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Paul Douglas on Weather

Autumn Heat - Meteorological Black Swan Events

Saturday Sunrise

"A hole in the sun's atmosphere is spewing solar wind toward Earth. This image from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory shows where solar magnetic fields have parted, allowing the gaseous material to escape. Traveling faster than 600 km/s (1.3 million mph), the solar wind is expected to reach our planet on Sept. 24th, bringing a 40% chance of polar geomagnetic storms according to NOAA forecasters. The chance of storms rises to 50% on the next day, Sept. 25th, as Earth moves deeper into the stream. Northern sky watchers should be alert for autumn auroras."
Northern Lights Forecast for Sunday, September 24th
"Forecast: Auroral activity will be high. Weather permitting, highly active auroral displays will be visible overhead from Inuvik, Yellowknife, Rankin and Iqaluit to Juneau, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Thunder Bay and Sept-Iles, and visible low on the horizon from Seattle, Des Moines, Chicago, Cleveland, Boston, and Halifax."
"Minnesota Crop Progress & Condition" 
"Eighty-six percent of the corn for grain crop reached the dent stage, remaining 5 days behind the 5-year average. Thirteen percent had reached maturity, 10 days behind both last year and average. Corn for silage was 30 percent complete, 11 days behind average. Corn condition was 81 percent good to excellent. Eighty-one percent of the soybean crop was turning color with 36 percent dropping leaves. Scattered reports of soybean harvesting were noted in northern Minnesota. Soybean condition remained at 72 percent good to excellent. Nearly all of the dry edible bean crop was dropping leaves. One-quarter of the dry edible crop was harvested during the week, making the total harvest progress 44 percent complete. Dry edible bean condition rating was 66 percent good to excellent. Sunflower condition remained at 86 percent good to excellent. Potato harvest was 48 percent complete. Potato crop condition remained at 92 percent good to excellent. Sugarbeets were 8 percent lifted. Sugarbeet condition was unchanged at 89 percent good to excellent. The third cutting of alfalfa hay was 87 percent complete. Pasture condition declined to 54 percent good to excellent."

Minnesota Drought Conditions

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


Tracking MARIA

We're still tracking MARIA in the Atlantic basin and according to NOAA's NHC, it was\ still a major category 3 storm with sustained winds of 115mph as of midday Saturday.

Tracking MARIA

Here's the official track from NOAA's NHC, which show the storm generally lifting north-northeast through the week ahead, but note the "cone of uncertainty" fanning out over the next several days. This means that there is still some uncertainty on where MARIA will actually track and could actually be a little closer to the East Coast, which would mean bigger impacts in those areas.

Tracking MARIA - GFS (American Model)
Here's the GFS (American Model) of MARIA as it nears the East Coast through the early week time frame. This particular model doesn't keeps the center of the storm off the East Coast, but we will likely still have big impacts across the region and especially along the coast. Keep in mind that it is still too early to tell exactly where the storm will track, it will be important to keep an eye on weather forecasts over the next few days. 
Tracking MARIA - ECMWF (European Model)
Just for comparison, here is the ECMWF model, which shows the placement of the storm at 1am Thursdday. While the center of the storm looks to stay offshore, we will likely still have strong winds, high surf and potentially heavy rains along the coast. Again, it's too early to tell where the storm will track exactly, but folks in these areas need to pay attention to weather forecast over the days ahead. 
Tracking MARIA - Strongest Wind Gusts AM Wednesday
Here's a quick look at what kind of wind gusts we could be dealing with by 1AM Thursday. Note that some spots along the coast could be seeing up to 40mph+ wind gusts, while widespread tropical storm force (39mph+) wind gusts could be possible for a number of inland locations. 
Tracking MARIA - How Much Rain?
Here's the rainfall potential through Thursday, which suggests fairly heavy rain in far eastern North Carolina. Note that some locations in the Outer Banks could see up to 2" to 4"+ rainfall. Again, keep in mind that the rain fall potential will be heavily dictated by the track of the storm. If the storm tracks farther west and closer to the coast, we can expect heavy rain & wind across a much wider area, but if the storm shifts east, we can expect less rain and not as strong of winds. Stay tuned...

Atlantic Outlook Next 5 Days
Here's the Atlantic outlook over the next few days, which shows that the basin remains very active as we head into the 4th week of September. While LEE has once again redeveloped, it should cause any issues close to home, but we'll continue watching MARIA as it lifts north over the coming days.
Tracking LEE
Here's NOAA's NHC forecast for LEE, which at this point doesn't appear to be all that impressive as it tracks northwest over open water into early next week. Stay tuned...
Active in the Eastern Pacific
While things remain active in the Atlantic Basin, things in the Eastern Pacific are still somewhat active. According to NOAA's NHC, tropical depression EIGHTEEN has formed and there is also another wave of energy that has a MEDIUM chance of tropical formation over the next 5 days.

