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Paul Douglas on Weather

Eclipse Aftermath - Cool Bias - Tropical Potential Gulf of Mexico

Still Giddy After Yesterday's Solar Eclipse?

Well, that was underwhelming. And for the record, we could have successfully predicted a cloudy solar eclipse for much of Minnesota 10 years ago. If you did see the moon-shadow consider yourself extra blessed.
It's a metaphor. Summer has been eclipsed by a persistent family of Canadian cool fronts in recent weeks. August is running 2.6F cooler than average in the Twin Cities, and odds are we'll finish the month with a deficit of degrees.

Farmers are complaining about a lack of heat (so crops can mature and fill out). Cabin dwellers are whining that it's been too cool for a dip in their favorite lakes.
If only I could push a big red button and change the weather!
Skies clear today as Canada sneezes the latest cool front south of the border. Highs in the 70s (60s up north) with lows in the 50s? Hints of late-September. At least we can enjoy a dry sky today into much of Friday.
A return flow of moisture fuels showers late Friday into Sunday with temperatures trending cooler than
average. Maybe we'll warm up by Labor Day.
Life goes on after an (alleged) partial solar eclipse.

Ultimate Before - After Photograph. The image above pretty much sums it up. For more details on what the total solar eclipse looked like in Torrington, Wyoming check out the post at CityLab.

Next Solar Eclipse? If you didn't see the eclipse yesterday don't despair. It all depends where you live, but much of Minnesota will see a partial solar eclipses on October 14, 2023 and again on April 8, 2024, according to Punch in your zip code to get more information on the next eclipse. On second thought, maybe I'll just watch it on TV.

Cool Bias Lingers. The ECMWF model may be overdoing the cooling trend this upcoming weekend (50s for highs Sunday in the metro seems a bit stark) but the general idea is correct - a cool bias continues into  much of next week with a possible warming trend in time for Labor Day. Twin Cities data: WeatherBell.

Tuesday Flash Flood Threat. The greatest potential for lingering storms later today comes from near Amarillo and Wichita Falls to Oklahoma City and Little Rock, according to NOAA guidance.

7-Day Rainfall Potential.  Keep an eye on Texas in the coming days - too early to say where the heaviest rains will accumulate, but with ex-tropical storm Harvey likely to strengthen again and track toward Texas amounts may be excessive from Brownsville and Corpus Christi to Houston and New Orelans. South Florida may pick up 4-6" rains over the next week.

Keep An Eye on the Gulf of Mexico. NOAA's 12 KM NAM strengthens what's left of "Harvey" into a full-blown hurricane by Friday with movement toward the Texas coastline. Confidence levels are very low, but water temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico are unusually warm - rapid strengthening is possible in the coming days. Residents living on or near the Gulf Coast need to pay attention. Loop:

Why Isn't Local Media Covering the Clean Power Plan? Columbia Journalism Review takes a look: "A daily newspaper in Texas published an editorial about a month ago arguing that any changes President Trump makes to Barack Obama’s climate-change plan shouldn’t include propping up the coal industry at the expense of other energy sources: “The EPA has no business in picking winners and losers.” “We’re in the middle of oil country,” says Roy Maynard, a senior editor at the Tyler Morning Telegraph. “We’re looking at that from a free-market approach. The government doesn’t need to be propping up any of these industries...”

Escaping One of the Nation's Worst Environmental Disaster Zones. As is often the case, the poor are first to be impacted by the ravages of pollution. The Washington Post reports: "...In May 2016, Turner unknowingly moved her family into one of the nation’s worst environmental disaster zones. Last summer, shocked residents in the public housing complex called West Calumet were told that the soil in their yards had been contaminated for decades. In some places, the lead in the dirt measured 228 times the maximum level considered safe. Subsequent blood tests found that 18 out of 94 children younger than 6, the age group most at risk, had elevated lead levels. Then officials tested the water and discovered that it, too, contained lead, raising concerns that East Chicago was becoming the next Flint, but worse. Vice President Pence was governor of Indiana at the time of the announcement a year ago that the neighborhood was uninhabitable..."

