines offshore, where strong, steady wind could, in theory, generate large amounts of power, has long been seen as a vital step toward a future based on renewable energy. Yet even as European nations installed thousands of the machines, American proposals ran into roadblocks, including high costs, murky rules about the use of the seafloor, and stiff opposition from people who did not want their ocean views marred by machinery..."

Photo credit: "One of five turbines that make up the Block Island Wind Farm, the first offshore wind farm in the United States, off the Rhode Island coast." Credit Kayana Szymczak for The New York Times.


11 Reasons To Be Excited About The Future of Technology. Medium has an uplifting, optimistic preview of what's to come: "In the year 1820, a person could expect to live less than 35 years, 94% of the global population lived in extreme poverty, and less that 20% of the population was literate. Today, human life expectancy is over 70 years, less that 10% of the global population lives in extreme poverty, and over 80% of people are literate. These improvements are due mainly to advances in technology, beginning in the industrial age and continuing today in the information age. There are many exciting new technologies that will continue to transform the world and improve human welfare. Here are eleven of them..."


MSP: 3rd Best (Large) Airport in the USA. So says Trip Advisor and after spending time at airports around the world I agree that it's always good coming home to MSP: "...Presented for the first time this year, the awards highlight the most popular domestic airports in four categories: shopping, dining, large airports and medium airports (based on their size classification by the FAA). Award winners were determined based on findings from a survey of more than 114,000 TripAdvisor travelers from the U.S..."



84 F. high in the Twin Cities Tuesday.

80 F. average high on August 23.

70 F. high on August 23, 2015.

August 24, 2006: Tornadoes and large hail strike southern Minnesota. One person died and 37 were injured when a strong tornado began 4 miles west-southwest of Nicollet in Nicollet County, and moved almost due east for 33 miles to near Waterville in Le Sueur County. Many storm chasers captured the tornado on video. The largest hail reported was grapefruit-sized at New Prague in Scott County.

August 24, 1934: Early cool air invades southern Minnesota. Rochester and Fairmont have lows of 34 degrees.


TODAY: Wet start, then clearing skies, breezy. Winds: NW 10-15. High: 82

WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy, more comfortable. Low: 59

THURSDAY: Cool sun for Day 1 of the State Fair, a few PM clouds pop up. Winds: NW 10-15. High: 75

FRIDAY: Sunny, best day in sight. Winds: SW 5-10. Wake-up: 57. High: 77

SATURDAY: Showers and T-storms likely. Winds: S 10-20. Wake-up: 60. High: 72

SUNDAY: Partly sunny, isolated T-shower. Winds: SE 5-10. Wake-up: 63. High: 81

MONDAY: Plenty of sunshine, quiet. Winds: SE 8-13. Wake-up: 64. High: 84

TUESDAY: Warm sunshine, no complaints. Winds: SW 5-10. Wake-up: 65. High: 85


Climate Stories...

In Streak of Extreme Storms, What's the Role of Warming? Climate Central connects the dots: "...A 1-in-1,000-year event — “we’re talking about something that’s not likely to ever happen” — would be 21 inches falling over the same time period, he said. There were nine stations in the area that topped that 1-in-1,000 level, two of which saw more than 25 inches in just two days. The highest rainfall was recorded in Watson, La., which saw 31.39 inches. That obliterated the previous two-day rainfall record by more than 7 inches. “It’s just insanity,” Keim said. Half of southern Louisiana received 10 inches or more of rain, and it’s possible that more homes were flooded in this event than by Hurricane Katrina, Keim said. Many of those homes hadn’t flooded during the previous flood of record, in 1983, or at any time since. “The whole region just got absolutely hammered,” Keim said..."

Photo credit: "Flooded homes are seen in St. Amant, La., on Aug. 15, 2016." Credit: REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman.


A Widening 80-Mile Crack is Threatening One of Antarctica's Biggest Ice Shelves. Chris Mooney reports at The Washington Post: "...It’s called an ice “shelf” because the entirety of this country-sized area is covered by 350-meter-thick ice that is floating on top of deep ocean waters. The crack in Larsen C grew around 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) in length between 2011 and 2015. And as it grew, also became wider — by 2015, yawning some 200 meters in length. Since then, growth has only continued — and now, a team of researchers monitoring Larsen C say that with the intense winter polar night over Antarctica coming to an end, they’ve been able to catch of glimpse of what happened to the crack during the time when it could not be observed by satellite. The result was astonishing..." (Image credit: Project MIDAS).


Global Warming Has Now Made The Northwest Passage a Thing. Phil Plait explains at Slate: "...Roald Amundsen was the first to successfully make his way through. It took him three years in a small ship starting in 1903, and included getting stuck in ice three times. Fast-forward. On Aug. 16—just days ago—a 250-meter-long, 1,070 passenger cruise ship, the Crystal Serenity, set sail, and is expected to make its way through the Northwest Passage in just eight days. How can it do so? Global warming. Over the past few years, the Arctic has warmed so much that the fabled passage has become a reality. The ice melts so much in the summer that it’s not only possible for ships to make their way through the archipelago, but it may be commercially viable to do so..."


