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Getting Better - Situational Awareness and Personal Responsibility During Severe Storm Outbreaks

Severe Weather, Tech and Personal Responsibility

The biggest lesson I've learned from tracking weather for 45 years? Pay attention. Don't rely on anyone else for your safety. Take responsibility to stay "weather-aware".

Thursday's outbreak in Iowa was pretty staggering: 3-4 supercells spawning at least 27 individual tornado reports. Yet only 17 injuries and no fatalities resulted. The Des Moines National Weather Service provided 43 minutes of lead-time for the Marshalltown tornado.

There were a few media reports of "no warning" with the duck boat sinking in Missouri that claimed 17 lives. Turns out warnings were issued but people may not have been paying attention. In an era of smart phones there's no reason why you can't get the information your family needs to stay safe, anytime, anywhere.

Don't rely on meteorologists, sirens or the government. You have the power in your pocket or purse.

The sun breaks through this weekend; just isolated PM pop-up showers later today. A family of cooler fronts swoop in from Canada next week with a big September-like drop in humidity.

Odds favor more Dog Days in August so enjoy the break!


Photo credit from Thursday's Iowa tornado outbreak: Ashley Fletchall.


Taking Responsibility for Storm Safety. At the end of the day hand-holding only goes so far. The technology is amazing, the National Weather Service does a consistently good job getting watches and warnings out, and meteorologists frame the threat as best they can in print, TV, radio and online. But situational awareness is critical: being "weather aware", keeping tabs on rapidly changing weather conditions. When you're outside it's easy to lose track, but having apps that send out notifications (warnings, etc) and the ability to check radar before heading onto a lake or a golf course is essential. Don't assume that people "in charge" are keeping up with the weather. When it comes to weather, it's good to be perpetually paranoid. Because at the end of the day the government won't save you - only you can take steps necessary to lower risk. it's up to all of us to be personally responsible for the safety of ourselves, and our families.


A Break in the Pattern. Here's a clip from Minnesota WeatherTalk: "Since last Sunday, many areas of Minnesota have welcomed below normal temperatures this week, bringing relief from what has been an exceptionally hot summer so far. Many of the temperatures around the state ranged from the upper 60s to low 70s F on July 19th, about 4 to 6 degrees F cooler. In northern areas this week overnight temperatures fell into the low to mid 40s F, with a low of 40 degrees F at Brimson (St Louis County). Except for far western Minnesota (Browns Valley, Marshall, Pipestone) most of the state experienced a relatively dry week as well, bringing some relief from the heavy rains and flash flooding that occurred in many areas during the first half of July..."



Relatively Comfortable Start to August. Well, GFS runs have been fairly consistent, suggesting blast-furnace heat for the southern half of the USA, but a series of cooler fronts keeping the northern tier of the USA in the 70s and 80s.

Heavy Rainfall Reports. Parts of Renville and Stevens counties picked up over 4" of rain in 48 hours, with 3"+ amounts reported in Kandiyohi, Stearns and Redwood counties. Data: IEMBot.


Tracking Iowa Tornado Via Webcams. Check out the time-lapse of dueling tornadoes from Thursday's outbreak, courtesy of IDOT: "This amazing Iowa Department of Transportation traffic camera captured the two Bondurant tornadoes on July 19, 2018. This camera is on I-80 westbound at 1st avenue in Altoona, Iowa."


Only 6 Tornado Reports in Minnesota, To Date. Most were relatively small touchdowns in the Red River Valley. For most of the summer it's been too hot and dry aloft, with insufficient wind shear required to generate large, violent tornadoes. Graphic: NOAA SPC.


The Duck Boat Tragedy Was Preventable Because the Storm Did Not "Come Out of Nowhere". Dr. Marshall Shepherd reminds us of the importance of situational awareness and mobile warning technology on our phones in a post at Forbes: "The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) provides the following guidance developed in partnership with the National Safe Boating Council,

Before going boating, fishing, diving or enjoying other water sports, check the forecast from weather.gov or your favorite weather source … If severe weather is predicted, stay home or go earlier than normal. Be prepared to head to shore quickly. Monitor storms via:NOAA Weather Radio, Mobile.weather.gov, Apps that have radar/lightning data …

At this point, it is instructive to revisit the AMS statement because the words provided by a collective of weather and emergency management experts are important to consider as the investigation in the duck boat incident unfolds: A common theme in the after-action reports and service assessments for these disasters is that the weather plan was inadequate to deal with a comprehensive portfolio of weather risk, or a weather plan didn’t exist..."


Potential for El Nino Phase Grows. According to NOAA CPC there's a 70% probability of an El Nino warm phase in the Pacific Ocean by the winter months. Details via IRA at Columbia University: "The following graph and table show forecasts made by dynamical and statistical models for SST in the Nino 3.4 region for nine overlapping 3-month periods. Note that the expected skills of the models, based on historical performance, are not equal to one another. The skills also generally decrease as the lead time increases. Thirdly, forecasts made at some times of the year generally have higher skill than forecasts made at other times of the year--namely, they are better when made between June and December than when they are made between February and May. Differences among the forecasts of the models reflect both differences in model design, and actual uncertainty in the forecast of the possible future SST scenario..."


Southern Minnesota: Already a Year's Worth of Moderate Rains. Senior Climatologist at Minnesota Climatology Office and Minnesota DNR, Kenny Blumenfeld, e-mailed me his thoughts about the frequency and intensity of rain so far in 2018: "The basics are that we are running wet, and that even though we have had a few big rains in Redwood Falls/Marshall, Mora, and Carlton this year, the real driver has been the large number of moderately-heavy rainfall days, especially in southern Minnesota. Some parts of the state (again, especially in the southern third to quarter of MN) already have seen 8-12 days with1-2” rains. That’s more like what you would expect in a full year, so we are running a bit ahead of schedule in that regard. The number of larger rains this year (2” or greater) has not made a clean break from history yet—which is not to downplay what happened in the hard-hit areas, but instead to make the point that heavy we always expect some excessive rains in Minnesota. Unfortunately, it’s coming on top of an already wet season (one with a high number of moderately-heavy rains).

One oddity is in the Redwood Falls area, where 5-7 inches fell on July 3. Last August 16-17, the same area received 7-9 inches of rain. Those are both very low probability rainfall totals in any year, so having them in back-to-back years is pretty unusual."


