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Paul Douglas on Weather

Sticky Sun - Hints of June Heatwave - Climate Connection for Texas Floods?

It Only Takes One

I live in a state of perpetual paranoia. Are the kids safe and healthy? Is my wife upset? What about accounts receivable and payroll? And is this the year an EF-5 tornado hits a downtown? In 2010 Minnesota experienced a mind-blowing 145 tornadoes. Since then it's been fairly quiet.

We're going on 10 years since a major Category 3 or stronger hurricane hit the U.S. coastline. Odds favor fewer hurricanes in 2015 with a strong El Nino, but all it takes is one.

Meteorologists worry about apathy setting in - technology has lulled us into a false sense of security. "I can wait until the last moment to evacuate inland or run for the basement!" Were residents of Houston and Austin expecting historic flooding? Probably not.

A low-grade case of weather-paranoia is always a good thing.

Yesterday's light-switch summer day was a tonic for the soul. Expect more 80s today, a few growls of thunder Friday; then a a cooler, drier, sunnier weekend with highs in the 60s. Only the brave and foolish will be in the lake.

The mercury brushes 80F again next week as dew points top 60. Men will sweat, women will glow, dogs will pant. Summer the way it was probably meant to be at this latitude.

Just make it a habit of keeping a watchful eye on the western sky - OK?


Northward Shift to Monsoon Season? GFS guidance shows a potential for some 3-6" rainfall amounts from eastern Nebraska into Iowa and southwestern Minnesota by Thursday of next week. With any luck we won't have a whiplash-event similar to Texas and Oklahoma, but I suspect within a few weeks we won't be including Drought Monitor maps. Will it be as wet as previous Junes? Possible, but I doubt it. GFS accumulated rainfall forecast: NOAA and AerisWeather.


30 Day Rainfall Departures. NOAA data shows rainfall amounts now as much as 10-15" above average for the last 30 days over much of Oklahoma and Texas, with pockets of unusually wet soil into Denver and central South Dakota. Meanwhile the east is abnormally dry, and so is the coastal Pacific Northwest.


A Sunnier Weekend. Yes, you can have all the sunshine you want Saturday and Sunday, but it will come with a cost. You may not feel inspired to go jump in a lake this weekend with temperatures in the 50s and 60s and a stiff breeze. A drop in humidity will be welcome, along with a lack of red blobs on Doppler radar. I think European guidance (above) is too cool; we should top 80F again next week.


June Heatwave? This is still 2 weeks out and confidence levels are moderate to low, but GFS guidance (500 mb forecast winds aloft) show a big ridge of hot, high pressure forming over the central Plains, the main storm track pushing north into Canada. Will this verify? Will we enjoy a few 90s by mid-June. Check back often, a few dozen times a day would be helpful. Source: GrADS:COLA/IGES.


Texas Storms: Flooding Had "Tsunami-Type Power", Says Governor. The power of moving water: 6" can knock you off your feet, as little as 2 feet of rapidly moving water can turn your SUV into a boat, with tragic consequences. Here's an excerpt from The Guardian, including mention of the fact that this is now the wettest May in Oklahoma history: "...Texas governor Greg Abbott has expanded the emergency disaster zone in his state, adding 24 counties to a list of 13 affected by storms and flooding. Three people were reported dead and 12 missing as Oklahoma was also hit hard, while a tornado left 13 dead in a Mexican town just beyond the border. Abbott said the damage caused by flash floods in central Texas was “absolutely devastating” and had been caused by “relentless, tsunami-type power”..."

Photo credit above: "Texas National Guard soldiers and members of the Texas Task Force 1 search for bodies on the banks of the Blanco River after the flood in Wimberley, Texas, on Tuesday May 26, 2015." (Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman/TNS)


Texas Was In A Horrible Drought Last Year. Now It's Flooded. What Gives? Houston saw 1 inch of rain in 5 minutes? Meteorologist Eric Holthaus puts things into perspective at Slate; here's an excerpt: "...A steadily escalating whipsaw between drought and flood is one of the most confident predictions of an atmosphere with enhanced evaporation rates—meaning, global warming. Since 1958, there’s been a 16 percent increase in the amount of rain falling in the heaviest rainstorms on the Plains, even as long-term projections point toward an increased risk of megadrought. Both of these can happen at the same time..."


Weather-Whiplash: Texas Goes From Extreme Drought to Floods in 3 Weeks. Meteorologist Andrew Freedman takes a look at how what's happening in Texas fits recent trends; an excerpt of a story at Mashable: "...Murphy says that in Texas, the drought of record, before the more recent one that just ended, occurred in the 1950s. A series of storms in 1957 brought that drought to an abrupt end in much the same way that the current rains are doing, although today's deluges are more severe in some instances than what took place then. Many climate studies have found that as the world warms in response to rising levels of manmade greenhouse gases, heavy precipitation events are getting more frequent and intense. This is true in the South Central states, but it's most pronounced in the Northeast and Midwest..."