From Tesla to Mercedes-Benz, Automakers Become Energy Companies. Ask Apple - it's all about the ecosystem. GreenBiz explains: "Drive your electric car to your solar-powered home, plug it in to charge and enjoy the flexibility provided by the oversized battery parked in the driveway. It's a long-sought environmental ideal, but one that may be getting closer to reality as automakers throw their technical expertise and deep pockets more directly into new ventures in the energy business. "This is the integrated future. You’ve got an electric car, a Powerwall and a Solar Roof. It’s pretty straightforward, really," Tesla Motors founder Elon Musk explained to Fast Company at a model all-electric neighborhood earlier this summer. "[This] can solve the whole energy equation." Aside from the union of Musk's clean energy empire, with Tesla's late 2016 acquisition of SolarCity, German luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz launched a U.S. energy division in November. BMW, Ford and other auto companies are also doing their own energy storage and vehicle-to-grid pilots with a range of utilities and renewable energy providers..."

Photo credit: Mercedes-Benz Energy. "Mercedes-Benz Energy, an offshoot of automotive giant Daimler, is among the companies with roots in the car business branching into energy storage."

Before You Study, Ask for Help. The Wall Street Journal has timely advice for kids heading back to school: "What’s the best way to study for a test? Many students will plunge into marathon study sessions this fall, rereading textbooks and highlighting their notes late into the night. The more effort the better, right? Not so, new research shows. Students who excel at both classroom and standardized tests such as the SAT and ACT aren’t necessarily those who study longest. Instead, they study smart—planning ahead, quizzing themselves on the material and actively seeking out help when they don’t understand it. Carl Wilke, a Tacoma, Wash., father of six children ages 4 to 22, sees the studying challenges that students face almost every school day. He coaches his children to pick out the main points in their notes rather than highlight everything, and to look for headings and words in bold type to find the big ideas in their textbooks..."

The Idea of "Screen Time" is Muddled and Misquided. So says the author of a story at The Conversation: "...But the term “screen time” is problematic to begin with. A screen can refer to an iPad used to Skype their grandparents, a Kindle for reading poetry, a television for playing video games, or a desktop computer for their homework. Most screens are now multifunctional, so unless we specify the content, context and connections involved in particular screen time activities, any discussion will be muddled. Measuring technology usage in terms of quantity rather than quality is also difficult. Children spend time on multiple devices in multiple places, sometimes in short bursts, sometimes constantly connected. Calculating the incalculable puts unnecessary pressure on parents, who end up looking at the clock rather than their children..."

Photo credit: "Hang on mum, I’m just catching up on The Conversation." Shutterstock

Scientists May Have Discovered What Causes Migraines and a Path Toward a Cure. Big Think has more details: "...This study, published in the journal Nature Genetics, is likely to put the controversy to rest, and help researchers develop novel approaches to treat the condition. 59,674 migraine sufferers and 316,078 controls, or those who didn’t get the headaches, participated. They hailed from 12 different countries. All participants were part of previous studies, where they had their DNA or genome scanned. Researchers identified 38 specific genes or loci tied to migraines, 28 of which had never been implicated before. What’s interesting is these same genes are associated with other forms of illness, all in the realm of vascular disease. Due to this, researchers believe blood vessel problems are at the heart of migraines..."

Image credit: "The part of the brain where migraines originate."

How More Americans Are Getting a Perfect Credit Score. Well, don't have to worry about that. Bloomberg has the story: "...Some 200 million U.S. consumers have FICO credit scores, while just under 3 million, or about 1.4 percent, have perfect 850s. That’s according to Fair Isaac Corp., the company behind the 28-year-old scoring model used by lenders to predict whether you will pay back a loan. But over the years the number has become much more than that—it’s now an American totem of success or failure, hope or despair, security or risk. While there are competing models, almost anyone with a credit card knows that a number typically ranging between 300 and 850 holds huge sway over their financial life..."

What's It Like To Be a Solar Eclipse "Addict"? Quartz explains: "Asking an eclipse chaser why they go to such great lengths to spend a minute or two beneath a darkened sky is like asking a person why they bothered to fall in love. Words, they stress, are mere approximations; it’s impossible to actually describe the feeling. But they try anyway: I didn’t have a choice, it just happened. You won’t get it until you see one. Unlike anything else. Gobsmacking. It takes us to another place. It really is a sort of high without ingesting anything. I hear the words “overwhelming” more times than I can count from this group of people who proudly self-identify as addicts..."

