Better Than Average

At the rate this year is going I half expected to see a freak 4th of July blizzard or Tropical Storm Bubba chugging up the Mississippi, maybe a small sharknado on Lake Minnetonka.

Instead we'll enjoy lukewarm sun with highs near 80F and a very comfortable dew point in the 50s. Not bad for the biggest holiday of summer.

A surge of warmer air may ignite a few T-storms tonight; timing is a bit tricky, but the risk of thunder increases by morning with a few scattered storms Saturday, with creeping humidity levels and enough murky sun for low 80s.

If the sun stays out most of Sunday the mercury may hit 90F for the first time this year. According to Greg Spoden at the MN Climate Office only 4 other years since 1974 have been "90-less" as of July 2. Spoden adds that 3 years - most recently 1993 (another very wet summer) - experienced NO 90s at all in the Twin Cities. More details below.

We cool off again next week before heating back up the following weekend. No sustained heat or humidity is on tap and I suspect the worst of monsoon season is behind us now.

Meanwhile Category 2 Arthur is chewing up the Outer Banks this morning, about to brush New England.

Our lakes are looking even better.

June: Wettest Month, Statewide, In Recorded Minnesota History. Dr. Mark Seeley has more details at Minnesota WeatherTalk; here's an excerpt of his latest post: "... On a statewide basis the average rainfall for June was 8.09 inches, a record historical high not only for June, but for any month of the year. The previous wettest months in Minnesota history on a statewide basis were June of 1914 and July of 1897 with values of 7.32 inches. Those individual climate stations setting records for the wettest June include:
Ada 9.20 inches
International Falls 10.24 inches
Littefork 9.23 inches
Waskish 8.93 inches
Kabetogama 11.58 inches
Benson 10.49 inches
Dawson 8.27 inches
Chaska 13.84 inches
Glencoe 14.61 inches

"90-Less" So Far in 2014. Excerpt of an e-mail from Minnesota State Climatologist Greg Spoden:

"Advancing into July without a 90-degree max in the Twin Cities is a relatively common occurrence in the long-term record; roughly one-in-five summers. However, it is less common in recent decades: occurring only in 1974, 1981, 1993, 2003, and 2014 over the past 40 years. (see: )

There have been three summers in the Twin Cities record where 90 degrees was never reached at all: 1902, 1915, and 1993. You may recall the summer of 1993. Like this year (thus far), the summer of 1993 was extraordinarily wet in the Midwest. It's interesting to note that the previous summer, 1992, reported only three 90-degree days. On average, 1992 was far colder than 1993. Similar to this year to-date, average temperatures in 1993 were propped up by elevated minimum temperatures due to the persistent cloudiness

Alerts Broadcaster Briefing: Issued Friday morning, July the 4th.

* Arthur is now a Category 1 hurricane, accelerating into the North Atlantic, slowly weakening over colder water.

* A close brush with Cape Cod and coastal Maine tonight will produce tropical storm-force wind gusts, 2-4" rains and some (minor) storm surge flooding. High tide at Chatham, MA is 6 PM this evening, when some low-lying areas may flood.

NC-12 at Mirio Beach this morning. Here is the latest data on Arthur's strike on the Outer Banks:

* Hyde County EMA says no power on Ocracoke, likely won't be restored until Sunday.

  • Some county state of emergencies starting to be rescinded, including New Hanover and Pender Counties in North Carolina.
  • Bonner Bridge will not reopen in Dare County, NC until it has been assessed by NCDOT.
  • NC Gov will give press conference at 9:30 AM ET.
  • NCDPS reports 41,000 without power in Carteret, Dare & Hyde Counties (besides Duke on Dominion, there are a bunch of Electric Coops that are harder to find on my end).

* As of around 8 AM ET: 21,000+ customers without power in NC & SC in Duke Energy territory, 8,000+ in NC and VA in Dominion Electric territory.

* As of 8am, 41,500 without power in Carteret, Dare and Hyde counties.

* Duke Energy:

* Dominion Power:

Latest Coordinates. Hurricane Arthur will slowly lose its hurricane characteristics over the next 24 hours, resembling a severe winter Nor'easter by tomorrow at this time. The threat to the Outer Banks and Virginia Tidewater region has passed, but Arthur will still brush coastal New England with 30+ mph winds, heavy rains and (minor) storm surge flooding later today and tonight. Latest details from NOAA NHC:

 LOCATION...37.1N 74.0W

Gradual Weakening. All models show a steady decrease in sustained winds with Arthur, forecast to reach tropical storm strength within 24 hours.

Close Call for Cape Cod and Islands. Heavy rain bands from Arthur will spread up the coast into New Jersey, metro New York City and much of New England by this evening, Arthur passing close enough to Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket for 30-45 mph wind gusts capable of minor power outages. Flash flooding can't be ruled out, even a few isolated tornadoes as the center of circulation passes just south and east of Hyannis, MA. ECMWF forecast: WSI.

A Windblown Saturday for Maine. Coastal Maine will experience very heavy rains and winds as high as 30-50 mph as (Tropical Storm) Arthur passes just to the east. Impacts will be minor to moderate, with some power outages and flash flooding from Arthur's ragged outer bands. Map source: WSI.