Photo credit above: "The cement stilts of the home belonging to the Carey family of Corpus Christi, Texas, are all that remain the home was swept away by the Blanco River early Sunday morning during a flash flood in Wimberley, Texas, on Monday, May 25, 2015. The Carey and McComb family, from Corpus Christi, Texas, have been missing since." (Rodolfo Gonzalez/Austin American-Statesman via AP)


Catastrophic Flooding Sweeps Away Homes, Breaks Records. ThinkProgress has some perspective on the extreme case of weather-whiplash impacting Texas and the southern Plains; here's an excerpt: "...Going from one extreme to another is a hallmark of climate change. Scientists predict more droughts in the coming decades, as well as more intense rainstorms. In the midwest, the number of storms that drop more than three inches of rain have increased by 50 percent, according to an analysis from the Rocky Mountain Institute. Texas and Oklahoma both face intensifying drought and flooding, although politicians in both states have denied climate change..."

Photo credit above: "With downtown Dallas in view, water from the Trinity River floods the area below the Sylvan Avenue bridge Monday, May 25, 2015, in Dallas. Several people were reported missing in flash flooding from a line of storms that stretched from the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes." (Louis DeLuca/The Dallas Morning News via AP).


Texas Rains In Keeping With Climate Change. Here's an excerpt of a statement from The Union of Concerned Scientists: "...Below is a statement by Brenda Ekwurzel, senior climate scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists. “Around the world, April ocean temperatures have broken records. The Gulf is no exception. The hot Gulf waters combined with a brewing El Nino have contributed to some of the intense precipitation in Texas and beyond. “In addition, because a warmer atmosphere holds more water, climate change means that when it rains it’s more likely to pour. In Texas, the heaviest rainfalls have increased more than 16 percent over the long-term average. This trend will only increase as temperatures rise even more..."

Photo credit above: "A destroyed car is submerged in the Blanco River in Wimberley, Texas, after the flood on Tuesday May 26, 2015." (Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman/TNS).


"A Weather and Climate Trifecta". On Wednesday I had a chance to chat with Ed Schultz on his MSNBC Show (ironic that he was sitting in Detroit Lakes and I was at an uplink facility in Minneapolis) and he asked me to try and put the Texas flooding into context. How much is natural variability vs. thumbprints of climate volatility. The entire 7 minute segment is here.


Scientists Warn To Expect More Weather Extremes. Here's a clip from a story at The New York Times: "...Yet different parts of the country, and different parts of the country-size state of Texas, can expect different kinds of weather extremes. Severe rainstorms are consistent with the physics of a warming world, with plenty of moisture evaporating off the oceans, Professor Hayhoe noted — especially in the eastern part of the state near the Gulf of Mexico, where things tend to be wet and getting wetter. But the western part of the state is more like the American Southwest, and drier..."


NOAA Issues Its Forecast For The 2015 Atlantic Hurricane Season. Yes, El Nino should mean more wind shear over the tropics and fewer tropical storms and hurricanes. Then again all it takes is one. Here's the intro to a story at ABC News: "The coming hurricane season in the Atlantic Basin is expected to be calmer than normal, but that doesn't mean the East Coast is off the hook, according to a forecast issued today by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center. There's a 70% chance that the hurricane season in the Atlantic will spawn six to 11 named storms between June 1 through Nov. 30, and of those named storms, three to six could become hurricanes, including up to two major hurricanes of categories 3 to 5 during the season, forecasters said..."


Extreme Rainfall Events On The Rise. It's not just Texas and Oklahoma, it's New England, and much of the Upper Midwest. Here's an excerpt of a story based on research conducted by The Rocky Mountain Climate Organization: "...New RMCO analysis of a half century of precipitation data across the Midwest, defined as Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin, indicates the region has had an increasing number of large storms since 1961. The largest of storms—those of three inches or more of precipitation in a single day—have increased the most, with their annual frequency more than doubling over the past 51 years. The frequencies of all large storms, especially the largest, have particularly spiked this century..."

Graphic credit above: "Changes in frequencies of storms in the Midwest, by category of storm size for five decades, 1961-1970 through 2001-2010. Labeled changes are for the last decade. Comparisons are to frequencies in 1961-1990."


3 Out Of Every 4 Tornado Warnings Are False Alarms. Strongly rotating storms in an environment that's ripe, primed for tornadoes, is usually enough for a warning to be issued. But only 1 in 4 warnings will produce an actual tornado touchdown - this can lead to resentment, and apathy, when a real tornado does, in fact, materialize. The problems are discussed in a solid article at FiveThirtyEight; here's an excerpt: "...I think it points to the fact that we still have a long way to go,” said Greg Carbin, a warning coordination meteorologist at the agency’s Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma. “You don’t want to miss the bad events. Even in the event where we’re wrong several times, you would rather have a warning out there and have it miss than have an event and not have one out there.” This has been the case for decades. Forecast verification data from the weather service over the past two decades shows that for all the advances technology has provided to forecasting, the agency has made only a relatively small dent in how often it’s wrong when issuing a tornado warning (from 80 percent in 1989 to 72 percent in 2014)..."


Severe Weather May Be Linked To Arctic Warming. More potential evidence that rapid changes in the Arctic may be impacting the speed and configuration of the jet stream, something I've been talking about for 15 years. Here's an excerpt from ScienceDaily: "...They have found that while it is too soon to know for certain whether the Arctic played a role in persistent cold events during the extreme wet UK winter of 2013/14 and recent USA East Coast winters, new studies are adding to the growing weight of evidence linking increased Arctic temperatures with changes in mid-latitude weather patterns. The research published in the Journal of Climate by Professor James Overland of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and authors from North America, Asia and Europe, including Professor Hanna and Richard Hall, paints a picture of links that vary by region and season..."


