Are the 2019 Dog Days of Summer Over?
 
"Have You Ever Wondered... When are the dog days of summer? What is the “Dog Star"? Why are the dog days of summer so hot? Many people believe the phrase “dog days of summer" stems from the fact that dogs tend to be a bit on the lazyside during the hottest days of summer. Of course, who can blame them? With that much fur, dogs that exerciseduring the hot days of summer can overheat easily. However,  the phrase doesn't stem from lazy dogs lying around on hot and humid days. Instead, to find the answer, we only need to look to the summer sky. The ancient Romans called the hottest, most humid days of summer “diēs caniculārēs" or “dog days." The name came about because they associated the hottest days of summer with the star Sirius. Sirius was known as the “Dog Star" because it was the brightest star in the constellationCanis Major (Large Dog). Sirius also happens to be the brightest star in the night sky. For the ancient Romans, the dog days of summer occurred from about July 24 to around August 24. Over time, though, the constellations have drifted somewhat. Today, The Old Farmer's Almanac lists the traditional timing of the dog days of summer as being July 3 until August 11."
 
 

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Can Dogday Cicadas Forecast the First Frosts of Fall? 
 
I don't know about you, but I've been hearing a lot of buzzing from my backyard trees lately. The loud buzzing is coming from our friendly dog day cicadas, which are pretty common in late July and August. The old adage states that when you hear the first buzz of a dog day cicada, then frost is only 6 weeks away! Here's an excerpt from Yesterday Island regarding nature's thermometer: "Insects are an important part of summer and of our collective impression of the passing seasons. When I reflect upon a quintessential summer, I think of June bugs, grasshoppers, butterflies, perhaps on more cynical days, deer flies, mosquitoes, wasps…back to good days…fireflies, moths, and as the dog days of summer come, the cicada. For the past two to three weeks we have been able to hear the rasping,  buzzing sound of cicadas emanating from trees from downtown to ‘Sconset. Often heard but rarely seen, these harbingers of late summer warm weather days remind us that fall is around the corner. According to folk legend, when you hear the first song of the dog-day cicadas, it means there’s just six weeks until frost. While this may not be a precise predictor, there is some merit to the claim. Dog-day cicadas, as their name implies, appear during the long, hot summer days of late July and August."
 
 

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MN DNR Fall Color Update
 
Fall is just around the corner and that means fall colors! We're still several weeks away from anything really popping close to home, but surprisingly, folks across the far north will probably start seeing some signs of fall colors in the coming weeks! The MN DNR has already started their fall color tracker for 2019, but aren't showing any fall colors just yet. 
 
 

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Average Peak Color in Minnesota
 
According to the MN DNR, peak color typically arrives across the far northern part of the state in mid/late September, while folks in the Twin Cities have to wait until late September/mid October. It's hard to believe, but fall colors will be here before you know it!
 

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4th Wettest Start to Any Year on Record at the MSP Airport
 
More than 1" of rain fell at the MSP Airport Thursday night into early Friday morning, which helped to bump yearly precipitaiton numbers to nearly 28" for the year thus far. With that said, this has been the 4th wettest start to any year on record (January 1st - August 16th). 
 
 
 
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Severe Risk Monday

According to NOAA's SPC, there is a MARGINAL risk of severe storms across the eastern Dakotas and western MN. While the threat doesn't appear to be very widespread, there could be a few strong to severe storms later in the day. Stay tuned...


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"A Weather Station Above the Arctic Circle Hit 94.6 Degrees Fahrenheit"
 
"Amid the hottest month in recorded history, some records still stand out as absolutely jaw dropping. That’s definitely true of a measurement made in the Arctic this July. According to data released in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) monthly climate analysis, a weather station in Sweden north of the Arctic Circle hit a stunning 94.6 Fahrenheit (34.8 degrees Celsius) last month. As an isolated data point, it would be shocking. But coupled with a host of other maladies, from no sea ice within 125 miles of Alaska to the unruly fires ravaging Siberia, it’s an exclamation point on the climate crisis. The steamy temperature was recorded on July 26 in the small Swedish outpost of Markusvinsa, which sits on the southern edge of the Arctic Circle. Deke Arndt, a NOAA climate scientist, said on a call with reporters that the data was analyzed and quality controlled by the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute and that “they have established that as highest temperature north of the Arctic Circle” for the country. For comparison, the hottest temperature recorded in New York City last month was 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celsius)."
 
