Hottest Weather of Summer Next Week?

Unlike tornadoes, which just want to post selfies posted to Instagram and scare the you-know-what out of people, hurricanes serve a purpose. They are nature's automatic pressure relief valves, transporting excess heat and moisture away from the tropics toward the poles.

"Barry" should reach hurricane status this morning before slowly weakening inland. Hurricanes are trending wetter and slower - not a great combination. Most of the injuries and damage now comes from inland flooding, in some cases hundreds of miles away from landfall.

Thunderstorms are pressure relief valves too, nature's natural way of cooling off an overheated atmosphere. Stray storms may pop into next week, but the big story will be the building heat: ECMWF is predicting 7 of the next 10 days may bring 90-degree heat to the Twin Cities. Models suggest mid-90s late next week before refreshing Canadian air sweeps into Minnesota the last week of July. By the way, our hottest weather usually comes mid to late July. No exceptions this year.

Praedictix Briefing: Issued Saturday, July 13th, 2019:

  • Tropical Storm Barry continues to slowly move toward the Louisiana coast this morning with some slight strengthening occurring. As of the 7 AM CDT update from the National Hurricane Center, Barry had sustained winds of 70 mph and was moving to the northwest at 5 mph. The center of the system was located 50 miles west-southwest of Morgan City, LA.
  • Barry is expected to see additional strengthening over the next few hours and will make landfall along the Louisiana coast as a Category 1 hurricane later today. From there the system will start to weaken as it continues to move further inland in a north to northwesterly direction.
  • Watches and warnings that are in place along the coast this morning include:
    • A Hurricane Warning from Intracoastal City to Grand Isle.
    • A Tropical Storm Warning from the Mouth of the Pearl River to Grand Isle, for Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas including metropolitan New Orleans, and from Intracoastal City to Cameron.
    • A Hurricane Watch from the Mouth of the Mississippi River to Grand Isle and from Intracoastal City to Cameron
    • A Tropical Storm Watch from East of the Mouth of the Pearl River to the Mississippi/Alabama border
    • A Storm Surge Warning from Intracoastal City to Biloxi and for Lake Pontchartrain
    • A Storm Surge Watch from Biloxi to the Mississippi/Alabama border
  • Across inland areas:
    • A Hurricane Warning is in place for New Iberia and Houma (LA)
    • A Tropical Storm Warning is in place for Alexandria, Baton Rouge, and New Orleans (LA)
    • A Tropical Storm Watch is in place for Gulfport and Biloxi (MS)
  • Impacts from this system will include:
    • Heavy rain and flooding: The heavy rain and flooding threat continues to be the greatest impact from Barry, as rainfall totals of 10-25” are expected across southeastern Louisiana and southwestern Mississippi. This heavy rain is likely to lead to a major, life-threatening flash flood event across the region, and there is a high probability of flash flooding across southeastern Louisiana today. Across other portions of the lower Mississippi Valley and western Tennessee Valley, rainfall amounts of 4-12” will be possible.
    • Storm Surge: The threat of a dangerous storm surge continues today from southern Louisiana to coastal Mississippi, including Lake Pontchartrain, where the Storm Surge Warning is in place. The highest inundation is expected from Intracoastal City and Shell Beach where storm surge flooding of up to 6 feet will be possible if the surge of water is timed with high tide. This will send rising water inland to areas that are normally dry.
    • Winds: Particularly around the area of landfall in south-central Louisiana, hurricane-force winds will be possible today, with tropical storm force winds expanding inland across portions of Louisiana and Mississippi.

Barry As Of Saturday Morning. As of the 7 AM CDT update from the National Hurricane Center, Barry had slightly strengthened with winds of 70 mph. The system continues to slowly approach the Louisiana coast, moving to the northwest at 5 mph. The center of the system was located 50 miles west-southwest of Morgan City, LA, or 60 miles south of Lafayette, LA. A weather station located at Eugene Island, LA, recently reported sustained winds of 71 mph with a wind gust of 85 mph.

Barry To Make Landfall Later Today. Barry will continue to move slowly toward the Louisiana coast this morning, making landfall in the next several hours. Even through the forecast cone doesn’t explicitly show Barry becoming a hurricane, some additional strengthening to hurricane strength is forecasted before landfall. As Barry moves inland in a north to northwest direction, weakening will begin, with the system becoming a tropical depression by Sunday afternoon. Even through this weakening will occur, rounds of heavy rain will continue through early next week across the lower Mississippi Valley and the western Tennessee Valley.