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

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

PRELIMINARY 2017 Tornado Count

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


National Weather Hazards Ahead...

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


"Rain and snow take aim at the Montana drought"

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

See more from Great Falls Tribune HERE:

Latest Drought Monitor

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

Rain Needed to End Drought

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


Chetco Bar Fire - 5 Miles Northeast of Brookings, OR

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

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

See more from Inciweb HERE:

(Credit: Andy Lyon)

Diamond Creek Fire - Mazama, Washington

The Diamond Creek Fire near Mazama, Washington is a very large wildfire in the Western US that started on Sunday,  July 23rd and has grown to more than 127,000 acres! There are nearly 227 people working on this fire, which is 75% contained. The estimated containment date is set for Sunday, October 15th.

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

See more from Inciweb HERE:

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

Ongoing Large Wildfires

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

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


National Weather Outlook

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

5 Day Precipitation Outlook

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

Snowfall Potential
The next system that moves into the Pacific Northwest will bring another round of moisture and cold air, which will turn over to snow in the higher elevations. Here's the snowfall potential through Wednesday night, which shows up to 6"+ snowfall potential in the mountains... And so it begins!
Autumn Heat - Meteorological Black Swan Events
By Paul Douglas
Maybe we've always had head-scratching, jaw-dropping weather. Perhaps it's social media; all of us plugged into The Matrix and more weather-aware. Or maybe it's a symptom of a larger disruption to our climate system. Not every day or ever week, but more moments where you see something on the news or weather map, and mumble "haven't seen THAT before."
Like a heat index of 101F on the first day of autumn in the Twin Cities. It could be snowing right now - instead we're taking turns whining about a drippy, debilitating dew point.
Nederland, Texas reported 64.6 inches of rain from Hurricane Harvey, a new record for wettest tropical cyclone. Off-the-scale-wet. Hurricane Maria brushes the Outer Banks Wednesday before turning out to sea. We may go through the entire alphabet this year, just like 2005.
The mercury approaches 90F later Sunday before a sluggish front arrives with heavy showers & T-storms Sunday night and Monday, with close to an inch of rain. Daytime highs hold in the 60s this week; nights dipping into the 40s. This freakish July weather-rewind will give way to jackets soon.
Extended Forecast
SUNDAY: Hot sun. Storms tonight: Winds: S 10-15. High: 88.
SUNDAY NIGHT: Chance of storms. Winds: S 5-10. Low: 67
MONDAY: Heavy showers and storms. Winds: SW 7-12. High: 72.
TUESDAY: Showers taper. Drying out PM hours. Winds: NW 8-13. High: 66.
WEDNESDAY: More sun, comfortably cool. Winds: NW 7-12. Wake-up: 49. High: 66.
THURSDAY: Clouds increase. Lukewarm breeze. Winds: NW 5-10. Wake-up: 52. High: 70.
FRIDAY: Reinforcing clipper, few showers. Winds: N 10-15. Wake-up: 50. High: 59.
SATURDAY: Blue sky. Fresh air transfusion. Winds: N 7-12. Wake-up: 45. High: 62.

This Day in Weather History
September 24th

1985: 0.4 inches of snow falls in the Minneapolis area.

1982: Tropical air moves north into Minnesota. The Twin Cities have a low of 71.

1869: Heavy rain dumps nearly 10 inches on the White Earth Reservation.

Average High/Low for Minneapolis
September 14th

Average High: 68F (Record: 89F set in 1935)
Average Low: 49F (Record: 30F set in 1942)

Record Rainfall: 1.06" set in 1934
Record Snowfall: 0.4" set in 1985

Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
September 24th

Sunrise: 7:03am
Sunset: 7:06pm

Hours of Daylight: 12hours & 3mins

Daylight LOST since yesterday: ~3 minutes and 6 seconds
Daylight LOST since summer solstice (June 20th): 3 hours & 34 minutes

Moon Phase for September 24th at Midnight
2.8 Days Before First Quarter


Weather Outlook For Sunday

Temperatures on Sunday will still be quite warm across the region with temps running nearly 15F to 20F above average ahead of the front. However, behind the front it is nearly 15F to 25F cooler than average. Dewpoints will also remain quite sticky ahead of the front with some spots nearing 70F again. However, highs along and west of the front will only be in the 40s and 50s! 

Weather Outlook For Sunday
Winds will be out of the south on Monday ahead of the front, which will help to keep the heat and humidity in place, while winds will switch to the north-northwest west of the front, which will help to bring much cooler temps to those areas.

