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Minnesota and Wisconsin are getting wetter over time. Not every year, but the trend is clear. I keep hearing that "wind turbine technician" is one of America's fastest-growing jobs. Consider water management. Too much or too little, the challenge will be maintaining operations as we flip-flop from flood to drought with greater frequency.

10 inch rains over northwest Wisconsin are pushing down the St. Croix River, forecast to crest today just below flood stage.

1-2 month's worth of rain just soaked southern Minnesota, where the risk of manure overflow near livestock facilities is high. Sorry - should have given advance warning about that last nugget.

And after salvaging a fine summer day today another slow-moving storm is forecast to dump 1-2 inches of rain Sunday into Tuesday. My concerns about pockets of drought are rapidly receding as a wet bias returns.

We catch a break from the heat into midweek, but models hint at 90s next weekend, with a few swarms of
severe T-storms thrown in for good measure. Jungle-like heat is a week away, so enjoy today's comfortable sunshine.

June 2018 Trending Hotter and Wetter Than Average. Dr. Mark Seeley provides context at Minnesota WeatherTalk: "Despite the recent moderation, temperatures are continuing to average above normal this month. So far this June ranks among the 20 warmest historically on a statewide basis. Last week over Father’s Day weekend many Minnesota climate stations reported record high temperatures. Among those seeing record highs on June 15th were: MSP with 95°F, Amboy with 95°F, Granite Falls with 96°F, and Minnesota City with 91°F..."

Another Slow-Moving Soaker. If you believe the 00z 12KM NAM guidance the heaviest rains will fall over southwest and west central MInnesota; maybe some 2"+ totals before showers begin to wind down Tuesday night. The map above shows accumulated rainfall as of 12z Tuesday morning. Credit:

90-Day Temperature Outlook. NOAA CPC predicts a significant chance of warmer than average temperatures from July into September for much of the western USA and New England; flip a coin for Minnesota and the Upper Midwest.

90-Day Rainfall Trend. NOAA CPC shows a higher probability of a wetter second half of summer for the Mid Atlantic and the central and southern Rockies.

Unprecedented Change From Cold April to Hot May. Brian Brettschneider has the details at Forbes: "...If the whiplash from cold to hot seemed unusual, it was. In fact, it was unprecedented for any time of year. Using the NASA GISS temperature gridded data set, approximately 130,000 square miles went from record cool to record warm from April to May in 2018. The next largest "event" was the transition from record cold to record warm from December 1946 to January 1947, in the tropical Pacific Ocean southeast of Hawai'i (107,000 square miles). Given that it occurred over the ocean, I find this a little dubious..."

Map credit: "Global occurrences of a climate station recording the coldest April on record followed by the warmest May on record."

Lightning Blasts Craters in the Highway Near Detroit Lakes. A reminder of the power of lightning, courtesy of Bring Me The News: "Bolts of lightning left holes on a highway in northwest Minnesota. It's unclear exactly when it happened, but the Minnesota Department of Transportation says the two holes left in the road were caused by lightning that struck Hwy. 10 west of Detroit Lakes. More facts about lightning from the NWS: 

  • There are about 25 million lightning strikes in the U.S. every year. 
  • Lightning kills an average of 47 people in the U.S. every year. 
  • Lightning travels at about 1/3 the speed of light. 
  • An average lightning strike contains 300 million volts of electricity. 
  • The odds of being struck are 1 in 400,000 for every year of your life..."

Trump's Pick to Lead Weather Agency Spent 30 Years Fighting It. Bloomberg Businessweek has some background and perspective; here's an excerpt: "...After the bill’s collapse, Barry, now AccuWeather’s chief executive officer, took a more conciliatory approach, proselytizing about the need for all parties involved in forecasting—the government, academics, businesses—to collaborate. Yet he remains a champion of limiting the agency’s public role, opposing its use of social media to spread warnings. “We fear that he wants to turn the weather service into a taxpayer-funded subsidiary of AccuWeather,” says Richard Hirn, attorney for the National Weather Service Employees Organization. Myers may soon be in a position to do that. In October 2017, President Trump nominated him to be NOAA’s administrator. In December the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, which oversees the NWS, approved him on a party-line vote. “If confirmed, I think he will serve as an outstanding administrator,” Senator Patrick Toomey, a Pennsylvania Republican, said when he introduced Myers at his November confirmation hearing..."

