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Drying Out - Quiet into Saturday - Puerto Rico Faces Humanitarian Crisis

It Finally Feels Like September Out There

Well, I guess we made up for a cooler than average August, didn't we. September is running nearly 6F warmer than average, after a recent run of obnoxiously hot and sweaty days. It wasn't just your imagination: a streak of 90s in late September IS odd.

Kenny Blumenfeld, Senior Climatologist at the Minnesota Climatology Office, e-mailed "The most impressive one to me is that this was the latest in the year that the Twin Cities has had three consecutive days with highs of at least 90F *and* lows of at least 70F. In fact, the next-latest-in-the-year run concluded on September 12, 1931. So we broke this record by 12 days!”

No flurries or frost in sight (yet) but a cool correction is on tap this week with a string of 60s; much closer to average. Showers taper this morning, with generally dry weather this afternoon into Saturday.

Meanwhile Maria buffets the Outer Banks of North Carolina with tropical storm force winds and coastal flooding today, a blunt reminder that hurricane season doesn't wind down until November, when ocean water cools.

No weather complaints here anytime soon.



84-Hour Rainfall Outlook. Maria finally veers out to sea after roughing up the Outer Banks of North  Carolina. Elsewhere the heaviest rains are forecast to fall over west Texas, where some 4-8"+ amounts are possible by Friday morning. Map: NOAA and Tropicaltidbits.com.


Close to Average. ECMWF forecasts data shows upper 60s and low 70s into next week - frost seems unlikely into mid-October, at least in the immediate Twin Cities metro area. Credit: WeatherBell.


Easing Into Autumn. No cold blasts looking out 2 weeks, in fact GFS guidance hints at a cold, stormy trough of low pressure for the Pacific Northwest, while a warm ridge builds downwind over the Plains; summerlike warmth expected over roughly the southern half of the USA into mid-October.


Puerto Rico's Devastation Grows: Climate Nexus reports: "Puerto Rico's humanitarian crisis continued to grow over the weekend, as officials describe "apocalyptic" conditions across the island in the wake of Hurricane Maria. Many of the 3.4 American citizens living on the island are without power and disconnected from communications, and officials estimate some areas won't see power restored for months. Isolated towns and low-income communities are facing increasing shortages of supplies and fuel. Officials estimate the storm also destroyed around 80 percent of the island's crop value, while a dam compromised by heavy rain is causing worries about flooding and accessibility of drinking water. "The devastation in Puerto Rico has set us back nearly 20 to 30 years," Jenniffer Gonzalez, the island's nonvoting representative in Congress, told the AP." (Conditions: CNN, APWashington Post $, Bloomberg, New York Times $. Communications & power: NPR, Vox, NBC. Agriculture: New York Times $. Dam: New York Times $, Reuters, NBC, USA Today, CNN. Commentary: New York Times editorial $)


Praedictix Briefing: Issued Monday morning, September 25th, 2017:

*Maria continues to slowly weaken as the system moves northward. As of 8 AM ET Maria had sustained winds of 75 mph. The system is expected to weaken into a tropical storm within the next couple days.

*While it is very likely Maria will remain offshore the East Coast through the middle of the week, it could make a close brush with the Outer Banks by Wednesday. After that time, the system will sharply turn to the east and head out into the Atlantic.

*Due to the large wind field associated with Maria, tropical storm force winds will be possible along portions of the Outer Banks and eastern North Carolina, especially Tuesday into Wednesday. High surf, strong rip currents, and storm surge flooding will be possible along the sound side of the Outer Banks. Tropical Storm Watches and Warnings, along with Storm Surge Watches, are in effect.


Maria Continues To Weaken. Maria has continued to weaken over the past 24 hours due to moderate wind shear aloft (helping to disrupt the system) and cooler water temperatures due to Jose. Maria is now a Category 1 hurricane with sustained winds of 75 mph as of this morning. The center of the storm is sitting 335 miles south-southeast of Cape Hatteras, NC, moving north at 7 mph. (Satellite data: AerisWeather)


Maria Official Track. Maria will continue to move north over the next couple days, bringing the system close to the Outer Banks, although the worst of the system should remain offshore. Maria has a large wind field, with tropical storm force winds extending out 230 miles from the center of the storm. This means even if Maria does remain offshore, tropical storm conditions are possible, especially along the Outer Banks. During the middle of the week Maria is expected to take a sharp turn east, which will take the system further out into the Atlantic.


Timing Tropical Storm Force Winds. Tropical storm conditions will be possible starting later today across portions of the Outer Banks associated with Maria, but the highest likelihood of sustained tropical storm force winds will be Tuesday into Wednesday.


Wind Gusts Over 50 mph Possible. This is the official peak wind gust forecast from local National Weather Service offices (compiled together by WeatherBell) through Wednesday night. The winds are expected to be the strongest along parts of the Outer Banks, where wind gusts over 50 mph will be possible Tuesday into Wednesday. Areas further inland across eastern North Carolina have the potential of seeing wind gusts in the 20-30 mph range.


Tropical Storm Watches And Warnings. Mainly due to the potential of tropical storm force winds, Tropical Storm Watches and Warnings have been issued for portions of eastern North Carolina. Along the coast, they are in effect for the following locations:

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for...
* Cape Lookout to Duck
* Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for...
* North of Duck to the North Carolina/Virginia border
* North of Surf City to south of Cape Lookout

Tropical statements from local National Weather Service offices: http://forecast.weather.gov/wwamap/wwatxtget.php?cwa=usa&wwa=Hurricane%20Local%20Statement


Forecast Storm Surge. We will watch the potential of storm surge flooding as well with Maria, especially along the sound side of the Outer Banks. We could see a water rise of 2-4 feet from Cape Lookout to Duck if the storm surge coincides with high tide. Due to this, a Storm Surge Watch is in effect for those areas.