HEAT IMPACTS: Climate Nexus reports: "Dozens dead in Japan from record-setting, long duration extreme heat event (Washington Post $), ‘this was preventable’: football heat deaths and the rising temperature (InsideClimate News), wildfires rage in Arctic Circle as Sweden calls for help (The GuardianEarther, CNNNew York Times $), what climate change looks like in 2018 (FiveThirtyEight), Antarctica's vulnerable ice shelves are in trouble, but their collapse would just be the start of our problems (Mashable), a mega-heat wave is gaining strength over Texas and the south-central United States (Washington Post $, Houston ChronicleBloomberg), human 'fingerprints' detected in Earth's seasonal temperature changes (USA Today), climate change is disrupting the planet’s seasons." (Bloomberg)


Wildfires Rage in Arctic Circle as Sweden Calls For Help. The Guardian brings us up to speed: "At least 11 wildfires are raging inside the Arctic Circle as the hot, dry summer turns an abnormally wide area of Europe into a tinderbox. The worst affected country, Sweden, has called for emergency assistance from its partners in the European Union to help fight the blazes, which have broken out across a wide range of its territory and prompted the evacuations of four communities. Tens of thousands of people have been warned to remain inside and close windows and vents to avoid smoke inhalation. Rail services have been disrupted..."

Photo credit: "Firefighters battle a blaze in a forest in western Sweden, the worst-hit country." Photograph: Mats Andersson/EPA.


Wildfires Undoing Air Pollution Progress: Headlines and URL links via Climate Nexus: "Increasing wildfires across the western United States are erasing gains made in cleaning up air pollution, according to new research. A study published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences examines levels of fine particulate matter from monitoring sites in western states from 1988 to 2016, finding that poor air quality days are getting worse in western states while generally decreasing throughout the country in this same time period. Nine of the ten largest fires in the US by acreage have occurred since 2004. Climate change increases the risk of wildfires through warmer temperatures and drier conditions that lengthen wildfire season, increase the chances of a fire starting, and help a burning fire spread." (E&E, Outside, Mashable, Phys.org. Background: Climate Signals on 2018 wildfire season).

Image credit: U.S. Air Quality.


Air Pollution in National Parks Nearly the Same as in 20 Major U.S. Cities, Study Finds. CNN.com has a summary of new research: "Step out on a beach shore, up on a mountain peak, or into a sequoia grove, and many instinctively take the quintessential deep breath of fresh air. You know the one. The one where you breathe in so deeply through your nose that you feel your chest push up into your shoulders. You might want to rethink that deep breath. National parks have had similar ozone values to that of the 20 largest major cities in the US states from 1990-2014, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances. "The most striking finding was how similar ozone levels were in parks to metropolitan areas," Ivan Rudik, co-author of the study and assistant professor of applied economics at Cornell University, wrote in an email..."

File image: National Park Service.


Welcome to the Meghalayan Age - A New Phase in History. I had no idea, but BBC News set me straight: "...We currently live in what is called the Holocene Epoch, which reflects everything that has happened over the past 11,700 years - since a dramatic warming kicked us out of the last ice age. But the Holocene itself can be subdivided, according to the International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS). It is the official keeper of geologic time and it proposed three stages be introduced to denote the epoch's upper, middle and lower phases. These all record major climate events. The Meghalayan, the youngest stage, runs from 4,200 years ago to the present. It began with a destructive drought, whose effects lasted two centuries, and severely disrupted civilisations in Egypt, Greece, Syria, Palestine, Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley, and the Yangtze River Valley..."

Image credit: 123RF.


Best Buy Should be Dead, But It's Thriving in the Age of Amazon. It's all about personal tech and value added customer support, argues a story at Bloomberg Businessweek: "...Best Buy, the last national electronics chain, is counting on these advisors to distinguish it from Amazon.com Inc., the company’s competitor, partner, and would-be vanquisher. With more than 1,000 big-box stores in North America and about 125,000 employees, Best Buy was supposed to have succumbed to the inevitable. “Everyone thought we were going to die,” says Hubert Joly, who was hired as chief executive officer in August 2012 after profits shrunk about 90 percent in one quarter and his predecessor resigned amid an investigation into his relationship with an employee. Instead, Best Buy has become an improbable survivor led by an unlikely boss. Joly was raised and educated in France, trained at McKinsey & Co., and previously employed by hospitality company Carlson, based outside Minneapolis, and media conglomerate Vivendi SA, where he greenlighted a little game called World of Warcraft..."

Photo credit: "Advisor Jess Kordash making a house call." Photographer: David Williams for Bloomberg Businessweek.


Disposable America. The history of the straw tells us a lot about the march of "progress" over the year. Here's a clip from a story at The Atlantic: "...Meanwhile, the country has shed manufacturing jobs for decades, straws contribute their share to a dire global environmental disaster, the economy continues to concentrate wealth among the very richest, and the sodas that pass through the nation’s straws are contributing to an obesity epidemic that threatens to erase many of the public health gains that were won in the 20th century. Local governments may legislate the use of the plastic straw, but they can’t do a thing about the vast system that’s attached to the straw, which created first disposable products, then companies, and finally people. The straw is the opposite of special. History has flowed around and through it, like thousands of other bits of material culture. What’s happened to the straw might not even be worth comment, and certainly not essay. But if it’s not clear by now, straws, in this story, are us, inevitable vessels of the times in which we live."

Photo credit: "The first McDonald’s that Ray Kroc opened in Des Plaines, Illinois, is now a museum dedicated to the burger chain." (Reuters/Frank Polich)


British Economists Prove It: Sports Destroys Happiness. Huh? Follow the logic and data in this story at The Washington Post: "Sports make the world a sadder place. Seriously. We’ve got data. Armed with 3 million responses to a happiness monitoring app, plus the locations and times of several years worth of British soccer matches, University of Sussex economists Peter Dolton and George MacKerron calculated that the happiness that fans feel when their team wins is outweighed – by a factor of two – by the sadness that strikes when their team loses. Which means, assuming a roughly equal number of fans on both sides, Sunday’s World Cup final between France and Croatia made the world less happy than it was the day before. On net, soccer is a destroyer of happiness..."

Photo credit: "Japan's fans react after their country lost to Belgium in a knockout game in the 2018 World Cup in Russia." (Petr David Josek/AP).


Minneapolis Has Fastest Mobile Internet Speeds in the USA? Engadget has details: "If you live in or often visit Minneapolis, Ookla has good news for you: the company says that locale tops the list of US cities with the fastest mobile internet, with a mean download speed of 44.92 Mbps. Ookla, which analyzed data from its Speedtest app from the first half of the year, said Minneapolis' Twin Cities brethren Saint Paul was in second place, followed by Fort Wayne, Indiana; San Francisco; and Irvine, California. Atlanta and Pittsburgh followed those cities, while Minnesota was also the fastest state. In Q1 and Q2, Speedtest users ran more than 12 million mobile network speed tests on more than 2.8 million mobile devices. The company's US Mobile Performance Report indicated that T-Mobile is the fastest overall carrier, retaining its crown from last year..."

File image: U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.