Hurricane And Tropical Storm Alerts. Due to the impact from Barry along the northern Gulf Coast, we continue to see Hurricane and Tropical Storm Warnings in place this morning. The area under Hurricane Warnings are where hurricane conditions (winds of 74+ mph) will be possible during the day. Along the coast, tropical alerts are in place for the following areas:

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for...
* Intracoastal City to Grand Isle

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for...
* Mouth of the Pearl River to Grand Isle
* Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas including metropolitan New Orleans
* Intracoastal City to Cameron

A Hurricane Watch is in effect for...
* Mouth of the Mississippi River to Grand Isle
* Intracoastal City to Cameron

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for...
* East of the Mouth of the Pearl River to the Mississippi/Alabama border

Across inland areas:

  • Hurricane Warnings are in place for New Iberia and Houma (LA)
  • Tropical Storm Warnings are in place for Alexandria, Baton Rouge, and New Orleans (LA)
  • Tropical Storm Watches are in place for Gulfport and Biloxi (MS)

We will be watching the potential for heavy/flooding rains, storm surge, hurricane-force winds, and tornadoes with Barry into early next week. Here’s a breakdown of the threats associated with Barry:

Heavy Rain And Flooding Threat

Heavy Rain And Flooding Event. We continue to watch the heavy rain and flooding that will result from Barry across the Gulf Coast and lower Mississippi Valley. This is likely to be the greatest impact from the system across the region as total rainfall amounts of at least 10-20” are expected across portions of southeastern Louisiana into southwestern Mississippi. There continues to be the potential of up to 25” of rain in some locations. The heaviest rain with a tropical system typically falls along and east of the center of circulation, which would put places like New Orleans, Houma, and Baton Rouge in the expected heavy rain swath. On the closer rainfall map above, you can still see a bullseye of at least 15-20” of rain south of Baton Rouge and west of Houma. This multi-day rain event could lead to a life-threatening flash flooding event across the region beginning later today. Elsewhere across the lower Mississippi Valley (including on the west side of the track of Barry) and into the western Tennessee Valley, rainfall totals of 4-8”, with isolated 12” amounts, will be possible through early next week.

Flooding Potential. Especially by this afternoon, heavy rain bands are expected to be impacting portions of southeastern Louisiana and southwestern Mississippi with rainfall rates of at least 2-3” per hour possible. This is likely to lead to one day totals (through Sunday morning) of 10-20” south and east of the overall track of Barry. As of this morning the trends have this axis of heaviest rain falling from Morgan City into Baton Rouge. This heavy rain in a short amount of time is expected to lead to significant and life-threatening flash flooding across portions of this region, and due to this there is a HIGH risk of flash flooding in place in southeastern Louisiana and far southwestern Mississippi. Heavy rain will continue to be possible as the system moves northward, with Moderate Risks of flash flooding in place Sunday from northern Mississippi and southeastern Arkansas back to the central Louisiana coast, and Monday across portions of northwestern Mississippi, eastern Arkansas, and southwestern Tennessee.

Flash Flood Watches. Due to the heavy rain expected with Barry, Flash Flood Watches are in place from the northern Gulf Coast to western Tennessee and southeastern Missouri.

Storm Surge Threat

Dangerous Storm Surge. Coastal flooding will continue today, and we could see dangerous water rises along the coast due to a combination of storm surge and tide. This would cause areas that are typically dry to flood with water rushing inland from the shore. Already this morning a storm surge of 2.8” was reported at New Canal Station. If the peak water rises do coincide with high tide, we could see the following storm surge from Barry:

  • Intracoastal City to Shell Beach...3 to 6 ft
  • Shell Beach to Biloxi MS...3 to 5 ft
  • Lake Pontchartrain...3 to 5 ft
  • Biloxi MS to the Mississippi/Alabama border...2 to 4 ft
  • Lake Maurepas...1 to 3 ft

Storm Surge Alerts. Due to the storm surge potential, Storm Surge Warnings are in place from Intracoastal City to Biloxi and for Lake Pontchartrain, with a Storm Surge Watch from Biloxi to the Mississippi/Alabama border.

Wind Threat

Expected Peak Wind Gusts. While tropical storm force conditions are occurring across parts of southeastern Louisiana this morning, hurricane conditions will be possible later today in areas across south-central Louisiana that are under Hurricane Warnings. While strong tropical storm force winds will be possible as Barry pushes north into Louisiana, we will see the system start to weaken, which will help decrease the wind threat by Sunday and Monday across northern Louisiana and Arkansas.

Tornado Threat

Tornadoes Possible. With landfalling systems like Barry it’s typical to see at least the threat of isolated tornadoes within the stronger rain bands. The risk will be greatest today across southeastern Louisiana and southern Mississippi where there is a Slight Risk of severe weather.