Kitty Hawk High Tide Times. The highest potential of storm surge flooding will coincide with high tide, which will occur around midnight and noon on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Summary: While we aren’t anticipating Maria to make landfall along the East Coast, it may pass a little too close for comfort through the middle of the week. This will bring tropical storm conditions to parts of eastern North Carolina – particularly the Outer Banks – by Tuesday with winds gusting over 50 mph at times. Storm surge flooding will also be a concern, especially along the sound side of the Outer Banks if the rise in water coincides with high tide. Due to this, Storm Surge Watches are in effect from Cape Lookout to Duck.

Meteorologist D.J. Kayser, Praedictix


Why Do We Ignore Warnings? Here's a post that caught my eye: "In 2012, two professors from the University of Buffalo School of Management studied why people failed to heed disaster warnings.  Dr. Raj Sharman and H. Raghav Rao examined a number of post-disaster reports to assess why some people refused to evacuate in the face of warnings about imminent tornadoes, hurricanes and other emergency situations such as campus shootings and industrial accidents. The reports were conducted by organizations including the National Weather Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Congressional Research Service.
 
The researchers found that past personal experience in “riding out” storms can lead people to feel complacent when receiving emergency warnings. On the other hand, previous warnings that proved to be false can result in apathetic responses when another warning occurs. Post-disaster surveys also showed that many people lacked awareness about how serious the situation was when warnings happened.
 
To combat the factors leading to nonresponse, the researchers made three recommendations. First, warnings should come from more than one source. “Generally speaking, a single source of information rarely prompts people to take appropriate action,” Sharman said. “Multiple sources are more effective.” Second, warnings should include more descriptive language, using words such as “unsurvivable” and “catastrophic” and urging citizens to take “immediate, life-saving action” to motivate the public in the event of imminent and extreme severe weather. Finally, communities should take advantage of technological advances to make warnings more specific. Technology may help motivate people to take action because they can see the threat to themselves." (source: Peter Kennedy's Daily Devotionals)

How Safe Is Your City from Natural Disasters? You Might Be Surprised. It's impossible to remove all risk, but some metro areas are more disaster-prone than others, according to a story at realtor.com: "Mother Nature's fury has been devastating—and deadly—over the past few weeks, with Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and, now, Maria, as well as two powerful earthquakes in Mexico. And that's just in North America. But despite the threats that natural disasters pose, U.S. property values in the areas most prone to them rose more than twice as quickly than in safer parts of the country over the past decade, according to a recent report from real estate data company ATTOM Data Solutions. Oklahoma City was rated the riskiest city in the country for natural disasters because of its tornadoes and a recent spate of earthquakes that scientists have linked to the local oil industry. Next on the danger list was a shocker: Silicon Valley's San Jose, perennially one of the nation's hottest and priciest real estate markets. Rounding out the top five were Los Angeles and Bakersfield, in California, and then Seattle..."


Harvey is Scaring Houston Straight on Flood Safety, But Dallas May Take Longer. The Dallas Observer has some interesting perspective on flood risk in Dallas: "...We have the same system, only more dangerous. If only one of our immense regional reservoirs fails, the toll in human lives would be staggering. As a special project in The Dallas Morning News by George Getschow revealed two years ago, a failure of the aged and decaying Lake Lewisville Dam would put 431,000 lives in immediate jeopardy. An upstream dam failure at any of the three major reservoirs that flow directly into downtown Dallas must be stacked against the old and rickety system of flood safety levees along the Trinity River through downtown. In 2009, the Corps of Engineers rated that entire levee system as “unacceptable,” the most stupidly abused term in contemporary public double-speak. What they really meant was, “no good,” “unsafe,” “won’t do the job,” “grab your water-wings and paddle as fast as you can...”

Photo credit: "Harvey taught Houston that the things it had been told before about flood safety simply were not true." U.S. Army photo by 1st Lt. Zachary West.


Upper Air Observations: How Weather Balloons Improve Forecasts. Satellites derive wind, moisture and temperature - with weather balloons you get real measurements of the atmosphere in real-time. NOAA explains: "...The radiosondes allow the direct measurement of the upper atmosphere as opposed to the indirect remote sensing techniques employed by satellites or ground-based remote sensing instrumentation. As a result, these observational data are more accurate and reliable than indirect data types. The combination of the two allows for the best forecasts, ensuring public safety in the event of an approaching storm. “Models initialized with good data can provide better and more certain forecast information,” said Aberson. “When the forecast is difficult or different models disagree, more frequent radiosonde observations are requested. This is likely to improve how accurate the forecasts are.


How Prices Rising Twice as Fast in U.S. Cities with Highest Natural Hazard Risk Than in Lowest-Risk Cities. Research conducted by ATTOM Data Solutions was the basis for the realtor.com story above. Here's an excerpt: "...Among the 735 U.S. counties included in the housing trends analysis, those with the highest overall natural hazard index were Oklahoma County, Oklahoma; Wakulla County (Tallahassee), Florida; Monroe County (Key West), Florida; Cleveland County (Oklahoma City), Oklahoma; and Nevada County (Truckee), California. Among 50 U.S. cities included in the analysis with a population of at least 500,000, those with the highest overall natural hazard housing risk index were Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; San Jose, California; Los Angeles, California; Bakersfield, California; and Seattle, Washington. Among the 735 U.S. counties included in the housing trends analysis, those with the lowest overall natural hazard index were Milwaukee County (Milwaukee), Wisconsin; Cuyahoga County (Cleveland), Ohio; Muskegon County (Muskegon), Michigan; and Lake County (Cleveland), Ohio..."