File image:

Hurricane-Proof Homes Are Real. Why Isn't Anyone Buying Them? Bloomberg has an interesting story: "...Of the roughly 800,000 single-family houses built last year, the Census Bureau reports just eight percent had concrete frames — one of the main ways architects and engineers toughen structures against extreme weather. Even more basic advances have been slow to get adopted. The Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety, an industry research group that Wright now heads, created a set of construction standards in 2008 called “Fortified,” which exceed the building code to certify at a minimum that a home’s roof won’t fly off or leak in a hurricane, regardless of its material. In 10 years, only 8,126 U.S. homes have achieved that designation..."

Photo credit: "At developer Eric Soulavy's condominium project in Key Largo, Florida, prices start at $5 million." Photographer: Alicia Vera/Bloomberg.

What Alabama Can Teach You About Storm Resilience. Next City has an encouraging post - here's an excerpt: "...He’s not just talking about Alabama. “How should Puerto Rico, Haiti, the Virgin Islands, Key West build back?” says Schneider. “Should we build back cheap, and let it blow away again, or should we build it up, or not build back at all?” Schneider believes it’s a decision every community should make for itself. To that end, in 2009, he founded a nonprofit, Smart Home Alabama, with some of his own money and a grant from the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium, a federal/state partnership. He wanted to introduce a framework for a community who “couldn’t spell resilience” to eventually embrace it. Schneider wanted insurance agents and local builders to start talking. If builders constructed resilient buildings that could withstand more damage, and insurance companies agreed to reduce premiums for more weather-resilient homes, it would incentivize resiliency for homeowners..."

Photo credit: "A new home under construction in coastal Alabama, being built to modern storm resilience standards." Photo by Emily Nonko.

After Hurricane, Would You Prefer AC or a Charged Cellphone. Survey Answer May Surprise You. Sun Sentinel has an interesting story - here's an excerpt: "In the hot and dirty days after a hurricane sweeps through Florida, which conveniences would be most important to you? According to a new hurricane preparedness survey commissioned by the FAIR Foundation, internet access would be one of the most-missed amenities. Asked to choose which of two conveniences they would prefer in the four days after a hurricane, 83 percent of respondents chose web access to cable TV access, which was preferred by 17 percent. Sorry, CNN and Fox News. Apparently most respondents would rather surf the web while using rabbit ears to watch local TV..."

Oil & Gas Pumping Out Methane in US: Headlines and links via Climate Nexus: "Methane emissions from US oil and gas production, processing and transportation are up to 60 percent higher than official EPA estimates suggest, according to a new study published Thursday in the journal Science. The study estimates that 13 million tons of methane are leaked from oil and gas operations per year and that actual leak rates from US oil and gas production were 2.3 percent in 2015, compared to the EPA estimates of 1.4 percent. Researchers caution that this amount of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that persists in the atmosphere for a shorter amount of time than CO2, would cause roughly the same amount of warming as all coal-fired power plants in the US, and that leaks at this rate could erase the benefits of transitioning from coal to natural gas over the short term." (New York Times $, Washington Post $, Wall Street Journal $, USA Today, Axios, Reuters, FT $, InsideClimate News, Earther)

File image credit: AP.

The Weather Channel's Mixed Reality Tornado Lesson Was Actually Fun. So says Engadget, which links to a video that integrates immersive reality: "This morning, The Weather Channel debuted the first of its upcoming slate of immersive, mixed reality (IMR) content that's meant to let "viewers truly see the weather like never before". In this segment, meteorologist Jim Cantore explained the Enhanced Fujita (EF) scale that's used to categorize tornadoes. Throughout the 7-minute segment, he dodged faux flying debris and falling cars, making the segment seem not only more relatable, but also entertaining. I wasn't expecting to be as engrossed as I was when I started watching the show. In fact, the first time the IMR effects appeared, I actually laughed at how ridiculous it looked..."

The Future of Television? Is this a fad, like 3-D was, or a trend? More perspective on immersive television from Capital Weather Gang: "...The Weather Channel announced its partnership with the Future Group, an augmented-reality technology company, in April. The products these companies are building together allow two worlds to merge into one broadcast. The new technology allows people to interact with digital objects that become a part of the studio environment. Mike Chesterfield, director of weather presentation at the Weather Channel, spearheaded this months-long effort that culminated in what viewers saw Wednesday. He plans to implement the technology in 80 percent of the Weather Channel’s live programming by 2020. “We want to transport our audience into the heart of the weather,” said Michael Potts, vice president of design for the Weather Group..."

NASA Can't Find Most Asteroids That Might Hit Earth. Other than that things are going quite well. Quartz explains the ongoing risk, and what can be done about it: "...The bad news? NASA is not going to be able to find all the asteroids big enough to cause serious devastation on Earth by 2020—or even 2033. Also: For a hypothetical attempt to send a spacecraft to divert an seriously dangerous incoming asteroid, we’ll need a ten year heads-up to build it and get it to the asteroid. The good news? They’re working on it. “If a real threat does arise, we are prepared to pull together the information about what options might work and provide that information to decision-makers,” Lindley Johnson, NASA’s Planetary Defense Officer, told reporters..."

