Flood Watch Early, Then Drying Out by Afternoon

I know it's super-drippy out there, but I'm still not going to gripe about the weather anytime soon. Over a foot of snow shut down I-70 in Colorado, tinder-dry conditions are whipping up more fires across California, and NOAA's National Hurricane Center confirms that, based on hurricane intensity and duration, September was the most active month on record, with 3.5 times more energy than average. Americans living from Houston to Key West to San Juan probably wouldn't argue with that.

A persistent frontal boundary sparks heavy rain early, but skies should dry out later today with highs close to 70F. A ration of blue sky is expected Wednesday and early Thursday, but a weak storm rippling to our south may brush Minnesota with more showers Friday into Saturday morning. Sunday looks like the drier, sunnier day of the weekend, with no frost within 75 miles of the metro area through next week.

Fall colors are unusually vibrant this year, the result of adequate moisture (drought wasn't a problem this summer). I doubt this wet spell will take the edge off our paint-by-numbers autumn.

Frost-Free Next 2 Weeks. At least in the immediate Twin Cities metro, where urban heat island will add a few degrees. Next week the mercury may dip into the low 40s, but no widespread frost or freeze events are brewing into mid-October. Twin Cities ECMWF numbers: WeatherBell.

84-Hour Rainfall Potential. Some of the heaviest rains into Thursday night fall across the Upper Mississippi Valley; the atmosphere cold enough for snow across much of Montana. We're keeping an eye on possible tropical development in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. For now the Atlantic and Caribbean is mercifully quiet. NAM guidance: NOAA and Tropicaltidbits.com.

In Puerto Rico, Acute Shortages Plunge the Masses Into Survival Struggle. A story at Reuters provides some perspective on what people in Puerto Rico are facing on a daily basis: "...By Saturday, 11 days after Hurricane Maria crippled this impoverished U.S. territory, residents scrambled for all the staples of modern society – food, water, fuel, medicine, currency – in a grinding survival struggle that has gripped Puerto Ricans across social classes. For days now, residents have awoken each morning to decide which lifeline they should pursue: gasoline at the few open stations, food and bottled water at the few grocery stores with fuel for generators, or scarce cash at the few operating banks or ATMs. The pursuit of just one of these essentials can consume an entire day – if the mission succeeds at all – as hordes of increasingly desperate residents wait in 12-hour lines..."

September Was a Hellish Month for Hurricanes. What Will October Bring? USA TODAY provides some perspective: "...There is no question that this is already going to be one of the costliest Atlantic hurricane seasons on record — and we’re only in September," said meteorologist Steve Bowen of global reinsurance firm Aon Benfield. "Regardless of where the final numbers settle, this season is one which will be remembered for a very long time." Final cost estimates from this season won't be available until early next year, said Brady Philips, spokesman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. For now, that leaves the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season, which featured monsters such as Katrina, Rita and Wilma, as the costliest hurricane season for the U.S., with an estimated economic toll of $211 billion, Bowen said..."

Their Island Homes Wiped Away in the Hurricanes, Caribbean Residents Wonder: Should We Go Back? Here's a clip from The Washington Post: "...In this, the cruelest season of storms that anyone alive has known, entire islands, such as Barbuda, have been wiped clear. There’s no power across Puerto Rico, and it probably won’t fully return for months. Dominica is devastated, with no commerce and hardly any usable homes. St. John and St. Martin — playgrounds for the affluent and homelands for the descendants of slaves, adventurers and colonizers — have been boomeranged back to a time before luxury resorts and timeshare condos. The storms pushed the islands back to the primitive, basic state that made the sandbars of the Caribbean so alluring to European empires, pirates and tourists for half a millennium. Investors, governments, visitors and the people who have called these islands home for generations now wonder: Has something elemental changed? Might paradise turn uninhabitable? Is it time to go?..."

Photo credit: "A Red Cross crew accompanies Peter Cuffy and his wife, Jenita Cuffy, as they walk through Codrington, their town on the island of Barbuda, in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. Their home is among the many damaged by the storm." (Salwan Georges/The Washington Post).

One Day in the Life of Battered Puerto Rico. In case you missed this photo essay at The New York Times.