What Would An Entirely Flood-Proof City Look Like? The Guardian imagines how cities may be forced to reinvent themselves in the years ahead: "They call it “pave, pipe, and pump”: the mentality that has dominated urban development for over a century. Along with the explosion of the motorcar in the early 20th century came paved surfaces. Rainwater – instead of being sucked up by plants, evaporating, or filtering through the ground back to rivers and lakes – was suddenly forced to slide over pavements and roads into drains, pipes and sewers. Their maximum capacities are based on scenarios such as 10-year storms. And once they clog, the water – with nowhere else to go – simply rises. The reality of climate change and more frequent and intense downpours has exposed the hubris of this approach. As the recent floods from Bangladesh to Texas show, it’s not just the unprecedented magnitude of storms that can cause disaster: it’s urbanisation..."

File photo credit: Jordan Anderson, DoubleHorn Photography.


–– ADVERTISEMENT ––

 
Oklahoma City was rated the riskiest city in the country for natural disasters because of its tornadoes and a recent spate of earthquakes that scientists have linked to the local oil industry. Next on the danger list was a shocker: Silicon Valley's San Jose, perennially one of the nation's hottest and priciest real estate markets. Rounding out the top five were Los Angeles and Bakersfield, in California, and then Seattle.
"Disruption" is How Silicon Valley Eats Its Young. The treadmill of change is moving ever-faster; a story at WIRED.com caught my eye: "...The fact is, most businesses are very unlikely to “disrupt” anything any time soon—if ever. It takes years, if not decades, to know whether a new service, product, or piece of technology is really going to upend an industry or a process, despite founders' claims to the contrary. Yet promises of earth-shattering changes make an appearance from the get-go, in the pitch deck or launching blog post. Magic words seem to apply to all kinds of companies and products, be they multinational or garage-based.So why venture out onto that clichéd limb? Probably because we in the audience (readers, viewers, consumers, and shareholders) have been privy to a remarkable amount of genuine disruption in the last 10 years. In just this period we’ve witnessed the upending of retail, music, newspapers, mobile phones, advertising, TV, and even more. So now, when a company claims it will disrupt an entire industry, we’re primed to believe them..."

The Shorter You Sleep, The Shorter Your Life: The New Sleep Science. The Guardian has a sobering, but important story: "...Why, exactly, are we so sleep-deprived? What has happened over the course of the last 75 years? In 1942, less than 8% of the population was trying to survive on six hours or less sleep a night; in 2017, almost one in two people is. The reasons are seemingly obvious. “First, we electrified the night,” Walker says. “Light is a profound degrader of our sleep. Second, there is the issue of work: not only the porous borders between when you start and finish, but longer commuter times, too. No one wants to give up time with their family or entertainment, so they give up sleep instead. And anxiety plays a part. We’re a lonelier, more depressed society. Alcohol and caffeine are more widely available. All these are the enemies of sleep...”

Dutch Cyclist Who Broke Her Back in Horrific Rio Olympics Crash Returns to Win World Gold. I needed this story at The Washington Post: "Annemiek van Vleuten’s teammates thought she had died last summer when the Dutch cyclist smashed headfirst into the pavement during a downhill stretch of the women’s road race at the Rio Olympics. Van Vleuten, who sustained a concussion and broke three vertebrae in her back, vowed to come back and, even better, to win. While the 34-year-old will have to wait until 2020 to get another shot at an Olympic gold, van Vleuten only had to wait just more than a year to earn her first world gold. On Tuesday, she took the time trial in Bergen, Norway, finishing the 13-mile course in 28 minutes 50.35 seconds, 12 seconds ahead of fellow Dutchwoman Anna ven der Breggen, who won gold in Brazil. With tears in her eyes, van Vleuten addressed the crash after Tuesday’s win, which she called “incredible...”
 
Photo credit: Sky Sports.

71 F. high in the Twin Cities on Monday.
 
68 F. average high on September 25.
 
69 F. high on September 25, 2016.

1980: Cold morning lows are recorded, with 20 degrees at Tower and 16 at Embarrass.

1942: 1.8 inches of snow falls in St. Cloud.


 
TODAY: AM showers, PM clearing. Winds: NW 8-13. High: 63
 
TUESDAY NIGHT: Clear and cool. Low: 47

WEDNESDAY: Sunny and pleasantly cool. Winds: NW 7-12. High: 67

THURSDAY: Sunny start, late PM shower risk. Winds: NW 7-12. Wake-up: 52. High: 70

FRIDAY: Blue sky, a fresh breeze. Winds: N 5-10. Wake-up: 49. High: 65

SATURDAY: Partly sunny, a bit milder - nicer day of the weekend. Winds: SE 8-13. Wake-up: 48. High: 69

SUNDAY: More clouds, showers break out. Winds: SE 10-15. Wake-up: 52. High: 72

MONDAY: Showers likely, possible T-storms. Winds: SW 10-15. Wake-up: 56. High: 68
Climate Stories...
 
Hurricanes: A Perfect Storm of Chance and Climate Change. Of course natural variability plays a (huge) role, but are [consistently warmer/deeper] ocean water temperatures priming the pump for more intense hurricanes? Here's a clip from BBC News: "...Most researchers who study extreme events like hurricanes agree that climate change is most likely making the impacts of these events much worse. Rising temperatures lead to warmer air holding more moisture, which causes more intense downpours in a hurricane. The oceans have risen thanks to thermal expansion and glacier melt and this works to increase the dangers posed by storm surges. "In terms of the factors that control the genesis and the intensification of these hurricanes, a number of these point to the fact that they will undoubtedly be slightly more severe due to the extra heat content in the ocean due to the long-term warming of the climate," said Richard Allan..."
 
Hurricane Maria file image from Sunday morning, September 24, 2017, courtesy of AerisWeather.