Image credit: "We're going to need a bigger telescope." (JPL/NASA)

China Escalates Hacks Against the U.S. as Trade Tensions Rise. Get ready for a cyberwar one of these days - it's probably inevitable. Here's a clip from "...Though hacking for intelligence-gathering is a priority for all nations and can sometimes be mutually tolerated, Binary Defense Systems' Kennedy points out that it can also serve as a way to make a statement when two countries are at odds. He notes that it's not surprising to detect escalating hacking operations from China against the US given rising geopolitical tensions between the two countries about trade and increased tariffs. "Hacking can be used as a sign of force in a lot of cases to say 'hey, we’re not happy and we’re going to make you feel some pain,'" Kennedy notes. "They'll use that as a first step instead of having to send fighter jets or something..."

Some Rivers Are So Drug-Polluted, Their Eels Get High on Cocaine. National Geographic has the story: "Critically endangered eels hyped up on cocaine could have trouble making a 3,700-mile trip to mate and reproduce—new research warns. And while societies have long grappled with ways to cope with the use of illicit drugs, less understood are the downstream effects these drugs might have on other species after they enter the aquatic environment through wastewater. So, in the name of research, scientists pushed cocaine on European eels in labs for 50 days in a row, in an effort to monitor the effects of the experience on the fish..."

Photo credit: "European eels are highly endangered in the wild, and water pollution—including illegal drugs—is part of the problem." Photograph by Wil Meinderts, Buiten-Beeld/Minden Pictures/National Geographic Creative.

The Most Important Skill Nobody Taught You. Are we distracting ourselves to death? Here's an excerpt of a thoughtful post at Quartz: "...Fortunately, there is a solution. The only way to avoid being ruined by this fear—like any fear—is to face it. It’s to let the boredom take you where it wants so you can deal with whatever it is that is really going on with your sense of self. That’s when you’ll hear yourself think, and that’s when you’ll learn to engage the parts of you that are masked by distraction. The beauty of this is that, once you cross that initial barrier, you realize that being alone isn’t so bad. Boredom can provide its own stimulation. When you surround yourself with moments of solitude and stillness, you become intimately familiar with your environment in a way that forced stimulation doesn’t allow. The world becomes richer, the layers start to peel back, and you see things for what they really are, in all their wholeness, in all their contradictions, and in all their unfamiliarity..."

100 Greatest YouTube Videos Of All Time. If you have some serious time to waste go ahead and browse the videos listed at Thrillist: "...In compiling this all-important ranking, we traveled back to the dawn of YouTube (2005!) and worked our way forward, amassing a daunting trove of links and whittling them down to the absolute best, funniest, most subversively "online" 100 videos. We largely avoided music videos, web series, tutorials, and sketch comedy, wells so deep they deserve separate rankings of their own. And with apologies to the TGIF theme song guy, we also stuck to bona fide YouTube hits. As you scroll through the cavalcade of videos on this list, you'll encounter viral videos you definitely remember, viral videos you definitely forgot, selections that have aged like fine wines, and a few relics from less enlightened times that, on their own terms, still have merit..."

Image credit: Fredy Delgado/Thrillist.

Is "Gaming Disorder" an Illness? Some Experts Say Not So Fast. A story at caught my eye: "...And at least right now, critics contend, that evidence doesn't exist for gaming disorders. Many existing studies on the subject are of surprisingly low quality. A large number of them are statistically underpowered, relying on small sample sizes, and do little do clarify whether videogames cause psychological problems or are merely associated with them. "Some of these gaming habits are likely coping strategies to deal with other underlying psychological challenges," says Lennart Nacke, director of the Human-Computer Interaction Games Group at the University of Waterloo’s Games Institute. These shortcomings are compounded by a lack of consistency across studies, not only in what they're measuring but how they measure it..."

Car Kareoke With Paul McCartney. Maybe I'm getting cynical and jaded (the current news cycle will do that to you) but this made me smile, in fact if it doesn't bring tears to your eyes check for a pulse. We all need more joy in our lives, and I thought this was very well done. Even if you're not a Beatles fan, or a James Corden fan, you need to see this clip on YouTube: "James Corden heads to Liverpool for a special day with Paul McCartney spent exploring the city of Paul's youth, visiting his childhood home where he wrote music with John Lennon, performing songs in a local pub and of course driving around singing a few of Paul's biggest hits..." (can you tell I'm a Beatles fan?)

