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Paul Douglas on Weather

Cloudy Sunday - Snow Midweek, Then Highs In The Single Digits Next Weekend

Snow Drought So Far Across Most Of Minnesota, Upper Midwest

Through Friday, we have only received 5" of snow so far this season in the Twin Cities, while we should average 16" of snow by now. The heaviest snow so far has fallen across parts of northern Minnesota, which have been more in the path of storm systems moving through the region. Both Duluth and International Falls have received over 20" of snow so far this winter. The snow total in Duluth was helped by the late October storm that brought them 10.6" of snow on the 27th.

Most locations across the upper Midwest are below average for snow so far this winter, with the only places above average being Duluth and Detroit. Even Marquette, which has received 47.5" of snow so far is 3.4" below average.


One of the Colder Christmases In Recent Memory?
By Paul Douglas

The hype is warranted, the rumors are true. One of the two or three coldest smacks of winter arrives by late week. By Christmas Day temperatures struggle to reach zero, nighttime lows slip to -10F. Not quite record territory but cold enough to do your funny Nanook of the North impersonation.

My father and sister are traveling to Minnesota for Christmas, and they have serious concerns. "How do
we dress for subzero?" Bring extra clothes, a few extra layers. Sensible shoes (boots) and earmuffs help. "Can we go outside?" Absolutely. Just keep moving and you'll be just fine. The sensation is roughly equivalent to bathing in battery acid. Amazingly, you get used to it.

No weather drama into Tuesday. A mix of light snow and ice arrives Wednesday. Heavier snow is possible Thursday into Friday. Right now models take the heaviest snow band over southeastern Minnesota, but confidence levels are low. We'll get our white Christmas. ECMWF guidance hints at single digit highs from December 23-27.

The GFS brings in 20s by New Year's Day. You'll be amazed just how good 20s above can feel.


Extended Twin Cities Forecast

SUNDAY: Mostly cloudy, dry. High 30. Low 23. Chance of precipitation 20%. Wind NW 3-8 mph.
MONDAY: Still gray, but noticeably milder. High 40. Low 28. Chance of precipitation 20%. Wind SW 8-13 mph.
TUESDAY: Peeks of sun, still above average. High 35. Low 20. Chance of precipitation 10%. Wind NW 10-15 mph.
WEDNESDAY: Light snow, roads may ice up. High 28. Low 23. Chance of precipitation 70%. Wind E 8-13 mph.
THURSDAY: Few inches of snow possible. High 25. Low 6. Chance of precipitation 90%. Wind NE 10-20 mph.
FRIDAY: Peeks of sun, dress in layers. High 15. Low 3. Chance of precipitation 20%. Wind NW 7-12 mph.
SATURDAY: Few flakes, wind chill close to -10F. High 9. Low -7. Chance of precipitation 30%. Wind NW 10-15 mph.


This Day in Weather History
December 17th

1996: 20 to 40 mph winds combined with recent snowfall produce blizzard like conditions for about a 36 hour period over much of the area. Whiteout conditions are common in rural and open areas. Every county road in Yellow Medicine county was impassable by the morning of the 18th. Travelers heading west were stranded in Clara City as plows were pulled off the road. Wind chills were as low as 60 degrees below zero.

1946: Heavy snow is reported along with strong wind across northern Minnesota. Duluth has winds up to 62 mph.


Average Temperatures & Precipitation for Minneapolis
December 17th

Average High: 26F (Record: 53F set in 1939)
Average Low: 12F (Record: -17F set in 1985)
Average Precipitation: 0.03" (Record: 0.81" set in 1908)
Average Snow: 0.4" (Record: 10.8" set in 1908)


Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
December 17th

Sunrise: 7:45 AM
Sunset: 4:32 PM

*Length Of Day: 8 hours, 46 minutes and 50 seconds
*Daylight Lost Since Yesterday: ~0 minutes and 21 seconds

*Latest Sunrise: December 30th-January 5th (7:51 AM)
*Next Sunset at/after 5 PM: January 17th (5:00 PM)


Minnesota Weather Outlook

Skies will once again be mainly cloudy across the state Sunday, but potentially with a few more peaks of sun in spots. Highs will climb into the low 30s across southern Minnesota and mid/upper 20s across northern Minnesota.