Holy Crop. How Federal Dollars Are Financing The Water Crisis In The West. ProPublica has a long, detailed and vaguely infuriating story about how "incentives" are making the western drought even worse; here's an excerpt: "...The water shortages that have brought California, Arizona and other Western states to the edge of an environmental cliff have been attributed to a historic climate event — a dry spell that experts worry could be the worst in 1,000 years. But an examination by ProPublica shows that the scarcity of water is as much a man-made crisis as a natural one, the result of decades of missteps and misapprehensions by governments and businesses as they have faced surging demand driven by a booming population. The federal subsidies that prop up cotton farming in Arizona are just one of myriad ways that policymakers have refused, or been slow to reshape laws to reflect the West’s changing circumstances..."


5 Weird Effects of California's Drought. A few of these from The Sierra Club are non-obvious and sort of counterintuitive; here's a clip: "We expected lake shrinkage, reduced snowpack, and surfaces more parched than those in anti-aging cream ads. We even saw the almond scapegoating coming. These five ripple effects, however, blindsided us. And most of them are happening right now..."

File Photo credit: "In this April 2, 2015 file photo, Denise Hurst shows her drought-tolerant garden she planted with the help of a city program that offers rebates of $3.50 per square foot for residents who tear up their water-guzzling lawns and plant drought-resistant plants that require little to no watering in Long Beach, Calif." (AP Photo/Nick Ut, File).


Sleeping With The Seasons: See How Weather Influences Your Sleep. I got a few interesting nuggets of information from this story at Huffington Post; here's the intro: "Have you ever noticed that different times of year or certain weather patterns influence how you feel or how well you sleep? Though many aspects of achieving good sleep are under our control, one often-overlooked factor is the outside environment. Changes to temperature, atmospheric pressure, humidity and precipitation influence us in many ways, both positive and negative..."

At least 800 people have died in a major heatwave across India, melting roads in New Delhi as temperatures neared 50C.

Hospitals are on alert to treat victims of heatstroke and authorities advise people to stay indoors with no end in sight to the searing conditions.

In the worst-hit state of Andhra Pradesh, in the south, 551 people have died in the last week as temperatures hit 47C on Monday.

- See more at: http://www.skynews.com.au/news/top-stories/2015/05/26/india-heatwave-kills-800-as-roads-melt.html#sthash.XKI2zr9B.dpuf

84 F. high temperature in the Twin Cities Wednesday.

73 F. average high on May 27.

73 F. high on May 27, 2014.

May 27, 1930: Great Empire Builder Tornado. A direct hit derailed famous train in Norman County.


TODAY: Sticky sun, warmer than average. Winds: S 20. High: 83

THURSDAY NIGHT: Chance of a T-storm. Low: 64

FRIDAY: Unsettled. Showers and T-storms likely. High: 72

SATURDAY: Cool sunshine, less humid. Winds: NE 10+ Wake-up: 49. High: 63

SUNDAY: Lots of sun, a bit warmer. Winds: SE 10-15. Wake-up: 48. High: 68

MONDAY: Some sun, isolated T-storm. Wake-up: 53. High: 75

TUESDAY: Warm sun, feeling stickier. Dew point: 61. Wake-up: 61. High: 81

WEDNESDAY: Muggy, scattered T-storms. Wake-up: 63. High: 83


Climate Stories....

Alaska Climate Project Captures Climate Change in a Thousand Wows. Here's a clip from a story at InsideClimate News: "It isn’t hard for Denali National Park ecologist Carl Roland to see the ravages of climate change when he compares photos of Hidden Creek Glacier taken 88 years apart.   In the 1916 photograph, the Alaskan glacier wraps around a stony peak like an icy claw. But by 2004, the ice has released its grip and receded more than a mile..."

Photo credit above: "The effect of climate change is dramatically apparent in photos of Denali National Park's Hidden Creek Glacier taken 88 years apart. Credit: Denali National Park."


Tropical Storms Get Fiercer With Climate Change - Study. Fewer storms overall, but the storms that do spin up tend to be more intense - a pattern we're seeing with extra-tropical storms as well. Here's an excerpt of an article at RTCC.org that caught my eye: "...The two scientists reckoned that even slightly higher average temperatures would mean more energy and therefore higher wind speeds at sea as well. They report in Nature Climate Change that they found what they were looking for: a pattern. On average, storm wind speeds had increased by 1.3 metres a second and there were 6.1 fewer tropical storms a year worldwide than there would have been if land and water temperatures had remained constant..."

File photo: NASA, Johnson Space Center.


What Would Ronald Regan Do About Climate Change? Set the bar high - throw out an impossibly aggressive goal, and then sit back and wait for the markets to react. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed at Forbes: "...So advice to today’s GOP: if you seek a truly Reaganite approach to climate change, start by writing an SDI-style speech about the problem with the object of making fossil fuels obsolete not by making them artificially more expensive through a tax, but by coming up with new energy sources that are just as cheap and scalable to the whole planet. Environmentalists will howl at the moon with indignation, just as liberals hated Reagan’s SDI. One thing everyone forgets: SDI was very popular with the American people. I suspect a Reaganite research and development emphasis on energy would be much more popular than a carbon tax or Obama’s Rube Goldberg “clean power plan” that does nothing serious about energy transformation..."

