Welcome Autumnal Equinox (shades of August later this week)
- Blog Post by: Paul Douglas
- September 22, 2013 - 12:55 AM
3:44 PM. The official start of autumn, the "Autumnal Equinox" as the sun's direct rays pass over the equator.
Remember "being in the moment"? Me neither. Instead of admiring a sunset now I feel compelled to photograph it. At a recent Eagles concert fans were holding up phones, tweeting in unison. It's not real unless it's preserved, digitally! During a recent meal our heads were bowed, not in prayer, but buried deep into our smartphones.
I'm as guilty as everyone else, addicted to a steady IV drip of information, stimulation & affirmation. Afraid I'm going to miss something, yet missing everything. Is this progress? I doubt it.
Welcome to the earthquake-proof, volcano-resistant, hurricane-free state of Minnesota. Roughly 25 percent of the world's population lives within 60 miles of the ocean, but our position at the center of North America inoculates us from the most severe storms on Earth.
Typhoon Usagi is poised to smack Hong Kong as a Category 1 hurricane tonight, but the Atlantic is still supernaturally quiet for late September.
Autumn arrives at 3:44 PM this afternoon, but 70s are the rule this week, maybe 80F by Friday. No significant rain storms are brewing - no frosty cold fronts either.
Frost has come to within 60 miles of the metro, but I see a frost-free stretch for MSP into early October.
More Lukewarm Days Ahead. We should top 70 F. today, in fact 70s will be the rule this week, even a shot at 80 F. by Friday before cooling off closer to average by next weekend. ECMWF guidance shows the only real chance of showers and T-storms coming late Friday. Graphic: Weatherspark.
An Extended Sneeze-Worthy Allergy Forecast. The first frost of the winter season is being delayed by a good week or so over northern cities, prolonging ragweed and allergy season. More details in today's edition of Climate Matters: "Everything is Bigger in Texas and so is the rainfall they have been experiencing. 2-3 months of rainfall has fallen in 2 days along the Gulf Coast. Northern cities get an extra month of allergy season. Was your city in the top 10 for Worst Allergies? What to expect as we head into October."
U.S. Had Its Wettest Summer Since 2004. Weather Underground has the story; here's an excerpt: "The summer of 2013 – the period from June to August – was the wettest since 2004 across the 48 contiguous U.S. states, though much of the West experienced drought conditions that set or approached new records. The findings come from the August 2013 U.S. Climate Report, released today by the National Climatic Data Center. In August, much of the East saw unseasonably cool weather, as below-average temperatures stretched from the Central Plains through the Ohio Valley and along most of the Eastern Seaboard. No state saw August temperatures that ranked among its 10 coolest, however..." (Graphic: NOAA NCDC).
The 10 Worst U.S. Cities For For Fall Allergies. Happy we didn't make this list, at least not this year. Frosts are coming later in the fall, which is good news for many, but not for allergy sufferers. Here's a clip from a story at Live Science: "..."The frosts are coming later, so the ragweed pollen season is later, and is lasting longer, because it is not killed off by frost," said Dr. Richard Weber, a professor of medicine at the National Jewish Health Medical Center in Denver, Colo. and the University of Colorado, Denver, who was not involved in producing the report. "And while this does not apply to everything, we are seeing probably longer seasons across the country, and are seeing higher peaks of pollen." ....Here are the top 10 worst cities for this year, as ranked in the report:"
1. Wichita, Kan.
2. Jackson, Miss.
3. Knoxville, Tenn.
4. Louisville, Ky.
Wettest And Driest Parts of Minnesota in 2013? A great question, and - as usual - Dr. Mark Seeley has the answers; here's a clip from this week's WeatherTalk Newsletter: "...Fillmore County is probably still the wettest county in the state for 2013 as Ostrander reports over 40 inches of precipitation this year. Nearby Grand Meadow and Harmony have reported over 37 inches of precipitation for the year. The northwest is among the driest areas of the state. Both Warroad and Roseau report less than 15 inches for the year so far."