Even though we may barely make it to freezing in the Twin Cities Sunday that is above average for this time of year. Across most of the state, highs will be a good 5-15 degrees above average.

A dip in the temperatures will come as we head toward the end of the week and into the holiday weekend as frigid temperatures move south of the border. By the end of the work week, we could see our first high in the teens so far this winter in the Twin Cities. The coldest high we’ve observed so far was 20 on December 6th. Another surge of cold air appears to arrive just in time for Christmas, with some models indicating we might only make it into the single digits on Christmas Day.

That cold air will come in behind a system that'll bring at least the chance of some accumulating snow next Wednesday into Thursday to the region. Right now models are still showing a wide selection of scenarios that could happen with this system, so it's certainly too early to start putting snowfall totals out. Just know that travel toward the middle to end of the week at the moment may be interrupted by at least a few inches of snow, and we'll keep narrowing down how much snow will fall over the next few days.

This graphic from the Twin Cities office of the National Weather Service shows that wide spread of possibilities in the models for the Wednesday-Thursday system. Again, it's too early to tell how much will fall... especially when the model spread is 0"-14".


National Weather Stories

A frontal system draped from the Great Lakes to southern New Mexico will help produce some rain and snow showers across portions of the Great Lakes, Northeast, and Arizona/New Mexico Sunday. A low across Louisiana could help produce showers and storms along the western and northern Gulf Coast and in parts of the Southeast. A frontal system moving toward the Pacific Northwest will help produce rain and snow.

Warmer than average temperatures will be found in parts of the central United States into the Northern Plains and Southeast on Sunday, with cooler than average highs across the Northeast and the Great Basin and Southwest.

A frontal system will stall out as we head into next week across portions of the South and Southeast, leading to potentially rounds of showers and storms across the regions. Rainfall totals through Thursday morning could top 2-3" in spots. Heavy precipitation will also be found in the Pacific Northwest as we start to see more systems approach the coast.


Praedictix Weather Corporate Briefing On The California Wildfires Issued Early Saturday Morning:

  • Multiple major wildfires continue across parts of southern California early Saturday morning. Three of the six wildfires that started last week are now contained, with another two 98-99% contained. The last one - the Thomas Fire - is the fourth largest California wildfire in modern history.
  • An update on the active wildfires:
  • Critical fire danger is expected over the next couple days across California – in both the Bay Area and areas surrounding Los Angeles. Gusty winds and low humidity values will allow any new and ongoing wildfires to quickly spread across the region.

Ongoing Wildfires. Three major wildfires continue to burn across southern California early this morning. The Thomas Fire has grown to 256,000 acres burned and is 35% contained. Here was the situation on the Thomas Fire from the Cal Fire incident report last night

Tonight (Friday Night) and into tomorrow (Saturday) morning, strong north winds are forecast to materialize. This has the potential to amplify fire behavior significantly above the coastal communities of Santa Barbara County, as well as the Fillmore area. Critical fire weather combined with very high fuel loading, critically low fuel moistures, and single-digit relative humidities will continue to support fire growth. Areas of concern are above the coastal Santa Barbara County communities, Matilija Wilderness, Rose Valley, and Sespe River drainage north of Fillmore

Santa Barbara County: Firefighters will remain prepared for structure defense operations and continue direct line construction above the communities of Santa Barbara, Carpinteria, Summerland, and Montecito.

Ventura County: Improvement and mop up of fireline in the Fillmore area will continue. Fire in the Bear Wallow area and Day Fire footprint will remain in monitor status. In the north, direct line construction will continue within the Zaca Fire footprint, tying in to Highway33.North winds will also exasperate the threat to Fillmore and surrounding agricultural values, with fire backing into the Sespe drainage.

A detailed, interactive map of the fires can be found HERE.

Critical Fire Danger Today. Critical fire danger continues today across California as a system passes through the Great Basin. That will be followed by high pressure moving into the Great Basin by tonight.