 

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"July 2019 was hottest month on record for the planet"
 
"August 15, 2019 - Much of the planet sweltered in unprecedented heat in July, as temperatures soared to new heights in the hottest month ever recorded. The record warmth also shrank Arctic and Antarctic sea ice to historic lows. Climate by the numbers - July 2019 - The average global temperature in July was 1.71 degrees F above the 20th-century average of 60.4 degrees, making it the hottest July in the 140-year record, according to scientists at NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. The previous hottest month on record was July 2016. Nine of the 10 hottest Julys have occurred since 2005—with the last five years ranking as the five hottest. Last month was also the 43rd consecutive July and 415th consecutive month with above-average global temperatures. Year to date I January through July. The period from January through July produced a global temperature that was 1.71 degrees F above the 20th-century average of 56.9 degrees, tying with 2017 as the second-hottest year to date on record. It was the hottest year to date for parts of North and South America, Asia, Australia, New Zealand,  the southern half of Africa, portions of the western Pacific Ocean, western Indian Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean."
 

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Weather Outlook Sunday
 
Here's the weather outlook for Sunday, August 18th, which 3rd to last Sunday of the month. After some overnight storms and perhaps a few lingering showers early in the morning, skies should clear fairly quickly with temps warming into the 70s across the state. With that said, we'll be nearly -5F to -10F below average in spots with dropping humidity values through the day.
 
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Weather Outlook Saturday to Sunday
 
There could be a few lingering showers and storms early Sunday, but weather conditions should improve as we head through the day with more sunshine expected in the afternoon. There appears to be another shot of showers and perhaps a few thunderstorms late Monday into Tuesday. 
 
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Rainfall Potential
 
According to NOAA's WPC, areas of heavy rain from thunderstorms PM Saturday into AM Sunday will end early in the day Sunday. However, total rainfall tallies through AM Sunday could approach 1" of more, especially across the western and northern parts of the state.
 
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Fall Ragweed Allergies

It's that time of the year again where Fall Rageweed Allergy sufferers are starting to get sneezy and itchy. Oh yes, one of my favorite times of the year - NOT! I don't know about you, but I start getting bad around State Fair Time and that is right around the corner. If you're like me, start taking those allergy meds, hopefully you can start building up those immunities! The image below shows the steading increase in pollen levels over the last 30 days in Minneapolis. Keep in mind that pollen level will continue to rise and will be consistently in the "high" category over the next several weeks. Pollen levels won't really drop until we see our first frosts of the season, which on average arrive early/mid October in the Twin Cities.

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"What Is a Ragweed Allergy?"

"Ragweed pollen is one of the most common causes of seasonal allergies in the United States. Many people have an adverse immune response when they breathe in the pollen. Normally, the immune system defends the body against harmful invaders, such as viruses and bacteria, to ward off illnesses. In people with ragweed allergies, the immune system mistakes ragweed pollen as a dangerous substance. This causes the immune system to produce chemicals that fight against the pollen, even though it’s harmless. The reaction leads to a variety of irritating symptoms, such as sneezing, running nose, and itchy eyes. Approximately 26 percent of Americans have a ragweed allergy. The allergy is unlikely to go away once it has developed. However, symptoms can be treated with medications and allergy shots. Making certain lifestyle changes may also help relieve the symptoms associated with ragweed allergies."

See more from HeathLine.com HERE:

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"Climate Change Is Going to Make Ragweed Allergies Even Worse, Study Finds"

"There’s no shortage of horrible things that will become more common in the near future due to climate change, like coastal flooding, extreme weather, and disease-causing ticks, to name a few. But new research published Thursday in PLOS-One adds another annoyance to the list: Allergy-causing ragweed. The common ragweed, or Ambrosia artemisiifolia as it’s formally called, is a voracious plant known for quickly overtaking whatever environment it’s suited to inhabit. The plant grows annually through the warmer parts of the year in the U.S. Importantly for us, it’s also an abundant source of pollen, making it one of the leading triggers of hay fever and asthma. Though native to parts of North America, ragweed has invaded much of Europe, Asia, and other areas with relatively temperate weather, including some of the Southern United States. Given ragweed’s love of warmer temperatures, scientists have feared that climate change has and will continue to help it spread further. There’s already research suggesting that this is happening in Europe, but the authors of this latest study say theirs is the first to consider the future of ragweed in North America."