Here is the complete NHC post:

Should I Buy an Investment Property in a Flood Zone? Forbes has a timely article: "...Therefore, as real estate investors, we must take the possibility of flood damage into account when considering an investment. A property located in a flood zone by no means automatically disqualifies a potential investment. However, it will require additional upfront due diligence on your part so that if a hurricane or flooding occurs, you have your bases covered and your investment isn’t negatively affected. For a property that is in an area designated a high risk for flooding and will be purchased with a mortgage, it is required by federal law to have flood insurance. However, with Hurricane Harvey, neighborhoods not considered flood zones were impacted. Since flood insurance wasn’t required, many families will have to bear the tremendous financial burden themselves..." (File photo: Shutterstock).

Most of the Fastest Selling Used Vehicles in the U.S. Are Now Electric. Here's the intro of a story at Quartz: "Electric vehicles now account for six of the ten fastest selling used car models in the US. Compared to the 33.4 days that conventional cars sit on the market, electric and plug-in electric hybrid vehicles now sell within 24.6 days on average, or 27% faster than gasoline cousins, reports automotive research company iSeeCars.com. The firm analyzed the sales of 2.1 million one- to three-year old cars sold between January and August of 2017 to rank the models..."

The Step-by-Step Process of How the Words "Corruption" and "Fraud" Came to College Basketball. ESPN has the story: "...Pitino and his family are going through a "difficult time," his son Richard Pitino, who is the men's basketball coach at Minnesota, said Thursday. "Like any son, I want what's best for my dad, and I will always support him," Richard Pitino said. Rick Pitino has won two national championships (his first was with Kentucky in 1996), reached seven Final Fours and won 770 career games. He is in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. He has been especially successful at Louisville. Since taking over in the 2001-02 season, the Cardinals have a .744 winning percentage (sixth nationally), 28 NCAA tournament wins (ninth) and three Final Four appearances (tied for sixth)..."

Photo credit: "The FBI didn't just target college basketball coaches. It went after a high-level apparel executive." AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews.

Knowledge is Life: The CTE Breakthrough and the Burden of Understanding. The Ringer has the story: "...What about you? When did you know what you were watching happen on the field, what the click of helmet-on-helmet meant? When did you first feel a pang of queasiness while watching the head of one young person collide into another’s? When was it that NFL fandom started feeling a little tricky, a little in need of defending, a little less like just another sporting event? When did you realize what you were drinking to on Sundays? Soon, some questions will have answers, while others may soon enough require them. Researchers at Boston University announced Tuesday that they have developed a preliminary method of diagnosing CTE in living patients...."

The 60s Soviet Satellite That Crashed Into Wisconsin. I had no idea, but Atlas Obscura set me straight: "In September 1962, something fell from aloft in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, cracking the asphalt on North 8th Street in front of what’s now the Rahr-West Art Museum. Dennis Gintner, a Manitowoc-area resident, was a pre-teen at the time. He remembers the to-do about it. “There was a cop that came along and kicked it off the street,” he says. “Thought it came from a garbage wagon.” But as the pieces of the mysterious hunk of metal came to light, the town of Manitowoc realized they were dealing with something that was not of this world. Okay, well, it was only kind of from out of this world. What fell in Manitowoc all of those years ago was a piece of Sputnik IV, a Russian satellite* that had spent two years in orbit..."

Image credit: "A composite image showing Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, against a Hubble telescope capture. Gagarin flew on a Vostok spacecraft, of which Sputnik IV was the first." Robert Couse-Baker/ cropped/ CC BY 2.0

71 F. maximum temperature yesterday in the Twin Cities.

65 F. average high on October 2.

76 F. high in the Twin Cities on October 2, 2016.

October 3, 1999: The earliest ever single digit temperature in Minnesota is recorded at Embarrass, with a low of 9.

October 3, 1922: A hot fall day occurs in Minnesota. Notable highs are 95 in Ada and 93 at Moorhead.