  • Across northern and central California, gusty north winds are already occurring this morning and will continue throughout the day. Humidity values are also falling. The combination of the two will lead to critical fire weather concerns throughout the day.
  • Across southern California, strong winds are already occurring across parts of Santa Barbara County and will continue through the day. As we head toward this evening, gusty Santa Ana winds will return to the rest of Southern California, with gusts up to 50 mph and falling humidity values.

Critical Fire Danger Continues Into Sunday. Critical fire danger will remain in place across California as we head into Sunday.

  • Across northern and central California, the critical fire weather concern will mainly be during the morning hours, as winds will be on the decrease into the afternoon. However, at least an elevated fire weather concern will continue into the second half of the day as some stronger winds gusts will be possible, especially at higher elevations.
  • In southern California, strong Santa Ana winds and low humidity values will continue throughout the day, fanning any new and ongoing wildfires.

Red Flag Warnings & Fire Weather Watches. Due to the continued fire weather conditions – including gusty winds and low humidity values – Red Flag Warnings are in effect across portions of California over the next couple days.

  • Across northern and central California, including warnings in both the Bay Area and around Sacramento, they are in effect through 10 AM Sunday. This is due to low humidity values and northerly winds which will gust to around 50 mph, especially at higher elevations.
  • Across the Sierra and Kern County mountains, Red Flag Warnings are in effect through this evening due to low humidity values and winds that will be out of the northeast at 10-20 mph by this afternoon.
  • In the Santa Barbara County Mountains and adjacent foothills, Red Flag Warnings are in effect through 10 PM today due to northerly winds gusting up to 40 mph and low humidity values.
  • Across the rest of southern California, Red Flag Warnings go into effect either tonight or early Sunday morning, lasting through Sunday evening. This is due to northeast winds gusting at 40 to 50 mph (with isolated gusts to 60 mph possible)

Across parts of San Diego County, a Fire Weather Watch is in effect from 8 AM to 8 PM Sunday. Winds are expected to gust out of the northeast at 35-45 mph, with low humidity values in place.

Wind Advisories In Effect. Due to the gusty northerly winds expected across the region over the next couple days, Wind Advisories are in place. Winds are expected to gust between 35-50 mph, with isolated higher gusts possible.

Bay Area Wind Gusts Today. Peak wind gusts are expected to be between 20-40 mph across the Bay Area and into higher elevation areas throughout the day. This would allow any fires that spark across the region to quickly spread.

Los Angeles Wind Gusts Sunday. Wind prone areas of the Los Angeles area will see strong northeast winds due to a Santa Ana event tonight into Sunday. Peak wind gusts could top 40-50 mph in areas Sunday.

Meteorologist D.J. Kayser, Praedictix


California Wildfires Affecting Our Oceans

So just how do wildfires end up affecting the ocean? It has to do with the ash that comes from everything burning. More from Popular Science: “The Santa Barbara Channel, an 80-mile-long stretch of the Pacific Ocean just off the coast of southern California, is one of the most diverse and vibrant ocean ecosystems in the world. On Saturday, a team of scientists led by Kelsey Bisson and Nicholas Huynh, doctoral students in oceanography at the University of California at Santa Barbara, will board the research vessel Sally Ride and set off on a week-long expedition to study the organisms living there.

What Season Is It In Denver Right Now?

Here's an uncommon sight this time of year: green grass in Denver. More from the Denver Post: "Denver plants that are supposed to be brown, scraggly and dead this time of year are instead green, flourishing and alive. From dandelions and pansies to trees and lawns, plants are popping up, budding and thriving, clearly feeling confused about when they’re supposed to go dormant this season — if at all." (Image: Denver Parks and Recreation runs the sprinklers to keep up with the warm dry weather at Civic Center Park while workers also repair broken sprinkler heads and do general maintenance in downtown Denver on Dec. 12, 2017. Joe Amon, The Denver Post)