"Eden is Broken": A Caribbean Leader Spotlights Climate Change. Here's an excerpt from The New Yorker: "...Since hurricanes began to be recorded and classified, in 1851, thirty-three storms have reached Category 5 strength in the Atlantic, according to Michael Lowry, a visiting scientist at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, in Boulder, Colorado. Two of those tore through the Caribbean within the last two weeks. Data compiled by Weather Underground shows that in only twelve hours Hurricane Maria strengthened from a Category 2 hurricane to a Category 5. When the storm made landfall in Dominica, on Monday, it unleashed a-hundred-and-seventy-five-mile-per-hour winds on the island of seventy thousand people.When the sun rose on Tuesday morning, swaths of the island’s two hundred and ninety square miles looked like a war zone, Skerrit said. Eighty-five to ninety per cent of homes on the island were damaged, as was the main hospital, which lost its roof and is still without electricity..."

Millenials Think About Climate Change Differently Than Anyone Else. Because deep down they realize they are the generation that will be cleaning up our messes; here's a clip from mindbodygreen.com: "...Millennials are fervent believers that climate change is an issue that needs to be dealt with, and 82 percent of them are concerned about how it will influence their children's quality of life. But for many, this concern seems to have morphed into a slight helplessness. Nowadays, millennials are doubting their ability to make a dent in such a huge issue and are instead choosing to support companies that have a larger perceived impact. Therefore, they seek out companies that value environmental stewardship and employee treatment practices, even going so far as to prioritize these values above their product's efficiency. According to data, young people are skeptical of many large corporations, but once they find one they trust, they put a lot of faith into it. Some of their top picks for eco-minded companies include Patagonia, Whole Foods, Tesla, and The Honest Company..."

Photo credit: Saptak Ganguly.


In Canada, Climate Change Could Open New Farmland to the Plow. A story at Reuters highlights the trends: "As global warming intensifies droughts and floods, causing crop failures in many parts of the world, Canada may see something different: a farming expansion. Rising temperatures could open millions of once frigid acres to the plow, officials, farmers and scientists predict. “Canada is one of the few countries where climate change may create some opportunities for growing crops in northern latitudes,” said Rod Bonnett, president of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, a lobby group representing 200,000 farmers. But determining just how much land in the world’s second largest country could become suitable for farming as a result of climate change is not easy, said Ian Jarvis, a senior official with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, a government department..." (File photo: Climate Reality).

Continued Denial Leaves Florida in Climate Change Crosshairs. An Op-Ed from the Editorial Board at Florida's Sun-Sentinel pulls no punches: "...Trump, who has called global warming a Chinese hoax, chose a notorious climate change denier, Scott Pruitt, to run the EPA. It would be hard to find a more banal remark than Pruitt's statement that Irma was no time to talk about climate change. "To use time and effort to address it at this point is very, very insensitive to the people of Florida," Pruitt said. No, what's insensitive to the people of Florida is his denial of climate science. Whitman responded to the news that Pruitt has appointed a "red team" of dissenting scientists to challenge the vast climate change consensus of thousands of others. She called it a "slow-rolling catastrophe in the making." People today increasingly feel free to believe whatever suits them and there are still some who believe the world is flat, the moon landings were faked and smoking doesn't cause cancer. But there is no excuse for so-called leaders to exploit such gullibility..."
 
Photo credit: "Just keep going forward, keep helping," says Robert Barnes in Duck Key. Barnes has been helping clean up his neighborhood after Hurricane Irma tore through the Florida Keys."


Guest Opinion: How Many More Climate Disasters Can We Endure? The Medford (Oregon) Mail Tribune has an Op-Ed worth reading: "...In Oregon this summer, wildfires half the size of Rhode Island have caused the evacuation of thousands of people and pushed unhealthy air into cities and towns. While the scale and scope of Oregonians’ suffering is not comparable to that of the hurricane victims, both situations should prompt self-reflection. We have to ask ourselves: How many more storms will force us to measure rain in feet, rather than inches? How many more billions of dollars of strain will we put on the National Flood Insurance Program? How many hundreds of millions of Forest Service dollars will be shifted from forest management to firefighting? How many lives are we willing to risk in extreme weather events like these? These all basically boil down to the same question: How many more years will we dump greenhouse gases into the atmosphere with impunity? Because as long as we’re doing that, we’re signing up for more of the same — and worse..."

Rural Texas Farmers and Ranchers Need to Speak Out About Climate Change. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed at The Houston Chronicle: "...We've overused aquifers, including the vital Gulf Coast Aquifer, thereby altering runoff patterns and allowing floodwaters to gather. Empty pastureland and rows of cotton and corn giving way to endless rows of subdivision housing and streets cannot help but alter the landscape in ways that make storms and droughts more destructive than they were in years past. Farmers and ranchers have always had to be amateur climatologists; their livelihoods depend on reading the weather. It's time they begin to speak up and speak out against a climate change-denying administration in Washington and its mini-me version in Austin. When secretaries of energy, agriculture and interior - not to mention the president himself - refuse to acknowledge climate-change storm clouds gathering, rural Texans need to become activist Texans. They know what it means to plan and prepare. A blinkered government that refuses to follow suit puts us all at risk."
 
Photo credit: Alyssa Schukar, STR.

A Sloppy Monday - Free A/C Kicks In This Week

"Aid begins to flow to Puerto Rico, facing a growing humanitarian crisis in Maria's aftermath"
 
"Large amounts of federal aid began moving into Puerto Rico on Saturday, welcomed by local officials who praised the Trump administration's response but called for the emergency loosening of rules long blamed for condemning the U.S. territory to second-class status. In northwest Puerto Rico, people began returning to their homes after a spillway eased pressure on a dam that cracked after more than a foot of rain fell in the wake of the hurricane. The opening of the island's main port in the capital allowed 11 ships to bring in 1.6 million gallons of water, 23,000 cots, dozens of generators and food. Dozens more shipments are expected in upcoming days. The federal aid effort is racing to stem a growing humanitarian crisis in towns left without fresh water, fuel, electricity or phone service. Officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which is in charge of the relief effort, said they would take satellite phones to all of Puerto Rico's towns and cities, more than half of which were cut off following Maria's devastating crossing of Puerto Rico on Wednesday."
 