File photo above: "President Ronald Reagan points to raised hands during a rare national address outside the White House on Tuesday, August 12, 1986 in Rosemont, Illinois." (AP Photo/Scott Applewhite).


Editorial: Climate Change's Effect on U.S. Military. A threat multiplier indeed. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed from the editorial board at The Anniston Star: "...Gunn, who is now president of the Institute for Public Research at CNA Corp, warned of looming adaptations required of the U.S. armed forces, which are "the best educated, best trained, best equipped, best motivated and most combat-experienced military the world has ever seen." The math is pretty basic. Weather extremes caused by climate change put a heavy stress on agriculture. Food shortages lead to unrest. Tensions rise so high that civil war breaks out. From there, a destabilized region has the potential to cause a massive disruption in security. And at some point, the U.S.'s "best educated, best trained, best equipped, best motivated and most combat-experienced military" will be called on to confront and contant the fighting..."

Photo credit above: "U.S. soldiers, left, participate in a training mission with Iraqi army soldiers outside Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, May 27, 2015. Islamic State extremists unleashed a wave of suicide attacks targeting the Iraqi army in western Anbar province, killing at least 17 troops in a major blow to government efforts to dislodge the militants from the sprawling Sunni heartland, an Iraqi military spokesman said Wednesday." (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed).


Climate Change Denial Is A Threat to National Security. Here's a snippet of an article from Phil Plait at Slate: "...The only doubt is manufactured, sole-sourced by the fossil fuel industry. Senators, Congress critters, “think tanks,” sponsored by fossil fuel (and using the same tactics as the tobacco industry)—the doubt they sow is as fake as $3 bill, and just as obvious (and embarrassing). From ridiculous and patently false claims that global warming has slowed, that the world can’t be warming because winter still exists, that (seriously) plants like carbon dioxide so we’re just feeding them; these people’s only purpose is to slow any real progress on fixing the planetary mess we’re in..."

Image credit above: Shutterstock/Barnaby Chambers.


Hacking The Climate Won't Work. Don't count on geo-engineering to save us if we get to the point where we drag our feet and then have to take action - quickly. Here's an excerpt of a thoughtful article at How We Got To Next: "...In recent years, several such proposals involve artificially modifying the climate. Climate scientists refer to these sorts of ideas as geoengineering, as they involve tweaking natural systems on a grand scale, and remain generally skeptical of them because they avoid addressing the real problem — that mankind is consuming resources at an unsustainable rate. There are some limited cases in which geoengineering techniques can have a positive contribution to the fight against climate change, though. (We’ll look at some of those examples in a subsequent article.) But more often than not, geoengineering schemes are expensive, impractical or ineffective..."


ExxonMobile CEO Mocks Renewable Energy in Shareholder Speech. Here's a snippet from Politico: "The CEO of one of the world’s largest oil companies downplayed the effects of climate change at his company’s annual meeting Wednesday, telling shareholders his firm hadn’t invested in renewable energy because “We choose not to lose money on purpose.” “Mankind has this enormous capacity to deal with adversity,” ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson told the meeting, pointing to technologies that can combat inclement weather “that may or may not be induced by climate change...”

File photo credit: AP Photo/Evan Vucci.


Yet Another Antarctic Ice Mass Is Becoming Destabilized, Scientists Report. Chris Mooney has the details at The Washington Post; here's an excerpt: "...And the staccato of May melt news isn’t over, it seems. Thursday in Science, researchers from the University of Bristol in Britain, along with researchers from Germany, France and the Netherlands, reported on the retreat of a suite of glaciers farther south from Larsen B and C along the Bellingshausen Sea, in a region known as the Southern Antarctic Peninsula....Using satellite based and gravity measurements, the research team found that “a major portion of the region has, since 2009, destabilized” and accounts for “a major fraction of Antarctica’s contribution to rising sea level...” (Map credit here).


Has The Last Human Trekked To The North Pole? National Geographic takes a look - here's a snippet of a recent (eye-opening) story: "Faced with a dearth of logistical support and challenges related to climate change, human-powered trips to the North Pole may be on the brink of extinction. "North Pole expeditions are going the way of the passenger pigeon," says Eric Larsen, a Colorado-based polar explorer who has completed three North Pole expeditions..."

Photo credit above: "Polar explorer Thomas Ulrich skis across a melt pond on sea ice near Champ Island, in Russia's Franz Josef Land, in 2009. Climate change is making Arctic ice melt faster, making it more perilous to cross." Photograph by Borge Ousland, National Geographic.


Shell's CEO Says We Can't Burn Fossil Fuels in an "Unmitigated Way". VICE News has more details; here's a snippet of a recent article: "The CEO of energy giant Royal Dutch Shell has said that the carbon dioxide released by burning fossil fuels must be captured and stored in the ground if the world is going to avoid potentially catastrophic levels of global warming. "We cannot burn all the hydrocarbon resources we have on the planet in an unmitigated way and not expect to have a CO2 loading in the atmosphere that is often being linked to the 2C scenario," Ben van Beurden, Shell's chief executive, told the Guardian..."