Greater Detail: Arthur Approaches Coastal New England. NOAA's HRRR model shows the center of circulation about 250 miles east-southeast of Cape May, NJ by 2 PM, Arthur still a Category 1 hurricane, whipping up significant swells from Bethany Beach, DE and Ocean City, MD across the coast of New Jersey and Long Island, NY. Some lowland flooding is possible, especially close to high tide (around 6 PM). Source: NOAA and WeatherNation TV.

8 PM This Evening. Winds increase as the day goes on across coastal New England, but the core of strongest winds surrounding a dissipating eye will pass south and east of Cape Cod early tonight.

Midnight Tonight. By midnight Arthur is accelerating north/northeast, still producing heavy rain and gale to tropical storm force winds from Cape Cod and Boston into Portland. Arthur should weaken to tropical storm force and become an extratropical low pressure system later Saturday morning as it pushes rapidly toward Nova Scotia, Canada. Source: Baron Services, WeatherNation TV.

Rainfall Potential. NOAA's 4 km WRF model print sout some 2-4" rains from Cape Cod into far eastern Maine, capable of flash flooding from this evening into Saturday morning. Source: Weather Bell.

Summary: Residents of coastal North Carolina are waking up to significant damage from storm surge flooding overnight. Although not a devastating, Sandy-like strike, Arthur's damage toll will inevitably climb well into the millions. It appears that the southern communities of the Outer Banks, closer to Ocracoke Island, bore the brunt of the storm, along with Morehead City, Beaufort and Newport, NC.

Arthur will continue to weaken, but not before brushing coastal New England with tropical storm force winds and flooding rains later today and tonight. I expect more power outages from Martha's Vineyard and Cape Cod northward to coastal Maine by Saturday morning. Arthur's impacts will be gone by Saturday afternoon as winds over coastal New England finally begin to subside.

In spite of tracking foul weather on a major holiday I hope you and yours have a very happy and safe 4th of July.

Paul Douglas - Senior Meteorologist - Alerts Broadcaster

Tracking Arthur - And Another Thundery Warm Front for the Upper Midwest. You can see the soggy, windblown swirl of moisture associated with Hurricane Arthur pushing from the Outer Banks into the North Atlantic, but not before giving Cape Cod a glancing blow later today and tonight. Meanwhile the next surge of warm, humidifed air sparks more T-storms from the Dakotas into Minnesota and Wisconsin; the best chance of a few storms Saturday. 84 hour NAM Future Radar: NOAA and HAMweather.

More Big Swings in Dew Point. The mercury approaches 80 F. today, mid 80s Saturday with a few T-storms possible, especially northern Minnesota and Wisconsin. By Sunday afternoon we could see our first 90-degree high of the season in the Twin Cities. Temperatures gradually cool next week; the dew point forecast to drop from a sauna-like 75 midday Sunday to near 50 Wednesday night and Thursday, meaning less than half as much water in the air. Any fresh air will be fleeting - we heat up again by next weekend.

Flooding Causes $32 Million in Damage to Public Infrastructure in Minnesota. Here's a video clip and story excerpt from KTTC-TV: "Recent flooding across Minnesota caused at least $32 million in damage to public infrastructure. Gov. Mark Dayton and his emergency managers provided the estimate Tuesday.  Flooding damage was seen in nearly half of Minnesota's counties. Carver County, southwest of the Twin Cities, has the biggest damage total so far at $9.2 million because of problems with roads and a wastewater treatment plant. The state has a $3 million relief fund to help match federal disaster aid. Dayton says it's possible a special legislative session will be needed if the state account is tapped out..."

Will "Into The Storm" Become The Next Cult Movie for Weather Fanatic. No Helen Hunt? I may have to see this anyway - coming to a theater near you in August. Meteorologically accurate? No way, but the special effects may be worth the price of admission. Jason Samenow at Capital Weather Gang has a link to the trailer and excerpt: "...A safe prediction: meteorological purists will despise this movie for its outrageous scenarios and lack of realism, but fans of over the top disaster drama and extreme special effects will love it. Whether it has the allure of the Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton classic is up in the air – right there with the flying cows..."

The Outrage Is Not So Much Over Inequality But All The Dubious Ways The Rich Got Richer. Here's an excerpt of an interesting essay at Quartz: "...Wealth and income inequality are a topic of perennial fascination. But the heat has been turned up not only by increases in such inequality, but also by the feeling that the 2008 financial crisis and the Great Recession suggest that something is fundamentally wrong with our economic system. Among the many reasons to redesign the monetary plumbing of our economic system to avoid a repeat of the Great Recession, one of the most important is to help us gain clarity on the many long-run issues we face, of which economic inequality is one of the most difficult to deal with."