Photo credit: "Kate Russo, a clinical psychologist, has seen 10 total eclipses all over the world. Missing one is absolutely not an option." (Paul McErlane).

80 F. high yesterday in the Twin Cities.

80 F. average high on August 21.

74 F. high on August 21, 2016.

August 22, 1910: Daylight is dimmed in Duluth due to smoke from Rocky Mountain forest fires.

August 22, 1870: Downpours across southern Minnesota produce 5 inches at Sibley, and 3.49 at Ft. Snelling. Much of the wheat crop is damaged.

TODAY: Cool sunshine, breezy and pleasant. Winds: NW 10-15. High: 75

TUESDAY NIGHT: Clear and cool. Low: 55

WEDNESDAY: Comfortable sun, early touch of fall. Winds: NW 7-12. High: 73

THURSDAY: Partly sunny, low humidity. Winds: NW 5-10. Wake-up: 56. High: 74

FRIDAY: Sunny start, T-storms arrive late. Winds: SE 7-12. Wake-up: 58. High: 75

SATURDAY: Showers and T-storms likely. Winds: S 8-13. Wake-up: 59. High: 73

SUNDAY: Low expectations: showers may linger. Winds: NE 7-12. Wake-up: 57. High: near 70

MONDAY: Mostly cloudy, another shower? Winds: E 7-12. Wake-up: 56. High: 68

Climate Stories...

How the U.S. Navy is Responding to Climate Change. Here's an excerpt from Harvard Business Review: "...One is that the Navy is our primary waterborne military force. And as the planet warms, the amount of water is going to increase. That is, the area near the poles, which until quite recently has been closed to marine traffic for much if not all of the year, is going to be increasingly open as the ice melts. You think the last time the Western world really encountered a new ocean was in the early part of the 1500s, and the same kinds of opportunities and conflicts are going to exist in the Arctic. A second reason is that climate change is potentially destabilizing to societies, especially societies which are not particularly rich and not particularly well governed. And as those societies become increasingly stressed by things like drought and storm severity, the kinds of behaviors that call the military into action are going to become more frequent, whether those are wars or internal conflicts or just need for humanitarian assistance..."

What Liberals Get Wrong About Climate Change. An article at Axios resonated: "Democrats and environmental groups too often let their ideological agendas get in the way of addressing climate change. My thought bubble: Republicans are the bigger sinners in this debate because most of them refuse to acknowledge that climate change and humans' role driving it is a real thing, as I wrote in my column last week. The left faces an inherently different and trickier problem than the right's rejection of the science: Their tactics and messaging are hobbling their push to address climate change. To be sure, "the left" is broad and diverse, so much of what I say here can't apply to each and every elected Democrat or environmental group. Looking at the left broadly though, I see three big problems with their approach.  Beltway Democrats and green groups have increasingly backed renewables at the expense of technologies that economic modeling says will be needed to tackle climate change to the extent scientists say is needed..."

Image credit: Rebecca Zisser / Axios.

More GOP Lawmakers Bucking Their Party on Climate Change. Politico reports: "...And last month, 46 Republicans joined Democrats to defeat an amendment to the annual defense authorization bill that would have deleted a requirement that the Defense Department prepare for the effects of climate change. The willingness of some Republicans to buck their party on climate change could help burnish their moderate credentials ahead of the 2018 elections. Of the 26 Republican caucus members, all but five represent districts targeted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee next year. But it has also buoyed activists who view the House members’ positioning as a rare sign of GOP movement on climate change..."

Photo credit: "Rep. Carlos Curbelo, one of the most vulnerable Republicans in the House, said this week that the Climate Solutions Caucus has grown faster than he expected." | Susan Walsh/AP Photo.

Seas Rise, Trees Die: Climate Change Before Your Eyes. NBC Connecticut has the article: "They're called "ghost forests" — dead trees along vast swaths of coastline invaded by rising seas, something scientists call one of the most visible markers of climate change. The process has occurred naturally for thousands of years, but it has accelerated in recent decades as polar ice melts and raises sea levels, scientists say, pushing salt water farther inland and killing trees in what used to be thriving freshwater plains. Efforts are underway worldwide to determine exactly how quickly the creation of ghost forests is increasing. But scientists agree the startling sight of dead trees in once-healthy areas is an easy-to-grasp example of the consequences of climate change. "I think ghost forests are the most obvious indicator of climate change anywhere on the Eastern coast of the U.S.," said Matthew Kirwan, a professor at Virginia Institute of Marine Science who is studying ghost forests in his state and Maryland..."