Weather Outlook For Sunday

A stalled frontal boundary will continue to keep showers and storms in place across the eastern Dakotas and far western MN once again on Sunday. Ahead of the front, sultry sunshine will continue just like it did on Friday and Saturday.
Simulated Radar Ahead...
Here's the simulated radar across the Upper Midwest as we head from late weekend into early next week. The stalled front will slowly move east through the early week time period, which will help to bring areas of storms and heavy rain to parts of the region.
Rainfall Potential Ahead
Here's the rainfall potential across the state as we head through Thursday. Note that many areas across western and northern Minnesota could stay quite wet with some widespread 1" to 2"+ tallies.


Pollen Forecast

Itchy, sneezy? I tend to get a little more allergic as we head through September until the first frosts of the season start to arrive. With that said, according to, the allergy forecast for Minneapolis suggests low to low-medium levels over the next few days thanks to several rain chances this week. AHHH-CHOOO!!!

Minneapolis Temperature Outlook

Here's the temperature outlook through October 8th, which shows temps staying very warm on Sunday, but will cool significantly by midweek with highs only in the 60s. The extended forecast calls for more fall-like temps then through the rest of the month into the early part of October Note that the average high in the Twin Cities on September 30th is 65F with an average overnight low of 46F.

6 to 14 Day Temperature Outlook

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


Extended Temperature Outlook

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


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

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

Minnesota Fall Color Update

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

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

Typical Fall Color Peak in Minnesota

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

Typical Fall Color Times Across the Country

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

"Irma may speed the end of orange juice"

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

See more from DenverPost HERE:

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


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

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

See more from CNN HERE:

(Image credit: Getty images via


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

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

See more from Washington Post HERE:


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

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

See more from NASA Here:

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


Thanks for checking in and don't forget to follow me on Twitter @TNelsonWX

July Flashback - Thundery Lumps in our Tropical Stew - Puerto Rico Crippled by Maria

Sticky & Stormy Here - Imagining the Unimaginable

Remind me not to whine about the humidity, or the thunderstorms, or the inevitable cold fronts anytime soon. Our weather woes are embarrassingly trivial compared to what residents from Texas and Florida to Puerto Rico and the Caribbean are facing.

It's hard for Minnesotans to comprehend a mega-storm like Maria, which raked Puerto Rico with 150 mph wind gusts. Imagine the worst severe storm you've ever encountered; multiply wind speeds by 2, and then have it last the better part of 8 hours.

Maria was the rough equivalent of a 50-mile wide EF-4 tornado; one that wouldn't go away. The risk of starvation, infection, disease & civil unrest will be off the scale in coming weeks. Sadly, many who survived the storm may not survive Maria's aftermath.

After a heat index above 100F yesterday 100F yesterday, today brings highs in the 80s and sauna-like dew points above 70F. Storms flare up today; now Sunday now looks drier and sunnier. The farther you drive up I-35 or I-94, the greater the odds of running into puddles this weekend.

We dry out next week, with Fall-like highs in the 60s.

* Image above courtesy of NASA's International Space Station.

A Flush of September Warmth and High Dew Points. Dr. Mark Seeley reports at Minnesota WeatherTalk: "The trend toward above normal temperatures this month, which began on the 10th, continues in a big way through this weekend. Most observers now report September mean temperatures that are 2 to 4 degrees F warmer than normal, but have yet to see real extremes. This will change for Friday through Sunday as several areas of the state will see daytime highs soar into the 80s and 90s F, with nighttime lows in the 60s and 70s F. As a result, it is likely that some new daily temperature records will be set in terms of both warm daytime highs and warm nighttime lows. So far the highest temperature measured this month was 93 degrees F on the 14th at Browns Valley (Traverse County). This is likely to be surpassed. According to the Minnesota State Climatology Office it is especially unusual to see a series of nighttime low temperatures in the 70s F so late in the month of September. In fact for the Twin Cities climate record consecutive nightly lows in the 70F during the month of September is rare indeed, having happened only in 1897, 1927, 1939, 1948, and 1955. Should nighttime lows remain in the 70s F both Friday and Saturday (Sept 22-23) it will be the latest ever such occurrence..."

Fall Color Update. Colors are peaking from near Bemidji to Warroad and Roseau. The Brainerd Lakes and North Shore are still 1-2 weeks away from peak color. Map courtesy of the Minnesota DNR.

Praedictix Briefing: Issued Friday morning, September 22nd, 2017:

* Power continues to be out for all of Puerto Rico in the wake of Maria, and likely will be for up to a half a year, according to the mayor of San Juan. The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority has said that they hope to get some areas back up within weeks if it is possible. Many communication links continue to be down, which means the extent of the damage is unknown in spots. Flooding continues along some rivers – mainly in northern and eastern Puerto Rico – but river levels are decreasing. President Donald Trump issued a disaster declaration for Puerto Rico Thursday.

* For recovery efforts in Puerto Rico, scattered showers and storms will continue across the region through the weekend. Heat index values are expected to be near 100 across parts of the region, making conditions unpleasant.