Instant Summer - Drought Fading Fast - Biblical Floods Strike Texas

Biblical

On Memorial Day the National Weather Service issued a rare "Flash Flood Emergency" for life-threatening conditions near Austin, Texas. NOAA has been using this terminology for only 7 years. Like a "Tornado Emergency" it implies an even greater danger and urgency than a warning.

Much of Texas is experiencing historic flooding; the same counties that were in a severe drought just 3 weeks ago.

When climate skeptics say "What's a few degrees among friends?" or "CO2 is plant food, Paul!" I point them to new research showing a growing link between rapid Arctic warming and weather-whiplash, along with shifts in the jet stream.

There's early evidence that weather systems are deeper, moving slower, especially during the summer months. Storms and fronts seem more prone to getting "stuck". When weather stalls bad things can unfold, debilitating droughts, stronger heatwaves and mega-floods.

Yesterday's storm stalled over Minnesota, putting another big dent in our drought. If this keeps up most of Minnesota may be drought-free by mid-June.

Get ready for a summer-sandwich: 80s today & Thursday; again much of next week. Sandwiched in-between: a cooler, drier, sunnier weekend is brewing.


Photo credit above: "Flood waters cover Memorial Parkway near downtown Houston, May 26, 2015. Flooding brought Houston to a near-standstill Tuesday and killed as many as five people, sending normally tame rivers and bayous surging past their banks, inundating streets and homes, and leaving roadways littered with thousands of abandoned, ruined cars." (Michael Stravato for The New York Times).


Late May Soaker. The models pretty much blew yesterday's forecast, meaning local meteorologists (myself included) pretty much blew the forecast as well. The stormy spiral stalled overhead instead of pushing east, prolonging moderate rain, with some 1 to 1.5" rainfall amounts from Bloomington and Edina to Shoreview. At this rate we may be drought-free, at least in the metro, as early as next week.


Multi-Million-Dollar Rainfall Event. Check out some of the Doppler radar rainfall estimates east of the St. Croix, as much as 2-3" near Durand. Much of eastern and southern Minnesota picked up .75" to 1.25" of rain on Tuesday. Soil moisture is now adequate to slightly above average across southern Minnesota and farmers are breathing a little easier, assuming - of course - that it dries out enough for them to get back into their fields.

Instant Summer. Yesterday was rainy and raw, like something out of early April or late October. Today will feel like the second week of July with warm sun, low to mid 80s, and a light westerly breeze. Humidity levels increase tomorrow, low 80s likely before showers and T-storms cool us back down late Thursday into Friday. We dry out and cool off behind a cool front over the weekend with highs stuck in the 60s, but a taste of mid-summer returns next week with a few 80s, even a severe storm outbreak possible by midweek.

Weather-Whiplash: Texas Goes From Extreme Drought to Floods in 3 Weeks. Meteorologist Andrew Freedman takes a look at how what's happening in Texas fits recent trends; an excerpt of a story at Mashable: "...Murphy says that in Texas, the drought of record, before the more recent one that just ended, occurred in the 1950s. A series of storms in 1957 brought that drought to an abrupt end in much the same way that the current rains are doing, although today's deluges are more severe in some instances than what took place then. Many climate studies have found that as the world warms in response to rising levels of manmade greenhouse gases, heavy precipitation events are getting more frequent and intense. This is true in the South Central states, but it's most pronounced in the Northeast and Midwest..."

Photo credit above: "The cement stilts of the home belonging to the Carey family of Corpus Christi, Texas, are all that remain the home was swept away by the Blanco River early Sunday morning during a flash flood in Wimberley, Texas, on Monday, May 25, 2015. The Carey and McComb family, from Corpus Christi, Texas, have been missing since." (Rodolfo Gonzalez/Austin American-Statesman via AP)


Catastrophic Flooding Sweeps Away Homes, Breaks Records. ThinkProgress has some perspective on the extreme case of weather-whiplash impacting Texas and the southern Plains; here's an excerpt: "...Going from one extreme to another is a hallmark of climate change. Scientists predict more droughts in the coming decades, as well as more intense rainstorms. In the midwest, the number of storms that drop more than three inches of rain have increased by 50 percent, according to an analysis from the Rocky Mountain Institute. Texas and Oklahoma both face intensifying drought and flooding, although politicians in both states have denied climate change..."

Photo credit above: "With downtown Dallas in view, water from the Trinity River floods the area below the Sylvan Avenue bridge Monday, May 25, 2015, in Dallas. Several people were reported missing in flash flooding from a line of storms that stretched from the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes." (Louis DeLuca/The Dallas Morning News via AP).


Rubbing Salt in the Wound. Now Mother Nature is just piling on - no mercy for residents of Texas and Oklahoma anytime soon as a nearly stationary weather system sparks additional rounds of heavy showers and T-storms. GFS guidance hints at another 3-6" for Tulsa and Oklahoma City by the weekend; some .5 to 1"+ amounts possible across Minnesota and Wisconsin on Friday of this week. Source: NOAA and AerisWeather.


Floods Bring Death and Destruction to Texas and Oklahoma. The New York Time reports.