Sierra Grows In Height During Recent Drought

Due to the drought over the past few years out in California, the Sierra Nevada actually rose in elevation. More from U.S. News: "Loss of water from rocks during drought caused California's Sierra Nevada to rise nearly an inch (2.5 centimeters) in height from October 2011 to October 2015, according to a new NASA study made public Wednesday.  The study also found that in the following two years of increased snow and rain, the rocks in the range regained about half as much water as was lost during the drought and the return of the weight caused the height of the mountains to fall about half an inch (1.3 centimeters)." (Image: This Dec. 21, 2016 photo shows the eastern Sierra Nevada, with Mt. Whitney, the second-highest peak in the U.S., the largest of three pinnacles at center, near Lone Pine, Calif. Loss of water from rocks during drought caused California's Sierra Nevada to rise nearly an inch in height from October 2011 to October 2015, according to a new NASA study made public Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017. The study also found that in the following two years of increased snow and rain, the rocks in the range regained about half as much water as was lost during the drought and the return of the weight caused the height of the mountains to fall about half an inch. (AP Photo/Brian Melley))


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

 - D.J. Kayser

Icy Start - Relatively Mild Into Wednesday - Dreaming of a Numb Christmas

Dreaming of a White Christmas? You May Be in Luck

This is the dark season, when a combination of meager daylight, a dearth of sunshine and debilitating bouts of holiday stress leave many of us curled up on the sofa in the fetal position. No wonder we turn on Christmas lights and light Hanukkah candles.
Look at the bright side - quite literally. Within 2 short weeks daylight is on the increase again, even though average temperatures won't start to rise until late January. If you don't enjoy dressing in layers or pleading with your car heater - this too shall pass.
But a few outbreaks of polar air are inevitable at this latitude. As advertised for several days now, numbing air is on the way - by Christmas weekend highs hold in single digits with lows dipping below 0F. Not record low territory, but cold enough to get your attention.
The latest clipper sails east today; flurries taper with highs near 30F. Temperatures trend above average into Thursday, when there's still a potential for accumulating snow to freshen up the dirty pile of snow-like grit in your yard.
We WILL have a white Christmas. It WILL get Nanook. Hey, this is still Minnesota, right?

Mixed Climate Patterns in December. Dr. Mark Seeley reports on a fickle December (they all are) and a snowfall deficit across most of Minnesota in this week's edition of Minnesota WeatherTalk: "After an extraordinary warm start, with scores of record high temperature values set on the 4th of the month, December has been tracking with alternating periods of below and above normal temperatures. Overall through the first half of the month most climate stations are showing average temperature values that range from 4 to 8 degrees F warmer than normal, a trend that is likely to make December the 10th month of 2017 with above normal temperatures. Over 60 climate stations so far have reported subzero low temperatures on at least one day this month, with a minimum of -19°F near Ely earlier this week on the 12th. Embarrass was -15°F on that date as well. Eveleth reported -9°F on December 8th, the coldest in the nation. Most observers have so far reported anywhere from 5 to 7 days with measurable snowfalls, mostly light in amounts from a dusting up to 1 inch..."

Snow Cover. A series of 3 maps above shows snow on the ground now, courtesy of NOAA and AerisWeather.

January Outlook. NOAA's CFSv2 climate model predict a milder than average January for much of the USA, with the exception of far northern states, including Minnesota. Confidence levels are low, but this sure is a colorful map! Source: WeatherBell.

Dangers of Hypothermia. NOAA has some good reminders as we head into an extended cold wave late next week - the elderly and infants most prone to a slow, and potentially fatal drop in body temperature: "When your body temperature sinks below 96°F, you have hypothermia, a serious health hazard that occurs when body temperature is lowered to much. Get medical attention immediately. Move the victim inside to a heated location and begin warming the center of the body first. If the person is unconscious, administer CPR. Hypothermia can occur in temperatures as warm as 60°F, particularly in water or with if you are outside a long time and not dressed for the weather. Of the approximately 1,300 people the CDCP lists as being killed by hypothermia each year, most are seniors, according to the National Institute of Aging, but some are children and young adults. Everyone needs to be careful. Some medicines, problems with circulation, and certain illnesses may reduce your ability to resist hypothermia. As you age, your body becomes less efficient at letting you know when you are too cold. In addition, older people tend not to shiver effectively, one of the ways the body warms itself up. Remember these tips to help prevent hypothermia:

  • Dress in layers
  • Wrap up well when going outside in the cold.
  • Avoid breezes and drafts indoors.
  • Eat nutritious food and wear warm clothes to ward off winter chill.
  • Wear a warm hat in the winter.
  • Eat hot foods and drink warm drinks several times during the day.
  • If you live alone, ask a family member of neighbor to check on you daily or have a camera installed that a family member can view on their computer.
  • Ask your doctor if any medicine you're taking increases your risk of hypothermia. Drugs that may cause a problem include barbiturates, benzodiazepines, chlorpromazine, reserpine, and tricyclic antidepressants..." 