See more from Gizmodo HERE:

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"Phenology: August 13th, 2019"

If you've got a spare moment, have a listen to this wonderful podcast from John Latimer, a resident phenologist in northern Minnesota on KAXE. John is very knowledeable in the outdoor world and how certain events in nature are related to changes in the weather and climate. Here's the latest phenology report from last week: "Phenology is the biological nature of events as they relate to climate.  Each week we hear from listeners who have been paying attention to nature in our Talkback segment and John Latimer takes a close look at the blooms and changes happening while considering how the timing measures up to past years in his Phenology Report. This week John discusses things happening outside that indicate fall is coming. Yep. It's coming."
 
 
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US Drought Monitor

According to the latest US Drought Monitor (updated on August 13th), much of the state is still drought free! Thanks to significant precipitation so far this year, much of us have had very little to worry about in terms of being too dry. However, in recent weeks, it certianly has been dry in a few locations. Lawns and gardens have been a bit parched as of late, so a little bit of rain on Saturday did help where it fell.

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2019 Yearly Precipitation So Far...

2019 has been a pretty wet year across much of the Upper Midwest. In fact, many locations are several inches above average precipitation, some even in the double digits above average Rochester, MN. Interestingly, Rochester is at its wettest start to the year on record with 36.36" of liquid and if it didn't rain or snow the rest of the year there, it would be the 21st wettest year ever in recorded history. The Twin Cities is at its 4th wettest start to the year on record with a surplus of +7.68".

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National Precipitation Since January 1st
 
Take a look at the precipitaiton across the nation since January 1st and note how many locations are above average so far this year. Some of the wettest locations have been in the Central US, where St. Louis nearly 14" above average and off to its wettest start to any year on record. It's also nice to see folks in California are still dealing with a precipitation surplus thanks to a very wet start to 2019. However, the last several weeks have been very dry there.
 
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US Drought Monitor
 
According to the US Drought Monitor, there a few locations across the country that are a bit dry, but there doesn't appear to be anything widespread or significant. However, areas in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest seem to a little bit more dry than others. We've also seen an uptick in the drought across the Southern Plains where severe and even extreme drought conditions have been popping up. 
 
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8 to 14 Day Precipitation Outlook
 
According to NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, it appears that folks in the eastern half of the nation will be wetter than average has we approach the last full week of August, while folks in the Northwest will be drier than average. 
 
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8 to 14 Day Temperature Outlook

According to NOAA's CPC, the extended temperature outlook into the last full week of August suggests warmer than average temps returning to much of the naiton, especially across the Western US. 


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Extended Temperature Outlook for the Twin Cities

I can't believe that we are less than 1 week away from the MN State Fair... good grief! Looking ahead through the end of the month it doesn't appear that any significant heat waves are headed our way. We may see a couple/few summery blips, but again, nothing major. According to the GFS, September could start on a cooler note. In fact, it's suggesting high temps only in the 60s! We're still quite a few days out from that and lots could change, but stay tuned.

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Warmest August Temps at MSP on Record
 
Here's a look at the highest temps ever recorded in the Twin Cities during the month of August. Note that there have only been four, 100F+ degree days. The most recent hot temp during the month of August was back in 2001 when we hit 99F !! The month with the most 100F+ days in the Twin Cities is July with that happening 25 times! Interestingly, we've only hit 100F+ at the MSP Aiport (31 times) in recorded history...
 
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What Makes Me Nervous? Plenty.
By Paul Douglas

Much like economists, carnival workers and politicians with short attention spans, meteorologists live lives of quiet desperation and perpetual paranoia. What can go wrong, and what time?