TODAY: Early rain, then clearing. Winds: W 8-13. High: 71

TUESDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy. Low: 48

WEDNESDAY: Plenty of sunshine, very nice. Winds: NW 7-12. High: 65

THURSDAY: Clouds increase, stray shower late? Winds: W 5-10. Wake-up: 49. High: 66

FRIDAY: Better chance of rain, gloomy. Winds: SE 10-20. Wake-up: 51. High: 63

SATURDAY: Early showers, then getting sunnier. Winds: SW 7-12. Wake-up: 53. High: 67

SUNDAY: Mix of clouds and sun, windy. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 50. High: 64

MONDAY: Mostly cloudy and windy, few PM sprinkles. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 47. High: 58

* Photo above taken at Two Harbors on Monday, courtesy of Praedictix meteorologist D.J. Kayser.

Climate Stories...

Puerto Ricans Could be Newest U.S. "Climate Refugees". Here's the intro to a story at eenews.com: "Hurricane Maria's destruction on Puerto Rico could spawn one of the largest mass migration events in the United States' recent history, experts say, as tens of thousands of storm victims flee the island territory to rebuild their lives on the U.S. mainland. The displaced islanders, thousands of whom were awaiting flights yesterday from San Juan's Luis Muñoz Marín airport, might be among the nation's newest "climate refugees," a demographic that includes former residents of southernmost Louisiana and the shrinking islands of Alaska's Bering Strait. "It could potentially be a very large migration to the continental United States," said Maria Cristina Garcia, a Cornell University historian, immigration expert, and author on large-scale population shifts, which includes a forthcoming book on climate refugees..."

Photo credit: "A resident bailed water from a flooded home yesterday in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Cataño, Puerto Rico. A week after the storm, many are still waiting for help." Carlos Giusti/Associated Press.

Costs of Climate Change: Early Estimate for Hurricanes, Fires Reaches $300 Billion. Who will ultimately pay for this? We - the people. Here's an excerpt from InsideClimate News: "The devastation from hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria—plus dozens of wildfires that raged across the West in early August—could result in the costliest string of weather events in U.S. history, according to a new report. Over the course of a few weeks, the hurricanes and wildfires left a trail of damage that could add up to nearly $300 billion, according to early estimates from the authors of "The Economic Case for Climate Action in the United States," a report released on Wednesday by the nonprofit Universal Ecological Fund. If they're right, the cost of the damage would be equivalent to nearly half the president's proposed 2018 budget for the Department of Defense. "The evidence is undeniable. These recent extreme weather events are a continuation of a three-decades trend of increasing numbers, intensities and costs of severe storms, hurricanes, flooding, droughts and wildfires," said report co-author Robert Watson, a former chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change..."

Hurricane Harvey file photo of Houston: DoubleHorn Photography.

Cities Are Leading the Way on Climate Action. A story at TheHill explains: "...In California, cities are following Santa Monica’s lead in requiring all new homes be zero emissions. Even better, all new commercial buildings in the state will be zero emissions by 2030 — a big deal since buildings are generally the largest single carbon source in cities. Another major source is transportation. Here we see another set of solutions. This includes bike deliveries in Germany that eliminate idling delivery trucks fouling the air and taking up space. It’s mass transit investments and electric busses in L.A., a carbon neutral transportation system in Vancouver by 2020 and the phase out of gas engines in Beijing. Going a level deeper into infrastructure, some cities are cutting off fossil fuels at the source, like Portland and Seattle’s decision to prevent any new or expanded fossil fuel infrastructure. No new pipelines, port facilities or rail lines to ship out fossil fuels, and no new power plants to burn them..."

How an Oil Producer Wants To Make Climate Change Its Business. Axios has the story: "One of the world's largest oil companies, Norway-based Statoil, is teaching thousands of its employees how to talk about climate change and investing billion of dollars into renewable energy. It also doesn't want to be called an oil company at all. Why it matters: Statoil offers a glimpse into what an oil producer in a lower-carbon future could look like. Most of the world's biggest oil and natural gas companies are inching toward greener businesses, driven by a handful of global market and policy trends. Partially owned by the wealthy Norwegian government, Statoil is one of the most aggressive with its investments and company culture on the matter. Statoil's goal, announced earlier this year, is to invest 15-20% of its capital into renewables and lower carbon technologies by 2030. That goal is among the most aggressive by big oil companies, along with French producer Total, whose publicly stated target is 20% of its energy output be renewables by 2035..."

Illustration credit: Rebecca Zisser / Axios.

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