* Maria is impacting the Turks and Caicos and the southeastern Bahamas this morning as a major Category 3 hurricane. Heavy rain (up to 20”), damaging storm surge of 9-12 feet and hurricane-force winds can be expected throughout the day.

* Maria will continue to move in a north to northwest direction over the next five days, bringing the system away from the Bahamas into the weekend.

* Confidence is increasing that Maria will stay offshore the East Coast into next week, curving back out into the Atlantic by the end of the week. Impacts such as high surf and rip currents can still be expected along the East Coast from Maria, however. By early next week, tropical storm force winds will also be possible along the Outer Banks due to an expansive wind field associated with Maria.

* Even though Jose has become post-tropical off the New England coast, the system is still bringing tropical storm conditions to Cape Cod with gusts over 50 mph at times. Tropical Storm Warnings remain in place. Jose will continue to weaken over the next several days.

Morning Satellite Of Maria. Maria continues to be a major hurricane this morning; however the eye isn’t as visible on satellite. This is a sign of upper level winds that are starting to disrupt the system. As of this morning, the center of Maria was near the Turks and Caicos Islands, officially about 30 miles north-northeast of Grand Turk Island. Maria had sustained winds of 125 mph, and was moving to the northwest at 7 mph. (Satellite data: AerisWeather)

Maria Official Track. Maria will continue off to the north and northwest over at least the next 72 hours, which will continue to bring the center of the system near the Turks and Caicos as well as the southeastern Bahamas today. The system is expected to undergo a weakening trend over the next several days, due to increasing upper level winds as well as cooler waters that Maria will be moving over. Maria will lose major hurricane status by Sunday, but continue to have winds of at least 75 mph by Wednesday morning, when the system is expected to be sitting well northwest of Bermuda. This path would continue to keep Maria well east of the United States coast; however dangerous surf and rip currents are likely starting later today along the Southeast Coast.

Maria Looks To Remain Offshore. Confidence is increasing that Maria is likely to stay off the East Coast, with most guidance showing this. However, it is still too early to be 100% certain that that will happen. Maria will still bring impacts to parts of the East Coast, however, even if it does remain offshore. This includes the threat of high surf and rip currents, as well as gusty winds depending how close the storm passes.

Gusty Winds By Early Next Week In The Outer Banks. Going off the current path for Maria, winds of at least tropical storm force are expected across most of the Bahamas over the next couple days, with hurricane force expected for the southeastern Bahamas. As the system moves north, these tropical storm force winds will be possible for areas of the coastal Mid-Atlantic and Bermuda by early next week due to an expected large wind field with Maria.

Jose Still Bringing Tropical Storm Conditions To Cape Cod. Even though Jose has become a post-tropical system, we are still seeing tropical storm force wind gusts (39+ mph) at times across Cape Cod and the Islands. Earlier this morning, a reporting site on Block Island reported sustained winds of 43 mph with gusts to 53 mph. As of 8 AM AST, Jose had winds of 60 mph and the center of the system was sitting 115 miles south-southeast of Nantucket, MA. (Satellite data: AerisWeather)

Jose Official Track. Jose remains in an area of weak steering, which means the system will continue to meander over the next couple days. Later today the system is expected to slowly move back to the east, continuing through the weekend. Jose will continue to weaken during this time. Tropical storm force winds will continue to be possible today in areas under a Tropical Storm Warning across parts of eastern Massachusetts. Some minor coastal flooding is also possible along portions of southern New England. Tropical Storm Warnings are in effect for the following areas:

* Woods Hole to Sagamore Beach, including Cape Cod
* Block Island
* Martha's Vineyard
* Nantucket

Summary: The Turks and Caicos and the southeastern Bahamas will continue to see hurricane conditions due to category 3 Maria during the day as the system continues to push off to the northwest. Maria will continue on a north to northwest track into early next week, meaning the system is likely to remain offshore the Southeast Coast. During this time the system is likely to undergo slow weakening. Current model output shows that by the middle of next week Maria will get pushed east, further out into the Atlantic. Confidence is increasing that Maria will not approach the East Coast, but we will continue to monitor the system over the next several days. Jose, which is now a post-tropical system, is still bringing tropical storm force conditions to Cape Cod and the Islands today. Jose will continue to weaken through the weekend.