Do I ever get scared? Yes. When airline pilots (who think they're descendants of test pilot Chuck Yeager) fly into thunderstorms. Bad idea. Being near sea level with a hurricane approaching. Seeing a flash of lightning and hearing the roar of thunder simultaneously (ie, a very close call). Or baseball-size hail, meaning a storm may be strong enough to spin up a tornado. That, and late summer weekends.

A weak cool frontal passage means a sloppy start this morning, giving way to some sun by afternoon, but cooler than yesterday. Expect highs at or above 80F most of this week; a shot at 90F next Saturday with a few swarms of thunderstorms possible. A swig of cooler, more comfortable air arrives next Sunday, with a very cool start to the week leading up to Labor Day.

A cooler/wetter bias has been hard to shake this year.
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Extended Forecast

SUNDAY: Damp start, then clearing. Winds: NW 8-13. High: 78.

SUNDAY NIGHT: Mostly clear and quiet. Winds: Calm. Low: 58.

MONDAY: Warm sunshine. Too nice to work. Winds: S 3-8. High: 80.

TUESDAY: Unsettled. Late thundershower risk. Winds: S 5-10. Wake-up: 63. High: 83.

WEDNESDAY: Sunny and less humid. Very nice. Winds: NW 7-12. Wake-up: 59. High: 79.

THURSDAY:Sunny. Perfect weather for the Fair. Winds: SW 5-10. Wake-up: 60. High: 82.

FRIDAY: Warm sun. Slight thunder chance late. Winds: S 10-15. Wake-up: 63 High: 86.

SATURDAY: Hot sun. Few t-storms in the area. Winds: S 10-15. Wake-up: 70 High: 90.
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This Day in Weather History
August 18th

953: Four heifers near St. Martin were lucky; a tornado picked them up and set them back down again, unharmed.
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Average High/Low for Minneapolis
August 18th

Average High: 80F (Record: 98F set in 1976)
Average Low: 62F (Record: 41F set in 1977)

Record Rainfall: 2.26" set in 1907
Record Snowfall: NONE
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Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
August 17th

Sunrise: 6:18am
Sunset: 8:14pm

Hours of Daylight: ~13 hours & 57 minutes

Daylight LOST since yesterday: ~ 2 minutes & 49 seconds
Daylight LOST since summer solstice (June 21st): ~ 1 hour & 40 minutes
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Moon Phase for August 18th at Midnight
3.8 Days After Full "Sturgeon" Moon

"7:29 a.m. CDT - This moon marks when this large fish of the Great Lakes and other major bodies of water like Lake Champlain are most readily caught. A few tribes knew it as the Full Red Moon — because when the moon rises it looks reddish through sultry haze — or the Green Corn Moon or Grain Moon."

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What's in the Night Sky?

"We’ve recently seen Orion’s return to the east before dawn, which means our northern summer is beginning to draw to a close. But the Summer Triangle asterism still rules the skies. It pops out first thing at nightfall and climbs highest up for the night at late evening. From mid-northern latitudes, Vega – the Summer Triangle’s brightest star – shines high overhead around 10 p.m. local daylight saving time (9 p.m. local standard time). Altair resides to the southeast (lower left) of Vega, and Deneb lies to Vega’s east (left). The Summer Triangle is not a constellation. It’s three bright stars in three different constellations, as the wonderful photo below – by Susan Jensen in Odessa, Washington – shows."

See more from Earth Sky HERE:

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Average Tornadoes By State in August
 
According to NOAA, the number of tornadoes in August is quite a bit less across much of the nation, especially across the southern US. However, folks across the Plains and Upper Midwest still see (on average) a fair amount of tornadoes. Note that Minnesota typically sees 5 tornadoes, which is the 4th highest behind June (15), July (11), and May (6).
 
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2019 Preliminary Tornado Count
 
Here's the 2019 preliminary tornado count across the nation, which shows 1,371 tornadoes since the beginning of the year. May was a very active month and produced several hundred tornadoes across the Central uS and across parts of the Ohio Valley.
 
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2019 Preliminary Tornado Count

Here's a look at how many tornadoes there have been across the country so far this year. The preliminary count through August 9th suggests that there have been a total of 1,371 which is above the 2005-2015 short term average of 1128. Interestingly, this has been the busiest tornado season since 2011, when nearly 1,692 tornadoes were reported.
 