 
(Image credit: Chicago Tribune)
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Tracking MARIA

We're still tracking MARIA in the Atlantic basin and according to NOAA's NHC, it was a category 2 storm with sustained winds of 105mph as of midday Sunday.

 
Tracking MARIA

Here's the official track from NOAA's NHC, which show the storm generally lifting north-northeast through the week ahead, but note the "cone of uncertainty" fanning out over the next several days. This means that there is still some uncertainty on where MARIA will actually track and could actually be a little closer to the East Coast, which would mean bigger impacts in those areas. With that said, tropical storm watches have been issued for areas in yellow along the eastern part of North Carolina. The good news is that the worst of the wind, rain and high surf will stay offshore.

 
 
 Tracking MARIA - GFS (American Model)
 
Here's the GFS (American Model) of MARIA as it nears the East Coast through the first half of the week. This particular model keeps the center of the storm offshore, but we will likely still have big impacts across the region and especially along the coast. Keep in mind that it is still too early to tell exactly where the storm will track, it will be important to keep an eye on weather forecasts over the next few days. The good news is that we are seeing a trend in a majority of the models, which keep the worst offshore.
 
 
Tracking MARIA - ECMWF (European Model)
 
Just for comparison, here is the ECMWF model, which shows the placement of the storm at 7pm Wednesday. While the center of the storm looks to stay offshore, we will likely still have strong winds, high surf and potentially heavy rains along the coast. Again, it's too early to tell where the storm will track exactly, but folks in these areas need to pay attention to weather forecast over the days ahead. 
 
 
Tracking MARIA - Strongest Wind Gusts PM Wednesday
 
Here's a quick look at what kind of wind gusts we could be dealing with by 7PM Wednesday. Note that some spots along the coast could be seeing up to 50 to near 60mph+ wind gusts, while widespread tropical storm force (39mph+) wind gusts could be possible for a number of inland locations from South Carolina to North Carolina and Virginia. The other image below suggests when tropical storm force winds could arrive. Note that those in the eastern portions of the Carolinas could see tropical storm force winds arriving by Monday afternoon/evening.
 
 
Tracking MARIA - How Much Rain?
 
Here's the rainfall potential through Thursday, which suggests fairly heavy rain in far eastern North Carolina. Note that some locations in the Outer Banks could see up to 2" to 4"+ rainfall. Again, keep in mind that the rain fall potential will be heavily dictated by the track of the storm. If the storm tracks farther west and closer to the coast, we can expect heavy rain & wind across a much wider area, but if the storm shifts east, we can expect less rain and not as strong of winds. Stay tuned...
 

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Atlantic Outlook Next 5 Days
 
Here's the Atlantic outlook over the next few days, which shows that the basin remains very active as we head into the 4th week of September. While LEE has once again redeveloped, it should cause any issues close to home, but we'll continue watching MARIA as it lifts north over the coming days.
 
 
Tracking LEE 
 
Here's a look at LEE on visible satellite from midday Sunday, which showed an impressive category 1 storm with sustained winds of 90mph. Remember LEE developed last week and fell apart, but the remnants were able to mature into a hurricane once again. 
 
 
Tracking LEE
 
Here's NOAA's NHC forecast for LEE, which at this point doesn't appear to be all that impressive as it tracks northwest over open water into early next week. Stay tuned...
 
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Active in the Eastern Pacific
 
While things remain active in the Atlantic Basin, things in the Eastern Pacific are still somewhat active. According to NOAA's NHC, Tropical Storm PILAR has formed and there is also another wave of energy that has a MEDIUM chance of tropical formation over the next 5 days.
 
 
Tracking PILAR
 
As of midday Sunday, PILAR was a tropical storm with sustained winds of 40mph. It doesn't look like much, but gusty winds and heavy rains will be likely along the west coast of Mexico over the next coming days.
 
 
Tracking PILAR
 
Here's the official track of PILAR, which doesn't show much further development. However, due to the fact that it will be so close to the Mexican coast, heavy rains and gusty winds will likely continue through the early week time frame. 
 

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September 10th - Official Peak of the Atlantic Hurricane Season
 
It's only fitting that on the official peak of the Atlantic Hurricane Season (September 10th), Hurricane IRMA made landfall with the Lower Florida Keys at 9:10am on Sunday, September 10th. Note that the season, on average, remains pretty active through the rest of September and throughout October, but falls dramatically into November. Keep in mind that the official end of the Atlantic Hurricane Season is November 30th.
 
 
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PRELIMINARY 2017 Tornado Map

It certainly has been a fairly active first half of 2017 with 1373 preliminary tornado reports through September 22nd. Note that this is the most tornadoes through September 23rd since 2011, when there were 1,784 reports. The map below shows the distribution of the tornadoes so far this year. 

PRELIMINARY 2017 Tornado Count

According to NOAA's SPC, the PRELIMINARY 2017 tornado count is 1373 (through September 22nd). Note that is the most active year for tornadoes since 2011, when there were 1,784 tornadoes. Keep in mind there was a major tornado outbreak in the Gulf Coast region from April 25-28, 2011 that spawned nearly 500 tornadoes, some of which were deadly. That outbreak is known as the Super Outbreak of 2011 and has gone down in history as one of the biggest, costliest and one of the deadliest tornado outbreaks in history.


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National Weather Hazards Ahead...