Meteorologist D.J. Kayser, Praedictix

Anatomy of a Disaster. Wednesday morning Category 4 Hurricane Maria tracked over Puerto Rico, knocking out the NOAA NEXRAD Doppler radar on the island, in fact all radars went down as winds reached 150 mph in some locations. But the weather satellites (including non-operational GOES-16 above) kept on working, a reminder of how reliant, how dependent we are on satellites. They provide much of the "initialization data", the raw fuel, that goes into the weather models. Before the first weather satellites was launched (TIROS-1 in 1960) we had to rely on ship reports in the Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico to have any clue where tropical systems were. Ships! Now we take for granted that we can instantly call up Doppler radar images or satellite pictures, 24 hours a day.
But it costs money to maintain these weather systems, so (in my humble opinion) now might not be the very best time to cut NOAA's budget. We all pay $3/year for the privilege of having the best weather service on the planet. Considering America experiences more extreme weather than any other country on Earth, we deserve nothing less. Back to Maria and Puerto Rico, which may be without power for a couple of months, according to local officials. The grid is down across the entire island. Food will spoil rapidly; emergency supplies will need to be airlifted and shipped to San Juan to feed this nation of 3.5 million people, now experiencing the worst storm-related disaster since 1932. I don't want to minimize the scale of this tragedy. Many Caribbean island nations are down for the count - with little chance of tourist dollars returning for years, so they won't have the cash flow to be able to quickly rebuild.
Maria was the third most intense hurricane to hit the USA on record - I fear we're going to see a slow-motion tragedy unfold in Puerto Rico in the coming weeks and months. Many people who survived the storm may not survive the aftermath. I hope I'm wrong.

Harvey, Irma, Maria: This is the Hurricane Season Scientists Expected...and Feared. Eric Holthaus reports for Grist: "...There is evidence that we are emerging from an era of messy meteorological data, where we were blind to warming seas strengthening hurricanes because the really damaging ones were rare. If that’s true, weather historians may look to this year as the beginning of a frightening new phase of superstorms. About 85 percent of all damage done by hurricanes is attributable to “major” storms — those stronger than Category 3, so roughly one-quarter of all storms. While relatively infrequent, they are by far the most destructive — a Category-5 cyclone has 500 times the power of a Category 1. Globally, major hurricanes have become slightly more common in recent decades, even as overall numbers have held steady. Further, there’s nothing in recorded history that resembles what Irma and Maria have inflicted on Caribbean islands in recent days..."

Photo image of Hurricane Maria from NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik aboard the ISS, the International Space Station.

What Can Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) Show Us About Atlantic Hurricane Risk. Here's an excerpt of a post at "Accumulated cyclone energy (ACE) is just one of the measures used to identify how active or severe a tropical cyclone or hurricane season has been. It’s a measure used by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to express the activity of individual tropical storms and entire seasons, using an approximation of the energy used by a tropical storm over its lifetime. The NOAA uses the ACE of a whole season, which is the sum of the ACE for every storm, to help understand how active it was. Accumulated cyclone energy ACE is often discussed in the forecasts that we publish prior to the Atlantic hurricane season, it’s just one of the figures used in forecasts, alongside the number of tropical storms and hurricanes that are expected to form. What’s interesting about the ACE numbers is that they are easily translated into a cumulative index showing the severity of a season..."

Hurricane Imagery. Check out GOES-16 imagery, along with new 2-minute radar loops that incorporate NEXRAD Doppler, FAA radar, and even select commercial radar stations to provide more coverage and resolution. YouTube link via AerisWeather.

Flood, Fix and Flip: Houston Housing Investors See Profit in Harvey's Wake. Reuters has the story: "Addressing a real estate conference in flood-ravaged Houston this month, longtime investor Ray Sasser detailed his strategy: buy up to 50 flooded homes at deep discounts, then fix and flip them for a hefty profit. Sasser first followed that game plan after Tropical Storm Allison flooded the city in 2001. He bought homes for 30 to 40 percent of their pre-storm value, spent another 15 percent on repairs, and sold many a year later - at full value. The quick recovery surprised him, he said. “This can’t be true,” he recalled thinking at the time. The bet that home prices in hard-hit Houston neighborhoods will fully recover after Hurricane Harvey could be riskier, Sasser and local economists said. But a rush of investors eager to snap up flooded homes reflects broader confidence in the resilience of Houston’s unique metropolitan economy..."

File photo: "Houses are seen partially submerged in flood waters caused by Tropical Storm Harvey in Northwest Houston, Texas, U.S. on August 30, 2017." REUTERS/Adrees Latif/File Photo.

GOP Rep on Paying for Flood Loss: "At Some Point God is Telling You to Move". TheHill has more details: "Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) said on Thursday that it's unreasonable for taxpayers to repeatedly pay for homes that have flooded, suggesting that homeowners move out of at-risk houses.  "We have these repetitive loss properties. So, for example, we have one property outside of Baton Rouge that has a modest home worth about $60,000 that's flooded over 40 times. The taxpayers have paid almost half a million dollars for it," Hensarling said on CNBC's "Squawk Box."  "At some point, God is telling you to move," he added. "If all we do is force federal taxpayers to build the same home in the same fashion in the same location and expect a different result, we all know that is the classic definition of insanity," he continued..."