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Sunday Weather Outlook
 
High temps across the nation on Sunday will be warmer than average across much of the nation. The warmest temps will certiainly be across the southern tier of the nation, where more record highs can't be ruled out. Folks along the West Coast and in the Pacific Northwest will be a little cooler than average with temps running nearly -5F below average.
 
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National Weather Outlook
 
Here's the weather outlook through the weekend. Note that scattered showers and storms will push through the Upper Midwest late Saturday into early Sunday, some of which could be strong to severe with locally heavy rain. There will also be lingering showers and storms across the Gulf Coast States and Carolina Coast. Meanwhile, folks in the Western US will continue to stay dry.
 

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Heavy Ranifall Potential
 
Here's the 7-day precipitation forecast from NOAA's WPC, which suggests areas of heavy rain across the Gulf Coast and Carolina Coast with localized areas of flooding possible. There will also be areas of heavy rain across the Central US.
 
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"Climate change could trigger drastic swings in Great Lakes water levels"
 
"Michigan may not get a break anytime soon from high lake levels wreaking havoc across the state, but when it does, the pendulum likely will swing the other way. That’s according to researchers with the University of Michigan, who say climate change is behind heavy precipitation that has engorged the Great Lakes as well as water tables throughout the state. It also will be behind periods of dry weather in coming years that will result in low water levels, said Richard B. Rood, a professor in U-M’s Department of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering. He calls the change from high to low water periods of “variability.” “We think you’re going to see it very high and there also will be times when you will see it very low,” Rood said. Most of the Great Lakes have experienced record high water levels this summer, with depths ranging from 14 inches to nearly 3 feet above long-term averages. But high water is everywhere, not just along Michigan’s coasts. It has lifted water tables in inland communities, causing havoc from Detroit to Muskegon and from the Upper Peninsula to South Haven."
 
 

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"It’s snowing plastic in the Arctic now"
 
"While the world may have hoped that it would rain tacos some day, instead it is snowing plastic. In what is supposed to be one of the few remaining pristine wildernesses out there, scientists have discovered that among the snowflakes gently falling over the Arctic, there were a whole bunch of microplastic particles, too. It wasn’t just a gentle scattering of microplastics, either. The scientists found more than 10,000 plastic particles per liter of snow in the Arctic. The lead scientist, Dr. Melanie Bergmann, told BBC News: “We expected to find some contamination, but to find this many microplastics was a real shock.” They also found rubber particles in the snow as well as remnants of rubber tires, varnish, paint, and possibly synthetic fibers, showing humanity’s inescapable bad influence on the planet. The snow samples were taken from the Arctic’s Svalbard islands. The team of German and Swiss researchers published the alarming discovery in the journal Science Advances. They believe the majority of the microplastics they found in the Arctic were from the air. What that means for the health of humans or, more importantly, for the polar bears who call Svalbard home, is unclear."
 
 

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"NASA scientists fly over Greenland to track melting ice"
 
"ABOARD A NASA RESEARCH PLANE OVER GREENLAND (AP) — The fields of rippling ice 500 feet below the NASA plane give way to the blue-green of water dotted with irregular chunks of bleached-white ice, some the size of battleships, some as tall as 15-story buildings. Like nearly every other glacier on Greenland, the massive Kangerlussuaq is melting. In fact, the giant frozen island has seen one of its biggest melts on record this year. NASA scientist Josh Willis is now closely studying the phenomenon in hopes of figuring out precisely how global warming is eating away at Greenland’s ice. Specifically, he wants to know whether the melting is being caused more by warm air or warm seawater. The answer could be crucial to Earth’s future. Water brings more heat to something frozen faster than air does, as anyone who has ever defrosted a steak under the faucet knows. If Willis’ theory that much of the damage is from the water turns out to be correct, he said, “there’s a lot higher potential for Greenland to melt more quickly than we thought.” And that means seas rising faster and coastal communities being inundated more."
 