1.) Heavy rain across portions of the Central Plains and Southern Plains, Mon, Sep 25.
2.) Heavy rain across portions of the Southern Plains, Tue-Fri, Sep 26-Sep 29.
3.) High significant wave heights for coastal portions of the Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast, Wed, Sep 27.
4.) Heavy rain across portions of the Alaska Panhandle, Tue-Wed, Sep 26-Sep 27.
5.) Much above normal temperatures across portions of the Northeast, the Central Appalachians, the Mid-Atlantic, the Upper Mississippi Valley, the Great Lakes, and the Ohio Valley, Tue-Wed, Sep 26-Sep 27.
6.) Flooding occurring or imminent across portions of the Southeast.
7.) Severe Drought across the Central Plains, the Northern Plains, Hawaii, the Northern Rockies, the Middle Mississippi Valley, California, the Upper Mississippi Valley, and the Southern Plains.

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"Rain and snow take aim at the Montana drought"

"The weather this summer has been downright unruly, but it's ready to make amends. After months of extreme drought and fire, the state is getting some much-needed rain and snow. "We ended up receiving a second round of precipitation, mainly in southwest and central Montana," Jim Brusda, lead meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said. "It's pretty welcome because of how dry it has been." Lewistown is reaping the most benefits from the weather system with .32 inches by Friday afternoon. The east side of the Big Snowies has already received nine inches of snow. The rainfall wasn't too excessive in Great Falls, where only .18 inches fell, while, approximately .14 inches fell in Helena by Friday afternoon. Other places were worse off, with just a trace, .01 inches, in Cut Bank and nothing in Havre. But every drop of rain is going to good use. Brusda said the soil is absorbing all of the precipitation."

See more from Great Falls Tribune HERE:

 
Latest Drought Monitor

Here's the latest drought update from the US Drought Monitor, which shows EXCEPTIONAL drought conditions continuing across parts of Montana. Note that nearly 99% of the state is considered to be abnormally dry, but the EXCEPTIONAL drought covers nearly 18% of the state, which is down from nearly 26% last week. In North Dakota, less than 1% is in an EXCEPTIONAL drought, but nearly 3% of the state is still in an EXTREME drought, which is also down from the near 19% last week.

Rain Needed to End Drought

Exceptional and Extreme drought conditions are in place over parts of Montana and North and South Dakota due to several weeks/months of hot and dry weather. The image below suggests how much rain would be needed to end the drought, which suggests nearly 6" to 12" or more!
 

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Chetco Bar Fire - 5 Miles Northeast of Brookings, OR

The Chetco Bar Fire near Brookings, Oregon is a very large wildfire in the Western US that started on Wednesday,  July 12th by lightning and has grown to more than 191,000 acres! There are nearly 1,200 people working on this fire, which is 97% contained. The estimated containment date is set for Sunday, October 15th.

"Incident Summary: In the past week firefighters have made good progress in containing and strengthening lines around the Chetco Bar Fire. Firefighters, including crews with Oregon Army National Guard Task Force 5, continue to monitor and patrol the fireline, adding waterbars and recovering equipment where where containment objectives have been achieved. The current weather pattern is more favorable for firefighters and the area forecast includes more than an inch of rain in addition to cooler temperatures and higher humidity over the next few days. Evacuations and Closures: All Evacuation Advisories in Curry County and Josephine County have been lifted."

See more from Inciweb HERE:

(Credit: Andy Lyon)

Diamond Creek Fire - Mazama, Washington

The Diamond Creek Fire near Mazama, Washington is a very large wildfire in the Western US that started on Sunday,  July 23rd and has grown to more than 127,000 acres! There are nearly 202 people working on this fire, which is 77% contained. The estimated containment date is set for Sunday, October 15th.

"Incident Summary: The Diamond Creek Fire was reported on July 23, 2017 at approximately 9:45 a.m. The fire is burning in the Pasayten Wilderness and Eightmile drainage about 11 miles north of Mazama, Washington. Smokejumpers responded to the fire within two hours of it being reported. However, due to extreme terrain, heavy dead and down timber, and critical fire weather conditions, the fire was unable to be contained during initial response. The fire crossed into Canada on August 29. Fire managers recognized that the Diamond Creek Fire would likely be a long term event. Monitor, confine and point protection strategies are being used inside the Pasayten Wilderness. Outside the wilderness, the fire is being managed under a suppression strategy using a mixture of direct, indirect and point protection tactics when and where there is a high probability of success. Fire personnel will engage the fire at the appropriate time and location, while keeping public and firefighter safety as the top priority. Fire personnel are currently focused on identifying and implementing suppression repair work on the primary and contingency control lines. The suppression repair will not compromise the intended purpose of the control lines should they be needed at a later date"

See more from Inciweb HERE:

(Night time picture of a glowing yurt Credit: Brent Tannehill)

 
 

Ongoing Large Wildfires

Here's a look at the current wildfire map across the country. Continued hot and dry weather has helped to spark several wildfires across the Western US. There have even been fires popping up in the Eastern U.S., two of the larger fires are burning in Florida.

Here's a list of all the current large wildfires from Inciweb:

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National Weather Outlook

Here's the weather outlook through the early part of the week, which shows a cool front stalling across the central part of the country. This will keep the threat of scattered showers and storms in place with areas of locally heavy rain. Also note MARIA, the tropical system in the Atlantic approaching the East Coast as we head into the early week time frame. This will bring heavy rain, wind and storm surge to places there.

 
5 Day Precipitation Outlook

According to NOAA's WPC, the next several days could produce very heavy rainfall across the Plains with some 4" to 8" amounts possible, especially across parts of western Texas. Also note the heavy rain potential just clipping the East Coast, which would be associated with MARIA. 

Snowfall Potential
 
Snowfall will likely continue in the mountains as we head into the early week time frame, but should begin to taper as the storm winds down. Snow totals could end up being upwards of 12" or more by the time it finally ends.
 