Underwater "Glider" Robots Aid Quest For Better Hurricane Predictions. I had no idea NOAA was doing this - using underwater drones to collect real-time ocean information to input more accurate, timely data into the models. Pretty amazing. Here's a clip from International Business Times: "Not all storm chasers are men in large vehicles careening down tornado-filled highways. Some, in fact, are underwater robots that gulp down water and spew it out again to fuel their path through the ocean. Such “gliders” are key to compiling better hurricane forecasts, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. On Thursday, NOAA announced it is putting 15 gliders out to sea off coasts from Georgia to Nova Scotia. The gliders can operate autonomously for up to eight weeks during the Atlantic storm season in the fall. On their voyages, the gliders will make observations on ocean temperature, salinity, ocean currents and the sounds of fish and sea mammal migrations. Rutgers University researchers are managing the gliders themselves, but the data will be shared with NOAA, the U.S. Navy and others..."
* more details on this "gliders" from Rutgers. I need one of these for Pelican Lake.
Colorado Town Unlivable For Months After Flooding, Residents Are Told. NBC News and U.S. News have the story - here's the intro: "Severe damage from the deadly floods that swept Colorado could keep residents of one town out of their homes for up to six months, officials said. E. coli bacteria contaminated the drinking water system for Lyons, and the wastewater system suffered at least $1 million in damage, town administrator Victoria Simonsen told the crowd at a meeting Thursday, the Longmont Times Call reported. To the north in Larimer County, at least 82 people were still unaccounted for after the flooding last week, and Larimer County sheriff's spokesman John Schulz said some of those eventually would be added to the official list of missing..."
Photo credit above: John Wark, AP. "Days of heavy rainfall flooded Colorado mountain towns, obliterating roads and leaving many people stranded."
From Boulder, Colorado: Notes On A Thousand-Year Flood. Here's a snippet of a harrowing first-person experience with last week's historic floods along Colorado's Front Range, reported at The Atlantic: "...The damage to our neighborhood is stark. Driveway-sized dumpsters sit everywhere. One has labeled a pile "CONTAMINATED," to discourage dumpster diving in belongings covered with fecal matter, I suppose. Generators power pumps shooting sewer water out of people's basements through fire hoses. Down the street, a neighbor's sewer line collapsed. The street is filled with cleanup crew trucks and porta-potties. All the family's belongings are strewn over the yard, like a sodden eviction. Tomatoes have ripened and rolled away. The woman who owns the home sits outside, sorting through wet pictures, flicking them severely onto the ground, her expression the most extreme frown I've ever seen. There is no emoticon for her emotion—a mixture of anger, sadness, and disgust. I want to tell her I’m sorry, but she doesn't look up, so I leave her alone..."
Photo credit above: "A stranded home near Golden, CO on September 12" (Rick Wilking/Reuters).
Why We Don't Design Our Cities To Withstand 1 in 1,000 Year Floods. Here's an excerpt of a very interesting article from Gizmodo: ..."Nothing that you can build is ever going to prevent all flooding," says Dr. Josephine Axt, the chief of planning for the Los Angeles District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which manages levees, dams and other urban river projects across the country. "If you get a big enough storm it doesn't matter what dam or channel you have, it can be overcome." The Corps of Engineers works is doing so by evaluating its projects on a cost-risk basis, says Kerry Casey, a senior hydraulic engineer. "We're trying to find the best project we can build that absorbs the risk requirement at the best cost..."
Image credit above: Gizmodo. "Satellite imagery by NASA shows Colorado's Front Range before and after the floods. Dark blue and black are floodwaters. (The images have ben artificially colored)."
Colorado Flooding: After The Deluge. The Atlantic has a remarkable series of photos that really bring home the magnitude of the flooding disaster; here's an excerpt: "Following days of record-setting rainfall and historic flooding across Colorado's Front Range, skies have cleared, and the recovery has begun. The number of people still unaccounted for has dropped to about 200, as helicopter teams are fanning out across the foothills in the largest aerial rescue operation since Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Colorado authorities coping with the aftermath are now preparing possible evacuations of prairie towns in danger of being swamped as the flood crest moves downstream. Tens of thousands of homes were damaged or destroyed, a problem exacerbated by the fact that only about 1 percent of Colorado homeowners have flood insurance..."
Photo credit above: "A view of a residential area destroyed by heavy rains, with some areas receiving as much as 18 inches in a 24-hour period in Boulder, Colorado, on September 14, 2013."
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