Photo credit: Stephen B. Morton/AP. "In this July 16, 2017, photo, the sun rises on a "ghost forest" near the Savannah River in Port Wentworth, Ga. Rising sea levels are killing trees along vast swaths of the North American coast by inundating them in salt water."

Clouds For The Eclipse Monday? Heaviest Rain Through Tuesday Stays Across Southern Minnesota

Minnesota Eclipse Forecast
Cloud forecast for 1 PM CT Monday. Credit: AerisWeather/Praedictix.
Are you preparing for the partial eclipse here across the state Monday? It looks like we will have to contend with some cloud cover during the time frame of maximum coverage of the sun, which will occur at 1:06 pm in Minneapolis with 83% coverage. The partial eclipse begins at 11:43 am, ending at 2:29 pm.
The best chance of seeing a few breaks in the cloud coverage appears to be across northern Minnesota right now during the 1 PM hour Monday.
Here's what it would look like at maximum coverage across the state of Minnesota. Shadow and Substance has more maps for across the nation if you would like to see how the eclipse will look like in other states/cities.
No 90s So Far In August 2017
Want to know how cool it really has been so far this August in the Twin Cities? The warmest high that has occurred was 89 - back on the 1st. Yes, we have not hit 90 so far. This is in a month that averages 2.6 days with a high of 90+ (out of the 10.6 we average per year). So, how often does this happen? Since records began back in the 1880s, we have had 26 previous Augusts with no 90s during the month - the most recent back in 2014. The extended forecast (which you can find later in this post) continues to show no 90s in sight, so we easily could end up with the 27th August with no 90s.

Risk of an Eclipse, But Will We Even See It?
By Paul Douglas

I predict precious little will get done around midday today. For the first time in 99 years a total solar eclipse will track from coast to coast. Will it be visible - or is this the astronomical version of a predicted blizzard that results in a few lonely snow flurries? Insert yawn here.

Even if clouds linger (a good bet over southern counties) skies will darken, and peak eclipse around 1 PM will resemble twilight - an eerie, almost macabre sight.

Public service reminder: clouds won't shield you from the damaging effects of staring at the sun. Only special eclipse glasses or welding goggles are safe.

Skies clear tomorrow (naturally) as a flush of Canadian air drops humidity levels - a rare run of dry weather Tuesday into Friday. A moist southerly flow fuels more showers and T-showers next weekend (naturally) with highs in the upper 70s. We may go through an entire Minnesota State Fair without any obnoxious heat. Mea culpa.

Expect a cool bias into Labor Day, but a run of 80s should return in September. Remember, Minnesota's summers are super-sized now. I'm OK with that.