Hackers Account for 90% of Login Attempts at Online Retailers. A story at Quartz made me want to burn all my credit cards; here's a clip: "Selling stolen personal data is a big business for hackers: Somewhere on the dark web, your e-mail address and a few passwords are probably for sale (hopefully, old ones). Cyber criminals buy troves of this information to try to login to websites where they can grab something valuable like cash, airline points, or merchandise like expensive cheese. Yes, cheese. Online retailers are hit the most by these attacks, according to a report by cyber security firm Shape Security. Hackers use programs to apply stolen data in a flood of login attempts, called “credential stuffing.” These days, more than 90% of e-commerce sites’ global login traffic comes from these attacks. The airline and consumer banking industries are also under siege, with about 60% of login attempts coming from criminals..."

Photo credit: "Resistance is (mostly) futile." (EPA/Ritchie B. Tongo).


What America Gets Wrong About China. Food for thought from Big Think: "...In many ways what happens is: China’s dominance, China’s massive size has been a fact of life in East Asia for literally centuries, so this is nothing new. So it’s not at all clear to me that we should view this as a “rising power” any more than we would view the United States as a “potentially rising power.” The other problem is if we use East Asian history one of the biggest lessons we would learn from East Asian history is that the dangers that arise to countries in the region are almost always internal, not external. So even for rising and declining powers, the fears or the threats, they are as much domestic as they are internal. So almost every single one of China’s dynasties over the centuries, the Tang, the Ming, almost all of them fell because of internal rebellion..."


Tech Companies Are Structured Like Wealthy Socialist States. A post at Quartz At Work made me rethink big tech companies: "...Even as I enjoy the free desserts, I can’t help but think that tech companies are structured like extremely wealthy socialist states, where a central governing body of executives determines and delivers services to employee-citizens.  I’m all for socialism, but this corporate version is currently nowhere near equitable.  Women and people of color are often paid less and promoted less, if and when they’re hired and retained as “citizens” at all. Moreover, the social systems at big tech companies tend to eclipse and exclude existing communities in the Bay Area, hence the anti-tech protest earlier this month that repurposed electric scooters to blockade a dozen commuter buses shuttling Google, Facebook, and Apple employees from their homes in San Francisco to their offices in Silicon Valley..."

Photo credit: "The office putting green." REUTERS/Mark Blinch.


New Boat Designs Could Stop Aquatic Invasive Species. WCCO-TV had an interesting story starring an old friend and former neighbor, Gabriel Jabbour - here's an excerpt: "...The idea is to eliminate nooks and crannies on boats where the nasty critters and weeds can hide. Boat builders have long designed watercraft largely for style and function. But the growing crisis over AIS destroying our lakes is about to change that. For as long as invasive plants and animals have infested Minnesota lakes, controlling the spread has been put on the boat’s owner. Soon, boat designers will be doing their part. Tonka Bay Marina’s Gabe Jabbour pulled together a panel representing all parts of the marine industry. The panel suggests that boat builders can help by redesigning hulls and engines. “This is one of many, many, many things that need to be done,” Jabbour said. “All of this area is full of water. There’s no way you could ever get into it...”


Why Do People Believe the Moon Landing Hoax or Other Conspiracy Theories? The Washington Post wades into the intellectual (swamp); here's an excerpt: "Forty-nine years ago Friday, the Apollo 11 spacecraft delivered the first astronauts to the surface of the moon. The footprints Buzz Aldrin left in lunar soil are still around — and so are the throngs of conspiracy theorists who claim the entire landing was faked. For one thing, they argue, the flag the crew planted seemed to flutter in videos, which shouldn't happen since there's no wind on the moon. Besides, wouldn't mini-meteors have killed the astronauts the moment they ventured outside? The “moon landing hoax” was among the first conspiracy theories to gain traction with the American public. In the years since, the theories have multiplied like jack rabbits, swarming all corners of the cultural landscape..."

Photo credit: "Conspiracy theorists say a flag that appears to be flapping in a nonexistent breeze is evidence the moon landing was faked." (NASA)


Look Up at the Moon Every Night, Not Just During the Lunar Eclipse. How easy it is to forget that every day is a miracle. Quartz explains: "...Attachment and distractions prevent us from realizing that we already have what we need. According to Zen philosophers, existence is sufficient and there’s no need to grasp for power, money, or exciting experiences. The need to be thrilled and to seek more experiences—perhaps even the excitement of a lunar eclipse—is what causes our suffering, according to Kraft. Yet we can always capture the treasure, the moon of illumination hidden behind our personal clouds. “Even amid delusion, there is awakening. Even amid awakening, there is delusion,” he writes..."

Photo credit: "The blood moon matters most to those who look up every night." (Reuters/Scanpix/Heiko Junge).


Tortilla Chips Can Spontaneously Combust? Who knew? I wonder what it does to our stomachs. Here's an excerpt from KEYE-TV in Austin, Texas: "...Tortilla chips are often the instrument with which we Central Texans deliver hot foods to our mouths, like queso, salsa or even fajitas. But last week, the Austin Fire Department found some tortilla chips that were hot enough on their own. AFD shared photos on Facebook of a fire at a tortilla chip factory in East Austin last week that was caused by the spontaneous combustion of tortilla chips...Then, three days later, additional boxes of the same tortilla chips spontaneously ignited again. Firefighters contained that fire and drowned all of the other boxes that had yet to catch fire..."


82 F. high temperature yesterday in the Twin Cities.

84 F. average high on July 20.

89 F. high on July 20, 2017.

July 21, 2002: Dew points reach 84 degrees at Madison, Morris, and Olivia. This ties the all time highest dew point reading in Minnesota, as recorded by the State Climatology Office.

July 21, 1934: Extreme heat hits western Minnesota, and the temperature topped out at 113 at Milan.


 

SATURDAY: Air Quality Alert. Some (smoky) sun, stray PM shower. Winds: N 8-13. High: near 80

SATURDAY NIGHT: Clearing skies. Low: 64

SUNDAY: Sunnier, drier, nicer day of weekend. Winds: NE 5-10. High: 83

MONDAY: Some sun, passing T-shower possible. Winds: W 10-15. Wake-up: 67. High: 85

TUESDAY: Mix of clouds and lukewarm sun. Winds: NW 7-12. Wake-up: 65. High: 82

WEDNESDAY: A few bands of showers, T-storms. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 66. High: 79

THURSDAY: Sunny intervals, hints of September. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 60. High: 76

FRIDAY: More sun, very comfortable for July. Winds: NW 5-10. Wake-up: 58. High: 75


Climate Stories....

House Votes to Denounce Carbon Taxes. Where Was the Climate Solutions Caucus? InsideClimate News has the latest: "The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed a resolution denouncing the idea of a U.S. carbon tax as detrimental to the economy, one week before a Republican-sponsored bill to create a carbon fee is set to be introduced. It was a win for a coalition of groups funded by the petrochemical billionaire Koch brothers and other wealthy, right-wing opponents of climate action. And it revealed weak resolve for bucking GOP leadership among most of the 43 Republican members of the Climate Solutions Caucus. If the bipartisan caucus had held firm, the resolution would have been handily defeated. Instead, only six Republicans—four of them caucus members, including Rep. Carlos Curbelo of Florida, who plans to unveil the carbon fee measure next week—joined most Democrats in opposing the resolution. Seven Democrats voted with the GOP..."