 

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"This tool will calculate the chance of rain on your wedding day"
 
"Perfect for brides to be (and people with five weddings in the calendar next year). Ahh, weddings. Brilliant to be a guest, slightly more stressful for brides-to-be. In between making sure the dress is perfect, the catering is spot-on and the venue is good to go, you have to worry about whether the weather is going to get in the way of your big day. Because seeing as we live in the UK, regardless of when your wedding is planned, the chances are you probably can't predict what the weather will be like. Rain in June? Sun in January? Of course snow is scheduled for September. To appease budding brides from checking the weather forecast 500 times in the lead up to the day of the wedding (yes it might change in a half hour period), Monsoon have created a brilliant weather calculator."
 
 

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"Hurricane forecasts may be running headlong into the butterfly effect"
 
"We know we’re not going to get to zero errors." Not that they're ones to brag about it, but hurricane forecasters have gotten a lot better at their jobs in recent years, especially when it comes to predicting where tropical cyclones will go. From the period of 1990 through 2016, the three-day track error for tropical storms and hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico declined from 555km to 185km, dramatically reducing the size of hurricane warning and evacuation zone areas. Similarly, the three-day track error in the eastern North Pacific hurricane region fell from 415km to 135km over the same period. These improvements are due to significantly better computer modeling, more powerful supercomputers, more advanced methods to collect and ingest data into these models (particularly from satellites), and improved techniques to blend these models into a single forecast.  Chaos theory However, a new study suggests that this winning combination of computers and humans may be reaching its limits. "When you look at the improvements in hurricane track forecasting, they're astounding," said study co-author Chris Landsea, who is a scientist at the National Hurricane Center. "They've dropped two-thirds in a generation. But we know we’re not going to get to zero errors."
 
 

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"States brace for long-term flood fight as damage costs soar"
 
"After devastating flooding this year, Iowa put $15 million into a special fund to help local governments recover and guard against future floods. Missouri allotted more money to fight rising waters, including $2 million to help buy a moveable floodwall for a historic Mississippi River town that’s faced flooding in all but one of the past 20 years. In Arkansas, Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced $10 million to repair damaged levees while creating a task force to study a system that in some places has fallen into disrepair though years of neglect. The states’ efforts may turn out to be only down payments on what is shaping up as a long-term battle against floods, which are forecast to become more frequent and destructive as global temperatures rise. “What is going on in the country right now is that we are having basically an awakening to the necessity and importance of waterway infrastructure,” said Arkansas state Sen. Jason Rapert, a Republican who has been pushing to improve the state’s levees. The movement is motivated not just by this year’s major floods in the Midwest, but by more than a decade of repeated flooding from intense storms such as Hurricane Harvey, which dumped 60 inches of rain on southeastern Texas in 2017. In November, Texas voters will decide whether to create a constitutionally dedicated fund for flood-control projects, jump-started with $793 million from state savings."
 
 

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"Google Is Doing Something Good With Its Money This Hurricane Season"
 
"After natural disasters strike, families are forced to cobble their lives back together. However, federal aid may take months to reach the hands of those who need it. In the interim, organizations usually rally to send items such as food and water into hard-hit communities, but what if groups gave survivors cold, hard cash so they could buy what they actually need? Google’s nonprofit arm is donating $3 million so survivors can do just that when the next natural disaster—be it a hurricane or wildfire—strikes the U.S. It announced Wednesday it’s donating to the efforts of GiveDirectly, a group that gives money to the extreme poor in seven African countries (and more recently, the U.S.), to support natural disaster survivors. This isn’t GiveDirectly’s first rodeo supporting Americans who’ve suffered from disasters. In 2017, the organization gifted nearly $10 million in cash to more than 6,000 low-income hurricane survivors in Texas and Puerto Rico after Harvey and Maria respectively. A follow-up report the group published showed cash helped most of its recipients avoid further debt and reduce their stress. People used the money in a variety of ways, including paying for home repairs, childcare services, and medicine. Giving them money with no strings attached allowed families to figure out how to best utilize it."
 
 
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Thanks for checking in and don't forget to follow me on Twitter @TNelsonWX

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Nice Weather Pattern Last Half of August

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Sunny And Warm Monday - Pleasant Weather To Open The State Fair Thursday