Extended Twin Cities Forecast
MONDAY: Clouds, stray T-shower. High 79. Low 60. Chance of precipitation 40%. Wind E 3-8 mph.
TUESDAY: Fresh air! Sunny, breezy and cooler. High 75. Low 56. Chance of precipitation 10%. Wind NW 10-15 mph.
WEDNESDAY: Sunny and spectacular. High 73. Low 55. Chance of precipitation 10%. Wind NW 7-12 mph.
THURSDAY: Comfortable sun at Day 1 of State Fair. High 76. Low 59. Chance of precipitation 10%. Wind SE 5-10 mph.
FRIDAY: More clouds, a little stickier. High 78. Low 63. Chance of precipitation 20%. Wind SE 7-12 mph.
SATURDAY: Unsettled, few T-storms nearby. High 81. Low 62. Chance of precipitation 50%. Wind S 10-15 mph.
SUNDAY: Some sun, nagging thunder threat. High 80. Low 59. Chance of precipitation 50%. Wind SW 7-12 mph.
This Day in Weather History
August 21st
1918: Minnesota's third deadliest tornado strikes Tyler and destroys the downtown area, leaving 36 dead.
1886: High winds hit Northfield with winds blowing at 60 mph for 20 minutes. Peak gusts up to 75-80 mph are recorded.
1883: The 4th deadliest tornado in Minnesota history hits Rochester. The tornado kills 31 residents and injures 100 more. Appalled by the lack of medical care received by the tornado's victims, Mother Alfred Moes, founder of the Sisters of St. Francis, proposes to build and staff a hospital if Dr. W.W. Mayo will provide medical care. St. Marys Hospital opens in 1889 with 27 beds and eventually grows into the Mayo Clinic.
Average Temperatures & Precipitation for Minneapolis
August 21st
Average High: 80F (Record: 98F set in 1947)
Average Low: 61F (Record: 44F set in 2004)
Average Precipitation: 0.14" (Record: 3.64" set in 1924)
Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
August 21st
Sunrise: 6:22 AM
Sunset: 8:08 PM
*Length Of Day: 13 hours, 46 minutes and 35 seconds
*Daylight Lost Since Yesterday: ~2 minute and 52 seconds
*Next Sunrise At/After 6:30 AM: August 28th (6:30 AM)
*Next Sunset At/Before 8 PM: August 26th (8:00 PM)
Minnesota Weather Forecast
A few storms are possible Monday, especially across southern Minnesota, with the potential of a few showers across northwestern and north-central Minnesota. Highs will mainly be in the 70s across the state, with the potential of a few areas popping into the 80s.
Temperatures will be slightly below average across most of the state Monday, with temperatures hovering right around to slightly above average across eastern portions of Minnesota.
Enjoy highs in the 80s Monday... as they will be hard to find for the rest of the week. As we head into next week (and the last few days of August) we could see highs attempt to return to the low 80s, but otherwise a very comfortable stretch of weather is ahead temperature-wise.
We are also keeping an eye on the potential of severe weather Monday across southern Minnesota. A Slight Risk of severe weather has been issued by the Storm Prediction Center across parts of far southern Minnesota (including Rochester), with a Marginal Risk stretching north to the Twin Cities. Large hail and damaging winds will be the main threats.
The heaviest rain through the first half of the week will be across southern Minnesota, where some areas could receive up to about an inch of rain. Most of this rain will come through Monday, with a dry Tuesday expected.
Rainfall amounts through a good portion of this week will be light in the Twin Cities - mainly under a quarter inch. As we head into next weekend, however, rainfall looks to be on the increase, and we could see an inch or more of rain total by the time we reach this time next week.
National Weather Outlook
We'll be watching a stalled front from the Front Range to the Great Lakes Monday, which will finally start pushing south as a cold front late in this day. This could help produce some showers and storms across the region along with a few severe storms across the central U.S., especially from Kansas City and Omaha to the Milwaukee and Chicago areas. Afternoon showers and storms will be possible across parts of the Southeast as southerly winds bring in tropical moisture. Widespread monsoonal storms will be possible across the Southwest, with the greatest potential of flooding rains across parts of central New Mexico. Highs will be in the 90s as far north as areas like St. Louis and New York City.
Cooler than average weather will be observed across parts of the Southwest into the Northern Plains on Monday, where highs could be a good 5-15 degrees below average. Warmer than average weather will be possible from the Great Lakes to the Northeast and in parts of the Northwest, with many other areas hanging within a few degrees of average.