Texas Governor Calls Flood Damage "Devastating". About 3 weeks ago most of Texas was still suffering from extreme drought. And then, like turning on a light switch, the rains came, and wouldn't let up. Here's the intro to an NPR story: "Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is calling the flood damage in the central part of his state "absolutely devastating." Abbott flew over parts of the Blanco River today, a day after storms triggered flooding. The hardest-hit communities were Wimberley and San Marcos. Abbott added 24 counties to the disaster declaration he issued earlier this month to help communities overwhelmed with heavy rains and tornado damage..."

Photo credit above: "In this aerial photo a barn with a Texas flag painted on its roof is surrounded by water near Martindale, Texas, after the San Marcos River flooded, Sunday, May 24, 2015. Record rainfall was wreaking havoc across a swath of the U.S. Midwest on Sunday, causing flash floods in normally dry riverbeds, spawning tornadoes and forcing at least 2,000 people to flee." (Rodolfo Gonzalez/Austin American-Statesman via AP).


Texas Is Paying The Price For Its Lack of Flood Infrastructure. CityLab has the story - here's an excerpt that caught my eye: "...The state does not participate in the National Flood Insurance Program (a part of FEMA), even though Texas ranks second only to Florida in its number of total flood insurance policies across its communities. Wherever possible, the state leaves it to individual cities and counties to protect themselves against flooding. While Texas doesn’t participate in NFIP, many of its individual communities do. Texas doesn’t fund any flood-control infrastructure directly. And Texas doesn’t have a statewide floodplain management plan..."

Photo credit above: "Residents navigate a flooded street in Houston." (David J. Phillip/AP)


Tornado Kills 13 in Mexico - State of Emergency Declared for 24 Texas Counties. Australia's ABC Network has additional information on the rash of severe weather, including rare killer tornadoes near the Mexican border with Del Rio and almost biblical flooding for the southern Plains, with Texas hardest hit: "The savage twister roared through the Mexican border town of Ciudad Acuna at dawn, tossing cars and big rig trucks into the air before they smashed into houses and buildings. Images from the aftermath of the tornado showed several crumpled vehicles resting against walls and roofs as shell-shocked inhabitants of the town of 136,000 struggled to make sense of the devastation. The tornado came as ferocious weather battered swathes of Mexico and the southern United States, where rescuers searched for 12 people missing in flash floods across Texas and Oklahoma that left three people dead..."

Photo credit above: Ramiro Gomez, Reuters.


Severe Weather May Be Linked To Arctic Warming. More potential evidence that rapid changes in the Arctic may be impacting the speed and configuration of the jet stream, something I've been talking about for 15 years. Here's an excerpt from ScienceDaily: "...They have found that while it is too soon to know for certain whether the Arctic played a role in persistent cold events during the extreme wet UK winter of 2013/14 and recent USA East Coast winters, new studies are adding to the growing weight of evidence linking increased Arctic temperatures with changes in mid-latitude weather patterns. The research published in the Journal of Climate by Professor James Overland of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and authors from North America, Asia and Europe, including Professor Hanna and Richard Hall, paints a picture of links that vary by region and season..."


With San Diego Again Drought-Ridden, 1915 "Rainmaker" Saga is Revisited. Beware of snake oil salesmen, even when their magical cure appears to work. Sometimes it works too well. Here's an excerpt of a curious tale from The Los Angeles Times: "...For $10,000, Hatfield promised to produce enough rain to fill the city's depleted reservoirs. The otherwise fiscally conservative City Council agreed — although one councilman called the idea "foolishness." Hatfield and his younger brother built a 20-foot tower in the deep woods east of the city and began what one city official would later call "an incantation aimed at wringing moisture from the air." Smoke drifted skyward. What followed in January and early February of 1916 was a downpour — 30 inches of rain by some estimates..."

Image credit above: "Charles Hatfield (on the ladder) and his younger brother built a 20-foot tower in the woods east of San Diego and began what one city official would later call “an incantation aimed at wringing moisture from the air.” What followed was a destructive downpour."


8 days of record-breaking heat in Canada's Yukon. The CBC has details.


India Heatwave Kills 800 As Roads Melt. Sky News has the harrowing details - here's a clip: "...At least 800 people have died in a major heatwave across India, melting roads in New Delhi as temperatures neared 50C. Hospitals are on alert to treat victims of heatstroke and authorities advise people to stay indoors with no end in sight to the searing conditions. In the worst-hit state of Andhra Pradesh, in the south, 551 people have died in the last week as temperatures hit 47C on Monday..."

* More details on India's heatwave can be found here, courtesy of Huffington Post.


Sleeping With The Seasons: See How Weather Influences Your Sleep. I got a few interesting nuggets of information from this story at Huffington Post; here's the intro: "Have you ever noticed that different times of year or certain weather patterns influence how you feel or how well you sleep? Though many aspects of achieving good sleep are under our control, one often-overlooked factor is the outside environment. Changes to temperature, atmospheric pressure, humidity and precipitation influence us in many ways, both positive and negative..."

At least 800 people have died in a major heatwave across India, melting roads in New Delhi as temperatures neared 50C.

Hospitals are on alert to treat victims of heatstroke and authorities advise people to stay indoors with no end in sight to the searing conditions.