How to Avoid Cars With Flood Damage. CNET has some timely advice: "...Here's a quick checklist for avoiding soggy vehicles: 

  • Examine the car's title. Any reputable dealer or seller will let you know the car has a Salvage or Flood branded title from water incursion. That's establish on the car's state record once an insurance company has made that declaration. Note that this entire scenario has a big loophole:
  • Cars that never saw an insurance adjuster, either because they weren't insured or the owner knew what would happen when a claim was made on a flooded car, may end up on the private market after being dried out and cleaned up.  This non-insurance loophole is one of the most troublesome.
  • Check the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System, NMVTIS, which is a free online database run by the DOJ..."

Feature: Extreme Heat - an "Unseen Threat" - Burns U.S. Urban Poor. Reuters explains: "...Jenkins-Smith is among the growing number of city dwellers whose health is at risk from increasingly hotter summers - a threat that has prompted cities nationwide to look for innovative ways to keep their most vulnerable residents safe and cool. Rife with asphalt and concrete that absorb and radiate heat, many U.S. cities amount to giant heat traps, scientists say. The phenomenon is known as the urban heat island effect. It can add as much as 5 degrees Fahrenheit (3 degrees Celsius) to daytime temperatures in cities, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The problem is even worse at night, when city temperatures can be as much as a whopping 22 degrees Fahrenheit (12 degrees Celsius) warmer than green rural areas, where heat is more effectively released back into the atmosphere, the agency said..."

Steamy Weekend - Cooling Off Next Week. From early July to early October in the span of a couple days early next week. Consider this a summer bonus; a taste of autumn returns next week with highs in the 60s. Twin Cities ECMWF numbers: WeatherBell.

84-Hour Rainfall Potential. You can clearly see the projected track of Hurricane Maria, coming uncomfortably close to the Outer Banks of North Carolina early next week. A conveyor-belt of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico fuels heavy showers and T-storms from Texas across the Plains into the Upper Midwest.

7-Day Rainfall Potential. NOAA models print out a 10-12" bulls-eye over western and central Texas, wih 2-4" rainfall amounts from eastern New Mexico to Sioux Falls, Alexandria and Duluth over the next week.

Trending Milder Rest of 2017. With the exception of North Dakota and part of Montana, just about the entire USA is forecast to be milder than average the rest of the year. What a shock. Forecasts above courtesy of NOAA CPC.

Wind Powered Electricity is Competitive, Even Without Subsidies. Here's an excerpt of a post at Scientific American: "...But it’s important to note that the price of wind energy offered through a PPA is an all-in price that includes the effect of subsidies such as the federal wind production tax credit, which provides a tax subsidy of 18 to 23 dollars per megawatt hour of energy produced. When you exclude the production tax credit and look at the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) from interior wind, it still comes in at an extremely competitive cost of less than 50 dollars per megawatt-hour (5 cents per kilowatt-hour). For comparison, the Energy Information Administration estimates a best-in-class combined cycle natural gas power plant has an LCOE of about 54 dollars per megawatt-hour (5.4 cents per kilowatt-hour). So even when you account for the effect of the federal wind production tax credit, wind energy remains an extremely competitive generating resource..."

File image: Star Tribune.

Elon Musk's Solar Partnership Strategy Doesn't Look So Crazy Anymore. Bloomberg explains: "Elon Musk took a lot of heat last year when his Tesla Inc. bought solar-panel installer SolarCity for $2 billion. The synergies between his two companies didn’t seem immediately obvious, among other issues, critics said. But now other solar installers are looking to partner with companies as they wrestle with a market that is shrinking after 16 years of rapid growth. Their longtime sales model -- knocking on doors, cold calling at home, setting up mall kiosks -- has proven to be costly. Far more effective to use the umbrella of bigger established companies to find customers, they’ve decided. Sunrun Inc., for example, will try to sell panels through Comcast Corp., the biggest cable-TV company in the U.S. Last month, the two agreed to a deal in which Comcast will use its vast marketing arm to tap some of its 27 million customers for solar..."

The Science Behind the 15 Most Common "Smart Drugs". Can we (safely) hack our brains? Quartz explains: "Not all drug users are searching for a chemical escape hatch. A newer and increasingly normalized drug culture is all about heightening one’s current relationship to reality—whether at work or school—by boosting the brain’s ability to think under stress, stay alert and productive for long hours, and keep track of large amounts of information. In the name of becoming sharper traders, medical interns, or coders, people are taking pills typically prescribed for conditions including ADHD, narcolepsy, and Alzheimer’s. Others down “stacks” of special “nootropic” supplements. For obvious reasons, it’s difficult for researchers to know just how common the “smart drug” or “neuro-enhancing” lifestyle is. However, a few recent studies suggest cognition hacking is appealing to a growing number of people..."