Minneapolis: 4th "Least Stressed Out" City in America? That according to; here's an excerpt: "The winters may be a bear, but Minneapolis' residents enjoy a quality of life that's hard to beat. Less than 11% of the city's residents live below the poverty line, one of the lowest rates of all 55 metro areas that CNNMoney analyzed. Unemployment is also low, due in part to a number of large Fortune 500 companies, ranging from Target (TGT) and Best Buy (BBY) to Hormel Foods (HRL) and UnitedHealth Group (UNH)..." (Photo credit: Meet Minneapolis).

78 F. high in the Twin Cities Thursday.

83 F. average high on July 3.

84 F. high on July 3, 2013.

July 3 Minnesota Weather History. Source: MPX National Weather Service:

1999: Windstorm knocked down millions of trees in the BWCA, 19 people were injured.

1977: An intense squall line, or derecho, brought 115 mph winds to northern Wisconsin as the storms traveled from Minnesota to Lake Erie. A tremendous amount of forest was destroyed during the blowdown

1962: Downpour at Jackson, where 7.5 inches of rain fell in two hours.

4th of JULY: Partly sunny, pleasant most of the day with low humidity. Dew point: 55. Winds: S 15. High: near 80

FRIDAY NIGHT: More clouds, risk of a T-storm, especially late. Low: 65

SATURDAY: Some sun, scattered T-storms. Dew point: 64. Winds: S 15. High: 84

SUNDAY: Hot sun, T-storms pop later. First 90F reading of 2014? Dew point: 72. Wake-up: 71. High: near 90

MONDAY: A bit cooler, stray T-shower possible. Wake-up: 67. High: 83

TUESDAY: Still unsettled. PM T-showers pop up. Wake-up: 63. High: 80

WEDNESDAY: More sun, big drop in humidity. DP: 56. Wake-up: 61. High: 79

THURSDAY: Mostly sunny and pleasant. Wake-up: 59. High: 81

Climate Stories...

Ignorance is Bliss. Thanks to David Horsey at The Los Angeles Times for highlighting the idiocy of our carbon-fueled global joy ride.

Climate Report Focuses on Midwest Flooding, Storms and Region's Future. Here's a clip from an interesting read at EcoWatch: "Here are some facts in the report, issued by five scientists: 

  • Precipitation in the Midwest has been increasing since the ’30s, including increases in overall precipitation and an increase in extreme precipitation events.
  • Midwest flooding presents a major economic risk in the Midwest—the 1993 Mississippi flood was the costliest flood in modern times after Hurricane Katrina. In 2008, another flood in Cedar Rapids incurred over $10 billion in damages.
  • These historic floods were caused by persistent heavy rainfall. Research shows that the trend towards heavier rainfall events has resulted in an overall increase in flood risk across the region.
  • The risk of levee failure is a significant hazard, as the Midwest contains nearly 4,000 miles of levees, many of which are in poor condition. 

Photo credit above: "An Island Press report expounds on the dangers climate change is presenting and will continue to present in states like Iowa." Photo credit: National Climate Assessment.

Hot Zone. Is Climate Change Destabilizing Iraq? This is why we need to pay attention to increasing climate volatility. Drought can quickly become a force-multiplier, setting revolutions (and new caliphates in Iraq) into motion. Here's an excerpt from a story at Slate: "...Drought is becoming a fixture in the parched landscape, due to a drying trend of the Mediterranean and Middle East region fueled by global warming. The last major drought in this region (2006-2010) finished only a few years ago. When taken in combination with other complex drivers, increasing temperatures and drying of agricultural land is widely seen as assisting in the destabilization of Syria under the regime of Bashar al-Assad. Before civil war broke out there, farmers abandoned their desiccated fields and flooded the cities with protests. A series of U.N. reports released earlier this year found that global warming is already destabilizing nation states around the world, and Syria has been no exception..."

File photo from Mosul, Iraq: Moises Saman/The New York Times.

Climate Change Affects U.S.'s Anti-Terrorism Efforts. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed from a former Army Officer at The Des Moines Register: "...Some of the least stable states in the world will face changing weather patterns that reduce arable land and fresh-water supplies, in turn driving mass-migration, provoking resource conflicts and fostering global health threats. As a former Army officer, I have seen firsthand how “climate disruption” puts more of my fellow soldiers at greater risk. Both the creeping effects of climate change, producing gradual shifts over time, as well as the increasing frequency and severity of natural disasters pose unique threats to global security..."

The Disaster We've Wrought On The World's Oceans May Be Irrevocable. Talk about a harrowing read. Here's a clip from Newsweek's cover story: "...The last is the least understood of these phenomena. Along the coasts and out in the deep, huge “dead zones” have been multiplying. They are the emptiest places on the planet, where there’s little oxygen and sometimes no life at all, almost entirely restricted to some unicellular organisms like bacteria. Vast blooms of algae—organisms that thrive in more acid (and less alkaline) seawater and are fed by pollution—have already rendered parts of the Baltic Sea pretty much dead. A third of the marine life in that sea, which once fed all of Northern Europe, is gone and may already be beyond hope of recovery. “There’s a profound game-changing event going on in the life of the sea,” says Callum Roberts, a professor of marine conservation at the University of York, England..."

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Warm Sun - Slight Severe Storm Risk Up North (June was Wettest Month in Minnesota History)