In the worst-hit state of Andhra Pradesh, in the south, 551 people have died in the last week as temperatures hit 47C on Monday.

- See more at: http://www.skynews.com.au/news/top-stories/2015/05/26/india-heatwave-kills-800-as-roads-melt.html#sthash.XKI2zr9B.dpuf

Logging and Commercial Fishing Deadlier Professions Than Police Patrol Officers? The stuff you learn on the interweb. Here's an excerpt from Quartz: "...This weekend, Americans will remember their fallen soldiers, a holiday traditionally observed with barbecues and the Indianapolis 500 car race. The US military isn’t the only industry that often asks the ultimate sacrifice of its workers. Some 4,585 American civilians died in the line of duty in 2013, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (pdf). Certain jobs in particular are alarmingly risky..."


What If Everybody Didn't Have To Work To Get Paid? With automation, outsourcing and the rise of the robots the question may become more relevant and timely in the years to come. Here's an excerpt from a story at The Atlantic: "...Many experts believe that, unlike in the 20th century, people in this century will not be able to stay one step ahead of automation through education and the occasional skills upgrade. A recent study from Oxford University warns that 47 percent of all existing jobs are susceptible to automation within the next two decades. Worries about robots replacing human labor are showing up more frequently in the mainstream media, including the front page of The Wall Street Journal..."


Halo WX Warns of Smoke, Fire...and Tornadoes. Here's an excerpt of a story at Gizmag that caught my eye. Call me crazy but this makes sense to me: "...The feature that really makes this device stand out is the ability to receive major natural disaster alerts on a smoke alarm. This might seem redundant in the age of cell phones and the internet, but often during major events cell phone signal stops working and power goes out. This feature would allow someone who is stranded in their home to still find out if another tornado was on the verge of touching down in their area, even without TV or internet..."


California Dreaming: Half a Billion Dollars for One L.A. Home? Yes, that's for one home, which is really one big hotel-like home and 3 smaller homes. Where the serfs will live. This takes wretched excess to a whole new level; here's an excerpt from Bloomberg Business: "...Nile Niami, a film producer and speculative residential developer, is pouring concrete in L.A.’s Bel Air neighborhood for a compound with a 74,000-square-foot (6,900-square-meter) main residence and three smaller homes, according to city records. The project, which will take at least 20 more months to complete, will exceed 100,000 square feet, including a 5,000-square-foot master bedroom, a 30-car garage and a “Monaco-style casino,” Niami said. “The house will have almost every amenity available in the world,” he wrote in an e-mail. “The asking price will be $500 million...”

Image credit above: "Rendering of Niami's under-construction mansion in L.A.’s Bel Air neighborhood." Source: McClean Design via Bloomberg.


Minnesota: Land of 10,000 Dessert Salads. Yes, this touched a nerve, and made me even hungrier. Atlas Obscura takes a look at one of our big obsessions; here's a clip: "...Snickers salad is not a creation of just one family, but a Minnesota standard, just one of a surprisingly large variety of "dessert salads" which maintain their place in the pantheon of Minnesota cuisine. These are desserts not often seen in the rest of the country, desserts consisting of various sweet things, typically pre-made or shelf-stable items like packaged cookies or canned fruit, suspended in a sweet housing of pudding, Cool Whip, whipped cream, Jell-O, or permutations thereof. But why dessert salads? And why Minnesota?..."

Photo credit above: "Snickers Salad". (Photo: RoyalBroil/WikiCommons CC BY-SA 3.0)


63 F. high in the Twin Cities Tuesday.

72 F. average high on May 26.

82 F. high on May 26, 2014.

.58" rain fell at MSP International Airport yesterday.

.90" rain reported at Eden Prairie (Flying Cloud Airport).

May 26, 1929: Tornado rakes Freeborn County and causes 10,000 dollars damage to farms.


TODAY: Instant July. Warm sunshine. Winds: W 5-10. High: 84

WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy - feels like summer. Low: 63

THURSDAY: Sticky sun, T-storm at night. High: 81

FRIDAY: Lingering showers & T-storms. Wake-up: 62. High: 73

SATURDAY: Comfortable sunshine, cooling off. Wake-up: 49. High: 62

SUNDAY: Pass the sunscreen. Cool start. Lot's of sunshine. Wake-up: 45. High: 69

MONDAY: Some sun, sticky humidity levels. Wake-up: 51. High: 75

TUESDAY: Steamy sun, T-storms up north. Wake-up: 60. High: 83


Climate Stories....

Yet Another Antarctic Ice Mass Is Becoming Destabilized, Scientists Report. Chris Mooney has the details at The Washington Post; here's an excerpt: "...And the staccato of May melt news isn’t over, it seems. Thursday in Science, researchers from the University of Bristol in Britain, along with researchers from Germany, France and the Netherlands, reported on the retreat of a suite of glaciers farther south from Larsen B and C along the Bellingshausen Sea, in a region known as the Southern Antarctic Peninsula....Using satellite based and gravity measurements, the research team found that “a major portion of the region has, since 2009, destabilized” and accounts for “a major fraction of Antarctica’s contribution to rising sea level...” (Map credit here).