Photo credit: "A smart habit?" (Unsplash/Hal Gatewood)

The Impossible Burger: Inside the Strange Science of the Fake Meet that "Bleeds". I love a burger or steak as much as the next guy or gal - I'm trying to keep an open mind. Here's a clip from "The cook, complete with hair net, lays the red patty down on the grill and gives it a press with a spatula. And there, that unmistakable sizzle and smell. She flips the patty and gives it another press, lets it sit, presses it, and pulls it off the grill and onto a bun. This is no diner, and this is no ordinary cook. She's wearing not an apron, but a lab coat and safety goggles, standing in a lab-kitchen hybrid in a Silicon Valley office park. Here a company called Impossible Foods has over the last six years done something not quite impossible, but definitely unlikely: Engineering a plant-based burger that smells, tastes, looks, and even feels like ground beef..."

This Stanford Professor Has a Theory on Why 2017 is Filled with Jerks. Has it always been this bad, and social media is just making us bigger, louder jerks? New York Magazine explains: "...The more assholes you’re around, the more asshole-y you get.” But there are other factors that have led to this explosion of assholes, Sutton points out, everything from heat and crowding to imbalances in power and the wealth gap. “The research says that when we’re in those situations, there’s envy going up, and sort of disdain goes down.” Research also shows that technology has increased the “asshole problem,” as Sutton puts it, because people are much more likely to be mean if they don’t have to make eye contact. And because technology has created the expectation for things to happen faster, and at all hours of the day, hurriedness and sleep deprivation have become major factors..."

A French Chef's Plea to Relinquish His Michelin Stars is Proof Success Can Be Truly Soul-Crushing. According to a report at Quartz the pressure was just too much: "Some chefs spend their lives chasing a Michelin star. Sébastien Bras has three—and he would very much like to give them back. Bras, owner and chef of the restaurant Le Suquet in the southern France town of Laguiole, took to Facebook Live this week to ask that he not be included in future Michelin guides. Against a backdrop of green hills, he explained that he wanted to concentrate on cooking without the pressure of Michelin rankings hanging over his head. “Today we would like to go forward with a free spirit, to continue serenely, without tension, to maintain our establishment with a kitchen, a welcome, a service which are the expression of our own spirit and of the land,” he said..."

Photo credit: "We would like to go forward with a free spirit, to continue serenely, without tension." (Facebook).

94 F. high yesterday in the Twin Cities, maximum heat index was 101 F.

69 F. average high on September 22.

73 F. high on September 22, 2016.

September 23, 1995: 0.2 inches of snow falls in the St. Cloud area.

September 23, 1985: Early snow falls over portions of Minnesota and western Wisconsin. Just under a half inch (0.4) is recorded at MSP Airport, mostly during the afternoon.

September 23, 1937: From summer to winter. The temperature was 101 at Wheaton. Then a cold front came through causing the mercury to tumble below freezing.

TODAY: Steamy with some sun, few T-storms. Winds: S 8-13. High: 86

SATURDAY NIGHT: Muggy, best chance of storms west of MSP. Low: 70

SUNDAY: More sun, T-storms northern and western Minnesota. Winds: S 10-15. High: 88

MONDAY: Showers and T-storms likely. Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 65. High: near 70

TUESDAY: Stray shower, cooler and drier. Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 54. High: 63

WEDNESDAY: Plenty of sunshine, pleasant. Winds: W 5-10. Wake-up: 50. High: 66

THURSDAY: Clipper arrives, few showers. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 53. High: 63

FRIDAY: Mostly cloudy, feels like autumn. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 48. High: 60

* Cumulonimbus mammatus clouds courtesy of Praedictix meteorologist, Susie Martin.

Climate Stories...

Poll: Americans Divided by Party on Global Warming's Role in Hurricanes. TheHill has the story: "Americans are divided over whether or not global warming plays a significant role in the intensity of hurricanes, following a devastating hurricane season in the U.S., according to a new CNN poll. More than three-quarters of Democratic respondents, 78 percent, believe that climate change has contributed to the recent increase in the severe tropical storms, an increase of 30 percentage points since 2005. Only 15 percent of Republicans answered that they believe it to be a cause, a 10-point decrease over the same time period, the poll found. Nearly half of those polled, 49 percent, believe in global warming as a cause of the increasing frequency of powerful storms, an increase of 36 percent since 2005. Hurricane Katrina, a Category 5 storm, struck Louisiana in 2005, killing 1,833 people..."

How Will Climate Change Impact Future Floods and Flood Insurance? Here's an excerpt of a timely interview at PBS NewsHour:

"PS: Can’t we mitigate the effects of flooding? I mean, that’s what they’re doing, raising houses all over the coastline in the United States, and [countries like] Holland.