D.J. Kayser, Meteorologist, Praedictix

A Wet Week in Many Places. Here's an excerpt of a post from Dr. Mark Seeley at Minnesota WeatherTalk: "...NOAA scientists announced this week that for the period from July, 2018 to June, 2019 across the contiguous USA it was the wettest 12 month period in history. This surpassed the previous records which had been from June, 2018 to May 2019, which had surpassed the previous record of from May, 2018 to April of 2019. The same 12-month periods historically ranked quite high in Minnesota as well:

July 2018 to June 2019 4th wettest in history
June 2018 to May 2019 tied for wettest in history (with 2010-2011)
May 2018 to April 2019 3rd wettest in history

All 12 month periods delivered an average 12-month precipitation well over 32 inches. So the widespread wet weather pattern across the country which has caused a great deal of flooding on many rivers appears to have some persistence. In 2019 many climate stations may record their wettest year..."

Midwest and USA Precipitation and Departures Since January 1 are courtesy of Praedictix and AerisWeather.

2019 Hurricane Files: Steps To Take Before a Hurricane Arrives. I wrote a post for Medium and AerisWeather that includes updated statistics on hurricane fatalities - in recent years inland flooding has been (by far) the biggest killer: "...My plan…is to create a plan.” Hurricane season is here. Do you live in Hurricane Alley? Coastal residents bear the brunt of hurricane winds and storm surge (sudden rise in water levels ahead of the eye), but severe flooding can impact homeowners hundreds of miles inland. In fact, in recent years inland flooding has surpassed storm surge as the biggest water-related killer. From 2016 to 2018 83% of fatalities were water-related, but only 4% of these were due to storm surge. Since 2018 the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami estimates that half of all hurricane victims died in the vehicles. Only 6” of rapidly moving water can knock you off your feet; 2 feet of water can turn a car or truck into a boat, with tragic consequences..."

"A Floodier Future": Scientists Say Records Will Be Broken. The Associated Press reports: " The federal government is warning Americans to brace for a “floodier” future. Government scientists predict 40 places in the U.S. will experience higher than normal rates of so-called sunny day flooding this year because of rising sea levels and an abnormal El Nino weather system. A report released Wednesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts that sunny day flooding, also known as tidal flooding, will continue to increase. “The future is already here, a floodier future,” said William Sweet, a NOAA oceanographer and lead author of the study..."

Photo credit: "In this Oct. 5, 2017, file photo, residents move a "no wake," sign through flood waters caused by king tides in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Federal scientists, according to a report released Wednesday, July 10, 2019, predict 40 places in the U.S. will experience higher than normal rates of so-called sunny day flooding this year due to rising sea levels and an abnormal El Nino weather system." (Joe Cavaretta/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

Killer Hail in Greece. Daily Beast has details: "Six tourists, including two children, were killed and more than 100 people were injured when violent hailstorms and tornadoes struck a tourist hotspot in northern Greece Wednesday night. The unprecedented summer storm overturned caravans, downed trees and flipped cars in Halkidiki, south of the popular resort city of Thessaloniki. A medical centre in the region treated over 60 people for injuries, including fractures, and a state of emergency was declared for the region. Meteorologist Klearxos Marousakis described the 20 minute storm as “extremely unusual” noting that temperatures had soared to around 37C (98.6F) in previous days..."


Managing Fresh Water Across the United States. Here's an excerpt from a post at NASA: "...The Army Corps wants to know how much change to expect across the country in the next 50-100 years, Arnold said, since that can affect how the corps operates its infrastructure, such as dams and hydropower plants. “Water security is having the right amount of water at the right time and at the right place,” Arnold said. The tools developed by the project will enable water managers to create strategies to modernize and maintain their infrastructure, said Andy Wood, the lead scientist at NCAR. Wood's team has been working closely with water managers across the United States and incorporating their feedback into tools that use NASA's Land Information System model to monitor and predict seasonal changes in water supplies at the watershed scale..."

Billions of Air Pollution Particles Found in Hearts of City Dwellers. A post at The Guardian made me do a double-take: "The hearts of young city dwellers contain billions of toxic air pollution particles, research has revealed. Even in the study’s youngest subject, who was three, damage could be seen in the cells of the organ’s critical pumping muscles that contained the tiny particles. The study suggests these iron-rich particles, produced by vehicles and industry, could be the underlying cause of the long-established statistical link between dirty air and heart disease. The scientists said the abundance of the nanoparticles might represent a serious public health concern and that particle air pollution must be reduced urgently. More than 90% of the world’s population lives with toxic air, according to the World Health Organization, which has declared the issue a global “public health emergency”..."