Climate Change Could Cost Millenials Trillions of Dollars in Lifetime Income. Mashable has details: "Americans in their 20s and 30s could lose trillions of dollars in potential lifetime earnings as climate change disrupts the global economy and weakens U.S. productivity, according to a new report by NextGen Climate said. If countries fail to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit the amount and pace of global warming, a 21-year-old college graduate today could lose $126,000 in lifetime wages and $187,000 in long-term savings and investments, the report found. This would outrank the lost income due to student debt or wage stagnation..." (File photo: Peter Morgan, AP).


It's Hard to Talk About Climate Change. This Storytelling Project Wants To Make It Easier. Here's an excerpt from Vox: "...If people are aware of climate change, why do so many seem to ignore discussions about the future? And how do you engage people in the conversation? That's what DearTomorrow, an online project founded in 2014, is tackling.  Co-founders Trisha Shrum and Jill Kubit are asking people to create messages, photos, and videos to be opened in the years 2030 and 2050. The idea came about after Shrum heard a speech by Christiana Figueres, the executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Figueres said she had a dream where children look at her and ask, "You knew about climate change. What did you do?..."


Tracking Changes in Great Lakes Temperature and Ice: New Approaches. Here's an excerpt from NOAA's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory: "In a new study, scientists from GLERL, the University of Michigan, and other institutions take a new look at changing ice cover and surface water temperature in the Great Lakes. The paper, set to be published in Climatic Change, is novel in two ways. While previous research focused on changes in ice cover and temperature for each lake as a whole, this study reveals how different regions of the lakes are changing at different rates. While many scientists agree that, over the long term, climate change will reduce ice cover in the Great Lakes, this paper shows that changes in ice cover since the 1970s may have been dominated by an abrupt decline in the late 1990s (coinciding with the strong 1997-1998 winter El Niño), rather than gradually declining over the whole period..."

Map credit: "The panel on the left shows the change in seasonal ice cover duration (d/yr) from 1973 to 2013, and the panel on the right shows the change in summer surface water temperature (°C/yr) from 1994 to 2013." Maps created by Kaye LaFond for NOAA GLERL.


Flooding, Extreme Weather and Record Temperatures: How Global Warming Puts It All Together. Here are 2 excepts from the blog of the Union of Concerned Scientists:

Louisiana, August 2016: “I’m going home to see if I have a home”.

Ellicot City, Maryland, July 2016: “Oh my god. There’s people in the water”.

West Virginia, June 2016: “23 dead, thousands homeless after devastating flood”.

What do these events (and 5 more since April 2015) have in common? They were all considered very low probability, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Hydrometeorological Design Studies Center created maps of annual exceedance probabilities (AEPs) for all of them...One can’t help but notice that over these 15 months, 8 rain events were off the probability charts, so to speak. Yes, climate change fingerprint is on these events, including the Louisiana flood, considered the worst natural disaster in the US since hurricane Sandy. Special conditions mainly fueled by climate change were behind this record event..."

Photo credit: "Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Melissa Leake."


Historical Documents Reveal Arctic Sea Ice is Disappearing at Record Speed. Dana Nuccitelli reports at The Guardian: "Scientists have pieced together historical records to reconstruct Arctic sea ice extent over the past 125 years. The results are shown in the figure (above). The red line, showing the extent at the end of the summer melt season, is the most critical. Arctic sea ice extent in recent years is by far the lowest it’s been, with about half of the historical coverage gone, and the decline the fastest it’s been in recorded history..."

Graph credit: "Time series of Arctic sea ice extent, 1850-2013, for March (blue line) and September (red line)." Illustration: Walsh et al. (2016)


Think It's Hot Now? Just Wait. Climate scientist Heidi Cullen connects the dots at The New York Times: "July wasn’t just hot — it was the hottest month ever recorded, according to NASA. And this year is likely to be the hottest year on record. Fourteen of the 15 hottest years have occurred since 2000, as heat waves have become more frequent, more intense and longer lasting. A study in the journal Nature Climate Change last year found that three of every four daily heat extremes can be tied to global warming. This map provides a glimpse of our future if nothing is done to slow climate change. By the end of the century, the number of 100-degree days will skyrocket, making working or playing outdoors unbearable, and sometimes deadly..."


Young Conservatives to GOP on Climate: Hello? Are You Listening? Here's an excerpt from MTV: "...A Monmouth poll from December found that 75 percent of Americans aged 18 to 34 think the government should be doing more to prevent climate change. On top of that, groups that cater to conservative climate-caring types have been proliferating as Earth keeps breaking temperature records. There is Meyaard-Schaap’s aforementioned Young Evangelicals for Climate Action, which tries to get politicians and faith leaders to think about climate change as a moral issue. There are Young Conservatives for Energy Reform and republicEN, which advocate that being conscious of the environment is just economically smart. They definitely aren’t in total agreement with the more progressive and familiar environmental groups out there when it comes to how to solve, or at least mitigate, climate change, favoring free markets and local solutions with no regulations, but they are in firm agreement on the science and the fact that they want their party to acknowledge that this problem exists in the first place..."