ECMWF Outlook for White Christmas 2017. The map above shows the European model forecast for 1" of snow cover on Christmas morning, December 25. Much of the northern USA should have a white Christmas, but it may be touch and go for Chicago, Des Moines and Kansas City. Map:

Thomas Fire Grows To Nearly 250,000 Acres - Fire Danger Continues for California.

Praedictix Briefing: Friday, December 15th, 2017

  • Multiple major wildfires continue across parts of southern California Friday morning, with the Thomas Fire growing into the fourth largest California wildfire in modern history.
  • An update on the active wildfires:
  • Critical fire danger is expected this morning across southern California before winds start to weaken this afternoon. However, a new system will start to drop into the western United States, leading to elevated fire danger in the Bay Area by this evening. This system will produce gusty northerly winds tomorrow into Sunday morning in the Bay Area, leading to cricical fire danger. As high pressure settles back in Saturday night, gusty offshore winds will once again develop over southern California into Sunday.

Ongoing Wildfires. Four major wildfires continue to burn across southern California this morning. The Thomas Fire has grown to 249,500 acres burned and is 35% contained. Unfortunately one firefighter has lost their life batting this blaze. Here was the situation on the Thomas Fire from the Cal Fire incident report last night

Santa Barbara County: The majority of resources will focus on securing the western side of the fire, above the coastal communities in Santa Barbara County. Firefighters will remain engaged in structure defense operations and establish direct fireline where possible working to tie in to the Tea fire and Jesusita fire footprints. Fire will continue to threaten the communities of Santa Barbara, Carpinteria, Summerland, Montecito and surrounding areas.

Ventura County: Crews continued to actively engage in suppressing active and small spot fires around the Southeastern portion of the perimeter. Fire was active on the Northeast side and has established within the Sespe drainage make firefighting efforts difficult to access and mitigate. Areas currently evacuated are mitigating hazardous conditions. Utility companies continue to assess and mitigate infrastructure that was damaged from the fire so citizens can be safe when returning to these affected areas.

A detailed, interactive map of the fires can be found HERE.

Wind Gusts Past 24 Hours. Strong winds over the past 24 hours have been common across parts of southern California, with a number of locations observing winds of at least 40 mph. The peak wind gust was 79 mph, recorded at Fremont Canyon.

Critical Fire Danger This Morning. Strong offshore winds will continue across southern California during the morning hours today before weakening this afternoon. However, elevated fire conditions will continue as we will remain dry across the region. In central California, an elevated fire danger is in place late today as a new system digs into the western United States. Winds will be on the increase during the evening and overnight hours and that, combined with dry conditions, will allow any fires that do form to quickly spread.

Critical Fire Danger Continues Into Saturday. Critical fire weather concerns will be in place across two areas of California Saturday.

  • Across central and northern California, the critical fire threat will develop in the morning hours as winds will be out of the north to northeast at 20-30 mph in combination with low humidity values. This fire danger will continue into Sunday morning.
  • Across southern California, offshore winds will increase as we head toward Saturday night. With low humidity values still across the region, critical fire weather concerns will develop during this timeframe, lasting into Sunday.

Fire Danger Sunday As Well. Strong offshore winds will continue into Sunday across Ventura and Los Angeles counties, leading to another day of critical fire weather concerns.

Red Flag Warnings. Due to the continued fire weather conditions - including gusty Santa Ana winds and low humidity values - Red Flag Warnings are in effect across portions of southern California through the morning hours. Across the Sierra and Kern County mountains, Red Flag Warnings are in effect through this evening due to low humidity values as winds will be between 5-15 mph. In the Bay Area and Sacramento region, Red Flag Warnings are in effect from 10 PM this evening through 10 AM Sunday morning due to gusty winds (50+ mph, especially at higher elevations) and low humidity values.