Judge Waves Off NYC Climate Suit: Headlines and links courtesy of Climate Nexus: "A federal judge on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit brought by the city of New York against five major oil companies seeking damages for the impacts of climate change. US District Judge John Keenan wrote in his decision that the named companies--Exxon, BP, Shell, ConocoPhillips and Chevron--do not contest that climate change is a "fact of life," solutions "must be addressed by the two other branches of government." The decision mirrors a ruling last month in California, where a judge threw out a suit brought by San Francisco and Oakland on the grounds that solutions to climate change were a better fit for the executive and legislative branches. NYC representatives say the city, which announced in January plans to divest its $189 billion public pension fund from fossil fuels, will appeal the judge's decision." (New York Times $, Reuters, CNBC, AP, Bloomberg, The Hill, ThinkProgress, InsideClimate News, NY Daily NewsNew York Post, Washington Examiner)

File image: UK Met Office.


2018 Global Heat So Far. Climate Central has an update, taking a close look at global trends: "With the release of the monthly global temperature analysis from NOAA today, it is a good opportunity to compare temperatures so far this year to their historical levels. And as greenhouse gases continue to accumulate in the atmosphere, the heat goes on both globally and here in the U.S. Globally, the past four years have been the hottest four years on record, and 2018 so far is coming in as the 4th hottest. All-time record heat has peppered the Northern Hemisphere this summer. Here a few stats compiled by Weather Underground:

  • Glasgow, Scotland had its hottest day on record, reaching 89°F on June 28.

  • Montreal, Canada set a new all-time high, reaching 98°F on June 29.

  • Ouargla, Algeria had the highest temperature on record in Africa, reaching 124°F on July 5. This is believed to be the hottest temperature reliably measured in Africa..."


We Can't Hide From Global Warming's Consequences. Because they have a way of sneaking up on all of us; here's an excerpt from a post at EcoWatch: "...Unusually high temperatures in the Arctic are causing sea ice to melt, exposing more dark sea areas, which absorb more heat than ice, causing feedback loops. Those are exacerbated by melting permafrost releasing more methane and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. All of it is weakening the polar jet stream, which in turn affects temperatures in mid-latitudes. As U.S. meteorologist and geoscientist Nick Humphrey explains, "The weakening is causing the polar jet to become much wavier, with greater wave 'breaks' and blocking patterns where waves sit in the same place for weeks [and] promote extreme weather patterns (extreme cold relative to normal as well as extreme heat, very wet, and drought conditions)..."

Photo credit: "Sea level rise is a natural consequence of the warming of our planet." NASA Goddard Space Flight Center


Fossil Fuel Industry Spent Nearly $2 Billion to Kill New U.S. Climate Action, Study Finds. Details via ThinkProgress: "Legislation to address climate change has repeatedly died in Congress. But a major new study says the policy deaths were not from natural causes — they were caused by humans, just like climate change itself is.Climate action has been repeatedly drowned by a devastating surge and flood of money from the fossil fuel industry - nearly $2 billion in lobbying since 2000 alone. This is according to stunning new analysis in the journal Climatic Change on “The climate lobby” by Drexel University environmental sociologist Robert J. Brulle. The most important conclusion of Brulle’s is that spending by those in favor of climate action was dramatically overwhelmed by the big fossil fuel suppliers and users..."

Garden-Variety Showers Today - Iowa Suffers Extensive Tornado Damage

Roadway Roulette - Perils of Driving on Wet Roads

"It's almost time for another edition of Roadway Roulette! I'm your apologetic host, Wink Douglas. Will your short-cut turn into a dead-end? Can you avoid orange cones AND get to work on time? Try to match wits with fellow drivers as we spiral into a horn-honking, fist-waving vehicular purgatory!"

Sounds like fun.

Yesterday was a reminder that wet roads can be more dangerous than snow-covered highways. It's counter-intuitive, but in winter people tend to drive slower, which lowers the risk of injury when vehicles do collide. All you can do is slow down and pay attention.

Sr. Climatologist Kenny Blumenfeld reports that parts of southern Minnesota have seen 8-12 days of 1-2 inch rains in 2018. That's what you'd normally expect to see in an entire year. Details in my blog below.

Showers will linger today with a PM pop-up shower risk again Saturday; a northerly breeze keeping temperatures comfortable. Sunday should be sunnier and warmer, statewide. Expect 70s for highs late next week, even a few 60s up north, with August starting on a comfortable note. Meanwhile Dallas will enjoy 105-110F

Ouch. 




Vermeer Plant in Pella, Iowa Suffers Extensive Tornado Damage. KCCI-TV in Des Moines has the video - and the damage is consistent with a large, violent, EF-3+ strength tornado: "Seven people inside a Pella manufacturing plant when it was struck by a tornado have been treated for injuries at the local hospital and released. Pella Regional Health Center spokeswoman Billie Rhamy confirmed Thursday evening injuries were minor and all patients had been discharged. The factory, which has about 2,800 employees manufacturing industrial and agricultural equipment, was hit by a tornado around 4 p.m. Vice President of Operations Vince Newendorp says the east half of the company's campus, which includes seven manufacturing buildings, sustained extensive damage..."



Tornado Emergency. You know things are (very) serious when a local National Weather Service office issues a "Tornado Emergency", one big notch above "Tornado Warning". An emergency implies that a (confirmed) large tornado is on the ground in a populated area with a significant potential for widespread damage and loss of life. I snapped this image using the GR2 Analyst tool after one supercell had already spawned a series of tornado touchdowns in the Pella area, a second supercell was tracking across Marshalltown, Iowa.




3-4 Supercells: 26+ Tornado Reports. One of our AerisWeather tools shows the tracks of the tornadic cells as they pushed across Iowa - Des Moines narrowly missed a direct hit.