Has The Last Human Trekked To The North Pole? National Geographic takes a look - here's a snippet of a recent (eye-opening) story: "Faced with a dearth of logistical support and challenges related to climate change, human-powered trips to the North Pole may be on the brink of extinction. "North Pole expeditions are going the way of the passenger pigeon," says Eric Larsen, a Colorado-based polar explorer who has completed three North Pole expeditions..."

Photo credit above: "Polar explorer Thomas Ulrich skis across a melt pond on sea ice near Champ Island, in Russia's Franz Josef Land, in 2009. Climate change is making Arctic ice melt faster, making it more perilous to cross." Photograph by Borge Ousland, National Geographic.


Shell's CEO Says We Can't Burn Fossil Fuels in an "Unmitigated Way". VICE News has more details; here's a snippet of a recent article: "The CEO of energy giant Royal Dutch Shell has said that the carbon dioxide released by burning fossil fuels must be captured and stored in the ground if the world is going to avoid potentially catastrophic levels of global warming. "We cannot burn all the hydrocarbon resources we have on the planet in an unmitigated way and not expect to have a CO2 loading in the atmosphere that is often being linked to the 2C scenario," Ben van Beurden, Shell's chief executive, told the Guardian..."


Only Capitalism Can Save The Planet. Market forces got us here - market forces can correct the (carbon) imbalance and encourage alternatives, stimulating the innovation/revolution we're going to need to grow economies and employment while putting less stress on Earth's climate system; here's an excerpt from The Daily Beast: "...It may seem unusual for a leading environmentalist to place his faith in the power of capitalism to move the country, and indeed the world, away from the cheap oil and coal economy that has powered America’s economic success since the Industrial Revolution. Brown does hedge, writing in his new book, The Great Transition, that no one can say with any certainty that the change that’s underway will proceed fast enough to avoid catastrophic climate change..."


Dutch Sea Level Rise Expert: Miami Will Be "The New Atlantis", A City In The Sea. No, it won't happen overnight, or even in our lifetime, but according to many experts Miami and south Florida in general may be the first to feel the full effects of sea level rise. Here's an excerpt from Miami New Times: "...Which is all to say that there aren't many people alive who know more about helping threatened cities cope with sea level rise. So there's good cause to be worried when the Dutch expert says there’s no place in worse shape today than Miami. He’s begun calling the city “the new Atlantis,” after the legendary and beautiful island subcontinent that was submerged by the sea in one night. “If we look around the world and take into account sea level rise and the increase of water related disasters, among the places in the world that have the most assets and investments at risk, Miami is leading that list,” Ovink tells New Times. “Miami will no longer be a land city, but a city in the sea...”

Photo credit above: "Experts say South Beach could be underwater in 100 years." Photo by Marc Averette, used under a Creative Commons license.


Editorial: Florida Needs Action on Climate Change. Here is a clip from an Op-Ed at The Tampa Bay Times Editorial Board: "...This is in keeping with a governor who has shown no appreciation for Florida's fragile ecosystem. It comes years after a state inter-agency report found that sea levels are rising and "likely to rise faster as each decade passes," requiring much of the infrastructure of coastal Florida to be replaced. In Miami, high tides push floodwaters onto Biscayne Boulevard and Ocean Drive. In St. Augustine, as the AP reports, the city's old town floods nearly once a month on average, putting historic landmarks and the tourism industry at risk..."

Photo credit: AP. "Certain neighborhoods like this one in Miami regularly experience flooding during heavy rains and extreme high tides. National and regional climate change risk assessments have used the flooding to illustrate the Miami area’s vulnerability to rising sea levels."


What Obama Means When He Calls Climate Change a National Security Threat. Here's an excerpt of a Dave Roberts piece at Vox: "...Climate change doesn't directly cause, say, armed conflicts. It raises the probability of armed conflicts, by increasing the likelihood of drought, water and food shortages, and forced migrations. It remains to be seen whether this gambit will be politically effective. Lots of people have high hopes for this messaging — and have for a long while — but whatever its effects inside the military, it hasn't changed the political valence of the climate issue in any discernible way..."


CryoSat Detects Heavy Antarctic Ice Loss. Gizmag has more details; here's an excerpt: "The ESA CryoSat mission has detected significant ice loss in a usually stable Antarctic region. The data recorded by the satellite revealed how multiple glaciers along the Southern Antarctic Peninsula started shedding ice in the 2009, with no prior warning. The findings were made by researchers from the University of Bristol in the UK. While studying the data captured by the ESA's ice mission, the team found that the glaciers have been losing ice at a rate of around 60 cubic km (14.4 cubic miles) per year..."


Oil Companies Look To Join Climate Debate. Amazingly, the path to putting some sort of price on carbon may come from the fossil fuel companies themselves. Here's an excerpt from a story at The Wall Street Journal: "...For years, a number of shareholder activists have urged companies to curb emissions. More recently, some big investors are taking global warming into consideration in their portfolio building. The Church of England and Norway’s sovereign-wealth fund, one of the world’s biggest institutional investors, have sold off shares in pure-play coal companies. At the same time, some of these companies’ own shareholders are pushing them to scale back their dependence on carbon-based fuels, worried about the future financial impact of heightened global-warming regulation..." (AP Photo/Jin Lee, File).