Snowy Western US
 
Here's a view from Park City Mountain, which shows snow flying from Sunday. The recent colder than average weather and Pacific moisture brought quite a bit of white stuff to the mountains of the Western US.
 
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A Sloppy Monday - Free A/C Kicks In This Week
By Paul Douglas
 
90F in late September? Impressive, when you consider the sun was as high in the sky yesterday as it was back on March 18. Consider it a bonus summer weekend; one more chance to exercise your sweat glands before aerobic shivering season sets in. It confirms a suspicion I've had for some time: summer warmth in Minnesota (balmy enough to swim in our lakes) lasts the better part of 4 months now.
 
You may need more clothing this week as Canadian air returns, with daytime highs mostly in the 60s; jacket-worthy mornings dipping into the 40s. Autumn elbowing its way into summer warmth & humidity squeezes out half an inch of rain from showers and T-storms into Tuesday morning. The maps look like fall, but I have little doubt we'll see more 70s, even a few more 80s in October.
 
In the meantime Hurricane Maria brushes North Carolina's Outer Banks with high winds & surf into midweek. Sadly, Puerto Rico is now Exhibit A for the horrors that result when the grid goes down for an extended time. Consider donating to fellow Americans at redcross.org or by calling The Red Cross at 1-800-435-7669.
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Extended Forecast
 
MONDAY: Showers and T-storms. Winds: NW 5-10. High: 68.
 
MONDAY NIGHT: Scattered showers, rumbles possible. Winds: N 5. Low: 58.
 
TUESDAY: Showers taper. Slow PM clearing. Winds: NW 8-13. High: 65.
 
WEDNESDAY: Sunny, cool and pleasant. Winds: NW 5-10. Wake-up: 49. High: 67.
 
THURSDAY: Clouds increase. Slow PM clearing. Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 52. High: 71.
 
FRIDAY: Getting sunnier. Light winds. Winds: N 5-10. Wake-up: 49. High: 64.
 
SATURDAY: Partly sunny. Nicer day of the weekend. Winds: S 7-12. Wake-up: 48. High: 71.
 
SUNDAY: Showers, possible T-showers. Winds: SW 8-13. Wake-up: Wake-up: 55. High: 64.
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This Day in Weather History
September 25th

1998: A wind gust to 78 mph is reported at Staples Municipal Airport, just to the north of Staples in Wadena County. In Todd County, trees are blown down in the city of Staples. Buildings are damaged at a farmstead on the northwest edge of the city. A roof is torn off of Stern Rubber Company, and rooftop heating and cooling units are ripped off McKechnie Tool and Engineering. In Mille Lacs County, 3 inch hail is reported, damaging many automobiles.

1929: Willmar experiences a deluge that produces 5.22 inches of rain in 24 hours.
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Average High/Low for Minneapolis
September 25th

Average High: 68F (Record: 91F set in 1920)
Average Low: 48F (Record: 31F set in 1926)

Record Rainfall: 1.34" set in 1934
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Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
September 25th

Sunrise: 7:04am
Sunset: 7:04pm

Hours of Daylight: ~12hours 

Daylight LOST since yesterday: ~3 minutes and 6 seconds
Daylight LOST since summer solstice (June 20th): 3 hours & 37 minutes
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Moon Phase for September 25th at Midnight
1.8 Days Before First Quarter

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Weather Outlook For Monday

Temperatures on Monday will be quite a bit cooler than it was this weekend as the front slowly shitfs east. Highs in the Twin Cities will be nearly 20F cooler than it was Friday-Sunday as highs slip into the 60s. Note that along the front, temperatures will be closer to average, while temp east and west of the front will be quite a bit warmer and cooler than average. 

 
Weather Outlook For Sunday
 
Winds will shift more northerly as the front shift east of the Twin Cities. This will help to bring much cooler than average temperatures to the region over the next several days.
 

Weather Outlook For Monday

A stalled frontal boundary will continue to slowly shift east with areas of scattered showers and storms, which will likely stick around through the first half of Tuesday.
 
 
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Simulated Radar Ahead...
 
Here's the simulated radar across the Upper Midwest as we head through early next week. The stalled front will slowly move east through the early week time period, which will help to bring areas of storms and heavy rain to parts of the region.
 
 
Rainfall Potential Ahead
 
Here's the rainfall potential across the state as we head through AM Friday. Note that many areas from southwestern to northeastern Minnesota could stay quite wet with some widespread 1" to 2"+ tallies.
 

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Minnesota Drought Conditions

According to the US Drought Monitor, only 0.05% of the state is considered to be in a SEVERE drought, which dropped from the near 2% last week. Also note that nearly 16% of the state is considered to be in a MODERATE drought, which is also down from the near 21% from last week.


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Minneapolis Temperature Outlook

Here's the temperature outlook through October 9th, which shows temps cooling significantly from the summerlike weekend we just had. Readings will be more Fall-like as we dip into the 60s and 70s through the early part of October.

 
6 to 14 Day Temperature Outlook

According to NOAA's CPC, the extended temperature outlook from October 2nd through the 6th suggests warmer than average temperatures possible across parts of the Midwest.


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Extended Temperature Outlook

According to NOAA's CPC, the extended temperature outlook through October 8th shows that a good chunk of the Southern U.S. will be cooler than average, but the Western and Northern US will remain warmer than average.

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Fall Color - Coming To A Tree Near You...

It's about that time of the year again to gaze upon Mother Nature's fall foliage, which is really starting to show up. By now, you've probably noticed a few eager trees changing color pretty rapidly, some of this could be due to a little stress, but it's not uncommon to start seeing some changes at this time of the year.

Minnesota Fall Color Update

According the MN DNR, much of the state is already starting to see hints of fall color, however, there are pockets of 50%-75% color across northern Minnesota!