Tornado Reports (CSV) (Raw Tornado CSV)(?)
Time   Location County State Lat Lon Comments
1755   2 WNW CEYLON MARTIN MN 4354 9467 VIDEO ON TWITTER. TALKED TO SHERIFF'S DEPUTY WHO WITNESSED TORNADO. TOUCHDOWN BETWEEN SUSAN LAKE AND FISH LAKE. TORNADO ESTIMATED TO BE 20 TO 40 FEET WIDE. TREES DOWN. (MPX)
1936   5 S CLARION WRIGHT IA 4267 9373 FUNNEL SPOTTED WITH BRIEF DEBRIS. (DMX)
1948   2 ENE ANKENY POLK IA 4174 9357 (DMX)
1951   4 W BLAIRSBURG HAMILTON IA 4247 9372 VIA SOCIAL MEDIA. (DMX)
1958   4 NNE BONDURANT POLK IA 4174 9344 SEVERAL REPORTS OF THIS TORNADO. (DMX)
1958   3 N BONDURANT POLK IA 4174 9346 HIGHWAY 65 AND JUST NORTH OF BONDURANT. (DMX)
1958   4 NNE BONDURANT POLK IA 4175 9344 METEOROLOGIST REPORTS MACHINE SHED DESTROYED WITH PINE TREES/POWER LINES OVER THE ROAD NEAR THIS LOCATION. TIME ESTIMATED. (DMX)
2001   2 SE VALERIA JASPER IA 4171 9329 WELL DEFINED CONE. (DMX)
2002   2 N BLAIRSBURG HAMILTON IA 4251 9364 NEAR I35 AND MILE MARKER 149. (DMX)
2005   1 W STORY CITY STORY IA 4219 9361 BRIEF TORNADO JUST WEST OF STORY CITY. LOCATION ESTIMATED. (DMX)
2010   BONDURANT POLK IA 4169 9346 NEAR NE 118TH ST ... NORTH AND EAST OF BONDURANT. (DMX)
2012   BONDURANT POLK IA 4169 9346 TREES DOWNED. ROOF BLOWN OFF HOUSE. CAR BLOWN OVER. (DMX)
2020   2 NW WILLIAMS HAMILTON IA 4251 9358 PHOTO VIA SOCIAL MEDIA. (DMX)
2025   PRAIRIE CITY JASPER IA 4160 9324 DEBRIS VISIBLE ... NEAR HWY 163 AND WEST 29TH ST. (DMX)
2034   PRAIRIE CITY JASPER IA 4160 9324 JUST SOUTH OF PRAIRIE CITY. (DMX)
2037   2 E COLLINS STORY IA 4191 9327 LOCATION APPROXIMATE. (DMX)
2039   3 W REASNOR JASPER IA 4158 9309 VIA SOCIAL MEDIA. (DMX)
2050   PELLA MARION IA 4141 9292 (DMX)
2051   3 E MONROE JASPER IA 4152 9305 LOCATION ESTIMATED BY RADAR. (DMX)
2051   MONROE JASPER IA 4152 9310 NEAR HIGHWAY 163 AND MILE MARKER 25. (DMX)
2100   PELLA MARION IA 4141 9292 FROM PELLA POLICE DEPARTMENT. NEAR PELLA AIRPORT. (DMX)
2106   2 N PELLA MARION IA 4144 9292 (DMX)
2110   1 E PELLA MARION IA 4141 9289 VERMEER PLANT TOOK DIRECT HIT FROM TORNADO. SEVERAL INJURIES REPORTED. GAS LEAK DANGER AS WELL. (DMX)
2119   2 NW LEIGHTON MAHASKA IA 4136 9281 LOCATION ESTIMATED FROM RADAR. (DMX)
2120   PELLA MARION IA 4141 9292 MOVED PARALLEL WITH HIGHWAY 163. FARMSTEAD HIT WITH TRANSFORMERS EXPLODING. (DMX)
2122   3 E CLEMONS MARSHALL IA 4212 9309 (DMX)
2127   4 NNW LEIGHTON MAHASKA IA 4140 9281 (DMX)
2127   4 E CLEMONS MARSHALL IA 4212 9309 BETWEEN CLEMONS AND ALBION. NEAR THE INTERSECTION OF 190TH AND MARSH. (DMX)
2130   ALBION MARSHALL IA 4211 9299 TRAINED SPOTTER REPORTED TORNADO ON THE GROUND ... ROUGHLY 1 MILE WEST OF THEIR LOCATION. (DMX)
2150   MARSHALLTOWN MARSHALL IA 4204 9291 MARSHALLTOWN COURTHOUSE LOST CLOCK TOWER. TREES DOWN ALL OVER TOWN. (DMX)
2152   LE GRAND MARSHALL IA 4201 9278 (DMX)
2155   2 NW MARSHALLTOWN MARSHALL IA 4205 9294 REPORTS OF CATASTROPHIC DAMAGE ... INCLUDING VEHICLES MISSING ... VEHICLES OVERTURNED ... TOPS OF BUILDINGS GONE ... TREES DOWN ... POWER LINES ... GAS LINES ... ETC ... (DMX)
2212   5 N OTTUMWA WAPELLO IA 4109 9243

STATE LAW ENFORCEMENT REPORTED A TORNADO A RAIN-WRAPPED TORNADO NEAR THE OTTUMWA AIRPORT. (DMX)

Preliminary Damage Reports. One small tornado or cold air funnel touched down in Martin County, Minnesota around 3:28 pm yesterday - but extensive damage was farther south, deeper into the warm, humid, unstable air. Info courtesy of NOAA SPC.


Iowa Tornado Damage Takes Forecasters By Surprise. There was a "slight risk" for much of Iowa, as defined by NOAA SPC, but I don't think anyone was expecting a swarm of large, destructive tornadoes. The Des Moines Register reports: "It's no surprise for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes to rake the state of Iowa during summer. But it is surprising not to have warning of such weather at least several hours in advance. That's precisely what happened Thursday as a number of supercell storms suddenly formed over Iowa, taking weather forecasters at the National Weather Service in Des Moines by surprise. Alex Krull, a meteorologist with the service in Des Moines, said Thursday afternoon that forecasting models produced in the morning showed only a slight chance of strong thunderstorms later in the day. "This morning, it didn't look like tornadic supercells were possible," Krull said. "If anything, we were expecting we could get some large hail, if strong storms developed..."

Photo credit: "A tornado was spotted near otter creek. Twitter user @HaleyUrness posted this from Otter Creek Gold Course." (Photo: Special to the Register).


Southern Minnesota: Already a Year's Worth of Moderate Rains. Senior Climatologist at Minnesota Climatology Office and Minnesota DNR, Kenny Blumenfeld, e-mailed me his thoughts about the frequency and intensity of rain so far in 2018: "The basics are that we are running wet, and that even though we have had a few big rains in Redwood Falls/Marshall, Mora, and Carlton this year, the real driver has been the large number of moderately-heavy rainfall days, especially in southern Minnesota. Some parts of the state (again, especially in the southern third to quarter of MN) already have seen 8-12 days with1-2” rains. That’s more like what you would expect in a full year, so we are running a bit ahead of schedule in that regard. The number of larger rains this year (2” or greater) has not made a clean break from history yet—which is not to downplay what happened in the hard-hit areas, but instead to make the point that heavy we always expect some excessive rains in Minnesota. Unfortunately, it’s coming on top of an already wet season (one with a high number of moderately-heavy rains).