Red Flag Warning text from local National Weather Service offices:

Wind Advisories In Effect. Wind Advisories are in effect for parts of the Bay Area into northern California as we head into the weekend. Wind gusts are expected to be in the 40-50 mph range, especially at higher elevations, as we go through Saturday.

Bay Area Wind Gusts Saturday. Wind gusts in the Bay Area Saturday will easily top 30 mph across the region, including at the San Francisco airport.

Fire Weather Watches. Fire Weather Watches have been issued for parts of the weekend across southern California:

  • They are in effect from late tonight through Saturday evening across the Santa Barbara County Mountains, as northerly winds will gust up to 40 mph with low humidity values.
  • From late Saturday Night through Sunday evening, Fire Weather Watches are in effect for the Los Angeles/Ventura County mountains/valleys and into other coastal mountain slopes and adjacent valley areas of southern California. Wind gusts of 50-55 mph are possible along with continued low humidity values.

Los Angeles Wind Gusts Sunday. At higher elevations, winds will easily top 30-40 mph as strong Santa Ana winds once again blow across the region. This will impede any firefighting efforts across the region for new and ongoing fires.

Meteorologist D.J. Kayser, Praedictix

Unfettered Building, Scant Oversight Add to Cost of Hurricanes In U.S. Reuters investigates: "...Across the country, newer construction in flood-prone areas generated more than $9 billion in claims for structural damage on the cash-strapped flood insurance program between 2000 and 2015. Flood-management authorities say that some of those claims probably never would have been filed had proper building controls and accurate flood maps been in place. “You look at the media images and you see new subdivisions, new strip malls and new buildings with water up to the rooftop. Those are red flags in my mind. Those shouldn’t be happening,” said Paul Osman, floodplain program manager for the Illinois Office of Water Resources. Controlling construction inside flood-prone areas is critical to keeping flood insurance affordable and reducing post-disaster costs, federal officials say..."

Photo credit: "UNDER WATER: Hurricane Harvey caused billions of dollars of flood damage in August in Texas, including this area of Northwest Houston." REUTERS/Adrees Latif/File Photo.

New Major Evidence That Fracking Harms Human Health. The Atlantic reports: "Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, may pose a significant—but very local—harm to human health, a new study finds. Mothers who live very close to a fracking well are more likely to give birth to a less healthy child with a low birth weight—and low birth weight can lead to poorer health throughout a person’s life. The research, published Wednesday in Science Advances, is the largest study ever conducted on fracking’s health effects. “I think this is the most convincing evidence that fracking has a causal effect on local residents,” said Janet Currie, an economist at Princeton University and one of the authors of the study..."

Photo credit: "A fracking well in Colorado." Jim Urquhart / Reuters.

Minnesota’s Drivers Among Worst in the USA. Excerpts from GoMN and QuoteWizard: "...Minnesota saw big increases in accidents, speeding and citations between 2016 and 2017, which caused the state to rise from 11th in the table last year to 2nd this year. Only California has worse drivers, the website says. One of the biggest movers from 2016 to 2017, Minnesota climbed nine spots from 11th to second worst drivers in the nation. By our metrics, Minnesota saw big increases in accidents, speeding, and citations. We're not the first to highlight Minnesota's driving, with one transplant describing the state's drivers as "too fast, too slow, too angry." What's causing this? For one, Minnesota's brutal weather – including ice, snow storms, and tornados – turns cars into Zambonis. Second, the infamous 'Minnesota Nice' makes drivers passive-aggressive and indecisive behind the wheel. If you find yourself driving through the streets of Minneapolis, keep your wits about you..." (Map credit:

SATURDAY: Flurries taper, milder. Winds: E 5-10. High: 32

SATURDAY NIGHT: More clouds. Low: 22

SUNDAY: Mostly cloudy, good travel weather. Winds: NE 3-8. High: 31

MONDAY: Still gray, above average temps. Winds: W 10-15. Wake-up: 23. High: 37

TUESDAY: Partly sunny, still fairly pleasant. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 28. High: 35

WEDNESDAY: Chance of flurries, potentially slick up north. Winds: SE 10-15. Wake-up: 24. High: 29

THURSDAY: Few inches of snow possible. Winds: NE 10-20. Wake-up: 25. High: 27

FRIDAY: Few flurries, wind chill closer to 5F. Wake-up: 13. High: 16

* CHRISTMAS WEEKEND: Highs: 4-12F. Lows: 2 to -6F.