RH: The types of mitigation efforts you’re talking about are critical. This is what we often hear referred to as ‘resilience’ or ‘adapting’ to a changing climate. And that has to be a key component of all strategies. We absolutely do need to strengthen that infrastructure, whether it’s elevating buildings, green infrastructure that can capture some of these excess water. We need those strategies. But you start to wonder, at what point have things changed too much for us to be able to adapt to? For example, if you look at parts of South Florida, as sea levels rise, as the water table rises, no matter how much money you put into trying to build sea walls, that water is just going to make its way up, like Swiss cheese through some of that limestone. You can’t hold the water back...."

Photo credit: "Houses are seen submerged in flood waters caused by Tropical Storm Harvey in Northwest Houston, Texas, on August 30, 2017." Photo by REUTERS/Adrees Latif

Canada's Justin Trudeau, Promoting Paris Accord, Cites "Stark Reality" of Global Warming. The Wall Street Journal reports: "Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called on world leaders Thursday to build clean economies to help tackle climate change, seeking to bolster support for the Paris agreement that the U.S. wants to renegotiate or leave. The “stark reality” of global warming is already taking a toll in Canada, where permafrost in the western Arctic is melting, tundra are eroding and sea ice conditions are becoming “dangerous and unpredictable,” Mr. Trudeau said in an address before the United Nations General Assembly in New York...“There’s no country that can walk away from the challenge and reality of climate change,” Mr. Trudeau said, reiterating Canada’s “unwavering” commitment. “We have a responsibility to future generations and we will uphold it...”

Photo credit: "Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke to the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday in New York. In his speech, Mr. Trudeau touted Canada’s free-trade agreement with the European Union and his country’s commitment to fighting climate change." Photo: Caitlin Ochs/Bloomberg News.

Climate Deniers Want to Protect the Status Quo That Made Them Rich. Say what? Here's a clip from The Guardian: "...Short-termism and self-interest is part of the answer. A 2012 study in Nature Climate Change presented evidence of “how remarkably well-equipped ordinary individuals are to discern which stances towards scientific information secure their personal interests”. This is surely only half the explanation. A 2007 study by Kahan et al on risk perception identified “atypically high levels of technological and environmental risk acceptance among white males”. An earlier paper teased out a similar point: “Perhaps white males see less risk in the world because they create, manage, control and benefit from so much of it.” Others, who have not enjoyed such an armchair ride in life, report far higher levels of risk aversion. Another 2011 paper observed uncontroversially that “conservative white males are likely to favour protection of the current industrial capitalist order which has historically served them well”. It added that “heightened emotional and psychic investment in defending in-group claims may translate into misperceived understanding about problems like climate change that threaten the continued order of the system...”

Hurricane Harvey - a Climate Angle? Climate Signals provides perspective: "...Climate change raises or amplifies the three primary hazards associated with hurricanes: storm surge, rainfall, and the power ceiling, aka potential speed limit, for hurricane winds. Sea level rise has elevated and dramatically extended the storm surge driven by hurricanes - the main driver of damage for coastal regions. Climate change has been found to have significantly increased the rainfall in hurricanes.[6][7] A warmer atmosphere holds more water vapor, feeding more precipitation into all storms including hurricanes, significantly amplifying extreme rainfall and increasing the risk of flooding. Hurricanes are fueled by ocean heat. As climate change warms sea surfaces, the heat available to power hurricanes has increased, raising the limit for potential hurricane wind speed and with that an exponential increase in potential wind damage. Harvey intensified rapidly amid sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico up to 2.7 - 7.2°F (1.5 - 4°C) above average, relative to a 1961-1990 baseline..."[8]

Map credit: Praedictix and AerisWeather.

California Cities Step Up Fossil Fuel Suits: San Francisco and Oakland brought a legal challenge Wednesday against five major oil companies, arguing that the fossil fuel companies should be forced to pay for infrastructure protecting the cities from sea level rise. The cities' parallel suits, filed in the state Superior Court, allege that ExxonMobil, BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips and Royal Dutch Shell knew about the risks of burning fossil fuels and engaged in deceptive public campaigns around the science behind climate change. The cities' legal challenges join a separate effort brought earlier this summer by Marin and San Mateo counties and the city of Imperial Beach against 37 of the world's major fossil fuel companies. (WSJ $, AP, Buzzfeed, Reuters, InsideClimate News, LA Times $, KQED, The Hill, ThinkProgress, KALW, East Bay Times)

Republican Senator Endorses "Price on Carbon" to Fight Climate Change. TIME has the details: "Sen. Lindsey Graham endorsed a "price on carbon" to fight climate change, breaking with much of the Republican Establishment. Speaking at a climate change conference held by former Secretary of State John Kerry at Yale University, the South Carolina Republican called for a "price on carbon," saying he would take the idea to the White House for consideration. "I'm a Republican. I believe that the greenhouse effect is real, that CO2 emissions generated by man is creating our greenhouse gas effect that traps heat, and the planet is warming," said Graham. "A price on carbon—that's the way to go in my view..."

File image: Wikipedia.