One oddity is in the Redwood Falls area, where 5-7 inches fell on July 3. Last August 16-17, the same area received 7-9 inches of rain. Those are both very low probability rainfall totals in any year, so having them in back-to-back years is pretty unusual."



Comfortable Start to August? If the GFS verifies (place your bets) the epicenter of extreme heat will be from California to Kansas and Texas the first week of August, with 70s and 80s for Minnesota.


Scorching Southern Heat: Hottest in Dallas Since 2012? Praedictix meteorologist D.J. Kayser has a post; here's an excerpt: "...Dallas is just one of many spots over through the weekend that is expected to see this brutal heat wave. Highs are expected to be up around 107-108 Thursday through Monday, with lows potentially not making it out of the 80s. Some climate stats on this heat wave expected for Dallas:

  • Through Wednesday, July 18th, Dallas has only had a low of 80 or higher 86 times in recorded history dating back to 1898.
  • Before this stretch of heat, the last time Dallas hit 107 for a high was back on August 12th, 2016. The last time they hit 108 for a high was back on August 9th, 2012.
  • Dallas has only recorded a high of 107 or higher 79 times in history..."


32nd Anniversary of July 18, 1986 "KARE-11" Tornado. You remember, right? The tornado that was tracked via helicopter, live, during the 5 PM newscast? Sky-11 helicopter pilot Max Messmer and photographer Tom Empey beamed back incredible footage of the EF-2 tornado, which was on the ground for 16 minutes. A minor meteorological miracle: this nearly-stationary tornado hit a park, the Springbrook Nature Center in Fridley, which recently launched a new visitor center that documents that amazing day. Check out the video, courtesy of KARE-11 and TC Media Now: "The weather event that made KARE and Paul Douglas world famous (and respected). While shooting overhead footage of the Minneapolis Aquatennial on a hot muggy day on July 18, 1986 News11 pilot Max Messmer and photogtrapher Tom Empy discovered and shot live video of a tornado moving through Brooklyn Park. Paul Magers, Kirstin Lindquist, and Paul Douglas provided live coverage during some of the most vivid pictures of a tornado ever shot and broadcast live."


The Most Remarkable Day of My Meteorological Career? I don't remember much, but I remember the chain of events on July 18, 1986, when an EF-2 tornado touched down over Fridley during the 5 PM newscast on KARE-11. Here's an excerpt of a post I wrote for WCCO Radio: "I've been blessed to be able to turn a hobby, a passion - into a lifelong career. I've chased tornadoes, flown into the eye of Hurricane Frances, weathered raging blizzards, flash floods and wild storms that would make a grown man tremble, but NOTHING prepared me for what I would encounter coming to work on July 18, 1986, while working as Chief Meteorologist at KARE-11..."

2018: 4th Most Days Above 80F On Record at MSP. It's actually a tie, but according to NOAA data the Twin Cities have experienced 49 days above 80F so far this year; 75 days warmer than 75F.


Most Nights Milder Than 60F On Record, To Date. The same data set shows 52 nights with nighttime mins at or above 60F, the most since 1873. Data courtesy of NOAA and Praedictix meteorologist D.J. Kayser.




Wildfires Rage in Arctic Circle as Sweden Calls For Help. The Guardian brings us up to speed: "At least 11 wildfires are raging inside the Arctic Circle as the hot, dry summer turns an abnormally wide area of Europe into a tinderbox. The worst affected country, Sweden, has called for emergency assistance from its partners in the European Union to help fight the blazes, which have broken out across a wide range of its territory and prompted the evacuations of four communities. Tens of thousands of people have been warned to remain inside and close windows and vents to avoid smoke inhalation. Rail services have been disrupted..."

Photo credit: "Firefighters battle a blaze in a forest in western Sweden, the worst-hit country." Photograph: Mats Andersson/EPA.


Scorching Scandinavia: Record-Breaking Heat Hits Norway, Finland and Sweden. Jason Samenow reports for Capital Weather Gang: "An intense heat dome has swelled over Scandinavia, pushing temperatures more than 20 degrees above normal and spurring some of the region’s hottest weather ever recorded. Even as far north as the Arctic Circle, the mercury has come close to 90 degrees. Normally, temperatures in Scandinavia during July warm to the comfortable 60s and 70s. This week, they have soared into the mid-80s to lower 90s. On Tuesday, Finland, Sweden, and  Norway all saw temperatures reach at least 91 degrees (33 Celsius). Since Monday, several locations have approached or surpassed their highest temperatures observed any day or month of the year..."

Map credit: "Temperature difference from normal over Scandinavia Tuesday as simulated by European model." (WeatherBell.com).



How to Prepare Your Home and Pets for a Flood. Some good (timeless) advice in a post at good4utah.com: "...Learn about your community's flood response plan. Also, find out if your community has a flood warning system. Then, create a household plan and practice it. Purchase a battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible). Find out if you are located in a floodplain, which is considered a Special Flood Hazard Area. If so, you are still eligible for flood insurance. Check with your city or country government (start with the Building or Planning Department) to review the Flood Insurance Rate Maps, published by FEMA. Find out if local streams or rivers flood easily. Keep insurance policies, documents, and other valuables in a safe-deposit box. You may need quick, easy access to these documents. Keep them in a safe place less likely to be damaged during a flood. Take pictures..."

Graphic credit: Climate Signals.


Wildfires Undoing Air Pollution Progress: Headlines and URL links via Climate Nexus: "Increasing wildfires across the western United States are erasing gains made in cleaning up air pollution, according to new research. A study published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences examines levels of fine particulate matter from monitoring sites in western states from 1988 to 2016, finding that poor air quality days are getting worse in western states while generally decreasing throughout the country in this same time period. Nine of the ten largest fires in the US by acreage have occurred since 2004. Climate change increases the risk of wildfires through warmer temperatures and drier conditions that lengthen wildfire season, increase the chances of a fire starting, and help a burning fire spread." (E&E, Outside, Mashable, Phys.org. Background: Climate Signals on 2018 wildfire season).

Image credit: U.S. Air Quality.


Wildfires in the U.S. Are Getting Bigger. FiveThirtyEight takes a look at the trends and factors involved: "...Weather cycles and climate changes both play a big role in shaping wildfires, said Carrie Bilbao, a public affairs specialist for the National Interagency Fire Center, the federal agency that coordinates predictive services and wildfire response throughout the United States. For instance, she said, 2017 had a late, wet spring followed by a dry, hot summer. The result was an abundance of vegetation growth that then dried out and turned to kindling. And while weather patterns like that bounce around from year to year, climate changes are also probably affecting long-term trends — with hotter weather, longer growing seasons and even stronger winds that help feed the flames..."