Climate Stories....

Global Warming Tied to Hurricane Harvey. Research highlighted at Scientific American predicts that Harvey's record rainfall was three times more likely than a storm from the early 1900s: "Climate change made Hurricane Harvey more powerful and increased its deadly flooding, according to new research released as major storms may be driving more Americans to worry about global warming. Human-caused climate change caused the storm to drop significantly more rain than storms would have before atmospheric carbon dioxide levels spiked from the consumption of fossil fuels, according to research published yesterday. Meanwhile, a new poll suggests that witnessing that type of damage and the suffering of those affected has also seemed to move public opinion slightly toward an acceptance of the risk that it poses to a large segment of the U.S. population..."

Hurricane Harvey file photo: Tom Fox, Dallas Morning News.

Scientists Link Hurricane Harvey's Record Rain to Climate Change. A warming atmosphere made the probability of Hurricane Harvey's 50"+ rains as much as 38% more likely, according to 2 new studies highlighted at The New York Times.

3-Day Hurricane Harvey radar loop with 2-minute updates from August 25-28, 2017, courtesy of AerisWeather.

Climate Change Made Harvey's Rainfall Three Times More Likely, Scientists Say: From Climate Nexus Hot News: "Climate change made Hurricane Harvey's record-breaking rainfall much worse, scientists reported this week. Peer-reviewed research from the World Weather Attribution initiative, presented Wednesday at the American Geophysical Union conference in New Orleans, found that climate change made the hurricane's rainfall totals 15 percent more intense than normal. Meanwhile, separate research published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters and also presented at AGU found that climate change likely increased Harvey's rainfall by 20 percent, and possibly as much as 38 percent. Harvey's record-breaking rainfall in August totaled 50 inches in some areas of Houston." (New York Times $, AP, Washington Post $, The Guardian, CNN, Houston Chronicle, Mother Jones, National Geographic, Huffington Post)

Hurricane Harvey file image: NOAA and AerisWeather.

Climate Change to Affect City and State Credit Ratings. Here is an excerpt from an Op-Ed from San Antonio's Express-News Editorial Board: "Cities and states, take note. Climate inaction could lower your credit rating. A recent report from Moody’s explains how the rating agency will assess climate change risk for states and cities. Risk indicators include economic activity along the coast, potential for hurricane and other extreme-weather damage, and the number of homes in a floodplain. Moody’s didn’t identify cities in its report, but Texas is one of the states deemed most vulnerable to climate change. Not surprising since Texas has tremendous economic activity along the Gulf Coast and is prone to all sorts of extreme weather across the state. Hurricane Harvey, which slammed into the Coastal Bend before dumping more more than 50 inches of rain on Houston, has caused an estimated $180 billion in damages. Many of the properties damaged were not in designated floodplains, raising questions about whether our mapping and flooding expectations are accurate in light of climate change..."

Photo credit: Bryan Thomas, New York Times. "If your community isn’t taking affirmative action on climate change, its credit rating could be at risk. For years, Houston, which suffered grievously during Hurricane Harvey, has paved over much. Has it done enough to stem climate change?"

Warm Arctic is 'New Normal,' Scientists Say: Here's a summary and link to relevant stories from Climate Nexus: "The Arctic is experiencing "unprecedented" warming with a rate of sea ice decline not seen in at least the last 1,500 years, a new government report shows. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's annual Arctic Report Card, released Tuesday, shows that the region is warming around twice as fast as the rest of the planet. The report also shows that thicker ice lasting through multiple melt seasons only made up 21 percent of total Arctic ice this year, as opposed to 45 percent in 1985. The report states that the Arctic "shows no sign of returning to the reliably frozen region it was decades ago." (AP, Washington Post $, The Guardian, BBC, Axios, USA Today, NPR, InsideClimate News, Earther, Mother JonesThe Hill)

Image credit: NOAA.