82 F. max temperature yesterday in the Twin Cities.

81 F. average high on June 22.

72 F. high on June 22, 2017.

June 23, 2002: Just a few weeks after torrential rains hit the area, another round of heavy rain hits northern Minnesota. This time up to eight inches would fall in a two-day period in parts of Mahnomen and St. Louis Counties.

SATURDAY: Partly sunny, pleasant. Winds: S 5-10. High: 82

SATURDAY NIGHT: Clouds increase, storms south/west of MSP. Low: 65

SUNDAY: Cloudier, few showers and T-storms. Winds: E 5-10. High: 78

MONDAY: Unsettled, more showers & T-storms. Winds: SE 8-13. Wake-up: 64. High: 79

TUESDAY: More showers, locally heavy rain possible. Winds: W 8-13. Wake-up: 65. High: 77

WEDNESDAY: Sunny intervals, warmer and drier. Winds: NW 7-12. Wake-up: 66. High: 85

THURSDAY: Sunny, warmer than average. Winds: S 5-10. Wake-up: 67. High: 87

FRIDAY: Steamy, few strong T-storms possible. Winds: SE 8-13. Wake-up: 70. High: 88

Climate Stories....

Major Methane Study Complicates Plans of Oil and Gas Industry. Details via The Houston Chronicle: "U.S. oil and gas operations are releasing far more methane into the atmosphere than the federal government estimates, causing much more harm to the environment and undermining the case for cleaner-burning natural gas as bridge fuel to a carbon-free future, according to a comprehensive study published Thursday in the prestigious journal Science. Methane, the main component of natural gas, is a potent greenhouse gas that traps considerably more heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide, helping to accelerate climate change. The six-year study on methane found that annual emission rates from energy companies are about 60 percent more than what the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports..."

Photo credit: "A gas flare is seen at a natural gas processing facility near Williston, N.D." Matthew Brown, STF.

Your Morning Cup of Coffee Is In Danger. Can the Industry Adapt in Time? Please God, not the coffee. Here's an excerpt from "...After nearly four decades at Starbucks, he is leaving at the end of June, and in the role of executive chairman for almost 15 months, he has been looking past Starbucks’ day-to-day operations to its long-term challenges and opportunities. Climate change ranks high among them. As temperatures rise and droughts intensify, good coffee will become increasingly difficult to grow and expensive to buy. Since governments are reacting slowly to the problem, companies like Starbucks have stepped in to save themselves, reaching to the bottom of their supply chains to ensure reliable access to their product. “Make no mistake,” Schultz tells me, “climate change is going to play a bigger role in affecting the quality and integrity of coffee...”

Summer Days Are Getting Hotter. The warming signal in Minnesota is most pronounced in late winter and early spring (especially nighttime lows) but even MSP is warming over time. Here's an excerpt from Climate Central: "...Hot summer temperatures are getting more and more of a boost, as the increase in atmospheric greenhouse gases is adding more heat to the atmosphere. In a stable climate, the number of days above and below normal should balance out during the 92 days of meteorological summer, at about 46 each. But the number of summer days above normal has been trending upward in most of the country, with 92 percent of the 244 cities in our analysis seeing more summer days above normal than a half-century ago. Some of the largest increases are in Florida, Louisiana, and Texas..."

Climate Change Sparked the Border Migration Crisis. It was one of many factors, but don't overlook the weather and climate-related triggers to the current immigration crisis, argues a story at Daily Beast: "...The agricultural crisis of the Northern Triangle area isn't something that cropped up overnight, but has been in the making for more than a decade. The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations published a report in June 2016 that described the depth of the food insecurity crisis in the region, leaving 3.5 million people, or nearly 30 percent of the population, food insecure from crop losses estimated to be as high as 90 percent. Why the high crop losses? It’s due to a cycle of severe drought followed by tumultuous rainfall in the region, a pair of extreme weather patterns attributed to El Nino and La Nina. Kicking off in 2015, this latest cycle of El Nino has twisted normal weather patterns in the region..."

Photo credit: Jorge Dan Lopez/Reuters.

Too Hot to Handle. Politics of Warming Part of Culture Wars. AP News has the story: "...It is “a core element of Republican identity to reject climate science,” said Jerry Taylor, who for more than two decades downplayed global warming as an energy and environment analyst for the libertarian Cato Institute. Taylor now actively tries to fight climate change as founder of the Niskanen Center, a moderate think tank with libertarian principles. The political shifts haven’t been limited to Republicans. Many liberal Democrats have moved sharply to the left on environmental issues, ignoring nuclear energy as an option to fight climate change and thinking solar and wind can do it all, when it can’t, Hansen said..."

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