Cloud forecast for 2 PM ET Monday. Credit: AerisWeather/Praedictix.
I know we are all looking forward to the eclipse Monday! Unfortunately, the greatest potential of clouds interfering with viewing the eclipse will be in parts of the Midwest and Southeast, where we could have numerous clouds. However, for areas with the greatest time in totality (areas like southern Illinois and western Kentucky) only scattered clouds are expected.
The heaviest rain through Friday morning is expected across parts of the central U.S. and in southern Florida, where two or more inches of rain may fall. Some pockets of heavy rain will be possible from monsoonal storms in the Southwest as well, especially in Colorado and New Mexico.
Taking a look out into the Atlantic, the National Hurricane Center is watching three areas of interest. The first, in the Caribbean, is the remnants of Harvey, which could reform into a tropical system as it heads toward the Yucatan Peninsula. That system has a 70% chance of reforming into a system over the next five days. The second, an area north of the Dominican Republic, has about a 30% chance of becoming a tropical system over the next five days as the system moves toward the Bahamas and Florida. A third system, further out in the Atlantic, is not expected to become a system over the next five days (only sitting at about a 10% chance) as it continues to deal with dry air and will deal with stronger winds aloft as it continues to move northwest.
Eclipse Will Change The Weather (For A Few Moments)
So with the sun going dark (in some areas) for a few moments Monday, there will be a little less solar radiation. How will that change the weather? Cliff Mass has more: "(W)hat about temperature?   Major cooling, with some areas cooled as much as 6°C (11°F)...but not over the Northwest, where the signal is about half as strong.   One major reason is that the eclipse hits earlier on the West Coast, when solar radiation is weaker, compared to the mid-day eclipse to the east."
Build A Pinhole Camera To Watch The Eclipse
It might be a little late to get a hold of some eclipse glasses, but you can still make a pinhole camera. Popular Science tells you how: "Making a pinhole camera can be as simple as punching a hole in a piece of paper: The sun projects through the gap to throw an image onto another surface (like a second sheet of paper). By adjusting the position of the pinhole, you can focus the image, although you can't exactly get an HD picture. Turning a cardboard box that fits over your head into a pinhole projector will reduce light interference and give you a better closeup, but that's not an experience you can share with your friends." (Image: M. Druckmüller, NASA)
Enough Corn For The Corn Palace
Good news! With recent rains, the Corn Palace in South Dakota will be able to redecorate their murals. More from Inforum: "A summer scare for Mitchell's top tourist destination was narrowly avoided.  Despite an excessively dry summer, Corn Palace Director Scott Schmidt said the city will have enough corn to decorate the nine corn murals surrounding the World's Only Corn Palace. While the city voluntarily skipped redecoration of the murals in 2016, it hadn't faced a drought scare since 2012. And with approximately 275,000 ears of corn needed for the building, coupled with the dilapidation of the 2-year-old murals adorning the building, Schmidt was relieved when a recent rain saved the day."
Drought Taking Longer To Recover From
A new NASA study shows that it is taking longer to recover from drought across the world. More from NASA: "As global temperatures continue to rise, droughts are expected to become more frequent and severe in many regions during this century. A new study with NASA participation finds that land ecosystems took progressively longer to recover from droughts in the 20th century, and incomplete drought recovery may become the new normal in some areas, possibly leading to tree death and increased emissions of greenhouse gases."
Millions Without Food In Ethiopia
Drought and flash floods in Ethiopia have led to a major food shortage in the country. More from the Independent: "Millions of people in Ethiopia require “immediate life-saving intervention” after a severe drought and major flash floods have devastated livestock and crops, the United Nations has warned.  At least 7.8 million people have been receiving emergency food aid since April, up from 5.6 million at the start of the year, but a further 700,000 people in the country’s Somali region did not receive supplies “due to resource constraints” and they are now feared to be on the brink of starvation."
Fewer Apples In Michigan This Year Due To Frost, Drought
Those in Michigan will be able to get apples earlier than average this season, but expect there to be less of them. More from the Detroit Free Press: "While apples, one of Michigan's most valuable fruit crops, may be early, don’t expect a bushel buster of a crop this year. Because of frost and drought damage, according to Fruit Growers News, the Michigan crop is expected 20 million bushels. That estimate is lower than the 24-million-bushel average according to the Michigan Apple Committee."
Growing Virtual Crops To Help Farmers
Do you want fast-growing or drought-resistant crops? Scientists are trying to come up with that... by growing them virtually. More from Scientific American: "What if farmers could grow sugarcane in a matter of seconds, not days or weeks? Scientists are doing just that. Of course, these crops are not sprouting from soil. Instead they flourish on a computer screen.  Digital plants like these are part of a new movement in agricultural science called “in silico,” where researchers design highly accurate, computer-simulated crops to help speed up selective breeding, in which plants are chosen and replanted to amplify their desirable traits. Scientists believe the future of farming is not just in fields, but in graphics, too."


Thanks for checking in and have a great Monday! Don't forget to follow me on Twitter (@dkayserwx) and like me on Facebook (Meteorologist D.J. Kayser)!

 - D.J. Kayser