Follow along as the fall colors change with the MN DNR map HERE:

Typical Fall Color Peak in Minnesota

Here are the typical fall color peak times across the state of Minnesota and note that areas along the northern tier of the state usually see their peak toward the 2nd half of September. However, peak color usually doesn't arrive in central Minnesota until October, but we're getting close.

Typical Fall Color Times Across the Country

Here are the typical fall color peak times across the country, which suggests that much of the peak across the northern half of the nation usually wraps up through the month of October.

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"SOLAR WIND STREAM APPROACHES EARTH"
 
"A hole in the sun's atmosphere is spewing solar wind toward Earth. This image from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory shows where solar magnetic fields have parted, allowing the gaseous material to escape. Traveling faster than 600 km/s (1.3 million mph), the solar wind is expected to reach our planet on Sept. 24th, bringing a 40% chance of polar geomagnetic storms according to NOAA forecasters. The chance of storms rises to 50% on the next day, Sept. 25th, as Earth moves deeper into the stream. Northern sky watchers should be alert for autumn auroras."
 
 
 
 
Northern Lights Forecast for Sunday, September 24th
 
"Forecast: Auroral activity will be high. Weather permitting, highly active auroral displays will be visible overhead from Inuvik, Yellowknife, Rankin and Iqaluit to Juneau, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Thunder Bay and Sept-Iles, and visible low on the horizon from Seattle, Des Moines, Chicago, Cleveland, Boston, and Halifax."
 
 
 
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"Irma may speed the end of orange juice"

"The most recent estimates of the widespread damage to Florida’s orange trees put the statewide losses as high as 70 percent. Hurricane Irma plundered Florida’s orange belt, leaving a trail of uprooted trees, downed fruit and flooded groves worse than anything growers say they have seen in more than 20 years. It could even be the knock-out blow for a product — orange juice — that has been slipping in popularity among Americans, although the beverage still ranks as the country’s favorite fruit. The most recent estimates of the widespread damage to Florida’s orange trees put the statewide losses as high as 70 percent. That could lead to orange shortages, price hikes and, for farmers, lost harvests — all on top of a debilitating plant disease called citrus greening and a long-term national decline in orange juice consumption. “Significant is not the right word,”said Shannon Shepp, the executive director of the growers’ group Florida Department of Citrus, describing the damage to Florida’s orange juice industry. “It’s somewhere between significant and catastrophic. And that’s a big word — I don’t use it lightly.” It could have implications not only for Florida agriculture, but for the American diet."

See more from DenverPost HERE:

(Fruit sits on the ground below an orange tree at the Alico Inc. Lake Patrick Grove in Frostproof, Florida, on Sept. 11, 2017. Daniel Acker, Bloomberg via DenverPost)


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"California cities want Big Oil to pay for costs of climate change"

"Coastal cities in California that are vulnerable to flooding caused by climate change are fighting back against Big Oil. San Francisco and Oakland filed lawsuits this week demanding that ExxonMobil, Chevron (CVX), BP, ConocoPhillips (COP) and Royal Dutch Shell pay billions to cover the costs of sea walls and other protections against rising sea levels. The aggressive strategy from the Bay Area makes San Francisco and Oakland the first major U.S. cities to attempt to shift the costs of climate change from the public to fossil fuel companies. San Francisco and Oakland fear that billions of dollars of property in low-lying areas will be swamped by rising sea levels that scientists blame on climate change. "These fossil fuel companies profited handsomely for decades while knowing they were putting the fate of our cities at risk," San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera said in a statement announcing the lawsuits, which were filed in Superior Court in San Francisco and Alameda Counties."

See more from CNN HERE:

(Image credit: Getty images via CNN.com)

 

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"One of the most bizarre ideas about climate change just found more evidence in its favor"

"More and more, we are learning that climate change can lead to some pretty strange and counterintuitive effects, especially when it comes to the wintertime. For instance, scientists have pointed out for a number of years that warmer seas, and a wetter atmosphere, can actually fuel more snowfall in massive nor’easters affecting the U.S. East Coast. More controversial still is an idea called “Warm Arctic, Cold Continents.” This is the notion that as the Arctic warms up faster than the middle latitudes, it may sometimes cause a displacement of the region’s still quite frigid air to places that aren’t so used to it. In other words, even as the planet warms, masses of cold air could also become more mobile and deliver quite a shock at times when outbreaks occur in more southerly latitudes."

See more from Washington Post HERE:

 

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"NASA’S OSIRIS-REx Spacecraft Slingshots Past Earth"

"NASA’s asteroid sample return spacecraft successfully used Earth’s gravity on Friday to slingshot itself on a path toward the asteroid Bennu, for a rendezvous next August. At 12:52 p.m. EDT on Sept. 22, the OSIRIS-REx (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, and Security – Regolith Explorer) spacecraft came within 10,711 miles (17,237 km) of Antarctica, just south of Cape Horn, Chile, before following a route north over the Pacific Ocean. OSIRIS-REx launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Sept. 8, 2016, on an Atlas V 411 rocket. Although the rocket provided the spacecraft with the all the momentum required to propel it forward to Bennu, OSIRIS-REx needed an extra boost from the Earth’s gravity to change its orbital plane. Bennu’s orbit around the Sun is tilted six degrees from Earth’s orbit, and this maneuver changed the spacecraft’s direction to put it on the path toward Bennu. As a result of the flyby, the velocity change to the spacecraft was 8,451 miles per hour (3.778 kilometers per second)."

See more from NASA Here:

(OSIRIS-REx is NASA's mission to explore near-earth asteroid Bennu, collect a sample, and return it to Earth. To get to Bennu, however, OSIRIS-REx must first leave the plane of Earth's orbit and match the orbital tilt of its target. On September 22, 2017, OSIRIS-REx approached Earth and flew over its southern hemisphere, passing within 11,000 miles of Antarctica. Credits: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center)

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