Air Pollution in National Parks Nearly the Same as in 20 Major U.S. Cities, Study Finds. CNN.com has a summary of new research: "Step out on a beach shore, up on a mountain peak, or into a sequoia grove, and many instinctively take the quintessential deep breath of fresh air. You know the one. The one where you breathe in so deeply through your nose that you feel your chest push up into your shoulders. You might want to rethink that deep breath. National parks have had similar ozone values to that of the 20 largest major cities in the US states from 1990-2014, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances. "The most striking finding was how similar ozone levels were in parks to metropolitan areas," Ivan Rudik, co-author of the study and assistant professor of applied economics at Cornell University, wrote in an email..."

File image: National Park Service.


The Navy Wants the Weather to Predict Sensor Interruptions. Here's a clip from an article at c4isrnet.com, focusing on resilient military communications, no matter what Mother Nature throws at them: "...Fortunately, those same sensors also give researchers far greater insight into nature’s electromagnetic activities, making it possible to predict and respond to potential interruptions. “We look at things like how much moisture is in the air, how much water vapor is present from the sea surface all the way up to the upper atmosphere. We factor in temperature and the index of refraction – like the mirages you see over hot asphalt. Then we also look at the things that may be present in the atmosphere, things like sulfates from burning coal or tiny particulates like sand or sea salt in the air,” he said. Combine all those inputs, and you start to develop a fuller picture of the electromagnetic environment. “If we can see what the factors are right here and right now, we can confidently make predictions out from that one point,” he said..."

Photo credit: "John DeGrassie , Atmospheric Propagation Branch, adjusts the lens on an optical imaging sensor at Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific." (Photo by Alan Antczak/Navy)


British Economists Prove It: Sports Destroys Happiness. Huh? Follow the logic and data in this story at The Washington Post: "Sports make the world a sadder place. Seriously. We’ve got data. Armed with 3 million responses to a happiness monitoring app, plus the locations and times of several years worth of British soccer matches, University of Sussex economists Peter Dolton and George MacKerron calculated that the happiness that fans feel when their team wins is outweighed – by a factor of two – by the sadness that strikes when their team loses. Which means, assuming a roughly equal number of fans on both sides, Sunday’s World Cup final between France and Croatia made the world less happy than it was the day before. On net, soccer is a destroyer of happiness..."

Photo credit: "Japan's fans react after their country lost to Belgium in a knockout game in the 2018 World Cup in Russia." (Petr David Josek/AP).


Rolls-Royce Unveils a Flying Car. Because - why not. Odds are it won't come cheap. The Washington Post has details: "...This week Rolls-Royce entered the fray, unveiling a concept electric vertical takeoff and landing (EVTOL) vehicle at the Farnborough International Airshow in the UK. The vehicle could carry five passengers at speeds of 250 mph for approximately 500 miles, according to Rolls-Royce. Rolls-Royce said the vehicle could be airborne by the early 2020s, but the company said it plans to create a vehicle prototype within the next 18 months...The company said its concept vehicle would be powered by six electric propulsors “specially designed to have a low noise profile.” To take off or land vertically, the company said, the vehicle’s wings would rotate 90 degrees. Once the craft reaches its cruising height, its vehicle’s propellers would fold away and the craft would rely on several rear propellers for thrust..."

Image credit: TerkRecoms and YouTube, which has more information.


Minneapolis Has Fastest Mobile Internet Speeds in the USA? Engadget has details: "If you live in or often visit Minneapolis, Ookla has good news for you: the company says that locale tops the list of US cities with the fastest mobile internet, with a mean download speed of 44.92 Mbps. Ookla, which analyzed data from its Speedtest app from the first half of the year, said Minneapolis' Twin Cities brethren Saint Paul was in second place, followed by Fort Wayne, Indiana; San Francisco; and Irvine, California. Atlanta and Pittsburgh followed those cities, while Minnesota was also the fastest state. In Q1 and Q2, Speedtest users ran more than 12 million mobile network speed tests on more than 2.8 million mobile devices. The company's US Mobile Performance Report indicated that T-Mobile is the fastest overall carrier, retaining its crown from last year..."

File image: U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.


Will Quitting Social Media Hurt My Career? Check out an interesting post at Quartz: "...I worry that by deleting my social media accounts, I’ve damaged my résumé. But the thing is, I actually feel like a more effective, creative worker since I did precisely that. Deprivation of white noise forces you to notice silence. Immersion in our constructed universe of artwork and images and information, amplified by interaction with anyone at any time, can really feel like inhabiting a room full of people. But therein lies the issue; I wasn’t in a room full of people. And if I was, I was often more consumed by the universe in my lap than the one around me. That I can log into a network on my phone means I am, at least in that instant, denying the potential for the formation of a network in my vicinity..."

Photo credit: "Having a social media presence can seem like a prerequisite for employment." Reuters, Mario Anzuoni.


Hackers Account for 90% of Login Attempts at Online Retailers. A story at Quartz made me want to burn all my credit cards; here's a clip: "Selling stolen personal data is a big business for hackers: Somewhere on the dark web, your e-mail address and a few passwords are probably for sale (hopefully, old ones). Cyber criminals buy troves of this information to try to login to websites where they can grab something valuable like cash, airline points, or merchandise like expensive cheese. Yes, cheese. Online retailers are hit the most by these attacks, according to a report by cyber security firm Shape Security. Hackers use programs to apply stolen data in a flood of login attempts, called “credential stuffing.” These days, more than 90% of e-commerce sites’ global login traffic comes from these attacks. The airline and consumer banking industries are also under siege, with about 60% of login attempts coming from criminals..."

Photo credit: "Resistance is (mostly) futile." (EPA/Ritchie B. Tongo).


Colonize Mars? Elon Musk, SpaceX and NASA Are Making Big Plans. Check out the video at Big Think; here's an excerpt of the transcript: "...I love SpaceX and I love NASA’s collaboration. I think what a lot of people don’t realize is that NASA is one of SpaceX’s major customers. We actually buy the rockets and we’d even paid for some of the development of the rockets as well. So it was never a question of one or the other, it was the idea is that we’re collaborating the more companies going into space, hey the better for us the lower the cost of the rockets and the more efficient an industry we have and hopefully the more people that think space travel and space exploration are good things. Then there are the questions about whether Elon is going to build a giant rocket that can take hundreds of people to Mars, and this is something that as a scientist I am naturally skeptical person that’s how I was trained, right now what I see is a really cool idea it reminds me a lot of my favorite science fiction stories, but it’s basically just that, an idea..."


A Good Excuse to Leave a Twins Game Early. CNN explains: "Baseball fans knew something was up. Minnesota Twins pitcher Fernando Rodney entered Sunday's game against the Tampa Bay Rays in the fifth inning. Rodney, a closer, usually shows up later in a game to finish it out. Pitching that early in a game for the first time in 13 years, Rodney struck out a couple of Rays and then left. Was he injured? Was this part of some bold, new strategy by the Twins? No, nothing that dramatic. Rodney, a native of the Dominican Republic, left the game in Minneapolis early to catch a flight to Miami so he could attend an immigration hearing Monday morning and become a US citizen… "After 19 years in this wonderful country today I am blessed to say that I am an official US Citizen," Rodney wrote on Instagram, where he also thanked the Twins for letting him leave the game early to catch his flight..."