The Battle Between Streaming Platforms is Getting Nasty, Here's How Much It'll Cost You. The has the story: "If you haven’t heard, Netflix is leaking content: Friends is leaving Netflix for HBO Max, The Office is leaving Netflix for NBCUniversal’s upcoming streaming service, and all Marvel and Star Wars content is leaving Netflix for Disney+. And this is just the tip of the iceberg…The streaming wars are about to get even more heated, with Disney, AT&T, Comcast, and Apple all set to launch their own direct-to-consumer video-on-demand services. Soon you’ll have to pick and choose between Netflix, HBO Max, Disney+, Hulu (possibly bundled under Disney+), Apple TV Plus, Amazon’s Prime Video, and possibly a streaming service from the possible Viacom/CBS merger..."

Americans Shouldn't Have to Drive, But The Law Insists On It. Huh? The author makes some cogent points in a post at The Atlantic: "...In America, the freedom of movement comes with an asterisk: the obligation to drive. This truism has been echoed by the U.S. Supreme Court, which has pronounced car ownership a “virtual necessity.” The Court’s pronouncement is telling. Yes, in a sense, America is car-dependent by choice—but it is also car-dependent by law. As I detail in a forthcoming journal article, over the course of several generations lawmakers rewrote the rules of American life to conform to the interests of Big Oil, the auto barons, and the car-loving 1 percenters of the Roaring Twenties. They gave legal force to a mind-set—let’s call it automobile supremacy—that kills 40,000 Americans a year and seriously injures more than 4 million more. Include all those harmed by emissions and climate change, and the damage is even greater. As a teenager growing up in the shadow of Detroit, I had no reason to feel this was unjust, much less encouraged by law. It is both..."

Polish Up Those Tin-Foil Hats. CNN has the story: "Over 300,000 people have signed on to a Facebook event pledging to raid Area 51 in Nevada in a quest to "see them aliens."  The event, titled "Storm Area 51, They Can't Stop All of Us," is inviting users from around the world to join a "Naruto run" -- a Japanese manga-inspired running style featuring arms outstretched backwards and heads forward -- into the area. "We can move faster than their bullets," the event page, which is clearly written with tongue in cheek, promises those who RSVP for September 20…."

86 F. high yesterday in the Twin Cities.

84 F. average high on July 12.

95 F. high on July 12, 2018.

July 13, 1933: An intense heat wave affects Grand Marais with a high of 90, extremely rare for that location. Most of Minnesota would exceed 100 degrees on this date.

July 13, 1890: A tornado hits Lake Gervais north of St. Paul. People rush from St. Paul to help victims and look for souvenirs. One reporter notes that 'nearly everyone who returned from the disaster last evening came laden with momentoes (sic) denoting the cyclone's fury.'

SATURDAY: Sunny and pleasant. Winds: S 2-5. High: 87

SUNDAY: Excessive Heat Watch. Sticky sun, few T-storms around. Winds: S 5-10. Wake-up: 70. High: near 90

MONDAY: Excessive Heat Watch. Sunny, windy and hot. Winds: SW 10-20. Wake-up: 72. High: 92

TUESDAY: Muggy, few T-storms nearby. Winds: SW 8-13. Wake-up: 73. High: 87

WEDNESDAY: Stormy start, then hot sunshine. Winds: S 10-20. Wake-up: 71. High: 90

THURSDAY: Murky sunshine, stinking hot. Winds: SW 8-13. Wake-up: 73. High: 91

FRIDAY: Arizona with lakes. Sizzling sunshine. Winds: S 8-13. Wake-up: 72. High: 94

Climate Stories...

Climate Change Fills Hurricanes With More Rain. Warmer air + warmer water = more water vapor, more fuel for storms, including hurricanes. Here's an excerpt from The New York Times: "...In recent years, researchers have found that hurricanes have lingered longer, as Barry is expected to do, and dumped more rainfall — a sign of climate change, said Christina Patricola, a research scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and a co-author of a study that found that climate change is making tropical cyclones wetter. (Tropical cyclones include both hurricanes and tropical storms, which are hurricanes’ less speedier kin.) Researchers have been studying the effects of climate change on tropical cyclones because those sorts of storms are driven by warm water. Water in the gulf is 0.5 to 2 degrees Celsius warmer, according to Dr. Prein, who said: “This is really increasing the likelihood of a hurricane to form in this basin. And it will increase the intensity of the hurricane as well...”