Image credit: Instagram.


“Giving is the thermometer of our love.” – Benjamin R. De Jong


Sage Words of Wisdom. Courtesy of "Brain Pickings" by Maria Popova.


73 F. maximum temperature in the Twin Cities yesterday.

84 F. average high on July 19.

83 F. high on July 19, 2017.

July 20, 1951: A tornado hits Minneapolis and Richfield, killing five people.

July 20, 1909: 10.75 inches of rain falls in 24 hours at Beaulieu in Mahnomen County. This record would stand for over 50 years. Bagley receives an estimated 10 inches.




FRIDAY: Showers, possible thunder. Winds: NW 10-15. High: 75

FRIDAY NIGHT: Another shower. Low: 64

SATURDAY: Sunnier, drier. Stray PM shower. Winds: N 8-13. High: 79

SUNDAY: More sunshine, probably dry. Winds: NE 7-12. Wake-up: 62. High: 82

MONDAY: Some sun, passing T-shower possible. Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 67. High: 83

TUESDAY: Warm sunshine, pleasant. Winds: W 5-10. Wake-up: 66. High: 85

WEDNESDAY: A few showers and T-showers. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 65. High: 81

THURSDAY: Intervals of sun, quite comfortable. Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 60. High: 75


Climate Stories....

2018 Global Heat So Far. Climate Central has an update, taking a close look at global trends: "With the release of the monthly global temperature analysis from NOAA today, it is a good opportunity to compare temperatures so far this year to their historical levels. And as greenhouse gases continue to accumulate in the atmosphere, the heat goes on both globally and here in the U.S. Globally, the past four years have been the hottest four years on record, and 2018 so far is coming in as the 4th hottest. All-time record heat has peppered the Northern Hemisphere this summer. Here a few stats compiled by Weather Underground:

  • Glasgow, Scotland had its hottest day on record, reaching 89°F on June 28.

  • Montreal, Canada set a new all-time high, reaching 98°F on June 29.

  • Ouargla, Algeria had the highest temperature on record in Africa, reaching 124°F on July 5. This is believed to be the hottest temperature reliably measured in Africa..."

GOP Lawmaker Set to Introduce Carbon Tax Bill on Monday. Axios reports: "...Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo of Florida is set to introduce legislation taxing carbon emissions at an event Monday in Washington alongside groups representing environmental and right-leaning libertarian interests, according to multiple people familiar with the plan.

The big picture: Most Republicans in Congress don't publicly acknowledge climate change is a problem, let alone support legislation taxing the carbon emissions fueling it. Curbelo's public stance is notable and may be an early sign of the Republican Party's shift on this traditionally divisive issue.
  • But, the bill is unlikely to gain much support or pass any time soon given deep-seated opposition to carbon taxes by most congressional Republicans and influential right-leaning groups, notably Americans for Tax Reform..."

Photo credit: "Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla., holds a news conference." Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call.


We Can't Hide From Global Warming's Consequences. Because they have a way of sneaking up on all of us; here's an excerpt from a post at EcoWatch: "...Unusually high temperatures in the Arctic are causing sea ice to melt, exposing more dark sea areas, which absorb more heat than ice, causing feedback loops. Those are exacerbated by melting permafrost releasing more methane and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. All of it is weakening the polar jet stream, which in turn affects temperatures in mid-latitudes. As U.S. meteorologist and geoscientist Nick Humphrey explains, "The weakening is causing the polar jet to become much wavier, with greater wave 'breaks' and blocking patterns where waves sit in the same place for weeks [and] promote extreme weather patterns (extreme cold relative to normal as well as extreme heat, very wet, and drought conditions)..."

Photo credit: "Sea level rise is a natural consequence of the warming of our planet." NASA Goddard Space Flight Center


Fossil Fuel Industry Spent Nearly $2 Billion to Kill New U.S. Climate Action, Study Finds. Details via ThinkProgress: "Legislation to address climate change has repeatedly died in Congress. But a major new study says the policy deaths were not from natural causes — they were caused by humans, just like climate change itself is.Climate action has been repeatedly drowned by a devastating surge and flood of money from the fossil fuel industry - nearly $2 billion in lobbying since 2000 alone. This is according to stunning new analysis in the journal Climatic Change on “The climate lobby” by Drexel University environmental sociologist Robert J. Brulle. The most important conclusion of Brulle’s is that spending by those in favor of climate action was dramatically overwhelmed by the big fossil fuel suppliers and users..."


Massive 11-Ton Iceberg Towers Over Little Village in Greenland. Feeling a little better about ice on Minnesota lakes after checking this out on Yahoo!: "A colossal 11-million ton iceberg is towering over a tiny Greenland village, captured in one of the most jaw-dropping photos you'll see this week. Taken by Karl Petersen on Friday, the photograph shows an enormous 650-feet-wide iceberg sitting dangerously close to the village of Innarsuit, an island settlement in the Avannaata municipality in northwestern Greenland. Why is this a threat? According to Greenland national newspaper Sermitsiaq, some residents of the 169-population village have evacuated for fear of a tsunami, if parts of the iceberg start breaking off this close to the village's shore, causing large waves..."


Advocates Call on OSHA: Protect Workers From Heat: Headlines and links via Climate Nexus: "A broad coalition of worker advocacy, public health, and environmental groups yesterday called on the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration to create a workplace standard for heat stress. Over 130 groups led by Farmworker Justice, United Farm Workers, and Public Citizen signed a petition sent to OSHA noting that two in every 1,000 American workers are now subject to heat stress, and calling on the agency to mandate that employers provide adequate hydration and shade, medical attention and rest breaks during high heat events. The Obama administration denied a previous petition for a heat stress standard from the coalition in 2012. "I don’t want any more families to go through the pain that my family went through," Californian Raudel Felix García, whose brother died while working his job at a vineyard during triple-digit temperatures, told reporters on a press call." (Huffington Post, E&E $, InsideClimate News. Commentary: New York Daily News, Terri Gerstein op-ed)


Thomas Friedman: "We're in the Middle of 3 Climate Changes - Not Just 1". Check out an interesting interview with St. Louis Park's Thomas Friedman at Fortune: "...Friedman said that in the midst of climate change, species need resilience to weather the storm, but also propulsion to power through it. “It’s not the strongest that survive, it’s not the smartest that survive, it’s the most adaptive that survive,” he explained. “We are in the middle of a giant adaptation challenge… at the individual level, at the community level, and at the corporate level.” Friedman said most national governments are “too paralyzed by political tribalism” to adapt to the pace of change. The single family, meanwhile, is “too weak” to adapt, he said. So what can?.."