Flood Risks From All Sides: Barry's Triple-Whammy in Louisiana. InsideClimate News explains the unfortunate convergence of meteorological impacts that are swamping New Orleans and much of Louisiana: "...Climate scientists warn that as global warming trends persist, rising sea levels, coupled with more intense storms and heavy rainfall, will pummel coastal cities like New Orleans, making storm surge and rainfall flooding more frequent and recovery efforts more costly. "Water is the biggest risk," said Kevin Trenberth, a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, noting that floods not only pose immediate danger, but also broader health risks by potentially spreading toxins and disease. The last time Louisiana faced significantly high river levels along with a tropical storm was 2009 during Hurricane Ida, said Jeff Graschel with the The National Weather Service's Lower Mississippi River Forecast Center..."

Alaska Chokes on Wildfires as Heat Waves Dry Out the Arctic. Perspective on the trends from InsideClimate News: "...Global warming has been thawing tundra and drying vast stretches of the far-northern boreal forests, and it also has spurred more thunderstorms with lightning, which triggered many of the fires burning in Alaska this year, said Brian Brettschneider, a climate scientist with the International Arctic Research Center who closely tracks Alaskan and Arctic extreme weather. So far this year, wildfires have scorched more than 1.2 million acres in Alaska, making it one of the state's three biggest fire years on record to this date, with high fire danger expected to persist in the weeks ahead. Several studies, as well as ongoing satellite monitoring, show that fires are spreading farther north into the Arctic, burning more intensely and starting earlier in the year, in line with what climate models have long suggested would happen as sea ice dwindles and ocean and air temperatures rise..."

Photo credit: "Alaska Army National Guard helicopter crews fought a wildfire on July 4, 2019. This state is suffering through heat waves that have melted sea ice weeks early and dried vegetation, fueling one of Alaska's biggest fire years on record to this date." Credit: Spc. Michael Risinger/U.S. Army National Guard.

By 2050 Many U.S. Cities Will Have Weather Like They've Never Seen, New Study Says. National Geographic has the story; here's an excerpt: "...To illustrate their findings the Crowther Lab in Switzerland created a global data map that pairs one city’s future climate conditions with current ones. For example Minneapolis in 2050 will be more like Kansas City, with Minneapolis’s warmest month shooting up from around 80 degrees Fahrenheit on average to more than 90F in 2050. Generally speaking, cities in the Northern Hemisphere will have the climates cities more than 620 miles to their south have today, he said....Changes in tropical cities will be less in terms of temperature increases, but will be dominated by more frequent extreme precipitation events and the severity and intensity of droughts. “The fate of major tropical cities remains uncertain as many will experience unprecedented climate conditions,” the study concludes..."

Changes Coming For Major Cities: Climate Nexus has links and headlines: "Washington, DC will feel like Nashville, London will be balmy like Barcelona, and New York's summers will be like Virginia Beach as eight in 10 of the world's major cities will experience significant temperature shifts by 2050, new research shows. A study published Wednesday in the journal PLOS ONE examined more than 500 cities and paired their projected future temperatures by 2050 with the existing current conditions of other major cities. The study also found that one-fifth of the cities surveyed, including Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, and Singapore, will experience unprecedented climate conditions that do not have a present-day equivalent." (The Guardian, CNN, National Geographic, Thomson Reuters Foundation

File image: AP.

Even Republicans Are Aware That Climate Change is Happening. Odds are they differ from Democrats on what to do about it, which is the debate we need. Let's debate policy, not established science. Observer has the post; here's an excerpt: "...Three years ago, only 49 percent of Republicans believed in climate change. Now, 64 percent of those in the GOP do, according to a Monmouth poll. Nationally, more than three-quarters of Americans believe that climate change is occurring, and those numbers are up over the last three years among Democrats and independents. And, this is not a geographic issue, in which only blue states buy it. Those on the coasts (79 percent) are just as likely as those in the nation’s heartland (77 percent) to observe climate change occurring, according to that Monmouth survey..."

Intelligence Aid, Blocked From Submitting Written Testimony on Climate Change, Resigns From State Department. Here's an update from The Washington Post: "A State Department intelligence official who was blocked by the White House from submitting written congressional testimony on climate change last month is resigning from his post. Rod Schoonover — who worked in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research’s Office of the Geographer and Global Issues — spoke before the House Intelligence Committee on June 5 about the security risks the United States faces because of climate change. But White House officials would not let him submit the bureau’s written statement that climate impacts could be “possibly catastrophic,” after the State Department refused to cut references to federal scientific findings on climate change..."

Photo credit: "Rod Schoonover, an intelligence official at the State Department, speaks at a House Intelligence Committee hearing in June." (Andrew Harnik/AP).

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Back to the 90s by Sunday - Hurricane Warnings Posted for "Barry"

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One of the Hottest Weeks of Summer Brewing